Debates- Thursday, 15th July, 2010

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Thursday, 15th July, 2010

The House met at 1430 hours 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The Minister of Health (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, I am grateful that you have given me permission to make a ministerial statement on the outbreak of measles in the country.

Sir, Zambia is currently experiencing a measles outbreak. Measles is among the world’s most contagious diseases affecting children. It can cause severe complications such as pneumonia and diarrhoea that can lead to death. It can easily spread by droplets through coughing and sneezing. In the African region, several countries are experiencing measles outbreaks. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), by mid-June, 2010, about fourteen countries had reported more than 47,000 measles cases and more than 700 deaths. Recently, confirmed measles outbreaks have been documented in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia.

Mr Speaker, Zambia recorded the last major measles epidemic in 2003. Since then, the measles cases significantly reduced from more than 30,000 measles cases per year to very low figures of 200 cases per year and virtually no deaths from the disease. This was as a result of the first measles catch-up vaccination campaign that was conducted in June, 2003 and targeted children under fifteen years of age. It follows that such major campaigns like the catch-up vaccination campaign be supplemented, periodically, by Under-Five years follow-up Measles Vaccination campaigns. 

The country is experiencing this outbreak due to the following factors:

(a)    an accumulation of susceptible or vulnerable children since the last Measles Vaccination Campaign in 2007;

(b)    missed opportunities during routine immunisation;

(c)    children that do not get protection even after being vaccinated. There are about 15 per cent of them and this is expected;

(d)    flooding which disrupted routine vaccinations in the affected areas, especially in Lusaka;

(e)    religious beliefs by some groups of people, especially in Lusaka and Central provinces where some of those affected belong to a certain sect. 

Mr Speaker, to date, Zambia has reported 4,255 measles cases and eighty-eight deaths countrywide. Lusaka District alone has recorded 3,242 cases, 76 per cent of the country’s measles cases, with eighty-four deaths. Other districts reporting measles outbreaks are as follows:

District    No. of Cases    No. of Deaths

Lundazi     577    03
Chibombo    82    01

    Nyimba    87    Nil
    Chama    26    Nil

Mr Speaker, Zambia has adopted a WHO recommended strategy to conduct follow-up measles vaccination campaigns every three to four years. The last Measles Vaccination Campaign was conducted in 2007. The country is due to conduct a Follow-up Measles Vaccination Campaign in 2010. This is supplemental to the routine immunisation services provided at public health institutions at no cost. The Ministry of Health has procured all the required vaccines and logistics for routine immunisation services.

Mr Speaker, this year’s combined countrywide Measles Vaccination Campaign and Child Health Week is planned to take place from 19th to 24th July, 2010. The campaign is targeting children aged between nine months and four years. However, the target for Lusaka District will be six months to five years. The vaccination campaign will take place from 19th to 24th July, 2010.

The objectives of the combined Child Health Week and Measles Vaccination Campaign are as follows:

(a)    immunise, at least, 95 per cent of  all the children aged between nine months and four years with the measles vaccine regardless of their immunisation status. In this category, it is estimated that there are 1,620,914 children;

(b)    immunise, at least, 95 per cent of all the children aged between zero and five years with the polio vaccine, regardless of their immunisation status, in thirty polio high risk districts bordering Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are about 1,199,245 children in this category. 

You may wish to know that Zambia had eliminated polio by 2005. Elimination means we do not have any confirmed cases. We are now targeting its eradication. Eradication can only be achieved if the neighbouring countries stop reporting polio cases;

(c)    provide Vitamin A supplementation to, at least, 90 per cent of the children of six months to five years of age. It is estimated that there are 2,345,713 children in this age range in Zambia. Vitamin A helps maintain the surface linings of the eyes and the respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts; and

(d)    de-worm, at least, 90 per cent of children aged one to five years. In this age range, there are about 2,055,793 children. 

Sir, preparation for the 2010 Measles Vaccination Campaign started in 2009. The progress made, so far, is as follows:

(a)    distribution of vaccines and other logistics, which are in the country, to be used in the Measles Vaccination Campaign;

(b)    printing and distribution of communication materials, supervision and monitoring or data tools;

(c)    orientation of national co-ordinators and supervisors and the provinces and districts;

(d)   distribution of vaccines and other logistics directly to all the seventy-two  districts; and

(e)    remittance of funding to all health institutions.

Mr Speaker, recognising that Lusaka District has been the most affected by the outbreak, specific measures have been undertaken such as:

(i)    zoning of Lusaka District into eight clusters for easier implementation of vaccination activities;

(ii)    re-enforcing routine immunisation by conducting daily measles vaccinations and active measles surveillance;

(iii)    opening of two Measles Isolation wards at University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and Chawama Clinic for management of measles patients; and

(iv)    sensitising the civic leadership at a full council meeting in Lusaka City by the Ministry of Health.

Sir, despite all these preparations, the ministry still faces some funding gap to successfully implement this Measles Vaccination Campaign. Its success lies in the following: 

(i)    mobilisation of additional personnel to ensure all eligible children are reached through setting up of outreach sites or posts in the communities. Trained staff will administer the measles injections safely;

(ii)    mobilisation of transport to distribute the required logistics to the vaccine outreach posts in the communities. Programme co-ordinators, supervisors and vaccination team members require transport to reach the outreach sites; and

(iii)    effective community mobilisation to create demand so that communities 
 are informed of the dates, sites and target groups for the campaign. 

Mr Speaker, the budget for the combined Child Health Week and Measles Vaccination Campaign is K16 billion. The Ministry of Health and some partners have mobilised K10 billion. These funds are inadequate and the Ministry of Finance and National Planning has been duly informed thereof. The Ministry of Health requires an additional K6 billion to effectively support the implementation of the campaign. 

Mr Speaker, our role, as Parliamentarians, is to ensure that all stakeholders are mobilised to support this noble cause and that all caretakers in our constituencies take the children to the vaccination sites. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement that has been delivered by the hon. Minister of Health. 

Mr Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the required amount for the campaign is K16 billion, but there is a shortfall of K6 billion. Since the Ministry of Finance and National Planning looks as if it will not release this money, where will the K6 billion come from? 

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the House that there has been a favourable response from our co-operating partners. About two weeks ago, we held a breakfast meeting where we informed them about this deficit. The outcome of the meeting was that we would find a way to bridge this gap. We have informed the Ministry of Finance and National Planning about it in case the goodwill of our partners does not come to fruition. We hope that, before we start the campaign, the money will be made available. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Dr Katema (Chingola): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what went wrong. Has the ministry investigated the efficacy of the vaccine and the cold chain? Can the hon. Minister also tell us what sect is resisting vaccination so that we, the civic leaders, can target it when sensitising the people?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, there is nothing wrong with the vaccine. It is effective. The problem that has been noticed is the compromised immune system of most people. Even people as old as forty are contracting measles mostly because their immunity is very low. Malnutrition has also been found to exacerbate the problem in most children. It, therefore, has nothing to do with the vaccine. 

Mr Speaker, this was very rampant during the time of the floods. This means that people were failing to reach the health centres. As a result, most people did not take their children to clinics for vaccinations. It has nothing to do with the cold chain. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC. (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, it is evident that adults can also contract measles. What measures has the ministry put in place to ensure that the adults whose immunity is low do not contract it?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, measles is airborne. This means that it can be easily spread by droplets through coughing and sneezing. It is very difficult to stop people with a compromised immune system from getting sick. However, people should be aware that we have this problem and try their best, especially if they know their immune status, to stay away from crowded places or people they suspect have measles. As a ministry, we cannot tell if a person has a compromised immune system. It is not possible. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Ms Kapata (Mandevu): Mr Speaker, in his statement, the hon. Minister said that one of the factors contributing to the outbreak was that of religious beliefs. Considering that children have the right to health, what is the ministry doing to ensure that they are vaccinated despite their parents’ beliefs on vaccinations? 

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, indeed, this is a challenge. The best we can do is sensitise communities and appeal to them to take their children for vaccinations. During the campaign, we will position our people almost everywhere and everyone will be made aware of where to find them. Therefore, if some people decide not to take their children to the vaccination centres, as a Government, there is very little we can do about that. 

Normally, we check if the children who come to the Under-Five clinics have been vaccinated. However, it is very difficult for us to intervene where children are not taken to these clinics. We will, however, intensify the awareness campaign so that everyone takes their children to the vaccination centres. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the ministry did not have the K6 billion at the moment. I would like to know the use of the Contingency Fund. In this year’s budget, there is a line for contingencies. Why can we not use the money from this fund to cover the difference because disease has no price?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I mentioned earlier that there was a lot of goodwill from our partners. However, we did not leave it at that. We also informed the Ministry of Finance and National Planning of our challenge to raise the K6 billion. We are hopeful that this deficit will be bridged by the partners who showed commitment to assist in this campaign. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about compromised immunity and the failure of the vaccine to work. That seems to be out of step with his emergency programme.  If there is an emergency programme then, presumably, there is an emergency caused by a breakdown in the routine vaccination system. I know that every child is supposed to be vaccinated at a young age. Why did it break  down and how do you intend, after this disaster, to get things working again?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, we briefed the council in Lusaka because we have found out that Lusaka is the worst district as far as vaccinations are concerned. In this district, the highest vaccination coverage recorded, so far, is 66 per cent whilst in other places, it is over 90 per cent. Therefore, there is a problem in this district. The problem is that, for whatever reason, parents do not find it necessary to ensure that their children get all the required vaccinations.

Mr Speaker, for measles, the first vaccination is supposed to be given when a child is nine months old. In most cases and for one reason or the other, parents do not do that. I was in Chawama two days ago and I saw a child as old as nine who had not been vaccinated against measles. This is the problem that we face all because parents are not serious about the health of their children. We do not understand why this problem is worse in the capital. Therefore, I would like to inform, especially the people in Lusaka, like I said earlier, that we have decided to create clusters of eight people who will be fully responsible for checking households to ensure that all the children are vaccinated. 

I would like to encourage the hon. Member for Lusaka Central to assist us, in whichever way, to talk to his constituents so that we see a huge turn out at the health centres this time around.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr Speaker, I would like to join the other hon. Members in thanking the hon. Minister for that important statement. 

Indeed, as hon. Members of Parliament and councillors in Lusaka, we take this outbreak very seriously as can be seen from the fact that we have extended the period for sensitisation by starting earlier on 17th July and not on 19th July, 2010. We intend to get involved in this exercise. However, as we sensitise people on the need to take their children for immunisation, could the hon. Minister assure us that this goodwill he is referring to shall translate into the required resources so that all children can be vaccinated? Could he also indicate to us what response he got from his colleague, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, who can easily get money from the Contingency Fund that my colleague, the hon. Member for Roan, referred to.

Mr Speaker: Order! 

