THE matter in which PF Chairperson for Information and Publicity Raphael Nakacinda was summoned by the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges, Absences, and Support Services has been adjourned, as the committee was not sitting yesterday.
The Parliamentary Committee on Privileges, Absences, and Support Services summoned Nakacinda to appear before it following a point of order that was raised by Lukulu East UPND member of parliament Dr Christopher Kalila over Nakacinda’s remarks in the Daily Nation that “Stop being Emotional, Nakacinda tells Speaker”.
Addressing journalists after appearing at Parliament, Tuesday, Nakacinda said he would appear before the Committee on the date that would be set because he wanted to understand which powers the Speaker was using to summon citizens in that manner.
“I think it is the responsibility of every citizen to protect their House. This is the people’s Assembly charged with the responsibility of legislation. Those laws confer on citizens’, rights, freedoms, and especially the supreme law of the land which is the Constitution and allows the right of expression, assembly and association. So we cannot have Parliament confer those rights and at the same time want to take them away. We will come again because it looks like it has been an insistence for us to come and appear before the Privileges Committee even when we are private citizens. I am no longer a member of this House and therefore I am not amenable to standing orders or indeed any of those rules,” said Nakacinda.
“They have imposed some inquiry to which is basically like a court process where you are being prosecuted and at the end of the day there is an expectation that there will be a judgment mated against a private citizen. I think the National Assembly is not above reproach. We have the right to criticise our House especially when it comes to the key office of this Assembly, which is the Speaker. That office determines whether our democracy will thrive or indeed be destroyed. I have been asking for further details on what they want me to come and answer and they have not been able to respond. The only thing I received was a summon in the name of Madam Speaker as if it is a court. So I said maybe let me go and hear and understand which powers the Speaker is using to even summon citizens in that manner.”
Meanwhile, former Deputy Chief Whip Tutwa Ngulube, who is Nakacinda’s witness, said the National Assembly should not think that it could not be criticised.
“We came to the National Assembly to escort the honourable, Raphael Nakacinda, who was summoned by the National Assembly over some complaint relating to his criticism of the Speaker’s decision. We are informed that the committee will not sit and as a result a new date will be issued. In the meantime, we also thought that we could just mention that the British system that we follow and our predecessors of the colonial days in their National Assembly, which we can call Parliament, have what is called the House of Lords. In the UK they have the House of Lords which is both a court and part of parliament. Here in Zambia, our Parliament is not a court,” said Ngulube.
“I remember the Supreme Court cleared that issue when Fred M’membe was equally arrested for contempt of parliament after being summoned that time. We just want to reiterate the fact that Parliament is not above reproach. This National Assembly and all its members including its leaders should not think that they cannot be criticised. They should not be scaring members of the public who have the right to have a say on the governance of this issue. This is the people’s House. The fact that you mention anything about Parliament should not result in you being summoned or fearing to go to prison. So I want to be one of those people that want to transform that agenda of Parliament trying to become militant in a democratic state. So I want to end here before I am accused of having said that we will fight until the end.”