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line Home arrow Debates & Proceedings arrow Second Session of the Eleventh National Assembly arrow Debates- Wednesday, 20th February, 2013 Sunday, 23 November 2014  
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Debates- Wednesday, 20th February, 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 February 2013
DAILY PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES FOR THE SECOND SESSION OF THE ELEVENTH ASSEMBLY
Wednesday, 20th February, 2013

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

NATIONAL ANTHEM

PRAYER

___________

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR SPEAKER

FINDINGS ON THE OPERATIONS AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CDF

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform the House that the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) has organised a meeting to share the findings of a study it conducted on the operations and effectiveness of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

This meeting will take place in the Amphitheatre at Parliament Buildings on Monday, 25th February, 2013, from 0930 hours to 1200 hours. I, therefore, urge all hon. Members to take advantage of this engagement to seek solutions to challenges in the operations and effectiveness of the CDF.

All hon. Members are invited to attend this important meeting. However, I hasten to add that the meeting is on a voluntary basis.

I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: I am sure that this subject is close to our hearts.

____________

QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER

KABWE MINE HOSPITAL

320. Mr Kapyanga (Kabwe Central) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    whether the  Government had any plans to convert Kabwe Mine Hospital into a district hospital; and

(b)    if so, when the plans would be implemented.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Mr Mulenga): Mr Speaker, currently, the Government has no plans to convert Kabwe Mine Hospital into a district hospital because it is being run side by side with Kabwe General Hospital. It is the high-cost wing of Kabwe General Hospital.

Sir, as indicated earlier, the Government has no immediate plans to convert Kabwe Mine Hospital to a district hospital. Therefore, the second question has fallen off.

I thank you, Sir.
    
Brig-Gen Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you …

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to raise this procedural point of order.

Mr Speaker, when we were considering the 2013 Budget, I raised a point of order on whether it was prudent for us to continue debating the Budget, considering that the kwacha was melting like butter in the Kalahari Desert. The Chairperson of Committees presiding then, Hon. Mkhondo Lungu, directed the hon. Minister of Finance to come back to the House and advise us on why the kwacha was falling, despite the so-called measures that the Government was putting in place.

Mr Speaker, the entire debate of the Budget ended without the hon. Minister of Finance coming back to the House to inform us so that we could make informed recommendations to the House pertaining to the Budget and the effect the fall of the kwacha would have on it. To date, the hon. Minister of Finance has not come back to the House to tell us and the nation why the kwacha has continued to fall, unlike other currencies.

Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether His Honour the Vice-President, who is the Leader of Government Business in the House, is in order to ignore the directive of the Chairperson then and Mr Speaker by not coming back to this House to address us on this very important issue of the fall of kwacha, vis-à-vis the dollar? Is he in order to ignore your ruling and directive?

I need your serious ruling on this matter.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: My short ruling is that, firstly, I must confirm that this is a procedural issue because it relates to debate that was undertaken around the subject in the last sitting, and it is also a timely reminder for us to tie up all outstanding business. I, therefore, direct that the hon. Minister of Finance issues a statement in response to this point of order next week, on Tuesday.

That is my ruling.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, in light of the answer given by the hon. Deputy Minister of Health, that Kabwe Mine Hospital is a high-cost wing of Kabwe General Hospital, is it, therefore, not prudent that either Kabwe Mine Hospital is converted into a district hospital or a new district hospital is built in light of the increased population in Kabwe, a large section of which are poor people who cannot afford the cost-sharing at Kabwe Mine Hospital?

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I agree with the hon. Member of Parliament. This is why, as a Government, we have intentions to upgrade Kabwe General Hospital into a central hospital. In future, we shall consider upgrading the hospital into a district hospital.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

KALABO/SIKONGO ROAD

321. Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    when the design of the Kalabo/Sikongo Road would be completed;

(b)    when the evaluation and tendering process for the project above would be done; and

(c)    what the estimated cost of the project was.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr M. H. Malama): Mr Speaker, the final design report is now expected on Friday, 22nd February, 2013. The submission of the final design report was delayed in order to take into account the environmental matters raised by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).

Sir, consequent to (a) above, the tendering process has been re-scheduled to begin in the first week of April, 2013, in order to allow for the review and approval by the Kuwait Fund, which is financing the project.

Mr Speaker, the preliminary cost of the project is, currently, at US$54 million. However, a revised cost estimate is expected to be submitted with the final report.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, may I find out from the hon. Minister …

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! Igwee!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, as I raise this point of order, I must congratulate my friend, Hon. Hamusonde, who owns 25,000 heads of cattle which, unfortunately, may perish very soon.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: Sir, the Department of Veterinary Services issued three import permits to ZAMBEEF. One was for 500 heifers, Zebu animals, which come from Tanzania, the second was for 112 Boran heifers while the third was for eighty-two Boran heifers.

Mr Speaker, the Tanzanian authorities inspected these animals and gave a certificate of inspection, showing that, in the area the animals were coming from, they were vaccinating against anthrax, Contagious Bovine Pleural Pneumonia (CBPP) and tuberculosis. Where animals are vaccinated against CBPP, it means that that area is prone to CBPP. In Zambia, we have stopped animals from being moved from the Western Province to any other area. However, 500 animals arrived here, in Zambia, and they were not quarantined. They were taken to Mpongwe Farm, where they have started dying. A veterinary officer went to check and proved that the animals were dying of CBPP.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: ZAMBEEF culled these animals, but whether the animals were turned into meat products and sold to the Zambian people is not known. However, we know that the company is yet to receive two more consignments.

Mr Speaker, is this Government in order to allow animals to move from Tanzania, when it knows that CBPP is contagious? We now have an outbreak in Mpongwe and this disease will spread to other areas, yet no measures are being taken to stop the importation of more animals. Is this Government in order to do that when it does not allow the movement of animals from the Western and Southern provinces, but does that for animals from another country?

I need your serious ruling because this is a very important issue for the meat industry in the country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: My short ruling is that the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock will respond to that question through a ministerial statement on Friday, the day after tomorrow.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! Monde.

Interruptions

Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, may the hon. Deputy Minister confirm to this House whether this project will start this year.

Mr M. H. Malama: Mr Speaker, this project will start this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, Happy New Year to the House! Greetings from the impoverished people of Luena, the apt centre of the Kuomboka Ceremony, to which you are all welcome. This year, it is on.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda: Sir, I heard the hon. Minister mention the Kuwait Foundation, but I am aware that, initially, the contract to construct the Mongu/Kalabo Road was given to Kuwaitis, but they failed to build it because the terrain the road passes through is different from that of Kuwait. What guarantee do we have that the Kalabo/Sikongo Road will not also prove to be a problem for the Kuwaitis?

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Yaluma): Mr Speaker, first, we must differentiate between two issues here. Funding is one issue while providing the design is another. The Kuwaitis are funding the project, not designing it. The design is being done by an appointed locally-based Zambian consulting firm. So, I do not think that we should be worried. The job will be done.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, why is the estimated cost going to be revised? Why was a proper estimate not done from the beginning? Why revise the estimate?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, what was reported is that we had a preliminary design at the beginning and that the final report would only be received on 22nd February, 2013, which will carry the detailed information that will support the actual budget of the project.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to confirm whether it is true that, although the project says the design is for the Kalabo/Sikongo Road, this road is, actually, going to reach the Angolan Border. May the hon. Minister confirm that.

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, indeed, the hon. Member of Parliament for Liuwa, Hon. Dr Musokotwane, is right. The road will reach Angola.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, we have been told that the works on the Kalabo/Mongu Road could not be successfully completed earlier because of the poor design that was made, which was by a Zambian firm. What guarantee is there that, this time around, it will be appropriate for the terrain of the area?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, I think, as a starting point, we need to have confidence in our Zambian engineers. We do not know who did the first design that was evaluated. However, we assure you that we are now evaluating designs to ensure that we pick the best one. So, this particular design will not be used before it is evaluated exhaustively.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

ZNBC SIGNAL

322. Mr Mpundu (Nchelenge) asked the Minister of Information and Broadcasting when the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZBNC) signal would be improved in Kawambwa, Nchelenge and Chienge districts.

The Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting (Mr Kapeya): Mr Speaker, the Government appreciates the need for an improved television signal countrywide. However, the signal in the three districts will remain the same until the digital migration is completed in 2014.

Sir, digital migration will entail phasing out analogue terrestrial broadcasting transmitters and other related equipment, and switching over to digital broadcasting transmitters and equipment. The process will involve putting up infrastructure and equipment to cover the whole country, including areas where there is, currently, no television signal. The installation of the digital television transmitters will, therefore, improve the television signal throughout the country, including in areas like Kawambwa, Nchelenge and Chienge.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kazonga (Vubwi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that the Government is in the process of migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting. In the meantime, what is it doing to ensure that the signal reaches far-away places like Chienge? What are the immediate plans to ensure that the signal reaches far-flung areas as we wait to migrate from analogue to digital transmission?

Mr Kapeya: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for that question. We have clearly indicated that we are migrating from analogue to digital transmission. That means that we will completely shift from analogue transmission. For now, we will continue using the analogue transmitters until we completely shift to the digital system.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, how far has the country gone in digital migration, seeing that 2014 is not far off?

Mr Kapeya: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member has been following the events relating to the switch-over, he knows that we are, currently, inviting bids from experts in the field to come and help us implement the project.

I thank you, Sir.

Professor Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister tell the people of Nchelenge, Kawambwa and Chienge how the signal received on their television sets, which are predominantly analogue, will be improved after the transition to the digital system.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting (Mr Sakeni): Mr Speaker, we have already said that, when we go digital, there will be sets of boxes that will used. Therefore, I do not see any problems arising. We are convinced that, once the tender is awarded, all the concerns that my colleagues have regarding the quality of the signal in our countryside will be taken care of because the technical staff has already done its studies to establish where transmitters for the digital sets should be put.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister confirm that the people of Nchelenge, Kawambwa and Chienge will not have any television signal until 2014, when the switch-over will be done.

