Debates- Tuesday, 6th March, 2012

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Tuesday, 6th March, 2012

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you for giving me this opportunity to make this ministerial statement on the review of Zambia’s rating by Fitch Ratings.

Mr Speaker, hon. Members may recall that, in 2008, the Government of the Republic of Zambia, through the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, embarked on the process of obtaining the sovereign credit rating for the country. This effort culminated in the assigning of a sovereignty credit rating of ‘B+’ by two of the world’s leading international rating agencies in March, 2011. These were Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s.

Mr Speaker, in line with their operational licences, credit rating agencies are required to review the ratings that they have assigned every year. These reviews cover a wide range of parameters, including the political, economic and social conditions in the client country. The review ratings are held not only with the Government authorities but, also, with other authorities, such as co-operating partners, think-tank institutions and the private sector.

Mr Speaker, credit analysts from Standard and Poor’s undertook their independent review from 17th to 19th January, 2012, while those from Fitch Ratings were in the country to do their assessment from 31st January, to 1st February, 2012. Arising from these reviews, Fitch has released their rating while Standard and Poor’s are also expected to release their ratings this month.

Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that Fitch Ratings has affirmed the country’s sovereign credit rating at ‘B+’ as before. The ‘B+’ rating is a reflection of the continued healthy macro-economic fundamentals existing in our country, such as strong growth and stability.

On the political front, this is an affirmation that the right environment for investment continues to flourish in the country following the elections held in September, 2011, and the subsequent peaceful handover of power from the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) to the Patriotic Front (PF).

Mr Speaker, Fitch Ratings have, however, raised concerns regarding the respect of property rights arising from the reversal of the privatisation of Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) and the direction of economic policy. On the basis of these concerns, Fitch Ratings has revised the country’s outlook from ‘Stable’ to ‘Negative.’

Mr Speaker, let me allay these concerns by, first, indicating that the Government views the rule of law and respect for property rights as key pre-requisites for socio-economic development and the maintenance of social cohesion. It is because of our respect for the rule of law and property rights that the Government has adopted zero tolerance to corruption. Corruption tends to advantage the well-connected. Honesty and hard work have no reward where corruption thrives and it is for this reason that the Government is determined to level the playing field by taking a firm stance against all kinds of corruption, which is a disincentive to hard work, responsibility and civic duty.

Mr Speaker, any genuine and well-meaning investor will appreciate the importance of the actions that this Government has taken in instances where corruption was the basis for obtaining strategic national assets. The objective for such action is not to undermine property rights, but to ensure that all citizens, as equal shareholders in this great nation, benefit from the value created using national assets. We are equally determined to ensure that business is conducted within the confines of existing laws and procedures. Zambia has and will have no room for investments rooted in corruption. No nation can flourish without moral benchmarks.

The second concern regards policy coherence, especially, on the account of some policy pronouncements that may raise doubt about policy credibility and predictability. It is an inescapable imperative for all of us in this country, as leaders, ordinary citizens and media practitioners, to avoid making statements that impair the credibility of our country.

Mr Speaker, I wish to assure this august House that we are not a Government that will operate without coordination. His Excellency the President has already demonstrated this by taking decisive actions to ensure consistency and policy predictability at all levels of the Government. Further, the Government will, in the second quarter of this year, finalise the Medium Term Expenditure Framework that will clearly anchor the economic policies of the PF Government over the medium term.

Mr Speaker, may I take this opportunity to assure the international and local business and investor community that the PF Government will ensure that peace continues to flourish, that there is respect for the rule of law and that the macro-economic environment, characterised by strong growth and low inflation, is further consolidated. To Zambian citizens, our intention is to bring the fruits of our economic success close to you by improving service delivery in education, health, water and sanitation and promoting fundamental reforms in local government administration. 

Investors should, therefore, be assured that Zambia’s economic policy will continue to be market-based. Any major changes of policy will be undertaken in an open, consultative and transparent manner with the fullest respect for the sanctity of the rule of law and property rights.

May I conclude by saying that, as much as support from the international community is desirable and welcome, all of us, Zambians, through an ingrained work ethic and commitment to a better Zambia for all, can guarantee sustainable progress and prosperity for ourselves and posterity.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement that has just been issued by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me an opportunity to seek a point of clarification based on the statement that has been made by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning on the Floor of this House.

Sir, through you, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning talked about coherence pertaining in the Government’s statements and policies. I would like to find out from him whether some of the statements that have been made by Cabinet Ministers have made the rating agencies downgrade Zambia from what it was to negative in terms of performance. This is in relation to a statement that was made by the Government that K3 trillion was made by the former Government and that this K3 trillion, which is counterfeit, is in circulation in this country. Could that have influenced the rating agencies?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I will start with the last part of the question. The currency issue is subject to a court process and, under our procedures, it is improper to discuss matters that maybe subject to some legal process or proceedings. 

On the other part of the question, the Government policy is very clear and it is spelt out, principally, in the President’s Address to the nation, and subsequent presidential pronouncements as to which way we go in the economy. The President has been very clear about our policies and, if there were any changes in the policy direction, we would come to this House and inform you accordingly because you, hon. Members of Parliament, are custodians of the interest of the people and it is your inescapable right to make sure that Government policies are predictable and consistent. The Government policies have been predictable and we are committed to those that I have made reference: a commitment to the rule of law and respecting the sanctity of property rights and the rights of individuals. There has been no departure from those policies.

Mr Speaker, let me say that hon. Members, although some of us are partly in the Legislature and also in the Executive, as a leadership, have a common interest and collective responsibility to maintain sanity of policies. Therefore, the hon. Member for Monze Central, who is a repository of our conscience, should have no anxiety over our policy direction.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, unfortunately, my question has been asked by Hon. Mwiimbu.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): I thank you, and also the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for his statement. Arising from the comments he made, and appreciating his emphasis on the Government’s respect for the sanctity of property rights, with specific regard to the company that he referred to, ZAMTEL, which he laced with corruption, I would like to know from him whether Lap Green which, at one time, held the property rights for this company, whether legally or illegally, had a fair hearing on the manner in which this transaction went and, if they did not, could it be, then, the reason Fitch has downgraded the rating from ‘Stable’ to ‘Negative’?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, first and foremost, the rating for Zambia stands at B+. Therefore, there is no downgrading of that. What they have rated ‘negative’ is what they call the outlook, which. Now, the outlook consists of things that are not empirically ascertainable. It relates to areas of opinion; how people think and perceive issues and, so, I do not think that I want to debate Fitch’s value judgments. Anyway, they have indicated, even on that account that, as long as they are assured that there is policy consistency, this rating will be revised. Therefore, it is up to all of us, hon. Members on both sides of the House, to ensure that Zambia’s credibility is upheld. 

As for Lap Green, I would just advise all of us here not to be spokespersons of companies. Lap Green has taken the matter to court in defence of what they perceive to be their rights. However, it is not up to us, hon. Members, even the most dynamic and resourceful hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central, to be inadvertently a representative of the interests of Lap Green.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned, with pride, that this country has been given a B+ rating. However, he showed concern with the outlook, which he said has moved from stable to negative. He attributes these concerns to the reversal of property sales. Is it the Government’s intention to continue with commissions of inquiry intended to reverse the selling of certain companies?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament for Chembe, who is my brother, has mixed up things. The negative rating of our outlook is from Fitch, not us. As far as I am concerned, the outlook is bright. Infact, Fitch did not even look at some critical issues. 

Sir, when I presented the Budget to this august House, copper, an essential commodity, which is critical to Zambia’s economy, was at K 7,400 on the London Metal Exchange (LME), but is, now, hovering around K8,500. I have been curious as to why this should be so, and I check the opening stock on the LME all the time. Checking the opening stock, two weeks ago, it was around 300,000 tonnes. Now, the opening stock has dropped to something like 292,000 tonnes. Therefore, my conclusion is that the lift in the copper price is a supply-demand imbalance.  So, the outlook for Zambia cannot look bleak under circumstances like that. Some people seem to have been aggrieved with our decision to reverse the sale of ZAMTEL. In order to counter such concerns, we circulated the Commission of Inquiry Report on ZAMTEL to all the Zambian missions and even interested organisations like Fitch Ratings. They assessed our findings and have seen that there was massive and totally morally indefensible corruption that was involved in this matter.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: We shall not allow any foreign investor to bring investment to Zambia which is rooted in corruption. That type of investment should remain in the glorious countries of those investors. It will not do in Zambia. That is why I said that there is no way a nation can prosper without any moral benchmarks.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the President has taken measures to ensure that there is coherence in the operations of Government structures from the top to the bottom. Would the he indicate some of those measures and, also, say whether they are being respected by the Executive?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the President publicly admonished all of us involved in policy-making not to issue any statements that were not backed by the Government policy organs like Cabinet Office. The President felt so strongly against such conduct that he indicated that the admonition he was giving to us, hon. Ministers, particularly, was the last one. He even prayed that we should …


Mr Chikwanda: … desist from leading him into temptation.


Mr Chikwanda: How strong do you want the President’s policy stance to be?

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, after the rating agency decided to make that comment on Zambia, in terms of the economic outlook, what steps did the Zambian Government decide to take to ensure that it made people understand that it cannot support corruption just as it cannot support homosexuality?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, our policy is very clear. Fitch Ratings has rated our economic performance high, hence, the B+ rating that we have maintained from last year. In any case, some economic fundamentals that determine macro-economic stability like inflation have changed since the time I presented the Budget. When I presented the Budget, the inflation rate was 7.4 per cent but, in the month of February, it dropped to 6 per cent. It is even likely to trend downwards. Therefore, the key economic fundamentals are positive. The outlook that they portrayed was their perception and opinion. So, as I said earlier, I will not spend time commenting on people’s value judgements or things that lie in the area of fiction.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister for that very comprehensive statement. As indicated by the Fitch Ratings Report, the outlook for Zambia is negative in the coming months. We also observe that, in the last few months, the Zambian Kwacha has taken a downward turn against major currencies. Could this be an indication or confirmation of the Fitch Ratings Report about Zambia’s negative position?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the exchange rate is all about the price of one currency in relation to other currencies. The exchange rate has a relationship with certain things. The downward trend of the kwacha will soon stop. What we have not done is to use our accumulated foreign currency to intervene in the market because that is not the best way of safeguarding our currency. If the slide continues inordinately long, then, we might think of intervening. However, at the moment, we will continue to watch the situation and hope that the market forces will re-align themselves.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, we also hope that more foreign exchange will continue to roll into the country as a result of the increased metal sales and high prices. 

