Friday, 25th March, 2022

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Friday, 25th March, 2022




The House met at 0900 hours











Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, I inform the House that the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) has been authorised to issue biometric membership cards to hon. Members of Parliament and staff who registered with the authority in 2021.


During the card collection exercise, the authority will also register those hon. Members of Parliament and staff who for some reason may have missed the initial registration exercise. The programme will take place on Tuesday, 29th March, 2022 here at Parliament Building main reception area from 0900 hours to 1700 hours. All hon. Members of Parliament are encouraged to find time to attend to the authority.


Thank you.






The Vice-President (Mrs Nalumango): Madam Speaker, I rise to give the House some idea of the business it will consider next week.


Madam, on Tuesday, 29th March, 2022, the Business of the House will begin with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will continue with the debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President’s Address.


Madam Speaker, on Wednesday, 30th March, 2022, the Business of the House will start with Questions for Oral Answer. This will be followed by consideration of Private Members’ Motions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will continue the debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency, the President’s Address.


Madam, on Thursday, 31st March, 2022, the Business of the House will start with Questions for Oral Answer. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Then, the House will conclude the debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency, the President’s Address.


Madam Speaker, on Friday, 1st April, 2022, the Business of the House will commence with a Motion to suspend relevant Standing Orders to enable the House to complete all the business on the Order Paper. This will be followed by the Vice-President’s Question Time. Thereafter, the House will deal with Questions for Oral Answer. The House will then consider any business that may be outstanding and thereafter, adjourn sine die.






Mr Kamondo (Mufumbwe): Madam Speaker, the people of Zambia, especially the youths on the Copperbelt, are excited about the Black Mountain. However, there are issues that need to be sorted out so that the actual benefit is seen. This is one way the New Dawn Government is trying to fulfil the promises it made.


Madam Speaker, in the same vein, is the Government considering giving Kalengwa Mine, including Nampundwe Mine, to the youths? These are things that were left by the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) or maybe Roan Consolidated Copper Mines (RCM). Is the Government considering giving these mines to the youths so that they see the actual benefit? We have seen that many youths and those who voted for us are excited.


The Vice-President (Mrs Nalumango): Madam Speaker, the hon. Member for Mufumbwe is asking the Government whether after considering the Black Mountain and giving it to the youths, is also considering giving Kalengwa Mine and another mine to the youths. I really cannot give a response to that because I will not make policy while standing on the Floor. We do believe that generally, every Zambian; youth, women and everybody else needs empowerment. If that is the way to go, I cannot give that response while standing on the Floor. This has not come to Cabinet for us to decide on how we are going to handle all the mines or the slag dumps all over the country. I think it is important to discuss that. As to whether we should give the mines to the youths only, that I cannot respond to right now.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Madam Speaker, –


Mr Andeleki: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: There are no points of order during the Vice-President’s Question Time.


Hon. Member for Bweengwa, you may continue.


Mr Michelo: Madam Speaker, I think history is very important in this country. The people of Bweengwa Constituency and the country at large would love to know the people who refused our late Republican President Rupiah Bwezani Banda, may his soul rest in peace, to fly out of this country, to go and seek medical attention in South Africa the time he started feeling unwell. Further, I would love to know the people who removed his immunity in 2013 so that the Zambian people can know exactly what transpired in the previous years.


The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, as Government, we have a responsibility to look after former Presidents. On the issue of immunity, I think it is the House that should remove the immunity of former Presidents. If my memory serves me right, the immunity was not removed particularly because the people who were on your left then, who were generally members of the United Party for National Development (UPND), chose not to support that Motion. However, those who were on your right thought it was right to remove his immunity. So, let us not continue to live in the past and try to champion new and good things that we discover along the way ...


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: ... when in fact, we may have been against such. For now, let us remember the former Vice-President, in fact, the late former President of the Republic with dignity, and that which he did for the nation. To those who did injustice to him, it is time to repent and say what is right. I think that is the way I would go.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The Acting Leader of Opposition may ask his question.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Madam Speaker, while in the Opposition, His Excellency, the President, Hakainde Hichilema, on many occasions, was asked where he got his wealth. His response was that he created opportunities. We are now surprised why the President suddenly believes that whoever has money has stolen, except him.


Madam Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) ...




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Members!


We are, in fact, wasting time. Time is moving.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, it is surprising that the United Party for National Development (UPND) Government is abusing the law by shifting the burden of proof from the law investigating agencies to the accused. If the same was to be applied to His Excellency, the President, Hakainde Hichilema, on how he became rich, would he be in a position to explain to the Zambian people how he got his wealth?


Madam Speaker, clearly, the Zambian people would want to know whether this fight against corruption is not persecution. By the way, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) are abusing this law, where the burden of proof is being put on the accused as opposed to these institutions proving before the courts of law that people, indeed, stole. I seek Her Honour the Vice-President’s serious comment.


The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the Acting Leader of the Opposition for the question. He has fought for it, he deserves it. He deserves to be the Acting Leader of the Opposition.




The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, it is not very easy for me to really follow exactly what route he wants to take. He has talked about the President, and now we are discussing the President in the House. He is not here, but I will tell you that I have not heard the President say “I created opportunities.” He seized or used the opportunities ...


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: ... and that is the normal way for all of us to live.


Madam Speaker, when an opportunity is given to you – We are giving opportunity to Zambians in our constituencies to participate in the projects. If they prepare themselves, have the skills and get a contract and make money; clean money, that is not creating an opportunity for yourself, that is seizing the opportunity and using the opportunity to make your wealth. He did, indeed, and there is a track record. How do you question a person who while at the University of Zambia (UNZA) was a ‘daka boy,’ the soil manager, who built his first house? That is really a person we should commend.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: That is not a joke. If you are not cent wise, you will not be dollar wise. If you do not know how to look after K1, you cannot have thousands of Kwacha. If you can have that, most likely, you have acquired it unlawfully. Part of the President’s agenda is to see that Zambians get wealth, then you want to make allegations that the President says or thinks, – I do not know how you know what he is thinking,




The Vice-President: ... that the President feels that whoever has money has stolen. That is an imagination.


Madam Speaker, the President wants people to be wealthy and that is why the policy we have in place here is that even investors who are coming to Zambia must partner with Zambians, ...


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: ... including the Acting Leader of Government Business in the House.


Hon. Members, the intention of this Government through the President, the leader, is that Zambians must be wealthy, for once. Zambia cannot be watching, for example, foreign investment, without participation. Why participate? Is it not to become wealthy? That is not President Hakainde you are talking about, the one we know on this side. He wants people to get wealth. However, you acquire wealth unlawfully and when questioned, you call that persecution? Hon. Colleagues, hon. Members of this House, and through you, the nation, let us be sincere as we look at issues.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Member has said that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is using this law. I do not know which law he is talking about because the ACC has several pieces of clauses which provide for how to deal with issues of acquiring wealth illegally and each one is treated differently. Did you abuse an office? Did you outright corrupt somebody? They are all different.


Madam Speaker, I will repeat that there is no need to persecute anybody. Every Zambian has rights, but there is no need to change prosecution to persecution. Some of you seated here were also Patriotic Front (PF) hon. Members and hon. Ministers, why have you not been followed if it is persecution?


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: Why? If you worked properly, you can go to bed and sleep. Even if the ACC or the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) follow you, do not fear because the truth will always prevail. After all, it is good for you, my hon. Member for Chama South. If you are arrested for a wrong reason, you will be exonerated by facts, and it is good for you that your name is clean. So, nobody is persecuting anybody. However, if you were wrong, I stand here on behalf of this Government, and sincerely so, and say that we want to prosecute you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: In fact, if you did wrong, you need to be convicted.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Your hearts must tell you. There is no way we are going to persecute people because then we are inconsistent in our thinking. We want to unite but in unity, we will not allow criminality.




The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I want to quote some book, which says “your sin shall surely find you out.” It is not what other people, but what you do that convicts you. Hon. Member, the President made his money and he wants you to also make your money, but not to get money that you have not worked for.


Madam Speaker, I hope I have said something, I hope I have tried to answer the hon. Member’s question. There is no persecution in this country, and there will be none. If Nalumango does something, you will see her in court. It is the law enforcement agencies that should do that. Yesterday, somebody was asking if the Government wants to investigate. We are not the investigative wing. The wings are listening and they should do their due diligence.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mtayachalo (Chama North): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving the people of Chama North an opportunity to ask a question to Her Honour the Vice-President. There seems to be no solution in sight in regard to the devastating war between Russia and Ukraine. Therefore, we have seen escalating prices of crude oil on the international market.


Madam Speaker, fuel drives the engines of production. I am alive to the fact that even oil exporting countries such as Angola and Nigeria have maintained fuel subsidies in order to protect jobs and to forestall the high cost of living. My question is: if the price of crude oil continues to escalate to unmanageable levels, does the New Dawn Government have any plans on its table to re-introduce fuel subsidies in order to protect jobs and forestall the high cost of living obtaining in the country?


The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, it is true, we do not foresee such happenings and it is not easy for us to foresee how soon the war in Ukraine will come to an end. I am happy that the hon. Member does note that the war is making prices of commodities go up everywhere. This is because we are inter-dependant and particularly, for us who do not even produce oil, for example, this means that all of us should brace ourselves for some difficult time. However, to suggest that we immediately reverse the issue of oil subsidies is, again, something and I cannot sit here and say. The hon. Member has asked what the Government is going to do if the oil prices reach unsustainable levels. I tell you that the plan will come at that time.


Madam Speaker, for now, we have decided and we are negotiating. I think you heard yesterday that my President is trying to find some cheaper sources where we could get the oil. We are working hard to ensure that we have reserves. Even reserves are not enough, depending on how long the war goes on. However, we have to continuously work with the international community and source for cheaper commodities. That, indeed, is a rough time. It is not an easy time for us to handle. We are not just sitting. We are thinking of solutions, but I cannot give the solution right now.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr M. Tembo (Sinda): Madam Speaker, am I audible?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Yes please, go ahead.


Mr M. Tembo: Madam Speaker, the Great East Road has become a death trap for the people of the Eastern Province, especially the stretch from Chongwe up to Luangwa. The road is in a bad state. Recently, we lost our District Commissioner (DC) from Katete and we buried him on Monday. May his soul rest in peace. Knowing that the road is significant for the people of Sinda, my question is: When is this New Dawn Government going to start working on that road? We cannot continue witnessing these accidents.


The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, indeed, it is a sad moment that we have lost our DC. Indeed, there are several accidents because of the bad roads. It is not only on the Great East Road. I think you can talk of the Great North, which is another death trap. The Lusaka/Ndola route is another death trap. Therefore, we have a serious challenge regarding the roads. My hard working hon. Minister here is doing all that he can, working in conjunction with others like the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to ensure that our roads are looked at.


Madam Speaker, as the hon. Member has said, the Great East Road is a very important road, and so many others. Since the road is in a bad state, we are considering putting it under a public –private partnership (PPP) model particularly the stretch from Lusaka to Luangwa. We are thinking of not only the road, but also the bridge to be done under the PPP.


Madam Speaker, I hope the hon. Minister will again explain one day what PPP means and what factors we are using to determine which road can go under PPP. It has to be attractive enough to the private sector to say we can recoup the resources that we put in. Those are the things that we talk about. I believe that the private sector investors we want to use can recoup their resources from this particular road. The hon. Minister is floating that idea and trying to see how the private sector can be attracted to this PPP.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Madam Speaker, you will recall that I have consistently risen on the Floor of this House to ask a similar question in different versions regarding people who were recruited and promoted by the Patriotic Front (PF) to take up senior positions in the Public Service.


Madam Speaker, it is becoming chronic and a problem, especially among our supporters who are in the Public Service. They cannot feel the change that they launched to bring in the United Party for National Development (UPND) into power. Most of the people who are supervising them are the ones making decisions in the Public Service, and they are the same ones who were appointed politically and they are tormenting the people who caused the change.