Mr Sakeni: Mr Speaker, the people in Nchelenge, Kawambwa and Chienge have a television signal. The only problem is that the signal is weak because it is tapped from Mansa, which is well over 200 km away from the main transmitter. So, it is not that the people there are not receiving any signal, but that, sometimes, they do not get good picture while, at other times, they do. By the way, it is not only in those districts where the transmission signal is poor, but also everywhere. Currently, we cannot start procuring analogue transmitters because that exercise is costly. An analogue transmitter costs close to KR4,000,000. We should not be spending so such money buying analogue transmitters when we are trying to move away from them. We need to weigh matters carefully. Honestly speaking, from now until we reach our deadline for migrating to the digital system, certain areas will continue getting that weak signal.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister confirm that the people in certain districts will continue getting the weak signal until 2014.

Mr Speaker: That has already been answered.

Ms Kalima (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, just as the other hon. Members have asked, I would like the hon. Minister to confirm that the people in certain areas will not have an improved signal until 2014. The answer has not been very clear. So, I would like to urge the hon. Minister to use the microphone when talking so that we can get him clearly.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: I think that the response has been clear. The hon. Minister said that, for the time being, the people in those areas will continue getting the weak signal.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: That was his response. It cannot be louder and clearer than that.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, where …

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I am a worried person because the agricultural sector is being attacked left, right and centre. In The Zambian Farmer magazine of November, 2012, there was a clear editorial on the decision by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to allow a mining company to run operations next to a livestock farming area in Kitwe. The Hybrid Poultry Farm in Kitwe has been in existence since 1951 and has been supplying most of the chicks to farmers in the surrounding areas. I can see a number of farmers here who rear chickens.

Mr Speaker, this particular editorial explains, in detail, the dangers of having a mining project near an area where there is chicken-rearing in Kitwe. This Government has decided to allow mining activities next to the Hybrid breeding centre despite opposition to the move by Hybrid Poultry Farm. The last line of the editorial calls this decision ‘another deadly resolution’ because the poultry industry might close as a result of it. There has been no comment from the Government, either through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock or the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development, on this matter.

Sir, the method of mining that is being proposed under the said project will lead to trees dying in the area. What can be expected to happen to the live chickens? Sadly, nobody in the Government seems to be concerned about what will happen to the chickens. We do not want to start speculating that some people may have benefited or shared money in London for that exercise to be permitted. We want to be told by this Government why it has remained quiet when an agricultural project that has been in existence since 1951 is threatened with closure. Holes will be drilled in the ground in the name of mining but, in the end, nothing will be left for the benefit of the surrounding communities.

Mr Monde walked in.

Interruptions

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I would like …

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear! Monde!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, we want something done about this before the agricultural sector is totally mutilated. Why should we close an industry like Hybrid Poultry Farm in preference to having the Chinese mining company continue with its operations? I am even surprised because my friends across the Floor hated the Chinese before …

Mr Speaker: I think that the point has been made.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I want to be told why this situation is being allowed to prevail.

Mr Speaker: I counselled, yesterday, when points of order could be raised, and I hope I will not be doing this on a daily basis. The facility of points of order should be resorted to with utmost circumspection. It is meant to guide the House regarding the rules of debate. However, fortunately, we have exceptions for very grave and urgent matters of importance to the nation. Again, I would like to assure you that Parliament always processes urgent questions speedily. I would like to reiterate that hon. Members should use this facility in addition to other channels.

I am not, by any means, underrating the importance of the issues that have been raised now and those to be raised in the future. All I am saying is that, for purposes of transacting our business with efficiency, please, let us use the various channels at our disposal. I hope that I will not be making this appeal daily because we will waste a lot of time in the process. Therefore, I urge the hon. Member for Kalomo Central to lodge in an appropriate question. We will duly direct it to the appropriate ministry.

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that it is very expensive to put transmitters in the areas in question. However, it is also a fact that, in places that receive poor television signals, the ZNBC has piggy-backed on the satellite space that is rented by MultiChoice Zambia Limited. Why has the Government not considered this option, instead of allowing the people of Nchelenge to wait until 2014?

Mr Speaker: As you can see, we have to migrate to another subject.

Mr Sakeni: Mr Speaker, the question that Hon. Belemu has raised is very important. Of course, where we can improve the signal, through methods like putting up a bigger dish, we have done so. An example is Chienge, where, barely a month ago, there was a small dish that was removed and replaced with a bigger one. The ZNBC is able to carry out such an exercise on its own because it does not cost a lot of money. All the same, the signal being received will not reach the entire Chienge District. It will be confined, maybe, to the Boma area. We will continue trying to, at least, provide the service to as many people as possible, but not to the extent where we have to, actually, put up new analogue transmitters. It is quite costly for the Government to do that while, at the same time, putting up a digital system.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, there have been very inconsistent statements over the digital migration project. There are only twelve months in 2014. May the hon. Minister indicate to this House the month or quarter of 2014 in which this digitalisation or switch-over will be fully implemented so that the people of Kawambwa can have relief.

Mr Sakeni: Mr Speaker, I am sure that the hon. Member of Parliament recalls that, sometime last year, we assured this House that the switch-over will be done by 31st December, 2014. It was supposed to be completed by 31st December, 2013, which is the Southern African Development Community (SADC) deadline. However, as a country, we are unable to do that. So, we shifted the completion date to 31st December, 2014. That is the statement that was given on the Floor of this House.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, there are many people in Kawambwa, Chienge and other parts of this country who own analogue television sets. By December, 2014, those people will not be in a position to use their sets, since there will be a digital system in place. What is being done to ensure that, by that date, most Zambians would have also migrated from analogue to digital television sets?

Mr Sakeni: Mr Speaker, it is a process. When we say that we will go digital by 31st December, 2014, it does not mean that we will, immediately, switch over and cause the people using analogue televisions to have no signal. The country will be told, from time to time, how we will proceed. However, our target is to have these digital signals throughout the country by the deadline. However, how we will manage the process for those with analogue television sets will be up to all of us to find a way forward. In fact, most of the countries that have already gone digital have not switched off the analogue signal completely because of the need to take care of citizens who may not afford the type of equipment we are talking about. For example, the set-top boxes will cost, maybe, KR200 or so. People may not afford that, but those with analogues will continue getting the signal.

I thank you, Sir.

POLITICAL PRISONERS

323. Mr Ndalamei asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a)    whether there were any citizens imprisoned on account of being involved in politics; and
    
(b)    if so, what the total number of such prisoners was, as of 30th September, 2012.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Chilangwa): Mr Speaker, there is no data indicating that there is any citizen currently imprisoned on account of being involved in politics.

Mr Speaker, there was no citizen detained for being involved in politics in any of the Zambian prisons, as of 30th September, 2012. A few political detainees who were in prisons before the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power were arrested by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government in Mongu for advocating for the secession of Barotseland from the rest of the country. Immediately the PF Government came into office, His Excellency the President, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, exercised his prerogative of mercy and gave them clemency. However, we have, in our prisons, people who have committed various offences, such as murder, defilement, theft, assault and rape, amongst others. To these, the law is blind to their status in society. They can be pastors, politicians, hon. Members of Parliament or Government officials, but they are all subject to the law.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, the PF Government released the Barotseland activists who were arrested by the MMD. When is it going to release the ones arrested under its administration?

Mr Chilangwa: Mr Speaker, as I have stated, we do not have any prisoners prosecuted on political grounds. They were all released. Anybody who is in prison, currently, must be there for various offences. Let me state that, if anybody, whether a politician or pastor, goes out there to insult or injure others and do all sorts of things, the law will visit them, not because of being politicians, but because of the wrong they have done. Whether they go and make announcements away from the Zambian soil, the law will visit them. It does not matter where they make the statements.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, what is the definition of a political prisoner? The question is clear: How many political prisoners are there? We know that we have political prisoners in the Western Province.

Mr Chilangwa: Mr Speaker, political prisoners are those charged with an offence related to their expression of political allegiance and opinion.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister said that there were political prisoners who were detained by the MMD during its reign but were, eventually, released by the PF Government. Is he not aware that the allegations against those particular individuals were that they were involved in riotous behaviour in Mongu, and that the ones who are now detained in the Western Province and appearing in court are accused of having torn the Draft Constitution because they did not believe in that process, which they believed to be against the beliefs of the people in the Western Province? Is that not a political position that they had taken?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chilangwa: Mr Speaker, malicious damage to property is not a political offence.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane:  Mr Speaker, if people decide not to be part of a process that they do not agree with and, in the process, tear and throw away a document, is that not politics? That is just like what our freedom fighters used to do when they used to tear ifitupa.

Mr Chilangwa: Mr Speaker, as far as I am concerned, over the last couple of months, we have had people who have been going around, holding what was referred to as provincial Constitution review debates, but we have no record of any province that did not participate. All we know is that every province participated.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, arising from the hon. Deputy Minister’s response on the question of the definition of a political reason for detention, is the Barotseland Agreement a political issue or one of murder or insulting the community?

Mr Chilangwa: Mr Speaker, definitely, everybody is able to deduce that that is a new question. The hon. Member would do well to put it across as such.

I thank you, Sir.

RURAL TEACHERS’ SALARIES

324. Mr Miyutu asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education what measures had been taken to resolve the problem of delayed salaries for teachers serving in rural schools countrywide.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, as far as the ministry is concerned, there are no delays in paying rural teachers’ salaries. This is because of the Direct Debit Accounting (DDAC) system that is currently in use in which salaries are transferred to all the banks simultaneously. Therefore, teachers can access their salaries in all parts of the country without any delay. However, I recognise the fact that, for example, in areas like the one the hon. Member comes from, because there are no banks, teachers travel long distances from outlying places into Kalabo and on to Mongu to get their salaries. However, my consolation, especially to him, is that there is a bank being constructed by the National Savings and Credit Bank (NSCB) in the district. So, sooner or later, teachers in Kalabo will be getting their salaries in the district.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, if somebody gets their salary on the 20th of the following month, my understanding is that the salary is delayed. My question, therefore, is, in places like the one the hon. Minister has referred to, where there is no bank, how does he expect teachers to get their salaries within the month they have worked?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, for me, the most important thing is that the Ministry of Finance has been promoting rural banking. This is cardinal because, in the absence of the Government’s support, our teachers will continue getting salaries late, not because the ministry sends the money late but, for example, because the teachers in Kalabo have to get their salaries in Mongu despite their salaries being sent to respective bank accounts on time. Therefore, we just have to work in collaboration with the hon. Minister of Finance to continue promoting rural banking.