So, it is better for us to wait. There is always a time lag effect because, with regards to our major export, copper, it is sold on a three months basis. It might take time between when the exports have been sold and when the proceeds roll back into our coffers via the Bank of Zambia (BOZ). Therefore, members of the public should not have undue anxieties. Our exchange rate will adjust very soon. If it does not, we will take corrective measures. We will make sure that the House is kept apprised of the goings on.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Ms Siliya (Petauke): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. Minister for his elaborate statement in which he made very important arguments about the fact that this country can only be developed by Zambians. He also made reference to the fight against corruption. In trying to balance the fight against corruption with the effort to create wealth because, obviously, we cannot share poverty, I wish to find out from him what attempts or efforts he will make to ensure that, as Zambians, we move away from the mindset of glorifying poverty. I believe that this is what makes even some hon. Members of Parliament to believe that an hon. Member of Parliament can only buy 1,000 bicycles through corruption. It is this same attribute that makes others think that, if Hon. Masebo …


Ms Siliya: … dresses smartly, she is corrupt, or that, if I change my shoes everyday, because some Bemba man looks after me well, then, I am also corrupt. What are you doing to  ensure that Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga can continue to come to Parliament with a smile, not throw threats and abuses across the Floor? In short, what will you do to ensure that Zambians get a culture of wanting to be rich, not to be embarrassed about it?


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I am sure that Hon. Siliya just wanted to inject a bit of humour into the debate because it looked gloomy. Her intervention has changed the mood of the House from being like that of a funeral gathering to that of a cheerful occasion. 

Sir, the policies of the Government are designed to make Zambians well-off. In fact, the major distinction between the Patriotic Front (PF) and Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) is that our friends in the MMD were absentee landlords who watched with indifference as Zambians underwent certain tribulations and all kinds of afflictions. However, we, as the PF Government, shall be like a farmer with his or her hands on the plough. We want to be custodians of the interests of Zambians…

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: … so that we create conditions in which they will prosper.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Sir, let me, now, talk about the mathematics some people use, which I find very peculiar. A person can own one or two bicycles. If his family is large, he can own, maybe, up to ten bicycles. However, I find it a bit extraordinary for someone to own 1,000 bicycles. For the other concerns raised by Hon. Siliya, I am persuaded beyond reasonable doubt that she has got enough depth of intellect to distinguish between genuine entrepreneurship and dishonesty. I am sure she can make a distinction between honest and dishonest accumulation of wealth.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I want to understand the hon. Minister clearly. On one hand, he is stating that our B+ rating stands; on the other, he is telling us that this perception or outlook of our movement from a stable to a negative state should be ignored. He is also saying that this same company will still come back to review the rating. What is the correct position on these ratings?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, Hon. Muntanga and I talk about such things because we interact very frequently. The rating is in two parts: that which relates to the economy is positive; the one that gives the future outlook is the one that is associated with doubts, which are based on the agency’s opinion. They are not talking about facts,     which are measureable. Perception is unquantifiable. In as far as the performance of the economy is concerned, thanks to the efforts of resourceful citizens like Hon. Muntanga, our rating is positive. We have a B+ rating. The only source of concern to the agency is the outlook. Actually, what they are saying is that they think that we are stealthily or covertly moving towards renationalisation, which is not the correct position. Hon. Muntanga, you would also find it difficult to give an adequate answer to a person who expresses opinions about things and ideas based on his or her own perception; things that are not quantifiable. That is why I dismissed that observation on the future outlook as being an area of opinion. I do not want to fritter effort on delving into areas that, clearly, as I said earlier, border on fiction.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister used words like ‘perception’, ‘outlook’ and ‘economic stability’, and it is a paradox that, despite our copper fetching a high price on the market, our exchange rate is going down. Would he not agree that this is a reflection of the perception that there is something that is not being done the right way? The exchange rate is not only connected to the copper price, but the foreign direct investment and many other things.  Would he not agree with the perception that foreign exchange players, including people who bring money in the country and those who take it out, think that something is wrong somewhere?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Luena has, actually, debated and given a very appropriate answer. The perception of people who think that things are not being done the right way is what is making them rush to buy more dollars than they normally need, thereby, creating an artificial shortage of the currency and, thus, pushing up the prices. The hon. Member has ably dealt with that issue.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, audibly, I have heard from the hon. Minister that there is the B+, stability and negative status. Last time, Zambia was rated B+ just like it has been rated this year. Is it not the intention of this Government to raise the rating to A+? If that is not the intention, then, what is the purpose of this Government’s being in power?


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, a B+ rating is very high. Whether we can get it to triple A is another matter. 
Mr Speaker, during part of last year and this year, Fitch Rating downgraded the rating of the United States of America (USA), France and the United Kingdom (UK). So, let us pat ourselves on the back for having done well by earning a B+ rating. 

Mr Speaker, I have talked to some big financial institutions in the world and they are quite enthusiastic to extend lending to Zambia. The only limiting factor is that you, hon. Members, have put a very low ceiling to the amount that we can borrow this fiscal year. You have not allowed us to borrow beyond 3.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). This is the only limiting factor. Otherwise, there are many people falling over each other to lend us money. 

The hon. Member, therefore, must be happy that we have a B+ rating, and not worry about people’s opinion concerning how Zambia might progress. This is why Fitch Rating has been careful enough to say that it will come back, in the course of the year, to see whether our policies are consistent and whether we are re-embarking on the process of nationalisation or grabbing property after property. 

Mr Speaker, I think that hon. Members of Parliament must have their anxieties assuaged. We are on firm ground, and I want to thank you for your contribution in making Zambia’s credibility a factor in the world. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.  

Mr Mulusa (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for a very elaborate statement. 

Mr Speaker, in the last quarter of 2008, when we had the financial crisis, the rating agencies substantially revised their rating methods. In short, they are stricter. In six months, they are likely to come back to either affirm the negative outlook or, actually, upgrade it to positive. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning of two occasions on which we warned, on the Floor of this House, about the likelihood of something like this happening. I, now, wish to know what activities the ministry will undertake to ensure that investor confidence is restored. In short, that the risk premium that has already come into the possible pricing of our bond issuance is not sustained, but reversed so that we get a good pricing. 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, there is no problem. The Government is on a very appropriate course of action and we always avail ourselves to the wise counsel of hon. Members like Mr. Mulusa. In fact, he can bear testimony to the fact that investment is rolling into his area. Is it not in his constituency where First Quantum will be developing Trident Mine, which involves several billions of Kwacha? 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: On the Copperbelt, Mwembeshi, China Non-Ferrous has a programme to launch a new mine at approximately US$800 million. This will create employment for 5,000 people. Therefore, money is coming into Zambia. 

Mr Speaker, we can differ on many other things, but not on the prosperity of Zambia. Therefore, join us in making foreigners appreciate that Zambia is a stable environment. I do not know of any country in this region that has the same stability as Zambia. This is a country where there is no communal strife. We are not likely to get on each others’ throats. We may joke across the tribes, but we do not go beyond that. This is the only country in the world where there is not a modicum of xenophobia. In my opinion, all the seeds of stability are there. I, further, appeal to hon. Members to stop giving too much prominence to what foreigners say because, at the end of the day, what will determine Zambia’s progress are Zambians, ... 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: … not the foreigners. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, obviously, Hon. Chikwanda is a very good Minister of Finance and National Planning, just as the one I am seated next to was. 

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!
Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha: Of course, if the Patriotic Front (PF) gave him some room, he would make a very good Vice-President.


Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, I want the hon. Minister to allay the fears of many hon. Members of Parliament and the nation, at large, that such a rating by Fitch Rating can have an effect on other money players in the world economy, which might result in Zambia being rated in the same manner. 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, firstly, we in the PF, are very proud of our Vice-President … 


Mr Speaker: Order!

He is expressing his view. 

Mr Chikwanda: … and none of us here wishes to supplant him because he does a commendable job. He is a tremendous source of comfort, solace and reinforcement for all of us intellectually and spiritually. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, Hon. Shikapwasha did not pay much attention when I explained what he has asked on. In fact, contrary to the negative rating assigned to us on account of the outlook, there are many financial houses that want to lend money to Zambia everyday. The banking system is either represented here or has correspondent relationships with some of our banks. So, it is very well-informed and does not really have to look at Zambia through the spectacles of Fitch Ratings. We have credibility and can get money at any time. The only limitation, like I said earlier, is that Parliament has only allowed us to incur an external debt, in respect of the fiscal year 2012, not exceeding 3.2 per cent of our GDP. 

Sir, I think that the future of this country will entail our borrowing money more on commercial terms than going via the root of the donors. Donor money takes a process to extract and, at the end of the day, they send you running around fulfilling governance benchmarks which, after you fulfil, they move the goalpost. I think that, in the history of the world, there is no evidence of any country having developed because of donor support. Being supported by the donor community is a sign of backwardness. The countries that developed very fast, like those in South-East Asia, did not do so by their recourse to the resources of what are called the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other Western donors. They merely borrowed money on the market. However, since they used the money productively, which is the bottom line, they were able to develop at a very fast rate. For example, South Korea which, at the time we became independent, had the same GDP as Zambia, at US$3.5 billion in the prices of that time. However, now, Korea’s GDP is inching towards US$1 trillion while we are stuck at just US$20 billion per year, which is what a huge retailer like Wal-Mart generates in a week.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, I know that this question has been asked by many in different fashions, but may I add my version. First of all, let me caution the hon. Minister that perception can be ignored or respected depending on the perceiver’s predisposition. Now, may the hon. Minister consider looking at this perception because it is easy to dismiss from Fitch, but what about other major economic players, whose perception might impact us negatively, that may be having the same perception?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, perception can be accepted or dismissed given specific circumstances. You cannot, generally, embrace or dismiss perception outrightly. In some cases, perception might matter more than reality. So, we are not dismissing perception. That is why I am appealing to all of us in the House to work together to improve Zambia’s image by doing the right things.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: A member of the Opposition, especially those who have ready access to Radio Phoenix, to start saying all sorts of things about Zambia, among them, the disrespect for human rights, when we are scrupulously respecting human rights, can change people’s perception of Zambia.


