By Sinkamba Peter
SPEAKER NELLY MUTTI MUST HERSELF 100% COMPLY WITH STANDING ORDERS 2016 BEFORE EXPECTING MPs TO COMPLY
The other day I watched Speaker Nelly Mutti announcing to the House that the seating arrangements had been changed and was expecting every MP to seat in their respective seats according to the new order. I then saw a circulated schematic diagram that showed Leader of Opposition Hon Mundubile was relegated to the tail end of the seating order.
The same day, I checked on the National Assembly Website and noted a change which showed that Hon Robert Chabinga is now the new Leader of Opposition.
This morning, as I watched Parliament TV, I saw the Speaker invite Hon Chabinga, as Leader of Opposition, to address Parliament via Zoom.
Now, perusal of Standing Order 9(1) of Standing Orders 2016 (Repealed), as shown in the picture attached hereto, provides that the opposition party with the largest number of seats in the Assembly shall ELECT A LEADER OF THE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 ARE FROM THE OPPOSITION.
Further, Standing Order 9(2) provides that as soon as the Leader of Opposition is elected under paragraph 1, 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.
Clearly, the Standing Order 9(1) provides 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.
Standing Order 9(2) is also explicitly that such election must 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.
Perusal of Standing Order 43 (1) of Standing Orders 2021 provides that the opposition party with the largest number of MP shall elect from among its MPs the Leader of Opposition.
Clearly, neither the 2016 Standing Orders nor the 2021 Standing Orders do provide for the removal of Leader of Opposition after election. That being the case any purported election that takes place thereafter, is a breach of the Standing Orders, and thereby invalid.
Further, from the confusion ongoing, it appears to me that all the 50+ PF MPs were not involved in the purported election of Hon Chawinga. If any other MPs, who are not members of the opposition, were involved in the election of Hon Chawinga, then such election contravenes the Standing Orders, and thereby invalid.
Additionally, it appears to me that Speaker never communicated to opposition MPs of the venue and time where the election of Hon Chabinga was to take place, if at all such election happened. Failure by the Soeaker to communicate to opposition MPs the venue and time for election of Leader of Opposition renders outcome of such election invalid.
From the above observations, it is clear in my mind that the Speaker contravened Standing Order 43 in replacing Hon Mundibile with Hon Chabinga.
This behaviour is utterly disgusting because when a Speaker blatantly breach Standing Orders, that Speaker lacks moral right to enforce the, Standing Orders on the MPs.
In this regard, I invite the, Speaker to reflect on her deeds in this regard; read Standing, Order 43 and do the right thing!