Namugala Laments, “I’m Being Vilified for MP Pay Rise”
As the debate on parliamentarians’ demand for a pay rise rages on, MMD Mafinga Member of Parliament Catherine Namugala fought hard to shake off the stigma that came with being among the protagonists of the increment.
Seemingly rattled by the criticism that ensued after she debated in favour of the increment, Namugala sought the Speaker’s protection.
Below is an excerpt of the debate:
Mr Speaker I rise on a very serious point of order, Mr Speaker last week, but before I proceed, allow me to read Cap 12 of the laws of Zambia concerning privileges of Members of Parliament.
Mr Speaker part (II) says and I quote, “There shall be freedom of speech and debate in the house, such freedom of speech and debate shall not be liable to be questioned in any court or place outside the assembly,” end of quote.
Mr Speaker, last week during the debate to adopt the report of your committee on modernization and support services, a debate ensued.
Mr Speaker, I, amongst other members of parliament lamented the poor conditions of service of your members of parliament.
Mr Speaker many of us lamented the fact that we are not properly remunerated.
But Mr Speaker from that day up to date, I, and other Members of Parliament have been attacked and ridiculed Mr Speaker, by many groups out there.
I have decided to pick on one Father Gabriel Mwanamwalye who wrote an article on July, 20th 2014 and in his article entitled, No Pay Rise for MPs;
He started by saying the demands by our Members of Parliament to have their salaries increased is very topical as such it cannot pass without due comment.
As things stand it is very unfortunate and disheartening that our MPs who in essence must embrace sacrifice and virtue seem to have been ensnared by vices of extreme lucravity and materialism, the same which has trapped them is clearly seen in the three statements given by some legislators namely Mafinga MP Catherine Namugala, Monze UPND Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu and Chama South PF Member of Parliament Ephraim Lungu.
Mr Speaker, he goes on to say that Namugala’s stand point is a clear indication that some MPs suffer from extreme materialism and thus are led by discontentment and inter-peers. MPs have a salary, sitting allowances and a gratuity. Why should Namugala demand another package? A pension, the demand is one which taxpayers cannot afford.
He moves on and says, coming to Honourable Mwiimbu’s standpoint, which has been pointed out with regards to Honourable Namugala still holds, but in addition to insinuate that MPs are wallowing in poverty is not being realistic and as such an insult to many Zambians who struggle to have a decent meal each day.
He goes on to say whatever applies to Namugala and Mwiimbu applies to Honourable Lungu but in addition Lungu’s standpoint seems to be a rejection to a leadership of sacrifice paradigm and a song of lamentation.
Mr Speaker as I have stated in my preamble we have the freedom of debate in this House Mr Speaker, is this Father Gabriel Mwanamwalye who is a priest Mr Speaker in order to attack hard working Honourable Members of Parliament both on your left and on your right? Is he in order Mr Speaker especially that as we know all priests have no wives, have no children and therefore cannot understand what it costs to run a home and send children to school? Mr Speaker, I need your serious ruling.
Response Mukondo Lungu: Honorable members please let us get it correct, that is indeed an important point of order.
We must be mindful of one thing that the report of the committee on modernization reforms were submitted for the consideration of Members of Parliament but at the same time we know that these people which means those outside this house are listening to our live debates.
My ruling is that as Members of Parliament let us not be deterred from doing our job because of the various opinions that are expressed outside there so I think that in short that is my ruling.
Let us do our job we know that people outside there will make various opinions and express their views but we have a responsibility to do and we should not fear to carry out our responsibility.
So I am also aware, some comments have been made these MPs some of them according to what I heard 90% of them are not doing anything or even all of them.
Let us allow them to say what they want to say but you and me know that we are doing a lot of work out there.
I don’t think that it is proper for people to cast aspersions on the work of Members of Parliament, they can go to Lundazi and ask the people out there and ask them and they will be told that the MP and MPs out there are doing the best for their country.
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