Tribal debate riles Lubinda

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 10:10:09 +0000

THERE were angry exchanges in Parliament yesterday between Justice Minister Given Lubinda and Monze Central Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu when the latter accused the Patriotic Front government of allegedly transferring civil servants in the police service on tribal lines.

Mr Lubinda, who is Kabwata MP, was particularly incensed that Mr Mwiimbu who had been in Parliament for four terms, could use un-parliamentary language and reduce the debate in the House to  tribal talk. In his debate on the expenditure on the Office of the Public Protector, Mr Mwiimbu claimed that Government was making transfers particularly in the Zambia Police Service on account of tribalism.

Mr Mwiimbu demanded that the Public Prosecutor should investigate how the PF government was transferring police officers on tribal lines and on the suspicion that they were sympathetic to the opposition UPND. The Monze MP, who is also leader of the opposition in the House, accused the PF of allegedly lacerating the judicial system in the country and other institutions of governance.

The accusation triggered angry protests from Mr Lubinda who told Mr Mwiimbu to avoid debating on tribal lines because Zambia was a unitary State and that tribal sentiments were a danger to the peace and unity of the country. “Mr Mwiimbu is a perpetrator of violence.

Why does he want to draw the Public Protector to his tribal politics when this appointment is in good faith and for the benefit of all Zambians?’’ Mr Lubinda said that it was unfortunate that Mr. Mwiimbu could start dragging the Public Protector into tribal talk during his

debate.But when he tried to respond to Mr. Lubinda’s comments through a point of order, Mr. Mwiimbu was restrained by the deputy chairperson of Parliament, Mwimba Malama, a move that incensed UPND members. At this point, Mr Mwiimbu was heard telling Mr Lubinda to “get out” at which point the leader of the opposition ordered the UPND parliamentarians to walk out of the House, which they did.

Mr Lubinda later told Parliament that Zambia was steadily moving into a higher step on the governance ladder by seeking to introduce vital constitutional offices in line with the principles of democracy.  He said Part 18, Chapter 252 of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill of 2015, provided for the setting up of the Office of the Public Protector and that having such an office would be indicative of the great strides being made towards making constitutional democracy and the fulfilment of human rights a reality for the Zambian people.

“Some political and social commentators have unfairly presented a caricature of Zambia’s governance record, but on the contrary, there is useful evidence indicating the country has fared a whole lot better than others in Africa and beyond the continent,” said Mr. Lubinda.

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