Wednesday, 7th December, 2016

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Wednesday, 7th November, 2016

 

The House met at 1430 hours

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

NATIONAL ANTHEM

 

PRAYER

 

______

 

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR SPEAKER

 

ACTING LEADER OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS IN THE HOUSE

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform the House that in the absence of Her Honour the Vice-President, who is attending to other Government business, the Chief Whip, Hon. Richard Musukwa, MP, has been appointed Acting Leader of Government Business in the House from today, Wednesday, 7th December, 2016, until further notice.

 

I thank you.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

_________

 

QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER

 

SEWERAGE SYSTEM IN NYIMBA DISTRICT

 

44. Ms O. M. Phiri (Nyimba) asked the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection:

 

  1. whether the Government was aware that there was no sewerage system in Nyimba District; and

 

  1. if so, what plans the Government had to construct a sewerage system in the District.

 

The Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (Mr Kaziya): Mr Speaker, the Government is aware that there is no sewerage system in Nyimba District.

 

Further, the Government has no immediate plans to construct a sewerage system in Nyimba District. However, the sewer ponds at Nyimba Secondary School were rehabilitated in 2015 in order to manage sewer waste from the septic tanks. The emptying of septic tanks and disposal of waste is done by the Eastern Water and Sewerage Company.

 

Sir, as a long-term plan to provide sanitation coverage in line with the Vision 2030, the Government will strive to provide 90 per cent coverage.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Mutale (Chitambo): Thank you, Mr Speaker, …

 

Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you for allowing me to raise a point of order which qualifies as a matter of urgency. The point of order arises from the ministerial statement by the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in October this year on the illegal occupation of private land across the country.

 

Sir, allow me to quote an excerpt from the hon. Minister’s speech that said – and the hon. First Deputy Speaker was in the Chair at the time:

 

“Madam, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is concerned about the current rate of illegal land occupation, demarcation and allocation across the country by persons purporting to be cadres. This illegal trend has led to law abiding citizens being displaced from their lawfully acquired land. In some instances, land owners have been injured by the illegal land occupiers in the process of being forced vacate the land.”

 

Sir, the hon. Minister further stated that the PF Government would strongly enforce the law against the illegal land occupiers.

 

Mr Speaker, in addressing the cadres on the Copperbelt, the PF Secretary-General, Mr Davies Mwila,  issued what we think is a threat to the Minister of that province, Hon. Bowman Lusambo. I wish to quote today’s The Mast newspaper in which the hon. Minister of the Copperbelt is quoted as having said:

 

         “Fire me for doing right.”

 

I will lay on the Table the publication in which the PF Secretary-General, who is the Chief Executive of the Ruling Party, is quoted as having advised the hon. Minister that he has to …

 

Mr Chitotela interjected.

 

Mr Nkombo: Please, give me some space, hon. Minister.

 

… to work with the cadres in harmony because they were agitating to continue demarcating and allocating parcels of land on the Copperbelt. The Secretary-General said:

 

“Once you connect to the party, these issues will be sorted out. Let us not rush to the media. This media issue will divide us and destroy us. So, avoid the media. If you, as Minister move alone, then they (PF cadres) will take you wrongly even when you are right.”

 

Sir, is the Government in order to continue coming to this House with such good statements, yet behind the scenes their party is encouraging the continued illegal demarcation of land in our country?

 

Mr Speaker, I beg your ruling.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Having heard the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, I am of a considered view that the subject matter does not really qualify as a matter of extreme urgency …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: … to warrant the kind of intervention that would be expected from my office under the aegis of such a point of order, namely one of extreme urgency.

 

However, if you perceive some contradiction in the administration of land between the Government and the party, you are at liberty to take the Government to account. You can do so by simply asking a question. Thereafter, you can interrogate your colleagues on the right on this subject.

 

That is my ruling.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mutale: Mr Speaker, the population of Nyimba is growing, resulting in rapid infrastructure development and an increase in demand for sewerage facilities. This has been a concern to the people of Nyimba, as rightly put in the question. Consequently, some people have resorting to constructing their own septic tanks.

 

Sir, the hon. Minister referred to the fact that the people of Nyimba depend mostly on underground water and assured the House that he is going to drill an industrial borehole. Taking into account the fact that waterborne diseases are common at this time of year, what immediate plans does the hon. Minister have for the people of Nyimba, especially those who are using septic tanks to dispose of sewer waste?

Mr Kaziya: Mr Speaker, in my earlier response, I mentioned that the sewer ponds at Nyimba Secondary were rehabilitated and that the use of septic tanks to empty the sewer waste was a temporary measure. However, we have long-term plans to put up sewerage facilities in the Vision 2030.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, what is the hon. Minister doing to stop the people of Nyimba from drinking contaminated water from a dam just next to the secondary school? What is the Government doing to alleviate this situation?

 

Mr Kaziya: Mr Speaker, as an immediate measure, we have approved the sinking of industrial boreholes in Nyimba.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

BRIDGES IN LUNTE CONSTITUENCY

 

45.    Mr Kafwaya (Lunte) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:

 

  1. when the construction of bridges at the following places in Lunte Parliamentary Constituency would commence:

 

  1. Lukulu, linking Kanyanta Ward to Kalungwishi Ward; and
  2. Luangwa, linking Luangwa Ward to Mporokoso; and

 

  1. when the rehabilitation of the road from Edmond Village on the Mporokoso-Kasama Road via Chief Shibwalya Kapila’s Palace to the Kasama/Mbala Road would commence.

 

The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, it is expected that the works on the Lukulu Bridge will carried out at the end of the 2016/2017 rainy season. The Road Development Agency (RDA) has already undertaken a conditions survey on the crossing point and has since submitted the cost requirement to the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) for possible funding. The crossing point is expected to be worked on after the rainy season.

 

Sir, it is expected that the works on the Luangwa Bridge will be undertaken at the end of the 2016/2017 rainy season. The RDA has already undertaken a condition survey of the crossing point and has since submitted the cost estimate to the NRFA for possible funding so that the works can commence after the rainy season.

 

Mr Speaker the road from Edmond Village on the Mporokoso/Kasama Road via Chief Shibwalya Kapila’s Palace will be considered for inclusion among the roads to be executed by the Zambia National Service (ZNS).

 

__________

 

COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY

 

[THE FIRST CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES in the

 Chair]

        

VOTE 38 – (Ministry Of Development Planning – Human Resources and Administration – K 529,109,237).

 

The Minister of Development Planning (Mr Mulusa): Madam Chairperson, once again, let me start by appreciating the support from all those who debated yesterday and raised some salient issues.

 

Madam Chairperson, Hon. Dr Musokotwane raised a point that gives me an opportunity to explain the role of my ministry and the methodology it will use. As regards the relevance of the ministry and its sustainability, we are going to use the bottom-up approach. We are not going to impose a school or clinic project on an hon. Member. Instead, we shall ask the hon. Member to tell us what he/she wants for his/her area. Our role will be to ascertain whether his/her requirements make sense in terms of development.

 

Further, my ministry also ensures that the domestication of international treaties and agreements such as the African Union Vision 2063 and the Vision 2030, to which we are a party, are in concordance. That is the bottom-up approach which promotes decentralisation. This means that the power to plan is in the hands of hon. Members and not us. Our role is that of co-ordinating.

 

Madam Chairperson, Hon. Dr Musokotwane also talked about how the Mongu/Kalabo Road would have been more beneficial if it went all the way to the border with Angola through Sikongo. I am glad to mention that the contractor who is working on the Kalabo/Sikongo Road is now on site and is mobilising. The hon. Member made comparisons with other nations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region that have combined or separated the functions of finance and national planning. However, it is important to note that their models were based on social conditions that are unique to their countries. We have our own social conditions and history. Looking at how far back and the little development we have achieved so far, it is apparent that we still have a long way to go. That is why we have decided to have two separate ministries in charge of finance and national planning. Otherwise, I thank the hon. Member for the insightful debate.

 

Madam Chairperson, Dr Kalila raised issues of the relevance of the ministry and climate change. My ministry will work closely with the Ministry of Finance to re-organise the Budgeting model. This will actually be embedded in a law that we are going to pass here to just make sure that the Ministry of Finance does not conveniently ignore my ministry. This is with a view to ensuring that the Budget is aligned to the plans in order to make it more result-oriented. The development plan and Budget will be aligned in such a way that they complement each other. My ministry will retain a supervisory role on grant-aided institutions such as the National Designated Authority (NDA), the Interim Climate Change Secretariat (ICCS) and the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR).

 

Madam Chairperson, with regard to climate change, the mandate of the ministry will be to strengthen co-ordination. Climate change is a multi-dimensional phenomenon which requires sectors to synergise programmes and mainstream them in the National Development Plan.

 

Madam Chairperson, Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa made an interesting observation that made my head spin. He reminded us that we needed to concentrate on projects and forget about plans and programmes. To the contrary, I wish to let him know that in any successful planning value chain, you actually start with your development agenda. From your development agenda, you create policies. Policies give birth to programmes, and programmes give birth to projects. So, there is absolutely no way you can detach the value chain. If you just concentrate on projects, you will end up with white elephants because they will not be relevant to anything at all. I hope that the hon. Member and I can discuss development over a cup of tea.

 

Madam Chairperson, with regard to Hon. Kopolande’s debate, I must point out that the dissemination process can be expensive. That is why it is supported by donor funding, as reflected in the Budget. Further, my ministry will present to this august House, a Bill on the Amendment of the 1964 Act under which the Central Statistical Office (CSO) is currently operating. This will enable the unit to modernise its operations and take into account new ways of conducting business.

 

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

 

Vote 38/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

Vote 38/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

Vote 38/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

Vote 38/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

Vote 38/05 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

Vote 38/06 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

Vote 38/07 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

VOTE 05 – (Electoral Commission of Zambia – K74,336,606).

The Acting Leader of Government Business and Chief Whip (Mr Musukwa): Madam Chairperson, I wish to thank you for giving me the opportunity to present the 2017 budget for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). The ECZ was established as an autonomous body under Article 229 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia to conduct various election-related functions. The commission is also mandated to:

 

  1. manage the electoral process;

 

  1. conduct elections and referendum;

 

  1. register voters;

 

  1. settle minor electoral disputes as prescribed;

 

  1. regulate the conduct of voters and candidates;

 

  1. accredit observers and election agents as prescribed;

 

  1. delimitate electoral boundaries; and

 

  1. perform such other functions as prescribed.

 

Madam Chairperson, the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act No. 25 of 2016 provides for the composition and operation of the commission. The Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016 empowers the ECZ to:

 

  1. enforce the said Act;

 

  1. make regulations;

 

  1. provide for the registration of voters;

 

  1. conduct Presidential and Parliamentary Elections;

 

  1. prosecute election offences; and

 

  1. stipulate penalties for some of the offences.

 

Madam Chairperson, the ECZ Administration is also mandated, under the Referendum Act, to conduct a referendum under the terms stipulated by the same Act.

 

Madam Chairperson, the mission statement for the ECZ is:

 

“An independent and autonomous constitutional body that delivers credible elections.”

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, I will read that again.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, the mission statement for the ECZ is:

 

“An independent and autonomous constitutional body that delivers credible elections.”

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

The First Chairperson: Order!

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, the mission statement, therefore, justifies the fundamental purpose of its existence and provides for a vision to strive towards the fundamental purpose. It also gives a framework within which the commission’s policies will be made and programmes and activities carried out to enrich and further strengthen the electoral process, thereby contributing to the democratic governance of the country. It further gives the staff of the commission a clear sense of what their organisation is all about, thereby increasing their commitment to achieving the its objectives.

 

Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, 2016 saw the commission undertake several preparatory activities that culminated in the conduct of the Referendum and consequently, the General Elections which were held on 11th August, 2016.

 

Madam Chairperson, the preparatory activities included:

 

  1. registration of voters;

 

  1. delimitation of certain electoral boundaries;

 

  1. amendment of various election-related laws; and

 

  1. publicity and conduct of a countrywide voter education campaign.

 

The activities were necessary to ensure the smooth conduct of the Referendum and General Elections.

 

Madam Chairperson, the commission also facilitated and conducted by-elections for Ward and Council Chairpersons that could not be held on 11th August, 2016, for various reasons.

 

Madam Chairperson, the commission has also continued to be party to the various election petitions that were and still are before the courts of law, and has ensured adequate representation. Some of the cases will only be fully disposed of in 2017, and sufficient interventions have been made in the 2017 Budget for this cause.

 

Madam Chairperson, the Budget estimates before the House will enable the ECZ to undertake nine programmes in 2017. 2017 is important for the commission because it is the year in which it shall, first and foremost, conduct a post-mortem of its operations and ensure that the lessons learnt from the General Elections and Referendum are consolidated.

 

Madam Chairperson, the commission will review its internal processes, strengthen its internal controls and start its preparatory activities for the next electoral cycle. This will set the tone for the next three years and help shape the events in the subsequent years.

 

Madam Chairperson, the commission has, therefore, provided for the costs of undertaking the internal processes mentioned above and the conduct of any by-election that may occur as a result of the electoral petitions which are before the courts of law.

 

Madam, these programmes are in conformity with the commission’s mission and will be undertaken under the powers provided in the existing Laws of Zambia.

 

Madam Chairperson, I now seek the support of the House in approving the commission’s Vote of K74,336,606.

 

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate this important Vote.

 

Madam Chairperson, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ is an independent body whose functions have already been outlined. However, as the manager of credible and transparent elections in this country, it cannot be said to be flawless at all. As you are aware, there is no system which is wind and water tight. Every system has its own advantages and disadvantages.

 

Madam Chairperson, I know that there have been delays in the release of election results due to various challenges that the commission has experienced. It is hoped that when reviewing the flaws, the ECZ will take into account the concerns of various stakeholders so that all the grey areas can be cleared.

