UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says the Patriotic Front’s decision to make second deputy speaker of the national assembly Mwimba Malama one of its deputy campaign managers in the Chilubi is shocking and appalling.
Mweetwa told The Mast yesterday that from a governance perspective, the PF’s action was demeaning to the office of the second deputy speaker of the National Assembly.
“It is a slap in the face of the integrity and decorum of Parliament of Zambia. We are aware that there is no written law known to ourselves that precludes the 2nd deputy speaker from engaging in active politics but the fact that as presiding officer of the whole house, it is by practice expected that such a person should be left to continue to enjoy perceptional impartiality because we all look up to the 2nd deputy speaker as presiding officer of the whole house as neutral entity even when we know that he is a member of parliament for Mfuwe,” Mweetwa said.
“That is the reason why in Parliament, even when the Speaker is there, the second deputy speaker has never and cannot stand up to debate on the floor of the house for and on behalf of the people of Mfuwe Constituency.”
Mweetwa also noted that Malama has also never gone to a media house to issue a statement as member of parliament for Mfuwe because he was presiding officer of the whole house, “elected by all of us to be our leader who should be seen to be neutral, who we all look up to as the epitome of fairness in the adjudication or deliberations of matters of the whole house at Parliament.”
“How then does PF go and call on such kind of an officer of the house to go and engage in partisan politics in Chilubi?” Mweetwa asked.
He said by PF’s action to line up Malama as second campaign manager, they were exposing him to political attacks in the field.
“That is to say verbal attacks that may injure the reputation in the persona of the substantive office-holder of 2nd deputy speaker who by misadventure of PF is now performing a role as a party functionary,” he feared.
“That is why the country is in governance malaise or mess because PF doesn’t seem to understand basic tenets of governance and that in governance, even in corporate governance, there are roles assigned to the boards and there are roles assigned to management. You cannot go and bring a board member to come and start performing the role of management.”
Mweetwa said the Speaker and his two deputies were above partisan politics that members of parliament practice.
“If PF are left to continue with this haphazard approach to governance, what will preclude them from calling on Mr Speaker Dr Patrick Matibini and claim that since we are the ones who sponsored you to the office of speaker, we want you to be a campaign manager in a certain by-election, may be a councillor by-election since they have a habit of buying councilors to cause unnecessary by-elections? What will stop them from calling on Mr Speaker to be a campaign manager in a councilor by-election?” Mweetwa said.
“From where I sit, I see nothing stopping them because these are people who do not respect the basic understanding of specialisation of duty and separation of powers. Even within an organisation there should be practiced silent separation of powers.”
Mweetwa said by appointing Malama as a campaign manager in a by-election where a cadre could easily insult him was demeaning.
“This speaks into the face of why the country is in a state where it is almost on auto pilot as if there is no leadership, just doing things anyhow. We find this, as members of parliament of UPND, extraordinarily offensive. We always look to presiding officer that they always look at us with neural eyes. To come and pit our presiding officer in a by-election against us is totally unjustifiable and a prescription for disorder,” he said. “We are tired of PF disorder. They have damaged the fabric of governance of this country, they have destroyed the economy to irreparable levels.”
Mweetwa said the PF should have decency to spare parliament’s sanity and decorum.
He said Parliament was a national institution that Zambians looked up to with a level of respect.
He said the UPND looked at Parliament as a decent institution they were duty bound to respect.
“Let PF confine their Kangaroo style administration to their party, PF as a club and not begin to dismantle the decency and decorum of institutions of governance that will outlive their present misgovernance,” said Mweetwa.