In a statement released this afternoon by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Zambia Law Development Commission (Amendment), Mental Health and Local Government bills were discussed and approved during the Cabinet meeting held at State House on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“…President Edgar Chagwa Lungu called for the third Cabinet Meeting at State House held on Tuesday and Wednesday 12th and 13th February, 2019, mainly to deliberate on Legislative matters… Cabinet approved for publication and introduction in Parliament during this sitting ‘The Mental Health Bill, 2018’. The objectives of the Bill are to provide for the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with mental illness, mental disorder, mental impairment or mental disability; establish the National Mental Health Commission and provide for its functions; provide for mental health services in correctional facilities; give effect to certain provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, principles for the protection of persons with mental illness and the improvement of mental care General Assembly Resolution 46/119 of 17th December, 1991 and other international human rights instruments to which Zambia is a State Party; establish the Mental Health Tribunal and provide for its functions,” the statement read.
It added that the enactment of the Bill would provide an appropriate mechanism for the better management and treatment of persons with mental conditions.
On the Zambia Law Development Commission (Amendment) Bill, the statement indicated that this will provide for wider representation on the Commission from other sectors.
“The objects of this Bill are to revise the composition of the Commission; provide for the qualifications of the members of the Commission; and provide for the appointment of experts and assessors. Cabinet noted that, currently, there is no representation from other disciplines other than scientific research on the Commission,” it stated.
“Another Bill approved by Cabinet for publication and introduction in Parliament is ‘The Local Government Bill, 2018’. The objectives of the Bill are to provide for an integrated local government system; give effect to the decentralisation of functions, responsibilities and services at all levels of local government; ensure democratic participation in, and control of, decision making by the people at the local level; revise the functions of local authorities; provide for the review of tariffs, charges and fees within an area of a local authority; provide for the proceedings of the Council and Committees; provide for the role of traditional leadership in democratic governance; and repeal and replace the Local Government Act, 1991.”
The statement notes that the current local government Act was inadequate in handling issues of decentralization and service delivery.
“Therefore, the new legislation aims at providing for mechanisms of an effective local governance system that will foster development at the lower levels and operationalise the provisions of the Constitution in relation to the decentralisation and the performance of local governance exclusive functions,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Cabinet has also approved the 10-member council of the Levy Mwanawasa Medical University “to facilitate the efficient and effective performance of the Medical University as provided through the Statutory Instrument No. 39 of 2018 issued under the Higher Education Act, No.4 of 2013”.
“The Medical University will form the vital core for enhanced human capital development in the Health sector, by revolutionising medical training in Zambia. With a student capacity of 3,000 and the affiliated high end infrastructure, equipment and teaching staff that has been sourced, Levy Mwanawasa Medical University is poised to provide the impetus for achieving the Government’s legacy goal to train and recruit the critical numbers and skills of Specialists in the health sector as demanded…,” it stated. “Levy Mwanawasa Medical University, as a fourth Public University, on the scale of University of Zambia, Copperbelt University and Mulungushi University, will be expected to offer health care services, training and research for improved quality health services for the people both in urban and rural areas.”