Debates- Friday, 18th January, 2008

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Friday, 18th January, 2008

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are aware of the interruption of the Business of the House yesterday, 17th January, 2008. This was due to power failure and power outage which resulted in the technical fault to the equipment we are using for our Public Address System.

I am glad to inform you that the fault has been rectified by our technical team in conjunction with the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) officers. Our technical team and ZESCO management say they are doing everything possible to mitigate any future power failure and power outage to the National Assembly during this particular sitting.

Thank you.



The Minister of Defence (Mr Mpombo): Mr Speaker, I rise to give the House some idea of the business it will consider next week.

On Tuesday, 22nd January, 2008, the Business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will focus on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President’s Address to this House.

On Wednesday, 23rd January, 2008, the Business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by Private Members motions, if there will be any. Then, the House will continue with the debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President’s Address.

Sir, on Thursday, 24th January, 2008, the Business of the House will commence with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. The House will then conclude the debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President’s Address.

It is my intention on this day, Mr Speaker, to move a motion to suspend Standing Orders Nos. 19 and 20 so that the House meets at 1415 hours in the afternoon on Friday, 25th January, 2008 to enable the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning deliver his Budget Speech for the year 2008.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!





37. Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a) how many refugees camps are currently in the country;

(b) How many refugees are in the camps at (a) above, nationality by nationality;

(c) how many refugees were repatriated in 2007; and

(d) what would be the benefits to the indigenous Zambians of allowing refugees to settle in Zambia.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Ms Njapau): Mr Speaker, the House may wish to know that there are two refugee camps and two refugee settlements namely; Mwange Refugee Camp in Mporokoso, Kala Refugee Camp in Kawambwa, Maheba Refugee Settlement in Solwezi and Mayukwayukwa Refugee Settlement in Kaoma.

There are 59,340 refugees in the camps and settlements. Of the total number of refugees in camps and settlements, 18,704 are Angolans, 269 Burundians, 38,298 Congolese, 1,938 Rwandese, twenty-three Somalis, thirty-seven Ugandans and seventy-two others consisting of Sudanese and Liberians.

A total number of 9,754 refugees were repatriated in 2007. Of the total number of refugees repatriated in 2007, 7,323 were Congolese and 2,431 Angolans.

Zambia’s international humanitarian obligation to host refugees stems from the state being party to the 1951 UN Convention and its 1967 Protocol relating to the status of refugees and the 1969 OAU Convention governing specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa. Zambia is obliged to host refugees who seek asylum from serious human rights violations (persecution) or war until a durable solution is secured in the form of repatriation, local integration or permanent resettlement to third countries, amongst which repatriation is the preferred solution. At present the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwandan repatriation programmes are on going, while Angolan refugees expressing a wish to return are facilitated to return by being issued with documents for their travel.

Recently, the Government of Denmark through their assistance to refugee hosting communities programme provided a grant to Zambia in the sum of US$6.5 million for capacity building, roads development and agriculture. Zambia has benefited greatly from this arrangement.

The Government does allow the engagement of qualified refugees, such as, doctors and teachers to fill existing vacancies particularly in the outlaying areas. This practice has undoubtedly benefited the Zambian communities where these refugees have been serving.

The infrastructure in the settlements, such as, schools, clinics, motor vehicles and so on when the refugees repatriate to their countries of origin are handed over to the Government of Zambia for use by local people.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out what the Government is doing to follow up those refugees who have integrated themselves illegally into Zambian communities and have even obtained National Registration cards.

The Minister of Home Affairs (Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha): Mr Speaker, the Zambian Government has a record of all those who have integrated themselves into the Zambian communities. The Government will also continue to repatriate them back to the where they belong. The fact that they have illegally integrated, we will ensure that the cessation clause on individuals is applied for them to be sent back to other countries where they can be resettled.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwanza (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, who is responsible for the road infrastructure in the Maheba Refugee Camp because the road is almost impassable?

Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, all the roads including those in the camps is the responsibility of the area Local Government. They should budget for them and ensure that roads are repaired.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Milupi (Luena): Mr Speaker, when will the exercise of repatriating refugees from camps in Western Province going to be completed?

Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, the Zambian Government in the last 2 years has repatriated more than 74,000 refugees from Western Province to Angola. We still have quite a number of refugees that will be repatriated. We are negotiating with Angola and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to restart the programme because it had officially come to an end in Angola and the Angolan Government could not take anymore. We are aware that there are more than 40,000 plus refugees still available in Zambia, but we are still working out measures and as soon as logistics are put in place, they will be sent back For those who volunteer to go back, they make arrangements with their respective embassies to travel back. However, we will continue with the exercise until all of them are resettled in their countries.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, I wonder if the hon. Minster can assure us that amongst the Rwandan refugees that were mentioned in the totals, there were no individuals who are refugees from justice as opposed to refugees from political oppression. I refer, of course, to the genocidaires as they are known, in particular, those who were possibly guilty of committing the genocide in the 1990s.

Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the hon. Member for Lusaka Central that this Government continues to work very closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Rwandan Government and the Court of Justice in Arusha that is dealing with the cases of those Rwandese that were involved in the genocide. This is a lengthy process to examine and investigate every refugee that is coming out of Rwanda. Yes, there were a number of them who were in transit and the Zambian Government was able to submit dossiers to the International Court in Arusha. However, I can assure the hon. Member that we do not have any now.

Thank you, Sir.


39. Mr Ntundu (Gwembe) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a) how much money was spent on procuring the two new pontoons at Kazungula;

(b) which company is responsible for servicing the pontoons;

(c) how often are the pontoons serviced; and

(d) how much does the Government spend on each service.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Ndalamei): Mr Speaker, an amount of K1,820,833.00 was spent to purchase the two pontoons at Kazungula in 2004. The funds were made available by the European Union.

With regard to (b), the servicing of the pontoons is carried out by a force account. The Engineering Services Company (ESCO) has employed technicians to carry out the servicing of the pontoons. Servicing of the pontoons is carried out at a quarterly basis. The Engineering Services Company spends on average of K15 million for servicing the pontoons monthly.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that ESCO at Kazungula has continued with the bad policy of not registering people on the pontoon aboard? In the case of a calamity occurring, the record of the people aboard the pontoon will not be known. What is the hon. Minister doing in order to ensure that ESCO keeps a record of the people and cars who board the pontoon?

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, my ministry shall ensure that ESCO maintains a register of the vehicles and people that use the pontoon. In fact, this is an instruction that has been given to them. If the hon. Member went there and found that ESCO does not register the vehicles and people who board the pontoon are not registered, we shall ensure that they start registering them.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


40. Mr Mukanga asked the Minster of Finance and National Planning:

(a) What partnership agreements exist between the Governments of Zambia and India with reference to INDO-Zambia Bank Ltd; and

(b) what the names of the Managing Directors of the Indo-Zambia Bank Ltd are from inception to-date.

The Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Shakafuswa): Mr Speaker, Indo-Zambia Bank Limited was formed as a joint venture in 1984 by mutual agreement between the Government of the Republic of Zambia and the Government of India. On behalf of the Government of Zambia, 40 per cent equity was contributed by the Zambia Industrial and Mining Corporation (ZIMCO) and the balance of 60 per cent equity was contributed by the Government of India through three large Indian public sector banks. These are Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Central Bank of India in equal proportions of 20 per cent each. The shares previously held by ZIMCO on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Zambia have subsequently been transferred to the Ministry of Finance and National Planning on behalf of the people of Zambia.