Madam Speaker, going by the submissions I receive by virtue of me being a Member of Parliament from the Public Service workers, I would like to know if the Government has a roadmap which will ensure that people, …




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order hon. Member! You are not presiding officer. Please, can we maintain the decorum of the House.


Hon. Member, you may ask your question.


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, a case in point is where a District Director of Health in Zambezi has even failed to return to the office since elections and he is being helped by the Provincial Director of Health to extend his leave because he behaved in a very unprofessional way. There are many such people in the education sector and everywhere. Now, these public service workers want to know whether there is a deliberate mechanism that will be put in place without jeopardising Government operations to get rid of these cadres who tormented our colleagues in the Public Service whose spirits are now dampened.


Mr Sampa: On as point of order, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, you are finishing people’s time. Are you through with your question because it is now becoming a debate?


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, the Public Service workers who were aggrieved want to know from our Government the roadmap of getting rid of these unprofessional people who are still in influential positions.


The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Zambezi East who consistently asks the same question in different ways. That means that I probably have not provided a satisfactory answer. I hope today, I will try to provide an answer for the concerns.


Madam Speaker, there are probably a few words that I get from his concerns. I will address the issue to do with the Public Service and unprofessionalism there. I think these are the two key points that we should be looking at as we gather. Public Service is a non-political entity of governance. When you over-politicize Government, then you are destroying the county. Therefore, I will not agree with my hon. Member that we should remove the Patriotic Front (PF) sympathisers and replace them with the United Party for National Development (UPND) sympathisers in the same unprofessional manner.


Madam, I hope I am making a point here. What this means is that whoever was put in that senior position, like the example given, will be removed not because of anything else, but because of the unprofessional conduct. Such people must be removed. They are destroying the country. Therefore, hon. Colleagues, as we employ, we are aware that we want professionals in those positions. So, whether we say they are UPND sympathisers, they must be professional. That is the first one and the criterion for employment. It should not be a cadre who goes there to perform politics and who runs away after elections. He has been gone since elections.


Madam Speaker, I am standing in the people’s House and so, such a person must be removed now because he has failed to perform. This is because he knows his history and such people should not say they are being persecuted when they are questioned. That is not persecution, but simply failure. Therefore, when we say we are going to clean up the Civil Service, it has to be case by case and sincerely because of failure to perform. It is not a witch-hunt. Such a one must go. We want to have a proper Public Service full of professionals. That is what we are going to do as Government. So, that is the roadmap. If we find somebody who was put there with no proper qualification or the qualification is being a political party member, that person must be out because there is distortion in the Public Service because of such and we will not fall prey to what may have happened in the past. Those will go. We already know what should happen to politically appointed workers.


Madam Speaker, let us not worry. Their works will expose them and they will go. It does not matter how long it takes, but they must go if they are not qualified and not acting professional. That is the criterion. It is not about political affiliation. I want to be very sincere because human beings are political and they are affiliated here or there. However, when you fail to perform your function, you become like somebody I knew not too long ago, who was always saying PF in the office and forgot who they were. I am Vice-President even for that one (pointing at Mr Mung’andu). –


Hon. Members: Hear, hear! The Acting.


The Vice-President: Yes, the Acting. Therefore, the way I operate makes me qualify or not qualify. So, those who are failing to cope or adapt must leave the Public Service.


 I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Chonya (Kafue): Madam Speaker, I have a related matter, but I want to commend the New Dawn Government, particularly the Ministry of Health, for initiating the recruitment of health workers. I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President how far our Government has gone in facilitating for the re-integration of those families which were separated on account of work. I would also like to know how far the Government has gone in bringing back into the system some of our faithful servants who have been retired in public or national interest in accordance with that initiative which the Government took to bring them back.


The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Kafue for her commendation on the recruitment of health workers. If I heard her correctly, her question concerns those couples that were separated on account of work and those who lost their jobs in public or national interest. I think that is quite a lot of things.


Madam Speaker, maybe, I will start with the last question I captured, which is on the issue of bringing back people into service using this opportunity of recruitment. I think that is what the hon. Member meant by saying that we bring back those who were fired in both public and national interest. My little understanding of this matter is that the two are not the same. When you are fired in public interest, it means you have committed an offence. That is what I knew. I come from a labour background. If you are fired in public interest, you must be charged and you failed to exculpate yourself and therefore, you are fired in public interest. You are a danger to the public. That is what it means to be fired in public interest.


However, Madam Speaker, you do not get fired in national interest. Instead, you are retired in national interest. When this law was working properly, it normally did not even mean that you are sent away to go home. You were actually transferred to another wing of the Government where you cannot go back. That is national interest. That is why people remained on the payroll. However, our hon. Colleagues fired people in national interest and sent them home. That firing in national interest was an abnormality. I think we saw the challenges that came up, and that is why we ended up with two or three people getting one salary. I think this House must have looked at that to see how to clear it.


Madam Speaker, we have told all those who retired dubiously to come back. As Government, we have already pronounced that even for those who were retired in public interest, if it cannot be explained, they should come back. Those retired in national interest should come back, but that is not to say that everybody should come back. The issue is it will be considered on a case by case basis. I think we gave time for people to come back. People who had issues with their retirements have already written to the Secretary to the Cabinet to be considered.


Madam Speaker, on the issue of separating families, again, we have pronounced that we are a Christian nation and that one of the things you do not do is to separate couples. We have said that that should be looked at so that those who have been separated should be brought together. That is why in the recruitment process, I have two hon. Ministers who have huge numbers under their ministries. We have said let people apply as teachers or as nurses where they stay so that there is no issue of separating people as we work on trying to reunite those who were separated. This is the way we are proceeding. I hope I have responded to the hon. Member’s concern.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr E. J. Banda (Petauke Central): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving the good people of Petauke this opportunity to ask Her Honour the Vice-President a question. The good people of Petauke want to thank the New Dawn Government for fulfilling its promise on the recruitment of health workers…


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr E. J. Banda: … and distributing the jobs district by district.


Mr Mpundu: Question!


Mr E. J. Banda: Madam Speaker, the good people of Petauke are however, asking Her Honour the Vice-President if the Government can consider distributing these jobs for health workers constituency by constituency because there are some districts with many constituencies while other only have one constituency. Therefore, districts with only one constituency will be disadvantaged.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr E. J. Banda: Madam, the way the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is being distributed is such that it covers the whole country. So, the people are asking that the distribution of health workers be done in the same manner the CDF is being distributed so that the whole country can be covered.


Mr Mpundu: Uliwamano!


The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, let me thank the hon. Member for Petauke Central for this very important question. I appreciate the fact that the hon. Member can see how hard this New Dawn Government is working; the efforts that the New Dawn Government is making. Some people do not see flowers, they wait until the fruit is ripe.




The Vice-President: Very soon, the fruit will ripen and the Acting Leader of the Opposition in the House will see it.




The Vice-President: Hon. Member for Petauke Central, you are right, except I will say the recruitment will be done pro rata. The hon. Minister is here to confirm that or not. It will not just be a matter of saying for Petauke, we are recruiting ten, Kaputa two, and so on and so forth. Rather, it will depend on what levels of staffing are already there and what is required. That process must be done for us to do a good job. So, if there is more need in Petauke Central than in Kaputa, depending on the health facilities, surely, the number of health staff will be determined by that. However, we should leave no stone unturned. This is why we want full disclosure from the ministry of what is in Chibombo or Kaputa. We will not continue to use paper work which was written ten years ago. We want to work with what is happening on the ground. Therefore, everybody should get their piece of this cake.


Madam, we should not say because some are in this place then they should get this number. That time is gone. Now, it is about equity in the distribution of all resources and that includes human resource. So, hon. Member, you can be assured, you will get your fair share.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngowani (Mpongwe): Madam Speaker, the people of Ibenga in Mpongwe District who were displaced and later relocated were promised title deeds, electricity, land for cultivation and running water by the Government. Eight families were not compensated. These promises were not fulfilled by the previous Government. I just want to know the position of the New Dawn Government over this matter.


The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I may have missed one word. I do not know whether the hon. Member said eight families, ...


Mr Ngowani: Eight!


The Vice-President: ... eight families. I do not know whether that eight would be included in all this including electricity. Is it just eight families that do not have electricity or land or title. What I can say is: That is an issue to be looked at from different ministries because issues of land are under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, including title deeds.


Madam Speaker, I know that hon. Members say we do not tell them to come and see us, but on this matter, I think it would be good for the hon. Member go to the particular offices of concern and give the full details of the situation. It is my hope that these ministries have the records of what happened. It is our duty to fulfil the promises that the Government made, if it is doable, if it was not politically given. When it is real, it is the duty of this Government that has inherited a problem to be able to resolve or maybe, not a problem, but a process. We will look at that. Come and see the hon. Ministers responsible.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Madam Speaker, our President, His Excellency, Mr Hakainde Hichilema has repeatedly called on those people who got money or who stole our wealth in a corrupt way.


Mr Mukosa: The word stole is unparliamentary.


Mr Chaatila: He has given them an amnesty to take back that which they got in a dubious manner. Unfortunately, I do not have any other word I can use apart from stating that they stole our resources. We have now seen people daring our Government, your Government, that if it has evidence of the people that have stolen, it should bring them to book. My question to Her Honour the Vice-President is: When is this amnesty ending so that we start seeing these people being caged and prosecuted so that they can account for their misdeeds?


The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, looking at time, I will be very quick. The President has not given any amnesty. The Anti-Corruption Act is the one which has a provision for amnesty. Let the people not start thinking that President Hakainde Hichilema knows some people whom – No, it is the law, he is just reminding people of the law as it exists.


Madam Speaker, as it is, there is no limit. Even as I am speaking, prosecutions are going on.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I was talking to somebody and I asked why these people were not being prosecuted? When we hear persecution, it is actually prosecution. They just do not know how to put it. People are being prosecuted in the fast track court. Yesterday, there were eight high profile cases in the fast track court –




The Vice-President: Do not ask me to tell you.




The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, this is the reality. The House knows that I will not come here to just start babbling. The cases are going on in the fast track court. You know that issues of financial crimes are not the easiest to handle. There are too many people involved, but even then, we are still trusting that our courts can unwind and find the culprits wanting and let them get convicted.


Madam Speaker, I believe there will soon be convictions. So, it is going on. The President is still waiting, in accordance with the law, for people to bring back, and I am repeating bring back, what they got, if they got what is not lawfully theirs. They should bring back and we will forgive them. However, they must disclose everything that you got then we will do well and the innocent will be free.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.








The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Dr Musokotwane): Madam Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to brief this House on the progress in our discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and on the country’s debt restructuring initiative.


Madam Speaker, Zambia has been struggling with unsustainable debts since about 2016. The manifestation of this problem has been through continuous loss in the value of the Kwacha, rising inflation, loss of jobs and many other problems.


Madam Speaker, realising that the debt was crippling the economy, Zambia approached the IMF in order to seek assistance out of this quagmire. The IMF assistance is required for two reasons.


Madam Speaker, firstly, the IMF, alongside other international bodies, can help to broker a deal between the Zambian Government and those we owe or creditors. In such a deal, creditors will be persuaded to restructure Zambia’s debt. The desired outcome after the restructuring should be such that the debt that remains is serviceable without injuring the economy. This then will enable the country to return to the group of respected countries which borrow, pay back and then be able to borrow again if necessary because the lenders will trust us.


Madam Speaker, secondly, the intervention from the IMF will enable the country to get onto an IMF programme. That IMF programme will make it possible for Zambia to access long term concessional funding as we move forward. The funds will be concessional because the terms include interest rates at 0 per cent and grace period of five and half and ten years to repay.


