Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini should accept criticism as an integral part of his public office, former special advisor to UPND president Hakainde Hichilema Edward Mumbi has said.
Mr Mumbi has said that as a public servant, the Speaker of the National Assembly was open to criticism because he was not above the law and was part of the democratic dispensation.
He has said Dr Matibini should stop harassing and intimidating citizens with imprisonment and members of Parliament (MPs) with sanctions because such actions were damaging the credibility and sanctity of the House.
He told the Daily Nation that Zambians had the constitutional right to express their concerns with the manner Dr Matibini was presiding over debates and points of order that were being raised by the opposition MPs.
Mr Mumbi said Dr Matibini had breached Parliamentary Standing Orders by constituting an illegal parliamentary select committee to probe opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) who protested on the floor of the House at the height of demands to release the draft constitution.
“The behavior of Dr Matibini who is the Speaker of the National Assembly is extremely worrying. He has adopted an attitude of intimidating citizens who are criticising his conduct. As a matter of fact, he is in breach of the Parliamentary Standing Orders when he constituted an illegal Parliamentary select committee with the sole purpose of harassing opposition MPs and Mr Hichilema and his All People’s Congress (APC) counterpart Nason Msoni,” Mr Mumbi said.
He said Dr Matibini was not the first and last Speaker of the National Assembly and that it was unfortunate that the House had lost its credibility because of the partisan position of the Speaker.
Mr Mumbi advised that the Speaker was expected to have the highest moral values in his conduct and that intimidating citizens was not the role of Dr Matibini because he was not the Speaker of the PF but of the country.