THE Patriotic Front has insisted that the Constitution Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019 is still alive despite the lapse of time.

Ruling party chief whip Brian Mundubile told journalists in Lusaka yesterday that it was legal to put the Bill on the order paper.

On Wednesday, Justice minister Given Lubinda asked for deferring of Bill 10 of 2019 to a later date of the current session without citing reasons.

But UPND members of parliament said time lapse had automatically killed Bill 10, according to parliamentary procedures.

But Mundubile said Standing Orders Committee to which the leader of the opposition Jack Mwiimbu was a member had power to change rules.

He said the Standing Orders Committees derives its powers from the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Order 2016, which in turn derive their authority from the Constitution of Zambia.

He said Standing Orders Committee regulates its own procedure and makes standing orders for the conduct of its business in the house.

“You may wish to know that there is no express provision in the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Orders 2016 which governs the time within which a Bill must be considered at any one stage of enactment. Nonetheless, the National Assembly Manner of Putting the Question and Procedural Notes Handbook, which forms part of the procedures and practices of the House, states, at page 11, as follows: ‘NB (a) If a Bill is deferred for six months, it is killed’,” Mundubile said.

“In short, a Bill that has been deferred for six months lapses in terms of parliamentary practice and procedures. In this case, the Bill lapsed on Thursday, 4th June 2020, having been deferred on 4th December 2019. However, at the time it lapsed, the House was on recess. And had it not been for the premature adjournment in the February-March meeting, the Second Reading Stage could have been probably concluded one way or another.”

He said the Standing Orders Committee met on Wednesday June 24, 2020 to consider the request by the Minister of Justice to defer further consideration of the Bill to a date not later than the last day of the meeting.

“Following deliberations by the Standing Orders Committees, it was resolved to extend the life of the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019 to a date no later than the last day of the meeting,” said Mundubile.

Asked to state if the Standing Orders Committee was not illegally holding a meeting on the already expired Bill, Mundubile insisted that the committee had powers to changes rules.

He said despite the refusal by other parliamentarians to support Bill 10, he was confident that it would go through.


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