Moral integrity

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 10:11:56 +0000


it is morally reprehensible and unethical for any leader to expose his charges to harm in order to gain vain and dubious political acclaim.

We say so because something is not adding up in the UPND boycott of President Edgar Lungu’s state of nation address.

There is no doubt that all the UPND Members of Parliament who boycotted President Edgar Lungu’s Nation of State address to the House were fully aware that they were in breach of parliamentary procedures and privileges and that dire retribution would follow.

The speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Patrick Matibini had promised as much in their previous boycott.

Fully aware of the repercussion why then did the UPND members proceed with their boycott? At face value Party Spokesman Charles Kakoma, explained that members voluntarily chose this course of action after a caucus.

This explanation is quickly unraveling.

New developments show that the MPs did not voluntarily choose to boycott the session they were coerced into doing so, while some of their leaders took precautionary measures to seek permission to stay away using one pretext or another.

We have in our possession sick notes proffered by some of the MPs, suggesting that the MPs did not agree to sacrifice their careers on the altar of political expedience dictated by their selfish leaders whose egos and personal ambition surpass their wisdom.

Those sick notes are a plaintive cry from individuals who are afraid of their leaders, afraid to lose favor and afraid to oppose the wrong intentions of their leaders.

It is clear that most of the MPs were forced to stay away on account of party discipline rather than from a principled political conviction. They were pressured into submission to avoid incurring the wrath of the leadership on whose tickets they stood.

The hypocrisy of the leadership is astounding.

Some of the leaders behind the boycott have attempted to obtained seemingly legitimate excuses including funerals to stay away from the House, leaving other hapless members open to the harsh retribution the speaker is bound to mete.

In essence the boycott represents the worst form of oppression and dictatorship in the UPND. It shows an utter lack of intraparty democracy and discourse.

It is our considered opinion that architects of the ill-fated boycott of the President’s State of the Nation Address must be dealt with in the severest terms possible.

It will be most unfair to stop the investigation at the Members of Parliament who obviously acquiesced and succumbed to pressure, it must go to the root cause, those who masterminded the entire exercise. Any investigation should not stop at the individual MP, but rather to determine to the extent to which they were made to break the law.

There is no doubt that left to their own devices members of Parliament would not have entertained the boycott considering that they were already on a very short leash with the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Matibini who previously had not only reprimanded them but also ordered them to stand behind the bar and apologise to the house for their behavior.

He had warned that in future, he would mete out severe punishment on anyone who stayed away from Parliament without permission from his office or that of the Chief Whip. He said the Presidential address to the National Assembly was a solemn and important occasion that demanded that MPs were at their best behavior.

It is instructive that four UPND MPs, namely Jack Mwiimbu, Garry Nkombo, Ambrose Lufuma and Douglas Siakalima were not among those who were reprimanded for staying away  because they had offered excuses.

Garry Nkombo, who at the time offered an apology on behalf of the 54 MPs, admitted that boycotting the President’s address was a breach of Parliament privileges and procedures and promised that the UPND MPs would in future abide by the rules and procedures of the House.

Failure to attend the session was an abrogation of the constitution and therefore worthy of very serious investigation, not just by the house but by other security institutions.

Those who have no regard for laws, have no regard for the peace and tranquility that this country has enjoyed. They are a threat to the country.


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