The United Party for National Development (UPND) did what they know best when HE. President Edgar Lunga addressed the nation on the grounds of parliament. The action by the UPND MPs has raised gigantic reaction from us political commentators and politicians themselves. Some have agreed with the action while others have condemned it to the point of likening the UPND MPs to dogs in the animal farm. I will neither condemn nor agree with the action by the Honourable Members.
According to Hon. Garry Nkombo who is the leader of opposition in parliament and also Mazabuka Central Member of Parliament, the UPND MPs where incensed by the political songs the Patriotic front (PF) members of parliament started singing for the head of state “Lungu nga talipo bonse aba nibangwele”. I remember the song during my school days especially during sports. It is one that when you are trailing and your opponents sing it you feel like you can sink in the ground. Am sure the UPND MPs must have felt the same. That is not to say the action they took is justified.
This is not the first time the UPND is doing this, they did the same during the previous address, they have done it now and I have no doubt even in the future events they will still find a good reason not to attend the national address.
Let us put it this way. What was the speaker of the National Assembly going to do if the UPND MPs decided to remain in the house and they too started singing songs that are pro HH the moment President Lungu walked in house? What were the PF MPs going to do if that was the case? Was the reaction going to be the same? The questions are many but I hope these particular ones set the tone of what I want to say.
The problem is not the UPND MPs walking out of parliament. The bigger problem is failing to deal with what makes them walk away from parliament.
The problem is not the UPND MPs walking out of parliament. The bigger problem is failing to deal with what makes them walk away from parliament. The problem also is not the fact that the courts have denied the UPND a chance to have their petition heard before the courts of Law. The problem is that this country remains at odds and the political divisions keep getting deeper by the day. We must not forget that the UPND is still very wounded from what happened during the last elections. When you have a wound anything small can trigger the pain and one gets to react. The UPND is still very bitter at their competitor the PF. This is why they keep doing what they do in parliament.
Parliament is not the house of political campaigns but a house of Laws. The laws of the land are formulated in parliament. Parliament must therefore be kept neutral to allow healthy debates. Unfortunately the opposite is very true, our parliament is full of politics. The Speaker on the other hand is quick to reprimand the MPs from the opposition and slow to act when those from the ruling party mess up. The speaker fails to raise the point of order when it matters the most. Parliament is contained of ‘Honourable Members’ members and the business in the house must be honourable too.
After the president noticed that the opposition MPs where not in the house he too did not seem to care. That unfortunately is a sign of pride on his side. This country is to be governed by him (President Lungu) and therefore when addressing the nation it is important that every Member of Parliament is in the house. He is Head of State and must show serious concern when things like this happen. It is not good leadership to have an I don’t care attitude. This country remains very because of two political parties that have made politics ‘Us against them’.
In conclusion, I want to urge the UPND MPs to put whatever differences they have with the PF aside in the interest of fairly representing those who voted for them in parliament. The speaker of the National Assembly must be seen to act in a poised manner when it comes to giving course in the house. The PF must refrain from turning the house of laws into a campaign rally. If our country remain divided like this it will be the future generations that will feel the pain. President Edgar Lungu therefore must show concern when things are not right and stop pretending as if all was well. We need some order in parliament and Zambia as a whole.
By David Kapoma