With regard to (b),  the names of Managing Directors of Indo-Zambia Bank Limited from inception to date are as follows:
(i) Mr S B Wagle from 20th January, 1984 to 31st October, 1988;

(ii) Mr Y D Potnis from 28th September, 1988 to 8th October, 1991;

(iii) Mr S R Krishnan from 9th September, 1991 to 10th December, 1993;

(iv) Mr M R Mallya from 29th September, 1993 to 10th November, 1995;

(v) M K C Mehta  from 27th September, 1995 to 13th March, 1999

(vi) Mr A K Misra from 28th June, 1999 to 16th May, 2004;

(vii) Mr S P Agrawal from19th April, 2004 to 19th December, 2005; and

(viii) Mr C Patro from 5th December, 2005 to date.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I am sure all the names the hon. Minister has mentioned are Indian. I would like to find out why we have had Indians running Indo-Zambia Bank as though there are no Zambians capable of doing so.

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, the share structure determines the ownership of institutions and this applies in all other areas of business. Our partners, the Indians, own 60 per cent of Indo-Zambia Bank. The Indian entrepreneurs came together and formed this bank. Therefore, if someone owns 60 per cent shares in a company, he controls the company.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


41. Mr Malama (Mfuwe) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a) when the ban on the sale of alcohol in markets will be enforced; and

(b) whether the ministry will provide alternative places for traders currently dealing in alcohol in markets.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Dr Kazonga): Mr Speaker, the ban on the sale of alcohol in markets is already being enforced and law breakers have either had their shops closed or prosecuted. Council police are deployed in markets to enforce the ban.

With regard to part (b) of the question, the Government is not obliged to find alternative places for such traders as places designated for such trade already exist.

I thank you, Sir.


42. Mr Ntundu asked the Minister of Education when construction of a high school in Gwembe District would commence.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Mr Sinyinda): Mr Speaker, the tender for the construction of a high school in Gwembe closed on 26th October, 2007 and the contractor will move on site as soon as the contract is awarded.

I thank you, Sir.


43. Mr Malama asked the Minister of Health what measures the Government has taken to ensure that expectant mothers and under-five children access medical facilities within walkable distances in rural areas.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Puma): Mr Speaker, in line with the vision of the health sector which is “to provide Zambians equitable access to cost effective quality health care as close to the family as possible”, the Ministry of Health has strengthened the health delivery system by the construction of health posts and rural health centres within walkable distances in rural areas. These health facilities are now being provided with trained health personnel, such as, mid-wives and clinical officers who are at hand to attend to expectant mothers and under-five children.

In addition, the health personnel conduct outreach services to communities at which ante-natal and other services are provided. Similarly, the flying doctors services do conduct outreach programmes in some remote areas that are inaccessible by road.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Malama: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister confirm whether someone can walk a distance of about 80 kilometres because this is the distance between the people living in Chief Nabwalya’s area and the clinic. That is from the paris to …

Hon. Members: Paris?

Mr Malama: … from the palace to Chilonga Hospital.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, as Government, we are very committed to ensuring that health services are provided as close to the family as possible. Starting from the year 2000 to date, over eighty health posts have been fully funded by the Ministry of Health without any community contribution. Last year alone, about twenty-five health posts were funded across the country in an effort to ensure that services are provided as close to the family as possible. As a ministry, we shall continue with this infrastructural development plan to ensure that services are as close as possible to the families.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nsanda (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the doctor himself if a man who has malaria is fit to walk 80 kilometres to go to the nearest clinic.

The Minister of Health (Dr Chituwo): Mr Speaker, the patient is definitely not able to walk the 80 kilometres to the nearest health facility. This is why we provide outreach programmes in those activities that can be planned. This is why we have in place such programmes in order to attend to patients like this one. It is not possible to cover the entire country with the facilities that are required. What is important here for the hon. Member to remember is that the commitment is there, we are consistent and that we shall achieve our vision.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, I would like to find if Government has any plans to procure ambulances for such cases and if so, how much has been provided in this year’s Budget for this.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I wish to confirm to this House that not only do we have plans, but we have acted on them.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament for Roan is very much aware that we have distributed ambulances and utility vehicles so far to Eastern and North-Western provinces. We have purchased 164 4 x 4 Land Cruiser vehicles so that each district in this country can have, at least, a minimum of two vehicles.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: When time comes, I will be very happy if the hon. Member for Roan will gather courage to come with me as I hand over these vehicles to the Copperbelt Province.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kanyanyamina (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, I tend to shed tears for the people of Kanchibiya going by the answer given by the hon. Minister of Health when …

Mr Speaker: Order! No hon. Member of Parliament is allowed to weep in the Chamber.


