Debates- Thursday, 4th March, 2010

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Thursday, 4th March, 2010

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER, in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, the National Assembly of Zambia has, as in the past, joined the rest of the country in commemorating the International Women’s Week and Day under the theme “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities, Progress for All” from 1st to 8th March, 2010.

In commemorating this special period, the National Assembly is undertaking a number of activities which include the mounting of an exhibition by the Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordinating Committee Member Organisation, from Tuesday, 2nd March, 2010, to promote women’s opportunities and rights in the area of micro-finance loans, mining, agriculture, politics, legal matters and business.

A few selected hon. Members of Parliament, who will be informed by the Clerk’s Office of the National Assembly, will participate in a march-past from Munali to the Mulungushi International Conference Centre, on Monday, 8th March, 2010.

Many other activities have been lined up throughout the country to commemorate the International Women’s Week and Day.

I thank you.




323. Mr Chisala (Chilubi) asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning:
(a)    which of the two modes of borrowing below the Zambian Government had used frequently to borrow since 2002:

(i)    bilateral; and
(ii)    multilateral; and

(b)    what the current external debt accumulated by the Government was.

The Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning (Ms M. C. Kapwepwe): Mr Speaker, since 2002, the Government has borrowed more frequently from multilateral than bilateral institutions. As at end of December, 2009, the Government borrowed twenty-four times from the multilateral institutions compared to five times from the bilateral institutions.

Mr Speaker, the stock of Government external debt outstanding as of 31st December, 2009, was US$1,159.9 million, broken down as follows:

(i)    bilateral                        US$300,472,366.79

(ii)    Multilateral                   US$716,073,440.28

(iii)    Supplier’s Credits       US$139,680,896.93

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, the answer given by the hon. Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning reveals that Zambia is in serious problems of external borrowing. This being the case, how does the Government intend to solve this serious problem of external borrowing?

Ms M. C. Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, categorically correcting the impression, we are not in a serious position as regards debt contracting, firstly, because We have a debt strategy in policy which was approved last year by Cabinet which ensures that we monitor the kind of debt we are contracting. 

Secondly, we have debt sustainability review in conjunctions with other institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. Given our position regarding our revenue, both domestic and otherwise, we are in a position to service the debt that we contract. We are well below the normal levels of contraction of debt for a country such as ours.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Milupi (Luena): Mr Speaker, since 2005 when most of our external debt was forgiven leaving only US$500 million, the debt has since accumulated to over US$2 billion. At this rate, how many more years will it take before you reach US$7.2 billion which was the debt before forgiveness?

The Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Daka): Mr Speaker, it is not true that the debt has surpassed a mark of US$2 billion. Today’s debt is US$1.2 billion for Zambia. If you look at the region, Tanzania is at US$3.6 billion …

Hon. Opposition Members: Not Tanzania iwe, this is Zambia!

Mr Daka: … Kenya is at US$6.8 billion. Today, I signed an agreement with Belgium which has written off US$7 million which we should have started paying next year. Therefore, I feel that this country is doing very well and that we cannot develop this country without borrowing. No businessman has ever developed without borrowing and we are borrowing this money at a reasonable interest rate of 0.75 per cent. The local interest debt is about 15 per cent and if we had to borrow locally, we will be paying 15 per cent, but we are borrowing at 0.75 per cent. Nobody runs a business on his own money.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, two or three years ago, when our position was around US$7 billion, the Government stated that it would ensure that borrowing is reduced. Now, T the rate the debt is accumulating, I would like to find out whether the Government’s position has since changed or its position is to continue borrowing?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, our debt has never reached that level from the time some of it was forgiven. Now, if my colleague was in our position as a Government, would he sit idly without developing the hydro-electric power that we need to generate the businesses that we want, today, no? The answer lies in borrowing. A good example is that of the Arcades Shopping Mall or any other business, they are borrowing, but it depends on the interest rates that they attract. We have to borrow either multilaterally or bilaterally at the lowest interest rates. We do not have capacity to manufacture money to generate business in Zambia. That is why we have to borrow to sustain economic growth.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, according to the hon. Minister, Zambia is within the normal levels of borrowing. What are the acceptable levels of contracting debt for a country like Zambia?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, the normal levels of contracting debt are the ones that we are at, today. In 2009, this Government looked at the policy of borrowing. If we had to borrow under the bonds from Bank of Zambia, it would attract interest of 15 per cent. The same applies to borrowing from commercial banks, today. At the moment, we are paying almost nothing. We only pay back the principal amount borrowed in order to increase generation of power that we require to work on projects such as the Nkana Water and Sewerage Company and sinking of boreholes. If we borrow for consumption, that is something else, but we borrow for production. That is what this Government is doing.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Imenda (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, much as we appreciate borrowing, is the hon. Minister aware that it took us twenty-seven years to accumulate US$7 billion, and yet under five years, we have accumulated US$1.2 billion. Is the hon. Minister mindful of the fact that we are gradually falling into a debt trap?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member should be aware that this country has only borrowed US$1.2 billion compared to the US$3.6 billion by other countries. For example, Kenya has a debt amounting to US$6.6 billion. We must have a yardstick and not say we are falling into a trap. Which trap is this? It is either we develop or not. If the hon. Member was in power, would he not give this country the necessary impetus to inject money into development? Ask yourself, Mr Speaker. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, I am referring to the hon. Member who asked that question.


Mr Daka: The hon. Member should not fear the unknown. There is no debt trap. We have to develop this country by constructing roads, building schools and managing the Fertiliser Input Support Programme (FISP). We need to develop a lot of things, but we are not going to sit idly until you start blaming us that we are not doing anything. 

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, for the sake of the nation, could the hon. Minister explain the advantage of borrowing bilaterally as opposed to borrowing multilaterally as we have borrowed five times from the multilateral institutions and twenty-four times from the bilateral institutions.

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, hon. Members should understand that there are many countries with large debt. For example, we have the Zambia-Belgium bilateral debt. So depending on the interest rate, all the money is good as long as it is meant for a good cause for this country.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila (Chipili): Mr Speaker, I think our concern is on the reduction of external borrowing. The Government promised that it would reduce on borrowing. Whilst we appreciate that we have to continue borrowing, when is the Government going to reduce on external borrowing?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, we have reduced on borrowing. That is why there is a borrowing policy. I stated here that we looked at the borrowing framework in October, 2009 and I do not think we have increased the levels of borrowing. We are consistent with the projects that we have.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushili (Ndola Central): Mr Speaker, I agree with the hon. Minister when he says that there is nothing wrong with borrowing and investing in productive sectors. Do we have the capacity to pay back? What guarantee can this Government give us that we have the ability when we do not have the money as a matter of fact?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for raising this question. He is a very good businessman. This Government has the capacity to pay back. The confidence that the multilateral or bilateral donors have shown is demonstrated in what, for instance, Belgium has done, today, by cancelling our debt before we even start repaying it.

Hon. Opposition Member: You are banking on that!

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, since we are in charge, we are able to determine the levels of borrowing.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Nsanda (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, all the countries that we borrowed money from had to write off the debt. What guarantee do these same countries have that Zambia will pay back if she borrows again?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, the fact that they are able to borrow us more money, ...

Hon. Members: Lend.

Mr Daka: ... is a sign that they have confidence in us. The highest interest rate that we are paying on these loans is 2.2 per cent and what we have contracted is below 0.75 per cent. The management of borrowing by this Government is very prudent.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kalumba (Chienge): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister confirm to this House that, in fact, the accession to the level of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) was based on an assessment of Zambia’s capacity to continue meeting its external payment obligations in terms of debt?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member, who is a former Minister of Finance and National Planning, for giving me more ammunition to answer the question.


Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, I thank hon. Katele Kalumba, who is a former Minister of Finance and National Planning, for giving me more ammunition to answer …


Mr Daka: … the questions that the hon. Members have raised. We are confident that Zambia is not the only country that has been borrowing, as there are typical examples that I can show. Mozambique’s debt is US$1.8 billion, Kenya’s debt is US$6.6 billion and Tanzania’s debt is US$3.8 billion. 

Therefore, I do not understand why the hon. Member has said that our debt has got out of hand. We have to borrow in order to continue developing this nation. We do not have the self-generating power to create money without necessarily borrowing at the current concessional rate.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members indicated.

Mr Speaker: Next question!



324. Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing when rural district councils countrywide would be provided with road maintenance equipment to enable them repair and grade roads leading to farming areas.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Muchima): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Government has a long-term programme to equip councils with road maintenance equipment as was the case in past, especially that all councils have been appointed as road authorities by the Ministry of Works and Supply through the Roads Development Agency (RDA).

Mr Speaker, there is no budget provision in this year’s Budget to procure road equipment for councils due to budgetary constraints. In the meantime, councils have been directed to make use of the road equipment procured by the Government which has been placed at Rural Roads Units (RRU) in all provincial centres.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the former hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing announced, in this House, that equipment for road maintenance would be procured. At that time, there were negotiations to get equipment from China. It was said that the equipment would go to the local authorities once it was received, but things changed and the first lot went to the Zambia National Service (ZNS) while the second lot is being held by the Government. Why is this equipment not being given to the district councils?

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Dr Kazonga): Mr Speaker, we have limitations in terms of financial resources. The equipment that was procured by the Government is being kept at the Provincial Administration Offices and this is just the beginning. Clearly, that indicates that we are aware about the problems that the local authorities are facing in terms of equipment to work on the roads. As we improve in terms of financial resources, we shall be acquiring this equipment soon. We acknowledge that we need this equipment at all our local authorities so that the road infrastructure can be improved upon.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwansa (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether the hon. Ministers of Local Government and Housing and Finance and National Planning can sit down together and borrow for the districts to buy this equipment, taking into account that development of our country depends on how well the district councils are equipped. 

