MPs complain of Speaker bias

Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini was yesterday taken to task by Members of Parliament forcing him to summon the Parliamentary Privileges Committee to deal with the matter of biasness after MPs accused him of being biased towards the executive.

Ikeleng’i MMD Member of Parliament Elijah Muchima stood on a point of order when he wanted to know if the House was in order to practise double standards in the manner it was conducting itself.

This was after Home Affairs deputy minister Stephan Kampyongo commented on matters that were before court when he was responding to a question from Cheembe Member of Parliament Mwansa Mbulakulima who wanted to know why the PF was tolerating violence.

“Mr. Speaker yesterday in your ruling you indicated to the house that matters before courts of law you decline to comment and  today this has been repeated by Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Speaker I seek your serious clearance because I stood on a point of order the other week following a witness who testified before one of your committees (PAC) on a matter that was before the courts of law and in your ruling you said that you will give me some time to go and clarify the matter . Mr. Speaker you are practicing different or double standards on matters that affect the nation, I seek your serious ruling on this matter, “said Muchima.

Dr. Matibini in his response said that he was quite at a loss as he did not understand the issue that was being raised.

The speaker said that these were two different scenarios where MP for Cheembe had asked a question regarding specific incidences saying  that  the matters that Mbulakulima  had raised were seeking guidance and that the Minister had been quick indicating that some of the matters were before the courts of law.

He said that they were not in parliament to debate the cases that were before the courts of law and he would not permit the house to do so because it simply indicates and demean the status quo, “just like I cannot dwell on the exclusive recognisance on a matter that is before the Supreme Court that I can’t. There is no inconsistency, there are no double standards and there will be no double standards ever at all, before inviting Cheembe Member of Parliament to continue in debate.

But before Mbulakulima could continue with debate MMD Chadiza Member of Parliament Allan Mbewe rose on another point of order accusing the Speaker of playing double standards and being biased in his rulings.

Mbewe wanted to know whether the Speaker was in order to rule that some matters can be discussed and others not in parliament on the basis that both matters were before the courts of law, “the way you have said, I refer to Rupiah Banda matter we resolved issues here and I quote you saying that those are different matters when they were in court. Mr. Speaker are you in order, is the house in order Mr. Speaker, I withdraw are you in order and replace it with is the House in order to prevail two different standards which are now failing to be reconciled here in the house?” asked Mbewe.

Dr. Matibini responded by referring the matter to the privileges committee to deal with it saying, “My ruling I am referring this matter to the privileges committee. The point of order it is in light of the ruling I made yesterday and your point of order that is what I want the privileges committee to deal with.”

Lawmakers have expressed dissatisfaction in the manner Dr. Matibini has been handling parliamentary business where they have even openly accused him of being biased towards the PF administration.