 

Madam Chairperson, it is against this background that I rise to support the budget for the ECZ for 2017.

 

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

 

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Madam Chairperson, I thank the Government Chief Whip and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House for the statement on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

 

Madam, from the outset, let me say that duty compels me to support the budgetary allocation for the ECZ, as it is supposed to be one of the pillars of democracy and the heart and soul of a functional society.

 

Madam Chairperson, like the previous speaker, I cannot just support the Vote for the ECZ without expressing some apprehension on the Floor of this House.

 

Madam Chairperson, whilst the ECZ should be supported, it has been found wanting. Why do I say so? As the Government Chief Whip and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House stated, the institution is supposed to be autonomous, independent and free of any influence in the discharge of its functions. However, the shenanigans, hate, mistrust and fury that we see in this country today can be traced back to the conduct of the commission going by the way it discharged its functions in the immediate past elections.

 

Madam Chairperson, further, we have witnessed a feud between the Patriotic Front (PF) and the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), which is a body that was established by an Act of Parliament. The PF has openly declared that whenever LAZ comments on an issue, it will be perceived as coming from the Opposition. I will illustrate how this can be traced back to the ECZ.

 

Madam Chairperson, what caused the altercation between the PF and LAZ? It is the petitions that are before the Judiciary.

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

Mr Nkombo: Obviously, when one goes to seek legal redress, there are two expectations. There will never be neutrality where two parties are told that they have both won. In a judgment, there will be a loser and a winner. How does the Judiciary arrive at a judgment? It applies the law. When the Judiciary establishes that there was violence and some racial remarks made in the electoral process ...

 

The First Chairperson: Hon. Nkombo, I am getting worried now. It is my belief that the matters that you are making reference to are still before the courts of law.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

The First Chairperson: Hon. Member, you should not prejudge.

 

Mr Ngulube: It is sub judice!

 

The First Chairperson: It is, indeed, sub judice, as you know.

 

Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!

 

The First Chairperson: So, can you continue, but veer away from that line of debate.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: Madam Chairperson, your guidance is always appreciated. However, I wish to state that I am not making reference to any specific court case.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: Madam Chairperson, there is never a day when a court justice will tell the two parties in court that they have both won the case or share the judgment fifty-fifty.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: There will always be a winner and a loser. Normally, when a loser is declared, there is despondence.

 

Mr Mutaba: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: We have been made to believe that the Judiciary is the balancer …

 

Mr Mutaba: Yes!

 

Mr Nkombo: … and we have to accept that.

 

Mr Kampyongo: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: Unfortunately, the altercations between the PF and LAZ have been drawn down to an individual. I will come back to what I said earlier so that I do not lose my line of thought.

 

Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

Mr Nkombo: It is a position …

The First Chairperson: Hon. Minister, I am very reluctant to allow your point of order.

 

Hon. Nkombo, sit down.

 

Hon. Minister, I am reluctant to allow you to raise your point of order. Give me a chance to listen to the debate and I will make the necessary rulings if need be.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

 

The First Chairperson: Please, hon. Minister, take your seat.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Nkombo: Madam Chairperson, before my colleague attempted to raise his point of order, I was saying that LAZ is a body that was established by an Act of Parliament and that it is a composition of individuals. So, it is unfortunate that the altercations that I am talking about have now been leveled on one individual who is the head of LAZ.

 

Madam Chairperson, the differences between the PF and LAZ was caused by the ECZ. I will give the reasons for saying that when I talk about the ECZ. The Electoral Process Act No. 35, which the Chief Whip and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House referred to, contains some regulations. The ECZ is guided by the regulations which ensure that it:

 

  1. creates procedures;

 

  1. criminalises corrupt practices;

 

  1. provides voter education; and

 

  1. prescribes penalties for would-be offenders or the people who breach this piece of legislation.

 

However, the ECZ has created such a wide cleft between people that they do not trust one another anymore. This is because the ECZ admitted results in the electoral process without a primary support document called Gen.12, as enshrined in the Act. The ECZ misbehaved by …

 

Hon. Government Members: Question!

 

Mr Nkombo: … recording results in the just-ended General Elections without the Gen.12 Document. The ECZ deliberately ignored its rules. We know this because we interfaced during the whole electoral process. Also, there were no supporting documents and the figures were manipulated. This is what resulted in some election petitions being upheld.

 

Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.

 

The First Chairperson: Hon. Nkombo!

 

Hon. Minister, please sit down.

 

Hon. Nkombo, you are not a court. This is why we advise, time and time again, that you should not attempt to discuss matters that are before the courts of law.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

The First Chairperson: You veer away from matters that I have already guided on and ruled that they are before the courts of law and have not yet fully been determined. Unless you promise that you are going to veer away from that line of discourse, I may have to cartel your debate.

 

You may continue.

 

Mr Nkombo: I appreciate your counsel as usual.

 

Madam Chairperson, I will now refer to specific cases. The first one is in regard to the Mushindamo Mayoral Elections …

 

Mr Sing’ombe: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: … where the ECZ and the PF declared a wrong candidate winner. This matter is not in court.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: It is in court, iwe!

 

Mr Nkombo: Fortunately, because it was socially shameful for the ECZ and the election was of little consequence, the results were overturned and the rightful winner was declared.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: I now wish to talk about the electoral petitions that have since been disposed of. These are for the Liuwa, Sesheke, Nkeyema and Kaoma seats. The election petitions were disposed of because the petitioners did not have sufficient evidence to determine that the elections were not free and fair.

 

Madam Chairperson, some seats have been nullified and there have been appeals. I will not go into the details of the nullification of petitions and appeals. However, I wish to point out that the ECZ is an institution that we interface with. We knock at their doors, enter their offices and talk to them. I had a discussion with the Chairperson of the ECZ, requesting him to authenticate all the election results.

 

Mr Kufakwandi: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: The ECZ …

 

Mr Ngulube: In what capacity?

 

Mr Nkombo: As an interested party. As you know, I was a contender. I belong to a party that was a contender in the election.

 

Madam Chairperson, it is always wise to remember that when you are halfway up, you are also halfway down. So, there is no reason to be excited because the results seem to have gone in your favour.

 

I can hear somebody cocking …

 

The First Chairperson: Hon. Nkombo, please, address the Chair.

 

Laughter

 

The First Chairperson: Continue with your debate.

 

Mr Nkombo: Someone asked the capacity in which I interacted with the ECZ. For goodness sake, I am a Member of Parliament, and I have a duty to approve the Budget on  behalf of the people.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: In my view, the ECZ is incompetent.

 

Mr Kampyongo: Point of order, Madam Chairperson.

 

The First Chairperson: Hon. Nkombo, I have guided and I am guiding you again. Address the Chair. If you have exhausted your points, please, sit down. There is nothing wrong with you taking your seat after exhausting your points.

 

Mr Kampyongo: He is just being political!

 

The First Chairperson: Can we focus our debate on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

 

Mr Nkombo: I appreciate your guidance, Madam Chairperson.

 

The Acting Leader of Government Business in the House and Chief Whip said a postmortem on the just-ended Elections would be carried out in 2017. To the contrary, I am of the view that the ECZ should go on a sabbatical to reflect on the mistakes that have injured the fabric of this country.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: That is what I think the ECZ should do.

 

It should reflect on its persona.

 

Mr Mutelo: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: It should also reflect on whether it is totally autonomous. We should not allocate money towards a postmortem on things that are already known such as the Head of State instituting a commission of inquiry on the violence that characterised the elections. The violence was not due to the incompetence of the commission but, maybe, the lack of teeth for the ECZ to bite.

 

Madam Chairperson, if any money has to be allocated to the ECZ, it should be given some powers to prosecute so that we can see whether they are any different from the Zambia Police Force that allows the PF to demonstrate on Cairo Road and Independence Avenue without a permit, as prescribed by the Public Order Act.

 

The First Chairperson: Order hon. Member!

 

We are debating the Vote for the ECZ.

 

Mr Nkombo: Madam, the ECZ should also be given some powers to prosecute so that they can be put to a test. If a candidate in an election beats up someone during the electoral process, the ECZ should have the power to disqualify him/her. It will make more sense if they are given that power so that they stop hiding behind what I call incompetence.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: That is my description of the conduct of the ECZ and I harbour no regret. I think that generally, the commission performed below a par. They have put this country in harm’s way because people do not trust each other anymore as a result of the conduct of the officers from the ECZ.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: Madam, can someone simply explain to me how a foreign national by the name of Mr Chavula, managed to enter the server room at the ECZ National Results Centre and, we believe, hacked the results. This information is in the public domain.

Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Madam.

 

Interruptions

 

The First Chairperson: Hon. Minister, the role of hon. Members of Parliament is to raise issues as they understand them.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

The First Chairperson: So, hon. Minister, as the Government, you will respond through the person who moved the policy debate.

 

Interruptions

 

The First Chairperson: You may not like everything that is said, but that is where the Chair comes in to avoid hon. Members debating in a direction that they should not. As the Government, you should take notes and pass them on to the Chief Whip who should adequately deal with the issues that have been raised. As I said yesterday, there is still a lot of business to be conducted. So, if we continue interjecting, we shall be here beyond Christmas. Can we, please, co-operate so that we finish the business that is before us.

 

Continue, Hon. Nkombo.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!       

 

Mr Nkombo: Madam, before your guidance, I was talking about Mr Chavula who was not accredited to enter the server room of the National Results Counting Centre, but managed enter the premises of the Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) despite the horde of parliamentary officers at the gate. We all saw him being arrested, but he suddenly disappeared in thin air. When we asked what he had gone to do in the server room, we were told that he had gone there to manipulate figures. For anyone who wishes to know, the reason we went to court was that the ECZ had allowed people like Mr Chavula to enter the server room. This is very painful. These are the issues that we must bring out. I am glad Mr Chavula’s case is not in court. So, I can speak about it.

 

Mr Sing’ombe: A foreigner!                           

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!                                                 

 

Mr Nkombo: Madam Chairperson, whether he is a foreigner or Zambian, what was he doing inside the server room? This is the reason I am saying that the ECZ is a completely discredited institution …

                                                   

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: … and should go on a sabbatical instead of us wasting money on a postmortem on things that are already known. We know that Mr Chavula went into the server room. We also know that 2,000 votes for Mr Hakainde Hichilema were found in a bin in Kanyama. Madam Maureen Mwanawasa fished them out and brought them before the nation. That matter too is not in court. We know that the person who announced the results for Lundazi inflated the figures without any remorse. The total number of votes cast was less than that of registered voters.

                                                                                                                    

The First Chairperson: Order, hon. Nkombo!

 

Your time is up.

 

Mr Nkombo:  Can someone pick up the debate from there.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

The First Chairperson: Hon. Members on both sides, this is an emotive subject. However, I ask you to set aside your emotions, as you debate this important subject. Yesterday, I had guided that I will give the Floor to four hon. Members on my left and two on my right, making it six in all. This includes the hon. Member who moved the policy debate. Two people from the left have already take the Floor. I still have Hon. Syakalima and Hon. Tambatamba. Then, I will move to the right. Unfortunately, the right will have to choose who should debate.

 

Mr Syakalima (Chirundu): Madam Chairperson, from the outset, I wish to state that it is painful to support this Vote. Many electoral commissions in Africa have caused chaos in their countries. Madam Chairperson, you would probably do well to allow a bit of emotions because human beings are emotional by nature, especially in an atmosphere such as this one. We have just come out of a difficult situation. We have never debated this way on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). The reason people seem to be getting emotional when debating is what they saw during the electoral process this year which was marred by chaos, starting from the registration of voters which. There were several allegations of foreigners being registered as voters.

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

Mr Syakalima: Some of them confirmed that they had registered as voters.

 

Hon. Government Members: Question!          

 

Mr Syakalima: That renders the credibility of the ECZ questionable.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!                

                                                             

Mr Syakalima: Madam Chairperson, if I had my way, I could have disbanded the ECZ …

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Syakalima: … because there is no way money can be appropriated to a body which almost caused chaos in the. Some people were left injured, but remained calm. If it were in other countries, Mr Hakainde Hichilema and Mr Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba …

                                                   

The First Chairperson: Order, hon.  Member!

 

I am going to rule you out of order if you continue bringing into your debate names of people who are not hon. Members of this House and are not a subject of debate. Debate the ECZ because that is the subject matter we are debating. Please, leave the two names out of your debate.

 

Mr Syakalima: Thank you, Madam. Suffice it to say that in its current form, the ECZ does not deserve any support …

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Syakalima: … because it could have caused chaos in this country. To date, people are still whining and there is tension in this country because of the behaviour of the ECZ. My colleague has already elaborated what happened at the ECZ before and after the elections. So, why should I support an institution that could have caused chaos in the country? If left in its current form, the ECZ is bound to repeat what it did. We cannot afford that. This country prides itself in its being an oasis of peace. Peace is a relative term. It is not the absence of war. The people you think are oppressed will not be oppressed forever.

 

The First Chairperson: Order, hon.  Member!

 

There is no group of Zambians that is oppressed. Please, veer away from the course you have taken.

 

You may continue.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Syakalima: Madam Chairperson, I will steer away from my feelings. However, whether you like it or not, it is a fact that people are hurting. Our colleagues in the Government must appreciate us when we say some of these things. People who do not speak bottle things up but, one day, they will vent their frustrations. You are lucky that some of us speak so that you can learn something.

 

Madam Chairperson, yesterday, I heard some people say that the European Union’s (EU) declared the 11th August, 2016, General Elections credible. To the contrary, according to the EU, the ECZ did a bad job.

 

Hon. Government Members interjected.

 

Mr Syakalima: Madam Chairperson, I usually take time to read. So, yesterday, I read about Ms Cécile Kyenge from the EU who said:

 

The First Chairperson: Order, hon.  Member!

