ATI Bill to be tabled in parliament

By Sharon Siame

Information and Media Minister CORNELIUS MWEETWA says Government will today take the Access to Information Bill to Parliament.

Mr. MWEETWA says this is one of the key electoral promises that President HAKAINDE HICHILEMA committed himself to fulfilling once elected into office.

He says Government is happy that once enacted, the Access to Information legislation will enhance accountability and transparency in managing public resources.

Mr. MWEETWA says this development serves as a reminder of the commitment by President HICHILEMA to live by his electoral promises and to fight corruption genuinely.

The Information and Media Minister said this during a press briefing in Lusaka today.

And Mr. MWEETWA said the suspension of 19 PF and Independent Members of Parliament is normal as the members erred against the rules and regulations of the House.

He said there are no politics involved and that the executive is not in any way connected to the matter.

Mr. MWEETWA said such suspensions have happened before and cited the case where 30 members of the then opposition United Party for National Development- UPND- were suspended for absconding a Presidential address.

He also dispelled assertions that there was additional police presence at Parliament except for the usual parliamentary police.

Meanwhile, Mr. MWEETWA said an inquiry has revealed that there are no Members of Parliament from the ruling party who are collaborating with those advocating for the impeachment of the Speaker of the National Assembly NELLY MUTTI.

He said although Article 83 of the Constitution provides for the removal of the Speaker, those advocating for the motion have less than 50 percent of the required MPs to pass an impeachment motion.

Mr. MWEETWA said this is a political agenda meant to bring ridicule to the office of the Speaker.

He urged MPs who feel aggrieved with the way the business of Parliament is being conducted to use the provided channels to air their grievances.

AND Mr. MWEETWA further said the Speaker did not act unconstitutionally in recognizing the Leader of Opposition in the House but acted on the guidance of Patriotic Front Secretary General MORGAN NG’ONGA.

He clarified that provisions of the law do not stipulate the procedure of how the Leader of Opposition is elected and that there is no mention of how many MPs should be present during voting.

Mr. MWEETWA dispelled assertions by Constitutional Lawyer JOHN SANGWA that   the country’s democratic space is shrinking.

He said Government has restored the rule of law, eradicated cadreism and political violence.

Mr. MWEETWA said Mr. SANGWA’s words do not match reality as Zambia is on the right trajectory in governance and upholding of human rights.

He said citizens must be mindful when issuing statements that are unfavorable and portray a negative image of the country to the international community.

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