As the hon. Minister answers, may he reconcile the commencement dates he has given and those the hon. Member for Kabwata has given?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am grateful for that question from the hon. Member for Kabwata.

Mr Speaker, I would like to make it very clear to the nation that the vaccine for measles is always there at our clinics. It is not just at a time like this that this vaccine is made available. In Lusaka, for instance, the exercise can start today. People can take their children to any clinic and they will be vaccinated. We have come up with a period of one week for the entire country to see if we can mop up all the children who might have missed their vaccination in one way or the other. I would like to make it very clear that these vaccines are always available at our clinics. This is the reason we talk about routine vaccination. Someone does not need to wait for a time like this, when we are carrying out a Child Health Week, to get a measles vaccination. They can go to any clinic when their child turns nine months. We have lowered it to six months in Lusaka because we have seen cases where children under six months have contracted measles which was not the case in the past. Therefore, we have reduced the age to six months in Lusaka. Therefore, it is possible that, from 17th July, 2010, or today, people in Lusaka can go to clinics and get their children vaccinated. They do not need to wait for 19th July, 2010.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Sinyangwe (Matero): Mr Speaker, I have noticed, with dismay, how diseases such as cholera, measles and others affect Lusaka. Have we tried hard to find out what the problem is so that we can stop it at the root? Otherwise, we are just going in circles without getting to the root of the problem. What has gone wrong with Lusaka? I am concerned about this.

 Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I will only address the issue of measles because we have addressed the issue of cholera several times. 

Mr Speaker, in the issue of measles vaccinations, I have said that, so far, the highest coverage we have managed in Lusaka is 66 per cent. This means that every time we carry out this campaign, about 33 or 34 per cent of children are not vaccinated. Therefore, the numbers keep increasing. Consequently, when there is an outbreak of this nature that has engulfed the whole region of fourteen countries in Africa, obviously, they are not left out. That is why we have had such a big problem this year. The people in Lusaka can make use of the twenty-six big health facilities where all these vaccines are always available.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Colonel Chanda (Kanyama): Mr Speaker, for historical reasons of perennial flooding in Kanyama Constituency, we have not been spared from this measles outbreak. What is of great concern to me is that the only major referral centre attends to 2,000 cases per day against seven members of staff. What is the ministry doing to ensure that the exercise that the hon. Minister has announced is a success in Kanyama?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the campaign is different from the normal routine vaccinations because, this time, almost all the health workers in whatever areas they work from will be mobilised for this particular campaign. Therefore, there will not only be seven people at Kanyama Referral health Centre, but also many other centres in the same compound. This is the reason the hon. Member of Parliament should just ensure that he makes the people in Kanyama aware that this campaign is very important for their children. A campaign of this nature brings together all health workers from wherever they work. We are mobilising the army personnel and all the nurses. They will be engaged in this campaign wherever they are because we normally have a lot of people to carry out the campaign.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chanda (Kankoyo): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how well the programme will be co-ordinated with private institutions such as the mine hospitals on the Copperbelt.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, all requirements and vaccines have been delivered to all known clinics. It is, again, up to the clinics that have been left out to immediately contact the provincial offices. They will be given all that is required to carry out this campaign, but the required materials have been delivered to all known clinics. Therefore, no clinic should fail to administer these vaccines. That might be difficult to explain.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker. 

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister, out of the 4,250 measles cases, how many above the age of five are affected because they did not get the measles vaccine when they were under five years old.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I do not have that data, but all I can say is that, going by the situation in Chawama, about 20 per cent of the cases are adults from the age of eighteen to forty and the rest are children. Unfortunately, I do not have the data for the whole country.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Mwape (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, the general standard of living in Zambia is very low. That is why some of these diseases spread so easily. Having said that, I wish to say that the Government is very good at planning. This particular Government is a very good planner, but implementation is another issue.

Mr Mwenya: Sure!

Ms Mwape: As indicated in the budget, the Government has a contingency plan. Could the hon. Minister admit that the cash flow problem would not have been there had we been receiving the infamous windfall taxes because we could have gone to our own coffers and dealt with this problem properly without any inconvenience instead of depending on sympathisers. Can he confirm that there can be an improvement on implementation of policies and plans instead of just leaving them on the planning table?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, one would wonder whether the hon. Member was in the House when I was giving the ministerial statement.

Ms Mwape: I was!

Mr Simbao: If she was, then her mind was somewhere else.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simbao: I said that it is the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation that we carry out a measles campaign every three years. We last carried out the measles campaign, successfully, in 2007. This year, 2010, we are carrying out a measles campaign after three years. This is done to mop up the children who, for whatever reason, might not have been taken to a clinic to be vaccinated. Therefore, it is expected that, after three years, the numbers can be a little higher than they normally are. 

By the way, measles has not been eliminated as I heard from somebody yesterday. What has been eliminated is polio. Though this is an epidemic, we do have about 200 cases of measles every year but, this year, there is an outbreak. It has nothing to do with implementation. We are talking about fourteen countries, including some of the wealthiest countries, that are affected. Therefore, I do not understand how the hon. Member of Parliament can think in that line.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Phiri (Munali): Mr Speaker, the 1996 Child Health Week was successful because nurses from clinics were taken to most pre-schools and a lot of children were immunised. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether they will make a similar arrangement so that we can have as many children as possible immunised.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, our campaign this year is for all parents to use our health facilities, that is, the known clinics. This is because the measles vaccination is an injection, hence it requires somebody who is well trained to administer it. That is why, in the most remote areas, we will send trained people from clinics instead of those working in rural health posts who might not be well conversant with the administration of the measles vaccination. We are giving this vaccine to known clinics. This means clinics that have personnel that are well trained to administer measles vaccines.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you are towards the end of the fourth year of your five-year term. However, a good number of you still have problems asking follow-up questions. You launch into a debate by saying, “It is common knowledge that …” or an argument by saying, “May the hon. Minister admit that …” That is an argument. The best and only way to ask a question on matters such as this or other questions is something like, “Following the hon. Minister’s statement or reply, may I know …” or “May he explain …”

Hon. Members: Seminar!


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Do not say, “May the Minister admit …” because he will not admit.


Ms Mwape: Hear, hear!




533. Mr Mwango (Kanchibiya) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a)    when investigations into the Zambian Airways operations by security agencies would be completed;

(b)    what the delay in the completion of investigations were; and

(c)    how much money the Government had spent on the above investigations as of 31st March, 2010.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Taima): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that investigations into the operations of the Zambian Airways, which have been extended to other countries, are still going on, but have partially been completed in Zimbabwe and Tanzania and will soon be extended to South Africa.

Authority has already been granted for security personnel to travel to South Africa now that the 2010 Fédération International de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup has ended because most of the officers who were expected to assist are no longer involved in the World Cup special duties. These investigations are expected to be concluded as soon as possible.

Sir, the delay in concluding the investigations has been due to challenges in accessing the information in foreign countries where the airline operated. The responses to applications for mutual legal assistance from the Zambian Attorney-General to the attorneys of other countries took time, but were nevertheless positive.

The Government had spent K139,326,800 on investigations of the Zambian Airways case by 31st March, 2010.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwango: Mr Speaker, it looks like it is taking longer than necessary to conclude this matter …

Mr Speaker: Order! 

I have just guided you. Can you ask your question?


Mr Mwango: I would like to know what the Government is doing to ensure that this matter is concluded as quickly as possible.

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Lungu): Mr Speaker, as the hon. Deputy Minister has already mentioned in the answer, the issue is being investigated with a view to coming to a conclusion as and when the investigations are completed.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila (Chipili): Mr Speaker, it is almost two years now since these investigations started, but nothing has come out of them. Will the hon. Minister confirm …


Mr Speaker: Order! 

The hon. Minister will not confirm anything. If you ask a question, he will answer. You can ask your question now.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, will the hon. Minister indicate to this House that the Government has hatred for the former Director of Zambian Airways?

Mr Lungu: Mr Speaker, the Government cannot confirm that statement.

I thank you, Sir.


534. Mr D. Mwila asked the Minister of Education:

(a)    when the construction of the following basic schools in Chipili Parliamentary Constituency would be completed:

(i)    Mulunda;
(ii)    Chisheta;
(iii)    Chikubi; and
(iv)    Kalundu;

(b)    what had caused the delay in completing the project; and 

(c)    how much money would be spent on the construction of the schools.

The Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (Mr Musosha)(on behalf of The Minister of Education (Ms Siliya)): Mr Speaker, the construction of the above four schools will be completed by 15th August, 2010. Currently, works are going on at all the four schools and plastering and flooring are being done.

Mr Speaker, the schools were initially under funded, but the ministry has released the shortfall to complete the schools. The schools have already received money for completion as follows:

School     Amount (ZMK) 

Mulunda      62,435,000
Chisheta    58,257,000
Chikubi    60,753,000
Kalundu    60,135,000

Mr Speaker, there are fifteen schools with portal frame structures that are uncompleted and the total budget to complete the structures is K1,200,000,000. There are also five unfinished basic schools. These schools started under the Basic Education Sub-Sector Investment Programme (BESSIP), but funding stopped coming when the programme started using sector pool funding.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, the schools which were started with the Zambia Social Investment Fund (ZAMSIF) …

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Ask a question.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, I would like to know when the Government will complete the schools which were started under ZAMSIF.

Mr Musosha: Mr Speaker, in the question we received, he asked about Mulunda, Chisheta, Chikubi and Kalundu that were funded under BESSIP.

I thank you, Sir.


535. Ms Limata (Luampa) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    when the construction of the Shang’ombo District Hospital would be completed; and

(b)    how much money would be spent on the works.

The Minister of Health (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, the construction of the Shang’ombo District Hospital is likely to be complete by 2011. The structure is 70 per cent completed and only 30 per cent of the total works remain to be carried out. Currently, all the tender procedures have been completed and we are just awaiting authority from the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) to award the contract.

Mr Speaker, about K8 billion is expected to be spent on the remaining works.

I thank you, Sir.


536. Mr D. Mwila asked the Minister of Education:

(a)    how much money the Government would spend on the procurement of school desks for the Luapula Province in 2010;

(b)    how many desks would be procured;

(c)    how many desks were earmarked for distribution to schools in Chipili Parliamentary Constituency; and

(d)    whether there were any plans to repair the damaged desks in Mwense District.

Mr Musosha: Mr Speaker, the ministry will spend a total of K2,100,584,950 which is equivalent to US$415,957 for the procurement of desks in the Luapula Province. In 2010, the ministry has plans to procure 6,521 desks for the Luapula Province.

Mr Speaker, 270 desks have been earmarked for schools in Chipili Parliamentary Constituency. The ministry undertakes periodic rehabilitation and maintenance of the desks in all the provinces. This mandate has been given to the district and provincial offices.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister when we should expect the new desks at our schools.

