By CHILA NAMAIKO –
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) Roan Member of Parliament (MP) Chishimba Kambwili was yesterday reprimanded by First Deputy Speaker Catherine Namugala for using Parliament as a podium to allegedly campaign for himself.
This was when Mr Kambwili was debating on President Edgar Lungu’s speech to the House.
In his debate, Mr Kambwili kept accusing President Lungu and his administration of allegedly failing to develop the country contrary to what late Michael Sata’s PF was created for.
As he repeatedly said “I am coming…and I will look into”, seemingly giving an indication to the House of the coming of his party against the ruling PF, however, this unsettled scores of members.
This prompted Ms Namugala to continuously remind Dr Kambwili to stick to debating the Presidential address and desist from using unparliamentary language in the House.
“Honourable Kambwili, don’t use this House to campaign. You shall not use this House for your campaign,” Ms Namugala said.
Dr Kambwili, in his debate claimed that the PF would only be in power for another five years if it changed the way it operated.
Ms Namugala later curtailed Mr Kambwili from his debate and told him to sit, after he repeatedly used unparliamentary language centred on attacking President Lungu and Cabinet ministers.
Mr Kambwili instead decided to lift, among his other valuables, a bottle of water and walked out of the House, leaving scores of members in a state of shock.
Earlier, the House Heard that the Government allocated more than K100 million for the recruitment of 2,000 teachers this year to be deployed mostly in rural schools to help address a shortage of staff.
General Education Minister Dennis Wanchinga also said the Government had increased to four years, from two, the period a teacher could work for a school before requesting for a transfer.
Dr Wanchinga said the Government was about to recruit 2,000 teachers, an exercise that would help to address the teacher-pupil ratio, especially in rural schools.
“We are addressing the teacher-pupil ratio and there is an allocation of K111 million for this year’s teacher recruitment exercise to be deployed in various schools,” the minister said.
Dr Wanchinga informed the House that the Government was, however, aware that 2,000 was a small number, but was confident that in next year’s national Budget more than 4,000 teachers could be recruited.
He said the Government was putting stringent mechanism to detect forged school results at the point of entry into teacher training colleges and cleaning up the teachers’ database to get rid of cheating teachers over qualifications.
Dr Wanchinga said this in response to Kabompo West United Party for National Development (UPND) Member of Parliament (MP) Ambroise Lufuma who, among other matters, asked the minister whether the Government had any plans to recruit teachers this year.
Meanwhile, the House heard that the Government last week disbursed K8 million, mostly paid to clear debts owed to agro-dealers and suppliers of inputs for the 2016/2017 farming season.
Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya said the carryover debt on inactivated cards for the farming season was K272 million for about 40,000 cards out of the total 60,000.
So far, the debt has reduced to K96 million after the latest K8 million disbursed last week paid to agro-dealers and suppliers as most farmers with inactivated cards were advanced inputs by the dealers.
Ms Siliya assured the House of Government speeding up the process of distributing the inputs for 2017/2018 farming season owing to some challenges encountered in the 2016/2017 agriculture season.
She said the ministry had already engaged various stakeholders to smoothen implementation of the electronic-voucher (e-voucher) system and by early next month, the distribution process would start compared to when it started late in November in the previous season.
She was responding to Chifunabuli PF MP Ponde Mecha, who asked the minister about the total number of farmers on the e-voucher system in his constituency.
Mr Mecha also wanted to know measures the Government had taken to avoid the challenges encountered in the implementation of the e-voucher system in the 2016/2017 farming season.