The Patriotic Front has said it does not support the National Dialogue Forum’s proposals to reintroduce deputy ministers and to amend the system on voting of the President to include the possibility of forming of a coalition government.
PF secretary general Davies Mwila said today that the ruling party also supports calls to have the election of mayors and Council Chairpersons from among councilors as they will not only be answerable to people in a ward but also to a body of councillors and MPs in the entire district who run the Council as a whole.
Mwila was speaking in Kitwe this morning on the resolutions of the Central Committee of the Patriotic Front chaired by the Party President Edgar Lungu on the proposed amendments in the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019.
“The Party is aware of the lies, the malice and falsehoods being championed by the Opposition and their surrogates in the Civil Society and some sections of the media against Patriotic Front and its leadership regarding the various NDF resolutions. Let me state that as a matter of principle, Patriotic Front remains committed to the ideal that we embrace criticism in whatever form and shape it comes but we shall not glorify lies and cheap propaganda at the expense of truth. The NDF was not a PF gathering. It was a sitting of the people, the Zambian people. In this regard, let me announce that the Party shall appear before the Parliamentary Committee to give its official position as adopted by the Central Committee,” Mwila said.
“The proposals to amend Articles 112 and include a new Article 117A so as to create the office of Deputy Minister is not supported. The PF Government is still committed to a lean Government. The proposal to amend Article 116 by the inclusion of a new sub article 4 to entitle Ministers to continue holding office until a new Government is elected is supported. This will enable the Executive Government to continue performing its functions without any lacuna or disruption. The proposal to repeal Articles 69, 70, 71 and 72 are supported and by variation, the Central Committee proposes that the period in which a civil servant is required to cease being a civil servant before seeking election to political office be reduced from 2 years to 6 months.”
He also stated that he proposal to amend the Preamble by the deletion of the word “multi religious” and substitution therefore of “Christian” is not supported.
“…and by the same token, the proposal contained in Article 4 of the Amendment Bill to include the word Christian in the description of the Republic is also not supported. The Preamble, Article 4(3) and Article 8 of the Constitution are to remain as they are. The Bill of Rights still protects the freedom to religion. The proposal to change the electoral system for election of Members of Parliament under Article 47(2) by the inclusion of a mixed member proportional representational system to include marginalised groups such as the disabled and women is supported. This will foster greater inclusion and provide a platform for marginalised voices in our community to participate in Governance,” Mwila stated.
He stated that the PF will also not support the proposal on formation of a coalition government.
“The proposal to amend the system on voting of the President to include the possibility of forming of a coalition government is not supported. In that regard Articles 101 and 102 are to remain as they appear in the current Constitution. The President should draw his or her mandate directly from the majority of the people. The proposal to amend Article 103 and in particular to increase the time for the hearing of a Presidential Election Petition from 14 to 30 days is supported. This will afford the parties time to present their respective cases,” Mwila stated.
He further stated that the PF wants mayors and council chairpersons to be voted among councillors.
“The Patriotic Front believes in effective and efficient representation of the people through the councillors at a local level. The party is alive to fact that Councils are collectively run by Councillors who are responsible to the people in performance of their functions. We also cognisant of the critical role a mayor and council Chairperson must play in discharging the collective leadership of councils through councillors,” stated Mwila. “The Party therefore supports the election of mayors and Council Chairpersons from among councilors as they will not only be answerable to people in a ward but also to body of councillors and MPs in the entire district who run the Council as whole. The proposal to amend Article 127 by the inclusion of the Chief Justice as a member of the Constitutional Court is supported and by this the Central Committee agrees that the two Courts should continue to exist as separate and independent Courts under the leadership of the Chief Justice.”