22 February 2013

Zambia: Lubinda Axed

KABWATA Member of Parliament (MP) Given Lubinda has been dropped from his ministerial post.

The embattled MP has been dropped as Foreign Affairs Minister and occupied the backbench during Parliamentary session yesterday, while his former deputy Effron Lungu occupied the front bench.

Kabompo West MP Charles Kakoma raised a point of order, asking why Mr Lubinda had occupied the backbench on which MPs who do not hold ministerial positions sit.

In response, Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini said that there had been 'changes' that had necessitated Mr Lubinda to sit in that position.

"There have been changes that have necessitated that (sitting arrangement). I have been informed and I hope the public relations at State House will comment," Dr Matibini said.

When contacted for a comment, Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba referred queries to the Chief Government spokesperson, Kennedy Sakeni.

Mr Sakeni said: "If you were in Parliament you should have heard what the Speaker said. That is all".

Mr Lubinda was facing disciplinary charges of treachery after being accused of aligning himself with the opposition UPND.

He was also accused of leaking information to the online publication, Zambian Watchdog and the Daily Nation newspaper.

The Patriotic Front (PF) Central Committee was expected later this month to make a ruling on his disciplinary case.

Sources in the PF confirmed that Mr Lubinda had been relieved of his ministerial position.

Mr Lubinda had been on leave for more than a month while Mr Kabimba had been acting in his portfolio.

"Yes it is true that Mr Lubinda has been removed from his ministerial position. This is all we know right now but we will give you fresh information soon," the sources said.

Mr Lubinda resigned from the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) before joining the ruling party.

He has been MP in Kabwata since 2001.

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