Chipenzi formerly of the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has often sprung to the defence of UPND causes under the guise of civil society advocacy.
BELOW IS HIS FULL STATEMENT:
REFLECTION ON THE SPEAKER’S RULING ON 48 MPS
Having covered parliament proceedings as reporter for three years, I was surprised to hear the Speaker judge MPs by their political party affiliation.
From the practice, Speaker identifies MPs by their constituencies or members either on the right or left, or back benches and frontbenchers.
In the case at hand, the Speaker judged MPs based on their political affiliation and not on their membership to the National Assembly.
According to the amended National Assembly (Powers immunities and Privileges) Act. No. 13 of 2016 a “member” means any member of the Assembly and includes the Speaker” therefore, when in Parliament, MPs are regarded as members of the National Assembly and not of the sponsoring parties.
This is the principle law as it is defined as “an Act to declare and define certain powers, privileges and immunities of the National Assembly and of the members and officers of such Assembly; to
secure freedom of speech in the National Assembly; to regulate admittance to the precincts of the National Assembly; to give protection to the persons employed in the publication of the reports and other papers of the National Assembly; and to provide for matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.”
To this end, for the Speaker to categorise the erring MPs based on the party affiliations seems to have gone against the principle act which does not demand that MPs will be disciplined based on party positions and rather than on the breakage of the laws governing parliament.
Under this Act, recognition of the President or boycott of the presidential address are neither offences nor crimes punishable under the law.
I wish to learn something from the gurus why for the first time, Members of the National Assembly were charged for their party decision and not by abrogating the laws of parliament as members of the National Assembly. Why was the Speaker so emphatic on the party affiliation and not on crimes and offences committed under the rules of parliament?