Zambia: Opposition MPs Walk Out of Parley

OPPOSITION members of Parliament (MPs) walked out of Parliament on Wednesday evening to protest an apparent reference of the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) process by the former ruling MMD and the opposition UNPD as a conduit of corruption.

The protest by the opposition bench was triggered after Home Affairs Deputy Minister Stephen Kampyongo said the partnership between the MMD and the UPND to support the NCC process was a corruption scheme.

The opposition bench trooped out of the House at the peak of debating President Michael Sata's speech, amid jeering from the right-wing, comprising the ruling PF MPs.

Vice-President Guy Scott issued a motion to adjourn proceedings, 15 minutes later as the House could not continue the business of the day minus the presence of other MPs.

Mr Kampyongo was during his presentation responding to concerns raised by Lunte MP, Felix Mutati (MMD) over the current Constitution making process and the need to ensure that Zambians were unveiled an all-inclusive national document.

He advised fellow MPs to desist from engaging in divisive politics saying this had the potential to influence political party supporters.

He said Zambia would greatly benefit from peaceful politicking which was a pre-requisite to promoting peace and unity.

He emphasised that it was for the country's benefit that the opposition worked hand-in-hand with Government to spearhead national growth unlike being antagonistic.

He also advised that the Zambia Police should be left to operate independently unlike the current situation where some opposition members were attacking the security wing based on accusations that it was partisan.

He said the Zambia Police Service was there to provide peace and stability and should not be judged to be in support of any political side.

Mr Kampyongo's concerns on the need to work together was also echoed by his Labour counterpart, Ronald Chitotela who said Government's open-door policy was a healthy channel to propel the country's growth agenda.

Mr Chitotela said Government was committed to deliver on its election promises and it had already anchored itself to doing so, through various developmental projects that were taking place around the country.

He said the road infrastructure development plan would be a catalyst for growth of the nation.

On job creation, Mr Chitotela said his ministry was working to establish data on how many Zambians were looking for jobs in various fields to understand which sectors were hard-hit with a shortage of professionals.

He said all investors were welcome to operate in Zambia but that they should respect local labour laws.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has ordered Vice-President Guy Scott to issue a comprehensive statement to Parliament on Wednesday next week on the status of the purchase of crops in this year's marketing season.

He said Dr Scott should deliver the statement not later than the aforesaid date to remove speculation from some sections of society regarding the Food Reserve Agency (FRA)'s payment for supplied maize to it by small-scale farmers.

Dr Matibini gave the ruling in response to UPND Monze Central MP Jack Mwimbu who raised a point of order on the issue.

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