Debates- Thursday, 24th January, 2008

Printer Friendly and PDF


Thursday, 24th January, 2008

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: I have permitted the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services to make a ministerial statement.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Mulongoti): Mr Speaker, following your ruling in this House the day before yesterday, I wish to explain to the House and the nation the failure by the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) to show the Africa Cup of Nation Games from Ghana.

Mr Speaker, it should be recalled that ZNBC has regularly covered football matches at the Africa Cup of Nations, World Cup, English Premier League and the local league. The matches were mostly funded from sponsorships by private companies, with a smaller portion from the Corporation. In this respect, the last World Cup that was held in Germany in 2006 was screened in its entirety by ZNBC because of the reasonable cost that was pegged by the vendors of the rights. However, the current vendors of the rights to the Africa Cup of Nations have hiked the cost to amounts that the Corporation cannot realistically raise.

It will be recalled that in 2006, a similar situation occurred, while Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) placed the cost of beaming the World Cup at US$32,000, the vendors of the rights to the Africa Cup of Nations placed their cost at over Euros 800,000, that is, about US$1,1 million. This was equivalent to K3.7 billion. Clearly, this cost was beyond what the Corporation could raise.

 It is for this reason that the Government came to the assistance of the Corporation, knowing how passionately Zambians love soccer and how keenly they follow such important games. In this regard, a sum of K3.1 billion was provided by the Government and ZNBC only added K600 million.

Mr Speaker, for the current Cup of Nation Games, ZNBC has, in the past year, worked towards sourcing the funds required to beam the matches live. Some of the measures were advertising, soliciting for the donations and running of competitions. Unfortunately, and notwithstanding the vigorous campaign ZNBC put up, these measures only yielded about K800 million.

However, the cost that was paid in 2006 was considered exorbitant and it was hopped that this time round, the fees would be less, but it so happened that the fee increased to K1,2 million or approximately K6 billion. This was only known in October, 2007, meaning that the Corporation would have had to raise the money in three months.

In such a situation and in the absence of support from the corporate world, the alternative would have been to fall back on the Government. We did not, however, think it proper that such huge sums of money should be spent on one activity, lasting only a few weeks and benefiting only a few people with television sets at a time when there is a greater demand on Government funds for social services.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: In particular, in the last two weeks, the demand has been more on the repair of damaged bridges due to the heavy rains and the relocation of people displaced by the floods.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: It was the Government’s wish that this time round, ZNBC could rely on revenue from advertising and donations to beam the games live.

I am informed that ZNBC had also made every attempt to get MTN Africa Cup of Nations 2008 and MTN Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League 2008, the owners of the rights, to reduce the fees, but received no co-operation.

Mr Speaker, the national broadcaster also suggested a partnership with Muvi Television, a Lusaka-based private television, to promote the national broadcaster’s efforts to raise the required funds, through Short Messaging Service (SMS) competitions, realising that Muvi TV had its own audience.

This scheme would not have raised all the required money, but would have gone a long way in raising the required funds. However, Muvi TV’s response came with conditions that would have been unethical and unprofessional in that instead of charging ZNBC for air time, it proposed to have its own entertainment programmes run on ZNBC as a way of payment.

When the national broadcaster rejected the conditions that came with the offer from Muvi TV, the station changed its position and proposed that the joint SMS competition be embarked on by both broadcasters which, according to Muvi TV, would have raised K5 billion from three days. The Corporation found the proposal unrealistic as the station’s viewership was limited to Lusaka, which was also covered by ZNBC. Further ZNBC had been running the competition for over one month and had only managed to raise just under K130 million. The Corporation also rejected Muvi TV’s proposal that its members of staff be allowed to conduct its telephone SMS competition and promotion on ZNBC TV as one channel.

This was seen to be unethical as Muvi TV was going to run its programmes nationally while its station licence is restricted to Lusaka.

I am, therefore, saddened that following the failure of this partnership, there have been false reports linked to Muvi TV suggesting that Muvi TV had offered to fund the beaming of the games and that ZNBC turned down the offer. This is nothing, but an unfortunate smear campaign against the national broadcaster.

This falsehood has incited some people who have since been condemning ZNBC as having hindered Muvi TV from facilitating live broadcasts of the Ghana Africa Cup of Nations Tournament. The truth is that ZNBC made the initiative to partner with Muvi TV in running competitions and advertisements, but the Muvi TV conditions were unacceptable to ZNBC. This partnership had nothing to do with Muvi TV funding or screening the tournament.

I would like to assure the Zambian people and especially the soccer fans that the Government is concerned that this time round, it has not been possible to beam the Africa Cup of Nations tournament live on the national television. The cost of the rights is totally unrealistic. This is why several countries in Southern Africa have failed to beam these games live on their national televisions.

However, I hope the Zambian people appreciate that it would not have been prudent to provide more than K4 billion, which is the shortfall, at a time this kind of money could go a long way in mitigating the suffering of the people in the flood affected areas.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Furthermore, the money that ZNBC raises from television levies is better spent on expanding radio and television reception with an additional television channel, which would provide long-term benefits.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister clarify …

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwiimbu: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to rise on a point of order. I rarely rise on points of order in this House. Are the Vice-President and the Government in order to remain silent and not inform this House on the measures they have taken pertaining to the devastating floods that have led to loss of life in this country? The issue of flooding is life threatening.

Mr Speaker: With regard to the point of order which has been raised by the hon. Member for Monze, I would like to mention that the House still has an opportunity to debate the President’s Address. I further note that it is usual, if he so wishes, for His Honour the Vice-President to debate this Motion or contribute to the debate on this Motion. It is possible that during the course of today, if His Honour the Vice-President so wishes, he could, when he speaks, which is usually just before the mover winds up the Motion, touch on this issue of the floods.

I appreciate the point of order and I shall hand it to His Honour Vice-President to deal with.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka:  Thank you, Mr Speaker. Am I correct in understanding that within the K800 million or the 130 million that was collected by ZNBC, there is an amount in there relating to donations? May I hear from the hon. Minister what happens to the donations since ZNBC has not used the money for the purpose it was donated?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, although that question is a little difficult to answer off-the-cuff, I will try to answer it this way. It is up to the donor to decide whether or not ZNBC should keep that money. You cannot compel the donor to take it back. However, the prudent factor is that if money is donated for a specific purpose which has not been achieved, it should go back to the donors. I know the management of ZNBC has sufficient integrity to guide them in this direction.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just given us a ministerial statement, but my question is that while this programme was known about some time back, immediately Zambia qualified to the competition, why did they not instantly start fundraising ventures so that whatever they could have raised could have been added to the little K130 million they have raised?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, we seem to be taking it as if this were a small amount of money. Ultimately, we must appreciate that the people who have been supporting us all along may sometimes develop fatigue. The hon. Member himself, who is a soccer fan, may help with what endeavors he took to help raise that money.

Appeals were made to all of us as soccer fans to make contributions or invite people who could help ZNBC. We did not do anything. However, ZNBC made the appeals and the corporate world did what they could. If they cannot raise that kind of money, you cannot force it on them. The Government said “we have other priorities and we leave it up to the citizens who want to watch soccer to spearhead this programme and if they succeed, we will be happy to watch with them.”

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mrs Kapata (Mandevu): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister why the Government deemed it fit to raise K279 billion for the National Constitution Conference (NCC) and not raise K5 billion for the people to watch football. Why is it so?

Hon. Government Members: Aah! Bamayi! That is not important.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, the two issues are completely different. One is a constitutional matter while the other is a pastime. The Constitution is the supreme law where all other laws are enshrined. It is an important matter that the people of Zambia demanded for a new Constitution or amendments to the Constitution. The Government planned and budgeted for it. Watching soccer is a pastime. I do not think when you apportion resources, you can equate pastime with constitutional matters.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, from the money that has been raised, is it not possible to only beam the games which Zambia will play?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I said that the owners of the rights have not been co-operating. All they said was, “This is our fee, pay it and we will beam the matches. What we beam is our business.” At the end of the day, K800 million will not go anywhere.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out why we did not budget for the Africa Cup of Nations so that it could be screened when we knew long before the tournament that it was going to take place in Ghana. I am wondering why we did not budget for it.


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I have problems answering that question because the hon. Member, who asked the question, is the one who passed the Budget last year unless he is saying that he was not privy to the facts on the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. As it is, he did not raise it when we were passing the Budget.

Therefore, we should not begin to apportion blame on matters on which we are collectively responsible. As far as we are concerned, as a Government, taking the available resources into account, we did not consider that to be a priority. There were more pressing priorities and resources were directed thereto.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, in view of what has happened this year, what plans has the Government put in place to ensure that we do not miss the World Cup in 2010?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I have said that the resource envelope is insufficient to go round and in the planning, the Government, as much as possible, applies resources to areas where the people have asked for them.

The World Cup, most often, is watched by the elite, in town, to the exclusion of the citizens in the rural areas who might opt for fertiliser and other services.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, therefore, in as much as we would like the Government to commit itself thereto, what I can say is that priorities determine where the resources go.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr V. Mwale: Quality!

Mr Kanyanyamina (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that the Government sympathises with the flood victims. Could he, therefore, confirm that he will get back to the negotiating table with the donors who have paid the K800 million because that is a substantial sum, which can help the Vice-President’s Office to alleviate the suffering of the people.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, His Honour the Vice-President is listening and he is going to make a reply, as you directed. However, I would like to also appeal to the hon. Member that this is a nation-wide task. Therefore, we would like him to actively participate in raising funds so as to alleviate the suffering of the people adversely affected by the floods.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, I was beginning to think that I am invisible in this Chamber.

Mr Speaker: Order! You are all visible in this Chamber.


Dr Machungwa: I thank you, Sir. I am glad that I am now being seen.

Mr Speaker, the President talked about sport and, please, permit me to quote him.

“The Government recognises the key role sports plays in ensuring the health of our citizens. Sports is also a major unifying factor for our nation.”

This was during the Official Opening of Parliament. Would the hon. Minister not consider approaching his colleague, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, who talked about the K900 billion that was to be returned to the Treasury, to acquire the required K5 billion so that the people of Zambia could watch soccer for it to continue to unify the people of Zambia?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, this House, through its Budget provisions, allocated those resources to specific projects. I wonder whether the hon. Member is saying that we should have made another appropriation to assign that money to football.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Zulu (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister why it used to be very easy for the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) to beam football matches before we started paying television licence fees. Why should it be difficult now that there is the extra income?


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I gave a historical component when I said the fees were low, but have been hiked. I would have appreciated it if he had asked me how much was raised out of the K3,000 television licence fees. The compliance level in this K3,000.00, is only 60 %. At the most, per annum, we raise about K4.8 billion.

However, there are running costs for collecting that money from the people who comply. If the fees have been hiked to Euro 1.2 million, surely it would be asking for too much to expect ZNBC to beam the matches. If, in the wisdom of the hon. Member of Parliament this matter should be considered as a Government priority, we would like him to so indicate as he debates so that we can know.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, world over, governments partner with rotary organisations to raise money for sport through their ministries of sport. What is this Government doing to initiate such a project?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, we have a Ministry responsible for sports in this country. I am aware that they are busy preparing for the 2011 All Africa Games at the moment. In this endeavour, we are not leaving out any door in trying to seek assistance from the corporate world and the international community, at large.

Mr Speaker, yes, there are efforts being made in that direction, but I do not think in this particular instance all efforts were directed at raising money to beam the five or six matches.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC. (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, I note that ZNBC is a shareholder in Multi-Choice Zambia and Multi-Choice Zambia is beaming these matches. Is the hon. Minister saying that they could not come to a working arrangement with Multi-Choice Zambia to beam these matches?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, Multi-Choice Zambia Limited is a private company and regardless of whether ZNBC has shares in it or not, ZNBC cannot dictate what to do to the company.

However, all those who are showing these matches have paid to the owners of the rights and at no point will they allow anybody to beam the matches gratis.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Malama (Mfuwe): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister then in this case confirm that ZNBC receives little attention from the Government?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I do not think it is appropriate to say ZNBC receives little attention from the Government because the Budget is passed in this House. Unless the hon. Member is saying that he does not see the figures in the Yellow Book. However, the Government is committed to ensuring that ZNBC operates to expected standards. The hon. Member for Luapula said that the President referred to sport as a unifying factor. This indicates that as far as the Government is concerned, this is as much a priority as any other unless the resource envelope is inadequate.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister who the owners of these rights he is referring to are because they are so unco-operative.

Mr Speaker: Order! The Chair heard the hon. Minister referred to MTN. However, if there are other rights owners, the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services can tell the House.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, thank you for saving me. I did mention the MTN Africa Cup of Nations 2008 and MTN Cup Champions League 2008.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister kindly inform the House how much, in addition to K130 million, is attributed to the SMS fundraising venture. Could he also tell us how he intends to ask the people who subscribed on whether they have allowed ZNBC to use their money for other purposes or they would like their money refunded. If so, how feasible is it for ZNBC to do that since ZNBC gets that money and uses it without asking the people who contributed through SMS, such as the hon. Member who was referred to, as not having contributed and yet he actually did contribute.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, normally when running ventures of this kind, a separate account is opened. That is the only way you can account for the money. In fact, I have just been told that all the money came through the competition. At the end of the day, the decision will be made. When you participate in a competition, there are rules. If you accept the rules, you cannot go back and claim for a refund if the rules do not stipulate otherwise.

However, ZNBC will make sufficient consultations on the matter so that the use of this money is resolved. In any case, if it became too difficult to arrive at a decision, there is the Treasury of the Republic where this money can be channelled.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.




64. Dr Kalumba (Chienge) asked the Minister of Energy and Water Development:

(a) how many boreholes had been sunk under the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) programme in Chienge Parliamentary Constituency;

(b) when and where were the boreholes at (a) above sunk;

(c) what the level of water contamination by E coli and other bacteria was; and

(d) whether the borehole water at (b) above met the standard requirements for consumption as approved by the Environmental Council of Zambia.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Dr Kazonga): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that no boreholes have been sunk in Chienge District under the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA). The only boreholes that were sunk in the Luapula Province were under the programme called Basic Research Study which did not include Chienge.

Mr Speaker, however, there are twenty-eight boreholes earmarked to be sunk this year in Chienge District in the following areas:

i. Puta Basic School;
ii. Nyamfwa Basic School;
iii. Muya Basic School;
iv. Kasase Basic School;
v. Kalobwa Basic School;
vi. Mutampuka Basic School;
vii. Puta Market;
viii. Lambwe Chomba MCT;
ix. Mutoba Village;
x. Munkanshya Village;
xi. Mukabe Village;
xii. Kafwanka Village;
xiii. Sichilaba Village;
xiv. Mubobeka Village;
xv. Kasembe Village;
xvi. Chakaba Village;
xvii. Kapandula Village;
xviii. Chembe Village;
xix. Shilumbwe Village;
xx. Musonko Village;
xxi. Chilando Village;
xxii. Natende Village;
xxiii. Mukonko Village;
xxiv. Mikwela Village;
xxv. Sensela Village;
xxvi. Kabungo Village;
xxvii. Mukompa Village; and
xxviii. Kalima Village.

