Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday walked out Parliament to protest the allocation of K1.5 billion to the First Lady’s office in the 2013 national Budget.
The walk out started soon after United Party for National Development (UPND) Monze MP Jack Mwiimbu rose on a point of order to get clarification whether Government had created the office of the First Lady to justify the allocation of K1.5 billion.
UPND Kalomo MP Request Request Muntanga also wondered why Government could allocate such huge funds when there was no office of the First Lady in existence.
But Vice President Guy Scott told the House in response that the allocation of the funds did not mean Government had created the office of the First Lady in the country.
Dr Scott explained that First Ladies from across several countries were allocated with resources and that the Zambian First Lady was committed to assisting in areas of improving health services.
The MPs were however not impressed. Opposition MPs then started to troop out of the House. The members then assembled in the public foyer where they held a caucus meeting.
Earlier the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) presented a petition to the speaker protesting the same allocation.
Presenting the petition ZDDM president Edwin Sakala and his vice Joshua Kafumbo told Mr Pande who recieved the petition on behalf of the speaker that they were opposed to the allocation because the office was not constitutional and did not therefore deserve to receive subvention directly from the Government.
“Our understanding and that of our membership is that the office of the First Lady does not constitutionally exist hence does not qualify to be allocated such funds as there is no justification to support it hence our August House is wrong to vote for the allocation,” the duo said
They appealed to Mr Pande to lobby the Parliamentarians to revisit the bill and that the office of the First Lady should be formally constitutionalised before funds were allotted to it.
In another development, ZDDM raised concern on the continued stay in office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mutembo Nchito and questioned why Parliament ratified him as they alleged that he had some criminal cases in courts such as K14 billion owed by Zambian Airways where he was a director and shareholder.
In receiving the petition, Mr Pande who was accompanied by MMD Kasenengwa MP Victoria Kalima and UPND Mbabala MP Ephraim Bbelemu, assured the duo that he would deliver it to Dr Matibini saying they had raised issues of national importance.