PARLIAMENT has ruled that newly-appointed Attorney-General Musa Mwenye can carry on and discharge his duties even before being sworn in by the President as he constitutionally does not fall in the bracket of public officers that need to take oath of office before commencing duties.
And Deputy Minister of Justice Keith Mukata was ejected from the House yesterday for un-parliamentary behaviour.
This was when Choma Central UPND member of Parliament (MP) Cornelius Mweetwa stood on the point of order questioning the legality of the Excess Expenditure Appropriation (2011) Bill due to time lapse and whether Mr Mwenye should have signed the Bill without first being sworn in by the President.
Meanwhile, Government says K122.6 million Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in this year’s national budget will be released to various constituencies by the end of September to allow for various projects to be implemented before year end.
Making a ruling on the point of order by Mr. Mweetwa, Deputy Speaker and Chairperson of Committees of the House Mkhondo Lungu said the Constitution does not bar Mr Mwenye from discharging his duties.
He said Mr Mwenye was appointed by the President and parliament ratified the appointment.
“According to the constitution, the Attorney-General does not need to be officially sworn in to discharge his duties,” Mr Lungu said.
But Monze Central (UPND) MP Jack Mwiimbu also asked whether it was right to continue debating a Bill that has been rendered ‘illegal’ due to time lapse.
“The point of order raised by the Choma Central MP Mr Mweetwa was in two parts. It questioned the legality of the Excess Expenditure Appropriation (2011) Bill due to time lapse and whether Mr Mwenye should have signed the Bill. The first part of the question has not been answered.”
Mr Lungu said that a ruling would be made later.
Deputy Chairperson of Committees Chifumu Banda, however, ruled later that although the Excess Expenditure Appropriation (2011) Bill was delayed by 17 days, it does not sanction the bill from being brought to the House.
Mr Banda said: “The House is at liberty to pass the Bill or reject it during second reading.”
Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda apologised to the House for the slippage and the House allowed the second reading to be done. The Bill will be taken to Committee stage today.
And Mr Mukata was ejected from the House when he, according to the Deputy Speaker, behaved unparliamentarily by interjecting the point of order by Mr Mweetwa by shouting: “He [Attorney-General] can act iwe [you].”
Mr Lungu instructed: “Can the minister leave the House.”
Mr Mukata rose and walked away gesticulating at the MPs on the left side of the House.
Meanwhile, Mr Chikwanda told parliament during the presentation of the Ministerial Statement on the disbursement of the CDF that the balance of K122.6 million will be disbursed by September in full to ensure that micro projects around various constituencies are undertaken before the onset of the rainy season.
“The CDF has generated a heated discussion in the House because it is indisputable that the CDF is the most effective and direct delivery vehicle of development.”
Zambia Daily Mail