Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has suspended 48 United Party for National Development (UPND) Members of Parliament for having boycotted President Edgar Lungu’s address to parliament on 17th March, 2017.
Matibini has also asked the Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja to institute investigations on remarks made by incarcerated UPND president Hakainde Hichilema against the Speaker in The Mast newspaper.
Making a composite ruling on a litany of matters that had been outstanding from the last sitting of parliament, Matibini said that the UPND MPs had not learnt anything from their censure during their boycott of parliament in September 2016 when they were reprimanded.
The Speaker said the UPND lawmakers would be suspended for one month within which they would not be entitled to any emoluments or enter the precincts of parliament and the motel.
“In accordance with section 28 (2) I have decided to suspend the 48 UPND MPs from parliamentary service for the period of 30 days with effect from June 13, 2017,” he said.
Matibini said that the UPND MPs should consider resigning from parliament if they did not recognize President Edgar Lungu.
He said that by taking oath of office the UPND MPs agreed to serve under President Lungu.
Matibini said that it was strange that the UPND MPs were comfortable sitting in the chamber with Vice President Inonge Wina presiding over business yet they claimed not to recognize the Head of State.
“I challenge the UPND MPs if they do not recognize the President they should resign on moral grounds,” he said.
Matibini said that UPND MPs behaviours were, “irrational, inexplicable and morally unjustified.”
Earlier Matibini had ruled Patriotic Front MPs that were heard chanting party slogans during the time President Lungu was in the chamber.
He said that the behaviour by the PF members was out of order and un- parliamentary.
Matibini said that the transgressions by Hichilema who had labelled him a PF cadre were grave.
“I have referred this matter to the Inspector General of Police for investigations and to the Director of Public Prosecution for possible prosecution,” he said.
Ten UPND MPs among them the outspoken Jack Mwiimbu escaped the noose as he had sought permission on grounds that he was attending a funeral.
Others had permission as they were out on parliamentary business out of the country.
The 48 were made to exit parliament soon after the ruling was made.