Chaos rocked Parliament on Thursday after the Labour and Social Security Minister Joyce Nonde Simukoko became personal when debating the budget for the Ministry of Information, forcing the second deputy Speaker Mwimba Malama to halt proceedings and issue a stern warning to members of the House against unparliamentary conduct.
In her debate, Simukoko told members of parliament to be patriotic and to feel embarrassed when they queue up to pay K1,000 subscription fee to watch foreign television channels, instead of paying K3 TV levy to support ZNBC.
“Sometimes lets be patriotic and support a good course. Even if we are in the opposition doesn’t mean whatever government is doing is wrong. After all, I’m sure you would want to find a country that has made some progress even if by accident you took over… Lets support something which is progressive. And one of such troubled institutions is ZNBC. Mr Speaker, it’s not a secret that the workers at ZNBC have gone through a lot of trouble as regards to conditions of service. They have had difficulties with equipment, there are so many frustrations at ZNBC. So we need to support the budget,” Simukoko said.
“We always admire CNN, BBC and so on but we don’t know that for the countries we are admiring to reach where they have reached, they put in money. Money does not come from heaven and drops. It has to be through us to make the institutions perform. Shamelessly we are always queuing to support foreign TVs. Shamelessly paying those, I wont mention, K1000 and yet you are just complaining to pay K3 [for TV levy]. When are we going to be patriotic? We should be embarrassed, some of you we don’t know whether you are Zambians or not.”
Some opposition members took offence with Simukoko’s line of debate and raised points of order, but the second deputy Speaker allowed the minister to continue with her debate, forcing Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili to walk out of the House.
“Honourable member take a seat. Hourable minister, on the floor, lets debate the ministry [of information] and what is important. No I will not allow any assistance from any member of parliament. I think it must be noted that I’m in charge. Honourable member who is on the floor, please when you begin to respond, ensure that you bring out issues which where brought out by members on my left. I will not allow you to bring issues which will not be sitting well with members of parliament on my right and on my left. So honourable minister continue, bearing in mind what we are looking at,” Malama said, as Simukoko continued.
“Lets be patriotic dear colleagues. This is our country, we will never have another country. I know some people who where in government who are talking have left no legacy..,” said Simukoko as MPs shouted in disapproval while ministers supported her.
“Honourable we can not proceed in this manner. We are not going to proceed in this manner and honourable members on my left understand me. I have guided the honourable minister who is debating not to take that route and honourable minister continue and move away from what you said. Honourable members get me clearly, I have ruled and that is my ruling. That is my ruling. Honourable member for Roan you have decided to walk out, walk in silence,” said second deputy Speaker Malama.