Friday, 14th October, 2022

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         Friday, 14th October, 2022

The House met at 0900 hours

[MADAM FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair]

NATIONAL ANTHEM

PRAYER

______

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MADAM FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER

WORLD FOOD DAY CELEBRATION

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform you that Zambia will join the rest of the world in commemorating the World Food Day which falls on Sunday, 16th October, 2022.

In this regard, the Government of the Republic of Zambia has planned activities to take place at national, provincial, and district levels.

Hon. Members of Parliament are encouraged to take part in the said activities during the commemoration in their respective districts. For further details, hon. Members are requested to engage their provincial or district administrative authorities.

I thank you.

______

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

The Vice-President (Mrs Nalumango): Madam Speaker, let me acquaint the House with some idea of the business it will consider next week.

Madam Speaker, on Wednesday, 19th October, 2022, the Business of the House will start with Questions for Oral Answer. Thereafter, the House will consider a Private Member’s Motion titled, “Increase Operating Hours for Public Health Facilities.”

Interruptions

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Members!

We cannot hear. There is too much noise. We want to hear the business for next week. Can we maintain silence?

The Vice-President: This Motion will be moved by Mr C. Kang’ombe, hon. Member of Parliament for Kamfinsa Constituency. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Then, the House will continue with the debate on the Motion of Supply on the 2023 National Budget.

Madam Speaker, on Thursday, 20th October, 2022, the Business of the House will commence with Questions for Oral Answer. Thereafter, the House will consider presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. After that, the House will continue with the debate on the Motion of Supply on the 2023 National Budget.

Madam Speaker, on Friday, 21st October, 2022, the Business of the House will start with the Vice-President’s Question Time. Thereafter, the House will deal with Questions for Oral Answer. The House will then, consider presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. After that, the House will continue with the debate on the Motion of Supply on the 2023 National Budget.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

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MATTERS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE

KATOKA MEMA BRIDGE IN KAMFINSA

Mr Kang’ombe (Kamfinsa): On a matter of urgent public importance, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: A matter of urgent public importance is raised.

Mr Kang’ombe: I thank you most sincerely for this opportunity, Madam Speaker. I am a bearer of an urgent matter of public importance from the people in a farm block called Katoka Mema, in Kamfinsa Constituency.

Madam Speaker, I am on record asking the hon. Minister of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development on the issue pertaining to Katoka Mema Bridge a few months ago. The response that was provided at that time was that steps would be taken to ensure that ridge is made accessible before the onset of the rainy season.

Madam Speaker, what has transpired is that working with the community, we did provide a temporary crossing point to allow our farmers to transport their farm produce to the market. Unfortunately, this makeshift crossing point has collapsed again. What has transpired now with the distribution of farm inputs is that our farmers are unable to get the farm inputs that are being delivered to the farm block in Kamfinsa.

I stand here, Madam Speaker, concerned that the issue pertaining to this very important crossing point has not received the required attention from the Government. I am a bearer of a request from the community that urgent and important steps be taken to provide a crossing point for our farmers.

Madam Speaker, I seek your indulgence, and I direct this matter of urgent public importance at Her Honour the Vice-President, Leader of Government Business in the House, considering that nothing has been done by the hon. Minister in charge.

MR MUNG’ANDU, HON. MEMBER FOR CHAMA SOUTH, ON MR MWIIMBU, HON. MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND INTERNAL SECURITY, ON VIOLENCE FROM UPND CADRES

Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): On a matter of urgent public importance, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: A matter of urgent public importance is raised.

Mr Mung’andu: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I rise on this matter of urgent public importance which is directed at the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security. As you can see, I am in Chama District right now. I came here to attend the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) committee meeting, which will be ending today.

Madam Speaker, yesterday, around 1100 hours, I was requested by a family in Kapikila to go there because there were actually, two maternity cases there. So, I had to rush there. On my way, I met a group of United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres.

Madam Speaker, the violence that the UPND cadres have unleashed on the Opposition Patriotic Front (PF), if not controlled, will make people lose lives. I want to say it again that, had it not been that some of them were my relatives, probably, they could have taken my life yesterday.

Madam Speaker, sadly, I have heard that even in Mkushi, there was violence.  The truck that was trying to reverse was attacked by UPND cadres with all sorts of weapons. The situation in Petauke, in Lusangazi, was bad such that Nakacinda would have lost his life.

Madam Speaker, Zambians are watching. You can imagine that those cadres whom we do not even know wanted to lift my vehicle. I think they do not even live in Chama South. They were just imported into Chama South. In Chama, we even hug each other. When I meet a UPND brother in Chama South, we hug, greet and discuss how campaigns are going, if at all there are campaigns. When they are stuck and my vehicle has a winch, I am able to rush to rescue my brothers, the UPND members. That is how we live in our villages here. For the first time, villagers are very upset. People I do not even know insulted me, your hon. Member, Madam Speaker, you can imagine.

Therefore, Madam Speaker, is that hon. Minister, I can see in the camera very well, in order to sit there comfortably, looking at his Government being damaged? This damage will be irreparable. Zambians are able to see that the UPND is probably, more violent than the PF. Now, I am made to believe that maybe, the UPND members are the ones who provoke the PF members. I have never witnessed violence in my life. Even when the UPND talked about violence that happened previously, I think they were doing it among themselves and not here in the villages.

Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security in order not to control these cadres? If we react, there will be no peace. I can assure the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security –

Interruptions

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, I think you are moving away from the matter because you also want to join the violence, which is not good.

Mr Mung’andu: No, no, no! I can never do that.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Can you conclude your matter of urgent public importance so that we get exactly what you are talking about instead of telling us what you are going to do as well.

Mr Mung’andu: No, no, I can never do such a thing, Hon. Speaker. It will never happen. Even when I reached my destination, I called for calm and I told everyone not to engage themselves in violence because we are one family. We are one people; one Zambia.

Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister in order to sit there comfortably when lives of his own hon. Members of Parliament, potential hon. Ministers and Presidents are in danger?

I seek your serious ruling.

MR SAMPA, HON. MEMBER FOR MATERO, ON THE VICE-PRESIDENT, MRS NALUMANGO, ON THE GOVERNMENT WATCHING VIOLENCE BY UPND CADRES

Mr Sampa (Matero): On a matter of urgent public importance, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: A matter of urgent public importance is raised.

Mr Sampa: Madam Speaker, my matter of urgent public importance is directed at the Vice-President because it is to do with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

Madam Speaker, Jackson Kungo was killed during the last general election. The hon. Member for Matero was stabbed and was almost killed. Yesterday in Petauke, Hon. Raphael Nakacinda was stopped from going to present a ‘Plan B’ an alternative candidate for the Patriotic Front (PF). We have seen videos where he was attacked by the United Party for National Development (UPND) youths just like the way Jackson Kungo was attacked.  He was being led to a bush.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Sampa: Madam Speaker, if nothing is done, that behaviour will set a precedent that each time there is an election anywhere, be it a general or by-election for a councillor, as it was in Lusangazi, youths from the ruling party will think that it is time to beat and kill anybody from the PF.

Madam Speaker, is the Vice-President or this Government in order to watch the situation get worse? Most of the time, I hear them say that the PF used to do the same.

Interruptions

Mr Sampa: Madam Speaker, I lost a colleague known as Jackson Kungo and it hurts. I almost lost Raphael Nakacinda yesterday.

Interruptions

Mr Sampa: I also almost died as well. Madam Speaker, excuse me if I sound emotional about this matter. If this Government does not do anything about the violence, these same cadres will kill Government members one day.

Madam Speaker, my matter of urgent public importance is: Is this Government in order to take it that in every nomination or election, every non-UPND member must be killed?

Interruptions

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Hon. Member for Matero, are you through?

Mr Sampa: I am through, Madam Speaker.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

MR CHITOTELA, HON. MEMBER FOR PAMBASHE, ON MR MWIIMBU, HON. MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND INTERNAL SECURITY, ON UPND MILITIA

Mr Chitotela (Pambashe): On a matter of urgent public importance, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: A matter of urgent public importance is raised.

Interruptions

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Can we have order on the right?

Mr Chitotela: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am rising a matter of urgent public importance directed at the hon. Minister in charge of home affairs and internal security.

Madam Speaker, yesterday, we watched on Diamond Television, serious violence being unleashed on Patriotic Front (PF) members in Mkushi and Lusangazi. Today, the Daily Nation newspaper, and I will lay it on the Table, carries a story –

Interruptions

Mr Chitotela: Madam Speaker, we heard the Government members saying that the PF Members used to behave the same way and we were very affected. The same thing is happening now.

Madam Speaker, today, the Daily Nation newspaper carries the following headline:

“Nomination Violence Erupts”

Madam Speaker, just the other day, on 12th October, 2022, the Daily Nation newspaper, on the second page, carried a very big headline:

“Disband UPND Militia – Jack Mwiimbu.’”

There is a picture of the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Mr Jack Mwiimbu, in that article.

Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security in order not to curb the seemingly resurgence of violence in elections which is against the desire and the wishes of His Excellency, President Hakainde Hichilema, who has on several occasions condemned violence and ordered UPND cadres to behave?

Madam Speaker, we saw them in UPND regalia. Therefore, I cannot tell whether they were UPND cadres or not, but the newspapers are saying they were UPND. I will lay these newspapers on the Table for ease of reference.

Mr Chitotela laid the paper on the Table.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, I think there are just too many matters of urgent public importance. Some of them do not even qualify. How I wished you could just hold on for Her Honour the Vice-President’s Question Time so that you just ask quick questions. From what I have heard, most of them are not even matters of urgent public importance. Some of them are just being repeated.

MR MTAYACHALO, HON. MEMBER FOR CHAMA NORTH, ON MR MWIIMBU, HON. MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND INTERNAL SECURITY, ON KILLINGS OF PEOPLE ON SUSPICION OF WITCHCRAFT

Mr Mtayachalo (Chama North): On a matter of urgent public importance, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: A matter of urgent public importance is raised.

Mr Mtayachalo: Hello, hello! 

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, this is not a phone call.

Laughter

Madam First Deputy Speaker: We are in the House.

Hon. Member, you can go ahead.

Mr Mtayachalo: Madam Speaker, are you getting me?

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Yes, you are loud and clear.

Mr Mutayachalo: Madam Speaker, this matter of urgent public importance is directed at the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security.

Madam Speaker, yesterday, we had a very sad situation in Chama where two people were killed by a mob, leaving one badly injured and is in hospital. These people were attacked due to suspected witchcraft. The cases of people being killed have been increasing in the distinct but the police are not taking any action against the perpetrators. People are worried that if the police are not able to provide security –

Interruptions

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Can we have order? We want to hear that the hon. Member for Chama North is talking about.

Mr Mtayachalo: Madam Speaker, I was saying that the people of Chama are worried that their colleagues are being killed on suspicion of witchcraft and the police are not protecting them. I think the courts are there to try individuals.

Madam Speaker, therefore, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security in order to keep quiet without bringing these incidents to an end?

I seek your serious indulgence, Madam Speaker.

MR MUNSANJE, HON. MEMBER FOR MBABALA, ON MR MWIIMBU, HON. MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND INTERNAL SECURITY, ON VIOLENCE DURING NOMINATIONS CAUSED BY A VIOLENT POLITICAL PARTY

Mr Munsanje (Mbabala): On a matter of urgent public importance, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: A matter of urgent public importance is raised.

Mr Munsanje: Thank you, Madam Speaker, and good morning.

Madam Speaker, this country has enjoyed peace and tranquillity since the New Dawn Government came into power. People have enjoyed their human rights and freedoms such as freedom of association and assembly.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Munsanje: The country has been quiet, peaceful and enjoyable to all of us as citizens.

Madam Speaker, with the entry of a proven violent party in the by-election nominations yesterday, in various parts of the country, we saw violence beginning to emerge because of one political party that has been proved to be very violent.

Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security in order to keep quiet when this violent party is destabilising the peace that has been brought by the New Dawn Government?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, we will start with the matter raised by the hon. Member for Kamfinsa.

Hon. Member for Kamfinsa, this is not a new matter, just like you stated. Therefore, it does not qualify to be taken as a matter of urgent public importance. Hon. Member, what you need to do is to either make a follow-up by visiting hon. Minister of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, who is in charge or you put a question to the hon. Minister.   

We have received matters from the hon. Members for Chama South, hon. Member for Matero, hon. Member for Pambashe, and the hon. Member for Mbabala constituencies talking about the violence which seen to be emerging. Firstly, I wish to state that where there is violence, there is a solution under the law. There are state security institutions that are given the mandated to ensure there is peace and security in the country. Therefore, hon. Members, should make sure that these matters are reported to the relevant state security institutions.

However, I will request the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security to assure the nation that the ongoing by-elections will be peaceful, as the President advised that there should be no more violence. So, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security will come to this House just to assure the nation that these coming by-elections will be very peaceful. Otherwise, please, report all the incidents of violence to the police. The hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security will come to this House with a ministerial statement on Thursday, 20th October, 2022, next week.

The hon. Member of Chama North talked about witchcraft and to me, this is also attached to violence. Hon. Member for Chama North, surely, you cannot wait for a ministerial statement to be issued. You have to take action immediately. I believe there is a security institution in your constituency. Can you make use of that institution which is a police station in your area. We need that matter in your constituency to be handled by the police, immediately.

