SPEAKER of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti has advised members of parliament members of Parliament to attend the “very important training session” organised by the Office of the Clerk on standing orders.
Following redundant points of order from Kabushi PF member of parliament Bowman Lusambo and his Nalolo counterpart Imanda Wamunyima which were not in conformity with Standing Order 134, Mutti guided all MPs to without fail attend the training.
Earlier, Mutti announced to the House of training sessions for all members of parliament on the National Assembly of Zambia’s standing orders 2021.
“Honourable members I wish to announce to the House that the Office of the Clerk has organised training sessions for all members of parliament on the National Assembly of Zambia’s standing orders 2021. The training is aimed at enlightening honourable members of the application of standing orders so as to ensure the smooth conduct of business of the House. The training sessions will be conducted virtually from 10:00 hours to 11:30 hours every Tuesday starting on Tuesday 28th September, 2021,” Mutti said. “The log in credentials will be made available to all honourable members at an appropriate time. Attendance at the training sessions will be on voluntary basis; all honourable members are urged to attend these very important training sessions.”
But soon after the acting leader of government business Ambrose Lufuma stood to indicate business of the House for next week, Lusambo rose on a point of order.
He was immediately asked to clarify whether he was rising on a point of order on a matter of urgency and public importance or not to which he responded in the affirmative.
“Madam Speaker this week, the President of the United States of America [Joe Biden] was addressing the national general Assembly (sic). When the President was addressing the UN, the President Madam Speaker alluded to the just-ended general elections here in Zambia. In his speech Madam Speaker and I quote ‘The Youths of Zambia demonstrated and they voted out a corrupt regime in Zambia’. Madam Speaker there is the issue of sovereignty…” said Lusambo. “My question this morning is directed to the acting Leader of Government Business in the House. Is it in order to keep quiet when our country is being embarrassed by other leaders in the world? The President of the United States of America is just like any other President. He was elected by the people of America and they have got their own issues to sort out and Zambia has got its own issues to sort out. Madam Speaker, if this is not interfering in our internal affairs of this country, I want the acting Leader of Government Business in the House to tell the nation if the United States of America President was in order to discuss the internal affairs of this country?”
In her response, Mutti reminded Lusambo and others on her ruling two days ago regarding the
issue of raising matters of urgent public importance.
“There is criteria which I stated in my ruling that the issue must be of urgent nature and if steps are not taken to correct it, deaths in form of calamity will result. I have not seen any calamity or loss of life that will be occasioned if that issue is not raised,” she ruled.
Mutti said if Lusambo wants to raise such a question, it could be done not as a matter of urgent public importance but when time for question and answers for Leader of Government Business in the House or any minister to clarify comes.
She further schooled him that in terms of the requirement for Standing Order 134 his point of order did not qualify to be raised.
“Kindly be guided accordingly and that’s why that seminar is very important and I will urge the honourable members to be patient so that the seminar will be able to walk them through the standing orders. That way we will be able to discharge our functions properly with
unnecessary raising of matters which don’t follow under the Standing Order 134,” guided Mutti. “Please be guided accordingly.”
After the Speaker laboured to guide the House on Standing Order 134, Wamunyima also rose on a point of order.
“I wish to direct my matter of urgent public importance to the Minister of Home Affairs. This is in reference to a story that was in yesterday’s Daily Nation and it talks about the Financial Intelligence Centre having abandoned an intelligence surveillance system which is similar to what is used in USA to trap terrorism in preference to a system that is of low status. And in this story it is indicated that whatever system was used or preferred was used to hack phones for the public in terms of WhatsApp and direct calls,” said Wamunyima. “Madam Speaker, I am concerned whether this story is hearsay. The reason why I am escalating this to the Minister of Home Affairs is because the Financial Intelligence Centre is not an investigative wing. It has no legal mandate to have such access. I seek your guidance.”
But Mutti reminded Wamunyima that he had not indicated what calamity was going to result if his concern was not attended to yesterday as a matter of urgent public importance.
“As earlier guided those questions can be raised under another standing order which relates to questions which are put at the Vice-President’s office or minister, not under Standing Order 134. Can we make progress,” guided Mutti.