UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has described the PF MPs conduct in parliament last evening when they opposed a motion urging government to provide bursaries to vulnerable students as shocking.
Mr Hichilema said the UPND MPs presented a non partisan and non contentious motion that sort to offer bursary or loan financial assistance to vulnerable university students who have been accepted and are already in class.
Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini had a tough time controlling High Education Minister Nkandu Luo to avoid personalities and instead give the government’s policy position on the matter but she kept lamenting that the UPND does not recognise President Lungu who appointed her.
But Mr Hichilema has stressed that the motion had nothing to do with whether the UPND recognise the PF government or not as those matters are yet to be determined by the courts of law.
He said the motion was genuinely intended to assist people through provision of affordable education opportunities regardless of political affiliation adding that UPND MPs are on record of supporting progressive motions in the house which have been passed without any acrimony and had expected the PF to reciprocate by supporting progressive motions that benefit the people.
Hichilema said it was appalling for the PF law makers to completely trivialise the debate and narrow it into personal attacks and partisanship.
Prof Nkandu Luo was made to sit by the Speaker on over four occasions as she continued attacking the UPND for refusing to recognise Lungu and extended her attacks to a group of affected UNZA students who were present in the gallery charging that they were fit to be on the streets and markets and not the university.
‘They even organise children from the street because I wouldn’t like to believe that the ones up there are intellectuals, they are supposed to be in the library studying not here,’ Prof Luo said.
At this juncture the Speaker pleaded with Prof Luo to desist from personal attacks and just give the government’s position but Luo continued attacking the UNZA students for coming to witness the debate on the motion and charged that the motion was not brought in good faith.
But Mr Hichilema has expressed sadness that the PF was demeaning citizens that are currently trading on the streets and markets who the PF leadership described as mere hooligans.
The Speaker was forced to ask the government Chief Whip to have a word with Luo so that she addresses the matter at hand and not engage in political attacks.
Luo argued that the debate was political so she was giving political responses but the Speaker told her that issues to do with distribution of resources were political but the Minister should give the government’s policy.
‘Which government are they urging because they refused to seat here when the President came to address parliament,’ Luo lamented.
Luo further hallucinated that the PF had sort to provide education rights to students through the enhanced Bill of Rights but the opposition de-campaigned the referendum and boasted that she will not be told how to run her ministry but will do so according to the brief that President Lungu gave her.
‘I will run my ministry according to the brief that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu gave me and not you to come and tell me what to do,’ Luo said.
Luo further issued threats that civil servants in her ministry will be disciplined for allegedly leaking information on student bursaries to the opposition and said investigations would be commenced by evening of Wednesday.
‘The papers that have been brought to the house are papers meant for the Ministry of Higher Education Bursary Committee, how did they find themselves in this house? I want to send a warning that there will be discipline because confidential information is supposed to be a preserve of the ministry not for somebody to take papers to the opposition to come and do political expediency, from tonight I am instituting investigations to find who leaked the information,’ Luo said.
The motion was rejected after 87 MPs voted against it with 57 voting yes while 1 member abstained.
UPND shocked by PFs vote against motion on provision of student bursaries
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