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, as a Government, we discuss these issues and because of competing finances, we also prioritise. As I indicated earlier, we have serious limitations of finances but, as we improve, definitely, we shall be able to look into possibilities of acquiring equipment for all our local authorities. We are still committed and if funds are made available, we shall acquire this equipment.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushili: Mr Speaker, in view of the dilapidated road infrastructure nationally and with the commitment that the Government will acquire road maintenance equipment, is it not prudent for the Government to tell potential donors through RDA in next year’s Budget, that rather budgeting for roads through RDA, they will reserve money for the procurement of road maintenance equipment. 

Will this Government consider allocating the money immediately in next year’s Budget to procure the road maintenance equipment?

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, the Government will look at all the demands that are on our table and make priorities. I would like to inform the hon. Member of Parliament for Ndola Central that we have several demands on our table, but the Government is discussing all these issues and we shall present them in accordance with our priorities in next year’s Budget. However, I cannot assure the hon. Member that this issue is going to be given priority because the Government will be able to assess the demands in the country and chart the way forward in terms of planning for next year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, the current arrangement of administering equipment from the provincial headquarters is not working and has not served its intended purpose. Despite the fact that we are just beginning, why are we not handing that equipment over to councils even if it means two districts sharing one grader, but the control will be at the district level through the councils? Why is the hon. Minister not doing that?

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, we considered all those options and concluded that it was better for the equipment to be administered at the provincial level at the moment. With regard to the issue of giving equipment to one particular council, we feel that it will just cause a lot of problems. For now, we are confident that if there is proper management and utilisation of this equipment, a lot of work can be done in terms of road rehabilitation.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Mwape (Mufulira):  Mr Speaker, given the fact that borrowing is inevitable and that the state of road infrastructure in districts is deplorable at the moment, would the hon. Minister, in liaison with other hon. Ministers, come up with a proper fiscal policy to reduce on external borrowing and embark on domestic borrowing to make capital investment, develop the road infrastructure and our economy. Would the hon. Minister not consider that because borrowing is inevitable as we have already been informed. Although limits will always be there, competing needs will never end because roads are essential?

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, we acknowledge that roads are very important. As a result, the Government has done its analysis and continues to analyse these situations so that appropriate action can be taken. We are discussing all kinds of options, but we shall see which one of them will be optimal and, at an appropriate time, we will be able to hear what action the Government will take in as far as addressing the issues of roads in the whole country is concerned.

I thank you, Sir.



325. Mr Mukanga asked the Minister of Education:

(a)    how many students were fully sponsored by the Government to study at the University of Zambia (UNZA) as at 30th October, 2009;

(b)    how many students were self-sponsored; and

(c)    how many students qualified to be admitted to the university, but failed to enroll due to lack of sponsorship during the 2009/2010 intake.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Mr Sinyinda): Mr Speaker, 6,579 the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) sponsored students broken down as follows:

Great East Campus        

GRZ                100 per cent sponsorship        2,911

GRZ                 75 per cent sponsorship        2,991

GRZ                  50 per cent sponsorship            63

GRZ                 25 per cent sponsorship             66
Total                                                                6, 031

Ridgeway Campus

GRZ    100 per cent sponsorship    349

GRZ    75 per cent sponsorship      194

GRZ    50 per cent sponsorship          5

GRZ    25 per cent sponsorship          0

Total                                                 548

Grand Total                                    6,579

Sir, there were 5,885 self sponsored students and 1,425 students who did not take up their places at UNZA for various reasons which may include lack of sponsorship.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, what system is in place to ensure that the bursary is given to deserving students rather than students who can afford? 

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, we have a criteria that we use to sponsor students at UNZA, Copperbelt University (CBU) and even abroad. First and foremost, we ask all the students to apply. As they apply, we ask the District Social Welfare officers to actually make a recommendation to see to it that the students are truly vulnerable. Usually, we base our judgment on recommendations that come from district social welfare officers.

Secondly, there are students who we feel may not be vulnerable because, for example, they were at fee paying schools that are very expensive in Grade 12. Usually, we feel that such are advantaged and they may not deserve to be sponsored by the Government. Generally, we have a criterion and we sit as a committee. This committee represents a number of ministries and organisations.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, 1,425 students failing to go to the university as a result of failing to pay the fees is a very large number and is worrying. Can the hon. Minister, therefore, safely say that the criteria used is not effective as 1,425 have failed to go to the university. As a ministry, are you thinking of coming up with other ways of assessing who is vulnerable and who is not?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, like we stated in our answer, we did not say 1,425 did not go to the university as a result of not being able to pay. We said that this could be one of the reasons and the other one is that some of them opted not to go to the university because along the way, they got jobs and were sponsored elsewhere, for example, those who had applied to UNZA. I would like to inform this august House that there are some situations where pupils may have been accepted at UNZA, CBU and they have even been selected to go abroad. So we usually give them one bursary only. Sometimes they may even opt not to take up the sponsorship. 

Again, what I would like to inform the House is that apart from that, we consider appeals from parents and students. If we see that eventually, they are vulnerable and they need to be sponsored, we give them bursaries.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chongo (Mwense): Mr Speaker, many of the students who are enjoying the 100 per cent sponsorship actually have no accommodation and they rent accommodation in the compounds. What is the ministry doing to ensure that money accommodation is not released to the institutions because students are not being provided with accommodation? 

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, we are aware that we have a problem of accommodation at both UNZA and CBU, hence we have embarked on the construction of hostels. For example, at UNZA, we are constructing two hostels and we hope that when we finish, we will be able to alleviate this problem. I thank the hon. Member for the concern and I would like to assure the House that we know about that problem and are addressing it.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, three years ago, the Government, through the Ministry of Education, gave a directive to all the seventy-two District Education Board Secretaries to sponsor only one teacher to UNZA to do a degree programme in four years. Since the number of teachers is increasing, how does the Government intend to look after them? Is the Government planning to increase the number from the current one to ten?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, I know that my colleague is also a former teacher and is concerned about the upgrading of teachers. I am sure he was here last week when I said to this House that this year alone, we are upgrading 6,000 teachers who will go to UNZA. We have already paid money for this

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, the greatest challenge in sponsoring students to all tertiary institutions is the limited amount of money that the Government can raise in a given year. Does the hon. Minister have plans to ensure that those of us who have been sponsored by the Government can pay back some money so that we have a revolving fund to enable future generations access tertiary education?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the hon. Member that, in fact, this time, the bursaries that we are giving to students are called loans. We hope that very shortly, we will be able to effect that programme in the sense that we are still actually trying to study it and see what we can do so that the money that we are actually spending now can be a revolving fund for us to be able to sponsor as many students as possible.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Mwape: Mr Speaker, every year, we have continuing, graduating and new students. Can the hon. Minister confirm that the retention of students at the university is not necessarily dependant on results alone but also on the budget constraint and, as such, some of the students drop out not because they failed but because of insufficient funds? If this be the case, what is the long-term plan by this Government? 

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to emphasise that sponsorship for students who are sponsored from the first year, continues until they complete their studies. We realise, however, that there are students who are self sponsored. You must realise that some students who enter university on self sponsorship may not finish their studies because, for one reason or the other, their parents cannot continue paying for them. It is for this reason that each year we review individual cases and take on those that we feel are vulnerable for sponsorship.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister state whether the ministry is in a position to support a Private Member’s Bill which would compel all those who went through the University of Zambia and the Copperbelt University, and were sponsored by the Government, to pay a certain amount to help develop these two institutions and sponsor other students in future? 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Education (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, I want to thank hon. Members for their interest in this topic because higher education has a very important role to play in the development of this country. It is very clear that with the growth of the population, we do not have enough infrastructure at higher education level to meet the demand. 

Mr Speaker, when the University of Zambia was built, its capacity was just about 3,000 students. Now it is taking in 12,000 students. Sometimes, this is the reason some students, even after being accepted, opt to go to other institutions or directly into the work sector. As a ministry, we are trying to review the education policy in this country so that we can respond to the immediate and future needs of the country at higher education level. 

Mr Speaker, when we held an indaba in September 2009, one of the issues brought out very strongly by various stakeholders was the introduction of an education levy. It is very clear, especially at higher education level, that we cannot continue on this path if we are to sustain paying for university education. We know that in other countries, from the day a child is born, parents begin to save or even borrow from banks to pay for higher education for their children. We also know that some individuals go to universities by borrowing. We are not an island. We need to re-think this matter seriously.

The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and I have been holding serious discussions on this matter to try and consider both an education levy and a loan facility to students, and even encourage the formation of alumnae as it is done in other countries like at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford. The alumnae support those universities and sponsor children in need. All these are options that we are looking at very seriously and at the right time we will communicate to the public and to hon. Members of Parliament. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Mr Imenda: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Education how many deserving and, at the same time, vulnerable students have failed to enter the university due to lack of funds on the part of the Government during the period under review. 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, it is very clear that every year we are challenged in terms of how many students the Government can sponsor to university. As you are all aware, the Government is not in the business of manufacturing money. Funds are made by the private sector and the Government taxes it and the workers in order to pay for services such as sponsoring students to the university. Therefore, depending on the resources that are available, these funds are allocated to the university students. This is why the decision was made that we cannot consider sponsoring everybody. We had to provide various criteria for sponsorship, which are 100 per cent, 75 per cent, 25 per cent and 20 per cent.

Mr Speaker, at any given time, therefore, it is not possible that the Government will be able to pay for everybody. What is important is that we provide for those who are not able at all, on their own, to pay. I do not, therefore, have the exact figure of how many students that qualified to university and applied for bursaries during the period under question we are not able to support. However, it is clear that at any given time, we will never have enough resources to meet the demand in terms of higher education and bursaries. What is important is that we try and provide, at all times, for those who are brilliant and want to go to the university but their families are totally not in a position to sponsor them.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, while appreciating the hon. Minister’s long lecture on Hon. Machungwa’s question, I would like a clear answer for mine.

