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 2011-03-31 06:46 pm Back to NEWS
MMD loses vote on Constitution
George Kunda — failed to secure 2/3 support

The Constitution of Zambia bill yesterday failed to go through in Parliament after the MMD could not manage a two-thirds majority.

The bill sought to provide for the printing and publication of the amended constitution; savings and transitional provisions of existing state organs. It also sought to provide for state institutions, administrations, offices, institutions and laws; and savings of successions to assets, rights, liabilities, obligations, and legal proceedings.

When the bill came up for second reading, National Assembly Speaker Amusaa Mwanamwambwa called for an electronic vote whose result saw the MMD get 96 votes short of the required 106 to reach the two-thirds majority.

However, after announcing the results, Mwanamwambwa informed the MPs that they would have to go for a manual vote because the electronic voting system had malfunctioned.

This angered opposition Patriotic Front MPs, except for the ‘PF rebels’, who walked-out in protest, led by their party vice-president Guy Scott.

Alliance for Democracy and Development Luena MP Charles Milupi also joined the PF MPs in the walk out.

However, Speaker Mwanamwambwa maintained his call for a manual vote.

This also did not go well with the UPND MPs who were openly divided over the bill. The division in the UPND camp prompted them to call for a caucus within the chambers.

However, Namwala UPND MP Major Robbie Chizyuka was ejected from the group.

After a protracted debate on the matter the UPND MPs resolved to abstain from the voting. And after the second vote was taken without the PF MPs in the House, MMD still failed to marshal the required two-thirds majority.

And this time around the MMD only managed to get 93 votes, prompting Speaker Mwanamwambwa to announce that the bill had failed to go through.

“The results are as follows: those who voted for no, nil; those who voted for yes, 93; abstention, 20. Therefore this means that the bill has failed to reach the 106 two-thirds required for a constitutional bill,” he said.

At this point the chamber went dead quiet, prompting the Speaker to remark: “I can hear a pin drop” before inviting Vice-President Kunda to adjourn the House.

Kunda who looked somber stood up to adjourn the House.

This means that the country will stick to the 1996 constitution.

Meanwhile, PF parliamentarians celebrated the failure of the bill, as they sang songs of mockery to the MMD camp.

Kabwata PF parliamentarian Given Lubinda and his Roan counterpart Chishimba Kambwili sang and clapped loudly on the basement near Parliament entrance.

In the process, PF rebel MP for Bwana Mkubwa, Joseph Zulu, arrived at Parliament grounds heading towards the chamber where the debates were taking place.

But when he was passing by, Kambwili exclaimed “Imwe ba rebel ka constitution mwelafwaya twakashuta... We have shot down your constitution!”

The remark upset Zulu who went for Kambwili in an attempt to beat him, but the latter refused to be intimidated and dared Zulu to hit him if he was man enough. “Nguma ngauli mwaume,” said Kambwili.

A visibly annoyed Zulu took off his jacket in readiness for a fight while Kambwili gestured at Zulu daring him for a showdown with him.

However, the tension was halted when PF MPs who included Mwansa Kapeya, Jean Kapata, Guy Scott and Mumbi Phiri intervened to stop the fight.



 
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