Lusaka constitutional convention amends Art 149


A Parliamentarian has expressed fear that the amendment of Article 149 of the Draft Constitution to allow for any question proposed for decision in the National Assembly to be determined by a two thirds instead of the mere majority of MPs present would create a constitution crisis.

Kabwata MP, Given Lubinda, said the decision to amend both clauses 1 and 2 of Article 149 has potential to create a constitution crisis as most MP are charged with various responsibilities and are sometimes not present in Parliament to form the required two thirds which may cause important bill such as the budget to suffer if introduced on such a day.

The Lusaka Provincial Constitution Consultative Convention has resolved to amend the clause by replacing the majority with two thirds so that the clause can state that except otherwise provided in the constitution, any question proposed for decision in the national assembly shall be determined by two thirds of the MPs present and voting.

Clause 2 has been amended to allow a question proposed for decision in the nation assembly so that the speaker shall have no vote and in the case of a tie, the speaker will break the tie contrary.

Mr Lubinda stated that parliamentary committees and other responsibilities arise in the middle of the national assembly sitting which require them to attend which he said will make some decisions to fall off because of the two thirds majority which has been introduced.

The House was divided and the chairperson called for voting twice before settling for the amendment while others were left wondering how the decision was arrived at.

After voting, the rapporteurs were requested to remind the delegates as most of them were in a confused state as to what the house had resolved concerning the matter.

And Mr Lubinda proposed an amendment on Article 142 to provide for the President to appoint a Member of Parliament amongst the MPs in the House to be leader of government business in the National Assembly.

The amendments were adopted and the whole Article was retained as stated in the draft constitution.

Meanwhile, the convention has retained Article 136 which talks about the composition of the National Assembly with amendments.

The House has resolved that the National Assembly shall consist of 200 representatives holding seats from the multi-member constituencies.

The convention, which opened on Monday this week is expected to close this afternoon after considering all articles of the draft constitution and four delegates are expected to be elected to represent the province at the national convention which is expected to be held in the country’s capital, Lusaka.