The opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) who staged a protest in the National Assembly chambers demanding for the immediate release of the final draft constitution breached the Parliamentary rules, Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has warned.
He said yesterday in Parliament that the MPs were gravely contemptuous to the House and could be jailed
Dr Matibini has warned of stern sanctions against the MPs if they engaged in another disorderly conduct with the sole purpose of disrupting proceedings of the House.
He said he witnessed with shock the opposition MPs who were in the parliamentary select committee actively and covertly involved in the disorderly conduct which negated the noble duty of the House.
The Speaker in his ruling over the protests by opposition MPs on the floor of the House at the height of the demands for the release of the draft constitution said the legislatures had rendered their role of assisting him obsolete.
Dr Matibini particularly cautioned Monze Central MP Jack Mwiimbu, Garry Nkombo of Mazabuka Central and Mafinga’s Catherine Namugala who were members of the Parliamentary select committee that he was going to spell serious punishment against the trio should they repeat their action.
In the last sitting of the National Assembly, opposition MPs demonstrated on the floor of the House demanding the immediate release of the draft constitution forcing the Speaker to prematurely adjourn the proceedings for two consecutive days. Dr Matibini said as Speaker of the National Assembly, he had the mandate to regulate debate in Parliament but the protest by the opposition MPs disrupted the proceedings the act which he said was a criminal offence.
He stated that the MPs were clearly out of order in their conduct and that such grievous conduct should not repeat itself in the House because the MPs risked being jailed.
“The MPs stood in front of me demanding the release of the draft constitution despite the order for them to stop and take their seats so that business in the House could resume, they continued with their disorderly conduct. I was forced to prematurely adjourn the proceedings. When the House resumed the following day and was about to start business, the MPs for the second day made their way towards my maze. I issued several orders but they were ignored defiantly. What the MPs did was that they committed a criminal offence by breaching Parliamentary decorum and they were contemptuous of the House. That was a criminal offence and they could be jailed,” Dr Matibini said.
He said he had ordered the MPs to walk out of the House but that those orders were defiantly ignored as the MPs persistently continued with their demonstration in the House.
“The rules and convention of this House empower me to issue orders for the smooth running business in the House and that it was against Parliamentary decorum for the MPs to adopt an acrimonious attitude in expressing their displeasure. The disobedience of my orders for two days constituted a grave breach of Parliament and was contemptuous,” Dr Matibini said.
Dr Matibini said he was only issuing stern warnings to the MPs because they were the first offenders but that he would in the future impose heavy sanction against the law-makers that would be involved in disorderly conduct.