ZAMBEZI East UPND member of parliament Brian Kambita complained bitterly to Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini yesterday, accusing him of not recognising some members of parliament through the virtual parliament system when they indicate to speak on the floor of the House.

And Nkeyema UPND member of parliament Kapelwa Mbangweta says there is no development that the PF government can talk about in Western Province because most of the roads and bridges are “disasters in-waiting”.

Speaking when he raised a point of order in Parliament, Tuesday, Kambita complained that the digital system, which Parliament was using for its sessions was not functioning properly.

“Mr Speaker, we seem to have a technical problem in line with indicating and actually the list on the screen for those who have questions or those who are indicating. I think I raised this point of order a long time ago and this is when probably you are recognising me, which is quite unfortunate. So, I would like to find out whether the House is in order to continue sitting in this manner when the system is not functioning the way it is supposed to function? I am debating from my room at the National Assembly Motel, but we don’t seem to get recognition when we indicate to speak. So, I would like that addressed, Mr Speaker. Could you please make a ruling on that point of order,” Kambita urged.

But in his ruling, Dr Matibini said he would have to ascertain if the problem was due to a technical failure or if the MP had personal challenges with the system.

“Honourable member for Zambezi East, I am not able to conclude on this point of order now, for obvious reasons, because the issue you have raised is a technical one. I, therefore, need to investigate and verify your concerns. We have actually positioned at the motel, a cadre of technocrats, who are on standby to respond to challenges of this sort. Therefore, I will reserve my ruling. But as I reserve my ruling, I would also urge you to get in touch with the cadre of our technocrats, who are on the ground right at the motel so that, if possible, they may come to your aide. I am not able to say firmly or conclusively whether there is a malfunctioning of the system or perhaps there could be some personal challenges you are facing yourself. We need to establish that. That is my ruling,” Dr Matibini said.

And debating on President Edgar Lungu’s speech to re-open Parliament for the final session last Friday, Mbangweta argued that the PF was not delivering development to Western Province.

“This government is saying that they have delivered in infrastructure because they have now placed in a road network and state-of-the art bridges. If you come from Western Province, you will say that all the roads, which touch us, have not been worked on for the last eight years since the PF government has been in power. Our bridge in the Kafue National Park is a disaster waiting to happen; the Lusaka-Mongu road; Kasempa-Kaoma; Livingstone-Sesheke; Shang’ombo-Sioma and Lukulu-Katunda, all those roads are still in the same state which the MMD left them. So, we cannot say that the PF has delivered if we come from Western Province. And because we have been paying taxes, those taxes have not worked for us. So, for us, there is no delivery because we are back to square one where we were eight years ago,” Mbangweta said.

He further said that President Lungu’s rhetoric on economic growth were “interesting” because the country’s growth rate was projected at -4 per cent this year.

“He talked about the universities [but] the King Lewanika University is still in the soil, the stadium is still in the soil. So, there is no delivery there. The other thing, Mr Speaker, which is very interesting is this: last year, he said that for this country to develop, we needed to develop at a minimum of seven per cent GDP annually. And when MMD was going away, the GDP at some point was reaching eight per cent. Now, he is estimating that at the end of this year, the GDP growth will be negative four, which means in real terms, we have walked backwards by 12 steps, as a country, and as individuals. And I don’t see what sort of delivery that is even if we relate to the speech he gave last year,” said Mbangweta.