Debates- Thursday, 18th March, 2010

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Thursday, 18th March, 2010 

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform you that I have authorised a one-day workshop for all hon. Members of Parliament on the subject, ‘Parliamentary Code of Conduct and Standing Orders to be held on Monday 22nd March, 2010 in the Chamber here at Parliament Buildings starting at 09:30hours. All hon. Members must attend this important workshop.

Thank you.




The Minister of Community Development and Social Services (Mr Kaingu): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to give a ministerial statement on the background and current status of the Social Cash Transfer Programme and its future.

Mr Speaker, allow me to give an outline of what social cash transfer entails. Social cash transfer programmes aim to provide basic social protection to those sections of the population who, for reasons beyond their control, are not able to provide for themselves. People in need of basic social protection usually live in labour-constrained households such as, for instance, households with no adult members fit for productive work. Due to their limited self-help capacity, these households cannot access any of the labour-based poverty reduction programmes offered by the Government and other co-operating agencies.

Mr Speaker, the bulk of households in need of basic social protection are headed by the elderly, widows, children or individuals who are disabled or ‘chronical’ ill.

Hon. Opposition Members: Chronically.

Mr Kaingu: Chronically ill.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, the main types of social cash transfers aiming at basic social protection are non-contributory pensions, social assistance to families or households and conditional cash transfers. In contrast to emergency programmes, which are designed for temporary relief and mainly transfer assistance in kind, social cash transfer schemes are permanent programmes that transfer cash on a regular and predictable basis to households or persons that meet certain eligibility criteria. The transfers also complement other forms of assistance by providing basic social protection to households that cannot be reached by mainstream development and other poverty reduction programmes.

Mr Speaker, allow me to inform the House on the history, rationale and objectives of the social cash transfer programme in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, through the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme (PWAS), has a framework of welfare committees at district, sub-district and village levels. This organisational structure was established in the districts in order to distribute transfers in kind to poor households.

Mr Speaker, rather than receiving transfers in kind (as is the case in nearly all Zambian poverty reduction programmes), it was realised that critically poor households would best be served with cash transfers because they are flexible and can be used according to their own priorities. Research indicates that the administrative and logistical costs of cash transfers are lower than those for transfers in kind such as food aid. Given that social cash transfers create additional purchasing power of poor households, this leads to an economic multiplier effect within the local economy as cash transfers are used to procure products locally from within the communities.

Mr Speaker, the first social cash transfer scheme was started in Kalomo in 2003 with the support of the Germany Technical Co-operation (GTC). The scheme was originally designed to test whether a social cash transfer scheme would be the most cost effective means of facilitating the empowerment of destitute and incapacitated households. Overall, the scheme had the following core objectives:

(i)    Reduce extreme poverty, hunger and starvation in most destitute and incapacitated 10 per cent of households in the pilot region.

(ii)    generate information on the feasibility, costs and impacts of a social cash transfer programme within the Zambian Social Protection Strategy.

Mr Speaker, allow me to inform the House on the targeting criteria, approval and payment processes being used under this programme. The targeting and approval process is done entirely through the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme structures. This system existed prior to the Social Cash Transfer Scheme and is essentially a hierarchical framework of voluntary committees. The Community Welfare Assistance Committees (CWAC) operate at the village level and are responsible for an area covering 200–400 households. The members of the CWAC are elected or approved by the community and work together with other village level committees, who are operating within the social sector. Each CWAC receives a five-day preparatory training. This training is based on the manual of operations and is conducted by the District Social Welfare Officer. 

Mr Speaker, payments to approved beneficiary households are channeled through pay-points that have been established at rural health centres and schools. Standardised agreements signed by the District Welfare Assistance Committee Chairperson and the Pay Point Manager are used to formalise co-operation with the schools and health centres. The financial transactions are closely monitored and controlled by the District Social Welfare Office.

Mr Speaker, let me take some water.


Mr Kaingu drank water.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, the scheme has rapidly gained support as an effective response to the reduction of chronic poverty, food insecurity, vulnerability and risks. The scheme is currently supported by funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Irish Aid, who provide 89 per cent of the funding for the programme with the Government contributing 11 per cent. In this regard, I wish to thank the co-operating partners for their unwavering support without which this programme would not have registered positive results.

Mr Speaker, the scheme is a fully Government-driven programme and is consistent with the objective of the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP) of contributing to the security of all vulnerable Zambians by ensuring that incapacitated and low capacity households have a sufficient livelihood security to meet their basic needs and are protected from the worst impacts of risks and shocks. There are currently five social schemes operating in Zambia. Each scheme was developed to test different design questions and options. 

The Kalomo Scheme operates on a district scale and reaches 3,573 households. The Kazungula Scheme reaches only 735 households while, in Monze, the scheme is reaching 2,069 people. In Chipata, a total of 1,190 households are benefiting. The Katete Social Cash Transfer Scheme reaches 4,706 individuals and is unique in that it was designed to test the feasibility of universal targeting through an old age pension scheme.

Evidence generated shows that the programme leads to positive outcomes among the beneficiaries in terms of improved nutrition, reduced incidences of illness, accumulation of small assets and improved school attendance by pupils from the beneficiary households.

The successful implementation of the five schemes has necessitated the scaling up of these schemes to national level. The goal of the proposed expanded Social Cash Transfer Scheme is to reduce extreme poverty and intergenerational transfer of poverty. The expanded programme will also encompass an element of child grants which will be provided in districts with high levels of malnutrition and under five mortality rates. The additional ten districts are Serenje, Luwingu, Zambezi, Senanga, Chilubi Island as well as Kaputa, Chienge, Shang’ombo, Kalabo and Milenge. 

The selection of the new districts was based on the levels of extreme poverty. The scaling up of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme will be implemented over the next ten years and the ministry will, this month, sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the co-operating partners to facilitate the expansion of the programme. In fact, this morning, we signed an MoU involving a colossal sum of money amounting to US$63 million. Gratitude is once more being extended to our co-operating partners for committing to partner with the Government for an additional ten-year period. 

Mr Speaker, the importance of the role of hon. Members of Parliament cannot be overemphasised since, as lawmakers, they are responsible for the approval of the National Budget. As such, hon. Members can help lobby for increased funding to the scheme. In addition, they can monitor the use of funds as well as the overall implementation of the programme. It is gratifying and encouraging that many hon. Members of Parliament want the scheme to be extended to their constituencies. However, the expansion can only be fast tracked if more resources are made available. Furthermore, hon. Members can help lobby for increased resources in order to reduce dependency on donor funding and ensure that the scheme is expanded rapidly across the country.

It should also be noted that the ministry implements other equally important programmes such as the Food Security Pack, which provides farming inputs to vulnerable but viable households, and the women empowerment programmes in all districts. The ministry also implements the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme which helps ameliorate hardships faced by poor, destitute individuals and households. The Peri-Urban Self Help Programme (PUSH) is also another programme in the ministry that helps community members build and repair community infrastructure such as bridges, community development centres, refuse dumps, ventilated pit latrines and construction of feeder roads to mention but a few. Therefore, it is not only the Social Cash Transfer Programme that can benefit constituencies and electorates at large.

Mr Speaker, allow me to highlight the lessons from other countries within the region implementing similar programmes which reveal that social cash transfers are an effective poverty reduction tool.

Malawi, for instance, implements the Dowa Emergency Cash Transfer which is a national programme providing monthly cash transfers to beneficiary households grouped according to the size of the household and adjusted every month to accommodate fluctuations in the price of basic foodstuffs.

The Government of Lesotho introduced a …


Mr Speaker: Order! The House, especially on my left, is not paying attention. This matter affects all of you and the people at large out there. Pay attention.

The hon. Minister may continue.

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, the Government of Lesotho introduced a universal non-contributory pension for all citizens aged seventy years and above in 2004. The Lesotho Old Age Pension Scheme became law in the Old Age Pensions Act passed in January, 2005 and the pension is entirely funded from domestic resources with no support from donors. Therefore, the major lesson from Lesotho is that social cash transfers can be fully funded by the Government even in a poor country.

Mr Speaker, Swaziland also provides social assistance with a focus on the Old Age and Public Assistance Grants which constitutes the country’s two largest cash-based social transfers. The Old Age Grant is targeted at the old poor who are above the age of sixty years old and the Public Assistance Grant covers all vulnerable groups below the age of sixty years who are not beneficiaries of any other grant or source of income. The evidence from these countries is positive and has revealed information documenting improvements in welfare and the livelihoods of beneficiaries.

Mr Speaker, in closing, I would like to thank the hon. Members of Parliament for showing keen interest in the rolling out of the scheme to a nationwide programme. We only hope that they will continue supporting this call and ensuring that this programme becomes a Government-funded programme as is being done in other countries.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members may now ask questions on points of clarification on the statement which has been given by the hon. Minister of Community Development and Social Services.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker the hon. Minister stated that in order for the Government to prioritise this Social Cash Transfer Scheme, he asked us, as parliamentarians, to support him and he used the word ‘lobby’. I want to ask the hon. Minister a question as I intend to bring a Motion to urge the Government to upscale. Is …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Do you have a question, hon. Member?

Mrs Masebo: Yes, Sir. 

Is the hon. Minister going to support the Motion urging the Government to upscale and ensure that it budgets for this very important programme?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I still want to thank the co-operating partners for giving us …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!


Mr Kaingu: … US$63 million for upscaling the social cash transfer. I used the word ‘lobby’ and urged hon. Members of Parliament to help the ministry upscale this programme because I know that the appropriation of funds, through the Budget, is done here. Therefore, hon. Members, when the Budget is presented, it is your duty to support us.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Milupi (Luena): Mr Speaker, the social cash transfer is one of the strategies of this Government to fight poverty. Since the Western Province is deemed the poorest province by this Government, why is it that there are no districts included among the initial five districts where this scheme started seven years ago?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I would want to thank Hon. Milupi for recognising that this Government really believes that the Western Province is poor. I do not know whether he does not believe that.

