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line Home arrow Debates & Proceedings arrow Second Session of the Eleventh National Assembly arrow Debates- Wednesday, 20th February, 2013 Sunday, 20 April 2014  
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Debates- Wednesday, 20th February, 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 February 2013
Article Index
Debates- Wednesday, 20th February, 2013
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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!

 
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