 

You are substantiating the statement that you have just made.

 

Mr Syakalima: Madam Chairperson, I wish to quote the statement that read:

 

“Zambia’s recent election demonstrates that there is always room for improvement, ...

 

The First Chairperson: Hon. Member, which publication are you quoting?

 

Mr Syakalima: Madam Speaker, I am quoting from www ...

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Syakalima: Yes, that is where I read this from. It is allowed.

 

The First Chairperson: Order!

 

Hon. Members, let us listen. You may continue, Hon. Syakalima.

 

Mr Syakalima: Madam Chairperson, thank you. I am quoting from the website, www.euozambia.eu. If you wish, you can also contact Mr Thomas Boserup, the Deputy Chief Observer on email boserup@euozambia.eu. Ms Cécile Kyenge, the Head of the EU Mission said:

 

“Zambia’s recent election demonstrates that there is always room for improvement. While the elections were competitive, the process highlighted several areas where steps can be taken to enhance inclusivity and credibility in future.”

 

Therefore, it was a discredited election.

 

Hon. Government Members: Question!

 

Mr Syakalima: Madam Chairperson, you were saying that the EU gave you kudos when, in fact, not.

 

Interruptions

 

The First Chairperson: Order!

 

Hon. Members, let us have order.

Mr Syakalima: Madam Speaker, we have an electoral commission that is moribund. When we ratify people’s appointments in this House, we give them accolades. Immediately we ratify their appointments, they go their way.

 

Hon. Government Member: It is okay!

 

Mr Syakalima: Madam Chairperson, it will become difficult for some of us to ratify Presidential appointments because, sometimes, after the appointments of nominees have been ratified, they go and do their things. Therefore, the ECZ was tested, ...

 

Hon. Government Member: The Concourt!

 

Mr Syakalima: If you want me to quote what the EU said about the Constitutional Court, I can do that.

 

Mr Ngulube: Go ahead!

 

Mr Syakalima: Madam Chairperson, the EU further said:

 

“The Constitutional Court failed to provide clear, timely and authoritative directions to parties regarding the timeline for the Opposition challenge of the presidential election results which underpinned public confidence in the election complaints.”

 

Madam Chairperson, the EU has even recommended that:

 

“A detailed review of the electoral legal framework and re-drafting of unclear, ambiguous and conflicting positions, ...”

 

Mr Ngulube: Iwe, fourteen days, is fourteen days!

 

Mr Syakalima: The EU says that we have an ambiguous electoral process, ...

 

Hon. Government Member: Fourteen days, is fourteen days!

 

Mr Syakalima: ... and recommends the removal of overly restrictive limitations of freedom of assembly in the Public Order Act.

 

Madam Chairperson, which EU were you saying gave the Zambian Government kudos over the elections?

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

The First Chairperson: Order!

 

Hon. Syakalima, I will ask you to lay your quotations, in whatever form, on the Table.

Mr Syakalima: Madam Chairperson, I will certainly do that after debating.

 

The First Chairperson: You may continue.

 

Mr Syakalima: Madam Chairperson, as I said earlier, electoral commissions in Africa have caused chaos. This is why we want to urge the ECZ that while we still can, there is a need for total reformation of our electoral process. There is a need for reform. The ECZ should be independent and autonomous, and not nakedly show that it is not independent. That is not right, and it has never been right.

 

Madam Chairperson, an armed truth will have the final say one day.

 

I thank you.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Syakalima laid the paper on the Table.

 

Mr Ngulube: Fyabufi ifyo!

 

Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Madam Chairperson, I also wish to support the Vote for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). In so doing, I wish to urge the hon. Members on both the left and right to bear in mind the fact that Zambian people have aspirations, which are connected to our staple food.

 

Madam Chairperson, for that staple food to arrive on the table, there are many fundamentals that must be put straight. The electoral process is one of those fundamentals. Many will ask what the connection between the electoral process and nshima is. The electoral process is a vehicle that drives the process that brings about a Government that will expound and formulate policies that bring nshima on the table.

 

Madam Chairperson, I wish to refer to an hon. Colleague’s debate last week when he debated the hon. Minister of Finance’s Budget Speech. He talked about turbulence and walking a tight rope. Indeed, one of our colleagues has just talked about our having coming out of a difficult period in reference to the last elections. I support the previous speaker’s debate in regard to all the things that have not sat well with the Zambians; the things we are not proud of; and those we may not want to carry into the next election. However, since we have the opportunity at the moment, it is important to look at these issues fairly and create a more credible path for the future.

 

Madam Chairperson, there are certain issues, small as they may be, that I wish to bring to the fore though they might not sit well with some hon. Colleagues. During the last elections, there were polling officers in some polling stations who did not qualify to be there. The Transportation of votes to the totaling centres took ages and there were delays in announcing the results. This brought about some controversy.

 

Madam Chairperson, in Shindamo, a wrong candidate was declared winner. Something went totally wrong. This person only got a letter much later from the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) stating that he was in fact not the winning candidate. This shows that something is wrong.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Tambatamba: It is important to face ourselves no matter how painful it is. As we look at the new Budget, we should focus on the content and see how we can redeem the ECZ. I am not necessarily talking about the people in charge of the institution, but its credibility. Unfortunately, the people in charge at the moment have been caught up in the controversies of the last elections. We need to face these issues and speak to them so that the mistakes are not repeated.

 

Madam Chairperson, it is important to expound the introspection as we conduct the postmortem that is being talked about. What shall we talk about in the postmortem? I think that the ECZ should consult. Its supervisors should make in effort to find out what kind of exercise the postmortem should be so that we do not end up playing the blame game or pointing fingers at each other. The commission must come up with a concrete product of the fundamentals that went wrong and be willing, in their resolutions for the future, to bring out the right competencies, skills and morals that are guided by the national values that we have so much talked about if at all they are there.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Tambatamba: We must seriously look at this so that we come up with something that will be admirable. We must come up with an institution that has structures and systems that will enable anyone running it to do the right thing.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Tambatamba: Madam Chairperson, we should look at the capacity, competencies, skills and values of the institution, and how the supervisors should ensure that there is morality behind the skills and competencies.

 

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

 

Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Madam Chairperson, allow me to support the budget estimates for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and remark on the issue that is obviously still burning to my hon. Colleagues on your left.

 

Madam Chairperson, it is clear that the ECZ is a credible institution.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ngulube: That is why all of us are here today.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Madam Chairperson, it is wrong to paint an ugly picture of an institution that handled our election to this House. I know that some people are crying on behalf of two individuals who will never stop crying. However, …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: … we should …

 

The First Chairperson: Order, hon. Members!

 

Mr Ngulube: … accept that an election is an election.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: I agree with Hon. Nkombo’s contribution when he said that there can only be one winner.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: In this case, the winner was Mr Edgar Lungu.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Madam Chairperson, some people have pointed fingers at the ECZ and taken it to court. Personally, I participated in some of the court cases and the evidence that some people want to lay on the Table of this House was not laid before the courts.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Nowadays, it is so common for people who have lost an election or a court case to say bad things about institutions like the ECZ. We need to support the ECZ and make constructive suggestions that will build the nation.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: At the moment, there are issues between the Judiciary and the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), and the Patriotic Front (PF). On behalf of the PF, I wish to state that it is not fighting with LAZ. It is LAZ that wants to have a say in the contents of the President’s Speech ...

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: … and we are saying no to that.

 

Madam Chairperson, you will agree with me that LAZ is not a non-governmental organisation (NGO). It is an institution that was created by this House.

 

The First Chairperson: Order!

 

Hon. Ngulube, it is not fair for you to discuss the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) because you know that it will not be able to defend itself.

 

Mr Ngulube: I thank you for your guidance, Madam. I will refrain from doing that since I am a member of LAZ.

 

The First Chairperson: You have made enough reference to it.

 

You may continue.

 

Mr Ngulube: Most obliged.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Ngulube: Order, hon. Members!

 

Laughter

 

The First Chairperson: Order, on my left!

 

Please, continue.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Ngulube: Madam Chairperson, if anything went wrong in the August General Elections, then, all of us suffered the same fate. If the ECZ made mistakes, how is it that only one party was affected? We are aware of some people who found fault with the registration process. However, we also know that in certain areas, there were more votes than the size of the population. 

 

Hon. Government Members:  Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: We, therefore, cannot blame the ECZ for that. We cannot accuse the ECZ of having not the PF. We cannot do that.

 

Interruptions

 

The First Chairperson: Order, hon. Members!

 

Mr Ngulube: Let me …

 

Interruptions

 

The First Chairperson: Order, hon. Members!

 

The hon. Member on the Floor has not specified the area. He has not named any part of Zambia that produced more votes than the number of people there. Please, allow him to debate.

 

Please, continue.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Thank you, Madam.

 

Madam Chairperson, we are also aware that in some areas where the PF did not perform well, the ECZ was not insulted. Why, however, is it that certain political parties want to win elections in places where they are not popular?

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: It is not the duty of the ECZ to perform magic.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Ngulube: We know that we all have strongholds.

 

Ms Kalima: Yes!

 

Mr Ngulube: If, for instance, I went to stand in an election in the Southern Province, I would win no matter what.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Ngulube: If certain people stood for in an election in certain areas, it would be impossible for them to win.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Madam Chairperson, let me conclude …

 

Ms Kalima interjected.

 

Madam First Chairperson: Order!

 

Can we have order, hon. Minister of Gender.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Madam, let me conclude …

 

 Interruptions

 

Madam First Chairperson: Order!

 

You may continue, hon. Member.

 

Mr Ngulube: Madam Chairperson, I always speak within five minutes. So, let me conclude by saying that the ECZ needs everybody’s support, as this is an independent and autonomous institution.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Our colleagues have questioned the independence of the ECZ because they did not win in certain areas. In the three provinces where our colleagues performed well, the ECZ has never been insulted. So, they should begin to ‘dry their tears’ in areas like Lusaka and other parts of the country where they did not do well just like we have managed to dry ours in the Southern, North-Western and Western provinces.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Madam, it is not true that the ECZ has supervisors. The ECZ operates under the framework of the Law, namely the Constitution of Zambia and the ECZ Act. The electoral process is very clear on which institution is empowered to conduct elections.  

 

Madam Chairperson, before I resume my seat – I can hear someone saying, “Are you a Minister?” I wish to state that I am a Minister in waiting.

 

I thank you, Madam.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, once again, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to wind up the debate on this Vote. I would also like to thank Hon. Ngulube, the Minister in waiting, for his debate on this Vote.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam, after listening to the debate on this Vote, I have realised that this is a an emotive matter. In fact, I wanted t go that route, but I am not going to do that.

Madam, I have received several requests more than fifteen requests from my hon. Colleagues wishing to debate this Vote. However, I hope that the debates of Hon. Ngulube and mine will suffice as responses. All in all, I wish to thank most sincerely all the hon. Colleagues such as Hon. Kabanda who have debated in support of this Vote.

 

Madam Chairperson, like Hon. Kabanda rightly debated, any process, whether election or otherwise, must undergo a postmortem. Therefore, there is no doubt that a big process such as an electoral process of our country cannot be investigated, especially with the kind of issues that were raised. For the first time, we had to wait for fourteen days of several electoral processes in order for the President to be sworn in. This, definitely, calls for a postmortem. Therefore, I am grateful for the support.

 

Madam, the ECZ is not going on a sabbatical. To suggest that the ECZ should go on a sabbatical because of the results of the 2016 General Elections is misplaced because this institution has been managing elections in this country from time immemorial. The Patriotic Front (PF) was in the Opposition for many years, from 2001 until it won the elections in 2011 under the ECZ. What our hon. Colleagues who have suggested that the ECZ goes on a sabbatical need to work hard. When they work hard, their efforts will pay dividends like we did. However, this will come after 100 years …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Tell them!

 

Mr Musukwa: … because we are already preparing on how to defeat them in 2021.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: So, instead of concentrating on the ECZ, they should concentrate on the political field.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: Hon. Ladies and Gentlemen, the autonomy and independence of the ECZ are clear. For instance, the PF has raised several issues with the ECZ in regard to the elections.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: If we had the mandate to control them, we would not have raised certain issues with them.

 

 Interruptions

 

Madam First Chairperson: Order!

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, I can see that it is interesting to speak while seated. Hon. Members should stand up and debate.

Laughter

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam, the PF is a product of the Opposition. However, it formed Governemnt eventually.

 

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: So, if our colleagues work hard, they will also form Government when convince the Zambian people across the divide and in all the provinces to vote for them.

 

Hon. Government Members: Not one!

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, even in examinations …

 

Madam First Chairperson: Order!

 

Hon. Members on my left, you had your chance to debate.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Madam First Chairperson: Order!

 

 Allow the right to respond to the issues that you raised. The Acting Leader of Government Business and Chief Whip is doing just that. Can you allow him to respond.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Madam First Chairperson: Order!

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, I am very grateful.

 

Madam, I also wish to thank Hon. Gary Nkombo who debated in support of this Vote. He referred to some matters that are before the courts of law. Notwithstanding your guidance, I wish to say something about the election in Mushindano because it was in the public domain.

 

Hon. Colleagues, it is important for us, as Members of Parliament, to take time to read, especially the laws that we enact in this House. The Electoral Act, provides for the ECZ to make corrections in case of a mistake ...

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: … because human beings are not infallible. I wish to advise my colleague, the hon. Member for Dundumwezi, to read Section 76, which provides for that undertaking. So, if there is a mistake, there is a provision under the law corrections, and that is what happened in Mushindano.

Madam Chairperson, let me thank Hon. Tambatamba …

 

Hon. Opposition Members: What about Chavuma?

 

Madam First Chairperson: Order!

 

Mr Musukwa: I have the capacity to take you on.

 

Madam First Chairperson:  Order!