Mr Speaker, the social cash transfer as I said in my statement was started by the GTZ in the Southern Province, more especially in Kalomo, but we could not tell them to start it in the Western Province. In other words, it was a donor driven programme, which us, as a Government, have taken over.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister why all the areas that he has mentioned where the scheme has been tested are predominantly rural areas, and yet people in urban areas are more vulnerable than rural areas. 


Mr Simuusa: Why was there no pilot project in urban areas where there is extreme poverty?


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, you have always guided us to listen to ministerial statements. It is clear in my ministerial statement that we are going by the empirical evidence that we get from the Central Statistical Office (CSO). According to them, it is these mentioned districts which are poor and not where the hon. Member comes from.

Mr Sichilima: In Nchanga, there are mines.

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, Kazungula District has only 735 households, and yet, economically, this district is the poorest in the Southern Province. When is the ministry going to increase the number of households that are receiving cash transfer in Kazungula District?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, the up scaling is both horizontal and vertical. Horizontal, in the sense that we want to capture more people who are receiving social cash transfer where it is active and vertical in the sense that we are bringing in more districts on board.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Matongo (Pemba): Mr Speaker, I really commend the hon. Minister for his ministerial statements. Generally speaking, cash transfers are the fastest form of reducing poverty in Africa. However, I am a little worried when the hon. Minister says we should help him with budget assistance. 

The budget preparation is a Government instrument. Much as we would like to support it with the hon. Member of Parliament for Chongwe, his fiscal arrangement is for next year. Is he in a position to give us the equivalent of the US$63 million the donors have given us as a counter fund arrangement to his ministry?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, when we started the social cash transfer, the corresponding funding from the Government was K1.5 billion. We doubled it to K3 billion the following year and, this year, it is K4 billion. We require K2 billion per district to come on board. That is what we will be corresponding. It will be entirely up to the hon. Members to channel it to either small movements or roll it out very quickly. If they want it rolled out very quickly, we would then multiply it by K2 billion.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Mwamba (Lukashya): Mr Speaker …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr V. Mwale: The Jackson Five!

Mrs Mwamba: … I would like to find out from the hon. Minister when he intends to extend the scheme to the Northern Province since the Government has taken over this social scheme.

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, there are districts in the Northern Province that have benefited from this scheme and Kaputa is one of them.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Phiri (Munali): Mr Speaker, we are now in a multi-party dispensation …

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised. However, in the process of raising his point of order, the hon. Member has committed an offence by blocking the line of vision between me and the hon. Member on the Floor.


Mr Speaker: May the hon. Member for Munali continue?


Mrs Phiri: Mr Speaker, I am sure the nation is aware that we are in a multi-party dispensation. Before this, we were under a system of the Party and Its Government. Of late, we have seen that monies from this same ministry in the Eastern Province are being given to minister’s wives to distribute. How sure are we that these monies will not be politicised or how independent are these monies going to be?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, let me thank the hon. Member for raising that question. I have always said I only speak and not talk like everybody, but, maybe, now I should talk a bit. 


Mr Kaingu: This is a Government for the people of the Republic of Zambia and it is going to provide for everybody. However, it is very important for the hon. Member to know that the person talking to you, first of all, is a politician, a member of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), an hon. Minister and he enjoys what we call ...


Mr Kaingu: ... the power of incumbency.

Thank you, Sir.


Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has intimated that he might solicit for support from this House to enable it vote money for this very important statement he has given. Going by his statement, is the hon. Minister in a position to tell us how he is going to allow a variation in this House of K144 billion for it to reach all the seventy-two districts when we have tried, in the past, to help with such variations and it has been defeated on the Floor of this House? 

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, let me use this occasion to thank Hon. Shakafuswa, Hon. Masebo and Hon. Matongo for appreciating this statement. You are wonderful ...


Mr Kaingu: ... and I will always strive to assist you.


Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, we are not going to scale up the Social Cash Transfer Scheme at once. We will be bringing in the districts according to what we will be receiving from the CSO. 

Mr Speaker, as a Government, we will strive to provide for our people. I have already said the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is just one of those social securities that we use, but there are others which the hon. Minister of Community Development and Social Services implements. So, I would want hon. Members who are not covered by the Social Cash Transfer Scheme to buy into other programmes which exist in the ministry.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sikota, SC. (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I equally, like others, appreciate the ministerial statement which has been given. Could the hon. Minister consider issuing clear guidelines on how the poor can access the money? Can he, also, inform the House whether amongst the criteria would be a universal system such as the one he talked about in Lesotho which is for the over seventies so that those who are, for example, over sixty-five years in Zambia automatically would qualify?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, according to my statement, I stated that there are two programmes running. There is a programme that looks at the pension for people who are sixty years and above and I would like to inform the House that I will soon qualify to that scheme. This scheme will be transferred to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security very soon and is being implemented in Katete. So, hon. Members are right. There will be one that will look at age and another one will look at the incapacitated and destitutes. In doing this, we are going to use the empirical evidence which will be provided by the CSO and we will be bringing districts on board.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister answer the question that was asked by Hon. Sylvia Tembo Masebo whether this Government will support the Motion which will be presented to this House? Can he answer by stating yes or no?

Mr Speaker: Order! Let me guide here. It was not deliberate that the hon. Minister did not answer the question. It was hypothetical. He cannot say yes or no before he sees the text of the Motion. That is why he avoided it. There is a technical reason there.


Mr Chongo (Mwense): Mr Speaker, the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) is one such programme that is intended to help the vulnerable. Can the hon. Minister indicate how poverty can be alleviated, for instance, in Mwense, where 73 per cent of the people are vulnerable and only 200 packs were distributed last year? How does the ministry expect to alleviate poverty in such areas with such meagre allocations?

Mr Kaingu: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I would like to thank you for assisting me in answering that question...


Mr Speaker: Order! I did not assist you to answer the question. 


Mr Speaker: Order! This has something to do with the procedure of the House. The House does not allow for conjecture or guess work. So, I did not assist, but guided you.

You may continue.

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the guidance. 


Mr Kaingu: This thing is somber. Mr Speaker, has already guided. You are supposed to understand that we are talking about very poor people here and I want to give you answers even though you are jeering.


Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, let me explain a bit on how we select the poor people to be captured by the Social Cash Transfer. Officers from the ministry are on the ground and work with the Community Welfare Assistance Committees in various districts. That is what my statement said. The Community Welfare Assistance Committees are trained for five days and their job is to identify those people who are the poorest of the poor. Those are the ones that are put on the scheme and so it is not everybody. Poverty is a relative term. I could be poorer than Hon. Matongo who is poorer than Hon. Muntanga and so it is a relative term. So, we will look at only those people who are the poorest of the poor. Those are the ones who will be taken on board.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, maybe, a bonus answer will do on this question. Related to this, is the K5 billion for empowering women. When is the ministry going to start disbursing the funds?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for asking that question. Through that question, I would like to inform all hon. Members of Parliament to go to their constituencies and form social clubs because the money is ready and we shall soon start disbursing the funds. Please, hon. Members, form clubs and do not just bring certificates, but remember to bring project proposals on what your clubs intend to undertake.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

Dr Kalumba (Chienge): Mr Speaker, I acknowledge the very hard work that the hon. Minister has put in place particularly for us in rural areas. However, how does he want to complement this effort by arresting what is reported in some areas where the welfare officers create bogeymen within the Boma to receive goods, on behalf of the poor, when, in fact, these go to the civil servants at the Bomas?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Chienge, who is now a beneficiary of this scheme, …


Hon. Members: How?

Mr Kaingu: … through his constituency.

Mr Kaingu: Do not contextualise.


Mr Kaingu: Our officers have done very well. As you may be aware, this was a pilot project and it has proved that our officers and those who were engaged on a voluntary basis, like the headmasters, are very honest and are disbursing the money very well. There is empirical evidence that they are doing extremely well.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Kapata (Mandevu): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned the towns where the pilot projects were conducted, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the money he was dishing out in Milanzi Constituency was under the Social Welfare Department or he was simply soliciting for votes.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, it is clear, in my statement, that we are actually bringing districts and not constituencies on board. Therefore, the hon. Member is being economical with the truth because we are using districts.

Mr Speaker, with regard to the K5 billion that the hon. Member for Moomba mentioned, I would like to inform the House that, I have been going around in provinces informing women about this money. I have been to the Southern, Lusaka and Central provinces and I am about to go to the Eastern Province.

Hon. Opposition Members: To campaign!

Mr Kaingu: I will be going to the Eastern Province and I am not sorry about it because I will be sensitising the women and, in the process, …

Ms Limata: Dish out the money!


Mr Kaingu: Yes, we dished out money in the Southern, Lusaka and Central provinces because the people of Zambia are entitled to the money and we will give it to them whether there is a by-election or not.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr Speaker, let me commend the hon. Minister for being so candid by saying that his Government is enjoying the incumbency and are, therefore, dishing out public money in that manner. Hon. Minister, any social cash transfer is aimed at alleviating and not reducing poverty. Can the hon. Minister indicate whether or not his ministry has identified poor, but viable people who do not only depend and do not want to depend on handouts and would like to be uplifted through social programmes? If so, when will he engage such people in programmes that will uplift them and take them out of squalor?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, yes, it is the duty of this Government to dish out the money that was appropriated …


Mr Kaingu: … in this House. You are the people who approved the money for us to dish out.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kaingu: Why do you want us to keep the money?

Hon. Opposition Members: To dish out!

Mr Kaingu: That is just a terminology.


Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, with regard to what Hon Lubinda has said, I would like to inform him that we have a programme called food security pack. This is a programme where we empower the vulnerable, but viable farmers. They are vulnerable in the sense that they may not have the capacity to purchase their own inputs, but are viable in the sense that they are able to grow their own food once they are empowered.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Mwape (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, I am proud to hear that the programme is based on empirical evidence. Well done, hon. Minister. If evidence is provided either from the Central Statistical Office or from undertaking a situation analysis from the urban districts, is the hon. Minister willing to make a commitment that these cash transfers will immediately be undertaken in these particular areas in the spirit of one Government one people?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, indeed, we are going to disburse the money as the Government of the Republic of Zambia. This is a Government of the people for the people and by the people of the Republic of Zambia and we are going to give the money to the people of Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imbwae (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out who the beneficiaries are. Is it possible for anyone over sixty years of age, like Hon. Magande, to access these funds …


Mr Magande: Hear, hear!

Ms Imbwae: … or it is only meant for those who are vulnerable?


Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, the scheme for the aged, which is active in Katete, is for anybody who is sixty years of age and above. Now, if Hon. Magande was in Katete and was not shy to go and get a K100,000.00 which is meant for the poor, he would qualify.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how this scheme is going to be sustained. Is the Government thinking of reinvesting this money into things like real estate so that it can generate more? May we know, on average, how much each family receives from this cash transfer?

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister will answer one of those two questions.

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, those old men and women who do not have children get about K40,000 per month. Those with children, especially in the Southern Province, get K50,000 per month and in Chipata, they get K60,000. 

Mr Speaker, that money seems insufficient, but I can assure you that it has done quite a lot. Some of the beneficiaries of this money have actually bought chickens and goats with it.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: It is quite evident that this subject is extremely important and the hon. Members would want to hear more and more on the matter. May I persuade those who still wish to ask questions to approach the hon. Minister, maybe, at tea time, for a one-on-one kind of consultation so that the House may make progress? There was only one hon. Member who had been struggling to indicate, but he has since given up. 

The hon. Member for Solwezi Central may ask his question.

Mr Lumba (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for your kind consideration.

Mrs Phiri: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mrs Phiri: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. I was one of the privileged hon. Members of Parliament who travelled to the Southern Province over this cash transfer issue. What we were told was that the people who can access these monies are the vulnerable people and they are identified by their community, which is contrary to what the hon. Minister said. Therefore, is this hon. Minister in order to mislead this House that anybody who is above sixty, can access this money? I need your serious ruling, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Order! Well, the Chair appreciates the fact that the hon. Member for Munali is raising a point of order now because she would not do so while the hon. Minister was giving the answer. I have been listening. The hon. Minister gave the example of Katete, in relation to an honourable person like Hon. Magande. He said that if the hon. Member were in Katete and was poor and not shy, he would be eligible for that cash transfer. You may wish to refer, if you are in doubt, to the verbatim report tomorrow or whenever you have time. You will find that what I am saying is what he, actually, said.

Mr Lumba: Mr Speaker, according to some empirical evidence which the hon. Minister referred to, there is also the issue of trying to encourage entrepreneurship and not consumption in cash transfers. What programme does the ministry have to encourage entrepreneurship and not consumption with the cash transfers? I also wanted to have some comfort on the power of encompassing when distributing the US$63 million. To what level are they going to use the power of encompassing in that manner?

Mr Speaker: As before, the hon. Minister will answer one of those questions.

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, the beneficiaries of this programme are people who cannot work for themselves. No matter how many jobs you would create in Zambia, these people would not work. It is very clear in my statement that it is only those people who have been proved to be destitute, who receive this money. Therefore, these people cannot be entrepreneurs.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!




402. Mr D. Mwila (Chipili) asked the Minister of Education when the Government would construct schools in the following areas in Chipili Parliamentary Constituency:

(i)    Kansonta;

(ii)    Chifuntwe;

(iii)    Mimbulu;

(iv)    Masamba;

(v)    Milonge; and

(vi)    Kane.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Mr Sinyinda): Mr Speaker, it is a Government policy to construct schools within a radius of five kilometres so that every school-going age child has access to education. However, this is determined by the population of school-going age children in the areas and availability of funds to put up a school. The ministry gives a number of classrooms per district and the district decides where to build according to their priorities.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, community schools have been in existence in Chifuntwe, Mimbulu, Milonge and Kane and the Government has a programme of upgrading community schools into basic schools. When does the Government intend to upgrade the community schools into basic schools in the four areas that I have mentioned?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, as a ministry, we are also concerned that we must build schools and upgrade the community schools. We will do so as and when money is made available to us.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Beene (Itezhi-tezhi): Mr Speaker, one of the conditions which the ministry gives to the people in rural areas for them to build schools is to put materials which include sand and stones upfront, but this is difficult to find in certain areas. When will the Government change this idea so that in places where you cannot find materials such as stones and sand, they can go ahead and help these communities?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, yes, we realise that in some areas, we have such challenges. We are still consulting and we want to see whether we can assist these communities to actually ferry sand or stones to those areas so that they can benefit from school construction.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that one of the criteria they use to build schools is the population of the school going children. Therefore, what is the population of school going children in these areas?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, usually, we look at whether the number of children in that area can make a class and sustain the school up to Grade 7 or Grade 9. If that is the case and there is a need, especially by the community itself, we will have a school built in that area.

I thank you, Mr Speaker. 

Mr Chazangwe (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, will this hard-working hon. Deputy Minister of Education stop singing the national anthem of saying there are no funds? When will he find funds …


Mr Chazangwe: …to build these schools in order to bring equity to all the schools in the country?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, my fellow head teacher is aware that we have embarked on the construction of schools and classrooms in every constituency, but we cannot do it all at once. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


403. Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    when the construction of Kalomo Hospital would be completed and opened to the public;

(b)    how many rural health centres were planned for construction in Kalomo Central Parliamentary Constituency;

(c)    whether there were any plans to upgrade Namwianga Health Centre in Kalomo District to a first level referral hospital; and 

(d)    when the required staffing levels in the hospital and clinics in Kalomo District would be attained.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Musonda): Mr Speaker, the construction of Kalomo Hospital will be completed and opened to the public by the end of 2010. The maternity wing and theatre are almost complete. We are still working on the floors, electrical system and painting. 

There are ten health centres planned to be opened in Kalomo. These are Nazilongo, Moonde, which was built using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), and we really thank the hon. Member for this. Natale, where a staff house was built using the CDF, will also be opened and we thank the hon. Member, again, for this development. The rest of the health centres are Mapatizya (2), Chidi, Kanyanga, Dundumwezi, Kalemu, Munyeke, Chikanta and Pipelene Bulyambeba.

Mr Speaker, for Namwianga Health Centre in Kalomo to be upgraded to the level of a hospital, it requires certain standards which are prescribed by the Ministry of Health as well as the Professional Council of Zambia which regulates the Medical Council of Zambia. According to the first assessment, the health centre did not qualify. However, the council is yet to assess it again, and it is only then that we will be able to know whether it can be upgraded. 

Mr Speaker, it is not easy to state, with certainty, when the optimal staffing levels will be attained in the hospital and clinics in Kalomo District. I, however, would like to mention to the hon. Member that he should receive, with both hands, the medical doctor we sent to Kalomo Hospital two weeks ago, bringing the number to four. We are yet to send more staff to the hospital, going by our strategic plan. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I am grateful that the ministry sent a doctor to Kalomo Hospital two weeks ago. However, can the hon. Minister clarify why Namwianga Health Centre cannot be upgraded to a hospital even though it has all the facilities of a first level referral hospital? 

At one time, staff were sent to the health centre but were withdrawn with the excuse that there was no district hospital. I would like to know why they cannot proceed to upgrade the health centre and provide the necessities since facilities are there.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member can appreciate that the health centre in question is just seven kilometres away from Kalomo District Hospital. 

As per guidelines, a first level hospital should cater for a population of about 80,000 to 200,000. As it is, Kalomo District Hospital is providing for part of the urban health centre that the hon. Member is talking about. 

Mr Speaker, it is quite difficult to appreciate the fact that we should have two hospitals seven kilometres apart serving the same population. We would spend a lot of money on district hospitals which are in the same radius. This is where the problem is. 

We appreciate that equipment such as, for example, X-ray machines, which the hon. Member talked about, was donated by the missionaries who are our co-operating partners. This equipment is what has made the health centre almost get to the level of a district hospital. However, I think that the answer, which I gave earlier, that we are considering upgrading the health centre is more elaborate.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 


404. Mr Kambwili (Roan) asked the Vice-President and Minister of Justice:

(a)    how many magistrates there were in Zambia; and

(b)    what the approved establishment of magistrates was.

The Deputy Minister of Justice (Mr Chilembo): Mr Speaker, there are 136 magistrates distributed, province by province, as follows:

    Province            Number of magistrates

     Lusaka                    22
    Copperbelt               28
    Central                    10
    North-Western       10
    Eastern                  13
    Southern                19
    Northern               15
    Western               10
    Luapula                09
    Total                    136

Mr Speaker, the approved establishment of magistrates is 251, comprising 81 Professional Magistrates and170 Lay Magistrates.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, one of the reasons that cases take long to be disposed of, especially at the magistrate level, is that there are very few magistrates and too many cases. Is the Government thinking of increasing the number so that justice is dispensed quickly?

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice (Mr Kunda, SC.): Mr Speaker, I must thank the hon. Member for the interest he is showing in the dispensation of justice. 

Mr Speaker, indeed, there is a need for us to fill the current establishment. We need to train and recruit more magistrates to fill the vacant positions in order to dispense justice expeditiously. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Mr Sikota, SC. (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, His Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Justice said that, currently, we do not have a sufficient number of magistrates to fill the establishment which is low. Has the Government considered taking measures such as appointing people from private practice to serve in a similar manner as that of commissioners after being appointed to serve as Judges a few years ago, in order to alleviate this shortfall in the judicial offices?

