OPPOSITION UPND Members of Parliament yesterday walked out of Parliament after Roan Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili was heard remarking in the House that UPND president Hakainde Hichilema was a ‘‘non-believer’’.
Mr Kambwili passed the remark when Vice President Inonge Wina was responding to a question from Kabompo West UPND Member of Parliament, Ambrose Rufuma, on how Government intended to go ahead with the construction of the Tabernacle Church which he (Rufuma) had no blessings from Zambians.
Ms Wina, in her response, said she was surprised by Mr Rufuma’s question because to the contrary, the church project was getting overwhelming response from Zambians.
“Even the big Temple of Jerusalem, Mr Speaker, was built over years. What President (Edgar Lungu) wants through this initiative (church) is to have a big place where all Zambians including non-believers can worship,” Ms Wina said.
It was at this point when the Roan lawmaker passed the remark against the UPND leader: “Like HH a non-believer!”
Mr Kambwili’s remark incensed the UPND members who walked out of the House at 09:38 but they later returned after Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini ordered Mr Kambwili to withdraw his remark.
Meanwhile, Sinda MMD Member of Parliament Levy Ngoma, challenged the Speaker to tell the House why Mr Kambwili was not chased from the House for his ‘irritating’ remark against Mr Hichilema like he did to Katombora UPND Member of Parliament Derrick Livune on Wednesday for similar remarks.
Mr Ngoma, through a point of order, challenged Dr Matibini as to whether the House was in order to practice bias by not ejecting Mr Kambwili.
“Mr Speaker, a few days ago, Hon Livune was chased out of this House for passing some very ‘irritating’ comments contrary to the rules of the House. Today, when Her Honour the Vice-President was answering a question to do with the National House of Prayers, Hon Kambwili passed a very ‘irritating’ comment on HH, the UPND president, who is not here to defend himself.
“Hon Kambwili is still happily seated here without any admonishment. Is this House in order to practice such biasness?” Mr Ngoma said. The Speaker reserved ruling on the matter but was forced to warn the House to avoid the habit of passing running commentaries against each other.
“Let me make an appeal to the House, let’s exercise control. I know where we have come from; from a very charged background, very charged. But let’s exercise self-control and this is all emanating from what we always deprecate, running commentaries whilst seated! Some of the comments are very provocative to each other, usually so if we averted these running commentaries, we would not be getting to these points,” Speaker Matibini said.