 

May the Leader of Government Business in the House address the Chair, please.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Musukwa: I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

 

Madam, I listened attentively to Hon. Tambatamba and Hon. Syakalima debates who also called for the disbandment of the ECZ.  I wish to state that we are not going to disband this institution because of what transpired in the 2016 General Elections. The ECZ is here to stay.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Musukwa: So, it deserves the support of all the hon. Members of Parliament, especially that they are in this House because they were declared winner in their various constituencies by the ECZ.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, Hon. Ngulube has clearly explained the electoral petitions that are going on in the country. When a family member is lost, it is very painful. Therefore, we understand the cries of our colleagues. It is for this reason that we always advise them not to concentrate on issues surrounding the winning of the 2016 Elections.   

 

  Madam Chairperson, as regards the issue of Mr Chavula, …

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: … I am sure we are all aware that it is before the courts of law. It is still under investigation. I am sure that the nation will be told what transpired and how many people were involved at an appropriate time.

 

Madam Chairperson, I wish to sincerely thank all the hon. Members of Parliament, especially the Opposition, for their unanimous support of this Vote.

 

I thank you, Madam.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

VOTE 05/01 − (Electoral Commission Headquarters – K74,336,606).

 

Ms Mwashingwele (Katuba): Madam Chairperson, I seek clarification on Programme 4002, Activity 010 – International Women’s Day Celebrations – K120,000, Activity 012 – Labour Day Celebrations – K120,000 and  Activity 023 – World AIDS Day – K100,000. I can see that the allocations for the three items have doubled and trebled. Why is this so, especially that these are not the core business of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ)?

 

The Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Ms Chalikosa): Madam, Programme 4002, Activity 010 – International Women’s Day Celebrations – K120,000, Activity 012 – Labour Day Celebrations – K120,000 and  Activity 023 – World AIDS Day – K100,000, the reason is that during 2016, the ECZ was involved in the preparations for the General Elections and did not fully commemorate these days. Therefore, the commission wants to fully participate in the commemoration of these important days in 2017.

 

I thank you, Madam.

 

Mr Jere (Livingstone): Madam Chairperson, may I have clarification on Programme 4006, Activity 012 – Annual Subscriptions to Professional Bodies – K157,009. When I compare the figure for this year with that for next year, I am meant to believe that there are probably deliberate intentions of making half payments. Is that so?

 

Ms Chalikosa: Madam Chairperson, on Programme 4006, Activity 012 – Annual Subscriptions to Professional Bodies – K157,009, in the past, the allocation was meant for costs associated with membership subscriptions for the commission and for members of staff to professional bodies. The provision has decreased by 65 per cent due to the fact that the commission has reallocated some costs to Programme 4056, Activity 18 – Membership Subscription Fees – K450,000, which is meant for corporate bodies that the commission belongs to. The cost provided for under this budget line only relates to members of staff. This is also affected by the changes in the exchange rates, since most subscriptions are dominated in foreign currency. The provision has also factored in any other changes due to the financial and economic situation of the country.

 

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

 

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Madam Chairperson, may I have clarification on Programme 4003, Activity 011 – Long-Term Training (6 Months Above) – K10,000. How many people are going for this long-term training that has been  allocated K10,000 only?

 

Ms Chalikosa: Madam Chairperson, on Programme 4003, Activity 011 – Long-Term Training (6 Months Above) – K10,000, the actual number of people going for training will be made available later. However, the allocation is for supporting members of staff who are studying to attain the necessary academic and professional qualifications in their respective fields of work. The reduction is due to an anticipated decrease in the number of members of staff undertaking such courses in 2017, as most of them have already undergone some form of  training.

 

I thank you, Madam.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Chonya (Kafue): Madam Chairperson, can I have clarification on Programme 4002, Activity 031 – Special Events, Launches and Farewells – K250,000. The allocation for this budget line has increased from K50,000 in 2016 to K250,000 for 2017. What departures and farewells are these? Are we anticipating the departure of some of the people who probably helped rig the election?

 

The First Chairperson: Order!

 

Hon. Member, do not go that route.

 

Interruptions

 

The First Chairperson: I will not allow that question to be answered.

 

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Madam Chairperson, my question is on Programme 4071, Activity 015 – Editorial & Website Committee – K200,000. I would like some enlightenment on what this budget item entails.

 

Ms Chalikosa: Madam Chairperson, on Programme 4071, Activity 015 – Editorial & Website Committee – K200,000, this is the cost of editorial responsibilities and hosting of the website for the commission.

 

I thank you, Madam.

 

Vote 05/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

VOTE 10 – (Zambia Police Service Commission – K6,335,523).

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, I thank you most sincerely for according me yet another opportunity to present next year’s Estimates of Expenditure for the Zambia Police Service Commission. I wish to remind the House that the Zambia Police Service Commission was established under Service Commission Act No. 10 of 2016. The mandate, composition and functions of the commission are outlined under Part VIII, Subsection 226 of the amended Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, 2016. Its operations and jurisdictions are defined by the said Act and other rules and regulations that are governed by the employment in the Public Service in the Republic of Zambia.

 

Madam Chairperson, some of the functions of the Zambia Police Service Commission are to:

 

  1. second, transfer, re-grade and separate employees in the Zambia Police Service;

 

  1. facilitate the transfer of staff across the commission;

 

  1. transfer employees from one Government institution to another Government institution within the Zambia Police Service;

 

  1. authorise the withholding, reduction, deferment or suspension of salaries of employees in the Zambia Police Service;

 

  1. hear and determine complaints and appeals from officers whose cases have been determined by Government institutions within the Zambia Police Service;

 

  1. set and promote a code of ethics and human resource management principles and values for the Zambia Police Service in accordance with the values and principles set out in Section 4;

 

  1. establish standards and guidelines on human resource management for the Zambia Police Service;

 

  1. monitor and evaluate compliance with the code of ethics, human resource management, principles and values and other standards and guidelines on human resource management for the Zambia Police Service in the execution of delegated powers and functions by Government institutions within the Zambia Police Service;

 

  1. impose appropriate sanctions, including the withdrawal of the delegated human resource management function on erring Government institutions in the Zambia Police Service; and

 

  1. perform such other functions as are necessary or incidental to the regulation of human resource management in the Zambia Police Service.

 

Madam Chairperson, next year’s budget for the commission stands at K6,335,523 and the commission would like to undertake sittings and monitoring in provinces as well as attend to offences in the Zambia Police Service.

 

In order to improve service delivery, the commission will continue working on the programme of delegating some of its functions to controlling officers and divisions next year. This initiative will reduce the delay in handling human resource matters and enable the commission to concentrate on policy matters and monitoring and evaluation as a way of attending to critical issues of appeals.

 

Madam Chairperson, may I also bring to your attention that like any other Government institution, the commission has several challenges and major among them is that of inadequate office space. Therefore, there is a need for the commission to construct its own office accommodation.

 

Madam Chairperson, in conclusion, I wish  to take this opportunity to appeal to all the hon. Members of Parliament to support the Estimates of Expenditure for the Zambia Police Service Commission for 2017.

 

I thank you, Madam.

 

Madam Chairperson, I sincerely thank my hon. Colleagues, both on the left and right, for unanimously supporting this Vote.

 

I thank you, Madam.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Vote 10/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

VOTE 34 – (Human Rights CommissionHeadquarters  – K12,182,093).

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, I rise to present the policy statement and justification for the Estimates of Expenditure for the Human Rights Commission for 2017, amounting to K12,182,093.

 

Madam Chairperson, the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment), Act No.2 of 2016 brought about progressive provisions that have a direct impact on the commission...

 

Madam Chairperson: Order!

 

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

 

[THE FIRST CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES in the

Chair]

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 brought about progressive provisions that have a direct impact on the commission. From the preamble up to Article 265, there is a running theme on the centrality of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Constitution holds all important processes and persons responsible for upholding and respecting human rights, from the President to the Judiciary and duty bearers such as the Zambia Police Service and the Human Rights Commission. The autonomy, independence and powers of the commission have been enhanced in Articles 216, 230, 238, 239, 240, 242 and 259 to 265 of the Constitution.

 

Following the enactment of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016, the Human Rights Commission is now established under Article 230(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia. Article 230(2) provides for the mandate of the commission to ensure the protection and upholding of the Bill of Rights. Under Article 230(1), the Constitution makes it mandatory for the commission to establish offices in the provinces and, progressively, in districts. Currently, the commission only has presence in Lusaka and other five provincial capitals, namely Mongu, Ndola, Kasama, Chipata and Livingstone. Article 241(d) of the Constitution gives power to the commission to take measures to ensure that institutions of the  State and other persons comply with its recommendations. My Government remains committed to ensuring that the new constitutional provisions are realised in protecting and promoting human rights.

 

Madam Chairperson, in 2016, the Commission continued to execute its mandate as provided under the Constitution and Human Rights Commission Act No. 39 of 1996.

 

In 2016, the commission continued to receive complaints of alleged violation of human rights. By the end of the third quarter of 2016, the commission had received a total of 658 cases from its six provincial offices. More than 85 per cent of the admitted cases were investigated and concluded with, while others were referred to other institutions for further action. Most of the cases of violation of human rights were employment related which included unpaid dues, unlawful dismissal, discrimination, victimisation and unfavourable working conditions. Other prevalent cases that were reported included land disposition, child neglect, torture and inhuman and cruel treatment, maladministration of justice and unlawful detention.

 

Madam, 2016 being an election year, the commission also investigated cases of alleged political violence and police brutality. In certain instances, the commission assisted the victims to obtain police medical reports which had ordinarily been denied by the police.

 

Madam Chairperson, the commission also conducted inspections of all police stations across the country to assess the conditions under which suspects were being held under the Bail and Bond Reform Project. It was noted that there were still cases of prolonged detention, contrary to Section 33 of the Criminal Procedure Code Act, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia, which requires that a suspect be released on police bond or appear before the courts of law within 24 hours.

 

Madam Chairperson, the commission, therefore, embarked on a consultative process aimed at bringing reforms in the law relating to bail and bond by assisting in the preparation of the Bill to deal with bail and bond and matters incidental or connected thereto. The Bill seeks to expressly provide that the police bond be free and that suspects be informed of their right to apply for police bond or bail the through police and the Judiciary respectively, among other things.

 

In addition, Madam Chairperson, the commission has also developed a handbook on best practices in the administration of bail and bond for use by law enforcement agencies and the Judiciary.

 

Madam, the commission also inspected the conditions under which inmates were subjected to in the Lusaka Central, Livingstone, Mongu, Chipata Central, Kasenshi and Milima correctional facilities. In addition, the commission also conducted monitoring visits to facilities in the Northern, Western, Southern, Copperbelt and Eastern provinces.

 

Generally speaking, Madam Chairperson, the conditions prevailing at the detention facilities across the country still fell way below the international standards, as stipulated in the 1955 United Nations Standard Minimum Rule for Treatment of Prisoners (SMRTP).

 

However, my Government has made several interventions aimed at bringing the facilities to acceptable standards. The interventions include the construction of new correctional facilities, rehabilitation of the facilities and legal reforms aimed at transforming prisons into correctional facilities.

 

Madam Chairperson, in respect to protecting children’s rights, in 2016, the commission trained teachers and journalists on child rights governance and protection in the school environment and the community. Further, it conducted countrywide children’s rights mobile clinics to raise awareness on children’s rights and give members of the public an opportunity to interact with the commission, and report cases of human rights violations or abuses where necessary.

 

Madam Chairperson, the commission implemented a wide range of human rights sensitisation programmes, education and training activities in line with its constitutional mandate to promote civic education on human rights. Primary among the activities implemented in the areas were:

 

  1. engagement of stakeholders on the implementation of the Public Order Act in order to promote and protect the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression. These included stakeholders such as the Zambia Police Service, Political Parties, Faith-Based Organisations, Trade Unions, Civil Society Organisations and student bodies. My Government is committed to promoting the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression because these are fundamental human rights protected under the Bill of Rights and various international and regional instruments which Zambia has voluntarily ratified;

 

  1. conduct of a spirited public sensitisation exercise on the proposed Bill of Rights to promote increased understanding, appreciation and voter turnout during the 11th August 2016 National Referendum. Regrettably, Madam Chairperson, as you are aware, the Referendum was unsuccessful and the country still has a Bill of Rights that only protects limited civil and political rights …

 

Mr Musukwa coughed.

 

Mr Musukwa: Excuse me, Madam Chairperson.

 

Mr Musukwa drank some water.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musukwa: Yes, you were too quiet!

 

Laughter

 

Mr Musukwa:        … and does not protect social, economic, cultural, environmental and other rights such as those of the older members of society, persons with disability, women and youths. Despite the unsuccessful Referendum, the commission’s intervention in terms of simplifying and translating the proposed Bill of Rights in seven local languages had, and continues to have, a positive impact and contributed to the relatively high voter turnout that was experienced despite failing to reach the required threshold;

 

  1. carrying out sensitisation activities aimed at promoting the rights to freedom from torture and other cruel inhuman and degrading treatment, and punishment. The sensitisation was also carried out among selected Members of Parliament who can attest to this; and

 

  1. drafting a Bill criminalising torture in Zambia, in conjunction with the Government, State and Non-State actors. In 1998, Zambia ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture, but has not yet domesticated it. Although the Bill of Rights prohibits torture, there is no legislation that defines or prescribes penalties for acts of torture in Zambia. This poses a challenge in providing effective remedies to victims of torture and the courts of law in handing out penalties that are commensurate with the gravity of the effects of torturing citizens.

 

Madam Chairperson, we hope that hon. Members will support the Bill when it is presented in Parliament so as to domesticate the United Nations Convention against Torture.

 

Madam Chairperson, in an effort to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which includes the State’s duty to protect businesses in respect to human rights and the effective remedies for victims of violations of human rights, the commission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, embarked on a process of creating stakeholders’ awareness around the findings from the 2015 Baseline Assessment on Business and Human Rights.

