SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini yesterday ruled that there was nothing ‘racist’ about the term “monkeying around”, which was said by Vice-President Guy Scott when opposition members of Parliament staged a walk-out protest over the draft Constitution.
In the same ruling, Dr Matibini also said there was nothing wrong with Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba referring to the opposition MPs as fraudsters.
The point of order was raised by Choma MP Cornelius Mweetwa in March this year.
Dr Matibini said Dr Scott and Mr Kabimba were merely conveying the message that in light of the gross disorderly conduct displayed in the House, the opposition members lacked seriousness in the discharge of their functions.
“Honourable members, I did at the time advise the members that their work is conducted at great expense to the tax -payer and hence there is a responsibility on each member to be in the House throughout the course of the sitting,” Dr Matibini said.
At the time, Dr Scott is said to have told Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) that opposition MPs were “monkeying around” in reference to their disorderly conduct.
In the case of Mr Kabimba, he is said to have told ZNBC that the opposition members were fraudsters and wasting tax payers’ money for being paid sitting allowances by merely registering their names on the attendance register without participating in the deliberations of the House.
Dr Matibini said he further found nothing racist about the term ’monkeying around’.
“I find nothing racist about the term `monkeying around’. Dr Scott was merely putting forth a message that MPs need to be serious in the discharge of the duties. The term `monkeying around’ means to play about or to mess around’,” he said.
The Speaker has since declared the term ‘monkeying around’ as un-parliamentary after Monze MP Jack Mwiimbu used it in reference to the Patriotic Front.
In another ruling, Dr Matibini warned Zambian Voice executive director Chilufya Tayali and All People’s Congress party president Nason Msoni against making derogatory statements against the office of the Speaker.
In March this year, the two ,in separate interviews, told the Daily Nation that the Speaker is partisan and must resign.