Mr Speaker, as indicated in (a) above, there were no boreholes sunk in Chienge District under the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

Sir, during the field survey that was conducted in the province, excluding Chienge on the existing seventy-seven boreholes in the targeted area, it was discovered that twenty-seven boreholes were found to contain iron concentration above 1mg per litre and fifty-one boreholes had PH value of approximately 6.5 per cent which meant that they are not harmful to human beings.

Mr Speaker, the borehole water as indicated at (a) above meets the standards set by the Environmental Council of Zambia.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr D. Mwila (Chipili): Mr Speaker, last year, 300 boreholes were supposed to be sunk or drilled in the Luapula Province under JICA. I do not know whether that project will be implemented or not.

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mrs Masebo): Mr Speaker, the JICA project is on going. In fact, the project will come to an end this year. Indeed, the boreholes are being sunk.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chongo (Mwense): Mr Speaker, the presence of iron alluded to earlier by the hon. Minister does not only apply to the boreholes in Chienge alone. This is a situation even in boreholes sunk in Mwense and people cannot drink the water therefrom. Is there any deliberate policy from the ministries responsible to sort out this problem?
Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, when we sink boreholes, the water is tested before people begin to use them. Where we find that the iron content is high and unsafe for drinking, the boreholes are not used. Therefore, if the hon. Member is aware of boreholes whose water have an iron content higher than the acceptable levels, then they are not supposed to be used.

Mr Speaker, this is why, normally, before we even sink boreholes, the Ministry of Energy and Water Development, under their Water Development Department, tells us exactly the level of iron content and other minerals in a particular area. We are aware that some parts of the Luapula Province have a problem of high iron content.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr L. J Mulenga (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, part (b) of the question, about where and when the boreholes in the area were sunk, has not been adequately answered. I would like to find out when the boreholes that have been mentioned were sunk.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Speaker: The Chair would like to advise the hon. Members to listen very carefully when answers are read out. I heard the answer, but the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing may re-emphasise the answer to that question.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, for the sake of emphasis, the answer, as indicated in part (a) of the answer, which talked about what was being earmarked for sinking this year, there were no boreholes sunk in Chienge District under JICA.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


65. Mr Chota ( Lubansenshi) asked the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources when Isangano National Park in Lubansenshi Parliamentary Constituency would be re-opened and restocked.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (Ms Tembo): Mr Speaker, Isangano National Park will be restocked after re-locating the local people who have encroached in the park. This House may wish to know that over the years, Isangano National Park has been encroached by the local people under the leadership of Sub-Chief Kalunga Mwansa. Sub-Chief Kalunga Mwansa was ordered to shift from the park whilst the rest of the villagers were given up to February, 2008, to vacate the park by the courts of law.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out how best the Government will carry out the restocking exercise in the aftermath of re-locating the people. I say so because, currently, there is a boundary dispute …

Mr Speaker: Order! Ask your question.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, in view of the boundary dispute between Sub-Chiefs Mwape Kalunga and Chiwanangala, including Shimumbi of Luwingu, what measures has the Government put in place to rectify the situation before they restock the game park?

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (Mr Chilembo): Mr Speaker, the two issues are separate. Our concern as a Ministry is the game park area. Issues of disputes between chiefs can be dealt with by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. However, as long as they are within our boundary, we shall ensure that the court order is complied with.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


66. Mr Chanda (Kankoyo) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:

(a) whether there were any plans to plant trees in Kankoyo Parliamentary Constituency by ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc and Mopani Copper Mines Plc; and

(b) whether the Government had any plans to compel Mopani Copper Mines Plc to clean up Kankoyo Parliamentary Constituency where the presence of heavy metals had been detected in the soil.

The Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, there are long-term plans to plant trees in Kankoyo Parliamentary Constituency by ZCCM Investment Holdings and Mopani Copper Mines Plc. However, the current emissions of sulphur dioxide at more than 1,000 milligrams per cubic metre from the smelter in Mufulira are still too high for the growth of trees. 

The House may wish to know that Mopani Copper Mines Plc has constructed an acid plant which captures sulphur dioxide from their smelter to produce sulphur acid. However, the commissioning of the acid plant was beset with numerous problems, mainly arising from the inferior quality of equipment and engineering by the vendor. In particular, the pumps initially installed at the acid plant were not made of specified stainless steel. The nine newly installed pumps at the acid plant are Munsch make and of correct specifications. The acid plant is now operating normally.

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to know that before the construction of the Isa Smelter and its acid plant complement, all the sulphur dioxide used to be discharged into the atmosphere. The company is doing everything possible to conform to modern environmental protection demands. The Government is, therefore, encouraging Mopani Copper Mines Plc to quickly move to their Phase III of the smelter upgrade project to construct the second acid plant to capture the converters offgas.

Sir, with this investment, ZCCM-IH will be able, under the Copperbelt Environmental Project, to clean up the acidity of the soils in Kankoyo and surrounding areas and pave way for the growth of the tress.

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to know that ZCCM- IH is implementing the Copperbelt Environmental Project which was designed to address historical liabilities that existed at the time of privatising the mines. These liabilities include cleaning up of the heavy metals that may have been deposited by mining companies in the Kankoyo Parliamentary Constituency and surrounding areas.

Under the circumstances, the Government has no plans to compel Mopani Copper Mines Plc to clean up the historical environmental liabilities in Kankoyo Parliamentary Constituency because this is the responsibility of ZCCM-IH under the Copperbelt Environmental Project.

Mopani Copper Mines Plc will clean up the environmental damage during their mining operations.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chanda: Mr Speaker, may I find out why Mopani Copper Mines Plc is reluctant to take responsibility for the environmental pollution that it has subjected the people of Kankoyo to live in and why it has been dragging its feet in cleaning up the affected areas.

The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Dr Mwansa): Mr Speaker, the answer indicates that the construction of the smelter was beset by numerous problems, but now it is on course. We will ensure that they move quickly to construct the spill of the smelter upgrade which will ensure that harmful gases are captured to allow vegetation and trees to grow in the area.

Mr Speaker, our role is to ensure that Mopani Copper Mines Plc moves with speed in addressing these issues and minimise pollution in the area.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, really, it is amazing to hear that the sulphur dioxide levels are too high for plant growth, considering that sulphur is an essential component of plant nutrition. I distinctly recall, I think last week, hearing from the hon. Minster of Health that actually, there was no problem with sulphur contamination in the case of human beings on the Copperbelt, Mufulira to be specific. Perhaps the hon. Minister could help with the answer, if he is prepared to do that.

Dr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, the concern here is the environment and the effect of the gases on the growth of the vegetation in the area. We are doing everything possible to ensure that the emission of gases does not persist for much longer. This is what we are encouraging Mopani Copper Mines Plc to do.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, the planting of tress is an environmental requirement in rehabilitating the environment, especially close down. I also know that it is an international requirement, especially for mines which are just starting, to demonstrate that they are ably closed down to plant trees and rehabilitate the environment. I would like the hon. Minister to confirm that prior to the issuing lincenses to mining companies, they ensure that the environment will be rehabilitated or that trees will be planted at the end of operations. I would also like to find out why the poor people, in Chingola especially, are made to bear the cost of rehabilitating the dumps before they are allowed to operate because that is a cost that ZCCMIH has taken up.

Dr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, that is a very important question. I would like to assure the hon. Member that every mining company is required to produce decommissioning and closure plans before they begin operating. The closure and decommissioning plan must indicate what will be undertaken to restore the environment to its original form after completion of the mining activities.

Sir, I also would like to say that we have established an Environment Protection Fund which will work like an insurance fund so that the mining companies leave without destroying the environment. The fund will be used to, as much as possible, clean up and restore the environment to its original form. Therefore, there is no fear of mining companies walking away without restoring the environment upon dissolution of operations.

Sir, on the issue of dumps, I would like to say that we are not aware of this. If the hon. Member has the details, he should, please, let us have them because we do not think that is the policy. It sounds irregular to us, but he has the details, therefore, he should furnish us with those details and we will attend to the matter.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muyanda (Sinazongwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has clearly given an indication that they will stamp out the fall out of residues in the process of clearing the air. What is the timeframe that the Government has given Mopani Copper Mines Plc to filter, effectively, the fall out which is harmful to human beings?

Dr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, that is another good question.

Sir, we were very optimistic that with the upgrading of the smelter, the emission of these gases will be minimised. As I said that they got into financial problems, but we have asked them to move very quickly in pursuing the smelter upgrade and minimise the emission of the gases. We cannot tell the timeframe, but I can assure the House that we will be on the ground to ensure that they do it as soon as possible.

I thank you, Sir.


67. Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC. (Chasefu) asked the Minister of Education when a secondary school would be constructed in Chasefu Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Mr Sinyinda): Mr Speaker, the priority of the Ministry at the moment is to ensure that each district has at least one high school. However, construction of a high school in Chasefu Constituency will be undertaken when resources become available.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC.: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Education aware that since this country became independent, no secondary school has been constructed in Chasefu Parliamentary Constituency while two secondary schools have been constructed in Lundazi and Lumezi Parliamentary Constituencies?

The Minister of Education (Professor Lungwangwa): Mr Speaker, we are aware of the distribution of high schools countrywide. As we pointed out, when resources are available, areas of deficiency will be attended to.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister of Education to confirm that the gallant Catholic Church has always been on the side of the poor by providing the requisite education facilities in Chasefu Constituency.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, indeed, the Catholic Church and other religious groupings are partners in education development. Our policy is to encourage partnership in the development of education from all partners who are willing to invest in education. Indeed, if Chasefu has been one of the participating areas, that is very welcome.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr L. J. Mulenga (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out what master plan the Government will employ to deliver the construction of a secondary school in Chasefu Parliamentary Constituency. The unavailability of resources should not be a limitation to indicating when this will be undertaken.

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, it is very surprising that the hon. Member can say the resources are not a limiting factor. We are clearly in a resource constraint situation. If resources were not limiting, we would do whatever we would like to do to extend services to the people on a large scale.

As far as a master plan is concerned, the Ministry is working on a comprehensive plan for the development of the secondary school sector under the Infrastructure Development Strategic Plan which we are currently working on.

I thank you, Sir.


68. Mr I. Banda (Lumezi) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives when the Government would rehabilitate the Kanyunya Veterinary Range in Lundazi Parliamentary Constituency as a check point for animals from Malawi in order to reduce the spread of animal diseases.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Kalenga): Mr Speaker, the Government has already started construction works at the Kanyunya Veterinary Range (as this is necessary before a check point becomes operational) and the following is the progress:

(i) drinking and feeding troughs have been completed, although the design will have to be modified;
(ii) office block and spider trusses have been fixed and roofing was completed in December, 2007;

(iii) the guard’s house is only awaiting roofing;

(iv) the loading bay is almost complete, with only the surfacing of the floor to be done; and

(v) the soak-away has been dug and only awaiting construction.

The rehabilitation of three staff houses and construction of the night paddock are, however, yet to be commenced.




The Vice-President (Mr R. Banda): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to make reference to the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Monze …

Mr Speaker: Order! Could His Honour the Vice-President move his Motion? Then during the resumption of debate on the Address by His Excellency the President, he may make reference to that.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I beg to move that Standing Orders 19 and 20 be suspended to enable the House to sit from 1415 hours to 1800 hours on Friday, 25th January, 2008.

Sir, hon. Members may recall that when I indicated the Business of the House for this week on Friday, last week, I informed the House that the Hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning would present this year’s Budget on Friday, 25th January, 2008.

This, Mr Speaker, is the reason for my moving this Motion, to enable the House to sit in the afternoon tomorrow, rather than in the morning, as is normally the case. This Motion is not controversial in any way and I am confident that it will be supported by all hon. Members in the House.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, in support of the Motion on the Suspension of Standing Orders, I wish to convey my gratitude to the Government this time around, because the Budget is being presented on time, just before the end of January, unlike in other years when it would be presented in February.

I hope that the Budget will project what the President gave in his speech. We do not want to be given a budget that is completely contrary to the speech of the President. Although the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is not here, I hope he is listening.

He must tidy up his speech to correct those items that contradict the President’s Speech. Mr Speaker, often we have situations where people are happy with the speech by the President, but have a Budget Speech that is contradictory to the President’s Speech.

Sir, I support the suspension of the Standing Orders and I thank you.

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, just to underline the last speaker’s contribution, I think he is referring to and we are all thinking particularly of the promised changes in the mining taxation regime that the President promised …

Mr Chanda: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised. Is it procedural?

Mr Chanda: It is national.

Is the Government in order to keep quiet about the fatal accident that happened at the Mufulira Mine, resulting in a loss of two lives without informing this House what really happened? We assume that it was an electric problem and maybe it is connected to what the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) was doing. I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Although the issue that has been raised by the hon. Member for Kankoyo is, indeed, of national importance, the Chair takes it that there are competent authorities or institutions that normally deal with accidents of this nature. Let the House allow those institutions to handle matters such as this one which lie within their jurisdiction. This House has done well by enacting the necessary laws to deal with matters of this nature.

May the hon. Member for Lusaka Central continue, please?

Dr Scott: Thank you, Mr Speaker, just in my way of brief contribution, I was supporting the last speaker and drawing attention, most particularly, to the promised changes in the mining taxation and regulation regime. This is because it will be impossible to discuss and evaluate the Budget, if there were two or three birds in the bush in favour of mining taxation, the legislation and formulation which we have not seen, while we are attempting to evaluate the Government’s expenditure programme. Therefore, please, could the hon. Minister or the Vice-President, ensure that what is being brought to the House is a complete picture of the taxation and expenditure arrangements for the forth coming year.

I thank you, Sir.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hon. Members, who have made contributions to this Motion. However, I assure them, that tomorrow, they will be able to hear in full the speech of the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning. I thank them so much for this support and I would like once again, to reiterate the position of the Government with regard to the development of this country. This is a serious Government committed to making the lives of the people of Zambia better than they have been so far.

I thank you, Sir.

Question put and agreed to.




(Debate resumed)

Mr Mwansa (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, before the House adjourned yesterday, I was making points on why I decided to attend the National Constitution Conference (NCC). I had moved on to talk about the issue of accountability and prudent use of public funds. In his statement on page 10, the President said these shall continue to be top priority in the governance of our nation.

