Sunday, August 05, 2007
By Chibaula Silwamba
Sunday August 05, 2007 [04:00]
COUNCIL of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) chairperson Reverend Moses Mwale has expressed surprise at some parliamentarians’ reservations on the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Amendment Bill of 2007 that seeks to compel members of parliament to annually declare assets, liabilities and income.
And Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive director Elijah Rubvuta said the bill would enhance transparency and accountability among members of parliament.
Commenting on some backbench parliamentarians’ reservations on the bill, Rev Mwale said the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Amendment Bill of 2007 was in the interest of parliamentarians and the public at large.
“These members of parliament occupy public office and it’s in the interest of the public that people know the property and wealth of parliamentarians. This is in the interest of the members of parliament so that when they leave office, no one will point a finger at them and start asking them how they acquired the wealth because we will be knowing on an annual basis how much property they have,” Rev Mwale said. “It’s surprising that some of them have reservations.”
He said the CCZ supported the bill.
And Rubvuta said FODEP supported the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Amendment Bill because it would enhance transparency and accountability.
The Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Amendment Bill of 2007 on Friday passed the second reading in Parliament although some backbenchers expressed reservations that it was aimed at deterring them from acquiring assets.
The bill, which was presented by Kabwata Patriotic Front (PF) member of parliament Given Lubinda, is aimed at compelling parliamentarians to submit to the Chief Justice an annual declaration of assets, liabilities and income.
PF Bangweulu member of parliament Joseph Kasongo said parliamentarians declared their assets before the Chief Justice when assuming office and wondered why they should be compelled to make an annual declaration of assets and liabilities. He said the introduction of the bill was retrogressive.
Kasongo said the same National Assembly had earlier repealed the Leadership Code that was enacted by the UNIP government and was used to penalise people for acquiring wealth.
Kasongo urged the other members of parliament to be cautious with Lubinda’s private member’s bill because it could be sponsored by people or donors with a negative agenda to pursue.