The Minister of Education (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member has been paying attention to the information in the media, he should be aware that we advertised a tender for desk procurement. As soon as this process is completed and the desks are delivered, we will be able to dispatch them to the Luapula Province.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chimbaka (Bahati): Mr Speaker, some of the desks procured last year have…

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Ask a question.

Mr Chimbaka: Mr Speaker, may the hon. Minister indicate when the ministry will assist the Provincial Education Officer (PEO) with transport to deliver the desks that are ‘mushroomed’ at the Office of the Permanent Secretary to schools.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, again, if the hon. Member has been following, a week ago, the ministry announced to the nation that it had procured trucks and other vehicles for use in transporting various education materials and these include desks. 

Mr Speaker, we do know that one of these trucks is going to Luapula and so if there are any desks that have been ‘mushroomed’ …


Ms Siliya: … marooned or ‘mushroomed’ as the hon. Member has indicated, I am sure that very soon, they will be taken to the various schools in the province.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, is it possible for the ministry to order some of their desks from the Katombola Reformatory that makes very good and strong ones?

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the ministry is aware of the efforts by the Government to try and empower citizens and local businesses and so it will continue to welcome efforts by the private sector and anybody else, including the institution that the hon. Member is talking about, to participate in the tendering process for desks. We are already working with institutions such as Mupepetwe and other trades schools in an effort to help build the capacity for them to survive. I am sure if you approach the officers in the Ministry of Education they will be very happy to provide the necessary information.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chongo (Mwense): Mr Speaker, is the ministry considering decentralising the buying of these desks to the district level because at the provincial level, there are a lot of problems in that, most times, the desks are only shared amongst the main provincial districts.

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Education has already devolved a lot of responsibilities to provinces and districts. At the moment, we are looking at ways of how to build the capacity of the provinces and districts to enable them to procure the necessary materials. Obviously, currently, we are quite challenged in terms of capacity building in the Procurement Department. I am sure, once this capacity building process comes to a logical conclusion, we shall take the suggested direction. However, at the moment, we will continue to procure most of the materials from the headquarters and then distribute them to avoid some of the problems we have experienced in the past.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lumba (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, following the answer by the hon. Deputy Minister, may I find out if the K2,100,584,950 will procure desks to cover the whole country or it is just for that constituency.

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the K2,100,584,950 referred to in the answer is actually for Luapula Province. On the national level, we will spend in the range of about K90-100 billion to procure desks.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chazangwe (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, when will this Government start providing carpentry tools to the schools so that they can repair desks that break down everyday? 

The Deputy Minister of Education (Mr Sinyinda): Mr Speaker, that is a suggestion worth considering because, as you are aware, the Ministry of Education is one of the ministries that is decentralised. 

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, considering the hon. Minister’s statement that the Government intends to spend K90 billion to buy desks for the entire country, is K2 billion not too small for the Luapula Province?

Mr D. Mwila: Yes.

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, in fact, I wish to correct my earlier statement by stating that  we intend to purchase 125,000 desks at a cost of about K35 billion for the whole nation.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister which year, day or month, according to its projections, the ministry intends to meet the actual demand of desks in this country.

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, last week, on this Floor, I informed the nation that the shortfall in terms of desks is about 400,000 and this will cost us about K200 billion. This year, our budget for desks is only about K35 billion. Therefore, we have to be more innovative and think outside the box. We are talking to financial institutions, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning and all other stakeholders to see how we can bridge this gap. However, providing desks in schools is an on-going process and we have over 8,000 schools which we need to provide with desks every year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I just wanted to find out from the hon. Minister, considering that a number of desks break down every year in schools even after the Government has provided new ones, what the Government policy on the use of these schools by churches is, bearing in mind the fact that the desks are meant for young boys and girls. The desks are not meant for adults like us who break them when we use them. What is the policy of the Government to safeguard these desks from being used by adults and thereby from breaking?

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the everyday management of schools is left to the school management and parents through the Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA). We know that in trying to supplement their budgets many schools let out their facilities. They usually do this over the weekend for various functions, including church services. However, what is important is that we all see Government property as our property and that when it breaks down, it is our tax, whether as employees or businesses, which is used to procure or repair it. We should create a culture of maintenance, not just in schools, but everywhere in the country so that before something totally breaks down, it is repaired. We should also continue to encourage those responsible in the ministry to carry out periodic maintenance of the furniture so that it is used by the pupils all the time.

I thank you, Sir.


537. Mr Imenda (Lukulu East) asked the Minister of Communications and Transport when information and communication technology infrastructure would be developed in Lukulu East Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Communications and Transport (Mr Mubika): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Government of the Republic of Zambia, through the principle of universal access enshrined in the National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy, realises that access to information forms the basis for creating an informed society.

The availability of public ICT access points in rural areas, therefore, is as important as the information, itself, in the deployment and exploitation of ICTs to support rural development, community-based initiatives and projects in Zambia’s developmental efforts.

Mr Speaker, there are no immediate plans by the three mobile operators, which are the MTN, ZAIN, and the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL), to extend service to Lukulu East Parliamentary Constituency. However, the Government, through the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) in collaboration with operators, is working towards extending ICT services to rural areas such as Lukulu East, using the Universal Access and Service Fund. This year, 2010, only Mitete in Lukulu has been scheduled for connection. More areas will be considered in 2011.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Imenda: Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Deputy Minister to indicate when ZICA is likely to commence its works in Lukulu East.

Mr Mubika: Mr Speaker, in my answer, I said more areas will be covered in next year’s budget.

I thank you, Sir.


538. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Energy and Water Development whether the Government had any plans to construct or rehabilitate silted dams in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency, in particular and the country, in general.

The Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Malwa): Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to rehabilitate the two dams in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency; namely, Nangoma Dam used by the Zambia Air Force (FAZ) and Mashili Dam which is used by the local population.

Mr Speaker, the rehabilitation works will start as soon as funds are made available.

I thank you, Sir.


539. Mr Malama (Mfuwe) asked the Minister of Labour and Social Security:

(a)    what the current composition of the Government negotiation team with the Public Service unions was; and

(b)    why there was always a delay in completing the negotiations between the two teams.

The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Kachimba): Mr Speaker, the current Government negotiation team with the Public Service unions is composed of the following:

(i)    Permanent Secretary, Public Service Management Division (leader);

(ii)    Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives;

(iii)    Permanent Secretary, Budget and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and National Planning;

(iv)    Permanent Secretary, Financial Management and Administration, Ministry of Finance and National Planning;

(v)    Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence;

(vi)    Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education;

(vii)    Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health;

(viii)    Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs; and

(ix)    Permanent Secretary, Management Development Division (MDD), Cabinet Office. 

Mr Speaker, the delay in concluding negotiations between the Government and Public Service unions is attributed to the failure by the two parties to reach an agreement within the stipulated period of three months. This is as a result of high demands by the unions and lack of adequate resources by the Government. However, the negotiations are carried out within the confines of the law because whenever the two parties are not able to conclude the negotiations within the duration of three months, they apply for an extension of a collective agreement.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Malama: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister state ─ can the hon. Minister tell us ─ sorry, Mr Speaker.


Mr Malama: What measures has the Government put in place to ensure that there will be no further delays in negotiations for salaries of Public Service workers?

Mr Kachimba: Mr Speaker, I wonder if my nephew, Hon. Malama, heard what I was saying. As far as the Government is concerned, the delays are caused by differences between the negotiators. Thus, when unions do not agree to what we offer, as a Government, there is a delay.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, would the hon. Minister indicate to this House whether the process of negotiations is done within the law because it takes too long.

Mr Kachimba: Mr Speaker, permit me to repeat that the Government does not delay this process. On our part, as a Government, we are very serious when it comes to the negotiations. This process is carried out within the confines of the law because whenever the two parties are unable to conclude the negotiations within the duration of three months, they apply for an extension from the Government.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, what is the Government doing to ensure that future negotiations start on time considering that they have delayed in the past? 

Mr Kachimba: Mr Speaker, negotiations start at the right time. There is delay only when the officials from the labour unions start to differ with the Government team at the negotiation table. That is the only reason there are delays. Otherwise, the Government ensures that the negotiations start at the right time.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


540. Mr Malama asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing when the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) guidelines would be revised.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Muchima): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that the Government has already commenced the process of revising the CDF guidelines. Late in 2009, it constituted a team of experts from my ministry, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), councils and other stakeholders to revise the CDF guidelines. Consultations on the draft guidelines are still going on. The current guidelines have also been posted on the ministry’s website ( and councils and anyone with internet facilities can access this document.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Malama: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister indicate to this House whether this year’s CDF is going to be utilised under the new guidelines?

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, if the consultations are finished in good time, which we intend to extend to hon. Members of Parliament and councils, then we will use the new guidelines this year. However, if we do not complete the consultations soon, we shall use the old guidelines.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to take advantage of the answer that has been given by the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to find out when this year’s CDF will be released to the deserving constituencies that have been eagerly waiting for this money.

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Dr Kazonga): Mr Speaker, this year’s CDF will be disbursed after the Ministry of Finance and National Planning disburses those funds to my ministry. My colleague, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, and I have been discussing this issue and he is making all the necessary efforts to ensure that the funds are released as soon as possible. We have prioritised this matter so that we address the issues that people in our communities are facing.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing whether the Government checks on councils to ensure that they operate within the guidelines.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, with regard to checking what is happening in our local authorities, there is an established mechanism, which is through our annual audits. Our statutory audits also indicate how these resources, in addition to other grants, have been utilised. In addition to the statutory audits, we also carry out audit inspections so that any misuse or mismanagement of funds can be addressed. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chongo: Mr Speaker, since the current guidelines have proved to be problematic, is the ministry considering issuing statutory instruments to enable the proper use of the CDF?

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, one of the issues that the team is currently looking at is to strengthen the CDF guidelines. In addition to that, we are also looking at other areas to do with the composition and improving the procurement processes, among others.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, what are the problems with the current CDF guidelines to compel the ministry to look for new ones?

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, one of the areas that people complained about are the approval process that they say take too long. This is why our team has found it prudent to find possibilities of reducing the process. At an appropriate time, we shall have details on how it will be.

The other complaint has been on the composition of the CDF committee members. Over a period of time, we, as hon. Members of Parliament, have seen our constituency offices being strengthened. As you may be aware, we have staff running our offices. Therefore, the impact that these new issues have had on the CDF guidelines is what has necessitated their review. For instance, we have to consider how the constituency office operations can be harmonised with the management of the CDF. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, I would like to know whether the ministry is considering involving hon. Members of Parliament in the redefining process of the guidelines as earlier promised by the then female Minister of Local Government and Housing.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, I wish to emphasise what the hon. Deputy Minister indicated that, at an appropriate time, hon. Members of Parliament will also be consulted. At the moment, we are still reviewing the process at a lower level but, at an appropriate time, even the area hon. Members of Parliament will be consulted so that they can make an input. We know that you have experienced good and bad things with regard to these guidelines. We would want to strengthen them through that experience.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


541. Mr Chisala asked the Minister of Communications and Transport:

(a)    when the Government would extend both the taxiways and the aprons at the following airports:

(i)    Lusaka International;

(ii)    Ndola International;

(iii)    Livingstone International;

(iv)    Kasama; and

(v)    Mbala; and

(b)    when Mbala Airport would be provided with a control tower with the necessary communication and navigation equipment.