Mr Speaker, I remember that those of us who went to the university used to sign a bonding form whereby after the Government sponsored a student, he or she was supposed to pay back to the Government. I do not know whether this system can be followed so that those who benefited from the people’s money can supplement the Government’s effort to higher education. 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, in response to that very long question from my colleague, Hon. Shakafuswa, it is, first of all, very clear that many of us that went to the University of Zambia have not paid back anything. The bonding form that was being signed did not work. That is water under the bridge. We have to go forward and provide a platform where it should be possible for us to do this.

I did say that at the moment, we are having discussions. We have not concluded and so it is not possible for me to give you a conclusive answer. We are discussing this in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and National Planning and other stakeholders. When we have a clear-cut position on how we are going to put in place a tracer system for those who are graduating now and how they should repay, and also how we are going to follow up on everybody that has passed through the university, we will come back to the House. It is easier to follow up on Hon. Shakafuswa because we know where to find him. 


Ms Siliya: These things need regulations and guidelines so that they are just not guidelines on paper but can be enforced in the future. I think that this is what is important and this is what we are discussing now. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.



326. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources whether there were any plans to crop crocodiles in the parts of the country where the reptiles were attacking people and livestock. 

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (Mr Mwangala): Mr Speaker, cropping involves killing a significant number of animals. Cropping of crocodiles, therefore, should be undertaken when population data indicates that the number of crocodiles is high and that it can support the cropping exercise without undermining the survival of crocodiles. It is unfortunate, however, that surveys to estimate the crocodile population, which should be the basis for justifying cropping, have been inadequate. 

When satisfactory surveys are conducted and data establishes that crocodile population is high enough, cropping should be done accordingly to reduce human/crocodile conflicts. In the absence of cropping, the following measures have been put in place to reduce human/crocodile conflicts:

(a)    the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), through their officers, have been mandated to kill crocodiles that attack humans;

(b)    the crocodile hunting, capture and egg collection quotas have been increased which significantly hold back crocodiles numbers; and

(c)    sensitising people in communities which have rivers or lakes on how to avoid confrontation with crocodiles.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister where crocodile skins from the cropping went. I am interested in that information because in my constituency there are women who are implementing a similar project. 

The Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (Ms Namugala): Mr Speaker, as the hon. Deputy Minister has ably explained …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: … cropping is a solution of the very last resort. When cropping is done, the skin is normally exported and the meat is sold to and eaten by communities that eat crocodile meat.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what process one should follow to access those skins, the meat, including the blood of those crocodiles which, after they are cropped, is now used as a very strong antibiotic.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, ZAWA sells licences for crocodiles just as it does for other wildlife. Currently, ZAWA are not able to sell as much as they would like to sell in terms crocodile. They have 250 crocodile licences every year but, currently, they are only able to dispose of a 140. Most of the operators are finding it very difficult to find the market for crocodile meat and skins. Therefore, we are doing our best to encourage the eating of crocodile meat as a source protein in the country and as well as outside.

Sir, for the interest of the hon. Members of Parliament, we are currently exporting crocodile meat to South Africa.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwenya (Nkana): Mr Speaker, I am aware that the fat that is removed from crocodiles is being used as a medication. What is the ministry doing to try and sensitise Zambians on the use of this fat.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, clearly crocodiles have economic value. I would like to encourage Zambians and, in particular, hon. Members of Parliament to take an interest and get into crocodile farming because they can earn foreign exchange through crocodile export.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, the issue of wild animals attacking people and livestock and, sometimes, crops is rampant in the country, especially this time when we are growing crops. What can one do, like in my case, where wild pigs are busy eating my maize? Should I also not eat them?


Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources may give a bonus answer.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member can only do so if he has a licence to hunt. Then, he can eat the meat.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chanda (Kankoyo): I would like to find out if the Government has any deliberate policy to sensitise people not to be crossing rivers anyhow in order to avoid being caught by crocodiles in view of the fact that most of the small bridges across rivers have been washed away 

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, indeed, it is a problem that, sometimes, our people come into conflict with crocodiles when they go to fetch water and, some of them, when they go fishing. 

The Deputy Minster indicated that community sensitisation is one of the ways that we can use in order to avoid the human/animal conflict. In addition to that, I would like to say that, as a Government, we are working amongst ourselves to ensure that we provide safer water sources so that people can avoid crocodile-infested areas.

I thank you, Mr Speaker

Dr. Machungwa: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister confirm that crocodile brain is a very deadly poison and if this is so, what are they doing with the brains of those crocodiles that they are cropping?

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I will have to research to find out if, indeed, it is deadly or poisonous and what is being done with the brain of the crocodile.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chimbaka (Bahati): Mr Speaker, unsubstantiated reports are circulating in Zambia that crocodile meat is a cure to HIV.


Mr Chimbaka: Is that why it is fetching bigger market in Europe?

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, apart from being unsubstantiated, these are very dangerous rumours because we all know that there is no cure for AIDS. Therefore, I would like hon. Members of Parliament to desist from letting rumours like that go round.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Major Chizhyuka (Namwala): Mr Speaker, some three or four years ago, ZAWA conducted a crocodile search in all the major rivers of the country. What do those results reveal with respect to the crocodile/human conflict? Are we any closer to reaching a point of saturation at which we may have to crop crocodiles in certain rivers?

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, indeed, a survey was done. Currently, the population stands at about 17,000 crocodiles countrywide with an average density of 1.8 crocodiles per river kilometre.

Mr Speaker, I want to say the 17,000 is below the carrying capacity of this country and our river systems.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


327. Mr Kambwili asked the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources how much was raised from tourist arrivals for traditional ceremonies in 2007 and 2008.

Mr Mwangala:  Mr Speaker, I wish to advise that it is difficult for my ministry to determine how much revenue is earned from tourist arrivals during traditional ceremonies due to the fact that entry to any of such ceremonies is free of charge. However, it is possible to estimate the level of business arising from an increase of tourists in particular localities where such ceremonies are taking place, mainly from accommodation, car hires, and restaurants.

Mr Speaker, may I, therefore, take this opportunity to inform this august House that in line with the Tourism and Hospitality Act No. 23 of 2007 and the Statutory Instrument signed in 2009, all establishments will be obligated to submit returns to my ministry on a standard form. This measure will ensure that all establishments submit statistics such as spending by both domestic and international tourists.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, when you arrive at the airport in any country, you state how much money you are going to spend and the reason you have gone there for. Why is the ministry not using that data to give an estimate of how much it is raising from tourists as regards traditional ceremonies.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, the question that the hon. Deputy Minister has just answered relates to traditional ceremonies and not foreign tourist arrivals. However, I would like to inform the hon. Member that in 2008, we had 911,000 tourist arrivals into the country. 

With regard to traditional ceremonies, it is, indeed, difficult to estimate the earnings because entry to a traditional ceremony is at no cost, but we are working with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services to ensure that we encourage the associations that promote traditional ceremonies to try and generate income from this ethnical tourism product so as to attract more people and even ensure that there are other activities around the traditional ceremonies when they take place. We have about seventy-three of them and out of these, there are just five that are prominent. These are the Likumbi Lyamize, Kuomboka, N’cwala and the Kusefya Pa Ngwe’na.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what the Government is doing to discourage traditional leaders and organising committees of traditional ceremonies from sending out invitation cards to people because it reduces the number of people attending these functions.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, as a ministry, our interest in traditional ceremonies is that they are a product of tourism which we referred to as ethnical. 

As regards the operations, management and the linkages with the communities, that is the mandate of the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services. I would like to say that, as Zambians, we should all be proud to showcase our culture through traditional ceremonies.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


328. Dr Machungwa asked the Minister of Works and Supply which company had been contracted to tar the Pedicle Road and when works on the project were expected to begin.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Kalila): Mr Speaker, no company has been contracted to tar the Pedicle Road.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, since the hon. Minister has stated that no contractor has been assigned to work on this road, can he state clearly what is happening. Does it mean that the Government has abandoned the often announced plans that it would begin tarring the Pedicle Road in the near future?

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mulongoti): Mr Speaker, we have told the House before that the Pedicle Road is in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and we have had discussions with our colleagues on the other side who intimated that if we wanted the road tarred, we should find, on a private-public partnership (PPP) basis, somebody who can do it so that we can toll it to recover our money. I have said this several times in this House. So as soon as the decision is made and consultations concluded, we will advertise for a PPP for somebody to build the road and toll it for us to recover the money.

Mr Speaker, we have no wish to abandon the project. We are anxious to shorten the route from the north, going all the way as part of the East South Corridor.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chongo: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister harmonise the fact that, on the Floor of this House, this Government, including the President, indicated that it would start tarring the Pedicle Road in 2010 and that the Congolese Government had no problem with that arrangement as long as this Government felt it could start tarring it.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, we have just entered 2010 and this is just the beginning of March and so it would be unfair to accuse us, as a Government, of not having done anything about this road.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Kalumba: Mr Speaker, given the many intricate difficulties that are associated with the Pedicle Road, does the hon. Minister consider the possibility of spending some money on improving the existing Tuta/Kashikishi/Lunchinda Road to a more passable state? 

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, a contractor has been working on the road from Serenje to Samfya, but it is just that resources were inadequate for them to continue all the way to Mansa. Of course, we are anxious about working on the road, but going to Lunchinda is a different issue.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, before the late President Levy Mwanawasa, SC. died in 2008, the issue of tarring the Pedicle Road was at its peak. Could the Government, now, explain to this House why this project has been shelved, and yet in the initial stages, we were promised that the project was going to take off?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, the construction of the bridge was part of the project. So I have said that if the 70 kilometres left were in Zambia, it could have been a different issue, but because they are in our friendly neighbouring country, we said as soon as everything is concluded, we shall advertise for a PPP. I do not know how many times we are going to give answers on this issue. I hope that with this explanation, we shall put the matter to rest.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwansa: Sorry, Mr Speaker, my question has been asked.

