Lungu joined justice minister Wynter Kabimba and vice-president in giving direction-less statements on a document the vehemently promised to deliver within 90 days of assuming the power.
Lungu, the Chawama parliamentarian, presented a statement that did not state the roadmap and time frame for the constitution which the PF is avoiding because of the 50+1 clause only.
Below is the Ministerial statement and some contributions:
Acting leader of government business Edgar Lungu:
Mr Speaker on Friday, 18th July, 2014 Honourable Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central rose on a point of order asking an update on the constitution making process. Specifically the honourable member wishes to know if cabinet has had an opportunity to discuss the cabinet memorandum prepared by the honourable Minister of Justice.
As honourable members are aware, cabinet deliberates on several matters in accordance with its agenda. The discussion on the draft constitution is an issue that requires adequate preparation and discussion by members of cabinet and shall accordingly be scheduled for discussion at the most appropriate time. I stated earlier in this house that the government is committed to taking the constitution making process forward.
Once all the necessary consultations have been concluded in cabinet the Honourable Minister of Justice will advise on the next step.
I wish to reiterate that the legal framework on the constitution making process is very clear and will be followed by government. I thank you sir!
Question: Highve Hamududu (Bweengwa MP): I want to find out from the acting leader of government business in this house whether he is aware that the Zambian people are decided, resolved and will not rest until they have a people driven constitution that will meet their aspirations.
Reponse: Edgar Lungu: Yes Mr Speaker the government is aware that Zambians are resolved to provide for themselves a new constitution. I must confirm in this house that this government takes the position of the people serious and that could be the case even this time around.
Question: Patrick Mucheleka (Lubansenshi MP): Just yesterday I did state on the floor of this house that this is a government which seems to have no understanding of the concept of time. The question is, are you able to clearly indicate the time frame or the roadmap on which this issue will be discussed by cabinet and eventually lead to the enactment of a people driven constitution? Why are you running away from the time frame?
Response: Edgar Lungu: Mr Speaker this government is fully alive to the concept of time and right now it is 15:09 so as for the time frame to be taken on the constitution making process, I have stated that the Honourable Minister of Justice will advise cabinet on the next step to take and once that is done, the nation will be informed.
And we do not want to speculate on this aspect because we are depending on the Minister of Justice and his able Attorney General to guide us in this process.
Question: Kenneth Konga (Chavuma MP): the constitution making process does have an implication on the finances. The executive of course will present the constitution at their own will but as citizens because of the budgetary implications, we would like to know also because the issues like the census, we would like government to indicate that this is what will happen. Is government finding that difficult too?
Answer: Edgar Lungu: It is true that government is aware that the constitution making process has an implication on finances of the republic. Once the legal framework has been established as to how we proceed about it the people responsible for the treasury will look at that process and determine how much can be dedicated to the process. For now it will be speculation to say so much money will be required for the process including the referendum if need be.
Question: Hamududu (Siavonga MP): Mr Speaker is this lackadaisical approach to this process? Are you in a way telling the nation that your government is not interested in giving the people of Zambia a people driven constitution?
Answer: Edgar Lungu: this question was posed by honourable Hamududu and I said we are ready to give the Zambian people a constitution they deserve.
Question: Mwansa Mbulakulima (Chembe MP): Honourable Minister apart from the premise of enacting the constitution within 90 days, I believe that reasonable time has passed. In September, you will clock three years in office, and in all fairness is it your intention to create criminals from angels?
I mean to turn good people who have been very patient to bad people if they take to the streets?
Answer: Edgar Lungu: Let me start by saying that this government is not going to give the Zambian people a constitution, the Zambian people will give themselves a constitution they have formulated and let us make no mistake about that fact.
All we are saying is that the legal process requires time, consultation has to be made and the fact Zambians are mindful of their patience is not going to be abused by this government, we know that there is a limit to everyone’s patience at the same time we are mindful that things must be done in the manner befitting a legal process like this one.
Question: Garry Nkombo (Mazabuka MP): in his response to the question asked by the honourable member for Bweengwa, the minister has indicated that government and cabinet have several items on the agenda and at the most appropriate time; they are going to do what is expected of them.
Is he able now to state having said that the people of Zambia are going to give themselves a document and the fact that document is hidden somewhere in the office or stolen that is what they said the last time, it has been stolen from the people who they expect to give themselves that document.
How in the world can they give themselves something that has been hijacked by government?
Point of Order by Moono Lubezi (Namwala MP): Sir the leader of government business in the house has just responded that the people will decide on the constitution on their own, he has not answered what honourable Mucheleka has asked, the roadmap Mr Speaker that is the question. Is he in order, the question of the roadmap he has not answered.
Answer Edgar Lungu: Mr Speaker government is a representative of the people and I said that Zambians will give themselves a constitution were in fact that as elected representatives of the Zambian people the government we are also mindful of the fact that we are privileged to be representatives of the people.
We are as much Zambian as yourselves, when you talk about the roadmap, framework, timeframe in which this thing is going to be achieved, I did say that we will depend on the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General to tell us the procedure to follow, the next stage will be taking to the Ministry of finance to look at the financial implications that is what I said.
Lukulu MP: I am surprised that the constitution issue has not yet been tabled for discussion. That speaks volumes about the seriousness of this government on this issue. I would like to find out from the acting leader of government business whether it is an issue that is a priority especially that it has generated a lot of interest.
Answer: Edgar Lungu: We would like to point out that the constitution issue is not a dead issue, it’s alive as any other issue of development which we will deal with in cabinet; we have issues of health and other issues. We have the privilege of ranking these issues.
Situmbeko Musokotwane (Liuwa MP): In the run up to the 2011 elections the PF campaigned very strongly in favour of a new constitution which they said they were going to complete within 90 days of being in office. They similarly made so many problems, jobs, money and many other things.
Now Mr Speaker like on so many other promises this one has been laid aside, the question is will you be surprised minister if the people of Zambia don’t trust your words on anything at all?
Answer Edgar Lungu: I hope the honourable member is speaking for himself on this one because if I am aware that PF enjoys a lot of support and trust.
We made numerous promises some of them were fulfilled, some we are fulfilling and some we will fulfill and that does not take away our integrity what people should know is that is it’s possible to vary a program and start from the end instead of starting from the beginning.
We are fulfilling our promises according to how we rate them. We started the process within 90 days and the process cannot end in 90 days. At the end of the day the Zambians will judge themselves.
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