Mr Speaker: You debate and bring up your concerns courageously.

May you continue, please.


Mr Kanyanyamina: Sir, is it fair for the hon. Minister to tell this House that the ministry provides health providers in health centres when Kabinga Health Centre in my constituency has not had trained manpower for 5 months apart from the watchman who is trying to attend to expectant mothers and other patients? If the Government wants, they can send Government wings to go and inspect. Could the hon. Minister confirm that health providers are given when Kabinga Health Centre is lacking personnel?

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I am grateful for that question from the hon. Member for Kanchibiya. We are aware of the shortages in the human resource for health personnel in many of our health facilities throughout the country and recruitment process has been going on. We have the records as to where these shortages are. Since the recruitment is an on going process, we will continue even on this budget recruiting health workers to reach our targeted 51,000 health workers. At the moment, there are about 26,000 health workers and we have had treasury authority to recruit 5,000 health workers.

As we heard from His Excellency the President’s Address, 1,200 of these have been recruited and as we continue, I can assure the hon. Member of Parliament for Kanchibiya that we will send qualified people there. However, in order to fill that gap, we have undertaken in the past and continue to do so to train the traditional birth attendants who are contributing significantly to safe delivery of our mothers in the remote rural areas.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, having health facilities alone without drugs is not acceptable. Expectant mothers and under-five children need the drugs. When is the ministry planning to procure drugs in these facilities because there are no drugs at health institutions like the Ronald Ross Hospital?

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, whereas the hon. Member for Kantanshi has brought out some partial truth, …


Dr Chituwo: … I must state that we have been adequately procuring drugs for the population had it not been for:

(i) an increase in the diseases that befall us particularly, HIV/AIDS related diseases;

(ii) the population that has increased; and

(iii) we have brought out a fantastic policy of abolition of user fees, particularly, in the rural areas including those areas that surround urban cities.

Mr Speaker, we have found that our projection was incorrect in the sense that the attendance at these health facilities increased between 34 and 40 per cent, therefore, utilising the drugs that had been planned for. In order to mitigate this, I hope hon. Members will support the ministry’s budget for this year.  We have planned for K29 billion and set up a budget drug supply line which will ensure the correct forecast for the needs at tertiary, first and second levels and rural health centres. We believe that these shortages will definitely be minimised if not completely dealt with.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Milupi: Mr Speaker, would the hon. Minister indicate to this House what he would consider to be a walking distance for people to health delivery services?  In that line, would the hon. Minister recognise that the public health centres in rural areas were important centres for health delivery? Would he indicate to us why public health centres, especially in Luena have not been supplied with medical kits?

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, the guidelines with regard to what is presumed to be a distance that a patient can walk which guides the construction of health posts and centres is such that a health post is meant to cater for a population of 500 households, translating approximately 3,500 people in the rural areas. As regards urban areas, the guidelines are such that this health post can support 1,000 households translating about 7,000 people.

Mr Speaker, we have been working on setting up a 5 kilometer-radius for sparsely populated areas. This is a distance that we feel that could be managed by a patient to walk to a health facility. In some instances, however, for instance, where we have health centres, these carry out outreach programmes in order to reduce the walking distance that the patients would have to cover to go to the health centre.

Mr Speaker, there are other criteria for hospitals in terms of population cover of the first level district, provincial and general hospitals.

