Namwala UPND MP Moono Lubezhi has proposed that the law on cattle rustling be stiffened in order to safeguard animals. Ms. Lubezhi said there is need to make cattle rustling a nonbailable offence as a way of deterring would be offenders.
She said Namwala and other districts in Southern Province suffer a lot of misery at the hands of cattle rustlers.
Ms. Lubezhi was speaking in an interview following the refusal by the PF MPs to back a private members motion to deal with cattle rustlers.
“These PF MPs failed to support a motion moved by Hon. Miyutu on Wednesday asking the PF Government to strengthen the law against cattle rustlers but the motion could not go away because of the PF’s arrogance of numbers,” she said.
Ms. Lubezhi said cattle theft should be turned into a nonbailable offence just like of motor vehicle.
“You see our people depend on animals for their entire existence and if people continue stealing their most valuable possessions, they are depriving them of their livelihood and perpetuate poverty.”
The Namwala MP said the current five year maximum sentence for cattle rustling is not stiff enough to deter would be offenders.
And this week, Parliament threw out a private members motion which, if passed was going to increase jail sentence for cattle rustlers from the current 15 to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment.
This was after a long debate which culminated into a vote for or against the motion.
Moving the motion, Kalabo central UPND MP Chinga Miyutu said cattle rustling was increasing poverty in Zambia.
He said cattle rustling had become a high level organised crime which had brought about suffering among people in rural areas.
He said cattle rustling was hazardous with the capacity to disturb food and security in Zambia.
The vice was a serious national emergency and the current law was inadequate hence the need to increase the jail sentence to ensure people are protected and the production of animals is allowed.
Police bond or court bail for people accused of cattle rustling should also be stiffened to include K10,000 cash bail with five working sureties to discourage people from engaging in the vice.
He called for increased community policing and bilateral engagements with neighbouring countries.
In seconding the motion, Mkaika MMD MP David Phiri said the problem of cattle rustling needed to be addressed to improve agriculture.
Katuba UPND MP Jonas Shakafuswa and Liuwa MMD MP Situmbeko Musokotwane said animals were being poisoned and the flesh transported to sale in urban areas and called for support of the motion.
Mr Musokotwane said the meat was being transported in containers by cutting it into thin strips.
Mbabala UPND MP Ephraim Belemu said a lot of people were being killed by cattle rustlers.
Police, butcheries and abattoirs were said to be clearing and killing stolen animals respectively.
Justice deputy minister Keith Mukata and his Home Affairs counterpart Steven Kampyongo argued that laws on Cattle rustling were adequate.
Earlier Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda warned that it was a criminal offence to use counterfeit banknotes and those found with them would be liable to imprisonment.
He was responding to a question by Kaputa PF MP Maxus Ngonga who wanted to know what measures Government had taken to curb counterfeit Kwacha notes.
He also wanted to find out what measures Government had put in place to sensitise rural communities on counterfeit notes in order to protect them from being swindled.
Sensitisation campaigns had continued and the bank of Zambia was providing literature to assist the public. Members of the public should also remain alert.
Large cash handlers were also encouraged to use currency counting machines fitted with detection technology.
The Bank of Zambia also ensured that clean banknotes were in circulation and intercepted counterfeit notes and removed them from circulation.
Minister of Transport and Communication Yamfwa Mukanga said his ministry would after the national budget approval make a comprehensive statement on Road Development Agency (RDA) halting any more road works Earlier Speaker of the National Assembly warned MPs against raising points of orders on issues that were discussed outside the House because they made it difficult for presiding officers to make rulings.