Mr Speaker, I was just beginning to comment on this statement, when the House adjourned. Before I continue, I think I am obligated to answer the question concerning the NCC that I was asked because it came from a well meaning Zambian and friend of mine. The question was why should you attend and waste your time, attending a process that is already skewed towards the ruling, the MMD, and consequently a process you cannot win with your input?

Mr Speaker, the question is very genuine and I felt that it was important to make a response to the House as I did to him. I have only four points to make concerning that question. The first is that, I have not gone to the NCC to win anything. I have gone there to negotiate the contents of the Constitution.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, if the process of Constitution-making becomes a win or lose matter, then, we have lost it from day one. This is because the interests of Zambians are as diverse as the Zambian people themselves. Therefore, we must be clear in our mind that what we are trying to do is bringing different interests together and come out with some middle situation where all have lost something and gained something.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwansa: That is the principle of constitution-making. If that principle is not there, then we have lost it from day one.

Hon. Opposition Member: Correct.

Mr Mwansa: Secondly, Mr Speaker, I have not gone to the NCC as alleged that I trust the MMD or I am MMD. I left the MMD and I have no intention of going back there.

PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, I have gone to the NCC because I have great hope in the people of Zambia, irrespective of their party affiliations, irrespective of their interest, and irrespective of the fact that, once in a while, we differ. I have confidence in them because I can look back in history, starting with the Chona Commission. How the United National Independent Party (UNIP) chose the Chona Commission and in the end that Commission came up with a document that was rejected by the UNIP Government because they were interested in the interest of this country.

Mr Speaker, I go back to the Mvunga Commission and what do I find? I find a Commission which came up with recommendations that were rejected by the UNIP Government which appointed it. I go back to the Mwanakatwe Commission and the same story holds. The Mwanakatwe Commission recommendations were rejected by the MMD Government which appointed it. Is it not the same story with the Mung’omba Commission, that the MMD Government was not very comfortable with what Mr Mung’omba recommended to them? The Zambians when it comes to the constitution-making process rise above party lines and religious lines and everything to try to give themselves a constitution that will stand the test of time.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, I have not gone there for money as alleged.

Thirdly, I have gone to NCC because that is what the law says. We have different interpretations of the law, but my understanding is that the law says all hon. Members of Parliament shall be Members of the NCC. I obey the law because we made it.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! Right.

Hon. Opposition Member interjected.

Mr Mwansa: You go to Section 4, if you do not know the law.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, if we have different interpretations to that Section, I still respect those who rule because they have the right to rule.

Fourthly, I have gone to the NCC with great anguish because I have left behind friends I love whose concern also is the making of the Constitution that will stand a test of time. They have been left out because the MMD Government refused to bend just a little more. I think the hon. and Learned Minister of Justice will remember how I pleaded for the Government to bend just a little more. However, he said, “Look, I have bent enough; otherwise, I will break myself.” In a system of negotiation, such a situation comes and I respect his position although I do not agree with it.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwansa: We could have bent with him. I would like to say to the MMD Government that because you refused to bend just a little bit more, you have possibly planted the seed that will destroy our Constitution again.

Mr Kasongo: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwansa: I would like to say this that the burden is now on you, as MMD, and it has become heavier because you, as MMD, must now prove that you still mean well or else forever remain in the annals of the Zambian history, as the party that twice fouled in the making of Zambian Constitution.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwansa: I would like to say that Zambians will never forgive you.

Allow me to proceed and speak a little about page 10 of the President’s Speech. He talked about the prudent and adequate use of finances. The question that I beg to ask is that how can an accountable and prudent Government send back K900 billion to the Treasury? This is the question that must be answered by the Government. When this House approves money, it is for spending. The Government is not a savings bank for it to keep money. The Government has to spend all the money that this House approves on the projects that it sets up. Showing us that K900 billion has been sent back says a lot about the Government’s ability. The argument that the tender procedures are long and cause problems is still to be blamed on the Government. The Zambia National Tender Board is the baby of the Government. If they cannot change the tender procedures, they have to blame themselves, …

Hon. Oppositions Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwansa: … but as far as we are concerned, the blame is on them for sending back money which we approved for them to use last year.

Hon. Oppositions Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Hon. Mpombo, hear that?

Mr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, I just would like to say a few words on mining. I commend the President for overriding the reluctance that I saw in the Executive when this side of the House told them to change the rules. When we told them to quickly deal with the issue of mineral tax, there was reluctance that could be felt and seen. It was only when the President stepped in and everybody said, “hear, hear” that they acquiesced. They should have done that a little earlier, but I thank the President for acceding to our demands for an increase in mineral loyalties.

 I would like to go further and say that I was saddened a little by the fact that there was no mention of the semi-precious stones. Last year, we read that $7 billion was being lost.

The hon. Member’s time expired.

The Minister of Defence (Mr Mpombo): Mr Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking you for this opportunity and say that the President’s Speech was really invigorating …


Mr Mpombo: … and is a blueprint for economic and political stability.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mpombo: I will divide my speech in two parts. I will first begin by quickly reacting to some of the sentiments raised on the Floor of the House and then dwell on the core function of my Ministry.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament for Roan, Hon. Kambwili, debated like a misguided political missile.


Mr Speaker: Order! Order! The hon. Minister of Defence will withdraw that phrase in its entirety.


Mr Mpombo: Mr Speaker, I am most obliged.

Mr Mpombo accidentally switched-off the microphone.

Mr Mpombo: Mr Speaker, it is important to this House that we discuss important issues rather than fall into a deplorable tradition of undermining or throwing mud at the Head of State. The remarks that were made that the President left the Government in 1994 because he could not stand the ranting and ravings of some individuals in the then Government is a very unacceptable assault on his integrity. The President made it clear that he left the Government on account of the proliferation of corrupt activities in 1994.

Hon MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: Mr Speaker, maybe, some people are fairly new to the political scene. I would like to refresh their minds. There were certain hon. Ministers in 1994 who were dragged before the courts for asking parastatal organisations to pay their office rents. If you went to the High Court, you will find that information. There were also some hon. Ministers who put Government money in personal accounts for interest to accrue to their personal advantage. That is the criminal advantage that is not acceptable. These are the records and the President challenged these issues. Some of these people ended up in court and were fined.

What was also happening is that despite the President fighting these corrupt tendencies, he was not given support at all. Junior hon. Ministers undermined and insulted him with impunity. What could a credible man do? One cannot stand such indiscipline. One has been made Vice-President, but they do not want to respect his authority. They walk out of his office, but he cannot do anything because what they are trying to do is create a psychological warfare …

Mr Kambwili: But is that what I said?

Mr Mpombo: No, there are two issues. If somebody offends me or makes a mistake and is taken to my supervisor and I say that this man has broken the rules by doing this and that and the boss says nothing, and instead sweeps everything under the carpet, then there is a deliberate and calculated move to undermine my authority. I do not know what kind of man would withstand that unless there is something wrong with him and there is a crisis in him. The President is a man of principles and he took bold decisions.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: Before he became President, he was the only lawyer in this country who dared to challenge President Kenneth Kanda’s Government. The issue of injunction that people are talking about was not there before President Mwanawasa introduced it.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: He was respected by the entire legal fraternity because he was a State Counsel and a man of integrity. Therefore, saying that President Mwanawasa chickened-out because he could not stand certain behaviour is engaging in the most “peerprensive” …


Mr Mpombo: …yes, accusations. So I can assure you …

Mr Lubinda: What does that mean?

Mr Mpombo: Wait a minute sonny.


Mr Mpombo: I would like to tell you that those allegations were not well founded. They had mass ulterior motives. I would like to state that today, President Mwanawasa stands as a giant among lawyers whose record cannot be challenged by anybody at all.

Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: Therefore, I thought that this issue that the President resigned on that profession should be clarified.

Mr Speaker, before I proceed, allow me to offer my very profound and sincere political condolences to the PF on the matter of the political haemorrhage which is going on in their.


Mr Mpombo: I can see that the PF is on a political drip and being serviced on quinine. I would like to say that what happened in the PF party is a vivid manifestation of lack of leadership and all the smallness of politics.

Those gallant hon. Members of Parliament who went to the NCC, as I always say, exhibited an extraordinary sense of intellectual courage. They would not allow certain individuals with clouded backgrounds …


Mr Mpombo: Mr Speaker, I would like to say that the Members of Parliament from the PF who went to the NCC demonstrated leadership in that they did not succumb to narrow political ideas. You are broad-based and some of them have impeccable professional credentials that are incomparable to the people who are trying to harangue you.


Mr Mpombo: Therefore, you are great men.


Mr Mpombo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Members of Parliament will go down in the annals of this history on the issue of this country as bold Members who represented the interests of their people. You have the right to do that because that law was passed in this House. Therefore, you refused to succumb to outside forces. You must be commended for that. You have shown leadership and I would like to encourage you to continue showing this kind of leadership.

Mr Speaker, the decision by some hon. Members of the PF or PF as a party is a blunder of major proportion. It does not make sense at all because the leadership has been cross-cutting.


Mr Mpombo: When they went to the venue where political parties were meeting, they agreed to make progress, but then they wanted to treat Members of Parliament like malleable matter that they can squeeze in their hands, and this is not proper. That is why today, you are in a very serious imbroglio.


Mr Mpombo: You will never recover because there is no room for recovery. I would like to …


Mr Mpombo: … call upon the other hon. Members of Parliament from the PF …


Mr Mpombo: There is a saying which goes like this: “If you cannot control the direction of the wind, adjust yourselves”. Go and ponder over this issue because it is very important that you come and perform your national obligations. Do not be used for these small dwindled agendas. You must not be used by people as political points in the process of creating issues.

Mr Muntanga: Defence!

Mr Mpombo: I will comment on Defence later.

On the relationship between the churches, I would like to say that the position of the Government has been that the Government and the Church are partners in development, but the Government has noted, with dismay, the stances that, at times, some Church organisations take to group or align themselves in some political voices, which undermines their integrity. However, as a Government, the position is that we want to work with the churches all the time and that position has not changed. Even the President has always preached and asked for unity and co-ordination between the churches. You remember several years ago, a senior Church priest chaired a meeting at which ideas to remove MMD from power were hatched.

Therefore, what kind of partnership are you creating by doing that? All of us belong to churches and we require their guidance so that we can advance together. Otherwise, it is dangerous for the Church to take a particular stance on national issues.

Mr Speaker, let me now go to issues that affect my Ministry. I would like to inform the House about the peace-keeping operations involving our Defence Forces. We have seventy-one military observers in countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ivory Cost, Sudan, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kosovo. We also have twenty-six who are working as staff officers employed by the United Nations. Further, we have a contingent of 344 soldiers in the Durfur Region on the United Nations Peace-Keeping Mission. In our commitment to provide comfort to our soldiers or take care of their welfare, we just purchased a hospice at the cost of K7 billion in Ndola. This will carter for soldiers from the North-Western Province, parts of Central Province, Luapula and the Northern Province. We paid for this and we have also signed a contract of sale that has been concluded. We are just trying to move in and see what we can do.

Mr Speaker, one of the pressing issues facing the Government is staff accommodation. It is impossible to address this issue using domestic funding because the sums that are involved in this exercise are huge. However, the Defence Council has allowed us to see whether we can re-commence discussions with parastatal organisations in China, those who are willing to give us some assistance so that we can build houses for our soldiers.

At the moment, this is a very critical situation. We are making progress. We will come back to inform the House on whatever progress we would have made. As a Government, we are concerned that we have a number of soldiers living among civilians. This is quite unacceptable and we are trying to do everything possible to ensure it is resolved.

 As I said, it is impossible to do this from the domestic funding, hence our asking our colleagues from China. The other advantage of Chinese companies is that there is a Government-to-Government arrangement. If anything went wrong, the Government would easily move in and ameliorate the situation.

Sir, the other issue which has been raised by your Committee is the Mupepetwe and Zamcapitol. These are very viable companies which require massive doses of recapitalisation. We will bring a Bill here to see how we can safeguard the economic operations of this parastatal organisation. At the moment, Mupepetwe is able to make first class furniture and Zamcapitol is also able to make very good merchandise. However, we find that even the Government organisations tend to shun giving business to these organisations and prefer to deal with private companies, thereby seriously disadvantaging our companies.

In the light of this, we are trying to bring a Bill to Parliament which will ensure that the Government organisations give business to Mupepetwe and other parastatal organisations. This will be in our best interests. These are our organisations which require a lot of support.

Mr Speaker, I would like to report that the critical water situation which hit the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Mumbwa Base has been dealt with. The Government has provided K698 million to the institution to sink four boreholes and also carry out other underground tank repairs. We are grateful to the Government for listening.

Mr Speaker, on the Zambia National Service, I would like to particularly refer to the picture in today’s Post Newspaper. About three days ago, the Town Clerk of Lusaka approached our Ministry and said there was a big crisis as the drainage system was blocked and they needed assistance from the Zambia National Service. We told them in Kanyama that since you are the ones …

Dr Scott interjected.

Mr Mpombo: In order to take care of obvious sentiments like those from Hon. Dr Scott, we said “since you are the one who is inviting us to come to Kanyama, can you issue a public statement to that effect?”, because we knew that if we moved in, there would be these accusations of campaigning. Yes! I, therefore, would like to state that we were asked by the Lusaka City Council who came to the Zambia National Service where we gave them that condition. Therefore, if PF wants those machines removed, the boys will gladly remove them.


Mr Mpombo: Mr Speaker, I also would like to report that the Zambia National Service has an emerald mine on the Copperbelt. We are seeking partnership with other organisations.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, all the three wings, namely; the Zambia Air Force, Zambia Army and the Zambia National Service will be engaged in the recruitment exercise as soon as Parliament approves the Budget.

I thank you, Sir{mospagebreak}

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister of Energy and Water Development.

Hon. Opposition Member: ZESCO!

Hon. Opposition Members: Power Outages! Blackouts!

The Minister of Energy and Water Development ( Mr Konga): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for allowing me to debate the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President, Dr Levy Mwanawasa, SC. for the speech that he delivered to this House.

Mr Speaker, allow me also, to thank the mover of the Motion, the hon. Member of Parliament for Chisamba as well as the seconder of this Motion.

Mr Speaker, in making a contribution to His Excellency’s Speech, I would like to comment on some of the issues, especially those that relate to the Energy sector. In this vein, I would like to talk about, firstly, something which is very important to the development of this country which  is the Rural Electrification Programme.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Konga: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was just about to talk about the programme that the Government has embarked on, which is the Rural Electrification Programme. To this effect, the House may wish to know that the Government this year intends to officially launch the Rural Electrification Master Plan.

