Attacks on Speaker unwarranted

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:11:34 +0000


THE attack on the Speaker of the National Assembly by Hakainde Hichilema is totally unacceptable.

It is not just the interference but sheer audacity to use base language against an honourable public officer that is shocking

It is certain that the United Party for National Development (UPND) leader has lost political focus and has now resorted to verbally assaulting the Speaker.

The UPND leadership knows that the party is in limbo, hence struggling to remain politically relevant in Zambia’s political space. Probably, that is why its top leader has opted to engage in political propaganda.

The level of uncoordinated approach to addressing real issues that affect our nation exhibits lack of leadership. Is this why UPND MPs pander to politicking?

In a show of utter ignorance of parliamentary procedures, Mr Hichilema makes wild and unsubstantiated disparaging remarks against the Speaker.

He blames Dr. Matibini for allowing the Patriotic Front (PF) members of Parliament sing songs of praise to President Edgar Lungu when he addressed Parliament calling it absurdity and nonsense.

On the other hand, the UPND leader indicates his unhappiness with the manner in which the Speaker has been meting out punishment on opposition members of Parliament.

“We are unhappy with the mediocre leadership of Dr. Matibini in that House. He also likes meting out punishment on opposition MPs, curtailing their freedoms, dishing out punishment like he did to warn MPs for exercising their right not to listen to President Lungu’s empty speech,” he said.

This seems to be the bedrock of Mr Hichilema’s criticism of the Speaker and not allowing the PF MPs to sing praises to President Lungu.

Why should Mr Hichilema resort to vilifying the Speaker? Is the criticism genuine?

It does not need a political scientist to decipher the motive for Mr Hichilema’s criticism of the Speaker particularly at a time such as this when his MPs are under heavy public condemnation for boycotting republican President Edgar Lungu’s state of the nation to Parliament a week ago.

This is nothing but an attempt to drag the Speaker into petty politics so that whatever decision will be passed regarding UPND MPs repeated misconduct can be politicised.

Maligning the Speaker on such a matter is cheap defence mechanism. Is Mr Hichilema guilty over his 52 MPs unacceptable and unparliamentary conduct?

Much as it has dawned on Mr Hichilema that the ploy to politicise attendance of Parliament, mudslinging the Speaker is not the way to go round the issue.

It is needless to remind the UPND leader that calling the Speaker derogatory names will not negative the public condemnation his UPND MPs are subjected to.

It is a fact that UPND MPs did not attend Parliament when they were expected to and that they did this deliberately. It was not by mere coincidence that all, except for the UPND Chilanga member of Parliament Keith Mukata, could be absent from Parliament at the same time.

This was inordinate and must not be condoned. It is conduct that must be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians, and attacks on the Speaker are purely misguided.

We urge the UPND leader Mr Hichilema to take time to acquaint himself with parliamentary procedures so that he appreciates how Parliament operates as opposed to alleging the Speaker of bias in the manner he superintends over the business of the House.


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