Thursday, 9th March, 2017

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Thursday, 9th March, 2017

 

The House met at 1430 hours

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

NATIONAL ANTHEM

 

PRAYER

 

________

 

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

 

STATUS OF WATER TRANSPORTATION IN THE COUNTRY

 

The Minister of Transport and Communication (Mr Mushimba): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me this opportunity to make another ministerial statement, this time, to inform the House and nation on the status of water transportation in the country.

 

As you may know, Sir, Zambia is endowed with large water bodies that can be a viable form of transportation for people, goods and services. In many areas, waterways are, actually, the only form of transportation available to support people’s economic activities. Therefore, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, attaches great importance to the development of the sector.

 

Mr Speaker, in this statement, I discuss three aspects of water transportation, namely the water network, marine infrastructure and marine vessels operating on the waterways. In addition, I will discuss the progress the Government has made and challenges it has faced in each of the three areas.

 

Mr Speaker, the network of Zambia’s inland waterways spans over 7,600 km and includes 547 km of the five major lakes, namely Kariba, Mweru, Bangweulu, Tanganyika and Mweru Wantipa, and 3,570 km of the five major rivers, namely Zambezi, Kafue, Luangwa, Luapula and Chambeshi. In addition, the canal network stretches to about 3,485 km spread across six provinces, namely Northern, Luapula, Muchinga, North-Western, Western and Southern. Of the provinces, the Western and Luapula have the largest number of navigable waterways in the country. The other canals are either too small or too shallow for navigation and mainly used for animal and agricultural activities, such as drinking and irrigation.

 

Mr Speaker, leading up to the 2011 General Election, the PF promised to open up the country by developing all the modes of transportation if elected. In fulfilment of that campaign promise, in 2012 and 2013, my ministry undertook a countrywide survey of canals and rivers to ascertain the status of the waterways. The survey revealed that most canals were silted, clogged with overgrown weeds and, consequently, unable to support water transportation at the scale we envisioned. Others were just too shallow to be navigable to passenger or cargo vessels. After the survey, the Government procured twenty-seven dredging equipment to augment the five we already had. Almost US$31 million from the Eurobond funds was used on that purchase and some rehabilitation works on the maritime infrastructure. To date, eighteen of the twenty-seven dredgers we ordered have been delivered to the Government, which has since distributed them as follows:

 

Province                      No. of dredges

 

Western                                   3

 

Luapula                                   4

 

Copperbelt                              1

 

Lusaka                                     2

 

Sir, the Government is still finalizing the logistics for distributing the remaining eight dredgers. The distribution plan is as follows:

 

Province                      No. of dredges

 

Western                                   2

 

Luapula                                   2

 

Muchinga                                1

 

North-Western                        1

 

Central                                    1

 

Northern                                  1

 

Sir, the distribution will be completed this month, March, 2017.

 

Sir, 2,664 km of the canals have been dredged over the last three years using the five dredgers that we already had as we awaited the delivery of the other dredgers about which I have just spoken. The Government is totally committed to continuing the dredging and maintenance of all the navigable canals for transportation purposes, especially where water transport is the only means of transportation for the people.

 

Mr Speaker, opening up canals without investing in water vessels would be a waste of resources. Therefore, in 2014, the Government procured three passenger vessels to be deployed on Lakes Mweru and Bangweulu, and the Zambezi River. It also bought three cargo vessels to be deployed on Lakes Mweru, Bangweulu and Tanganyika. A twenty-four passenger water vessel has since been received in the country, but is yet to be deployed while the receipt of two 120-passenger water vessels for Lakes Bangweulu and Mweru is expected any time. Once all three have been received, we will shift our focus to the three cargo vessels that we also need.

 

Mr Speaker, in this venture of making canals navigable by dredging them, we have been greatly assisted by the World Bank under its Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR). Under phase I of the programme, we have dredged the following canals in the Western Province:

        

  1. Muyowamo;

 

  1. Lubitamei;

 

  1. Musiyamo; and

 

  1. Namitome.

 

Sir, tender procedures for the rehabilitation of the remaining canals, namely Ngombala, Fisheries and Nebubela under phase II have been completed and the contractor will move on site soon.

 

Mr Speaker, let me now speak about the marine infrastructure across the country.

 

Sir, with the procurement of more dredging equipment and water vessels, it was logical that the marine infrastructure also be assessed. During surveys that were conducted, the Government discovered that there was a need to upgrade the existing marine infrastructure and construct new ones where they did not exist. Consequently, in 2015, it engaged three contractors to construct six landing jetties in Samfya, Nchelenge and Chilubi harbours. The works are in progress.

 

Sir, the Government is also working with the Angolan Government to develop the Shangombo Port in the Western Province. Phase I of the project involves the construction of a 10 km canal, which has since been completed. The contractor is now constructing terminal facilities in both Shangombo and Rivungu districts in Zambia and Angola, respectively. Further, the Government is working with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to modernise Mpulungu Port. The feasibility and engineering studies have just been concluded and we should start tendering for the works by the middle of 2017. Hopefully, the contract will be signed by the end of the year and the works will start immediately thereafter. The Government also plans to upgrade Mulamba Harbour in Mongu and Siavonga Harbour in Siavonga. It is also in the process of converting the 250 horsepower engines on the twelve thirty-seater passenger vessels that have been deployed to Namwala, Siavonga, Shangombo, Mongu, Kalabo, Zambezi, Chavuma, Luangwa, Samfya, Chilubi Island, Nchelenge and Mpulungu. Once converted, the vessels will be ideal and more optimal for water transportation.

 

Mr Speaker, in 2015, my ministry in collaboration with the Zambia Army Marine Unit and the Zambia Police Service, procured and deployed fourteen speed boats meant for enforcement of compliance to safety guidelines on the waterways of the country.

 

Sir, at this juncture, I ask all the hon. Members of this august House from the districts with water bodies to be ambassadors of safety on our waters by sensitising in their constituents on the dangers of using unregulated boats, especially non-conventional ones, without life-saving accessories.

 

Mr Speaker, for many years, water transport lagged behind in terms of funding and that affected its development into a viable mode of transportation. However, the PF Government intends to continue increasing funding to the sub-sector and turn it into a reliable mode of transportation for our people who live around water bodies.

 

Sir, to allow for further growth and development of the sub-sector, we need to consider the creation of a marine and inland water authority that will be mandated to formulate policies and regulate the sector. It will also spearhead the maintenance and development of water transport infrastructure and greatly contribute to the creation of a national water transport system that will promote private sector participation. To that effect, I will present a Bill on this sector to this august House and I humbly solicit for the support of this House when I do. We need to put in place a proper legal framework for the sector to develop fully and provide reliable services to our people who depend on water transportation.

 

Mr Speaker, in concluding my statement, let me reiterate that the Government is focussed on making all modes of transport available, affordable and accessible to all so that commerce can be undertaken in the most appropriate manner in the country. Bulky and heavy cargo, and perishable goods, especially farm produce, can also move by the most appropriate mode of transportation. Water transportation has a place in that larger scope and my ministry will continue to implement the programmes it has initiated.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement issued by the hon. Minister.

 

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister say that he undertook a survey of all the waterways in the country. Is he aware that he made a very big omission in that survey by not surveying the only waterway linking Zambia and Angola, which is via the Lwanginga River between Sikongo and Liuwa constituencies? Angolans come to buy beer, tomatoes, cement, door frames, chickens and everything using that route, yet the hon. Minister said he omitted it because it is not important.

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, if that river was omitted, we can survey it. Otherwise, the survey that was done was nationwide and this statement is based on the findings of that survey. Further, dredging is not done once. Sometime after dredging, there is new growth and you have to dredge again. It is a continuous process. So, the river will be included in the next round of the surveys.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister correctly and he included Lake Mweru Wantipa among the inland waterways that were surveyed. The people of Kaputa and Nsama use that lake extensively to do business. Has it been considered for allocation of dredgers? I ask this question because the tributaries leading to the lake have silt and need to be dredged very urgently?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the dredgers are being distributed from the provincial administrations and it is the provincial leadership and the local authorities who will have a say on how they dredgers will be used. Luapula and the Western provinces will receive the largest number of dredgers because they have the largest water bodies.

 

Sir, once the dredgers have been deployed to Luapula, Lake Mweru Wantipa will be dredged.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Kasonso (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, I did not hear the hon. Minister mention the amount of money that he has already spent on the rehabilitation programme and opening up of canals. If possible, could he give us a breakdown, province by province, of the total cost.

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that very important question.

 

Sir, I seek your indulgence to come back with that information later because I do not have it now. However, I mentioned the US $30.8 million of the Eurobond fund that was used to buy dredgers and talked about the kilometres that have been dredged.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Speaker: Very well.

 

Mr A. B. Malama (Nchelenge): Mr Speaker, when, exactly, will water vessels be delivered to Nchelenge, where our people are being exploited by Congolese vessels that go to the islands?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, of the three passenger vessels and three cargo vessels we ordered, only one, a twenty-four seater passenger vessel meant for deployment on the Zambezi River has been delivered. The two 120-passenger vessels meant for Lakes Bangweulu and Mweru are still awaited. We hope that they will be delivered some because we have been waiting for them for a while now. Once we receive them, we will expeditiously deploy them because we understand that they are needed in those areas.

 

Thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Kufakwandi (Sesheke): Mr Speaker, apart from the big vessels that will be deployed to various provinces of the country, there are areas in our country where people cross rivers from one side to the other. In the case of Sesheke Constituency, the people of Silumbu, Kaliki and Imisu do so on a daily basis, either to go to school or to get supplies. Are there plans to provide support to such areas, too, by providing them with banana boats in? Currently, they use canoes and we are losing many lives to crocodile attacks.

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, I have taken note of the hon. Member’s question. Maybe, we should consider his concerns as we continue thinking about how best to improve water transportation across country. We will expand our thinking beyond the bigger vessels to include the smaller ones for areas that may need such. However, currently, like I have said already, the six vessels we have procured are all big and meant for bigger rivers and lakes, not the smaller crossing points like the one to which the hon. Member has referred. However, my ministry’s technocrats seated over there have taken note and will consider his suggestion.

 

Thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Chiteme (Nkana): Mr Speaker, what was the cost of each dredger procured? Further, which contractors were contracted to bring them in? Finally, when will the eight remaining ones be delivered?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, three companies were contracted to bring the twenty-seven dredgers we ordered. One company was to bring in five, another was to bring in ten and the other one twelve. The companies that were contracted to deliver five and ten dredgers, respectively, have delivered all fifteen while the one contracted to deliver twelve has delivered three, and we are negotiating with it the time frame for the delivery of the nine remaining machines.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for being very progressive and articulate.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Muchima: That said, I did not hear him say how he will deal with the rapids found on some of the rivers, especially those in the North-Western Province, such as the Lunga and Zambezi rivers, which can make the rivers non-navigable. According to this programme, water transport can be the best mode of transportation.

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i for the kind words and the very important.

 

Sir, after the survey that we did, we considered the best ways of opening up the rivers and canals. Further, in deciding the type of dredgers to buy, and we did not buy only one type, we took into account features like rapids, and the type of silting or weeds in a particular water body. So, different forms of dredgers appropriate to particular water bodies will be deployed to help clear the obstacles found there.

 

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Chansa (Chimbamilonga): Mr Speaker, for some time now, I have been talking about the need for a vessel to operate from Mpulungu to Nsama District on Lake Tanganyika, but I have not heard the hon. Minister say anything concerning that area. When will a vessel be procured for those districts?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the largest vessel we have procured is supposed to be deployed on Lake Tanganyika. The contract has already been awarded and a down payment made. The latest information I have is that the procurement process is going on very well.

 

Sir, there was a question on transportation on Lake Tanganyika, especially on the route into Tanzanian water bodies, and my response was that we intended to provide a vessel on that route. We have since signed a bilateral agreement with our Tanzanian counterparts to ensure that we are not restricted from their waters as we provide transportation in that area.

 

Sir, I will update the House on when the boat will be delivered. Alternatively, the hon. Member can visit my office so that I can give him updates on progress in the procurement process.

 

Thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister express his desire to create an authority to oversee this sub-sector. However, the general trend has been that once an authority or agency is created, it starts charging fees in a bid to be self-sufficient, which, in turn, makes the products and services offered by the sector expensive. What gaps in the current structural arrangement have necessitated the formation of an authority on this sub-sector? Is it just a matter of cutting and pasting practices in countries that have huge water bodies, such as oceans, and ports?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the proposal for the formation of an inland water authority is to deal with the inefficiencies that we have seen in the current setup. The Marine Department is currently under my ministry, and we have seen that we  have not sufficiently benefited from the sub-sector because the department is centralised in Lusaka, yet the services are required across the country and this Government’s focus is to provide this mode of transportation to citizens, especially where it is the only one possible. Looking at the manpower and the amount of work that needs to be done, we saw a need for a dedicated agency for this sub-sector and we are working on that proposal. We have looked at the pros and cons, and we feel that forming the authority will bring efficiency to the sub-sector, optimise the use of funds being invested in it, and ensure that there is proper maintenance and scheduled dredging. I think that such a body will be very helpful.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, what was the contractual date of delivery for the nine outstanding dredges and when are they expected to be delivered?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the nine undelivered dredgers should have been delivered by now. We are currently engaging the supplier to find out what has caused the delay and when they will be delivered. We have also told the contractor that if the equipment is not delivered by the agreed date, penalties will be evoked on him.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I have observed that the rapid growth of weeds on our water bodies has been causing challenges to the water transport system. How will that challenge be overcome?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, indeed, we are battling weeds on our water bodies, and we saw them during our survey.

 

Sir, like I said, rivers have to be dredged continually because the weeds grow continually. So, the 2,664 km that we have dredged, so far, will have to be dredged repeatedly until a permanent solution to control the weeds is found.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mutale (Chitambo): Mr Speaker, my question is a rider on the question asked by the hon. Member of Parliament for Nkana, part of which was not answered.

 

Sir, which companies were contracted to bring in the dredgers? Further, how much does a dredger cost?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, I wrote down the names of the contractors, but someone seems to have taken my notes.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the contractor for the twelve dredgers of which nine have not been delivered is MCD Civil and Mechanical Engineering.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: What is the cost of each dredger?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, that information is in my notes, which I cannot find. I think someone is sabotaging me.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Chitotela: Dora!

 

Mr Mushimba: When I find the notes, I will lay them on the Table so that hon. Members can get the information.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

_________

 

QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER

 

CONSTRUCTION OF NANGOMA BRIDGE

 

158   Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:

 

  1. when the construction of Nangoma Bridge, which connects Kasulu Primary School to Myooye Clinic in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency, would commence;

 

  1. what had caused the delay in constructing the bridge; and

 

  1. what the total cost of the project was.

 

The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, let me make sure that Hon. Kalima does not steal my notes the way Hon. Siliya stole Hon. Mushimba’s.

 

Laughter

 

Sir, the construction of Nangoma Bridge, which connects Kasalu Primary School to Myooye Clinic in Nangoma Constituency, is part of a project for the upgrading of 257 km of roads in the Shakumbila Chiefdom. The contract for the project has been signed, but commencement of works awaits finalisation of the financing agreement.