Mr Chikwanda: We, on this side of the House, act very responsibly. As a Government, we control the instruments of the State. To those of you who are not schooled in political science, let me explain what constitutes the State.

For a long time, political scientists were not able to agree on the definition of the State until towards the end of the 19th Centaury, when a German sociologist called Max Weber defined the concept in these terms- I am slightly embellishing his definition: 

“The State is a summation of institutions within a given territorial space which has one attribute and this attribute is exclusivity in terms of monopoly of legitimate use of violence within that specified territorial space.”


Mr Chikwanda: Without that attribute, it is not a State. That is why the State controls all the instruments of what you call law and order or, if you want to be less euphemistic, the State controls all the instruments of coercion like armies and police forces. That is why those who are in the Government and have access to the instruments of the State have to act considerately. We act considerately and with constraint to make sure the enormous powers vested in us by use of State instruments are not abused.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kaingu (Mwandi): Mr Speaker, when the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry was answering an oral question on Kafue Textiles, he said that the textile industry in this country had collapsed and so could other economic sectors. Is it not true that Zambia’s economy is being sustained by copper?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, no, the economy is not being sustained by copper because agriculture makes a very significant contribution. However, unlike the MMD policies, we, in the PF, want to diversify from a maize monoculture in the sector.

Sir, yesterday, I learnt something very valuable from the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, who has been spending sleepless nights over the money that we have been spending over this one crop called maize. He brought to my attention the fact that, last year, we spent close to K3 trillion on this crop, which was in excess of the budget given to the Ministry of Health. This kind of thing cannot be healthy. So, as the PF Government, we are going to diversify the agricultural sector of the economy. 

Sir, Brazil is one of the success stories in economic development mainly based on agriculture. It is the largest producer of coffee, sugar, soy beans, oranges, cotton and orange juice, whereas, in Zambia, we are drinking orange juice imported from South Africa, yet our conditions for producing citrus fruits are better than those in South Africa. Maybe, it is because the agricultural programmes in Zambia, under the MMD and its total lack of vision, consisted only in promoting maize …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: … even in areas where it cannot grow, and using maize as a carbohydrate component into the production of stock feeds, which sends the prices of beef and milk very high, when, in fact, there are better alternatives like cassava.

Sir, the European Union (EU), not too long ago, used to import something like 5 million tonnes of cassava from Thailand, as a carbohydrate component in their stock feed industry. Unfortunately, here, it is always about maize. We have subsidised maize to a point where we cannot export the maize we have because we have paid prices that are unrealistic and, therefore, our maize, in the context of the world market, is exorbitantly priced. Therefore, we are doing some useful diversification, and I hope that the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock will be supported to the hilt by all of us to diversify the agricultural sector away from the maize monoculture, which takes more money than the Ministry of Health.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is very happy with the B+ rating that the country, again, has got and less concerned about the negative perceptions on the outlook. Would he not agree that the second-time rating is, in fact, an assessment on whether the Government is adhering, in continuity, to the fundamentals that were established by the MMD Government on such parameters as policy credibility and predictability, and macro-economic fundamentals? Would he not agree that, actually, the B+ rating is an affirmation of the need for continuity on the foundation established by the MMD?

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, when we remove the Patriotic Front (PF), the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) and the United Party for National Democracy (UPND) from the equation, we are, at the end of the day, Zambians. Therefore, I ask Professor Lungwangwa if it matters that the B+ rating was achieved during the rule of another party.  The fact is that it was achieved by us, Zambians. So, let us not fragment ourselves unnecessarily.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: However, it seems that, on the other side of the House- and I am not saying on the other side of the divide because there is no divide- people do not want to grow and mature. I think there is a Latin saying for that kind of thing; puerorum est italia facere, which means that boys will always be boys.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker gave the Floor to Ms Lubezhi.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, my question has been overtaken by the one asked by the hon. Member for Nalikwanda.




163. Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe) asked the Minister of Home Affairs when the Government would construct a police station in Milenge District, which was being serviced by two police posts.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, the Government is in the process of sourcing funds outside the Budget to accelerate infrastructure development for the police service. Therefore, a police station will be constructed in Milenge and in many other districts once these funds are available.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I am flabbergasted by that answer because my question is very specific. The people of Milenge have suffered for long because they do not have a police station. The Government is not supposed to give me a general outlook of a police station being constructed when funds will be made available in Milenge and other places. Can I have a specific answer, or does the Government not care for the people of Milenge at all?

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Sakeni): Mr Speaker, I think the answer cannot go beyond what has been provided. The consolation factor is that we have said that we are looking for funding. If you recall, this year, our budget for new infrastructure development was only K49.5 billion. In view of this figure, we cannot give a promissory note by stating that we will take care of his concern tomorrow. However, we are more than committed to embarking on this project and many others. 

Sir, Milenge is a district centre and we are aware of that. Therefore, I can assure the hon. Member of Parliament that we are going to do the needful. I know that the plans that were left in my office by the previous Government projected that this will be done by 2015. However, given the urgency of the need for infrastructure development vis-á-vis housing and police stations for the Zambia Police Force, we believe that we may not go that long before this is done.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}


164. Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    whether the Government was considering transferring the pontoon that was at Chembe in Luapula Province to the Litoya-Kaviyonde crossing point on the Kabompo River in North-Western Province in order to connect productive areas across the river to the Kabompo Central Business District; and

(b)    if not, whether the Government had any plans to procure a new pontoon for the crossing point at (a).

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, the pontoon that was at Chembe in Luapula Province was relocated to Kashiba in Mwense District in the same province. The pontoon floaters that remained are being refurbished to make another pontoon to be operated on the Lunga River in Kasempa District, North-Western Province.

Sir, the Government, through the Road Development Agency (RDA), has budgeted K500 million for the refurbishment of the pontoon that is not in use on the Kafue River at Ngabwe crossing in Kapiri-Mposhi District, Central Province. It will, then, be relocated to Kabompo District in North-Western Province. The works will be executed by the Engineering Services Corporation (ESCO) Limited, which is the appointed local road authority responsible for the management of pontoons in the country.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, can individuals be allowed to own pontoons?

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, pontoons are a form of transport. Anyone who wants to own a pontoon needs to go through the necessary formalities and discuss with the relevant authorities.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Zimba (Kapiri-Mposhi): Mr Speaker, I am concerned with the way pontoons are operated because I was at one time stranded at a pontoon crossing point. Why does the Government charge passengers exorbitant fees to use pontoons? Someone who is using a vehicle and is not very careful can be stranded.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, a pontoon is a machine that needs to be maintained for it to remain in service. As for the issue of the fees being exorbitant, I think they differ from one pontoon to another. Therefore, it would have been helpful for the hon. Member to have been very specific for us to give an adequate answer.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the answer given by the hon. Minister. However, I would like to ask whether there is a timeframe to this project.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, we intend to have the pontoon at Ngabwe refurbished in about two months. We will ensure that it is operational by August, this year.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Sir, if I heard the hon. Minister correctly, he said ESCO is the agent appointed to run pontoons in the country. I am aware that ESCO runs three pontoons in Kazungula. Therefore, who is the owner of these pontoons?

Mr Mukanga: Sir, the owners of all pontoons in the country are the owners of all roads. The Government, at the moment, is the owner while ESCO is the authority that has been given the task to run or operate them.

Thank you, Sir.


165.    Mr Lufuma: asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    whether the Government was aware of the poor workmanship by contractors working on the M8 Road between Kabompo and Zambezi; and

(b)    if so, what measures the Government had taken to ensure that technical specifications were adhered to by the contractors.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications is not aware of any shoddy works being done on the Kabompo/Zambezi Road. According to reports from the inspections that have been done by our engineers from the RDA, the technical adviser for the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the supervising consultant, the works are being done according to specifications. There is regular supervision and the consultants are on site at all times. That said, in view of the query by the hon. Member, the ministry will dispatch a team of engineers to go and inspect the works again and feedback will be provided to this House. Should the works turn out to be shoddy, the contractor will be instructed to redo the bad works at his cost. Further, punitive measures will be meted out on the supervising consultant for allowing shoddy works to be done.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I have been missing from Parliament for about a week or two because I was in my constituency and I would like to confirm that this is a new road, but it already has potholes. So, what would you call this, hon. Minister? Is it shoddy or good work? We need serious contractors who will adhere to specifications. Please, let us take immediate action and inspect this road to ensure that it …

Mr Speaker: Order! 

You are supposed to ask a question, not to debate.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I am sorry. The question has been asked. I will sit down.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I am surprised by the confession of the hon. Member of Parliament that he was away from Parliament for one week without permission. I think that is very dangerous and the Committee on Privileges should take action.

Mr Speaker, as regards the sub-standard works alleged to have been done on the road, this Government will not condone that. We are interested in ensuring that whatever the contractor does will be value for money. It is good that you have brought this to our attention. You should, actually, have come to the office, instead of waiting to ask the question in the House, in which case we would have resolved the problem by now. Otherwise, thank you very much for bringing it up.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, when a consultant gives you a report on work that has been done, do you sit back without verifying the truthfulness of the report? I ask this because, according to the hon. Deputy Minister, the Government does not do anything after receiving such reports until an hon. Member of Parliament raises a question.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, there are procedures that we follow. Whenever works are completed, we carry out inspections and compare with the state of the road before it was worked on. We do not just sit back. We are competent enough to execute and inspect any job under the sun.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, I have also driven on the Mutanda/Chavuma Road, commonly referred to as the M8. There is a marked difference in the quality of work between the two contractors who have worked on the road. One is Belga Construction, which has worked on the road from Kasempa Turn-off to Mufumbwe, the other contractor is working from Mufumbwe to Kabompo and Zambezi. 

