SHIWANG’ANDU PF member of parliament Stephen Kampyongo says that Zambians should be worried about the democracy they have chosen for themselves.

And Lukashya PF member of parliament George Chisanga says the party is going to challenge First Deputy Speaker Attractor Chisangano’s decision to suspend 30 PF MPs from Parliament.

Yesterday, Chisangano suspended 30 PF members of parliament who participated in the protest in the Chamber for 30 days.

Chisangano said the suspended MPs would for the next 30 days not enter the precincts of the Assembly, and which also extends to the National Assembly Motel; not participate in any activity of the Assembly or any committee; and will not be paid the salary or allowance that they are entitled to.

She further ruled that Mporokoso PF member of parliament Brian Mundubile and Kamfinsa PF member of parliament Christopher Kang’ombe, being among the protesters, cease to be members of the Committee on Privileges and Absences.

Chisangano was rendering a consolidated ruling on two points of order that were raised on November 30, 2021, by Local Government and Rural Development Minister Gary Nkombo on whether PF members and some independent members of parliament were in order to misconduct themselves by converging in front of the Speaker’s Mace to express their displeasure about an issue, and another by Justice Minister Mulambo Haimbe on whether PF members and some independent members were in order to remain in the House after intentionally disrespecting it.

Those suspended include; B Mundubile, S Kampyongo; R Chitotela; R Mutale; M Fube; E Daka; N Chilangwa; K Kabaso; A Lubusha; S Chanda; G Mwila; C Shakafuswa; P Twasa; E Tembo; Elias M Musonda; Emmanuel M Musonda; L Chibombwe; M Nakaponda; C Katotobwe; K S Mulenga; F R Kapyanga; C C Kang’ombe; Dr A D Mwanza; A Kasandwe; M Mabonga; G K Chisanga; S Mushanga; M Phiri; C Chibuye; and T E Lungu.

But speaking at a press briefing shortly after this, Kampyongo said Zambians must be worried about the democracy that they have chosen for themselves.

“All we want to say to the Zambian people is that they must be worried, they shouldn’t be worried about us the representatives, but they should be worried about the democracy that they have chosen for themselves. Is this the way we are going to consolidate democracy? We are not questioning the ruling because we are very satisfied and happy that the Speaker explained the reason why we have been suspended. And what is gratifying to us is that the very first thing you do when you enter Parliament is to swear to defend the Constitution and when you see any attempt to breach the Constitution, you must stand up as an elected representative of the people and that is what we did. And we are happy that they heeded, that protest yielded what we were trying to achieve because the necessary amendments were done to correct the yellow book and everything proceeded,” Kampyongo said.

He wondered how the Head of State expected them to participate in the constitution-making process.

“I wish I could comment about the Presidential speech because we had a lot that we needed to offload. He has requested us to be part of the constitution making process. I don’t know how because we are very key stakeholders and so we will see how we will progress from here,” said Kampyongo.

Meanwhile, Chisanga said there was a constitutional crisis.

“This is a constitutional crisis not only for the PF MPs but for the whole nation. As you heard from my senior colleagues, the MPs in the House on that day were faced with two options, whether they should abrogate the Constitution and allow a flawed budgetary debate to proceed on the floor of the House or assist the government to make sure that they uphold the Constitution even as they bring the budget to the House. And we opted to do what we thought was right but in fact, is right. What will transpire now is that there will be a truncated Parliament that will be debating the President’s speech. The process itself is going to be incomplete,” he said.

“The Constitution envisages that when the President comes to address the nation in the way he did on Friday, there will be an expectation that all members of Parliament elected by the people will participate in the debate to discuss the pros and cons of the statement that was made by the President in Parliament.”

He added that the PF wanted to take legal action against the said decision.

“It is a dark day for constitutional democracy in the history of the country and we have deliberated as MPs for the PF and we have taken the decision that we are going to make a legal challenge to the decision that was made by the Speaker of the National Assembly today. We are about to go and speak to our lawyers. We want to take legal action to make sure that we remedy the situation. We believe very sincerely that if we don’t take a challenge of this shocking decision posterity is not going to judge us correctly, it is going to judge us very harshly,” said Chisanga.

And Leader of Opposition Brian Mundubile said he had seen a pattern emerging at Parliament where some rulings were rendered at sensitive times.

He noted that the PF MPs were suspended right when the debate on the Presidential speech was about to start and when the nation was mourning the late fourth Republican president.

“We are also aware that today the debate on the Presidential speech starts, this would have accorded the Zambian people an opportunity to hear a dissenting view, to hear the comments from the opposition on how the President is implementing national values and principles. But Parliament found it fit to suspend members of Parliament at this very crucial time. At the same time, members of the public know that we are mourning our fourth Republican President to the extent that even some by-elections have been suspended, but Parliament found it fit to go ahead and render this ruling at this particular time. As leader of the opposition, I have seen one pattern emerging at Parliament where some of these rulings are rendered at very sensitive times, it is not the first time,” said Mundubile.

“It is not long ago that the Minister of Finance was delivering a ministerial statement on the IMF, something that was of interest to the Zambian people and the Zambian people wanted to hear the opposition voice, they wanted to balance the views on the IMF, the Speaker rendered a ruling where members of parliament were chased and as a result of that, the opposition walked out. In this particular case, Zambians were looking forward to hearing the voices concerning the implementation of national values and principles by this government and this ruling has been rendered.”