 

Sir, the delay in rehabilitating the bridge has been due to the lengthy procedure involved in processing the financing agreement.

 

Sir, the cost of the entire 257 km project is US$192,828,415.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, my problem with the hon. Minister is that he is good at answering questions, but not at implement projects on time. How soon will the bridge be constructed?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, the bridge will be constructed very soon. We signed the contract with Rotary Construction Zambia Limited in January, 2017, and I expected the hon. Member to be grateful and commend me for that. The contractor has been given a period in which to mobilise and move on site.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

CHAANGA DAY SECONDARY SCHOOL

 

159. Mr Mulunda (Siavonga) asked the Minister of General Education:

 

  1. whether the Government had any plan to turn Chaanga Day Secondary School in Siavonga Parliamentary Constituency into a boarding school in order to cater for the pupils who reside in distant places;

 

  1. if so, when the plans would be implemented; and

 

  1. if there was no such plan, why.

 

The Minister of General Education (Dr Wanchinga): Mr Speaker, it is, indeed, the Government’s wish to provide accommodation for pupils of Chaanga Day Secondary School who come from very distant places. However, due to the current budgetary constraints, it is currently difficult to construct dormitories at the school.

 

Mr Speaker, we hope that to consider the construction of boarding facilities at the school when the current stock of projects under implementation has been completed. Currently, we cannot do it due to inadequate funds.

 

Mr Speaker, on Tuesday, I was asked a question on whether there was a comprehensive plan for building teachers’ houses in the country and you advised me to consult my technocrats in the ministry. With your indulgence, I will answer that question now.

 

Mr Speaker, I did consult the technocrats in the ministry …

 

Laughter

 

Dr Wanchinga: …and they advised that there is no such plan. They further stated that while my predecessor, Dr Kaingu, not Dr Phiri, …

 

Laughter

 

Dr Wanchinga: … made some remarks on the subject while touring the Eastern Province, and in Parliament, he was merely expressing his vision for solving the problem of housing for teachers, just like I have been saying that Parliamentarians, councillors and business people should build low-cost houses to rent out to teachers in schools in their areas.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mulunda: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that …

 

Ms Katuta: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

 

Ms Katuta: Mr Speaker, I rise on a serious point of order concerning the non-recognition of hon. Members of Parliament at State functions. Usually, when we attend State functions, we are not acknowledged like the members of the Executive, yet the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive are joint drivers of this country. For example, yesterday, during the commemoration of International Women’s Day, the presence of the hon. Members of Parliament was not acknowledged.

 

Sir, I need your serious ruling on this matter.

 

Interruptions

 

Hon. Government Members: To whom are you directing that point of order?

 

Interruptions

 

Ms Katuta: Mr Speaker, I am sorry. My point of order is on the Leader of Government Business in the House.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that the hon. Member for Chienge should submit a question that we will forward to the relevant office of the Executive branch.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mulunda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is aware that Siavonga has only one boarding secondary school to cater for more than fifty primary schools in the constituency. Why is it so difficult for the ministry to turn Chaanga Day Secondary School into a boarding school? I know that the Ministries of General Education and Health have been fully funded, and that the ministry is able to plan with knowledge of all the districts that do not have boarding schools. Why is it failing to allocate funds for that school to be turned into a boarding school?

 

Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, indeed, the ministry plans for infrastructure development. The challenge has been with the disbursement of funds from the Treasury to the ministry. For instance, in the 2017 Budget, we have allocated K638 million to infrastructure development. However, going by the example of the fourth quarter of 2016, in which we only received about 3.6 per cent of the money we were expecting, it is obvious that we do not receive all the money we are promised, which makes it very difficult for us to implement the programmes we plan for. 

 

Sir, with regard to the specific challenge our colleagues face in that constituency, over which I sympathise with them very much, I would like to say that we are in the process of finalising a loan agreement with the World Bank for the construction of about eighty schools. It is my hope that that the district will be considered for allocation of one or two schools to mitigate the situation to which the hon. Member has referred.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has, this afternoon, doubted the veracity of my statement on the infrastructure development plan of the Ministry of General Education that was circulated on the Floor of this House and the various statements that were made to that effect by his predecessors. What should happen I lay on the Table of this House evidence of the plan we were given, which indicated the number of teachers’ houses that would be constructed? Who, between he and I, will be doubted?

 

Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, none of us will be doubted. 

 

Laughter

 

Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, according the technocrats, there has never been a document at the ministry that outlined of a proposal for the countrywide construction of teachers’ houses, save for a vision conceived by a former Minister on how the houses could be constructed using the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. He contemplated an idea in which the ministry could engage the private sector to build houses countrywide for teachers and sell them houses to the teachers or members of the community around the schools.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, what is the Government’s current policy on teachers’ houses, especially in rural areas where, in some cases, there is hardly any Government-sponsored school infrastructure? The only schools in such areas are community schools with no houses for teachers. They are products of the efforts of parents and the local political leadership, including the Members of Parliament and councillors.

 

Dr Wanchinga conferred with Hon. Mwale.

 

Laughter

 

Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Member repeat the question.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, (laughing) I hope  Hon. Mwale will not interfere again.

 

Mr Speaker, what is the Government’s current policy on teachers’ houses, especially in rural areas where there is hardly a school built by the Government? All there is are upgraded community schools to which the Government only sends teachers who have nowhere to stay. What should we tell the teachers in the villages?

 

Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, when I tried to make a recording of my replies, you said that it is not allowed in the House, ...

 

Laughter

 

Dr Wanchinga: ... but I will try to ...

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

 

We cannot automate your responses, ...

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: ... and I will explain why.

 

The question he has asked is different from the question that was presented to you. That is why you cannot use an automated response. He is now talking about community schools.

 

Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, I wish to find time to visit that constituency. I will be quite happy to do that. We have some partners who are coming on board and I would like us to identify that area for allocation of some of the schools we are negotiating for.

 

Hon. Member: World Bank.

 

Dr Wanchinga: Sir, it is not the World Bank, but other partners. I would like one or two Government schools to be built in that area.

 

Sir, as regards the question of housing, let me repeat what I said earlier.

 

Sir, apart from the housing allowance that we give to teachers, we should also consider engaging the local communities and parents teachers associations (PTAs). We can also solve this problem through the use of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). There is adequate evidence to show that using these means has abated the problem in many areas. Councils and education boards have proved to be helpful in that regard.

 

Sir, we should not ignore what I have said earlier, that is, that this problem provides an opportunity for us, hon. Members of Parliament and community leaders, to build low-cost housing infrastructure in the nearby areas for rent to teachers.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

CONSTRUCTION OF BRIDGE ON LUPOSOSHI RIVER

 

160. Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:

 

(a)        when a bridge across the Lupososhi River to connect Luwingu to Kasaba would be constructed;

 

(b)        whether a contractor for the project had been identified;

 

(c)        if so, who the contractor was;

 

(d)        what the time frame for the completion of the project was; and

 

(e)        what the total cost of the project was.

 

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, the bridge across the Lupososhi River to connect Luwingu to Kasaba is part of the works for the upgrading of the Samfya/Lubwe/Kasaba Road, which is Lot 2. Unfortunately, the project could not be included in the 2017 Road Sector Annual Work Plan (ARSWP) due to Budget ceilings. The project will be implemented once funds are made available by the treasury.

 

Mr Speaker, the contractor for the project is Mota Engil Engenharia of Portugal.

 

Sir, the planned time frame for the completion of the entire road project, including the bridge, is forty-six months from the date of commencement.

 

Sir, the total cost of the project is K240 million.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, is there any contingent plan to ease the movement of people between Luwingu and Kasaba, seeing as the people of Mutondo and Chifunabuli access medical services from Kasaba Hospital? Can we, for example, expect a boat to be provided on that river?

 

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, we will engage our colleagues in the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) of the Office of the Vice-President and if the need for a boat arises, we will provide one. However, in the long term, we intend to engage the hon. Minister of Finance to speed up the disbursement of funds so that the contractor can quickly mobilise and start working.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, the contractor had mobilised and was on site for almost six months. He was also introduced on a number of fora within Lupososhi and to the people of Kasama. How, then, will the hon. Minister be able to quicken the process with his counterpart in the Ministry of Finance?

 

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, we take the concerns of the hon. Member for Lupososhi very seriously and that is why we have written to the hon. Minister of Finance proposing that if it is within the debt ceiling, we agree to implement the project under a contractor-financed initiative so that we can quickly start the works. The contractor has shown a willingness to mobilise own resources to do the work and, then, transfer the liability to the Government. Yes, the contractor did mobilise on the hope that we would raise the 15 per cent down payment, but we had challenges doing so last year because of the elections and it was proving to be very expensive to keep the equipment on site without working because the contractor was paying demurrage and the workers’ wages. That is why it became necessary for the contractor to demobilise.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Dr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, is it a prudent way of managing resources to award a contract in 2016 at US$220 million, then, let it pend only to want to implement it in 2018? Is the hon. Minister sure that the variables will be the same in 2018 as they were in 2016? Will the contractor not take advantage and bring in expenses that may triple the cost? Why does he not cancel the contract and re-advertise the project when he has got the money?

 

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, there are mechanisms we put in the contract to protect the procurer, that is, the Government. Of course, it sounds very easy to propose the cancellation of a contract. However, when you have entered into a contract, you are legally bound by it and if you rush to cancel it without proper negotiations, the contractor can sue for loss of profit and the Government might end up paying the full value of the contract despite the works not having been executed. So, as a Government, we are cautious, and the contractor is showing a willingness to co-operate with us and source the project funds, mobilise and start working within the initial contract sum of K240 million, not US$240 million. If there will be a need for the contractor to bring in new expenses, for example, if he incurred losses due to the passage of time, we will sit down and negotiate with him. 

 

Sir, let me assure the people of Lupososhi and Zambia that we have put in place safety measures in the contract to protect the Government from being exploited.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, how did the hon. Minister engage the contractor and take him to the site without first sorting out the issue of funding?

 

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, we engaged the contractor through the public tendering process. In the contract awarded, there was a provision that 15 per cent down of the total contract value would be given to the contractor as a down payment. That was the basis of the contractor’s mobilisation on site. By the way, the contractor was awarded two contracts in Luwingu District. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Finance could not mobilise the funds in time, which caused the contractor to demobilise.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, why does the Government not concentrate on its core business and concession the management of the roads to people who can do it better?

 

Mr Speaker: I did not get your question very clearly.

 

Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, why does the Government not concentrate on its core business of providing policy and leave the work of contracting roads to people who can manage it by way of concessions?

 

Mr Speaker: Such as?

 

Mr Kabanda: Such as unbundling the various roads and advertising them to people who can manage them while the Government should just provide policy guidelines.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Anyway, I do not want to join the debate.

 

May the hon. Minister respond.

 

Mr Chitotela: Sir, road construction is a core Government business. This Parliament passed the Public Roads Act of 2002 …

 

Mr Speaker: Order on the right.

 

Mr Chitotela: … and created the Road Development Agency (RDA), a public institution mandated to build roads in Zambia.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

CHINSALI WATER RETICULATION PROJECT

 

161. Mr Mukosa (Chinsali) asked the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection:

 

  1. when the water reticulation project in Chinsali District would be completed;

 

  1. what had caused the delay in completing the project;

 

  1. what measures the Government was taking to expedite the completion of the project; and

 

  1. what the time frame for completing the project was.

 

The Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (Mr Kaziya): Mr Speaker, the water reticulation project in Chinsali District will be completed in the third quarter of 2017.

 

Sir, the causes of the delay in completing the project has been as a result of:

 

  1. change of scope of works from weir construction to construction of the earth dam at Lubu River in order to meet present and future demands following the declaration of Chinsali as the Provincial Capital of Muchinga Province; and

 

  1. late release of project funds from the Treasury to pay for the completion of works.

 

Mr Speaker, in order to expedite the completion of the project, the Government has set aside funds in the 2017 Budget to pay for the completed works and for monitoring and supervision of the works.

 

Sir, the project will be completed in the next six months.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Mukosa: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the promise that the project will be completed in the next six months. Since he has said that the money has already been set aside in the 2017 Budget, when is the Government likely to pay the contractor the balance so that the works can commence?

 

Mr Kaziya: Mr Speaker, we will pay the contractor as soon as the certificate of completion for the remaining works is issued.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mukosa: Mr Speaker, I am not clear on the answer because interim payment certificates (IPCs) were submitted to the Ministry of Local Government, which was the contracting ministry and employer. What is remaining is for the Government to pay. I think the payments have been approved.

 

Mr Speaker: Sorry, what is your question?

 

Mr Mukosa: Mr Speaker, I am not clear on the answer because the hon. Minister said that payments would be made when the completion certificate is signed.

 

Mr Kaziya: Mr Speaker, I have stated that we will pay the contractor this year because the funds have already been provided for in the 2017 Budget.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

REHABILITATION OF LUMEZI SUB-BOMA POLICE POST

 

162.  Mrs Jere (Lumezi) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

 

  1. when the rehabilitation of the Lumezi Sub-Boma Police Post, which was damaged by rains, would commence;

 

  1. what the time frame for the completion of the project was; and

 

  1. what the cost of the project was.

 

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, we are aware of the status of the Lumezi Sub-Boma Police Post, which was constructed by members of the community using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), but damaged by rains before the Zambia Police Service could occupy it. So, it will only be rehabilitated when funds are available and after consultations with the area hon. Member of Parliament and the community.

 

Sir, the time frame for the completion of the project will depend on the availability of resources.

 

Mr Speaker, the cost of rehabilitation will only be determined after discussions with the hon. Member of Parliament and the constituents.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

TARRING OF LUNDAZI TOWNSHIP ROADS

 

163. Mr A. B. Malama (Nchelenge) (on behalf of Mr Nyirenda) (Lundazi) asked the Minister of Local Government:

 

  1. whether the Government was aware that the contractor engaged to tar township roads in Lundazi District abandoned the project in 2015;

 

  1. if so, what punitive measures had been taken against the contractor; and

 

  1. what the way forward on the project was.

 

The Minister of Local Government (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, the Government is aware that the works on Lundazi township roads have stalled.

 

Sir, the ministry has not applied punitive measures because the works stalled due to delayed payments by the Government.

 

Mr Speaker, the way forward is for the Government to secure funds and pay the contractor to resume the works.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

_________

 

BILLS

 

SECOND READING

 

THE REFUGEES BILL, 2017

 

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

 

Sir, the Refugees Bill of 2017 seeks to domesticate the 1951 United Nations (UN) Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1969 Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. Although Zambia is party to these conventions, they are not reflected in our existing law, the Refugees Control Act of 1970, which we accordingly seek to repeal. This is essential to our management of refugees in accordance with international human rights standards. The Bill also provides for the establishment of appropriate institutions for managing refugees. In that regard, it provides for the establishment of the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees and outlines the office’s functions. The Bill also provides for the establishment of refugee settlements and financing programmes for their general welfare.