May I find out why this contractor continues to be paid when the consultant is not satisfied with the quality of work? Or, is it that the specifications were poor?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, before any work is executed, there is a design. When a design is given, we ask for tenders. Therefore, when the contractor is executing the job, he is supposed to follow the specifications. If there is a complaint, the consultant is always on sight. The answer that was given was that the consultant will check the road. If the consultant had given us a wrong report, both the consultant and the contractor will be penalised. We do not mince our words. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for saying that the consultants and contractors who build roads below the specifications will be penalised. In this country, history has revealed that, sometimes, consultants even sign certificates of completion of work that has not been done as the case is at Mbesuma Bridge. I would like to know what penalty is meted out on contractors, such as the one on the M8 Road, should it be discovered that he built the road below specification.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, we look at the extent of the mediocrity. If it is reparable, the repair works will be done at the contractor’s cost. Further, contractors who perpetually do shoddy jobs are blacklisted. We even want to move further and ask for reimbursement for our time they would have wasted.

I thank you, Sir.


166.    Mr Chisala (Chilubi) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications when the M. V. Bangweulu at Samfya Harbour would be rehabilitated to improve safety standards.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mwenya): Mr Speaker, the M. V. Bangweulu was built in 1968. It was brought in Zambia by a Chinese firm that was contracted to construct the Tuta Bridge. Upon completion, it was donated to Zambia. The vessel broke down in November, 2011, after it developed leakages on the base.

Sir, the vessel requires to be towed on shore so that the base can be assessed. The challenge is that the ministry does not have the facility for doing this because the workshop for repairing the vessel was sold by the Engineering Services Co-operation (ESCO) to a timber merchant. However, the ministry is making efforts to find alternative means of repairing the vessel. It has, therefore, started clearing and rehabilitating the old Government harbour with the view to creating a temporal dry-docking facility. As a stop-gap measure, the ministry shall, in the next few weeks, introduce thirty-seater passenger boats on the lakes.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that eloquent answer. He sounds so sincere because he was recently in the area to see the hardships we have been facing in terms of water transport. However, may I know whether the project of rehabilitating the M. V. Bangweulu will commence this year. If so, which boat builders will be engaged?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the refurbishment will commence this year upon the conclusion of our discussions with the owners of the harbour so that, at least, we can have some docking facility. As we have said, in the meantime, we will look at providing thirty-seater boats so that our people are not inconvenienced.

I thank you, Sir.


167. Mr Chisala asked the Minster of Agriculture and Livestock how many livestock research stations and state ranches there were in Zambia as of November, 2011.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Brigadier-General Kapaya): Mr Speaker, as of November 2011, there were two livestock research stations in Zambia, namely, Misamfu Research Station in Kasama and Mochipapa Research Station in Choma. These research stations are characterised by a dual existence with the Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) research teams. Additionally, there are nine livestock breeding centres, formerly called ranches.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, I come from Northern Province, where we have Mbesuma State Ranch. May I know whether the ranch has been restocked by the Government?

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Chenda): Mr Speaker, indeed, I would like to confirm that the Government restocked Mbesuma Ranch. Two weeks ago, I said that, in addition to the 209 animals that were there, we had bought four bulls to improve the bulling ratio on the ranch.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, may I know why the Government has reduced the number of livestock stations and state ranches in the country …

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, first and foremost, I would like to apologise to the hon. Member who was on Floor. I rise on very serious point of order …

Mr Speaker: Is it a procedural one?

Ms Lubezhi: Yes, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Go ahead.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs in order to mislead this House by denying the fact that the Government, actually, issued instructions to stop Government officials from gracing the traditional ceremonies? 

Sir, I have with me the communiqué from the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, which I will lay on the Table. I have an excerpt from the Zambia Daily Mail under the headline, ‘Scott Sata’s Envoy to Nc’wala,’ and the verbatim for 28th February, 2012, where I asked a question and she denied the fact.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi laid the paper on the Table.


Mr Speaker: Order! 

The ruling is reserved.

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, I would like to know why the Government has reduced the number of state ranches and livestock research stations in Zambia.

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, the intention of this Government is to develop livestock in this country. Funds permitting, we would like as many people as possible to diversify into livestock farming. In this regard, we will encourage people to go into this activity.

I thank you, Sir.


168. Ms Sayifwanda (Zambezi East) asked the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication when the Government would carry out maintenance works on the following feeder roads in Zambezi-East Parliamentary Constituency:

(a)    Zambezi/Nyakuleng’a via Kantonto;

(b)    Zambezi/Chitokoloki/Watopa; and

(c)    Zambezi/Kalwilo/Kabompo.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the ministry is aware of the current state of the Zambezi-Nyakuleng’a via Kantonto Road, which was worked on in 2009 by the Rural Roads Unit (RRU) up to 18km, but could not be completed due to insufficient funds. The ministry appreciates the need to upgrade, maintain and preserve this road. However, the road is not part of the projects in the 2012 Annual Work Plan.

Sir, as regards the Zambezi/Chitokoloki/Watopa Road, the ministry, through the Road Development Agency (RDA) has set aside K5.2 billion in the 2012 Annual Work Plan for the feasibility and detailed designs and tender documents for the Kaoma/Mumbezhi Road, which will include an assessment of works required on the Lukulu/Watopa Road, a Class Three gravel road stretching from Watopa Pontoon to the M8 Junction. It is part earth, part gravel from the Watopa Pontoon to Lukulu. The Watopa/Mpidi Road is an earth road that connects to the RD298 Road at Mpidi, which is also an earth road.

Sir, the RD298 connects to the D298 at Chitokoloki on the Zambezi/Chitokoloki Road, which is currently being worked on by the RRU up to Chitokoloki, which is 45km, leaving 49km of the RD 298 to connect to Mpidi at the R174. The works by the RRU involve regravelling, construction of drainage structures and bush clearing at a cost of K2 billion. Nine kilometres have been covered to date. 

Mr Speaker, the last feeder road is the Zambezi/Kalwilo/Kabompo. The ministry is fully aware of the current state of this road. Unfortunately, the road is not in the annual work plan for this year. The ministry, through the RDA, will prioritise it as and when resources become available.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, in his response, the hon. Minister has indicated that the works on the Nyakuleng’a/Kantonto Road were started but, due to lack of resources, could not continue. He has also stated that, for this year, there are no plans to work on the road even when the works were already started. Can the hon. Minister clearly state when the works will continue. At the same time, on the Chitokoloki Road, there is a very big hospital, but works that are going on are not up to standard. May I find out if at all they have carried out inspections on that road?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I think this road was being worked on sometime back and the works stopped in 2009 during the MMD Government. What is important to realise is that we have not just abandoned that project. We have been reviewing it to ensure that we find a way of prioritising it. We have been collaborating with the Provincial Roads Unit (PRU) to see how best we can do the job. Coming to the feasibility study and the detailed designs that are being done, covering Chitokoloki, the work will be so extensive that we will be able to get the desired results.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, I need a very clear explanation from the hon. Minister on what is going to happen to this Zambezi-Chitokoloki/Watopa Road because he has linked it to an important road, which His Excellency the President came to inform this House that it will be constructed from Kaoma through Lukulu to Zambezi via Watopa. However, that is a different road altogether. Can I get it very clear that, in doing that road from Kaoma to Zambezi, they will also divert to do the Zambezi/Chitokoloki/Watopa Road, which is, probably, more than 150km.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, in simple terms, the road will be done.

I thank you, Sir.



169. Ms Sayifwanda asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication when the Government would complete the construction of the bridges in Zambezi District, which were left incomplete by the Road Contractors Company (RCC) of Namibia.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the bridges in Zambezi District, which were left incomplete by the RCC of Namibia, are not part of the planned bridge works in 2012, but may be considered and prioritised in 2013 and beyond. Currently, the RDA regional office is assessing the bridges and is planning to use construction materials left by the afore-mentioned contractor to finish the works under force account. Sufficient amounts of construction materials are currently being installed at the RDA regional office in Solwezi and will be used to complete the crossings in Zambezi in 2012. The regional office, with the available resources, has the capacity to complete the construction of the less complex structures. It is worth mentioning that the more complex crossings will require more resources to be mobilised. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is confusing the House by saying that works on these bridges, which were left by this Namibian contractor, who also left works on the Bottom Road in Gwembe Constituency. Which is …


Mr Ntundu: … the correct position, Sir?

Mr Speaker, The hon. Minister said that this is not part of their work plan and, further, that there are enough materials that were left by the contractor to do bridges. Can the hon. Minister give a clear response to the House? 

Mr Speaker: I am not too sure whether the House is mixed up, but we will hear from the hon. Minister.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, we are saying that there was a contractor hired to do works in Zambezi District. This contractor, the RCC, from Namibia abandoned the works and left the country. When he abandoned the works, he left some materials behind. Despite the works not being included in the annual work plan, we believe we can still do the job because there is enough material for the less complex structures. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, I am wondering why the contractor was not stopped from running away.


Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I have also been wondering how we can allow a contractor to run away.


Mr Mukanga: I think the contractor left during the time of our predecessors and I do not like passing blame. However, I think it is important to realise that the contractor ran away and I think it was because he had too many commitments, which he could not honour. I am told that there was much litigation and that he could not even pay his employees. I am also told that this is why he decided to abandon the suppliers of materials. 

Mr Speaker, we are saying that we can still utilise what is available, in terms of material, so that we can do the works. We would not have allowed him to run away. We would have ensured that he finished the job before he left. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his explanation. However, running away is one thing; funding a project, another. These projects are normally contained in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), which runs for three years. His colleague, my uncle, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, also mentioned the existence of the MTEF. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and blah, blah … it is very long these days.  


Mr Nkombo: What rationale did the Government use to decide not to re-contract another person to continue with this work? They are telling us that money and materials are there, but the project is not in the work plan. I want to know the rationale behind stopping the works when all the ingredients to continue with the works are available. 

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, when answers are being given, it is better to pay attention. I did not say that money is there. I said that materials, whose value we can translate into money, are there.  
Sir, the value of the materials is about K1 billion and we will use it to execute the less complex jobs. We are not the ones who terminated this contract. You and I were not there. However, when this contract was terminated, it was done for a good cause. If a contractor cannot execute works and he is not paying suppliers and employees, and runs away, the contract will definitely be terminated. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: This was done some time in 2010. We came into office in September, 2011, just in case you have forgotten. Since September, we have been planning to revive this work.  

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, The Kalwilu Bridge is in such a bad state that children have stopped going to school, especially those on the Western side of the Zambezi. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister when the less complex works will commence. 

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, currently, we are assessing the state of the bridge. Immediately after the assessment, we will embark on the execution of the works. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, this project was funded by the World Bank …

Professor Lungwangwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised. 