 

The commission has also been actively involved in trying to domesticate the African Mining Vision 2030 and the provision of training to small-scale miners in human rights and responsible mining practices in Zambia.

 

Madam Chairperson, one of the important roles that a national human rights institution is expected to play is that of advising the Government and the National Assembly, at the request of the authorities concerned or through its initiative. In 2016, the commission made submissions to the National Assembly of Zambia on:

 

  1. the Public Protector Bill;

 

  1. the Police Public Complaints Authority Commission Bill;

 

  1. the Constitution of Zambia Act Bill;

 

  1. the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill;

 

  1. the Court of Appeal Bill;

 

  1. the Constitutional Court Bill;

 

  1. the appointment of commissioners  for the Human Rights Commission; and

 

  1. the appointment of Judges to serve in the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Court of Appeals and the High Court.

 

The commission continued to work closely with the different ministries and Government departments in providing the necessary inputs to ensure a human rights-based approach in the different interventions. This included providing input on State party reports on international instruments which Zambia is a party to.

 

Madam Chairperson, this statement is long because of the sentimentalities attached to this subject. However, I will be winding up soon.

 

Madam Chairperson, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our co-operating partners for the financial and technical support to the Human Rights Commission in 2016. Their support went a long way in supplementing the Government’s efforts.

 

Madam Chairperson, to enable the Human Rights Commission to carry out its mandate in 2017, a total of K12,182,093 has been allocated in the 2017 Budget. In 2017, the commission will provide an opportunity for the continuation of the process of giving effect to the new constitutional provisions through the amendment of the Human Rights Commission Act so as to bring it in line with the new Constitution and monitor the implementation of the new Constitution. 

 

Madam Chairperson, in 2017, the Human Rights Commission will continue receiving complaints and investigating allegations of human rights violations. The commission will also continue to provide legal advice and resolve matters by way of negotiation, mediation, or conciliation to clients whom, in most cases, are vulnerable people who are unable to afford services of private legal counsels in accordance with the Constitution of Zambia.

 

Madam Chairperson, as per its mandate, the Human Rights Commission will also continue to conduct inspections of detention facilities to ensure that they comply with internationally-accepted standard rules for the treatment of all persons in detention. In this regard, the commission will focus on tracking cases that had delayed to be disposed of, with special focus on vulnerable groups such as juveniles, persons with disabilities, women and prohibited migrants.

 

Madam Chairperson, the inspection of detention facilities for both the Zambia Police Service and the Zambia Correctional Service helps to highlight the successes and challenges faced by the detaining authorities. This, in turn, will help the State to intervene.

 

Madam Chairperson, the Human Rights Commission will continue conducting sensitisation and awareness activities in 2017 and beyond until there is an improvement in the promotion and protection of affected rights and freedoms. The commission will also engage both the State and non-State actors in promoting and protecting the rights of vulnerable members of society, in particular, persons with disabilities, women and girls. Civil education on human rights will be an important aspect of human rights promotion and protection.

 

Madam Chairperson, I urge the distinguished hon. Members of Parliament to support the 2017 budget for the Human Rights Commission.

 

I thank you.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to say one or two words on the Vote for the Human Rights Commission. I would like to thank the hon. Chief Whip for the elaborate presentation.

 

Madam Chairperson, apart from hon. Members of Parliament gathered in this House, I wonder how many people know about the existence of the Human Rights Commission. It has been said that it has presence mainly in Lusaka and, maybe, five other provincial headquarters. This, definitely, limits its influence and access to its services by the citizens of this country. This may force one to wonder what it really does. What value does the Human Rights Commission add to the welfare of the people of Zambia? What significant thing has it done in the past five years since the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power? Better yet, what has it done in the last year?

 

Mr Mwamba: It has been there for years!

 

Mr Lufuma: Yes, but our focus at the moment is on the PF. You are the ones in power and we want to ‘hammer’ you.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Lufuma: I ask these questions so that we can establish the relevance of this institution in today’s democracy that is led by the PF Government.

 

Madam Chairperson, according to the hon. Chief Whip, the Human Rights Commission is an institution that ought to defend the human rights of citizens of Zambia. It constitutes foot soldiers; those in the front line, who are supposed to ensure that the Government, which has the propensity to abuse human rights, is checked. Therefore, the Human Rights Commission is a creation of the Constitution that must be the watchdog to ensure that Government abuses are checked.

 

In this regard, Madam Chairperson, I would like to itemise the roles and functions of the Human Rights Commission so that I can practically ‘attack’ each one of them to see if it has been up to its task. As I said earlier, the first role is to defend the rights of the citizenry. In this case, it should defend the Bill of Rights. The second role is to ensure that there is enough sensitisation and campaigning to ensure that every citizen is aware of what constitutes his/her human rights, obligations and responsibilities.

 

Madam Chairperson, the third role is that of watchdog, vis-à-vis, monitoring the observance of human rights. It also entails that the Government does not abuse rights of citizens as enshrined in the Constitution. That is paramount. The question is: What has been happening on the ground? The first role states that the Human Rights Commission is there to defend the human rights of citizens. However, I have not heard the Human Rights Commission say anything about the abuses that have been taken place, especially in the last one year or so. This is with regard to what happened before, during and after the elections that have just passed. As far as I am concerned, there has not been adequate sensitisation to ensure that the entire citizenry knows its rights, responsibilities and obligations due to the commission’s limited presence in Lusaka and the five provincial headquarters only.  So, the majority of people in the rural do not know their human rights. Consequently, their rights are trampled upon. In terms of it being a watchdog of the Government, it is clear that the Human Rights Commission has not played this role effectively, especially since the PF came into power.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, I will pick two rights, namely the right to information and the right to free expression. I have picked the two human rights because of what has been happening in this regard. The rights actually relate to the media. We have been talking about the Access to Information Bill for a long time now. I think we have been talking about this since the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) era. The MMD did not do anything about the Access to Information Bill. The PF assured the people that immediately it takes the realm of power, it would ensure that the Access to Information Bill is passed. Can I ask: When did you pass the Bill?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Lufuma: You have been bragging that you would do it. When are you going to pass this Bill?

 

The First Chairperson: Ask them through the Chair.

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, when are they going to pass the Bill?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, nothing has been done about it. The Access to Information Bill has not been supported by the Human Rights Commission. I have not heard a single word from any commissioner supporting and urging the Government to do what is right, yet that is their job. We are allocating money to the commission so that it can urge the Government to pass the Bill. This is a watchdog institution but, unfortunately, it is not doing its work.

 

Madam Chairperson, with regard to freedom of expression, we have observed that citizens are constrained. If I want to say something, where do I go? I cannot go to the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).

 

Mr S. Tembo: Why?

 

Mr Lufuma: This is because it is a vuzuvela ...

 

Laughter

 

Mr Lufuma: … of the PF.

 

The First Chairperson: Tell us what vuvuzela means. What does it mean?

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, basically, it is an institution that does whatever the master says. It is just like a musical instrument whose tune is dependent upon the one playing it. We have witnessed the closure of The Post, Muvi Television, Komboni Radio and Itezhi-tezhi Radio. Although the institutions have been opened, they operate in fear. As a result, a common person like me has nowhere to express him/herself freely. Where was the Human Rights Commission when the institutions were being closed and muzzled? The Post is now going to be history.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, The Post was an independent media house that was part and parcel of good democracy and governance, but this Government has destroyed it. Shame on the PF.

 

Interruptions

 

The First Chairperson: Move on, hon. Member.

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, let me talk about the police brutality which is prominent in this country. The Director of Komboni Radio was beaten by six ‘grown-up’ police officers.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, one lady who was beaten by six police officers. In trying to defending herself, she bit one of them. Instead of the brutality of the police officers making news, the ZNBC reported the biting as news. I did not hear any word from the Human Rights Commission.

 

Mr S. Tembo: Are you sure?

 

Mr Lufuma: I am very sure, Sir.

 

Mr S. Tembo: Where?

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, in her attempt to gain access to information so that she is well-informed before cast her vote, a young lady by the name of Mapenzi was murdered in cold blood.

 

The First Chairperson: Who is Mapenzi?

 

Mr Lufuma: You know who she is.

 

Interruptions

 

The First Chairperson: Order!

 

Hon. Member, for the sake of the record, please, when you introduce a name, try to give some background to it.

 

You may continue.

 

Hon. Government Members: Wamona nomba!

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, Mapenzi was an innocent citizen who was gunned down by the police around Kamwala when she was going to attend a public rally. That was cold-blooded murder. I did not hear anything from the Human Rights Commission. They are supposed to condemn the Government for what was done. Some known PF cadres who have been running around with guns, shooting and maiming innocent victim as if we are still in the Wild Wild West era, went scot-free. These …

 

The first Chairperson: Order!

 

If you continue talking about people running around with firearms, I am going to have to ask you to substantiate that.

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, do you really want me to substantiate?

 

The First Chairperson: If you can, that would be helpful.

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, I am sorry ...

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Lufuma: ... that I have to substantiate by saying that my neighbour, the hon. Minister of Defence, shot at someone in the Western Province.

 

Mr Chama: On a point of order, Madam.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Lufuma: I am talking about cadres moving around with guns.

 

Hon. PF Members: Mapenzi!

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, these are instances where the Human Rights Commissions should have immediately castigated the Government of the day, but it did not. Now, we are allocating it K12,182,093. What is it going to use it for if it is not able to do what it is supposed to do? I do not support the allocation of K12,182,093. I would rather this money is allocated to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) or to Kabompo for the construction of a second level hospital.

 

Hon. PF Members: Question!

 

Mr Lufuma: This institution must be done away with. In fact, I have requested to Hon. Jack Mwiimbu that I move a Motion to ensure that it is ‘scraped off’ and he agreed to second it. This institution must be done away with.

 

The First Chairperson: Order, Hon. Lufuma!

 

The hon. Minister of Home Affairs may take the Floor.

Mr Mweetwa rose.

 

The First Chairperson: I have moved on. You indicated way too late. I called for debate earlier, Hon. Mweetwa. I have moved on.

 

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the policy statement by the Acting Leader of Government Business in the House and Chief Whip, who is discharging this role with admirable vigour.

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Madam Chairperson, Acting Leader of Government Business in the House and Chief Whip indicated in the policy statement the importance to the nation of the Human Rights Commission.

 

From the outset, let me mention that the Motion that the hon. Member is planning to move to propose the scrapping off of this important commission will not see the light of day in this Chamber.

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: The Human Rights Commission is here to stay because it is performing its functions as stipulated in the Constitution of Zambia.

 

Madam Chairperson, I have decided to contribute to this debate because some of the complaints that have been raised have a direct bearing on the Ministry of Home Affairs, which I superintend. Regrettably, I have to acknowledge the complaints that have been attributed to the Police Service.

 

Madam Chairperson, I would like to urge the commission to take advantage of the new changes that we have made to the Police Public Complaints Commission, which oversees the conduct of police officers, and whose name has changed to the Police Complaints Authority. I would like to urge the commission to collaborate with the Police Complaints Authority because its portfolio functions include following up on complaints relating to the conduct of police officers.

 

Madam Chairperson, I have stated earlier on the Floor of this House, behind the uniforms are human beings like anybody else. So, they are prone to err. In view of this, we should have institutions to oversee and check their professional conduct on a daily basis if possible. Therefore, I would like to urge the Human Rights Commission to collaborate with the Police Complaints Authority in ensuring that the complaints that are channelled to it, are processed, approved and taken care of by the authority because it will have in its framework modalities of meting out disciplinary measures, including the dismissal of officers found wanting.

 

Madam Chairperson, I know that police officers operate under extreme pressure and difficult circumstances, but that does not permit them to veer off their ethics and abuse people’s rights. So, this is what we are doing in this regard.

 

Madam Chairperson, the other issue was in regard to the holding facilities for people in detention. It is only the Patriotic Front (PF) Government that has seen the need to modernise police facilities to ensure that male and female juvenile offenders are kept separately in an environment that is conducive for them and that male and female adult offenders are also kept in dignified holding cells.

 

Madam Chairperson, you have seen that a number of police facilities that we are putting up have these facilities. Even the rooms where police officers interview suspects have been made conducive. With the increase in the incidents of violence against women, we have ensured that those who report such cases are protected by giving them a conducive environment where they can give information to officers from. We must commend ourselves for undertaking this mammoth task.

 

Madam Chairperson, you just need to go to the districts and see what sort of police facilities there are. That why we acknowledge some of the challenges. As the Government, we are taking practical steps to start addressing them without passing the buck.

 

Madam Chairperson, the other issue was in regard to the correctional services formerly known as prisons. Again, the facilities are very old. Some of them are even older than our nation. They were built for punitive detention by the colonial masters. The population has grown and all the facilities are full beyond capacity at the moment. Therefore, we cannot expect the inmates to enjoy their rights.

 

Madam Chairperson, in fact, we are now shifting from the punitive kind of incarceration to a reformatory type where we should ask what should be done for the offender. We have to ensure that they come out of confinement as responsible, productive and law abiding citizens. So, we need to teach them skills such as carpentry, farming and various others.

 

Madam Chairperson, we are also trying to facilitate the reformers’ integration into society after their term of sentence. This will be done by ensuring that they are able to sustain themselves when they leave the reformatory facilities so that they do not go back to their old ways. We cannot achieve this if we do not provide the facilities. We cannot achieve this if we do not provide the facilities.

 

Madam Chairperson, I will be coming back to this House to update it on what initiatives the Government has come up with in regards to the construction of new correctional facilities. Most of the correctional facilities are a sorry site.

