Sat, 10 Dec 2016 12:07:39 +0000
THERE was a near punch-up in Parliament yesterday between Patriotic Front Member of Parliament for Chitambo Constituency, Remember Mutale, and his Independent counterpart for Chipili Constituency, Jewis Chabi, regarding overtime allowances after a motion was moved to extend the
sitting hours of the House.
Mr Mutale and Mr Chabi exchanged bitter, unprintable words and nearly turned Parliament into a boxing ring after a rumour circulated in the House that Government had no money and Parliament was therefore not going to pay MPs overtime for sitting in the House on extended hours.
The confrontation happened immediately after Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini called a division on the notice of motion to suspend standing order 19, 20, 21 (1) and 101 to enable the House to start sitting from 09:00 each day from Tuesday, 13 December, until all business before the House was completed after which the House would adjourn sine die.
The motion was moved by acting leader of government business Richard Musukwa.
But things did not go well for Mr Mutale who immediately took the Chief Whip’s role in persuading both members of the PF and Independent MPs to vote in favour of the motion.
When Mr Mutale approached Mr Chabi to vote in favour of the motion, the Independent MP refused after rumour circulated in the House that Government had no money to pay the MPs overtime allowances for the extended sitting hours next week.
Mr Chabi got incensed by Mr Mutale’s persistence to persuade him and other Independent MPs, and the two law makers almost got into a physical confrontation on the floor of the House.
Mr Chabi was clearly heard shouting at Mr Mutale that he was not scared of the Chitambo MP and could easily take him on.
“Teti untinye iwe (You do not scare me), Mr Chabi shouted while pointing at Mr Mutale.
It took leader of the opposition in the House Jack Mwiimbu and PF Deputy Chief Whip Stephen Chungu to calm down the two parliamentarians who looked ready to settle their differences through a fist fight.
Mr Mwiimbu and Mr Chungu were seen telling Mr Mutale to go back to his seat while Mr Chabi followed his foe yelling that he was going to beat him.
Mr Mutale later took a front bench seat next to Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo and was heard complaining about the behaviour and approach of Mr Chabi. Following a division called by the Speaker, Members of Parliament were subjected to an electronic vote which saw the motion passing through via 64 YES vote against 51 NO vote.
Earlier during the debate, UPND Chief Whip Gary Nkombo appealed to Government to consider withdrawing the motion in order to allow the members to thoroughly scrutinise the 2017 national budget allocations.
Mr Nkombo feared that suspending the standing order would not give the members an opportunity to thoroughly scrutinise the budgetary allocation of ministries and government