Sir, for Kalabo, as an exceptional case, the NSCB is already investing there and, sooner or later, as I have already said, teachers will be getting their salaries on time. Therefore, I reiterate that there is no delayed payment of salaries, except that teachers have to go to another town to get their money.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, the delay in payment of salaries in rural areas is, sometimes, due to the bad road network. Will the hon. Minister liaise with his counterparts at the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication to ensure that all the roads leading to schools are rehabilitated.

The Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, the question that Hon. Miyutu asked is: What measures have been taken to resolve the problem of delayed salaries for teachers serving in rural areas countrywide? The answer that the hon. Deputy Minister gave is that, for now, there are no delayed salaries being released from the ministry because we have taken measures to ensure that all banks in the country get the salaries on the same day. However, as the hon. Deputy Minister has explained, I am mindful that, in different parts of this country, particularly rural areas, there are challenges. We can only hope that these challenges will be lessened as development takes shape in all corners of Zambia. The ambitious road construction project, Link Zambia 8,000, is one such development that might lessen the pain on the part of our teachers in accessing their salaries. However, the bottom line is that the salaries are no longer delayed. They are paid on the same day, except that access is a challenge in many parts of Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, what is the official pay day for the teaching service?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the official pay day is the end of the month.

Laughter

Dr Phiri: Logically, it is the end of the month. However, the ministry pays between the 15th and 17th of every month, after thirty days of hard work. That is why I said month end or the 30th day.

I thank you, Sir.

MAKULULU COMPOUND

325. Mr Mushanga (Bwacha) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)    what steps the Government had taken in upgrading Makululu Shanty Compound in Kabwe into a modern compound; and

(b)    what services would be provided to the upgraded compound.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kufuna): Mr Speaker, my ministry released KR100,000 to Kabwe Municipal Council for surveys, data collection and plan preparation. Once the municipal council has submitted the plans to my office, the next stage will be the provision of services to the residents of Makululu Compound.

Mr Speaker, the following services will be provided:

(a)    water supply;

(b)    roads and drainages;

(c)    solid waste management;

(d)    sanitation facilities;

(e)    street lights; and

(f)    other public amenities, such as markets and bus stations.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushanga: Mr Speaker, in his answer to my question, the hon. Deputy Minister informed this House, and the nation at large, that K100 million was released to Kabwe Municipal Council in 2009, which was five years ago, yet the survey report has not been submitted to the ministry. What measures has the ministry put in place to see to it that this is done so that the people of Makululu can benefit from the services that he talked about?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, the delay has been caused by a shortage of staff, especially in the Department of Planning. However, the Government, through the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC), is employing staff so that these vacant positions are filled.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, Makululu is one of the many unplanned settlements in Zambia and Kabwe, in particular, and unplanned settlements are mushrooming in most of our districts. What plans are in place to avoid unplanned settlements in order to redirect the provision of water and electricity to places that are properly planned?

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mrs Kabanshi): Mr Speaker, the Government is doing all it can to come up with integrated development plans (IDPs) for different districts in order to avoid unplanned settlements. As we work on the IDPs, everything will be planned and, I think, the services will follow after that.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I am aware that, when the Government plans an activity, there must be targets and, to target, there must be a timeline. Otherwise, we will be putting up plans that will never come to fruition. In that vein, when, exactly, does the ministry plan to provide these services?

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabompo – are you from Kabompo?

Laughter

Mrs Kabanshi: – for that good question. The Government is, currently, working on eighteen IDPs. Once the plans are done, we will provide services to those districts and improve the infrastructure.

I thank you, Sir.

SIHOLE AND LUKONA RURAL HEALTH CENTRES

326. Mr Miyutu asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    when Sihole and Lukona rural health centres in Kalabo District would be expanded to cater for the increased population in their respective catchment areas; and

(b)    when the Government would improve the delivery of health services in rural health centres countrywide.

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, the populations for Sihole and Lukona health centres are 7,334 and 9,335, respectively. These numbers are below the minimum criterion of 10,000 people required for a health centre to be upgraded. Therefore, the Government has no plan to upgrade the Sihole and Lukona rural health centres in Kalabo District.

Mr Speaker, the improvement of the delivery of health services in rural health centres is an on-going activity, and the Government has been implementing some measures aimed at improving the situation countrywide. These measures include the following:

(a)    training of community health assistants (CHAs) to provide minimum health services at the health post level;

(b)    implementation of the Zambia Health Workers Retention Scheme (ZHWRS), which provides extra incentives to health workers in rural areas in order to mitigate the challenges of inadequate qualified health workers in hard-to-reach areas. This scheme has managed to attract qualified health workers to serve in rural health centres;

(c)    newly-qualified doctors are required to serve a mandatory period of two years in rural areas;

(d)    increased allocation of funds to the health sector, which has resulted in additional funds for the procurement of drugs and medical equipment meant to improve health service delivery in rural areas;

(e)    the proposed construction of the famous 650 health posts countrywide, which is expected to increase access to health services by the rural population;

(f)    outreach programmes, such as the mobile health services that the Government has implemented, have increased access by the rural population to quality healthcare services; and

(g)    the referral system has been strengthened by the procurement of more ambulances.

Mr Speaker, it is the desire of the Government to ensure that the delivery of health services in rural health centres countrywide is improved. The measures listed above are some of the strategies that the Government has put in place to achieve this goal.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the answer given by the hon. Minister. I live in Kalabo and, while I understand that 10,000 people are required for a health facility to be expanded or improved, what measures does the Government plan to put in place to help deliver health services to the people of Lukona and Sihole before the standard number of 10,000 people is met? I ask this because the facilities at the two institutions have been overwhelmed by the rise in population and, therefore, health services are not able to reach all the people in the communities.

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I sympathise with the lamentations of my colleague. I have already highlighted seven areas in which we can help our colleagues in these communities because their population has not reached the required criteria for their health centres to be upgraded. I mentioned that we have an outreach programme, which is the mobile hospital service of the Ministry of Health. We have these mobile hospitals in all the provinces in the country. That is one of the measures we have put in place. However, like the hon. Member of Parliament mentioned, some areas are difficult to reach, especially this time, when there are floods. However, we still have motorcycles and other means that we can use to reach our people.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned that doctors are required to work in rural areas for two years as one of the many ways of improving health service delivery in rural areas. How often are doctors sent to rural areas to work there, considering that the health establishment is so rigid that it is not possible to deploy a doctor to Senanga when there is another doctor already serving there? Even when the doctor already stationed there has gone away for further studies, the establishment does not allow for any other person to be sent to that place.

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I thank my brother, the hon. Member of Parliament, for the question. It is mandatory that, after a doctor has graduated, he should be sent to go and serve in a rural area for two years. It is not a question of transferring doctors but, rather, one of fulfilling the required standards. A doctor is supposed to serve in a rural area for two years before serving in an urban area.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister, in responding to part (b) of the question, listed about seven measures for increasing access to quality healthcare services in rural areas. However, among those he listed, I did not hear any measure that will address the existing rural health centres, some of which are in a dilapidated condition. Is there any plan by the Government to rehabilitate and, possibly, expand the existing rural health centres, including those in Vubwi?

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Vubwi for that question. Yes, I did not state what you have mentioned among the seven measures I outlined in my statement. However, I can assure you that the rehabilitation of infrastructure in the Ministry of Health is an on-going activity and, very soon, we shall provide the Infrastructure Development Plan to you so that you see which rural health centres and hospitals we are going to rehabilitate and construct.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister, who is my friend, …

Interruptions

Mr Mbewe: You refuse? Are you not my friend?

Interruptions

Mr Mbewe: Sir, I heard the hon. Minister talk about mobile hospitals. If my memory serves me right, these facilities were roundly condemned by the PF. Can the hon. Minister confirm that their introduction to the people of Zambia by the MMD Government was a very good idea?

Please, confirm, my friend.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank my friend. He is, indeed, my friend.

Sir, I can confirm that the idea of introducing mobile hospitals was a very good one.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulenga: However, when we talk about mobile hospitals, we are not only talking about a fleet of trucks, but also ambulances and services like the Zambia Flying Doctor Service. So, we cannot do away with mobile hospitals.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulenga: Even a bicycle can be a mobile hospital. So, I can confirm that it was a good idea.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

GREAT EAST ROAD HUMPS

327. Mr Chipungu (Rufunsa) asked the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    which company was engaged to construct the humps on the Great East Road, between the Airport Turn-off and Luangwa Bridge;

(b)    how much money was paid for the works on this contract; and

(c)    whether the Government was satisfied with the works undertaken thus far.

Mr M. H. Malama: Mr Speaker, the construction of humps on the Great East Road, between the Airport Turn-off and Luangwa Bridge, is being done by the office of the Road Development Agency (RDA) Regional Engineer for Lusaka Province in conjunction with the Chongwe District Council as an in-house emergency activity under force account, using hired labour within Chongwe District.

Sir, about K421 million has, so far, been allocated for this activity from the Road Fund.

Mr Speaker, it has been noted that some of the constructed humps have not been done to the expected standard, and the RDA will ensure that corrective measures are taken so that the humps constructed are uniform and according to the specifications.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, I am glad that the Government has acknowledged that the works that have been done by the RDA, so far, are bad. What type of corrective measures does the Government intend to take? Does it intend to scrap them off and re-do them?

