CHIEF government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili has disclosed that it’s not only junior government officials that have not received their November salaries but ministers too.
And Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini refused to rule on Kambwili’s point of order questioning Katombora UPND member of parliament Derrick Livune who, through another point of order, questioned why ministers had allegedly paid themselves November salaries, leaving out junior civil servants.
Meanwhile, a source from one of the civil servants’ unions said all the government workers were as at yesterday still waiting for their November salaries.
While the House was considering questions for oral answers on Tuesday, Livune rose on a point of order to question why civil servants had not been paid their November salaries.
In his immediate ruling, Speaker Matibini asked him to file an urgent question so that he could receive an adequate response.
“My ruling is that file an urgent question,” Speaker Matibini ruled after which he signalled Kasempa MMD member of parliament Kabinga Pande to carry on with a follow-up question on questions for oral answer.
While Pande was on the floor, Kambwili raised a point of order questioning whether Livune was in order to mislead the nation that ministers had paid themselves at the expense of hard-working junior civil servants when they had also not received their salaries, prompting Speaker Matibini to object ruling on the matter.
“My ruling is short; the honourable member for Katombora raised a point of order and I made a ruling and I directed what steps he should take in order to get the exact response from the right [government]. Therefore, it would not be competent in light of that point of order to raise another point of order on the same point of order! So I think let us wait for the right [government] to respond and clarify all these issues that have been raised,” ruled Speaker Matibini.
Earlier in his point of order, Livune said in his time in Parliament and beyond, he had passionately spoken for the workers of Zambia.
“Mr Speaker, civil servants in this country; the teachers, nurses and many of the hard-working people have not yet been paid when their known legal day for salaries has passed. Mr Speaker, is this government, through the Vice-President [Inonge Wina] in order to mistreat our hard workers, civil servants yet Mr Speaker, they [ministers] have paid themselves? Are they [government] in order to mistreat workers of this country, who labour so much? I need your serious ruling, Mr Speaker,” Livune submitted, attracting disapproval from the government bench who shouted, “Which legal? Legal day kwisa. Who told you? Sit down!”
Seemingly not happy with Livune’s challenge, Kambwili later rose on a point of order as Pande was on the floor. “Thank you Mr Speaker for according me this opportunity to rise on a very, very serious point of order which borders on the integrity and etiquette of this House. Mr Speaker, in this House we are reminded according to the provision of Cap 12 of the Laws of Zambia that we must speak the truth and nothing but the truth. Is the honourable member of parliament for Katombora in order to mislead the House and the nation that government ministers have paid themselves before they pay the civil servants; when we have not received our salaries? Is he [Livune] in order to make such a wild and serious allegation? I need your serious ruling why he should not be referred to the committee on privileges. I thank you,” said
Kambwili, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, as the opposition bench jeered him.
Meanwhile, a workers’ union source said the Treasury had assured unions that salaries for civil servants would reflect by mid-morning yesterday.
“But as we speak, our members are from checking with their banks and there is nothing, maybe by the afternoon. Things are not good otherwise, because our members are used to getting paid on time,” said the source.