MPs Parley protest rages on

The protest by opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) demanding for the immediate release of the draft constitution and a legislative framework that would insulate the process from manipulation yesterday entered day three with the law makers refusing to debate any other subject apart from the constitution.

Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini had to prematurely adjourn the session for the third time and warned the MPs that they risk losing their sitting allowances if they continued with what has become a silent protest in the House.

After the MPs continued with their muted protest in the House by refusing to debate, Dr Matibini had no choice but to adjourn the session just an hour after commencement as opposition MPs solemnly refused to ask questions.

Some opposition MPs staged a walk out of parliament demonstration and Dr Matibini was loudly heard complaining: “I am confused.”

The MPs repeated their Tuesday muted protest and all the questions that were listed to be asked by opposition lawmakers lapsed as the legislators refused to take part in the business of the House.

Agriculture Minister Bob Sichinga was completely ignored as he presented his ministerial statement in which he discussed pigs in Southern Province but not a single MP asked him a question.

At the start of the business of the House, Dr Matibini threatened that he was going to withdraw the sitting allowances from MPs who absconded parliamentary business.

Dr Matibini complained that the House was forced to adjourn prematurely because the MPs who were supposed to ask questions were absent resulting in the lapsing of all but one question.

Dr Matibini warned that MPs who would not be attending sittings would not be paid their sitting allowances apart from being subjected to disciplinary sanctions..

“It is unjust enrichment for MPs to receive sitting allowances when they do not take part in deliberations. Sitting allowances are paid to MPs at great cost to tax payers but I am aware that the problem has been caused by the demand for a new constitution,” Dr Matibini said.

Choma Central MP Cornelius Mweetwa on a point of order sharply differed with Dr Matibini for insinuating that the law makers were more interested in allowances than representing the people. Mweetwa also wondered whether Vice-President Guy Scott was in order to attack opposition MPs claiming that they (MPs) were ‘monkeying’.