STEVEN MVULA, Parliament
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has lifted the suspension of United Party for National
Development (UPND) member of Parliament (MP) Rasford Bulaya after establishing that the lawmaker did not boycott President Lungu’s state of the nation address to Parliament.
This brings to two the number of MPs that have escaped the one-month suspension slapped on UPND parliamentarians. The speaker had initially suspended 48 MPs but he last week withdrew the suspension of Namwala’s Moono Lubezhi because she had been excused.
Dr Matibini has, however, reprimanded Mr Bulaya, the Mpongwe lawmaker, for being absent without permission.
Making a ruling yesterday, Dr Matibini said Mr Bulaya complained to his office that he was among the 47 suspended MPs when he was attending a court case at Mpongwe Magistrates Court on the material day where he was a witness in a case of “The People versus Gabriel Namulambe”.
Dr Matibini said Mr Bulaya did exculpate himself in response to a charge letter where he explained his absence.
“Unless it is practically impossible, a member must seek prior permission from the Speaker or the chief whip to stay away from the sittings. Review of the records show that Mr Bulaya responded to the charge letter addressed to all UPND MPs to exculpate themselves,” Dr Matibini said.