Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo yesterday took a walk of shame out of the National Assembly after Speaker Patrick Matibini slapped a 30-day suspension on him for slapping Chishimba Kambwili in October last year.
But Lusambo, who is also Kabushi member of parliament says he is not ashamed, neither does he regret his actions.
Meanwhile, Kambwili says he is happy that justice has finally been served, but feels the suspension should have been meted at the beginning of this session.
Yesterday, Speaker Matibini asked Lusambo to reflect during his suspension and informed him that he would not be paid any allowances during that time.
“I request you to reflect on your conduct more so as a minister and I truly trust that you change and conduct yourself in a manner befitting an honorable member and minister…During your suspension, you shall not enter the precincts of the Assembly and this extends to the National Assembly Motel, participate in any activity of the assembly or any committee that you are signed in in your capacity as member of parliament and you will not be paid a salary or allowance you are entitled to as a member. I now order you Mr Lusambo, honourable MP to take the walk of shame and leave the Chamber through the main entrance on 30 days suspension with effect from today 20th March to 13th April 2018,” said Speaker Matibini.
Speaker Matibini, however, refused to drop the charges against Lands Minister Jean Kapata who had poured water on Kambwili despite the parliamentary committee on privileges recommending he does so on the basis that the two had reconciled.
He however exercised leniency by deciding to suspend her for seven days but members of parliament protected her when it was put to a secret ballot.
In an interview with News Diggers! after taking the walk of shame, Lusambo said the suspension had proved that he was loyal to President Lungu.
“Minister. No no no….I am not bothered at all, I don’t regret my suspension and I have nothing to reflect upon following this suspension because I am a principled person. I swore to protect the Constitution through an oath and pledged my total loyalty to His Excellency the President and I will continue to do so whether inside or outside the House. I was sent to Parliament by the people of Kabushi was to protect the institution of the Presidency,” Lusambo said.
“Even if it means dying for the President, I can die for him and I would be glad if in died for President Edgar Chagwa Lungu because I know I would have died while defending the legacy of a great leader and serving the purpose I was sent to parliament for by the people of Kabushi. This one-month suspension has not affected me at all because it just shows that I am a loyal servant to His Excellence the President and my loyalty has just increased from 112 per cent to 200 per cent. So its a plus for me.”
Asked if he was bothered that PF MPs voted against him but protected Kapata, Lusambo said he didn’t feel betrayed.
“No, no, I don’t feel betrayed at all. You know, politics is about numbers and by the way, I wasn’t sent to Parliament by my fellow MPs, I was sent to Parliament by the people of Zambia from Kabushi constituency through a vote, those are the people I owe my allegiance to. Whether my colleagues from PF vote against me or not, it does not bother me because I did not go to Parliament because of them. I went to Parliament to work towards improving the lives of the people of Zambia and those in Kabushi constituency particularly and to protect the legacy of His Excellency the President from people who are bringing the name of the President in disrepute and I don’t regret doing so, and that’s what I shall continue to do as long as I live. There is no way I am going to allow anyone to be disrespecting the President as long as I am alive, I swore to protect the President and that is exactly what I will in and outside Parliament,” he said.
Asked if he could ever reconcile with Kambwili, Lusambo said only if the Roan lawmaker apologised to President Lungu.
“Look, I am ready to reconcile with anyone who is willing to respect His Excellency the President. Whenever he is ready to come and apologise for insulting the President and promises to change his ways,” said Lusambo.
In a separate telephone interview, Kambwili welcomed the ruling but said he wished it was made at the beginning of the sitting so that it carried more weight.
“Justice has been served although it ha been delayed. This decision to suspend Bowman was actually made a long time ago but I don’t know why Parliament was dilly dallying in passing the verdict. I am happy with the verdict but I would have been happy if the man was suspended while Parliament was sitting because we are remaining with only one week for Parliament to sit meaning that this man hasn’t lost his earnings from parliament. It could have been more punitive if he had lost attending the actual sitting of Parliament so that he doesn’t earn the allowances,” Kambwili said.
“I want to appeal to the young man that at Parliament, we have got a certain behaviour that we have to follow and I was extremely disappointed when he assaulted me. I reported this matter to police, the police have not done not anything, never even called him for questioning. You can see the difference between Parliament and the police is that Parliament is professional. They investigated the matter, found him guilty and punished him. The police have not done anything so you can see that the police in Zambia are partisan and they will never deal with those who are in power, that is demeaning our democracy. My appeal to Bowman is to reflect and change for the better.”
He said he had forgiven Kapata.
“For honourable Kapata, before anything, honourable Kapata came and we discussed and if a person says sorry, it is only human that you forgive. She came to me saying sorry and I also told her sorry if I had wronged her in any way. You know, Jean Kapata and I come a long way in PF but for Bowman, he has no history in PF and that’s why he couldn’t even be man enough to come and say sorry. I have nothing against Bowman or Jean Kapata. Jean is my sister and colleague and it was important that we reconciled. These are politics and politics should not create enmity. If I have a different view in politics, I should not be viewed as an enemy who needs to be beaten…we need each other,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kambwili said he was disgusted that the Daily Nation Newspaper and EPP leader Chilufya Tayali were accusing him of forging a sick note.
He said he would sue them so that they could desist from fabricating lies.
“I am still in South Africa, I just completed my medicals and I should be heading back home tomorrow. I am also very disappointed with the behaviour of the Daily Nation and [Chilufya] Tayali going all out to say that I forged a medical report. How could a newspaper worth its sort publish so much lies to the general public? The doctor had actually wanted to admit me on that day but I pleaded with him that I would rather go and rest at home because if I was hospitalised it would have been very difficult for me to rest because party members and friends could have been coming every minute to disturb my resting. And for people to say that I forged a medical report, it is only unfortunate. People must learn so I will take legal action against Tayali and the Daily Nation so that people can learn not to create a storm out of nothing.
They have defamed me so much trying to show that I am a dishonest person, running away from the police or from the courts. But in the courts that’s where you get justice, how can I run away?” asked Kambwili.