Ruling by the Hon. Madam Speaker - On the Complaint by Mr. S Kampyongo, MP for Shiwang'andu against members of the Committee on Health, Community Development & Social Services who voted against the Committee's Report on 16th December, 2022.


I order you, Mr M Chinkuli, MP and Mr L Mwene, MP, to stand by your seats.

Hon Members, I wish to inform the House that on Tuesday, 28th February, 2023, my office received a letter of complaint from Mr S Kampyongo, Member of Parliament for Shiwang’andu Constituency against Mr M Chinkuli, Member of Parliament for Kanyama Constituency and Mr L Mwene, Member of Parliament for Mangango Constituency. The complaint alleges that Mr M Chinkuli, MP and Mr L Mwene, MP, voted against the Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services, when they were members of the Committee.  

In order to confirm whether the two (2) members of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services voted against their Report as alleged, I had recourse to the voting register of 16th December, 2022. Hon Members, a perusal of the voting register confirmed that Mr M Chinkuli, MP and Mr L Mwene, MP, indeed voted against the Special Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services.

In line with parliamentary practice and procedure and in accordance with the rules of natural justice, on Wednesday, 15th March, 2023, the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly wrote to Mr M Chinkuli, MP and Mr L Mwene, MP, requesting them to state their side of the story.

In response, Mr M Chinkuli, MP, responded by stating that he had pressed on the “No” button in error instead of the “Yes” button on the Bosch gadget in the Chamber. He added that efforts to change his vote proved futile as the Bosch system allegedly malfunctioned and eventually the voting closed when the bell rang. He added that he regretted the error and endeavoured to be careful when voting electronically using modern technology. In that regard, he requested the Hon Madam Speaker to consider the matter in light of his apology. 

Further, Mr L Mwene, MP, admitted that he voted against the Report and explained that he voted as he did because after reflecting on the Report, his conscience would not allow him to vote for it. He, however, sought forgiveness as he was a first offender. 

Hon Members, the complaint raises the issue of a member of a committee voting against a report of a committee he or she belongs to contrary to the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Orders, 2021. Standing Order 185 (3) and (4) are instructive on the matter and provide as follows:
“ 185. …
           (3) A member of the Committee shall not dissent from, or vote against, the recommendations contained in the committee’s report. 
(4) The Speaker may refer the matter of a member that dissents from, or votes against, a report under paragraph (3) to the Committee on Privileges and Absences or take an appropriate action against such member.”

Hon Members, it is clear that Mr M Chinkuli, MP and Mr L Mwene, MP, voted against the recommendations of a report of a committee they belong to, contrary to our standing orders. In view of this, Hon Members, I find that Mr M Chinkuli, MP and Mr L Mwene, MP, were in breach of parliamentary privilege and in contempt of the House and, therefore, out of order. However, I take cognisance of the fact that the two (2) members, are first offenders, relatively new Members in the House and were apologetic for their conduct.  Therefore, I have decided to exercise leniency and admonish them in accordance with section 28 (1) (b) of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, Cap 12 of the Laws of Zambia. 

I now wish to address the two Hon Members. 

Mr M Chinkuli, MP and Mr L Mwene, MP, your conduct of voting against a Report of a Committee, to which you are members is a breach of parliamentary privileges and a contempt of the House. As members of the Committee you had the opportunity to interact with the relevant witnesses and make recommendations on the matter as a Committee, based on consensus.  You are also well aware that our rules do not permit a minority report.  Therefore, the report of a Committee is that of all its members.  It was, therefore, extremely inappropriate for you to vote against a Report that you were part of. In this regard, the House is extremely displeased with your conduct. It is hoped that, in future, you will endeavour to abide by the rules of this House and avoid such conduct.  Please bear in mind that a repetition of such conduct will attract a stiffer penalty.

I now order you, Mr M Chinkuli, MP, and Mr L Mwene, MP, to apologise to the House.

Mr M Chinkuli, MP, will render his apology first and then Mr L Mwene, MP, will render his.  Thereafter, you may both resume your seats.

I Thank You. 

Ruling Date: 
Thursday, March 30, 2023