FIRST Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Attractor Chisangano has directed Minister of Foreign Affairs Stanley Kakubo to update the House on what government is doing regarding Zambian students in Russia who have been affected by sanctions imposed on that country.
Rising on a matter of urgent public notice, Roan Independent member of parliament Joel Chibuye asked what government was doing on nationals affected by the sanctions imposed on Russia.
“The matter I wish to raise is directed to Her Honour the Vice-President and it is pursuant to our standing order 134. Madam Speaker, I want to put it on record to congratulate the government for successfully evacuating the nationals who were in Ukraine, especially the Zambian students safely back home. Madam Speaker, I was in my constituency over the weekend where I was accosted by two parents who have got children pursuing various disciplines in Russia namely in the towns of Moscow and St Petersburg. Madam Speaker, it is coming out that the effects or the sanctions that have been slapped on Russia are having an effect on the ordinary people that are in that country,” asked Chibuye.
“Your honour the Vice-President, these parents brought it to my attention that they are unable to send logistics such as resources or monies to their children in Moscow and St Petersburg because they cannot receive or they cannot use their visa cards anymore. They are not even able to jump on buses using cards and the children are worried and crying that very soon when they run out of pocket money that they have currently, [and] they may end up starving to death or becoming destitute in that country. Your honour the Vice-President, what is government doing to ensure that these students who have been affected by these sanctions do not starve to death? Because they are unable to receive monies from their parents in the sense that their cards can no longer work in that country. Madam Speaker, I seek your guidance.”
And in response, Chisangano said while there was indeed urgency in the matter, Chibuye had directed his concern to the wrong person.
“Although you have directed this to her honor the Vice-President, I feel the person who can handle this matter is the Minister of Foreign Affairs. And truly, there is some urgency in this matter there are some people that are stranded in a foreign land, therefore, I will direct this matter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs so that he can come to this House and update us on what he has done so far or what he needs to do over the children that are affected by the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia,” Chisangano said.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Mulambo Haimbe raised a point of order on whether Kasama PF member of parliament Sibongile Mwamba was in order to be in the House.
“Madam Speaker, the point of order is directed against the honorable member for Kasama central Constituency and is based and premised on the previous ruling of this August House made by the Speaker on the 7th of December, 2021. Madam Speaker, the record will show that in her ruling of that date, the right honorable Speaker of this House made a determination to the effect that honorable members whose seats have been nullified will only return to the House upon the Constitutional Court reversing that nullification,” asked Haimbe.
“Now Madam Speaker, the record will show that the position taken by the honorable Speaker in the ruling has not been vacated in any way. Madam Speaker, the position I take is fortified by the provisions of Article 77 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia which provides that this House will exclusively determine its internal procedures and processes. In that regard, in the absence of the order of Madam Speaker having been vacated, it still remains valid. Is it in order for the honorable member for Kasama to be in the House in those circumstances? I seek your serious ruling.”
Chisangano reserved her ruling on the matter.
“Honorable members, what I can say is that I am going to reserve my ruling. This is a constitutional matter to enable me study the matter,” said Chisangano.