Speaker abrogating constitutional authority

Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has been accused of deliberately failing to enforce the Constitutional duty of the National Assembly to call the Executive to account for the billions of Kwacha on the constitution making process that has collapsed.

Two civil rights activists have charged that the opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) currently boycotting parliamentary proceedings in the House have the constitutional right to demand for an explanation from Government on how public funds have been wasted on a process that has stalled.

Zambian Voice executive director Chilufya Tayali said according to Article 51 of the Constitution of Zambia, Cabinet and deputy ministers shall be collectively be accountable to the National Assembly and wondered how the Speaker could state otherwise.

“The Speaker, Dr Matibini is the Head of the House and if he cannot compel the members to deliberate and make laws on behalf of the Zambian people, then he is certainly and deliberately abrogating his constitutional authority. Why is he there if he has no control over what is deliberated by the members of the House?” Tayali wondered.

Tayali charged that the Speaker’s threats against opposition MPs that they risk losing their sitting allowances was ironical because it was clear that Dr Matibini was forcing the lawmakers to proceed in a particular manner.

Tayali explained that Dr Matibini was out of order by insinuating that the MPs were more interested in allowances than the constitution and the general state of the country when they were championing a national cause supported by the church, the civil society organisations and the general citizenry.

He said for the first time in the history of the country, Zambians had witnessed a chaotic Parliament because the Speaker of the National Assembly had failed to manage MPs only for partisan affiliation.

Tayali explained that the PF government would have to take full responsibility for having destroyed institutions of good governance such as Parliament and the Judiciary.  He said the constitutional impasse had been caused by President Sata with his careless statements that Zambians did not need a new constitution because the current document was still functional..

He said Vice president Dr Guy Scott has completely failed to advise the Head of State on how to handle the new constitution making process as was envisaged in the PF manifesto.

“Now the Vice President and Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba are accusing the opposition MPs of fraud that they are failing to represent the people when it is them (PF) who have failed to deliver on all their promises to the Zambians.  They (PF) were given the mandate to govern but they have failed to deliver on a new constitution which the opposition has now taken up in parliament as the people’s representatives,” he charged.

Yesterday, Dr Matibini was for the third time forced to adjourn business in Parliament after the opposition MPs maintained their stance not to participate in any other debate unless it was related to the new Constitution.

And former UPND Siavonga MP Douglas Siyakalima has charged that President Sata should adhere to the wishes of the people if he wanted the opposition MPs to attend to business in the House,

Syakalima said the move by the opposition MPs to paralyze the business in the house was with the blessings of the people of Zambia whose interest was to have the constitution that would stand the test of time.

Syakalima said Dr Patrick had the powers to maintain the dignity of the House because his current open sympathy for the ruling party had completely raped the sanctity of the National Assembly.

He said it was unfortunate that the Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba was blaming the opposition for his government failure to complete the constitution making process.