Friday, March 05, 2010

MMD MPs reject motion on birth registration desks

MMD MPs reject motion on birth registration desks
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

MMD members of parliament on Wednesday rejected a motion that sought to request the government to establish birth registration desks at all health facilities in the country.

Moving the motion, Mandevu Patriotic Front (PF) member of parliament Jean Kapata observed that since the government had been demanding birth certificates from people seeking to obtain National Registration Cards (NRCs), it was necessary that all health centers countrywide have birth registration desks.

Kapata said the motion once adopted would help children adapt well to the modern day of birth certificates. When deputy chairperson of committees Mkhondo Lungu put the question as to who supported the motion, it passed.

Realising that the Executive side had been defeated, parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga quickly stood up and beckoned other MMD parliamentarians to stand up, calling for a division.

And as they managed to reach the required threshold, Lungu granted the MMD a division, which later resulted into physical voting.

However the motion fell off as only 40 members of parliament voted for it, against 54 who rejected it while two people abstained.

As the results were announced and shown on plasma screens in the House, several MMD parliamentarians broke into celebration and one opposition parliamentarian commented, “mulefwaya mulefyalafye abana elyo mwabakana?” simply translated, “Do you want to be fathering children and later abandon them?”

Earlier supporting the motion, Luena independent member of parliament Charles Milupi said birth certificates would help in planning for national resources properly.

“I must start by stating that I support this motion because there is need to know the exact population we have in the country for the purpose of planning for national resources. It is not good that day in day out we’re relying on people swearing oaths of affidavit instead of simply producing birth certificates. And this system has made even refugees become Zambians with the help of unscrupulous people; this motion is therefore long overdue,” debated Milupi.

Kalomo UPND member of parliament Request Muntanga attracted constant cautions and points of order as he kept referring to some people who he said had no right to father children and abandon them.

Muntanga contended that the motion be supported so that men who had a habit of denying their own children could be exposed through birth certificates.

“… Birth certificates will expose people who hide the fact that they father some children. Some people are fond of denying their own children but this document birth certificate will show who the father is. For example, the certificate will show that the father to this child is Honourable Michael Mabenga,” Muntanga said as lands deputy minister Mabenga stood up on a point of order, wondering if Muntanga was in order to mention his name during the debate.

In his ruling, Lungu cautioned Muntanga against mentioning people’s names.
“… I’ve got cousins and there is no way I can fail to talk about Honourable Lungwangwa,” Muntanga debated as the House burst into laughter.

This prompted Lungu to give Muntanga a final caution against referring to particular people in his debate.

But justice deputy minister Todd Chilembo described the motion as a non-starter.
Meanwhile, Parliament heard that Zambia would this year give about K3.4 billion to Zimbabwe as a way of contributing to that country’s economic recovery programme.

Responding to a question for oral answer from Chipili PF member of parliament Davies Mwila who wanted to know how much money the Zambian government intended to contribute to the economic recovery of Zimbabwe, home affairs minister Lameck Mangani who sat in for Vice-President George Kunda said the assistance was treated as humanitarian aid.

“In January 2009, government released K2 billion to assist fight the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe. Of this amount K667 million was a one-off donation of medical supplies and equipment to the Zimbabwean government and the balance of K1.33 billion was directed to support the cholera prevention activities in the districts bordering with Zimbabwe,” Mangani explained. “Six hundred thousand US dollars or K2,773.0 billion using the current exchange rate of K4,662 per US dollar in humanitarian aid will be given to Zimbabwe by end of this year. By the end of the year government projects to contribute approximately K3.4 billion.”

Health deputy minister Dr Solomon Musonda disclosed that the country had 14 radiologists against a population of about 12 million people.

This was in response to Nchanga PF member of parliament Wylbur Simuusa who wanted to know what the approved establishment of radiologists in the country was and how many of them were working in government hospitals countrywide as of September 30, 2009.

Simuusa wanted to know the reason for the shortfall and how many radiologists on average graduated from Evelyn Hone College annually.

Dr Musonda said the course was not offered anywhere in the country because it was too costly to support.

Dr Musonda also said Evelyn Hone College did not offer radiology, but radiography.



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