United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has been saved from prosecution for breach of parliamentary privileges and contempt of the house for ridiculing Parliament and the office of the Speaker.
This follows an article in the Daily Mail 9th December, 2011 headlined “Arrest me, HH dares Sata” in which he cast aspersions on the Speaker by doubting the credibility of the Speaker and questioning his impartiality by accusing him of siding with ruling Patriotic Front MPs.
In his ruling following a point of order raised by Kawambwa Member of Parliament Nickson Chilangwa whether the conduct of the UPND leader did not constitute a serious breach of the constitution and Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia and whether it was not a serious affront against the integrity of the Speaker and the whole House, Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini questioned how he has been siding with PF MPs when records show that of the 109 points of order raised in the house, opposition MPs the raised the majority.
QFM News reports that Dr Matibini stated in his ruling that Mr Hichilema not only ridiculed the house in his statement but also caused to publish misleading information which amounts to contempt of the house, which upon conviction would attract a penalty of 5,000 units or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or to both.
The Speaker said he has graciously decided to counsel Mr Hichilema and the general public to desist from attacking the house and the office of the Speaker, despite the breach committed by the UPND leader warranting his prosecution.