Mr Mubika: Mr Speaker, the Government intends to expand the international airports as outlined in the master plan for the expansion of Lusaka, Ndola, Livingstone and Mfuwe International airports. This plan has been submitted by Jacobs Consultancy under the funding from the American Government, through the United States Trade Development Agency. It contains details of the new terminal buildings, aprons, taxiways and parallel runway in case of the Lusaka International Airport. The actual construction will commence once funds are made available.

As regards Kasama Airport, the designs for the airport runway have been completed and approved. Construction will start when enough resources are mobilised. Mbala Airport will remain a military institution as recommended to Parliament, considering the proximity of Kasama and Kasaba Bay airports.

Mr Speaker, Mbala Airport, as an established military aerodrome, has the necessary communication and navigation facilities that include a control tower. The airport is manned by ZAF under the Ministry of Defence. It will remain a military institution in the foreseeable future as recommended to Parliament by my ministry together with other stakeholders consulted to consider its viability for commercial use earlier this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: To guide the hon. Minister who referred to a master plan in his reply, are you able to lay a copy of the master plan on the Table of the House?

Mr Mubika: Mr Speaker, unfortunately, I do not have it, today, but I will lay it on the Table at a later time.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister will submit a copy of the master plan to the Clerk of the National Assembly for the benefit of the House. It is a requirement.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, I would like to know when the Government will provide Kasama Airport with a new control tower since the one there is outdated.

Mr Mubika: Mr Speaker, the control tower will be provided as soon as resources are available and its replacement is also contained in the master plan.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!


542. Mr Katuka (Mwinilunga East) asked the Minister of Home Affairs how many eligible citizens obtained National Registration Cards in Mwinilunga District during the 2009/2010 mobile registration exercise, constituency by constituency.

Mr Taima: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that 11,011 eligible citizens obtained green national registration cards (NRCs) in Mwinilunga District during the 2009/2010 mobile registration exercise while 9,385 people had their damaged or lost national registration cards replaced during the same period. This brought the total number to 20,396 broken down as follows:

First Registration    No. of NRCs Issued     

Male    5,629    
Female    5,382    
Total      11,011            


Male    6,672
Female    2,713
Total    9,385

Grand Total     20,396

I further wish to inform the House that the issuance of national registration cards during the mobile registration exercise is not conducted constituency by constituency, but targets the entire district in a particular province.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Katuka: Mr Speaker, I would like to know why so many people were left out in Mwinilunga East Constituency.

Mr Lungu: Mr Speaker, when the hon. Member says so many people were left out, it makes it difficult for me to give a reasonable answer. I do not know how many those who were left out are. We captured 20,396 in the district, which we think is the number we could capture. Therefore, there was a need for the hon. Member to be more specific.

I thank you, Sir.
Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, are there any plans to continue or resume and repeat the mobile national registration exercise in Mwinilunga or anywhere else?

Mr Lungu: Mr Speaker, although the question was specifically on Mwinilunga, I will give a bonus answer. Yes, there are plans to continue with this exercise. However, let me seize this opportunity to explain that we conducted the mobile registration exercise in three phases. As the House may be aware, the ministry started with the Eastern, Western and North-Western provinces in the first phase. In the second phase, we covered the Northern, Southern and Central provinces. The third phase catered for Lusaka, Copperbelt and Luapula provinces. The exercise in all these areas came to an end on 30th June, 2010. However, because we started nine days late in the Luapula Province, we extended it to the 9th July, 2010. 

Sir, as I said, the ministry will continue with this exercise because it has made a request for an extra K22 billion to the appropriate ministry. Depending on the availability of funds, the ministry intends to repeat the exercise because a number of these areas were inaccessible at that time. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushili (Ndola Central): Mr Speaker, is the ministry considering increasing the publicity of this national registration exercise countrywide?

Mr Lungu: Mr Speaker, we will not begin to give this exercise publicity now because the exercise came to an end, as I said, on 30th June, 2010. However, once the ministry is funded, we will publicise it and request hon. Members of Parliament to assist us in doing so.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, may the hon. Minister indicate whether they will use the public address systems that the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) owns to publicise the national registration exercise in all the districts?

Mr Lungu: Mr Speaker, yes, the ministry used ZANIS during this exercise and, funds permitting, we will use ZANIS, again, among other agencies.

I thank you, Sir.




Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Second Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters for the Fourth Session of the Tenth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 12th July, 2010.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, in keeping with its terms of reference as set out in the Standing Orders and in accordance with their programme of work of 2010, your Committee undertook a review of the electoral process in Zambia and toured selected areas in the country to learn more about the Zambian electoral process.

Your Committee also considered the Action-Taken Report on its first report for this session. I assume that hon. Members have had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the contents of your Committee’s report. I will, therefore, only highlight a few issues.

Sir, your Committee recognises that the conduct of elections in Zambia is governed by the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia, the Electoral Act No. 12 of 2006, statutory instruments made under the Electoral Act and the Local Government Elections Act, Chapter 282 of the Laws of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, your Committee further recognises that elections in Zambia are administered by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) that has constitutional and statutory functions that include supervising voter registration, conducting parliamentary and presidential elections, delimiting constituencies, supervising referenda and conducting and supervising the Local Government elections and by-elections in general.

Mr Speaker, your Committee further recognises that the conduct of elections is affected by, among other things, the updating of the voters’ register, the issuance of national registration cards to would-be voters, the distances to polling stations and the delimitation of constituencies. However, your Committee sadly notes that the ECZ receives inadequate financial allocations from the Treasury in relation to the budgeted figures. This has negatively affected the commission’s performance, hence limiting the amount of work they are able to cover.

Sir, your Committee further notes that the ECZ has failed to undertake some of the most important activities such as the continuous voter registration, which are provided for since the enactment of the Electoral Act due to inadequate funding. A number of people are disenfranchised as a result of the non-implementation of continuous voter registration.

Mr Speaker, your Committee recommends that there be a deliberate policy by the Government, through the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, to ensure that adequate funding is released in a timely manner to improve the operations of the ECZ. Your Committee further urges the Government and other stakeholders to assist the ECZ with resources to carry out activities such as continuous voter registration.

Mr Speaker, your Committee recognises that the constitution-making process may not be completed in time for the 2011 Tripartite Elections and that there are some electoral laws that may need to be amended and harmonised before the elections. Your Committee, therefore, urges the ECZ to work in liaison with the Ministry of Justice and other stakeholders to identify the laws that may need to be amended and harmonised before the 2011 Elections.

Your Committee also notes that the ECZ does not have the mandate to enforce the Electoral Code of Conduct that governs the conduct of all stakeholders in an election even where the stakeholders breach it. Your Committee, therefore, implores the Government to ensure that the ECZ is given the mandate to enforce the Electoral Code of Conduct.

Sir, another issue your Committee notes, with dismay, is the rising number of political players buying voters’ cards from potential voters. This practice disenfranchises many people.

Your Committee strongly recommends that stiffer penalties such as criminalising this offence be enforced on anyone buying voters’ cards to avoid disenfranchising the electorate.

Sir, in conclusion, allow me to thank the various chief executives, permanent secretaries and Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the advice rendered during the deliberations.

Finally, your Committee wishes to record its indebtedness to you, Mr Speaker, for the guidance given during this session. 

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mrs Masebo: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion to adopt the Second Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters for the Fourth Session of the Tenth National Assembly, allow me to thank the Chairperson of your Committee for having ably moved the Motion.

Sir, I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Members of your Committee who deliberated in a spirit of togetherness and the witnesses who appeared before your Committee and enabled it to arrive at the various recommendations.

Mr Speaker, your Committee recognises the importance of national registration cards (NRCs) in the electoral process. The importance of the NRCs in the electoral process is as follows: 

    (i)    it is required for one to register as a voter;

    (ii)    it is required for one to vote in any election; and

(iii)    it gives one an identity as a citizen.

Mr Speaker, your Committee is of the opinion that there is also a need to engage the citizenry in sensitisation programmes so that all are aware of the importance of acquiring the NRC.

Your Committee further notes that the Department of National Registration is not computerised and, therefore, information dissemination on mobile registration is not properly collaborated. Sir, your Committee, therefore, implores the Government to ensure that this department is computerised for it to respond to modern expectations and expedite the process of issuance of NRCs. It also implores the Government to ensure that the mobile exercise is properly co-ordinated by using the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) and, at all times, involving all community leaders in reaching out to as many eligible people as possible. 

Sir, your Committee further notes, with dismay, that a number of people failed to get their NRCs because of the insistence by registration officers on applicants producing details of both parents, particularly of the father, even when the mother was present.

Mr Speaker, your Committee urges the Department of National Registration to do away with the requirement of provision of details of both parents for a child to acquire an NRC as it is both discriminatory and unfair.

Mr Speaker, during the last mobile national registration exercise, many eligible voters were turned away. I am not surprised that the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwinilunga East asked why many people were left out in his constituency. Most of our children were affected by the insistence by the officials on details of the father even where the father was unknown. It is common knowledge that there are many children whose fathers have denied them.


Mrs Masebo: A mother cannot force a man to be a father to a child whose existence he has refused to acknowledge. We feel it is discriminatory and unfair to women who suffer even more because of this requirement. In addition, this traumatises their children. We cannot have a situation where women are asked about the father of the child when the child has never known the father all its life.

As women, we strongly feel that the Government must review this issue and ensure that as long as one parent is present, especially the mother, who bears the child, the child is registered.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, your Committee wishes to urge the Government to seriously address the issues raised in your Committee’s report in order to instill confidence in the electorate.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I stand to support your Committee’s report. The issues raised in the report are important. The recent mobile registration exercise was not properly conducted. A number of anomalies were observed. In my constituency, officers conducted registration only in twelve out of thirty-nine polling stations. Following investigations on why the other polling stations were not included, it was found that the officers sent to carry out the exercise were all new. They were from Lusaka and merely using the exercise as a money-making venture for the purposes of subsistence allowances. They had so many excuses for not doing their job. They would normally start the registration exercise as late as 12 00 hours. They would report so late, but only work for two hours. Despite going very early, the people in the villages would not find the officers to register them. The officers exhibited a lack of seriousness. 

