His Excellency the President Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu called for the 3rd Cabinet Meeting today, 1st March, 2021, which was held virtually, to mainly consider Bills earmarked for introduction in Parliament during the current sitting particularly that this sitting of Parliament is dedicated to legislation matters.
1. The Electoral Process (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
Cabinet approved for publication and introduction in Parliament of “The Electoral Process (Amendment) Bill 2021.”
The objectives of this Bill are to provide for voting by persons in prisons or correctional centres; provide for distribution of campaign material in prisons and correctional centres by candidates in an election; provide for access to prisons or correctional centres by monitors, observers and polling agents on election day; provide access to the community to vote in polling stations established in prisons and access to the community; and prohibit the announcement and declaration of results by unauthorised persons.
The Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016 under section 47 prohibits a person to vote at an election if that person is in lawful custody or the person’s freedom of movement is restricted under any written law.
However, the decision made by Cabinet on this matter, stems from the Constitutional Court Judgment in the case of Godfrey Malembeka (suing as Executive Director of the Prisons Care and Counselling Association) Vs. the Attorney General and the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Selected Judgment No. 34 of 2017 in which the Constitutional Court allowed persons in lawful custody and those whose freedoms of movement are restricted under any written law to vote.
2. The Cannabis Bill, 2021
Cabinet also approved the publication and introduction in Parliament, during the current sitting, of the Bill entitled “The Cannabis Bill, 2021.”
Among the objectives of this Bill are to provide for the regulation of the cultivation, production, storage and distribution of cannabis for medicinal, scientific and research purposes.
Cabinet expects that the country will benefit both for medicinal purposes and economically through the enactment of the law on cannabis.
3. The Industrial Hemp Bill, 2021
Cabinet also approved for publication and introduction in Parliament during the current sitting, a Bill entitled “The Industrial Hemp Bill, 2021.”
The objects of this Bill are to provide for the licensing of cultivation, production, processing, storage, exportation, importation and distribution of industrial hemp; and provide for regulation of research in industrial hemp.
Cabinet is aware that Hemp has been used the world-over, for paper production, provision of all sorts of good building materials such as insulation, fiberboard and pressboard, and even be used to make hempcrete. Hemp has also been used in clothing including for providing material for shoes, jeans, and other tough sport clothing including hair oils and others. Hemp is also used as a viable feedstock for plastics production including for biofuel as cellulosic ethanol technology becomes more commercially viable worldwide.
This Bill, when enacted by Parliament, will assist in boosting the economy in view of the broad industrial use of Hemp.
4. The Higher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2021
Cabinet also approved the publication and introduction in Parliament of “The Higher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The objectives of this Bill are to amend the Higher Education Act, No. 4 of 2013 so as to re-define the functions of the Authority; re-constitute the Board of the Authority; re-define the categories of higher education institutions; and provide for accreditation of learning programmes for higher education institutions.
It has been noted that various higher learning institutions have authority to accredit learning programmes both for foreign and local Higher learning institutions. This has created a duplication of functions between the Higher Education Authority and other higher learning institutions. Cabinet felt the need to remove the duplication that currently exists between the Higher Education Authority and other higher education learning institutions and bring about order in terms of accreditation of learning programmes for both local and foreign learning institutions.
Following the approval by Cabinet to amend the Higher Education Authority Act No. 4 of 2013, Cabinet also approved amendments of other consequential legislation across the higher learning institutions and these are as follows:
(a) The Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supply (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and The Accountants (Amendment) Bill, 2021 under the Ministry of Finance;
(b) The Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (Amendment) Bill, 2021, under the Ministry of Justice;
(c) The Zambia Institute of Marketing (Amendment) Bill, 2021 under the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry;
(d) The Zambia Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and The Engineering Institution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, 2021 under the Ministry of Transport and Communications;
(e) The Health Professions (Amendment) Bill, 2021 under the Ministry of Health;
(f) The Zambia Institute for Tourism and Hospitality Studies (Amendment) Bill, 2021 under the Ministry of Tourism and Arts; and
(g) The Urban and Regional Planners (Amendment) Bill, 2021 under the Ministry of Local Government.
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT CABINET OFFICE
1ST MARCH, 2021