17 July 2017

Zambia: Suspended UPND MPs Return

Photo: Zambia Reports
Zambia's parliament (file photo).

THE suspension of the 46 United Party for National Development (UPND) members of Parliament (MPs) by the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has been lifted.

Government Chief Whip Richard Musukwa confirmed the development in an interview stating that he welcomed the lifting of the suspension of the opposition lawmakers.

The MPs, originally 48 of them were suspended for a month by Dr Matibini on June 13 this year after a lengthy ruling in the House in which he censured them for boycotting the State of the Nation Address by President Edgar Lungu on March 17 this year.

Mr Musukwa said it was a welcome development for the MPs' suspension to be lifted on Wednesday.

"Their (UPND) suspension has been lifted and we expect them back into the House when we resume sitting," he said.

Mr Musukwa, who is also Patriotic Front (PF) Chililabombwe MP, said it was important for the opposition lawmakers to realise that they were elected to serve their electorate and contribute to national development.

He called on all parliamentarians to respect the custom of the House in order to avoid a repeat of the events that led to the suspension of the UPND members.

Mr Musukwa said his desire was to see MPs, regardless of political party affiliation, united and working together for the benefit of the country.

In his ruling, Dr Matibini said all MPs were expected to be respectful to Mr Lungu when he carried out his duties in the House as President.

At the time of going to print, efforts to get a comment from opposition leader in the House Jack Mwiimbu, who is UPND Monze Central MP, were failing.

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