I thank you.

_______

THE VICE-PRESIDENT’S QUESTION TIME

Mr Mundubile (Mporokoso): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for this opportunity to ask Her Honour the Vice-President a question. Your Honour the Vice-President, good morning and welcome back.

Madam Speaker, members of the public have observed with concern, attempts by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to usurp the powers of the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) by attempting to interpret the Constitution. The ECZ has gone further to disregard orders of the court, the case being the ongoing cases in the Kabushi and Kwacha by-elections.

Madam Speaker, being at the helm of the Executive, what is Her Honour the Vice-President doing to protect our constitutional democracy and stop the lawlessness that is being perpetuated by this state institution?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition, who is the hon. Member for Mporokoso, for that question.

Madam Speaker, it is very difficult for me, as I stand here, to even know where to start from. This is a very serious Government and it stands on the Constitution. Currently, whether we blame the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) or the courts, I think both institutions know their responsibilities. It becomes very difficult for me to start talking because there are so many matters in the courts of law today, and my hon. Colleagues can agree with me. The ECZ finds itself between a rock and hard place, whether to go against the courts or not. Matters were still being raised before the courts of law even as of yesterday. Therefore, it becomes very difficult to know who the ECZ should disobey.

Madam Speaker, the courts and ECZ are aware of our constitutional provisions. It is therefore, very difficult for me to go into detail because I may not know some of the issues, and I am worried that I can be cited for both contempt and sub judice in this House. However, it is my hope that the institutions know the constitutional provisions and that they work within those provisions.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to mention that I have two lists. So, I will be picking members from both lists.

Mr Simushi (Sikongo): Madam Speaker, the revelations of corruption in this country are worrying me because when the United Party for National Development (UPND) came into power, I thought by now, we would see great reduction in corruption. To my surprise, it is like almost every day, we still get revelations of how money was corruptly obtained during the past regime.

Madam Speaker, what measures is the Government putting in place to ensure that corruption, both in the private and public sectors is curbed, sustainably? When are we going to start seeing some of the criminals caged?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Sikongo for bringing up the issue of corruption. According to him, he says that by now, we should have had less reports of corruption. He therefore, wants to know what measures the Government is taking to curb corruption.

Madam Speaker, if cases of corruption that were committed in the past are still coming up, it means that the Government, through investigative institutions, is working. Investigations cannot be carried out in a day or a year.  White collar or financial crimes may be very difficult to investigate and may take time. If there are revelations of corruption up to now, it means that the institution responsible for curbing corruption is working.

What measures are we taking as the Government? The measures are provided by the law. However, I wish to tell the hon. Member that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), is engaging not only the public sector but also, the private sector so that their interaction can help in trying to curb the vice. This corruption is not only in the public service but also, in the private sector. So, the ACC is taking up all those initiatives to try and curb the corruption that can happen today and in future.

Madam Speaker, I will be lying if I say that corruption will stop completely. Sorry, let me not use the word, lying. I will be misleading the House and the people of Zambia if I say that corruption will stop completely. Yes, it can be minimised through the behavior of individuals, which is the nature of man. However, this Government will do everything possible to ensure that investigative wings are properly funded, and encouraged to work. There will always be matters of corruption. Therefore, we need to dig out the past, present and future, and this may take us a few years. Therefore, cases may not end now because we have not yet found all those who committed this kind of crime.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Kang’ombe (Kamfinsa): Madam Speaker, I direct my question to Her Honour the Vice-President, first of all, in her capacity as the Leader of Government Business in the House, and  also, as a mother. This question is on very strong allegations that have been made over the last one month, regarding cases of sexual abuse in the female football national team. There have been cases in the print media even quoting the hon. Minister of Youth, Sport and Arts for being aware that there is an enquiry that has been opened to establish facts around the allegations that players have been abused in the past, as a basis for selection to the national team.

Madam Speaker, we do not know how true these allegations are. The public wants to know if the Government has taken any steps to establish the facts, considering that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) is funded through the National Budget as a grant-aided institution. Obviously, we are concerned as parliamentarians on the status of this very important issue pertaining to –

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!

What is your question, hon. Member?

Mr Kang’ombe: Madam Speaker, has the Government taken any steps to establish facts around those very strong allegations? If so, what are the findings of this enquiry?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Kamfinsa for that concern. He has raised the issue of sexual abuse of women footballers. Maybe, the Government is aware of the allegations, but not the actual sexual abuse of our young ladies. When these young women are going for their games, they are normally provided with a matron and female officials to support them. There is totally no information thus far. There are just allegations.

Madam Speaker, nobody has come forth to give any tangible evidence. For the Government to institute an investigation, at least, there has to be tangible evident and not social media or media information. Social media cannot help with the starting point. No one has actually come to complain that they have been abused. So, it becomes very difficult for us to start an investigation.

Madam Speaker, in response to the question by the hon. Member, that he needs to know the findings, I wish to state that there cannot be findings because even an investigation has not yet been instituted. The starting point has not been established yet; we only have the allegations.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Kafwaya (Lunte): Madam Speaker, yesterday in Lusangazi District, the Zambia Police Service made themselves part of the nomination process by ensuring that they demanded to scrutinise the nomination papers for only one candidate for the Patriotic Front (PF) party, and ensured that that particular candidate did not file in his nomination.

Madam Speaker, when did their Government instruct the Zambia Police to be part of the nominations by scrutinising only papers for the PF candidates?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I am sorry, I did not actually get the full question. I do not know if the hon. Member can repeat the question for me to be reasonable in my response.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Lunte, please, repeat yourself. The clock can stop.

Mr Kafwaya: Madam Speaker, yesterday, in Lusangazi District, the Zambia Police Service made themselves part of the nomination process.

Mr Munsanje: Question!

Mr Kafwaya: Madam Speaker, when did the United Party for National Development (UPND) Government instruct the Zambia Police to become part of the nomination process by ensuring that they scrutinised nomination papers for only one political party ‘PF’ and also, making sure that PF candidate did not actually file in his nomination, as the case was in Lusangazi yesterday?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, the hon. Member’s question is: When did the United Party for National Development (UPND) instruct the police to be part of the nominations? The UPND has never instructed the police to be part of the nominations. Whatever we saw may have been that the police were conducting their investigation, which they instituted for a long time. When investigations are going on – I know that when we are in this House and we remain in this vicinity, we are protected. In any other place, the police have the mandate to do theirwork. So, if the police had their own work, it had nothing to do with the nominations. Maybe, it gave them an opportunity to see somebody they may have been looking for. What I know is that all the parties, including the Patriotic Front (PF), had a member who filed in their nominations. How is it possible that the PF did not know about one member or the other? Normally, there is only one candidate who files in.

Madam Speaker, I think the police were following up their own investigation. Probably, it could have been following up an old investigation. The UPND Government would not instruct the police to go and be part of the nomination process and start scrutinising papers. If that happened, then, it did not come from the UPND.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mushanga (Bwacha): Your Honour the Vice-President, good morning.

Madam Speaker, Article 52 which is in the current Constitution was among the many proposed clauses for amendment under the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10, which was rejected by our colleagues in the Government, currently.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutelo: We were not there!

Mr Mushanga (Bwacha): Your Honour the Vice-President, good morning.

Madam Speaker, Article 52 which is in the current Constitution was among the many proposed clauses for amendment under the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10, which was rejected by our colleagues in the Government, currently.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutelo: We were not there!

Mr Mushanga: Madam Speaker, may Her Honour the Vice-President, kindly state or confirm whether the Constitutional Review Process by the New Dawn Administration has started or not. There is a general feeling by some stakeholders out there that if the Constitutional Review Process has started, then some of them have been left behind. Where are we, regarding the Constitutional Review Process or the Constitutional Making Process?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Bwacha for that question. Good morning, hon. Member. It looks like he has forgotten that he greeted me. I am now responding to his greeting.

Mr Mushanga: Thank you.

The Vice-President: The hon. Member has referred to what was popularly known as ‘Bill No.10’, the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Let me just clarify the statement that the hon. Member has just made. He said that among the articles that were to be amended, was Article 52 of the current Constitution, that was passed by the (PF) Government, which they signed with eyes closed.

Laughter

The Vice-President: It was popularly known as ‘Bill No. 10’. It was not only – I am using the word, ‘only’ deliberately. It was not only rejected by these ‘UPND’ hon. Members but, the entire nation.

Hon. PF Members: Question!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Hon. Members are saying question, and they have the right to question, but I am telling them the fact.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, the Bill could not go through –

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Members.

Can we give the Vice-President enough time because people out there are following very closely. Please, can we maintain silence.

Her Honour the Vice-President may continue.

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I was saying that the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 was rejected by the country. The Constitution is a document for the people of Zambia and if it was not, then probably, that Motion would have carried the day, but the Zambians said no to it. Article 52, was actually inserted and amended in 2016, but what the PF thought was the right thing would have brought in more difficulties.

Hon. PF Members: Question!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: That is true.

Mr Mundubile held his head.

The Vice-President: You can hold your head Counsel Mundubile, but this is what happened. As the New Dawn Government, we will definitely bring to this House, amendments to the Constitution after inclusive consultations because we are aware that this is a people’s document. This is the mother of all laws and one cannot play with it.

Madam Speaker, the hon. Member wanted to know how far we have gone with the Constitutional Review Process. I think that was his final question. We are already doing internal consultations. We will also take the document out to the public and to the ‘hon. PF Members’ to speak to it so that it can be an acceptable document to all of us.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Chonya (Kafue): Madam Speaker, I have listened to the explanation by Her Honour the Vice-President on issues surrounding corruption, which are still under investigation. My question is centred on revelations that are coming through the Auditor-Generals’ Report, that are so glaring. I would like to know how our New Dawn Government, which has genuine intolerance towards misuse of public funds will proceed with dealing with erring public servants, who have been abusing these public funds.

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Kafue for bringing out that question. Her concern is on the revelations of corruption that are coming from the Auditor-General’s Office, involving people who are currently serving in the Government. I am sure that is the way the question was put.

Madam Speaker, the President of the Republic of Zambia and his New Dawn Government is extremely clear on issues of corruption. The issue is that there is no sacred cow. That is the statement. People must prove themselves right or wrong before institutions such as the courts of law. That is the position. It will not be because it is Nalumango against that one (pointing at the Opposition Bench).

Laughter

The Vice-President: Whoever commits crime will be treated in the same manner. I believe this is the way to go. This is the way to curb corruption. It does not matter whether crime was committed yesterday, today or tomorrow, treatment will be the same. Watch the space.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kapyanga (Mpika): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to ask her Honour the Vice-President a question.

Madam Speaker, 679 retirees of Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) have not been paid. These people also acquired houses that belonged to TAZARA but the Government has not issued them with title deeds for their properties. May I find out from Her Honour the Vice-President when the 679 retirees of TAZARA will be paid their benefits?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Mpika for asking when the 679 retirees of TAZARA will be paid their retirement packages.

Madam Speaker, the Government is working on that issue. I am informed that a lot of arrears for workers including retirees of TAZARA accrued, and the Government has been working on dismantling those arrears. The hon. Member is very close to this issue and he is an hon. Member of Parliament for many TAZARA workers. The Government has been dismantling salary arrears and it just finished dismantling the last batch of those who had salary arrears. It is now moving on to start dismantling the retirement packages. I wish to inform the hon. Member that it has not been easy because of the years that TAZARA has gone through stress. The Government cares for its people. So, they ‘Opposition’ can just continue to watch and see how the Government will work on ensuring that its people get what they deserve.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mubika (Shangombo): Madam Speaker, cattle rustlers and Karavinas have invaded Shangombo. Despite the previous Government ordering a lot of vehicles which it distributed in the country, Shangombo was not given a vehicle; it was sidelined. For the past five years, the police in Shangombo have been walking.

Interruptions

Mr Mubika: Now, as a matter of urgency, is the Government not able to provide a vehicle to Shangombo Police, which can be delivered tomorrow? I am ready to provide fuel and to pay the driver to deliver that vehicle, per diem, because the situation has really gone out of hand.

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Member for that concern about the people of Shangombo. I think the question is about the issue of transport. The hon. Member is concerned about cattle rustlers and the inability of the police to control the same situation because of lack of transport. It is not only him who has raised this kind of a question. Several other hon. Members of Parliament have raised a similar concern. The Government is very much aware and is working on procuring vehicles for each constituency, and not just districts. The process has already begun, hon. Members. Let us just hold our peace and see that as resources come in, the Government definitely provides vehicles so that our police officers are not left impotent even with competence that they have.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Jamba (Mwembezhi): Good morning, Your Honour the Vice-President.

 Madam Speaker, as people of Mwembezhi, we sympathise with the thirteen girls who were abducted and we know that investigations are going on. However, we are worried that the case of Ruth Mbandu, that happened in the past, has taken so long. We have now seen some people standing on anthills trying to say what happened to the girls who were abducted. Have they forgotten about the case of Ruth Mbandu? Is the Government not going to look at what happened with that case? Is it going to be silent? I was going to use a certain word, but for today, I will not. Now, is the Government going to look at that case silently?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Mwembezhi for his concern about the abduction of the thirteen girls. In fact, all of us are concerned about that issue. Indeed, all of us should take interest in issues of abduction, and ensure that no child is treated like that.