I thank you, Sir


44. Mr Ntundu asked the Vice-President:

(a) how many vehicles were bought for the Electoral Commission of Zambia prior to the General Elections held on 28th September, 2006; and
(b) why some vehicles for the Electoral Commission of Zambia bear GRZ number while others bear private numbers.

The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Malwa): Mr Speaker, a total number of ninety-seven vehicles were procured for the Electoral Commission of Zambia prior to the General elections of 2006, which are broken down as follows:

(i) seventy-two Toyota Land cruisers and distributed to all districts.

(ii) ten Mercedes Benz trucks; and

(iii)  fifteen utility Toyota Land Cruiser Station wagons.

Mr Speaker, with regard to part (b) of the question, I wish to say that the vehicles that bear GRZ numbers are those that were bought when the 
Commission was under the Office of the Vice-President and these are as follows:

(i) ten utility Mercedes Benz trucks;

(ii) four Tata trucks; and

(iii) five utility Land cruisers.

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to know that since the Electoral Commission of Zambia became an autonomous institution, all the vehicles that were purchased by the Commission bear private number plates.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, for transparency’s sake, if the hon. Minister has nothing to hide in the Electoral Commission of Zambia, why are these private vehicles not being changed to GRZ?

The Minister of Defence (Mr Mpombo): Mr Speaker, firstly, I want to make it abundantly clear …


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: … that this Government is founded on the bed rock of transparency …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: … and equally, in order to have credible elections, this Government is very serious and committed to ensuring that we have a credible electoral commission.

Regarding these number plates, I think this is a minor issue. It has been explained that before the Electoral Commission of Zambia became autonomous, there were some vehicles that were procured for the Commission by the Government. Measures are being taken to ensure that this matter is dealt with. The question of changing number plates is not an issue, but  just a simple matter.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, the Electoral Commission of Zambia hires vehicles during elections. I would like to find out from the Vice-President whether tender procedures are followed and handled by the Tender Board of Zambia.

Mr Mpombo: Mr Speaker, all issues pertaining to the operations of the Electoral Commission of Zambia are handled in a very transparent manner. Nothing is hidden under the carpet.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!


45. Mr Malama asked the Minister of Energy and Water Development why ZESCO load shedding only targeted high density areas such as Mtendere, Chawama and Mandevu and not low density areas like Kabulonga, Woodlands, Ibex Hill and Northmead.

The Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Sichilima): Mr Speaker, I wish to assure this august House that it is not the policy of the Government to favour certain residential areas in the load shedding programme. The Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO) is aware of this policy position and according to my knowledge, they apply it. The Zambia Electricity Supply Company tries as much as possible to ensure that load shedding is done as fairly as possible. In fact, low density areas like Kabulonga, Woodlands, Ibex Hill and Northmead are also affected.

The only areas on account of practical basis which are not usually affected are those that are fed from the same lines like hospitals, security facilities, embassies and pump stations. In such situations, ZESCO is constrained as it cannot isolate the supply of such areas from the supply of the sensitive facilities.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Malama: Mr Speaker, will the hon. Minister inform the House whether power has been restored for the people of Kanyama who demonstrated last week because of not having electricity for 3 weeks?

The Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Konga): Mr Speaker, it was regrettable that some of our citizens from Kanyama demonstrated. However, supply was entirely affected to the area of Kanyama arising from failure of a transformer in that area and this had nothing to do with load shedding.

Mr Speaker, some of the other reasons that cause power disruptions to many other areas is this scourge called vandalism where citizens decide to drain oil from transformers and some of them decide to cut conductors. This leads not only to disruptions of supply to these areas, but also affects business at large. Therefore, I would like to urge the hon. Member to help the Government also by ensuring that they talk to our people in the concerned areas that they guard these assets jealously because when the vandals among them vandalise the installations, it is not only the vandals who are affected, but even the citizens who live with them. I urge the hon. Member to have discussions with the citizens so that they guard the assets jealously.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kapeya (Mpika): Mr Speaker, low density areas like New Kasama in Lusaka experience power failure during the rainy season, especially when there is thunder and lightening. What causes this failure?