Sir, the objectives of the Rural Electrification Master Plan are primarily to identify rural growth centres which will then be electrified and which will act as economic growth centres in the rural areas.

The second objective of the Rural Electrification Master Plan is to identify the electrification options which could be utilised to electrify the identified rural areas. Among others the option of connecting such a place to the existing national electricity grid will be considered. If that is not possible, we may consider the option of establishing and connecting that area to a mini hydro-power station which could be constructed. Alternatively, options for connecting the various centres to solar energy might be considered. As the House might wish to know, this country has abundant solar energy which is untapped and the Government intends to use this form of energy to electrify the rural areas.

The purpose of using the various options to contribute to the Rural Electrification Master Plan is to also turn the rural areas into economically viable centres because, as the House might wish to know, this Government intends to turn the whole country into a middle income nation by the year 2030. This can only be achieved if rural areas and not only the urban areas are economically active. Therefore, our objective is to electrify the rural areas as much as possible.

The current statistics indicate that only 3 per cent of the total rural population is electrified. To this effect, the Government’s objective is to have 50 per cent of the rural areas electrified by the year 2030.

Mr Speaker, since 2002, it is evident that there has been a lot of economic development. Of course, this has been attributed the good policies of the New Deal Administration.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Konga: This is reflected in the performance of all sectors of the economy. I can talk about agriculture where we have seen new sugar plantations established.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Konga: We have seen existing plantations expanded. With regard to commerce, we have also seen factories coming on board such as the establishment of new cement factories in the country. It is only recently that we had a shortage of cement in the country because of the boom in the construction industry.

Mr Speaker, of course, the topical issue in the country is the mining boom that has been experienced in the last six years. All existing mining activities have been expanded, for instance, the Konkola Deep Mining Project. We have seen new projects in Solwezi and the reopening of the previously shut down Kansanshi Mine. We have also seen the opening up of previously known Zambian tropic bush in the North Western Province at Lumwana Mine.

Sir, the common denominator for this economic boom is energy and this energy is in the form of electricity. One of the prerequisites that all investors demand when they want to invest in any country is the presence of electricity. The experiences of the last few days are testimony to that fact. Now, we are aware that despite this country being endowed with abundant sites for electricity, previously only few sites were exploited. Therefore, in order to contribute to the economic development of this country, the Government has engaged in a programme of upgrading the existing electricity infrastructure at the Kafue Gorge, Kariba North Bank and Victoria Falls as well as improving on the transmission network.

Sir, in order to prepare for the economic activities, the Government has gone beyond to invest in the new generation capacity. This is being done at Kariba North Bank extension as well as at Itezhi-tezhi where there will be a combined output of more than 400 mega watts which will go towards securing the security of supplies for economic development. However, these are not the only sites. As I have said, there are other sites and through you, Mr Speaker, allow me to invite hon. Members of this House to invest in some of these existing generation sites like Kabompo, Sioma and the recent one which is being studied in Nyimba so that they can also contribute to the security of supplies for this country which will go towards enhancing economic development. I also invite those hon. Members who are able to marshal more resources to invest in the Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station with an estimated investment opportunity of about US$1 billion. Therefore, hon. Members, I welcome you.

Mr Speaker, while I am still talking about the issue of securing electricity, allow me to quickly talk about the issue of vandalism. I would like to appeal to hon. Members of this august House that whenever they interact with our nationals, they should sensitise them on the need to preserve electricity infrastructure. This is because very often, members of our society vandalise electricity infrastructures and this leads not only to economic retardation because replacements of this infrastructure requires more resources, but also inconvenience to our daily lives because the public is kept in the dark before replacement parts are installed.

Mr Speaker, allow me to mention that one of the other issues that the Government is going to look at this year is the improvement of the supply of petroleum products. As you are also aware, petroleum products significantly contribute to economic development and complement electricity to that effect. In order to ensure sustained supplies of petroleum products on the market, the Government has entered into a two-year contract with a company from the Kingdom of Kuwait to supply petroleum products for the next two years. This company is known as the Independent Petroleum Group of Kuwait. The idea is to move away from the challenges that this country faced last year and the years before of intermittent supply of petroleum products as this has a turning effect on the economy.

Furthermore, to secure supplies that will be coming in the country, the Government intends to rehabilitate the storage facilities that are scattered around the country in places such as Solwezi, Lusaka, Choma, Chipata and many other parts of the country so that fuel should not only be kept at Indeni Storage Facilities, but also closer to where the fuel is used throughout the country. In that way, we will ensure that even if supplies at Indeni are not available, there would be other storage facilities from which our citizens and our economy can draw.

Therefore, Government intends to rehabilitate the storage facilities and keep the petroleum products in these facilities as a strategic measure.

Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Ministry of Energy and Water Development, will also ensure that the monetary law of the Energy Regulation Board is enhanced so that they can enforce the mandatory requirement by the various Oil Marketing Companies to keep the fifteen days mandatory stock which will also go a long way in ensuring security of supplies for this country.

Sir, during this coming year, the Government is committed and is going to endeavour to rehabilitate the Indeni Oil Refinery so that the processing and refining of various products that the country needs is achieved. To this effect, as you are aware, the Government who are the 50 per cent shareholder in Indeni Oil Refinery, together with Total Zambia Limited, intends to invite a third equate partner because the two shareholders of Indeni Oil Refinery want to downsize their shareholding to 35 per cent and the 30 per cent that is going to be available will be floated. We are looking at options of how this equate can be taken up. One of the options may be to consider using the Lusaka Stock Exchange so that there can be participation by the Zambian public and in this way, economically empower them.

Mr Speaker, I would like to also mention to the House that last year, the Government adopted the Revised Energy Policy which takes into account other forms of energy such as solar energy and bio-fuels. To this effect, the Government is going to work with various institutions and stakeholders to promote the use of bio-fuels as a form of energy and hope to reduce the fuel bill on petroleum products.

Sir, in conclusion, allow me to quickly talk about the water sector. The Government intends to improve the Water Resource Management and also embark on a water development programme throughout the country. To this effect, I will bring a Bill to the House on the Water Resource Management to seek approval from the House so that it can be effectively promoted and employed throughout the country.

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

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Dr Mwansa): Mr Speaker, I thank you most sincerely for giving me the opportunity to debate this Motion ably moved by Hon. Muteteka, MP and seconded by Hon. Milupi, MP.

Mr Speaker, I shall restrict my brief remarks to issues related to the mining industry. Let me begin by thanking and commending His Excellency the President for an inspiring and courageous speech.

Sir, mining without doubt, is, once again, the power house of our economy. It is, once again, the driving force of our economy. According to our forecast, mining is said to contribute in the order of 25 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the current 11 per cent by 2025. This will mean more employment, more taxes, leading to more investment in infrastructure development and more funding to critical areas of health and education.

Mr Speaker, privatisation of success, although it was not accompanied by strong regulatory framework, especially in the areas of safety, health, environment and skills training, we have now seen the need to police the industry more effectively in these areas. In this connection, my Ministry is working on the new regulatory framework and we are also working on a new health and safety policy in the mining industry.

Sir, the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) had an excellent system of health, safety and manpower development, especially in the training of artisans critical to the one in the mines. At the moment, most mining companies have established their own technical training schools and they are enhancing their workers’ skills in-house. Through the Chamber of Mines to which all mining companies belong, we are trying to establish a Central Training Co-ordinating Unit to improve standards all round and encourage similar solutions to similar problems in the mining industry in the area of manpower development.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry will closely remain working with the mining companies by improving levels of interaction. To that extent, we had introduce quarterly meetings between my Ministry, all my senior staff and all mining companies through the Chamber of Mines. The inaugural meeting was held last December.

Sir, through these regular unstructured meetings, we will remove excessive bureaucracy and improve the quality of interaction between the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development and mining companies.

Mr Speaker, mining is a profitable activity, but it is also polluting by the nature of mining activity. There is a need for measures to mitigate these actual and potential harmful effects. In this regard, the Ministry will continue to work closely with the mining companies to ensure that the policy of corporate responsibility does not lose sight as we expand the mining activities to all corners and provinces of our country.

Sir, to this effect, I pay tribute to all mining companies for their commitment to the corporate shareholders’ responsibility programme by ploughing back some of their profits even part of the development funds to community-based projects in their areas of operation.

Mr Speaker, my tour to the Copperbelt in December, 2007, to seek projects undertaken by various mining companies was quite revealing in advancing the front of the corporate responsibility pioneered by the Anglo-American Corporation and improved by ZCCM. We started the privatisation of mines in the 1990s and completed the exercise in 2000. At the time of privatisation, copper prices were the first consideration. Some international organisations predicated doom for Zambia and advised us to close the mines to allow them to flood and walk away from them. We refused to take that advice and moved on, deciding to privatise the mines and revive the earlier ones before they were privatised.

Sir, let me pay tribute to companies such as Konkola Copper Mines, Equinox, Mopani Copper Mines, First Quantum Metal Works and all others who are hopeful on the basis of advice when and until then, decided to invest in the mining industry with the knowledge that metal prices fluctuated and that copper price at 7 cents per pound then was temporally and that the price would rebound.

Now that the copper industry is fully recovered beyond our expectation, and most mining companies, if not all, are doing extremely well, it is time for these companies as our co-operating and development partners to give Zambia a little more of what they are making in terms of taxes.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, to this extent, the new fiscal and regulatory regime announced by the President in his speech, is significant and epoch making. As our partners in development, mining companies have nothing to fear from the new regulatory and fiscal regime, whose details will emerge later.

The new fiscal and regulatory regime is not designed to make mining costly, neither is it designed to make Zambia unattractive as a favourable destination for investment in the mining industry. What mining companies should fear is war or civil strife because that destroys everything. What they should also fear is nationalisation and cancellation of licences because that takes away everything.
Mr Speaker, an improved tax regime cannot scare away investors. This is because taxes only take a share of the profits and leave the operator to conduct his or her business profitably.

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

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Mutati): Mr Speaker, I would like to contribute to the presentation made by His Excellency, the President on the direction that the Development Agenda should take in 2008 and beyond. From the perspective of commerce, trade and industry, our contribution to the Development Agenda is transformation, resulting in wealth and job creation for the people of Zambia. 
Mr Speaker, my contribution this afternoon will centre on the job and wealth creation balance sheet under the sub-heads, Transformation, Competitiveness and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

Sir, yesterday I was a witness to the spirit of enterprise exhibited by a collection of Zambians that have transformed what was the defunct Zamhort into a company that is able to produce quality products and export to the region. This is a company that, once, only had ten employees, but now has over 400 employees. That is transformation. The next company was Choice Nuts, which makes peanut butter and exports raw groundnuts, predominantly sourced from the Eastern Province.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Last year, they exported 400 tonnes and this year, they plan to export over 2,500 tonnes. This will support peasant farmers and other farmers of the Eastern Province, whilst, at the same time, making peanut butter that is now on the shelves of Shoprite and other shops. The company has moved from thirteen employees to 300 employees. That is transformation. Down the road, we saw a small company in aqua-culture, breeding fish fingers. From almost death, with only three employees, the company now has twenty-six employees. That is transformation.

Mr Speaker, the case of these companies is that on average, were lent only $300 thousand dollars and from that level, they have transformed themselves and created employment and wealth and if I may borrow Hon. Mpombo’s words, “assault on poverty”

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati:  Mr Speaker, our focus in 2008 will be to carry on the spirit of transformation, picking up the Zambian entrepreneur, small and medium-sized companies, creating opportunity for access to finance, creating market opportunity and making sure the products are not only competitive in Zambia, but in the region as a whole. That is key.

In creating access to finance, they will be supported by the K70 billion that we have got under the Citizen’s Economic Empowerment. Beyond that, they will be supported by the EU Fund under the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), for a total of K46 billion. However, the critical issue is that in the transformation spirit, we need to shift and have a change of mindset. That is the discipline to repay what we borrow. We need the discipline to manage, particularly, the cash results and we need the discipline to ensure that we remain focused on the core purpose of creating our business.

Mr Speaker, we think that by capturing the small and medium-scale enterprises, we will not only create employment and wealth in Zambia, but also make sure that the participation of Zambians in the economic activities is much more enhanced. On the other hand, we will continue attracting big-scale Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in mining, agriculture and in processing. Therefore, we need to combine FDI with local direct investment in order to create the levels of employment that we are looking at.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, in Lusaka, we will start, this year, with two phases. One is located in Lusaka and is pioneered by a joint venture between our Government, Malaysians and the Japanese.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: On the other hand, we shall have one constructed by the Chinese. The total investment in these …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Questionable.

Mr Mutati: … two economic zones located in Lusaka is expected to exceed US $300 million, …

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: … creating many opportunities for employment and rekindling the hope that Zambia can be different. These zones are only designed by our colleagues, but the participation in the zones is open and free to Zambian entrepreneurs. We shall make sure that the Zambian entrepreneur has a standing in the economic zone.

Mr Speaker, today, we received a delegation, courtesy of Hon. Chitala from Libya, that is considering investment in tourism, sugar plantation and cement. Next week, we will receive another delegation from India and Malaysia, also looking for joint venture transactions with Zambians.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: They want to work with Zambians for the purpose of creating employment.

Mr Kambwili: Kwatalala shani uko? Fyamano alelanda.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, one such mission which came is a joint venture that has resulted in the construction of a mobile plant, off Lumumba Road, which will be able to assemble 500 pieces of mobile phones for export into SADC and COMESA. Zambia will be a hub.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, we think that this is critical for job creation and attracting other investments into Zambia. Therefore, our role is very simple. Transform to create more jobs for the people of Zambia. We believe they can make it. A message which we saw central to most of the ventures that we have visited is that most of them have been successful because they have got multiple partnerships. 

They have been successful because each one of them brings a unique asset to the table. Others bring technical skills, financial skills and others are bring production skills. Therefore, we would like to urge the Zambians that the traditional practice of holding on to businesses as mine will not help us to make progress.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: We will continue to be small and consequently, continue to blame the external factors such as the Government, environment and everybody else other than ourselves.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, the spirit of enterprise demands that we encourage Zambians to go into multi-partnership. There the risk is minimised, the abilities are spread and a long lasting solution is brought to the table.

Mr Lubinda: Very good!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, what we also saw is that where you have a multi-partnership, accessing of resources is handled more prudently. Accountability is also improved. In all the enterprises we visited, none of them accessed traditional bank loans because they were costly. Some raised money on the Lusaka Stock Exchange at a lower cost. Therefore, all we are doing is try and give the opportunity to Zambians of a different way of rekindling their entrepreneur spirit from the cost, market and their own ability perspective.