 Mr Speaker, the exercise was an arrangement by the Ministry of Home Affairs. We had a peculiar situation in Kalomo where the District Commissioner was not aware of the areas the officers were to cover. When he was shown the polling stations that had been left out, he was also surprised. Why do we want to do things like that? You can only do this if you have a political motive to deliberately shun the areas where you have no support. If that is the case, then you are causing problems. It is such practices that are contrary to good governance. 
Mr Speaker, the registration exercise is now on, but there are no advertisements to tell the people what is happening, especially since the exercise is not being conducted in all registration centres. The Government is being selective in the manner it is carrying out this exercise. 

The ECZ has not been funded to pay community radio stations in order to advertise the exercise. Like I mentioned last time, even ZANIS is not advertising the exercise. One day, we forced them to advertise the exercise and we were asked to put fuel in the vehicle, which we did. The following day, the vehicle was parked because they claimed the fuel had been exhausted. Why do we want to operate like this, as a Government? At the moment, the exercise is riddled with problems. It is not organised.

 When it was discussed that the registration exercise should be carried out in selected areas, it was agreed that the matter would be explained to hon. Members of Parliament. I know that some hon. Members were taken to Chisamba to be briefed on this matter. However, a number of hon. Members were not explained to because the programme was stopped, but the registration exercise was started nonetheless. Why does the Government want to create a situation where some areas have less registered voters than others? Why does it want to operate like this?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs has said he will go and repeat the exercise. I would like him to go back to Kalomo where, out of thirty-nine registration centres, only twelve centres were covered. 

The Government is already telling the majority of Zambians in the rural areas not to obtain NRCs. If one misses the opportunity to obtain an NRC at the correct age, the next time the exercise is conducted and someone is eighteen or twenty years old, the person will be asked why he or she did not get an NRC at sixteen. In addition, they will be told to pay some money. There is so much deceit in the villages and the people are being cheated. The registration officers impose all sorts of charges. When hon. Members of Parliament challenge them, they say they were asked to stay an extra day and, therefore, need an allowance.

Mr Speaker, why should these Government workers who are paid to carry out the registration exercise behave in this manner? Why do those in charge of the exercise not use the people who live in those areas since they know the areas better? Why do you always want to use people from Lusaka whenever you carry out a mobile registration exercise? Why do you do things like that? 

All the people at the district level get completely surprised. Do you need the hon. Minister of Home Affairs to be in charge of everything as was the case? Why do you do that?


Mr Muntanga: We want an exercise that concerns all Zambians to be done properly. When you carry out the registration exercise, please, go to all the centres and involve the stakeholders in the areas. That way, we will ensure good governance in the issuance of NRCs.

Mr Speaker, this report is well written, as explained by the Chairperson. I implore the Ministry of Home Affairs to take serious note of what has been observed in it. We do not want to go into the next elections with indications of rigging tactics such as reducing the number of people registered in areas without proper …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was explaining the problems our people are going through to obtain NRCs. 

Mr Speaker, when we noticed, during the last registration exercise, that some districts had more people registered than others, we realised that this was targeted at the elections. Likewise, now, some districts have more people registered than others. We had to personally take the registration officers to the rural areas to conduct the exercise. However, this was done at a fee. 

Mr Speaker, at the moment, we have tried to tell ZANIS to help advertise the exercise, but it has said it has not been funded. In Kalomo, to succeed in advertising the exercise, I have mounted my public address system on my vehicle and go to each ward announcing that the registration exercise is on. This is being done using my personal vehicle and at my expense as Member of Parliament. Therefore, I am very happy with the recommendation in your Committee’s report that the Government should give hon. Members of Parliament vehicles.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: That recommendation is very good. We are using our personal vehicles to do the Government’s job …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: … because the Government is not there.

Mr Speaker, I challenge them to go to Kalomo now. Acting Leader of Government Business in the House, my mulamu, please, go to Kalomo and you will see that it is my vehicle that is advertising the exercise at my cost. The recommendation that hon. Members of Parliament be given Government vehicles is apt. That is the best recommendation in this report.

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

Mr Muntanga: The Government does not recognise the fact that the vehicles for hon. Members of Parliament are used in doing Government business.

Mrs Musokotwane: And you charge us for those vehicles.

Mr Muntanga: You give us loans to purchase vehicles and recover all the money you loaned us, but want us to use the same vehicles to do Government business. Please, read the recommendation. I want it to be implemented before the end of the registration exercise …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: … so that we can all be in the rural areas using Government vehicles.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, we do not want to see ZANIS vehicles become very active only when there is a by-election. When there is a by-election, you will see them taking films to sensitise the people. Where are they now? Why are they not sensitising the people to go and be registered. Where are they? 

The ECZ does not want to take full responsibility for superintending the elections. Instead, it wants to be the complainant in elections which it failed to superintend. Why should that be so in Zambia? Why is Zambia so unfortunate? I cry for Mother Zambia. I am appealing to the Government to listen.  Let us work.

Hon. Government Member: Cry!

Mr Muntanga: I do not cry anyhow. If I do, you will be dead, hon. Minister.


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the word, ‘dead’. I am being enticed to cry which is not easy to do. I am paid for talking to you and finding out why you are not working. I am not paid to cry. I feel very strongly about this issue because the recommendation in this report addresses the core of the problems. We need to be proactive through and through in the issuance of NRCs and voters. Let us be seen to change the way we work and people will benefit.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.  

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, allow me to begin by congratulating the mover and the seconder of this report on a job well done. I have a few comments to make on what I believe are the irregularities in the electoral process of this country. I would like to begin by saying that we must do away with the culture of thinking that the end justifies the means. Simply because elections can take place, we think all is well. 

Sir, I think that process normally protects content. I would like to begin by saying that a person is born and, at a certain age, he or she becomes eligible to participate in national affairs. The issue at hand is that of voting. I think that there is a need for the Government on your right to look into its House and try to harmonise the following issues. 

Issuance of birth records must be harmonised with birth certificates because we already have what it takes, as a country, to record all the births on a daily basis on a computer. We also have what it takes in this country, today, to produce birth certificates on the day somebody is born. What that means is that when somebody attains the age of sixteen, automatically, the national data on a computer will capture this information. Then the Registration Department will be able to tell that so many people who deserve NRCs, have not got them. Further, two years later, these people will be eligible to vote. Therefore, it follows that a record of people who are eighteen years of age will be there. This will be data that was captured eighteen years ago. It will then be easy to harmonise the status of the population that is eligible to vote and that which is not. 

In this country, I think, as the report has indicated, there are many flaws that are, sometimes, associated with human activities. Who is the driver of the successes or failures of these human activities? I think it is the Government on your right-hand side. 

Mr Speaker, I heard, with dismay, the Minister of Home Affairs saying that they had intentions to continue conducting the voter registration exercise. I also heard him say that, subject to funds being available, we can continue this voter exercise. In the Electoral Act, No. 13 of 1991 and No. 12 of 2006, there is a provision of the recommendation for continuous voter exercise. From 1991 to date, all members can tell how many years have passed since this recommendation was put in the statutes. The question now lies in what has been happening all these many years. 

Mr Speaker, this is 2010, nineteen to twenty years later, but we still do not have the continuous voter registration exercise and the issuance of NRCs. One would, therefore, think that the drivers of the processes are deliberately disfranchising their nationals. They are inhibiting citizens from participating in making decisions on which course they want their country to go. It is only during elections that people can decide on whom they want to manage their affairs. Where that heads me is that we need to polish our attitudes as a team and recommit ourselves to doing that which is necessary for the people of Zambia to be assisted. 

Sir, the hon. Minister also said that, sometimes, certain areas could not have been covered because of the terrain. Mazabuka was not an exception. The officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs conducting the mobile national registration exercise did not reach the Shimungalu Fishing Camp, an area which is less than fifteen kilometres from the heart of the town and which is on the Nakambala Sugar Estates despite this being a prerequisite to getting a voter’s card.

Mr Speaker, in Chizobo Ward, a farming block that is about two kilometres from Mazabuka Motel, they did not step a foot to register the nationals for the purposes of franchising them. What that means is that if money does not come from the Ministry of Finance and National Planning and if the terrain remains as it is, as the hon. Minister indicated to this House, those people cannot vote. However, who is responsible for making sure that the roads are worked on? Is it the Opposition? I think the answer is no. It is the Government on your right that is responsible for making sure that the areas with the terrain that he talked about are made accessible. It is the Government’s responsibility to make sure that the roads are passable. It is actually a little confusing for a Government officer to say that these places are not reachable because the roads are bad. Who is responsible for working on the roads? It is the Government itself. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to move on to one of the topics that is clearly absent from your Committee’s report. Patronage is one of the reasons the electoral process is defective in this country. We do have their royal highnesses whom we respect dearly but, because they get patronised by the Government on your right on a daily basis for them to propagate the seemingly good performance of the Government, they have found themselves in positions where they make unnecessary comments. This is the domain that suggests that they favour some of their sons. We all belong to royal highnesses. I think that act of using chiefs must stop forthwith. People must learn to campaign based on issues and not how good or how wide the smile they can give to a chief. It should not be based on how regular an hon. Minister or, indeed, Head of State can visit a chief. That must stop. There are examples of this in the recent past. For instance, in the previous two elections, members of the Ruling Party, with bales and bales of Pierre Cardin suits …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! 

Where is this coming from in the report?

Please, debate the report.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I am discussing the defective nature of the electoral process in this country. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to move on to media coverage. It was adequately brought out in the report that the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail do not belong to the Executive. Therefore, they need to give adequate, free and fair coverage to all stakeholders of the political process of this country. 

Mr Speaker, with these few words I beg to move. 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to debate this Motion. I will be very brief. First and foremost, I wish to commend your Committee for a very good report. 

Mr Speaker, on page 19 (vi), your Committee is recommending a stiffer penalty for people found buying voters’ cards. Some people have already started getting other peoples’ national registration cards, and telling them that they will get relief food. The people whose cards have been taken away by very important people in society cannot get their voters’ cards back. 

Mr Speaker, this stiff punishment should not be selective. Whether it is His or Her Royal Highness, headman or hon. Member of Parliament found wanting, they must face the punishment. The problem we have is that some people who are supposed to be punished for their wrongs go scot-free because of their status in society. The recommendation that has been made in this regard should be taken seriously, especially by the ‘Acting Vice-President’.


Mrs Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, we know that the reason for dilly-dallying is probably because the Government wants to choose which constituencies to delimit because that is where they think that they will have victory. It should delimit any constituency in this country that so requires. 

Mr Speaker, Katombola is supposed to be divided into three constituencies. I demand that two more constituencies be added. I already have names for them. 

Mr Speaker, Kazungula is the second largest district to Mpika.

Hon. MMD Members: Second what? 

