ALL MPs who were part of the parliamentary committee appointed to scrutinise Bill 10 are legally free to oppose and vote against it, says academician Sishuwa Sishuwa.
Responding to information minister Dora Siliya, who on Wednesday tweeted on UPND MPs who allegedly received allowances during the National Dialogue Forum and those who sat on the select committee but on Wednesday walked out on Bill 10 during its restoration on Order Paper, Dr Sishuwa wondered what charge would be laid against MPs opposing the recommendations of a committee report they helped bring into being.
“In fact, all MPs who were part of the Parliamentary Committee appointed to scrutinise Bill 10 are legally free to oppose and even vote against it. May l please refer you and the Deputy Chief Whip [Tutwa Ngulube] to the ruling of Speaker Patrick Matibini delivered on 2 April 2019 on a point of order raised by Lupososhi MP Lazarous Chungu on whether three MPs who were members of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights, National Guidance…Gender Matters and Governance were in order to have abstained during the 2nd reading stage of the ECZ (Amendment) Bill 2019 on 21 March 2019. The Speaker ruled that MPs who vote contrary to the recommendations of their Committee reports on Bills are not out of order. I quote: ‘…when a Bill comes up for 2nd reading, the motion before the House is whether or not the Bill should be read the 2nd time. The report of the Committee that considered the Bill is not brought to the House for approval, but is merely used to aid members as they debate the Bill,” wrote Sishuwa.
He said there was a clear distinction in procedure between reports presented to the House by committees for adoption and reports on bills.
“Standing Order 145 (3) only applies to reports brought to the House for adoption and not those that merely aid debate on a Bill before the House.”
Madam Siliya, l beg to move!” said Sishuwa.
Siliya had tweeted: “Deputy Whip raises point of order on 16 UPND MPs who took allowances at NDF and 8 who took allowances during committee hearings but walked out on Bill 10 during restoration yesterday. Hons. Kasonso & Lungwangwa stayed. Chair of Committee reserves ruling for later.”