 

Sir, it should be noted that the provision for the establishment of refugee settlements is in line with our retention of a reservation on Article 26 of the 1951 UN Convention. We shall, therefore, continue to reserve the right to designate places of residence for refugees, which is essential given our country’s geo-political position and unsatisfactory security situation in our region and on the continent in general. We have to do this until such a time that we shall have adequate resources and infrastructure for the care, protection and management of refugees.

 

Mr Speaker, the Refugees Bills of 2017 also spells out clearly the processes for the granting of refugee status to asylum seekers and provides for the cessation of that status in accordance with the 1951 UN and 1969 OAU conventions. It is, therefore, a great improvement on the existing legislation, which is now outdated given the developments in international humanitarian law. I, therefore, urge all the hon. Members of this august House to support the Bill because it will help address the problems our country encounters in managing people who seek asylum.

 

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

 

Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, in accordance with its terms of reference, as provided for in the Standing Orders, your Committee was tasked to scrutinise the Refugees Bill, National Assembly Bill No. 1 of 2017. For purposes of gaining insight into the ramifications of the Bill, your Committee sought both oral and written submissions from various stakeholders, including the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

 

Sir, the background and object of the Refugees Bill is that Zambia is party to the 1951 United (UN) Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, and the 1969 Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. The 1951 United Nations (UN) convention is a multilateral treaty that defines a refugee, and sets out the rights and duties of individuals who are granted asylum, and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum.

 

Mr Speaker, the 1969 OAU convention addresses refugee problems specific to Africa. However, both conventions are not part of Zambia’s domestic law. In order to make the convention to which Zambia is a state party effective, domestication is required. In this regard, the Refugees Bill of 2017 domesticates the two conventions.

 

Sir, the Refugees Control Act of 1970 Cap 120 of the Laws of Zambia, which is the existing law on refugees, does not offer adequate protection to refugees. For instance, it disregards the question of refugee protection and falls short of international human rights standards. In this regard, the Bill also repeals and replaces the Refugees Control Act of 1970 so as to enact a law that recognises, protects and controls refugees within the standards of the mention international instruments.

 

Mr Speaker, let me point out that the Government of the Republic of Zambia placed a reservation on Article 26 of the 1951 Convention with regard to encampment. The reservation says:

 

“The Government of the Republic of Zambia wishes to state with regard to Article 26 that it reserves the right to designate a place or places of residence for refugees.”

 

Mr Speaker, this reservation is still in force and it is important that the House bears this in mind as it examines the ramifications of the proposed Act and concerns raised by some stakeholders.

 

Sir, I now turn to some specific notable provisions that are of interest to the stakeholders and your Committee.

 

Sir, the stakeholders and your Committee welcome the definition of a refugee in the UN and OAU conventions, but notes that Clause 2(1)(a), which refers to the definition of a refugee in the 1951 convention should read as it is in the convention, which provides that a refugee is a person who has:

 

“... a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religious beliefs, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of nationality and is unable or unwilling to avail oneself of the protection of that country.”

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee takes cognisance of some stakeholders concerns, such as the UNHCR’s, that the inclusion of provisions in Clause 4(f), which empower the Commissioner to issue movement passes to refugees for travel outside the refugee settlements within Zambia, codifies the encampment policy, and that Section 9(1)(b) and 71(2) include provisions that empower the Minister to designate places and areas in Zambia as refugee settlements where recognised refugees and their dependants should reside, vis-à-vis the Presidential pledge to consider relaxing the encampment policy, allowing for more freedom of movement for refugees, made at the New York Leaders’ Summit for Refugees and Migration in September, 2016. Your Committee is, however, of the view that Zambia is not yet at a level where refugees can be allowed to live anywhere they choose, considering the security situations in some of our neighbouring countries, which would render the care and protection of the refugees unmanageable. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that in keeping with the reservation of Zambia on Article 26 of the 1951 Convention, this provision should be upheld until such a time that systems relating to care, protection and management of refugees are put in place.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes that except for Clause 5(1)(a), which provides that the chairperson of the Committee shall be a person with expertise in refugee matters, the Act is silent on the qualifications for the other committee members. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that only qualified persons with experience and/or training in refugee and/or humanitarian law or related matters should sit on the committee.

 

Sir, your Committee observes that the provisions of Clause 8(4) are incomplete and, therefore, recommends that an amendment to rectify this error be made. Your Committee also observes that the seven-day period provided for in Clause 11 for an asylum seeker or person within Zambia, whether or not such a person is legally in the country, to apply to the Commissioner or an authorised officer for recognition as a refugee is too short. Your Committee, however, notes that this provision is in line with international law, as it caters for refugees sur place, that is, persons who, while already abroad, determined that they could not return to their countries because of risk of persecution in their countries, which might be due to a significant change of circumstances in the country of origin, among other reasons. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that this period be extended to twenty-one days.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes that Clause 15 provides for a person whose application for refugee status has been rejected by the Commissioner to appeal to the Minister against the decision within fourteen days. However, the provision is silent on the period within which the Minister should determine the appeal or notify the appellant of his or her decision on the appeal, which might lead to uncertainty on the part of the appellant and inordinate delay on the part of the Minister. Therefore, your Committee recommends that sixty working days be the prescribed period within which the Minister must make a determination on an appeal and notify the appellant of the decision.

 

Sir, your Committee also observes that Clause 15 does not indicate whether the decision of the Minister is appealable and that creates the impression that the decision of the Minister is final. In this regard, your Committee agrees with the stakeholders who contended that the responsibility for examining appeals should be moved to a judicial body, which is would be perceived to be more independent and impartial. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that for purposes of impartiality, the Act introduces legislation that would explicitly provide for oral hearings at the appeals level and that the appeals should be considered by a court or tribunal, separate and independent of the authority that made the initial decision.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes that Clause 72 is missing and recommends that the Clauses be renumbered between Clause 71 and the last Clause.

 

In conclusion, Sir, your Committee wishes is grateful to you for granting it the opportunity to scrutinise the Refugees Bill, National Assembly Bill No. 1 of 2017. It also thanks the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the support rendered to it throughout its deliberations. Finally, your Committee is indebted to all the witnesses who appeared before it for their co-operation in providing the necessary briefs despite the short notice given. 

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mukata (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, obviously, this piece of legislation has come at the right time, seeing as there have been some challenges associated with managing refugees in Zambia. Clearly, we should all be proud that Zambia has been considered a safe haven for refugees since time immemorial.

 

Sir, I have a number of concerns on some sections of the Bill, and perhaps, my learned colleague, the ‒ I almost said, “the hon. Minister of Justice” ‒ the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, can clarify them, ...

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

 

Mr Mukata: ... assuming they have not already been addressed.

 

Mr Speaker, Clause 29 of this Bill states that a recognised refugee shall not be discriminated against based on birth, race, sex, origin, nationality, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language, tribe, health, pregnancy, marital, ethnic, social or economic status. Although I am aware that there are other pieces of legislation that, perhaps, provide caveats, this Clause seems to suggest that refugees cannot be prevented even from contesting for the Republican Presidency or as Member of Parliament. Is it not possible, for purposes of clarity, that section in this Act specifies the areas or activities from which refugees may be excluded or their rights restricted so that we do not open a Pandora’s Box?

 

Sir, Clause 32 of the Bill says that a recognised refugee shall not be held in slavery or servitude while Clause 32(2) says that such a person shall not be required to perform forced labour. Does this Clause suggest that an unrecognised refugee can be held in slavery or servitude or that he or she can be subjected to forced labour? Clearly, mischievous persons or those who do not like to pay wages can take advantage of this Clause. I am speaking on a point of authority as a very long-standing lawyer who can argue this point in a court of law. The Clause specifically protects recognised refugees, yet there are thousands of unrecognised refugees in this country. Those are human beings, too, and should be protected by other laws. There is no human being who should be held in slavery or servitude. So, I want these issues clarified and hope that I have not been misled by semantics.

 

Mr Speaker, Section 25 states that a recognised refugee shall not be compelled to act or engage in an act that is contrary to that recognised refugee’s conscience, belief or religion. My colleagues who studied jurisprudence will remember some case in which some people belonging to a certain denomination refused to sing the National Anthem on account that they were not amenable to issues of politics and that their beliefs did not allow them to do so. This line seems to give credence to such beliefs, as it means that recognised refugees will be protected from being made to engage in any conduct that is contrary to their conscience, belief or religion. How about elements of public interest, such as the requirement to sing the national anthem? I, therefore, need clarifications on this matter, too, so that I can accordingly advise the people of Chilanga, some of whom may be recognised and unrecognised refugees. Otherwise, I may want to catch an unrecognised refugee to take to work at my farm.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Kampyongo:  Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to wind up debate on the Bill.

 

Sir, let me start by thanking the Chairperson of the Committee for the manner in which he presented the Committee’s report. Similarly, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Chilanga for raising a few concerns.

 

Sir, this Act will still be subservient to the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land and it spells out a number of issues regarding citizenship and people who should enjoy certain privileges. So, to comfort the Learned Counsel on Clause 29, to which he referred, I want to state that the Clause is in the context of human rights as recognised by international conventions. Refugees, in the custody of the Republic of Zambia, regardless of their status, must be looked after as human beings. However, it is not possible that they can enjoy some rights that are special to citizens. As refugees, their status is clear.

 

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Chilanga also raised the issue of unrecognised refugees. Personally, I think that he was talking about stateless people. Unfortunately, the laws of this country do not recognise people who have no status. If a person seeks asylum, but the application is not successful, that person will not be allowed to remain in the country. Such a person has no place in this country. 

 

Mr Mukata: Hmn!

 

Laughter

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, my dear colleague wants to engage me while I am on the Floor of the House.

 

Sir, under this law, slavery will not be entertained. Therefore, those who seek asylum have to go through the process prescribed in the Bill when it is enacted. If their application is rejected, there are provisions on how they are taken care of. They are either sent back or a third country option is availed to them. I, therefore, think that the Bill is progressive.

 

Mr Speaker, I must equally appreciate the issues raised by the Chairperson of your Committee.

 

Sir, with regard to the concerns raised on local issues like local integration, I wish to inform the House that such issues are covered under Section 20 of the Bill, which provides for cessation of refugee status.

 

Sir, this House should note that the implementation of the Refuge’s Bill borders on national security. Therefore, the Bill should be scrutinised from that perspective. Much as we have been a host to a number of displaced people from various countries, we have to ensure that our internal sovereignty and State security is not compromised at any stage.

 

 Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to assure the Chairperson of your Committee that most of the concerns that have been raised can be considered at the Committee stage of the Bill. Finally, let me thank the Chairperson and his entire Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs for consulting widely when considering this Bill.

 

 Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.

 

Committed to a committee of the Whole House.

 

Committee on Thursday, 16th March, 2017.

 

THE AGRICULTURAL INSTITUTE OF ZAMBIA BILL, 2017

 

The Minister of Agriculture (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, I move that the Bill be now read a second time.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make my statement in regard of the Agricultural Institute of Zambia Bill, 2017.

 

Sir, let me start by thanking your Committee for the consultations undertaken on the intent, content and implementation modalities of the Bill.

 

Sir, the Agricultural Institute of Zambia Bill intends to professionalise the agricultural profession and bring about accountability among agricultural professionals of all levels in Zambia.

 

Mr Speaker, agriculture provides livelihoods to over 60 per cent of the Zambian population. The vast majority are small-scale farmers in rural areas who are solely dependent on agriculture for their survival. Therefore, agricultural professionals are important to the provision of services to the majority of Zambians.

 

Sir, a careful examination of our industries and economy reveals that most of the sectors are linked to agriculture. For instance, the main source of raw materials for the manufacturing industry is agriculture. It is for this reasons that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has made agriculture the anchor of economic growth in the Seventh National Development Plan. However, for agriculture to play this role effectively, there is a need for the human capital in this profession to foster its growth. Thus, regulation of agricultural professionals, through this Bill, is expected to positively contribute to economic development and, ultimately, poverty reduction. I am sure the mention of regulation in relation to agricultural professionals raises many questions about who an agricultural professional is. An agricultural professional has, in the Bill, been defined as, “A scientist, technician or craftsperson in the science of agriculture, but excludes a veterinary professional or a para-veterinary professional.” This definition covers professionals at all levels of education, from the certificate levels to the doctor of philosophy (PhD).

 

Sir, the Agricultural Institute of Zambia Bill also provides for registration and code of ethics for agricultural professionals in the country. It, therefore, outlaws the provision of agricultural services by unregistered ‘professionals’. However, it should be noted that this does not prevent farmers from practising agriculture on their farms.

 

Mr Speaker, the Bill has been drafted in line with existing pieces of legislation that provide for the regulation of professionals. While the Bill calls for accountability among agricultural professionals, the punishment of erring professionals is not its sole purpose, as the Bill also envisages benefits that will accrue to the professionals, such as the protection of Zambian jobs in the sector, international recognition of agricultural professionals and continuous professional development.

 

Mr Speaker, allow me to address some of the concerns raised by your Committee and the witnesses who appeared before it.

 

Membership Classes

 

Sir, the classes of membership to be included for registration under the Bill will be defined by a statutory instrument (SI) that will be issued once the Bill has been enacted into law. Such classes will include professional members of various disciplines, such as animal science, apiculture, aquaculture, forestry, crop science, food science and horticulture. This is in line with the international definition of agriculture, which encompasses crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry.

 

Representation of Members

 

Mr Speaker, the representation of the professions deemed agricultural in nature in the Bill will be through the Agricultural Institute of Zambia Council, which will be elected in accordance with the constitution of the institute. The constitution will outline processes and criteria for selection of the members of the council.

 

Agricultural Registration Board

 

Sir, we note the suggestion to include a dean of a faculty of agricultural science from a recognised public university and representatives of the ministries responsible for forestry and science and technology on the agricultural registration body. We shall make consultations with the relevant stakeholders on this issue.

 

Penalties for Offences

 

Mr Speaker, penalties for offences under this Bill, as contained in Clause 27(2) and 28(2), have been deemed too harsh. However, I wish to inform the House that the penalties are in line with similar pieces of legislation. Further, it is worth noting that penalties relating to professional misconduct will be outlined in the institute’s constitution and code of ethics. Such penalties may not be as stiff as those relating to the registration offences provided for in Clauses 27(2) and 28(2).

 

Mr Speaker, I assure the House that all the recommendations and observations on the Bill will be taken into account after quick consultations with the relevant stakeholders, and I thank your Committee for coming out with them.

 

Sir, in conclusion, the enactment of the Bill will enhance professionalism among agricultural professionals and contribute to the growth of the agricultural sector. I, therefore, urge all the hon. Member of the House to support the Bill.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, your Committee considered the Agricultural Institute of Zambia Bill, 2017. In doing so, it invite various stakeholders to appear before it and make written and oral submissions. I now highlight some of the findings and recommendations of your Committee.

 

Sir, the objects of the Bill are to:

 

  1. establish the Agricultural Institute of Zambia;

 

  1. provide for the registration of agricultural professionals and regulate their professional conduct in the interest of the agricultural sector; and

 

  1. provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

 

Mr Speaker, the need to have an institute to register and regulate agricultural professionals cannot be over-emphasised. Further, the enactment of this piece of legislation comes at a time when the country has placed emphasis on the diversification of the economy through increased in agricultural production and productivity. The regulation agricultural professionals will also enhance professionalism in the sector, and farmers need to be protected from being ill-advised. Otherwise, agricultural production and productivity may be negatively affected.

