The Minister of Information and Media and Chief Government Spokesperson, Hon. Cornelius Mweetwa, MP, conducted a press briefing to address various significant national issues. The briefing covered a range of topics, providing insights into the government’s actions and responses to current developments.
Here are the key highlights from the press briefing:
Access to Information Bill: Minister Mweetwa announced that the government has taken the Access to Information Bill to Parliament for further consideration. This move follows Cabinet approval in principle of the Access to Information draft Bill on August 30, 2023. The Minister called for support from stakeholders who may be invited to the National Assembly to contribute to the final outlook and content of the Access to Information Act.
Suspension of Members of Parliament: Minister Mweetwa clarified that the suspension of 19 Members of Parliament by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nelly Mutti, is in line with the resolution of the Committee. He cited past instances, such as the suspension of 30 UPND Members of Parliament, as precedents. Contrary to some assertions, he explained that there was no heavy state police presence at Parliament.
Impeachment of the Speaker: Minister Mweetwa clarified the process for the impeachment of the Speaker of the National Assembly, stating that it requires a two-thirds majority or 110 Members of Parliament. He noted that the Patriotic Front Members of Parliament are currently below 60, which is less than 50% of the required number. He emphasized that no ruling party members support the impeachment.
Leadership Change in the Opposition: The Chief Government Spokesperson highlighted that after communication from Mr. Ngona, the registered Secretary General of the Patriotic Front, the Speaker was informed of the election of Mr. Robert Chabinga, MP, as Leader of the Opposition, replacing Mr. Brian Mundubile MP.
Allegations of Staged Confusion: Minister Mweetwa dismissed claims that the UPND government orchestrated the confusion within the Patriotic Front, deeming such allegations unreasonable.
Defense of Human Rights: Minister Mweetwa outlined President Hakainde Hichilema’s commitment to upholding human rights and civil liberties. He listed key principles, including the restoration of the rule of law, equality before the law, prevention of arbitrary actions by those in office, and respect for human rights.
Respect for John Sangwa SC: The Minister assured that the government respects and will continue to respect Mr. John Sangwa SC as he advocates for the voiceless. However, he called on him to be truthful and speak to the reality of the current government’s actions.
The press briefing provided comprehensive insights into the government’s stance on various critical issues, offering transparency and clarity on key developments in Zambia.