Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Namugala has cautioned members of parliament to always ensure that they uphold dignity and mind their language when conducting debates on the floor the House.
This followed a point of order raised by Kasenengwa PF member of parliament Sensio Banda who wanted to know if Bwengwa UPND member of parliament Kasautu Michelo some government officials during his debate on the national budget, Wednesday.
During his debate, Michelo argued that while Minister of Finance Dr Bwalya Ng’andu was capable of turning around the country’s economy, some people surrounding him were a distraction because they had “thin” minds.
“…I congratulate you my elder brother, honourable Minister of Finance for reversing the decision to introduce the Sales Tax in place of VAT (Value Added Tax). But I am very much worried my elder brother that you might get spoiled if you associate yourself with people with thin minds and I don’t think that this budget will work out if that happens. This budget speech is another gamble speech which might backfire and turn out to be President Edgar Lungu’s downfall,” said Kasautu.
But rising on a point of order, Banda requested Namugala to help the House understand if the opposition member of parliament was in order to suggest that the PF government was full of people with thin minds and were capable of spoiling Dr Ng’andu’s thinking.
“Madam Speaker, the decorum of this House must always be repsected and I believe that all members of parliament who come here are called honourables. The honourable on the floor of the Houose debating now refereed his statement to the Minister of Finance that he should not associate himself with people with thin minds, and Madam Speaker many are times that you’ve told us to debate with facts and to ensure that what we say here should be true and reflect the true picture of the happenings. My piint of order is that, is the member of parliament debating in order to demean the capacity of interaction of the Minister of Finance? I need your serious ruling, thank you,” submitted Banda.
And in her ruling, Namugala cautioned Kasautu and all members of parliament in general to be mindful of the language they used on the floor of the House, saying the words they uttered were a reflection of the people they represented.
“My ruling is that yes indeed the statement that the honourable Minister of Finance must not associate with people of thin minds actually kept me wondering. But when I asked the honourable member for Bweengwa to repeat [what he had earlier said], I think he stated differently and I will use this point of order to give counsel. Honourable members, you are all here because you have been chosen out of the many millions of Zambians to come and represent the people of Zambia in this House. In order for you to effectively do that, you must ensure that you uphold the dignity of this House. This is the only Parliament we have in this House, it’s the only one. And the citizens are looking up to us to see if indeed they made the right decision to send each one of you to this House. When you stand to debate, remember that you are representing those people that sent you here and your language should reflect that. We constantly remind you to ensure that there is mutual respect, there must be mutual respect if we are going to be relevant. If we are indeed going to deserve that opportunity that has been given to us,” Namugala ruled.
Namugala specifically asked Kasautu to refrain from making attacks in his debates.
“Honourable member for Bweengwa, if you have noticed, whenever you stand to debate, I sit on the edge of the chair because I know that I will constantly be interjecting your debate. Let me sit back, honourable member for Bweengwa let me enjoy your debate. Let me listen back and listen to you contribute to the motion on the floor. Let’s try now,” said Namugala.
Kasautu then assured Namugala that he would ensure that she enjoyed his debates going forward.