 

Mr Speaker, the various stakeholders with whom your Committee interacted were pleased that the Bill had finally been presented to the House for consideration. However, some of them expressed concerns over some issues that have been highlighted in your Committee’s report.

 

Sir, one issue of concern was the definition of an agricultural professional. The stakeholders argued that it was too narrow and could, therefore, exclude farmers with a lot of practical experience, and academicians and non-academicians who practiced biodynamic or organic agriculture. Concern was also raised about Clause 27 (a), which states that:

 

“A person shall not, unless the person is registered as an agricultural professional under this Act, practice as, be employed as, offer services related to agriculture, be engaged as an agent of, or hold out to be, an agricultural professional.”

 

Sir, the concern was that this provision could exclude genuine agricultural institutions that may not be registered under this Act from offering agricultural services.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes that the composition of the board leaves out some key stakeholders, notably the representatives of institutions of higher learning that offer agricultural training, such as the Dean at the University of Zambia (UNZA), School of Agricultural Sciences, and a representative of the ministry responsible for forestry. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that these should be included on the board.

 

Sir, despite the concerns raised above, your Committee is of the view that the Bill is progressive and that it deserves the support of the House.

 

Sir, in conclusion, I thank all the hon. Members of your Committee for their dedication during the consideration of the Bill and all the witnesses who appeared before your Committee for their valuable input. Your Committee also appreciates the services rendered to it by the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly during its deliberations. Lastly, allow me to thank you for affording your Committee the opportunity to consider the Bill.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I thank your Committee for the work it did on this Bill.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.

 

Committed to a committee of the Whole House.

 

Committee on Thursday, 16th March, 2017.

 

___________ 

 

MOTION

 

THAT IN TERMS OF ARTICLE 173(3)(B) OF THE CONSTITUTION AND SECTION 36(4)(D) OF THE EMPLOYMENT ACT, THIS HOUSE URGES THE GOVERNMENT TO REFRAIN FROM VICTIMISING PUBLIC SERVICE OFFICERS PERCEIVED TO HAVE BEEN SYMPATHISERS OF OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES DURING THE 2016 GENERAL ELECTIONS

 

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that in terms of Article 173(3)(b) of the Constitution and Section 36(4)(d) of the Employment Act, this House urges the Government to refrain from victimising public officers perceived to have been sympathisers of opposition political parties during the 2016 General Elections.

 

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

 

Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

 

Mr Nkombo: Sir, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to move this Motion on the Floor of this august House. Permit me to preamble my debate by taking excerpts from the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia in order to create a solid foundation and build an argument that might cause hon. Members, including those in the Executive, to do some soul searching and, possibly, unanimously support it.

 

Sir, supporting this Motion might circumvent the looming socio-economic challenge that, if left unchecked, can divide this country beyond repair.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: Sir, regional and tribal bias in all spheres of our nation is detrimental to the continued unity of this country which, I believe, is the Zambia we want. Therefore, I beg that this House does not trivialise this Motion.

 

Sir, according to the Constitution, we, the people of Zambia, resolved and declared that Zambia is an indivisible, unitary, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-cultural and, most important of all, multi-party democratic sovereign State. Further, there is a provision in the Constitution that all State organs and institutions shall abide by and respect the sovereign will of the citizens.

 

Sir, Part I of the Constitution states, in no uncertain terms, that the Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic and that any other written law, customary law or customary practice that is inconsistent with its provisions is void to the extent of the inconsistency, that an act or omission that contravenes this Constitution is illegal and that this Constitution shall bind all persons in Zambia, State organs and State institutions.

 

Mr Speaker, Part II of our Constitution addresses itself to our values, principles and economic policies, which, inter alia, morality, ethics, patriotism, national unity, democracy, human dignity, constitutionalism, equity, social justice and, most important of all, fair play and non-discrimination of citizens.

 

Sir, to draw my argument closer to home, allow me to quote three more statutes.

 

Sir, Part III of the Constitution provided for the Bill of Rights, with which all the hon. Members are familiar. The House is familiar with the freedoms of association, expression, movement and assembly, which are inherent to human beings and can, therefore, not be compromised or negotiated at the whim of anybody who might be in political power at any given time. Besides, change is the only thing that is constant in life. Human beings come and go, but institutions remain. History has no record of a person who remained in a position of power forever. As the old adages go, “he who lives by the sword will die by the sword” and “as a man lives, so shall he die.” So, if you live by victimising others, you must expect to be victimised at one point in your life as well, and that is called retribution.

 

Sir, Part XIII of our Constitution, Article 173(3)(a) and (b), provides as follows: 

 

“A public officer shall not be –

 

  1. victimised or discriminated against for having performed functions in good faith  in accordance with this Constitution or other law; or

 

  1. removed from office, reduced in rank or otherwise punished without just cause and due process.”

 

Sir, the key phrase here is “due process.”

 

Mr Speaker, let me quote from the Employment Act No.15 of 2015, under Article 5, Section 36 of the principal Act as amended by the insertion of sub-section 3 and 4(d), which says:

 

“The contract of service of an employee shall not be terminated unless there is a valid reason for termination connected with capacity, conduct of the employee or based on operational requirements of the undertaking.”

 

Sir, I am sure that my seconder, who I must thank most sincerely, will address this part when his time comes.

 

Sir, Sub-Section 4 is explicit that reasons that are not valid for termination of contracts include race, colour, sex, marital status, family responsibility, pregnancy, religion, political opinion or affiliation or social status of an employee.

 

Sir, currently, there is extreme consternation in our country due to the on-going purge of citizens in Government and quasi-Government offices on tribal and political lines, an action that is creating dismay, disquiet and bewilderment among citizens. The sad development has even caught the attention of the Head of State. For example, on 22nd January, 2017, the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) published a news article headlined titled “Stop Harassing Tonga People – Not every Tonga Belongs to UPND”, in which it quoted the President’s words uttered at Lundazi Airstrip. Let me quote:

 

“President Edgar Lungu has directed civil servants and Patriotic Front (PF) members not to harass people deemed to be Tonga.

 

“President Lungu said that the victimisation of people based on tribe should come to an end. The President said he had information that people were going round harassing civil servants who were Tonga. The Head of State says Tongas must live freely because they are Zambians.

 

“Lungu said this when he addressed people at Lundazi Airstrip yesterday. He said that he was disturbed with the report that Tonga civil servants and others were being harassed.

 

“Mr Lungu said belonging to the Tonga group does not guarantee that a particular person belongs to the Opposition UPND.

 

‘It does not mean that when you are Tonga, you belong to an Opposition political party. Others are not politicians, but are being harassed based on tribe. This should come to an end for now’.

 

“He said that people must not be discarded based on tribe, stating that Zambians should embrace one another on the basis of the motto, ‘One Zambia, One Nation’.

 

‘Zambians must live in harmony because we are all one people regardless of political affiliation.’”

 

Mr Speaker, just two days before this statement, the President had been quoted saying that some civil servants had been sabotaging the distribution of inputs to farmers and he had directed his cadres to sort out the civil servants. That is not the Zambia we want. The deficiencies of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and the challenges that the Government had in distributing the electronic-voucher (e-Voucher) Cards are known. There were situations in which cards meant for Ndola found themselves in Chipata. There were army worms this season and logistical problems, too. So, it is surprising that the Head of State had been misinformed that some civil servants had been sabotaging FISP.

 

Sir, citizens are asking how we can reconcile the apology by the Ministry of Agriculture on 6th March, 2017, regarding FISP, with the President’s comments. That is a really pertinent question and it is the heart of this Motion. Does the President’s statement mean that it is okay to harass civil servants who are perceived to be sympathisers of the United Party for National Development (UPND)? He specified that civil servants who were not UPND sympathisers must not be harassed, and that could mean that it was permissible to harass UPND sympathisers.

 

Hon. Government Members: Question!

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, that is a breach of the Constitution, and this is certainly not the Zambia of which we dreamt. So, I hope that the people at the Public Service Management Division (PSMD), who are busy retiring professional young men with master’s degrees who hail from the North-Western, Western, Southern and Central provinces are listening to me right now. This matter is real and people are losing jobs. To protect them from victimisation, I will not mention their names. Instead, I will just lay the list of names that I have on the Table for your office to see. It is believed that there is a list of innocent civil servants at the PSMD who are being targeted by senior managers on instructions from the State. How can you explain a forty-year-old doctor being retired in the national interest in his own country while a fifty-year-old with a certificate is retained? Is this the Zambia we want to see?

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, as I said, the only thing that is constant is change. How on earth can we avoid retribution in the event of a change of Government? How can we avoid ...

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

ANNOUNCEMEN BY THE HON SPEAKER

 

COMMEMORATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH DAY

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, before we proceed, I have an announcement to make.

 

I wish to inform you that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Zambia Branch will join the rest of the Commonwealth in commemorating the Commonwealth Day on Monday, 13th March, 2017, here, at Parliament Buildings, under the theme, “A Peace-Building Commonwealth”.

 

In line with the theme, the CPA Zambia Branch will hold a Youth Parliament as the main activity of the occasion. The participants in the Youth Parliament will be pupils invited from selected schools in all the ten provinces of Zambia and there will be an equal number of boys and girls. Among the items to be considered by the Youth Parliament is the Youth Entrepreneurship Bill.

 

You are all urged to attend the celebration on a voluntary basis. The activities will start at 0900 hours.

 

I thank you.

 

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

 

Laughter

 

_________

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was in the process of asking how retribution each time there is change of Government can end if citizens can continuously be victimised in the only country they can call home by having their hard-earned jobs taken away after lengthy periods of service. We have records, here and now, of people as young as forty years old who have been retired in the national interest, which is very sad. It borders on stigmatisation when a person is retired at the age of forty, when life is said to begin.

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

Mr Nkombo: Sir, in my opening remarks, I that we needed to search our souls and truly abide by the motto of “One Zambia One Nation” because the Constitution dictates that we be an indivisible, unitary and multi-party democratic State in which citizens can choose with whom to affiliate. So, yes, it is unacceptable for civil servants to undermine the Government. However, the law also tells us that someone cannot be fired without due process. One must be charged and given a chance to exculpate oneself. By the way, the Public Service, about which my seconder will adequately explain, has provisions for people to be asked to leave. However, strictly speaking, that is an affront to the Constitution, the grand law, which we enacted in this House.

 

Mr Speaker, let me give an example of how public officers are victimised in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government.

 

Not long ago, Sir, we heard from PF office bearers and Government Ministers that it was within citizens’ right to express themselves or demonstrate as long as they were within the confines of the Public Order Act. However, it is a fact that the visit by PF members to the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) offices …

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah, iwe!

 

Mr Nkombo: … was not permitted by the police. That is painful because we all know that LAZ is a professional institution that was born out of an Act of Parliament.

 

Mr Ngulube: It is not a public institution!

 

Mr Nkombo: It remains a public institution because one of the functions of LAZ is to further the development of law, as an instrument of social justice and …

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

I am very slow to do what I am doing, but I am compelled by the rules. Besides, you are a very senior Member of the House who should know about the rule of relevance.

 

Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: You have now veered off the subject. I know you are giving an example, but you have a well-defined Motion to which you should stick. Next week, the Minister of Home Affairs will address the issue you have just raised and you will have an opportunity to engage him. So, you would do well to focus on the Motion for now. For your information, I have a very long list of hon. Members who want to debate your Motion and I want to ensure that, if possible, we conclude on the Motion by the close of business today. So, the more focused we are, the better, and that should be of particular interest to you because this is your Motion. If we go into other subjects or events, we will lose track.

 

Continue, please.

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, thank you for your guidance. I will skip that bit.

 

Sir, on 24th February, 2017, during the Vice-President’s Question Time, the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central, Mr Jack Mwiimbu, the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabompo, Mr Lufuma, and the hon. Member of Parliament for Katombola, Mr Livune, engaged Her Honour the Vice-President on the subject of this Motion.

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

Mr Nkombo: The essence of that discourse was very clear and Her Honour the Vice-President assured the House that she would investigate the veracity of the claim.

 

Sir, this House has procedures. For example, Standing Order 132 states that:

 

“A Portfolio, General Purpose, Housekeeping and Select Committee shall have power to invite submissions from any person on any matter within its terms of reference”.

 

Sir, that means the issue of citizens being victimised by the PF Government can be squarely deal with by the Committee on Economic Affairs, Energy and Labour with the this Legislature.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, in moving this Motion, I am making the appeal that Her Honour the Vice-President realises that her Government is under examination on what I call the evil of removing people from hard-earned jobs. So, allowing her to investigate, as she graciously offered, is tantamount to her being her own examiner.

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

Mr Nkombo: If she discovers negative issues, how will she admit them to us?

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: So, we will write a letter tomorrow to request the Chair to constitute the Committee so that it can investigate the matter. The Committee has a cocktail of hon. Members from the Ruling Party, the Independents and the opposition parties who, I am quite sure, will produce a more balanced report than Her Honour the Vice-President would on a matter in which her Government has been accused, with all due respect to her.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Stop attacking the Vice-President!

 

Mr Nkombo: I am not attacking Her Honour the Vice-President ...

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Mazabuka Central!

 

Give me a moment again.

 

I am aware of what you have referred to because I was in the Chair. You are right to state that Her Honour the Vice-President is on record saying that she would investigate the matter after an invitation by the hon. Member for Katombola. However, that matter is separate from your Motion to the extent that now, in the main, you are urging for the Government to cease the victimisation of public officers that you allege it is perpetrating. That is the kernel of the issue. So, when you begin addressing yourself to this Standing Order and the power of Committees to invite persons, unfortunately, we are veering off again.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Page 55 of the Standing Orders relates to how we govern our business, but that is not the issue here. Here, you are addressing the Government in its generic form, the entire Government; the Executive Branch.

 

Ms Kapata: Ema Speaker, aba!

 

Mr Speaker: The powers are generally available to the Committees.

 

Again, I urge you to be focused. I do not want to be part of the debate, but I am obliged to guide. The Motion is very specific. So, keep within its bounds.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, thank you for your guidance once again.

 

Sir, in raising the bar on this Motion, I was simply giving a hint of what we will see tomorrow. In the search for truth, I believe that you cannot make Dracula the head of the blood bank because there will be no blood the next day.

 

Laughter

 

Hon. Government Members: Who is Dracula?

 

Mr Nkombo: We are investigating the issue of civil servants being traumatised by the way they are being ejected from Government offices.

 

Mr Ngulube: On a point of order, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, resume your seat.

 

Mr Nkombo resumed his seat.

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kabwe Central, resume your seat, too.

 

Mr Ngulube resumed his seat.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: Let me give direction generally.

 

As you may have guessed, given the nature of the Motion, I will not allow points of order ....

 

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

 

Mr Speaker: … whether from the left or the right. Otherwise, no business will be transacted here.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: There will just be mayhem.

