CATHERINE MUMBA, Parliament
NAMWALA member of Parliament (MP) Moono Lubezhi (UPND) has conspicuously been missing parliamentary business since her suspension was lifted on
June 26 and all efforts by the National Assembly to trace her have proved futile.
Ms Lubezhi’s phone has been constantly off and the office of the leader of the opposition in the House has equally failed to locate her.
This came to light on Tuesday when First Deputy Speaker of National Assembly Catherine Namugala made a ruling on a point of order raised by Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Jean Kapata on Friday.
In her point of order, Ms Kapata asked for the Speaker’s ruling on whether Ms Lubezhi and leader of the opposition, who is also Monze MP Jack Mwiimbu (UPND), were in order to be missing the sittings of the House when they were not among the suspended legislators.
“Is the Namwala MP in order to be missing the sittings of this House when the Speaker lifted her suspension? And is Mr Mwiimbu in order to stay away from the House when he was not suspended at all?” Ms Kapata wondered.
Ms Namugala could not make her ruling that day so that she could investigate why the two members were missing the sittings of the House.
But in her ruling on Tuesday, Ms Namugala said the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly on June 26, 2017 wrote a letter notifying Ms Lubezhi that her suspension had been lifted.
She said the letter also requested Ms Lubezhi to return to the House.
“From that time to date, the Office of the Clerk has made numerous attempts to find the honourable member to check if the letter reached her, but has failed to locate her because her whereabouts are not known,” Ms Namugala said.
She said the office of the leader of the opposition in the House was also engaged to assist in locating Ms Lubezhi but has also failed to locate her.
Ms Namugala said her conclusion was that Ms Lubezhi may not have received the letter lifting her suspension, thereby missing the parliamentary sittings.
Attempts by the Zambia Daily Mail to reach the Namwala law maker also failed as her mobile phone remained switched off.
On Mr Mwiimbu, Ms Namugala ruled that the Monze legislator got permission from government Chief Whip Richard Musukwa to stay away from the sittings of the House from June 14 to July 7, 2017.