Sampa attacks greedy MPs

Parliament is not a business venture where parliamentarians should expect to get rich, Deputy Minister of Commerce Miles Sampa has advised.

But Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mukondo Lungu has lambasted members of the general public and interest groups allegedly casting aspersions on MPs for demanding a salary increase.

Mr Sampa has said National Assembly was a place which Parliamentarians should use to effectively represent the people who elected them into office.

Mr. Sampa who is Patriotic Front Matero Member of Parliament says MPs should work hard before joining politics because Parliament is not supposed to be taken as a place for amassing wealth.

“My personal view is that it helps to join politics when you have your own money because it is not easy to be a politician. I had made enough money for my own before I joined politics,” he said.

Mr Sampa was speaking in an interview with Millennium Radio monitored in Lusaka yesterday.

He said it was unfortunate that some MPs wanted to enrich themselves when they enter politics.

Mr Sampa said parliamentarians should understand that it was a plus to enter politics when one was comfortable in life as it was not easy to be a politician.

He said MPs should learn to sacrifice for the people who voted for them and not to think of enriching themselves.

Mr Sampa said it was sad that leaders were the ones who were asking for huge salary increment when it was the same MPs who proposed that there should be a wage freeze in the public service.

But Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mukondo Lungu has lambasted members of the general public and interest groups allegedly demanding MPs for demanding salary increase.

Mr Lungu said it was not proper for people outside Parliament to cast aspersions on the MP for demanding a pay rise and advised the MPs to ignore the criticism because they had a duty to serve their representatives.

He said the MPs should avoid being detracted from performing their legislative duties by people stating that there shall always be various opinions from outside Parliament directed at the Parliamentarians.

Mr Lungu said in his ruling to a point of order raised by Mafinga MMD Parliamentarian Catharine Namugala that the MPs should allow citizens to say whatever they had to say but that their opinions should never affect their debate in the House.

“As MPs, let us not be detracted because of various opinions outside Parliament. Let us do our job but people will express their views. Let us allow them to say what they want but it is not proper for people to cast aspersions on the MPs,” Mr Lungu said.

And Mafinga MMD Member of Parliament yesterday expressed anger that members of the public had condemned demands by the Parliamentarians for an increase in their salaries charging that the legislators were hard working and deserved a pay rise.

Ms Namugala in a point of order complained that the MPs were being attacked and ridiculed by many groups singling out Fr Gabriel Mwanamwalye, a columnist in one of the daily publications for having demanded that their salaries should be increased.

She said MPs including herself had been lamenting the poor conditions of service but that the general public and some interest groups were condemning their demands when the legislators’ complaints were justified.

“Mr Speaker Sir, I and other MPs lamented the poor conditions of service we are having. From the day we had the debate in this House, I and other MPs have been attacked and ridiculed by many groups particularly Fr Gabriel Mwanamwalye who in his article; ‘No Pay Rise’ attacked us. Is he in order to attack hard working MPs both from the right and left? Priests do not have wives, children and they do not understand the difficulties of sending children to school,” Ms Namugala said.