Mr Speaker, we have no doubt that we are going to achieve the goal we have set ourselves this year to create 100,000 jobs and bring in over U S $3 billion of investment under the march of the spirit of enterprise in 2008. The colossal part of job creation will be handled by the small and medium-scale enterprises that are anchored by the people of Zambia.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Therefore, there is a need for the participation of Zambians in economic activities.

Sir, the second point is competitiveness, competitiveness as a mechanism to create jobs. We saw it. To be able to export peanut butter and tomato paste to South Africa from Zambia, we believe that is competitiveness.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, to be able to export honey from a factory in Kitwe to Europe, we believe that is enterprise.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: To be able to export milk packed in Chipata and Mbala into the region, we believe that is enterprise.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Therefore, we are creating a competitive spirit for enterprise and I believe Zambians are ready.

Mr Kambwili: Pali ababeba ati belakulumba aba Mutati. It is too much.

Mr Mutati: Zambians are ready.

Mr Speaker, in dealing with a region, obviously, we have to lower the barriers in terms of market access. Also, we believe that the Zambians are measuring up to the challenge. They are no longer complaining and are no longer mourning. There is this “I can do spirit” that we are beginning to see …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: … and Zambians can do it for themselves. The FDI is only there to supplement the efforts that we are making as Zambians.

Mr Speaker, last year, we made a statement on the economic partnership agreements. We negotiated the economic partnership with the EU which was terminated on December, 31 2007. The significance of the arrangement is that last year alone, our total export to the EU was in excess of U S $550 million compared to the imports of the U S $335 million.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Therefore, we have a positive balance of export and that is the reason we are engaging with the EU to deal with the EPA.

Mr Speaker, as we negotiated, we came across a number of huddles. The huddles we came across were four.

The first huddle was on rules of origin. What is it that we categorise as a product from Zambia into the EU? Our colleagues were saying a product must be only transformed once for the purpose of exporting to the EU.

Mr Kambwili: Ba Mabenga, umfweniko!

Mr Mutati: Therefore, Zambia shall remain to be an agricultural export into the EU. We are saying Zambia should be allowed triple transformation …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: … rather than a single transformation.

Mr Speaker, issue number two was the whole that of dealing with the list of sensitive products which we are not going to permit to come into Zambia until such a time that we have created the infrastructure and platform for the purpose export.

Mr Speaker, for example, we told our European colleagues that we will not allow the equivalent Maheu to be exported from Europe into Zambia because this product must be protected until such a time it has got sufficient stake.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Indeed, there were many other products. They said the list we gave our colleagues which we called the “Sensitive List of Products” was too long. We said that it is not long because it took you over fifty years and yet Maheu has only been around for five years. Therefore, we asked that they give us another forty-five years, then, will we shorten the list.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, the next issue on which we disagreed was what was called “The Adjustment Period”. Our colleagues said the adjustment period will be twelve years. We demanded for twenty-five years. What this means is that you open up your market in twelve years for all the products coming from Europe into Zambia. We said twelve was too short to allow our market and infrastructure to be competitive, particularly with the EU. Therefore, we could not agree on that matter.

Mr Speaker, the forth issue is what our colleagues called “The Stand Still Clauses.” This Stand Still Clauses meant that in the detail of this EPA, the items that typically, you are not able to understand and provided you have agreed to them, are going to stand still and be exported into the EPA. We said every paragraph and phrase must be negotiated to terminate into a revised EPA.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, we have agreed that we need a one-year period where we re-group as Africans and they also re-group as Europeans to look at a sustainable EPA because it is clearly understood that what the Europeans want and what we want is the same. We all want development. It is a process and mechanism of development that we must agree on. Therefore, we declare 2008 as a year to continue with the negotiations with the EU on the issues that confront us. For us the key issue is that we need to enhance the export this year beyond US $550 million, perhaps, going into US $600 million into the EU. Unless, we can have simplified use of origin, reasonable adjustment periods or remove the Stand Still Clauses, we shall be in danger and lose the export of over US $550 million.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, our colleagues in Africa, under a grouping called ESA, seventeen countries have continued to defend the leadership that is provided by Zambia in the engagement for the EU.

Therefore, Zambia will continue to lead this process of negotiations in 2008, until it comes up with an agreement that answers issues that are Zambian, but also answers to the issues of the other sixteen African countries that have entrusted Zambia to look after their interests.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, these are critical matters. We do trust that at the end of December, 2008, we will come up with an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that is African friendly; supports the reduction of poverty in Zambia; creates more and more competitive jobs; adds to the transformation direction that Africa wants; that does not answer to the issue that Africans can no longer do it; and that Africans are begging to trade, and yet we know that they also want to trade. What they want and what we want is the same.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: Felix!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, God willing, we shall succeed.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr D. Mwila: Kwaletwa!


Mr Speaker: Order!

The Minister of Gender and Women in Development (Ms Mulasikwanda): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the President’s Address to this august House.

Sir, in contributing to the debate, I would like to first and foremost, thank His Excellency the President, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, who gave a very visionary and inspiring Speech which I believe has set a national agenda for this Session.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda: The President’s Speech touched on a number of policy issues. Already, hon. Members on both sides of this House have made valuable contributions and I applaud them.

However, I would like to applaud Hon. Dr Chishimba in particular, for his debate which was not only objective to the realities …


Ms Mulasikwanda: … but also very encouraging too.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda: This is how it should be, especially, when you are led by a God-given leader such as …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda: … Dr Mwanawasa.

Mr Speaker, today, I would only like to restrict myself to the issues under my portfolio, Gender and Women in Development.

Sir, in his Speech, the President reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the importance of entrenching gender perspectives in national development, which is evidenced by the engendering of the Fifth National Development Plan.

As a strategy to ensure that the Government’s efforts in gender mainstreaming achieve the desired results, my Ministry has prioritised five sectors for gender mainstreaming. These include: Agriculture and Land; Education and Training; Governance; Health and Social Protection.

Under agriculture, the President put emphasis on increased and sustainable food security, at all levels, income generation through cash-group productivity, livestock and fisheries development.

I am happy to note that the Government has put in place a policy to allocate 30 per cent of titled land to women. This is a positive development, especially that women make up 70 per cent of the agricultural labour. Giving land to women will mean that the women will be able to own, operate and control their own fields.

To ensure food security is enhanced, my Ministry, in collaboration with the co-operating partners will attempt to support women to come up with cottage industries of processing fruits and vegetables so that there is value added and poverty is reduced.

As Christians, we all believe that 2008 is a year of hope.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda: To that effect, the Government has made sure that from 2008 to 2011, these machineries would have reached some parts of Zambia for the women to go into agricultural products processing. I am sure that at the end of it, the women of Zambia, especially in the rural areas, will have contributed to the reduction of poverty.

Mrs Masebo: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda: Mr Speaker, I am sure all the hon. Members of this House will agree with me that amidst poverty, Zambia is endowed with several varieties of fruits and vegetables, most of which go to waste. This is an aspect that we have looked into that never again as a country will we allow our fruits to go to waste. That is why we are going to empower our women to venture into food processing which can add value and contribute to national development.

Sir, on education, His Excellency the President stated that the focus of the Government will be to increase access to education, improve the quality of education and address issues of equity in the sector.

I am happy to note that the re-entry policy for girls who get pregnant is being implemented by the Ministry of Education and, together with the affirmative action, the girl child will be afforded the chance to finish school and contribute positively to the development of our country. It is my hope that Members of Parliament, especially on your left, will sensitise their constituents on the re-entry policy so that the girls will go back to school.

On health, the President pointed out that health service is one of the most important components of human capital development. The implementation and scaling up on the human resource rural retention to include other health workers will go a long way in reducing the maternal mortality which is one of the Millennium Development Goals that we have to attain by 2015.

Under governance, His Excellency referred to the National Constitution Conference Act No. 19 of 2007, which has since become operational. Mr Speaker, I wish, at this point, to applaud the Government and this National Assembly for a job well done.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda: By passing the National Constitution Conference Act No. 19 of 2007, which provides for the 50 per cent representation of women, the Government has set precedence for future women representation.

Mr Speaker, we all know the critical role that women play in the development of their societies. Though their efforts are sometimes invisible in the larger worlds, they are often the real change agents in society, struggling daily to feed and educate their children and improve the lives of the people in their communities. Unleashing the potential of women is crucial in so many ways from economic development to the welfare of their families. In fact, without full and open participation of women in all aspects of society, strong and lasting democratic development will not be achieved.

Mr Speaker, in order to truly empower women, we must first break the cycle of violence that plagues our society. It is quite saddening that each day that passes, we read stories of violence against women and a number of times, this violence is perpetrated by the same people who are supposed to protect them. It is, therefore, gratifying that His Excellency, the President referred to the issue of gender-based violence and the need for the introduction of a Bill to specifically deal with the issue of gender violence, during the current Session of this Parliament.

Mr Speaker, the President also mentioned that, as part of Zambia’s commitment to the cause of African Unity, the Government has presented the candidature of a distinguished profession for the position of an African Union Chairperson …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda: … in the name of Dr Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika, who is our current Ambassador to the United States of America.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda: As our dear sister, Mr Speaker, Dr Lewanika packs her bags tonight to set off for the elections at the AU in Ethiopia. We, the women and men of Zambia, wish to put on record the fact that we are solidly behind the Government in supporting her candidature.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulasikwanda: We wish her God’s blessings and all the success in the elections.

Finally, Mr Speaker, His Excellency has, indeed, shown a classical example of how a good leader must be ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda: … by urging the Members of Parliament to work with his administration, when it comes to service delivery to the people. The President has shown that he is not partisan in the manner he approaches national issues. Let us all emulate his example.

Ms Siliya: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda: Therefore, fellow leaders, in particular, women, let us rise above partisan lines as we debate the Draft Constitution at the NCC so that we can produce a constitution that will be acceptable to all the people of Zambia. We should see to it that the 50 per cent of the women in decision-making positions is included in the discussions for a better Zambia and ensure that we improve on the good governance of our beloved nation.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Quality!{mospagebreak}

The Minister of Community Development and Social Services (Ms Namugala): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to contribute on the Motion on the Floor. Allow me to speak briefly about my Ministry, and in doing so, let me start with the programme of the removal of children from the streets.

Mr Speaker, the Government has taken responsibility for vulnerable children, and in this regard, it will not allow anyone to turn the vulnerable children into commodities.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, under this programme, we have already removed more than a 1,400 children from the streets countrywide. The Manda Hill Footbridge is now completely free of children.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, in the year 2008, we will continue with this programme. We will also ensure that we intensify the supervision of children’s homes or orphanages, as they are normally referred to. We want children to be safe when they are in orphanages.

Mr Speaker, to the Government, children are a resource for the nation which, if properly harnessed and developed, can contribute significantly to the development of the nation.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: In this regard, Mr Speaker, we ensure, as a Government, that all the children that are on the streets are removed and taken to places of safety.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, my Ministry will also work hard in the 2008 to promote our culture as Zambians. Our culture is dying as many of us not are very proud of who we are. We have seen a trend and in this case, many of our children will be carrying indigenous names, but when you ask a child with an indigenous name to speak the mother tongue, most of the times, the children are unable to do so. They are also not able to communicate with their grandparents and therefore, we have lost the heritage, the culture which we need, as a nation, to give us an identity and make us proud of who we are.

Hon. Opposition Member: Shame!

Ms Namugala: In this regard, Mr Speaker, we intend to promote indigenous languages as a Ministry that is charged with the issue of the promotion of culture.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, as a Ministry we are also committed to the plight of elderly persons.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Many of the elderly persons are finding themselves destitute and in this regard, when we say an elderly person is anybody who is above the age of sixty-five.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Many of the elderly persons in Zambia have no formal social security and therefore, many of them have been depending on their children whom they have treated as an investment. With HIV/AIDS, many of these children are dying, leaving the elderly persons extremely vulnerable. As a Ministry, we are committed to ensuring that the elderly live in dignity.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, last week’s debate by Hon. Sikota referring to children in two worlds in the same country, was indeed emotional, but it was correct. This is, indeed, the scenario. It made me compare the children of all of us here and the children of those we represent, but then that is why we are here. We are here to provide leadership through policies that empower the marginalised. We are here to provide leadership through policies which narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. However, the idea is not to impoverish those who are living above the poverty datum line, but to uplift and empower those who are living below the poverty datum line.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: It is true that too many of our children are dying in infancy and are vulnerable to risks and shocks. Yes, we, on this side, also have the statistics and are aware of the facts. This is why this Government, through the leadership of His Excellency the President, is proposing a new tax regime for the mining sector.

Mr Speaker, allow me, therefore, to congratulate His Excellency the President for this very brave pronouncement.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: It is brave in the sense that it is patriotic and timely. On page 33 of the Speech, the President said:

“These additional resources will assist in reducing dependency on donor funding and should enable us implement vital programmes in the areas of health, education and infrastructure development.”

Mr Speaker, we are all in agreement here because, as hon. Members of Parliament, we want more money to go to the development of our various constituencies, …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: … but where will this money come from? Is it from the Pay-As-You-Earn alone? No. The few people, who are in formal employment, have carried this burden for far too long.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, our people have been calling for a reduction in Value Added Tax and we all know this. Should we, as a nation, continue to incur huge external debts? The answer is no. We must be cautious and wise in borrowing. Therefore, where do we look to? Zambians collectively own the mineral resource of the country. While the sector has undergone shocks in the past, we now know that the partners who have invested in the mines are making very high profits. It is, therefore, not morally right that the Zambians, who are the owners of the wealth, continue to wallow in poverty. The owners of the resource must have a share in the profits that are made.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: It is not fair that these companies continue to make the kind of profits that they are making while the children die because they cannot reach the next health centre due to lack of infrastructure. I agree that the new tax regime will not solve all our problems. However, we know that, as minerals are a finishing resource, there is an urgent need for Zambians to benefit because once mined, you just cannot put it back.

Mr Speaker, further, the copper prices are now high. Why should we wait until they start sliding and give the mines an excuse not to pay the necessary taxes? The time for a new tax regime is now. Let me now turn to an article on page 6 of the Business Section of The Post Newspaper on 22nd January, 2008, which was attributed to players in the mining sector as well as a former World Bank official, Mr Robert Liebenthal, who said:

“This is why it is important to know whether the changes were negotiated or not. Since the previous tax regime was entrenched in binding legal agreements, the mining companies may have the right to challenge these new taxes in court. Such challenges could at least delay the application of the new taxes.”