Madam Speaker, in essence therefore, Zambia will access cheap money when she needs it most. After many years of Zambia attempting to access the IMF programme, dating back to 2016, the country finally managed to reach an agreement with the IMF in December, 2021. This was the staff level agreement which the Government has spoken about many times before. The staff level agreement is broadly based Zambia’s reform agenda, and we will work with the IMF to reflect our priorities in the contemplated programme.


Madam Speaker, we have agreed on the need to attain fiscal and debt suitability and also on the need to invest in human and economic development to ensure recovery and long term growth, especially amongst Zambia’s most vulnerable sections. The staff level agreement has also paved the way for debt restructuring talks with our creditors. The objective of the restructuring exercise will be to bring Zambia’s public debt back to sustainable levels. This will be implemented while upholding the principle of comparability of treatment across creditors.


Madam Speaker, Zambia’s creditors will, therefore, be treated fairly under the auspices of the common framework for debt’s treatment beyond the debt service suspension initiative. The common framework is an initiative that was endorsed by the G20 group of countries and Paris Club in November 2020 to support in a structured manner, low income countries with unsustainable debt.


Madam Speaker, the staff level agreement is expected to culminate into a formal agreement with the IMF Board. Under this expected agreement, the IMF will provide financial assistance known as the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) that aims to provide US$1.4 billion in financial support over the next three years, and of course, under the concessional terms that I indicated earlier on.


Madam Speaker, this would have been the second support to Zambia having already received US$1.3 billion last year, which some people were characterising wrongly as borrowing externally.


Madam, the next immediate step after the staff level agreement was to assess the extent to which Zambia’s debt is unsustainable. The resultant outcome is what is known as the Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA). In other words, the DSA is simply an analysis or report that shows the extent by how much you are debt distressed or debt unsustainable. This DSA informs the quantum of debt relief the country requires from her lenders in order to return to debt sustainability. The DSA has since being prepared.


Madam Speaker, in the aftermath of the DSA, the next important milestone is the formation of the official creditor committee (OCC). The committee is composed of Zambia’s bilateral creditors. The bilateral creditors will analyse Zambia’s debt situation as illustrated in the IMF sustainability analysis. The bilateral creditors will then provide indications of the debt relief that they will be willing to provide Zambia and indicate that comparability of treatment, which will be expected from commercial creditors. Commercial creditors, though not participants in the official creditor committee, will be invited to provide comparable relief to Zambia to ensure fair burden sharing among the creditors.


Madam Speaker, we anticipate that the OCC will be formed within the next few weeks paving way for the commencement of the restructuring discussions. The discussions with the OCC on Zambia’s debt are expected to culminate in them providing financial assurances to the IMF Board to enable the approval of the US$1.4 billion under the extended credit facilities that I mentioned earlier on.


Madam, in the meantime, the Government has continued to work with its advisors in engaging with and encouraging Zambian’s commercial creditors, to organise themselves in preparation for debt restructuring discussions. With this progress towards the approval of the contemplated IMF programme, we hope that our cooperating partners will continue to come on board and provide support through the Budget especially for priority human development sectors such as health and education.


Madam, returning to debt sustainability is important, not only to release money for development, but also important for returning confidence in the economy. Already, so many investors are following events in Zambia with a keen eye. In this regard, the Government will be undertaking an aggressive reform programme aimed at making it as easy as possible to do business in Zambia. With that in place, the Government aims to see to it that investor interest translates into actual investment. In particular, that should see the start of new investments towards the target of producing three million tonnes of copper ten years from now.


Madam Speaker, also related to that is aggressive growth in value addition, all aimed at creating more job opportunities.


Madam Speaker, as I conclude, I want to emphasise that the resolution of Zambia’s crippling debt situation is paramount to reviving the economy. We cannot expect a strong economy as long as the debt situation is not brought back under control. The path the country has taken to get into an economic programme with the IMF is the only credible route to arrest the debt situation. For this reason, the Zambian Government remains in constant touch with the IMF so that we reach the full board economic programme by the middle of this year.


Madam Speaker, in this regard, the Zambian Government is firmly on track to ensure that we have the planned debt relief and the attainment of the IMF programme to become a reality as soon as possible.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, you are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement given by the Minister of Finance and National Planning.


Mr Mtayachalo (Chama North): Madam Speaker, I am alive to the fact that Zambia owes quite colossal sums of money. Zambia owes multilateral, bilateral and commercial debts. Since the Government is in the process of employing 30,000 teachers and 11,200 health workers and other ministries are doing the same, what is the position of the IMF? In view of the fact that 50 per cent of our income goes to personal emoluments, is the IMF in agreement with the New Dawn Government to employ that number of workers within this year?


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, the answer to Hon. Mtayachalo’s question is yes. The IMF is in agreement that this year, we hire 11,200 health workers and 30,000 teachers.


Madam Speaker, the modern economy is premised less on the natural resources that we have and more so on the brain power of the citizens of the country. We have seen this in countries like Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia that have no minerals. For a place like Hong Kong to build an airport, they had to import sand because there is no space, they have no land. They had to import sand from Indonesia and pour into the ocean to create an airport. So, it is the brain power. Therefore, it follows that unless Zambia trains her youth and gives health to her young people, then the future of the economy of this country is in great jeopardy. So, yes, there is absolutely no problem with that, it is all agreed and sealed up. The money is ready, my colleagues are about to recruit.


I thank you, Madam.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has given two reasons for the country to be on an International Monetary Programme (IMF) programme. Firstly, he said the IMF deal would help to broker an agreement with creditors. That is, to restructure the debt obligations that the country has. He also indicated that the programme would enable us to get concessional loans. However, before we do that, is the hon. Minister considering taking an evaluation of how the loans that this country obtained were used?


Mr Kakubo: It would get you arrested.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, I need to be–




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order! Can we give chance to the Acting Leader of the Opposition to finish his question. You can go ahead hon. Member.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation is saying I will be arrested. I think that is what–




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, the hon. Member on the Floor is free when he is in this House. So, hon. Member, be assured that you will not be arrested in the House. You may continue.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, it is very important that as a country, before we embark on getting more concessional loans, we account for the monies which we got. Did we use the money prudently?


Hon. Government Members: No!


Mr Mung’andu: Is the hon. Minister in a position–




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Please give him chance to finish his question.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, I think we only have one Republic, which is the Republic of Zambia –




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, please continue with your question.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, our new Government promised the Zambian people that it was going to minimise on borrowing but we have been told here, that a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will mean the country going to get concessional loans. We are in a bad debt situation, as the hon. Minister has been telling this House. Is he in a position to come and give us a breakdown of how the money that was borrowed ...


Hon. Government Members: By the PF!


Mr Mung’andu: ... was used?


Mr Sing’ombe: It was stolen!


Mr Andeleki: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Andeleki: Madam Speaker, allow me to begin by thanking you for according me an opportunity to rise on a point of order.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Is that the hon. Member for Moomba?


Hon. Government Members: Katombola!


Mr Andeleki: Katombola, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: No, because there is an indication from the hon. Member for Moomba.


Mr Andeleki: May I sit down, Madam Speaker, but I am also indicating a point of order.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Yes, please.


The hon. Member for Moomba may raise his point of order.


Mr Chaatila: Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to raise this point of order in accordance with Standing Order No. 65(b). My point of order is on the Acting Leader of the Opposition. He has asked the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to explain to the nation if the debt that was got by the Patriotic Front (PF) was prudently used when that man …



Mr Chaatila: … the hon. Member of Parliament for Chama South was seated where I am sitting here from 2016 to 2021.


Hon. Government Member: Correct!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: He is the hon. Member, not ‘that man.’


Mr Chaatila: My apologies. The hon. Member of Parliament for Chama South was speaking while seated just here and he was always singing that the PF Government then was doing very well and using the monies borrowed prudently.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Chaatila: Today, he is asking that question to our hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning. Is he in order? Has he forgotten that he was sitting here?


I seek your serious ruling, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Acting Leader of Opposition is not out of order because he was not the controlling officer at that time.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: He wants to find out what transpired from the current controlling officer. So, the hon. Member is not out of order. He was not controlling or he was not in charge of the debt.


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, the hon. Member asked two questions. The first one is whether the money was used properly. I think I need to answer only one according to our rules. I dare say that maybe, the hon. Member can have a chat with Hon. Chaatila so that they can conclude on whether the money was used properly or not.




Dr Musokotwane: Let me now address what I think is the more important issue. He says we are heavily indebted and that we are proposing to go and get more loans through concessional funding. He is asking if this makes sense for a country that is overburdened with debt, and the answer is yes. Let me explain.


Hon. Government Members: Hammer, hammer!


Dr Musokotwane: Even when we get to debt relief, there will be debt servicing required. It will give us relief but it will not take us off the hook. It means that more money is required for development. However, the difference this time is that the money that is being borrowed is concessional. It means that there is no interest that we will pay on this loan, zero, unlike the ones that we were borrowing at 10 per cent, 12 per cent and so on and so forth. This time, it is money that is borrowed at 0 per cent.


Madam, secondly, for five and a half years, we will not be paying anything because of the grace period. The remaining period; after the five and a half years lapses, we will have ten years to pay back. So, in between, we are also not lying idle. In between, the economy is being restructured so that it grows.


So, this concessional financing that is being given to us gives us the space to be able to grow the economy, make it bigger and come close to those 3 million tonnes of copper that I was talking about so that when we start paying for this money that we are borrowing from the IMF, the economy is bigger and we can be able to easily service what we have borrowed concessionary. So, this is the reason.


Madam, we are in trouble today because there was no concessionality in most of the money that we were borrowing in the past. When the time comes to pay, like now, there is no economy that has grown. To the contrary, the economy even became smaller and smaller. So, it was a big contradiction that on hand you were driving the economy to the ground while on the other hand you were borrowing more and more at commercial rates. We were clearly headed for the rocks and this is what has happened. So, it makes sense, as I have indicated.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Andeleki: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Andeleki: Madam Speaker, allow me to begin by thanking you for according the people of Katombola an opportunity to make this point of order.


Madam, for the last week, I have been getting several calls from my constituency concerning the Business of the House, particularly, the strangers gracing this august House. My point of order is premised on the provisions of Standing Order No. 132 as read with 133, which gives you discretion, Madam Speaker, to admit a point of order.


Madam Speaker, there are strangers in this House who have been sitting and enjoying privileges under the National Assembly Powers and Privileges Act Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia. This is purported to be based on the fact that there was a Constitutional Court judgment dated 22 March, 2022 under Cause No. 2021/CCZ/0051.


Madam, the point of order that I raise today is a very serious point of order as to whether these strangers are supposed to be here. The National Assembly Powers and Privileges Act is very clear. It defines who a Member of Parliament is under Section 2 of the National Powers and Privileges Act. Additionally, it also defines who a stranger in the House is.


Madam Speaker, we take you to the supreme law for which we are fortified and sworn to defend in this House, the Constitution of Zambia, 1996 Amendment Act No. 2 of 2016, particularly Article 73, Sub Article 4 which informed the decision of this honourable court called the Constitutional Court of Zambia.


Madam Speaker, if you could allow me to read particularly the judgment on page 41. The note point is at 93.0. The Constitutional Court purported to define this right. It said “It is our considered view,” this is page J41, the conclusion of the Constitutional Court which purported to allow the strangers to be in this House, and these are the former hon. Members of Parliament for Chinsali; a Mr Mukosa and the former hon. Member of Parliament for Lunte; a Mr Mutotwe Kafwaya.


Madam Speaker, this is a verbatim, and I quote ipsissima verba:


“It is our considered view that Article 73(4), which provides for the retention of a seat in the National Assembly pending determination of the election petition should also have provided for the retention of the seat pending determination of a court of appeal.”


Madam Speaker, This is the imagination of the court. I will take you to Article 73 of the Constitution so that you can see what we, as the National Assembly provided for as to who qualifies to sit as an hon. Member of Parliament in this House. Article 73(4) states:


“A Member of Parliament whose election is petitioned shall hold the seat in the National Assembly pending determination of the election petition.”