 

Madam Chairperson, we acknowledge the contents of the report by the Human Rights Commission, concerning the correctional facilities, as it has been the same year in and year out. However, what is different now is that the Government has acknowledged these challenges and is taking practical steps to address them for the first time in the history of this country. It is only the Patriotic Front (PF) Government that has been able to open a new correctional service facility. We had to decongest the maximum correctional facility in Kabwe by moving a good number of inmates to Mwembeshi.

 

Madam Chairperson, you may wish to know that the construction of the facility at Mwembeshi started somewhere in 1979. The PF Government to complete the project after realising that the situation had gotten out of hand. The situation is still dire at the moment. However, I will be coming to this House to update it on what we are doing with regard to the expansion of holding capacities in our correctional service facilities.

 

Madam Chairperson, let me take this opportunity to urge the Human Rights Commission, as they produce their reports, to also acquaints itself with what we are doing so that we move in tandem.

 

Madam Chairperson, Hon. Lufuma talked about police brutality. I think I addressed this matter extensively in my ministerial statement. However, I wish to repeat what I said last time that journalist and all other professions need to work with the police because it the responsibility of the police to look after all citizens as they perform their duties. The police are there to make sure that people perform their duties without interference. I also mentioned that it was regrettable that there was that altercation between the police and the female journalist. It was regrettable in whichever way you may look at it. Regardless of who was excessive to the other, it was a regrettable occurrence. I have insisted that inn future, we would like people to work in harmony and with mutual respect for one another because we need each other.

 

Madam Chairperson, the issue of curbing police brutality is not just for the hon. Minister of Home Affairs. It is a responsibility of all of us here because the expenditure for the police is appropriated by this House. We all need the services of our men and women in uniform.

 

Mr Lihefu: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: There is no one who has never run to the police. Even with all the complaints that have been highlighted, everyone runs to the police at one time or another because that is what they are there for. So, we need to help them. We are embarking on a major programme of establishing an in-service training facility so that police officers can go there from time to time to refresh their knowledge and enhance their skills. The course programme will include issues to do with human rights so that they know where people’s rights start and end. We need to remind one another on issues of human rights. We cannot condemn the police outrightly and render them useless. We need the police. What is important is to come up with remedies where we can.

 

Madam Chairperson, my dear hon. Colleague also talked about Access to Information Bill. This Government has been committed to ensuring that progressive pieces of legislation are dealt with. For instance, we passed the Constitutional Amendment Bill at all odds. When we went to sensitise the people about the Referendum and the Bill of Rights, we wanted the input of our colleagues. I would have liked to see Hon. Lufuma convince the people about the Referendum and the Bill of Rights with the same vigour he has debated them today.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: We did not want to have piecemeal amendments to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights contained everything. So, the Referendum could have helped deal with the problems. This time, we would have been enhancing the human rights that my brother is talking about.

 

Mr Mutale: Waona manje!

 

Mr Kampyongo: We do not want to finger point or cry over spilt milk. We need to pick up the pieces. Next time around everyone should participate and not play a blame game. The Bill of Rights will not be for the Government alone. Yes, we made some promises and we are still committed to fulfilling them.

 

Mr Mutale: Mwaona!

 

Mr Kampyongo: However,  this should be collective responsibility just as it should have been before the Referendum, to convince the people …

 

Mr Chisopa: Hammer, hammer Minister!

 

Mr Kampyongo: … that it was good for them. Those rights were not going to be for the President of Zambia who is in State House.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: So, let us not belittle matters. We could have dealt with this matter of the Bill of Rights once and for all.

 

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, I think that the Leader of Government Business in the House and Chief Whip adequately handled the matters raised. I would like to thank most sincerely, Hon. Lufuma and all those who have supported this Vote in silence.

 

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Vote 31/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Vote 09/01 – (Teaching Service Commission – Office of the President – Headquarters – K7,875,580).

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, thank you for the opportunity accorded to me to present this year’s Estimates of Expenditure for the Teaching Service Commission. The Teaching Service Commission is one of the service commissions in Zambia, established under Section 223 of the Constitution (2016) and whose mandate, composition and functions are outlined in the Service Commission Act, No.10 of 2016. Its operations and jurisdictions are defined by the said legislation and regulation that govern employment in the Republic of Zambia.

 

Madam Chairperson, as you may be aware, the Government is in the process of implementing the Decentralisation Programme. This includes, the Teaching Service Commission transferring the primary, early and adult education sectors to the council authorities. Furthermore, the Government Human Resource Management Reforms entails the delegation of some functions of the Teaching Service Commission to the line ministry for the remaining sectors up to a prescribed salary scale in the Ministry of General Education.

 

Consequently, Madam Chairperson, the key roles of the Teaching Service Commission will include:

 

  1. monitoring and evaluating compliance with the code of ethics, human resource management principles and values and any other standards, and guidelines on human resource management for the Teaching Service, in execution of delegated powers and functions by Government institutions in the Teaching Service;

 

  1. building capacity of personnel to ensure continued enhancement and sustained adherence to Human Resource Management Principles and Standards;

 

  1. implementing Provincial Operational Programmes and or sittings to deal with promotions, confirmation of officers and administering of discipline in the functional areas that will remain with the commission;

 

  1. establishing and carrying out periodical reviews of standards and guidelines on Human Resource Management for the Teaching Service; and

 

  1. acting as an appellate body.

 

Madam Chairperson, you may wish to note that in the past, the commission had delegated the function of the recruitment and transfer of teachers to the Ministry of General Education. In view of the amended Constitution Act No. 2 of 2016, the commission will assume the mandate of teacher recruitment in liaison with the Ministry of General Education.

 

Madam Chairperson, the Human Resource Management Reform Programme has created a new structure for all service commissions as enacted by Parliament. Consequently, the emoluments  for personnel in the Teaching Service Commission have to be increased from the current K4,468,853.90 to K8,358,676 so as to accommodate more senior personnel to help address the enhanced areas of responsibility and improve the quality of services. Aside from the delegation of some of its functions to the line ministry, the commission shall continue to undertake the following cases at senior level from salary scale J to M:

                                                                                                       

  1. make acting appointments and promotions to any office in the said salary scale in the Teaching Service Commission on merit;

 

  1. authorise retirements and transfer of officers within the teaching service and across service commissions;

 

  1. exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in the established teaching service posts and remove any persons from such offices; and

 

  1. hear and determine complaints and appeals from employees whose cases have been determined by the line ministry and, in this case, we are referring to the human resource management committee within the ministry.

 

Madam Chairperson, in 2016, the commission has continued performing its function with a limited budget of K7,558,292. The funds allocated for dismantling arrears are inadequate, considering the huge outstanding debt.

 

Madam Chairperson, you may also wish to note that the Teaching Service Commission is the largest employer in the public sector, comprising, at least, 64 per cent of the total workforce. Therefore, underfunding this institution poses an enormous challenge in terms of service delivery. Therefore, the funding levels to be considered should be commensurate with the tasks that are dictated by the size of the commission.

 

Madam Chairperson, I now present the 2017 Budget Estimate for the Teaching Service Commission, amounting to K7,875,580. To some extent, the funds will support the portfolio functions of the commission in our continued effort to deliver efficient and effective services to the nation.

 

Madam Chairperson, let me end by urging this august House to support this budget as presented and to seriously consider the deficiency which has beset the commission.

 

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Madam Chairperson, I would like to support the Vote for the Teaching Service Commission. However, I would like to briefly state the challenges tha the teachers face.

 

Madam Chairperson, the responsibilities of the Teaching Service Commission include promoting teachers from one level to the other, employment of teachers and capacity building. If you went to Kalabo, you would find few teachers in schools. The promotion rate is low and teachers serve for a long time without being promoted. Even when they fill in all the necessary documents and submit them, it takes ages for them to be promoted. Some teachers even reach the retirement age whilst the process of promotion is underway. At which level are such teachers supposed to retire?

 

Madam Chairperson, I have observed that those in power do not use the power effectively. The Teaching Service Commission is constituted of people whom, I believe, have skills and expertise, but they do not utilise the skills effectively. Promotion is important because it motivates people to work harder. However, if a teacher works for many years without being promoted, the zeal to spirit also ‘dies’.

 

So, the Teaching Service Commission should visit the whole country. They have never been to Kalabo, but usually go to Mongu. It is important for the commission to reach Kalabo so that it can see the challenges the teachers are faced with. The teachers are not accommodated or given any housing allowances. The commission should also extend its visits from the provincial centres to the district so that it can interact with the teachers. Teachers have complained through the District Education Board Secretary’s (DEBS) Office, but they do not seem to get any good response.

 

Madam Chairperson, I cannot talk about other teachers elsewhere because I do not have much information. However, teachers in Kalabo do not offer a good service. They do not spend enough time in the classrooms. So, there is less input. Pupils go to school, but there are no teachers to teach them. The teachers take a month or, sometimes, three weeks to travel to the Boma to get their salaries. It seems they are only interested in the salaries. Some teachers have to Mongu to access banking facilities. I appreciate their predicament, but they are supposed to have a heart for the children they teach. Teachers are supposed to offer a service. They are supposed to serve anywhere where their services are required. So, when they agree to work anywhere, they should render a service in order to earn a salary.

 

I wish to urge the Teaching Service Commission to extend its visits and encourage the DEBS to act on papers that are submitted to their offices. It should also encourage teachers to change their attitude towards work so that their services can be of value to the pupils.

 

With these few remarks, I thank you.

 

Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Madam Chairperson, first and foremost, I wish to say that I support the proposed budget. However, I have a few observations to make on the Teaching Service Commission.

 

Madam Chairperson, the Teaching Service Commission is charged with a big responsibility. As stated by my hon. Colleague, it is the largest employer in the country followed by the Ministry of Health. When teachers are employed by the Teaching Service Commission, they are supposed to serve for six months before they are confirmed in their positions. Once that is done, they feel motivated. That is important to a teacher.

 

Madam Chairperson, Teaching Service Commission should expedite the process of promoting teachers. The District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) prepare documents for the promotion of teachers and send them to the Teaching Service Commission. However, the commission takes time to work on the documents. That is demoralising for teachers. The Teaching Service Commission should act on the documents promptly. This will motivate teachers to teach.

 

Madam Chairperson, the Teaching Service Commission takes time to act on retirement and disciplinary matters. The tendency not to dispose of such cases early sometimes results in teachers misbehaving, knowing that their cases may not be disposed of quickly. Therefore, to be an effective employer and disciplinarian, it is important that when a case is forwarded to the Teaching Service Commission, it quickly acts on it in order to deter would-be offenders.

 

Madam Chairperson, I wish to encourage the Teaching Service Commission to go round the country. You should not take long to deal with cases in the province, ...

 

The First Chairperson: Hon. Member, whom are you referring to when you say you?

 

Mr Mwamba: Madam Chairperson, I am referring to the Chair.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mwamba: The Teaching Service Commission through the Chair. I am referring to the Teaching Service Commission through the Chair.

 

The First Chairperson: Hon. Member, you know the rules of debate. So, follow those rules.

 

Mr Mwamba: Madam Chairperson, it takes time for  the Teaching Service Commission to go round the country promoting teachers, disposing of disciplinary cases and confirming those who have whose probation has come to an end. Sometimes, due to the limited time the commission has to spend in a province, it is unable to exhaust the cases. Instead, it asks the Provincial Education Officers (PEOs) to collect the files on its behalf. In the meantime, the commission would have moved to another. That is demoralising for the teachers because they expect to receive their letters of promotion or retirement after the commission’s visit to the province.

 

The Ministry of Finance should increase the allocation to the Teaching Service Commission to enable it to deal with cases effectively and in time. That way, teachers will be motivated. I support the budget, but with an increase.

 

Madam Chairperson, it is not the responsibility of the Teaching Service Commission to supervise teachers. Its job is to recruit, promote, retire and discipline teachers. The supervision of teachers is the responsibility of the DEBS, PEOs and Education Standards Officers. So, the Teaching Service Commission should encourage them to monitor the teachers on a regular basis. It should also encourage them to ensure that teachers’ problems are quickly attended to. If the problems faced by the teachers are left unattended to for long periods, teachers will not carry out their duties effectively and some of them may even misbehave. Therefore, it is the duty of the Teaching Service Commission and the Permanent Secretary to encourage the DEBS, PEOs and Education Standards Officers to look after the teachers so that the teachers can, in turn, do their work effectively.

 

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

 

Mr Musukwa: Madam Chairperson, the two hon. Members of Parliament who have debated this Vote are competent in the subject matter. I wish to assure them that the commission will go round the country in order to attend to the concerns that have been raised.

 

Hon. Miyutu, the current process of promotion is that there ought to be a vacancy for a promotion to be effected. Once there is a vacancy, recommendations should be raised by the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS), Provincial Education Officers (PEO) and the line ministry. These recommendations are then forwarded to the Teaching Service Commission to be acted on. So, in the absence of this process, it is difficult for the commission to take any action.

 

Hon. Miyutu also raised an issue to do with schools which are not yet gazetted. It is difficult for us to put a placement on schools that are not gazetted.

 

Hon. Mwamba, thank you for your contribution. The commission is committed to ensuring that the confirmation process takes place quickly. This, however, can only be done once all the required documents are in place and they reach the commission in good time. We have situations where people complain about delayed confirmation because of a lack of certain important documents that are missing from their files. Ordinarily, a teacher must be confirmed within six months. If there are teachers whose promotion has gone beyond six months, they should bring this to the attention of the concerned offices so that the process is done on time. 

 

I wish to thank the hon. Members for their support.

 

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

 

VOTE 09/01 – (Teaching Service CommissionOffice of the PresidentHeadquarters – K7,875,580).

 

Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Madam Chairperson, may I have clarification on Programme 5073, Activity 001 – Monitoring and Evaluation – Various – Nil. One of the functions in the proposed budget under this item is monitoring and compliance. I want to believe that this is where the inspections take place. However, this activity has not been provided for in next year’s Budget. I would like to find out why this is so.