Mr M. H. Malama: Mr Speaker, the corrective measure that will be taken is that of re-doing the humps. I am sure that there was a serious need for them. So, there is no way we can completely remove them. The RDA will re-do the humps that were not properly done.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwanza (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, what is the standard specification for these humps countrywide?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, there are specifications that should be followed when putting up humps. I think that the in-house workforce did not have sufficient resources to use when constructing the humps. We have taken note of that and we will go back and re-do them. However, our long-term plan, now, on the same stretch is to bring in contractors who will apply their minds and do what they will be required to do.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, was staff competence also found wanting in this case, apart from inadequate resources?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, when I referred to resources, I meant people who are adequately qualified to interpret the specifications. So, the quality of workmanship came from the fact that we did not have skilled road contractors within the set up of the RDA. That is why we are saying that we are going to bring in contractors, but the RDA will provide the supervision. However, doing the humps is another extra requirement for the agency. It has a skeleton skills resource. Currently, we are recruiting people to beef up the staff in the RDA.

Sir, we have taken note, like I said, and, in future, we will ensure that the agency adheres to specifications and provides good workmanship.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, has the RDA been given any timeframe because, for now, some of these humps, especially the ones just before Luangwa Bridge from Lusaka, are very bad and a danger to motorists? What timeframe have you given the RDA in which to resolve this issue?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, we have seriously cautioned the RDA, and the agency reports on this activity on a fortnightly basis in our meetings. We have also assigned one of the contracts managers to be on site regularly to ensure that the right thing is done. So, should the workers not comply, like I said, we will pull them out of site and bring in local Zambian contractors to do the work.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Any timeframe given, hon. Minister?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, for me to tell you the exact timeframe, I must be a project manager. There is a timeframe, but I cannot say it off-the-cuff.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, if the hon. Minister is acknowledging that the RDA can do a bad job, …

Laughter

Interruptions

Mr Ntundu: It has been confirmed by the hon. Minister, himself.

Sir, now that the construction of road humps is in progress and continuous, who is going to supervise the works if the RDA is incompetent and not able to do the works?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, this is not the first time that we are having humps on the road. We have humps on various roads that have been constructed to the right specification. This time around, it was not done well. Maybe, it was because of the wrong application of skills on the project.

I thank you, Sir.

ELECTRIFICATION OF NAKONDE

328. Mr Sichula (Nakonde) asked the hon. Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development:

(a)    why the Western part of Nakonde Parliamentary Constituency, which is very close to the power lines that supply electricity to Chozi, was not electrified;

(b)    what the estimated cost of electrifying Kapwila Growth Centre was; and

(c)    when Ntatumbila and Shemu growth centres would be electrified.

The Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Zulu): Mr Speaker, part of the Western part of Nakonde Parliamentary Constituency in Chieftainess Waitwika’s area has already been electrified. However, due to the high cost of electrification projects, the funds were not sufficient to electrify the rest of the western part of Nakonde Constituency. The remaining part of the constituency will be electrified as soon as funds are available.

Sir, the Government, through the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), is, currently, carrying out feasibility studies to establish the full cost of electrifying the Kapwila Growth Centre. The cost will be determined after the study is completed.

Mr Speaker, the REA is conducting feasibility studies for Ntatumbila and Shemu rural growth centres so as to determine the cost of electrifying the two areas. The studies are expected to be completed this year.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

KASABA BAY AIRPORT

329.    Mr Chansa (Chimbamilonga) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    when the construction of the Kasaba Bay Airport would be completed;

(b)    what the remaining part of the project was;

(c)    what had caused the delay in the completion of the project; and

(d)    how much money was required to complete the project.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Colonel Kaunda): Mr Speaker, the Kasaba Bay Airport Project is expected to be completed by 2014.

Sir the project, currently, remains with asphalt works on the runway and the construction of the apron.

Mr Speaker, the delay in the completion of the project is a result of the withdrawal of equipment by the Rural Roads Unit (RRU). The equipment was needed for other urgent projects.

Sir, KR46 million is required for the project.

I thank you, Sir.

Interruptions

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, the Kasaba Bay Airport is very important for us who operate in the Northern Tourism Circuit. Once the works are completed, economic activities will be automatically activated in that part of Zambia. Has this project received the urgent attention it deserves? When will the work commence this year?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, funding was included in this year’s Budget for the continuation of works at the airport, which will resume soon after the rainy season ends.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, in the initial project design, it was envisaged that staff houses would be constructed for airport staff. In his response, the hon. Minister indicated that the remaining works are just for the runway and apron. Why have staff houses been removed from the project design? Further, where will the staff be staying, since the airport is located in an isolated place in a national park?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, we will, definitely, include the construction of houses in the project. However, what is more important, currently, is the completion of the runway. Houses will be constructed in the area because we are fully aware that people cannot live with animals.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

FISH IMPORTS

330.    Mr Simbao (Senga Hill) asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry:

(a)    whether fish was being imported into the country for sale to the public and, if so, what types of fish;

(b)    how many tonnes of fish were imported into the country per year, and from which countries;

(c)    whether the imported fish was from natural water bodies or fish farms;

(d)    how much money was being spent on the importation of fish each year; and

(e)    whether members of the public were aware that they had been consuming imported fish.

The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Taima): Mr Speaker, fish is, currently, being imported into the country. The main types being imported are:

(a)    Horse Mackerel from Namibia, which is a sea fish; and

(b)    Tilapia Niloticus, which is commonly known as Nile Tilapia. This is a bream fish that is also farmed here, in Zambia. Tilapia Niloticus is also imported from Zimbabwe.

Mr Speaker, we have a whole range of other types of fish, but we thought that we should mention only the main ones. The whole list consists of more than thirty different species.

Sir, the annual tonnage of fish imported, from 2010 to 2012, fluctuated between 4,076, in 2010, to 15,719 tonnes, in 2012. The imported fish is from both natural water bodies and fish farms. However, the highest contributors are fish farms.

Sir, the amount of money spent on the importation of fish in 2010 was KR28,450. In 2011, we imported 16,077 tonnes and spent KR159,749 while, in 2012, we imported 15,719 tonnes and spent KR1,332,143. The amount of money spent on fish importation depends on the fish types and status. This is in relation to whether it is dry fish or live fish. Live fish is the most expensive followed by processed or semi-processed fish, while whole fish and sardines are on the lower side in terms of cost.

Mr Speaker, members of the public are aware that they are consuming imported fish, although I must mention that, for the informal cross-border imports, consumers may not know the source of the fish, as, in most cases, it may not be clearly labelled. As regards the formal imports, most of the fish is labelled, although there are some instances in which some imports are not clearly marked to indicate the source of the fish. It is in such cases that the consumers may not be aware that they are consuming imported fish. To this effect, the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry, through the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), has intensified inspections to ensure that imported products conform to stipulated standards.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has pointed out that most of the imported fish comes from fish farms. Has the country found out what kind of feed is used to feed the fish?

The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Mukata): Mr Speaker, quite frankly, we have not tried to find out what feed is given to fish in fish farms. Suffice it to say that the fish is wholesome and edible. So far, no complaints have been advanced to the effect that fish from farms has caused ailments to people due to wrong feed that it was given.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, has the ministry taken time to ascertain whether this fish is not modified?

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, the question is full-blown. I think that the questioner risks being on a collision course with logic because I am not sure whether he is talking about scientific modification in the laboratories or something else. Suffice it to say that officials from ZABS and the ministry work together to monitor such things. There have been no complaints of people having come across some sub-species of fish that could have come from Mars or anywhere else.

I thank you, Sir.

Laughter

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, does the Government provide any incentives that can encourage our indigenous Zambians to be involved in commercial fish farming, especially in the many fresh water bodies that we have?
.
Mr Taima: Mr Speaker, taking advantage of that question, I would like to say that the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry has embarked on the initiative of growing the fisheries sub-sector in Zambia. The initiative will be supported by the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund (CEEF), and we have already done the resource mapping exercise. In this regard, about five districts have been identified as target beneficiaries of the initiative. We are going to finance the project to the tune of KR16.5 million.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, the fish feed on the market, currently, is horse meat, and there is a drug that is given to horses that has got an effect on human beings. Suppose this fish is fed on horse meat or the genetically modified organisms (GMOs), can the consumers of the fish not be affected in a negative way?

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, questions that are founded on presumption are very difficult to answer. This Government, which deals with realistic issues and statistics based on facts, has not received any form of complaint regarding the fish that is imported into Zambia. We have not received any reports of the fish being fed on unwholesome material. In Zambia, for instance, we have National Milling, which produces fish feed, and nobody has complained about it. We have certain standards that are observed. We also have inspectors in the field, who monitor and ensure that, even at borders, the type of feed that is brought in conforms with the law. If there is any evidence to the contrary, the hon. Member is entitled to bring it to the Floor of the House.

I thank you, Sir.

Brig-Gen Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I am surprised that the hon. Deputy Minister could respond to a question in such a manner. Are we not aware of the Mad Cow Disease that broke out in the United Kingdom (UK) a couple of years ago as a result of the kind of feed that was given to livestock, and the effects the disease had on people? Would it not be prudent for him to commit himself to finding out about the feed that is given to the fish that we eat, rather than throwing the ball to us? I am saying so because doing so is in the interest of the nation. It is better that we find out what the fish we import is fed on because it is a well-known fact that chemicals that may have an effect on human beings, sometimes, enter our food chain?

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, …

Interruptions

Mr Speaker: Order!

Before the hon. Deputy Minister responds to the question, I wish to state that we should try and focus on the question. The original question was whether the Government was aware of the type of feed that is fed to the fish. I would also urge the hon. Members on the left, following up the intervention by the hon. Member for Mumbwa, to be specific with regards to what they want to know. That way, we will make progress.

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, we are not aware of the type of feed that is given to the fish, for example, in China and other similar jurisdictions. I think, that is the fair answer. However, I wish to state that we are comfortable with the feed being given to the fish we import because we have not received any negative reports.

I thank you, Sir.

