The Thematic working group on devolved governance at the ongoing National Convention has deleted clause1 (b) of article 203 of the First Draft Constitution in order to bar Members of Parliament from attending the Provincial Assemblies that have been established under draft constitution.
The working group voted to delete the clause after a heated debate by delegates some of whom especially MPs who wanted the clause to stand so that they could participate in decisions making at lower and higher level.
Chembe MP Mwansa Mbulakulima contended that MPs needed to attend the provincial conventions so that they are kept aware of the happenings in the various areas but his bid failed after a huge number of delegates argued that their presence at the provincial assembly was not needed as there are many learned people in provinces who are jobless and can handle matters at that level.
Father Matthews Ngosa and a few others supported Mr Mbulakulima by insisting that MPs deserve to be members of the provincial assembly so that they could represent their area well if they know what was prevailing at local level.
But Chief Chipepo and Bishop John Mambo noted that MPs have a lot of committees to attend to hence the need for them to give others chance to participate in the governance of the country at provincial level.
Bishop Mambo stated that MPs should contrite on their legislative role at national level and leave the other task at provincial level to losing candidates and other well informed Zambians who qualify to be members of the Provincial Assembly.
The Chairperson of the group, Chief Mazimawe curtailed the debate after he noted that almost all the speakers were against the clause and called for a vote to put the matter to rest.
Article 203 provides that there shall be established in each province a Provincial Assembly consisting of the Provincial Minister, Mayors or Council Chairpersons of the district councils in the province, three chiefs representing all the chiefs in the province and three of an organization representing persons in commerce and industry operating in the province.
Others to attend the provincial assemblies are the three representatives of organization representing farmers operating in the province, three representatives of faith-based organizations operating in the province and a representative each from organizations operating in the province representing women, youths and persons with disabilities.
And the working group has recommended that labour leaders, pensioners, senior citizens and federation of employers be part of the provincial assembly.
Meanwhile the group has not adopted the resolution from Western province that the constitution should provide for the establishment of the Barotse National Council in accordance with the tradition of the people of Barotseland so that members of the council shall also be members of the provincial assembly of Western province.
The thematic working group on devolved governance comprises Chiefs, Political party leaders and representatives, Members of Parliament, former senior public service workers and Mayors and former Mayors and Town Clerks.