Visiting Presidents to start addressing Parley

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 09:45:26 +0000


By Oscar Malipenga

FOREIGN heads of state may in future address Parliament if proposals to amend Standing Orders to enable the Speaker to allow foreign visiting dignitaries to address the House are approved.

The revised Standing Orders would also allow for the creation of a procedure to have the President attend and address the National Assembly at least twice a year.

The revised Standing Orders will also allow the 30-minute Question Time by the Vice-President to be extended to 45 minutes in order to allow more members to ask questions.

Moving a notice of motion to have the proposed amendment approved, Government Chief Whip Richard Musukwa said the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Orders were last revised in 2005.

Mr Musukwa said it was evident that with the passage of time and technological advancements, procedures had evolved and therefore it was necessary to align the Standing Orders with the current trends in order to modernize the work of the House.

“The Standing Orders have been amended by, firstly, increasing the number of portfolio and general purposes committee from the current 15 to 19 in accordance with Article 80 of the Constitution. It is envisaged that the increase in the number of committees will lead to strengthened performance of the assembly’s oversight functions,” Mr Musukwa said.

He also announced that amendment had allowed the establishment of a new committee called House Business Committee which would be responsible for, among other functions, determining the business to be considered by the House during each meeting.

But Roan Patriotic Front Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili suggested that the Vice President’s proposed 45 minutes Question Time was not inadequate and proposed that it be increased to one hour.

Mr Kambwili also appealed to the mover of the motion to consider in the amendments to allow MPs to ask follow-up questions during the Vice President’s Question Time.

He observed that allowing members to ask only one question deprived them an opportunity to ask follow-up questions arising from the answers provided by the Vice-President.


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