 

However, I am still concerned, hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, that despite my guidance, you seem to be harping the point that Her Honour the Vice-President cannot acquit herself in the regard in which she undertook. That seems to be your suggestion and I still maintain that should not be the focus of your Motion. You are urging the Government. That is the key word. You are now are saying, “Her Honour the Vice-President cannot do this”. Is that a Motion?

 

Hon. Government Members: No!

 

Mr Speaker: I am sure you will agree with me that it is not. You should persuade the Government in the terms of what you have stipulated in your Motion.

 

Continue.

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I am now urging the Government to stop purging citizens ...

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: ... on account of perception ...

 

Mr Ngulube interjected

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Kabwe Central!

 

There is no need to make running commentaries. We are wasting time. You will have an opportunity to debate, as I have already received the list of hon. Members who want to debate this Motion. So, just listen in silence.

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I am urging, in all sincerity, the PF to stop what it is doing. In doing so, let me go further by naming the ministries in which this problem is purported to be worse. They are the ministries of Health, Home Affairs ...

 

Hon. Opposition Member: Kampyongo!

 

Mr Nkombo: ... and Defence. These ministries should desist from this practice because we are one people and the configuration of this House will not always be as it is. They must stop what they are doing now.

 

Mr Chibanda: 100 years!

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, in the unlikely event that the PF does not stop ejecting people from their jobs, I make an appeal to the weak citizens who have been affected to come forth so that we can take a class action and go to court to challenge their dismissals because that is the right thing to do. Those people cannot go to England or Botswana to look for jobs. This is the only country that they have. So, my earnest appeal to the Government is that it should stop what it is doing. Again, I ask the weak and voiceless victims, those who fear the PF, to come forth so that we ask benevolent lawyers, whoever they may be, to provide pro bono legal representation. Such a step was taken in this country less than five years ago when three police officers who had been fired went to court and were reinstated by this Government.

 

Mr Mwale: Where are they?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Nkombo: Sir, that is my plea. They are at work.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Kampyongo interjected.

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

 

Mr Nkombo: Sir, the motto to which His Excellency, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, referred Lundazi Airstrip, that of “One Zambia, One Nation”, should be actually practised because that is the Zambia we want. I do not know how it can be ignored because we have inter-married in this county. If you ask me the tribe of my children, I will say that I do not know, and the same is true of my colleagues on your right. So, they may think they are punishing one individual when, in fact, they should know that what goes around comes around.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later?

 

Mr Mbangweta: Now, Mr Speaker.

 

Sir,

 

Mr Ngulube: Ema jacket, aya!

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mbangweta: Just shut up!

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Somebody is merely admiring your apparel. 

 

Continue.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, I thank you for affording me the opportunity to reflect on this very important subject, …

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Mbangweta: … which afflicts some sections of our population. In doing so, I would like to request my colleagues on your right to listen carefully and appreciate the fact that since 1964, we have had many Governments, but a similar Motion has never been moved in this House. That means there is a problem.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mbangweta: So, it will not do for them to try to trivialise this issue because people are hurting and upset in our communities.

 

Mr Speaker, the discriminatory act of the PF Government is not only affecting the people it is declaring redundant or laying on a garbage heap, but also all Zambians because it is a typical example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Not too long ago, the hon. Minister of Finance stated in this House that he wanted to present a Budget that was intended to instil fiscal discipline in the Government. At some forum, he also said that he intended to minimise unplanned expenditure, which he said had been one of the biggest challenges of this Government. However, his best intentions are being undermined by his colleagues, specifically, Cabinet Office, through the Public Service Management Division (PSMD), which is laying off people using a Clause that is ordinarily not applicable.

 

Sir, by retiring innocent citizens in the national interest, Cabinet Office is putting pressure on the Ministry of Finance to fund expenses that were not budgeted for. Yes, it is the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) that is supposed to pay those people, but that money is not catered for in the Budget. So, where will it come from? This is punishing Zambians because they will now have to pay extra taxes.

 

Sir, on 24th February, 2017, Hon. Mwiimbu raised the issue of people being retired in the national interest and we were told that there were Civil Service regulations that were being followed. However, we have looked at the regulations, and I will lay them on the Table when I have finished my debate. Let me I quote from the:

 

“When an offence is alleged to have been committed, disciplinary action should be taken in accordance with the provisions of the Disciplinary Code as follows:

 

  1. undertaking thorough investigations into each alleged offence; and

 

(b)        taking into account all the circumstances of each case before disciplinary action is taken and such action should always be prompt, fair and firm.”

 

Mr Speaker, on page 12 of the same document, the procedure for handling offences is given as follows:

 

“When an offence is alleged to have been committed or comes to light, the immediate supervisor concerned will initiate investigations and:

 

  1. dismiss the allegation; or

 

  1. give an unrecorded warning; or

 

  1. lay a formal disciplinary charge in writing against the accused officer.”

 

Sir, quite clearly, the Government is not doing that. Instead, it is trampling on the rights of the fellow citizens and the PSMD is opting for the easy way out in retiring these individuals in the national interest instead of the public interest. There is a big difference between national interest and public interest, which are both defined in this document.

 

Mr Speaker, Clause 40 of the regulations says:

 

“A service commission may require an established officer to retire in the national interest at the instance of the Government either to take up another appointment outside the public service or for other reasons of Government policy.”

 

Sir, these people are not being given jobs elsewhere. They are simply being victimised and the reason they are not complaining is that they are still being paid by the taxpayers, through the Government, despite not working. So, the Government is paying two people for the same position, which causes the public to incur extra expenditure.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Shame!

 

Mr Mbangweta: However, even if the people being fired are not complaining, what is happening to them is still victimisation because they are forced to stay at home. A job gives a person self-worth and none of us would like to be taken away from where we are. So, it is not right for us to be told that we cannot work even if we are paid. That should not happen.

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, the clause that the PSMD is paying those people as if they have worked until retirement age. My colleague spoke of a person being retired at thirty-nine years, but I know one who was retired at thirty-one years, yet the retirement age is sixty-five. What are we doing? This is a complaint to all of us should be sensitive. We should not allow this situation to continue. We should not pay two people for the same job, worse still when the replacement is less qualified than the initial officer.

 

Sir, given the shortage of doctors and engineers in this country, is it rational to lay off such people and employ new ones? That is causing service delivery to go down because the new people have to gain experience over time, yet there are senior doctors and engineers and other officers being paid for doing nothing. Further, if the victims are being paid off to be taken off the system, it means that the money that is made available to the PSPF is being used to pay them at the expense of bona fide retirees who have served this country for many years and have waited in vain for their benefits, all at the whim of a person. That should not be allowed to continue.

 

Mr Speaker, given all the things I and my colleague have raised, our request to you is, among other issues that may be presented to this House by way of findings, that we be given an indication of how many people have been retired in the national interest by name, qualification, position and region of origin.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Mbangweta: Sir, if we everything is above board, our colleagues cannot fear to bring here that information here. After all, it is within our rights to ask for it.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, along with that information, we want to know the cost to the Government of paying those people’s terminal benefits and how it will be met. We also want to know the number of people who have retired after working for this country for many years, but have not been paid their benefits. We should also be informed when they will be paid. A deliberate effort is being made by people in the Executive to deny those people who have worked and retired normally their benefits in preference for paying other people for some unknown reasons.

 

Mr Speaker, we are also interested in knowing how many people have been employed since January, 2015, by name, qualification, position, age and region of origin.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Hon. UPND Members: Tutwa!

 

Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, I ...  sorry, Tutwa has stolen my ideas.

 

Laughter

 

Hon. Members: Water!

 

Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, finally, I would like to say that all the things about which my colleague and I have talked are provided for in our Constitution. The individual citizens of this country will not be subdued by others for no reason or be discriminated against. The Government will have to provide deliver good services. So, we have not overstepped our boundaries by asking for this information. If everything is above board, let us see the information.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Hon. PF Members: Question!

 

Mr Speaker: I indicated earlier that we had a very long list of hon. Members wishing to debate. Of course, in terms of the rules, each one of you is entitled to debate for twenty minutes, but I still urge that we be as brief as possible so that we accommodate as many of you as possible. As I see things so far, it is a very narrow question.

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: Please, let us avoid repetition. I will proceed in a very calibrated fashion and recognise just a few names at a time instead of reading out the whole list. Then, we will see how we will fare. I will also adopt the zebra approach, meaning I will recognise debaters alternately between the two sides of the House.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: In that spirit, I recognise the hon. Members for Mwinilunga, Lunte, Katombola and Chama South constituencies as the first debaters.

 

Mr Samakayi (Mwinilunga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate. I assure you that I will not be emotional even though this issue has broken my heart.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Laughter

 

Hon. UPND Member: Carry on.

 

Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, I speak for the people of the North-Western Province, who have seen their children, some of them bread winners, lose their jobs.

 

Sir, what is happening today has not happened before in this country from 1964. The retirement of people in the national interest that we are witnessing today is unprecedented. I have worked in the Civil Service and know that there are only two ways in which one can be retired in the national interest. The first is in order to appoint the person in question elsewhere while the second is a result of a change in Government policy. If the latter is what has happened, then we demand to know that policy shift because we have not heard this Government announce the policy that people from the North-Western, Western, Southern and Central provinces must lose their jobs. So, it must tell us about this policy today.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: Where has it come from?

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, in 1991, the Public Service in this country threw its weight behind the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). It also threw its weight behind Anderson Kambela Mazoka of the United Party for National Development (UPND) in 2001. In 2006 and 2008, it threw its weight behind the late President, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, but the MMD showed leadership by not victimising anyone.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Ngulube: Where were you?

 

Mr Kambita: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Fungulwe: Ema Government.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Samakayi: The party knew that we had chosen democracy as the guiding principle of governing our country. For me that was good stewardship.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: For me, that was good statesmanship.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nanjuwa: Quality!

 

Mr Ngulube: Which party were you in?

 

Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, during the period I have mentioned, all Town Clerks on the Copperbelt supported the Patriotic Front (PF), but no one was victimised.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: Sir, only those who are weak resort to harassment and victimisation of others.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! Yes!

 

Mr Samakayi: Those who are strong and stand on two legs do not victimise people.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: Sir, I tend to wonder …

 

Mr Ngulube: You are being emotional.

 

Mrs Chonya: Hammer!

 

Mr Samakayi: I will suppress my emotions ...

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Laughter

 

Mr Samakayi: ... because I promised not be emotional.

 

Mr Ngulube: Drink some water.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Members!

 

I still have my powers.

 

Laughter

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Send him out, Sir!

 

Mr Nanjuwa: Send him to the piggery house.

 

Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, …

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Give me a moment. Please, resume your seat.

 

Hon. Members, let us listen to this debate in silence.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: I have been taking note of those of you who are having a lot of difficulties restraining themselves.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: They are very few of you.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: I want all of you to be present and listen to this debate.

 

Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: May, the hon. Member debating continue.

 

Mr Ngulube crossed the Floor and sat on the Opposition Bench.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

 

Mr Kambita: What does he want here?

 

Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, civil servants do not operate in a vacuum. Further, they, too, have voter’s cards.

 

Mr Kufakwandi: Yes!

 

Mr Samakayi: They also have opinions on various parties and their leaders. As a former civil servant, I know that even on your right, there are people who were civil servants. So, when did they become politicians? Was it when they left or …

 

Mr Ngulube: When they were still serving.

 

Mr Samakayi: … or when they were still in office? Obviously, they held political views while in office.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: They had views on the political leadership and had leaders who appealed to them. They also made political judgments while in office. When I was in the Civil Service, we could talk about leaders of various political parties. Of course, we were not allowed to engage in active partisan politics.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: The MMD Government, which I believe ran a Zambia that we wanted, ...

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Chilangwa: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

 

Maybe, you were outside when I guided the House. I will not allow any points of order during this session.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: May the hon. Member on the Floor, continue.

 

Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, when the MMD was in power, civil servants had views on different political leaders. However, what it did, as you would expect from a good and mature leadership, was to counsel the civil servants not to be partisan. The party knew that civil servants held political views because they were human beings. Unfortunately, the PF has appointed witch hunters to fish out those who come from my province, …

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

 

Mr Samakayi: … from Western Province, …

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

 

Mr Samakayi: … and the Southern and Central provinces.

 

Mr Kambita: Even the Copperbelt Province.

 

Mr Samakayi: Even some Bembas have been retired in the national interest in the North-Western Province. Those good men and women …

 

Interruptions

 

Mr M. K. Tembo: So, what is the problem?

 

Mr Samakayi: The problem is you are retiring Zambians.

 

Laughter

 

Mr M. K. Tembo: You have become emotional now.

 

Mr Samakayi: I will not be emotional. That is what you are trying to make me do, but I will not be.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: I want to drive my point home.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr M. K. Tembo interjected.

 

Mr Nanjuwa: Iwe, chongo, ka Independent.

 

Mr Samakayi: Sir, the MMD merely counselled the civil servants.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Yes!

 

Mr Samakayi: The PF, on the other hand, sent witch hunters to track down those from the areas I have mentioned, which is not good for our country.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

 

Mr Samakayi: That is not good for Zambia.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: That is not the Zambia we want.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: We want a united Zambia.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

 

Mr Samakayi: We cannot develop in disunity.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, I just want to ask a few questions.

 

Hon. Government Members: To whom?

 

Mr Samakayi: I know that there are civil servants who supported the PF in 2016. Equally, I know of civil servants who supported the UPND in the 2016 elections.

 

Mr M. K. Tembo: Aulula!

 

Mr Samakayi: Why are civil servants who supported the UPND being retired while those who supported the PF are left to go scot-free?

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Samakayi: That is the question that must be answered.

 

Mr Chiteme: By whom?

 

Mr Samakayi: Unfortunately, it requires morally upright answers …

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: … that my colleagues may not have.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, I will conclude my debate before my time lapses.

 

Sir, the Executive should tell us which policy it is following that requires people from certain provinces to be retired.

 

Mr Samakayi picked up his note book.

 

Mr M. K. Tembo: Stop reading.

 

Mr Samakayi put down his note book.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Samakayi: Sir, there is a group of people who are said to be civil servants or public officers, namely the District Commissioners (DCs), and we know very well the DCs do during election campaigns. They are in the forefront of distributing chitenge materials, food hampers and campaigning for the Ruling Party, yet they are civil servants. Why are they left to continue working? Why the selective retirements?

 

Mr Speaker, we are mobilising ourselves to take this matter to court, and I can assure you, the PF Government will to win.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Samakayi: I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Kafwaya (Lunte): Mr Speaker, I sincerely thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate this Motion.

 

Mr Speaker, this Motion has come at a time when the focus of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is on diversifying the economy. Further, I had difficulties understanding the Motion, but I chose to express a few views on it because it appears to compel this House to debate perceptions. I saw the phrase, “people perceived” in it.

 

Sir, even though that is just a perception, I think it arises from what I heard two Fridays ago, the essence of which was that the Executive is keeping members of the United Party for National Development (UPND) in its ranks, as implied by the Leader of the Opposition, who said that that this Government is targeting UPND members for victimisation.

