UPND deputy secretary general Gertrude Imenda says she is not surprised that Lands Minister Jean Kapata portrayed thuggish behaviour in Parliament that is against the decorum of the House, because she belongs to a party that thrives on violence.
On Tuesday, UPND members of parliament walked out of the House after Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo charged that the opposition party caused the riots at UNZA which subsequently led to the death of fourth year student Vespers Shimuzhila.
Then some PF members of parliament, led by Lands Minister Jean Kapata, hurled insults on their colleagues who took a protest walk out, branding them Satanists and suggesting a physical fight between the two camps.
“Bye bye polio… elo beshile nabafwala nefya black (they even here came dressed in black), get out! Nabafwala nefya black kwati balewamya (they are even dressed in black like they are doing the right thing) [How can you be] politicking when someone has lost a child? Ata bane [more insults], one day members tukaiponone one by one, tukamone uwakosa ninani (one day we should engage in a physical fight as members of parliament so that we see who is stronger). Ala imwe baice! Fi satanist (you little kids, [you are just] satanists),” said Kapata as her colleagues on the right agreed with her whilst others added their own unprintables to the fracas.
Commenting on Kapata’s remarks, Imenda told News Diggers! that the Mandevu MP did not befit the status of an honourable member of parliament.
“I want to condemn such kind of behaviour and utterances; it does not befit her (Jean Kapata’s) stature as a member of parliament. But also, it is not good for the politics of this country. We shouldn’t be physical in our dealings with each other. Let us put forward intelligent, analytical issues and let us just debate and discuss issues without resorting to violence. When you resort to violence, it means you have got nothing to put to the debate. You don’t have the capacity and the intelligence to deal with an issue. So, because you don’t have, you resort to physical violence. If somebody doesn’t have something to put forward in terms of intelligent debate, they will resort to physical violence because that’s what they know best,” Imenda said.
“You tell me, those PF cadres controlling markets and all these places who resort to physical violence, can you discuss anything intelligent with them? No! Because they don’t even understand what an intelligent discussion is. So, even her [Jean Kapata], if she is saying that then it means she has nothing intelligent to put forward for discussion. She didn’t have something to debate and defend and so on. So, she just wants to say, ‘let’s just fight’, but how does that help Zambians if our MPs start fighting? It doesn’t help Zambians at all. Let us just discuss issues.”
Imenda regretted that Kapata, who is also Chairperson for Women Affairs in the Patriotic Front, was disrespecting the name of ‘Honourable Member of Parliament’ with her type of behaviour.
“MPs are supposed to exhibit a certain type of behaviour and attitude, that’s why they are called ‘Honourable’. They are supposed to show a decorum fitting where they are in that House. So, for someone to make comments like ‘satanist’ and all that, whether a man or a woman, it is not befitting the stature an honourable member of parliament. And the issue of the physical fighting, surely, that does not befit the stature of an MP. It’s a pity, really, but what I can say is that PF as a party we know from the beginning that they believe in violence and that such kind of a challenge to a fight is just their nature. PF believe in violence, so violence even from the utterances and then culminating into physical violence, for me, I am not surprised. But really, being a female MP, it’s not just fitting. Us, we are not physical, but it all depends on where you come from. If you come from a party that believes in physical violence, then that’s what you will exhibit. But still, it doesn’t surprise me because that’s what they stand for themselves and she is just one of them,” Imenda, a former Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson, explained.
She added that the UPND would sit and discuss what action they would like to see taken against Kapata in Parliament.
“Since those are issues in the House, I think that has to be sorted out by the PF in Parliament. So, I will have a discussion with our whip and the leader of government business and the legal person, so that we see the way forward. Then we will also discuss with our members of parliament and see what next action we can take. But we are advising our members to follow the procedure in the House if they want disciplinary action to be taken against Honourable Jean Kapata,” said Imenda, who once served as Luena MP under the Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) party.