Opposition UPND members of parliament yesterday walked out of parliament in protests during the vice president’s question time after some PF members started celebrating a Sesheke pre-election victory.
And after leaving the house, some UPND parliamentarians were overheard saying that they would table a motion to have the Speaker of the National Assembly censured for allowing certain conduct in the House.
After the vice president’s question and answer session, the opposition MPs went back in the house.
But in an interview after the protest, UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa accused the speaker of curtailing the debates.
“The reasons why the members of parliament of the UPND walked out of the house this morning during the vice-president’s question time [is that] the members felt that the presiding officer Mr Speaker was not being fair in the way he was handling the members of the UPND and as opposed to the members of the executive. We thought that as members of the opposition, and not just the UPND, would want to give content and context to their questions, he would not allow them but the members of the ruling patriotic front, he would allow then and in particular this was highlighted when honourable Lufuma MP asked a question and was trying to give context and was curtailed,” Mweetwa explained.
He said opposition MPs saw it not fair for their colleagues to be allowed to celebrate a pre-election victory of a seat whose holder had just recently died.
“A few minutes later, Honourable Mumbi Phiri nominated, was given an opportunity to bring a lot of issues to do with Mangango, politicking and even went on to begin to speak in a manner as if she was celebrating the loss of a UPND MP who passed on in Sesheke, asking the vice president to comment on PF’s preparedness to win that seat. A seat which for us as UPND is still paining, we are still mourning the loss of our colleague Honourable Kufakwandi and also we know that the families are still grieving. So for the family to see that the loss of a beloved brother is now being brought into Parliament as if it is a circus, people laughing around, cheering that they are going to Sesheke for by-election to win,” Mweetwa said.
He said the opposition took offence with the manner in which the ruling PF members were debating as the subject matter was so dear to them.
“Now being given the latitude so to do, we felt that that was not fair and we walked out in protest against the behaviour of the Patriotic Front on the floor of the House [as] we felt that they did not respect the fact that we as UPND are still mourning with the family of the honourable member. We felt that it was time we walked out and allow them enjoy the fan as we go outside to contemplate the loss which we are still breathing,” explained Mweetwa.
“And that is why we left the vice-president’s question time and we went back after that session was over for us to continue with the normal proceedings of the house. We are not happy at all that Patriotic Front could use that as a platform to bring politics and start dancing [over] a pre-election victory for Sesheke. So we took very serious offence of that because this is matter which is very close to our hearts,” said Mweetwa.