Independent Chiengi Member of Parliament (MP) Given Katuta yesterday went rogue when she was ejected from the House following a ruling made against her by the Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti for gross indiscipline and misconduct.
The irate Reverend, Katuta vented her frustration On Times of Zambia photojournalist Henry Chunza by spitting on him and hurling all manner of invective When she noticed him taking pictures of her.
In a feat of rage, she violently pursued the photographer supported by a horde of predominantly Patriotic Front (PF) MPs in an attempt to destroy the picture footage he had captured of her “walk of shame” as she was being escorted out of the Chamber by the Sergeant at Arms.
Ms. Katuta, who is also a reverend of a Christian church, was suspended for gross misconduct and indiscipline in a ruling the speaker made yesterday following a June 14,2023 point of order raised by Katombora law maker Clement Andeleki.
Mr. Andeleki was concerned about the manner Ms. Katuta pointed fingers at the Speaker and Infrastructure and Urban Development Minister Charles Milupi who was making a ministerial statement on the state of roads in Northwestern Province.
The incensed and finger pointing MP charged at Mr. Chunza and demanded on top of her voice to know who he was and why he was taking pictures of her without her consent ordering him to delete the footage he had captured.
Sensing danger, Mr. Chunza ran towards the staircase leading to the ground floor as Ms. Katuta continued her charge and spat at him.
Several National Assembly of Zambia security officers who were at the reception to the main entrance of the Chamber intervened by trying to calm down the uncompromising Ms. Katuta.
according to eyewitnesses and a personal account by Mr. Chunza upon reaching the ground floor of the Parliament Building, an unidentified security officer took the camera for safekeeping, as he (Chunza) was whisked into security office, while Ms. Katuta was in hot pursuit.
Ms. Katuta’s outbursts, which attracted curious onlookers, which included National Assembly staff and visiting students from outside the Parliament Building.
And narrating his ordeal, Mr. Chunza said Ms. Katuta accompanied by about six other MPs including Chawama MP Tasila Lungu pursued him to the security office where they insulted, shouted at him and demanded that he delete all the images of the Chiengi MP.
Now fearing for his life amidst the outbursts of Ms. Katuta and other MPs, in the presence of security, Mr. Chunza was forced to delete the images.
“About five or six Members of Parliament, who included Tasila Lungu (Patriotic Front Chawama Member of Parliament), stormed the security office and demanded that I delete all the pictures I took of honorable Katuta, which I did,” the visibly shaken Mr. Chunza said.
Mr. Chunza reported Ms. Katuta and Tasila to the Emmasdale Police Station later in the afternoon.
Earlier, Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti handed Ms. Katuta a seven-day suspension effective yesterday for gross misconduct and indiscipline.
This was in connection with Rev Katuta’s conduct on June 14, 2023, of her talking and pointing at Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Minister Charles Milupi and towards the Speaker’s direction after Ms. Mutti ordered her to leave the Chamber.
Ms. Mutti said Rev Katuta’s conduct of walking out of the House while pointing and shouting at a fellow lawmaker and pointing at a Presiding Officer was a grave offence to Mr Milupi, the Presiding Officer and the House.
Ms. Mutti said the Chienge Parliamentarian’s behavior was, therefore, an affront on the decorum and dignity of the House, of which she had the solemn duty to safeguard.
“I now order you, Rev G M Katuta, MP, to take the walk of shame and leave the Chamber through the main entrance of the Chamber, on seven days’ suspension with effect from today (yesterday),” Ms. Mutti said.
Ms Mutti said ordinarily, Rev Katuta’s conduct would have attracted a more severe punishment, but that the Speaker elected to exercise leniency on her because the Chienge lawmaker had reflected on her conduct and apologized.
During the suspension period, Ms. Katuta was ordered not to enter the precincts of the National Assembly and that extended to the motel, and not to participate in any activity of the National Assembly or any committee that she was assigned in and that she would not be paid a salary or allowance that she was entitled to as MP.
“The honour, decorum and dignity of the House must be protected and preserved at all times. I do trust that you will reflect seriously on your conduct and, in future, desist from conduct unbefitting a member and moreover a senior Member of the House,” Ms. Mutti said.
When contacted for comment, Government Chief Whip Stafford Mulusa described what happened to Mr. Chunza as very bad but that he would only comment in detail after getting a report from the National Assembly security, as per procedure.
National Assembly Deputy Clerk for Corporate Affairs Stephen Kawimbe said he was saddened by what had transpired and advised the Times of Zambia to lodge a formal complaint in writing to the Speaker.
“That is very unfortunate. There is a committee which deals with those (matters) because clearly the person (Mr Chunza) was abused and traumatized. I am very sorry about that,” Mr Kawimbe said.
Mr. Kawimbe said Mr. Chunza was at the National Assembly for official duties and that meant Parliament sanctioned him to be in its precincts and so nothing would have prevented him from taking pictures of anyone.