Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini has been asked to resign for failing to protect opposition Members of Parliament who demanded accountability from the Patriotic Front government which spent K150 billion on the collapsed constitution making process.
Nason Msoni, All People’s Congress (APC) president said the opposition MPs were put in harm’s way, ridiculed and demonised including being denied sitting allowances for taking a principled stance which involved the abuse of huge sums of money by government.
He said it was unprecedented in the history of parliaments in the Commonwealth for a sitting Speaker to attempt to resolve a national crisis of that magnitude by using a whipping stick as a means of diverting and resolving the self-sparked constitutional crisis brought about by his partisan stance of refusing to allow members of the opposition to debate the motion.
“We think that the debate should now shift and focus on the manner with which the Speaker has handled the matter and for the Zambian people to decide whether he has adjudicated fairly.
“For all intents and purposes the Zambian Speaker has not performed to acceptable standards and must resign forthwith.
“You cannot hold respectable Members of Parliament hostage by withholding petty allowances and payments and making thinly veiled threats as a means of side-tracking their principled position on the most important national assignment, the constitutional making process,” he said.
He said MPs were the legitimate representatives of the people and the total sum of the authority that was vested in the Republic and given the legislative powers to enact laws of the land and must therefore be respected.
“We therefore find his continued partisan behaviour incompatible with the most coveted office of Speaker of the Zambian parliament. He must ask himself whether he is fit to continue in that position,” he said.
He said the tragedy of the nation currently was to have a vision less President leading the executive on-one-hand and a partisan Speaker on the other hand leading parliament.
Meanwhile Msoni said the careless and senseless utterances by Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba on the constitutional making process were not helpful but provocative and should be dismissed as self-serving. The APC leader said the Zambian public was extremely disappointed by the behaviour of their Justice Minister who for all intent and purposes should be in the forefront championing the constitutional making process as opposed to being found among a few bad elements who have assumed the role of grave diggers of the draft constitution.
He said his party was shocked by the assertion that it was the opposition Members of Parliament who were delaying the constitution making process when in actual fact he should be taking the blame and responsibility for sparking the current protest in parliament.
Msoni said Kabimba mishandled the presentation of the Ministerial statement on the constitutional making process and sparked the protest.
“The protest happened immediately after his poor showing and justification of the delayed process. We counsel the Justice Minister to learn the simple art of keeping quiet on matters that he appears to be at sea instead of making himself look less intelligent.
“He is clearly on the wrong side of history and posterity will certainly judge both President Michael Sata and Kabimba harshly as people who tried and attempted to sabotage a legitimate people-driven process for their own selfish-individual political ambition,” he said.
Msoni reiterated the earlier call for this government to put back the process on track by saying that playing the blame game in the circumstances would certainly not erase the need for the government to do the decent thing.