By SILUMESI MALUMO
JOHN Sangwa and others should stop demeaning the efforts of the people who fought hard to come up with the Constitutional Amendment Bill, Southern Africa Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) Executive Director Boniface Cheembe has advised.
Mr Cheembe in an interview yesterday, said it was wrong for some individuals to mislead the nation that the amendment bill was not un the best interest of the country when there were progressive clauses in it.
He said stakeholders who sat at the NDF ensured that reasonable clauses were arrived at for the betterment of the nation. Those who do not support some clauses should take advantage of the consultative process to air their views during the Parliamentary Committee, instead of lying to the nation, Mr. Chembe said.
“We knew that the Amendment Bill number 10 will attract a lot of criticism from different stakeholders especially those who boycotted the NDF.
In a democracy like this one, there is a process which has been created for those not agreeing with some clauses to air their views. They need to take advantage of the Parliamentary Committee sittings to make submissions instead of talking ill about what highly learned people had submitted,” Mr Cheembe said.
Meanwhile, Patriotic Front legal chairperson Brian Mundubile has said that no shady campaigns by unscrupulous groupings denouncing the Constitutional Amendment Bill will hinder the refinement of the Constitution,.
Mr Mundubile, who is Government Parliamentary Chief Whip said individuals who boycotted the NDF would not shatter the aspirations of the Zambian people. He observed that some Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs) voices were not relevant because they did not represent the majority Zambians.
Mr Mundubile said this during the Sunday Interview Programme on ZNBC, stating that those who were fighting the amendment bill only wanted to please their paymasters.
“The people who are against the Constitutional Amendment Bill here in Lusaka, tomorrow you will see them in Western Province and the other day they will be in Luapula Province.
“The truth of the matter is that it is only a small number of people who boycotted the NDF who are now going around to talk about the Amendment Bill.
Mr Mundubile whose is also a Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) member, said the bill would soon go to the committee stage where the stakeholders and ordinary Zambians would be allowed to make submissions on the clauses they deemed not fit for the nation.
“My advice for those who are against some clauses in the Constitutional Amendment Bill is that it is not too late for them to join the process. The bill will soon be taken before the Parliamentary committee and they can make submissions about those clauses they think can be removed from the bill,” he said.
Mr Mundubile said calling for the withdrawal of the bill was an academic exercise, because the process had reached Parliamentary level.
He said it would be more effective if the stakeholders made their submissions before Parliamentary Committee on the clauses they thought were not necessary. Mr Mundubile said there was progressive and retrogressive clauses, therefore, it was not possible to throw out the Amendment Bill with clauses that would help to improve welfare of the country.