By Nation Reporter
NGOSA Simbyakula says the number of ministers to be appointed by the President shall remain at not more than 30 after the (Prescribed number and Responsibility) Bill has been approved.
Dr Simbyakula, who is Minister of Justice, told Parliament yesterday during the second reading of the Bill that seeks to limit the number of Cabinet ministers to be appointed unlike in the past when the number would be anything.
The Bill successfully passed the second reading and would today be scrutinised by the committee on legal fairs for further amendments.
Meanwhile, Dr Simbyakula said a limited (specified) number of Cabinet ministers was what the people of Zambia wanted to be included in the amended Constitution.
Dr Simbyakula said following the amendment of the Constitution in December last year there was need for the Bills to effect it (newly amended Constitution).
He said most of the Bills that had come to the House were a consequence of the amended Constitution. Dr Simbyakula said the amended Constitution stipulated that the Head of State shall appoint a prescribed number of Cabinet ministers and that Bill was only meant to facilitate what was contained in the new Constitution.
But Mazabuka MP Garry Nkombo said if he were a minister of justice he would not have presented the Bill to Parliament at this particular time.
Mr Nkombo said the PF would be remembered for an era when MPs never read to understand the implications of the Constitution, and be judged accordingly.
He said the Bill did not provide any clarity, whatsoever, on how Parliamentarians would design the future governance of Zambia.
Mr Nkombo said by implication of the Bill, the functions of minister fell away because Parliament would be dissolved on Wednesday next week.
But Kawambwa PF Member of Parliament Nickson Chilangwa blamed the citizens who were pressuring government to release the Constitution for being behind the confusion brought about by the amended Constitution.
“Mr Speaker, we were made to believe that whatever was contained in the Constitution were provisions that the people wanted,” he said.
Mr Chilangwa said he would support the Bill for the sake of consistency on the part of the Patriotic Front. Otherwise, the amended Constitution had brought a lot of confusion.
“Everything being derived from the new Constitution has brought havoc. I will support this Bill for the sake of being consistency because this is what the people of Zambia wanted,” he said.
And Mumbwa MP Brian Chituwo, seeking clarification from the Minister of Justice, asked why the Bill was not in line with the amended Constitution.
Mr Chituwo demanded that Mr Simbyakula explain why the Bill should limit the appointment of ministers when the amended Constitution did not.
And deputy minister in the Office of the Vice President Bwalya Chunga who supported the Bill said it was the people who wanted the provision to be included in the new Constitution.
“The Bill provided that the number of ministers appointed by the President was in line with the new Constitution,” Mr Chungu said.