EVERY Parliament has rules that govern Members of Parliament (MPs) and these need to be followed.
The issue of suspending 19 MPs, majority belonging to the Patriotic Front (PF) and some independent parliamentarians by Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti, relates to gross misconduct and indiscipline.
By the approval of the House, Ms Mutti meted out the suspensions on some opposition MPs, with periods varying between one to six weeks.
The suspensions, effective Tuesday this week, entail that the affected MPs will have to stay away from any business of the House, they will not draw salaries and allowances and will not be allowed access to the precincts of the National Assembly or Parliament Motel.
These were suspensions meted out in three separate rulings by Ms Mutti, on complaints made through points of order or complaint letters to the office of the Speaker.
MPs, who are usually called by their title ‘honourable’, represent constituencies that voted them into office, and by definition, the acquired title means, one who deserves honour, is morally correct, honest, principled, right-minded, full of integrity, law abiding, the list is endless.
Unfortunately, recently, we have witnessed an unbecoming behaviour from some opposition MPs during proceedings in Parliament.
This unruly behaviour from some opposition MP s, to an extent of pointing a finger at the Speaker is embarrassing and needs to be stopped.
We note that in the first matter that led to the suspensions, Luena MP Mubita Anakoka rose on a point of order last Thursday wondering if his Kamfinsa counterpart Christopher Kang’ombe was in order to defy Ms Mutti’s directive to leave the Chamber after approaching a presiding officer with a verbal misconduct.
As observed a horde of PF and independent MPs influenced Mr Kang’ombe to defy Ms Mutti’s directive, to the extent of blocking the National Assembly sergeant-at-arms from ushering him out of the Chamber.
This behaviour is uncalled for, for leaders expected to uphold the highest integrity, if the MPs are to deserve the title of honourable.
It is a well known fact that when aggrieved, the National Assembly has channels to follow for one to air their grievances in a respectable manner.
Like, Ms Mutti rightly indicated, freedom of speech and protection of democracy did not extend to lawlessness, misguided militancy and effrontery.
Defying or challenging the Speaker’s ruling is an affront to the authority and dignity of the House.
It is an assault or attack on the constitutional democracy, and as such, the National Assembly is a respectable House where the Speaker, her deputy, all officials including fellow MPs should be respected.
By all means the opposition MPs should sober up and avoid being ungovernable.