Interruptions

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, now that many hon. Members of Parliament have expressed their views with regard to the need for the Government to find out what type of feed the fish we import is fed, is the Government considering finding out, exactly, the chemical composition of this feed and whether it is safe, instead of waiting until when we have a disaster?

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Chenda): Mr Speaker, this is a matter of serious concern. If the members of the public have some information to the effect that the fish that is imported into the country is fed with substances that are a danger to the health of human beings, I think, the Government must carry out some investigations. We, therefore, appeal to those who may have this information to come forward and give it to us so that the agencies that are entrusted with the role of ensuring the safety or health of our people can carry out their investigations.

I thank you, Sir.

NORTHERN TOURISM CIRCUIT

331.    Mr Ng’onga asked the Minister of Tourism and Arts:

(a)    how the ministry was incorporating tourist attractions in the Northern Tourism Circuit into the programme for the 20th United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly to be co-hosted by Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2013; and

(b)    whether the circuit would benefit from the General Assembly and, if so, how.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism and Art (Mr P. Ngoma): Mr Speaker, the Northern Tourism Circuit (NTC) is still being developed into a tourist investment zone. The region is still working on the road network, power supply and rehabilitation of the airport runway. This infrastructure development programme is intended to facilitate investment into the area in terms of accommodation and other amenities. The current lack of facilities and limited access to the area would pose a challenge to the delegates who will attend the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly (UNWTO-GA) and want to visit the circuit. However, the co-hosting of this event will provide an opportunity for Zambia to highlight itself as an investment destination in the hospitality industry. The various fora provided prior to the hosting of the general assembly will create an occasion for us to package the Northern Tourism Circuit and various parts of Zambia as potential areas for investment of various forms of tourism establishments. Local investment fora will also be used to expose the investment potential of the Northern Tourism Circuit.

Mr Speaker, the hosting of the UNWTO-GA will offer a myriad of investment opportunities for packaging the Northern Tourism Circuit of Zambia. These opportunities will be spelt out during various investment fora that have since been initiated through the Ministry of Tourism and Art, as well as the international media, that will be hosted in Zambia prior to the event and exposed to the various areas of tourism interest.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwanza: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister confirm whether the PF Government will continue with the development of the Northern Tourism Circuit.

The Vice-President (Dr Scott): Mr Speaker, just to spare the hon. Minister, who has only been in his post for about three minutes, …

Laughter

The Vice-President: … I will answer that. The Government will, of course, take up the Northern Tourism Circuit concept. However, I think, it would be fair to say that it will do so without quite the same enthusiasm that the previous Government seemed to attach to the concept. However, as the answer to the earlier question about Kasaba Bay Airport made very clear, infrastructure is being developed and the opportunities will be there.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I note that the substantive hon. Minister of Tourism and Art is busy campaigning in Livingstone, but I hope that …

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Mwiimbu: … His Honour the Vice-President will answer my question categorically. Are we ready to host this particular conference that is supposed to benefit the Northern Tourism Circuit, considering that, in Livingstone, there has been almost no development after Hon. Lubinda left the ministry?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, that is …

Interruptions

Mr Speaker: Order!

The Vice-President: … not part of the original question and it is not even remotely related to the original question. Perhaps, you will advise him to bring it up as a point of order.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: The questioner, as I understand him, seeks to know whether we are ready for the conference.

Interruptions

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, let me be quite categorical. We will be ready for the conference on the scheduled date.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, the creation of the Northern Tourism Circuit was born out of the realisation that tourism in the Northern part of Zambia was not doing very well. Taking into account the answer from His Honour the Vice-President, it seems that this programme has been put aside. What is the new mechanism that you are going to put in place to enhance tourism in that part of the country?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I think that the answer to that question was given. It was pointed out that we need investment in that sector and, in order to attract that investment, we need infrastructure. We cannot promote tourism at this point because there are no beds, roads and electricity. That was clear from the answer given to that question.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Business was suspended from 1615 hours to 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

ELECTRIFICATION PROJECTS IN MAPATIZYA

332. Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya) asked the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development when the following institutions would be connected to the National Electricity Grid:

(a)    Mapatizya Amethyst Mines;

(b)    Kabanga Secondary School;

(c)    Luyaba Primary School;

(d)    Siamafumba Primary School;

(e)    Chuundwe Primary School;

(f)    Chidi Primary School;

(g)    Mulamfu Primary School; and

(h)    Zimba Primary School.

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, the electrification of the schools in question will be considered after feasibility studies for these areas have been completed.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Miyanda: Mr Speaker, I come from Mapatizya and my concern is with Kabanga Secondary School. These are Zambian pupils who do not have access to solar or thermal electricity and have to depend on candles. That is how bad the situation is. I heard the hon. Minister talk about feasibility studies that have not yet started, yet we have pupils who are learning there. Can I be assured on how soon the project will be implemented.

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, feasibility studies will start in March and be completed by December, 2013.

I thank you, Sir

Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, will the connection of Zimba Primary School, which is only two poles away from the grid, also need feasibility studies?

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, that, too, will need feasibility studies.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, normally, a feasibility study is done to determine whether it is feasible to have a certain facility in a particular area. Is the hon. Minister telling the hon. Member of Parliament for Mapatizya that it is not feasible to have electricity in these areas?

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, the feasibility studies will be carried out between March and December, 2013, to establish the scope and cost for the electrification.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

MASANGANO HIGH SCHOOL

334. Mr Katambo (Masaiti) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education when the construction of Masangano High School would be completed and officially opened.

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the construction of Masangano High School is expected to be completed and officially opened in 2014.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the project, which started in 2008, will be completed in 2014. Is the hon. Minister, therefore, telling us, through his response, that, during this whole period, only three houses have been constructed to roof level while the rest are at the slab level? It seems to the people of Masaiti that …

Mr Speaker: What is your question?

Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, it seems to the people of Masaiti and Kafulafuta that the school has turned into a white elephant since its completion has taken too long.  

Mr Speaker: What was your question?

Laughter

Mr Katambo: Sir, can the hon. Minister confirm that Masangano High School has now turned into a white elephant because, since 2008, only three houses have been constructed to roof level while the rest are at slab level? The hon. Minister said that the construction of the school would be completed in 2014. I would like to know how possible that is.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister gave an indication of when this will be done. By deduction, therefore, this cannot be a white elephant.

TAMBANA RIVER BRIDGE

335. Mr Miyanda asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to construct a modern bridge on the Tambana River on the Kalomo/Mapatizya Road;

(b)    what the estimated cost of constructing a modern bridge was; and

(c)    when the current bridge, which was more than sixty-two years old, was last inspected to determine its fitness for continued use, especially by heavy-duty motor vehicles.

Mr M. H. Malama: Mr Speaker, it is the Government’s policy to replace all pontoons and old bridges with modern bridge infrastructure. Currently, the RDA is assessing all bridges and prioritising them for maintenance and re-construction.

Mr Speaker, the RDA has scheduled to carry out detailed surveys and engineering designs in the 2013 Road Sector Annual Work Plan (RSAWP), after which the actual cost of constructing the bridges will be determined. On average, a reinforced concrete bridge costs between KR500,000 to KR1 million per metre of total span.

Sir, in 2003, the Roads Department conducted a nationwide survey of the conditions of all bridges and major culverts in Zambia and established a bridge management system. In 2010, the RDA engaged a consultant to carry out condition surveys of all bridges, including the bridge on the Tambana River. The report by the consultant was submitted on 30th October, 2012.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Miyanda: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the response by the hon. Minister, albeit, with reservations. He is talking about all bridges in the country, but the bridge on Tambana River has a hole right in the middle. As a result of this, we have lost a life. A teacher died last year because of this pothole. How soon are you going to work on this bridge?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, the report of the detailed design was submitted in November, 2013. This means that the consultants who have been appointed will compile the tender documentation. Therefore, as soon as we get the tender, in two to three months, we shall engage the successful bidder to go ahead and commence works.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the bridge in question is on the famous Bottom Road. I am interested in the findings of the feasibility study conducted on it, not on any other bridge across the country. What is being done about this particular bridge, which is near Kabanga High School? Do not tell us about other bridges.

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, I think that we are all talking about the same bridge. We said that, in the next three months, we would have concluded the tender adjudication and works would have commenced.  

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mooya: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister estimates the cost of the bridge at KR500,000 per meter run. Is that a correct estimate? Is it not too high?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, neither I nor the hon. Deputy Minister is a quantity surveyor. We are simply given the figures to present and cannot, therefore, attest to their accuracy. We cannot interrogate into the figures because we are neither civil engineers nor quantity surveyors.

I thank you, Sir.

_____

BILLS

FIRST READING

THE BANK OF ZAMBIA (Amendment) BILL, 2013

The Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, I beg to present a Bill entitled the Bank of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, 2013, to amend the Bank of Zambia Act. The object of this Bill is to amend the Bank of Zambia Act so as to provide for:

(a)    the monitoring of balance of payments;

(b)    the prescription of interest and other charges that financial service providers may impose on transactions; and

(c)    matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: The Bill stands referred to the Committee on Economic Affairs, Energy and Labour. The Committee is required to submit its report on the Bill to the House by Thursday 7th March, 2013. Hon. Members who wish to make submissions to the Bill are free to do so within the programme of work of the Committee.

Thank you, Sir.

THE MILLENIUM CHALLENGE COMPACT BILL, 2013

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I beg to present a Bill entitled the Millennium Challenge Compact Bill, 2013. The objectives of the Bill are:

(a)    to give effect to the Millennium Challenge Compact and Programme Implementation Agreement;

(b)    expand access to, and improve reliability of, water supply, sanitation and drainage services in selected urban and peri-urban areas of the City of Lusaka in order to reduce the incidence of water-borne and water-related diseases;

(c)    to generate time-savings for households and businesses and reduce non-revenue water in the water supply network by improving water supply and sanitation and drainage services; and

(d)    prove for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The Bill stands referred to the Committee on Economic Affairs, Energy and Labour. The Committee is required to submit its report on the Bill to the House by Thursday, 7th March, 2013. Hon. Members who wish to make submissions to the Bill are free to do so within the programme of work of the Committee.

