12 March 2014

Zambia: Constitution Motion Flops

A PRIVATE member's motion moved to urge Government to provide a roadmap for enactment of the new Constitution has failed to pass through in Parliament.

The motion moved by United Party for National Development (UPND) Mazabuka Central Member of Parliament (MP) Garry Nkombo was passed to a vote on Tuesday evening and saw the ruling bench winning by 69 votes against 42 from the opposition.

Mr Nkombo said it was important for Government to provide a clear roadmap which would stipulate a timeframe for enacting the Constitution.

"We must operate honestly in this process. I thank everyone who contributed to this motion, others frankly and others deceptively," he said.

Home Affairs Minister Ngosa Simbyakula called for consensus to ensure Zambians had a long-lasting Constitution.

Dr Simbyakula said Government was doing what was best for the Zambian people regarding the Constitution-making process, and that a roadmap was already in place.

He said if a referendum was to be engaged as the process of adopting the new Constitution, the process should be devoid of any errors.

Dr Simbyakula, who noted that previous administrations had mishandled the process, said Government was committed to delivering a solid Constitution at the right time.

"Let us not treat this process as though there is a crisis. There is no need to take a partisan stance on this issue.

"We have spent colossal sums of money on this process and we cannot afford to mislead the Zambians," he said.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini ordered Katuba MP, Jonas Shakafuswa to leave the chamber for misconduct.

The Speaker had on some occasions cautioned Mr Shakafuswa against making running commentaries when his colleagues were debating the motion.

The House adjourned sine die after suspending Standing Orders 20 and 21(1), and Standing Order 101 to enable it to complete business on the order paper.

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