Former president Edgar Lungu has said that the suspension of 17 lawmakers by the Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti was part of a grand scheme to impose dictatorship in Zambia by President Hakainde Hichilema.
Mutti, on November 7, 2023 suspended some Patriotic Front (PF) and Independent Members of Parliament for 30 days over alleged gross misconduct.
The former President who recently returned to active politics and was declared Patriotic Front (PF) leader said this on Tuesday evening when he met Members of Parliament who had been suspended from the parliament for 30 days.
Lungu expressed concern about the shrinking democratic space in the country and bemoaned the sustained attacks on institutions of democracy and governance by the executive under the watch of Hichilema.
He advised the lawmakers that had been suspended to use the period to meet people in their constituencies and explain what was currently happening in the country.
“The occurrences in Parliament was part of a larger scheme to impose a dictatorship and undermine democracy in Zambia,” Lungu said.
He encouraged the MPs saying their quest to foster freedom of expression in the House was noble despite determined efforts to curtail them by the Speaker.
“With the capital investment done by the PF government over the years to ensure that parliamentary proceedings were covered live on national television, Zambians have been witnesses to the frustrations thrown at the MPs to curtail their effective contributions to parliamentary and national affairs,” Lungu said.
He expressed concern that the suspension of the MPs came when the National Assembly was scrutinizing and approving the 2024 National budget.
Read More: Speaker of National Assembly, Mutti, suspends 17 Patriotic Front lawmakers for 30 days
Lungu urged the suspended MPs to also take interest in the continous voter registration and National Registration Card (NRC) exercise currently going on without much publicity and educate the electorate to participate in the exercise.
Last week, Members of Parliament supported the protest by Kamfisa Member of Parliament, Christopher Kangombe, who urged the Speaker to allow debates in the House but the lawmaker was later ordered out of the House.
Mutti proceeded to sanction 16 MPs that supported Kangombe and suspended them for 30 days beginning November 7, 2023.
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