THE United States of America (USA) government has singled out Zambia as one of the countries in the world that has played a major and critical role in the humanitarian spirit of hosting refugees which has become one of the biggest worries of the United Nations.
And President Edgar Lungu has nominated former Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini to be re-elected as Speaker of the House for the next five years.
President Lungu has also nominated former Tourism and Arts minister Catherine Namugala and former Muchinga Province minister Mwimba Malama as first and second deputy Speakers of the National Assembly respectively.
Zambia has attracted the interests of US President Barack Obama in her efforts to provide sanctuary to refugees and other internally displaced persons and President Edgar Lungu was yesterday expected to meet with US under-secretary for Africa Linda Thomas-Greenfield to discuss issues of mutual interest.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda announced here that President Lungu was expected to meet Ms Thomas-Greenfield who delivered congratulatory message to the Head of State for his re-election in the August general elections.
Mr Chanda said President Obama had called for a meeting on the large movements of refugees at which President Lungu is expected to give a statement following the country’s unwavering humanitarian commitment on the welfare of refugees and displaced persons. Mr Chanda said the US government had committed itself to support Zambia in transforming former refugee facilities across the country.
He said President Lungu and Ms Thomas-Greenfield will also discuss a range of governance issues whose details would be announced today.
“President Lungu will this evening (yesterday) meet with the US under-secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield to discuss a range of issues including Zambia’s commitment in hosting refugees from across the African continent. Zambia’s unwavering humanitarian role in hosting refugees has attracted the interest of President Obama who has called for a meeting over the challenge of refugees and the US government is committed to support Zambia in transforming former refugee facilities,” Mr Chanda said.
And Mr Chanda said Prsident Lungu had submitted the name of Dr Matibini to the National Assembly so that he could continue as Speaker of the House and that the nomination was in accordance with Article 82 of the Constitution.
Mr Chanda said Ms Namugala and Mr Malama had subsequently been nominated as first and second deputy Speakers respectively under the constitutional doctrine of the two not being from the same political party and same gender.
Meanwhile, Mr Chanda has rubbished assertions that President Lungu had breached the Constitution by nominating former Mongu of Member of Parliament Nathaniel Mubukwanu as an MP and subsequently appointing him as Western Province minister.
Mr Chanda said Mr Mubukwanu did not participate in the immediate past general elections and was therefore eligible to be nominated as an MP contrary to some media reports whose interpretation of the Constitution was jaundiced by the inability to comprehend the law.
“President Lungu has constitutionally nominated Mr Mubukwanu among the eight contrary to falsehoods that Article 69 0f the Constitution had been violated.
‘‘Mr Mubukwanu did not participate in the immediate past general election and some people have misconstrued the article as to mean that since he was elected MP in the 2011 general elections, he was therefore ineligible to be nominated.
‘‘Mr Mubukwanu was validly nominated and should just proceed to Parliament for orientations,” Mr Chanda said.