Highlight: Right thinking Zambians are counting on Justice Dr Matibini SC and the Committee on Privileges to protect the honourable house of Parliament from being turned into a circus theatre by UPND MPs._____________________________________________
The action of United Party for National Development (UPND) members of parliament to shun the address of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to Parliament on March 17, 2017 is unique and grave.
The boycott is unique because the reason for the action is that the UPND leadership doesn’t recognise Mr Lungu as Republican President. It is in the public domain that the UPND leader Mr Hakainde Hichilema was declared winner of the August 11, 2016 presidential election by their party national chairperson Ms Mutale Nalumango. This was done before the announcement of the final presidential results by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), a body with the legal mandate to declare the winner of a presidential election.
As such, the boycott of UPND members of parliament with the exception of Chilanga lawmaker Mr Keith Mukata is unique because according to the UPND Zambia’s Republican President is Mr Hakainde Hichilema. So UPND MPs shunned the address because according to them a person who is not Republican President was going to address Parliament.
It is within this context that the words of Katuba UPND MP Patricia Mwashingwele published in the Mast Newspaper of Wednesday, March 22, 2017 on page 3 should be understood. Ms Mwashingwele said and I quote; “No one will force us to recognise Edgar Lungu as President until the UPND presidential (petition) election is heard … and they cannot force him on us”.
It is this background that makes the action of UPND MPs to shun President Lungu’s address to Parliament grave. Indeed it is very serious for a Member of Parliament who has been duly sworn in to refuse to recognise the Head of State who was validly elected duly sworn in.
As such, we wish to make a clarion call upon Speaker of the National Assembly Hon Dr Patrick Matibini SC and the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges to handle the case of the UPND MPs seriously bearing in mind their declaration that nothing will force them to recognise Mr Lungu as Republican President. With hindsight we should all agree that the quick and seemingly sincere apology that the same MPs rendered after shunning President Lungu’s official opening of Parliament last year was a mockery.
By their own declaration UPND MPs under the dictates of their leader will never recognise President Lungu. Therefore future apologies should be understood as another gimmick to get off the hook and then continue with the same illegal conduct.
Finally, we wish to state that right thinking Zambians are counting on Justice Dr Matibini SC and the Committee on Privileges to protect the honourable house of Parliament from being turned into a circus theatre.