UPND MPs walk out of parley, accuse Speaker Matibini of bias
By Staff Reporter
Opposition UPND parliamentarians yesterday morning walked out of Parliament in protest against two archaic and retrogressive laws that were being tabled on the floor of the house and led to the suspension of business in the house.
The MPs were challenging Speaker Patrick Matibini’s ruling that the two Bills go to the third reading without being debated at second reading stage.
This action, which is not procedurally correct in Parliament prompted the UPND MPs to walk out of the house.
Speaking on behalf of the Parliamenterians, UPND leader of the opposition in the House, Jack Mwiimbu said the reason for the action was because of the unconstitutionality of the process owing to it being a product of the NDF.
“You may recall that this morning I raised a point of order viz viz the Public Order Act Amendment Bill and the Electoral Process Act Amendment Bill anchored on the unconstitutionality of the process that Parliament had undertaken. The bills are a product of the National Dialogue Forum (NDF).”
Mwiimbu stated that the decision to present the two Bills, which are subsidiary pieces of legislation anchored on the supreme law of Zambia before presenting the proposed Constitutional Amendments was illegal.
He said failure to subject the Constitutional Amendment Bill; the Electoral Process Bill; the Public Order Bill and the Political Parties Bill to the First and Second reading to parliament amounted to an assault on the Constitutional amendment processes.
The Monze Central lawmaker said the MPs from the opposition were not happy with unprocedural handling of the Bills in question by the Speaker of National Assembly.
And UPND Elections Chairperson, Garry Nkombo stated that being the custodian of the Standing Orders, the Speaker of the National Assembly was bound by the law.
The Mazabuka Central lawmaker announced that the members of the opposition would be moving a substantive motion that would ensure the invocation of Article Number 62 on the Standing Orders that addresses challenging decisions of the Chair.
“We are going to move a substantive Motion, which motion is going to be directed to the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services for determination on our position that Honourable Speaker made an error in making that judgement today.
Nkombo warned that if the decision by the Speaker was deliberate, then the UPND MPs would conclude that “this institution continues to collaborate and connive with the Executive to bring Bills such as this one in a totally unprocedural manner”.
He said the action by him and his fellow opposition MPs was a litmus test for the Speaker and that signatures required to invoke the action had already been gathered.
Nkombo stated that he was hopeful and prayerful that the UPND MPs would be proven right in the end.
He warned the opposition MPs would not sit back and fold their arms and watch “frivolous” and “vexatious” rulings being made in Parliament.