Mr Munaile (Malole): Mr Speaker, it baffles me that this Government can …

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Ask your question. Do not get baffled.


Mr Munaile: Mr Speaker, the Government has spent so much money on building the Mwanawasa Bridge and if what we are being told, now, is that there are still some problems with the Congolese Government, why did the Government spend that kind of money when it could have directed it towards the Mbesuma Bridge or any other bridge.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, at no time did we, as a Government, say that there were problems with the Congolese Government. Since we are concerned about the use of that road, last year, we spent K300 million grading and gravelling it, where possible, to make it motorable. The time it takes to pass through that road is much shorter than it was before. A road cannot only be used when it is tarred, you can make a road all weather friendly by gravelling and carrying out appropriate works on it. So those who think that by tarring, that is the only way we can use a road, are very mistaken …


Mr Mulongoti: … because the larger part of Zambian roads are not tarred and people are moving around well.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chanda: Mr Speaker, you cannot exclude Mufulira when talking about the Pedicle Road. Therefore, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister why the patch works on the Mufulira/Sabina Road have stalled?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I wish the hon. Member had brought this to my attention at the office so that I could have followed it up because I am not aware of that. Since we have intentions of redoing the entire road, we had given instructions to start the patch works just to make the road passable, in the meantime, owing to the current circumstances. 

I thank you, Sir.



329. Mr Mwango (Kanchibiya) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    how much money was spent by the Government on the fight against HIV/AIDS in 2008 and 2009, year by year;

(b)    what progress had been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country; and 

(c)    whether there were any plans to encourage the establishment of a company to manufacture condoms in Zambia.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Musonda): Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Ministry of Health, spent a total of about K151,638,693,979 between 2008 and 2009 as follows:

Source                2008                                        2009

GRZ                    K9,827,829,379                       K13,590,421,811

Global Fund        K18,319,113,215                     K109,901,329,574

Total                   K28,146,942,594                     K123,491,751,385

Mr Speaker, the country has recorded steady progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

 As regards the progress in anti-retrieval therapy (ART), for adults and adolescents, Zambia’s target is to achieve the universal target of 80 per cent to anti-retrovirals (ARVs) by 2015. 
By September, 2009, we had 257,031 patients on ART. The estimated burden requiring treatment in 2009 is approximately 382,569 and this translates into universal access of about 67.2 per cent. It can be noted here that we are not very far from the 80 per cent target that we have for universal access.

More services are being accessed at primary health care facilities at about 52 per cent, than higher level hospitals. For example, at Level 1, we have 22 per cent, Level 2 is at 17 per cent while Level 3 hospitals only have about 3 to 9 per cent.

Mr Speaker, in the same vein, we have noted that the urban community has about 81 per cent of those accessing ART whilst the rural areas only have about 19 per cent. More efforts are being made to increase access in rural areas and also define the disease burden in the rural areas compared to urban areas. Access in rural areas has also increased comparatively by about 8 per cent over the last year.

Mr Speaker, with regard to children on ART, we have seen a big increase in the coverage. Currently, all major hospitals and main health centres have enrolled children with HIV into care. 

We had about 5,000 in 2004 and by 2009, we had over 21,000 children on ART. This is because of many factors, including an increase in availability of ARVs specifically for children such as syrups and paediatric fixed dose combinations such as tablets that easily dissolve and are accessible to children. We have also increased capacity in terms of training for health workers, especially onsite clinical membership and pre-clinical training. 

We have also made a lot of progress in ART with regard to infant diagnosis and currently, we have about three functional laboratories that are doing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the country. There are two here in Lusaka and one in Ndola.

Mr Speaker, the Government has no immediate plans to set up a condom manufacturing plant in Zambia. Although no investor has shown specific interest to set up a manufacturing plant, the Government welcomes investment in any field of the pharmaceutical sector that enhances commodity security of such a vital health product like condoms. It is worth noting that condom production is a highly specialised undertaking that requires a lot of investment in raw materials such as rubber, equipment and a lot of technical skills.

Mr Speaker, most countries in the region import their condoms from leading suppliers in South East Asia in China, India, Malaysia and Thailand where a high quality and affordable condoms are available. The Government has, however, strengthened regulations on condoms entering the country. This is important in order to protect the health of the nation and strengthen confidence in the health sector.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mwango: Mr Speaker, HIV/AIDS is here to stay. Is the Government thinking of a long-term plan such as getting a franchise from international ARV manufacturers for our local pharmaceuticals to produce ARVs locally?

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, the Government has actually made a lot of strides in looking for a foreign company to partner with one of the local pharmaceuticals to start producing ARVs locally. I think we are targeting Circle Pharmaceuticals in Ndola. However, this has not really progressed so well and consultations are still underway.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Imenda: Mr Speaker, looking at the figures given, we seem to be dependent on donor support. How are we going to win the fight against HIV/AIDS in an event of donor support being withdrawn? The global economic downturn is a case in point.

The Minister of Health (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, indeed, looking at the figures for 2008 and 2009, one might conclude that we are very dependent on donor funding. However, this is the trend world over and this is why Global Fund was set up. This fund is meant to assist all the countries in the world, including Zambia. So for now, everyone is dependent on this fund. 

Furthermore, it is important to understand that ARVs work very well with proper nutrition and a good immune system. So ARVs work very well if the immune system is boosted through proper nutrition and one can even stop depending on ARVs in the long run. So most countries have realised that one way of defeating HIV/AIDS is by having a good nutrition programme.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Masebo: Sir, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for his answer which was quite detailed. However, could he confirm the withdrawal of some ARVs from the market because they have been known to have side effects both in adults and children and if so, if there are any replacements that have been made.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, most diseases have different levels of drugs. ARVs started with what is called first line drugs. Most people have graduated from this to second line drugs which are quite expensive. At the moment, there are even third line drugs. The behaviour of someone’s body defence is what warrants being put on a different line of drugs. So it is not that all the drugs are being withdrawn from the market. There are first line drugs that still work for some people. Patients who have had problems with first line drugs have been upgraded to second line drugs. 

On the other hand, the problem arises when people do not follow proper instructions. If patients are not following proper instructions in taking their medication, they end up developing resistance very easily. As a result, that line of drugs cannot work for them and have to be put on another one and, as I said, second and third line drugs are very expensive. So it is very important that those who are still on first line drugs take these drugs judiciously so that they do not develop unnecessary resistance and go to a different level of drugs.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, I know that the Government is now giving free ARVs to patients and seeing that HIV is a notifiable disease in other countries, is the ministry making efforts to do the same so that we can monitor the trends in HIV infections in the country.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I do not understand what the hon. Member is really asking about because HIV is already a notifiable disease in this country. So I do not know how else he wants this to be done.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Phiri (Munali): Mr Speaker, following the answer given by the hon. Minister that the Government is aware that with good nutrition, people with HIV/AIDS can live a normal life, I would like to find out how the Ministry of Health is going to work with the Ministry of Finance and National Planning to reduce food prices so that our brothers and sisters can access cheap food.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member must know that what the body actually needs is not food like a big piece of steak or a full leg of chicken. It is just the ordinary and cheap foods that we have.

Mr Speaker, it is important to explain to hon. Members of Parliament that they should encourage their constituents to eat about thirty different types of foods per day. I am talking about small quantities of common food stuffs and not things like t-bone steaks but things like bondwe, kalembula, chibwabwa and so on and so forth.


Mr Simbao: That is what the body needs. It does not need complicated foods.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mushili: Sir, poverty reduction is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be met by 2015. Poverty and HIV/AIDS are interrelated. I would like to find out the progress that we have made, to date, in achieving this deadline. 

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am a not sure about the question. Is he talking about poverty reduction?

Mr Mushili: Yes, poverty reduction.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am not very sure of how to answer this question. For that reason, it will be better to research it very well than answering it off the cuff. However, we do counsel all the people who come to us on the right foods they should be eating which are foods available wherever they are. It has nothing to do with poverty. We also register them as they come. 


Mr Simbao: The problem is this- and, please, I would like you to understand this, the issue of nutrition is not, maybe, as most of us who are well to do would look at it. It is just that, maybe, we are dragging people away from what they normally eat. The issue of nutrition is a very simple one and people must eat available foods required by the body in different quantities. 

I thank you, Sir.



330. Mr Mwango asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives:

(a)    what the future of the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia was;

(b)    how much money was owed to former employees in terminal benefits; and

(c)    when the outstanding amounts of the terminal benefits would be paid to the former employees.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Mbewe): Mr Speaker, the Government is in the process of conduction a due diligence study on the future of Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ). The decision on the way forward for NCZ Limited will be based on the findings and recommendations of the study.

The principal debt of K15.389 billion owed to former NCZ employees as at 31st December, 2008 was fully paid. However, there is an outstanding interest payment of K1,834,267,702 and legal fees of K1,396,470,827 as at 31st December, 2009. In addition, more employees retired between January and December, 2009 with outstanding benefits of K8,518,752,698.

Therefore, the current total outstanding amount in terminal benefits owed to former NCZ employees is K10,353,020,400 billion.

The new outstanding amounts in terminal benefits will be cleared as resources become available and the plant gets back to operation.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwango: Mr Speaker, since some of the employees have passed on and their families are now languishing, I would like to know when the Government is going to pay the terminal benefits for the employees.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, the Government is determined to liquidate the payments when funds will be made available and when the plant begins operating.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwamba (Kasama Central): Mr Speaker, according to the hon. Minister a due diligence study is being carried out at NCZ, would the hon. Minister confirm to this House that there is a consortium of Zambians, some of whom are known to me, that are likely to take over NCZ and that whatever they are doing is just academic?