Madam Speaker, coming to the issue of Ruth Mbandu, I really cannot provide answers because from what I know, the case went to the courts of law. What is happening there is not for the Executive to know. If the case has been disposed of, I am not aware as I stand here. If that case is still in the courts of law, the Executive does not have jurisdiction to go to the courts of law and find out. The case may have been the state versus whomever. I really cannot even tell. Therefore, it becomes difficult for me to help in this matter. If it is in the courts of law, I am sure they are also listening to the hon. Member.

I thank you Madam Speaker.

Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Madam Speaker, in the years between 2016 and 2021, we saw serious crime in this country. We saw hundreds of vehicles that had the similar registration number with ‘ECL’ initials, which I believe was an offence. The same vehicles were labelled ‘PF’ and they would carry people with pangas and guns, harassing citizens on the streets of Lusaka. Up to now, we have not seen any of those vehicles with number plates written ‘ECL’ which belonged to the people who were involved in serious criminality, being recovered. We have not even seen a single driver of the same vehicles being arrested. Those people were harassing police officer on road blocks, and beating people in markets and bus stops.

The First Deputy Speaker: What is your question hon. Member?

Mr Michelo: Madam Speaker, when are we going to start seeing serious arrests of people in the Patriotic Front (PF), who committed serious crimes between 2016 and 2021?

Hon. Government Members: hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Member for Bweengwa for that concern. He is saying that there were many crimes that were committed between 2016 and 2021. He also cited one crime, which is driving vehicles with ‘ECL’ initials. I do not know whether those initials had numbers attached to them.

Hon. Government Members: ECL 2021.

The Vice-President: ECL 2021? All of them?

Hon. Government Members: Yes

The Vice-President: Well, there are two things here. That could have been pure abuse. If it was ECL 25 or ECL 110, we would have said that under the law, one has the right to register the number the way one wants, but of course, with an extra fee. However, in this matter, I can only say that one cannot have so many vehicles with the same registration number. That indeed, smells a rat. I cannot give a ruling here. That is why we have our investigative wings. Are those vehicles still on the road or they have disappeared?

Laughter

The Vice-President: We should dig out those who were driving them and find the vehicles. If that was a crime, really those people must be arrested. That is all I can say. It is not the Executive who investigates. I am sure the investigative wings have heard what the hon. Member and I have said. Any crime must be investigated and culprits brought to book. Even if those vehicles have disappeared, are they underground? If they are, we will dig them out.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Chitotela (Pambashe): Madam Speaker, two months ago, we saw a list of names of senior police officers who were to be retired circulating but the decision was reversed. Just last week, the officers whose names appeared on that list were retired. His Excellency the President said that no Zambian would be retired on national interest. I have names of some of them like the Aid-de-Camp (ADC) to the former President, Mr Chisi, the Commander for Zambia Railways, Mr Nsomfwa, and a lot of officers, making it thirty-five. Some of the police officers have letters of retirement and some were even attached to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), like Paul Sapaulo, who has been retired from the office he had already handed over.

What is the position of the Government that promised that it would not retire people in national interest? We have seen over thirty-five senior police officers retired. 

Interruptions

Mr Chitotela: I need the attention of Her Honour the Vice-President, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker, has the Government now decided to start retiring in national interest those who served successive Governments, and were promoted during the Patriotic Front (PF) regime?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Pambashe, Mr Chitotela for that concern.

Madam Speaker, the President pronounced exactly what the hon. Member has stated. Standing here, I am not aware of anybody who has been retired in national interest. Maybe, I need to understand that question more. Otherwise, I am briefed that nobody has been retired in national interest.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Sampa (Matero): Good morning, Madam Vice-President.

Madam Speaker, my question is on the rule of law, as defined by Prof. Dicey, who is a renowned proponent of the concept of the rule of law. Prof. Dicey defines the rule of law as something more than just the Government maintaining and enforcing law and order. It means that the Government is subject to rules of law, and cannot disregard the rule of law to suit it.

Madam Speaker, my question is on Konkola Copper Mines (KCM). The Government announced that it had asked Vedanta Resources Ltd, the owner of KCM, to take the cases out of the Zambian, South African and the United Kingdom (UK) courts, so that that matter could be resolved and the mine given back to Vedanta Resources Ltd.  What has transpired is that, after the withdraw, the Government has gone further to appoint Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) to find new buyers for the mine,disregarding the rule of law.

Madam Speaker, may Her Honour the Vice-President confirm that as far as the Government is concerned, no law will be obeyed and that, it will just sell KCM and ignore the current owners and the courts of law?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, according to Prof. Dicey, the Government is also subject to the same rule of law. This Government is extremely aware of that. What the hon. Member is talking about is more of Business Law. Yes, in Business Law, there are two entities. If two entities agree to take a position, I think that is not breaking the law.  So, the Government and Vedanta Resources Ltd have agreed to suspend the case and try to see if they can do anything outside the law. I am sure the hon. Member understands that part. It is a mutual position that both parties agreed to.

Madam Speaker, as regards the issue of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) being appointed to look for a buyer, as referred to by the hon. Member, I am told that RMB is an economic advisor and that it was not engaged to look for a buyer. For the Government and Vedanta Resources Ltd to have interest, they should first of all, understand the status of the enterprise. This is what they are doing. They are also, looking at the state of assets of KCM. That is what I know.

Madam Speaker, we will continue to see how we can move our nation forward, and benefit from the assets that we have, without disadvantaging anybody. So, this is what is happening. The Government is not doing bamba zonke as other people had done.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: I will allow the only female member who has indicated to ask a question.

Mrs Munashabantu: Madam Speaker, I had indicated to debate the Motion of Supply.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mwila (Mufulira): Madam Speaker, this week, the Zambian soccer fraternity received with sadness the news that our Zambia National Soccer Team Captain, Enoch Mwepu, was diagnosed with a hereditary heart condition, which effectively, retired him from football, at the age of twenty-four. We are all aware that that diagnosis was done by the medics at the club he belonged to. Indeed, it is very sad for Zambia. However, many Zambians are asking if the Government is considering constituting a panel of experts to examine him, come up with an independent report and then, compare with what we have been informed by the medics at the club he belonged to?

The Vice-President: You can become a doctor here.

Laughter

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Mufulira for his concern. Every Zambian should be sad because we have lost a good player as per the declaration by the medics at the club that he belonged to. The hon. Member suggested that the Government should constitute another group of medics to examine the player so that we can compare the results. I hope the hon. Member is not questioning those medics for declaring that the young man has a heart problem and should not continue to play. We are all saddened and we would want to find another answer that would favour us.

However, as an individual, I would say there is not door that closes and God does not open another one. He is still there. However, the hon. Member suggested that the Government should consider constituting a panel of experts in that field to give advice and concretise the health status of the young man. The Government is considering doing that so that the findings could be 100 per cent conclusive.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Ackleo I. A. Banda (Vubwi) Madam Speaker, in Vubwi, we only have one boarding secondary school that is under construction known as Vubwi Boarding Secondary School. We do not have any other secondary school in Vubwi apart from this same one, and girl children are exposed to many vices. What is the position of the Government pertaining to this school?

The Vice-President: Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Member for Vubwi, who is concerned about the status of the only secondary school in Vubwi, that is under construction.

Madam Speaker, I will give a general answer because I do not have specifics about Vubwi. We have been told by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development and the Government in general, that depending on the status, we have to complete all the buildings that were started before we start new ones. That is the position. So, Vubwi Boarding Secondary School must be in that category, as long as it was started.

However, right now, I cannot tell the exact date it will be completed. We would need to look at the schedule that the Ministry of Education together with the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development are working on. However, there is commitment by the Government. I am sure the hon. member heard through the Budget Speech that this is the way to go. We have to work on such projects.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

_______

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

ALERT BY THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION ON CONTAMINATED COUGH MIXTURES FOR CHILDREN

The Minister of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development (Eng. Milupi) (on behalf of the Minister of Health (Mrs Masebo)): Madam Speaker, I thank you for granting me this opportunity to update the House and the nation at large, on the alert by World Health Organisation (WHO), on contaminated cough mixtures for children.

Madam Speaker, the House may wish to recall that on 11th October, 2022, during the matters of urgent public importance segment, Dr Katakwe, the hon. Member of Parliament for Solwezi East Constituency, raised a matter of urgent public importance on the Minister of Health on the alert by WHO on contaminated cough mixtures for children.

Madam Speaker, following your guidance, I wish to render this ministerial statement on the cough mixtures that are of substandard and are posing a danger to children.

Madam Speaker, your directive followed the questions that were raised by Dr Katakwe who wanted to know whether:

(a)   the Government was aware of the four contaminated brands of cough mixture;

(b)  the four brands of cough mixture that have been cited as contaminated are on our shelves in variouis parts of

       our country; and

(c)  what the immediate measures the Government was taking to recall them so that our children's health is

      protected becasue these drugs are posing a danger to the kidneys and the malfunctioning of such organs in

      the body.

​Madam Speaker, the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) is a body established under the Medicines and Allied Substances Act No. 3 of 2013. ZAMRA is mandated to regulate and control medicines and allied substances in the country, in order to ensure their consistent conformity to acceptable standards of safety, quality, and efficacy, throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Madam Speaker, Zambia is a member state of WHO. ZAMRA, as a technical arm of the Government through the Ministry of Health, is part of WHO Global Surveillance and Monitoring System  (GSMS) for substandard and falsified medical products which was launched in July, 2013.

Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House and the nation at large that on 5th October, 2022, the Government through ZAMRA received from WHO, a Medical Products Alert No. 6 of 2022 entitled, “Substandard (Contaminated) Paediatric Medicines” as identified in the WHO Region of Africa” on four contaminated medicines namely:

(a)        Promethazine Oral Solution;

(b)        Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup;

(c)        Makoff Baby Cough Syrup; and

(d)        Magrip N Cold Syrup

Madam Speaker, the above four medical products for children were manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd in Haryana, India. This came to light in September, 2022, when the Gambian health authorities established a causal relationship between the observed acute renal injury and the death of sixty-six children, due to the use of those paediatric cough medicines, which they reported to WHO. Laboratory analysis of samples of the four products confirmed the presence of unacceptable levels of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol. These chemicals are known to be toxic to humans when consumed and can be fatal. The toxic effects can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhorea, inability to pass urine, headache, as well as altered mental state, and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.

Madam Speaker, according to the medical products alert, WHO has cautioned member states that these four products may have been distributed through informal markets to other countries of the region.

Madam Speaker, following receipt of the alert from WHO, ZAMRA immediately disseminated the alert to healthcare workers and members of the public. In addition, ZAMRA also issued public notice that contained further guidance to members of the public, and was widely circulated to various media houses and social media platforms. Further, ZAMRA made an appearance on national television to discuss this matter and other related issues.

Madam Speaker, the House may wish to note that in addition to the above measures, ZAMRA heightened the inspections of both licensed pharmaceutical premises and informal markets. So far, through these efforts made by ZAMRA, it has been established that these four medical products are not available in Zambia. Further, I wish to assure members of the public that the four products are not registered by ZAMRA for use in the country and have not been authorised for importation into Zambia.

Madam Speaker, the other measures that are already in place and are sufficient to detect substandard medical products, as well as those highlighted in the WHO medical alert include, but are not limited to the following:

(a)  conducting inspections of medical products at various ports of entry;

(b)  curbing the sale of medicines and allied substances in unregistered or informal markets and drug stores, and

       prosecution of offenders;

(c)  screening of applications to import medicines and allied substances to eliminate unauthorised medical

       products;

(d)   continued advocacy for healthcare workers and members of the public to report any of the four medical

        products cited in the WHO medical alert to the National Pharmacovigilance Unit of ZAMRA;

(e)   routinely sampling and testing medical products at the National Drug Quality Control Laboratory at ZAMRA

        to monitor the quality of medical products circulating on the market.

Madam Speaker, as I conclude, I wish to inform this august House that currently, Zambia holds vice-chairship for WHO member state mechanism platform on substandard and falsified medical products. It is representing the African region.

This is an organ under WHO which coordinates the global fight against substandard and falsified medicines. Therefore, the country has access to information on quality and safety issues in a timely manner.

Madam Speaker, the efforts of the Government through ZAMRA in the fight against substandard and falsified medicines is clearly demonstrated through efficient and effective product recourse that ZAMRA has undertaken in the past; enhanced sampling and testing to ensure quality; and the number of persons who have been prosecuted for contravening the provisions of the Medicines and Allied Substances Act No. 3 of 2013.

Madam Speaker, allow me to take this opportunity to assure the nation that there is no need to panic as we do not have any of the four named substandard medical products registered on our Zambian market. In addition, ZAMRA has never authorised the importation of the said substandard medical product. Any person who will be found dealing in any of these four products will be visited by the long arm of the law.

Madam Speaker, in order to avert injury to health and also lose of life, I wish to strongly urge the members of the public to only source medicines from registered pharmacies and health facilities.

Further, member of the public are urged that in the event that they come across any of these four medical products, they should not use them, but report to ZAMRA immediately. As a caution in general, for any member of the public who suffers adverse reaction after the use of any medical product should after visiting the nearest health facility, report the incident to ZAMRA.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

 Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on point of clarification on the ministerial statement given by the hon. Minister.

Interruptions

Mr Fube (Chilubi): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Communication is trying to intimidate me.

