11 October 2017

Zambia: 'What Are They Up To?'

President Edgar Lungu has said the petition by 64 Members of Parliament on the procurement of the 42 fire tenders is misplaced and raised questions about the worth of some of the lawmakers.

President Lungu also said Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini would provide guidance over last week's reported scuffle involving Roan MP Chishimba Kambwili, Lands Minister Jean Kapata and Copperbelt's Bowman Lusambo.

The president said some lawmakers behind the petition were evidently more concerned about individual welfare as opposed to representing the interests of the electorate.

Mr Lungu said he was taken aback over the petition to the Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini by the MPs questioning the procurement process for the 42 fire tenders worth $42 million and the construction of the $1.2 billion Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway.

"The quality of your MPs is what matters. If you choose people who know what they are there for as members of Parliament, you can't even petition the speaker to query a transaction like that because it is not in his jurisdiction," President Lungu said.

He was speaking to journalists at Lusaka's City Airport before departure for Eastern Province yesterday.

He said it did not matter whether or not some PF MP'S were among the 64 and he would leave the matter to Dr Matibini, to decide whether the matter fell under the ambit of the legislature.

The President said by electing 'quality' leaders, the country would have little or no challenges in fostering growth.

Meanwhile, President Lungu has called for mutual respect among politicians in the country.

Mr Lungu said respect for one another and sobriety of language were the hallmark of discipline and should be every politician's guide in serving the people.

He was reacting to reports of an altercation between Patriotic Front (PF) MPs Bowman Lusamabo (Kabushi) and Jean Kapata of Mandevu and expelled Roan PF MP Chishimba Kambwili.

"When they fight in Cabinet or the Executive, I deal with the matters. When it is the Judiciary, the court deals with the issue, but when they fight at Parliament, Mr Speaker will guide us," the president said, adding, "But I think overall, discipline is required".

President Lungu said some people were out to intimidate others and create an impression that they could fight. Dialogue and respect were the right course of action in dealing with any matters of contention.

"If you think you can't handle the situation because it's too hot for you, get out and go and reflect," President Lungu said. "What I'm seeing is people just wanting to speak off-the-cuff and in the end they provoke other people and trouble ensues".

Mr Lungu said words were very powerful tools as revealed by the Bible in the book of James, thus 'temperamental politicians' should 'cool down' as everything was okay under his leadership.

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