Non-Governmental Organization Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Chairperson Sera Longwe says Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini is biased in the way he has been handling business in the House.
In an interview, Longwe observed that members of parliament wouldn’t have been walking out of the House all the time if the Speaker was doing his work professionally.
“He is biased, people wouldn’t be walking out all the time, or saying what they are saying now, this is not playing a balanced game, so from what we have been seeing and hearing, he is biased,” Longwe said.
Longwe also condemned singing of political songs on the floor of the House by PF members of parliament when President Edgar Lungu gave a State of the Nation address last Friday.
“And people are not supposed to sing political songs and praises in Parliament, the Speaker is suppose to stop that. So the opposition has every right to have a say if things are not going right. The opposition is there to make sure that the House is politically free and not partisan. We heard it ourselves and MPs are not supposed to sing political songs or slogans, that is wrong,” she said.
Longwe further expressed disappointment over President Edgar Lungu’s sentiments that the country could not hold a Referendum due to lack of money.
“This is going against the will of the people because this Bill of Rights has been decided by the people for a long time. And there is a lot of discrimination against women because our current Bill of Rights has a lot of traditions that go against the rights of women, girls, children, people with disabilities, and the poor,” Longwe said.
“He is there to make life better for the people, so it is not good enough saying I don’t have money because he should have never have put himself up to be elected as president, if he doesn’t want to work for the people.”
Longwe said President Lungu was delaying the stakeholders in terms of preparedness in their responsibility of sensitizing the public.
“He is on record saying there is no money and that he wants to finish the constitutional reform process. This is a very important Bill of Rights which needs to be done because the current constitution has an old bill of Rights as way back as 1991 and so when he comes back, not now. He takes a lot of people on his trips of his own which costs more instead of using commercial trips, he is making various trips in the rural areas. We know that he has money, it’s just a matter of prioritizing,” said Longwe.
“He doesn’t care about the well being of the people because this Bill of Rights is very important in ensuring that people continue to have decent education, decent health and so on. We are not going to stop sensitizing people but unfortunately it would have been better if we had a road map which would help us. It is not good to say am not ready when you do not have a road map! The question then is! When are you going to be ready?”