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, if people get some speculations from people on the streets, we cannot consider them binding and if somebody is known to the people who are also interested in NCZ, I will take it as personal information. However, the information we have given as a Government is binding.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Phiri: Mr Speaker, Zambia is a Christian nation and, therefore, is supposed to live by the biblical stand in this country. As Christians, the Bible tells us to pay people what is due to them. I would like to find out if this Government, which claims to be a Christian Government, is enjoying seeing people at NCZ crying day in day out for failure of taking their children to school.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, it is the concern of my Government to make sure that people are happy at NCZ. It is true that the Government is looking for ways and means of helping the people by joining co-operating partners so that we move together in running the plant and people get back their jobs. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka): Mr Speaker, I would like to know whether or not the consultant who will conduct the due diligent study has already been identified and if he/she has, I would like to know how long it will take the study to conclude its business.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, the company, which is supposed to conduct the study, has not yet been identified. However, it is going to be identified very shortly and that is the time we are going to know the timeframe and the House will be informed accordingly.

I thank you, Sir.

Colonel Chanda (Kanyama): Mr Speaker, would the hon. Minister throw some light on the procedure being followed in identifying this company. Has the tender been made public, and if so, when?

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, this is a very transparent Government. We are going to follow all the necessary procedures which are required to be undertaken. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, firstly, I want to commend the Government for paying in full the terminal benefits as of 31st December, 2009 as said by the hon. Deputy Minister. I take it that the remaining balance for this year will also be paid under this year’s Budget.

Mr Speaker, recently, there was a question concerning NCZ and the Government said that they had entered into a contract with a company called African Explosives Limited to run the plant. With the due diligence study be conducted while the company that has the contract will be running it? What are the plans because, somehow, it seems there is going to be some conflict of interest?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, African Explosives Limited will manufacture ammonium nitrate. As a Government, we are going to give NCZ some tonnage to manufacture to try and help them alleviate the problem which they are facing. At the moment, the Government is paying salaries for NCZ workers who are at the plant.

I thank you, Sir.


331. Mr Mushili asked the Minister of Education:

(a)    what the total number of basic schools in Ndola Central Parliamentary Constituency was;

(b)    how many teachers were deployed to the basic schools; and

(c)    of these teachers, how many were qualified.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, currently, the total number of basic schools in Ndola Central Parliamentary Constituency is as follows:

Government Schools

(i)    upper basic school      14

(ii)    middle basic school      3

(iii)    special unit                   5

         Total                           22

Community Schools

(i)     upper basic                  1

(ii)    middle basic                13

        Total                            14

Mr Speaker, there are 341 teachers deployed to the basic schools.  Out of these, 130 are males and 211 are females. All the 341 teachers are qualified.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushili: Mr Speaker, assuming that the hon. Minister’s answer is correct ...

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Mushili: ... can the hon. Minister confirm the number of basic schools in Chipulukusu because he has the statistics? How many of them have qualified teachers?

Mr Speaker: Does the hon. Minister of Education have the break down?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, I do not have the information, but if the hon. Member cares, he can come to the ministry offices and we will provide the answers.

Thank you, Sir.


332. Mr D. Mwila asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning:

(a)    how much money in the form of tax the Government lost as a result of waiving import duty on petroleum products to mitigate the impact of the fuel shortage;

(b)    how long the suspension of import duty lasted; and

(c)    what the total amount of petrol imports were at the end of the period at (b).

Ms C. M. Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, the estimated total revenue foregone as a result of suspending duty on petroleum products is K98,350,000,000. The House may wish to know that customs duty on crude oil which Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company Limited usually imports is 5 per cent whereas duty on finished diesel and petrol is 25 per cent. This means that it is more expensive to import finished petroleum products than crude oil. Finished petroleum products are often imported into the country by road. This means importation is more expensive because of the cost of transportation and insurance. The suspension of the customs duty is, therefore, intended to reduce the cost of importing finished petroleum products whereby averting a possible increase in the pump price.

As regards part (b) of the question, the suspension of import duty covered the period 21st October to 31st November, 2009. This is the period when Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company Limited was expected to remain closed for maintenance and rehabilitation.

With regard to part (c) of the question, the total amount of petrol imports into the country for the period of suspension is 42,168 cubic metres of 42,168,000 litres.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.


The Deputy Chairperson: When business was suspended, the hon. Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning had finished giving the answer to Question 332.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, what measures did the Government put in place to fill the gap on the revenue loss in 2009 which was about K8 billion?

Ms C. M. Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for the follow-up question. Obviously, there are unplanned for situations in the budget which are catered for in normal expenditures and these are what we call contingencies. We also have savings in some overall line items in any financial year. Being a responsible Government, we had to react and take this measure to ensure that we did not have further disruption in the economy with prolonged periods of shortage. I think it was a responsible thing to do. In the context of the loss, if we had not taken action, the loss would be much higher than the amount we lost on the waiver.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nsanda (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, now that the supply of petroleum products has stabilised, when is the Government going to reduce the prices?

Ms C. M. Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, I think that question has been raised on the Floor of the House many times before. The answer that has been given is that we already subsidise the fuel pump price. Therefore, we will continue reviewing our position as you know the cost of petroleum products is determined by the international markets, and we can only plan and mitigate that cost as far as we have the resources available to do this.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Mwape: Mr Speaker, was the waiver compulsory to all oil companies or just a select few? Secondly, what has led to the exodus from Indeni of some international oil companies like Total Zambia Limited and now the British Petroleum Company Limited?

Ms C. M. Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, the waiver was on the importation of petroleum products which normally attracts a duty of 25 per cent. I am not sure where the hon. Member got the information from. I think it might be speculative to start giving reasons commercial decisions are made by companies. It will be purely based on a very short-term waiver which only existed for a month. I think it might be some element of speculation. There must be reasons a company would make such a decision and I am not privileged to that information.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, at the time the Government put the waiver, was the price of fuel controlled by the Government or was it left to the oil companies to determine? 

Secondly, I notice that every time there is a fuel shortage, companies are quick to increase prices, but when the Government gives a waiver, they take long to reduce the prices. It is like the Government does not have a mechanism to ensure that the price of the commodity is controlled, considering that the Government is losing a lot of revenue.

Mr Speaker, although they may appear to be two questions, it is basically one question on whether the ministry regulates the price of fuel in line with the Government agreements on waiving tax to lower the price for the consumers.

Ms C. M. Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, the Government has put in place the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) which is mandated to regulate issues pertaining to prices and how the industry is performing. The Government has mandated the ERB Board to deal with all such matters.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, we have been told, on several occasions, that the Government subsidises petroleum products such as petrol and diesel. Why is the pump price of fuel so high in Zambia compared to South African and Zimbabwe whose governments do not even subsidise the prices? 

Ms C. M. Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, this question has been raised many times on the Floor of this House and the able hon. Minister of Energy and Water Development has always given us an answer. There are many factors at play in the determination of pump prices and as I said earlier, we have ERB in place which is mandated to take all these issues into consideration before arriving at a price.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwamba: Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to inform this House what the landed cost of diesel, petrol and kerosene net of tax into Lusaka is.

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, that is a quantitative question which needs to be asked as a direct one.

I thank you, Sir.




Ms Imbwae (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Kambwili: Come on, my sister, hammer!

Ms Imbwae: I stand to move the Motion. Sorry.


Ms Imbwae: I stand to deliver the Motion entitled the appointment of the Presidential …

Ms Imbwae: I beg to move that this House do adopt the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the presidential appointments of Hon. Judge Just Mwiinde Siavwapa, Hon. Judge Emelia Phiri-Sunkutu, Dr Patrick Matibini, Sc, Mr Isaac Chibulu Tantameni Chali, Mrs Elita Phiri Mwikisa and Mrs Fulgency Mwenya Chisanga to serve as Puisne Judges, for the Fourth Session of the Tenth National Assembly, laid on the table of the house on 1st march, 2010.

The Deputy Chairperson: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Magande (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Ms Imbwae: Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee …

Mr Kambwili: No just go to the second paragraph.

Ms Imbwae: What are you saying?

Mr Kambwili: Read the second paragraph

Ms Imbwae: I am reading.

Mr Kambwili: Start on the second paragraph.

The Deputy Chairperson: You are given reasons for moving your Motion.

Ms Imbwae: Mr Speaker, I thank you. It is just that people were talking and I got destructed.

Sir, the appointments of the nominees are made pursuant to the provisions of article 95(1) of the Constitution of Zambia, Cap 1, of the Laws of Zambia which states:

“The Puisne Judges shall, subject to ratification by the National Assembly, be appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.”

The Constitution further provides under Article 97(1) that:

“Subject to Clause (2), a person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court, a Puisne Judge or Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the Industrial Relations Court unless:

(a)    he holds or has held high judicial office; or

(b)    he holds one of the specified qualifications and has held one or other of the following qualifications-

(i)    in the case of a Supreme Court Judge, for a total period of not less than fifteen years; or

(ii)    in the case of a Puisne Judge, the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Industrial Relations Court, for a total period of not less than ten years.”

Mr Speaker, your Committee is alive to the fact that the position of Puisne Judge plays a critical role in the operations of the Judiciary.  In this light, a person holding this position should not only be competent, but should also be a person of integrity and committed to the nation.  Further, your Committee view the High Court as a key institution which is expected to enhance good governance, observe the rule of law and ensure the equal enjoyment of human rights by all in Zambia.  Therefore, there is need for persons serving on the High Court Bench not only to be capable, but also to be upright citizens.