Mr Speaker, it makes me very sad that a former official of the World Bank can want to delay the provision of basic services to our people as a tactic to avoid paying taxes. This makes me wonder how genuine some of our partners in poverty reduction are.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Allow me to remind my colleagues here that we should not be divided on the issue of the new tax regime for the mining companies. Let us stand together to support President Mwanawasa in his effort to reduce poverty using local means. As Zambians, we must stop looking outside to solve our problems. Let us take the responsibility for the poverty levels in the country and collectively make a decision. It does not matter which party one belongs to. Let us, together, make a decision to end poverty, using the local resources.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, on this side, we have resolved to take ownership of the nation’s problems and we will use local means, as much as possible, to solve these problems.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: The ordinary Zambians are, in a way, subsidising the mining sector by contributing more to the national revenue base than the mines. This situation where the people who are taking home K1 million to their families contribute more than entities that are earning, as we are now told, as high as $4.7 billion cannot continue.

Hon. Oppositions Members: Shame!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, this is immoral and it would also be immoral for a capable leadership, such as this one, to encumber future generations with huge external debts which would be acquired because we, who have the opportunity to lead, have failed to provide the necessary leadership. This Government will take the brave stand and do what is expected of them by those they serve, the Zambians who are our masters because they are the ones who brought us to these offices.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Therefore, we choose to serve the Zambians.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

The Minister of Lands (Mr Machila): Mr Speaker, I would like to start by thanking His Excellency the President as well as the mover of this Motion, Hon. Muteteka, and the seconder, Hon. Milupi, for being catalysts to this debate. The presentation by His Excellency the President on the 11th of January, 2008, has definitely set the tone for this year. 
Before I get into the details of my debate, I would like to take this opportunity to also extend my condolences to the widow and family of the late Hon. Mtonga and also his colleagues in the Patriotic Front and the House at large. Zambia has, indeed, lost a wonderful Parliamentarian and a son of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, I would like to express my gratitude to the hon. Deputy Minster in my Ministry, the Permanent Secretary, and, indeed, the staff of the Ministry of Lands for the hard work and support that they performed during the year 2007. The results of their performance have seen us surpass our revenue collection target of K10.6 billion, having realised over K20.4 billion.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Lands has a key role to play in our agenda of private sector development. To this end, the Ministry has been working with other sister ministries to create, amongst other things, land banks, multi-facility economic zones and many others ventures.

Mr Speaker on the issue of land banks, Members of the House may be interested in knowing that we have identified 178 land banks in almost all the provinces of this country as follows:

Province            No. of Land Banks

 North-Western          09
 Copperbelt                77
 Luapula                     26
 Northern                   41
 Eastern                     08
 Central                      08
 Lusaka                      03
 Western                    07
 Southern                   Nil
Mr Speaker, there is a multiplicity of uses of these land banks. Amongst them are residential and commercial sites, commerce trading sites, industrial sites, sites for hospitality, lodging, tourism and heritage, social amenities, education, health, sports and recreation, agricultural farming blocks, commercial farm states and other utilities.

Mr Speaker, the Millennium Challenge Account has had a positive impact on the role that they conducted in the Ministry. We have, through the assistance of donors, commenced the process towards commissioning a new customer service centre which we expect shall be commissioned within the next month or so. We have also rehabilitated the registries. We have put in a new filing system to ensure that there is a better and safer storage of documentation.

In addition, we have in stores new ITC systems and established a website as well as integrity committees in the Ministry. We are currently working on a new land administration system and expect that they should be operational before the end of the second quarter.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Lands, through the Land Development Fund, has given twenty-three councils funds to enable them open up new areas for development.

Mrs Masebo: Hear, hear!

Mr Machila: We do, in addition, have some pending application from a number of councils. The Ministry has an important role to play in the empowerment of Zambian citizens and in particular, in up scaling the plight of women. We are working towards ensuring that we can have land distributed equally and to escalate from the often quoted 30 per cent bracket to at least, 50 per cent.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, we cannot mention empowerment of citizens without making reference to the issue of foreign ownership of land in Zambia. Land is a national heritage of all the people of Zambia. It was bequeathed by nature and past generations to those who are living today to hold the nature for the benefit of the present and future generations.

Mr Speaker, a prominent Nigerian Chief once said, “Land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living and countless yet to be born.”

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Machila: Ownership by foreigners must be within the confines of the law. To this extent, during the course of last year, the Office of the Commissioner of Lands placed some advertisements in the paper under Section 33 of the Lands Act Chapter 184 of the Laws of Zambia. Under that provision, a non-Zambian is entitled to hold land in Zambia if:

(i) they have the President’s consent;
(ii) they are permanent residents of Zambia;
(iii) they are an investor in terms of the Investment Act of the Zambia Development Agency Act; and
(iv) if it is a company, it is owned at least, 75 per cent by Zambians.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, in placing the advertisements in the newspapers last year, we were simply reminding the public that the holding of land contrary to these provisions is a breach of the law and has consequences. This is not a new policy statement, but it is simply a new statement of the law as it stands and in the coming year, my Ministry intends to apply the law and enforce it more diligently.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Machila: It is not our intention to scare away genuine investors or cause any unnecessary fear. It is, after all, possible to regulate land holding by foreigners while at the same time continue to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Mr Speaker, as a Ministry, we are also concerned with the practice of flouting which could lead to the undermining of the Government’s policy on land reform and regulation of foreign ownership. It must be noted that flouting is an offence under the Citizen’s Economic Empowerment Act.

Mr Speaker, it may be necessary for us to restrict ownership by foreigners for a variety of reasons such as strategic factors, national interest and economic factors.

Mr Speaker, at its present moment, we are also struggling to make land available for some diplomatic missions accredited to Zambia and thereby not heeding our obligations under conventions such as the Vienna Convention.

We shall continue this search for land and should it become necessary, we shall consider channels such as compulsory acquisition in the national interest and with that, under the law, we have an obligation to compensate whether in monetary terms or by providing alternative land.

During the course of last year, the Office of the Commissioner of Lands ran several advertisements for land owners who were delinquent or in arrears in terms of payments of ground rents. We have since earmarked several properties which we intend to reclaim and redistribute to other Zambians who have been waiting.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Machila: At this juncture, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our thanks to our traditional rulers and chiefs who have been assisting us in making land available in the national interest of development. It is our intention, as we develop, when alienating large tracks of land, to show that this is done in consultation with the Members of Parliament in whose area this land lies.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

This is intended to ensure that they are aware of the proposed development that is going to their area. We hope that in doing so, there will not be any unreasonable objections by hon. Members.

Mr Speaker, during the year 2007, the Ministry had over 30,000 land related transactions. Amongst these were over 7,400 assignments, the issuance of over 12,600 certificates of title and the registration of over 1700 mortgages for banks and financial institutions.

Mr Speaker, it is interesting also, to note that a regular question that has come on the Floor of this House relating to ZCCM properties has been addressed in the Post Newspaper today. It has run a supplement for ZCCM-IH, indicating that there are still thousands of title deeds which are ready and yet uncollected.

Accordingly, I would like to appeal to the hon. Members of Parliament from the Copperbelt, such as Hon. Kambwili, who has been regularly interested in this issue, to speak to his constituents and encourage them to make a follow up at ZCCM-IH and collect their title deeds which have been awaiting collection.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Uyu mwipwa wakwa Guy Scott.

Hon. Government Member: Guy Scott alikwatapo mwipwa?

Mr Kambwili: Ichisungu chankwe chalipusana.


Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, in view of the fact that I am currently Acting Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives, I would like to request hon. Members of the House to join me in sending our best wishes to Hon. Ben Kapita, who is currently indisposed, and to pray for his speedy recovery.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, the priority shall be to continue to strive towards increased and sustainable food security.

In his Address to this House, His Excellency spoke of the challenges that are facing those involved in the livestock sector and these we shall look to address. We shall, in addition, push the development and growth agenda as regards aqua-culture and this has already been illustrated through the enactment of the Fisheries Act.

Mr Speaker, together with the Ministry of Lands, the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives is working on the development of agricultural farming blocks which shall range from 45,000 to 100, 000 hectares.

Mr Speaker, before I close on the short presentation with regards to the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, I thought it appropriate that I re-state that for this season, 2007/2008, there shall not be any additional subsidised fertiliser made available to farmers under the Fertiliser Support Programme.

We are aware that there has been a lot of anxiety for additional fertiliser amongst small-scale farmers. To this end, a lot of pressure has been exerted on our officers, particularly, at the district level. This pressure may have been inadvertently brought upon ourselves by an unclear statement on the position of the Government. This, Mr Speaker, we regret.

Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact, I wish to inform this House that we have started planning for the 2008/2009 farming season inputs for distribution. Lessons have been learnt from what has occurred this season and again, I would like to make an earnest appeal to the farmers, who are still in need of fertilisers, to purchase such inputs at commercial prices from the fertiliser suppliers who have placed these fertilisers in all the districts.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! Well done!

Hon. Member: Presidential material.


Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, in closing, I would be amiss not to mention or refer to the NCC. I would like to commend all those hon. Members of this House who have heeded their national duty and obligation to attend the National Constitution Conference.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Machila: Our agenda is clear and has been set. We have an obligation to deliver a new Constitution to the liking and expectation of all the citizens of this country and those who have elected not to participate have done so to their own detriment.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, in addition, I would like to make reference to the issue of the mining sector and, in fact, the development agreements. It is clear that the development agreements that were signed under duress some time back have had the effect of undermining the development of Mother Zambia.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Member: Yes, Kabila!

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, in closing, I would like to thank you, Sir, the Deputy Speaker, the Chairman of Committees of the Whole House, the Clerk of the National Assembly and her team for their tireless good work which cannot be easy dealing with some of the “questionables” in this House.


Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, I would also like to thank my colleagues on both sides of the House for their contributions and constructive criticisms. Last but not the least, I would like to extend my special thanks to His Honour the Vice-President for his continued and unfailing able leadership of this House.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!{mospagebreak}

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Mulongoti): I thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to the many who have spoken so well. I would like, in my preamble, to thank Hon. Muteteka and Hon. Milupi, the mover and seconder respectively, and also His Excellency for a good speech which was focused, clear and development anchored. I will not belabour this issue because many who have spoken before me have said so much about in salute to His Excellency the President.

Mr Speaker, when I arrived in this House in 1995, I was a young man who was anxious, scared, but determined. I met some young men here. In fact, there are only ten of us left in this House. The majority of the people I see here are strangers.


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I am using the word “stranger” in the sense that they were not there at the time.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Some of those I met here look so changed that I am beginning to question whether it is I or them who have changed.


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I was in this House when the Constitution was amended in 1996. I was in this House again when the Third Term Debate was raging. I was still in this House when there was the Bill to privatise ZCCM. I have both good and bad memories.

Mr Speaker, we have made positive strides in this country under, sometimes, very difficult conditions. As Minister responsible for Information and Broadcasting Services, I sometimes wonder when people talk about lack of freedom – freedom of speech and information. I have always said people must have freedom to speak and freedom of information as long as they can use it very positively.

Mr Speaker, because of that, I have problems appreciating why so many Zambians are very negative in the approach to issues related to fellow citizens. Many times people say that there is a leadership vacuum in Zambia. I say to myself “Can that be true?”

Hon. Sichilima: Epotuli!

Mr Mulongoti: I have gone to workshops and conferences outside Zambia with these leaders you see here.

Hon. Member: Hammer!

Mr Mulongoti: They shine so well. However, here, I listened to a broadcast on Radio Phoenix on Tuesday where they debated leadership and they said there was a big leadership vacuum in Zambia. I do not know whether it is inferiority complex or they cannot identify leadership. In Zambia, we are so ashamed of ourselves that we do not even celebrate our own success.

How many of you have called your families after you won elections as Members of Parliament and said, “Let us celebrate.” How many of you, when promoted to ministerial positions, have called your families together and said, “This is success”. Normally, you just tell your children that, “I am now a Minister.”


Mr Mulongoti: You see, if you do not appreciate and celebrate success, it is difficult for you to see achievement.

In fact, since Tuesday, I have been bemoaning the fact that we must use the media responsibly. During the same Phone-in Programme, someone called and said, “While we are talking about leadership in Zambia, the problem is that, we do not know them. One thing I have just discovered is that, Hon. Mulongoti is a polygamist.”


Mr Mulongoti: Unfortunately, my wife was listening.

Mr Matongo: So you have an illegal one.


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, when I came out of the Standing Orders Committee meeting, I was confronted with the question, “Where is this second wife of yours?” These are the things I talk about. There is the use of freedom and information in a manner that is destructive.

Hon. Government Members: Shame!

Mr Mulongoti: Those who agitate for the Freedom of Information Bill must begin to ask themselves what they would do if they were in my shoes. How would they feel? I have a second wife whom I do not know …


Mr Mulongoti: … but that was said on air. How do I defend myself because I was not there?

Mr Matongo: What is wrong with a second wife?


Mr Mulongoti: The issue is not about what is wrong. The issue is that it must be me to announce because if you do for me before I announce it myself, you will create problems for me.


Mr Mulongoti: These are the s rights I always talked about. We need to defend the rights of those who are unable to defend themselves because at the end of the day, you can destroy other people’s families and lives.

I would like to appeal to Hon. Sakwiba Sikota, I know he is very passionate about the Freedom of Information Bill and to hon. Members of Parliament who are passionate about the Freedom of Information Bill that in craving and demanding for this Bill, we must also secure protection of those who will have no opportunity to defend themselves. For instance, the press is a double-aged sword. It can build you and it can also destroy you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Some of the journalists are too young to appreciate the implications of some of these things. Not that it is their fault, but the passions of youth drive them so hard that they get information and in an endeavour to be seen to be working, they create those problems.

Therefore, my appeal to you is that, yes, let us have the Freedom of Information Bill, but it must be received with responsibility because at the end of the day, it can be a tool of destruction.

Mr Matongo: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, yesterday, I received a call that there was a rumour that we had banned phone-in programmes in Zambia and they said it was heard on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). I said that was far from the truth. However, we wrote to Radio Lyambai in the Western Province to suspend their programmes because they were causing problems. There was so much insecurity that it became necessary to ask the security people to protect some individuals. That is the danger I am talking about. To those of you who want the freedom, I can assure you that you will have it, but you must also help me secure the protection of the rights of those who are affected by that freedom that you are craving for.

Mr V. Mwale: Zoona!

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, the Former Vice-President of America, Al-Gore said that, “The accumulation of knowledge with a bit of luck ferments into wisdom.”


Mr Mulongoti: Let me repeat at the insistence from the back.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: He said, “The accumulation of knowledge with a bit of luck ferments into wisdom”. It is not just the accumulation of knowledge, but with a bit of luck. Now, what is luck? Luck is defined as preparedness meeting opportunity. I am disappointed that Hon. Dr Guy Scott is not in the House. Each time I am about to debate, he vanishes.