Interruptions

Mr Fube: Madam Speaker, now that we have identified the company that manufactured those toxic paediatric cough mixtures, has the Government taken care to see whether this manufacturer has sneaked in other ranges of medicinal products to our pharmacies, especially that we are dealing a liberalised environment?

Eng. Milupi: Madam Speaker, the answer is very clear that these products are not registered on our market and no import licence has been given to any one in Zambia to order these particular products. Therefore, the nation can be comforted by the knowledge that it is safe. As for the hon. Member’s general question as to whether the suppliers are banned throughout, that is a separate issue. The responsibility of the ministry through the various agencies like ZAMRA is to ensure that these particular products do not find their way onto the Zambian market.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Katakwe (Solwezi East): Madam Speaker, knowing that the Government regulatory laboratory has an establishment in the Act, and looking at the drugs that we have been receiving like the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, the nation generally, has had no capacity to test the ingredients that are in those drugs.

Madam Speaker, how widely established do we have these laboratories to test the food and drug substances? Is it only in Lusaka or we have them scattered around, in case, these drugs are sneaked in where we are not able to dictate them or even test the ingredients found in them?

Eng. Milupi: Madam Speaker, currently, we have adequate laboratory facilities in the country. What we have said is that any substance that appears to be substandard is surrendered so that it is tested. Those that are found to be substandard indeed, are quarantined and disposal mechanisms are then put in place.

Madam Speaker, in terms of the laboratories in the country, we think that they are adequate. In the event that some substances cannot be tested here, as we have stated, Zambia is a member state of WHO and we can call upon other facilities elsewhere to help us determine the efficacy of these substances.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Madam Speaker, I want to report to the hon. Minister that in Chama South, we are very worried because the area from Muyombe up to Nakonde is bordering with East Africa, where these fake drugs are.

Madam Speaker, right now, we are grappling with the shortage of medicines in all the clinics. The clinics are dry in terms of medicines and people are given prescriptions in an area where there are no pharmacies. In the end, people will end up falling prey to the bogus suppliers especially, those who are along the borderlines. Are there any surveillance measures that have been put in place to ensure that the people in Nakonde, Mafinga, Chama and the entire country, in particular children, who are along the border line with East Africa countries, where there are fake drugs, are safe?

Eng. Milupi: Madam Speaker, we have to be careful that we do not alarm the nation and citizens along the borders. If the hon. Member listened to my statement, the issue of cough mixtures in question was confined to the state of Gambia. We have carried out surveillance measure as the Ministry of Health to ensure that those cough mixtures are nowhere in Zambia. In terms of carrying out further alert measures to ensure that along the borders, from Nakonde to the areas that the hon. Member talked about, these are part of Zambia and therefore, they are also subject to the stringent surveillance measures as described in my ministerial statement. These apply to the whole country, including the ones at the border.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East):  Madam Speaker, would the hon. Minister like to assure the hon. Members and the general public that in fact, Zambia does not deal with this manufacturer, called the Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited, that supplied those toxic substances to Gambia, and that any of this company’s products, as a result of that, are nowhere near and so far, cannot find their way onto the Zambian market and that, our citizens are safe?

Eng. Milupi: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for this opportunity.

Madam Speaker, I am sure you can see the quality of hon. Members we have on this side (right side) of the Hoose.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Eng: Milupi: Madam Speaker, Dr Kalila, who is a medical practitioner, has raised a very important question. These particular substances including the manufacturer whom we have stated are not on the Zambian market. Therefore, the Zambian population can be comforted in the knowledge that their products are nowhere near the Zambian market, and it will remain so. In addition, our regulatory authority, ZAMRA together with the health facilities are on the lookout to make sure that this remains the status quo.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr C. M. Mpundu (Chembe): Madam Speaker, how regularly does the ministry carry out inspections especially in pharmaceutical institutions like pharmacies that supply medicines to our people? Is it quarterly or yearly? 

Eng. Milupi: Madam Speaker, in what I stated, I tried to give the synopsis of the responsibilities under the Act of ZAMRA to ensure that products that are in our health facilities are up to standard. However, it is not only in ZAMRA but also, all health institutions, be it a clinic in Chembe or indeed, anywhere else. So, they have the responsibility and mandate to monitor these products. Where certain products are of sub-standard, they are reported to ZAMRA who will then, carry out much more effective tests leading to quarantining those particular subjects and have them disposed of or destroyed.

So, the hon. Member should be comforted in knowing that whether ZAMRA carries out monthly, weekly or yearly and so on, surveillance is a continuous process throughout the country, using our health facilities as well.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

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

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

Mr Mukosa: Madam Speaker, our Standing Orders are very clear on the decorum of hon. Member when they are in the House. If you look at the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, you will discover that he is busy sleeping instead of paying attention to the business in the House. Is the hon. Minister Home Affairs and  Internal Security in order to sleep and dream in this House instead of listening to the proceedings that are going in this House?

I need your serious ruling, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Can you cite the Standing Order that has been breached.

Mr Mukosa: Madam Speaker, it is Standing Order No. 65.

Laughter

Madam First Deputy Speaker: That is a wrong Standing Order, hon. Member. Although  the eyes of the hon. Minister Home Affairs and Internal Security were closed, I could see that he was listening to what was going in the House, and he was very much attentive.

Laughter

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

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

Mr Kapyanga: Madam Speaker, I thank you for an opportunity to raise this very important point of order.

Madam Speaker, apparently, some hon. Members in this House are very unrepentant.

Madam Speaker, citing Standing Order No. 204, you have ruled on several occasions that all hon. Members are supposed to follow the proceedings in silence. When my colleague, the hon. Member of Parliament for Chinsali rose on a point of order which was directed at the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwandi turned herself into the Chair and she was passing her own rulings from where she is sitting. She said that the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security was actually not sleeping, but meditating ...

Laughter

Mr Kapyanga: … according to her. Is she in order to continue passing running commentaries when the House is considering serious matters, including a very serious point of order from the learned hon. Member of Parliament for Chinsali?

Madam Speaker, I seek your very serious ruling.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!

Of course, if the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwandi was making running commentaries, she was definitely out of order. A member is supposed to listen to the debates in the House in silence. As hon. Members, you are supposed to minimise noise. You should be attentive because the people out there are waiting for you to say something on their behalf. So, only hon. Members who are allowed to speak are supposed to do so while others remain quiet and pay attention to what is going on.

_______

QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER

SHORTAGE OF LABORATORY REAGENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL AND THE LEVY MWANAWASA UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL

68. Mr Twasa (Kasenengwa) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)  whether the Government is aware of the critical shortage of reagents at laboratories at the University

      Teaching Hospital and Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital; and

(b)  if so, what urgent measures are being taken to ensure availability of reagents at the Hospitals.

The Minister of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development (Eng. Milupi) (on behalf of  the Minister of Health (Mrs Masebo): Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Government is aware of the shortage of reagents at the laboratories at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and the Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital.

 Madam, the Government has put the following measures to ensure availability of reagents at the two hospitals:

  1. UTH and Levy Mwanawasa Hospital to continue procuring using local resources such as grants and payments for insured health care services made by the National Health Insurance Movement Authority (NHIMA), as we await the bulk procurement from the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supply Agency (ZAMSA);
  2. ZAMSA has place and emergency order to procure haematology and Chemistry reagents and consumable to the value of K1 million for each institution. In other words, K1 million is for Levy Mwanawasa Hospital and K1 million for UTH to cover thirty days operations at UTH and the same for the other institution; and
  3. for the medium to long term, ZAMSA has successfully completed the bidding, evaluating and selection process for suppliers of laboratory reagents and consumables. The three contracts will cover haematology and chemistry tests.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Business was suspended from 1040 hours until 1100 hours.

[MADAM FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Twasa (Kasenengwa): Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was about to ask a follow up question. Madam Speaker, allow me to play in the lane of the hon. ‘Members’ Ministers  your right, who refer to the past Government before they  respond to any question.  

Madam Speaker, for once, I am going to do that. In this ministry that we are talking about now, we had Dr Chituwo, as hon. Minister of Health and we never had shortages of drugs.  We had  Dr Chitalu Chilufya, as hon. Minister of Health as well and we never had shortages of drugs. I was not in politics then.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Twasa: Madam Speaker, none of the hon. Members on your left will confirm knowing Twasa in the corridors of politics as late as the time when Dr Chilufya was hon. Minister of Health. Today, shortage of drugs is a talk of the day.

Madam Speaker, why do we have this persistent shortage of drugs in the hospitals? In this case, we are talking about the University Teaching Hospitals (UTH) and Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital (LMUTH), which the two biggest health institutions in the country. Why do we have this persistent shortage of drugs? We are always fire fighting putting the lives of Zambians in danger. Why are there no reagents in these two hospitals?

Madam Second Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, let us not divert or move away from the question. Your question is talking about critical shortage of reagents. However, I do not know whether the hon. Acting Minister of Health will say something on the drugs, but the question is on reagents.  

Mr Milupi: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Kasenengwa, Mr Phillimon Twasa for the follow-up question delivered in the most passionate way. He shows his concern for the welfare of our citizens.

Madam Speaker, first of all, we are dealling with the issue of reagents in the laboratories at LMUTH and UTH. These shortages of reagents at the two institutions and indeed, in other public health facilities is attributed to the combination of factors including, but not limited to the following: First of all, we now have high disease burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. We also have issues of underfunding. I think he is mentioning history. He is talking about certain previous Ministers of Health, but I can remind him and the House, that funding until 2021, was in the order of K1.4 billion against the total drug budget of K5.2 billion.  This created a deficit of K3.8 billion. So, I do not agree with him that there was no shortage of drugs then, because with this massive deficit, how possible was it that there was no shortage?

Madam Speaker, in addition to these problems, because we are talking about lack of reagents, we also have a huge debt burden which currently stands at K2.2. The K2.2 billion was accumulated over the past years. This has become unbearable. As a result, most suppliers could no longer supply medicines and medical supplies. They needed to be unlocked through debt servicing. This situation is what led to the current stock outs in public institutions.

Madam Speaker, part of the way going forward for the New Dawn Administration on this debt burden, especially local debt burden, is that we have the plan which has been explained very adequately by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, that we begin the process of dismantling local debt which of the period of time, we will clear this particular problem.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Fube (Chilubi): Madam Speaker, the people of Chilubi are alive to the fact that the reagents that we are talking about play an important role in diagnosis of different ailments. This means that the ailments that are concentrated especially on the two national referral hospitals mentioned in the question come from different areas of the country. This also means that diagnosis is linked to curative as well as preventive of such ailments.

Madam Speaker, I want to find out whether the Government, with this lack of reagents for some time, has taken stock of what they have contributed to morbidity as well as mortality rates resulting out of lack of reagents?

Mr Milupi: Madam Speaker, when the hon. Member talks about morbidity as lack of reagents, it is quite clear that that is a separate question which requires proper analysis of figures of those who have died and so on. So, if he wishes the question to be tackled, I think he can put in a different question. This question deals with the shortage in these two institutions. In my answer given, we have given two scenarios. The first one is an immediate scenario, where we have allocated K1 million  to each of the two institutions to deal with reagents. The second scenario is where judication on the bids for the supply, this is long term now, is already in the process. So, this matter will be attended to.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.  

Madam First Deputy Speaker gave the Floor to Mr Twasa.

Mr Twasa: Madam Speaker, I think he has just responded to what I wanted to ask.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mwila (Mufulira): Madam Speaker, before I ask my question, allow me to just say this to the acting hon. Minister of Health. When we, as hon. Members of Parliament persistently ask about this issue of shortage of drugs, please understand that we are representing constituencies and we are actually, feeling the effect of the lack of drugs in so many ways. First of all, some of the constituents actuallym, think that as an hon. Member of Parliament, you can even just use your title to drive to the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) offices, pick up the drugs and deliver to the hospitals. That is true.

Secondly, when patients are given prescriptions at the hospitals, they come to ask us hon. Members to pay or buy those drugs.

Madam Speaker, the third category of people, who are actually more annoyed are those who are contributing to the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA). They are having their monthly deductions, but when they go to the hospitals, there is no service. This is a very big story and the hon. Minister should please, therefore, understand when we raise these complaints.

Madam Speaker, when I was sitting, my hon. Colleague here, one of your hon. Members, was actually telling the experience they had yesterday at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).

Madam Firs Deputy Speaker: Orde, hon. Member.

Is it possible you can go straight to your question because there seems to be a lot of examples?

Mr Mwila: Actually, now I am going to the question because your hon. Member –

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Please, go straight to the question.

Mr Mwila: Madam Speaker, your hon. Member was telling me about his experience at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) yesterday. He was well-attended to by a doctor and sent to the laboratory, but he could not be attended to because there were no reagents. Instead, he was sent to a laboratory just within the UTH premises, and we all aware that that laboratory is a private laboratory. At that laboratory, he was quickly attended to.

Madam Speaker, my question now is: Is it in order, first of all, to even entertain that private laboratory to exist within the Government institution like UTH? Further, is that not also contributing to the shortage of drugs because they are doing business? How sure will we be that genuinely, there are no reagents, instead the public health workers are promoting the private business that is existing just next door to the Government laboratory?

Eng. Milupi: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Mufulira, Hon. Golden Mwila for that question. His concern is a concern of all of us, and I think for both sides of this House because the shortages of druggs that are being reported are not being reported just in one particular area. To be honest, they are being reported throughout the country. The New Dawn Administration will not bury its head in the sand when we have issues like this that affect our population.