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Mr Speaker, this is not under consideration. At the moment, we are considering filling the establishment so that we have more manpower within the establishment. 

Mr Speaker, I must also mention that the Judiciary has since been restructured in accordance with the Judicature Act so that we can budget for this and fill the vacancies within the approved establishment. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Chimbaka (Bahati): Mr Speaker, admittedly, the crime rate is rising in Zambia. Is there a way His Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Justice can come up with a strategy for hon. Members of Parliament to sensitise people in various constituencies and all walks of life against committing crime?

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Mr Speaker, indeed, it is the duty of every Zambian to participate in the sensitisation of people against committing crime. Of course, hon. Members of Parliament can play a leading role in their communities. I totally agree with that. In fact, hon. Members of Parliament can even make citizens’ arrests where they find people committing crime. Any member of the public can do that.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President and Learned Minister of Justice whether there are any incentives in terms of progression to the Bench for magistrates who choose to work for the Government when most legal practitioners shun working for the Government. Today, private practitioners are rushing to become Judges because the conditions in the Government have improved. Could there be some room for magistrates who serve this country diligently to progress by being given priority in appointments to position of Judge?

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Mr Speaker, that is an important question. The hon. Member must appreciate that there are certain qualifications that are required for somebody to be appointed Judge of the High Court. Therefore, there is no discrimination in the appointments. Indeed, if magistrates, with their experience on the Bench, qualify for appointment, we bring such names here for ratification. In fact, it is not easy to find lawyers both from the private and public sectors who are willing to serve on the Bench. Even those who are in the public sector who have the requisite qualifications, experience and have been members of the Bar for at least ten years are appointed and this is quite clear. You can check previous records on the appointment of Judges. We ratify names from the Public Service. In fact, we give priority to those who are already in the Public Service if they possess the required qualifications.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, according to the hon. Minister, the Northern Province has fifteen magistrates while Luapula has nine. Is the hon. Minister not considering transferring one of the magistrates to Chilubi where there is no magistrate at the moment?

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Mr Speaker, the Judiciary operates independently and they look into issues of appointments through the Judicial Service Commission. Therefore, that matter will receive attention, taking into account the availability of manpower and the criteria for appointment. Therefore, at the moment, I do not have facts to commit myself to that situation.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


405. Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a)    when the Government would complete the construction of the Government complex in Kamwala in Lusaka;

(b)    what the estimated cost of completing the construction works was ; and 

(c)    how long it had taken the Government to reach the current level of construction.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Kalila): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Government will complete the construction of the Government Complex in Kamwala in Lusaka by December, 2011. The House may wish to note that out of six buildings that make up the Government Complex, four have already been completed and are in use. The four completed buildings are the Lusaka Museum, the building housing the Zambia Development Agency, Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the main building (Tower Block).

Mr Speaker, the two buildings yet to be completed are the Banquet Hall and the conference centre.

Sir, the total estimate for completing the construction works is US$25,592,430. The Government of the Republic of Zambia has acquired a concessional loan from the Government of the People’s Republic of China to complete the works. 

Mr Speaker, the construction of the Government Complex commenced in 1985 through a Technical Assistance Agreement that was signed between the governments of the Republic of Zambia and People’s Republic of China. Therefore, it has taken twenty-five years to reach the current level of construction. The buildings housing the Lusaka Museum, Zambian Development Agency and Ministry of Labour and Social Security were completed in 1993. The main building (Tower Block) was completed in 2004 using a Chinese grant.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister confirm that it is poor planning to start a project when there are not enough funds to complete it in time?

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mulongoti): Mr Speaker, I am sure the hon. Member is aware that that building has a history. You know very well that it is not us who started the construction of this building because, initially, it was meant to be the headquarters of a political party. Therefore, we only took it over as a Government because we realise that, at the time, there was no separation between the party and Government. When our good Government took over, we said public funds were used for the construction. Therefore, it became a building for the Government. We have tried everything possible to complete it. Therefore, there was no poor planning on our part. We just took over because we realise that it will be more useful to the Government than to a political party.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, I would like to know what the original cost of the construction and the period was. Is the US$25, 592,430 the original cost?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I do not know what the original cost was for the political party. We are only concerned about what we have been spending. US$25, 592,430 is the current loan to complete the project.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.{mospagebreak}


406. Mr Chisala asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    what percentage of the Zambian population was tested for HIV/AIDS as of 31 December, 2009;

(b)    whether HIV/AIDS in-patients at public health facilities had a different menu from other patients which took into account their special nutritional requirements and, if so, what the average cost of feeding each HIV/AIDS patient each month was; and

(c)    what the current doctor-patient ratio in peri-urban and rural areas of Zambia was.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, the information from our health information system data on the number of males and females tested for HIV in 2009 is not ready yet. However, the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) data that is available indicates that by the end of 2009, over 400,000 expectant mothers had tested for HIV. These figures do not include data from the Copperbelt and Central provinces as these have not yet been validated. 

Mr Speaker, the available data validated as at December, 2008, indicates that a total of 511,266 tested out of which 80,659 were males and 430,000 were females. Expectant mothers have a well established entry point to VCT which is client-initiated testing and counselling where they have no option because when one is pregnant, they definitely visit the health centres. The ante-natal clinic allows for the implementation of provider-initiated counselling and testing on an opt out basis where the test is offered and the client is left with the decision of either to taking it or not.

Mr Speaker, at the close of 2008, out of the 1,500 health institutions that we have, 936 facilities were implementing the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission. This explains the high female access to testing compared to the males. It is envisaged that with the setting up of the male circumcision services and the promotion of couple counselling, the PMCT Programme will be more accessed.

Mr Speaker, at present, there are no public health facilities providing special meals for HIV/AIDS in-patients and this is basically due to resource constraints the sector is facing. However, nutrition support is a recognised strategy which is beneficial to HIV/AIDS patients initiated on Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART).

Mr Speaker, the total cost of the nutritional supplements is still under way because we are trying to assess the cost for a patient to be fed on nutrition supplements. The current doctor patient ratio in peri-urban areas of Zambia is 14 per 100,000.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, proper feeding is the basis for sustaining the patient’s life. Could the hon. Minister indicate how soon they intend to put that programme in place?

The Minister of Health (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is right to say that nutrition is a sure way of building the immunity of a patient. I would like to say that this is part of the counselling given to the patients or people who contract HIV/AIDS. I would like the House to appreciate the fact that the hospital can only go so far. When a person is admitted in hospital, it is because they are suffering from a curable disease. If one is suffering from an incurable disease, it is normally advised to take curative care at home and the nutrition information is passed to the care givers.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Milupi (Luena): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister has clearly stated that the expectant mothers have mandatory HIV testing when they attend ante-natal clinics. With that in mind, why does the ministry not consider mandatory testing for all citizens who attend clinics so that they can fight this pandemic in a proper and co-ordinated manner?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, from the question, I would like to correct one impression that it is not yet mandatory for pregnant women to take the HIV test. What happens is that when they go for ante-natal, they are counselled as a group and given a choice whether to test or not. This has been positive because after the group counselling, almost all of them opt to test but even at the end of testing, it is up to the individuals to know or not know the results. However, there has been a lot of talk similar to what the hon. Member has just said on the possibility of introducing universal testing because this, we are being told, will assist us plan better for HIV/AIDS.

Mr Speaker, this is not a simple situation and it will require a lot of thought to see how it can be achieved but I thank him for that concern.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, …

Ms Kapata: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, on 2nd March, 2010 I raised urgent questions in which I brought out the fact that nurses in Lusaka were working without protective clothing. In reply, the hon. Deputy Minister of Health said and I quote:

“Mr Speaker, the ministry is not aware of any health personnel who are attending to cholera patients without protective clothing because these were procured and distributed. The protective clothing procured and distributed are gloves, gum boots, and waterproof aprons”.  

Mr Speaker, he went further to say that these are distributed in areas where we have cholera outbreaks such as the Copperbelt and Southern provinces. He also said there is excess protective clothing at the Medical Stores. He indicated that at the time I was asking, perhaps, there was just a small lapse in the clinics that have not yet ordered the equipment.

Mr Speaker, I have just visited Ng’ombe Clinic and the nurses there are working without protective clothing. If there are lapses between the Ministry of Health and DHMT, can the ministry tell us so that we, who are concerned that our health personnel are working under difficult conditions and without protective clothing, can do something to get the protective clothing for them? I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I have taken note of the point of order which has been raised by the hon. Member for Mandevu. However, I would like to allow the hon. Member for Lusaka Central to conclude his supplementary question on question no. 406 on the Order Paper and in the process of answering, the hon. Minister of Health who, by coincidence, is answering this very question, would make reference to that point of order.

The hon. Member for Lusaka Central may continue.

Dr Scott: Mr Speaker, following the hon. Member for Luena’s question, the fact remains that the discrepancy between males and females tested is very alarming. From this point of view, the indication it gives is that of very low testing amongst the men. Is the hon. Minister not considering to introduce an opt in opt out type of system for men when they present themselves at clinics with chronic conditions that are suggestive of underlying HIV/AIDS infections such as Tuberculosis (TB) or shingles? You have heard the other part of the question, hon. Minister.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, first all, I think I will wait for that question from the hon. Member for Lusaka Central. People who present themselves with TB and shingles are normally counselled and tested. It should be made clear that no one is tested against his or her will and it has not yet happened. Normally, when people are in such a situation, they are counselled and encouraged to test. So far, what I know is that all the people who have ended up in such a situation have been tested. However, there are some who test and refuse to be told the results, but they accept the medication when it is offered to them and since that is their will they are not forced to be told the results. 