 

The Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Ms Chalikosa): Madam Chairperson, on Programme 5073, Activity 001 – Monitoring and Evaluation – Various – Nil, the non-allocation is due to the variation of funds to provincial operations and recruitment of teachers.

 

I thank you, Madam.

 

Mr Lufuma: Madam Chairperson, may I have clarification on Programme 5016, Activity 013 – Recruitment of Teachers – K 500,000. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether she has the figures of how many teachers will be recruited.

 

Ms Chalikosa: Madam Chairperson, on Programme 5016, Activity 013 – Recruitment of Teachers – K 500,000 unfortunately, I do not have the figures.

 

I thank you.

 

Vote 09/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

VOTE 04 – (Ministry of Gender – K63,979,484).

 

The Minister of Gender (Ms Kalima): Madam Chairperson, I am grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to present the policy statement on my ministry’s budget for 2017. In my presentation, I shall briefly state the mandate of the ministry and highlight the major achievements made in 2016. I shall also endeavour to bring out the challenges my ministry is faced with before I state the significant policy measures for the 2017 Budget.

 

Madam Chairperson, the Ministry of Gender is mandated to co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of the National Gender Policy in order to ensure gender responsiveness in all spheres of national development.

 

In line with the Vision 2030, the ministry envisages a nation where there is gender equality, equity and full realisation of the potential of girls, boys, women and men for sustainable development.

 

Madam Chairperson, I wish to reassure the august House that my ministry is doing its best to ensure that the objectives and measures outlined in the National Gender Policy are implemented efficiently and effectively in order to contribute to the attainment of the Vision 2030.

 

Madam Chairperson, the ministry is positioning itself through the Agricultural Development through the Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) Project to find a sustainable way of reducing poverty and improving the living standards of women and men in rural areas by empowering them through agriculture mechanisation and value addition.

 

The ministry’s area of focus for 2016 was on the provision of technological support under the ADVANCE Project to women across the country, especially those in rural areas. I am glad to mention that the ministry reached out to 100 co-operatives in different chiefdoms that benefited from the distribution of tractors and tillers. This effort, if well-utilised by the beneficiaries, will complement other Government measures to ensure that women participate in national development and come out of the doldrums of poverty through agriculture mechanisation and value addition.

 

Madam Chairperson, allow me to inform this august House that during 2016, the ministry conducted various training programmes that included the legal framework for women’s and children’s rights, gender responsive planning and budgeting, monitoring and evaluation, project management, gender concepts, team building and leadership, among others.

 

Through this effort, the ministry facilitated training to Cabinet Ministers, ten provincial Permanent Secretaries, twenty District Commissioners and 326 technical officers, the majority of whom were drawn from other sector ministries. The training was aimed at creating awareness and imparting knowledge and necessary skills among key officers from different sectors. The training also availed an opportunity for Cabinet Ministers to appreciate more the gender concept in leadership as they superintended over national development issues.

 

Madam Chairperson, the ministry is optimistic that such initiatives will go a long way in helping leaders and technical staff to acquire the necessary skills and competences required to mainstream gender into our national policy operational plans and budget for the country to attain gender equity and equality.

 

Madam Chairperson, the ministry acknowledges the importance of developing interventions that are backed by empirical evidence to fight gender-based violence (GBV) and promote equity and equality among girls, boys, men and women. To this end, the ministry commissioned a study on the phenomena of GBV as it currently prevails in relation to boys and young men in Zambia.

 

It is hoped that once finalised, the study will provide insight and knowledge on the prevailing social cultural norms among boys and young men, the attitudes and behaviours and how these perpetuates GBV on the basis of the research findings. The ministry will develop interventions through the Boys to Men Project that will target boys and young men to develop into non-violence men and support girls and women as equal partners in national development.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Kalima: Madam Chairperson, this august House will be gratified to note that during the year, the ministry conducted a campaign called “The He-For-She”. The campaign targeted and reached out to all the 288 chiefs, faith-based organisations (FBOs) and heads of Government departments in all the ten provinces of Zambia. The campaign was aimed at engaging men to make a stand, raise their voice on gender equality and act in their institutions or organisations to make a difference. The campaign was about recognising women as equal partners in development.

 

Madam, in the long run, the campaign will bring about institutional and individual behavioural change for gender equality and empowerment of women through change in beliefs, values and practices, promote participation across learning and transformation.

 

Madam Chairperson, despite the achievements highlighted above, the ministry has continued to operate on a lean structure despite the increased demand for the ministry’s services across the country. The staffing problem, coupled with inadequate transport facilities, has affected the efficient and effective execution of the ministry’s mandate.

 

Madam Chairperson, in order to strengthen the capacity to co-ordinate national programmes in gender mainstreaming and women empowerment, the ministry will, in 2017, develop a robust National Gender Monitoring and Evaluation System. The system will include sectoral output and outcome indicators in line with the National Gender Policy (NGP) and will be linked to the National Results Based Monitoring and Evaluation Framework (NRBMEF), which is being spearheaded by the Ministry of National Development and Planning. The implementation of the system will enable the ministry track and assess progress against the various targets set in the NGP, the ministry’s strategic plan under the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals, especially SDG Goal No. 5, as this will help the ministry to make informed decisions and formulate evidence-based interventions to end gender inequality in all sectors.

 

In addition, the system will assist the ministry in reporting at regional and international levels through status reports on different internationals instruments such as the Convection on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), African Union Declaration and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development.

 

Madam Chairperson, in 2017, the ministry will continue to facilitate training in gender for various stakeholders at different levels of governance, including provinces, districts and sub-districts in order to accelerate gender awareness and mainstreaming. This measure will ensure that there is knowledge and skills for gender mainstreaming and the empowerment of women in institutions implementing various national development programmes and projects.

 

Madam, once knowledge and skills on gender are transferred to such institutions, the national gender machinery will be enhanced and the lean structure at my ministry will be fully complemented to a level where quality is assured and emerging trends are addressed. The training for 2017 will focus on gender mainstreaming, gender responsive planning and budgeting, tools for gender audit and reporting, among others.

 

Madam Chairperson, following the commencement of the implementation of the ADVANCE Project from which hundreds of co-operatives have so far benefited, in the 2017, the ministry will focus in imparting requisite skills among the beneficiaries and building coalitions for enhanced partnership with the local communities, the private sectors, community-based organisations (CBOs), and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to ensure the provision of affordable financial resources, access to agro-inputs, access to markets, entrepreneurship and technical skills for value addition.

 

Madam, enhancing partnerships among stakeholders in the agriculture sector will undoubtedly strengthen both backward and forward linkages necessary for community ownership of the ADVANCE Project.

 

Madam Chairperson, my ministry notes, with sadness, the continued high cases of child marriages in Zambia. On average, two out of five girls are married before their eighteenth birthday. This phenomenon is actually worse in rural Zambia.

 

Madam, I wish to mention that child marriages compromise the overall development of girls and, in most cases, living them socially isolated with little educational skills and the opportunities for employment and self-realisation. It is in this regard that the ministry, during the Fiscal Year 2017, will operationalise the Multi-Sectoral National Plan of Action on Ending Child Marriage. The plan seeks to implement activities that will prevent child marriage and provide support services to victims in line with the 2016/2021 National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage in Zambia.

 

Madam Chairperson, the implantation of the Girls Education and Women Empowerment and Livelihood (GEWEL) Project under the three ministries, namely Gender, General Education and Community Development and Social Welfare, will compliment the National Plan of Action on Ending Child Marriage in Zambia. The GEWEL Project aims at empowering 75,000 women through mentorship-based productive grants in fifty-one districts and support 14,000 girls for secondary school education in sixteen districts across the ten provinces of Zambia.

 

Madam, to enable the ministry operationalise the afore-mentioned policy measures, the ministry’s allocation for the 2017 is K63,979,484. The amount has increased from the K33,129,547 allocated in 2016. The upward adjustment in allocation is attributed to increased donor contribution to most of the ministry’s programmes and projects.

 

Madam Chairperson, as I conclude, allow me to express gratitude to all our partners who have continued to support the Ministry of Gender in implementing various interventions to promote gender equity and equality. I look forward to seeing more of such partnerships in 2017 and beyond as we continue to fight gender imbalances and GBV.

 

Madam, in the face of global and national economic hardship, my ministry remains committed to and will leverage the use of the available resources to ensure their optimal utilisation in order to accelerate the implementation of the outlined priority programmes to advance gender equity and equality in the country. In this regard, I wish to urge the hon. Members of this House to support the budget estimates for the Ministry of Gender.

 

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kabanda: Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister has outlined the poor staffing levels which have affected the delivery of services in her ministry. However, it is common knowledge that the Civil Service is over-staffed. I support this Vote, …

 

Laughter

 

Mr Kabanda: … however, I wish to make an observation before rendering my support. As I have said, it is common knowledge that the Civil Service is bloated. I think personal emoluments constitute the bulk of the revenues that are have been allocated in the 2017 Budget. It is also true that some staff in the Civil Service have actually overstayed and outlived their usefulness. We cannot continue recycling the same people. We need to create room for the upcoming professionals to take up position of responsibility in the Civil Service.

 

Madam Chairperson, there is life beyond the Civil Service. There other people whom we can recruit to take up positions when others leave. We should, therefore, hold the bull by its horns and carry out an audit in order to reduce the excess fat from the Civil Service. His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has acknowledged that most public workers are actually tired. We do not need people who are overgrown fossils in the head to continue managing the Civil Service.

 

Mr Chaatila: Hammer, hammer!

 

Mr Kabanda: Otherwise, this country will not go anywhere.

 

The First Chairperson: Order!

 

Are you debating the Ministry of Gender?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Kabanda: Yes, Madam Chairperson, I am debating the Ministry of Gender. In supporting the budget for the Ministry of Gender, I am saying that we should actually manage our affairs with a lean but efficient Civil Service.

 

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Mwashingwele (Katuba): Madam Chairperson, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Gender for her presentation. We are grateful that gender matters are actually being considered seriously. I would also like to acknowledge the fact that women’s and children’s rights are basically human rights. In this regard, I think that the allocation of more than K38 million to the Gender Rights and Protection Department will go a long way in sustaining our children, both boys and girls, so that, at least, we give them a firm foundation.

 

Madam Chairperson, when looking at the issue of gender, we are supposed to understand that health, education and social rights must form a firm foundation. Having a ministry in charge of Gender matters is an indication that we are looking at the issue from a specific angle. However, sometimes, gender matters should be independent of education or health matters because there are children who are not in school. They need a place where they can be taken care of.

 

Madam Chairperson, let me to talk about the issue of early marriage. Coming from a somewhat peri-urban constituency, I wish to say that this problem in is real Katuba. Parents do not marry off their children by design, but because most of them are not meaningfully engaged, as there are few school places. In Katuba, there is only one secondary school against thirty-eight primary schools.

 

A good example of a case of early marriage, is what happened a month ago when a twenty-one year old boy married a thirteen year old girl. I still call him a boy because at twenty-one years, he is still young. The girl was not pregnant. So, the issue of pregnancy does not come into play. It all boils down to poverty. In view of this, the Ministry of Gender should quickly come on board and arrest the situation.

 

In addition, the Zambia Police Force also be vigilant. I think the police sometimes underplay issues of gender. There is also gender-based violence (GBV) among girls and boys. I will not talk about GBV in relation to women only because even men have become victims.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Mwashingwele: This is because the police have taken this issue lightly. When a man goes to the police to report that he has been harassed or beaten by his wife, the police officers will laugh at him. On the other hand, when a woman goes to report to her mother about GBV in the home, the mother will tell her to go back to her matrimonial home. As a result, we end up with situations of men being killed in their sleep such as the ones we have been hearing about. I do not support this and I sympathise with the victims.

 

Mr Kampyongo: Question!

 

Ms Mwashingwele: You can question what I am saying, but you may end up being a victim.

 

Laughter

 

Ms Mwashingwele: Madam Chairperson, I strongly support the Vote for the Ministry of Gender. However, I would like us to put into practice the things that we have been talking about in regard to gender by going on the ground. Let us save the children, women and men who are being molested by complementing the efforts of the police through good neighbourliness and parenthood because gender violence starts from our homes. If men harass their wives, the children will learn from that and consider it normal. So, we need to protect ourselves and the future generations.

 

Madam Chairperson, I think the Ministry of Gender should concentrate on gender issues in the rural areas. I am emphasising the rural areas because in the urban areas it is easier to address these matters, as there are more courts of law and there is more sensitisation. I have in mind places like Shang’ombo and Kaputa …

 

Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Mwashingwele: … where there is poor flow of information. When a wife is beaten by a husband, the community considers it normal. There is a need to improve the flow of information in these areas.

 

Madam Chairperson, I know the Ministry of Gender is also looking considering creating taskforce committees. The committees should be more active at provincial level. Let us be each other’s keepers in our neighbourhoods so that we are all sensitive to what is happening around us. I know that there has been so much publicity about the men who were recently murdered or molested by women. The truth of the matter is that now the hunter has become the hunted.

 

Laughter

 

Ms Mwashingwele: Now there is a lot an outcry. When the women were being molested, the men did not speaking out so loud against it. It is for this reason the men should be sensitive to our cry.

 

I wish to commend the hon. Minister for her statement and totally support the budget for the Ministry of Gender.

 

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

The First Chairperson: Order!

 

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

 

[THE FIRST CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES in the

Chair]

 

Ms Tambatamba: Madam Chairperson, the gender discussion had been protracted. For many years, one of the two genders has been crying out for the equality that started at creation with God. I believe equality shall be there in the end when we stand before our God. 

