Zambia suspends 48 lawmakers for snubbing president’s speech

Zambia parliament [Photo: Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation]

Zambia’s parliament has suspended 48 opposition lawmakers for boycotting a speech by the president, widening a political rift that has alarmed rights groups.

Parliament’s speaker barred the United Party for National Development (UPND) politicians from taking their seats for 30 days, a move that banned them from the building and stopped their pay.

Their party, which was defeated in August elections that it said were rigged, called the suspensions unconstitutional.

The lawmakers boycotted President Edgar Lungu’s address at the official opening of the assembly in March, saying they did not recognise him as leader.

A month later, the UPND’s leader, Hakainde Hichilema, and five others were arrested and charged with treason after a column of opposition vehicles failed to make way for Lungu’s motorcade.

Amnesty International has said the treason charges are “trumped up” and called for the politicians’ release.

Parliament speaker Patrick Matibini told the opposition lawmakers: “I challenge you to resign on moral grounds if you do not recognise that there is a legitimately elected government.”

The suspensions affect 48 of the party’s 58 MPs.

The remaining 10 had officially excused themselves from attending parliament on the day of Lungu’s speech and were not included in the suspension.

Hichilema was moved from a prison in Lusaka to a maximum security facility outside the capital on June 9.(Reuters/NAN)

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

 

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: To place a text-based advert here. Call Willie - +2347088095401


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.