NAMWALA Member of Parliament (MP) Robbie Chizhyuka has asked Zambians to demand back the hefty allowances from UPND members who attended the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) following the betrayal by the party’s Members of Parliament (MP) over the constitutional amendment Bill.
Zambian Vice President George Kunda told Parliament that eighty three billion, nine hundred and forty nine million, seven hundred and sixty five thousand kwacha (K83,949,765,000) USD $ 16 Million was spent on allowances for National Constitutional Conference delegates from 2007 to August 2010 when the NCC came to an end.
Maj Chizyhuka, who blamed UPND MPs for the country’s failure to have a new Constitution by refusing to support the constitutional amendment Bill in Parliament, said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that the UPND single handedly rejected the process in which they had participated from inception in the NCC.
Maj Chizyhuka said Zambians had been deprived of a new Constitution, which was people driven.
“The people of Zambia have been deprived of a new Constitution which was people driven and which all of us know gobbled up billions of tax payers money. I am deeply saddened that my party UPND in the House had to be the black horse in this process for abstaining to vote in favour of the Bill.
“They sat in the deliberations for two years and more and gobbled up allowances from humble tax payers’ money. The UPND MPs should be asked why they sat in the NCC, cheating the Zambian people that they were in support of the Bill when not.
Why did they take those allowances when they were not in support of the new Constitution? Where is the morality,” he asked.
He, however, said he was happy that all the UPND MPs from North-Western Province except for Charles Kakoma, had voted for the Bill.
Maj Chizyhuka said the UPND MPs from Southern Province had betrayed the ancestors who in 1963 sacrificed their cattle towards the attainment of the first Republican Constitution.
“Our ancestors in Southern Province were honest and committed to the Constitution making process. Today, they should be turning in their graves to hear that their grandchildren have cheated the Zambian people,” he said.
He said the UPND had taken the country backwards.
The MP said the Constitution Bill was a straight forward non-contentious Bill whose objective was not only to provide for printing and publication of the amended Constitution but also to save and provide for transitional provisions.
He said the witnesses who were called by the National Assembly did not raise a single objection on the Bill as it was generally agreed that the Bill was principally concerned with transitional rather than substantive provisions.
“The consequences of our failure to pass the Bill means, therefore, that both bills number 59 and 60 of 2010 cannot come back to Parliament again this year,” he said.
Meanwhile UPND president Hakainde Hichilema said by abstaining from the vote, his MPs upheld the dream of the Zambian people to realise a good Constitution.
Mr Hichilema said at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday that his MPs would have voted had MMD had the 50 per cent plus one and other progressive clauses been included.
Mr Hichilema said his party had been consistent from the beginning and that they had decided to attend the NCC because the party wanted to fight from inside.
“We are not like other parties that walked away,” he said.