By Patson Chilemba (Daily Revelations)
Edgar Lungu has eaten humble pie over the deferment of Constitutional Amendment bill Number 10, says former Commerce minister Bob Sichinga.
Commenting on the deferment of the bill announced to the house by Home Affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo, Sichinga said the government had taken a technical withdraw in the most dishonest manner, by fronting good provisions from the parliamentary select committee so as to be seen as a listening government, while maintaining the same draconian bill, which contained harmful clauses against the country’s democracy.
Sichinga urged Zambians to remain vigilant as the ruling party and government in their desperation could be scheming more evil on how to buy more opposition members of parliament to vote in favour of their real bill, which contained draconian clauses such as the reintroduction of deputy ministers; coalition government; removing people from the payroll before receiving their pensions; stripping parliamentary oversight when acquiring loans and stripping the role of the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) from printing money, among other provisions.
“It (fronting the bill from the select committee that removed all the controversial clauses mentioned above) is a very convenient and honorable way of saying ‘we are a listening government’. It was an ulterior way of withdrawing. It was an opportune way to sneak out, a very good selling point,” Sichinga said. “Why didn’t they listen first when people were opposing the bill? It’s because they saw that they didn’t have the numbers.”
He said President Lungu and his members realised that they were not going to getting the required numbers to pass the bill no matter how many members of parliament they had bribed, and that public opinion was also strongly against them.
“It’s a humble pie they have eaten knowing very well that the strength of the people was too strong,” he said.
Sichinga said he would not put it past those in government to use the period of the deferment to strategise on buying as many weaker souls as possible, as the cost of losing power far outweighed national interests in President Lungu’s scheme of things.
“When PF is kicked out of office they will all pay, so they are desperate,” he said.
Sichinga said using the recommendations of the parliamentary select committee – which sided with the people’s wishes – but was not binding on the government, was therefore considered as an opportune route to escape through by the government. He said the real Constitutional bill, which contained the draconian provisions and had not been withdrawn by the government was all about securing President Lungu a third term of office.