SPEAKER of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti has reserved ruling on a point of order raised by Pambashe PF member of parliament Ronald Chitotela on whether Vice-President Mutale Nalumango is in order to remain quiet when UPND members continue to breach the Ministerial Code of Conduct and issuing statements on government issues.
In his point of order, Wednesday, Chitotela was referring to UPND spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa’s announcement that President Hakainde Hichilema’s promise to sell the Presidential Jet had not changed and that the matter was subject to Cabinet review.
“Madam Speaker, I will refer to the newspaper the Daily Nation of Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 sub-titled ‘Jet not for sale’. Madam Speaker the matter is on page two, it quotes the party spokesperson relating the matter of government to the public that ‘the UPND has backtracked on its campaign pledge to sell the Presidential Jet claiming it was an asset of Zambia Airforce’. Bearing in the mind that the advice could have probably come from the security wing of the state. Shockingly enough, I am quoting the Daily Mail Newspaper of Wednesday 15th, the title is the ‘Presidential Jet Dilemma’. He went on to say ‘after the security wing advises his Excellency the President that the matter will be a subject of Cabinet’,” Chitotela said.
”I find it very strange being the immediate past Minister and a member of the Ministerial Security Council that advises the President on the matter of security and defence, that the advice of the security wing of government to the President now becomes a subject of government for them to decide. Is her Honour the Vice President in order to remain quiet and yet Zambians begin speculating whether the security tips that go to the President now will be a subject of Cabinet to decide whether to enforce or not?”
Chitotela further questioned why Vice-President Nalumango was quiet when the party was issuing statements on matters of government without giving a chance to the government spokesperson.
“Further Madam Speaker, is her Honour the Vice President in order to let the party be issuing statements on the matter of government, without giving chance to the government spokesperson to give the position and allow the Republican President who is not a UPND president, he is a state property, that he will fly [commercial] during the heightened COVID-19 for 13 hours from Zambia to Washington and coming back?” asked Chitotela.
“I will help you Madam Speaker to lay this on the table so that you can make an informed decision. Is her honour the Vice President in order to remain quiet and allow the breach of the Ministerial Code of conduct by some of the members of her Cabinet and allow her party to be issuing statements on issues to deal with government? And alleging that his Excellency the President will now be subjecting the security briefs to the decision of Cabinet? I seek your serious ruling.”
In response, Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti reserved her ruling on the matter to allow a thorough investigation.
“Thank you very much for the point of order which has been duly noted. I will reserve my ruling on that point of order because I need to make inquiries and investigate that issue and make my ruling later,” said Mutti.