Thank you.

___________{mospagebreak}

MOTIONS

REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE APPOINTED TO SCRUTINISE THE PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENT OF DR ROLAND MSISKA TO SERVE AS SECRETARY TO THE CABINET

Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa) (on behalf of Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi)): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Select Committee Appointed to Scrutinise the Presidential Appointment of Dr Roland Msiska to Serve as Secretary to the Cabinet, laid on the Table of the House on 5th February, 2013.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion Seconded?

Mr Mushanga (Bwacha): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Hamududu: Sir, your Committee scrutinised the Presidential appointment of Dr Roland Msiska to serve as Secretary to the Cabinet, pursuant to Article 53 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia.

In order to establish the suitability of the nominee, your Committee requested the security wings of the Government, the Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ), Transparency International Zambia (TIZ), the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ) to make written submissions on the capability of the nominee to hold the Office of Secretary to the Cabinet. The witnesses also appeared before your Committee to orally clarify their written submissions.

Mr Speaker, all the witnesses supported the appointment of Dr Roland Msiska to serve as Secretary to the Cabinet.

Your Committee was informed that the nominee was registered as a specialist in Public Health by the HPCZ. He was first registered as a medical practitioner on the provisional register in 1986, after obtaining a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB CHB) degree from the University of Zambia, School of Medicine. Upon successfully completing his internship at Ndola Central Hospital, the nominee was admitted to the full register of medical practitioners on 7th November, 1987.

Further, Sir, your Committee learnt that the nominee served in various positions in the health sector. Your Committee was informed that assessment of the nominee by his supervisors during the over ten years that he worked in Zambia revealed that he was competent, hardworking and possessed a very good general and professional conduct.

Your Committee learnt that the nominee served as Project Director at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Executive Director at the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM); Permanent Secretary, Public Service Management Division (PSMD) and Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet. Currently, he is Acting Secretary to the Cabinet. Your Committee noted that the nominee’s professional achievements were remarkable.

Sir, the witnesses informed your Committee that the nominee’s approach towards work, during his tenure as Permanent Secretary, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet and Acting Secretary to the Cabinet was focussed on transforming the Zambian Public Service into an efficient, effective, passionate and productive one.

Your Committee learnt that the nominee has, so far, demonstrated remarkable skills in undertaking pension reforms. Further, the nominee has also provided strategic direction on how the welfare of the Zambian Public Service employees could be improved.

Mr Speaker, from the various submissions made, your Committee noted, with satisfaction, that the nominee was suitably qualified to discharge the responsibilities of head of the Public Service. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the House ratifies the Presidential appointment of the nominee to serve as Secretary to the Cabinet.

Sir, your Committee is, however, concerned about the high turn-over of civil servants at the level of Permanent Secretary and above, including that of Secretary to the Cabinet. Your Committee noted that the high turn-over of civil servants at a higher level was inhibiting stability in the Public Service and, thereby, retarding the pace at which Government programmes and projects were being implemented. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government assures security of tenure in the Public Service by introducing the requisite legislation.

Also of concern to your Committee, Mr Speaker, was the poor work culture in the Civil Service, characterised by a negative attitude towards work, poor enforcement of Government policies and general poor service delivery.

Mr Speaker, it is, hence, gratifying that the nominee assured your Committee that he would remain fully committed to continuing with the Public Service Reforms. It is hoped that he will be provided with the right environment to work professionally.

In conclusion, I wish to record your hon. Members’ indebtedness and gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for according them the opportunity to serve on this Select Committee. I also thank all the stakeholders that appeared before your Committee and contributed to the successful completion of its work. Gratitude also goes to the Clerk of the National Assembly of Zambia and her staff for the services rendered to your Committee.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushanga: Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion, which has been ably moved by the Chairperson of the Committee, I wish to touch on just a few areas which were not highlighted by the mover of the Motion.

Indeed, your Committee received various submissions regarding the appointment of the nominee to serve as Secretary to the Cabinet.

Mr Speaker, it is pleasing to note that all the witnesses who appeared before your Committee were in favour of the appointment. They all attested to the fact that the nominee possessed sufficient credentials to hold the position of Secretary to the Cabinet.

Sir, while appearing before your Committee, the nominee, himself, demonstrated the ability, zeal and determination to transform the Civil Service into an efficient and effective one. With the challenges that the Civil Service is, currently, going through, of low productivity, corruption, brain drain and poor remuneration, this appointment could not have come at a better time than this.

Mr Speaker, the Civil Service in our country is an important tool in service delivery and transformation of our great nation. Regrettably, it has not been given the necessary tools to effectively meet its challenges and provide services. The Civil Service has continued to experience brain drain arising, in part, from poor working conditions and remuneration.

Sir, your Committee is aware that, while the income of most civil servants is low, there is a certain category of civil servants that is privileged and enjoying huge allowances. It is the considered view of your Committee that salaries be revised, through the harmonisation process, with a view to making them relevant to the current economic situation and streamlining allowances. This way, the Government will be able to plan its expenditure. The Government should also embark on a continuous professional development programme for civil servants so as to keep them aware and abreast of modern local and international trends.

Mr Speaker, corruption in the Civil Service is one of the major challenges that the nominee will have to deal with decisively and positively once he takes office. It is worrisome that resources earmarked for development do not reach the intended targets because of rent-seeking behaviour of some of the people working in the Civil Service. This practice should come to an end, as it derails development from reaching our people.

Sir, for the nominee to make an impact in his position, he will need the support of all well-meaning Zambians, especially the civil servants.

As I conclude, Mr Speaker, allow me to thank my fellow members of the Select Committee for affording me the opportunity to second the Motion.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate this Motion. At the outset, I wish to say that I support this candidate.

Sir, the nominee’s curriculum vitae (CV) has been outlined and the man being proposed for the job is not only learned, but also experienced, both locally and internationally. So, that is fine. However, I think that the Chairperson of the Committee mentioned something that is very important. Performance in a job at a level like this is not just about the CV, but also about the environment that is created for the officer to perform. Is room being created? Is space being created? That is the problem and, if those issues are not resolved, then, good performance will not be easy to achieve.

Mr Speaker, we have very high expectations about the performance of the incoming Secretary to the Cabinet. It is this Government that has chosen this person. No one imposed this candidate on it. On this side of the House, we all believe that the Government searched everywhere; North, South, East and West, and it believed that this is the best person to be Secretary to the Cabinet. Therefore, if Dr Msiska is going to fail, the blame is, obviously, going to be laid at the feet of the Government. It has said that he is qualified and experienced. So, if he fails, the blame will be on the Government.

Mr Speaker, we have got reasons to be worried about the prospects of providing the environment that is required for the Secretary to the Cabinet to perform his duties well. In the first instance, we have to remember that this is the third Secretary to the Cabinet under the PF Government.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Dr Musokotwane: The one whom the PF found in office, Dr Joshua Kanganja, was humiliated in front of the cameras and his juniors.

Interruptions

Dr Musokotwane: It was all over the news when he was shouted at before he was fired. After Dr Kanganja had left, this Government, on its own, chose Evans Chibiliti to be the next Secretary to the Cabinet.

Mr Speaker, I remember that, when Mr Chibiliti’s name was presented to this House, there were accolades showered on him from both sides of the House. It was said that he was a very qualified, honest and hardworking man. We supported that appointment because we all knew that Mr Chibiliti is very good man. Alas, in no time, he also ended up being shouted at in front of cameras and humiliated in front of his juniors and, finally, …

Hon. Opposition Members: By who?

Mr Speaker: Order!

Laughter

Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, he was, finally, dismissed. With this history of Secretaries to the Cabinet being humiliated and fired so quickly, I think that we have reason to be worried about the fate of the next candidates. We have now had three Secretaries to the Cabinet in seventeen months. If we look at the average, a Secretary to the Cabinet has lasted no more than seven months on the job before being ousted.

Interruptions

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, this state of affairs is extremely worrying. In contrast with that, the previous Secretary to the Cabinet that this Government found, Mr Joshua Kanganja, had been in office for more than five years. His predecessor, also under the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government, Mr Leslie Mbula, was, certainly, in office for six to seven years. Today, we are having Secretaries to the Cabinet serving for six or seven months only before being fired.

Laughter

Dr Musokotwane: This is worrisome. Officers appointed to this office are getting worried and find it difficult to make decisions or take actions because they do not know whether those decisions and actions are going to end up in their jobs being taken away from them.

Mr Speaker, I think, it was yesterday when Hon. Jack Mwiimbu talked about the funeral of the late Hon. Sibetta. The Government was told well in advance about the former hon. Minister’s death and what the regulations said about the funeral of such a person. However, there was no action or decision taken by Cabinet Office. Maybe, these things that we are seeing are a result of people at Cabinet Office thinking that, since this man belonged to the Opposition, if public services are provided for his funeral, as provided for by the regulations, they may be fired. It is, therefore, very important that we create the space and environment for people who are qualified and eminent to perform their functions properly.

Interruptions

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the confusion is not just at the level of Secretary to the Cabinet. Many of us, here today, do not even know the office bearers in key positions in the ministries. If you asked me, today, who the PS in the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education or Ministry of Tourism and Art is, I would not tell you because I do not know. I do not even know the hon. Deputy Ministers.

Laughter

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, let me give an example of the Western Province. Since October, 2011, I think, the PS who is there now is the third. So, we have had three PSs within seventeen months. Their average duration in office is less than six months. What does this mean? Can we still consider PSs to be agents of development? The answer is, ‘No’. What is happening is that PSs have now become official tourists.

Laughter

Dr Musokotwane: When a PS is appointed, he/she goes to Barotseland, for example, to see water bodies, forests and animals, and, once they have finished doing so, they are told, “There is another good lake in Luapula. Go to Chifunabuli.”