    Mrs Musokotwane: I said second largest in case you did not hear me. Mpika District has three constituencies. Why should Kazungula have one constituency? Is it because it is in the Southern Province? I do not think so. We, therefore, demanding for two more constituencies to make it three. It is our right to demand, is it not? The people of Kazungula District are demanding for three constituencies. It does not matter whether we are United Party for National Development (UPND), Patriotic Front (PF) or the MMD. We are all Zambians. Katombola Constituency is too large. Let us delimit it. This is why many MMD hon. Members of Parliament failed to run it. 

Mrs Masebo: On a point of order, Sir. 

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised. 

Mrs Musokotwane: Who is that one now? 


Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I would like to apologise to Hon. Musokotwane for interrupting her debate. However, I would like guidance, clarification and evidence from the Chair. The hon. Member for Katombola is claiming that Katombola is the second largest district in Zambia. What I know is that it is Chongwe District that is the second largest in the country. Is she in order to mislead the nation? 


The Deputy Chairperson: Clearly, there is a conflict of information here from the two hon. Members. I will ask them to go and compare notes outside. 


The Deputy Chairperson: In the meantime, may the hon. Member continue. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. UPND Member: Long live the Chair!

Mrs Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I thank you for the wise guidance. We will definitely do that. 

Mr Speaker, my second point is on page 23, where the Government responded that in 2009, the Gender in Development Division (GIDD) undertook to train line ministries in gender budgeting and gender responsive planning. Only people from three districts were trained. Can someone explain to me why only people from three districts out of the seventy-three were trained? The Chairperson of the Committee should have told us which three districts these are because these days some of us are very suspicious about the things that the Government does. All the seventy-three districts need this information because gender budgeting in this country has never been viewed as something important for women. It is not only the three districts that need this training, but all the districts in this country. I know that, probably, only people from three districts were trained because of lack of funding. 

When will GIDD be made a fully-fledged ministry? There is an hon. Cabinet Minister. Why are we still talking about GIDD? When are we going to have a ministry? Disappointingly, to date, GIDD has not been given its K5 billion which was budgeted for because it is just a division under somebody’s office. When will it be a ministry so that it is also given the billions other ministries enjoy? Even the little you are supposed to give us you have not given us. How does the Government expect the department to run? How does it expect people from these other districts to be trained? We want this department to be a ministry. If it does not want to give us a ministry, can it revoke the decision so that we go back to where we were? 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Musokotwane: There is an hon. Cabinet Minister who has no ministry. If I were the hon. Minister, I would not even sit in Cabinet. 


Mrs Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, on page 24, your Committee urges the Government to expedite the implementation of the strategy for engendering the Public Service and extending it to private sector. To engender the Public Service means that women should also be entitled to promotions. I know that when it comes to women, we are told that they can only be promoted on merit. Why should it be only women to be promoted on merit? The women who have been promoted have done very well. I do not want to go into details because men will get embarrassed. No woman who has been given a job has failed. It is the men who fail to perform.

Mr Speaker, I do not want to give examples because people know what I am talking about. We want this strategy to be implemented. The only people who can implement the strategy are the people in the Ministry of Gender which is non-existent now. We want a Ministry of Gender so that this strategy can be implemented as quickly as possible. We needed this ministry twenty years ago but, to date, we do not have it. 

The excuse that His Honour the Vice-President has always given is that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have said they do not want a Ministry of Gender when, all along, we have been wanting to create one. Abolish the structure that is there now. That woman should go back where she came from. If NGOs are saying that we need to have a ministry, then let us have it. Let us not have half-baked cakes. Therefore, we want the Ministry of Gender so that strategies like the one I have been talking about can be implemented.

Mr Speaker, it should also be remembered that the voters’ registration exercise is not going on well in my constituency. The National Registration officers are not working on time because the machines keep breaking down and the pictures taken are too ugly compared to the people …


Mrs Musokotwane: Please, ensure that we have better pictures. We do not want problems on the day of voting because you will say this picture does not look like you and, therefore, you have stolen somebody’s card. We do not want that.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, in supporting this important Motion, firstly, I would like to pay tribute to your able Committee for having brought out such salient points in the aftermath of visiting the countryside.

    Mr Speaker, it is nineteen years now since the MMD Government came into power. It has been discovered that for the past nineteen years that the MMD has been in power, it has lamentably failed to review the boundaries of the constituencies. One wonders why the Government cannot respect the Republican Constitution.

Mr Speaker, going by the Republican Constitution, there is a provision that after eight to ten years, all constituency and ward boundaries have to be reviewed. I have been wondering why our leaders have decided not to respect that article of the Constitution.

Mr Speaker, the last time the constituency boundaries were reviewed was in the Second Republic. When the MMD took over, it was reminded on the need to review the boundaries, but it gave a cold shoulder to those who reminded it. At a later stage, what we saw was that it only decided to review the boundaries for wards which was not necessary. 

Mr Speaker, in this regard, I am of the view that if the Government of the Republic of Zambia wants this country to develop, it is high time it asked its necessary organs to go round the country and put all the mechanisms that are required to divide this country into more constituencies and wards in place.

Mr Speaker, it does not make sense for us, as hon. Members, to continue to administer constituencies that are too vast for us. Some of the concrete examples I can give of constituencies that are just too big to be manned by one hon. Member of Parliament, include Chilubi, Chipili, Lubansenshi, Chililabombwe and Kasempa. These constituencies have twenty-two wards each. One wonders why the Government does not give more money to such big constituencies when it comes to developmental projects.

Mr Speaker, constituencies that have more wards such as Chilubi get a similar amount of money with constituencies that have a less number of wards. The basic example in place is that of Chilubi Parliamentary Constituency that has twenty-two wards compared to Luapula Parliamentary Constituency which has only four wards. The two constituencies get similar allocations of money. This issue must be looked into seriously.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! 

Can the hon. Member debate the Motion.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, in the light of this, my earnest appeal to the Government is that before we go to the polls next year, it should ensure that boundaries are reviewed. By so doing, we, as hon. Members of Parliament, will become more effective and the people of Zambia will see to it that we are active and capable of running the affairs of this country.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to thank you.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to debate the Motion on the Floor.

First and foremost, I would like to join the other hon. Members who have congratulated the Committee for a well thought-out report.

Mr Speaker, I will be very brief as I only wish to restrict my contribution to two issues. The first issue is on page 19 under the recommendations of your Committee and it reads:

“Members of Parliament must be entitled to resources such as vehicles and fuel at the constituency office in order to empower them to visit their constituencies.”

Mr Speaker, this recommendation must be underlined because it is extremely important. It is disappointing to note that our constituency offices are given K250,000.00 as petty cash, and yet we are expected to …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! 

Hon. Member, how is that in line with the Motion on the Floor?

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, hon. Members must be entitled to resources such as vehicles, fuel and other things. It is all there in the report.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! 

Hon. Member, we do not debate such issues. Please, can you move on to another point.

Mr Kambwili: It is there in the report. Let me look at electoral issues.

Mr Speaker, the ECZ must start acting according to its mandate. At the moment, the commission contributes to the problems that we have during elections.

Sir, during the last elections, there were a lot of electoral malpractices that were reported through the normal channel for reporting grievances. Out of the many reports made on electoral malpractices in my constituency, almost none of them were attended to. The fact that a report is made, but no action is taken shows that the ECZ has no teeth to bite. 

During elections, hon. Ministers, Deputy Ministers and District Commissioners openly use Government vehicles, but no action is taken by the ECZ.

Mr Chota: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: In the name of the President or the Vice-President, during elections, the MMD has an advantage of using the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) helicopters to access areas that are inaccessible to the Opposition. You find that the results are one-sided because people are only fed information from the MMD as the Opposition does not have the opportunity to reach those areas. We need the ZAF airplanes and helicopters to be made accessible to all the presidential candidates. After all, they are public property.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!


Mr Kambwili: They are not property for the Executive only, but for every tax-paying Zambian, including the Opposition.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Therefore, they should be made accessible to all the presidential candidates. Those aircraft are not bought by the Executive.


Mr Kambwili: There is a need to come up with a policy that will allow presidential candidates, who file their nominations successfully, to be given an opportunity to draw up a programme of how they want to use the ZAF helicopters. This will allow them to get to areas they cannot access by road.

Mr Chota: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: That way, we will have levelled the playing field during elections.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, the phrase, “Continuous voter registration” is self-explanatory. Since the law was passed, this is the first time this exercise has been undertaken and only for ninety days. Why ninety days only, and yet the people out there are not properly sensitised about the exercise? There are ZANIS vehicles stationed in districts, and yet the ECZ does not give them a budget line to enable their use in the sensitisation of the continuous voter registration in townships.

Like Hon. Muntanga said, some of us are now compelled to use our vehicles. That is why recommendation nineteen of being given adequate vehicles and fuel is important. We buy these vehicles using loans which we service, and yet we use them to do the job of the ECZ. Why should I use my vehicle to do the job of the Government that gave me the loan which I will pay back? 

There must be a system that will make these vehicles grants. This way, we can give them to our professional assistants to use to run our constituencies. As things stand, if a professional assistant came to me and asked to use my vehicle, I would turn him or her away because it is my personal vehicle. Therefore, we want those vehicles to be treated like any other.

Mr Speaker, the Government comprises three wings; namely, the Judiciary, Legislature and Executive. The Executive and the Judiciary have personal-to-holder vehicles, but we use our own vehicles bought by loans.

The Deputy Chairperson: That is the State, hon. Member, and not the Government.

Mr Kambwili: We need those vehicles to be given to hon. Members of Parliament as grants and not as loans so that we can continue using them to do jobs that are to be done by the Government.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: The Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail and ZNBC have now become propaganda tools for the MMD Government during elections.

Mr D. Mwila: Yes!

Mr Kambwili: Today, when the news is broadcast on the ZNBC, one can know the line up of the people who are going to appear. It will be the President first, then the Vice-President followed by their wives and the Chief Government Spokesperson. Even the manner in which the news will end is known. It is very unfair. There are a good number of activities involving hon. Members of Parliament such as sensitising people about elections going on in our constituencies, but we are not covered. When we go to the ZNBC, the reporters even tell us that what we say cannot be broadcast because there are people who sit at 1600 hours to decide which stories to be aired. It is very unfortunate. 

Mr D. Mwila: Shame!

Mr Kambwili: The ZNBC, Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail are run using taxpayers’ money and, therefore, are expected to cover everybody.

Sir, I find it extremely disappointing to note that even the President cannot stand up to direct the ZNBC, Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail to cover people fairly during elections. All the headlines are about the MMD. That is unfair. The MMD will not always be in power. One day it will feel it. 