It is very clear; there is no lacuna here. For you to remain in the House, you must be an hon. Member of Parliament and your election has been petitioned. However, once your election has been nullified, you cease to be called an hon. Member of Parliament. Therefore, you cannot ride on a stay of execution.


Madam Speaker, the issue about the stay of execution that purports to bring the strangers in this House is a stay of execution only to the effect that a by-election should not be held, and that we granted. A by-election should not be held. However, as to whether they can enjoy powers and privileges provided for under the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, it is very clear in the Act itself.


Madam Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. On the last page of the judgment, the Constitutional Court is trying to introduce things that are not there. It is even urging Parliament knowing that there is no provision.


Mr Sampa: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Is he now the Speaker? Is he now the Chief Justice?


Mr Mung’andu: On a point of order, Madam. On a serious point of order. No, no, no. We have separation of powers.


Mr Mukosa: On a point of order, Madam.


You cannot undermine the Judiciary! Stop undermining the Judiciary!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order! Order!


Mr Mukosa: Madam Speaker, tell him to stop undermining the Judiciary!




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order! Order!


Can we have order in the House!




Mr Mukosa: You are also undisciplined.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


We are in a dignified –




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Your people are watching you right now. The people who are supposed to respect you are watching you and your behaviour in this House. Can we behave like hon. Members who deserve to be respected and who are supposed to follow the rules of this House! We know the rules very well. Can we follow these rules. We are sent here by our people, and the people are waiting to hear issues in this House, not quarrels or pointing fingers at each other. That is not right.


The hon. Member who was on the Floor, are you done with your point of order? You were debating when you are not supposed to debate your point of order.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Can you please go to your point of order and conclude it so that we move forward.


Mr Andeleki: Madam Speaker, I thank you for your guidance. I was quoting the judgment on page J41 to confirm that our hon. Colleagues whom I referred to; the former hon. Members of Parliament for Lunte and Chinsali, are not supposed to be here because they are strangers in the House.


Madam Speaker, I want to quote the last part of the judgment on page J41, which made them to come and sit here illegally. In the last line of the judgment, the Constitutional Court said:


 “We urge the Legislature to make an appropriate amendment to the law to cater for the appeal stage in clear terms.”


Madam Speaker, the only person who is provided protection is an hon. Member of Parliament whose seat has been petitioned. The strangers before this House do not benefit from the provisions of Article 73(4) and they are not hon. Members of this House. The Standing Orders, 2021 –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: What is your point of order?


Mr Andeleki: Madam Speaker, are they in order to be in the House? Allow me to lay the judgment of the Constitutional Court that purported to allow them before this honourable court.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Andeleki laid the paper on the Table.




Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Members, I reserve my ruling for this point of order because there are issues to do with the Constitution and the courts. My reserving of the ruling is also to enable me to study this matter effectively. I shall come back to this House with a ruling. We may proceed.


Mr Mpundu (Nkana): Madam Speaker, I assure the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning that I am personally cheering him on, hoping that the deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) succeeds. I therefore, do not see it logical for anyone to wish that this deal falls off because it will spell doom for the country. I have seen the hon. Minister consistently informing the House on the progress. The only thing that he has just forgotten to inform the House is on the full package of reforms that have been proposed to the IMF.


Madam Speaker, the other day, we heard the news, which I hope was verified, that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia did engage the Saudi Government in as far as asking that that Government writes off the debt that we owe it.


Madam Speaker, the other day, I, again saw the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning …


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order hon. Member for Nkana!


We are reacting to the ministerial statement. Let us not talk about what we saw yesterday or what we heard. Can we be a bit focused on the ministerial statement?


Mr B. Mpundu: Madam Speaker, it is important because the other day, the hon. Minister struggled to answer questions relating to how far the Government has gone in engaging our counterpart in China over debt issues. I know that China has been an all-weather friend of Zambia for many years, dating as far back as independence.


Madam Speaker, as we look at the whole parade of …


Mr Mung’andu: On a pint of order, Madam.


Mr Mpundu: Madam Speaker, is there a possibility of seeing the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, perhaps with the help of His Excellency the President, engaging at that level with the Government of China? This is because where as we see that it is not possible maybe to ask the creditors from the west to forgo or otherwise letting go of the debt? Is it possible to engage another country such as China, which we owe colossal sums? Is it possible to expect that we will see that high level engagement by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning assisted by the President, engaging President Xi Jinping of China, to see whether it can right off the debt we owe it?


Mr Mung’andu: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, I rise on this serious point of order pursuant to Standing Orders 65 and 207 (2) (c) and (d) and the latter states as follows:


       c. a publication of a false or distorted report on the proceedings of the House;

       d. molestation of members on account of their debate or conduct in the House or a committee;


Madam Speaker, Standing Order 65 (2) (e) and (f) state as follows:

       e.  use unparliamentary language or offensive expressions; or

       f. make reference to a person who is not able to defend himself or herself in the House.


Madam Speaker, clearly, Hon. Mutotwe Kafwaya whom the hon. Member had referred to is not in this House. Secondly, in this country, our Constitution is very clear. There is separation of powers. We do have the Executive, we are the Legislature and then there is the Judiciary. Is the hon. Member for Katombola, whom I have just learnt that he is the person who wanted to deregister the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), in order to start questioning the ruling of the Constitutional Court on the Floor of the House? I heard him clearly challenging the ruling of the final court of jurisdiction in this country. Is he in order to breach the Constitution by challenging the ruling of the Constitutional Court? Actually, he even turned into a judge himself and he was interfering in the separation of powers. Is he in order before you even admit because he is –


Mr Chaatila: On a point of procedure, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, in conclusion –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Acting Leader of the Opposition, hold on and please, take your seat.


Hon. Member for Moomba, you cannot rise on a point of order when there is already another hon. Member on the Floor raising a point of order.


Mr Chaatila: Madam Speaker, it is a point of procedure.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: No, you wait for your turn. Let the hon. Member for Chama South conclude with his point of order.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, I rise on this point of order following the precedent that you had set yesterday where the hon. Minister of Local Government and Rural Development had risen on my point of order. I believe that was a good precedent which you had set. Is that hon. Member, therefore, in order to start questioning the decision made by the Constitutional Court and referring to Hon. Mutotwe Kafwaya, who is not even in this House? Could it be because of the hate that that hon. Member harbours for Hon. Mutotwe Kafwaya? I seek your serious ruling.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Members!


I get two points from your point of order. The first one is whether the hon. Member was in order to mention somebody who is not in this House and therefore, not able to defend himself. On that one, the hon. Member was out of order. He is not supposed to mention individuals who are not here, not even mentioning their names. He is supposed to refer to the hon. Members who are in this House. So, for that one, he was definitely out of order.


On the second part, according to the rules in the Standing Orders, you cannot talk about a point of order that has just been raised. You cannot rise on a point of order on another point of order. Yesterday, the hon. Minister of Local Government and Rural Development rose on a point of order just to complain on what transpired after you raised a point of order. His concern was with the manner you did it because he clearly indicated that you were challenging the Speaker, not necessarily on the matter that was raised in the point of order.


So for me, I would say, please, get it from me, hon. Members, we should never ever rise on a point of order that has already been raised because that is what it says in our Standing Orders, unless you yourselves want to change the Standing Orders because these are your Standing Orders. As president officers, we just follow what you came up with and this is exactly what we are doing. So, let us avoid raising points of order on other points of order that have been raised. If you are not happy with the answer or response given, find other ways of airing your grievances. I think you have got the power to complain through the right channels. You have got the right to be heard, but use the right channels.


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Nkana for that question. If I still recall, the question was whether Zambia was engaging the People’s Republic of China in respect of trying to get assistance to resolve the debt that Zambia has with that country and the short answer is yes. The engagement has taken place several times, including at diplomatic levels. My Colleague, the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, has been very active in that and this why we are confident that so far, we seem to have no cause to be worried.


Madam, perhaps I can take advantage of this opportunity to say the following: on social media in the past few days, there have been a number of stories stating that the activities leading to the IMF programme have collapsed. The stories are totally false. As you have heard from my explanation this morning, everything is going according to plan and we have high confidence that the objective of this Government to resolve Zambia’s debts will finally be achieved sometime this year.


Madam Speaker, as for those who are busy circulating these false stories, all I can do is to advise them. I think let us shift away from the politics of inventing false stories all the time because when you invent stories day in and day out, you are actually just losing credibility. If you cannot be trusted to say anything truthful, even for one moment, how can anyone ever seriously consider you to be in Government when your culture is that of just telling false stories every day? So, the people of Zambia should just ignore those who are in that habit of telling stories because if even they were to get into power, it means every day, the stories and promises they will be giving you will all just be false.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mumba (Kantanshi): Madam Speaker –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1040 hours until 1100 hours.




Mr Mumba: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was just about to ask a question to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning on the ministerial statement.


Madam Speaker, on one hand, the Government has taken a very aggressive role in trying to sort out the debt issue. On the other hand; from the revenue side, which basically is supposed to grow our economy and hopefully wipe out our debt, the Government has not come out very clearly on how our revenue will increase apart from the fact that, yes, there is an ambitious plan to ramp up copper production over a period of ten years to three million metric tonnes. However, there has not been any particular policy to clearly guide how this will be attained and how the investors will come in. In his ministerial statement, the hon. Minister did indicate that there will be reforms, but it has been more skewed to dealing with debt but without clearly talking about our future revenues which should be able to help us get out of recession and grow our economy. What is the Government’s clear direction on that matter?


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, I thank you and I thank hon. Mumba for that important question.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Member is right in the sense that to deal with debt crisis, you have to find a formula for reducing that debt through the debt restructuring, which is what we are doing. However, on the other hand, you must find way to grow the economy because when the economy is bigger, it will have a bigger pocket to be able to deal with the debt.


Madam, with respect to the mining sector that he specifically mentioned, yes, the target of getting to producing 3 million tonnes of copper in the next ten years is there. Now, there are two steps for that. The first step is obviously the mining assets that are ready in the country to be made more productive. This is something that my hon. Colleague in the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development is working very hard on day and night. The Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) is working day and night and the first step of that is to resolve the problems that are currently there. Everyone knows that by the time our hon. Colleagues left office, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) was in problems. The first step is to resolve those problems so that there is clarity on the way forward in terms of production. The hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development is working very hard to resolve the issues.


Madam Speaker, similarly, the other big mining asset, Mopani Copper Mines (MCM), the previous investor, also left and that also is being addressed. I cannot go into much detail about this because there are sensitive discussions that are going on to resolve those issues as quickly as possible so that the mines go full out into romping up production.


Madam, there are also issues of how we can make our environment more conducive because to get to three million tonnes, you cannot just focus on the existing companies. We also must do something to attract more companies. You will recall that the period 2000 up to 2010 was when new mines were opening. The Kansanshi of this world were basically the new mines on the North-Western Province. However, in the decade after that, there has not been any new mine that has opened.  Therefore, our task to get to three million tonnes is to encourage the opening of even more mines than before. As we do this, plus the other interventions that will take place in all the sectors, the revenue is going to grow and help us to have a better economy.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Sampa (Matero): Madam Speaker, indeed, the statement is timely. I think it emanated from a rumour when you were quoted asking the European Union (EU) to speak to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for this deal and I think, that is when the public picked it up. The question that arose was why would you be asking somebody to speak to IMF if the deal is sealed? Suffice to say this is social media era, and rumours come up and the hon. Minister has done well to put the formal position.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister is a seasoned and experienced finance man. In his statement, he said that the loan is definitely coming in June. However, we were also told to be prudent and always answer or pose a question “what if”. What if the IMF Board does not approve and many other external factors come in, in particular the war? If the “what if’’ happens? The Budget was premised on this loan. We are told the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) revenue is down by 40 per cent. With regards to the income from the mines, the Budget gave back the mineral royalty tax and now we know the mines can only pay if they make profit, but we know them. They will come and use the Russia war as reasons for not making profits. So, it may not come. My question is: If the loan does not come, how does the Government hope to meet this year’s Budget? How does it hope to meet recurrent expenditure? How does it hope to pay the teachers that will be employed and pay the medical staff who are being recruited? Where will the money come from if the IMF loan does not come?


