SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has ruled that Monze Central member of Parliament (MP) Jack Mwiimbu (UPND) was out of order, disrespectful, discourteous and breached parliamentary etiquette by walking out of the House before he (Speaker) made a ruling on the MP’s point of order last week.
Dr Matibini said Mr Mwiimbu’s conduct of walking out of the House after raising a point of order before he responded to it was utterly disrespectful and discourteous conduct not only to his office, but also to the entire House.
The Speaker’s ruling follows a point of order raised by Minister of Local Government and Housing Stephen Kampyongo last week.
Mr Kampyongo wanted to know whether Mr Mwiimbu and UPND MPs were in order to storm out of Parliament before he delivered a ruling on a point of order on alleged attacks on the United Party for National Development (UPND) offices in Kitwe by suspected Patriotic Front (PF) cadres.
But Dr Matibini said Mr Mwiimbu’s decision to leave the House was also not expected of not only a senior MP and Counsel, but also a member of the Committee of Privileges, Absences and Support Services charged with the responsibility of maintaining the discipline and decorum of the House.
Dr Matibini said Mr Mwiimbu contravened Rule number 14 of the National Assembly Members’ Handbook Chapter 5, which states that members should not leave the House immediately after delivering their speeches.
“Failure to do so is a total display of a discourteous behaviour on the part of the member not only to my office, but also to the House as a whole.
“This conduct also amounts to breach of the Parliamentary etiquette. Let me hasten to point out from the outset that while it is conventional for members to walk out of the Chamber for political or other reasons, this practice nevertheless has the unfortunate tendency of denying the electorate their representation in the House,” he said.
He said as MPs are aware that the House is currently engaged in and in the midst of passing the 2016 National Budget, it is, therefore, unfortunate for Mr Mwiimbu and UPND MPs to absent themselves from the House when serious issues that have a serious bearing on the lives of citizens they represent are being considered.
Dr Matibini said MPs should know that they owe it to their constituents, who have elected them, to always attend to the business of the House and contribute actively and constructively.
He said Parliamentary etiquette and decorum demand that MPs behave in a manner which is befitting of their status in society.
Dr Matibini said MPs are expected to carry out their representative functions in a respectful, courteous, honourable and orderly manner.
He said the rules and decorum are not only contained in the National Assembly Members’ Handbook, but are also from time to time promulgated through rulings by the presiding officers.
“Your conduct of leaving the House immediately after you raised your point of order was extremely disrespectful not only to my office, and the House, but also to the people you represent. It is, therefore, my earnest appeal that you will not repeat such conduct and that henceforth you will carry yourself with dignity expected of you as an MP,” Dr Matibini said.
He also directed the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly to take note of any such MPs who are in the habit of merely registering their names purporting to be present, and yet abscond from the House so that appropriate action can be taken without further notice or recourse to such erring MPs.
Meanwhile, Mr Kampyongo has warned that Government will not take kindly to some Zambian contractors who are abandoning projects after being paid down payment.
Mr Kampyongo said it is sad that some Zambian contractors are failing the government by not adhering to contractual obligations.
He said such contractors risk being de-registered or blacklisted because Government wants to ensure that all the projects are executed on time.
The minister said this in Parliament in response to a question by Kasempa MP Kabinga Pande (MMD), who wanted to know what action Government has taken against the contractor who abandoned the project of rehabilitating the Kelongwa-Nyoka-Kalulushi road in Kasempa.