Thursday, July 08, 2010

VJ, colleagues in govt are living in fear - Mpombo

VJ, colleagues in govt are living in fear - Mpombo
By Patson Chilemba
Thu 08 July 2010, 10:50 CAT

GEORGE Mpombo yesterday charged that Vernon Mwaanga and his colleagues in President Rupiah Banda’s government are living in great fear because of the fate that will befall them once they leave office.

Reacting to MMD parliamentary chief whip Mwaanga’s statement that a formal complaint may be lodged before Parliament over Mpombo’s remarks on the government’s intended removal of the offence of abuse of office from the revised ACC Act, Mpombo, who is Kafulafuta MMD member of parliament and former defence minister, said he was not threatened and would not be muzzled by Mwaanga and his colleagues from commenting on issues of national importance.

“Why should Mr Mwaanga and his colleagues develop knee-jerk? Why are they fearful? It means great fear, you know trepidation. You have become afraid of what is coming before you. Why are they developing these knee-jerk characteristics?” Mpombo asked.

Mpombo said it was, in fact, Mwaanga who was breaching parliamentary etiquette by discussing parliamentary procedures outside Parliament, and trying to paint a picture that he Mpombo was guilty of the offence Mwaanga was talking about.

“Mr Mwaanga is shooting from the hip. I have not done anything to merit that. By being Chief Whip it doesn’t mean that he is the spokesperson of Parliament.

So he should desist from giving the picture that he is the spokesperson of Parliament. Procedures are there and Parliament has got appropriate channels for airing those views,” he said.

On the statement by Copperbelt Welfare and Environmental Protection Association president Sydney Njamba that he was abusing parliamentary privileges and ethics by debating an issue outside the National Assembly, Mpombo wondered how someone who claimed to talk about the environment was now talking about parliamentary privileges.

“It is because those are qua-NGOs, that’s what they call them in politics in Britain. They use these organisations as attack dogs. They write speeches for them and go and read for them.

In fact, there is one person who is very close to the Vice-President George Kunda in that organisation. Yes, the Copperbelt one,” Mpombo disclosed.

“What is the name? Njamba is a friend to the Vice-President’s office. He is a business colleague of the Vice-President and they operate from the same building in Pelican House. He is just being used as an attack dog by the Vice-President.

How does a person who is supposed to be dealing with forest matters start talking about parliamentary etiquette?”

Mpombo said he could see through the naked attempts by Mwaanga and his colleagues.

“Obviously it’s an attempt by Mr Mwaanga and his colleagues to paint entirely a wrong picture of my intentions, also trying to muzzle me. I am not threatened in any way,” he said.

Mpombo said there was no malice in his earlier statement, saying tinkering around with present laws was an exercise in futility. He said a precedence had been set where the UNIP government enacted a law for former government leaders to collect their pensions but was thrown out by the MMD.

“So what I am saying is that, that is an action in futility. We may change the laws here. But the first thing the new government will do is to amend it and cancel it. So it is a waste of time,” said Mpombo.

Mwaanga was quoted in Wednesday’s edition of the state owned and government controlled Daily Mail as saying that a formal complaint against Mpombo would be lodged to Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa in a proper manner if it is established that he breached parliamentary privileges.

He said Parliament had its own internal procedures for determining breaches of parliamentary privileges by members of the House.

Mwaanga was reacting to Mpombo’s earlier statement that Vice-President Kunda was the most stupid Vice-President.

The comment followed Vice-President Kunda’s threats of arrest and imprisonment last Friday in Parliament against MMD Katuba member of parliament Jonas Shakafuswa.

Shakafuswa sought to find out from Vice-President Kunda the government’s motive for removing the offence of abuse of office from the revised Anti-Corruption Commission Act.

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