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, I think the attitude that we take is this; it has been known all the way back from 2016 that Zambia was headed for a debt crisis; way back to 2016. It was also known that the only route that can sensibly take us out of this situation is to go to the IMF. However, year after year, nothing was happening and today, it is six years since we realised that there is a problem. As far as we are concerned, six years is enough of wandering the bush. Now it must happen. I am confident that it is going to happen. Of course, we have had discussion with high level people in different places. Everyone is just geared up to help Zambia to get out of the problem that it is facing everyone. There are all very confident that it will get out. However, to take your hypothetical question, supposing nothing happens, we know what we are going to do, but it is not something that I can disclose here because I do not think it is necessary. However, I think that is not even an option. The real option is it must happen this time.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mabumba (Mwense): Madam Speaker, largely, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programmes, wherever they have been implemented, are associated with both social and economic challenges. Obviously, the US$1.4 billion, whether it is a financier, nobody knows. In his statement, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning talked about reforms. Will he be kind enough to share with the Zambian people the sort of reforms the Government has agreed upon with the IMF in the context of the US$1.4 billion it wants to get?


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Mwense for that question.


Madam, yes, there are some reform measures that we have agreed upon, which – remember, we are now at staff level agreement. So, it is not a formal agreement. As I said, the formal agreement will come either in May or June, 2022 and at that point, the formal agreement will be laid bare on the Table for you, and I and everybody else will be able to understand. However, the thrust of it is not what the hon. Member for Mwense seems to be fearing that perhaps, we are going to make life unnecessary harsh for the people of Zambia.


Madam, earlier today, somebody asked if the IMF is aware and agreeable to the fact that we are hiring 11,000 teachers, and the answer was a clear year. Is the IMF agreeing to the 30,000 teachers being employed? The answer is yes. So, in all, it is actually more about providing money to those who have been ignored for years and years, including the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The IMF is aware of the fact that we are providing this enhanced CDF to the lower levels.


Madam, as we have said over and over, Lusaka and perhaps, the Copperbelt is not Zambia. Him and I come from rural constituencies and we know the state in which our schools are. We know the state in which our rural roads and health facilities are and everybody; the donors, this Government and the IMF feel that it is now time to provide more money to the rural people and the poor people in general so that we do not leave anyone behind. So, be comforted hon. Member because the IMF is 100 per cent agreeable even to the good thing that you have heard so far.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: We will take the last two questions.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the statement.


The number of health workers to be employed seems higher than what was earlier given. I just wanted to find out from the hon. Minister whether or not the number has increased from 11,200 to 11,273, which can be very good, if that is the case. Could the hon. Minister clarify that.


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question. Yes, it is correct. The numbers will be increased by seventy-six. The reason being that the slight delay in the recruitment means that there has a bit of money saved and because of that, we will increase the numbers.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mukosa (Chinsali): Madam Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity.


My question is very simple and straightforward. I want to find out from the hon. Minister if the removal of subsidies on fuel and other forms of energy is one of the requirements by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Zambia needs to meet for it to qualify for the IMF programme.


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, it is not a requirement by the IMF. It is our national requirement. Let me explain. We have said before that previously, the subsidies on fuel were getting bigger and bigger. We explained before that there was a time when the subsidies were about US$800 million per year. What this meant was that because there was so much money going towards subsidies, our ability as a society and as a Government to take care of the weakest in society was impaired. So, instead of hiring teachers in the rural areas, that money went to subsidise those of us who are driving. Instead of hiring health workers, that money went to subsidise those of us who are driving. Instead of paying retirees who have worked for twenty or thirty years, the money was going towards subsidising the fuel. Instead of having proper classrooms or teachers’ houses, the money going to subsidise those of us who are driving. So, this administration took a stand.


Madam, we cannot afford to leave the majority of the people who are out there behind us in the process of development. We need to train them and take them to schools. Otherwise, in the next ten to fifteen years, you will never see people like me who came from rural areas being active participants in national issues because we will be left behind, and we cannot afford to do that.


Madam Speaker, people in the rural areas such as the Kaputa of this world, the Nchelenge in this world and the Katete of this world are all Zambians like those of us who drive and they are entitled to get money for development. Yes, I am afraid we have to pay more for our fuel so that the people out there can have a chance to go to school, they can have a chance to have water and they can a chance to have decent classrooms. This is what has happened. If anyone has a fight with that, then I am very sorry because even morality tells you that it is wrong to leave the majority of the people in the country without basic services.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!








Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform the House that the Patriotic Front (PF) Party has appointed Mr Davison Mung’andu, MP as Acting Leader of Opposition and Mr Robert Kalimi, MP as Acting Party Whip.


Thank you.


Hon. UPND Members: Congratulations!






The Minister of Health (Mrs Masebo): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me this second opportunity to speak to the nation through your elected hon. Members of Parliament on a very important matter or issue, namely the recruitment of 11,200 health workers.


Madam Speaker, you may recall that some weeks ago, in this same month of March, I did issue a statement on this very important subject matter of national interest. You may recall that I did say that I had brought the statement in order to allow your hon. Members to participate in helping us shape the final documents on the roadmap before I took the same to Cabinet. I want to say that hon. Members were very magnanimous and a number of them, both on your left and right, did some justice in giving us their views.


Madam, the following Monday, I did take a Cabinet Memorandum (Cab Memo) to the Cabinet for its final decision on the roadmap. I am glad to say that the Cabinet did approve the roadmap but with some amendments. Since the Cabinet approved the roadmap with some amendments on that Monday, it was not possible for my ministry to issue an advertisement on Tuesday as was promised.


So, Madam Speaker, what we did is that on Tuesday, I engaged all the ten provincial offices, all the 106 district health offices together with many of the hospital superintendents countrywide. I am very happy to tell you that I was able, on that Tuesday, to speak to over a thousand plus health leaders throughout the country. We did go through what the Cabinet had approved and took note of the guidance. Today, I want to bring this matter to the House so that this final information is shared with your hon. Members so that in turn, they can also help disseminate this very important information of the recruitment roadmap to members in their communities. It is hoped that through this statement, the country at large will also follow and be able to work with us in ensuring a smooth process of recruitment.


Madam Speaker, one of the issues that arose which is a matter for correction now, is that we shall not employ 11,200 health workers, but we shall now employ 11, 276 health workers.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, the other point which is important for hon. Members to note is that in the last plan of things, the applications were supposed to be handed over through Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST). This also has changed. Applications shall now all be addressed to the respective District Health Directors countrywide. So, if you live in Chongwe, do not apply to the hon. Member of Parliament who is also the Minister of Health or to the Permanent Secretary (PS) Ministry of Health or to the Director Human Resource at the Ministry of Health. You apply directly to Chongwe District Director of Health. This means all applications must now go directly to the District Health Director of the various district councils in the country, which I suppose are 116, if I am not mistaken.


Madam Speaker, since there was an issue that maybe, somebody will say, “I gave my application to the District Director of Health, maybe he has hidden it because he does not like me or because I belong to this party”, we have also put in a proviso that a copy of your application at district level must be given to the District Commissioner (DC). The copy to the DC is only a safeguard. Only if, at the time of selection, one will say I had given my application to the District Director of Health for Lukulu but he is saying I never gave it to him; can we fall back on the DC. If, indeed, the DC has a copy, then we can have a benefit of doubt and give that applicant a second chance in terms of consideration.


Madam Speaker, the other point was the issue of minimum per district. I noted that this morning, a question was posed to Her Honour the Vice-President where the hon. Member of Parliament for Petauke Central was asking on a surety but he even went below to the district and talked about a constituency. What we are going to do on that issue, just like Her Honour the Vice-President mentioned, is to ensure that every district of Zambia has certain categories of heath workers employed. You may not have certain categories, especially specialised categories employed in some particular districts because you may not have that kind of facility. For example, if you are talking about specialised doctors, you may not have a specialised doctor at Chongwe District Hospital because that district hospital does not provide those kinds of services. So, you will find that most of these will be employed in big provincial headquarters like Lusaka and the Copperbelt.


In that same regard, Madam Speaker, I inform the House that for certain positions, especially doctors and specialised health cadres, those applications will not go to the District Directors of Health but will go to the Provincial Health Director with a copy to the Provincial PSs. So, if you want to be employed as a speech specialist or kidney specialist, then you do not refer your application to the District Health Director but to your relevant Provincial Health Director.


Madam Speaker, the other point which, I may call a change, is the issue of publication. Last time, we only talked about specific modes of media to be used. Now, advertisements will not only go the print media, but community radio stations in particular and in the case of constituencies that are very rural, these advertisements will be stuck at the District Council and also on some trees in some remote parts of the country. So, the use of trees for advertising has also been encouraged. This advertisement will also go to our church mother bodies and other stakeholders so that they can help us by announcing this recruitment in the church after church service as the case may be. Electronic media will also be used, and as I have said, any other means depending on the area of the district in question.


Madam Speaker, other issues that will now come in are issues on corruption and how best we can address them. So, I am happy to say that in all the districts, we do have the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) that will keep its ears and eyes widely opened. I appeal to the people in various districts, constituencies that if they have any issue of corruption, they should report to the ACC and action will be taken.


Madam Speaker, it takes two people to engage in corruption. However, I also want to say that it will not help us just to make allegations without evidence. So, people should help us by ensuring that when they make an allegation, there is at least minimal traces which the relevant investigative organs can follow.


Madam Speaker, the New Dawn Administration has set the goal of achieving good health and wellbeing for the Zambians in keeping with the universal health coverage agenda and in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Madam Speaker, in my previous ministerial statement to this House, I had also indicated that treasury authority for this recruitment process will be effective 1st April, 2022. The House may wish to note that the Government through the Ministry of Health will allow part of March 2022, to run the advert and part of April 2022, to conduct the recruitment process. This, therefore, means that treasury authority will be effective 1st May, 2022. The one month delay in payment of salaries has also – sorry Madam.


Madam Speaker, it is my sincere hope that following the guidance from the Cabinet, we can now have all hon. Members of Parliament rally behind this national process.


Madam Speaker, on the issues of numbers that have changed, there will be some explanation that earlier on some categories of the health sector, in particular, specialised doctors were not considered in the aggregation of the various categories. So, we had to ensure that these two were taken on board.


Madam Speaker, I must mention here that the 11,276, may, in the process, reduce to 11,200 or if we are lucky, it may even increase beyond 11,200. There are reasons for that and I will explain later.


Madam Speaker, the other point that is important for hon. Members to note is that the programme of recruitment by the United Party for National Development (UPND) New Dawn Administration is not a one year event, but a programme that will run for the next three years. It is hoped that in the next three years, things will get even better because 11,200 plus is not sufficient as I did allude in my last statement to cover all the numbers of health workers that are needed countrywide.


Madam Speaker, you may recall that I did say that currently, the Ministry of Health approved structure stands at 139,590 yet the positions that are approved and are being funded on our payroll are at 63,838 which is basically are 46 per cent of the approved structure. Now, there is a variance, what we call a difference between what has been approved as an ideal situation and what we currently have. So, if you subtract 139,590 workers from 63,838, you will find that there is a difference of 75,752. So, from this 75,752, we are now only deducting 11,276 plus.


Madam Speaker, we will continue having a deficit, except at the end of this recruitment, from 46 per cent, we shall move to 54 per cent. We shall be saying, at least now, the Ministry of Health has workers who are at 54 per cent. So, in my view, will be a good improvement. Next year, depending on how our economy will fair, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning may give us a better number or even a similar number, maybe low or high. However, the fact remains that this is a programme which will take three years.


