Listening to the President’s State of the Nation Address I couldn’t but notice the regular interruptions of the President by the Members of Parliament (MPs). The President had to constantly repeat words and yell to project his voice over the shouts and taunts of the MPs. This is not the first time that MPs have behaved in this manner; in fact it seems to be the norm whenever the President or other government officials come to the House to discharge their constitutional mandate of addressing the Chamber. I don’t know if this is the new Political Culture we are trying to adopt. Already it seems like we are on track to develop a Political Culture of Insults on our public airwaves. This practice of heckling, taunts and regular boos on the floor of parliament must seize. I am not in any way implying that the MPs should sit on their bottoms with their mouths sealed throughout speeches delivered on the floor of Parliament. However for goodness sake they should remember that they are the Representatives of the People and they should exercise decorum in the conduct of their affairs. Their current behavior of taunts, jeers and regular interruption amounts to irresponsibility of the highest order. I wonder if this is the same body that has been preaching against public indiscipline. What is the difference between this behavior of MPs and taxi drivers who indiscrimately blow their car horns or for that matter the irate youth who have in recent times gone on rampage locking public building and preventing public officials from doing their jobs?
Listening to the jeers and taunts of the MPs during this year’s State of the Nation address reminded me of my teenage years at secondary school. Whenever the food at the dining hall was not enough, we mounted the tables and shouted on the Dining Hall prefects as if it was their duty to buy food for the school. However even in this situation we quickly settled down when we heard the Head Master or any of members of the school administration was approaching the Hall. Yet the behavior of the MPs is uncontrollable and more disruptive than a bunch of hungry teenage boys at school. Sometimes I am inclined to believe that these MPs think they are at the sports stadium watching soccer.
Please let us develop a political culture that we can be proud to bequeath to our children. How many of us teach our children that they should interrupt people when they are talking. How do they expect to hear what the speaker is saying when they will not keep quiet to listen in the first place? It is not surprising therefore that comments on such speeches by MPs are often distorted and without merit.