SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has said that it is criminal for any Member of Parliament to merely register their presence in the house yet abscond from parliamentary proceedings.
Ruling on a point of order raised by Local Government and Housing Minister Steven Kampyongo last week on whether UPND Members of Parliament were in order to merely register their presence in the house and later walkout and never to return to the house for the rest of the day, Dr. Matibini said while it is conventional for MPs walkout of the chamber for whatever reasons, this practice has the unfortunate tendency of denying the electorate of representation in the house.
The Speaker said that such conduct is not only dishonorable and dishonest, but is also unbefitting of the status and dignity of a Member of Parliament.
Dr. Matibini added that this action is also tantamount to obtaining pecuniary advantage by false pretences contrary to Section 309a of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
He further stated that in essence it amounts to a criminal offence for which a member may on conviction be liable to imprisonment for 5-years.
Dr. Matibini said that was very unfortunate for Members of Parliament to elect to absent themselves from the house at a time when the 2016 national budget which has a direct and serious bearing on the people of Zambia is being considered.
The Speaker has since directed the Clerk of the National Assembly to immediately start recording MPs who come into parliament to merely register their names and walk out without returning.
And the Speaker has reprimanded Monze central Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu for walking out of the house immediately after raising a point of order last week on the attack on the UPND offices in Kitwe by suspected Patriotic Front cadres, before he could make a ruling.
Dr Matibini said that Mr. Mwiimbu was out of order as his action breached parliamentary etiquette
He reminded parliamentarians that parliamentary etiquette and decorum demands that members behave in a manner which is befitting of their status in society.