Mr Speaker, like I said, the issue of discussing universal testing is going on right now. This means that when a person gets sick and goes to the clinic, the first thing they do is test that person before he or she is seen by the doctor. This is an issue that we are going to discuss because it is different from mandatory testing. Mandatory testing requires everyone to be tested. In this case, when a sick person goes to a clinic he or she would be asked to test for HIV/AIDS before being seen by the doctor because this is how we feel that, maybe, we can help a lot of our people. 

Mr Speaker, I also want to talk about the issue that the hon. Member has raised, regarding the low number of males going for the HIV/AIDS test. It is of very high concern that our men folk do not want to test for HIV/AIDS. In most cases, when a pregnant mother is found positive, we ask them to encourage their partners to be tested. At times, their husbands turn up, but in most cases they refuse. So, we would like to encourage men to go and be tested. 

Mr Speaker, we normally do not discuss ourselves, but I would be very happy if all the male Members of Parliament can get tested …

Mrs Phiri: Hear, hear!

Mr Simbao: … because we can start from here and it will be easier for the rest to follow, especially in our constituencies, when we talk about HIV/AIDS.

Mr Speaker, answering the concern of the hon. Member for Mandevu, I must say I am very grateful for her concern and, in a way, she is trying to encourage us that we should provide protective clothing to our workers. If she found a situation like that in Ng’ombe, then we shall follow it up by ensuring that they have the protective clothing and if they do not have, we are going to provide it immediately. However, if, on the other hand, they have, then we shall find out why they do not use them. This is because the first time she raised this issue, and we followed it up, we found that the protective clothing were in stock, but they had not given some of the clinics and yet, they promised to give all the clinics. So, if it is an issue of not having given Ng’ombe Clinic, again, we shall follow up to establish why they did not give them because they assured us that they would give them.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Mwamba (Lukashya): Mr Speaker, the earlier answer given by the hon. Deputy Minister gives very good comfort. The data related to HIV/AIDS is very instrumental and very important for the Government to make follow ups. Does this Government not consider creating a database which can be updated periodically so that they do not fish piecemeal information from this and that exercise?

Mrs Phiri: Hear, hear!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I probably did not follow the question, but I want to assure the Member of Parliament that we have very good data on HIV/AIDS patients. I would like to assure her that, so far, there are 277,000 people who are accessing free ARVs and this is possible because these people were registered in our books. We also have about 29,000 children who are on free ARVs. We have very good data, actually, on people who are HIV/AIDS positive. 

Mr Speaker, the problem we have is that only 15 per cent of the population have tested. We are not talking about those who have been found positive, but just testing. So, 85 per cent of the population do not want to test and we do not understand why. Testing is not getting sick but just knowing your status. That is what we are asking for. Just come and test so that you know whether you are okay or not and only 15 per cent are ready to do that. This is very bad because, as a Government, we want to take care of the nation’s health. Therefore, we are requesting through you, Mr Speaker, and this House, that all the people in Zambia must come forward and test. We have enough materials to test for HIV/AIDS.

I thank you, Sir.


407. Mr Chisala asked the Minster of Health:

(a)    how many operational aeroplanes the Zambia Flying Doctor Service (ZFDS) owned as of 30th November, 2009;

(b)    how many employees were employed by the ZFDS as of 5th December, 2009; and 

(c)    how many medical doctors were currently employed by the ZFDS and how many were seconded to the institution.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, the ZFDS, as of November 2009, had two aircraft that were functional from a fleet of four and I have with me the details of the four planes as follows:

Make            Year Purchased        Comments
2 Islanders            1971        No operational
1 Caravan            2002        Operational
1 Caravan            2003        Operational

Mr Speaker, there were 109 employees in service at ZFDS as of 5th December 2009 out of an establishment of 136. There were no new employees recruited as of 5th December 2009.

Mr Speaker, there are four doctors currently employed by the ZFDS. This also includes the Executive Director and Deputy Director. There are no doctors seconded to the institution.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Sir, the importance of the ZFDS in the delivery of health services is unquestionable. Could the hon. Minister explain why the ZFDS has made irregular flights to rural places in Zambia of late?

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, it is really gratifying to hear that the hon. Member actually agreeing that the work of the flying doctor service is appreciated. The ZFDS is providing two services to the Ministry of Health. One of them is mobile health services. The other one is evacuation. Now, regarding mobile health services, I think, so many times, this Government has mentioned that it has problems in terms of having static structures in most parts of the country and, therefore, we would like to strengthen our mobile health services. The ZFDS is just one of the institutions that is trying to help us.

However, the ZFDS has challenges. The country is so vast and thus only a few places are targeted. On the other hand, I would like to assure the hon. Member for Chilubi that his area is one of the places serviced by the ZFDS. So, I would like to repeat that the vastness of the country has been an inhibiting factor. Furthermore, we only have few planes and since the resource envelope is quite small, we can only do so much at once. The most important thing to note is that we need to strengthen our mobile health services countrywide.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central): Mr Speaker, arising from the hon. Minister’s answer that two planes are grounded, can he give specific reasons why these two planes are not operational.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, I think I mentioned that these planes were bought in 1971 and, therefore, they are quite old. It is only expected for an old machine to have breakdowns. This is not to say that they are irreparable. They are not operational because they are faulty and need repair.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Phiri (Munali): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out what the ministry is doing to retain the engineers and pilots flying the aeroplanes for the ZFDS because there is a bigger job market out there where they are paid well unlike here where they are paid peanuts. Is the ministry thinking of giving them more incentives to make them stay?

Mr Speaker: Order! May the hon. Member for Munali explain what ‘peanuts’ are.


Mrs Phiri: They are running away because the monies they get in this country are far lower than the pecks they are paid if they are working in foreign countries. 

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, it is really news to us that our pilots are running away. What we know is that our pilots are still around and we have kept them well. If they feel the need to leave because we are not offering certain incentives, I think, our labour laws are quite clear. As for now, the pilots that are servicing or flying our planes have not complained that much.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Phiri: Aah!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours. {mospagebreak}

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

408. Mr Mukanga asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    whether there were any measures to ensure that traditional male circumcision is carried out under hygienic conditions;

(b)    how many Zambian men underwent circumcision in Government health facilities from 2008 to-date; and

(c)    whether male circumcision had helped curb the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, as a country, the male circumcision programme, under the Ministry of Health, is guided by a ten-year plan called the National Male Circumcision Strategy and Implementation Plan; 2010-2020. This guiding document does articulate issues concerning safety around traditional male circumcision and provides guidance to programme officers on how to engage traditional circumcisers for the purpose of fostering safety, including infection prevention, within traditional circumcising communities.

In addition, in areas where traditional male circumcision is practised, the Ministry of Health collaborates with traditional circumcisers to uphold safer surgical techniques while respecting and adhering to the cultural norms that include life skills and coming of age education in order to allow for them to continue providing culturally acceptable services.

In order to ensure that traditional circumcisers follow appropriate infection prevention and surgical techniques so as to avoid the added risk of the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) transmission or other infections due to the circumcision procedure, the Ministry of Health and its implementing partners have been able to gain access to the Mukanda circumcision camps in order to observe practices there and thereby provide technical guidance to the traditional circumcisers. In addition, a representative of the Mukanda Royal Establishment now sits on the National Male Circumcision Technical Working Group, a body that provides technical input to the Ministry of Health in planning, implementing and monitoring of male circumcision services in the country.

Further, the Ministry of Health has strengthened the collaboration between the traditional establishments and trained medical service providers such that some traditional circumcising groups have agreed to utilise the Ministry of Health services for the sake of actually doing the circumcision for the young men in the initiation camps. Under this arrangement, the initiation camp proceeds according to the traditional practice, but on the day of circumcision, the boys are taken to a health facility early in the morning where health workers provide the service. After the circumcisions have been done, the boys are taken back to the initiation camps to complete the process.

The male circumcisions have been performed in Government health facilities long before the introduction of the male circumcision for HIV prevention. A total of 10,476 men were circumcised in Government facilities from 2008 to date. This figure only reflects those circumcisions performed for the purpose of HIV prevention on request by the individual, rather than those done for various medical reasons as advised by medical personnel.

Mr Speaker, the actual impact of male circumcision in Zambia is yet to be seen. There is a need to run well-designed evaluation studies around the country. It is against this background that the Ministry of Health, along with co-operating partners, has already started working on an impact evaluation study which will tell us to what extent the programme will have contributed to reducing on the number of new HIV infections in the country. The study design has already been developed and integrated into the roll-out plan for male circumcision services. Since we are only at the inception of this intervention at this point, we cannot yet measure changes in the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a result of male circumcision.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether the Government is interacting with those circumcision groups which are in remote places where there are no medical facilities.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, the whole programme of male circumcision is being undertaken by the Ministry of Health with some co-operating partners. With this plan, there is a roll-out plan where institutions, starting from the urban areas up to the rural areas, are being trained. Surgical equipment is also provided so that they are able to do the circumcision well. This is why, in our 2010/2020 plan, we intend to circumcise up to 2.5 million people and with the roll-out, we are almost getting to refine our target. In essence, rural areas are also catered for in this roll-out.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, what should a male do if he wants to be circumcised at a Government health facility and what time of the year is best for circumcision?

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, there is no best time. Probably, maybe, we can talk about age. However, there is a programme from neonatal circumcision. Neonatal circumcision is where children less than twenty-eight days are circumcised. They are circumcised at this age for long-term measures and this programme will run from 2010 to 2020. We are trying to mop up the risk group existing now in our community and these are between the ages of thirteen to thirty-nine years where we have the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS. With the long term measure, we expect that even children that are born now, probably, by the next ten years, would all have been circumcised so that by the time they reach the sexually active age, they will have passed through this protective measure.