Mr Mulongoti: I do not know how I can tie him to his seat so that he can listen to what I want to say.


Mr Mulongoti: You see, he is a senior Member of this House. I found him in 1995. The issue of the NCC has been passionate to me. Since I went to the NCC, I have said nothing to allow other people to also have a say. I went round the country, have been on radio and television to persuade people to sit there and chart the way forward for Zambia. I sometimes wake up and say to myself, those who have boycotted the Conference …

Hon. Government: They will be buried!

Mr Mulongoti: Honestly, why should they do that? Why should they not contribute to this wonderful agenda to develop a document around which our debate and existence are centred? I know that some of them, I do not want to be uncharitable, have done so on account of lack of appreciation of the consequences that will be derived from that document. However, even if you boycott and they put it in that constitution, the fact that to qualify, it is mandatory that one has these qualifications, it will still be enshrined therein. It is better to fight it on the floor of the Conference.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Even if you boycott, at the end of the day, …

Mr Kambwili: You are being myopic.

Mr Mulongoti: … those who will have gathered, will have decided that you must be of a certain age.


Mr Mulongoti: Whether you have boycotted now, it will still obligate you.

Mr Mulongoti: When I hear the hon. Member say that those of us who have gone there are myopic, I will ask Hon. Mpombo to find a dictionary and lend it to the hon. Member.


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, Mr Joe Avalanche, the President of the Olympics at the time, made a profound statement at the time the Olympics were boycotted. He said, “The defence of an ideal is more important than popularity”. By that act alone, he served the Olympics. I would like to urge our colleagues, who have boycotted the NCC, to reconsider their position. Do not be ashamed of doing what is right!

Hon. PF Members: Sorry!

Mr Mulongoti: Do not be ashamed to be part of the bigger family. Do not be ashamed to say to the people of Zambia, “Here we are, available to participate”.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: I know some of you, in the heart of your hearts are regretting, …


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: … but be assured that those of us who have gone there are so magnanimous that we are willing to stretch our hands and say welcome to the bigger family.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, the issue of the Constitution is so cardinal that if it does not affect you today, it will affect your children. If it does not affect your children, it will affect your grandchildren.

Mr Kambwili: They will come and change it.

Hon. PF Members: We will change it!

Mr Mulongoti: At the end of the day, at the pace at which you are going, I have problems seeing the opportunity for you to even change anything.


Mr Mulongoti: It is said in management that if growth is incremental, you reach a stage where there must be transformation. If there is no transformation, you perish. Ask the United National Independence Party (UNIP). They used to be in the majority in this House. How many are in this House today? For lack of transformation, and I can see the same thing happening on my immediate right (PF Members).


Mr Mulongoti: They are refusing transformation …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

[Mr SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was just bemoaning the fact that as political parties, we must be mindful that there is always time to transform and therefore, there cannot be any democracy in political parties if we are not ready to transform.

Mr Speaker, the issue of freedom must not only be limited to us as political parties. We want to see internal democracies even in unions and churches. At the end of the day, they will have no moral rights to point fingers at us for being undemocratic while they are. In fact, we want them to also show us that they are democratic. Even if you overstay in unions, how can you claim that the politicians must leave office when you have been a unionist since time in memorial. I can see that there is so much worry about the internal debate about succession that is going on in the MMD Government. This shows how democratic we are.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Sir, I see so many candidates in this House and this excites me. The good part is that, as a Government, we recognise and respect each other. For others, if they dare to say that they are going to stand, they will not come back to this House.


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to debate and I realise that many of my colleagues would like to speak as well.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mr Pande): Mr Speaker, may I first of all thank the mover of the Motion, Hon. Muteteka and the seconder, Hon. Milupi.

Mr Speaker, this is a very important Motion. The President has outlined what the Government has done and what it intends to do in 2008 and in future. On contributing to the President’s Speech, some members on your left bemoaned that the President was being let down by the Cabinet.

Sir, I would like to mention that this Government accepts and tolerates constructive criticism. That is the only way you can keep us on our toes. The President’s Speech has so far been very well received by all well-meaning Zambians, including a very good number of hon. Members on your left.

Mr Speaker, before I talk about issues regarding my Ministry, I feel obliged to comment on two issues that the President talked about because they have a bearing on the objectives of my Ministry. These are the National Constitution Conference (NCC) and the issue of fighting corruption.

Sir, commenting on the issue of the NCC, I wish to salute the Zambian people who understood the spirit of the NCC and came forward to participate to this noble task of giving the nation a good constitution. It is also encouraging to see the commitment in the women and men participating in the NCC and those expressing desire to participate. The eagerness demonstrated by all the participants is sure to yield a good constitution.

Mr Speaker, I implore all the Zambians to continue supporting the Government on this very important undertaking because a good constitution begets good subordinate laws.

Mr Speaker, how else can we avert such matters as post-election hostilities, if not by ensuring that we give ourselves fair and transparent laws that are respected by all and are promised on a people-driven constitution?

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Pande: The peace, unity and harmony that this country enjoys is sure to continue if we make laws that are fair, transparent, acceptable and respected by all. I see the NCC as a hallmark of Zambia’s resolve and capacity to achieving that end. Despite some of the people not wanting to participate in this constitution making process, the Government will continue to encourage them to come on board. However, in the event that they insist on not participating, we will not de-harmonise them. We believe that those who are averse to participating in the NCC have a democratic right to do so.

Mr Speaker, in the same vein, those who have decided to participate should also be respected and not be threatened, harassed or, indeed, de-harmonised by anybody,…

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear

Mr Pande: …including their political parties.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, the other issue which I also feel obliged to talk about, is corruption, which His Excellency Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, talked about. The President should be commended for spearheading the fight against corruption. The media should also be hailed for their commitment to exposing corrupt people. It has done a remarkable job in this regard.

Mr Speaker, just as we resolutely fought colonial oppression, which denied us political self-determination, corruption is denying us full enjoyment of economic benefits. A corrupt person inflicts misery on others. Anyone whose actions inflicts misery on others is an enemy of those who are subjected to such affliction. Zambians should not only be weary of external enemies, but also and more so, of the enemies with corrupt mindsets in our midst.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Pande: I implore the Zambian people to complement the Government’s efforts to stamp out corrupt practices.

Mr Speaker, allow me now to talk about foreign affairs. In order to take advantage of the benefits of globalisation, our Foreign Policy is now oriented towards economic diplomacy. In view of this, our missions are being tailored towards reaping full economic benefits for our country. With our unrivaled abundant natural resources, attracting so much investment interest, Zambia’s prospects for a gigantic economic take-off is imminent. The Government’s tow in the country’s Foreign Policy towards the economy is justified. I will come back to that subject later on.

Sir, you may wish to note that the Government presented Zambia’s candidature of Dr Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika who is the current Zambia’s Ambassador to the United States of America for the post of Chair of the African Union (AU) Commission. The President of Zambia has sent envoys to various countries and from the feedback that we have received so far, we are confident that Dr Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika stands a good chance of capturing the post of AU Chairperson, barring unforeseen circumstances.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, on the Union Government, Zambia is party to the SADC position of a gradual and incremental implementation of a Union Government. We, however, recognise the need for the Government to fully sensitise the people to the concept of a Union Government. The Government is currently considering the modalities for this sensitisation campaign to bring our nationals on board. On the Regional Centre for Promotion of Democracy, which was agreed will be based in Zambia, and which will also look at good governance, human rights and civic education, efforts are under way to actualise the arrangements for staffing and acquisition of office buildings to house the Centre.

Mr Speaker, it is the intention of the Government at the regional level, to continue making efforts to bring peace and stability. You will agree with me that only in an environment of peace, can development be achieved. It is in this vein that we continue to broker peace wherever instability occurs. Peace is a vehicle for development. For our landlocked country, we can only maximise mutual benefits by being a good neighbour to our brothers and sisters whose countries we share common borders with, as well as those who lie beyond our borders.

Mr Speaker, in terms of international relations, particularly, in reference to co-operation with the Asian Region as well the rest of the international community, the Government has found it imperative to open new missions in a number of regions in the world. Zambia is expected to deepen its co-operation with countries in the Asian Region. Following growing economic trends, Asia is an awakening economic giant from which countries such as Zambia can have a lot to learn from.

Mr Speaker, the idea of opening up new diplomatic economic posts is to expand our sphere of co-operation with other nations. We are not an island and we cannot pretend to have all that it takes to develop the country. As such, we need to open up avenues to help us learn from others. It is in this regard that the Government has found it necessary to take a fresh look at our Foreign Policy and allow the new thinking towards achieving maximum economic benefits for Zambia and our people.

Mr Speaker, you may wish to know that our new policy measures are aimed at enhancing trade and investment, which, in the long run, would lead to the promotion of economic growth and development. To achieve this, we, as a nation, need to consolidate our democracy, ensure freedom and national security, promote international peace and security as well as enhance our national image abroad, through various means, including opening up of new missions to serve as first points of contact. 

Mr Speaker, building of a good image for Zambia should not only be the responsibility of the Government, but for all citizens of this country and particularly, hon. Members who are in this House.

Mr Speaker, at this juncture, I would also like to appeal to the hon. Members to assist the Zambians who go outside the country to abide by the laws of those countries just as much as we expect foreigners to abide by the laws of this country.

Mr Speaker, at the moment, we have a number of Zambians and mostly womenfolk who are languishing in prisons or remand prisons in foreign countries. I would like to appeal to hon. Members, to please, assist the nation by sensitising the people in their constituencies that they should abide by the laws of the countries they visit and not fall prey to foreigners who entice them with money.

Mr Speaker, at this point, I wish to thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

The Minister of Communications and Transport (Ms Sayifwanda): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for allowing me to also add my voice to that of others on this very important Motion on the Floor.

Mr Speaker, this Motion is very important because His Excellency, the Republican President has brought unity. I hope this august House will take this Address very seriously. It is not only for hon. Members on your right hand, but also those on your left.

Mr Speaker, I have said so because we have a saying which goes: “A finger can never lift lice”. Therefore, it will need all the efforts from hon. Members for this august House to implement what His Excellency directed.

Mr Speaker, having said that, let me also say that the great Speech is a yard stick to all hon. Members in this august House. Now, we have to measure ourselves against it in contributing to the development of this nation.

Mr Speaker, allow me to come to my portfolio, Communications and Transport which rightfully falls under the able New Deal Administration. Before, I come to my portfolio; let me borrow Hon. Machila’s words by thanking my staff for having contributed to the success under this portfolio.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, I am, indeed, grateful and would like to inform this House that my Ministry has continued implementing programs and activities that fall under my portfolio and the following is the progress on the implementation of the important projects that His Excellency mentioned in his Speech.

His Excellency mentioned “The National Optic Fibre Network” and also the proposed ICT Bills. He also went on to talk about the Chipata/Muchinji Rail Line.

Mr Speaker, let me first start with the Optic Fibre Network. I wish to report that my Ministry, through the Zambia Telecommunications (ZAMTEL) has commenced the laying of a national optic fibre network, starting with the Lusaka metropolitan to be extended to the rest of the country in the long run.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, the Optic Fibre is expected to provide a cost-effective broad band communication, high speed internet, E-commerce, Cable TV, E-Government, E-learning and point to point high speed communication.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, the implementation of this Optic Firbre Network will result in reduced cost of communication, improved quality of service and creation of new industries such as local content provision, Internet broadcasting, and facilitate agricultural development through electronic extension services and tele-banking to rural areas, to name but the few.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, let me urge this august House to say that the onus is on us to make sure that we safeguarded this infrastructure. Vandalism will never build, but keep on pulling us down.

Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this House that my Ministry will also submit to this august House three sets of Bills for consideration and possible enactment into law.

Sir, as His Excellency mentioned in his Speech, these are the ICT Bill, ICT Security Bill and the Postal Services Bill.

Mr Speaker, as I have already said, one finger can never lift lice. It will need concerted effort for us to move. Therefore, this august House is urged to support the Bills when they come to this House for consideration for the development of our nation.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, let me now talk about water transport.

Sir, we have seen that in most cases, we have always ignored water transport. This source of transport is of vital importance. As such, there is a need for not only the Government, but also all members of society to work together and make sure that we improve in the sector of water transport.

Mr Speaker, I am proud to mention to this august House that my Ministry is already in the process of starting to purchase some boats for various areas where there is a need. Let me also mention that this is not going to be done at once, but in stages. We just have to work together. I am, therefore, urging all hon. Members that where there is a problem to do with canals, they must come together and have one voice.

Ms Sayifwanda: This is one way we are going to make progress.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, let me also say that patience pays. Could I also be allowed to come to the issue of air lines. Let me inform this august House that my Ministry is also in the process of revamping and modernising the airports in this nation.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Kakoma: Including Zambezi.

Ms Sayifwanda: Of course, Mr Speaker, Zambezi will also benefit because it is now becoming another oil city.

Mr Kakoma: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Therefore, Hon. Kakoma is already Sheikh.


Ms Sayifwanda: Hon. Mukuma, Hon. Konga, including the one speaking, already have wells. That is a joke.


Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, definitely, Zambezi will also benefit.

However, my Ministry, having realised the importance of the airline in this nation, would urge this august House and the nation at large to invest in the airline industry. That is why there is that sweet song about this able New Deal Administration empowering the Zambian citizens. It is now dawn for Zambians. They must wake up and start investing in their own land and nation.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Never point a finger and ask why that Chinese or Italian was brought. Now is your time. I am urging hon. Members to invest in this industry as this will revamp the tourism sector as well.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, I believe I am a woman of few words, but I believe in actions and not just talking.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: When I stand on this Floor to talk, I have to make sure that what I am saying is acted on, not just talking.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, let me also comment on the railway transport infrastructure. I am proud to mention to this august House that the Muchinji/Chipata Railway, which took twenty-five to thirty years, has become a reality and this is what I am talking about.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, it is really unfortunate because last time I said that the project would be completed by the end of last year, but our plans are not God’s plans. At the moment, we are stuck because there is a portion that has too much water, but I can say before April this year, the project will be completed.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: This is for the benefit of the people in the Eastern Province and the country as a whole.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Definitely, it will not be only the people from Chipata who are going to use this railway, but the whole nation, including the neighbouring countries.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, allow me also to inform the public and this august House that we still have more openings. Therefore, I am urging the hon. Members to invest in this railway infrastructure. As you may wish to know, railway transport is the cheapest mode of transport in the whole world. As a result of the mushrooming of mines, railways are going to play a great role in this nation. Therefore, I am encouraging all Zambians with resources to invest in this industry, and I can assure them that they will not go wrong.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Sayifwanda: Mr Speaker, I know other hon. Ministers and hon. Members would like to contribute to the Motion and as I already said, I do not believe in talking, but acting.

