Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Clement Chiwaya yesterday suspended for one-week Mwanza Central member of Parliament (MP) Davis Katsonga (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP) for coming to the House dressed in Ngoni headgear.
However, the suspension did not go down well with the legislator who questioned the legality of the move, arguing Standing Orders are silent on the wearing of traditional attire in the chamber.
Katsonga told journalists soon after being kicked out of the House that he will do anything within his means to defend his tribal and cultural beliefs and traditions.
“First of all, when a Speaker makes a ruling, he must be 100 percent certain that the Standing Order that he has cited is indeed operational on the issue. Yes, the official dress [code] for male members of the National Assembly shall be dark suit, long trousers, a tie and a jacket.
“In other words, I could come to the chamber without a shirt at all; as long as I am wearing a necktie, I would be allowed. As simple as that! I can come to the House without shoes, which are not mentioned [in the section]. And that is acceptable. But is that part of a dress code? No, it is not.”
He wondered why bangles, which are not part of Parliament’s dress code, were being allowed. Apparently, he was referring to the bangles some MPs wear on their wrists and/or necks while in the chamber.
Katsonga dared the office of the Speaker to desist from legislating against dress code.
“Are bangles part of the dress code? No, they are not. But they are allowed. The history of this House is this: Right from Yatuta Chisiza, Lekeka Mkandawire, Honourable [Majorie] Ngaunje and others have over the years spotted it [headgear]. It is a non-issue; it is an adornment. It is something extra that we can wear,” he added. n