Guy Scott opposes parentage clause


LUSAKA Central Member of Parliament Guy Scott has opposed the parentage clause in the Draft Constitution Bill which was drafted when he was Vice President.

And Mufumbwe MP Stephen Masumba yesterday castigated the United Party for National Development for shunning the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender and Child Affairs which is chaired by their own MP, Cornelius Mweetwa.

Dr Scott, who appeared in his own individual capacity as ruling party MP before the committee, submitted that the parentage clause be reversed to that of 1991.

The clause states that a person qualifies to be nominated as a candidate for election as a President if that person (a) was a citizen by birth or descent (b) has been ordinarily resident in Zambia, among other qualifications.

But Dr Scott said the provision was unfair as it denied citizens who and whose parents were born outside from being nominated as a candidate for election as President. He said the Draft Constitution on the parentage clause was discriminatory and contradictory to the clause on dual citizenship.

“We will have a lot of complications if we allow ourselves to proceed on this kind of lines,” Dr Scott said.

Dr Scott argued that all the clauses under article 100 were not making sense and suggested that it should be reserved to that of 1991.

Dr Scott was flanked by UPND Bweengwa Member of Parliament Hive Hamududu who also contended that the parentage clause was ‘‘useless’’ in the Draft Constitution.

Mr Hamududu said a proper validation should have been done before the document was taken to Parliament.

“The document needed a proper validation process because Zambians are not interested in the origin of a candidate but what he or she can deliver,” Mr Hamududu said.

Mr Hamududu said in its current form, the parentage clause was being used to fix political opponents by those in Government.

He however welcomed the 50%+1 vote contained in the draft Bill.

Mufumbwe Member of Parliament Stephen Masumba castigated opposition the United Party for National Development (UPND) for shunning the Constitution Amendment Bill process which is currently before the committee.

UPND was scheduled to make submissions before the committee but decided to stay away without giving reasons.  Mr Masumba, who is also a committee member, expressed displeasure over the decision by UPND to shun such an important programme.

“It is disheartening for UPND to decide not to show up before this very important committee without any reason,” he said.

Mr Masumba said he was disappointed with UPND for not showing seriousness over a very serious national document.

He said it was not proper for UPND to stay away from such a national process.

Mr Hamududu said the 50%+1 clause should not be judged in terms of cost implications as a result of a re-run. He said the majoritarian system would encourage inclusiveness.

Meanwhile, the United National Independence Party (UNIP) has submitted that the number of supporters required for a presidential candidate to be nominated should be reduced from 100 to 25 voters from each province.

UNIP deputy secretary general Alfred Banda said the proposed 100 supporters per province was prohibitive due to cost implications on transport, accommodation and food for supporters.

He said it violated the political right and ambition of humble citizens to contest for high office.

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