Chikwanda’s Incompetence Comes to the Fore in Parliament
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda’s laxity in bringing a bill outside the constitutional timeframe to Parliament drew remonstration from some Members of Parliament with Jack Mwiimbu leading the onslaught.
Twenty four hours after Choma Central Member of Parliament Cornelius Mweetwa had also blown the whistle on Chikwanda, Mwiimbu moved to seek a clear cut response from the Speaker.
Question: Jack Mwiimbu: I would like to raise a serious procedural point of order pertaining to the deliberations of this house and I would like to get a very clear guidance on the matter I am going to raise.
Mr Speaker yesterday (Tuesday) I had raised a point of order pertaining to the logic of this house to deliberate the matter that is ultravires the constitution of Zambia and thereafter you made a ruling.
Mr Speaker in your ruling, which I would like to quote, you indicated that Honorable Members, although the matter of bringing the Excess Expense Appropriation Bill is out of time by 17 days, contrary to what is provided in the constitution, the constitution does not prescribe the sanction for bringing the bill out of time.
Therefore as has been done by the house on previous occasions when this type of delay has actually happened that is in 2005, the Excess Expenditure Appropriation Bill were debated and considered accordingly.
And then you ruled that we proceed and debate the matter. I have a number of questions Mr Speaker which I would like to seek your guidance as to whether, I Jack Mwiimbu, Member of Parliament for Monze Central Constituency, who swears before you, to uphold the constitution of the Republic of Zambia, I should always look for constitutional loopholes which I think there is no punishment that is applicable I should breach the constitution?
(ii) I would like to find out from you whether from today onwards, we should be relying on the wrong things which were done in the past and justify them and that those are now constitutional despite the oath we have taken before you to protect the constitution and uphold the constitution?
Mr Speaker I need your serious guidance for I am about to breach the constitution where I know that there are no sanctions.
Response: Mukondo Lungu (Deputy Speaker): My serious ruling is that the ruling that was made yesterday is not condoning the delay in bringing these matters before the house in accordance with the law.
I think that is the bottom line, everything should be done to ensure that we do things in accordance with the law.
I am sure and I know that the Minister of Finance regretted that he brought the bill 17 days late.
But however, he had to look at what we did in the past and we thought that in all fairness after having accepted that something had gone wrong, we felt that we should go ahead and because we knew that at the second stage of the reading of the bill there would be a debate and if need be a vote taken.
Really that was not to say we can flout our own rules, we regret and because of that I think that we can proceed.
I can only urge those concerned to ensure that in future we abide by our own rules. So with that ruling Honorable member for Monze will not be allowed to flout the rules.
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