Transparency International Zambia president Rueben Lifuka says Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini must restore decency in the House.
And Lifuka says it is high time President Edgar Lungu began to demand for exemplary behavior from members of his Cabinet.
On Tuesday, Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe attacked Roan PF member of parliament in the House after the latter called the former a witch.
But commenting on the fracas in a statement, Lifuka observed that such vigilante behavior was not expected from a minister.
“The recent incident in Parliament which involved a physical altercation between Hon Chishimba Kambwili and the Presidential affairs Minister- Hon Freedom Sikazwe, is not only sad but an embarrassment to this nation. Our leaders are supposed to be role models who should act with decorum deserving of their positions. This vigilante behavior is not expected from a Cabinet Minister or indeed a Member Of Parliament. It is time that Mr. Speaker brought back the dignity of the House. For far too long, we have witnessed the degrading of morals and values of decency in the House. In this era when parliamentary proceedings are broadcast live, we hear and see so many things that lower the standards of public leadership,” Lifuka stated.
“It is shameful to listen to running commentaries and even the intemperate language at times which does not show respect for one another and underscores the democratic norms of tolerating divergent views. Differences in opinion are to be expected but certainly it will not do for our leaders to resort to physical fights to settle differences.”
And Lifuka stated that President Lungu was duty bound to instill discipline in his Cabinet.
“President Lungu is equally duty bound to instill discipline in his Cabinet. It does not reflect well on him when his own Presidential Affairs Minister finds nothing untoward with his conduct and is not remorseful. President Lungu should begin to ask for better and exemplary behavior from the men and women that are in Cabinet. The insulting language, sarcasm and demeaning language should come to an end. The people of this country did not elect you to go and engage in school boy or party vigilante like conduct- they expect a high level of seriousness and commitment to finding solutions to the many problems that they face. Our ministers and Members of Parliament have no luxury to busy themselves with minutiae. People continue to lose lives as you engage in banter and other irrelevant activities. We demand an apology from both Hon Sikazwe and Hon Kambwili- please take us seriously as the electorate. We are tired of our elected leaders trivalising the problems that the majority of the people face. We equally want to hear from the Speaker of the House on the measures he is putting in place to restore order in this August body,” stated Lifuka.
“People continue to lose lives and yet you find comfort to engage in banter and prattle and now brawling. This kind of behavior is a betrayal of public trust and it is demeaning to the people who are yearning for proper leadership through their representatives. The measure of success of all the MPs at the end of their tenure of office will not be in the number of punches thrown or insults traded- it will be assessed in the improvements in the quality of lives for the people you serve. This should be the central goal of any political leader worth his or her salt.”