By Elias Munshya
With their mouths dripping with honey laced with Doom, backbenchers of the Patriotic Front government made media runs deceiving the people of Zambia. Mainly, Honourable Sebastian Kopulande, of Chembe and Milenge, was on record making it sound as if he and his colleagues had somehow amended Zambia’s infamous Bill 10. But as usual, we called him on his misrepresentations and deception. We challenged both Tutwa Ngulube and Mundubile that what they were saying about the “new” Bill 10 was a falsehood and meant to hoodwink the people of Zambia. Another lawyer member of the government, Makebi Zulu, started to read from the Nakacinda Report and making it sound as if it was the “new” Bill 10. Makebi, a lawyer, took to Facebook and caused to be published tremendous deceptions to the effect that somehow the unpopular Bill 10 will now have a new lease of life-based on the Nakacinda Report.
Enter Given Lubinda. Just on Monday night this week, Honourable Given Lubinda brought tremendous clarity to the issue. In the interview with ZNBC TV, Lubinda made it very clear that those of his parliamentary caucus thinking that the Nakacinda Report was the new Bill 10 were not only wrong but were also completely mistaken! We agree with Lubinda. There is only one Bill 10 on the floor of the House. It is the Bill 10 that re-introduces deputy ministers. It is Bill 10 that increases presidential powers at the expense of other branches of government. It is the same Bill 10 that seeks to introduce a coalition system in a presidential system of the government injecting a dosage of confusion in our constitutional configuration. It is the same Bill 10 that will relegate constitutional statutes to ordinary statutes. It is the same Bill 10 that will make the President borrow kaloba without parliamentary oversight. This is Bill 10 that is on the floor of the House, and there is no other Bill 10.
Lubinda has further clarified that the Nakacinda Report is not binding on Parliament or the Executive. In fact, MPs will be debating Bill 10 independent of the Report. Those who want to refer to the Report can do so. Still, there is no expectation that the Executive will heed to anything contained in the Nakacinda Report.
What Lubinda has said confirms what we have been saying for months. Lubinda and his President are bent on pushing through the constitutional changes from hell. Lubinda means business, and he has long calculated how he will manoeuvre his way to make Bill 10 become law. All the things the PF Secretary-General has been saying that they do not support Bill 10 are just a smokescreen. The PF really is bent on destroying Zambian democracy.
Thieves and the corrupt are working overtime to destroy Zambian democracy. These thieves did it once in 1972 with the introduction of the One-Party State. The same ideology behind the one-party state is now being invoked through Bill 10. If these traitors ever succeeded in spreading this end of Zambian democracy, may it never be said that we remained silent. Lubinda and his group of traitors, including the President and the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka, will forever be listed as great traitors of our Republic. These are the architects behind the death of our democracy. They might succeed. But if they do succeed, may it be known that we resisted their actions and we called them for what they were – traitors of the Zambian people.
There is still hope, though. The hope lies in the hands of the few MPs who are sitting on the fence. Do not go with Lubinda’s treachery. You as MPs have come to this Parliament for a time such as this one. We ask you to reject this Bill so that it does not proceed to Second Reading. You as MPs can defeat this Bill once and for all. You have heard from Lubinda – the Nakacinda Report is not binding on Parliament or the Executive. Lubinda cannot be trusted, and so the best bet for you is to reject the Bill at Second Reading. If you MPs do this, you will be rewarded by the Zambian people. You will go into history as great saviours of Zambian democracy.
To the church, particularly, the Pentecostal church leaders, do not accept to be used by Lubinda. Do not agree to trade the bad clauses in Bill 10 for the Declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation. Act in the interest of the Republic for once, and escape Lubinda’s cunning snare. There is still chance that you can come out in the open to pump some sense into Lubinda. Lubinda is committed to Bill 10 as it is. If you let him, he will give you the Declaration quite alright, but after that, he will go on to insert the same provisions in Bill 10 that you have disagreed with. Lubinda is using delightful language – the language full of Doom, nevertheless. No matter how much sugar you add to poison – it is still a killer.
Bill 10 has been soundly rejected. Lubinda should respect the wishes of the Zambian people and withdraw the Bill from Parliament. But he is arrogant. And so is President Lungu. And so is their Attorney General. This is a government of extraordinarily arrogant men. But ultimately, the people of Zambia will emerge victorious, and the MPs will act to defend Zambian democracy. I hope in this regard that Honourable Kopulande and Honourable Lungwangwa will join the people and side with the people. For now, we wait for that parliamentary vote.
The author –
Elias Munshya practices law at the law firm of MUNSHYA LAW in Alberta, Canada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org