Madam Speaker, it is, therefore, necessary for our citizens to understand and help us come to the root cause of these shortages. I explained that until 2021, the Budget allocation was in the order of K1.4 billion and there were those shortages. In the 2022 Budget, however, this allocation went up to K2.8 billion from K1.4 billion. Subsequently, we had actually an extra K400,000, which meant that for the whole year, we had K3.2 billion which favourably comparable to the K1.4 billion in previous years.

Madam Speaker, in this regard, there is more funding into the health facilities. This is not just to specific reagent. We are talking about all medicines and so on. In fact, if you care to look at what is being proposed in the 2023 Budget, this figure is going up even further to K4.6 billion. So, the question we must ask ourselves is: Why do we have these persistent shortages or perception of shortages throughout the country, when in actual fact, the funding to the health institutions is going up? That is why the whole country, including hon. Members of this House, must play an active part in ensuring that we get to the root cause of these issues.

Madam Speaker, one of the issues that the hon. Member for Mufulira has brought in is where we have public institutions with no medicines and reagents and just next door, there is a private one that has these items. It is not just with reagents. Sometimes, we get reports that a certain clinic has no medicine but just next door, there is a small chemist that is selling the same medicine. We have to find out where those are getting those things?

Madam Speaker, there is also an issue of medicines maybe, even leaving our borders, which should be used here in the country. The ministry is taking measures in addition, to what I have explained, to ensure that we seal all the loopholes. The normal supply chain for medicines and reagents in this country is that we hold twelve months stocking, which is six months held here at the central office in Lusaka, two months within the provinces, and four months at the health institutions themselves.

Madam Speaker, what we have seen also is that where we have shortages and we have to buy from outside, the international supply chains right now are in the order of nine months. If you press them, it comes down to six months. So, the ministry is working very hard with suppliers to ensure that the international supply chains, the lead times for the delivery of these medicines can be reduced, if possible to three months. However, we do understand that it is a problem that is  affecting all our citizens regardless of where they are. Therefore, the ministry is working flat out to ensure that these matters can be resolved.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Katakwe (Solwezi East): Madam Speaker, listening to the hon. Minister, it is actually worrying and I wonder if we are really doing well in the medical fraternity. We have the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) whose mandate is to actually give access to quality health and also, access to the state-of-the-art equipment, including drugs that we are talking about in hospitals.

Madam Speaker, one may ask a question whether NHIMA is really doing us good becsaue many people are paying. We probably need to know how much has been contributed and how much has been spent in terms of the drugs and so on. Otherwise, there are a lot of questions surrounding NHIMA. Maybe, we need a review of its mandate on the Floor of this House.

Madam Speaker, coming to my question, I think Dr Kalila here would believe and accept that medical laboratories are a very critical components in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Whatever it has to take as a nation, we need to pay so much attention to laboratories in the hospitals, especially the referral hospitals that we are talking about. Without proper laboratories, you expect over-medicalisation. We are spending a lot of medicine on nothing really that is good. For example, the hon. Minister may have a headache and syndromically, we will just give him Panadol or Brustan to relieve the pain, but that is not helpful. Diagnosis which has to be done through the laboratories is very critical.

Madam Speaker, my question is: Having worked in these medical facilities, I know what it is in those laboratories. Do we really have enough resources to completely dedicate to these laboratories in terms of reagents so that we are able to effectively treat, prevent and manage the disease and patient outcome? If it is there, we have to spend whatever it has to take, in regard to laboratories. Otherwise, we are shooting ourselves and we will never win as far as diseases are concerned.

Madam Speaker, I need your serious, ruling, though not really a ruling .

Eng. Milupi: Madam Speaker, I think, the first thing is to agree with the sentiments expressed by Dr Katakwe, hon. Member for Solwezi East. Indeed, it is recognised that proper diagnosis requires functioning laboratories. That is why I said the ministry is taking measures, first of all, to ensure that the two institutions have the reagents to the tune of the amounts that I have talked about. Going forward, an evaluation of the bids will done so that longer supply of items can be facilitated. We agree, I mean, it is difficult for a doctor to tell you what exactly is affecting you based on physical symptoms. They need to go and find out what is actually happening in your body. That is why we require these laboratories. If it is leukemia, what type of leukemia is it? If it is diarrhea, what sort is it? Is it cholera or something worse? So, the ministry has to work to ensure that we get on top of these matters.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members just to remind you that the hon. Madam Speaker, I think, it was one or two weeks ago, had directed the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services, to do an assessment or to find out what is pertaining on the ground with this problem of drugs and reagents. So, a report will be brought to the House, where we will be given an opportunity even debate so that we know exactly what is pertaining on the ground, the causes and how the problem will be sorted out. So, I do not think we should go any further on the matter because we are going to have another time when we are going to discuss this very big problem that is facing our health facilities in the country.

SAFETY OF PASSENGERS ON THE ZAMBIA AIRWAYS FLIGHTS

69. Mr Sampa (Matero) asked the Minister of Transport and Logistics:

  1. whether the Government is aware that on Sunday, 9th October, 2022, a Zambia Airways flight from Ndola to Lusaka had an emergency situation mid-air which led to extreme panic among the passengers;
  2. if so, what the cause of the emergency was; and
  3. what urgent measures are being taken to ensure the safety of passengers on Zambia Airways flights, countrywide.

The Minister of Transport and Logistics (Mr Tayali): Madam Speaker, the Government is aware that on 9th October, 2022, there was an aircraft incidence mid-air on Zambia Airways Flight ZN411 from Ndola to Lusaka. The aircraft incident was that there was loss of cabin pressure mid-air at 22,000 feet.

Madam Speaker, the emergency was caused by loss of cabin pressure. The details of the aircraft incidence were as follows;

  1. Zambia Airways Flight ZN411 departed the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport, in Ndola at 1745 hours on Sunday, 9th October, 2022 after being cleared by Air Traffic Control onto Lusaka;
  2. After take-off, the aircraft climbed to 22,000 feet above sea level without an incident;
  3. About five minutes before commencement of descent into Lusaka, the Pilot-In-Command (PIC) noticed that the cabin pressure warning light had illuminated with the Master Warning Light and audio signal. The crew immediately, donned their oxygen masks and informed the cabin crew and passengers via the Public Address System (PAS) to don cabin oxygen masks which had automatically deployed;
  4. The PIC called the Lusaka Radar Control and declared a emergency;
  5. The aircraft descended to 10,000 feet above sea level, at which all passengers were able to breathe normally. Cabin crew reported that all passengers were in good condition and stable.
  6. The aircraft landed safely at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) at 1845 hours and was escorted to the by Rescue Fire Services and an ambulance. All the passengers disembarked safely. There were neither injuries nor fatalities.

Madam Speaker, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in collaboration with the Aircrafts Accidents Investigation Board (AAIB) are doing a more thorough and detailed investigation on the loss of cabin pressure in order to pave way for effective, corrective and preventive action.

Madam Speaker, the Zambia Airways Technical Team checked the aircraft and later the Zambia Civil Aviation Authority (ZCAA) Inspectors also inspected the aircraft. The diagnosis outlined that the problem was the Cabin Pressure Controller on the aircraft (Serial No. 0714).

Madam Speaker, the technical teach rectified the fault by changing the Cabin Pressure Controller (serial No. 0578) and conducted three successful functional and operational checks before releasing the aircraft into operation. The process of replacement and the consecutive functional checks were witnessed and inspected by ZCAA inspectors.

Madam Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the brave and professional response by the pilots of the subject flight which prevented the incident from becoming an accident.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his detailed response. In America, there is what they call the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that ensures security of passengers on a plane. Whenever there is an indecent on the plane, be it, just a drunk passenger harassing a hostess, within hours, they hold a press conference to brief the citizens on what transpired. Which institution is equivalent to that in Zambia? We hear about the Road Traffic and Safety Agency (RTSA). RTSA comes in to tell the nation whatever is happening on our roads but if anything happened in the air, we do not know what institution is responsible for that. They are quiet; they are zii. The statement the hon. Minister has given in here is solid but, we should have heard it on Monday. Who are they? Why are they so quiet? Why are they always ndwii, to borrow my brothers’ word?

Madam First Deputy Speaker: What is ndwii?

Mr Sampa: It means being idle or quiet. They do not say anything about what transpires in the air space of Zambia until we ask.

Mr Tayali: Madam Speaker, suffice to say that the hon. Member who boasts of having been on over 100 flights, I am sure both local and international, will agree with me that prior to any take off, the stewardess of any aircraft does run us through the safety issues that we need to be aware of on those aircrafts. As you will fully agree with me hon. Member, aircrafts do not fly by magic but by science. One of the announcements which are made is that in the unlikely event of cabin pressure loss, oxygen masks will be deployed. This is a safety measure put in place to ensure the safety of all passengers.

Madam Speaker, rather than lamenting about this minor incident which posed no threat to life, what we should be saying is that, we are glad that in the Zambian airspace, we are operating equipment were when that incident occurs, indeed, as the safety procedures prescribe, oxygen masks were deployed and that passengers were accordingly guided on how to survive that near miss.

Madam Speaker, this was professionally done by the crew. Further than just deploying oxygen masks, the pilots did follow international standard procedures to actually bring the aircraft to a level where you could breathe normally without the use of oxygen masks. This was at 10,000 feet.

Madam Speaker, we do have competent CAA that looks into these incidences. Let me also throw caution to hon. Members, particularly those that are on social media, to desist from this propensity that the insatiable appetite to gain numbers on our facebook pages may cause unnecessary alarm.

Mr Sampa: Question!

Mr Tayali: Madam Speaker, this is what had transpired. We are glad that oxygen masks were deployed and that all our fellow citizens were actually safely brought to the ground.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Anakoka (Luena): Madam Speaker, prior to the launch of the Zambia Airways back into operation, there were allegations that the previous regime had signed a contract for a very old aircraft to be used by Zambia Airways. How old is this particular aircraft on which this sort of insignificant safety incident occurred? If possible, what type of an aircraft is it?

Mr Tayali: Madam Speaker, allow me to start by thanking the hon. Member for that question. I also want to say that first of all, the issue that we must pre-occupy ourselves with is whether or not what was brought to the Zambia Airways deal was indeed a deal that covered airworthy aircraft,. The answer is definitely in the affirmative that Zambia Airways is operating airworthy aircrafts that are not ancient. I think what the hon. Members must be able to preoccupy themselves with, is that the incident in question, is one that perhaps, did not affect, for instance, the performance of the engines whose results minus having a nearby safety landing area, may result in a much more catastrophic incident. I think that the aircraft in question performed exceptionally well. The only reason we are constantly reminded of possibilities that may occur whilst flying is that, these things are machines and may tend to fell.

Madam Speaker, in this particular case, what is we had is that – In order for hon. Members to appreciate what we had in this particular case, was that the oxygen levels beyond 10,000 feet are indeed, depleted. What aircrafts do is that part of their compression system obviously goes to the major component of operating an aircraft which is propulsion. Part of that air must also go to artificially, creating an environment whilst at 22,000 feet as though you were at 8,000 feet. This is controlled by the cabin pressure controller unit which had failed. This is a unit which is replaceable and it has since been replaced. This is a unit which allows for valves to open and close in order to maintain the sort of cabin pressure which allows us to fly under good conditions.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Sampa: Madam Speaker, 100 flights for hon. Members travelling on duty were accumulated here at Parliament and in the Government in the last ten years, which the hon. Minister has surpassed in his one year, as hon. Minister of Transport and Logistics.

Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister is aware that flights from Ndola and South Africa make a turn at the Heroes Stadium. I just want him to assure the people of Matero that they are safe when planes are landing. I want him to also assure the people of Munali, Mandevu, Kanyama and Chongwe that they are safe when the planes are taking-off. He should also assure the people of Ndola Central that they are safe when this Zambia Airways flight or any other flight is landing.

Mr Tayali: Madam Speaker, indeed, I may happen to have flown well over a hundred flights but this has not happened whilst as hon. Minister of Transport and Logistics. I think flying is one of my passions. I have been to too many parts of the world. Further, it is just to say that yes, indeed, Zambia is a member of the International Civil Aviation Organistaion (ICAO), a global body which monitors operations of civil aviation. I must hasten to mention that this is an organisation that I recently visited at their 41st Conference in Montreal, Canada. We are a respected member because we strive to adhere to the international best practices of operating civil aviation.

Madam Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to re assure hon. Members of this august House and indeed, members of the public out there, that being a responsible Government, this incident did receive the necessary attention that it deserved to ensure that there was compliance that safety procedures are being followed and that inspections are being done. That is the only way I have allowed Zambia Airways to continue flying. I will not allow any major incident to happen, not under my watch.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Sialubalo (Sinazongwe): Madam Speaker, I happen to have been a passenger on the same plane when that incident occurred. Whatever happened is what it is and we cannot change it. My source of concern together with my fellow passengers who were on that plane was that when we disembarked, we expected the Zambian Airways crew to have a word with us. At least, they could have said something. We were made to walk normally as if nothing had happened. What I want to find out is: Is that the best way of treating passengers who had a near miss.