Mr Konga: Mr Speaker, it is true that many parts of the country experience power outages more often during the rainy season, including the area that he mentioned. This usually stems from the fact that the infrastructure that provides this service has aged. Some of this infrastructure is as old as 40 years. Therefore, we would like the hon. Member to bear with the Government. The Government has embarked upon the rehabilitation exercise of the infrastructure and I hope there will be a reduction of power outages after this exercise.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.


46. Mr Ntundu asked the Minister of Works and Supply when the Government would tar the road from Woodlands Stadium to Chalala residential area in Lusaka.

 Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, the Ministry has no immediate plans to upgrade the existing road between Woodlands Stadium and Chalala Residential area to bitumen standard due to the lack of funds. However, the Ministry has provided K4.5 billion in the 2008 Budget for the periodic maintenance of the road.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, I need your protection. I am being intimidated because of asking this question.

Mr Speaker: Order! The Chair does not see any intimidation. May you, please, proceed.


Mr Ntundu: I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, if you came here to warm your seats, please, let me ask my question. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister if he is aware of the condition of the road at the moment since there are no immediate plans.

Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, we are aware and that is why we have provided K4.5 billion in this year’s budget to maintain the road.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that the amount of money that has been provided is not enough to do a very good road because the state of the road is contributing to the high maintenance costs on vehicles?

Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, the money that has been provided in this year’s budget is according to the engineers who assessed the road. Therefore, the money that we have budgeted for will be enough for maintaining it.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Order! The Chair would like to guide the Executive in one important aspect. Do all you can to avoid the temptation of disclosing figures prematurely before the budget is presented because you are prejudicing your case if you do that.

May the hon. Member for Mfuwe ask the next question, please.

Hon. Government Members: He is not here.

Mr Speaker: He is gone!


Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Mfuwe is not in the House, therefore, the question lapses.



48. Mr Ntundu asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a) how many Government vehicles were involved in road traffic accidents from 2002 to-date; and

(b) how much the Government lost due to the accidents above.

Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, in response to the question raised by the hon. Member for Gwembe, I would like to inform the House as follows:

(a) 1,062 Government vehicles were involved in road traffic accidents from 2002 to-date; and

(b) the Government has lost K7,133,332,337.00 in repair costs. The cost would have been high if the erring officers were not surcharged.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, why does the Government not insure some of its vehicles so that in case of accidents, insurance companies can compensate other than losing huge sums of money?

 Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, if there is such a case that some vehicles are not insured, then that is unfortunate. The hon. Member must know that the Government vehicles are bought using two ways. There are vehicles bought by the Ministry of Works and Supply for other Government ministries who upon delivery are asked to insure the vehicles. Secondly, there are vehicles bought by the ministries themselves. It must be understood that because they are aware of the instructions given to them, they are supposed to insure the vehicles. In fact, when we distributed the personal-to-holder vehicles, we instructed all hon. Ministers not to use them until they were very sure that their vehicles were insured. Therefore, if there are some vehicles that are not insured, then that is unfortunate and maybe, I should mention again that all Government vehicles are supposed to be insured.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, in the past, it was the Ministry of Works and Supply that used to buy vehicles. I would like to find out whether the Government is thinking of reverting to the old system because there is a lot of confusion.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, yes, it is true that there are a lot of models being owned by the Government in that the buying of vehicles has been decentralised. However, this is what we have to accept when we decentralise because the individual units have the power to decide what models they will buy.

In the past, the Ministry of Works and Supply bought vehicles for all the Government institutions and ensured that only one or two models were bought as we do today. However, going back might not be the solution. I am sure that it is working well for the individual ministries buying their own vehicles for use within their ministries as we provide for personal-to-holder vehicles.

I thank you, Sir.