Madam Speaker, now, I am giving you figures and I have a lot of them. So, one of the issues that came out at the Cabinet which it directed the ministry to look at was these same numbers. The question was: How factual are these numbers? Obviously, as Minister, I say whatever figures I am giving are factual because I am the head of the ministry. I thank God I was given some extra time to go back and look at the numbers.


Madam Speaker, on Monday this week, as I prepared myself to ensure that we do justice to this process and as I engaged the provinces and districts countrywide, I took my document and said, according to my document which I have here in my ministry and according to my team, currently, these are the numbers of workers that we have. Regarding the difference, those are the same figures I indicated here last time. So, I said to my provincial and district heads that we needed to go through the document together before we advertise the following day so that we are all safe.


So, I read out all the provinces. The Central Province had an approved structure of 13,564, but according to the information at the ministry headquarters, its workforce stood at 5,275, meaning it is at 39 per cent. The Eastern Province has an approved structure of 12,361 workers, but currently, it only has 5,143 workers.


Madam Speaker, to my disappointment as Minister, without exception, all the provinces gave me figures which were different from what we had at the ministry. This worried me, and I then thought just as well we did not advertise at that time. I could clearly see that various categories of health facilities in the provinces and districts did not have the number of workers as on record at the ministry. We may be saying the Western Province has 4,294 workers on the ground, yet that is not the correct position. Almost all the provinces had less numbers of workers on the ground than what the Ministry of Health Headquarters had portrayed.


Madam, for example, in the case of the Eastern Province, I said we had 5,143 workers, working throughout the province as health workers. However, the Eastern Province Health Director and his District Health Directors objected and said that the figure was not correct. They said what they had on their payroll were 5,003 workers. That was the pattern for all the provinces, except for Lusaka Province.


Madam Speaker, the approved structure for Lusaka Province is 18,919 workers, but I was told the province only has 15,706. Meaning, it has a difference of 3,213 workers to employ. The Medical Director for Lusaka said the province had 19,000 plus workers. So, the case in Lusaka Province was different in that its number was even higher than the ministry’s approved structure of 18,919 workers.


Madam, you can imagine what went through my head. At that point, I asked the Western Province Health Director to give me the correct figure since he was saying the province did not have a workforce of 4,294 and he gave me.


Madam Speaker, a new issue also came out; the Western Province team agreed that 4,294 was the correct number of those who were on the payroll, but were all not in the province. Some were transferred to other provinces. The ministry, in the previous administration, transferred others administratively. For example, the Western Province Health Director said out of the number which I was given, although 132 workers were on the payroll, they were not in the province because they were moved administratively to different health facilities in different provinces and some maybe, even within the province. I requested for the number of those who were on the Western Province payroll, but were not working within the province. I requested for their names and the stations which they were posted to so that we do a verification.


Madam Speaker, we finished with the issue of human beings or what we call health workers in various health facilities countrywide. Just from that statement, I told myself that we had what we call ghost workers, but of course, I said we needed a verification.


Madam, I went to the next category, which is the number of health facilities in the country, province-by-province and district by district. The total number of health facilities that Zambia has in all the ten provinces are as follows:


  1. the Ministry of Health Headquarters;
  2. ten provincial health offices;
  3. 116 health district offices;
  4. specialised hospitals,
  5. tertiary hospitals;
  6. level one hospitals;
  7. level two hospitals;
  8. mini-hospitals;
  9. urban health centres/rural health centres;
  10. zonal health centres;
  11. reference laboratories;
  12. hospital affiliated health centres; and
  13. health posts.


Madam Speaker, all these facilities are found in various provinces although the numbers vary. However, when all these were added, it was said that Zambia has a grand total of 4,032 health facilities and for each category, there was a grand total.


Madam Speaker, in the case of mini-hospitals, for instance, the number of mini-hospitals countrywide as recorded by the Ministry of Health Headquarters and the Provincial Health Offices was as follows:


          Province          Ministry of Health HQ Record            Provincial Health Office Record


          Central                                                9                                                          8


          Copperbelt                                          7                                                          1


          Eastern                                                6                                                          16


          Luapula                                               17                                                        16


          Lusaka                                                 6                                                          8


          Muchinga                                            4                                                          12


          North-Western                                    0                                                          7


          Northern Province                               8                                                          20


          Southern Province                               1                                                          5


          Western Province                                8                                                          8


Madam, so, if you look at all the provinces, you will see that only the Western Province had the correct number. Yet, we, at the ministry said the total number of mini-hospitals in Zambia is sixty-six. Clearly, this number is not correct.


Madam Speaker, what was worse and even shocking to me was the number regarding rural health centres and health posts. In the case of health posts and rural health centres, the Central Province said it does not have the 215 health posts that I had indicated, and that it only has 147. The Copperbelt Province officials said they do not have the eighty rural health centres that the ministry indicated, but that the province only have fifty-eight. In the case of the Eastern Province, we said the province has 199 health posts but the provincial health directors said the province only has 153. For Luapula, the ministry said there were 149 rural health centres but the provincial administration said there were only 131.


Madam Speaker, the story is the same in all the provinces in terms of numbers. That means the total number of health facilities is fake. We are working with fake numbers. The question that needs an answer is whether this is an error or something is cooking.


Madam, when we asked the Human Resource Department at the Ministry of Health, it told us that it receives these returns monthly, sometimes quarterly, from all the provinces. So, these numbers are based on the returns that the department gets from the provinces. However, the provinces spoke directly in front of all of us at the ministry and said they did not know where we got our figures and showed us their figures. So, in the first category, I said we have ghost workers while here we have ghost health facilities.


Madam Speaker, based on these numbers of health workers and facilities, my ministry went ahead to calculate how many workers we are going to allocate province by province and position by position. The result of that exercise is actually irregular, looking at these figures. So, I inform you that the advert that you have seen in today’s Daily Mail newspaper is okay and was approved accordingly by the Cabinet. Applicants should proceed to take their applications to the various districts.


Madam, people should not make two applications; one in Lusaka and one in Shangombo because they will be disqualified. Applicants must choose where they want to work from. However, remember, we are implementing the Decentralisation Policy and applicants are encouraged to apply only from where they reside unless the position they are applying for is on the Copperbelt, in Mansa or Lusaka and not in their district. Their chances of being employed will be higher if they are applying as a local resident. So, they should not be misled by people. They should get my statement because that is what it shall be. This is what the Government desires, not to scatter families or waste time, but to get the people who will be employed straight into the job come 1st May.


Madam Speaker, the last point is that arising from these processes. A decision was taken in the ministry to suspend four directors and officers under the Human Resource Department who were responsible for this work. They were not fired or suspended but sent on forced leave to help us to understand what this is all about.


Madam, because the Human Resources Department works with the department of planning, only the director of planning was also forced to go on leave pending investigations. As a ministry, we have since written to Cabinet Office to send auditors to help with auditing these numbers whilst we continue receiving applications. We hope that in the shortest time, we shall get the numbers correctly and recruit and replace correctly in facilities which are genuinely operating as hospitals. This may include hospitals that have since been opened but have maybe two or three health workers and will need beefing up.


Madam Speaker, there is a lot of work to be done in the ministry, and all I can ask the people of Zambia is that they please help their Government and their country. This administration means well. His Excellency the President is very clear about ensuring that this recruitment benefits ordinary residents of all the 116 districts of Zambia in an equitable and quality manner.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Masebo: So, please, let us not politick. I know that even those who were in Government before want to use this process to gain some political relevance. Yes, politics is important because whatever we are doing amounts to politics, but let us play responsible politics. That is all I am asking for; responsible and factual politics. If hon. Members have any queries, they should not hesitate to talk to me directly. I have no issues.


Madam Speaker, lastly, I want to place on record the advert that we have since advertised today by way of ensuring that hon. Members of Parliament have the actual advert and, hopefully, can circulate it to their constituencies immediately. This is because the period for receiving applications is very short. It is only seven days, which is one week, and you know a week, for really rural areas, could be very difficult. So, hon. Members of Parliament, both on the right and the left should help us and help their people. They should avoid just politicking. Let us work together so that this process can go well.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Just a reminder that today might be the last chance for the Back Bench to debate the President’s Speech. So, let us be very specific in the questions that we raise so that we leave room for the debate on the President’s Address.


Mr Mpundu: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has been very candid in her statement and very elaborate on the –


Mr Mung’andu: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, this august House has rules and we are all required to abide by them. I stand on a point of order pursuant to Article 59 (2), time limits for debates, which states that despite paragraph 1(a) the debate of the Vice-President or a Minister, when moving or responding to a Motion shall not exceed ten minutes.


Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Health in order to take more than twenty minutes or close to fifteen or eighteen minutes to give a ministerial statement? She has turned it into a press briefing when the rules here are clear and straightforward that she is supposed to take not more than ten minutes.


Madam Speaker, I seek your serious ruling, considering that you are just from referring to your hon. Members on the Backbench and saying that today is the last day for them to debate.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Thank you so much hon. Member and Acting Leader of the Opposition. Indeed, our Standing Orders are very specific to the time factor, but perhaps the hon. Minister thought that this is something that is very important. However, I am sure that next, the hon. Minister will stick to time.


Mr Mpundu: The hon. Minister of Health has clearly pleaded with the hon. Members of Parliament to help in the process and has stated very clearly that she would want this process to benefit locals in all the areas and that fairness must be applied, so she has stated. We as hon. Members of Parliament are your partners in ensuring that we have health facilities in all the areas closer to the people and ensure that we have personnel in these facilities. The district will come together to scrutinise the applicants and possibly come up with a list of successful candidates.


Madam Speaker, do you not think it would be prudent that we, who live with the people and representatives of these people, are considered in this process as hon. Members of Parliament?


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, indeed, that is why I have said hon. Members must get the advertisement on their phones and send it to their constituencies, districts, town council secretaries, town clerk, mayors and councillors. I know a number of you have these social groups, ask them to take that information to the communities. They can put posters on the walls, on tress, having door to door meetings and even telling your church leaders.


Madam Speaker, that already is a very important process. Like I have said, the period for the advertisement and the recruitments is short. So, we want to move with this process. We want to move fast, but we can only be fast if we are assisted. If you are waiting for me to go round the whole country, it will not be possible. If you are waiting for me to go on television (TV), the message will not reach the people fast because not everybody has a TV. Even as I am speaking here, some have radios and others do not have. So, it is you now, to get this information and pass it on to your elected leaders; church leaders and everybody, including those who are nurses in your respective areas.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that very comprehensive statement, more importantly for building on what her predecessors or the previous Government left. This is how it should be and how we are going to develop our country. It is a fact that the previous Government built these clinics and health posts and we thank you for bringing manpower into these stations.


Madam Speaker, clearly, if we, as hon. Members of Parliament do not make laws to regulate the conduct of civil servants, as politicians, we will always be victims. As hon. Ministers, you will understand this because I know you might be facing challenges in these ministries.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has reported that there is a mismatch between what the Ministry of Health headquarters has and what is on the ground. Defiantly, this mismatch was created by the civil servants, …


Hon. UPND Members: PF


Mr Mung’andu: ... it is not a political party. I know you can say the Patriotic Front (PF), but you will realise later –




Mr Mung’andu: Madam, I need to be protected.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, I know we are legislators. We cannot perform functions of the Executive as our hon. Colleagues is just from requesting. So,as Members of Parliament, how involved should we be? In the past, it was practically impossible for an hon. Member of Parliament to submit a name of any potential employee to a would-be employer. Even if you took, they would not consider it. I want to tell you hon. Colleagues that civil servants know how to manoeuvre and outplay we the elected people. Therefore, what oversight role do you think we can play to ensure that our people are fairly recruited according to the objectives of the hon. Minister and that of His Excellency?