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, my sincere apologies to the hon. Member for Zambezi West for interrupting him. 

Mr Speaker is the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication in order to mislead the nation that, since he was not there when these contracts were being terminated, he cannot be held accountable? Governance is a continuous process and the officials who were handling these contracts are still there. Therefore, they can be held accountable. Is the hon. Minister in order, really, to mislead the House and the nation with this kind of statement? 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

My short ruling is that, as the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication continues to respond, he will clarify this issue. 

The hon. Member for Zambezi West may proceed. 
Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, I thank you …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours. 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, the bridges being constructed in Zambezi District are part of a K22 billion World Bank project in the province. I heard the hon. Minister say that materials worth about K1 billion have been bought and are stored at Central Warehouse in Solwezi. I want to find out the rationale for buying and transporting materials, such as stones, to the site and, then, back to Solwezi, a distance of more than 500 km from the site. What is the rationale?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the rationale behind transporting materials back and forth is safe-keeping. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Stones? 

Mr Mukanga: Yes, even stones can be stolen by people. They steal everything.

Mr Speaker, this was also done under the MMD Government and it was for safe-keeping purposes unless they are saying otherwise now.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 


170. Mr Hamusonde: asked the Minister of Lands, Energy and Water Development when the implementation of the Rural Electrification Programme (REP) in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency would commence. 

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Energy and Water development (Mr C. Zulu): Mr Speaker, part of Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency is already electrified through grid extension, especially the areas around the mission hospital. The areas that have not yet been electrified are captured in the Rural Electrification Master Plan (REMP), according to which the rural growth centres (RGCs) in Nangoma are ranked No 6 out of the 19 project packages under Central Province and are scheduled to be electrified in 2013 using grid extension and solar. Therefore, everything is in place. By 2013, we would have finished electrifying Nangoma. We are following the master plan. I know that the MMD had a master plan, which was to bring mobile hospitals in the country three months before elections. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that the REP is one way of empowering our people in rural constituencies?

Mr C. Zulu: Mr Speaker, yes, we are aware that it is one of way of empowering rural communities. I wish to assure all hon. Members of Parliament that we are going to electrify their areas. Our master plan runs up to 2030. So, if you hear years like 2027 or 2015, know that we are just following the master plan.

I thank you, Sir.


171. Mr Mwanza (Solwezi West) asked the Minister of Education, Science and Vocational Training:

(a)    why some retired heads of schools and colleges in Solwezi District had continued performing their official duties; and

(b)    what measures, if any, the ministry had taken to ensure that public funds being handled by the retired heads were accounted for.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Vocational Training (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, there are no headteachers or principals who have been retired and are still holding on to their former offices. As a precautionary measure, all employees of the ministry due for retirement are asked to take a six months leave pending their retirement. Further, retired officers are not entrusted with public funds. However- and I want hon. Members of Parliament to pay particular attention to what I am going to say- in the event that a retired officer is found not to have accounted for public funds at the point of clearance, these funds are indicated on the regional clearance forms so that they are recovered from the worker’s terminal benefits.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


172. Mr Mwanza asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock when the Co-operative Bank would be reopened.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr N. Banda): Mr Speaker, the Co-operative Bank was or is a private bank registered under the Co-operative Societies Act on 28th August, 1989. However, the Government does support the reopening of the bank as it will strengthen the co-operative movement in the country as well as complement the Government’s efforts. 

Sir, the Zambia Co-operative Federation (ZCF) has embarked on a fund-mobilisation exercise with the support of the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to recapitalise the movement’s operations. This initiative is calling on each member of the co-operative movement to contribute K50,000 yearly for three years. The proceeds will be used to recapitalise among others, primary co-operative societies, provincial and district co-operative unions, ZCF and the Co-operative Bank.

Mr Speaker, the reopening of the Co-operative Bank will depend on its meeting the new reserve ratio of K104 billion.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kazabu (Nkana): Mr Speaker, what safeguards will the Government put in place to ensure that the Co-operative Bank does not go the same route as did the Credit Bank and Lima Bank?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, maybe, my colleague, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, would have an appropriate answer for that question. However, I would like to assure the House that all measures will be taken by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me a chance to ask another supplementary question. The reason I have a lot of interest in this is that, at one time, I was the President of …

Mr Speaker: Ask your question, please!

Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, why is the Government not emphasising so much on the co-operative movement? Even the word ‘co-operative’ is not coming out prominently from the Government cycles.

Hon. MMD Member: Hear, hear! Ba Zimba, good!

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, under my ministry, we have a fully-fledged department for co-operatives. This demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensure that the co-operative movement continues to exist in this country.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, this morning the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning mentioned that the policy of the Government is to empower local Zambian business communities. Now, may I know from the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock if he is going to lobby the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to reduce the minimum capital requirement from K100 billion for a local bank so that our local business people can also afford to set up banks so that even this Co-operative Bank can be restarted at a much lower cost?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, under the principle of collective responsibility, I am in total support of setting the minimum reserve ratio at K104 billion.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, arising from the statement by the hon. Minister that the Government fully supports the reopening of the Co-operative Bank, I want to find out the way in which the Government is rendering its support to this initiative. What assistance will it give to the co-operative movement in this venture?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, the initial step that was taken by the ZCF in its process of reopening the Co-operative Bank was to engage its members in an exercise of contributing K50,000 each to raise the initial start-up capital. The ministry provided all the logistics for transport, including members of staff, who went out in the countryside to persuade the members to contribute. So, we are committed to ensuring that the bank takes off. We will do everything within our powers to ensure that this bank takes off.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!




The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I beg to present a Bill entitled the Aviation (Amendment) Bill, 2012. The object of the Bill is to amend the Aviation Act so as to:

(a)    revise the names of designated airports; and

(b)    provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.

Mr Speaker: The Bill stands referred to the Committee on Communications, Transport, Works and Supply. The Committee is required to submit its report on the Bill to the House by Wednesday, 21st March, 2012. Hon. Members who wish to make submissions or amendments to the Bill are free to do so within the programme of work of the Committee.

Thank you.




Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the Presidential appointment of Mr Evans C. Chibiliti to serve as Secretary to the Cabinet of the Republic of Zambia, for the First Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 2nd March, 2012.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Kampyongo (Shiwang’andu): Mr Speaker, the Motion is seconded.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, your Committee was privileged to scrutinise the Presidential appointment of Mr Evans C. Chibiliti to serve as Secretary to the Cabinet. The nominee’s name was presented to Parliament for ratification pursuant to Article 53 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia.

In order to establish the suitability of the nominee, your Committee invited the security wings of the Government, the Bank of Zambia (BOZ), Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) and the Human Rights Commission (HCR) to appear before it to give both oral and written testimony.

Sir, you will be interested to note that all the witnesses who appeared before your Committee supported the appointment of Mr Evans C. Chibiliti to serve as Secretary to the Cabinet. The nominee has adequate experience having worked in the core Civil Service since 2002, when he was first appointed Permanent Secretary for Luapula Province. In 2004, the nominee was appointed Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet in charge of finance and economic development. In 2006, he was appointed Secretary to the Treasury and, two years later, he was re-appointed Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet in charge of finance and economic development.

Sir, the nominee also served in various portfolios at BOZ, where he distinguished himself. His stay at the bank was said to be illustrious while he was described as dependable, organised and resourceful, and with an admirable level of personal integrity. You may wish to note that the nominee has an immense task ahead of him because he is being appointed to head the Civil Service at a time it is confronted with numerous challenges.

Mr Speaker, one of the major challenges facing the Civil Service, today, is the public perception that it is corrupt. It is well-known that there continues to be a belief among our people that poor service delivery, deterioration in socio-economic infrastructure, such as roads, and the lack of essential drugs in hospitals is largely attributed to corruption in the Civil Service. Also of concern is the fact that there is a poor work culture in the Civil Service. This is characterised by a negative attitude towards work, poor enforcement of Government policies and a focus on inputs rather than outputs and outcomes.

Mr Speaker, it is gratifying to note that the nominee assured the Committee that he would remain fully committed to continuing with the Public Service Reforms. Your Committee was, further, pleased to note that he had committed himself to making the Zambian Public Service the best on the continent. He intends to achieve this by, among other things, prioritising the equitable treatment of all public servants.

Mr Speaker, you may wish to note that one of the reasons the Civil Service has lagged behind and continues to be inefficient is that most processes have remained manual, highly centralised and bureaucratic. In this regard, it is heartening to note that the nominee intends to promote the implementation of electronic (e)-governance, which is key to enhancing the performance of the Civil Service.

In conclusion, I wish to record members’ indebtedness and gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for according them the opportunity to serve on this important Select Committee. I also thank all the stakeholders that appeared before your Committee and contributed to its work. Gratitude also goes to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services rendered to your Committee.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

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

Mr Kampyongo: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion to ratify the appointment of Mr Evans C. Chibiliti to serve as Secretary to the Cabinet, which has been so ably moved by the mover, I wish to highlight just a few issues. In its interaction with the nominee, your Committee was impressed to note that he was conversant with the role of the Civil Service and displayed a vast knowledge, and vision for improving the operations of the Public Service. The nominee further highlighted priority areas that needed the Government’s immediate action to enable the Public Service to be relevant, effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of the citizens.

Mr Speaker, as ably stated by the mover of the Motion, the record of the nominee is impeccable and his experience vast. In this regard, your Committee unanimously recommends that the nominee be ratified.

Sir, in conclusion, I would like to thank the Chairperson of your Committee for the manner in which she handled the business of the Committee.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, from the outset, I want to support the Motion moved by the hon. Member for Luena on the appointment of Mr Evans Chibiliti as Secretary to the Cabinet. 

Mr Speaker, I have known Mr Chibiliti since 2002. During this period, he and I were serving as Permanent Secretaries for the Luapula and North-Western provinces, respectively. When I was moved to the Copperbelt Province, my colleague was elevated and became Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet and we interacted very well. 

Mr Speaker, the nominee comes with a lot of experience of how provinces and ministries are run and knows how finances at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning are administered. He comes with a wealth of experience which, if properly utilised, will add value to the Civil Service. My appeal to him would be not to forget the people who have served in this position before him. He should seek their advice in order for him to be an effective adviser to Cabinet and the President. The people who preceded him in this position include Dr Joshua Kanganja, Mr Lesley Mbula and Dr Skechley Sachika. They are all still in the country and, therefore, he should consult them whenever there is a need.

