ALVIN CHIINGA, Parliament
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini yesterday reprimanded 54 United Party for National Development (UPND) members of Parliament (MPs) for boycotting the ceremonial opening of the First Session of the 12th National Assembly by President Lungu.
And UPND whip Gary Nkombo apologised for the conduct of the MPs and assured that they will in future abide by the rules of the House.
In his ruling, Dr Matibini described as undesirable, disrespectful and contemptuous the behaviour of the MPs for boycotting the official opening of the National Assembly on September 30, 2016.
Dr Matibini said the House is extremely displeased with the conduct of the UPND MPs as they are aware that the official opening of Parliament and any other address by the Head of State to the House is an important and solemn occasion.
â€œHonourable members, in considering the punishment to be meted out to the UPND MPs, the Committee took into account that all the members were first offenders. In this regard, the Committee exercised leniency and resolved that the 54 MPs be reprimanded in accordance with Section 151 of Standing Orders of the National Assembly 2005 Edition,â€ Dr Matibini said.
He said the occasion that the MPs boycotted does not only call for them to attend but also to behave with utmost dignity and decorum throughout the proceedings.
Dr Matibini said the boycott by the UPND MPs did not only show disrespect to the President but also demeaned the dignity and decorum to the House.
He added that such conduct is unacceptable and unbefitting to the status of MPs.
Dr Matibini guided the MPs to always abide by the rules of the House and desist from such misconduct in future.READ MORE
He further warned the MPs that a repetition of such conduct in future will not be condoned and would be met with stiffer penalty.
Dr Matibini informed the House shortly after the adoption of a report of the Standing Orders Committee that he had a ruling to make over complaints raised by Government Chief Whip Richard Musukwa and Mr Emmanuel Chilekwa over the conduct of UPND MPs on September 30, 2016 during the official opening of the First Session of the 12th National Assembly.
â€œHonourable members,Â I have a ruling to render. the ruling relates to two complaints lodged against the 58 UPND MPs for boycotting the official opening of the First Session of the 12thÂ Parliament. I wish to point out from the outset that the UPND MPs who absented themselves on September 30, 2016 are 54 and not 58,â€ he said.
He said that the number reduced from 58 to 54 because four UPND MPs, namely Monze Central MP Jack Mwiimbu, Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central), Kabompo West MP Ambrose Lufuma and Chirundu MP Douglas Siakalima could officially not attend the sitting.
And Mr Nkombo rendered his apology amid cheers from PF MPs.
Mr Nkombo said the MPs had reflected on their action which amounted to a breach of the standing orders of the House adding that in future they would not repeat the action.
Meanwhile, Dr Matibini earlier sent Katombora MP Derrick Livune (UPND) out of the House until February next year when parliament resumes sitting.
This was because of his continued running commentaries when he was rendering the ruling on the UPND MPs.
On September 30, 2016, 54 MPs boycotted the ceremonial opening of Parliament by President Lungu.
Only PF MPs, one from FDD and independents were present.
ALVIN CHIINGA, Parliament