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, I talked about the issue of announcements to the constituencies. I have also explained that there are some irregularities in terms of numbers of facilities in various districts and that there are also irregularities on numbers of people who are actually found in the facilities. So, your role as hon. Members of Parliament is to help count and send the details to me as Minister of Health. For instance, as hon. Member of Parliament, you can say in Petauke District, we actually have 200 health facilities. I went through my constituency, when I spoke to the director of health or health superintendent, he said they only had 100 workers. That is also good. It is all part of auditing.


Madam Speaker, I was able to see these irregularities just by engaging, through Zoom, a thousand plus health workers country wide. Just there, I was able to see that something was wrong. I was able to see that there is a deliberate motive, either to employ workers by formalising illegal appointments made in the past. It is also possible. So, that is the role you can play. You have understood what I have said, and so, act as the Minister of Health, the President and councillor, but you are the hon. Member of Parliament for the area. Just help and do that which is correct. That is all.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mtayachalo: Madam Speaker, at least the people of Chama North are happy that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has dispelled our earlier fears that maybe, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be a stumbling block in the recruitment of health workers.


Madam Speaker, division of labour is very important and Henry Fayal’s Principles of Management still stands the test of time. I have not seen in the advertisement the recruitment of general workers such as cleaners and watchmen, who have been doing a great job in these health institutions on a temporary basis. I think that is a source of grave concern.


Madam Speaker, my question is: Since hon. Members of Parliament will be building health posts or other health institutions in their constituencies in line with universal health coverage, is there any provision of employment of those workers within this year?


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, that is a good observation, but they are there. I did tell you that we shall also be employing other classified staff or workers who are below professional staff. Those are not be employed under the Public Service Commission. Those are employed under sector ministries and so, yes, we shall be employing them.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Tayengwa (Kabwata): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I wanted to find out from the hon. Minister the criterion being used to come up with the seven days, looking at the mess that has been left and then there is an audit that needs to be done. Does the hon. Minister not think that if we rushed the whole process within the shortest period of time, which is the seven days that she has talked about, we can end up messing up things again?


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, I think that the seven days is just for receiving applications. It is time for us to know who wants what jobs and then we begin to analyse those applicants and the relevant committees that have been set up at the district and provincial levels. As you might recall, I told you that the recruitment is not being done at the ministry. The recruitment is being done at the district.


Madam, the district health director will sit, not alone as the Ministry of Health, but will be supported by directors from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. So, there will be that District Development Co-ordinating Committee (DDCC) arrangement chaired by the director of health. Those are the people who are going to sit to receive and analyse all the applications. At every process, as the ministry, provincial administration and Public Service Commission, we will all have our eyes and ears open, including hon. Members of Parliament.


Therefore, Madam Speaker, it is not that in seven days, we would have employed people. In seven days, we will just be receiving applications and then after that, we continue doing the processes. That is why we have shifted the day from 1st April for the treasury authority to 1st May, so that in the month of April, everything else will be done.


Look, I was able to find out this irregularity or shocking discrepancy just from one meeting. Just by meeting everybody, I was able to find that something is fishy. So, now we need to bring in auditors to do a headcount at every health facility. There are ways and means to do that. We already have a payroll. So, somebody can sit on a desk and by looking at certain information, he/she can find out what is going on. Listen gentlemen, there was a lot of rot under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government.


Mr Mabeta: Too much!


Mrs Masebo: The rule of law had finished. People were being employed just by saying, “You, move here” and you get employment. That is what happened. Zambians need to understand that if they want a clean Government, they should follow what President Hakainde Hichilema is talking about because he is a true President who has come to help this country and not to make money. He already has his money.


Madam Speaker, there are many politicians who go into politics to make money, but there are some politicians who go into politics to work for the people of Zambia. So, we need to identify these people and help them by working with them. By trying to bring them down, you are bringing yourself down. I am not looking for a job. I have been in jobs so many times. So, it does not make a difference to me whether I have a job or not, but I just want to participate. This is my country and I want to help. So, those who can do better than me should help me. Do not try to bring me down because it will not pay you. It is you who will suffer and not me.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr J. Chibuye (Roan): Madam Speaker, I am very thankful to the hon. Minister. Let me begin by assuring her that the people of Roan Constituency shall walk with her on this difficult path in ensuring that she brings sanity where she finds that there was no sanity. In as much as we know how painstaking it may be, we can only encourage the hon. Minister not to relent, but to ensure that she does what is required of her office.


Madam, I also want to take the hon. Minister a little bit backwards. She mentioned in her statement that applications will be deposited at the district health offices. In the event that someone finds that his/her application is missing, the alternative or solution shall lie in the hands of the District Commissioner (DC).


Madam Speaker, as hon. Members of Parliament, we are partners in ensuring that we also help the hon. Minister to cleanse some of these irregularities. Does the hon. Minister not think that it would be prudent for her office to allow the office of the hon. Members of Parliament through the professional assistants to just pass through our offices and take note of the applications by ensuring that we register them in our registers before they proceed to be deposited at the district medical offices?


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, the offices of the hon. Members of Parliament are part of Government, except that they are part of a different organ of Government. We have the Judiciary, the legislative body and Executive. This issue is being driven by the Executive. So, because of those boundaries, sometimes we get into these difficulties.


However, speaking for myself as the hon. Minister of Health, I would truly be happy to find that hon. Members of Parliament are taking interest in knowing exactly who in their constituencies has applied. It does not stop them from instituting their own systems in the communities by telling their members in the community that those who have sent their letters to the office of the director of health should inform the constituency office that they have actually applied. There is nothing wrong with that. It does not in any way create problems for the Ministry of Health.


Madam Speaker, let me say this. In this country, like one of the hon. Members on your left said, we have a problematic Civil Service. That is a fact, just like we have a problematic legislative body. Here, you have heard how this hon. Member of Parliament has spoken. How I wish this is the kind of hon. Members of Parliament that you had. This morning, you gave us a baroque that we have to behave in a manner that is honourable. I am called Hon. Masebo. So, even our behaviour must be seen to be honourable. These are challenges of our country. My hope is that we can rise to become like other nations in the world where issues of belonging to this party or that party do not come in when you are dealing with a matter of public interest such as recruitment.


Mr Mabeta: Hear, hear!


Mrs Masebo: Surely, I would be very happy for any hon. Member of Parliament here to even call me and get authority from the ministry to say, “We want to go into the hospitals. We want to check on drugs.” I would give that authority because what they will find will help me.


Madam Speaker, do you know that in the past, if you went to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), you would find that nurses were not allowed to say there were no drugs? They were never allowed to do that. They would be fired just for saying that. Have you seen the democracy under President (Hakainde Hichilema) HH? Some officers within the Ministry of Health are literary insulting the hon. Minister. Have you ever heard me respond? I do not respond because sometimes, you are not even sure whether somebody is normal or not. You have to understand that we are different. So, the point is take interest and I will definitely be happy to get your support.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mukosa (Chinsali): Madam Speaker, from the hon. Minister’s statement, I note that she has acknowledged that the period that has been given within which potential applicants have to apply is very short and she actually appealed to hon. Members to help her, which we will do. However, I have noticed that the she has suggested that applicants should submit their application letters to the District Health Office yet the advert states that application should be submitted to the Provincial Health Director. Is the hon. Minister considering, ...


Mr Sing’ombe: Which advert?


Mr Mukosa: ...the advert in the paper, I actually have a copy, it is only that I have it in soft copy but I can lay it on the Table of the House later. That is the advert that is in the Daily Mail Newspaper, that I think even the hon. Minister knows about. Therefore, is the hon. Minister considering extending the application deadline so that she can allow for everyone to apply and also to know that they can apply to the District Health Office or both, that is if that will be the case?


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, I think that the hon. Member’s statement is not very correct because the advert which I have does state that for those who are applying for jobs to be recruited at district level should go to the district and submit a copy to the DC. In the case of those applying for jobs that are found at provincial hospital levels, those applications should go to the provincial director of health and a copy to the provincial PS. This is what I have on my tablet. In case somebody has misled someone, please take note that those applying for positions at district level should take their applications to the director of health at the district level.


Madam Speaker, for office bearers that carry out provincial work, let them apply to the provincial director of health with the copy sent to the PS of that particular province. Further, the House may wish to note that certain positions may not be listed here. However, when you go to the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Heath website, you will find a whole list of positions that are going to be advertised. There, you can also find extra information that may not be in the advert. Otherwise, the advert does say that all interested persons meeting the above criterion are encouraged to send their written or typed applications to the district health director with a copy to the DC. Applicants must also ensure that they attach copies of their Grade 12 school certificates, professional registration certificate and practicing licence, professional qualifications and your National Registration Cards (NRCs). Please note that for a nurse to apply, he/she should have registered with the General Nursing Council (GNC). If your position is the one which is listed with the other regulatory body, please ensure that you get that particular licence, in this case, the Health Professions Council of Zambia. So, make sure that you have a current practicing licence. If you do not have those licences, but you just have results, your application will not be considered.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Sampa: Madam Speaker, despite the length of the hon. Minister’s statement and the length of answering as said by the Leader of Opposition, I give it to her on the passion she has on her job. It is very clear she has no personal or vested interest. That is why she is even asking us to help her in this role.


Madam, I note that it looks like these structures that have been sent to our constituencies and districts are top/bottom. It looks like they are replicated from the western world. For instance, what we need in Matero are nurses. It is disheartening to walk into Matero Level One Hospital and see patients unattended to because there are no nurses. However, when I look at this structure, what I see is that only three nurses are required. Then, we have four psycho-social counsellors. We need nurses, not psycho-social counsellors. I can even do the counselling myself. Then, we have two psychiatrists, we do not need them, we are all normal there. We want nurses. If anything, the new positions that you should be giving these hospitals are pharmacy auditor instead of giving us one pharmacist. We should have someone sitting to audit the medicine that goes out, seeing where the Panadol goes and which patient has taken it; has it been taken to a chemist outside? So, those are the positions that are practical. These psycho-social counsellors are for the western world.


Madam Speaker, with that said, I also noted that the hon. Member of Parliament for Lumezi was complaining that the area has been given a driver yet there are no ambulances there, which takes me to the next point. The hon. Minister should ensure that she does not import people from Mongu or Lumezi to come and work into Matero and vice versa. Having people from Matero going to be recruited to work in Mongu and Lumezi creates discontent. Let the locals in those areas be the ones to be hired.


Madam Speaker, the second one is on bureaucracy–


Madam First Deputy Speaker: What is the question?


Mr Sampa: The question is ...


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Ask only one question.


Mr Sampa: ... how does the hon. Minister intend to deal with the bureaucracy in the employment process of civil servants? If you let it be, it will be another six months. First of all, the ministry has no power to employ, it is the Civil Service Commission which does. So, how does the hon. Minister want to deal with that bureaucracy because it will be six months and no one would have started work? It will be a process. The last one–


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order hon. Member!


You can only ask one question.


Mr Sampa: I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, for the other question that the hon. Member wanted to ask, he can ask me after we knock off from Parliament.


Madam Speaker, yes, there is bureaucracy. Unfortunately, Governments the world over do have bureaucracy. It is part of what makes Government accountable. You can imagine if we had placed this advert on the day people expected it, it would have be a disaster. So, that bureaucracy of going back to the Cabinet did help me a lot.


Madam, I thank my President and the Cabinet because they guided so well to the extent that I said to myself: Oh my God! So, if I did not go to the Cabinet, what would have happened? Imagine we are talking about the Ministry of Finance and National Planning giving us K930 million, almost K1 billion to employ people. I am going to employ the 11,200 yet I am pretending that I have so many facilities. It is a disaster, it is actually a scandal. So, bureaucracy does help.


However, to be specific to the hon. Member’s question concerning the categorisation of the workforce, we requested health facilities to tell us who they need in order for them to deliver a good service. So, it was based on what the hospital asked for. The only difference is that maybe, the hospital could have asked for ten nurses and because of the small number and considering that we have to share, maybe, the number was reduced to three or five. I am not so sure.