Further, Mr Speaker, the Government should make proper use of the Secretary to the Cabinet by way of seeking advice on how the Government should be run. Hon. Ministers, at their individual levels, should also seek his advice because he is their principal advisor. He will give them good advice and they should get it from him because, as the man in charge, he is able to interact well with his Permanent Secretaries, directors and the entire Civil Service. It is always important that he is consulted on most critical issues.

Mr Speaker, further, the Office of the Secretary to the Cabinet also requires advice from the lower organs. These are officials who are appointed to help him. My appeal is that he needs to be helped by giving him good officers in senior positions. 

Mr Speaker, on Page 13 of your report, the last paragraph reads:

“Your Committee wanted to know whether politicians are not making the job of the Civil Service difficult by appointing cadres who had no clue about the Civil Service to very important positions. In response, the Minister submitted that he was not aware that any appointments had been made on such grounds and that, if there were any such appointments, it was unfortunate.”

Mr Speaker, on Page 3 of today’s edition of The Post Newspaper, under the headline, “Appointment of Cadres Worry CCZ” it reads:

“The Council of Churches in Zambia has described as retrogressive and discriminatory the appointment of cadres to senior Civil Service positions.”

Mr Speaker, paragraph 3 of this Communiqué says:

“‘The prominent PF cadres, some of whom lost in the just-ended elections, have been appointed to senior Civil Service positions as controlling officers, District Commissioners, and into professional positions in the foreign service and parastatals’, he said.”

Mr Speaker, since this position is there to provide advice to the Government, it is important that the Secretary to the Cabinet is supported by people who are qualified in senior Civil Service positions. Why have I said so? When you consider the position of District Commissioner (DC), it is one in charge of chairing the District Development Co-ordinating Committee (DDCC). Now, if you have a DC who is a mere cadre and not properly qualified, he will fail to articulate issues and explain the Government’s policies. He will find it difficult to present reports before the Provincial Development Co-ordinating Committee (PDCC).

Mr Speaker, it is my sincere hope that, this time around, the Secretary to the Cabinet will hold meetings for the National Development Co-ordinating Committee (NDCC) so as to get development reports from the provinces. In December, 2011, we approved the Budget with funding towards the PDCC meetings for most provinces. These meetings are very important in trying to promote and co-ordinate developmental activities in respective provinces and districts. 

Mr Speaker, we are also talking about the devolution of power. If we have people who are not qualified in senior positions like DCs, how are they going to provide good advice to the Secretary to the Cabinet who, in turn, is supposed to give good advice to the President and Cabinet? Therefore, let the people on your right advise the appointing authority to stick to promises made. 

Mr Speaker, yes, as the MMD, we made mistakes, in some instances, when …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: … we appointed some people to Civil Service positions and our colleagues on your right were always opposing us saying that once they came into office, they would not do that. However, the opposite is happening and, if anything, it is worse, now, than before.


Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, if we are to have an effective Civil Service, let us have qualified staff in those positions. It is true that the technocrats- the people who are qualified in the Civil Service- get frustrated when, as degree holders, they are supervised by people who do not even have appropriate qualifications. It is not known whether they went up to Grade Seven or Form Two levels because the certificates are not there. If this is how we are going to run our Civil Service, even this man we are ratifying as Secretary to the Cabinet, no matter how good he is, as an individual, if he does not get good advice from the lower administrative echelons, he will fail. 

Sir, if this is how we will run the Civil Service, no matter how effective the person we are ratifying now is, he is bound to fail because of a lack of proper advice from the people surrounding him who are appointed into Civil Service positions by Government.

Sir, the nominee comes into that position with much experience and boldness. My sincere hope is that, when he gives good advice without fear, he will not be dropped. Let us have security of tenure for these constitutional offices so that the right people are motivated to accept appointments to these positions of responsibility.

Mr Speaker, the position of Secretary to the Cabinet is not a good one. The one holding this position is the one who will get all the blame for everything. Currently, there are negotiations for conditions of service in the Civil Service and this office will take the blame for any failures in that process. Therefore, at least, let him have the security of tenure. The people in the Government must be willing to accept his advice no matter how uncomfortable it is; even if it is not what they want to hear. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to add my voice to those who are supporting the Motion for the ratification of the nominaton of the Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr Evans Chibiliti. 

Sir, as I have indicated, I support the Motion. However, there are a few observations I would like to make pertaining to the body of the report of your Committee. 

Mr Speaker, first of all, I would like to agree with the appointing authority. I would like to quote the response to a question that was posed to the hon. Minister of Justice, on Page 14 of the report as follows:

“The Minister of Justice submitted that he was not aware that any appointments had been made on such grounds and that if there were any such appointments, it was unfortunate.”

Sir, I agree with the hon. Minister that it is very unfortunate that, of late, appointments in the Civil Service have been made based on political considerations.

Sir, His Honour the Vice-President made a statement on the appointment of District Commissioners in this House. He categorically stated that only qualified civil servants would be appointed to the position of District Commissioner. All of us, on your left, were happy that we were seeing a glimmer of change in the way we appoint District Commissioners in Zambia. 

Mr Speaker, His Honour the Vice-President went on to state that District Commissioners were civil servants who were bound by the Civil Service regulations but, alas, barely a month after that major pronouncement, all the professional civil servants have been removed by the Government on your right. The cadres have, now, been appointed in their stead.

Hon. Opposition Member: Shame!

Mr Mwiimbu: You will recall that, when you came into office, you removed all the District Commissioners appointed by the MMD on the basis that they were cadres, and that your Government would not allow that. You attempted to professionalise the Civil Service.

Mr Speaker, we have noted, with concern, that some of the District Commissioners who have been appointed only have party allegiance and birth certificates as qualifications.


Mr Mwiimbu: They do not qualify to be District Commissioners. 

Sir, it is very frustrating to have someone who reads a newspaper upside-down supervising professionals in various districts. It is very unfortunate.

Mr Speaker, I recall my very dear friend, Hon. Kambwili, and others who were in this House in the last session, opposing the office of District Commissioner. We, together with our colleagues on your right, attempted to have the office abolished. The argument, then, was that we should not allow this position because it had been politicised.

Sir, I am sad, as I stand here, …

Hon. Government Members: As always!

Mr Mwiimbu: … that my very good friends, who used to speak passionately against this office and the appointment of cadres, are the ones in the forefront of supporting this practice of appointing cadres.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I recall witnessing a very unfortunate incident where His Honour the Vice-President was officiating at a breakfast for women held by the PF. At that meeting, …

Hon. Government Members: Were you there?

Mr Mwiimbu: It was live on television.

… the Secretary-General, by the way, he is my brother, stated that, for contracts and other positions in the Republic of Zambia, the PF would demand certain qualifications; that, as it is done in other recruitments, they would indicate the qualifications for that position. He indicated that, however, there would be an added advantage, apart from the stipulated qualifications, which would be membership in the PF.


Mr Speaker: Order, order! 

Do not debate while seated.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I am also aware that the PF Manifesto, in the last session of this august House, was laid on the Table by the former hon. Member of Parliament from Luapula. He quoted extensively from the constitution of the PF, and one of the provisions in it states– I will not quote verbatim- that “All senior positions in the Government, Judiciary, Army, Police Service, including all the wings of the Government, will be held by Party cadres.” That is the constitution of the PF.


Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, I am not surprised that my colleagues on your right are religiously following the party constitution.  

Mr Speaker, our colleagues on your right used to religiously lambast the MMD Members, when they were in the Government, over partisan appointments. The argument was that partisan appointments defeated the essence of professionalism in the Public Service. Unfortunately, I have realised that our colleagues were envious of what the MMD Government was doing.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, they were just looking for an opportunity to be in the Government so that all their party cadres are given these positions, which they were condemning. What is good for the goose must be good for the gander. 

Mr Speaker, I have noted that the nominee, whom, I hope, we are going to ratify, today, said on page 12 of the report, which I quote: 

“In response to whether there was set criteria on appointments in the Public Service and if these appointments were made on merit, the nominee submitted that it was cardinal to appoint well-qualified officers as this was linked to the effective and efficient performance of the Public Service.” 

Mr Speaker, I have no doubt that this tendency of appointing cadres, which the PF is religiously following, will affect efficiency in the Civil Service. All the so-called good pronouncements they are making will not amount to anything. Those who have the responsibility to manage the daily affairs of the Republic of Zambia, through the Public Service, will not be able to deliver and perform. Fortunately, those cadres will not be in this House. The ones who will be held accountable are my colleagues on your right. 


Mr Mwiimbu: Yes. You are ready to be held accountable? I doubt that.

Mr Speaker: Order! 

The debate is through the Speaker.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I doubt whether they are ready to be held accountable. If they are failing to honour the commitments they made in this House, how will they be held accountable? They made a commitment on the Floor of this House, but have blatantly violated it. When they make commitments through this House, they are making them to the people of Zambia, but they have failed to honour them. 

Mr Ntundu: Kambwili!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, our colleagues are on record, of late, of being a ruling party in Zambia that has reneged on almost all the pronouncements it made during the election campaigns. 


Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, they always come up with justifications for breaking those pronouncements with impunity. They do not even believe that they are breaking them. As the hon. Minister of Justice has indicated, he does not believe in appointing cadres. I know that he is a man of honour. He is a State Counsel and believes in professional appointments. I hope that His Honour the Vice-President, with whom we used to condemn the appointment of cadres into the Civil Service together, does not believe in this. He believes in collective responsibility, or irresponsibility, over certain things and has, therefore, no choice.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, we are ratifying the Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr Chibiliti, a qualified person. 


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mwiimbu: However, this qualified person, Hon. Mwaliteta, will not perform without the support of qualified people. Most of the Permanent Secretaries whom we are appointing have no iota of knowledge of what transpires in the Public Service. They have no idea at all. They are merely appointed because they are loyal to a political party. You should realise that this country belongs to all of us. When we make these criticisms constructively, it is for the benefit of all of us. I know a number of you and I can even see that Hon. Kambwili is agreeing with me. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Member: Viva, Kambwili.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, he knows that what I am saying is right because he was very passionate about this issue. I know that, secretly, he is very passionate about this matter. 

Mr Ntundu: Openly!