Laughter

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, this, obviously, cannot be good for our country. This is the environment that the current Secretary to the Cabinet, the one whose appointment we are approving now, is going to find himself in. This is why we want to emphasise the point that it is not enough for a person to be qualified and experienced. Please, provide the environment for this person to work properly. Otherwise, very soon, our colleagues on that side will be insulting educated people and saying that they are useless. It is not because they are useless, but because the right environment is not being created.

Mr Speaker, as I conclude, let me say that there was a lot of hope when the PF came into Government. It promised that the Civil Service was going to be made professional. I remember His Honour the Vice-President standing there and talking about how he was going to make the Public Service as professional as possible. Indeed, I think, many civil servants bought into the idea of professionalism. I think, that is why many of them voted for change. Today, however, they have woken up to the rude realisation that my colleagues or brothers and sisters that side do not take the promises that they make seriously. So, the Civil Service is now alarmed and disillusioned, yet we will only see proper development in our country when we give our civil servants hope.

Mr Speaker, we are going to support His Honour the Vice-President on the proposed appointment of Secretary to the Cabinet. Maybe, next year, we might still support him when he comes up with another candidate.

Laughter

Dr Musokotwane: Even the year after next, maybe. However, if he came for the tenth time, I think, we will find it very difficult to support the candidate. So, I hope that this is, really, the last time, after chasing away Mr Joshua Kanganja and, then, Mr Evans Chibiliti. Please, do not chase this good man.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to debate this Motion that has been moved by the hon. Member of Parliament for Bweengwa. I must state that the only reason I am agreeing with the report of the Committee is that it has been moved by the hon. Member of Parliament for Bweengwa, …

Hon. PF Members: Aah!

Laughter

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 Mr Speaker: It is rather strange.

Laughter

Mr Belemu: … whom I consider to be a very decent man.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Our constituencies back in the village share boundaries. So, if he has misled me here, I think, there is a way in which we shall be able to resolve the matter in the village.

Laughter

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, I support this Motion, and I am grateful that the hon. Member of Parliament for Bweengwa moved it successfully. I think he has highlighted very important matters that we need to take note of, as a country.

Mr Speaker, I am, however, obliged by the people of Mbabala Constituency to speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In the words of Mr Martin Luther King Jr,:

“In the end, we shall remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

I am friend of Zambia and its people, who does not want to be remembered for having been silent on very important matters like this one.

Mr Speaker, the mover of the Motion highlighted very important matters that the Government needs to take care of. One of the issues has to do with the high turn-overs.

Sir, it is important that we do not forget the route that has led us to be where we are today. We have now been asked to ratify the presidential appointment of Mr Msiska as Secretary to the Cabinet. However, before we do that, it is important for us to remember that, when the PF came into the Government, it dismissed and retired many professional civil servants in this country. The report, as highlighted by the mover of the Motion, has indicated that we have had this very strange level of turn-over of controlling officers in ministries. I think that the Government went beyond the normal level. Some of the PSs, District Commissioners (DCs) and other civil servants who were laid off under the guise of making the Civil Service professional were professional. While all that was happening, we were cautioning the PF Government that there was a need for it to do things prudently; that there was a need for those who were part of the Cabinet to be given enough time to settle down in their offices before embarking on the dismissal and retirement of civil servants. Unfortunately, they did not listen to what we were saying.  

Sir, as one of my colleagues has already indicated, we are now talking about the third Secretary to the Cabinet in only seventeen months of the PF’s rule. In the Southern Province, where I come from, you will recall that Hon. Katombora was the first to be appointed hon. Deputy Minister, then, Hon. Sampa, Hon. Kufuna, my son, and, now, we have Hon. Limata.

Hon. UPND Members: Hon. Mwaliteta.

Mr Belemu: Oh, there was even Hon. Mwaliteta, our adopted son.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Sir, I am worried about our future if we are going to continue moving in that fashion. Assuming that the PF lasts five years in power, how many hon. Deputy Ministers are going to change hands in the Southern Province? We are going to have twenty or thirty. I think that the current PS is the fourth the province has had since the PF came into power. As for changes at the DC level, we have even lost count, and it is very easy for us to know why all this is happening.

Sir, the first reason there is this high turn-over of officers is that those in power have not defined what they want to achieve for this country. We have asked the PF Government to define what it wants to achieve so that it can easily establish the type of skilled manpower needed to fulfil its vision for the country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: However, the party has failed to run this country. That is why it keeps changing and trying people in positions. Some ministries have three hon. Deputy Ministers, one day, and four by the time one wakes up the following day. We do not know what the PF Government wants to achieve for this country. Let its members tell us its vision so that we can properly help them to look for the required skilled manpower.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, what we are seeing is what happens when people do not know what they want to achieve. Doing things the way they are being done can make you end up appointing people like, for example, someone some of us last saw in a magazine with a face like that of Judas Iscariot.
    
Laughter

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, the incoherent instructions coming from politicians to professional civil servants are confusing them. They are not working properly. One hon. Minister wakes up and says the opposite of what the President has said. Now, we are being told that even the cattle we keep in the villages must be put on family planning pills so that they stop multiplying to figures as high as 90,000. How are we going to run this country?

Laughter

Mr Belemu: It is important that this Government defines what it wants to achieve. That will tell it the kind of Secretary to the Cabinet it should have. Failure to that, we will continue changing officers. However, as my colleague has said, once we reach the tenth appointment, we will refuse to ratify the nominee. Like I have said, I have only agreed to support the Motion because it has been moved by a decent man.

Mr Speaker, when I was in Grade 5, I came across the saying that, “A bad carpenter blames his tools.” This is what we are seeing. Our colleagues in the PF have failed to run the affairs of this country properly. They are bad carpenters.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: As long as they remain bad carpenters, they will think that, when they change the tools, the outcomes will change. I can assure the House that the outcomes will remain the same. That is why there are changes everywhere. However, it is not the controlling officers who need to be changed. It is the appointing authority.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, the PF has now realised that it is difficult to fulfil the promises that it made during the election campaigns. When the civil servants told them that certain things could not be done in ninety days, the party thought they were being arrogant. That is what made them think that they needed to change the controlling officers. The party has now realised that, even if you change the people in certain positions ten or twenty times, there are things that cannot be done in ninety days. That point must be clearly understood.

Hon. Opposition Member interjected.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: Order!

Let us have some order, please.

Hon. Member for Mbabala, continue.

Mr Belemu: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your protection. Now that the Government has failed to fulfil its promises, I think that it is high time it became fair to the people that it wants to appoint in certain positions. Dr Msiska is a qualified person who should not be replaced after being in the position for a short time. If this will be done, then, we will refuse because we have now known where the problem is. The policy makers are the problem. You cannot be marrying and divorcing all the time.

Laughter

Mr Belemu: When you keep marrying and divorcing, then, you, probably, need counselling from Alangizi. Alangizi are traditional marriage counsellors. Those in the PF need Alangizi to teach them how to run the home called Government. I think, the level of turn-overs and changes are becoming a bit too high and too embarrassing for us, as a country, to bear. It seems as though the appointing authority wants to keep changing the personnel in certain positions or particular ways of doing things. I think that it is high time this was stopped.  

Interruptions

Mr Belemu: I have been reminded that the only time certain people are seen in public is at swearing-in ceremonies. How can we be a country of swearing-in ceremonies and by-elections? We need to improve our way of doing things. This matter must be taken very seriously. Before deciding to visit a particular ministry, I need to have an idea of the PS or hon. Minister I am going to find. Currently, it is not possible for that to happen. Others are on leave because they are said to have leaked information to the Opposition. We do not even know the definition of that leave. Others are saying that certain people must be suspended from the Ruling Party. Why is the Government running this country in this manner?

Mr Speaker, I do not need to belabour this point.

In conclusion, Hon. Mulusa once said that, one day, we would wake up and find that some people have run away.

Laughter

Mr Belemu: I quite agree with him. In fact, I am getting worried that the people Hon. Mulusa was referring to are not running away soon enough. I think, we must chase them.

Laughter{mospagebreak}

Mr Belemu: The next time they come to ask this House to ratify the appointment of an individual to the position of Secretary to the Cabinet, they must be chased before they run away.

Sir, we are now getting impatient. The people of Mbabala need services to be delivered to them. That is the job that the Government should focus on, instead of swearing-in ceremonies, changing Secretaries to the Cabinet and having by-elections. Instead of having by-elections, you should have been delivering services in Mbabala Constituency. The people of Mbabala needed fertiliser in November, but you delivered it in February and March. The people of Mbabala need schools, which they have not seen. They need all forms of services.

Interruptions

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, I am reminded that the third thing that the Government does is take people to court until they are tired of it. When they are the ones taken court, they become rude in the presence of the courts and investigative wings.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Laughter

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, these people must put their house in order. Otherwise, next time, we will refuse to ratify.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I do not think that I have any other option than to support the doctor’s ratification. After all, that is what we are supposed to do. We are supposed to agree. We cannot refuse because it is not Dr Msiska’s fault. As a medical doctor, he believes in maintaining a certain level of confidentiality. A doctor will not reveal a patient’s ailment. I believe that he is the correct person for the job, except that he might not last.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: The problem that we are faced with is that the PF Government gets us involved because we have to ratify nominees. However, when the officers are fired, it does not come back to tell us why. It does not give us reasons, but only comes back and asks us to ratify another person. Again, when the next person is fired, it comes back to us to ratify another person. At this rate, everyone in the country will think that we are all getting confused. We are not. You must understand that we want you to settle down.

Please, when this doctor gets into that office, do not expect him to be a party cadre, whereby the Secretary-General of the party will start issuing unnecessary statements. Let that man run the Civil Service. Threats do not work. You are not running communism in Zambia.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: The democracy we are is not the type of social communism that you want to import from Cuba. We are not even a one-party State, which you believe you can bring back through the back door. You will not manage. President Kaunda was very lucky that we allowed him to be a dictator for twenty-seven years, but you will not manage.

Laughter

Mr Mushanga: We are managing Monde.

