AFRICA Consumer Union first vice president Muyunda Ililonga has questioned why Speaker Dr Patrick Matibini has allowed the National Assembly to be reduced from a platform of debate to that of embarrassing partisan utterances.
In a statement yesterday, Ililonga urged Dr Matibini to outlaw juvenile behaviour in the people’s Assembly.
“We have watched in awe as the distinguished house of National Assembly is reduced from a platform of debate to that of embarrassing partisan utterances. The reforms made in good faith to allow citizens to follow proceedings of the August House either via radio or television have been used to to display behaviour, by our representatives, which is alien to the acceptable social norms of our country,” he stated.
“Fights, insults, running commentaries, sarcasm and general juvenile conduct has now become a common feature of our National Assembly proceedings. This is shameful. This is not what we voted for.”
Ililonga asked Dr Matibini to bring the House to order.
“We join our colleagues at Transparency International (TI) to call upon the Speaker, judge Matibini, to put this House to order. Zambia faces immense socio-economic challenges and our representatives, on both sides, cannot afford the luxury of self-indulgence at the expense of the over-expectant voters,” he stated.
Ililonga stated that Dr Matibini and his subordinate presiding officers should come up with measures that would restore order in parliament.
“End the consumption of alcohol at Parliament by permanently closing the “Speakers Bar”. Members of Parliament can drink at their Motel after business. Review Standing Orders and other related protocols to enhance the accountability of MPs to their parliamentary duties. For example, it’s not helpful to order members not following or disturbing proceedings of the House to go and consult outside. They must be present, attentive and earn their money! Require the executive side to provide honest and satisfactory responses to queries raised by the backbench in good faith,” stated Ililonga.
“In short, there is urgent need to instill the sense of accountability to the citizenry by our distinguished parliamentarians. It’s not too late and Matibini should rise to the occasion. As things stand, there is more shame than honour in being associated with this August House.”