I remember how, towards the 1991 Elections, in the United National Independence Party (UNIP) days the MMD cried foul and accused Dr Kenneth Kaunda of using the institutions in question as propaganda tools for his campaign. Today, that is exactly what the MMD is doing. Let us suppose another party took over the reigns of power and treated the MMD in the manner it is treating the Opposition now, how would it feel? Let us not look at what we are today because political positions are temporary. Treat others the way you want to be treated. He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: This is a timely warning urging the Government to start treating people fairly. Otherwise, it will also be treated otherwise.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, during elections, the right to vote of the men in uniform is affected. Some of them are registered in Lukulu, but are sent to work in Kabompo and end up not voting. I feel that this is a deliberate ploy to deny them a chance to vote. We should allow these people to be given a different date of voting like the Committee has recommended. They must have a separate date for them to vote before they are transferred to their designated areas of work. We must run our electoral system in a manner that is acceptable to everybody.

Sir, forty-six years after independence, we should not be having electoral petitions. It is retrogressive. We should just accept election results. If elections are conducted in a transparent manner and the playing field is levelled, there would be no electoral petitions. The failure to behave in an acceptable manner is what is prompting electoral petitions. 

Mr Speaker, for once, as we go towards the 2011 Elections, I am appealing to this Government to seriously look at the issue of elections.

In today’s newspaper, Sir, it is reported that one of the District Commissioners, a civil servant, went and stood on a platform at a meeting of the MMD and started castigating the Opposition candidates. It is unacceptable. That District Commissioner must be fired with immediate effect.

Mr D. Mwila: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: He knows that, as a civil servant, he is not supposed to engage in active politics. However, since the Government is allowing them to do that, nobody cares.

Mr D. Mwila: Bakabutuka bonse abo!

Mr Kambwili: Therefore, I appeal to you, Hon. Dr Kalombo Mwansa, through you, Mr Speaker, to take action on that District Commissioner in Luena Constituency.

With these few words, Mr Speaker, I support the report and thank you.

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

The Deputy Minister of Justice (Mr Chilembo): Mr Speaker, I welcome the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters. The Government is fully committed to the democratic principles of elections and ensuring that Zambians continue to enjoy their right to political participation as enshrined in the Constitution. In this regard, the Government has continued to support the ECZ in discharging its functions as outlined in the Republican Constitution. The Government supports the independence of the ECZ.

There is evidence of the Government’s commitment in that the Electoral Reforms Committee, which was formed to gather evidence and come up with a report on electoral reforms, was the initiative of this Government.

It is from this report that the Electoral Act, 2006 came about. My view and that of this Government is that the Act is a very good piece of legislation. It guides on how political parties should conduct themselves during elections. There is a strict code of conduct and, therefore, I feel that it is incumbent upon all hon. Members to thank this Government for this commitment and the good laws it continues to bring.

Mr Speaker, as all hon. Members are aware, all laws are subject to review for the purpose of making them better. At the ministry, we discuss these issues, including matters relating to electoral laws day in and day out. So, when you hear that there was this discussion, do not rush to the media and say that, “I have heard that they want to change this and that law.” That is our job because we look at these issues all the time.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chilembo: Give us time to bring these things, here, to Parliament. The Bills will come here for debate, the Committee will be there and the stakeholders will be invited to make their input. It should never be news that the Government is discussing the review of particular laws, including the electoral law.

Mr Speaker, the report states that other stakeholders informed the Committee that, since the Chairperson and four members of the commission were appointed by the President, the ECZ is not independent in managing elections. I would like to bring the attention of this august House to the fact that the appointment is subject to ratification by this democratically elected august House and so to question that independence, when we are party to that appointing process, is morally self-defeating.

Mr Speaker, part III of the Republican Constitution, which is the Bill of Rights, has enshrined the freedom of association and assembly. To this end, the Government has continued to ensure that the people enjoy these rights as evidenced by a number of political parties that exist in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, in terms of access to public media, I would like to state that all political parties have access thereto. The media has been covering all political parties and their activities. The report has, however, noted that there is a tendency by the private media to cover only political parties in the Opposition and not to say anything good about the Government, especially during elections. That trend is, of course, causing a lot of concern to the Government. It is important that even the private media also objectively report on activities, especially on the good things that the Government is doing rather than dwelling on merely de-campaigning it. The Government is also committed to ensuring that the people of Zambia enjoy freedom of assembly.

Mr Speaker, in this regard, political parties continue to hold rallies as evidenced by the coverage by both the public and private media. The Public Order Act is a piece of legislation that covers the orderly assembly of individuals. The Government acknowledges that, during elections, all political parties usually hold rallies and this leads to challenges in allocating venues and police manpower to ensure safety and order thereat. However, this should not be seen as an attempt by the Government to interfere with enforcement of the Public Order Act.

Mr Speaker, Statutory Instrument No. 90 of 2006 empowers the Zambia Police Force to enforce law and order at campaign meetings and processions in order to maintain peace and order. The statutory instrument further prohibits police officers from using their mandates to oppress any political party candidate or supporter. It is, therefore, clear that the Government is committed to ensuring an even playing field for all political parties during elections.

Mr Speaker, there has been mention of the need for delimitation of constituencies. This is a matter which came up at the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) and was adequately covered. It is a pity that some of our colleagues did not take advantage of this opportunity and, today, are crying for delimitation. They should have participated in the process to have their views heard. It is not too late for them to make an input because comments are still being received. Tell us what you think about the process of delimitation and those views will be taken into account. As you present your views, you should not forget that the process has financial implications, otherwise it is something the Government is taking into account and, depending on what will come out after the Bill comes to Parliament, it will be done.

Mr Speaker, the power on this issue lies with us, hon. Members. The issue of the fifty plus one majority rule was ably discussed at the NCC and after a vote, it was referred to a referendum. For those who did not attend the NCC, your views will be heard during the referendum. In terms of commitment by this Government on coming up with a proper electoral process, I can say that we are committed thereto. The issues that I am mentioning could not be included in the 2006 Electoral Act because they were enshrined in the Constitution and, therefore, the NCC affords us that opportunity to review them.

Mr Speaker, the issue of the limitation of the ECZ due to financial constraints are real. This Government is committed to having a continuous voter registration exercise, but this requires money. Fortunately, none of the speakers has come up to prove any malice on the part of the Government on cases where the ECZ has not been adequately funded. Where funds are not enough, we all suffer because we want a well-funded electoral commission.

Mr Speaker, it is on record that, each year, when we are dealing with the Budget, here, the hon. Members complain that the money is not enough for every ministry and this is evidence that there will always be a shortage of money. From the time of Jesus, money has never been plentiful. Do not expect that it will suddenly be plenty for us to start doing all these things you are asking for.

Mr Speaker, I wish to take the opportunity to thank the donors, especially the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and not UPND, …


Mr Chilembo: … that have come to our rescue on funding our electoral process and the ECZ.

Mr Speaker, my appeal to political parties is that we should not play a blame game. The tendency by some of our colleagues is always to find a scapegoat and the ECZ happens to be one. When the Opposition loses an election, it wants to blame the ECZ for not having done this and that.

Mr Kambwili: Question, iwe, ka lawyer ka UNIP.


Mr Chilembo: You should work hard in campaigning because it is the only way to win an election. Do not waste time trying to criticise the ECZ which is doing a very good job. One of the hon. Members, whom I will not mention, came to me and said, “Basa, the elections in Zambia are so free that you cannot rig. They are good.”


Mr Chilembo: I will not reveal his name, but he is an hon. Member. He can reveal himself, but I will maintain the whispering he did.


Mr Muyanda: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Chilembo: That is why, this time, we have transparent boxes that were demanded by the people. With transparent boxes, you and your agents will be able to see.


Mr Chilembo: Everyone is able to see how the voting is done.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! Hon. Members, please, do not make running commentaries. It is disturbing the Chair and the person debating.

May the hon. Minister continue.

Mr Chilembo: Mr Speaker, the only way we can have a proper electoral system is to start with political parties where you are still maintaining opaque boxes for voting and where the voting will not take place. With that way of doing things, one would ask you what moral right you have to comment or try to disparage the good work that is being done. I encourage that we start to look at our electoral system even in political parties. This Government is very committed to having a good electoral system. Your views are welcome as we get submissions on the Constitution from members of the public. The electoral system is among those issues that the NCC looked at. Therefore, the views are most welcome and this Government should be thanked for a job well done. I am sure come 2011, again, as we win, as MMD, …


Mr Chilembo: … we will continue to make these laws …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear1

Mr Chilembo: … and to listen to some of your suggestions.

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister for Southern Province (Mr Munkombwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you most heartily for allowing me the opportunity to make brief comments on this very good report.

Mr Speaker, if you are an hon. Member of Parliament, the people who prescribe your job are your electorate. They are the people who will tell you that they need a borehole there, dip tank there and dam there. It is not the job of the Government to prescribe jobs for hon. Members of Parliament as was said one day, here, by one hon. Member.

Mr Speaker, if you want recognition in your constituency or in Parliament, you must create an aura of decency where, if you open your mouth, you are listened to. If you want to give ideas to the Government, they must be logical. Somebody talked about the use of a helicopter. Our system does not allow an ordinary Minister to use it. Only two people are allowed to use it and these are the President and Vice-President. Those who have no hope of ever forming Government can criticise this practice, but those who have hope of forming Government, will know that it will be to the benefit of their president and vice-president.

Mr Speaker, as a Member of Parliament for Choma, I knew every village and that each ward had so many villages. I also knew the people who had no NRCs and made it possible for them to get them. If I, as a Member of Parliament, is in a constituency and there is a mobile national registration team, it is my responsibility and not the Government’s to ensure that the people in my constituency acquire NRCs. Although it is the Government’s responsibility, I have ultimate responsibility to make sure that my voters-to-be are registered. I will make sure that I go to that registration centre and wait for them and if they are late, I will query them.


Mr Munkombwe: “Why are you late?” I will ask them. I will then speak to the authority and say, “Can you speak to your people here. They are not doing their job.” This is because it is my responsibility, as a Member of Parliament and as the people’s representative. I will not spend time shadow-boxing. If those people are not doing what they are supposed to do, you, as a Member of Parliament, should make sure that they do what they are supposed to do. We have a responsibility, as a Government, but the ultimate responsibility is yours, as a Member of Parliament.

Mr Speaker, some comments were made about the ECZ among others. The job of the ECZ is to approve nomination papers that are accompanied by nine supporters and the electoral fee. It ends there. They are not there to determine which party is standing. That is not their job. There are three requirements. A candidate is either sponsored by a political party or he or she is an independent. If you are sponsored by a political party, the ECZ will look at that application form approved by your party. That is the job of the ECZ. It does not determine who should stand and how because it is free to approve candidates who are sponsored by parties or independent candidates. That is their job. 

Now, every time you can say, ‘question’ because some …

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Munkombwe: I am debating what is in the report. Now, …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! Hon. Minister, ignore the hecklers.

