Zambia’s parliament does not have the main opposition bloc participating in affairs after the speaker of the house on Tuesday suspended all United Party for National Development (UPND) lawmakers for a 30 day period.
According to the speaker, the suspension of the 48 members was necessitated as a result of their ‘disobedience’ to President Edgar Lungu. UPND lawmakers boycotted the president’s address to the parliament in March this year.
Patrick Matibini before imposing the suspension charged the lawmakers to quit their offices if they had issues with the legitimacy of the government. ‘‘I challenge you to resign on moral grounds if you do not recognise that there is a legitimately elected government,’‘ he said.
I challenge you to resign on moral grounds if you do not recognise that there is a legitimately elected government.
The party and its leader continues to challenge the legitimacy of President Lungu – who led the then-ruling Patriotic Front (PF) to victory in key presidential polls held in August 2016.
The UPND’s leader is currently being held in a maximum-security jail pending his trial on charges of treason. Hakainde Hichilema was arrested by police for failing to give way to a presidential convoy – and by that threatening the life of the president.
He is due to appear with 5 others in a High Court for trial – a date has yet to be set. The economist and businessman has denied the charges and stated that he was ready for the trial.