K1.5 b for Sata’s wife: MPs Walk out parliament

Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) today walked out of the House to the surprise of ruling Patriotic Front (PF) members in protest over the allocation of K1.5 billion to president Michael Sata’s wife  in 2013 national Budget.

But the following traitors, in addition to MMD MPs serving in the PF regime,  remained in the house: MMD Keembe MP Ronnie Shikapwasha, MMD Chipangali MP Vincent Mwale, MMD Mpongwe MP Gabriel Namulambe and Kasenengwa MP Victoria Kalima.

This happened when United Party for National Development (UPND) Monze MP Jack Mwiimbu rose on a point of order to get clarification whether Government had created office of the First Lady in view of K1.5 billion allocation.

UPND Kalomo MP Request Request Muntanga also wondered why Government could allocate such huge funds when there was no office of the First Lady in existence.

But Vice President Guy Scott told the House in response that the allocation of the funds did not mean Government had created the office of the First Lady in the country.

Dr Scott explained that First Ladies from across several countries were allocated with resources and that the Zambian First Lady was committed to assisting in areas of improving health services.

“First Ladies are supported in many countries and there is no office what we have is Cabinet office,” Dr Scott said

It was at this point that the opposition MPs stood up and walked out of the House leaving MMD appointed Deputy Ministers with PF members.

“Why walking out…they should be around in the House and listen to their questions,”Dr Scott said

The walk out of the MPs however, never interrupted business in the House as deliberations conducted by Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini went on smoothly.

The opposition MPs assembled at the Parliament building public foyer where they held a caucus meeting.

When contacted for a comment, MMD Chief Whip who is also party Nalikwanda MP Geoffrey Lungwangwa said they would call for a press briefing within the course of the day to issue a comprehensive statement.

But speaking in an exclusive interview, Dr Scott wondered why the MPs could abruptly walk out instead of listening to their favourite questions.

“Why walking out…they should be around in the House and listen to their questions,”Dr Scott said

The MPs after a long stay outside, however started trooping inside the House one by one after the mid-morning tea break

Meanwhile, the Zambia Direct Democraacy Movement (ZDDM) today presented a petition to Dr Matibini in protest of allocation of the
K1.5 billion to the First Lady.

Presenting the petition signed by ZDDM president Edwin Sakala and his vice Joshua Kafumbo to Mr Pande at the entrance of the main gate to
Parliament, the duo stated that the office of the First Lady never constitutionally existed.

“Our understanding and that of our membership is that the office of the First Lady does not constitutionally exist hence does not qualify to be allocated such funds as there is no justification to support it hence our Hon August House is in the wrong to vote for the allocation,” the duo said

They appealed to Mr Pande to lobby the Parliamentarians to revisit the bill and that the office of the First Lady should be formally constitutionalised before funds were allotted to it.

In another development, ZDDM raised concerned on continued stay in office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mutembo Nchito and why Parliament ratified him as they alleged that he had some criminal cases in courts such as K14 billion owed to then Zambian Airways where he was a director.

In receiving the petition, Mr Pande who was accompanied by MMD Kasenengwa MP Victoria Kalima and UPND Mbabala MP Ephraim Bbelemu, assured the duo that he would deliver it to Dr Matibini saying they had raised issues of national matter

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