WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO WAIT FOR AN MP TO TAKE AN OATH BEFORE BEING APPOINTED CABINET MINISTER?
By McDonald Chipenzi
STANDING Orders of the National Assembly of Zambia 2016 GUIDES UNDER
Order 3 (1) that the Clerk [of the National Assembly of Zambia] not the old SPEAKER, Shall read the Gazzette Notice after the Members (elected and nominated MPs) have assembled at a time and place appointed in the Speaker’s Notice on the first day of the Meeting of the New Assembly.
When the House first meets following a General Election, the House shall elect new Presiding Officers (Speaker and deputies)
Until the SPEAKER is elected, the House shall not transact any other business.
The Clerk Shall preside at the Election of.the Presiding Officers.
Therefore, the argument that the current speaker and his deputy can summon and administer the OATH is erroneous and legally wrong.
The reasons why the speaker reasons in office until a new Assembly is constituted are administrative just as the same reasons why the President does not dissolve with Parliament…in case of war and other emergencies before the General Election but after the dissolution of Parliament, the Old parliament can be summoned to guide the nation
After a General Election and constitution of New assembly through an General Election, the old SPEAKER and deputy are redundant officers I.e. they automatically become jobless like the AttorneyGeneral and Solicitor General unless recommended for re-election.
More importantly, however, is the provisions of Order 8 which stress that *A member (Elected or nominated MP in this case ) SHALL, *before carrying out the duty of his or her office,* take or SUBSCRIBES an OATH of OFFICE as prescribed under a written law, and as set out in Appendix ‘IV’ to these Standing Orders.*
Those arguing that President should appoint CABINET FROM these unsworn in MPs who are not even allowed to carry out their duties/functions/responsibilities as MPs, does not make any logical and legal sense.
For what will be the essence of forcing the President to do so if not just to mislead him and condemn him after these appointments are made?
The Orders further guides that *When ALL members present have taken or SUBSCRIBED the OATH, the SPEAKER shall adjourn the House to a day and time to be determined by the SPEAKER for the Ceremonial Official Opening of the new Assembly.*
So it remains illogical and unprocedural to force the President to APPOINT unsworn MPs as Cabinet ministers when they are not even allowed to perform their duties of their respective offices as MPs without taking or and subscribing to an oath.
How will they function as Ministers since they have first be MPs and function as MPs before they function as Cabinet Ministers?