Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Brian Mundubile, plans to move a Motion of Censure against Agriculture Minister, Mtolo Phiri, for allegedly telling lies in Parliament over the mealie meal situation in the country.
Mundubile is disappointed that a 25kg bag of mealie meal in Mafinga District of Muchinga Province, currently costs K450, while border towns on the Copperbelt recorded shortage of the staple food.
He said it was widely expected that the legislature should provide checks and balances against the Executive under the doctrine of separation of powers comprising of the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary.
“One important question Zambians are asking is that did Legislature provide sufficient checks and balances regarding mealie meal and maize? The answer is yes,” Mundubile said.
He said Parliamentarians openly raised concerns regarding the continued export of maize to other countries but the Executive remained adamant.
“Our view is that whilst there is a provision for Censure of Ministers through a Motion in Parliament, I wish to inform the nation that when Parliament resumes business, we will move a Motion of Censure against the Minister of Agriculture,” Mundubile said.
He said the Agriculture Minister provided inaccurate information on the Floor of the House that Zambia was food secure but the country suffered a staple food crisis a week later.
“Honourable Mtolo Phiri misled the nation on the Floor of the House. As opposition political parties we will move that Motion so that he can be Censured on the Floor of the House. But we feel that is not enough,” Mundubile said.
He said Parliamentarians would propose stiffer measures under the Standing Orders so that the Executive remains responsible when handling matters of national importance.
Mundubile said citizens saw Health Minister Sylvia Masebo almost get away with it when she went several times on the Floor of the House to assure the Nation that the country had enough drugs in hospitals when people were dying all over the country due to shortage of drugs.
“The shortage has continued up to today. We will propose to Parliament to introduce in our Standing Orders stiffer sanctions to Ministers that come on the Floor of the House and mislead the Nation. We will start with the Minister of Agriculture in this particular case, using the existing Standing Orders, to move a Motion of Censure,” he said.
Mundubile said lawmaker would ensure that Parliament remains effective in providing the necessary checks and balances.
“Parliament should be able to serve the Zambian people by ensuring that we stop certain things from happening. If Parliament was operating effectively, we should have stopped these food shortages,” he said.
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