NATIONAL Development Planning Minister Alexander Chiteme has asked Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini to state whether Monze central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu is in order to continue calling him a thief on the floor of the House without evidence.

In a point of order, Friday, Chiteme wondered why Mwiimbu would call him, and his Chililabombwe counterpart thieves just because they donated buses to their constituencies.

“Mr Speaker, I know that we are accorded privileges as members of parliament to raise points or order especially when we feel that there is breach on the standing orders. In this case I am referring to standing order number 53 and I quote, ‘a member shall, in debating any matter ensure that the information he or she provides to those is factual and verifiable’. Further Mr Speaker, chapter 3 of the National Assembly Members Handbook 2006 states as follows at page 13, “members must allege specific matters of fact as being true unless they are able to substantiate”. Mr Speaker, in his contribution to head 21, loans and guarantees, honourable Mr Mwiimbu called members on your right to be thieves, criminals that have gone round acquiring buses and throwing around money to the people in their constituencies. He was restrained by Honorable First Deputy Speaker who was Chair of the House at that time, first of all she said, “I won’t allow that, withdraw your statement” on two accounts,” Chiteme said.

“Number one is that we don’t debate ourselves and number two, the he will be called upon to adduce evidence that we are indeed thieves and that we are throwing away money recklessly and that we are a party that has got more money than government. Mr Speaker, he was stopped and ordered to withdraw, he was indeed even given extra time in which to do that, he got back in the floor and further alluded that ‘actually I have substantial evidence that the member of parliament of Chililabombwe and Nkana’, Mr Speaker [we] are the ones that he alluded have stolen to buy the said buses and flashes money to the people in our constituencies.”

He said the allegations were false because a bus from Higer can be bought by paying only K4,000 per month.

“Mr Speaker, he further alluded that he is going to lay the evidence on the table. My point of order Mr Speaker, is Honorable Mr Mwiimbu in order to disrespect the decorum of this house and to go against the standing orders and call members on this side criminals, thieves? Mr Speaker, Honorable Mr Mwiimbu has come to parliament this is the fourth time, he has been in this house for 20 good years. Is the Honorable member in order to make all these false accusations without providing the needed evidence or even just go to Higher to get the names of the said members of parliament that have gotten a bus and let me just quickly conclude that to get a bus from Higher, is K4,000 per month. Is he in order Mr Speaker I thank you,” said Chiteme.

Dr Matibini reserved his ruling saying he needed to study the matter.

“I will reserve my ruling for obvious reasons, I need to study the whole matter carefully, especially the record of the proceedings verbatim so that I make a measured response to that point of order,” said Dr Matibini.