Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini has ruled that Works and Supply Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya was out of order when he misinformed Parliament that government was not undertaking any ‘Speed Cameras’ project.
And Dr Matibini has urged Cabinet Ministers to desist from giving responses that do not address the real issues raised on the floor of the House.
He was ruling on a point of order raised by Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu on February 19 on whether Kafwaya, who was the then acting Minister of Transport and Communications, was in order when he said ‘there was no project on speed cameras being undertaken by government’, when the project was in fact being carried out.
The subject of Mwiimbu’s point of order was based on a question asked by Liuwa UPND member of parliament Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane in Parliament on February 19, 2019.
Dr Situmbeko asked the Minister of Transport and Communication: who the financiers of the Speed Cameras Project were; what the financing mode for the project was; and what mechanism would be used for the financiers to recoup their investment.
In response, the then acting Minister of Transport and Communications Kafwaya replied by saying that there was no such project being undertaken by government.
“The Ministry of Transport and Communication searched for a project called a ‘Speed Cameras’ project and found nothing. This project is non-existent in our Ministry. However, we extended an inquiry to the government in general and still found that there is no project with this description anywhere,” Kafwaya had responded.
However, in his ruling, Dr Matibini recollected that Minister of Transport and Communication Dr Brian Mushimba in his Ministerial statement on November 7, 2018, notified the House of a project called ‘Intelligent Road Safety Management System,’ which had seen the installation of speed cameras on selected Lusaka roads.
He added that in another statement rendered by Dr Mushimba on November 21, 2017, the Minister disclosed that ‘Intelligent Mobility Solution’ was a government technology partner in the implementation of a project.
Dr Matibini said although there was no project spelled as ‘Speed Cameras’ as maintained by Kafwaya, it was a matter of public neutrality that there was a project for the installation of speed cameras.
“While it may be true that there is no project spelled as ‘Speed Cameras project’ as such, as maintained by the acting Minister of Transport and Communication. However, it is a matter of public neutrality that there is or was a project for the installation of speed cameras as stated clearly by the substantive Minister of Transport and Communication in two of the ministerial statements,” he said.
Dr Matibini observed that Kafwaya seemed to have directed his mind and concentrated more on the nomenclature used to describe a project rather than on the substance of the question.
He ruled that Kafwaya was clearly out of order.
“Regrettably, this denied both the House and the public of important information pertaining to the financing of the project. And to that extent, the Honourable Minister was clearly out of order,” Dr Matibini ruled.
And Dr Matibini urged Cabinet Ministers to desist from giving responses that failed to address the real issues raised on the floor of the House.
“Let me seize this opportunity to guide the House that questions are in parliamentary democracy, variable tools and means used by members in holding the Executive to account. Therefore, Ministers are urged to desist from giving responses that tend to avoid addressing the real issues raised in a question. I would like to stress that Ministers are obliged to provide full, adequate and appropriate responses to the questions asked on the floor because it is a Constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly to hold the Executive to account,” urged Dr Matibini.