Opposition MPs today (Wednesday) sat in parliament but refused to debate except on the issues relating to the new constitution.
And Speaker Patrick Matibini has announced that MPs who intentionally miss parliamentary business would not be receiving their sitting allowances.
Speaker of the House Patrick Matibini had no choice but to adjourn the house just after an hour as opposition MPs refused to ask questions. Some walked out of parliament prompting Speaker to say ‘am confused.’
All the questions that were listed to be asked by opposition MPs lapsed (could not be asked) as the MPs refused to take part or were outside the chamber when their names were called.
MPs ignored a ministerial statement presented by Agriculture Minister Bob Sichinga who talked about pigs in southern Province. No one asked him any question but when PF MPs shouted the name of Mazabuka MP Garry Nkombo to say something, he said he had nothing to say.
Earlier, Speaker Matibini announced the withdrawal of payments from MPs who abscond from parliamentary business.
Matibini announced to MPs that on Tuesday the House adjourned prematurely because MPs who were supposed to ask questions were absent and as a result, all questions except one lapsed.
Matibini said his office did not receive any prior notice of absence except from MP Katuka.
Matibini said he checked and verified that MPs had earlier registered but left immediately.
He said this showed that MPs intentionally wanted to disrupt the business of the house.
Matibini said the behaviour of the opposition MPs is contrary to rules of the House.
He therefore said that from now onward MPs who do not attend sittings would not be paid sitting allowances and would also be subjected to disciplinary measures.
Matibini said it would amount to unjust enrichment for MPs to receive sitting allowances when they do not take part in deliberations. He said sitting allowances are paid to MPs at great cost to tax payers.
But Matibini admitted that the problem was caused by the demand for a new constitution.
But Choma MP Cornelius Mweetwa rising on a point of order wondered why the PF wants to create the impression that opposition MPs only go to parliament to receive sitting allowances. Mweetwa also asked Matibini to rule if vice president Guy Scott was in order to say opposition MPs were ‘monkeying’.
He said the term monkeying was racist and derogatory. He also asked Matibini to rule whether justice minister Wynter Kabimba was in order to say that opposition MPs were fraudsters.
Mweetwa explained to the speaker that the opposition MPs’s behaviour in parliament was propelled by views from the members of the public who are now demanding a new constitution.
Mweetwa said the role of MPs is primarily to make laws and that as such they were not offside to push for a new good law especially that members of the public can not be allowed inside parliament. He said a lot of money has been already wasted on the process to enact a constitution.
But as expected Speaker Matibini said his role is to administer the current law. He said ‘I do not have the constitution to give you and I have no power to initiate the making of a new constitution.
He said he would have to verify on the issue of Scott calling opposition MPs monkeys and the statement by Kabimba that the same MPs are fraudsters.
But when Matibini tried to make the house debate, opposition MPs refused to cooperate forcing Matibini to adjourn.