Clerk allows Nkombo’s motion to challenge Speaker Matibini’s ‘controversial’ ruling

CLERK of the National Assembly has allowed Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo’s motion to challenge Speaker Patrick Matibini’s ‘controversial’ ruling he made last year.

In November last year, Nkombo wrote to Clerk of the National Assembly, seeking to challenge Dr Matibini’s ruling over a point of order concerning three PF members of parliament who did not vote for Bill 10.

Nkombo stated that he wished to challenge the decision of Dr Matibini on a matter of conflicting rulings.

Nkombo noted that Section 23 (d) of the National Assembly (powers and privileges) Act state that, “Any person shall be guilty of an offence who – sends to any member any threatening letter,” – which is the case now – or challenge any member to a fight, on account of his conduct as such member”.

He recalled that PF secretary general Davies Mwila wrote letters to Frank Ng’ambi (Chifubu Constituency) Eulario Musonda (Kamfinsa Constituency) and Kabaso Kampampi (Mwansabombwe Constituency) to exculpate themselves for failing to vote for Bill 10.

“As a result of Mr Mwila’s act, Monze [Central UPND] member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu raised a point of order in relation to the Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general’s letter to three named MPs asking them to exculpate themselves as to their failure to vote for Bill 10,” Nkombo stated. “Presiding over the matter, chairperson, Hon. Catherine Namugala ruled as follows: ‘…unless, of course, as you have said, you can show evidence that those particular Hon members are being punished for what they have done in the House while enjoying their privileges, as Hon. members of parliament”.

He stated that arising from that ruling, he raised a point of order pursuant to the National Assembly (powers and privileges) Act and adduced evidence, “as guided by the ruling of the First Deputy Speaker on the same matter as highlighted above”.

Nkombo stated that in his ruling, Dr Matibini said, “…these letters you are bringing here are a subject of internal proceedings of a political grouping. It is work in progress. I am also alive to the fact that we do not have strict rules of loci standi, but I am left to wonder why we have these busybodies.”

“In view of the above, I wish to state that the Speaker’s ruling contradicts the earlier as such creates a procedural crisis as we are left to wonder which ruling shall bind future decisions,” he stated. “Further, refer to the point of order raised by Kanchibiya MP Hon. Dr Martin Malama on December 5th, 2019, in which he quoted an item reported by the Zambia Daily Mail, alleging that ‘United Party for National Development (UPND) secretary general Hon. Stephen Katuka had issued threats to two honourable MPs, namely Prof Geoffrey Lungwangwa and Teddy Kasonso on how they decided to deal with the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.’ Based on this point of order, Hon Katuka was summoned by your committees on Privileges, Absences and Support Services to exculpate himself.”

Nkombo is seeking “a one-third of the House to endorse the challenge to the Speaker’s ruling forthwith.”

In a letter from the Clerk’s office to Nkombo dated February 25, 2021, the motion will be placed on tomorrow’s order paper.

“… I am directed to refer to your letter dated 13th November, 2020 in which you sought to move a Challenge Motion entitled: Annul Speaker’s Ruling,” states the letter in part. “That in terms of Standing Order 62 of the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Orders, 2016, this House annuls the Speaker’s Ruling made on Friday 13th November, 2020, that the Patriotic Front Party should conclude its internal disciplinary proceedings against Mr K. Kabaso, Member of Parliament for Mwansabombwe, Mr E. Musonda, Member of Parliament for Kamfinsa and Dr F. Ng’ambi, Member of Parliament for Chifubu, for not participating in the voting on the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, and that a complaint may be filed against the Party’s Secretary General only by the affected members. I am further directed to inform you, Sir, that the Motion will be placed on the Order Paper for Thursday, 4th March, 2021.”

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