The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Magande): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the following hon. Members do constitute the Public Accounts Committee for the Second Session of the Tenth National Assembly:

1. Mr V. Mwale, MP;
2. Mrs E. M. Banda, MP;
3. Mr E. M. Hachipuka, MP;
4. Mr L. M. Mwenya, MP;
5. Mr B. Y. Mwila, MP;
6. Mr P. Sichamba, MP; 
7. Mr D. M. Syakalima, MP
8. Mr L. P. Msichili, MP and
9. Mr C. L. Milupi, MP.

Mr Speaker, I wish to begin by thanking the previous Members of the Public Accounts Committee for the commendable job they did in the First Session of the Tenth National Assembly.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Despite the previous Committee having had six new hon. Members who were elected to Parliament for the first time, the Committee tabled five reports which had a big impact on the oversight role of this august House.

Sir, I have no doubt that with the precedence that the previous Committee set, the persons that I am proposing to constitute the Public Accounts Committee for the Second Session of the Tenth National Assembly will even do better.

Mr Speaker, we are all aware that the work of the Committee is to a larger extent dependant upon the Auditor-General. In turn the efficiency and effectiveness of the Auditor-General is dependant upon the President who is the supervisor as per the provisions of the Constitution. I wish to assure this House that the Public Accounts Committee will continue to receive valuable input from the Auditor-General as the Government is determined to continue providing the necessary support to this office.

Mr Speaker, under the Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability (PEMFA) Programme, this important office will be provided with adequate financial resources so that it can help in exposing the shortcomings in the manner in which public resources are being managed and applied. Through the support from the Government, the Office of the Auditor-General has constructed five provincial offices and acquired some vehicles and we intend to continue to decentralise the operations of this vital office.

Sir, I am of the strong conviction that many Zambians indeed appreciate the governance system the New Deal Government has put in place in financial management. The fact that the nation is made aware of the weaknesses is evidence that our system is working. We transparently handle public resources and strongly believe in accountability to the taxpayers.

Mr Speaker, of course, it is embarrassing for us in Government to hear that K11 billion worth of revenue was misappropriated as reported in the main report of the Public Accounts Committee for the year 2007. However, this is a wake up call to every stakeholder to get interested in how those contracted to deliver services and goods to the public are conducting themselves in the management and application of public resources.

Mr Speaker, during the previous session, I did mention that the Government is taking a number of measures to improve the financial management in the Public Service. We will, therefore, continue implementing the Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability Reforms in 2008. I wish to state specifically that the Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS) will be piloted in eight sites in 2008. This is the initial stage in our efforts of rolling out the system to all Government institutions and hopefully next year, 2009.

Sir, hon. Members will also recall that mention was made on the creation of a Treasury Department in the Ministry of Finance and National Planning with the objective of improving the management and flow of public funds through an effective tracer system. The Government for a number of reasons wishes to move away from the situation of having too much cash lying idle in commercial banks. The Ministry of Finance and National Planning has had during 2007 disclosed that an amount of K900 billion allocated to various projects by this Parliament was lying idle in commercial banks.

Sir, I want to say that the role of opening and maintaining Government accounts is part of the many duties of the chief controlling officer in the Minister of Finance and National Planning as per the financial act. Therefore, informing the public of what is happening in these accounts is part of our transparency.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, there are many hon. Members on both your left and right sides who have been Permanent Secretaries or controlling officers before and I am one of them. We are all aware of the weaknesses of the financial management systems in the past during our services.

Sir, during the First Republic, public funds were spared from fraud and theft by the high moral standards of the public servants of that time.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: However, I am aware of those with long fingers who ended up being imprisoned under my control.

Mr Magande: Unfortunately, the weak financial systems were later to be fully exploited by some public servants. For example, it was common knowledge during the Second Republic that some senior public officers including some hon. Ministers were depositing public funds in their personal accounts and siphoning interest for their personal use.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Sir, we all became aware that a lot of public funds were left in commercial banks for very long periods with little effort made to account for it and it ended up being used to buy treasury bills and Government bonds from the Government. This meant that the Government was borrowing its own money. Regrettably, some of those involved in these malpractices have even offered themselves for election to higher offices in our land.


