We are sorry, UPND MPs

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 09:21:39 +0000


By Oscar Malipenga

THE United Party for National Development (UPND) should demonstrate their remorse for boycotting the official opening of the National Assembly by President Edgar Lungu by accepting defeat and recognizing the head of State as the legitimately elected President, Kennedy Kamba has said.

Mr Kamba has also challenged the UPND Parliamentarians to clearly state whether they will rescind their decision to boycott State functions where President Lungu would be expected to officiate in future.

All 54 UPND Members of Parliament have unreservedly apologized to President Edgar Lungu and to the National Assembly for having shown disrespect to the Head of State by boycotting the official opening of the House on September 30, 2016.

Mr Kamba said Zambians would also be waiting to hear from Mr Hichilema if he would adopt the apology of his MPs in Parliament to President Lungu and begin to recognize the head of State as having won the last general elections by more than 50 percent of the votes cast.

“For the PF to accept the apology of the UPND MPs to President Lungu, it is our expectation that the opposition lawmakers should now stop disrespecting the head of State and recognize him as legitimately elected. We would also want to hear from Mr Hichilema who is currently in court challenging the election of President Lungu if he is going to adopt the apology of his MPs and accept defeat,” Mr Kamba said.

Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini yesterday strongly admonished the UPND parliamentarians for boycotting the event and ordered the MPs to unreservedly apologize to the House and President Lungu because their action was in breach of the Parliamentary Standing Orders 151.

Rendering the apology on behalf of the 54 other members, UPND Chief Whip and Mazabuka Central MP Garry Nkombo said in future the UPND lawmakers would never breach the rules and proceedings of the House.

Mr Nkombo, however, said that the UPND would seek judicial review over the matter through the courts of law.

“I, Garry Nkombo, Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central, on behalf of honourable colleagues who boycotted the seating of the State of the Nation address by His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu dated September 30, 2016, which action I was a prime mover, so I die with them,” Mr Nkombo said.

Dr. Matibini was making a ruling on the complaint raised by Patriotic Front (PF) Chief Whip Richard Musukwa and Mr Emmanuel Chilekwa, a private citizen, against the 58 UPND Members of Parliament for boycotting the official opening of the First Session of the 12th Parliament.

“While boycotts are permissible, the official opening of Parliament is a solemn and auspicious occasion which all members are expected to attend and be at their best behaviour. And therefore, the absence of the 54 UPND members was not only a breach of the decorum of the House, but also disrespectful to the President,” Dr Matibini said.

The Speaker also clarified that only 54 MPs boycotted Parliament, adding that four of them had obtained permission to stay away.

Dr. Matibini said the decision to boycott the President’s address did not only disrespect the President, but also demeaned the dignity and decorum of the House.

He stated that the House was extremely displeased with the conduct of the UPND MPs on September 30, 2016, of boycotting the official opening of the National Assembly.

“You are aware that the official opening of Parliament and, indeed, any other address by the Head of State to the House is an important and solemn occasion. I am alive to the fact that I have ruled before that walkouts or boycotts are a permissible means of members exercising their freedom of expression.

“The occasion, thus, calls for Members of Parliament to not only be in attendance, but also behave with utmost dignity and decorum throughout the proceedings,’’ Dr Matibini said.


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