Justice Minister, Wynter Kabimba, whose PF party promised a new constitution within 90 days of coming into power has now shifted the blame to opposition Members of Parliament for the delay in coming up with the new constitution.
Mr Kabimba, who described the opposition MPs behaviour of disrupting business in the house as being criminal and contemptuous said those protesting in parliament over the constitution should be held responsible for the delay in the constitution making process.
Addressing a media briefing today during which he refused to take questions from Journalists, Mr Kabimba said if the opposition Members of Parliament had not resorted to the avenue of demanding the constitution through protests in parliament, government would have by now made remarkable progress on the matter.
Mr. Kabimba says the opposition Members of Parliament should consequently take the blame for this delay.
He states that it is clear that the behavior exhibited by the opposition MPs has nothing to do with the constitution as they claim because the constitution making process is not a responsibility of the Speaker of the National Assembly until such a time when the Executive presents the constitutional bill to Parliament.
Mr Kabimba explains that under the Laws of Zambia, the Speaker does not have any power to order the Executive to bring such a bill Parliament.
And Mr. Kabimba says the continued disruption of parliamentary proceedings by opposition Members of Parliament is not only against the standing orders of the house but also an offense under the laws of the country.
He says government has also been taken aback by those supporting what he described as the misconduct of the opposition MPs by praising them as heroes.
Mr Kabimba warns that any attempt therefore, to justify the breach of the rules of parliament which derive its efficacy from the constitution is not only partisan but an act of advocating for anarchy without due regard to the security and peace prevailing in the country.
But the opposition says they will not be intimidated and that the people of Zambia know who is delaying the process.
MMD Senga Hill MP Chembe Nyangu said comflicting statements from the PF government are the main cause of the delay and current impasse.
And UPND’s Cornelius Mweetwa said no blame will stop the opposition from pressing for the new constitution. Mweetwa said the opposition would continue their activism until government provides a clear road map on the enactment of the new constitution.
Mweetwa said the opposition MPs have not rejected any bill in parliament pertaining to the creating of a new constitution. He said such bill has been presented to parliament so he does not see how the opposition are delaying the process.
Moreover, Kabimba’s new excuse is contrary to the position that has been taken by his boss ailing dictator Michael Sata who is demanding for an animal constitution before he can release a people constitution.
While in opposition, Mr. Sata and his PF were fierce critic of then late presidents Levy Mwanawasa who he even labelled as being insane and mentally impaired for not listening to the people on the need for a new constitution.