Mr Munkombwe: Thank you. 


Mr Munkombwe: Mr Speaker, I think we should know our roles. I know my role. An hon. Member of Parliament must know his or her role and if you know how to read, then you can know your right. I do not think anybody can mess me up if I know my role. Nobody can do that. The politics of shadow-boxing everyday, blaming this and that has no value. Likewise, those reporters you see are not interested in reporting what has no value. If you always shout bwa, bwa, bwa, your activities will not be reported, I can assure you.


The Deputy Chairperson: Order! What is ‘bwa, bwa, bwa’?


Mr Munkombwe: It is everyday saying bangu, Mr Speaker, that is, ‘my’. It is that type of language and every time relying on …

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Munkombwe: … useless comments. I do not think that your points can be reported. 


Mr Munkombwe: Let us not take glory and honour in being ordered to go out of the Chamber. There are very few hon. Members in my twenty-three years of Parliament whom I have seen ordered to leave the Chamber. I do not think I have ever been sent out; not even once.

Mr Kambwili: Then you do not work.

Mr Munkombwe: Oh! You can work if you want to swim in mud like a useless child .. ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Munkombwe: … swimming in mud and dirty water while others are swimming in clean water. Therefore, you can also work by swimming in dirty water. I am not that type of person. One has to work decently. We have a team of hon. Members from the Southern Province who are really decent. They belong to the Opposition, but are very effective in performing their duties in their constituencies because they are decent and engage the Government. They take Government officials, like me, to see what is happening in their constituencies. That is how an hon. Member of Parliament should work. However, if I am abused, I will rock the boat. I will keep away. Those who do not want to work with me should stay away. 

Mr Speaker, it is, therefore, up to hon. Members in the Opposition not to say things that they think will benefit their presidents and vice-presidents when they come into power. We should talk about issues that are serious. Some people talk about the Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia not printing insulting words as other papers do. I think this is something for which they should be commended.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister of Community Development and Social Services (Mr Malwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this debate on the Second Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters. I wish to commend the Committee on a well-written report that has raised a number of salient issues concerning my ministry on pages 20, 22 and 25. 

Permit me, Sir, to take this opportunity to inform this august House on a few developments in the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services and what is being done to address the challenges highlighted in the report.

Mr Speaker, Insakwe Probation Hostel for girls is a Government institution situated at Plot No. 3 on President Avenue in Ndola, Copperbelt Province. It was turned into a girl’s probation hostel in 2006 for the rehabilitation of girls in conflict with the law and can accommodate forty children. The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services is still putting in place the logistics, including gazetting the institution. It is envisaged that the institution will be operating legally by the end of this year.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services runs Nakambala Approved School, an institution for boys located in Mazabuka District of the Southern Province whose capacity is seventy-five children. The institution provides correctional services for children in conflict with the law and delinquent children in need of care. My ministry is also running Chikumbi Children’s Centre in Chibombo District of the Central Province, located ten kilometres away from Lusaka. The centre has a capacity of sixty children and provides shelter for children in need of care, including children found on the streets of Lusaka and elsewhere and integrates them back into their families.

Mr Speaker, in addition, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services is refurbishing Mufulira Children’s Centre in Chibolya on the Copperbelt Province which shall be providing shelter to male children in need of care. The refurbishing works are in the final phase. Further, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services collaborates with NGOs running child care facilities and also provides them with technical and financial support.

Mr Speaker, the Insakwe Probation Hostel has a capacity of forty children, as mentioned earlier. However, since the institution was opened as a probation hostel, about five to fifteen children admitted had committed petty offences. Therefore, the Ministry of Community Development Social Services has, temporarily, put the accommodation aside to provide shelter to stranded children in need of care who are usually more in number. However, the MMD Government, through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, is constructing homes for children in need of care, as I mentioned, in Chibolya, Mufulira. Construction of this infrastructure has reached an advanced stage and will be ready for commissioning in October, 2010.

Mr Speaker, the children in conflict with the law come into contact with a number of institutions such as the police, Judiciary and prisons. The children that are admitted at Insakwe Probation Hostel, ideally, are not handled by the Prisons Department, but referred to the institution after being ordered by the courts of law. However, the children that end up in prisons are also referred to the institution by the courts of law.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Justice had drafted an Act on the Zambia Council for the Child and submitted it to the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services and Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development for comments. One of the cardinal issues in the Draft Act is to decide the ministry that will be responsible for administering the Act. It was recommended that it be under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services. However, our sister Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development, had written to the Ministry of Justice seeking redress of the decision that was made to allow the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services responsible for administering the Act.

Mr Speaker, I support the report of the Committee and thank you.

The Minister of Gender and Women in Development (Ms Sayifwanda): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for allowing me to also add my voice to the debate on this very important Motion. I will be very brief. To start with, I cannot see Hon. Musokotwane. I do not know where she has gone.


Ms Sayifwanda: Okay. I want her to go and have a peaceful night. I would like to inform Hon. Musokotwane and the other hon. Members of Parliament that, today, I received part of the economic empowerment money and she and the other hon. Members of Parliament will soon have a hammer mill in their constituencies.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: If resources allow, hon. Members may also get a treadle pump and a drip irrigation system in their areas.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Hon. Musokotwane should know that this working Government is there for her. She should simply organise the clubs in her constituency and they will soon have a hammer mill.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Cifire: E boma.

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, I will confine my debate to pages 23 and 24 of the report that talk about the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol. I would like to inform this House that the process is on course and my fellow hon. Cabinet Ministers have supported me in domesticating this protocol. A Bill thereon will soon be tabled before this House. When this Bill comes to this House for ratification, I will need the support of the hon. Members of Parliament because it is very important. Remember, there is no way a man can develop this nation alone. We need concerted effort from both men and women. We need to work together, put our heads together and develop this nation. This is already on course.

As regards the Gender-Based Violence Bill, let me comfortably state that this Draft Bill is already with the Ministry of Justice that is preparing it for presentation to this House any time. 

On the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) mapping, could I also inform the nation that this simply means auditing of the domesticated international conventions and what is not yet done. So far, we have done the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, knowing very well that this is a key sector in as far as gender issues are concerned. The ministries of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Lands and a few others have already been covered. Our programme is ongoing and, very soon, we will cover the remaining ministries.

With regard to the strategy to have gender considered in the Public Service, I am equally happy to inform the nation that my office submitted the document to Cabinet and all we are waiting for is the Secretary to the Cabinet to direct the concerned sectors for implementation.

Therefore, Hon. Musokotwane, your Government, which is hardworking, is on course. We are not sitting idly, but doing our best to make sure that gender issues are also tackled in this nation.

On the budget responsiveness, I think, tonight, Hon. Musokotwane will sleep well because everything that is on page 23 and 24 is positive. The issue has already been tabled before the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. God willing, we will see a change in next year’s Budget. These are the only issues that were discussed by your Committee. 

Mr Speaker, let me thank your Committee for bringing out all these important issues. I am assuring you, Sir, that your hardworking Government will make sure that everything is put in place.

I thank you, Sir and I support this Motion. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Lungu): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to make comments on your Committee’s report. I will confine myself to the two main issues and these are the NRCs and the conditions in prisons.

Mr Speaker, on the issue of mobile national registration, as I stated earlier, it is the concern of the ministry, in particular and the Government, in general, that we should capture as many people as possible so that they can participate in the forthcoming general elections. I did mention, however, that there were some constraints that are related to the terrain. I recall the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, Hon. Nkombo, saying, “Well, it is one Government, why can they not discuss it?” I am telling the House about the problems that we, in the ministry, are facing. If the road to a particular place is in a bad state, the fact that I can talk to the hon. Minister of Works and Supply does not minus the fact that the road is in a bad state. Therefore, as a ministry, we are saying we could not get to polling stations A and B because of the inaccessibility of the roads. Therefore, much as I understand Hon. Nkombo’s point, I hope he, too ,understands our problem.

Mr Speaker, the issue of registration officers demanding that a child brings along two parents before it can be registered will be looked into and if it is an inhibiting factor, we will address it. Let me say that some people have told me that mothers are a reality while fathers are amiss. Therefore, it is one of those issues that we have to address. 

Mr Speaker, I think that we should all understand that we can only do A, B and C up to a certain point and, beyond that, we are unable to do any more. I told the House that the mobile national registration exercise ended on 30th June, 2010, but we have made a request to the appropriate ministry to be funded so that we can, at least, go back and capture the voters in areas we could not access. To the contrary, somebody is saying: “You are the same Government”. That is precisely what I, as Minister of Home Affairs, am doing and I hope that we can be understood in that context. 

We have registered 1,200,000 people and our aim is to go beyond that. Once we are funded, we will continue with the issuance of NRCs. In any case, this is a mobile national registration exercise and so in districts where people are unable to register, we can appeal to those who still need to register to go to districts where NRCs are being issued on a daily basis.

Mr Speaker, I hope I have made myself clear in that particular area. 

Your Committee has made observations and recommendations on the prisons that they visited. Admittedly, the conditions in some of our prisons are not good in relation to the ratio of prison warder to prisoner population, …

Mr Matongo: Inmate!

Mr Lungu: The inmate population is, obviously, not what we want it to be. However, these are the problems that we have to address. We may not be able to find the answers in a short time, but we are going to address these matters. You will appreciate the fact that we have made attempts to decongest these prisons by building new prison structures at Mwembeshi and in some of the areas, as reported by your Committee, we have the open air prisons. All these are aimed at decongesting the prisons. 

As regards the problems of sanitation, we are doing something about them and it is just that we may not be able to meet the expectations of the people in a short period. Therefore, allow me to state that I commend your Committee’s observations and recommendations. The ministry, in particular, and Government, in general, should be able to address these concerns and find a way forward.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I have not formally congratulated you, Sir. On behalf of your Committee and my own behalf, I would like to congratulate you on the well-deserved election to the position of Deputy Chairperson of Committees of the Whole House.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, before I wind up, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Gender and Women in Development for the positive pronouncement she has made that all hon. Members in their constituencies will get hammer mills, treadle pumps and irrigation equipment. That is a positive pronouncement for today. I hope that will be done through the hon. Members as she has promised the House. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I also would like to thank the House for overwhelmingly supporting the Motion of your Committee, in particular recommendation eleven on page 19 which, I think, all of us support vehemently. I hope that positive recommendation will be implemented in the next budget. I have seen the hon. Minister of Defence and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House nodding and ensuring that it will be so done.

Dr Mwansa nodding.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I note that all the submissions that have been made by various hon. Members of the House were intended to enrich your Committee’s recommendations to this House. I note that everyone has a right to submit in their own way. All the submissions are noted. It is my humble submission that this progressive report be adopted by the House.

I so submit, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.


The Minister of Defence and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House (Dr Mwansa): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1758 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 16th July, 2010.