Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini has directed Information and Broadcasting Minister Dora Siliya to render a ministerial statement on Tuesday November 6, 2018 outlining the editorial policy Times of Zambia Newspaper on the use of languages other than English.
Dr Matibini said this during his ruling which he delivered in Parliament following a point of order which was raised by Leader of the opposition and Member of Parliament for Monze Central on the Chinese article which was published by the Times of Zambia on October 9, this year.
Mr Jack Mwiimbu in his point of Order wanted to know why the publication has been sidelining Zambians by publishing the Chinese language and not any other Zambian language.
And pursuant to Article 23 of the Zambian Constitution the leader of the opposition indicated that it was, trite law that by virtue of this constitution government should not be discriminating anyone who is Zambian or a Resident in Zambia.
He was making reference to a copy of a Times of Zambia Newspaper, alleging that the publication has been discriminating Zambians and against the majority tribes in Zambia by publishing an article under the headline “SADC moods DRC peace whose article is in Chinese language when there has been no such article in the Zambian local languages.
Mr Mwiimbu wondered why government was finding it proper and prudent in its own wisdom to start interpreting articles that are appearing in the newspapers in Chinese.
Mr Mwiimbu asked the Speaker Dr Matibini to make a ruling on whether Information and Broadcasting Minister Dora Siliya was in order to remain quiet and not inform the house and the nation that Chinese is now an official language in Zambia.
In his ruling, the speaker also directed her to issue a statement on the alleged discrimination against the people of Zambia by the Newspaper publication of an article in Chinese other than any local languages contrary to Article 23 of the Constitution.
The Speaker has ruled that under this Article any person shall not be treated in any discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any written words or in the performance of any public office or authority.
“Article 28 of the constitution provides that any person who alleges that he has or he is or likely to be contravened in any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person may seek redress of the High Court”, he ruled.
The Speaker stated that pursuant to the doctrine of the separation of power, the National Assembly cannot intervene in matters falling under the jurisdiction of the judiciary branch of government.
In relation to the issue of whether Chinese has become one of the official language in Zambia, the Speaker in his ruling indicated that under Article 258 of the Zambian Constitution English is the official language in Zambia.