Parley votes out ‘94 more MPs’ clause

PARLIAMENT yesterday voted for deletion of the mixed member proportional representation clause contained in the Constitution Bill No 17 of 2015.

The mixed member proportionate representation clause proposed an additional  94 members of Parliament.

Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula presented the Bill at committee stage with the proposal that the particular clause be deleted from the Draft Constitution because Government had no resources to pay allowances for additional 94 MPs.

One hundred and ten MPs voted in favour of the proposal by Mr Simbyakula that the clause be deleted against 39 MPs while only one member (Nchanga PF Member of Parliament Wilbur Simuusa) was absent.

And Mr Simbyakula explained that not all was lost because the clause would be available during the proposed referendum which would be held alongside the 2016 general election.

After voting opposition United Party for National Development members cried foul, alleging that they were not given chance to debate the other clauses.

But committee chairman Chifumu Banda said the only clause that needed to be debated was mixed member proportional representation Bill, adding that the rest of the clauses did not require amendments as presented by Mr Simbyakula.

And Chief Government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili castigated UPND MPs for proposing that the Bill should not be deleted from the Draft Constitution.

Contributing to the debate, Mr Kambwili said the UPND MPs were not serious and realistic because Government had no capacity to start giving allowances to additional 94 MPs and buying them vehicles each.

He said it was disappointing that UPND MPs were proposing to have a bloated National Assembly when they were the ones who were in the forefront critisizing President Edgar Lungu for appointing more ministers in his Cabinet.

And Kasenengwa MMD member of Parliament Victoria Kalima accused UPND MPs of pushing a hidden agenda by hiding behind the mixed proportional representation clause.

Ms Kalima said she would not allow some members to frustrate the clause by pretending to be advocating for more women representation in Parliament.

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