Defecting MPs to be barred from recontesting

The National Constitution Convention has introduced a new provision under article 75 to create a caveat against unnecessary by-elections.

The new provision has been effected so that a member of Parliament who resigns  shall be

barred from re-contesting the seat or being appointed to any public office until the end of the life span of that parliament from which the member has resigned.

And the convention has amended clause (2) of article 75 providing for a mixed member proportional representation which is a mix of First-past-the post and proportional representation with 20 percent seats assigned to proportional representation instead of the Proportional Representation (PR) as stated in the draft constitution.

The convention has also adopted the 50+1 vote clause which provides that a winning candidate in a presidential election should receive not less than fifty percent plus one vote of the valid votes cast.

In adopting the clause, the delegates noted that the new electoral system will enhance the legitimacy of the elected president and reduce regionalism and further promote interparty dialogue in the case of a re-run.

Meanwhile, amidst high levels of unemployment in Zambia, the ongoing National Constitution Convention has resolved to retain the labour relations article in the First Draft Constitution that provides rights of citizens to employment and to fair labour practices.

According to both Kasempa MMD Member of Parliament Kabinga Pande and his counterpart UPND’s Request Muntanga of Kalomo , the clause will empower unemployed citizens to sue government for not providing them with employment which they said should be avoided by amending the clause.

The two parliamentarians contended that Governments world over are facing the challenge of unemployment and therefore proposed that the clause be amended to specify the type of employment the clause was referring to.

Mr. Muntanga who earlier succeeded in having the recommendations for amendment for article 64 which read that, ‘a person has a right to work ‘deleted to maintain what is provided in the draft explained that even clause (1) of article 65 has a similar meaning.

His proposal to have the article amended was only supported by his fellow MP Kainga Pande while the rest voted for the retention of the article.

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