President Lungu has nominated Patrick Matibini for re-election as Speaker of the National Assembly. Matibini has held this position since 2011. The election of the new Speaker is the first business the new Parliament will attend to once its opens on 23 September. The Speaker presides over all debates in Parliament.
The new Constitution states that a new Speaker is elected by MPs from a list of persons, who are qualified to be, but are not, MPs, with the list being “submitted to the National Assembly by the president and political parties holding seats in the National Assembly”.
Lungu has also nominated two Deputy Speakers, namely MMD member Catherine Namugala (first deputy speaker) and PF Mfuwe MP Mwimba Malama (second deputy speaker).
The new Constitution demands that the two deputies must not be members of the same political party or of the same gender. However, it also states that the first deputy speaker is elected by MPs “from a list of three names selected by the political parties represented in the National Assembly” from among persons who are qualified to be, but are not, MPs. It does not mention anything about the president.
The second deputy speaker shall be elected by MPs “from among their number”.
Lungu has also re-appointed Vice-President Inonge Wina as leader of government business in parliament. The leader is responsible for the affairs of government in parliament, including the programming of its legislature, and protects and defines the position of the government.
Finally, Lungu has appointed PF Chililabombwe MP Richard Musukwa and PF Luanshya MP Steven Chungu as chief whip and deputy chief whip, respectively. They will be responsible for keeping the ruling PF party’s MPs in line by attending and voting as the party desires.