Speaker stops MPs from sizing it up

A brawl ensued in Parliament today between Mazabuka UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo and his Mpulungu counterpart Freedom Sikazwe after the later rose on a point of order seeking the Speaker’s guidance on the former’s behaviour.

Roan member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili asked Vice-President Inonge Wina to explain what government was doing to ensure that the Chinese did not take over Zambian jobs. However, Sikazwe kept making  negative commentaries against the the former information minister.

“Mr Speaker, Cabinet passed a policy that quarrying and brick moulding should be left to Zambians. But we have continued having a lot of Chinese coming up with brick manufacturing plants. And also, some jobs were left for Zambians, we have seen Chinese even maintaining, renovating ministers houses. What will be left for the Zambians? What is government doing to achieve this pro-poor policy?” asked Kambwili amidst jeers from some PF MPs led by Sikazwe.

In response, Wina said government was working hard to secure jobs for Zambians.

“Mr Speaker, indeed, the policy of this party is to empower Zambians and we have come up with a lot of policies to address that matter in the construction industry, in the agriculture industry, in many other sectors of the economy and I can assure the member of parliament that empowerment of Zambians especially empowering them with skills to undertake certain jobs is being done and the Ministry of Commerce is addressing that issue of Zambians in the block making industry and quarrying,” said Vice-President Wina.

Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu then rose on a point of order wondering whether it was acceptable for Sikazwe to threaten Kambwili when he was exercising his right to ask.

“Is Honourable Sikazwe in order to start threatening Honourable Kambwili pertaining to the question he raised to the Vice-President? And as a result of the altercation, a fight was almost ensuring. And that’s why I am raising a point of order,” said Mwiimbu as MPs on both sides of the House laughed.

But Speaker Matibini claimed he did not witness what happened but urged the MPs to be civil.

“I was not, for obvious reasons, able to follow all those events that you have described. But whatever it was, please, it is beyond debate that we must proceed in a civil manner. Whatever it was, I can’t vouch for anyone because I didn’t see anything anyway. But whatever it was, please let’s proceed in a civil manner. That’s the etiquette of the House; I don’t want to belabour this point,” Speaker Matibini said.

But a few minutes later, Nkombo rose on another point of order, saying Sikazwe’s conduct was “becoming unbecoming.”

“”Sir, the behaviour of honourable Freedom Sikazwe is becoming unbecoming,” Nkombo began, as PF MPs mumbled in disagreement.

Sikazwe then said, “mmmm, uko kutumpa uko (that’s being stupid)”.

But Nkombo said “You can’t call me ukutumpa, how can he say I am stupid now?”

At this point, Speaker Matibini called for order as the noise in the House escalated.

“You can’t call me stupid, me I am not Kambwili!” exclaimed Nkombo.

Speaker Matibini ordered him to sit and begged for order in the House.

But Sikazwe walked out of the House telling Nkombo, “weh mbwa weh.”

The confusion lasted almost five minutes before Speaker Matibini asked Nkombo to continue.

“Mr Speaker, procedurally, when a point of order is raised upon yourself, it is not in order to leave the House as he has done. Over and above, my substantive point of order, Mr Sikazwe has called me stupid and as he is walking out, he is saying weh mbwa weh to me, meaning you dog. Put that aside. Cap 12 sir, of the Laws of Zambia addresses the immunities and privileges of a member. And before honourable Mwiimbu raised his point of order, honourable member for Roan, exercising his right to ask the Vice-President, was admonished by Mr Sikazwe, truthfully, you may not have heard what was going on but we heard because we were at earshot. After you advised Mr Speaker, the altercation continued and that’s why I started my point of order by saying his conduct is becoming unbecoming. And then he calls me a fool. Is he in order now to step out after I raised a procedural point of order? Because I would like to ask a follow up question”

And Kabwe PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube then shouted “You also go out you!”

To which Nkombo responded, “Me sir I can beat up that one talking, that is the problem with me, that is the precise problem with me. If you are man enough let’s go outside so that we can leave the chamber in peace!”

Other members of parliament burst into laughter before Nkombo concluded “Is honourable Sikaze in order sir?”

Speaker Matibini reserved his ruling.

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