Speaker sets strict rules for points of order

Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini says members of parliament have been abusing points of order in the House.

In his guidance yesterday, Speaker Matibini said he would be strict on allowing points of order and told members from both sides to quote the exact standing orders which necessitated their points of order.

“Honourable members, before we proceed with questions on points of clarification, I have some guidance to provide. The guidance relates to the raising of points of order on the floor of the House. Honourable members I have repeatedly stated in the past and guided that points of order must be used to bring to my immediate attention or indeed any other presiding officer any breach of order or transgression of rule of the House. However, the unfortunate trend in the House especially lately is that points of order have been used to raise issues unrelated to the business of the House,” Dr Matibini said.

“This, honourable members, is clearly a misuse or indeed abuse of points of order and this practice must therefore end forthwith. Therefore, I wish to reiterate that points of order will be administered very strictly as follows; firstly, there should be general maintenance of points of order and decorum in the House, then secondly, points of order should be raised on questionable procedure in the House when the procedure is violated and where appropriately you will be required to cite the relevant order of a standing order and indeed the rule of the handbook for which we will all have copies. Thirdly, it must relate to business before the House at a particular moment and I have repeatedly used the word that it must be contemporaneous.”

Speaker Matibini said he would curtail unnecessary points of order.

“In the past, I have also diverted from these general rules. We have said that in the event that the honourable members wish to bring to my attention important and urgent national matters, resort to the use of the following mechanisms or avenues, questions of urgent nature under Standing Order number 31. Then her honour the Vice-President question time on Fridays and also ministerial statements by ministers of the state as directed and sanctioned at the discretion of the chair and through private members motion. Any personal attempts or venture to raise a point of order outside what I have circumscribed, I will curtail those points of order,” said Speaker Matibini.

Speaker Matibini has this week been overwhelmed by points of order arising from the decision by UPND MPs to shun President Edgar Lungu’s State of the Nation address.

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