President Edgar Lungu today held a caucus meeting with all the 80 Patriotic Front Members of Parliament at state house in Lusaka ahead of the commencement of the First session of the 12th National Assembly.
President Lungu has urged the PF MPs to read and understand the Zambian constitution before going to parliament because the amended document has a number of new articles that need comprehension.
ZANIS reports that the President said the purpose of the caucus meeting was to ensure that PF MPs blend and interact before going to parliament.
He told his MPs that the people who elected them expect their representatives to engage in exiting and intellectual debate on policy issues in parliament because all the elected law makers are holders of a minimum of grade 12 certificate with the ability to articulate issues.
The head of state also disclosed that he is still studying the provision of the constitution on the appointment of Ministers.
President Lungu said some clauses of the constitution provides that only 30 Ministers can be appointed while other clauses provides otherwise hence the need for proper interpretation before making appointments.
He noted that the Constitutional Court still has a lot of work to do in order to interpret the constitution on the appointment of Cabinet and province Ministers.
“I don’t know how many of you have read they constitution, that document still remains challenging for many of us, for example I don’t know whether I am supposed to appoint 30 Ministers or 40 Ministers because in one part the constitution says there shall be provincial Ministers without specifying the number and that’s a stand-alone clause. The other clause says I can appoint up to 30 Ministers. I will interpret the law the way I understand it, of course with support from state house staff and the chambers of the attorney General, ” said President Lungu.
“ So you can help us as you go to parliament to fine tune some of these loose constitution provisions so that we can come up with a coherent document for an ordinary man on the street. But for me I understand the constitution that I can appoint up to thirty cabinet and provincial Ministers and cabinet is defined but I am luck that there is an overlap that I can invite people to cabinet so I will be inviting provincial Ministers to come and sit in cabinet with us,” he stated.
And the President has told his MPs that the decision to appoint any member to a ministerial position is his preserve and urged them those that will be lucky to be appointed to ensure that they discharge the duties diligently.
President Lungu disclosed that he has received application from all the MPs for consideration into his cabinet but said no one is guaranteed to be appointed into cabinet because it is his preserve to appoint those that merit the appointment.
“The President decides who he wants to give the opportunity to be in the cabinet, it is his privilege. I have to make this very clear, no one has the right to insist that he or she has to be Minister. The president in his own discretion may call upon you but if you don’t want to serve, you can decline but those who will be called to serve please, do with the best of your ability.
He said MPs who want to come back in 2021 should work very hard and deliver to the electorate while those that want to retire after their tenure of office should ensure they deliver so that they retire with dignity.
The National Assemble has since announced that Parliament will on 23 September commence the first session of the twelfth National Assembly following the election of members of Parliament in the just ended general elections.