GOVERNMENT Chief Whip Brian Mundubile says there is nothing unusual with the appointment of former health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya to the Parliamentary Budget Committee.
Commenting on UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s remarks that Dr Chilufya’s appointment to the Parliamentary Budget Committee was a disaster, Mundubile said there was nothing wrong for any member of parliament to be appointed as a member of any committee as long as they were not holding any Ministerial position.
“The starting point is that Parliamentary Committees are part of Parliament and are established under standing order 131. The oversight role of Parliament is exercised through committees and any member of parliament who does not hold a Ministerial position by law has to be on the committee. So, as long as you are a member of parliament and you are not holding any Ministerial position you have to belong to a committee. So, when a member of the Executive is disappointed for one reason or the other, the Standing Orders Committee appoints that particular member of parliament to a committee,” Mundubile said.
“So, there is nothing unusual about Honourable Chitalu Chilufya being appointed to a committee that is what is provided for. There is really nothing wrong with Honourable Chilufya being appointed to that committee. So, our concern is that when there are these concerns coming from other stakeholders, including the UPND leader, we feel that those arguments are flawed because these are people that postulate the constitutionalism and the rule of law. How, then, do they want to go against what the law provides? Because this is what the law provides.”
He expressed shock to Hichilema’s remarks because some UPND MPs, who were in court for alleged land crimes, were chairpersons of parliamentary committees.
“If at all they want it to go the way of morals, firstly, we are dealing with what the law provides and when dealing with what the law provides, it is a law as it is and not what it ought to be. So, for instance, if the argument was to be pursued let’s assume we wanted to go their way of arguing through morals, there should be equity at that. As we speak now, there are members of parliament in the UPND, who are facing serious allegations to do with the sale of land, for instance, in Livingstone. Now, those individuals or MPs are actually serving as chairpersons of committees. So, if they were correct in their arguments, why haven’t they found it problematic or immoral that their members of parliament are facing serious allegations to the point of even being put on their defence, something Honourable Chilufya is not at. Why haven’t they found that immoral that their MPs have continued to serve on committees, even as chairpersons? Yet there all these allegations, they have been taken to court,” argued Mundubile, who is also Mporokoso PF member of parliament.
“So, we feel as leaders we must first of all not speak from the point of ignorance when it comes to parliamentary procedure. I think there is need for leaders to acquaint themselves with the operations of Parliament. When a committee is sitting, it actually sits on, and before Mr Speaker, it is sitting as Parliament. For as long as you are not removed, you will continue to exercise your role as a member of parliament. So, I want to say the argument is flawed. According to standing orders, it doesn’t say that when you are facing challenges then you can’t be a member of parliament, you can’t be appointed to committees.”