Mr Tayali: Madam Speaker, I must add that due care had been taken to some of the hon. Member’s fellow passengers, who may have expressed concern about the state of their health and wanted to ensure that indeed, they had not been adversely affected. Zambia Airways did take it upon themselves to actually move those particular passengers to Forest Park Specialised Hospital (FPSH) for health checks. I am proud and pleased to inform the House that all that were on board were released as having had a clean bill of health.

Madam Speaker, suffice to say that the hon. Member had earlier intimated to me in our private conversations that he really did not feel anything with the incident. He hardly noticed the incidence at all ...

Hon. Government Member: He is a general.

Mr Tayali: ... because he is quite a health gentleman.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mukosa (Chinsali: Madam Speaker, first of all I want to commend the captain of the same flight and his team, who managed to ensure that the plane landed safely and that we did not have no fatalities.

Madam Speaker, this incident where the cabin pressure controller malfunctioned, has resulted to a situation where people are afraid of getting on the Zambia Airways because they think something bad might happen to them.  I also see that Zambia Airways is going to be affected in terms of competition with the other airlines. So, we note that Zambia Airways is going to lose customers based on that. My question is: What is the Government or Zambia Airways going to do to ensure that it remains in business and competes effectively with other competitors who have not had such situations in our country?

Mr Tayali:  Madam Speaker thanks to the hon. Member for a very good observation. This is why I earlier did speak to the entire membership of this august House that we need to be responsible citizens. Let us not rush to social media and cause unnecessary alarm. Hon. Members must realise that we are duty bound. Whenever one hears of such incidences, one should take time to do a bit of research into how problematic this situation could have been. Lets us desist from the insensitive use of social media because it fuels unnecessary speculation.

Madam Speaker, as hon. Minister of Transport and Logistics, I have just reassured the nation through this august House, that there is nothing untold with what happened to Zambia Airways. It is not actually Zambian Airways but Zambia Airways.  I would be the first one to jump on that aircraft this evening, as I go to my constituency, as a show or reassurance that there is absolutely nothing to be scared of.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: We are behind time. Let us move on to the next item on the Order Paper.

_______

MOTIONS

REPORT OF THE ZAMBIAN DELEGATION TO THE FORUM OF PARLIAMENTS OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE GREAT LAKE REGION AND, ON OBSERVATION MISSION TO KENYA

Ms Sefulo (Mwandi): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Zambian Delegation to the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region and the Forum of Parliaments of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR) joint election observation mission to Kenya, from 1st August, 2022 to 12th August, 2022.

Madam Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Kasandwe (Bangweulu):  I beg to second the Motion, Madam Speaker.

Ms Sefulo: Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order No. 146 of the National Assembly Standing Orders, 2021, I rise to give a statement on Zambia’s participation in the Forum of Parliaments of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGRL), joint election observation mission to Kenya, conducted from 1st August, 2022 to 12th August, 2022.

Madam Speaker, Zambia was represented by myself, as a Vice-Chairperson of the Committee of Democracy and Good Governance and Hon. Anthony Kasandwe, as member of the Committee on Humanitarian and Social Issues.

Madam Speaker, for the information of the House, the FP-ICGLR was established on 4th December 2008, in Kigali, Republic of Rwanda, with the purpose of promoting, keeping and reinforcing peace and security in the Great Lakes Region, as expressed by the Heads of State and Governments in the security, stability and development pact of the Great Lakes Region, which was signed on 15th December, 2006, in Nairobi, Republic of Kenya and came into force on 21st June, 2008.

Madam Speaker, the Speakers of Parliaments of the member states of the Great Lakes Region, mandated by their respective Parliaments, stressed the point that democratically elected Parliaments could play a major role in promoting peace, security, stability, and mutual understanding and friendship, among the people of Africa, as well as solidarity, brotherhood, and good neighbourliness, among the States of the region. Therefore, the major role of the forum is to make parliamentary contribution to peace, by putting in place mechanisms for better implementation of the pact, protocols and programmes of action outlined in the pact.

Madam Speaker, the observation was preceded by a two-day training workshop, during which participants were taken through the process of election observation, particularly, as it differed from election monitoring. Observers learnt that whereas in election monitoring, there was room for interfering in the, process when the need arose, this was not permissible in election observation.

Madam Speaker, observers were informed that the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region-Election Observation Mission (ICGLR-EOM) would observe the 9th August, 2022 general elections within the spirit and letter of the  Durban declaration on the  principles governing democratic elections in Africa, as adopted by the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in July, 2002; the African chatter on democracy, elections and governance, which came into force on 15th  February, 2012; the ICGLR democracy and good governance protocol (2204); and the guidelines of the election observer missions, as well as the legal framework governing the conduct of elections in the Republic of Kenya.

Madam Speaker, in response to the invitation by the Government of the Republic of Kenya, the ICGLR deployed a short-term election observation mission to the general elections held on 9th August, 2022. There were eighty-six observers from eleven Member States, namely; the Republic of Angola; the Republic of Burundi; the Central African Republic (CAR); the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); the Republic of Rwanda; the Republic of South Sudan; the Republic of the Sudan; the United Republic of Tanzania; the Republic of Uganda; the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Angola. The Republic of Angola is the current Chair and Zambia is the Vice-Chair, of the ICGLR. These were deployed in the following counties; Kisumu; Kiambu; Mombasa: Nairobi; and Eldoret, across sixty polling centres.

Madam Speaker, you may wish to note that the parliamentary delegation met and integrated with other Zambian observers such as the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. We were collectively led by the Former Republican Vice-President, Mr Enock Kavindele, who had been sent as an emissary of the Government.

Madam, on 11th August, 2022, the Head of the mission, His Excellency Amb. Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins issued an interim statement some of whose highlights I will now present.

Madam Speaker, the mission noted that the election campaign was generally peaceful and issue-based and was mainly in accordance with the republican constitution and the Electoral Act, Cap 24 of 2011 of the Laws of Kenya. Further, it was noted that the election complied with national, regional and international standards including the ICGLR Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

Madam Speaker, while it was established that the elections were peaceful and orderly, the mission noted the postponement of elections for gubernatorial candidates in Kakamega County and Mombasa County. The postponement of National Assembly elections for Kachelliba and Pokot South Constituencies was also noted. The statement also noted that there were 46,233 polling stations and the total number of voters registered was 22,120,458. The Head of mission noted that Kenya was among the first African nations to allow for votes from 10,444 diaspora voters and 7,483 prisoners. This was remarkable and other member states were called upon to emulate the great republic.

Madam Speaker, the mission was also delighted to note that most polling stations observed had easy access, especially for people living with disabilities and elderly voters. Observes, including party agents, were granted access to polling stations before opening time and were able to perform their duties without interference or restriction. Polling staff demonstrated good knowledge of the opening procedures. The mission noted that strategic election materials were available and sufficient quantities throughout the day.

Madam Speaker, further, the mission noted that the general atmosphere, mood and environment outside all polling stations and the polling stations visited by the mission were peaceful and quiet. Most polling stations were located in schools close to the residence of voters. They were laid out in a manner that allowed for easy flow of voters. Assistance was provided to voters according to the procedures by the presiding officer or a relative accompanying the voter who needed assistance.

Madam Speaker, the polling staff demonstrated professionalism in the management of the voting while maintaining normal interaction with political parties, and domestic and international observers. The mission noted that no campaign activities or materials were observed within the poling station’s vicinity. The mission also noted that the identification of voters using the Kenya Integrated Election Information Management System (KIEMS) kits worked satisfactorily in most cases. However, when it failed, an alternative method of identification was readily available. The mission observed the closing of fifteen polling stations and noted that the process was peaceful, orderly, efficient and conducted in a transparent manner, free of any irregularities.

Madam, polling officials demonstrated adequate knowledge of polling procedures indicating sufficient training conducted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Most of the polling stations closed on time and where there were voters in the queue at the close of the polls, they were allowed to vote. Procedures relating to emptying of the ballot boxes, reconciliation of the used and unused ballots and ballot paper sorting, were adhered to and uniformly and consistently applied at all polling stations visited, in the presence of political parties, independent candidates, agents and observers.

Madam Speaker, in view of the foregoing –

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Wind up your debate.

Ms Sefulo: Yes, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for according us an opportunity to be part of the Kenyan Election Observation Mission 2022.

Madam Speaker, I beg to move.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later?

Mr Kasandwe: Now, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to second the Motion that has been ably moved by the Member of Parliament for Mwandi. In seconding the Motion moved by the delegation leader, let me indicate from the onset that Zambia is currently the vice-chair of the Committee on Democracy and Good Governance as well as the Committee on Humanitarian and Social Issues to which Hon. Sefulo and I belong, respectively.

Madam Speaker, we managed to observe elections for fifteen days. We observed the elections before, during and after. My colleague and I were given an opportunity to observe five constituencies each in Mombasa County. There are lessons that we have learnt.

Madam Speaker, for the Kenyan situation, campaigns stop two days before the day of elections, which means 48 hours. That gives people an opportunity to retreat, prepare and avoid any conflict. Due date is given. So, for us, we have learnt that as a lesson. They use what is called the Kenyan Integrated Election Information Management System (KIEMS) kits. These are the bio kits that have information for all the registered voters. A few days before elections, the names of all the registered voters are pasted at each and every polling station for the would-be voters to verify their names five days before elections are undertaken. In the event that the voter’s card is lost on polling day, they use the gadgets to verify. They either use a thumb or a chin to make sure that one is a voter.

Madam Speaker, they also allow voter registration to take place during the voting day. In case there are those people who had no opportunity to register as voters, they are given an opportunity during voter’s day to register as voters. For the Zambian system, I think we need to learn from these better practices and I am happy that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) was part of the observation mission.

Madam Speaker, the other point I can talk about is coordination. When we left with Hon. Sefulo, we had no information that other people or groupings from Zambia were part of the same observation mission. We met people from the ECZ and the former Vice-President, Hon. Kavindele. It was very embarrassing that Hon. Sefulo as Vice-Chairperson was sitting in front to chair a meeting while the former Vice-President was seated in the crowd. It was just out of her wisdom to cede her position and allow the former President to manage that meeting.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasandwe: So, what we are encouraging the Executive, Parliament and other institutions to do is that, when we are going to attend these international engagements, it is important as a nation to prepare and coordinate so that we do not experience what we experienced with our former Republican Vice-President.

Madam Speaker, with these few words, I move to second the Motion.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Munsanje (Mbabala): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for this wonderful report of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) observation mission from our National Assembly. This wonderful report that has been brought by our colleagues, the hon. Member for Mwandi and the seconder is showing entrenchment of democracy and human rights in Africa, that we are advancing these freedoms.

Madam Speaker, it is actually very encouraging that Zambia has played this role in the observer mission, especially that in the recent past, we had those reports of the Zambian Government being accused of destabilising the Great Lakes Region in Rwanda. This is where a General there, who was on trial complained about the Zambian Government being part and parcel of the disturbances there. It is therefore, now encouraging that under the New Dawn Government, we are not hearing or seeing any of this. Instead, what we are seeing is an excellent process of learning from these missions and being able to demonstrate and learn more on democracy and how we can improve our institutions internally as well as across the region.

Madam Speaker, I support some of the observation in terms of coordination and the conduction of elections, which we need to continue to pick lessons from and continue to forward.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Ms Sefulo: Madam Speaker, I would love to thank the seconder of the Motion and the only hon. Member who had time to ready our report and has debated on it. We are very grateful. As we have indicated, we have learnt so many lessons as ICGR from Kenya on how they are progressing in doing there elections.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Question put and agreed to.

_______

MOTION

BUDGET 2023

(Debate resumed)

Dr Mwanza (Kaumbwe): Madam Speaker, when we adjourned yesterday, I was almost concluding my debate.

Madam Speaker, finally, I wish to state that the Budget was well-crafted with little or no plagiarism. We are looking forward to having engagements with creditors so that the debt can be restructured because we know that the performance of the Budget depends on that. 

Madam Speaker, I thank you

Mrs Munashabantu (Mapatizya): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving the people of Mapatizya an opportunity to debate the 2023 Budget.

Madam Speaker, the 2023 Budget with its theme: “Stimulating Economic Growth for Improved Livelihood” has created a lot of hope among the Zambians and more so, among the people of  Mapatizya.

Madam Speaker, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) remains the biggest decentralisation initiative. We have seen the CDF being increased from K1.6 million to K25.7 million, and now to K28.3 million. This is a motivation. This is creating hope for the people of Zambia at large because it cuts across the board. Everyone gets this kind of money at every level in the 156 constituencies. It does not matter where one is, everyone is getting this amount of money. We all know how the CDF has positively changed people’s lives, through the construction of schools, empowerment of women and youths in forms of skills. People are so hopeful because it was not everyone who could get a place in these universities and other higher institutions of learning.

Madam Speaker, as opposed to the past, I am not going to overemphasise what happened in the past. We are all aware of what used to happen, where all financial decisions were made at Central Government. Having decentralised the CDF funds, the locals or the common man, can now participate in the decision-making process of the development of this country.

Madam Speaker, therefore, with a further increase of the CDF to K28.3 million, this Budget is really a motivation because it is speaking to the people of Zambia. It is a dream come true. The New Dawn Government is right by saying that, “Bally is fixing it.” I thank this Government for the CDF.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Munashabantu: Madam Speaker, let now talk about agriculture. Agriculture is actually a major employer in this country because we are all farmers. One does not need to do anything to be a farmer. Zambia has got a lot of arable land which is not even being utilised. If today one decides to go farming, they can still do it without struggle because we all have a piece of land where we come from traditionally, and it is all available.

