Dear fellow citizens,

Today, I speak to you with a heavy heart, burdened by the erosion of fairness and justice within the esteemed chambers of the Zambian Parliament. It is with utmost urgency that I shed light on the concerning state of our democratic institutions.

The role of the Speaker of Parliament is one of tremendous responsibility – a guardian of fairness, impartiality, and equal representation. They hold the power to transcend partisan divides and ensure that the diverse voices of our nation are given a platform. Unfortunately, we find ourselves witnessing a departure from these principles.

Equity is the bedrock of democracy, embodying the very essence of fair representation. It requires a commitment to unbiased facilitation, granting every Member of Parliament equal opportunities to express their viewpoints and contribute meaningfully to the legislative process. It is disheartening to observe the erosion of these principles, as some members resort to tribalism and regional biases in their debates.

On the 14th of June 2023, Mr. Charles Milupi, Member of Parliament and Minister of Infrastructure and Urban Development, made repeated references to Northwestern and Western Provinces as the poorest regions in the country. These statements, while provocative to those residing in the Northern block of the country, were not effectively addressed by the Speaker. This incident exemplifies how regional disparities and biased statements can lead to volatile exchanges and further tensions.

Sadly, in response to this regional bias, I too succumbed to emotion and made remarks referring to my fellow Bembas as foolish. I criticized Mr. Milupi for his failure to acknowledge the economic challenges faced by Luapula, Muchinga, Northern, and Eastern provinces. I must admit that my emotional response was not in line with the decorum expected from a Member of Parliament.

However, it is deeply concerning that the disciplinary actions taken by the Speaker appeared inconsistent and biased. The conduct of Hon. Chushi Kasanda and their alleged biased ruling cannot be ignored. The behaviour of Hon. Kasanda towards the Speaker was worse in nature than myself, as I was in fact not addressing the Speaker but my tribesmen. Similar instances in the past did not receive equal treatment, raising questions about the fairness and impartiality of our parliamentary proceedings.

Moreover, the recent protest of silence by opposition Members of Parliament on the 20th of July 2023 further highlights concerns regarding the Speaker’s impartiality. When conversations become tainted by tribal or regional agendas, it is the duty of the Speaker to intervene and steer the discourse back to unbiased and meaningful discussions that serve the best interests of all citizens.

I must express profound disappointment in my own personal experience. On the 21st of July 2023, I was suspended from parliament for my remarks demanding fairness in the distribution of development, particularly advocating for the development of the Chienge road. While I acknowledge the need for more measured language during debates, I believe my suspension underscores the presence of regional bias within our parliamentary proceedings. It is troubling that only individuals from certain regions are labeled as lawbreakers, while those from the southern block are hailed as virtuous.

This incident serves as a reminder that we must address the underlying issues causing regional disparities and foster national unity through inclusive development strategies and equitable policy-making. We must uphold the principles of democracy, fair representation, and the protection of human rights. Practices that promote bias undermine the integrity of parliamentary proceedings, eroding the trust and confidence of Zambian citizens in their elected representatives.

I call upon the international community, human rights organizations, and fellow democratic nations to closely monitor the situation unfolding in Zambia. Your support, solidarity, and influence are crucial in addressing these issues and working towards a society that upholds human dignity, respects diverse perspectives, and promotes inclusivity and justice.

I have been suspended for speaking the truth, for standing up for Luapula, where justice is found.
I have been suspended for demanding fairness, for raising my voice,
But they sought to silence and discredit my choice.

Leading the protest of silence, I dared to resist, but a day later, suspended with clenched fist.

A victim of their fear, yet my voice won’t fade. I will forever crusade for the people of Luapula, where justice is made.

Together, let us create the Zambia we aspire to be. A Zambia where the Speaker of Parliament embodies fairness, where parliamentary proceedings reflect the true spirit of honor and integrity. Through unity and unwavering commitment to democratic principles, we can restore the trust of our citizens and foster an environment where every voice is heard, valued, and respected.

Thank you for your attention, and may we find the courage to stand up for justice and equality in our democratic journey.

Hon. Given Katuta Mwelwa
Chienge Constituency


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