IT system not giving us chance to ask questions in Parliament, complains UPND

The opposition UPND today complained to Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini that the newly installed IT system was not giving them a chance to ask questions in the House.

And Speaker Matibini today took on Sports minister Moses Mawere for lying in Parliament.

Rising on a point of order, UPND Kabompo member of parliament Ambrose Lufuma wanted to know why questions from the opposition party were not being picked.

“Mr Speaker, I have observed that this new system is not allowing this side, us the UPND to ask questions. We have been pressing [the button] for some time now, but when you press, after some time the system is erasing. What is going on Mr Speaker,” asked Lufuma.

Speaker Matibini said he was going to make an inquiry.

“I am sure the head of IT department is following the proceedings and he will attend to that concern,” said Speaker Matibini, shortly before adding “I have been told that the IT system will now indicate questions from 25 members at a time.’

Meanwhile, Youth, sport and child development Minister Moses Mawere this afternoon disgraced himself in the House for lying that he had consulted his committee before establishing the street venders empowerment scheme, when in fact not.

This was after Kaputa member of parliament Maxsas Ng’onga rose on a point of order to seek the Speaker’s ruling on why Mawere gave false information to the House by claiming that his ministry had consulted the committee on youth and sport before coming up with a the youth street vendors empowerment scheme.

Ealier, Mawere rendered a Ministerial statement to the House in which he was giving an update on how government intended to address youth unemployment.

“Mr Speaker, you will recall that on 12th August, 2016, His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia launched an action plan which is centered at addressing youth unemployment and under employment in the short, medium and long term, using a multi-sectoral approach… This street vendors youth empowerment scheme is guided by a memorandum of understanding signed among three key stakeholders namely; the ministry of youth, sport and child development, Zambia postal services corporation and the united street vendors corporative society limited. When I say key stakeholders I mean people who have a big role to play in this programme which also includes our parliamentary committee on youth, sport and child development which was consulted,” said Mawere.

But in his point of order, Ng’oma who is also a member of the youth and sports committee challenged the Minister on his claim.

“Mr Speaker I rise on a very serious point of order being a member of the committee of youth and sport, is the minister in order to mislead this house by saying that he consulted the committee on youth and sport? I thank you Mr Speaker and I need a serious rulling on this,” said Ng’oma.

When asked to justify the information given in his earlier remarks by Speaker Matibini, the minister avoided answering the question, forcing the speaker to demand a clear explanation.

“Mr Speaker, the committee early this year, if am not mistaken took a tour together with my Ministry to go round and appreciate the programmes which the Ministry is doing through out the country and through that process Mr Speaker the committee even submitted a report here in this House where some of the concerns which they observed on the ground were raised and that they even made some recommendations to our ministry,” Mawere said.

But Dr Matibini argued: “Honourable minister I still have difficulties with your response to the point of order, did you specifically engage with the committee on this scheme, on this specific subject? I know you have referred to the usual tours that are done by the committee but did you engage the committee on this scheme?”

And in his response, Mawere said “thank you Mr Speaker, that’s the information I was given but I will check with my technocrats.”

The Speaker was not satisfied and told Mawere: “Honourable Minister, honourable minister this question is directed to you as minister. How can you say you are not sure when its directed at you? honourable minister respond.”

Mawere again said : “Thank you Mr Speaker, I will check and respond later Mr Speaker.”

Speaker Matibini did not let him loose, but press further for a clearer explanation, forcing the minister to apologise for misleading the house.

“Honourable Minister I think you need to act in a more honourable way, did you consult the committee, as minister…as minister, did you concult?” asked Speaker Matibini.

“Thank you Mr Speaker, personally I did not [consult] and I apologise for that, thank you,” said Mawere.

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