Lastly, let me also mention to this august House that this Government is already in the process of tendering the bid for the fourth mobile line for communication. Those of you who have the resources are free to bid and get into this industry.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Health (Dr Chituwo): Mr Speaker, thank you for affording me an opportunity to contribute to the debate on this very important Motion ably moved by the hon. Member of Parliament for Chisamba and ably seconded by Hon. Milupi.

Mr Speaker, in the first instance, allow me to join the rest of the Members of this august House in congratulating His Excellency the President, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, for delivering a very succinct Speech to this House.

The Speech tackled achievements made by the New Deal Administration, during the year 2007. It also talked about the provision of policy guidance to this House and the nation on areas of focus on our national development agenda for 2008 and beyond.

Mr Speaker, many of my colleagues on this side and on your left have received His Excellency the President’s Speech with admiration and, to me, this is not surprising.

Mr Speaker, let me dwell, perhaps, a little more on the Ministry. We strongly concur with the observation made by His Excellency, the President on the major challenges facing the health sector, as previously articulated by His Excellency. These include the critical shortage of human resource, poor access to health services due to inadequate health infrastructure, high child and maternal mortality rates and the scourge of HIV/AIDS. The Failure by my Ministry to reduce the number of months of waiting and improved access to treatment for patients requiring specialised cancer treatment are some of the challenges that still face my Ministry.

Mr Speaker, I would like to inform this august House that through the Fifth National Development Plan, we have set, for ourselves, priorities which must receive attention if we have to contribute to the socio-economic development of this country. However distant either on account of geography or otherwise, these are the areas of focus.

On Child Health and Nutrition, the aim is to reduce the mortality rate of the children under five, currently standing at 168 per 1000 deliveries. We have made in-roads in that area. I am happy to report to the House that since the 2003 National Measles Campaign, there has been no single reported case of death from measles-related complications in the country.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: We have further attained a first to do with immunisations in DPT and the House may wish to know that Zambia has been certified as a polio free country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker, one of the areas of focus is that of integrated reproductive health. This, again, arises from the fact that we are among the countries with the highest rate of loss of mothers in child birth. I am happy to say that just yesterday, 23rd January, 2008, a new initiative called the Maternal, New Born and Child Health Partnership was launched in Zambia. This is to harmonise, align and integrate various partners in the care of mothers and children, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) issues.

Mr Speaker, this, as indicated in His Excellency the President’s Speech, remains one of the determinants of our socio-economic development. Starting from less than two centres in the country that were offering Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), now all the districts in the country have at least one centre while most of them have more than two. We have now been able to put well over 134,000 Zambian patients on ART. Only 8 per cent of these patients are children. We have been able to put in place three centres that are able to diagnose HIV in infants, using a courier system that is able to transport dried blood samples to these centres. There is one at the University Teaching Hospital as well as at Kalingalinga Clinic and the Arthur Davison Hospital on the Copperbelt.

Mr Speaker, malaria is another issue that we have embarked on, not only to control, but to eliminate. By December, 2007, we had distributed well over 3.4 million Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs). We had first concentrated on the Northern, Eastern and Southern Provinces under the Mass Distribution Programme. This programme aims at giving each household at least three bed-nets. The remaining provinces will be tackled this year and the programme will go on with the distribution of nets through ante-natal clinic and other outlets. We have the indoor residual spraying in fifteen districts and this year, we aim to increase this to twenty-two. In the just-ended campaign, we have covered well over 90 per cent of the households.

Mr Speaker, it is important to recognise that essential drugs and medical supplies are an important ingredient to the health services. In order to make them accessible, the policy of abolishing user fees entailed that fifty-four of our district council areas were offering free medical services.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Health’s share of the National Budget has shown a consistent increase towards the Abuja Declaration of 15 per cent of the discretional budget. Our mission is to provide Zambians with the equity of access to cost-effective, affordable and quality health care as close to the household as possible. In this regard, I would like to significantly refer to the hon. Members of Parliaments’ contribution regarding the issues of equity and access. I have carefully listened to various hon. Members of Parliament contribute. I listened first to the debate by my neighbour, the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwembeshi. In his debate, he alleged that all development goes to Mumbwa Central Constituency.

Mr Muntanga: Yes, it is true.

Dr Chituwo: It is most unfortunate that an hon. Member of Parliament with grey hair like me can mislead himself. I would like to show why this is so. Firstly, the headquarters of Mumbwa is in Mumbwa Central Constituency and therefore, you expect more activities there. Secondly, it is unfortunate that in terms of rural electrification, Mwembeshi is the only area that has had electricity extended to the Lutheran Mission and Mutombe Basic School. No other parts of the rural areas in Mumbwa are connected to the electricity grid. Therefore, his assertion that all the power lines just go to Mumbwa Central are clearly untrue.

Further, there is the issue of health centres. I would like to state that the health posts were constructed at Maimwene, Chiwena, Nalubanda Rural Health Centre, as well as extensions to Chishobo Maternity Wing. All these are not in Mumbwa Central Constituency. We have plans to upgrade Nampundwe Health Centre, which was not built to standard, so as to can cope with the increase in population. If only the hon. Member of Parliament had the courtesy to interact with the hon. Minister of Health, he would have had more information about our plans. For instance, there is the issue of provision of mortuary units in Nampundwe. Unfortunately, he does not want to talk to me and therefore, he will not know and, therefore, will speak with a serious deficit in information.


Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, coming to the issue of cattle restocking, I am aware that all the three constituencies have benefited from this exercise by providing three clubs with animals. So, where is the discrimination? I would like to urge my brother there (pointing at Hon. Kasoko) that, as leaders, we must focus on the service to the people and tell them the truth.

With regard to solar refrigeration, all the constituencies with health centres have had it installed so that we can ably immunise children. There has been no discrimination. I wish to state and I quote the Peace Lorret and former President of South African, Nelson Mandela, who stated that:

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats it children.”

Mr Speaker, I would like to substitute this quote by restating that there can be no keen revelation of a Government’s soul than the way it treats its citizens. This, therefore, means that, as the Government in power, the New Deal Movement for Multi-party Democracy is mandated and must look after all the citizens of Zambia, including those in Mwembeshi.

Mr Speaker, let me now turn to the area of budgeting. If we concentrate all the public funds on the health sector, one would find that we are not taking on board that which contributes to the health of our nation. As a Ministry, we are, therefore, aware of linkages with other social sectors that have a bearing on good health which are the improvements in the provision of water and sanitation. We are grateful that there is this emphasis. There is also the issue of linkages with the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives in terms of food security and nutrition. There is a linkage in the overall economic performance.

Mr Speaker, equally important is the emphasis of the Government on education, particularly of the girl child. Once all these are embraced and at looked into, certainly, they can only strengthen not only the socio-economic development, but also our democracy.

Mr Speaker, attainment of good health is a journey that we must all walk at various levels of leadership. Our inability to provide services all at once calls for patience from my colleagues. We shall reach your constituency with consistency. I, therefore, expect that those “questionables” who question on nearly everything will, please, tone down.

Mr Kambwili interjected.

Dr Chituwo: You can see that we are a working Government.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker I would be failing in my duties if I did not mention one aspect of governance and that is the National Constitution Conference (NCC).

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that the NCC, a law that we made in this House must be a source of disunity. In my view, that must unite us if, indeed, we are focused on Mother Zambia because whatever differences we have can only be resolved by sitting in the same room around the same table.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: Therefore, as has been alluded to by my colleagues who debated previously, there is room for each one of us to contribute to the making of a constitution that will stand the test of time.

Mr Speaker, I, therefore, wish to congratulate all the Members of Parliament who, against all odds, acted according to reason and are trying to build the basis of our democracy in Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

The Vice-President (Mr R. B. Banda): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to say a few words following the Speech of the President.

I would like to join my colleagues from both sides of the House who thanked His Excellency the President for a most inspiring, honest and thought-provoking speech. I wish to thank all my colleagues once again, for the support that they have given to His Excellency the President and the Government following this Speech by His Excellency the President.

My colleagues, various hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers who have spoken have said it all, and it will be unfair to bore the House by repeating what they ably said. I would like to take this opportunity to answer the question and statement raised in a point of order by Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, Member of Parliament for Monze. I would like to thank him for raising this question because it will help us, as a Government, especially my office to get closer to the rest of the country and show that the Members of this Parliament are deeply concerned about the welfare of all its citizens. I also thank him because his point of order will give a chance to prospective supporters of this effort, mainly the private sector and donors to continue with their efforts to assist this Government; and, indeed, all hon. Members of Parliament in this plight in which we find ourselves.

Mr Speaker, disasters are unpredictable and can occur at any time, usually at the most inconvenient time. I knew that this question would arise at some point because as I said earlier, Members of this House are deeply concerned with the welfare of all the Zambian people.

Unfortunately, the hon. Members of Parliament have not had the chance to confront me on the Friday’s Vice-President’s Question Time. Therefore, Hon. Jack Mwiimbu would not wait for next Friday knowing that this Friday is Budget day. I now take this opportunity – he is not here unfortunately- to show him and all the colleagues what the Government is doing.

Mr Speaker, the Government chose to act to mitigate the effects of the floods in order to alleviate the suffering of the affected people before making a statement. We have written to all the District Commissioners countrywide to inspect all the townships in the country and report the conditions back to us.

Mr Speaker, with regard to Lusaka, the Government through my office has already taken measures to try and face these problems. We all know of the wise English saying “actions speak louder than words.”

Mr Speaker, the Government has not, in fact, been silent. His Excellency the President Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC. has spoken loudly and his statements on floods have been extensively covered and reported in all the media. I have made statements and sent appeals for support to the private sector which have been responded to positively and they continue to do so.

Mr Speaker, the Permanent Secretary in my office has launched what we call the National Contingency Plan to deal with floods, drought and cholera in 2007. This has been shared with co-operating partners and formed the basis of their intervention. These too have been reported widely. I now lay the Contingency Plan on the Table to to enable those who are interested in pursuing this question further.

Mr Speaker, in line with the National Contingency Plan, that I have referred to above, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Vice-President and the National Co-ordinator of the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit have continued to issue press updates every Thursday, including today, to keep the country informed.

Mr Speaker, allow me, however to brief this august House on the flood situation in our country. The floods of 2007 and 2008 are as a result of the rainfall which has been way above normal, especially in the Southern Province where, in some cases, currently, over twice the normal rains have fallen. In addition, this rain has been heavy causing floods. This is the case of the current problems.

Mr Speaker, to date, 3, 337 people have been affected and had to be helped in various ways. The areas affected include Mazabuka where 608 families have been affected and 120 families provided with tents and food from my office; Monze where 450 families have been affected and 226 provided with tents and food; Namwala where ten tents have been dispatched and 228 families were affected; Sinazongwe where ten tents have been sent and 839 families have been affected. Some victims are living with extended families while 378 families needed tents.

Mr Speaker, the Government has released K14 billion towards the relief effort and more money will need to be raised to cope with the continuing disaster.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: The Government has also released 15,000 metric tonnes of maize for relief. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Finance and National Planning for this support.

Mr Speaker, towns such as Lusaka are also affected. The Government has appointed a task force to help drain the town and prevent epidemics. Mr Speaker, I, now, lay the plan of action to drain Lusaka on the Table.

The Vice-President laid the paper on the Table

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: The Zambia Army, the Zambia National Service and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit are working with the Council in this task.

Mr Speaker, we are continuing to monitor the situation across the country. We will advise this august House on how the situation develops. I would like to assure the hon. Members here that the Government’s motive is not, as I overheard some hon. Members who debated earlier refer to the Government’s action in Lusaka, particularly, in the areas where there will be by-elections, to campaign. This is far from the truth. I have proved that wherever there are problems in this country, we try our best. I do not know of any by-election in the Southern Province, but that is how a government should react to the needs of the people whenever they arise.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to wind up debate on His Excellency, the President’s Address to this House which was delivered on Friday, 11th January, 2008.

Sir, let me also thank the Leader of Government Business in the House, His Honour the Vice-President and the seconder of the Motion, Hon. Milupi, for the wise manner in which they debated.

I further wish to thank all hon. Members who debated constructively by contributing meaningfully to the President’s Address. I also would like to recognise the hon. Members who remained silent on the Motion because I respect their rights.


Mr Muteteka: Mr Speaker, during the debate, I noticed that most of debates from my fellow Members in this House as well as those from outside the House were interesting and educative.

For the first time, this House has registered a difference because both hon. Members from your right and left acknowledged the positive and productive direction that His Excellency’s Speech provided to this nation, especially on the economic growth agenda and policy matters.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: Mr Speaker, these pronouncements are targeted at benefiting Zambians.

At this juncture, let me thank the hon. Ministers for highlighting areas that needed clarification. However, Zambians are expecting more.

Mr Speaker, I am aware that the Government has taken note of the concerns raised in this House, including the advice that was given by Hon. Kasongo and others who emphasised on implementation.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: It is my understanding that the Government has always paid attention to most vexing issues. Truly, implementation will follow according to the specifications of the Fifth National Development Plan set by this Government.

Mr Speaker, I would like to point out that criticism, coupled with solutions or advice, is always healthy and welcome everywhere where democracy exists in the world.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: However, criticising using the draconian approach is unproductive and derails development.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: Mr Speaker, let me conclude by once more thanking you, Sir, and your competent staff for making the running of this House effective and efficient, despite many technical electrical disruptions experienced during this week.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: Mr Speaker, allow me to testify that His Excellency the President means well in showing the way forward for Zambia. He has exhibited quality leadership which should attract a lot of support from all citizens and other stakeholders who are our the co-operating partners. The debates demonstrated the seriousness hon. Members of Parliament attach to the process of service delivery to the people of Zambia. It would not do if we left everything to the President and expected a miracle to happen for Zambia. It has to take each and every Zambian to realise the calling to work hard and contribute towards the economic growth for Zambia.

Mr Speaker, Zambia is for Zambians, hence the need to unite and promote team work in all sectors, including the making of a national constitution that shall stand the test of time.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: Mr Speaker, to those who have boycotted, I can only say that I am sorry for them. If people outside this country are able to acknowledge the wonderful achievements done by this Government, what has gone wrong with us that cannot do likewise?

Mr Speaker, finally, allow me to describe the President’s Speech as food for thought and challenge for all well-meaning citizens. Notably, in leadership, we cannot please everybody. It is important to appreciate where necessary regardless of our political affiliations.

Sir, allow me also to thank the people of Chisamba Constituency for the support they are giving to this Government and to me as their hon. Member of Parliament.

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

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!


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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1938 hours until 1415 hours on Friday, 25th January, 2008.