Mr Speaker, circumcision per se should not be taken alone as a preventive measure. As the Ministry of Health, we still insist on the use of condoms.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that immediately after circumcision, these boys are sent back to the Mukanda Village to continue with their cultural proceedings. I would like to know the maximum number of hours that a person who has been circumcised should be kept for observation in the hospital.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, operations are never the same because, sometimes, there could be complications and somebody can be observed for sometime, while others will be very easy under local anesthesia. Just after being circumcised, a few hours later, they can be sent home.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Phiri: Mr Speaker, it is a known fact that nowadays, we are seeing big men going for circumcision. Why is this Government delaying in introducing circumcision for our children at the Under Five clinics than seeing them holding skirts?


Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member who has asked this question is a mother and knows what our health workers go through at the Under Five clinics. Combining such procedures is not easy and these Under Five clinics are done even where there are no theatres where we can do the circumcision. Therefore, we cannot combine the two activities.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushili (Ndola Central): Mr Speaker, circumcision in men is welcome. Will this Government legalise circumcision in women?

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing this question to be answered so that this can be made clear. The issue of circumcision is a very old practice which dates, I think, almost to the beginning of the human race and only men were supposed to be circumcised. The reason this is practised is that it is very easy to contract diseases if one has the foreskin as opposed to one who does not have it. However, that is not the same with ladies and countries that have attempted to circumcise women, as has been suggested by the hon. Member, at the moment, are under pressure to stop it because it is a human rights violation. Therefore, it must never be entertained in this country.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kapata (Mandevu): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Minister’s answer on the Mukanda Ceremony which is a traditional circumcision and I come from the North- Western Province where this is practised. This traditional circumcision in the North- Western Province is done in remote areas where there are no clinics. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister if it would be possible to first train the traditional people who circumcise small boys than bringing the children, every time, there is a Mukanda to the hospital.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I think, we are being very unfair to think that people in the North-Western Province are not experts at this operation. They have been doing this for years and they have been passing this practice from generation to generation. They know everything and are very much aware of the hygienic problems. We have never heard of a situation where something has gone wrong with their traditional methods. 

Mr Speaker, the reason this has become an issue is that we want all provinces in the country to follow what the North-Western Province is doing. It has been proven that the North-Western Province has very low cases of HIV/AIDS and this has been attributed to the circumcision practice.

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to note that Zambia is not the only country where a section of its country circumcises people. Malaysia is very active in this and a very high percentage of male Malaysians are circumcised. They have come up with a disposable garget for circumcision, which we are about to start trying here in Zambia as it is very well promoted. It is painless.     One does not have to take any anesthesia and immediately after the circumcision can go and take a bath. Therefore, we are trying to bring this in and, if it works well, we will ensure that we distribute it to the most remote areas of this country.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, I would like to learn from the hon. Minister whether he is aware of any recorded negative effects of circumcision here in Zambia. Can he educate me through you?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of anything like this, but that does not mean there has not been a problem somewhere. I know that we are trying to train a lot of people in our hospitals to carry out this operation and it is possible that, in some instances, complications can arise. 

I thank you, Sir.


409. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Works and Supply when rehabilitation works on the Kasalu/Kezwa Palace Road in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency would be completed.

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Works and Supply, through the Road Development Agency (RDA), ...


Mr Speaker: Order!

You may continue.

Dr Kalila: ... does not have immediate plans to rehabilitate the Kasalu/Kezwa Road because of the many on-going projects which must be fully completed before undertaking new projects. However, the ministry is hopeful that the provincial administration will prioritise the road and use the Government plant and equipment under the Rural Roads Unit (RRU) in the province to rehabilitate the Kasalu/Kezwa Road.

I thank you, Sir.


410. Mr Chitonge (Mwansabombwe) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    how many staff houses had been earmarked for construction at rural health centres in Mwansabombwe Parliamentary Constituency;

(b)    how many VIP toilets would be constructed at the above facilities; and

(c)    when the two maternity annexes built from Constituency Development Fund at Mununshi and Salanga Rural Health centres in Mwansabombwe Parliamentary Constituency would be provided with linen, maternity beds and other necessities.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, there are thirteen houses that are earmarked for construction at rural health centres in Mwansabombwe Parliamentary Constituency. These are as follows:

Facility                                                  Number

(i)    Chipunka Rural Health Centre    1

(ii)    Salanga Rural Health Centre    2

(iii)    Mufubu Rural Health Centre    3

(iv)    Kazembe Rural Health Centre    3

(v)    Mukamba Rural Health Centre    2

(vi)    Mbereshi Hospital Affiliated Health Centre    2

In part answer to part (b) of the question, thirteen VIP toilets will be constructed at each staff house to be constructed at the rural health centres.

With regard to part (c) of the question, the maternity annexes at Mununshi and Salanga Rural Health centres will be provided with the necessary equipment and necessities, including beds and linen, within the 2010/2012 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Mr Speaker, let me remind hon. Members that the Government has delayed in opening the maternity annexes because, first of all, the District Health Management Team (DHMT) or local health officials were not aware of the construction and did include them in the next budget. Secondly, this was planned, last year, to try and see whether we can do everything this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chitonge: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister be specific regarding when the construction of the thirteen houses will begin.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, we have the MTEF which will run for two years from 2010 to 2012. We have also prioritised the houses that we are going to construct because they are competing against other health centres which also require houses. Funds permitting, we are going to construct them, as planned, and so it is quite difficult to specify exactly when.

I thank you, Sir.


411. Mr Chitonge asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    how many cases of HIV/AIDS were recorded in the Luapula Province from January to December, 2008;

(b)    which district had the highest number of cases; and

(c)    of the HIV/AIDS patients in the province, how many underwent full medical investigations before being put on anti-retroviral treatment.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, a total of 5,112 cases of HIV/AIDS were recorded in the Luapula Province from January to December, 2008, and these are as follows:

    District                                    No. of HIV/AIDS Cases

    Nchelenge                                        1,924

    Mansa                                              1,184

    Mwense                                           747

    Samfya                                             625

Kawambwa                                        329

    Chienge                                           235

    Milenge                                          68

    Total                                               5,112

Mr Speaker, as for part (b) of the question, Nchelenge District had the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the province. With regard to part (c) of the question, a total of 2,848 HIV/AIDS cases underwent full medical investigations before being put on anti-retroviral treatment.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chitonge: Mr Speaker, when is the Government going to introduce the third line treatment of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs)?

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, the third line drugs for HIV/AIDS are provided when need arises. I think the hon. Member can agree with me that we actually moved to a more potent drug just recently and phased out the initial first line drug except that some people who are doing well on the initial drug are still using it. This means that we have made it possible for people who were failing on the first line drug to be given a more potent drug and, as such, we have quite a small number of people who will require the third line drugs. Those who are still using the second line drugs, when need arises, will be provided with the third line drugs and the Government is ready for this.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, what explanation would the hon. Minister have for these huge disparities in terms of occurrence of infections in the districts of the Luapula Province? In one district it is 68, in another 1,184, or 1,924 and a totally different figure of 625 in yet another district. What explanation can be given for this?

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, we have observed, generally around the country, that where there are a lot of economic activities, there is a high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate. Nchelenge is one of the places in the Luapula Province where there are a lot of economic activities such as fishing going on. Therefore, both fishing and illicit sex happen there and, as such, there is a very high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate. As for Mansa, it is one of the urban areas in Luapula Province and has even a higher population compared to the other districts and so we expect to have a high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate there.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nsanda (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, people are shunning ARVs because it is believed that if one prolongs taking these drugs or takes them for over a year, they are likely to cause brain damage. Can the hon. Minister explain this?


Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, I am hearing that for the first time and there has been no proven research to show that one of the side effects of taking ARVs is brain damage. I think that is something we need to dispel with the urgency it deserves because these drugs are very safe and can be taken for as long as somebody is being monitored at our health centres for toxicity other than what he has mentioned. Therefore, I would like to encourage everyone who is taking them to diligently do so. As hon. Members, we all have to encourage everyone to diligently take ARVs because they are not harmful.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister indicate to the House how many of the 5,112 cases were recorded through voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) and how many were recorded through routine tests, particularly from expectant mothers.

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, we will have that information with time, but I would like to say that anti-retroviral therapy (ART) programmes are run in small programmes. For example, we have the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) which also aggregates its own information in terms of how many mothers tested positive or negative. 

Sir, we also have statistics on those who go for VCT. There are also those who present to the health centre with ailments and because of the ailments that they have, we ask them to test and they do. That information is well aggregated. However, when a question is asked on how many people tested positive in the Luapula Province, we are bound to give one figure and that is what we have done. Therefore, the question that the hon. Member has asked requires that we also collect that information separately. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, in developed countries, if somebody is taking ARVs for many years, the virus is not detected when they go for testing. Do we have people in Zambia who have reached that stage where the virus cannot be seen any more although they are supposed to continue taking ARVs?

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, the scientific explanation for what the hon. Member has just mentioned, which has actually caused some confusion in certain communities, is that when somebody is taking ARVs, they are suppressing the replication of the HIV virus. The virus seems to stop multiplying. The more you suppress it, the more the viral load continues to go down.

Sir, it is true that countries which have sophisticated machines are able to detect that the viral load has reduced beyond detectable levels. However, for us, in Zambia, I can assure you that we are using the antibodies. As long as one is exposed to the virus and they have it, the antibodies will be in the body and we will catch it. Hence we will not have such a situation.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chanda (Kankoyo): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what the Government is doing to reduce stigma because this has contributed to the low turnout at VCT centres.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am surprised that the issue of stigma is still affecting people’s decisions. I am saying this because, in my constituency, I have seen many people who have openly declared that they are HIV positive. They are not even ashamed about it. In fact, they have formed drama groups and have publicly told people that they and all their group members are HIV positive. They are not ashamed about it. The people know that these people are HIV positive and since they have to travel for sixty-four kilometres to Mbala to get their medicine, people even offer them transport when their time comes. I am surprised that stigma is still an issue. People must understand that this problem is real. If they do not want to come out, well, they go out. It is as simple as that. 