 

Mr Speaker, since there are opposition political cadres in the ministries, …

 

Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kafwaya: … the Executive needs to be careful because that raises the question of the possibility of sabotage.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kafwaya: Sir, UPND cadres believe in the Ten-Point Plan, not in the PF Manifesto.

 

Mr Sing’ombe: Question!

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kafwaya: So, if they are kept in the ministries, they will sabotage …

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Let me guide you.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Hon. Member, debate the Motion, not your colleagues. We must try to debate this Motion in a principled fashion. We are representatives of the people. It would do no harm if you said that you wanted to debate, but no longer wish to do so.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Let us be focused.

 

Continue, hon. Member.

 

Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, your counsel is highly valued.

 

Mr Chisopa: On a point of procedure, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: No points of order.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, let me go straight into discussing a few concepts because I believe that even a Motion without a structure …

 

Mr Chisopa: On a point of procedure, Sir.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Let me guide your colleague.

 

Hon. Chisopa, a point of order is procedural in nature. So, it does not make a difference when you use the word ‘procedure’ in place of ‘order’.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Kafwaya.

 

Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, let me just structure my points and deliver them as quickly as I can.

 

Sir, firstly, a democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and it represents the popular view, meaning that when people are given the opportunity to choose a government, they choose one that reflects the popular view. In this case, the PF Government represented the best view, …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kafwaya: … and it was chosen. It is, therefore, important for every well-meaning Zambian to support its programmes. In that regard, all civil servants must be non-partisan and deliver services to Zambians in line with PF programmes. So, if there are active members of the Opposition, they must be disciplined. However, …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kafwaya: … in disciplining them, procedure must be followed. The issue of procedure has been raised and it would be interesting to establish what procedure must be followed to retire somebody in the national interest. Unfortunately, the Motion did not address that aspect.

 

Mr Speaker, secondly, civil servants have a code of ethics, which has been referred to, but no specific articles that address the issues raised were cited. Instead, covers of books were referred to, which may not be very useful.

 

Sir, thirdly, let me talk about the separation of powers. I am not a lawyer, but I know that this country has a Legislature, …

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

 

Mr Kafwaya: … an Executive and a Judiciary. Listening to this debate, I heard hon. Members tell us what they would do. Instead of talking about how we can strengthen the Civil Service, they are talking about going to court. Let us make laws that will strengthen the Civil Service. If we think that the current laws governing the Executive are weak, we can repeal some of them and enact strong ones instead of us, the Legislature, wanting to meddle in disciplinary issues in the Civil Service. That is inappropriate.

 

Mr Speaker, finally, I will support anyone whose intention is to strength the Civil Service so that it can deliver services to Zambians. However, I am afraid, I will not support an ill-intended Motion or politically-motivated ideas.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Katombola, you may take the Floor.

 

Hon. Government Members: Question!

 

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, the hon. Members of this House come from all walks of life and I want to summon them to the business on the Floor.

 

Sir, many of us have worked before and we understand what it takes to be employed and to be unemployed. Some of us have even earned a living from representing workers and resolving their problems. Now, we are all in this House, we, on your left, and our colleagues on your right. We are here. So, we must all attach importance to this matter and reduce on trivialising it.

 

Sir, since we agreed to coexist in a multi-party dispensation, we must be able to tolerate, understand and help one another. Politics is all about jostling for power. When in power, you are in charge, when not, you automatically take the role of checking on your colleague in harmonious coexistence.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, even in the home, if one spouse is passive, that home will not be as good as it should. So, when there is a reason to coexist, you must take time to reflect and see if you can make sense of it.

 

Sir, this House is a maker of national policies and the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. The Constitution, in turn, guarantees some of the freedoms that we enjoy, as a people, such as the freedoms of expression, association and movement. I am also aware of the social and economic rights provided for in the Constitution. Why do we have those provisions if we cannot live up to their dictates, which requires tolerance because in a multi-party setup, you may not know the party to which your neighbour belongs. However, should political affiliation dilute people’s existence and relationships? I do not think so. Here, in this House, we may disagree on principle, but beyond that, we shake hands and solve problems together, including when carrying out Committee work. Therefore, why should we have a problem in this House? Why do we want to pretend?

 

Mrs Mulyata applauded.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Rufunsa!

 

You are out of order.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, all of us here come from communities where people approach us with many problems. We have seen some Government officers dressed in party regalia and a police officer wrapped in party regalia proudly dancing to political party songs.

 

Sir, this country is for all of us. So, once we have gone through political processes like, such as elections, those of us who have been given responsibilities should not carry grudges. People have different ideologies and agendas. For instance, I am a Member of Parliament for Katombola, a constituency that has Patriotic Front (PF), Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) and Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) members and sympathisers. As their Member of Parliament, I must accommodate all of them and represent them in this House, as what affects them affects me. A public decision was made for me to be their Member of Parliament. Therefore, I must attend to their problems. So, when they are retired, especially for no clear reason, I also feel offended.

 

Sir, the Employment Act was enacted here. So, all the mechanisms for the administration of the Public Service are from here. Unfortunately, some people are destroying what this Parliament has worked very hard to put in place. Someone is deliberately or ignorantly doing things contradictory to the laws enacted by this House, and I do not think any of us should smile about that. We must be annoyed with the people who are breaking the law with impunity.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Livune: Sir, those who are politicking politics in public offices need to be educated. These days, people are not appraised on an annual basis, but on a daily basis. If someone is wrong today, we must tell him or her about his or her wrong do the monthly assessments. That way, when the end of year approaches, a human resource practitioner will not have a backlog of issues over one person. What must all be concerned with is the product we are delivering to the people of Zambia. The human resource departments should educate the workers on the need to deliver a service. When disciplinary cases arise, let us remember that there is a due process that should be followed in dealing with them.

 

Sir, as I said earlier, we must tolerate one another and learn to coexist so that no one feels victimised. In the Industrial Relations Act, we are told how to discipline a person. There is also the Grievance Handling Procedure.

 

Mr Speaker, human beings are never dormant, as they are always thinking. They also study and acquire knowledge every day. Therefore, we must respect one another. In this House, the hon. Members on your right as well as those on your left must respect each other.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, the people on your left represent six provinces of this country. So do those on your right, meaning we are equal in this House. Therefore, we must not underrate each other or trivialise issues that need to be dealt with.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Livune: Sir, this is a fair statement. I am not lying, and if you doubt me, you can check the facts. There is an issue at hand that demands that we stop politicking so that we can deal with it. Young and middle-aged people, who have been trained at the public expense, are losing employment. How much does it cost to train a medical doctor, for instance, just to throw him out in the twinkling of an eye? I do not think that is logical. The people in the agricultural sector ministries are also experts and it takes long for them to become the best. Yesterday, at the National Heroes Stadium, some people fired tear gas while the President was watching a football match because of a lack of professionalism and experience.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Livune: People who are ill-qualified do not do things the right way. We need the qualified and experienced people in the Public Service. All of us here rely on technocrats to give us information. When such people are thrown out of service overnight on account of their political affiliation, we deprive the nation of the much-needed competence that will bring proper information on the Floor of this House.

 

Sir, this country already has problems. So, why should we deliberately add unnecessary costs to the existing problems? The pension funds are sick and becoming broke because of unwise decisions being made by some public officers who just want to destroy the families and relationships of their colleagues.

 

Sir, one day, all of us will have to account for our actions.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Livune: Sir, those who may not know what is happening in the ministries must investigate so that we help one another. We are the eyes of the Executive when it cannot see. Therefore, when we tell it something, it must take time to listen. Leaders must speak less and listen more.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate this Motion, which has exposed the fact that there is something wrong happening in our Civil Service.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, the mover of this Motion is urging this Government to refrain from victimising those perceived to have sympathised with the United Party for National Development (UPND) during the 2016 general elections.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Sympathisers of the Opposition, not the UPND.

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, the Motion says “sympathisers of the UPND or the Opposition”.

 

Hon. Opposition Members interjected.

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Please, resume your seat and look at the Motion closely. It is on the Order Paper.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, thank you. I have seen the Motion and it says “sympathisers of opposition political parties”, ...

 

Mr Speaker: Thank you.

 

Mr Mung’andu: ... but the largest opposition party in this country is the UPND.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, the ills of civil servants getting involved in active politics can affect not only the Ruling Party, but the Opposition, too. Let me highlight some of them.

 

Sir, it is a fact that this country went through a very divisive election. Let me elaborate.

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was in the process of showing that this Motion is not very convincing.

 

Sir, our colleagues said that they have a list of civil servants who were allegedly victimised by the Executive. My question is: How did they identify those civil servants as members of the Opposition?

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

 

Ms Kalima: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, human beings have a tendency to find excuses for their errors in order to protect themselves. What if the alleged victims were facing legitimate disciplinary actions but, as a way of protecting themselves, went to the UPND to claim political victimisation? What criterion was used to validate their claims?

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, I heard one of the hon. Members say that Bembas in the North-Western Province have also been victimised and that has really confused me because ... 

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Mung’andu: … another hon. Member had said that only people from the Southern, Central, North-Western and Western provinces are being victimised. According to our voting pattern, those are the provinces that voted for the UPND.

 

Hon. UPND Members: Question!

 

Mr Mung’andu: That is why I insisted that the mover of this Motion deliberately wrote “Opposition” instead of “UPND”.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, the implementers of the Ruling Party’s manifesto are the civil servants. I do not see hon. Ministers overseeing the tendering processes or supervising various Government projects. The civil servants do that. Now, how can the Civil Service do that if it has people who do not subscribe to the Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto, how do you expect His Excellency to deliver services to Zambians?

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, I have asked a very good question.

 

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Someone mentioned the danger of sabotage. We, the politicians, are the ones who have caused the retirement in the national or public interest of some people, if such things really happened. That is my perception, just like this Motion a perception.

 

Sir, we, the politicians promised the civil servants heaven on earth.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Perhaps, someone was told that he or she would be Speaker if the UPND won.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

The Speaker is elected.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, usually, there is usually caucusing during the election of the Speaker. Perhaps there were such promises.

 

Mr Kafwaya: Promissory notes!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Some people could have gone to the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) in the North-Western Province and promised to make someone the regional director or Chief Executive Officer (CEO) if he or she campaigned for some political party.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Mung’andu: Some people might have gone to such lengths.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Some people may have gone to the North-Western Province to promise a very hardworking civil servant that when some party won, he or she would be the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, I want to appeal to the civil servants that politicians will go to them and promise heaven on earth, ...

 

Mr Kambita: Only the PF!

 

Mr Mung’andu: ... but will not tell them that when the party in question loses, …

 

Laughter

 

Mr Kafwaya: They will be nothing!

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: If anything, politicians will tell always exaggerate their prospects of winning. If, the civil servant is gullible enough to take that as Gospel truth, the consequences may be what is alleged to be happening currently.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Kambita: So, it is true?

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, since this Motion is a perception, I will perceive that the so-called victims exist because there are no facts here. No wonder, I do not support this Motion.

 

Sir, I want to inform the Civil Service that there is no political party, especially a ruling party, that will put up with individuals who want frustrate its efforts or manifesto. For example, immediately President Trump took office, he appointed his own people.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Mung’andu: That is a fact.

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is a very humble and kind President because ...

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwiinga: Question!

 

Mr Mung’andu: ... he has maintained 98 per cent of the PSs and directors he inherited.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Ah!

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Check for yourselves. These are the statistics that I have.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, our Constitution clearly prohibits civil servants from engaging in partisan politics.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Members on my left!

 

Do not engage the hon. Member on the Floor in that fashion. You will have an opportunity to debate, but not while seated.

 

Continue, Hon. Member.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, the Civil Service Act does not allow civil servants to engage in active partisan politics.

 

Dr Chanda: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, we want to build a united country.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hmm!

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, one hon. Member mentioned that such a thing has not happened before since 1964. So, the question is: If it is happening, why is it happening now?

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, I appeal to the conscience the civil servants that they should not be cheated.

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

The word ‘cheated’ is unparliamentary.

 

Mr Mung’andu: I am sorry, Sir. I withdraw the word.

 

Sir, civil servants should not be deceived by people who earn a living by being in this House.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, they have slotted in their cards. We have all done that ...

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Mung’andu: ... and that is a fact.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Please, avoid debating your colleagues.

 

Hon. Opposition Members:  Yes!

 

Mr Speaker: Focus on the Motion.

 

You may continue.

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, I thank you for the guidance.

 

Mr Speaker, the point I was trying to drive at is that when I look at this Motion, it is evident that we are the ones putting our people in the situation in which they are currently. We cheat the civil servants out there …

 

 Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

You have used the word ‘cheat’ again.

 

Mr Mung’andu: I am sorry, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker, we deceive the civil servants that when we get into office, we will do this or that for them. No wonder the mover of the Motion knows the individuals with whom he worked.

 

Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Chama South!

 

Please, resume your seat.

 

Please, do not proceed in that fashion. I do not want to curtail your debate.

 

You may continue.

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance.

 

Sir, let me summarise my debate.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, civil servants should know that their role is to work with the Government of the day, ...

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: ... which formulates policies that it wants them to implement religiously.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, we should not tell the people of Zambia that we have failed because the civil servants frustrated what the Government is trying to achieve. If the civil servants are there to do that, then, they will be definitely be kicked out. So, my appeal to them, again, is that they should work with the Government of the day and implement its the policies religiously so that if we do not achieve what we promised the people of Zambia, the blame will be on us, not on them. If the Government discovers civil servants who do not subscribe to its policies, it has a duty to recruit other people who do.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Sir, this is regardless of tribe, religion or colour.

 

Mr Speaker, I end my submission by saying that I am totally against this Motion.

 

Sir, I thank you.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, let me reiterate my appeal. Because of its nature, many of you would like to debate this Motion. Unfortunately, you do not seem to be heeding my appeal for efficiency in your debates. We have now reached the point where repetition has begun to predominate your debates. Consequently, time is being wasted and I may be compelled to shorten my list of debaters so that we can conclude on this Motion. We are being repetitive and emotive, yet, as people’s representatives, we are supposed to be solving problems and challenges. So, I urge you, hon. Members, to be principled in your debates.

 

Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity.

 

Sir, when I was given an opportunity present my maiden speech last year to, I thanked the people of Livingstone for voting for me. Today, I want to add to that speech by saying that they really demonstrated the “One Zambia, One Nation” motto, ...

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: … considering that the majority of the people who voted for me were Tongas, Lozis and only …

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Now, you are debating yourself.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Jere: Yes, Sir, but I just wanted to make a point on the need for us to uphold our unity and coexist, as a people.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, our forefathers fought for the independence of this country, and this generation should appreciate their sacrifices.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: Sir, unfortunately, there is division and a lot of hatred in the country ...

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: … based on tribal and ethnic groupings.

 

Mr Speaker, the first Cabinet of Zambia represented the interests of all the provinces and tribes of this country.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: Even in the Public Service, people were made to work in areas other than where they came from so that they could feel that they were part of Zambia, as a whole. For instance, people were transferred from the Northern Province to work in the Eastern Province. What we have seen, of late, is that transfers are not made in the interest of unity, but merely to torture and mock other people, …

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: … who are being transferred regardless of their performance so that they get frustrated ...

