PF Secretary General Davies Mwila has written to three PF members of parliament asking them to exculpate themselves for absenting themselves from voting for Constitution Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019.
The three members of parliament are Kamfinsa MP Elalio Musonda, Chifubu MP Frank Ng’ambi and Mwansabombwe MP Kabaso Kampampi.
In a similar letter sent to all of them, Mwila questioned why they decided not to vote when President Edgar Lungu directed that all MPs must vote for Bill 10 as it had progressive clauses.
“It has come to my attention that during the voting for the Constitution Amendment Bill No 10 of 2020, on Thursday 29th October, 2020, you decided to absent yourself from voting for the Bill. Hon Member, you are aware that His Excellency, the President had directed that all our Members of Parliament vote for the Constitution Amendment Bill No 10 of 2019 as it had progressive clauses that would have seen us uplift the lives of the less privileged in society, I find your action not line with the party’s interest and in breach of article 74, regulation 29)d) and (I) of the party constitution. I therefore give you seven days to exculpate yourself why disciplinary action should not be taken against you,” wrote Mwila.
But Monze Central UPND MP Jack Mwiimbu yesterday rose on a point of order wanting to know whether Mwila was in order to try and discipline the three MPs when they had Parliamentary privileges.
“I would like to raise a point of order on the privileges of MPs in this House. Madam Chairperson, I would like to raise a point of order on the PF, and Her Honour the Vice-President who is also the Vice-President of the PF. Madam Chairperson, my point of order is based on section three of the Parliamentary Privileges Act. I am raising this point of order on Her Honour the Vice-President as Vice-President of the Party and also the Secretary General of the PF. Madam Chairperson, are the three individuals I have mentioned in order to take disciplinary action against three members of Parliament who enjoy privileges in this House?” asked Mwiimbu.
“Three letters have been issued and have been written to the honourable members for Mwansabombwe, the honourable member for Chifubu and the honourable member for Kamfinsa for having not voted for Bill 10. I am raising a point of order to know why these three individuals I have mentioned are violating the rights of members of parliament who enjoy privileges in this House. Are they in order to take disciplinary action against the three members of parliament whilst they enjoy privileges in this House? I seek your serious ruling.”
In her ruling, First Deputy Speaker Catherine Namugala said while she could not dictate anything regarding PF’s internal affairs, she could only act if Mwiimbu provided evidence that the three MPs were being punished for what had happened in the House.
“My ruling, of course as you will guess is that I am not competent to rule on a matter that has to do with the internal issues of the Patriotic Front. Unless of course as you have said yourself you can show evidence that those particular members are being punished for what they have done in the House, while enjoying their privileges as members of parliament. That is my ruling. But as to what the Patriotic Front does with its members, how they manage their party, I am not competent but to the extent that the freedoms of the members of parliament that are to be enjoyed in this House are undermined or they are being frustrated, and you can lay on the table evidence to that extent, then of course I will have jurisdiction to deal with that matter. For now, that is my ruling,” said Namugala.
On Friday last week, Ng’ambi rose on a point of order and asked the National Assembly to add his vote to the 105 MPs who voted for Bill 10, claiming that even if he supported the Bill, his vote did not count as the electronic system froze.