In view of the foregoing, your Committee, assessed the suitability of the nominees with utmost care by scrutinising their curriculum vitae and all the information submitted to them by state investigative agencies and relevant professional bodies in detail.  Your Committee also assessed the nominees to establish whether they met the requirements for the office of High Court Judge as contained in the Constitution. 

Mr Speaker, all the state security agencies, which included the Zambia Police Force, Drug Enforcement Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission informed your Committee that a search of their records revealed that none of the nominees had any adverse reports against them in relation to criminal activities, drug trafficking, money laundering, drug abuse and corrupt practices.

Mr Speaker, the agencies also confirmed that all the six nominees are Zambian citizens who would not pose a security risk to the nation if appointed to serve in the sensitive position of Puisne Judge.

Sir, during their deliberations, your Committee also interacted with some professional bodies and stakeholder institutions. These included the Judicial Complaints Authority (JCA), the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and Transparency International Zambia (TIZ). This interaction gave your Committee an opportunity to understand and appreciate the professional and career progression of the nominees, as well as scrutinise their public standing in society, in terms of integrity.

Sir, some stakeholders informed your Committee that they had conducted searches at the University of Zambia in a bid to verify the academic qualifications of the nominees. The searches confirmed that all the six nominees obtained their first law degrees from the University of Zambia. Due to inadequate time, however, a similar exercise could not be carried out for the nominees’ qualifications that were obtained abroad save for Dr Patrick Matibini, SC, who obtained all his three law degrees from the University of Zambia. 

Mr Speaker, your Committee, after due and thorough evaluation of the written and oral evidence presented to them by the witnesses and interviews with the nominees, are of the view that the nominees are well qualified and competent to serve as Puisne Judges.

Sir, your Committee, therefore, recommend that the House do ratify the Presidential appointment of Hon. Judge Mwiinde Siavwapa, Hon. Judge Emelia Phiri-Sunkutu, Dr Patrick Matibini, SC., Mr Isaac Chibulu Tantameni Chali, Mrs Elita Phiri Mwikisa and Mrs Fulgency Mwenya Chisanga to serve as Puisne Judges. 

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, allow me to thank the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the services and advice rendered during your Committee’s deliberations. Your Committee wish to place on record their gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for allowing them to serve on this very important select committee. Your Committee also thank the state security and investigative agencies, professional bodies and other stakeholder institutions that appeared before them for their oral and written submissions which assisted your Committee to successfully conclude their mandate.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later.

Mr Magande: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the motion on the ratification of Hon. Judge Just Mwiinde Siavwapa, Hon. Judge Emelia Phiri-Sunkutu, Dr Patrick Matibini, SC., Mr Isaac Chibulu Tantameni Chali, Mrs Elita Phiri Mwikisa and Mrs Fulgency Mwenya Chisanga to serve as Puisne Judges.

Mr Speaker, the mover of the motion has clearly and ably indicated the position of your Committee on these appointments. However, I just wish to take a little of your time to make a few comments. 

Sir, recently, we all know that the integrity of the Judiciary has come under quite some questioning from the members of the public and, indeed, has received negative publicity. May I, therefore, appeal to the learned men and women who are joining the Bench that this is a very serious calling and we expect them to live up to the challenge in order to restore and uphold the integrity of the Judiciary. 

Sir, our Judiciary has, also, for sometime now, been blamed for delayed judgments. In their own jargon, they, indeed, have an adage which says, “Justice delayed is justice denied”. We, therefore, want to appeal that they take it upon themselves to try to sort out this matter which is frustrating to the public. 

Mr Speaker, your Committee are very encouraged with the current appointments because of their gender sensitivity. Indeed, the appointing authority has presented three ladies of high repute who are being called upon to join the Bench.

Sir, we feel, therefore, that if these three are going to live up to the challenges of the profession, it will attract other learned lawyers, in particular female lawyers, to get interested in joining the Bench. As we are all aware, I think getting to the High Court or to be a Puisne Judge is obviously a climax of a lawyer’s profession. Therefore, we expect that if only the Judiciary, as it is operating now, can reduce the amount of negative publicity, a lot of young and budding lawyers will look forward to joining the Bench by the time they get to forty and fifty years of age.

Sir, we wish, therefore, to invite, in particular, those who are joining the Bench that as they report for work every morning, they should actually focus their eyes and mind on the Statue of Themis, the Lady Justice who adorns the grounds of the High Court, who was blind to any kind of discrimination and dispensed justice and regarded all those that came before her as equals. I think if they do that, the integrity of this profession will be restored. Then, the members of the public are going to understand that they are only there to help interpret the arguments as arbitrators within the laws of the country.

Mr Speaker, another positive aspect of these appointments is that quite a number of the new appointments are coming from the private sector. There has been a view that these very important positions on the Bench are a preserve of those who are in the Public Service. We want to say that, indeed, what has happened now will show that even those who are in the private sector are welcome to join the Bench so that while they were making a little money dealing with anonymous cases, they will now be dealing with the cases that are going to help the management of the  State.

Mr Speaker, as I end my contribution, allow me to thank the Chairperson of your Committee for the able manner in which she guided the deliberations. Let me also acknowledge the team spirit that was shown by all members of your Committee in supporting the appointments of the six nominees to serve as Puisne Judges. 

Sir, the Clerk’s Office has already been thanked by the Chairperson for having ably given us the facilities we needed.

Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I beg to second the motion.

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC. (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the motion to ratify the appointment of the learned men and women whose names have been presented to the House. 

Mr Speaker, the first reason for supporting the motion is that all these people are eminently qualified, both academically and professionally. Academically, all these are Law graduates from recognised universities. Professionally, they have all been admitted to practice as Advocates, meaning that they are qualified to practise the law before all courts in Zambia. 

Mr Speaker, I will start with Mr Isaac Chibulu Tantameni Chali, not because the name sounds good, but because out of these nominees, he has practised longer than everybody else. He has been a practising lawyer for thirty-three years. His recommendation for appointment as a Puisne Judge of the High Court is not new. Those who recall the 1972 Constitution, will remember that there was a provision in Article 110 which gave the President power to appoint qualified lawyers to serve as High Court Commissioners. In terms of the Constitution then, High Court Commissioners performed the task of Puisne Judges. I am happy to report that one Isaac Chibulu Tantameni Chali was appointed High Court Commissioner in 1994 and he continued so to serve until 1999. Therefore, his appointment is not anything new. He is going into a territory that he is very familiar with. 

Mr Speaker, having talked much about Mr Chali, I would like to move to Dr Patrick Matibini, SC.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC.: Dr Patrick Matibini has been conferred the honour and dignity of State Counsel. This is the highest honour you can bestow on a lawyer who has distinguished himself in the practice of the profession. This, in itself, speaks volumes of his capacity to discharge the functions of Puisne Judge for which he is being nominated. 
Mr Speaker, may I now move to one Emelia Phiri-Sunkutu who is currently the Deputy Chairperson of the Industrial Relations Court (IRC). As such, what she is doing at IRC is virtually what she will be doing as a Puisne Judge of the High Court. Her nomination is equally a very good choice and in this direction, she has practised law, if my memory serves me right, and usually does, for sixteen years. The minimum requirement for one to be considered for appointment as a Judge is ten years. Mrs Sunkutu has distinguished herself for sixteen years as a lawyer. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to move on to Mrs Elita Phiri Mwikisa. She was called to the Zambian Bar in 1988, meaning that she has practiced law for close to twenty-two years. She served as a Senior State Advocate in the Ministry of Justice and I was privileged to supervise her when she was serving in that ministry. She is currently Corporation Secretary at the National Airports Corporation. I have no hesitation in recommending that she, too, be ratified because she is eminently qualified. 

Mr Speaker, having talked about Mrs Mwikisa, I want to move on to Mrs Fulgency Mwenya Chisanga. The nominee has been practising law for seventeen years, and she has been running her own law firm. If a person can run a law firm for more than ten years without problems, it means this person has a high degree of integrity. This is because as a lawyer in private practice, you handle clients’ money from time to time. I am happy to report that she has distinguished herself very well. All in all, and without wasting much of your time, I have no hesitation in recommending all the nominees for appointment as Puisne Judges. 

I have not talked about Mr Siavwapa. For your information, Mr Siavwapa is also Deputy Chairperson of IRC based in Ndola. She has practised law… he has practised law …

Hon. Member: He has. 

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC.: …for eleven years. I have already corrected myself, too late in the day. 


Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC.: He has practiced law for eleven years and in terms of our Constitution, he is equally eminently qualified for the position. I had the occasion of appearing before him when he was Deputy Registrar of the High Court. He may be young, but he is eminently qualified and he is up to the task for which he is being considered. 

Mr Speaker, I, therefore, without any hesitation at all, recommend the ratification of the nominees because they will add value to the Bench.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I quickly want to add my voice in support of the appointments, especially that we have women as the majority. As we are commemorating International Women’s Day on Monday, next week, this comes as a very good gift to the womenfolk, especially that we are talking about equal opportunities, equal rights and progress for all. The House may be aware that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Report of November, 2009, indicated that Zambia was not doing very well in terms of equal opportunities for women, especially when it came to issues of recruitment, promotion and wages. 

Mr Speaker, I want to say that it is gratifying to learn that we are now able to attract lawyers from the private sector who we could not in the past because we were told that when they are in the private sector they are more exposed and paid better wages because they making their own money. This is a positive sign that the Government is, indeed, doing well in terms of ensuring that working conditions for our Judges are improved upon to an extent that we are now able to attract lawyers from the private sector.

Mr Speaker, I want to add something on a matter that was alluded to by the seconder of the motion with regard to the integrity of the judicial system. There are three arms of the Government. One of the important organs of the Government is the Judiciary. This is where, at the end of the day, everybody, whether an individual citizen, someone from the Executive or Legislature runs to whenever there is a problem. When such institutions begin to be seen as if they are not free and fair, then we are killing our own country. I think that this issue needs to be taken very seriously by the Judiciary and the general public. 

