By TEDDY KUYELA
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has warned United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema to desist from inciting his Members of Parliament (MPs) to disrupt parliamentary proceedings or risk being prosecuted and convicted of criminal offences.
Dr Matibini said it was contempt of the House for Mr Hichilema to incite his MPs to disrupt the proceedings in the House in the last sitting when they continuously demanded for the release of the final draft constitution.
He said this yesterday when he made a ruling on a point of order raised by the then Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Harry Kalaba who wanted to know whether Mr Hichilema was in order to incite his MPs to disrupt proceedings over the release of the final draft constitution.
In his ruling, Dr Matibini said Mr Hichilema committed contempt of the House because his action impaired and impeded the independence of the UPND MPs in the execution of their parliamentary duties and that his action can attract an imprisonment of two years.
â€œDuring the gross disorderly conduct of the opposition members in the House on Thursday February 27, 2014, the House will recall that I invoked my powers under Standing Order 70 on naming a member whose conduct is grossly disorderly, and consequently ordered opposition members whose conduct was grossly disorderly to withdraw from the House.
â€œThe disorderly members defiantly refused to obey my lawful order. By disobeying my lawful order, the opposition members breached several provisions of the law. First, sections 19 (c) and (d) of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia,â€ he said.
Dr Matibini said the Powers and Privileges Act states that any person who causes an obstruction or disturbance within the precincts of the assembly chamber during sittings of the National Assembly or a committee or shows disrespect in speech or manner towards the Speaker shall be guilty of an offence.
He said by disobeying his lawful order, the opposition MPs committed a criminal offence under section 127 of the Penal Code Act, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
He warned Mr Hichilema, other leaders of political parties and the general public to desist from commenting on parliamentary proceedings or risk committing contempt of the House which will make them liable to prosecution and conviction of criminal offences.
Meanwhile, Dr Matibini has warned MPs to desist from offensive, provocative or threatening language in the House.
He said uttering insults and obscenities against another member is not only irresponsible and intolerable, but also undermines the dignity and respect of the House.
Dr Matibini said this when he delivered a ruling on a point of order raised by Chembe MP Mwansa Mbulakulima (MMD) in the last sittings who wanted to know whether some female PF MPs were in order to threaten that they would jump on Kalomo MP Request Muntanga (UPND), shit and urinate on him and making all sorts of comments when the parliamentary radio was live to the public.
He said the comments made by some female PF MPs were unacceptable and that if not unbridled would erode the public respect and confidence in the National Assembly.
And Dr Matibini has warned the Post Newspaper against showing disrespect to the Speaker in speech or any other manner.
Dr Matibini said this when he delivered a ruling on a point of order raised by Mr Mbulakulima who wanted to know whether the paper is order to instruct the Speaker to punish unruly MPs in its comment published on March 7, 2014.
By TEDDY KUYELA