KEBBY Mbewe says the UPND must not take Bill 10 as though it is the 2021 general election.
Mbewe yesterday said the opposition UPND must understand that winning was not always by opposing but can occur at times when parties go in an agreement for the betterment of the people.
“Bill 10 is not 2021 general elections hence the UPND should not feel that they have lost out, no! And they should understand that it is not a sign of weakness to accept the truth but a sign of wisdom,” he said.
Mbewe, who is PF member of the central committee, observed that if UPND does not change its stance on Bill 10, it will lose popularity because youths were not happy in the manner the opposition party was conducting itself.
“The ground is not in favour of them following the walking out of Parliament. I’m giving them free advice that if they want to remain relevant and have support from youths, women and the people living with disabilities, they should just give in and support Bill 10 for the sake of their own good,” Mbewe said.
He pointed out that it was not a loss for UPND to tell Zambians that what was being proposed in Bill 10 was good for the people.
“There is nothing wrong for UPND to swallow not a bitter pill but a good pill for people to understand that we have credible members of parliament in both the opposition and ruling party,” he said.
Mbewe said by doing so, Zambians would know that the people they sent to parliament have the integrity to tell the truth.
“We know that there are a lot of MPs in the opposition that are for Bill 10 but because they are scared not to be adopted in 2021 they are now forced to walk out of parliament,” claimed Mbewe. “Let UPND senior members like Jack Mwiimbu and Cornelius Mweetwa tone down and give good counsel to other members. We know Mweetwa is struggling to secure a third term while Mwiimbu wants to extend his perpetual stay in parliament.”
On the issue of the marginalised, Chapter One Foundation executive director Linda Kasonde said her Foundation had heard of calls for the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 to be passed on the basis that it will enhance the representation of women, youth, and persons with disabilities in the National Assembly.
“We believe that the representation of marginalised interest groups such as women, youth and differently-abled people in government is an important aspect of an inclusive democracy,” she said. “We would like to highlight that the Zambian Constitution, which is the supreme law of the country, already provides that the electoral system must allow for the representation of different interest groups at presidential, parliamentary and local government level. Article 45 (1) of the current Constitution states as follows, ’45. (1) The electoral systems provided for in Article 47 for the election of President, Member of Parliament or councillor shall ensure: (a) that citizens are free to exercise their political rights; (b) universal adult suffrage based on the equality of a vote; (c) fair representation of the various interest groups in society; and (d) gender equity in the National Assembly or council’.”
Kasonde said those constitutional provisions had been in place since the Constitution was amended in 2016 and yet the government had not implemented them.
She said it shows a lack of political will on the part of the government.
“It begs the question why this government is now keen to push this agenda when they have had the power and authority to operationalise the laws that would enhance the participation of marginalised groups for the last four years,” asked Kasonde.