Mr Speaker, some two weeks ago, I was very disappointed when I read, in one of the papers, a headline targeted at the Judiciary that both shocked and saddened me. When we reach a level where citizens can stand publicly and almost insult the Judiciary and call it names in that manner, then we know we have a problem. This is a very serious problem that all of us need to address. 

Mr Speaker, I have always said, and I want to repeat the fact this, that it very important that, as a country, we respect the institutions that we create because, if we do not, the negative effect will not only be on those that are, for instance, in the Ruling Party, Opposition, politics, private sector or the Church but the whole nation. We need to build institutions and respect them. Even if one or two people make mistakes, it is important that we do not generalise those mistakes because we can destroy a system which, in this case, is the Judiciary. 

If people start thinking that the Zambian Judiciary is rotten and corrupt simply because one person made a mistake, that is a very dangerous kind of approach.

Mr Speaker, as I have always said, it is important that we respect our institutions. By saying this, I do not mean that the Judiciary should not work hard to ensure that it builds its face and credibility because it is necessary for it to do that.

Justice is not about the result in court, as there is a theory in the judicial system that states that, “It is not about winning or losing a case, but about the spirit of people feeling that justice is or has prevailed”. Therefore, the concept of the feeling that justice is prevailing is important. As such, the Judiciary has a job to ensure that people begin to perceive it in a manner that instills confidence.

 In the past, we did not meet Judges in person, but just saw them on pictures. Lately, one can meet them anywhere, including taverns. That is a problem. If one went to a club or gymnasium, he or she can, sometimes, meet Judges there. These are some of the things that erode confidence in some of them. Therefore, it is important that they isolate themselves from the public.

In the past, even just talking to a Judge was not easy because if they were seen talking to me, for instance, it would be insinuated that I was trying to influence them. Therefore, they would avoid doing that altogether. However, at the moment, there is a lot of chibeleshi between the public and Judges. 


Mrs Masebo: Chibeleshi means easy contact or over familiarity which breeds contempt. Therefore, it is up to the Judges to do something about this over familiarity so that they are kept away from the public who may say that they saw a Mr ‘X’ and Judge ‘Y’ talking when there was a case before Mr X and, thus conclude that that was the reason the ruling in court was in favour of that person. Therefore, we all need to do a lot to try and build confidence in the Judiciary. 

Mr Speaker, personally, as an hon. Member of Parliament, I still have confidence in the judicial system and would like to urge the country to have confidence in their institutions. Indeed, like every other situation, you cannot have 100 per cent perfection. Even among Jesus’ disciples, there was one who betrayed him, but it cannot be said that all his disciples were double faced or were Judas Iscariots. Therefore, even in the judicial system, there may be one who may not be morally upright, but that is not to say that all of them are. In essence, what I am saying is that we have to be very careful about the way we say things concerning the judiciary because the manner in which we describe rulings or comment  on judgments after winning or losing court cases has the potential to destroy the system.

Lastly, but most importantly, I am happy because, now, we have more women getting on board. I for one know that women are normally better, more honest …

Hon. Members: Question!

Mrs Masebo: … and very credible. Therefore, I can assure the country that with more women in the judicial system, we shall be comforted, knowing that since we have mothers on the Bench, justice shall prevail.

 I thank you Mr Speaker.

Mr Muyanda (Sinazongwe): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the motion on the Floor, which is the ratification …


The Deputy Chairperson of Committees:  Order! 

You are making some disturbing noise. The hon. Member on the Floor cannot be heard.

You may continue, please.

 Mr Muyanda: Mr Speaker, once again, I wish to state that I am 100 per cent in support of the ratification of the honourable men and women as Puisne Judges of the High Court of Zambia.

 Mr Speaker, before I move to individual commendations, may I point out what is eating up our society. What is binding and winding our society is the concept of corruption. Corruption has become a very dangerous phenomenon at the moment. There is a very good reason the separation of powers, which are the three organs of governance, prevails. The Judiciary should be independent of Executive interference. Parliament should be independent when making decisions with regard to legislation. It, therefore, means that it becomes a matter of national concern when the Judiciary is tampered with by unscrupulous people who creep in and destroy the moral fibre of the Bench.

Mr Speaker, as regards one of the appointees, sometimes, it is easy to get a qualification in certain professions, but to execute the professional ethics required is another thing. The position of Judge is one which should be held by a person of very high standing in society. Therefore, the hon. men and women who have been appointed should, today, be ratified. This should be done with the appointees bearing in mind that we, as Parliamentarians, are watching what is going on in the judiciary.

Sir, one of the appointees, in whom I have unreserved trust and confidence, is my own young man whose upbringing is of very high integrity. Mr Siavwapa is of a good breed in the profession of learned men and women.

Mr Speaker, I owe this august House a duty of care by telling the truth and nothing more than the truth. Mr Siavwapa is a professional young man who has risen not only by professional qualification, but also, by integrity. His colleagues are men and women who have worked their way through the profession to where, today, we shall ratify them as High Court Puisne Judges. Mr Siavwapa comes from a dignified home, …

 Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Muyanda: … a home of integrity. I stand here to praise him because he is a young man with a good upbringing. I am quite positive that he will serve the people of the Republic of Zambia with dignity.

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

The Deputy Minister of Lands (Mr Mabenga): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate the motion before the Floor of the House.

Mr Speaker, I want to start by recognising the good presentations by the mover and seconder of the motion.

Mr Speaker, it appears that most of the things I wanted to say have already been said, but I will be brief. By that I do not mean that I will seem to end my debate after talking for two minutes, but later on go on for twenty minutes like other people would do.


Mr Mabenga: I will stick to my word of being brief. I do not point fingers at people when I am talking, but just use my mouth.


Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, it is a fact that, soon, we shall be joining the rest of the world to celebrate the International Women’s Day and, being part of the globe, we are celebrating what is good for humanity. When it is time to talk, it should be the men to do so to show the women that we support them in full.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mabenga: It is good that this is coming from this side of the House because we realise that we are making strides in ensuring that the 30 per cent representation of women in positions of responsibility is achieved. Actually, we are almost at 50 per cent. If we look at the number of people being ratified, there are three women, which is the majority of the appointees put forward.

Mr Speaker, it is important that we continue to give as much support as possible to our womenfolk, but not forgetting the men who have excelled in their duties. For example, we have Dr Patrick Matibini and have also heard of Mr Mwiinde Siavwapa, who is a family man, but is still being described as a young man by some people.


Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, the nominees are men and women of good standing in our communities who will execute their duties to expected standards.

Mr Speaker, I support the motion and urge all the hon. Members to do the same.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for according me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the motion before the House.

Mr Speaker, from the outset, I would like to say that I support the motion to ratify the appointment of the six Puisne Judges. It is clear, from the record and the report of your Committee, that all the appointees are eminently qualified. I just want to appeal to them to help in sorting out some of the problems that I have seen in the Judiciary.

Mr Speaker, I would like these Judges to sort out the congestion in prisons caused by delayed judgements in the Judiciary. My appeal to these men and women of integrity is that they should make sure that judgements are passed on time so that the prisons are decongested. 

Mr Speaker, I now want to refer to the report and say that I am extremely disappointed that the people who appeared before your Committee were not serious. In this regard, I would like to quote from the observation of your Committee on 21(i) of the report:

“Most witnesses who appeared before them were not adequately prepared for the task. Your Committee is of the view that the witnesses’ inability to thoroughly answer questions posed to them showed that they did not conduct proper research to reveal information that would assist the Committee to effectively conclude their mandate.”

Mr Speaker, this is a very serious observation by your Committee, taking into account the fact that we are looking at the ratification of Judges from whom we would like to see integrity. It is disturbing to note that the witnesses appearing before your Committee to help them make an informed decision are not prepared to do so. My appeal to whoever is involved is that witnesses should give us information that will help Parliament to ratify the appointees. 

Mr Speaker, if we make a mistake in ratifying appointees, it is the witnesses who will say that the current crop of politicians is useless. Therefore, my appeal is that we should ensure that the people appearing before your Committees are prepared with proper information.

With these few remarks, I support the ratification of the appointees and I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister for Southern Province (Mr Munkombwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for affording me this opportunity to say a few words on the ratification of the appointment of the nominees.

Mr Speaker, the legal profession is always referred to as that of a learned group of people. Now, the term ‘learned’ is not normally used to refer to anybody who went to school even if he is a holder of a doctorate in philosophy (PhD), like Hon. Dr Kawimbe. There has been damaging criticism of the people on the Bench, particularly by people who are supposed to be members of it, that is the senior lawyers in the country. When they do not win a particular case, they go wild in attacking the Bench and that is extremely dangerous.

Mr Speaker, I know that Judges are put under pressure, sometimes, by massive publicity by some sections of the press in the country.

Hon. Members: Hammer hon. Minister!

Mr Munkombwe: I know that in some countries, for instance, South Africa, when there was massive publicity on a trial by the press, the Judge said to the person whose character was massively damaged that he had nothing further to say except discharge him because he had already been tried and sentenced by the press. We should desist from doing the same as Zambians.

 In the past, it was only one individual who used to appoint Judges but, currently, the power has been brought to us. We are showering praises on these people who qualify. When we want to appoint the Deputy Chief Justice or even Chief Justice, ratification is made here, but when judgement is passed by that person, we do not want to accept it and, instead, join the choruses of condemning the judgement. I would say that that is extremely dangerous because we should allow our Judiciary to be independent.

Even on the issue of corruption, we just talk about it, but none of us has the courage to stand and say, “I, Daniel Munkombwe, know that so and so has been involved in corrupt practices and I will stand in court to testify.” People are just singing about corruption without coming out in the open and that is not fair. We should have the courage to put our cases across.