Mr Muntanga: Some of you are good friends of mine and you are very good people. I wonder who is confusing you that side.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: We will now ask the President to do away with the people he nominated …

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: … so that we can look at the ones who were elected because some of the nominated hon. Members are confused.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I am serious. I am now part of …

Mr Chilangwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah! Sit down!

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Chilangwa: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalomo Central, who is on the Floor of the House, in order to insinuate that some of our nominated hon. Members of Parliament are confused?

I need your serious ruling.

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that, as much as we all enjoy freedom of expression, let us be mindful of our choice of words. Let us be fair to each other. This is a very straightforward Motion. There is no need for controversy. You have space to air your views, as you have evidenced, but let us try to keep it within acceptable bounds, especially when it comes to parlance. Let us not make insinuations about particular categories of our membership.

As the debate progresses, I also note that the points that are being debated have been consistently repeated.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: I think that, for the sake of economy, those who are contemplating contributing to the debate should, please, breathe a new lease of life, if any, into the debate on this Motion.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Kalomo Central may continue.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I thank you. It is important that certain things are revealed to the people who govern us. It is because of things like our being asked to ratify nominees to the same position within two years that we wonder how we operate. It has been only one year and some months since we ratified another Secretary to the Cabinet.

Sir, the position of Secretary to the Cabinet is very critical, as the person who occupies it serves as an advisor to the Government. So many things happen there. It is because of this that other things would happen. Yesterday, I raised a point of order on the need for us to know the sitting positions for hon. Deputy Ministers. Even they are used to taking up different seats. One does not know whether the hon. Minister of Defence is now an hon. Deputy Minister because he has left his seat …

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: … like the other one who has moved from his seat to take up that of an hon. Provincial Minister. It is such things that we do not want to bring to the House. We want the House to know who sits where so that we know where the hon. Minister of Defence sits. There is no harm in sitting where you are supposed to. If we become disorderly in the House, then, we are in trouble. I know that, in political science, disorder is a very good technique for a dictator.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kalomo Central, you seem to have deviated from the Motion. As much as your points may be valid, contextually, you have moved to a different subject altogether. There is a point about relevance in our rules of debate. We must debate according to the Motion at hand. Relevance is a rule of debate.

You may continue.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance. I would be happy to have more friendly faces looking at me from everywhere.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the position of Secretary to the Cabinet is a very critical one. There are many things that it governs. I do not think that the Secretary to the Cabinet has a particular line. His role is to advise the Government. That is why he is Secretary to the Cabinet. Many things happen in the Cabinet. A number of decisions are made there. I can only make out what happens by saying things as I see them from my own position. As an Opposition hon. Member of Parliament, I look at how these people deliver. It is based on these things that we are now mentioning; that the Secretary to the Cabinet, the second we are ratifying, should not be …

Hon. Member: The third time.

Mr Muntanga: No, the second time because the PF found the other one in office. We should be able to state that we need consistency. At least, that should help us. We are able to divert because we know that, at State House, when someone is being sworn in, we are informed about someone owning a lot of cattle.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: So, we realise that we can discuss these things because, even at State House, we can discuss who owns what.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, therefore, in my position, I can tell these people, on this Floor, that, as they talk about the number of cattle and the bank account statements, we will also take advantage to talk about your bank accounts and what dogs and cats you own.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: That is the only way. If they want us to be consistent, they should stop talking about things that are irrelevant. That is the truth.

Mr Mushanga: Workshop! You need a workshop!

Mr Muntanga: That workshop should be arranged for the people who govern.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Laughter

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kalomo Central, I have the power to curtail debate, but I will be very slow to do that. However, please, let us be relevant to the Motion. I know that it is tempting to go out of bounds, but we need to keep within the bounds of the Motion. If you have exhausted your points, let us make progress in debating this Motion.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I want to ask the new Secretary to the Cabinet to ensure that he instils some discipline in all PSs. This turn-over and movement of PSs from Luapula to the Eastern Province, and from there to all other centres, should stop so that there can be sanity. We expect more from this Secretary to the Cabinet and want him to know that we are irked by certain things in the administration of this Government, and are getting concerned. Maybe, the reasons are that there is poor performance by the people appointed. The people in these positions are insecure or they are afraid of being moved. What is it that you are looking for? Is it the ideology of the party? Do you want to introduce something? The Secretary to the Cabinet might help us with the answers.

Mr Speaker, the point is that, as I ratify this Secretary to the Cabinet, I am not bothered that my younger brother has moved because he could be moved by the wrong thing.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, in my understanding, this doctor qualifies to be ratified not because the Motion to have his appointment ratified has been moved by an hon. Member of the United Party for National Development (UPND). I have seen UPND members shift to the other side because carrots have been dangled from there.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: As we move towards closure, I hope that you will bear the counsel that I gave earlier, namely, that we should try and bring some fresh points to this debate in mind. There is no point in repeating − I would use another word but, perhaps, it will not be appropriate − the same points that have already been belaboured.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me the opportunity to debate the ratification of Dr Msiska as Secretary to the Cabinet.

Mr Speaker, I want to state that I know Dr Msiska    .We are both members of the Judicial Service Commission and have exchanged views pertaining to the management of the Public Service in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, as we ratify Dr Msiska as Secretary to the Cabinet, I would like to express my concerns and offer advice to him on the office he is going to hold.

Mr Speaker, as an hon. Member of Parliament, and a Zambian, I am concerned about the happenings in a number of ministries, which have led to the erosion of investor confidence in this country.

Mr Speaker, the Secretary to the Cabinet is the supervising officer of all PSs. The person who is accountable, finally, for all the decisions that are made in the various ministries is the Secretary to the Cabinet, as the head of the Public Service.

Mr Speaker, I will itemise a number of issues that I would like the Secretary to the Cabinet to attend to immediately, if he will be privileged to be ratified by this House.

Sir, of late, we have noted, with regret, the propensity of the Ministry of Home Affairs to deport a number of investors from this country …

Interruptions

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, as a result of the deportations, the countries of origin of the deportees have expressed concern over the safety of their investment in this country. As a result of these concerns, some of the delegations that were supposed to come to invest in this country have refused to do so because of the decisions that have been hurriedly made by the PF Government.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, if you want me to start naming those particular …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Monze Central, I am getting anxious. I am failing to see the connection between the Motion and the exercise of the powers to deport people. Could you, please, allay my anxiety on whether that power is vested in the Secretary to the Cabinet or the hon. Minister.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I will do so. I indicated that the PSs, in this country, are supervised by the Secretary to the Cabinet.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, that is the point I am making. I am saying that the PSs must be making rational decisions on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Zambia. It is incumbent upon this Secretary to the Cabinet, whom we are going to appoint, to ensure that the rules and regulations are applied in all the ministries. It is this Secretary to the Cabinet who should ensure that that the DCs in this country do not abuse their authority in administering the affairs of their various districts. We call upon him to ensure that sanity is brought back to these institutions. That is the reason I support this appointment. I want him to ensure that the DCs appointed are professional civil servants, as per the policy of the PF.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, if he will not do that, whatever aspirations we have, as a country, will not be attained. According to Article 53 (2) (a) and (b) of the Constitution of Zambia, the Secretary to the Cabinet is an advisor to the President. He is the head of the Public Service and prepares the public agenda. When he comes into office, I would like him to prepare an agenda to ensure that all the embarrassing things that have been happening in this country are not repeated. I would like him to advise the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting that it is not an offence to hold a press conference outside the country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, he must be advised on that.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I would like him to advise the hon. Deputy Minister of Home Affairs that it is not an offence to hold a press conference in South Africa. I would also like him to advise the appointing authority that, in this country, it is an offence to peddle and publish other people’s bank account statements.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, we want the Secretary to the Cabinet to adequately advise him on the point that there should not be any discrimination in this country. That is his responsibility. We are supporting him so that he can ensure that sanity is brought back to this Government. We want to ensure that hon. Ministers do not abuse their authority and power in dissolving and suspending councils over flimsy grounds.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: We want him to advise that the abuse of resources in this country should stop. Every year, we debate the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) reports in this House, yet no action is taken. We hope that this nominee will rise above board and ensure that Government resources are protected. We ask him to ensure that Government resources are not abused in by-elections, and the number plates of Government vehicles changed because those are Government resources, which the people of this country want to go towards the rehabilitation of roads and sewerage facilities in Lusaka. That is what we want the Secretary to the Cabinet to do.

Mr Speaker, as we support the Secretary to the Cabinet, we would like him to advise that those who are appointed in the Foreign Service are not cadres without any background or qualifications. The only qualification they have should not be that of being party cadres. That is not what we want.

Sir, our aspiration is not political emancipation, but economic emancipation. We, therefore, expect those who are appointed in the Foreign Service to be those who will be able to deliver on behalf of Zambians, irrespective of where they come from. We also expect that, when he is appointed, there should be equity in appointments into the Public Service.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, there are various tribes and provinces in this country. We want equitable representation from all these areas.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Interruptions

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, we do not debate ourselves. If they want me to debate Hon. …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Just ignore them. That is my problem.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I also want to ask the nominee to ensure that, when the President is appointing hon. Members of Parliament, he should appoint from his own party.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: He should not appoint from another party because there are consequences in doing so.

Sir, finally, I urge all of us to support this appointment of the nominee as Secretary to the Cabinet, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: … provided he will not be abused in his position.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Speaker: Order!

We seem to have consensus, but I will still allow His Honour the Vice-President to contribute.

The Vice-President (Dr Scott): Mr Speaker, I just wish to thank all those who have contributed, and express my utter admiration for the manner in which they have debated. It was so tenuously connected to the Motion. That strains my old brain to find why X and Y have any relationship at all. Well done, all debaters.

Interruptions

The Vice-President: Of course, we support the Motion on this side.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, I want to thank all who have debated this Motion. It was a very robust debate. That is how it should be. There must be freedom of speech, and I think that the country has listened.

I thank you, Sir.

Question put and agreed to.

ADJOURNMENT

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and greed to.

__________

The House adjourned at 1751 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 21st February, 2013.

_________
 
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