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Lets us avoid telepathy. 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, my appeal to my colleagues on your right is to reflect on this matter of appointments of cadres to responsible positions in the Public Service. These are the controlling officers. I know that many of you, together with us, have always been saying that it is the politicians who are plundering the resources of the nation. Please, take note that the major plunder is done by the civil servants. Most of those civil servants who have been caught in the web of plunder are the unqualified appointees. If we continue at this rate, the plunder we are talking about, the commissions of inquiry we are appointing, the investigations we are undertaking and the surcharges we are making will catch up with you. You should mark my words. A number of you are good people, …

Mr Ntundu: Like Kambwili!

Mr Mwiimbu: … but bear in mind that good people have been caught up in issues of plunder even when they may not have participated. They got involved because of the unqualified personnel under their jurisdiction, in some instances. I, therefore, would like to appeal to you to reflect on this matter.

Mr Vice-President, I know that …


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, through you, I know that the Vice-President does not believe in the appointment of cadres. As he goes out of this House, today, and discusses with the appointing authority, he should bring out these sentiments, which have been genuinely brought out for the benefit of all Zambians and future generations. When I look at him, through you, …


Mr Mwiimbu: ... I know he will do something about it. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Speaker: Is that possible? 


Mr Speaker:  I must compliment the fact that I am transparent. 


The Deputy Minister for Eastern Province (Mr C. Banda): Mr Speaker, I thank you for affording me this opportunity to deliver my Maiden Speech as well as contribute to the Motion on the Floor. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: Mr Speaker, allow me, belatedly, to congratulate you on your election as Speaker of this House. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda:  Mr Speaker, allow me to say that the appointing authority made the right decision to land on you. I am one person who worked with you on the other side of our administration and activity and I know how much you worked out there. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: I am sure that you are going to propel this House to the highest levels of integrity and efficiency. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: Mr Speaker, allow me, again, to belatedly congratulate His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, on his resounding victory over the MMD in the 20 September, 2011 elections. 

Hon. Government Members: And UPND!

Mr C. Banda: Mr Sata was unanimously and overwhelmingly voted for by the people of Zambia ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: …despite the hostilities that came from the opposing forces. 

Mr Speaker, there was so much said about him. Some people said that, if he won the election, he would start throwing old men and women into oceans while others said that he would be cutting off breasts of old women. Others said he would turn the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses into maize sheds and many other things.  

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: Mr Speaker, what has happened is that we have the right President for this country. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: Mr Speaker, one very prominent feature today is that we have a politician for a President. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: The last time we had a politician for a President was when we had Dr Kaunda. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: President Chiluba was a trade unionist, not a politician. This is why he was not able to drive the agenda of this country efficiently. Thereafter, we had President Mwanawasa, who was also not a politician. The MMD gave us a professional lawyer. Later, the MMD gave us Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, who was not a politician but a diplomat. 


Mr C. Banda:  Mr Speaker, it is only now that, …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Let us have some silence. 

Mr C. Banda: … for the second time, we have a politician for a President.  

This is why he is more action-oriented than the others, who spent a lot of time in the office reading and doing nothing about the problems of this country. Now, we have a President who goes out to associate with the grassroots and who knows what problems we have on the ground. This is why Zambia has changed for the better and the people are happy. They are happy because they have a Government that is working for them. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate, once again, His Excellency, President Michael Sata, and the Patriotic Front (PF). 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: Mr Speaker, I also want to thank President Sata for having found me useful and appointing me Provincial Minister for Eastern Province. 

Mr Speaker, the PF has a very unique manifesto in which we have prioritised development. Even when I was sent to Eastern Province, the President gave me specific instructions to go and work with everyone in the province to enhance development. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: Mr Speaker, it is because of this instruction that I have come in the open to speak to all my colleagues who are representing the people in the province, regardless of party affiliation, to work with me and I with them. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: Mr Speaker, I have done the same with the provincial heads of departments and district heads of department. I have told them that I seek their friendship, which is not that of drinking beer together, but the willingness for them to work. This is because, if they are not willing to work, then, development will not come. 

Mr Speaker, in Eastern Province, we have had our share of challenges that we, as the PF, would like to address. These challenges are in the area of agriculture, where we would like to do what our colleagues in the MMD failed to do. We want to ensure that the provision of inputs is done on time and adequately and that even the marketing of the produce is done on time and the money paid on time. The situation should change. On the agenda, we must have efficiency so that, when our farmers deliver their inputs, they are paid on time. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: Mr Speaker, we also have challenges with the road infrastructure in Eastern Province. I am glad to say, here, that the PF is alive to this fact and we have to do something about it. I want to commend the President for taking note of this very serious problem by appointing a division in the Ministry of Defence where he has positioned a Deputy Minister to be responsible for the Zambia National Service (ZNS) and Rural Development. 

Mr Speaker, we need to develop the rural areas if we are going to match at the same pace with the urban areas. The moment we deal with the rural areas, it is possible that we might have situation where there will be urban-rural migration. People will go back to the rural areas because the facilities will be there. 

I wish to encourage our colleague in the Ministry of Defence, especially the Deputy Minister responsible for ZNS and Rural Development, not to only take the position for personal ego, but for serious work because this is where the development of this country lies. This is a very important unit that the President has brought to us. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: In Eastern Province, we appreciate and are very happy. We wish to see ourselves benefiting.

Mr Speaker, we have so many areas of concern in the education sector. We are very happy with the pronouncements that the President made that we should change the system from the basic schools and go back to having primary and secondary schools. This is because we are going to enhance the quality of education in this country.

Sir, on health provision, we want to ensure, as per our manifesto, that we provide this service, as much as we can, on the door step of our people. The cry of our people in the Eastern Province is to have health facilities within every 5 km so that people do not have to travel 20 km to access healthcare.

Sir, yesterday, I was very pleased to see that, in Chipata and Katete, the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health is ensuring that the Cash Transfer Scheme begins to work and benefits all. Most of us did not know what it meant. I, personally, thought that, maybe, that was just a way of stealing money from the Government. However, yesterday, I went to witness the disbursement of funds through this system. I, now, understand why we must have that scheme to help the aged, orphaned and the disadvantaged among ourselves.

Mr Speaker, all I can say is that I am looking forward to a situation where that initiative is rolled out to all the districts of this country. We have many people who are crying for help, which they are not getting.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mr C. Banda: We are going to use that as a pilot project. For this reason, I will urge my colleagues here, especially those in the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, to put a little more emphasis on that. We are going to support you.

Sir, the PF Government says we must reduce the levels of poverty and feels that this is one way that will assist us in doing so. So, let us support that initiative.

Mr Speaker, I have said much of what I feel should be done and how much I attach myself to the issues of development. I wish, once again, to ask my colleagues that we shall be working with, especially in Eastern Province, that we should not look at whose child one is, but at the fact that we are servants of the people.

Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: If we move in that manner, it is not you or I who is going to benefit, but the people of the province. So, I am your Provincial Minister. Support me and I will support you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Banda: Sir, on the appointment of Mr Chibiliti as Secretary to the Cabinet, I wish to support the Motion fully. I have known Mr Evans Chibiliti from the time he was a young man and was starting work at the Bank of Zambia some time back in 1980. That was a group of envied university graduates then. I was already in the Civil Service myself when he joined the Bank of Zambia.

Hon. UPND Member: How old were you?

Mr C. Banda: I was quite old.


Mr C. Banda: By 1980, if you may wish to know, I had already worked …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, do not get engaged.


Mr Mwila: Bebe mudala! Mwebe!

Mr C. Banda: I knew Mr Chibiliti when he was joining the Bank of Zambia together with other very hardworking Zambians like the late Felix Kani. That was a very envied group at the Bank of Zambia. 

I have known, Mr Chibiliti, whom I always call Evans, as somebody who is very dedicated to duty and hardworking. When he is given an assignment, he does it to the best of his ability. I have followed his activities. He was a very effective Permanent Secretary for ten years during which time he really showed himself to be somebody who was committed to public service. I was not surprised when he was appointed Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet because it has been his nature to work. I went to his office to speak to him when he got the appointment of Secretary to the Cabinet and I said, “Do not lose track. Be the same Evans and you will make it.” I am saying, on the Floor of this House, again, that he must not lose track or sight of the assignment that he has been given. I am sure that he is going to succeed.

Sir, I support the Motion on the Floor.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. This is Women’s Week. So, it is good that the Speaker is balancing, so that a woman should also speak on this very important Motion.

Sir, I wish to support the Committee’s recommendation that Mr Evans C. Chibiliti be appointed to serve as Secretary to the Cabinet.

Mr Speaker, the Secretary to the Cabinet is a very important position in the land. In my opinion, the Secretary to the Cabinet is the number one civil servant in the land. He also acts as an adviser to the President just as a Permanent Secretary in a ministry would advise a Minister. So, he is very important in the discharge of functions of the President. He works side by side with the President and the Cabinet. So, this, in itself, shows how important the position is.

Sir, looking at what all the witnesses said about this nominee, I am comfortable and satisfied that he is the right person for that job at the moment. It is so refreshing that all the speakers, so far, both from your left and right, for a change, are in agreement on this matter, which is good and very healthy because it will help Mr Chibiliti to work in an efficient manner knowing that he was supported by the whole House. 

In saying this, I think that we need to commend the President, who is the appointing authority, for making a very wise decision.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: He has not only made a wise decision on the appointment of the Secretary to the Cabinet but, also, on that of the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, especially, when you consider the fact that these are people who have been retained from previous administrations. After the change, you would have expected that the President would have chosen a non-MMD supporter. I think that credit must go to the appointing authority that he has made the right decision.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Masebo: Sir, I have heard, on the Floor of this House, some of the sentiments that have been expressed by some of my colleagues, in particular, the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central, Mr Mwiimbu. I was listening very attentively. If you noticed, there was total silence in the House when he was talking. I think that some of the issues that he raised are important and pertinent. I know that the UPND has not been in the Government before …

Hon. PF Members: They will never be!

Mr Masebo: … to be able to decide how they could run a government. However, the other colleagues on the other side, your neighbours, the immediate past Government, the MMD, have had the privilege of being in the Government for a long time.

Mr Kalaba: And they wasted it!

