UPND Members of Parliament on Friday morning walked out of Parliament in protest after the Public Order Act Amendment and the Electoral Process Act Amendment Bills were tabled leading to the suspension of business in the House.
The MPs challenged Speaker Patrick Matibini’s ruling that two Bills go to the third stage without being debated.
The UPND MPs contended that the action was not procedurally correct in the House, prompting the walk out.
Speaking on behalf of the MPs, UPND leader of the opposition in the House Jack Mwiimbu said the reason for the action was because of the unconstitutionality of the process owing to it being a product of the NDF.
“You may recall that this morning I raised a point of order over the Public Order Act Amendment Bill and the Electoral Process Act Amendment Bill regarding the unconstitutionality of the process that Parliament had undertaken which are a product of the National Dialogue Forum (NDF),” Mr Mwiimbu said.
Mr. Mwiimbu stated that the decision to present the two Bills before presenting the proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill was unconstitutional.
He said failure to subject the Constitutional Amendment Bill, the Electoral Process Bill, the Public Order Bill and the Political Parties Bill to the First and Second reading to Parliament amounted to an assault of the Constitutional amendment processes.
The Monze Central lawmaker said the MPs from the opposition were not happy with unprocedural handling of the Bills in question by the Speaker of the National Assembly.
And UPND Elections Chairman Garry Nkombo stated that, being the custodian of the Standing Orders, the Speaker of the National Assembly was bound by them.
The Mazabuka Central lawmaker announced that the members of the opposition would be moving a substantive motion that would ensure the invocation of Article Number 62 on the Standing Orders that addresses challenging decisions of the Chair.
“We are going to move a substantive Motion, which motion is going to be directed to the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services for determination on our position that Honourable Mr Speaker made an error in making that judgement today.
Nkombo warned that, of the decision by the Speaker was deliberate, then the UPND MP would have no option to conclude that “this institution continues to collaborate and connive with the Executive to bring Bills such as this one in a totally unprocedurally manner”.