Monday, November 01, 2010
By Ernest Chanda
Mon 01 Nov. 2010, 04:01 CAT
KABWATA PF parliamentarian Given Lubinda has called on Zambians to turn out in numbers and picket at Parliament entrance in defence of the abuse of office offence.
In an interview following Parliament's vote against section 37 of the current Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Act which provides for the offence, Lubinda said there was still room for people to defend the law. He said since the bill was coming up for committee stage on Wednesday, Zambian could picket Parliament.
“You in the media should not relent in defending the abuse of office offence. Give this issue space and time in your newspapers, on radio and on television because your country has been laid bare by this irresponsible government,” said Lubinda who is also African Parliamentarians Against Corruption (APNAC) Zambia chapter president.
“And every Zambian should not lose hope; in fact let them picket at Parliament entrance on the 3rd of November when the bill comes up for committee stage. Let them come with placards saying 'save section 37'.
“It is very clear that this government wants to legitimise rampant abuse of office. And we in APNAC shall not support such kind of distortion of laws. Let Zambians lobby their MPs to defend this law knowing that it is still far from the time President Rupiah Banda assents to it."
Lubinda cited 2003 when Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation employees picketed against him during the ZNBC amendment bill which introduced TV licence fees.
He said people also showed their power when they picketed Parliament as they pushed for a new constitution in November 2005 through the OASIS Forum.
Lubinda contended that the same mechanism could apply since no permit was needed to picket at the Parliament entrance.
"I also make a clarion call to members of parliament especially those in APNAC to search their souls and defend this innocent law. In addition it is a challenge to all leaders of civil society organisations, the church, political parties and individual Zambians to stand up and defend the abuse of office law," said Lubinda.
"In fact the government was expecting people to protest over the removal of section 37. I say so because on the day the bill came up for second reading, the government had mounted a lot of police officers at Parliament entrance. And these police officers were there from 08:30 hours until Parliament adjourned at 13:00 hours. So, they knew the wrong thing they were doing and they expected a lot of public resistance."