By Judith Mulenga CiSCA Ag Chairperson
The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CISCA) earnestly appeals to all well-meaning Members of Parliament to remain resolute in rejecting Bill 10 which is poised to be retabled in the National Assembly
CiSCA does not believe the claim by the PF Deputy Chief Whip that the ruling party now has the numbers to pass the Bill. We have always known that the dilly-dallying in tabling Bill 10 after the Committee stage has been due to the stark realization by the PF that it would not garner the two thirds majority as required in Article 79 of our Constitution for the Bill to pass because opposition UPND MPs have consistently demonstrated that the Constitution is not a commodity for sale to the highest bidder but a document that should reflect the aspirations of the people of Zambia who sent them to Manda Hill. CiSCA therefore urges all UPND and like-minded Independent MPs to hold on and hold out, finish the race and resoundingly and finally reject Bill 10.
The so called ‘good clauses that will make the opposition cry’ if Bill 10 flops as per the pro Bill 10 mantra has been as difficult to trace in the letter of Bill 10 as tears in water. The machinations have been relentless and mindboggling. First was that Bill 10 was people driven, when not. Next was that Bill 10 would bring equity and provide opportunities for the youth, women and persons with disabilities to have safe seats in the National Assembly through the proportional representation, when not, as the form and function of the proportional representation would be ‘as prescribed’ and no one but the authors of Bill 10 know how it would be prescribed. Next the PF clutched at the Nakacinda Parliamentary Select Committee recommendations blatantly lying that Bill 10 had been revised to take into consideration people’s concerns, when not. The narrative further changed to how Bill 10 will help resolve chieftainship wrangles, and yet amendment number 57 on institution of chieftaincy and traditional institutions and amendment 59 on House of Chiefs and Functions merely speaks to disputes being referred to the House of Chiefs and the House of Chiefs proposed function 4(g) to resolve chieftaincy disputes would also be ‘as prescribed’. Then there was the unprecedented and totally unlawful re-gazetted amendment Bill with deletions!
And now the latest ploy of mentioning 10 so called ‘judas iscariots’ in order to cast distrust and suspicion among the most stable and consistent group of defenders of the Constitution is nothing short of a kalulu children’s fable plot!
CiSCA pleads with the opposition MPs and indeed all well-meaning MPs to conclude the defence of the Constitution as obligated by Article 2 of the same Constitution. To the UPND and Independent MPs this is a special plea that in a country where despite tribalism being legislated against by the same Constitution Bill 10 seeks to fundamentally alter, you are constantly shamelessly ‘othered’ by the PF leaders. The Constitution is your last resort and you need to defend it at all costs. If the Constitution is altered, as prescribed, your party will be to all intents and purposes deregistered and as individuals you will become persona non gratas in your own country. The constant shameless tribal card being waved by the PF leaders wherever they go has proved that deep rooted prejudice is impossible to legislate. You are nearly there at the finish line. Don’t fall into the same trap that the 2010 PF rebels fell into on the National Constitution Conference and ended up losing even the ‘bone in their mouths’ as the fable of the dog with a bone goes.