Green Party leader, Peter Sinkamba, has described Speaker of the National Assembly, Nelly Mutti’s behaviour of breaching Standing Orders as unacceptable conduct.
Mutti on Thursday announced that Leader of the Opposition, Brian Mundubile, had been replaced with Mafinga Member of Parliament, Robert Chabinga, after receiving a memo from the Miles Sampa-led Patriotic Front faction.
Sinkamba told Zambia Monitor that when a Speaker breaches Standing Orders, he/she loses the moral right to enforce same on the Members of Parliament.
He claimed Mutti had breached Standing Order 9 (1) which provided that the opposition party with the largest number of seats in the Assembly shall elect a Leader of the Opposition from amongst the Members of Parliament who were from the opposition.
“Failure by the Speaker to communicate to opposition MPs the venue and time for election of Leader of Opposition renders outcome of such election invalid,” Sinkamba said.
He added it was clear that the Speaker contravened Standing Order 43 in replacing Mundibile with Chabinga.
Sinkamba argued further that Standing Order 9(2) provided that as soon as the Leader of Opposition is elected, the Speaker shall inform the House.
“Furthermore, Standing Order 9(3) provides that the Leader of Opposition shall be elected within seven days of the Speaker’s election at a time and venue to be communicated to the MPs by the Speaker,” he said.
Sinkamba noted that the Standing Order 9(1) provided that only MPs from the opposition political party with the largest number of seats and no other party or person or persons have, a right to elect a Leader of Opposition.
He said Standing Order 9(2) was also explicit that such election should only happen within seven days of election of the Speaker and no other time.
“Standing Order 9(3) is also very clear that an election of a Leader of Opposition must only take place at a time and venue communicated to MPs by the Speaker. Not at any other time and venue,” Sinkamba said.
He argued that neither the 2016 Standing Order nor the 2021 Standing Orders do provide for the removal of Leader of Opposition after election.
Sinkamba maintained that any purported election that took place thereafter, was a breach of the Standing Orders and thereby invalid.
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