Madam Speaker, however, Mapatizya Constituency is a rural constituency with a ranching community. The only problem was that there were no extension officers. In a stretch of 100 km, probably, you would find one extension officer, that is if that person has not relocated to town. In so doing, ranching became a problem, and vaccinations were done late. Those few people took advantage of the situation and started exploiting farmers through charges. They did that because there were no agriculture extension officers.

Madam Speaker, we have seen the New Dawn Government employing about 256 extension officers in the past year. This Budget is talking about recruiting more extension officers, creating hope among Zambians especially, the farmers, which is the main livelihood of the people of Zambia.

Madam Speaker, the same 2023 Budget is talking about creating more farm blocks. That is very much welcome. Creating farming blocks is the way to go and that is what other countries are doing it. In this 2023 Budget, the New Dawn Government is going to revive and create new farm blocks, which are going to provide employment afterwards. There is a lot of land like I earlier mentioned, which is just idling. More farm blocks are needed.

Madam Speaker, I hope the Government is also going to consider Mapatizya because there is land that is by the Zambezi River basin. We need farm blocks that are going to be financed. Some farm blocks were created but they have not been working because they were not financed. Therefore, finances are needed. In order to start any business, one only needs resources. However, if one creates something and has no other business to finance it, then it is just good not to do it. We have seen that the 2023 Budget is addressing the issue of financing farm blocks. This is also going to address the issue of employment at all levels.

Madam Speaker, the issue of farming blocks is very much welcome to the people of Zambia. Those who already own farm blocks are already preparing. Therefore, we are going to see a lot of food production and employment. Many people will engage into farm blocks and subsequently, they will start exporting food and beef to other countries, like Botswana is doing it.  

Madam Speaker, under the same farm blocks, women are being empowered through the CDF. Some women who would like to pursue farming are in town and they do not have land. Farming is a business and with these farming blocks, small companies and individuals can engage in farming.

Madam Speaker, the finances for farm blocks are ready. The 2023 Budget is taking care of these farming blocks.  Again, the New Dawn Government is doing it.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Munashabantu: Madam Speaker, I will dwell much on agriculture because I know that agriculture is our livelihood and it provides food security. The Government is going to restructure the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to a Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP). Of course, we know that FISP was done at very low level. Actually, in the recent past, we saw that there was no equity in FISP. In my constituency, farmers were getting three bags of fertiliser each. Later on, we saw the New Dawn Government providing equity and everyone was getting six bags of fertiliser across the board.

Madam Speaker, now, the New Dawn Government is restructuring it and is even providing value addition to the products. They are also advancing to financing it further.

 Madam Speaker, what more can one ask for in the farming industry? This Government is driving this country in the right direction. Zambia is headed to becoming one of Africa’s main bread basket. I thank the New Dawn Government for the 2023 Budget.

Madam Speaker, we know that mining is a major economic driver of this country. This country is dependent on copper, but we are aware that Zambia is also rich in other mineral resources.  My constituency for one –

Madam Second Deputy Speaker: Order!

The hon. Member’s time expired.

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

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

Mr Nkandu: On a woman?

Mr Fube: Madam Speaker, it has nothing to do with my sister, who has debated very well. My point of order is pursuant to Standing Order No. 210(1), (2) and (3).

Madam Speaker, of late, we have been struggling with the issue of forming the quorum. Apart from that, there have been circulars that have been targeted at different hon. Members of Parliament to encourage good attendance.

Madam Speaker, one of the conditions for which an hon. Member might be permitted to miss Sittings of the House, and I declare that I have been a beneficiary of such permission from the Government Chief Whip, is when one has to attend to business in the constituency, including attending to issues around the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). We can be given permission to go and deal with issues around the CDF. I think, activities like selling motorcycles to the Government are not included among the reasons for one to stay away from Parliament. Having said that, I would like to know whether some hon. Members are in order – I was screening those whom we miss in this House, and I found that one case is outstanding, namely that of Hon. Chabinga, because I have observed that from last year to date, he has only attended Sittings of the House four times. Firstly, he attended when the President addressed the House and, secondly, when the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning presented the Budget.

Madam Speaker, I would like to know whether the conditions for Parliament have special exemptions for some hon. Members instead of applying to all of us. I would also like to know the status on this particular hon. Member.

Madam Second Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, unfortunately, I missed the question. Did you say the hon. Member for Chabinga? 

Mr Fube: Madam Speaker, I said, “Mafinga”.

Madam Second Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, since that is now part of administration, the issue will be directed to the Clerks-at-the-Table so that they can go through the records. As at now, no ruling can be made.

Mr Nyambose (Chasefu): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving the good people of Chasefu a chance to add a word to the 2023 Budget that was presented to this House by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning.

Madam Speaker, at the end of my debate, I will demonstrate that I have read the Budget Speech. However, today, I want to narrow my debate to one salient matter that this nation should appreciate, which is decentralisation. Leadership demands that we better the places that we find for the people of tomorrow, “future generations”. I therefore, want to commend the New Dawn Administration and the President, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, for making decentralisation a reality.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nyambose: Madam Speaker, I worked in the Ministry of Local Government from 2003, and we grappled with the issue of decentralisation. The reason we wanted decentralisation was because we wanted to devolve the functions of the Central Government to the locals so that all parts of the nation could receive a better share of the national cake. Alas, we had nothing to talk about in terms of fiscal decentralisation.

Madam Speaker, the people of Chasefu have had nothing to talk about and yet they belonged to this nation. Fiscal decentralisation was avoided by the previous regime. When the New Dawn Government came into power, it actualised decentralisation.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nyambose: Madam Speaker, many a times, my heart breaks when I hear people saying that the President’s Speech was hollow. Is that a hollow Budget Speech when we have received K25.7 million, Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for the people of Chasefu? I live within Lusaka which is an urbanised area but when people go to Chasefu, they should ask the people there if they appreciate what we debate, especially when we are attacking the good things that put them in a better place as Zambians.

Madam Speaker, this decentralisation was re-launched in 2013, but nothing happened. We have seen that from K1.6 million, we now have K25.7 million as an allocation for CDF.  What is this money going to do for the rural people of this country? It will build classroom blocks, health posts, and police posts. It will also put teachers and other civil servants back to their respective facilities. This is what the Zambians have been craving for.

Madam Speaker, I therefore, urge the New Dawn Government and the President to keep it. They should close their ears to distracters. The people of Chasefu are enjoying the K28.3 million CDF.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nyambose: Madam Speaker, coming to the 2023 Budget, next week, I will be going to the constituency to hand over the first batch of desks and I am sure the whole nation will watch the event. Is that not a good idea? We need leaders who are going to transform the lives of the people for the better tomorrow. We need leaders who will leave a legacy. In my own words, I have always defined the President as a generation leader.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nyambose: Madam Speaker, why do I say so? I know it is heart breaking for those who are hurting because this is a reality. I am here as an hon. Member of Parliament and I need to know what I should do better for the people of Chasefu. When I am gone, I want the people of Chasefu Constituency to say, “We did this during the time of Nyambose.” That is the leadership this nation is looking for and not coming here to debate Standing Order No. 65 when people are waiting for development.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nyambose: Madam Speaker, we should change our type of leadership. This Budget is really a transformational Budget and it deserves support. My great hon. Member here said that he almost danced break dance when he listened to the Budget Speech. I do not want to say the same terms but the people have seen the tempo at which things are moving and no one can talk against it. It is my prayer that the Government continues with the same spirit next year and the other year. What will Chasefu become? I will be voted for on account of what I will deliver and not what I will shoot down in this House.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nyambose: Madam Speaker, of course, I suggest that in terms of the empowerment grants that the Government has given to the graduates under the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET), for the sake of sustainability, we should give preference to the graduates to form co-operatives. We should soften the conditions so that we give them grants to do those projects in Chasefu. That is what I can suggest.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nyambose: Madam Speaker, the other issue is that the Budget indicates an increase in the CDF. What are we going to do in Chasefu? Chasefu is going to have a first road construction equipment. Has it happened before?

Hon. Government Members: Never!

Mr Nyambose: What I need in the 2023 and 2024 Budgets are more resources so that the real devolution takes place. We have never had such resources before. The people of Chasefu deserve a good road from Lundazi to Chama. When are we going to have this road? The people of Chasefu have no secondary school. How is the hon. Minister of Education going to ensure that amongst the 120 secondary schools to be constructed, some are built in Chasefu? This is the debate we should have. We should encourage those who are doing better because they are improving what was there before, which will also better the lives of the people of Zambia in people.

Madam Speaker, to demonstrate that I have read this Budget, I would have gone into detail but time will not allow. I talk too much sometimes. On page 13 of the Budget Speech, it is stated that the Government is going to recruit 256 extension officers. Further, 4,500 teachers are going to be recruited. Chasefu had only 416 teachers. When the New Dawn and President Hakainde Hichilema came into power, we were given 473 teachers.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nyambose: What else do I have to say when I come here? My people are telling me to be factual and lobby for the better, like any other person would do. We will not be helping our people if we come to this House and say that this speech is hollow.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nyambose: Reality has brought us here.

Madam Speaker, I can demonstrate page by page. Please, if we love this nation, let us be generational leaders. Let us leave this country better than we found it. We are doing it. May God bless Zambia; May God bless HH.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

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

Madam First Deputy Speaker: There is a point of order? I cannot see it.

Mr Shakafuswa (Mandevu): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving an opportunity to the people of Mandevu to debate the Motion of Supply which is on the Floor.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

There is a request for a point of order by the hon. Member for Chilubi.

A point of order is raised.

Interruptions

Mr Fube: I have come here to participate. So, murmur as much as you can.

Madam Speaker, I was supposed to raise a point of order on the former commissioner for the Local Government who said that there was nothing happening with regards to decentralisation. What I understand is that there is soft and hard policy. Decentralisation has got provincial –

Interruptions

Mr Fube: Excuse me. Decentralisation has got provincial, district and ward development committees. Those things were laid –

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, Hon. Member!

What standing order has been breached?

Mr Fube: Madam Speaker, what has been breached is Standing Order No. 65(b) because the hon. Member, who was a commissioner, was not factual about decentralisation. He misled the House and I think people who listened out there have a wrong concept of what decentralisation is.

Interruptions

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Thank you for that point of order. All I can say is that: Hon. Members, you are debating. You can have same or different views. So, it is allowed that you bring your own views. In fact, that is what we are looking at.

Can the hon. Member for Mandevu continue.

Mr Shakafuswa: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning proposes to spend K167 billion in the 2023 Budget, whose deficit of K54 billion will be raised through financing “borrowing.”  I was going to say much about borrowing but I know that many hon. Members have debated this subject matter. It was concluded that borrowing was not good in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government but good in the New Dawn Government. However, we saw a lot of infrastructure projects being undertaken in the previous Government, and we are yet to see infrastructure development under the New Dawn Government.

Madam Speaker, allow me to join others who have applauded the Government for increasing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) from K1.6 million to K25.7 million. On page 38 of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning informed this House that he had released K3 billion, representing 75 per cent of the CDF. What is in our coffers is only 50 per cent, which is K12 million. I do not know whether he has given that 75 per cent to those on your right and not on your left, Madam Speaker. So, I want to urge the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to match his pronouncements with the implementation of CDF.

Madam Speaker, on behalf of the people of Mandevu, I also welcome the pronouncement of increasing the CDF in 2024, taking into consideration the population and poverty levels of the constituency. Mandevu Constituency is the second largest constituency in Zambia after Kanyama by population. Therefore, we cannot be getting the same amount with the people of Mwandi, who are only about less than 100,000. In Mandevu, we have 600,000 people. So, this is a welcome move as we believe that it will help our people.

Madam Speaker, allow me to also comment on roads. I note on page 98 that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning intends to spend K5.2 billion on roads. Mandevu Constituency has very deplorable roads and we hope this will be an answer or solution to the roads in Mandevu Constituency.

Madam Speaker, the people of Mandevu Constituency have also noted the K23 billion in the education sector. Out of this amount, K1.5 billion will be used for the construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure. We are asking the hon. Minister of Education to consider building secondary schools in Mandevu. Out of eight wards, seven wards have secondary schools. This means that one ward does not have a secondary school.

Madam Speaker, in this Budget, we also note the K930 million that has been allocated for bursaries and the re-introduction of meal allowances. This was done in line with the New Dawn Government’s promises, so we were told. However, the New Dawn Government promised to provide free education from Grade 1 to university.

Mr Mwene: It is there, iwe!

Mr Shakafuswa: No! You are only providing free education up to Grade 12.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member.

You are not supposed to respond to what the other hon. Members are saying.

Interruptions

Mr Shakafuswa: Thank you for your guidance, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: As you are debating, you are supposed to –

Mr Shakafuswa: Madam Speaker, I just want to remind them that the PF Government reduced school fees, from K1,500 to K200.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Shakafuswa: The New Dawn Government has only removed that K200.

Mr Munsanje: Question!

Mr Shakafuswa: So, that is what people need to note. Which Government did more? The people of Zambia are saying that if the New Dawn Government wants them to respect it, it must fulfil its promise of introducing free education from Grade 1 to university. If not, they are going to ask that the Government gives their children bursaries or loans to access private universities.