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

 Mr Jere: … in their performance. That is not the way to go

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, we all know that a lot happens during the elections. However, what I want us to do, as leaders, is emulate one of the icons of Africa, Mr Nelson Mandela, may his soul rest in peace, ...

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: ... who, when elected first black President of South Africa after serving twenty-seven years in prison, forgave his former tormentors and said that since they were all in South Africa, they would live as South Africans regardless of their colour, tribe, religion or sex. With such examples, I thought by now we had moved forward from considering some people as foreigners in their own land.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: Another example is the late President, Dr Frederick Chiluba, who, “Where you are, that is your home.”

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

 

Mr Jere: However, some people cannot participate in politics in areas where they have lived longer than where they hail from because of the hate and tribal remarks that some people have been making.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, it is true that some people in the Civil Service have been suspended.

 

Sir, when people are suspended, they should be availed the grounds for the suspension. Allow me to quote Section 26(a) of the Employment Act, which prescribes for dismissal:

 

“An employer shall not terminate the service of an employee on grounds related to the conduct or performance of the employee without affording the employee an opportunity to be heard on the charges laid against him.”

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, I feel that ignoring this provision is a serious omission on the part of those charged with the responsibility of administering the Civil Service in this country.

 

Sir, the law I have just cited quoted calls for the rules of natural justice to prevail. Even God did not just punish Adam without first affording him a hearing.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Jere: Why, then, should people be suspended and be on half salary for many months without knowing what wrong they did?

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, we demand to know how many civil servants have been suspended, but have not been told why to date.

 

Sir, let me give the example of what has been happening at the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC).

 

Sir, from its inception, the LGSC has been employing local government workers, and the Constitution stipulates very clearly that when employing public workers, you have to consider the region, tribe and age of the employees. However, the LGSC has been employing people from here, in Lusaka, and sending them to work in other areas, such as Livingstone, as if there are no youths who want to be employed there.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Jere: We need to share the national cake equally. As such, those charged with the responsibility of employing workers under the LGSC should be mindful of the fact that where they are taking the youths from Lusaka, there are already youths who also need employment.

 

Mr Speaker, when it comes to promotions, we all know that there are many people in the Civil Service who have been acting in some positions without being confirmed or promoted for a long time.

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

I am sure you will agree that you have now moved away from the Motion. Please, get back on the right track.

 

Mr Jere: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for that guidance.

 

Sir, I was trying to prove that there is discrimination. There are many factors that have probably led this Government to thinking that its efforts are being sabotaged by some civil servants when, in fact, many people are working in fear. For example, look at the way journalists are being harassed these days, which is preventing them from properly executing their functions. Anywhere else in the world where democracy has flourished, people discuss issues freely.

 

Mr Speaker, as somebody has said, it is not a sign of weakness when a leader keeps quiet and listens. Instead, you will learn something from listening to people when they point out things that they have seen, especially if the advice is from those of us who live with the people in society. We know the suffering people go through when they lose their jobs or are suspended from work. Many of them are breadwinners, but they are now not even able to sponsor their children to school because their income has been cut off. Therefore, we need fairness to prevail.

 

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to borrow the words of the writer, Chinua Achebe, who said that:

 

“An important element of life is change ...”

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Jere: “… and change is evolution, and we are part of it.”

 

Sir, there is still room for our colleagues to change for the better.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

The Minister of Agriculture (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, considering that time is not with us, I will just make one point very quickly in relation to the Motion on the Floor.

 

Sir, let me comment on the statement made by the President that some civil servants in the Ministry of Agriculture would be disciplined because they were frustrating the implementation of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), and the impression created by some people that the President’s claims were incorrect.

 

Sir, it is the responsibility of an elected government to obey the wishes of the people, and one of the wishes of our people is that we distribute inputs under FISP. In doing so, we accept that there are genuine challenges in the implementation of the programme. However, we have concrete evidence that in some cases, there were deliberate efforts made by pubic workers to frustrate the programme in, at least, eight districts. The country has 106 districts and each district has a District Agriculture Coordinating Officer (DACO). I must hasten to say that the motivation for frustrating this programme does not have to be solely political. Sometimes, it was pure thieving. In Mpulungu, the DACO was giving fertiliser to the police Officer-in-Charge who had only been in the district for two months, and you have to ask how the police officer had suddenly acquired a field for which he was getting the fertiliser, which belonged to the people. The Government would not shy away from disciplining such an officer. I know his name is Sichamba, but I do not if he is Lozi, Bemba or Mambwe. He is a …

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

 

As we debate this Motion, let us avoid mentioning names because the people we mention are not here to respond to the accusations we will level against them. We do not want to prejudice anybody. So, to repeat what I said earlier, let us debate this Motion from the perspective of principles.

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the deliberate frustration of FISP has been noted in districts nationwide, not just in Mpulungu. The other districts from which we got similar reports are include Mpongwe, Nyimba, Shiwang’andu, Chisamba, Namwala, Monze and Lufwanyama, and we have followed the due process by asking for investigations to be instituted even if some of the perpetrators were caught red-handed politicking and identifying associating with opposition political parties. Once the investigations are over, our options will include retirement in the public interest because that is part of the Government’s consideration for the public interest, which must always supersede individual interest.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Siliya: Sir, I just thought that it was important for me to clarify those issues insofar as the Ministry of Agriculture is concerned.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to debate this Motion, which has been ably moved by the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, Mr Gary Nkombo, and duly seconded by the hon. Member for Nkeyema, Mr Mbangweta.

 

Mr Speaker, from the outset, I would like to state that it is with a heavy heart that I rise to debate this Motion. As leaders in this House, we all swore to defend the Constitution of Zambia and all the laws enacted by this House, and it is on that premise that I will anchor my debate.

 

Mr Speaker, I have noted that my two colleagues, the hon. Member for Lunte and the hon. Member for Chama South, justified the victimisation of civil servants under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, ...

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: ... and went to great lengths to justify this obnoxious step that the Government has taken. It is very sad.

 

Mr Speaker, as a nation, we must strive to be united and to work together so that we can develop. Our forefathers developed came up with the “One Zambia, One Nation” motto. Alas! We are now dividing ourselves on tribe, ethnic and regional lines, which should not be allowed to take root in this country. As leaders, we should all search our souls and consider whether what we are saying on the Floor of this House is building this country. Unfortunately, what I have noted is that we are not uniting the country, but rather dividing it. 

 

Mr Speaker, we have been challenged to state how we came to know that civil servants have been retired in the national interest. The answer is that we are hon. Members of Parliament and national leaders. All of us have offices in the constituencies and members of the public come to complain to us about issues affecting them. That is the reason my colleagues decided to move this Motion urging the Government to desist from retiring civil servants in the national interest. The law is very clear that you can only retire a civil servant in the national interest if you want to appoint him or her to another position or restructuring the Civil Service. Those are the two scenarios in which you can do it.

 

Mr Ngulube: That is what is happening.

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, someone is saying that ...

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Do not respond to those comments.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, there are people in this House who were once champions of workers’ rights, but when they came in this House, they deviated from that noble path.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: They are the ones who are now trampling on the rights of the worker.

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Monze Central!

 

Please, resume your seat.

 

I am sure you know that we cannot debate ourselves. Regardless of where we are coming from, we cannot just begin debating ourselves. This Motion, as I see it, should not cause this kind of havoc. You have just said that we are national leaders and Members of Parliament. That is the spirit in which we should proceed. We are trying to solve national problems. If you start targeting each other, through innuendoes, and other devices, we will derail ourselves. An innuendo, as you and I know from our profession, is easy to figure out and identify with the referent. So, let us avoid that and debate issues.

 

You may continue.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, thank you. I always cherish your guidance, one of which has been that hon. Members should not debate while seated.

 

Laughter

 

Hon. Member: Tutwa.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: That is very cherished.

 

Mr Speaker, there are procedures to follow in retiring public officer anyone who falls under the prescribed conditions of service. The issue we have raised is the discriminatory manner in which this process is being effected. I have served under the United National Independence Party (UNIP), Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) and Patriotic Front (PF) Governments, but what is happening currently is unprecedented ...

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: ... and not being done in the interest of the nation.

 

Sir, last week, when the hon. Minister of Finance came back from abroad, he announced that the Government was negotiating a financial package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and we are aware that one of the conditionalities for IMF packages is austerity. However, we are not implementing any austerity measure. Why, then, should the Government lay off more than 1,000 workers in the national interest? Given the opportunity, we would have laid the names of the individuals who have been laid off on the Tabled.

 

Hon. Government Members: Lay them!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: There are rules in this House. So, I cannot do that.

 

Mr Speaker, we are concerned that professionals like doctors, nurses and engineers have been laid off. We claim to have a staff shortage at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) to perform certain professional duties, yet we are retiring in national interest people in the relevant professions. How do you retire in national interest a twenty-five-year old radiographer?

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: How can you do that?

 

Mr Speaker, if our colleagues have decided not to listen, it is alright. However, let us bear in mind that the people of Zambia are listening. So, I appeal to my colleagues in the Executive, in the national interest, to resolve this matter. Most of them have admitted that this country has been divided since the last elections. However, instead of uniting this country, they have continued dividing it. My hon. Colleagues should bear in mind that the people they are retiring in the national interest have relatives, dependants and friends. Do they think that the relatives and friends are happy with what you has been done to their loved ones? Obviously, they are not. The people have looked up to some of our colleagues to resolve their problems because they know that some of the people who have been affected come from their areas, but our colleagues are not standing up to defend their people. My question is: How do such people expect the people whom they have treated in such a manner to welcome them when they go home? Obviously, they will not be welcomed.

 

Sir, those who want to be leaders should be leaders for all and fair. That is all we are looking forward to. If someone has offended the rules, there are procedures to follow and none of my colleagues would raise an issue if the Government had followed the disciplinary procedure in dealing with offenders. None of my colleagues would have raised an issue if the people were getting retired for not following their conditions of service.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Moreover, there is a perception that the retirement in national interest of people is only targeting people from certain tribes and areas. That is what people are saying, and it is the Government’s responsibility to resolve this matter and prove to the people that there is no discrimination in the running of the nation. After all, the PF got votes in all the provinces of Zambia.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Sing’ombe: Including in Dundumwezi!

 

Hon. Government Member: We know!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: If you know, then, why are you punishing the people who voted for you?

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Why are you being discriminatory?

 

Sir, it has been stated on the Floor of this House that those who are being disciplined are members of the United Party for National Development (UPND). Is it alright for PF members to be partisan just because the PF is the Ruling Party? The Constitution does not segregate. It is supposed to be fair to all the citizens of this country. So, if a civil servant engages in active politics in favour of the PF, he or she must equally be disciplined. However, we know of party cadres who have been appointed to head the Civil Service, some as Permanent Secretaries (PSs).

 

Mr Ngulube: Question

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: My question is: When did such people stop being party cadres? If somebody who was selling party membership cards at a station is appointed PS, at what point does he or she stop being a cadre?

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Mwiimbu: He or she will still be a member of the party, but because there are rules and regulations in the Civil Service, he or she is not supposed to openly politick in the office

 

Mr Speaker, our colleagues must realise that the problems in our neighbouring countries emanated from such conduct.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Hon. Government Members: Question!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: You can refuse, but bear in mind …

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, it is the responsibility of all of us to nip this problem in the bud. This malady that has infected the Government must not be allowed to continue. Otherwise, the country will not be healed from it. We see the situation getting worse instead of improving.

 

Sir, recently, Her Honour the Vice-President appealed to all of us on the Floor of this House to heal the nation, but her Government is not adhering to that advice.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

 

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mwiimbu: We should learn to be leaders.

 

Mr Ngulube: Question!

 

Ms Lubezhi: Aah, Makululu.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, the other week, I was in Kabwe and …

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mwiimbu: … was confronted by a number of civil servants who had been retired in the national interest.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: They had failed to find someone to represent them.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mwiimbu: That is why I am here, speaking on their behalf.

 

Mr Ngulube rose.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, …

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: … this issue is not only being discussed here, in Parliament, or Zambia, but also internationally.

 

Hon. Government Members: Where?

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, for those who are able to read, …

 

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: … I refer them to the Africa Confidential of 3rd March, 2017, …

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Are you able to lay that paper on the Table?

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: When I print it, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Speaker: No, you know what our rule says about making references.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, I will not quote. I am asking my colleagues to read that publication.

 

Mr Speaker: Alright, please, continue.

 

Mr Ngulube: It is owned by HH!

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

 

Mr Sing’ombe: That man should be removed from this Parliament!

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Mwiimbu, can you conclude your debate.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Sir, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabwe Central …

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Just leave him out of your debate.

 

Laughter

 

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

 

Mr Speaker: Conclude.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I am happy to hear the Africa Confidential, an international publication read by intellectuals, not pedestrians, be said to belong to the UPND.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, my appeal to my colleagues on your right is that they must search their souls.

 

Mr Syakalima: That is right!

 

Mr Mwiimbu: The issue we are discussing is not personal, but national. We are discussing issues concerning the citizens of this country as their representatives who are supposed to resolve their problems. So, if they decide to vote against the Motion, posterity will judge us harshly.

 

Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.

 

Thank you, Sir.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: We should now start winding up.

 

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, thank you so much for allowing me to …

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

 

Mr Kampyongo: … debate this Motion on the Floor. I will do so reluctantly because I deem it inappropriate, …

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

 

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

 

Mr Kampyongo: … divisive and mischievous.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, it is said that what goes around comes back around.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: So, those that want to call others to equity must come with clean hands.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: For those who were not in this Chamber before the elections, the matter we are discussing was brought up when there was political excitement in the country.

 

Ms Mulenga: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: The message I will say today is an exact repetition of what I said then. I told the public servants that there would be elections and the elections would pass.

 

Ms Mulenga: Mm!

 

Mr Kampyongo: When we say that public servants have to be loyal to the Government of the day, …

 

Ms Mulenga: Mm!

 

Mr Kampyongo: … we do not imply that they should be cadres of the Ruling Party.

 

Ms Mulenga: Indeed!

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting!

 

Laughter

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, it is clearly spelled out that a person who is in the Public Service cannot practice partisan politics and those who do so find themselves into dangerous waters.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, I am debating because, unfortunately, my ministry has been mentioned by the mover of the Motion. So, let me seize this opportunity to send a clear message, one that I have preached consistently, to all the units under my ministry. If anyone decides to join the Zambia Police Service, for example, he or she should understand the responsibilities that will be placed on their shoulders when they wear the uniform.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: The police is supposed to protect citizens and their property regardless of who they are.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Further, during their pass out, police officers commit themselves to being loyal to their Commander-in-Chief, who is the President of the nation.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: So, those who want to join active politics have to resign from Public Service. The same applies to the Zambia Correctional Service and the Department of Immigration. Those men and women in uniform are public servants who are bound by rules, just like those in other public institutions. They are also trained to be disciplined and obedient to the Government of the day and the Commander-in-Chief. The point I am making is that discipline will be non-negotiable in my ministry. However, no one will be victimised for the reasons that are being suggested by our colleagues here, which cannot even be proved.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: We have systems in place to guard against that. Even I, a Minister, cannot recruit public officers from any institution to be a Patriotic Front (PF) cadre because I know the implications. I am here today, but I may not be tomorrow. So, if I recruit someone to be a cadre, what will happen when I am not there?

