21 March 2009

Zambia: Kunda Warns Homosexuals

VICE-President George Kunda has warned citizens against practising homosexuality saying the act is unChristian and culprits are liable before the law.

Mr Kunda said the Government was aware that there were some prominent people in society who were practising homosexuality but further urged the public with information of some actors of the vice to report them to the relevant wings.

He said this in Parliament yesterday during the vice-president's question time when he responded to a question from Chadiza Member of Parliament, Allan Mbewe (MMD). Mr Mbewe had asked whether it was appropriate for people in a Christian nation to be practising homosexuality.

Mr Kunda said in 2005, Parliament passed legislation to deal with homosexuality and that the minimum sentence for a person found guilty was 15 years.

"There are people in society who are involved in these acts and some could be lawyers, engineers, journalists and if you have information of others please let us know," Mr Kunda said.

The vice-president said some people were bi-sexual, a scenario he said was well known to the Government.

"At the end of the day we know them, homosexuality is a bad thing and we should all come together and fight homosexuality," Mr Kunda said.

He said that the mandate of the Task Force on Corruption was to investigate cases of plunder that occurred between 1991 and 2001 and therefore Cabinet would decide the future existence of the investigative wing.

He said that the Government would realign anti-corruption agencies and look at the continued existence of certain institutions.

Mr Kunda said this when he responded to a question by Sinda MP Levy Ngoma (FDD) who wanted to know the future of the Task Force.

He said the Government was committed to the fight against corruption and would, therefore, strengthen other investigative wings like the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

And the House yesterday subjected to a vote the issue of whether the Income Tax (Amendment) bill should be read for the second time after most members said they were opposed to the proposal in the bill to abolish the windfall tax.

Finance and National Planning Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane presented the bill, which among others, seeks to replace the windfall tax offered to mining investors with the variable profit tax.

But Katuba MP Jonas Shakafuswa (MMD), Luena MP Charles Milupi (independent) Mbabala MP Emmanuel Hachipuka (UPND), Chilanga MP Ng'andu Magande (MMD) and Kabwata MP Given Lubinda (PF) among others, argued that abolishing windfall tax would be detrimental to the Government and the nation.

The members argued that abolishing windfall tax would reduce the tax base for the Government as it would heavily rely on pay as you earn (PAYE).

In the report of the committee on Estimates, chairperson of the committee, Batuke Imenda said the recommendation of the committee was that windfall tax should not be abolished.

On the other hand, the executive argued that if windfall tax was not abolished, mining investors might leave the nation thereby rendering many citizens jobless.

Dr Musokotwane said variable profit tax was more profitable than windfall as it took into consideration the cost of production.

The matter led to division in the House prompting Deputy Speaker, Mutale Nalumango subjecting the issue to a vote which saw those in support of abolishing windfall tax garner 63 against 54.

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