I thank you, Sir.


412. Mr D. Mwila (Chipili) asked the Minister of Education:

(a)    what the total monthly wage bill of the University of Zambia (UNZA) was;

(b)    why the salaries were paid late most of the time;

(c)    when the last collective agreement between the union and management was signed; and

(d)    when UNZA management and the union would enter into a new collective agreement.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the university payroll, on average, is K14,510,815,450 per month.

Sir, the responsibility to administer and manage the University of Zambia (UNZA) lies with the University Council and management staff is responsible for its operations to ensure that they manage the institution effectively and efficiently. This includes the payment of salaries to the members of staff under their charge accordingly and, hence the salary schedule.

Mr Speaker, the negotiations between management and the two unions, the University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) and the University of Zambia Allied Workers Union (UNZAAWU) were concluded on 24th December, 2009 and 10th November, 2009 respectively. Collective agreements are yet to be signed. Negotiations for the 2009/10 collective agreements were protracted and were only concluded in November/December 2009.

Sir, it is the intention of all parties that the 2010/11 negotiations should start soon and be concluded quickly to avoid the delays experienced in the past. It is, therefore, envisaged that a new collective agreement could be entered into earlier than in the previous year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, the law provides that when a new collective agreement is not put in place on time, there must be an extension of that agreement. Will the hon. Minister indicate for how long that agreement was extended?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, like we have already stated in our answer, UNZA is a grant-aided institution which is running autonomously and it is the responsibility of the management to address that issue. 

I thank you, Sir

Mr Sikota, SC. (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister why it has taken three or four months after conclusion of negotiations to sign the collective agreement. What has been the hold up?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, like I said earlier, this is an autonomous institution and it is up to management to deal with that.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, last year, there was a sealing on the percentage of increments for the UNZA lecturers. May I know whether that is still the position this year? 

The Minister of Education (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, we appreciate the concerns raised by the hon. Members of Parliament regarding the operations at the University of Zambia. First of all, what is important to appreciate is that the University of Zambia is running at a great cost to this nation. Unless a long-term solution is found to make it sustainable, it will become very difficult for the university to operate effectively every year. As such, as a ministry, we saw that even the amounts that we have to give the university as a grant do not meet the operating costs which are very high for an institution with 919 lecturers and over 10,000 students who are subsidised by the Zambian tax payers. 

Sir, coming to the actual question, obviously, the wage bill must fit not only the purse of the University of Zambia but also that of the nation. This is why, last year, we gave guidance through Cabinet Office on what could be the maximum levels of negotiations at the university. I am sure, as the management at the University of Zambia and the lecturers negotiate, guidance will, once again, be given by Cabinet Office on what the national purse is able to afford.

I thank you, Sir. 




Mr Sikota, SC. (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the Presidential appointment of Mr Abyudi James Shonga Jr, SC., to serve as Attorney-General of the Republic of Zambia, for the fourth Session of the Tenth National Assembly, laid on the Table of this House on Wednesday, 17th March, 2010.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Ms Mwape (Mufulira): Yes, Sir.

Mr Sikota: Mr Speaker, the appointment of Mr Abyudi James Shonga, SC, has been made pursuant to Article 54 (1) of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1, of the Laws of Zambia which states that:

“There shall be an Attorney-General of the Republic who shall, subject to ratification by the National Assembly, be appointed by the President and shall be:

(a)    an ex-officio member of the Cabinet; and

(b)    the Principal Legal Adviser to the Government.”

Sir, further, Article 54 (4) states that:

“A person shall not be qualified to be appointed to the office of Attorney-General unless he is qualified for appointment as Judge of the High Court.”

Mr Speaker, during their deliberations, your Committee kept sight of the fact that the nominee has been serving as Solicitor-General for the last seven months and his ratification as Solicitor-General was unanimously supported by the House.

Sir, having moved the Motion for ratification as Solicitor-General for this same nominee, I now have a feeling of déjà vu.

Mr Speaker, your Committee are cognisant of the fact that the Office of Attorney-General should be occupied by persons of high integrity, who should not only be competent, but also committed to the nation.

Your Committee are also aware that the Attorney-General should be a fearless advocate of justice for all and courageous in defending the rule of law even in the face of resistance from the political leadership in power. Further, the Attorney-General should be independent in thought and deed and professionally discharge his or her duties, regardless of the status of persons who approach the office. 

Sir, in view of the foregoing, in scrutinising the nominee’s appointment, your Committee took into account the need for the candidate to have the highest levels of competence, eminence, integrity, efficiency and diligence.

Your Committee also had occasion to make ocular observation of the nominee. It was apparent, in both his dress and speech, that the nominee was well groomed and will strike an impressive and imposing figure when representing the people in both our local courts in Zambia and abroad.

Sir, it was also gratifying to note that the nominee, whilst recognising that his principle client was the Government of Zambia, was cognisant of the fact that the Government has to act in the interest of the people and always observe the rule of law. 

They further assessed the suitability of the nominee by scrutinising his curriculum vitae and all information submitted to them by the State investigative agencies and relevant professional bodies. 

In terms of constitutional requirements, your Committee analysed the requirements for appointment as Attorney-General as contained in Article 54 (1) of the Constitution.

Mr Speaker, all the State security agencies, which included the Zambia Police Force, Drug Enforcement Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission, cleared the nominee of any adverse reports against him in relation to criminal activities, drug trafficking, money laundering, drug abuse and corrupt practices.

Sir, your Committee also interacted with professional bodies and stakeholder institutions, namely the Judicial Service Commission, Human Rights Commission, Law Association of Zambia and Transparency International Zambia, which gave your Committee an opportunity to understand and appreciate the professional and career progression of the nominee.

Mr Speaker, further, your Committee had an opportunity to interact with the hon. Acting Minister for Presidential affairs, who represented the appointing authority. Apart from showing that the nominee was qualified in terms of constitutional requirements, your Committee were informed that the nominee’s achievements included being conferred with the rank and dignity of State Counsel, holding directorship in three very reputable companies, a member of the Law Association of Zambia Legal Practitioner’s Committee and Commissioner of the Small Claims Court.

Mr Speaker, after due and thorough evaluation of the evidence presented to them by the witnesses and the appointing authority, and their subsequent interview with the nominee, your Committee find the nominee suitably qualified to be ratified for appointment as Attorney-General. 

Your Committee observe that the nominee’s profession has exposed him to a wide variety of litigation matters and other relevant experience which will enable him to positively contribute to the governance of our country in the position he is being appointed to.

Your Committee were in no doubt that the nominee would be a fitting person to be leader of the legal profession in Zambia. 

Sir, in view of the foregoing, your Committee recommend that the House do ratify the appointment of Mr Abyudi James Shonga Jr, SC., to serve as Attorney-General of the Republic of Zambia.

In conclusion, your Committee wish to place on record their gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for allowing them to serve on this very important Select Committee. Allow me, also, Sir, to thank the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the services and advice rendered during your Committee’s deliberations. Your Committee’s gratitude also extends to the State security and investigative agencies, professional bodies and other stakeholder institutions for their oral and written submissions which assisted your Committee in arriving at their recommendation to the House.  

Mr Speaker, I would also like to thank all the members of your Committee who went about their business in a very diligent and proper manner. 

Mr Speaker, I beg to move. 

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

Ms Mwape: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion on the ratification of Mr Abyudi James Shonga Jr, SC., to serve as Attorney-General of the Republic of Zambia. 

Mr Speaker, the mover of this Motion has already indicated the position of your Committee on the appointment before the House today. I will, therefore, only highlight a few issues that I feel are important to this debate and accord chance for debate to other hon. Members who were not part of your Committee. 

Mr Speaker, the Office of the Attorney-General is a governance institution critical to the efficient operations of the Government. As the chief compliance officer of the Government, the Attorney-General’s Office has to ensure that all decisions of the Government are in compliance with the law. The two main functions of the Attorney-General are to act as the principal legal advisor to the Government and represent the Government in civil proceedings before the courts of law. It is, therefore, important that a candidate for this position should possess vast experience in civil litigation. 

Mr Speaker, in this regard, your Committee are satisfied that the nominee has vast experience in civil litigation which he acquired over a period of almost seventeen years in the private sector, and hence is adequately qualified to effectively discharge the duties of the Office of Attorney-General. 

Sir, allow me, at this point, to mention that your Committee unreservedly acknowledge the apology by the appointing authority regarding the public announcement that was made that Mr Abyudi James Shonga Jr, SC., had been appointed to serve as Attorney-General before the ratification process had been conducted. 

Mr Speaker, I wish to point out that the nominee meets the constitutional requirements and possesses the professional experience which, in this respect, qualifies him for the appointment. However, I wish to urge the appointing authority, in future, to consider suitably qualified female candidates to serve in such positions in a bid to promote gender equality and women’s participation in positions of decision making at the national level. 

Sir, allow me to end by thanking the Chairperson of your Committee for the able manner in which he guided the deliberations of your Committee. Let me also acknowledge the team spirit that was exhibited by members of your Committee. 

Mr Speaker, I beg to second. 

Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, from the outset, I would like to support the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee which deliberated on the appointment of Mr Abyudi James Shonga, Jr, SC., to the position of Attorney-General of the Republic of Zambia. 

Sir, my debate will be brief. 

Having listened to the mover and seconder of this Motion, it is very clear that we have continued to use the same institutions to clear people who are being appointed into positions of trust. His Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Justice will be the bearer of my message to His Excellency the President. As Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), I would like to suggest that the Auditor-General’s Report forms a basis for clearing some of these people, especially those elevated within the Government system. 