Madam, the hon. Member should take interest to go round hospitals and try to speak to health workers, get some data and let us share that data. It could help us so that we are not only able to speed up, but we are also able not to be cheated because it is very easy to get cheated. Sometimes, if you heavily depend on people who are used to corruption, it is very difficult. I have a lot of information, obviously because of my position. Sometimes, I do certain things and unfortunately, some of your supporters under your party do not support what I do. I hope you can also take time to look at these nation issues so that we can work together. At the end of the day, all Zambians will be happy.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Siachisumo: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Lufwanyama, we seem to have run out of time. I do not know if that point of order is very urgent. If not, we can give room to hon. Members to ask questions on points of clarification on this very important topic. Looking at the time that we have, maybe, I will not take any more points of order. We will move on to the hon. Member for Kantanshi.


Mr Mumba: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the statement. As she continued to explain from the numbers of health facilities, I started having a feeling that with all these regularities that she has identified and some of the issues she has acknowledged, will it also be prudent for her to take time on the recruitment exercise because for me, two things are happening here.


Firstly, there is political drive coming from the highest office in this land, which is great, but secondly, all these things that she has identified also have a way in which the recruitment exercise will be affected. Currently, four directors are on forced leave as though this is the first time we are hiring people in Zambia. The numbers of health facilities are not adding up and there are retirees from the Ministry of Health whom the Government has not paid. I have the list from health facilities in Kantanshi. Does the hon. Minister not think she might need a little bit more time so that if there is an issue of ghost workers, probably, those numbers can even add up to the new people you want to recruit?


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, those are very good and important points for consideration. We will take time. One month, which is the whole of April, is a lot of time. Like I said, there are many other ways of catching a cat including using hon. Members of Parliament. So, we will take things slow, but at the same time, we use a methodical way, but at the end of it all and when reach that time, we will ask ourselves if we are ready. If we find that we need an extra two days, we will go back to the Cabinet and say we need extra time or we will extend. There is nothing irregular about that.


Madam Speaker, yes, the hon. Member has very valid points and we are taking note of everything that is being said here. So far, I still feel that one month will be sufficient, especially if hon. Members of Parliament, councilors, the church and all concerned citizens of Zambia will keep their eyes on this process so that people do not play tricks and end up with citizens who are trying to protect people who may actually be stealing from them.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mulaliki (Senanga): Madam Speaker, people in Senanga are extremely delighted that the employment of the 11,200 health workers has finally been realised. To many people, it looked like an illusion, but today, the Government has made it a reality.


Hon. UPND Member: Hear, hear!


Mr Mulaliki: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has mentioned that information that was provided to her has actually been proved to be fake. As a result, we have not only ghost workers, but also ghost facilities. Does the Government not think that this is so because the ministry has only employed male provincial health directors in the country? Secondly, these directors are from one or two regions. What is the hon. Minister doing about that? Is she considering employing females who are also qualified to become provincial health directors and getting them from other regions?


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, you know, this is why I said learn to follow what President Hakainde (Hichilema) is saying. Everything he has said on the Floor of this House or in public, just know that that is what he wants to do and he means it. The guy is smart. Listen to me and just follow.


Mr Mpundu: The guy!




Mrs Masebo: Many people thought –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order hon. Minster! The President is not a guy.


Mrs Masebo: Sorry, Madam Speaker, I meant to say the man.




Mrs Masebo: The man is very intelligent, committed and he walks his talk. If he will fail on any of his talk, it will not be because he did not mean it. It will be because of circumstances beyond his control. So, when he said, he is going to employ 11,200 health workers, he meant it. When he said there will be free education, he meant it.


Mr Mabeta: Yes!


Mrs Masebo: He is walking the talk. These are not easy programmes but that is what he wants for the people of Zambia. So, this is why I say let us walk the talk together as Zambians out there and as hon. Members of Parliament. Let us make our country better again. Let us make our Zambia great again.


Madam Speaker, this country is about men and women, young and old, those able bodied and differently abled. In this recruitment exercise, we are walking the talk on the promises made by the President that even when it comes to regions, all the ten regions will be considered without looking behind, but by just saying we have ten provinces and we want all of them. We have 116 districts and people in all the 116 districts must be employed. The rest remains with all of us. HH (Hakainde Hichilema) is just one man as a President. He depends on everybody. He depends on the legislative body, the Judiciary and if we fail him, it will not be his failure but ours. So, yes, going forward, we shall be gender sensitive but taking into account all the regions.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Ms Nyirenda (Lundazi): Madam Speaker thank you for giving the people of Lundazi an opportunity to make a follow-up question on the statement just given.


Madam Speaker, I thank you to the hon. Minister for this beautiful chance that she has given to the people of Zambia to have these jobs actualised. What will happen to those who are already working in the facilities and are supposed to be considered for promotions? Are they also supposed to apply for positions that have been advertised by the ministry?


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that very intelligent and important question. The House may recall that I said initially, we had planned to recruit 11,200 health workers, but the number went up to 11,276 because along the way, we discovered that the specialised doctors were not considered and so we had to take note of that. There were other categories that were considered like nurses and junior doctors, but the people who are working at the top were not considered.


Madam Speaker, this is not only for doctors and nurses, but also the case across the board and it was taken into account. However, in taking that into account, for the new positions we had to create, we had to increase the number. However, we should remember that at every given level, we are internally promoting people and so they will leave space at the bottom to allow those who are below that bottom to fill up that space that has been created. So, that is basically what we are doing. There will be internal promotions.


Madam Speaker, like I have said, please we should take note that of those who qualify to be promoted, not everybody will be promoted because treasury authority is only less than K1 billion. Next year, we will be able to consider others. The third year, we will again consider others. So to answer the hon. Member’s question, we are taking into account promotions of various categories.


 I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Munir: Madam Speaker, thank you, very kind –


Mr Mung’andu: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Mr Munir Zulu: Madam Speaker, permit the good people of Lumezi to agree with the submissions made by the hon. Minister of Health.


Madam Speaker, using this very platform, permit the good people of Lumezi to mention that we love President Hakainde Hichilema, genuinely so, not because we are serving in his Cabinet, but because we want him to succeed. When he succeeds, the country succeeds.


Madam Speaker, the good people of Lumezi elected an hon. Member who had an industrious career before coming here. We are not here to make money, but to serve.


Madam Speaker, permit the good people of Lumezi to agree with the hon. Minister that there have been fake pronouncements that there are 1,000 workers this side, yet they are ghost workers.


Madam Speaker, permit the good people of Lumezi to equally agree that the advert stated that the ministry needs a cleaner at Mpingozi Health Post in Lumezi. That is an incomplete building. So, it is also a fake advert. What we need is to complete the building at Mpingozi Health Centre. I think we have rushed to advertise for jobs that do not exist.


Madam Speaker, my advice to the hon. Minister is that when we are delivering messages, she should not look at questions with political lenses. We are here to serve the people of Zambia. My question then is –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, yes, what is the question?


Mr Munir Zulu: Madam Speaker, my question is, what does the hon. Minister intend to do about these fake adverts?


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, the reason for coming here is exactly to get this kind of information. The hon. Member has, for example, mentioned here that he actually agrees with us when we say the process had irregularities. Therefore, we are going to take time to verify all this information. That is why, although we treasury authority for this recruitment process will be effective 1st April, 2022, we are now saying this authority will now be effective 1st May, 2022. I want the hon. Members’ support instead of them saying, these are liars, they said 1st May. Yes, we said 1st May, but look at the situation. If we had a different person in this ministry, he/she would not even have seen this. So, hon. Members should appreciate that at least, I have big double eyes. I was able to see quickly.


Madam, so, I thank the hon. Member for what he has said. We will take up the matter and verify that. In fact, that structure is not even there.


Madam Speaker, I did mention that clearly, the numbers were wrong. Whether by accident or by design, those are things the auditors will tell us now as they quickly move in to verify this matter. Hon. Members should please, help us and quickly give us information within their constituencies and we will quickly verify it so that at the end of the week, we are done. I am very sure that this can be a one-week exercise. We will be done and will be placing the right people in the right areas where there are genuine clinics not a foundation or a building that will take another two years to finish. Then the question is: Why does somebody want–that is why I said maybe, there was a ploy to get all these numbers for the people they have employed whom they now want to start pushing in without us knowing, we do not know.


Madam, we have to work together. The hon. Members saw for themselves how letters were flying around on social media that people are being employed and the question was, how? It is because we said we are going to employ this year and if these people are already not in the system, why give them employment letters? Why not just ask them to apply so that we consider them like everybody else? So, these are some of the issues that we all must look at. This is our country, all of us, and we all have interests including those who are not hon. Members. So, let us serve our people together.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr P. Phiri (Mkaika): Madam Speaker, I have seen the distribution list and Mkaika and Katete have been allocated twenty nurses, whilst a clinic in the deep rural of Matunga only has one nurse. My question is: Will room be given to the people at the district level to move around and get one or two nurses from the twenty that have been allocated to St. Francis so that they can beef up the clinic which only has one nurse?


Ms Masebo: Madam Speaker, what the hon. Member has said would be our desire. In working together, it is possible to archive what the hon. Member has said. So, let us reduce the confusion together so that the issues that will be coming out has we deal with the process are done. Before we even close the applications, if we get the clarity of what really is on the ground, we will be able to achieve what hon. Members want us to achieve together.


Madam Speaker, however, people who do dubious things create confusion in order to get what they want and there are so many of such people in this country. The gentlemen should know that this problem may not just be in the Ministry of Health. President Hakainde Hichilema took over a country that is troubled. That is why he has concentrated on uniting the country because when we unite, it will be possible for us to clean it up. However, if we do not unite, those people who were stealing want to create confusion so that we do not catch up with them. So, when you do that, you are actually helping thieves. Let us work together as a country so that we can catch the thieves and get the right numbers in all our health facilities so that this country can be better.


Madam Speaker, I tell you, the way life is, if you do not support what is right you will be a victim. Perhaps not you directly, but maybe, your mother or sister may die at the hands of a wrong health system. So, please, I beg you, let us for once, as Zambians, work together on this issue of health because this is not a game, this is about life.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!








Mr Menyani Zulu (Nyimba): Madam Speaker, love, respect and unity are our core values as Christians. Our country is based on Christianity and we said we would manage it as a Christian nation. It is really saddening that today, in our country we preach so much about love. The President has been here trying to unite the country but we the so called hon. Members of Parliament act contrary to his directive.


Madam, the venom which comes from our hon. Colleagues on your right towards us hon. Members of Parliament on your left needs prayers. We need to change the way we think. We are not enemies here, we are just competitors.


Madam Speaker, I am also worried about the language by the hon. Members on your right and the numbers of health personnel who are going to be registered. If you compare my constituency, with a number of wards, to that of some of my friends with a single district with a few people, you will see that they are employing seventy-two to seventy-eight health personnel when I am only given forty-two, yet I know the areas where we do not have people.


Madam, we have constructed health posts using carbon money which is helping us, but nothing is mentioned and there is no recruitment. It is saddening. We need to work as a team and not divide ourselves.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Madam Speaker, I stand here in support of the speech that was delivered by His Excellency the President on national values and principles. It was well articulated and everything was on point.


Madam, I just want to assure our hon. Colleagues on your left that we love them. They are our hon. Colleagues and we mean well for everyone.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Chaatila: Madam, having said that, let me start by indicating that the President was right and to the point when he was talked about the inequalities that we are now experiencing. I will give an example that Zambia is on the list of African countries with the highest numbers of inequality, meaning that we have many people who are downstream lacking most of the amenities that they should have while there are very few people up there who are rich.


Madam Speaker, one of the examples I will give –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


We are going to allow some hon. Back Benchers to debate the President’s Speech on Tuesday since most of the time was taken by the Executive.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!

(Debate adjourned)


The House adjourned at 1255 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday 29th March, 2022.