Mrs Masebo: I was very attentive to what you were saying because you have not been given a chance and, maybe, if given a chance, you would do things differently. However, the others should not even talk because opportunities and big mandates were given to them, but they were squandered.

Mr Kalaba: On burying money!


Mrs Masebo: Now that the PF has been given this mandate, I think that it must continue to listen to the people. We must remember how we came into the Government and what issues the people of Zambia raised before electing us.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: I think that is important if we are going to remain in the Government. I heard the Secretary General of the PF say that we will be in the Government for sixty years.

Hon. PF Members: Ninety!

Mrs Masebo: Oh, ninety? Okay. So, the point that I want to make is that I hear what the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central is saying and I think that there are lessons to learn from those statements he has made. However, let me say that running a government, ministry or, indeed, a district is not as easy as we see it. I think that this is a very serious issue that I would like my colleagues in the United Party for National Development (UPND) to listen to. 

Sir, the position of Secretary to the Cabinet is very important. This position will make us, as the PF, either succeed or fail. Now, I am saying to those who have not run a government before that running a government is not easy. Indeed, it is true that the PF, in the run up to the elections, said that it would run a professional Civil Service once elected. However, it is not true that the current PF Manifesto talks about having a cadre professional body. Maybe, it is the old manifesto, but the current manifesto …


Mr Speaker: Order, order!

Mrs Masebo: … is very clear about having qualified individuals to serve in the Government. Now, we need to distinguish the word ‘qualified’ from this issue of cadres. My personal view is that a cadre is a citizen and, like any other citizen, is entitled to serve in the Government in his or her country. This can be in a department, civil society or anywhere else.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: So, when we discuss these issues, I think we need to be very clear. The hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central must not be demonising cadres because it is the cadres who have put all of us here, both on the right and left side of the House.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: I think the point we must be making to the Executive or the appointing authority is that we must employ people who are qualified in the Public Service so that they help us to be efficient. I also want hon. Members of the Opposition to understand that they have a big role to play in helping the Executive do that which is good for all of us. If, when you become an hon. Member of the Opposition your only duty is to see a President or party in Government fail, that is when you see politicians, the appointing authority or, indeed, hon. Ministers, beginning to change because they have to survive. 

Mr Speaker, I recall how the late President Mwanawasa tried to fight corruption and it was difficult for him because he did not get the support that he needed from both sides of the House. Therefore, as a human being, when you see that there is instability in the country because the decisions that you have made are not being supported by even your own political party, you begin to take steps backwards. You will have to take into account your political party members first, despite the need to employ people with other political affiliations. I think that is what the President, who is the appointing authority, may have decided to do in appointing the people the Opposition is calling cadres. The point I am making to the UPND is that when, for example, the Executive comes here with any issue, such as the fight against corruption or asking the House to remove the immunity of somebody because he stole, if they can see that the Executive has a point and they think it is right, they must support such ideas. However, if they think what the Executive is doing is wrong, they should not support it. The problem is that the UPND connives with people who were doing wrong and starts protecting them. That makes the people on the right become weak in terms of numbers in this House and, then, they begin to take steps to ensure that they achieve their objectives.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: The President, now, has decided to appoint people who are affiliated with his party because he has seen that, if he does not do that, he will not have a stable Government.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Certain steps have to be taken in order to stabilise the country and the Government. However, as I said, the point, here, is that the person appointed should be qualified. Whilst I, personally, support professionalism, the House will agree with me that some of the people may have all the necessary papers, but cannot deliver. They are totally non-performers. So, you can say that you want a Permanent Secretary …


Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, in fact, the heckler is right that it is wrong to assume that …


Mrs Masebo: … some presidential aspirants do not have qualifications to be President because they have never been hon. Members of Parliament. That is not right because some of them may not have been hon. Members of Parliament, hon. Ministers or councillors, but they can make better presidents than those who have been councillors and hon. Ministers before.


Mrs Masebo: Therefore, in supporting this Motion and, also, considering what the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central has said, I think that we all have a role to play to make this country a better place for all of us. The running of a Government is not a one-man show. The House also needs to remember that, even if these appointments are made by the President, he does not have all these names in his head. He might not even know some of the people he appoints. There are people who make proposals for some people to be appointed to certain positions. 

Sir, I heard somebody on the Floor of the House asking His Honour the Vice-President whether the President consulted on various issues and I was laughing in my heart and wishing that people understood that some of the appointments that are made in the name of the President are not done by the President himself. They are done by many other people. Sometimes, even hon. Members of the Opposition can ask the President to appoint a certain individual to a Government portfolio and the President will listen.


Mrs Masebo: I know that this has happened before. Some hon. Members of an Opposition party have had strong influence on a President. Since the President thought that the idea of the Opposition was good, he took it. So, let us not mislead the world to believe that one man will decide all the appointments in this country. Even me, as a simple hon. Member of Parliament in Chongwe Constituency, when it comes to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), I do not come up with all the names of people to sit on the committee to administer this fund. It is my colleagues in the party, church and on the streets who come to my office and make suggestions to me. Of course, the bulk of the nominations are done by me. So, it is not true that all these appointments at the national level are arrived at by one man without consultation.

Mr Kalaba: No, no. Fya mu MMD ifyo.

Mrs Masebo: What is important is that we give leaders in the current Government a chance or, in other words, a rope to hang themselves. That is why they have been given a mandate for five years. Whatever appointments hon. Ministers make on the boards of institutions under their ministries, or whatever appointments the President makes, they will reflect in the votes five years from now. So, Let us not make things difficult. I know that, even in the last Government, some appointments that were made were worse than some of those that President Sata has made. We had Permanent Secretaries who did not even have a Grade 7 certificate. Some of the people did not even speak the way they are speaking today. As leaders, consistency is important.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: That is why, today, some of our colleagues are being charged, and they are wondering why. Let us all, as leaders, remember that there is time for each one of us. Now is the time for my able Vice-President, Dr Guy Scott. Let him enjoy his job.

Hon. Government Members: George Kunda, watuchusha!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Frankly speaking, if I look with hindsight, I wonder how somebody, instead of another, became Vice-President. However, that was the choice then just as Dr Scott is the current choice. Therefore, let us respect and support each other to move forward.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Government Member: Walishiba ukulanda iwe!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, let me say a few words to the Secretary to the Cabinet. I have known him and have no doubt about his capabilities. He just has to be candid and advise the Cabinet properly and help the President. We do not want chola boy kind of Permanent Secretaries or Secretaries to the Cabinet. We do not want people who want to keep their jobs by not doing them.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, you have diverted from the official language.

Mrs Masebo: What did I say?

Hon. Government Member: Chola boy.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I am sorry. I was referring to civil servants who will not give good advice to hon. Ministers or the President. I would rather have a Permanent Secretary or Secretary to the Cabinet who will tell me that, “Madam President, this appointment is wrong. However, since you are the President and the one who will answer in the next five years, you can have it your way”. That is more important than saying ‘yes’ to whatever the boss says. Inde bwana. Inde bwana, muzungu anikonde …


Mrs Masebo: That means, “Yes boss, yes boss”.


Mrs Masebo: Such civil servants can make you end up like my brother, Hon. Shikapwasha.


Lietenant-General Shikapwasha: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Lietenant-General Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, I am attentively listening to this hon. Member of Parliament, who is debating in a cross country fashion, totally unfocussed on what is on the Floor, and has even gone on to talk about me. I do not understand what she is saying about me. However, if she wants me to surcharge Chanda Chimba for the lobola that she wants, I am prepared to do so. Is she in order to disturb my attention to the debate that is currently on the Floor of the House?

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member is certainly out of order.  She may continue and wind up her debate.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, in fact, what I am debating is very relevant. You need a civil servant who is professional in his advice. If he does not advise you properly, you, the hon. Minister or the President can end up in trouble like my good brother, who is an honest priest, but has ended up in trouble and even started lying on Sunday, as we have been told.


Hon. Government Member: Na Dora mumulandepo!

Dr Chituwo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, this is a very serious House. Is my younger sister debating in order to ignore the ruling of the Chair, on the point of order raised by Hon. Shikapwasha?

Hon. Government Member: Which younger sister?

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Chongwe is certainly out of order and I would like to state, specifically, that it is not permitted within the vocabulary of the House to use the word ‘lying’. She is certainly out of order.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I take your guidance considering that I am the newest hon. Member in the House and will have to learn some things. I replace the word ‘lying’ with ‘misleading’. 

Mr Speaker, in winding up, as my leaders in the Front Bench have guided, I just want to say that Mr Evans Chibiliti is the right person for this position. Like many other appointments that the Head of State has made, this is a good one. I am sure that we all agree that this is one of the best appointments. 

Mr Speaker, we have to have a system that takes into account disabled people. If, out of ten civil servants, you have one uneducated, it is okay because the uneducated will represent his kind. We just have to balance here and there.


Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, what is important is to have a good team of civil servants. You all agree with me that, out of ten appointments that the Head of State has made, nine got 100 per cent approval in this House. One got 75 per cent approval, which is still good enough.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Therefore, I am glad that, through a good appointment of the head of the Public Service, we shall see the impact filter down to the lower ranks. Remember that, as the PF Government implements decentralisation, some appointments will be falling out automatically. I am sure that, by the end of five years, you will see a professional Civil Service in place. I hope that the Front Bench will not make us make statements, here, that we will not fulfil. I am confident that they will fulfill their promises, especially, with big heads like the Vice-President and the Ministers of Finance and National Planning and Justice. We are certain, as members of the PF, that this Government will definitely do better. Remember that the President has said that he is running this country based on the Ten Commandments. It is not a mean statement to make. When you look at the Ten Commandments, the first five sound easy, but the last four are not, yet he is committed to ensuring that the Ten Commandments are fulfilled. You must know, then, that we are in for a Public Service that shall not steal.

Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I just want to ask the House to support this nomination.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, in winding up this debate, I wish to reiterate that the nominee has distinguished himself as a man of integrity, who is coming in at a time when there has been a change of Government. He is a person with a vision to transform the Public Service into a more relevant, effective and efficient one in order to dispel the public perception that the Civil Service is self-serving, as opposed to serving the needs of the citizenry. What person is better placed to manage this transition from one Government to another than Mr Chibiliti. Therefore, I wish to thank the hon. Members who contributed and the whole House for supporting the Motion.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Question put and agreed to.


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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1806 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 7th March, 2012.