Mr Speaker, this country cannot continue to simply use the existing clearing systems when appointing people. This is why we continue to have problems in relation to the use of national resources. I would have appreciated it if your Committee had ventured to look at the past reports of the Auditor-General, if only to start the system. I am not implying that this particular candidate would have been found wanting had this search been conducted. However, I wish to submit that we should start to do this because the biggest problem we have is that of financial irregularities in the Civil Service which any Government that comes into power will continue to suffer. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC. (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, I wish to start by supporting the report of your Committee because it …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC.: … is detailed and to the point. I think that all of us need to support it. 

Mr Shonga is currently serving as Solicitor-General for the Republic of Zambia. As Solicitor-General, one is not involved in handling funds. The job of the Solicitor-General is merely to handle legal work. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC.: The ministry has a Permanent Secretary who is the Controlling Officer. A Solicitor-General does not handle funds nor does he sign any cheques. I am saying so as a former Solicitor-General. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC.: I remember that when I was Solicitor-General, I was privileged to serve under able ministers whose names I will not mention. They were good and able ministers who can attest to the fact that a Solicitor-General does not handle funds. Even when it comes to retiring imprest in the Civil Service, a competent secretary ensures that your imprest is retired. 

Having said this, Mr Abyudi Shonga is eminently qualified for this position. He holds the necessary professional qualification as well as a law degree. His performance at the Bar is admirable and I must add that he carries himself professionally. He is one person you can definitely rely on if you need well-reasoned advice. 

However, as I recommend him, let me add one thing which has been a very worrying trend amongst young lawyers as they assume high office in the Government. When you are Attorney-General, you are still a lawyer and you have a client, which is the Government. The tendency where Attorney-Generals want to disclose the advice they give to their client is unacceptable and unprofessional. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC.: I think this trend must come to an end. You can only divulge confidential information if your client gives you authority to do so. Therefore, as I recommend the ratification of Mr Shonga, I hope he will take these words into account. Attorney-Generals do not play to the gallery because they are the number one lawyer in the country. Therefore, you must always be on the side justice and of the law.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I wholeheartedly support the report of your Committee.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I will also be very brief and wish to indicate that I sat in this scrutiny committee. I want to emphasise what everybody has said that Mr Abyudi James Shonga Jr, SC is a man of very high standing in society having known him personally for many years.

Mr Speaker, my debate will simply be premised on one issue that addresses the Government. Your Committee took the apology of the hon. Minister for the appointing authority having made an announcement that Mr Abyudi James Shonga Jr, SC., had been appointed to the position of Attorney-General for the country. The announcement was premature and did not actually state that the appointment was subject to the ratification of this House.

Sir, my comment will be fair to say that if they continue with this trend, they are going to jeopardise opportunities and chances of using good people in good offices. Therefore, I would simply like to indicate to the hon. Minister from State House that this must not repeat itself because a good person will be subject to unnecessary scrutiny on account of the fact that procedure of his appointment was not followed to the letter.

Mr Speaker, personally, I have known Mr Shonga for a period not less than twenty years and, like everybody has said, he is a very sober human being, an admirable person and character. I just want to emphasise the point that the Government must be a little more steadfast when they are giving appointments to people in very sensitive positions.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

The Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Development (Mr Machila): Mr Speaker, I had the privilege of appearing before your Committee. I wish to commend them on a job very well done in considering the appointment of the principal legal adviser to the Government and someone who is also a general attorney in all sorts of legal matters.

Mr Speaker, when the House considered the Attorney-General designate for appointment as Solicitor-General last year, I put it on record that one of the reasons that I felt he was well qualified for this position is the fact that he was trained by and is a protégé of arguably the best advocate or litigator that Zambia has ever produced, that being the late Edward Jack Shamwana.

Mr Shonga has youth on his side and it is conceivable that in time, when he leaves office, he could proceed to join the Bench as a Puisne Judge or even Supreme Court Judge and continue to both add value and serve our nation in another capacity. He is less than one year out of private practice and still has all the positive attributes and drive that I believe can only rub off to the others in the chambers that he shall now be leading. He is a disciplinarian and very hard working person and served for some years as a member of the Law Association of Zambia Legal Practitioners Committee. 

As Attorney-General and leader of the bar, he shall preside over the disciplinary committee which has a lot of work to do in getting rid of several bad eggs that exist in the rank and file of the legal profession. Some of these issues have recently been covered and captured in the media. 

As he assumes this office, I will task him to ensure that during his tenure, he ensures that the chambers work towards improving its ICT aspect. It is important the chambers have a website similar to those existing in other Commonwealth jurisdictions. Furthermore, as we increase the establishment on the Bench and address the challenges that are faced by the Judiciary, I am confident that the Attorney-General designate will steer his ship well and ensure that matters before the courts progress timely and, also, that advice sought by Government departments is availed diligently and expeditiously.

Mr Speaker with these few words, I restate my support for this candidate and I thank you. 

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice (Mr Kunda, SC.): Mr Speaker, as a Government, we reiterate that Mr Abyudi James Shonga, Jr, SC, is our natural choice for the position of Attorney-General. He has already served as Solicitor-General competently and is used to the pressures of the Constitutional Office of Attorney-General. As you may well know, the Solicitor-General performs the functions of Attorney-General in the absence of the substantive Attorney-General.

The qualifications for appointment to the Office of the Solicitor-General and Attorney-General, under the Constitution of Zambia, are the same. For a person to be appointed to the position of Solicitor-General or Attorney-General, he must qualify for appointment as Judge of the High Court. This august House has already ratified Mr Shonga, Jr, SC, for the position of Solicitor-General. Therefore, unless, there is some serious negative factor which has come into play since the ratification of Mr Shonga as Solicitor-General, his ratification as Attorney-General should not be controversial, but a formality. Indeed, the candidate’s ratification has been well supported by all stakeholders, including the professional body, the Law Association of Zambia. The only objection came from Transparency International Zambia (TIZ), but their objection is based on misinformation and falsehood.

Mr Speaker, organisations submitting before select committees of this House should be truthful in their testimony. We all know that it is an offence to deliberately present false or malicious information before a committee of this House. Organisations presenting unresearched and false information before committees should not be invited to give evidence before committees in future. They do not add any value to the ratification process. Mr Speaker, TIZ is supposed to display integrity and impartiality in its conduct if it is to be considered as a credible organisation in the fight against corruption. 

Mr Speaker, the Attorney-General is the principal legal adviser to the Government and ex-officio member of Cabinet. Among other functions, the Attorney-General also represents Government in court or any other legal proceedings to which the Government is a party and performs such other functions as may be assigned to him by the President or by law.

Sir, in terms of the State Proceedings Act, all civil actions against the State are instituted against or in the name of the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General acts on the instructions of the Government or the State, as a lawyer. He does not act in a personal capacity. He also represents the public interest in appropriate cases

The Attorney-General may be instructed by the President, Government ministries or departments or agencies, including investigative agencies, to institute or defend actions on behalf of or against the State. The Attorney-General also performs functions conferred upon him or her by statute such as, for example, in the extradition of persons from or to Zambia, and in mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

Mr Speaker, in respect of legal matters, and this is important, the Attorney-General determines public policy considerations in respect of matters referred to him by the Director of Public Prosecutions. This is the only role that the Attorney-General plays in respect of criminal matters. Otherwise, all criminal matters are determined by and fall within the jurisdiction of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Under our Constitution, the Director of Public Prosecutions acts independently and not under the direction or control of any person. Criminal cases are, therefore, prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions or on his or her behalf. 

Mr Speaker, the Attorney-General also takes the oath of secrecy and this is what Hon. Chifumu Banda, SC, was referring to. This is done upon assuming office and is not supposed or required to reveal to the public, without the authority of the President, the advice which he renders to the President or the Government. This applies even after leaving office and this is aimed at protecting the President and the Government. Mr Shonga has performed, with distinction, the functions of Solicitor-General and Attorney-General. We, therefore, urge this august House to ratify his appointment.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota, SC.: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the seconder and the five hon. Members who have contributed to the debate on this Motion and the unanimous support the House has given even in their silence of debate.


Mr Sikota: Mr Speaker, this has been one of the smoothest ratification debates and it speaks volumes of your nominee.

Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.






Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

CLAUSE 2 – (Interpretation) 

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice (Mr Kunda, SC.): Mr Chairperson, I beg to move that in Clause 2, 

(a)    on page 13:

(i)    in line 21, by the deletion of the word “and”; and

(ii)    after line 21, by the insertion of the following new definition:

“serious and substantial waste” includes uneconomical, inefficient or ineffective use of public funds or resources, whether authorised or unauthorised, which results in a loss or wastage of public funds or resources, having regard to the nature and materiality of the wastage; and.

Amendment agreed to. Clause amended accordingly.

Clause 2, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

CLAUSE 18 – (Action by investigating authority)

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Mr Chairperson, I beg to move an amendment in Clause 18:

(a)    on page 18, 

(i)    in line 29, by the deletion of the words “subject to subsection (2), if” and the substitution therefor of the word “Where”; and 

(ii)on page 19, in lines 3, 5, 6 and 9, by the re-numbering of paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) as sub-paragraphs (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv), respectively.

Amendment agreed to. Clause amended accordingly.

Clause 18, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54,55, 56, 57, 58 and 59 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Title agreed to.



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

The following Bill was reported to the House as having passed through Committee with amendment:

The Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill, 2010

Report Stage on Friday, 19th March, 2010.


The Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2010

Report adopted.

Third Reading on Friday, 19th March, 2010.




The Vice-President and Minister of Justice (Mr Kunda, SC.): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1754 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 19th March, 2010.