Thursday, 18 September 2014

Analysis Of Soon To Open 4th Session Of The 11th National Assembly

Moses Muteteka
By Paul Shalala

The first meeting of the fourth session of the 11th National Assembly  opens in Lusaka on Friday this week.

As per tradition, President Michael Sata is expected to open it and give policy direction to the nation for the year 2015.

This session's first meeting is expected to run from September to around December and is commonly refered to as the Budget session because of the presentation of the 2015 National Budget which will be done in October.

Wynter Kabimba
For those pushing for a new constitution, all eyes and ears will be focused on Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda to find out how much money will be allocated towards the constitution making process.
Stephen Masumba

Major changes are expected to be noted on the floor of the house as the house opens in a ceremonious manner.

Chawama member of Parliament Edgar Lungu, who was recently appointed Justice Minister after the dismissal of his predecessor Wynter Kabimba, is expected to sit on the Vice President Dr. Guy Scott's right hand side.

Alexander Chikwanda
This is because in the Cabinet Flow Chart, a Defence Minister, a position Mr Lungu also holds, is junior to that of Justice Minister and Mr Lungu may move from the left hand side of Dr Scott where he sat in the last session to the right hand side.

6 new members of parliament will be sworn in following their victories in by-elections held in the past two months.
Edgar Lungu

The new MPs are Victoria Kalima of Kasenengwa, Christabel Ngimbu of Zambezi West, Margaret Miti of Vubwi, Davies Chisopa of Mkushi South, Dawson Kafwaya of Solwezi Central and Liambai Lingweshi of Mangango Constituency.

The coming in of the 3 female MPs will push the number of female lawmakers in the house from 17 to 20.

The composition of party numbers in the house will also change as political parties shared seats in recent by-elections.

The ruling party which won 4 of the 6 recent by-elections will
now have 74 elected MPs and 7 nominated MPs bringing the total to 81 MPs in the house.

Davies Chisopa
However, President Sata is yet to choose 1 nominated MP to replace Mr Kabimba whose nomination to parliament is said to have been revoked upon his dismissal as Justice Minister.

Patrick Mucheleka
The former ruling party MMD's numbers have now dropped to 37 MPs after it lost 3 of its seats to PF and UPND.

The UPND has maintained its seats at 32 despite losing Zambezi West which it compensated with Solwezi Central, a seat it snatched from MMD.

The opposition ADD and FDD will maintain their single seats each.

The house will also remain with two independent MPs Patrick Mucheleka of Lubansesnhi and Charles Zulu of Luangeni constituency.

Felix Mutati
The failure by all opposition political parties in the house to reach the 52 minimum threshold, means the house will continue operating without a Leader of the Opposition and parties will rely on their respective Party Whips.

The last Leader of  the Opposition was Felix Mutati (Lunte MP) when MMD had more than 52 MPs a year ago.

Charles Zulu
With pending cases in court, 5 seats will remain vacant as the house opens on Friday.

These include Malambo, Petauke Central and Mulobezi which are pending in the Supreme Court following the nullification of the elections of their previous lawmakers.

Mufumbwe member of parliament Stephen Masumba and his Chisamba counterpart Moses Muteteka will keep staying out of the house following their respective appeals in court over their jail sentences.

The next session of parliament will be interesting as the composition of the house will be totally different from the set up the house initially started with in 2011.

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