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Don’t talk about the ‘defenceless’, MPs told

MATIBINI

STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini on Tuesday guided members of Parliament against talking about people or other entities, saying doing so disadvantages them in society as they cannot defend themselves in the House.
Dr Matibini’s sentiments came in the wake of a concern by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Given Lubinda over Mpongwe MP Gabriel Namulambe’s (PF) statement that a named company is importing unhealthy fish.
Mr Lubinda said: “Sir I regret the mention of a particular business enterprise in the manner in which they have been mentioned. That has an effect on their business.”
Mr Lubinda said it is not fair to state that a particular importer is importing non-wholesome fish.
“If indeed there is evidence to that, I would like to suggest to my colleague [Mr Namulambe]that he brings this to the attention of relevant authorities and not use Parliament to campaign against any particular importer of commodities,” he said.
The Speaker then chipped in and said: “Before I allow further questions, I just want to provide some guidance. The point that has been made by the minister of Agriculture is very fundamental. Procedurally and legally, as you know, our proceedings are privileged. So when we make these statements right or wrong, they put other members of society at a disadvantage.”
Dr Matibini said persons or entities outside Parliament have no recourse.
“It is a matter that we should always approach with utmost circumspection. If there is something badly wrong as has been suggested, we also have agencies which we have established ourselves and are responsible for carrying out investigations so that people are given a very fair opportunity to state their position and possibly defend themselves,” he said.
Dr Matibini said even when discussing characters, MPs must be cautious because they (MPs) enjoy privileges which they must exercise fairly.

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