I have lived in four worlds. I lived in Northern Rhodesia and was twenty-one years old when the federation was born. I lived during the federation, the rule of Dr Kaunda, Dr Chiluba, Mr Levy Mwanawasa, SC. and now His Excellency the President, Mr Rupiah Banda…

Mr Chibombamilimo: You are surely a living memory.


Mr Munkombwe: So I have some form of integrity, as a person, which cannot be doubted.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Munkombwe: Mr Speaker, beyond generations. 

The young generation of lawyers are excited and are in the forefront of condemning each other. A noble lawyer, Chifumu Banda, SC., said that one has to be in law practice for, at least, ten years and above to qualify to be Judge. That is what the law says. 

 Now we have people who have been practicing law and are independent lawyers losing cases and the blame is put on the Judges. We have people suing anyhow because of this misguided democracy. We lived in guided democracy ourselves. This unguided democracy is extremely …


Mr Munkombwe: … dangerous. Can we have limits to freedom?

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Munkombwe: Yes. 


Mr Munkombwe: For instance, today, someone left the House to go and dress properly. 


Mr Munkombwe: So this type of freedom of going anywhere anyhow can be dangerous.


Mr Munkombwe: Mr. Speaker, from now on …


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Munkombwe: … this House should be the guardian of people who are appointed to positions. I know all the people whose names have been mentioned for ratification. I know Dr Matibini and the other five lawyers whose names have been mentioned.

Mr Kambwili: Tata ikaleni.

Mr Munkombwe: Mr Speaker, I know too that they are people of integrity and are credible. Dr Matibini, in the legal fraternity, is a household name. 

The witnesses who appeared before your Committee to speak for or against the nominees said what they know about them, but for us to say things now that we do not know about, will be irrelevant.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Development (Mr Machila): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this chance to debate. I was privileged the opportunity to appear before your Committee and from that, I wish to state that I support their recommendations. 

Mr Speaker, the Judiciary is a very important arm of Government. The fact that we have a hand in the creation of this establishment demands that we take this work very seriously. Accordingly, I wish to commend your Committee on a job very well done. We have a good gender balance, three men and three women, as well as a blend of public and private sector nominees who definitely will add value to the Bench.

Mr Speaker, this kind of consideration reduces or eliminates the likelihood of us having conflicts between the Bar and the Bench such as the ones that were previously seen in Kenya were lawyers took to the streets in protest against the Bench and went as far as wearing T-shirts which read, “Why hire a lawyer when you can buy a Judge”. Thankfully, that will never happen here for we have been very diligent in scrutinising the appointments to the Bench. For so long as we continue to have a proper balance between private and public experience, I see the future for our Bench continuing to be very bright.

Mr Speaker, in your report, it is stated that the qualities that the candidate should have are competence, integrity, diligence, eminence, sound character and a commitment to the promotion of justice as well as the rule of law. All the six candidates under consideration certainly possess all those qualities.

On another note, Mr Speaker, if we are to get full value on the best out of the Judges in addition to increasing their numbers and the establishment, this House needs to support them by enabling them to have research assistants who can do a lot of the legal research that is needed in preparation of judgements. Efforts have been made to improve the facilities at the courts. There is a recording system that is being implemented there which will enhance their capacity and this system is better, probably, than even the system of recording that we have here.

Mr Speaker, the appointment of the Judges plus the others yet to be appointed following the amendment in the law last year, which increased the establishment from thirty to fifty, meaning this Parliament will have to ratify, before long, another twenty Judges, will certainly help develop our jurisprudence. In addition to that, it will also help deal with the issue of delay of judgement that has already been alluded to here. If you have more Judges, that means the Judges on the Bench can share the cases between them and, therefore, results can be expected sooner rather than later. In addition to this, currently, we have a practice were Judges go out of Lusaka to sit either in Kasama, Mongu and Chipata. With the increase in establishment, there will be an opportunity to have Judges permanently based in these locations and, again, the work and rule of law will be more speedily progressed.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to commend your Committee, again, and thank all those who have been involved in the scrutiny and appointment of the nominations of the six Judges that are before us. They are certainly worthy of the Bench and I appeal to the House to wholeheartedly support the nominees.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Minister Home Affairs (Mr Mangani): Thank you, Mr Speaker, firstly, I would like to thank the work of your Committee for the wonderful job they have done. I also want to thank the security wings and other organisations that appeared before your Committee for the submissions they made regarding the people we are discussing today. Again, I want to echo most of the sentiments made by a number of people that this selection is very good because it is gender sensitive. The Government is, indeed, committed to ensuring that a lot of women are given equal opportunities so that they participate in the welfare of our country. 

Mr Speaker, apart from several issues that have been raised, I think the issue of the Judiciary being put under pressure is something that we should not ignore. Sometimes, as politicians, we have contributed to the problem that the Judiciary is facing. The tendency of ferrying party cadres to courts, sometimes, also puts a lot of pressure on Judges.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mangani: Mr Speaker, it is important that we leave matters that are before court for the Judges to determine. It is also important that no matter how we want matters to come out, we should not predetermine the outcome. We have had problems where individuals are normally tried in the press and the sentence is passed before Judges pass a sentence. When the Judges pass a sentence contrary to the expectations of what we have been reading in the papers, this creates some problems. It is important that we leave the work to the Judges. Otherwise, this is a non-controversial motion and I want to commend your Committee and everybody else who has supported. It is a progressive motion.

I thank you very much, Sir.

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mulongoti): Mr Speaker, I am one of the beneficiaries of the professionalism of one of the recommended appointees to the position of Judge. Dr Matibini was my lecturer at the university. The good thing about legal training is that it makes you a clear thinker …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: … and it enables you analyse issues carefully such that, for every issue that comes before you, you have to think very carefully. 

Our legal system is adversarial in that there are two lawyers appearing before a Judge. Therefore, there is no right or wrong answer, but just a correct argument. The lawyer who has a sound and good argument and presents his or her case with good authorities, wins the case. It is does not matter how emotional the lawyer feels about losing. I think if one is a good researcher, patient and a clear thinker, he or she is able to win the day. This is why when some people stand up to speak here, one begins to wonder what they are talking about.


Mr Mulongoti: As a result, …


Mr Mulongoti: … we are the one who cause problems because when a judgment is passed in a manner that the Judiciary thinks is correct, some people accuse it of having been influenced. Even when there is no evidence at all and they went to court to waffle, …


Mr Mulongoti: … the assumption is that …

Ms Mwape: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Ms Mwape: Mr Speaker, is the debater in order to use such unpalatable terms like ‘waffling’ and more so debating us instead of debating the nominees because that is what is on the Order Paper and not us?

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Minister, withdraw the word ‘waffle’ and proceed.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, as a clear thinker …


The Deputy Chairperson: Order! 

I have said that withdraw the word ‘waffle’ and then proceed.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the word ‘waffle’, but I was talking about mumbo-jumbo.


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, anyway, the point I am trying to make is that in this House, we create institutions and ratify Judges. Therefore, it is our obligation to defend them. We must also protect them because they are just coming to the Bench and if we want to attack them at every given opportunity, we will demoralise them and they will begin to think that think it was not worthwhile to leave private practice to come to the Bench. So we need them. 

When a judicial system collapses in any country, there are problems. We must build confidence. Some politicians are careless in the way they react to the decisions of the Judiciary. Judges have an obligation to uphold justice and when a decision is made in a court of law, the evidence and arguments presented by lawyers are what are considered. As we all know, we are already preparing for the 2011 general elections, but when you hear some of the statements coming from some quarters, you would think that some people have already lost an election …


Mr Mulongoti: … and are already preparing for a petition. We must avoid that, as we are just competitors. When we lose, let us be good losers.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! 

Hon. Minister, let us not go back to that subject. Stick to the motion. 


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I was only urging my fellow hon. Members that we are here to ratify and, therefore, we need to support those that will be ratified, including those who have been on the Bench before. Very rarely do we hear one of us standing up in defence of the Judiciary. I would like to appeal that as we ratify the appointment of these good men and women who are going to the Bench, we give them all the support they need. Please, let us stop passing judgment before they conclude cases in court.

Mr Ntundu: Just sit down now.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Mulongoti: Once we avoid that, we will be allowing the Bench to make decisions that will be helpful to all of us. So I urge my colleagues who can afford to go to law school to do so and begin to think like some of us.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Ms Imbwae: Mr Speaker, I want to thank all those who stood up to speak in support of the motion. Indeed, this is the first time we are having a ratification that has 50 per cent women. Three male and three female Judges and, as various speakers have indicated, this is a good gift for the International Women’s Day which is a few days from today.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Imbwae: Mr Speaker, your Committee was very thorough in their work and, therefore, you may have noted, from the comments that were made, that, indeed, the nominees qualify for the appointments that are being sought ratification for.


The Deputy Chairperson: Order! 

We are not listening. Can we please listen.

Ms Imbwae: Mr Speaker, the nominees are adequately prepared. Even when they were asked, they said that most of them do not mingle anyhow. So I think the issue of being seen in bars may not arise. 

Due to the fact that we had many witnesses who appeared before your Committee, the investigations were very thorough. One of the witnesses who appeared before your Committee was the hon. Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Development who represented the Government. So it is important that we support the nominees in their new job. Each of them is coming to the Bench with a preparedness to work.

With those few remarks, I want to thank you for supporting our report.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: Before I put the question, I would like to inform the House that a note has been passed on to me. I think somebody was writing to somebody else and the impression in the note is that I, as Speaker, should be bound by a convention. This is not the case. I decide as and when I find it necessary.

Question put and agreed to.


The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Mangani): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1745 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 5th March, 2010.