Opposition MPs force Zambian Parliament to adjourn

Opposition Members of Parliament this afternoon forced Parliament to prematurely adjourn after they absconded from asking questions they had listed on the order paper.

It appears this is the latest form of protests from the opposition MPs in demand of the new constitution.

Several questions lapsed leading to the House adjourning after convening for only 30 minutes amid a heavy presence of riot Police around Parliament and nearby areas on the Great East Road, keeping vigil.

Dr Matibini said he was taken aback by the absence of some of the MPs and that his officials were not aware over their conduct, describing the development as unfortunate.

“I have been taken aback by the absence of the questionnaires as my office has no knowledge why and it is most unfortunate. A great deal of time is taken to list questions and no answers are given. The questions are asked in representative capacity and so this is a disservice to the constituents. I hope this practice for whatever reason, will come to an end,” he said.

Out of the 20 questions on the order paper, only one from Chipili PF MP Davies Mwila was asked with 19 lapsing.

When the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini called for the questions, all the opposition MPs did not rise to ask or were not present in the house.

Dr Matibini had earlier announced that Mazabuka Central UPND MP Garry Nkombo will present a private member’s motion on the constitution on Friday.

The motion read; “that this House urges the Government to provide a roadmap for the enactment of a new Constitution and also to expedite the process considering that the work of the Technical Committee on drafting the Constitution has completed and is ready for submission”.

Mr Nkombo’s request was in accordance with Standing Order number 36 and that following a successful consultative meeting held in the afternoon today, it had been agreed that the motion would be deferred to Friday instead of today.

Dr Matibini said this was meant to allow the parties to the consultative meeting to carry out the necessary consultations to enable them, including the Executive, to effectively respond to the motion.

Dr Matibini said the meeting between the opposition and government side over the constitution had taken place resulting in the two sides agreeing to allow Mr Nkombo to present the motion.

The Speaker also allowed Lands Minister Harry Kalaba to raise a point of order whether UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was in order to instruct his MPs to continue protesting in parliament.

The Speaker however reserved ruling on the matter.

And heavily armed police officers surrounded Parliament building in readiness to quell any possible clashes by party cadres.