 

Sir, we should not deceive civil servants with our politics, as an hon. Member said earlier.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Let us leave them to perform their functions. They may be our relatives, but we should not interfere with their work or place caveats on their career prospects.

 

Mr Speaker, my ministry draws its staff from all over the country.

 

Mr Livune: Question!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Unfortunately, or fortunately, civil servants cannot choose who to work with. I was shocked that the hon. Member for Livingstone was able to refer to transfers as being punitive. When one joins the Public Service, one must be ready to serve anywhere.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: There is no special civil servant who is employed to work in the urban areas only. That is the indiscipline about which we are talking. We have heard of people complaining that they are being victimised when they are transferred from one area to another. How is that victimisation? When they join the Public Service, ...

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Kampyongo: ... they must be ready to serve the country anywhere.

 

Mr Speaker, let me reiterate that this Motion is inappropriate and divisive, and should, therefore, not be entertained.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, to put the record straight, this country is anchored on the “One Zambia, One Nation” motto and I am proud to be part of this group of men and women representing the nation in all the regions. For someone to come to this Chamber and talk about matters of employment, recruitment and dismissal of employees is to be mischievous. We do not discuss such issues in this House.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I heard someone dare us by saying his group would go to court. Why did he have to declare that intention in this House, which is independent of the Judiciary? Here, we spend valuable time making decisions and laws that will help the nation. So, for someone to introduce for debate matters that do not fall under this institution is a sheer waste of people’s time.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I want to place it on record that this PF Government was duly elected by the people of Zambia, and I liked it when my colleague said that it was elected by people from all over the country. Yes, we appreciate the people of Zambia who elected us in all the ten provinces. However, we will not agree to be lectured to on how we should run the affairs of the State because, for now, we, under a very committed citizen, the number diplomat and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, are responsible for administering the State.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, we will discharge our functions and be held accountable within the parameters of the law. Therefore, my appeal to the public servants is that they should just focus on performing their duties. If they know they are professional, well-trained and know their “dos” and “don’ts”, there is no need for them to fear at all. However, should they opt to be undisciplined and think that when they are disciplined, they will jump onto the anthill and cry claim victimisation, they will have only themselves to blame. So, I appeal to them to be professional, disciplined and loyal to the Government of the day.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, there can only be one Government at a time. People cannot serve two masters at the same time. They can only serve the PF for now.

 

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, they may talk about size, but there is authority in it.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I have told my civil servants to be professional and not place caveats on their heads by thinking that they will only work with someone from their region. What they need to do is build capacity in themselves. Thereafter, the sky will be a limit. It does not matter where they come from, or what tribe and gender they are. In fact, now, this Government recognises everybody.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I am standing next to the first ever female Vice-President of this Country.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: That is what a Government that walks the talk does.

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: We are practical and very proud of you, ma’am.

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: We shall support you all the way.

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

 

Please, we are running out of time.

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, in short, in this Government, everyone has a chance to prosper ...

 

Mr Livune: Question!

 

Mr Kampyongo: … and be what they want to be in the Public Service as long as they know the rules and build capacity in themselves. They do not need to be from a certain region in order for them to be recognised as citizens.

 

Mr Speaker, let me place it on record that we will not entertain this Motion because it is inappropriate, divisive and mischievous. We have a Government to run and will run it with the mandate that has been given to us by the people of Zambia.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Please, hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security, be mindful of the time so that we complete within time.

 

Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, I will be brief in my debate.

 

Sir, why was this Motion not extended to citizens who have failed to live freely in some places in Zambia instead of being limited to labour and Civil Service issues? For example, what happened in Namwala was near genocide. We also heard of people being beaten at funerals recently ...

 

Interruptions

 

Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, the President has agreed to ...

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

 

Please, resume your seat.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: There is still noise and I want to secure some silence. We are almost done after a long afternoon and evening.

 

Please, address the Motion.

 

Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, this is why the President told us that there will be a tribunal to look into some of these grievances.

 

Ms Chonya: Motion! Yababa, Motion?

 

Laughter

 

Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, let me now present the Government’s position on this Motion.

 

Sir, I am compelled to clarify the Motion moved by the Member of Parliament for Monze Central, Hon. Gary Nkombo, especially since he has cited Constitutional provisions on labour matters and the Employment Act of 2015, which relates to my portfolio.

 

Mr Speaker, allow me to quote the relevant provision before I make my submission. Article 173(3)(b) of the Constitution states that

 

“A public officer shall not be removed from office, reduced in rank or otherwise punished without just cause and due process”.

 

Further, Section 36(4)(d) of the Employment Act of 2015 states that race, colour, sex, marital status, family responsibility, pregnancy, religion, political opinion or affiliation, ethnicity, tribal affiliation or social status of an employee are not valid reasons for termination of contract.

 

Mr Speaker, the Constitution is clear that two reasons must be proved for in terminating employment, namely a valid reason or just cause and due process.

 

Sir, there is no evidence of anyone who was transferred or retired without just cause. Therefore, the allegation is neither here nor there. The mover has not provided verifiable details on his claims.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

 

Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, due process is adherence to the law or laid-down procedure, and the mover has alleged that is not done in transferring or retiring officers. I, therefore, want to clarify that:

 

  1. when a person is retired in the national or public interest, it is done pursuant to the Public Service Pension Act, Cap 260 of the Laws of Zambia, which was enacted by this very House; and

 

  1. when a person is transferred, it is done based on the Civil Service Regulations.

 

Mr Speaker, I can, therefore, not agree with Hon. Nkombo because due process is followed in these actions. Let us not be alarmists or rumour-mongers. If the hon. Member has evidence of someone whose transfer or retirement was done without regard to due process, let him lay it before this House. Otherwise, his assertion cannot be accepted.

 

Sir, the allegation that people have been victimised on tribal lines is very cheap …

 

Mr Nkombo: Ah!

 

Mrs Simukoko: … because the Government is on record promoting the “One Zambia, One Nation” motto.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mrs Simukoko resumed her seat

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, please, continue.

 

I was stopping those who are making running commentaries.

 

Mrs Chonya: The hon. Minister is being biased.

 

Mr M. K. Tembo: Ukamba chani iwe, mfwiti.

 

Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker…

 

Mr Speaker (addressing Mr Tembo): Hon. Member, you are quite distinctly audible …

 

Laughter

 

Mr Livune: From which constituency?

 

Mr Speaker: … and you are disrupting the proceedings.

 

Hon. Minister, you may continue.

 

Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, the Industrial Relations Act, Cap 269 is very clear on disputes or grievances. Any person who is aggrieved should raise a grievance in line with the law, yet the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has not received any complaint pertaining to discrimination or terminations of employment on the basis of tribe. Further, workers who belong to unions have the option of reporting their grievances to their unions or the Labour Commissioner.

 

Mr Katambo: Not reporting to politicians.

 

Mrs Simukoko: If they do not trust the ministry, they can report their cases to the Office of the Public Protector, which is empowered to investigate cases and help any citizen. None of these steps has been taken. So, the Motion lacks merit because it is based on rumours.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr M. K. Tembo: Ema Minister, aba.

 

Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, civil servants are expected to either work with the Government of the day. If you fail to work with the Government of the day or …

 

Ms Siliya: Resign.

 

Mrs Simukoko: … resign. That is the civilised thing to do.

 

Mr Speaker, the problem we have here is that our colleagues have failed to manage their loss.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Interruptions

 

Mrs Simukoko: Speaking from experience, ...

 

Interruptions

 

Mrs Simukoko: … we supported a party that lost, but we managed the loss.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mrs Simukoko: When we embraced multi-partyism, we knew that when two people compete, there would always be a loser. So, my colleagues on the left have a problem …

 

Mr Mwiimbu: You are also on the left.

 

Interruptions

 

Mrs Simukoko: … on the right. They are failing to support …

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

 

Just wind up. Do not mind hecklers.

 

Interruptions

 

Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, I am sorry about that.

 

Sir, I warn the civil servants that if they listen to politicians who are encouraging them to undermine Government operations, they will be removed from the service.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, before you take the Floor, I wish to remind you that we have only fifteen minutes, but I intend to close this Motion. So, your duty, at this juncture, is just to wind up. You already had your bite of the cherry.

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to wind up the debate on this Motion.

 

Sir, I am sure that this is the first time some hon. Members have experienced a debate as long as this one, which is very healthy. In the interest of time, let me straight away sincerely thank all the hon. Members who supported the Motion, especially the seconder, Hon. Mbangweta. I also thank the hon. Minister of Agriculture for her concise debate. She clarified some issues, but we were essentially still on the same page.

 

Sir, in my Motion, I stated that apart from the pronouncements, there were other challenges that confronted the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). However, that was not the subject of the Motion.

 

Sir, the hon. Members of Parliament for Lunte and Chama South confirmed that our suspicion was right, …

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: … but I will not belabour that point.

 

Sir, I also thank the hon. Minister of Home Affairs for revealing that he has been discharging lengthy warnings about how people must behave. However, people can only be oppressed for so long.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: Beyond a certain period, the story changes.

 

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let me address the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security’s response.

 

Sir, my Motion did not talk about suspensions.

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

You are now replying.

 

Mr Nkombo: Sir, my Motion specifically referred to unfair dismissals. So, I appeal to her to be focused and pay attention to what we are dealing with next time.

 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Let us not get there. Besides, we are running out of time.

 

Mr Nkombo: Sir, I will wind up in less than fifteen minutes.

 

Sir, the hon. Minister talked about the violence in Namwala, to which I did not refer in my discourse. However, I know that there was political violence countrywide, and Namwala was one of the areas where the violence was particularly noticeable. However, I did not talk about Namwala. So, I think that was a failure of comprehension on her part.

 

Sir, Hon. Simukoko also referred to the Public Service Act Cap 260 of the Laws of Zambia. The Constitution is the grand law of the country and any law that contravenes it is null and void.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: Sir Hon. Simukoko also talked about the failure to manage the laws. I moved this Motion to urge the Government, through the Leader of Government Business in this House, to stop the victimisation of public officers. We know that there is a Government in place, ...

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: … but there is a question on its legitimacy.

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

You have to end there because you are going off target.

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, our decision to seek recourse to court is part of managing the loss. Otherwise, it could have been a different story.

 

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Nkombo: Sir, we are patiently waiting for the outcome, whatever it may be. There might be some frivolity, ...

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

I think we have got off the business. Please, get to the conclusion.

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I am responding to the issues that were raised on the Floor of this House.

 

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, you know the tradition about winding up. It is not a reply. So, you wind up.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Nkombo: Sir, there is too much noise.

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Nkombo: How will I conclude with this much noise?

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Wind up your debate.

 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I just wanted some time.

 

Sir, as I conclude, ...

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Hon. Opposition Members called for a division.

 

Question that, in terms of Article 173(3)(b) of the Constitution and Section 36(4)(d) of the Employment Act, this House urges the Government to refrain from victimising public officers that are perceived to have been sympathisers of opposition parties during the 2016 general elections put and the House voted.

 

Ayes (49)

 

Mr Belemu

 

Mr Bulaya

 

Mr Chaatila

 

Mr Chikote

 

Mrs Chinyama

 

Ms Chisangano

 

Mr Fungulwe

 

Dr Imakando

 

Mr Jere

 

Dr Kalila

 

Mr Kambita

 

Mr Kamboni

 

Mr Kamondo

 

Ms Kasanda

 

Mr Kasonso

 

Ms Kasune

 

Mr Kintu

 

Ms Kucheka

 

Mr Kufakwandi

 

Mr Kundoti

 

Mr Livune

 

Mr Lufuma

 

Mr Lumayi

 

Mr Machila

 

Mr Mbangweta

 

Mr Michelo

 

Mr Miyanda

 

Mr Miyutu

 

Mr Mubika

 

Mr Mukumbuta

 

Mr Mulunda

 

Mr Mulusa

 

Ms Mulyata

 

Dr Musokotwane

 

Mr Mutaba

 

Mr Mutelo

 

Ms Mwashingwele

 

Mr Mwene

 

Mr Mwiimbu

 

Mr Mwiinga

 

Mr Nanjuwa

 

Mr Ndalamei

 

Mr Nkombo

 

Mr Samakayi

 

Evengelist Shabula

 

Mr Sing'ombe

 

Mr Sitwala

 

Mr Syakalima

 

Ms Tambatamba

 

Noes (83)

 

Mr W. Banda

 

Mr Bwalya

 

Mr Chali

 

Ms Chalikosa

 

Mr Chama

 

Dr Chanda

 

Mr Chansa

 

Mr Chisopa

 

Mr Chiteme

 

Mr Chitotela

 

Mr Chiyalika

 

Mr Chungu

 

Mr Daka

 

Mr Hamukale

 

Mr Jamba

 

Mrs G. Jere

 

Mr Kabamba

 

Mr Kabanda

 

Ms Kabanshi

 

Mr Kafwaya

 

Ms Kalima

 

Mr Kalobo

 

Mr Kampyongo

 

Ms K. Mulenga

 

Mr Kampyongo

 

Ms Kapata

 

Mr Kasandwe

 

Mr Katambo

 

Mr Kaziya

 

Mr Kopulande

 

Mr Kunda

 

Mr Lubinda

 

Mr Lusambo

 

Mr B. Malama

 

Dr M. Malama

 

Mr Mbulakulima

 

Mr Mecha

 

Mr Miti

 

Mr Mukosa

 

Mr Mulenga

 

Ms Mulenga

 

Mr Mulusa

 

Mr D. Mumba

 

Mr Mung’andu

 

Mr Munkonge

 

Mr Mushanga

 

Mr Mushimba

 

Mr Musonda

 

Mr Musukwa

 

Mr Mutale

 

Mr Mutati

 

Mr Mwakalombe

 

Mr Mwale

 

Mr Mwamba

 

Mr Mwila

 

Mr Ng`ambi

 

Mr Ng`onga

 

Mr Ngulube

 

Mr Nkhuwa

 

Ms E. Phiri

 

Mrs O. Phiri

 

Mr P. Phiri

 

Mr Sampa

 

Mr Sichalwe

 

Mr Sichone

 

Mr Sikazwe

 

Ms Siliya

 

Mr Simbao

 

Mr Simfukwe

 

Mrs Simukoko

 

Mr Siwale

 

Mr Siwanzi

 

Ms Subulwa

 

Rev Sumaili

 

Mr M. Tembo

 

Mr N. Tembo

 

Mr S. Tembo

 

Dr Wanchinga

 

Mrs Wina

 

Mr Zimba

 

Mr C. Zulu

 

Mr M. Zulu

 

Abstentions (1)

 

Mr Chabi

 

Question that, in terms of Article 173 (3)(b) of the Constitution and Section 36(4)(d) of the Employment Act, this House urges the Government to refrain from victimising public officers that are perceived to have been sympathisers of opposition parties during the 2016 general elections accordingly negatived.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

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

 

Question put and agreed to.

 

__________

 

The House adjourned at 1953 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 10th March, 2017.