Opposition MPs unmoved, paralyse Parliament again

Opposition Members of Parliament yesterday forced parliament to adjourn prematurely in protest against the Patriotic Front governments’ failure to release the final Draft Constitution.

Parliament prematurely adjourned barely 30 minutes after sitting after the uncompromising opposition MPs who are demanding for a people driven constitution, protested by letting all the questions on the floor of the house lapse without asking question.

MPs who were supposed to ask questions as per Order Paper for yesterday walked out and shunned parliament leaving out only Chipili PF member of parliament Davies Mwila to ask a question which was answered by Vice President Guy Scott.

The MPs have vowed not to discuss any substantive issue until a clear road map for the constitution was presented to parliament.

The drama started when Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Patrick Matibini entered the house in the usual fashion and called the House to Order, 20 questions were supposed to be responded to but 19 lapsed leaving only a question by PF MP for Chipili.

The Speaker was then forced to adjourn the House.

Soon after, the MPs were seen driving to Kapingila House where another caucus meeting with other stakeholders was expected to be held on the constitution making process.

Outside parliament groups of paramilitary police officers in riot gear were deployed, in anticipation of a clash between PF and other opposition cadres.

But Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) general secretary Reverend Suzan Matale has condemned the presence of armed police officers at parliament, as intimidation.

She said that there was no reason why the PF should deploy police at parliament, “there is no need for the deployment of police at parliament. The action is meant to intimidate MPs and Zambians.”

When it was clear that there was no further business to be transacted in the House, Dr. Matibini invited Dr. Scott who later adjourned the house.

Earlier Dr. Matibini informed the House that following the protests that took place last week which disrupted parliamentary proceedings, it was mutually agreed that the constitution issue would be addressed.

Dr. Matibini said that all concerned parties had agreed to resolve the matter following the protest in order to restore order and sanity in the House.

At this point Dr. Matibini informed the House that Mazabuka MP had given notice to Parliament to move a Private members Bill which would compel the Executive to tell the nation the Road Map for the constitution making process, which has since been set for Friday.“I wish to inform the House that the meeting was successful and it has been agreed that the motion be deferred to Friday. I also have an announcement to make, I wish to inform the House that I have been requested by Mazabuka Member of Parliament Garry Nkombo to move a private members’ motion. The motion is that this house should urge government to provide a road map on the constitution making process and to enact a law that would protect the content and the final product of the constitution,” said Dr. Matibini.