Madam Speaker, we have limited space in public universities, that is why people opt to go to private universities. If the Government is going to fail to give them free education up to university, it can give them loans so that they can have options to go to university and then pay back the loan.

Madam Speaker, we have problems of water reticulation and sanitation in Mandevu. We note the Budget of K2.6 billion which has be set aside for this sector especially the K2.3 billion which will be used for water and sanitation. We are going to ask our brother, the hon. Minister of Water Development and Sanitation, to remember the people of Mandevu. Despite Mandevu being in the Central Business District (CBD), I have wards like Kabanana, Mpulungu, Rapheal Chota and Roma, which is just near here. On Monday, I had a meeting with the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company with a community from Foxdale. They do not have water in that area but there is piped water across in Munali. We need our people to equally access clean and safe drinking water.

Lastly, Madam Speaker, I want to comment on the need to reduce the cost of doing business. I note that the New Dawn Government is bias towards foreigners. We have lost money from last year through Mineral Loyalty Tax. We want to ask this Government to equally give incentives to Zambians who are doing business.

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

Mr Shakafuswa: Madam Speaker, in Mandevu, I have people who do welding –

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

Mr Mulenga: Madam Speaker, I am rising on Standing Order No. 65 which requires an hon. Member to be factual in the presentation of his submission. Is the hon. Member in order to come to this honourable House and claim that the New Dawn Government is biased on the investors that are coming from other nations, when the New Dawn Government is currently, even revising the Zambia Development (ZDA) Act, which has been on successive years been only focusing on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). We are revising it to be all inclusive. Firstly, we are focusing on local investors.

Mr Sampa: You are debating.

Mr Mulenga: Madam Speaker, is he in order to bring falsehoods that they perpetuated in the previous Government to us when we are people centred and locally-driven investors?

Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member was actually out of order …

Hon. PF Members: Aha!

Madam First Deputy Speaker: …for saying that –

Mr Shakafuswa rose.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Can you please, resume your seat. I have not even finished my ruling.

Mr Shakafuswa resumed his seat.

Laughter

Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member was out of order for accusing the UPND Government of being biased. My advice to you hon. Member is that you have to be factual. If you have got evidence to show that the UPND Government is indeed biased, on that issue that you mentioned, it would have been better for you to lay the evidence on the Table.

Mr Shakafuswa rose.

Mr Muchima: Sit down.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: So, let us try to be factual and stick to the Budget Speech.

You may continue hon. Member.

Mr Shakafuswa: Madam Speaker, I have read the two Budgets. By making the Mineral Loyalty Tax deductable, this country lost K3.2 billion this year.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mundubile: Yes!

Mr Shakafuswa: In the 2023 Budget, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has proposed tax bands, which means that we will lose K2.8 billion.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: We will therefore, lose a total of K6 billion.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: This money belongs to Zambians, our children, and our fore-fathers.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: We cannot be giving out this money to foreigners.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: If this money was brought back to this country, we could subsidise and the cost of electricity. This entails that the cost of doing business will reduce. This is my point Madam Speaker.

With these few remarks –

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

Mr Shakafuswa: Madam Speaker, I represent more than 600,000 people. I therefore, urge the New Dawn Government to consider this proposal.

I thank you, so much, Madam Speaker.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Mulenga: Madam Speaker is the hon. Member in order to bring falsehoods in this House, by saying that the New Dawn Government is externalising money which is meant for the Zambia people to foreigners, when in actual fact, the New Dawn Government is taking money to the people of Zambia through free education and recruitment of teachers, which they never did when they were in power.

Madam Speaker, the removal of mineral royalties is bringing and attracting more reinvestment in the mining sector in Lumwana. Is he in order to say we are externalising resources when we are recapitalising the mines by opening the biggest nickel mine in the country.

I seek your serious ruling, Madam Speaker.

The First deputy Speaker: Thank you hon. Minister. My advice to the hon. Members who are debating on the Floor is that they should be factual because whatever we are saying here, people out there are listening. Whatever we are saying, especially the backbenchers, the hon. Minister will come and give responses. However, for the sake of the people that sent you here, try and be more factual.

Ms Halwiindi (Kabwe Central) Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing the people of Kabwe Central to add their voice on this very important progressive Budget. I also want to thank the Government led by the President, Mr Hakainde Hichilema and the Finance and National Planning Minister for the job-well done. I can assure them that the people of Kabwe Central are happy. They demonstrated their happiness last week on Saturday when they matched in support of the Budget whose them is: Stimulating Growth for Improved livelihood.

Madam Speaker, from the onset, may I say that I am in support of this Budget because it is in line with the Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP). I was saddened when I heard some people saying that this Budget has no direction. I want to say that it has a direction.

Madam Speaker, I want to direct my debate on two sectors, which are mining and agriculture. I know that mining is very important because it is the one that finances the development of agriculture. I want to give a narration of a man who had 1,000 heads of cattle and yet was borrowing money from the shylock to take his children to schools. This is what used to happen in the previous regime. They could borrow at a very high cost to finance activities in the country, meanwhile, we had a lot of mineral resources that we could explore in order to finance development in the country. I am happy with what the New Dawn Government said in the Budget that they are going to increase production of mineral accessorise. Copper will go to 3 million tonnes to make sure that –

Mr J. Chibuye crossed the Floor.

The First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member.

Hon. Member from Roan, next time, do not pass in front of a person debating.

The hon. Member for Kabwe Central may continue.

Ms Halwiindi: Madam Speaker, the New Dawn Government has promised that it will make sure that production of copper increases to 3 million metric tonnes in order to realise high tax to finance the agriculture sector.

Madam Speaker, may I say that I am very happy that the New Dawn Government wants to make sure it revives farmer blocks.  One debater said that farm blocks such as Nansanga Farm Block are already developed. I am so sad about that. Allow me to quote from The Zambian Business Times:

“Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo has disclosed that the 110,000 hectare Nansanga farm block, located in Serenje District of Central Province, has to date not been able to secure any viable anchor farm investor as the Zambia Development Agency – ZDA is still scouting around for a core-investor to drive the core activities in the farming block”.

Madam Speaker, in the New Dawn Government, I can assure people that we are not going to parade ourselves as having developed things that we have not developed. Previously, when there was an election, we could see graders being taken to site for development. However, after elections, the graders would demobilise. We were told that the farm blocks were already developed, when there is nothing tangible happening there.

Madam Speaker, the New Dawn Government has said that it wants to make sure that there are processing industries for value addition. The Government wants to make sure that there is irrigation and good infrastructure to make sure that we increase production in the agriculture sector. This is going to drive Zambia’s economy and create jobs. I am therefore, very happy about that.

Madam Speaker, I want to bring it to the attention of this House that, through the mining industry, we can reserve some mines. Some people are willing to explore mining and channel the proceeds to the agriculture industry to revive farm blocks. That is very important and cardinal because it can drive our economic development.

Madam Speaker, I am also very happy that the New Dawn Government wants to make sure that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are supported through the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise Development. That is very important because SMEs are the major employers in this country. I thank the Government for that, and as the hon. Minister in charge of SMEs comes to present his policy statement, I hope he will reserve some money to make sure that we incubate our own people so that they are able to realise the much needed profits as they will be doing their businesses.

Madam Speaker, may I also bring to the attention of this House that in Zambia, we have a history of not fulfilling programmes. I can cite an example of the Pave Zambia 2000 project and the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), which were not managed properly during the previous regime. However, I know that the New Dawn Government is going to make sure that farm blocks come to reality as intended.

Madam Speaker, it is very important to note that when you kill a big snake in the compound, do not think that the eggs or snakelets are not there. There are people within the Government who want to make sure that development does not come to reality. So, as the New Dawn Government, we need to open our eyes. We are want to make sure that at the end of it all, we shall say, indeed, we have farm blocks, increased agriculture production, and exporting because we would have increased in terms of productivity. That is what we want to make sure is actualised.

Madam Speaker, this, I can testify from the implementation of the Zambia Mining and Environment Remediation Improvement Project (ZMERIP), in Kabwe. The implementation of the programme is normally below 50 per cent. So, we need to make sure that we guard against our good programmes from not being actualised to their maximum potential as intended by the New Dawn Government. So, we need to make sure that what is on in page 16, paragraph 71 of the Budget Speech, where it states that the Government wants to make sure that the farm blocks are private-driven.  Please, let us engage the private sector to make sure that we actualise what we want. If we leave everything to be driven by the Government, we will have a challenge. We might see ourselves failing because of bad elements that will not actualise what we intend to achieve. So, I can assure this House that there are people who are ready to support the Government projects.

Madam Speaker, with these few words, I want to say that I am so happy with the Budget because I know that economic transformation and job creation are going to be attained.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Thank you. The last hon. Member for today is the hon. Member for Lufubu.

Mr Kolala (Lufubu): Madam Speaker, it is so wonderful and good to belong to this Government.

Hon. Government Members:

Mr Kolala: I know that most of us newcomers, whether from the left or right, came at the right time.

Madam Speaker, this is a Budget that everyone in this House, whether opposing or supporting, agree it is a best Budget so far.

Mr Muchima: Yes!

Mr Kolala: Madam Speaker, may I first recognise one thing. I have listened to all the debaters on this Budget. I should give credit to my brother the hon. Member for Katuba, who corporately debated the Budget and explained it in detail. I think that everyone who listened to that debate agrees that even when other people have said it is macro and does not cater for the micro, we were able to understand how it can trickle down to the micro.

Madam Speaker, may I now take this opportunity to begin –

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

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

Mr Kafwaya: Madam Speaker, my point of order is based on Standing Order No. 65 and it is of course, against the hon. Colleague who is debating. I have to apologise for disturbing his flow of thought.

Madam Speaker, all the hon. Members here state their positions on the Motion on the Floor of the House. My hon. Colleague has come to sweep all of us thinking that we have accepted that this is the best Budget Address ever, when in fact, there is more borrowing in this Budget than ever before.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Kafwaya: In this Budget, the Government is going to give unlimited concessions to foreigners. Have we not debated and declared our position that this is one of the worst and political Budget Speeches ever? Is he in order to stand here and mislead himself, mislead you, and all of us that we all support this is the best Budget speech ever?

I need your serious very ruling.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member on the Floor, please be very factual as you are debating this Budget Speech. We have always advised you to avoid debating yourselves. Just speak your own views and what you feel about the Budget. If you are supporting the Budget, state very clearly that you are supporting it so that we do not bring about conflicts or misunderstandings. We are all given an opportunity to debate on this Floor. So, can we have your own views. With that guide, can we hear your views about this Budget. You may continue.

Mr Kolala: Madam Speaker, the Budget is the best ever.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kolala: Madam Speaker, let me bring the views of Lufubu Constituency to the Budget. I began by talking about the Budget being debated corporately because I want to just stick to the benefits that Lufubu Constituency is going to have from this Budget.

Madam Speaker, maybe, it will be prudent for me to begin by describing how life has been in Lufubu Constituency. Lufubu Constituency has been treated like the evil forest in Nigerian movies, where a wrongdoer or a teacher who is misbehaving would be sent to Lufubu Constituency as punishment.

A nurse who is misbehaving somewhere would be sent to Lufubu Constituency as punishment.

Madam Speaker, on that one –

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, I seem not to follow you. I guess the situation is that all the people who are sent to Lufubu are being punished. Can you maybe, clarify that statement because the workers in Lufubu are listening. They might be wondering whether they were punished for being sent there. So, can you may be, clarify statement, where you said that all the teachers who were sent to Lufubu, it was a form of punishment. You may continue, Hon. Member,.

Mr Kolala: Madam Speaker, Lufubu Constituency is a place that was not even recognised by many people. Now, when you hear me say this, is because I have talked to the people on the ground. I even had a conversation with the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) because when I looked at the calibre of the teachers we have had, most of them are drunkards. When I ask the question why the scenario was like that, I was given that picture. I was told that that was what had been happening.  

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

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

Mr Fube: Madam Speaker, just a few months ago, the Ministry of Education was recruiting our respected public health workers and many others. We all know that before then, there were workers of the Government that existed. Is the hon. Member of Parliament –

Madam First Deputy Speaker: What has been breached?

Mr Fube: Standing Order No. 65, which talks about relevance.

Interruptions

Mr Fube: Madam Speaker, is the hon. Member of Parliament in order to generalise and use profane language on the public workers who are assisting all of us here by saying that in his constituency, before the recruitment, there were only drunkard teachers who existed?

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member on the Floor, please be mindful of some of the words that you using on your people in the constituency. I do not think they would be very happy to be called that word that you have used. Please, can you stick to the Budget Speech so that we actually representing our people in a very nice manner, the manner that people from your constituency are going to appreciate your contributions to this House. With that guide, you may continue but be mindful of some of the words that you are using.

Mr Kolala: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for your guidance. I think I had said I wanted to describe the constituency the way it was being treated previously.

Madam Speaker, following your guidance, let me put my point in another way. For this House to understand that the constituency was neglected seriously, the constituency had less than 100 teachers. I have the information here which was sent to me by DEBS. What I am trying to put across is that in the previous Governments, the constituency was neglected. I do not want to just refer to the Patriotic Front (PF). I would say that starting from the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) up to the time when the PF took power, the constituency had been neglected seriously. Now, I want to support the Budget and show –

Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!

(Debate adjournment)

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The House adjourned at 1256 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 19th October, 2022.

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