 

As I support this Motion, I am grateful to know that we now have a Gender Policy that prescribes everything, including theories of gender that have brought us this far. The only contribution I would like to make is that there is a need for a strong relationship between the Ministries of Gender and National Development and Planning. That way, issues affecting women and the girl child will be addressed at the planning stage. Women’s participation in national matters has been an issue for a long time. There should also be a relationship between the Ministries of Gender and Finance. That way, women can have a fair share of the resources of the nation to enable them to have an economically-sound life.

 

Madam Chairperson, during the Official Opening of the First Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, His Excellency the President referred to the hoe is being archaic, it can no longer help us to contribute significantly to economic development through agriculture. Therefore, it is important to mechanise agriculture through the use of equipment such as tractors. I am pleased to learn that the Ministry of Gender is focusing on providing tractors to women. The people of Kasempa are asking for a share of that equipment.

 

I thank you, Madam.

 

Ms Chonya: Madam Chairperson, I listened attentively to the policy statement that was delivered by the hon. Minister of Gender. I sympathise with the efforts that the ministry has made to improve the welfare of women. At the same time, I wish to say that the ministry still needs to do more. If the ministry had met the purpose for which it was established, colleagues from the women’s movement would not be calling for the creation of a gender commission. This means that the ministry has not done much to enhance the operations of the Ministry of Gender. When the hon. Minister talked about some of the successes the ministry has achieved in the previous year, she mentioned that the sensitisation of hon. Ministers about gender was one of the successes. I think that resources that were misplaced in this instance because the level of awareness on the need to mainstream gender is appreciated even at the lowest level of the community. The resources could have been better applied to the empowerment programme of distributing tractors that she talked about it. However, this also caused a lot of disquiet among hon. Members who did not benefit from it. I am grateful that Kafue was one of the beneficiaries of the tractors that the hon. Minister talked about. If the resources we are putting in awareness programmes and mainstream of gender were ploughed into the Tractor Distribution Programme, we would have enough tractors to distribute to all the constituencies.

 

I am trying to stress the need for real empowerment for both men and women. Of course, emphasis seems to lie so much on women because women have lagged behind in terms of empowerment and we would like women empowerment to be accelerated. When we empower women, we will indirectly deal with some of the negative issues that we have been talking about such as poverty at the household level and gender-based Violence (GBV). GBV is related to poverty. When people have sufficient food in the home, they are happy. Some of the stories we have heard about men killing their wives because they did not leave nshima for them can be addressed when poverty is reduced at household level through women empowerment.

 

Just two days ago, there was a presentation by the National AIDS Council (NAC) that made us, hon. Members of this House, appreciate that when women are empowered, we can tackle the challenge of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) better. So, I wish to urge the hon. Members of this House to support the cause of gender balance and ensure that women are represented in different strategic positions in the Public Service, political arena and everywhere else where a woman needs representation. I have been looking at the various budget allocations and I have seen the aspect to mainstream gender throughout the budget. It is good that we are thinking of mainstreaming gender issues. However, I wonder the amount of resources, initiative or time it would take to make a provision in our statutes to ensure that there is some level of gender balance in our institutions. Why can we not take a leaf from our Standing Orders for this House? For example, we have a regulation that says that when the Speaker is a man, the Deputy Speaker should be a woman.

 

The Standing Orders are being amended and proposals are being made in terms of the composition and chairmanship of committees. There is a need for a budget line to take care of all this provided we agree with the spirit and intent of attaining gender balance. That way, we shall save some of the resources that have been allocated to sensitisation programmes ever since the establishment of the ministry.

 

Madam Chairperson, I also wish to talk about the role of women in politics in relation to gender. The twenty-nine of us, women Parliamentarians, who are here braced the name calling for us to bring the voice of women to this Parliament. We should have in place supportive legal frameworks to make it easier for other women who do not have as much courage as we had to be elected to this House.

 

So, I hope that when we talk about Constitutional Reforms, the debate will look at how we can take this issue of gender equality further.

 

Hon. Minister of Gender, I was saddened to see some of the budget lines in the Yellow Book. You have reduced the allocation to support the 50/50 Campaign that you had started this year, yet this is one of the areas we should have been promoting to help us attain our goal of achieving gender equality.

 

Like I said earlier, the debate on Constitutional Reforms should tackle such issues, as they translate to the bread and butter issues that we are talking about. They also translate to reducing GBV and incidences of men being ‘hunted’ by women because they have felt suppressed for a long time. I am sure this will receive more support from the people of Zambia than advocating for a seven-year constitutional term for only one person. In turn, we shall have more representation at various levels.

 

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

 

Laughter

 

Ms Chonya: I have already talked about the reforms in the electoral process that we need to undertake so that it becomes conducive for women to participate in politics. This is the kind of debate I expected to hear when we discussed the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) because that is another area of reform.

 

Madam Chairperson, I would, therefore, encourage the Ministry of Gender to collaborate further with other players in the promotion of the gender agenda. I have in mind the Women’s Movement that has done tremendous work in making us appreciate gender issues.

 

Hon. Minister, I have noticed that you are proposing to carry out some studies in gender distribution in various departments. However, they have already been conducted by some of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). So why should we duplicate their effort when we could save the resources and direct them to much needy areas like the distribution of tractors or women empowerment loans that women need, especially the women of Kafue.

 

When we talk about gender issues, we are talking about change of attitudes toward this issue.

 

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Chonya: Just like my colleague, Hon. Tambatamba, mentioned earlier when she debated, man and woman were created in the image of God as equal partners. As women, we are ‘crying’ for this recognition, but we are not saying we want to take over the responsibilities of men.

 

Laughter

 

Ms Chonya: We are just appealing to walk side by side with the men because two heads, be it in the home or office and in this Honourable House, are better than one .

 

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): Madam Chairperson, I thank the hon. Minister for a well-articulated policy statement. I will not spend a lot of time on this issue because it has received overwhelming support so far. However, I would like to talk about two issues.

 

Madam Chairperson, the first one has to do with the development of a robust monitoring and evaluation system. Implementation of gender activities is a very complicated issue. If we are not careful, we shall not achieve the desired benefits.

 

Madam Chairperson, I have seen some aspect of gender in the budget lines for most of the line ministries. Many departments are ‘pretending’ to carry out gender activities. However, what gives me the confidence that we are going to get the benefits that we desire is the new gender programming which will come by way of a robust monitoring and evaluation gender system.

 

Madam Chairperson, the Ministry of Gender is expected to provide an oversight role on the implementation of the National Gender Policy. This is a crosscutting issue. Therefore, it requires a multi-sectoral approach. If the policy is not well implemented, we shall not achieve the desired benefits. I would like to commend the hon. Minister for coming up with that initiative which is also closely linked to the counsel I am about to give her.

Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister of Gender spoke about empowering co-operatives with tractors and tillers. This is very exciting news, but it does not mean we are going to get the desired benefits. The devil is in the detail. Oftentimes, we overlook issues that have got to do with sustainability of the models that we put in place. Receiving a tractor and tiller is one thing, but utilising them effectively and profitably is another thing. This is where I want to provide counsel.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mecha: Madam Chairperson, the Asset Empowerment Scheme that has been put in place is not free of charge. We expect members of the co-operatives to access the services at a fee if the operations of the tractors have to be sustainable. The target group comprises mostly women, most whom are resource poor. Where are they going to get the money to pay for the services? If we do not help the women to access the services, then, they will not benefit from them.

 

For instance, Madam Chairperson, Hon. Mecha can afford to hire the tractor and utilise it for his benefit while the targeted population may not afford access to it. I wish to strongly advise the hon. Minister to amend the savings and credit model. There is a need for collaboration among the Ministries of Gender, Agriculture and other line ministries and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are promoting savings and credit schemes.

 

Madam Chairperson, we are trying to create demand for services from the members of the co-operatives. There will come a time when they will require tillage services. They may not have the money, but they can leverage the savings and credit schemes. Through the schemes, they will have the money to pay for the services and the tractor can operate throughout the year.

 

Madam Chairperson, it is important that as we come up with such interventions, we also think about the other benefits we are likely to accrue. We want to increase production by introducing tractors. I know that if we utilise the tractors well, there will be improved production and productivity.

 

Earlier on, I said that from December to February, farmers do not have adequate food, yet this is the time we expect them to work in their fields. They will first look at the opportunity cost. They have to choose between going to work in their fields when they do not have food and going to work elsewhere to earn money to buy food. So, the ministry should draw up a food security calendar, as it has the interest of women, boys and girls at heart. The food security calendar is important in trying to solve the problem of labour that we have been experiencing.

 

Madam Chairperson, we are trying to cut down on the labour provided by women. So, the tractor must generate money to buy more tractors so as to benefit many more women. We need to strategically roll out the programme so that it is in tandem with what we intend to achieve in terms of food security, increased income and asset base for women, and other groups such as the youth. I would not want to waste the hon. Members’ time. So, I wish to advise that we attach other models to the Asset Empowerment Scheme so that we increase the benefits to be accrued. 

 

With these few remarks, I support the hon. Minister’s policy statement.

 

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

 

Ms Kalima: Madam Chairperson, I will try to be very brief. Mr Kabanda spoke about the low staffing levels at the Ministry of Gender. The Government might appear as bloated, but work has to be done. My ministry has an establishment of seventy-nine employees. With the decentralisation that is underway, we would like to have representation at provincial level. At the moment, our operations are limited to the ministry, making it difficult to carry out our mandate. A number of hon. Members have spoken about performance. However, this can only be efficient with adequate staffing levels. We have had to rely on other ministries such as the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare to implement certain programmes. That has had an effect on our operations. Actually, discussions are underway with the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) to see how we could be considered for more funding for staff recruitment in the next Budget despite the bloated Civil Service because we need to extend our operations.

 

Madam Chairperson, I wish to thank Ms Mwashingwele for supporting the Vote. We are implementing most of the programmes. However, performance is tied to political will. President Lungu and the Patriotic Front (PF) Government have shown political will to …

 

Mr Livune: Question!

 

Ms Kalima: … ensure that the gender imbalance is reduced. That is why we have seen a lot of programmes being initiated. We are not working in isolation, but are working with various ministries such as Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Home Affairs and many other co-operating partners. This has been made possible because of political will. We are also working with the Victim Support Unit (VSU) and have taken note of what has been said about the discouragement that men get when they report cases of abuse to the police.

 

I would like to thank Ms Tambatamba for the support. I wish to assure her that the integration and planning of gender mainstreaming is cardinal. As regards the issue of mechanisation, I wish is to develop the whole country. So, our programmes will not be selective.

 

Mr Livune: Question!

 

Ms Kalima: We are working in all the 288 chiefdoms.

 

Madam Chairperson, as regards Mrs Chonya’s contribution, I would like to state that we are not working in isolation, but are working with various stakeholders. The gender related training for hon. Ministers is not misplaced. This year, we shall train hon. Ministers who have not undergone any training. The 50/50 Campaign has not been removed from the budget, but has moved to Page 19 under the He for She Campaign.

 

Madam Chairperson, I agree that poverty is one of the contributing factors to gender-based violence (GBV). However, it is not the only one as there are other factors such as cultural practices. This is where the Agricultural Development through the Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) Programme comes in through the provision of tractors that I talked about earlier. This is meant to empower women so that they do not depend on men because it is this dependency that brings quarrels and other forms of GBV. If a woman is independent, like many of the hon. Members of Parliament in the House, there will be a reduction in the number of cases of GBV. This is the reason we are advocating for the empowerment of women.

 

Madam Chairperson, we have also noted the importance of education. The lack of education among girl children is the reason for early child marriages. That is the reason for the introduction of the Women Empowerment and Livelihood (GEWEL) Project, which I mentioned earlier, which is aimed at ensuring that the girl child is taken back to school and the women are empowered.

 

I would like to thank Mr Mecha for his counsel. It has been noted. The Permanent Secretary (PS) and other staff, especially those from the Planning Department who are here, will definitely call on him to learn from him. We are an open Government which wants to know more. He is also free to come to our office and share what he thinks can work better. However, I would like to assure the hon. Member that I will come back to the House with a ministerial statement on the ADVANCE Programme which the hon. Members refer to as ‘tractors’. The statement will give more information about the women and men who are involved in the programme. Seventy per cent of the participants on the programme are women.

 

Madam Chairperson, we shall give start-up capital, but not free of charge. There is also the women’s bank that should be operational soon. It will basically cover the savings that have been spoken about.

 

Otherwise, I am grateful, especially to the women hon. Members of Parliament for the support.

 

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

 

VOTE 04/01 – (Ministry of GenderHuman Resource and Administration Department – K8, 249,560).

 

Ms Katuta (Chienge): Madam Chairperson, may I have clarification on Programme 5001, Activity 167 – Minister’s Constituency Visits – K96,611. I have noted that it has been reduced from the previous K120,000. Since we do not have hon. Deputy Ministers, I was wondering how the visits will be conducted. Maybe, they could have taken the K33 ...

 

The First Chairperson: Order!

 

Ask the question.

 

Ms Katuta: I wish to found out how the visits will be conducted since the amount has been reduced? Does this mean that the number of visits to constituencies have also been reduced?

 

Ms Kalima: Madam Chairperson, Programme 5001, Activity 167 – Minister’s Constituency Visits – K96,611, the provision is required to facilitate the hon. Minister’s visits to constituencies to check on developmental programmes. The reduction has been necessitated by budgetary constraints and the fact that there are no Deputy Ministers.

 

I thank you Madam Chairperson.

 

Question put and agreed to.

 

Vote 04/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

Vote 04/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

 

Vote 04/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates

 

Vote 04/05 ordered to stand part of the Estimates

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

(Debate adjourned)

 

___________

 

HOUSE RESUMED

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

(Progress reported)

 

__________

 

MOTION

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

The Chief Whip and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House (Mr Musukwa): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

 

Question put and agreed to.

 

_____________

 

The House adjourned at 1906 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday 8th December, 2016.