Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has ordered Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili to apologise to Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo for making unsubstantiated allegations that he received a bribe from Grandview International.
And Speaker Matibini has justified his decision to declare the Chilanga seat vacant saying the new Constitution empowered him to do so in an event that the seat holder was convicted for a crime.
Speaker Matibini was making a ruling on a point of order which was raised by Kampyongo last year for alleging that he received a bribe from Bokani Soko for awarding him a contract to supply fire trucks without providing evidence.
Kampyongo had complained that because of Kambwili’s accusations, people now perceived him to be corrupt.
In his ruling, Speaker Matibini revealed that when the matter went to the Privileges Committee, Kambwili insisted that Kampyongo was a corrupt man who received the said bribe but refused to adduce evidence when the committee members asked for it.
He said the Privileges Committee recommended that Kambwili be reprimanded.
Speaker Matibini said Kambwili abused the privileges of Parliament by failing to adduce evidence to substantiate his allegations against Kampyongo and reprimanded him in absentia.
“I will now address Dr C Kambwili in absentia. The House is extremely displeased with your conduct of making allegations on the floor of the House and then failing to adduce evidence to substantiate them. The privilege of freedom of speech is there to ensure that members debate freely without fear of reprisals. This privilege however, is not unlimited as it requires the information you bring to the floor of the House to be factual and verifiable. Dr Kambwili MP, as a senior member of this House you are expected to know that anything you say on the floor of the House is factual and verifiable. You cannot therefore, without evidence wantonly make unfounding and unwarranted allegations against persons then plead the privilege of freedom of speech,” Speaker Matibini said.
“The rules and procedure of the House as put in place, are intended to ensure that members only bring to the House information that is factual and verifiable. This is intended to ensure that the House and the public at large are not misled. You cannot therefore use the floor of the House to damage other people’s reputation and thereafter plead privilege. I therefore now strongly reprimand you and direct that you desist from exhibiting such conduct in future.”
He said Kambwili would apologise when he reported back to Parliament.
“Honourable members, as the House is aware, a member who is reprimanded for breach of parliamentary privilege is required to apologise to the House. In this regard, Dr Kambwili MP, will in due course render his apology to the House on the day that he will be available in the House,” he said.
And Speaker Matibini justified his decision to declare the Chilanga seat vacant saying the new Constitution empowered him to do so in an event that the seat holder was convicted for a crime.
He was ruling on a point of order raised by Leader of the Opposition Jack Mwiimbu who wondered why Keith Mukata’s seat was declared vacant when Lusaka Central and Munali seats were untouched despite their nullification by the High Court.
Speaker Matibini said Mukata’s seat fell vacant when he was sentenced to death for murder.
“In this regard, the certificate of death sentence is sufficient evidence that Mr Mukata is serving a prison sentence. This necessarily means that his seat fell vacant by operation of articles 72 (2) (f) of the Constitution. Since the Constitution no longer permits a member serving a prison sentence to remain in the House while the matter is pending appeal, the fact that he has appealed against his conviction cannot enable him to retain his seat. Furthermore, honorable members, you may wish to note article, 72 (8) of the Constitution and it stipulates as follows and I quote; ‘where a vacancy occurs in the National Assembly, the Speaker shall within seven days of the occurrence of the vacancy inform the Electoral Commission of the vacancy in writing and a by-election shall be held in accordance with article 57’. It may further be observed from the fore going that once a seat falls vacant, in the National assembly, the Speaker must notify the Electoral Commission of Zambia of the vacancy within seven days. To this extent, I was obliged by the Constitution to notify the Electoral Commission of Zambia of the vacancy in the Chilanga Parliamentary Constituency seat not later than 7th March 2018, which I obliged,” he said.
Speaker Matibini said laws which governed seats whose members had appealed their nullification were different from laws which government seats which fell vacant as a result of a conviction.