IT is clear that most PF MPs do not believe in Edgar Lungu and if an impeachment motion is tabled before Parliament today, the man can go, says PF founder member Johnson Mpundu.
On Tuesday, member of parliament were unanimous on rejecting a question on whether or not to strongly reprimand PF Bahati lawmaker Harry Kalaba for being absent from the House for 18 days without notification.
When parliamentary proceedings resumed on Tuesday, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini ordered Kalaba to stand behind the bar and that the Sergeant at Arm to stand behind the lawmaker.
Dr Matibini then told the House that on March 19, 2018, chief whip Steven Chungu, the (Luanshya PF member of parliament) wrote to Kalaba regarding his absence for 12 days from the date the House commenced legislative meetings on February 20 this year and that he gave a written response saying he had bereavements.
“…he added that he notified Mr J. Chabi, member of parliament for Chipili parliamentary Constituency on the situation and had requested to convey the reasons of his absence from the House to the Honourable chief whip but regrettably Mr J. Chabi, MP, had not done this. His absence from the House was neither deliberate nor intended to undermine the Office of the Chief Whip or indeed the decorum and etiquette of the House. The House may wish to know that the Office of the Clerk wrote to Mr J. Chabi, MP, who confirmed that indeed he had been asked by Mr H. Kalaba, MP, to communicate his absence and the circumstances leading to it either to the Speaker or the chief whip but had forgotten to do so.”
Speaker Matibini added that in line with parliamentary procedure and the rules of natural justice, Kalaba appeared before the absences committee.
“In his submission to the committee, Mr H Kalaba, MP, reiterated the fact that his absence from the House was due to the fact that he had funerals in his constituency and that he had attempted to communicate his absence to the Honourable Mr Speaker through Mr J. Chabi,” he noted.
“With regards his absence on 14th and 15th of June, 2018, Mr H Kalaba informed that committee that 14th June, 2018, he was attending rehearsals for his graduation ceremony which he attended on 15th June 2018. He added [that] he informed the chief whip that he would be absent on those days….”
The committee, upon deliberation on the matter, found that Mr H Kalaba’s conduct of being absent from the House for 18 days without prior permission of either the Honourable Mr Speaker or the chief whip was a breach of Standing Order 1513….
And Speaker Dr Matibini indicated that in deciding what punishment to mete out on Kalaba, the committee noted that Standing Order 1513 only provided for two options.
“The committee elected to exercise lenience to resolve that Kalaba be reprimanded, in accordance with Standing Order 1513 of the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Orders 2016. I now put the question; the question is that this House do reprimand Mr H Kalaba, MP, for unauthorised absence from the House for 18 days. As many as are of that opinion say ‘I’ [and] of the contrary say ‘no’” he noted.
Only a few muffled voices were heard voting positively while the House reverberated with a “no” vote.
“The nos have it and therefore the motion is negative. That’s it!” ruled Speaker Dr Matibini.
Kalaba then saluted and later walked, with a grin, to his seat.
But Mpundu said this was a clear indication that PF MPs were not happy with President Lungu’s governance.
“This is why the impeachment motion has been blocked. It is clear the man can go. Now we as civil society, we will push the UPND to bring the motion to test. We know it’s before the courts of law but the UPND can bring a fresh motion. The governance of Mr Lungu is so bad,” Mpundu said.
“Lungu is a worst President and will collapse this country which is already on its knees. It is better we get out of this situation first. The MPs have passed an open vote of no confidence. This is a vote of no confidence in the President. These MPs are brave and have shown that they can’t just act on instructions.”
Mpundu said Zambians, particularly those on the Copperbelt, feel neglected by the leadership of President Lungu.
He said it was now evident that President Lungu had lost it.
“It is lost and it will take a long time for the PF to come back to its original make. President Lungu has completely lost it and it’s us, the people that fought for PF that are in pain. We fought for this party and for Edgar Lungu to come and completely undo what we fought for is painful. It is just a matter of time, and the people who spoke and fought for PF will rise up to defend the party,” said Mpundu.