Saturday, January 12, 2008

NCC delegates accuse Banda of favouritism

NCC delegates accuse Banda of favouritism
By Mwala Kalaluka and Noel Sichalwe
Saturday January 12, 2008 [03:00]

Some delegates to the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) have accused their chairperson, Chifumu Banda, of favouring lawyers in his selection of speakers during deliberations. And NCC delegates on Thursday night elected the conference’s disciplinary committee in a tightly contested poll. Meanwhile, Mapatizya UPND member of parliament Ackson Sejani cautioned NCC delegates not to give a casual approach to the issue of the two-thirds voting majority as they decide on the conference’s rules and procedures.

Debating proposals contained in the National Constitutional Conference (Procedure) Rules, 2008, one of the delegates complained that Banda had not pointed at him despite raising his hand for a long time.

“Mr Chairperson, I am just asking you to stop favouring lawyers here,” the delegate said.
Another delegate identified as Mumbi complained that Banda was only picking people that were known to make contributions.

She said that not all NCC members were members of parliament, hence the need to allow contributions from even those who were not known.

“We want the chairman to open it up so that as many people as possible can contribute. We want to make contributions so that we can come up with a solid constitution,” she said.

Banda, who accused the delegate of being overgenerous with his comment, said he was striving to be as fair as possible.

Mubita said Pastor Cornelius Matandiko, Sakwiba Sikota and senior chief Imwiko of Lukulu were elected NCC disciplinary committee members. Those that lost the poll for committee members included Major Robbie Chizhyuka, Col Joseph Mweene, Edwin Sakala, Sage Samuwika, Lazarous Chota, and Reverend David Masupa.

Lusaka lawyer Bwalya Chiti went through unopposed as a member of the Legal Practitioners’ Committee, whilst Grace Njapau, Wynter Nalumango and two other females were declared members of the disciplinary committee.

Meanwhile, the conference, which adjourned sine die on Thursday night, took time to discuss Section 48 (3) of the NCC Procedure rules, 2008, which deals with electoral procedures.
Banda allowed the delegates to debate the matter and pledged to give direction on some of the anxieties raised in relation to the issue of two-thirds majority.

The conference wanted to establish what percentage of the membership should constitute a quorum during a division. Section 48 (2) states that: ‘All questions before the conference shall be determined by consensus, but in the absence of consensus, the decisions of the conference shall be determined by a two-thirds majority vote of the members’.

Sejani and Professor Patrick Mvunga proposed that a two-thirds majority should be calculated from the entire membership and not only on those present when a vote is called, as proposed by some delegates.

“The whole success of this conference depends on this particular issue and so we should not give it superficial treatment,” said Sejani. The House ultimately settled for an impossibility that a division should be called by 100 members as opposed to the 36 members proposed by Sikota.



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