De-registration of MMD Akin to One-Party State, Says Opposition
“Whether or not the MMD paid fees for the Lusaka branches doesn’t even matter,” said Dr. Neo Simutanyi, a political scientist and Executive Director at the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD). “What matters is that the MMD has 53 seats in parliament and is by far the biggest opposition party in the country. So to de-register it and declare its seats vacant is to declare the return to a de facto one-party state.”
Simutanyi continued: “So politically it was a very silly decision to take. It was a decision that should have been consulted, and the leadership should have been advised what the implications would be of such a decision. A cabinet official cannot declare a parliamentary seat vacant. It cannot happen. The constitution states very clearly that only the High Court of Zambia has the power to nullify an elected position.”
“This is, by far, the worst abuse of the constitution we have seen since 1991,” said Prof. Patrick Mvunga, a prominent constitutional lawyer, capturing the overall dramatic sentiment held among the opposition this week. “It is a great embarrassment to us all.”
MMD will be re-registered assures Sata
President Michael Sata has said the former ruling party MMD which was de-registered last week will be given back its legal status once it pays back what it owes the Registrar of Societies.
Speaking when he addressed Batswana and Mogoditshane Senior Secondary School students during the official opening of the institution in Gaborone yesterday, Sata said his party had nothing against the MMD.
“We have got nothing against them, we just want them to obey the law by paying the registration fees,” he said. He said, in fact, the government never de-registered MMD, rather, it was the registrar of societies that did. “Government wants them to pay, and once they have paid, the registrar will re-register their movement,” he said.
Exclusively written for Zambia Reports
Southern Africa losing grip on democracy
The Globe and Mail believes Sounthern Africa countries are slowly losing grip on its democratic gains and backsliding to the colonial crackdown on multi-partism and majority rule.
According to the latest Worldview report released yesterday, the Globe is envisioning a worrisome democratic future for countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
“In Zambia, where the opposition won a much-praised election last year and moved into government in an impressively democratic handover of power, the latest signs have been worrisome. The new government has been harassing and arresting members of the former ruling party on corruption charges that often seem dubious. One former cabinet minister was arrested on allegations that he possessed stolen bicycles. Others have had their property seized,” reports the Globe.
The reports further highlights the Registrar of Societies’ announcement last week that the former ruling party would be stripped off its legal status – even though it is still the biggest opposition party with 53 seats in parliament – for failing to pay its annual fees amounting to ZMK390 million (about US$78, 000).
Investigators summon Henry Banda’s lawyer
STATE investigative wings have summoned Lusaka lawyer, Sakwiba Sikota, to explain the whereabouts of former President, Rupiah Banda’s son, Henry.
This follows Mr Sikota’s letter in which he asked the police to explain why they issued a ‘red alert’ for Henry to the International Police (Interpol) without involving his lawyers.
Spokesperson of the combined team of security wings, Charity Chanda, said Mr Sikota would appear before the team either today or tomorrow after summons were prepared for him.
Ms Chanda said police were still interested in meeting Henry and wanted to know whether Mr Sikota could assist secure him.
Speaker defends MMD MPs
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini yesterday ruled that Members of the MMD were in order to remain in the House until such a time when the matter is disposed-off by the courts.
He said members were aware that the principle of subjudice under the parliamentary practice and procedure proscribes the National Assembly from commenting or acting on a matter before the courts.
The Speaker was making a ruling on points of order raised by Mfuwe PF members of Parliament Mwimba Malama who wondered whether the MMD MPs were in order to remain in the House when the party had been de-registered.
Dora blames MMD loss on Mutati
MMD spokesperson DORA Siliya says Felix Mutati’s globe-trotting contributed to MMD’s loss in last year’s elections.
In an interview on Monday, Siliya said Mutati’s statement that the MMD leadership got consumed in the luxury of their offices and ended up losing the elections because they forgot about the people, Siliya said it was good that Mutati confessed because he himself spent a lot of time travelling.
She said if Mutati, who is MMD presidential candidate, had spent more time organising the party, he wouldn’t have won by a small margin.
I am happy that honourable Mutati can confess and it’s a good confession coming from him. I am happy that people like him have come out in the open. If we had spent more time organising instead of being luxurious, maybe we would have won more votes in his own constituency in Lunte where president (Rupiah) Banda lost,” she said.
New constitution should provide for coalition govt – HH
United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has suggested that the country considers having the 50% plus 1 clause in the new constitution that will not demand for an election re-run.
Mr. Hichilema has said instead the 50% plus 1 clause should only have a provision that will provide for the establishment of a coalition government in an event that no party manages to secure the majority votes.
The opposition leader further suggested that the coalition government in this particular case would have to be formed by the top two leading parties in an election.
Mr. Hichilema notes that having such a provision in the constitution will help avoid costs that would arise from an election re-run.
Government overlooked consequences from LAP Green – Mutesa
Zambians for Empowerment and Development (ZED) leader Fred Mutesa has questioned whether government has the financial capacity to compensate former majority shareholder in Zamtel LAP Green of Libya $480 million.
Dr. Mutesa says the claim of compensation by LAP Green has not come as a surprise as it was anticipated.
The opposition leader says government should have avoided such consequences if only it had found better ways of handling the matter.
This is a matter where LAP Green has challenged the decision by the PF government to seize its 75% stake in ZAMTEL assets.
In the petition filed in the Lusaka High Court on Monday, LAP Green has outlined its right to financial compensation for the value of the asset at the time of seizure should the shareholding not be restored to it, which is calculated to be US$480 million.
Zambia in $29.8 million Infrastructure development Project
Zambia has been given a grant of US$29.8 million for infrastructure development by COMESA, SADC and the East African Community.
The money from the three regional bodies is meant to finish the 24 kilometer stretch of the Chirundu-Lusaka road and the construction of an electronic weigh bridge over the Kafue river in Kafue.
Finance Minister and acting Republican President Alexander Chikwanda signed on behalf of Zambia while COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya signed on behalf of the regional groupings.
Development Bank of Southern Africa representative Admassu Tadesse signed on behalf of the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
And Mr Chikwanda says the completion of the projects will enhance regional integration.
Zambia, India in low trade
The annual volume of trade between India and Zambia is said to be ridiculously low.
Trade has remained low despite the good bilateral ties enjoyed by the two countries.
Commerce Permanent Secretary Stephen Mwansa said this at the Indian Business Council of Zambia breakfast meeting in Lusaka on Tuesday.
Mr Mwansa says government wants to increase trade with India and is exploring new ways.
And Indian High Commissioner to Zambia Ashok Kumar says Zambia has a lot of untapped potential which could accelerate economic development if properly harnessed.