CHOMA Central UPND Member of Parliament Cornelius Mweetwa says PF members of parliament and some ministers deeply disgusted him prompting him to walk out of the house on Friday morning.
Explaining his one man angry walk out of Parliament, Mweetwa said he had no option but to abandon his question because he was “deeply disgusted” with the behaviour of members of parliament of the PF.
He said the MPs include the deputy chief whip, Tutwa Ngulube, who was expected to espouse leadership on the floor of the house but behaves like a cadre from Intercity bus station.
He said he was grateful to Minister of Home Affairs for exercising some level of sobriety in his answers to queries over gassing episodes, which were unprecedented and alien to the country.
He said the gassing needs answers and that his question to Kampyongo was simple.
“And I was putting it to him to say do you agree as a government you have mishandled this issue of gassing vis-a-vis your failure as government to update the nation on a regular basis given the severity and scale of anxiety in the nation on simple issues, we would have expected you, on a daily basis, to tell us the number of incidents of gas attacks that would have happened the previous night or in the present day or previous day, to tell us about the number of casualties involved, to tell us the number of people who would have been attacked, sustained injury or died out of mob action, the number of people who would have been killed by police response,” Mweetwa explained. “Such is simple and basic information which has made citizens realise that there is a veil of secrecy between government and the citizens leaving room for speculation and I gave an example that a day ago a number of people were apprehended who I am sure were part of a consortium that should give a lead to the investigative wings as to who is behind this scam.”
Mweetwa expressed gratitude to the people of Choma for not instituting mob justice on suspects, heeding to his counsel to them not to take to mob justice and that the UPND does not support mob justice because it was illegal.
“Such retribution is illegal and places the perpetrators of mob justice at risk and I have been telling my people on community radio station that if you are found or if you were to be captured on camera and you are just a bystander, you are just watching, you may be innocent but if you are picked, it may take years before your innocence is proven,” Mweetwa said. “I have told them that if you find someone suspicious, take them to police. And I am glad the people actually listened. So in an area called Mboole in Sikalongo Ward, six suspects were caught with various substances and I am told they named some authority which is not my jurisdiction to disclose.”
He challenged the police to disclose who the named authorities who were said to have given blessings to carryout gassing in that area.
“Let the police come out clean. As I was putting across all these points before the house, PF members, including ministers, started passing unwarranted comments, some of them bordering on being childish, coming from ministers and people holding positions of responsibility in the land, at a time like this when the whole nation is looking up to this house to speak the truth and to demonstrate seriousness and leadership because of the events of the moment, [but] you have people passing childish comments on the floor of the house,” Mweetwa said. “I was incensed naturally and I apologise to the nation for displaying such level of disgust on Parliament TV but it’s something that came naturally, because I am a human being. We have a situation in the country where people are losing lives and those who have the mandate to provide leadership, some of them come to the house to begin to show triviality of the matters, therefore, fueling this speculation that it is government that is behind this scam. When people are apprehended, with all the anxiety, them they are laughing around and behaving in a trivial manner. It is the most reprehensible and irresponsible exhibition of low caliber leadership.”
Mweetwa said Zambians must come to terms that they were now paying a high price for choosing an incompetent, visionless leadership that does not look at people’s interest but their own interest.
“And I will insist that my speculation is that they are the ones responsible, let them end this circus,” he said.
He said economy has been gravely damaged as a lot of economic activities disrupted by looting, closure for fear of arriving home late or as a result of gassing.
“I am aware of the looting that happened in Mkushi North where a number of PF officials, including councilors are in custody. We need an update on such things, to say such a number of PF councillors have been arrested by the police for one, two or three of the following offences,” he said.
He said the police could by now have told Zambians the masterminds of the looting in Mkushi North in terms of who staged it, the reasons and why the PF officials were in custody.
“This is the kind of information we need, we can’t have isolated incidents of reporting where you hear three people have been arrested in Chiengi and we only hear it on ZNBC,” Mwtwa said. “We want daily updates. In America there was a shooting incident in Milwaukee, you find that the President and hi factionary, every time they are updating the nation so that the nation I not left to the vagaries of suspicion. This government I failing to fill up the gap and therefore laving the gap for the citizens to fill in the blanks. This is not necessary, we think that this can be done better,” he said. “Why are suspects of gassing not presented before court within 42 hours as per the requirement of the law? That was really what I was asking.”
Mweetwa said he was very incensed by the level of triviality that was being exhibited by the PF.
He said he was very concerned that after 2016 elections “this Parliament is no longer the same, some level of decency and decorum has been lost”.
“Some of the members of parliament who have come to join us, I think in my own estimation, it is my opinion, thy lack the requisite necessities of leadership. Parliament is not like a market or a street where you go and do street vending where everyone can be shouting,” he said.
Mweetwa said MPs must realize that they are providing leadership to the whole country and those in the executive were even leading those in the opposition because they wield “momentarily” the mandate.
He said it was shameful for those in the executive to exhibit unbecoming behavior.
“And I am calling upon the executive to put their house in order and realize that Parliament is not a place to do Kangaroo politics,” said Mweetwa. “Let them not export their PF disorder to this house of the people, the people look up to this house with hope and not hopelessness.”