Mr Magande: Sir, when reading the reports of the Auditor-General for that period, one can easily identify some former controlling officers in this House who were cited for impropriety.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, it was in an effort to seal these loopholes that this House passed the Public Finance Act No. 15 of 2006. As part of the prudent financial management under the new Act, I wish to report that the Secretary to the Treasury who is the Chief Controlling Officer started the process of mopping up the idle funds from the thousands of Government accounts in commercial banks.

Sir, as this affects mainly capital funding, the funds withdrawn from the ministries, provinces and other spending agencies are kept in a special account at the Central Bank until such a time that any institution is ready to utilise the funds to pay for goods or services. The funds are in safe custody in a Government account and not in an account of an individual officer.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, it is the hope of my ministry that the Planning Department working in tandem with the Treasury Department will speed up project implementation and streamline the flow of financial resources to capital projects. This will entail focusing on strengthening of the internal controls in the public service so that any funds voted by Parliament can deliver goods and services in time.

Mr Speaker, the Government is fully aware that without financial discipline, the attainment of the objectives and goals of the Fifth National Development Plan and ultimately the Vision 2030 will be impossible to attain. I, therefore, wish to challenge the Public Accounts Committee that we are constituting this session to take keen interest in the measures that the Ministry of Finance and National Planning is putting in place to improve financial management and from there, advise accordingly. Admittedly, the Government is still facing the challenge of timely financial reporting. In the last 2 years, we have witnessed situations where financial reports were not tabled on time, but this is an issue that we hope will be fully addressed when IFMIS is fully implemented. I wish to assure the august House that my ministry will endeavour to see to it that appropriate and timely actions are taken in relation to the various recommendations of the Committee. Suffice to say that the Committee is assured of the full support and co-operation of the ministry.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: In conclusion, I wish the Public Accounts Committee for the Second Session of the Tenth National Assembly all the best and wish to encourage them to carry out their duties in the same diligent, faithful, efficient and effective manner as the previous Committee did.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, in supporting the composition of the members of the Public Accounts Committee, I wish to state a few points.

Mr Speaker, I wish to commend the previous Public Accounts Committee because they were able to unearth a lot of malpractices and grill the supervisors or controlling officers. I, therefore, encourage hon. Members of this Committee not to fear the various intimidations and complaints that public officers project when queried to explain how money has been misused.

Mr Speaker, in the same vein, I would like to urge the hon. Ministers to support the Public Accounts Committee. They should not in any way try to cover and support certain officers. It does not augur well when hon. Members constituting the Public Accounts Committee and other watchdog Committees receive too many complaints to try and cover up crime committed by controlling officers. If this is done, then the intended purpose set out for these committees will not be achieved.

Mr Speaker, I wish to comment on the Secretary to the Cabinet’s move to mop up funds from various banks into the Central Bank. Yes, that is the correct way of doing things so that the money belonging to Government is not again lent to the Government. However, I want to implore on the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning that now that he has the money, it should not be difficult to give money for projects. We do not want to see a situation where the Ministry of Finance and National Planning is going to create itself like some strange god where people must kneel and beg to have the Government money released. At certain times, it has been very difficult to have money released from the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. I know that it is a good thing to see that money is utilised properly, but it should not be difficult to release money for projects. Money should be released promptly so that it is utilised for the intended purpose.

Mr Speaker, we have heard that there has been a problem with tenders. However, it is also a difficulty in the Ministry of Finance and National Planning because there is too much red tape. We do not sometimes seem to understand who is wrong. At the moment, there is a misunderstanding between the Ministry of Finance and National Planning and the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives. Who is supposed to pay farmers? You will find that the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives is saying that the Ministry of Finance and National Planning is not releasing funds meanwhile they have released funds. The people do not understand what is happening. I implore that this must be done appropriately and quickly so that the people of Zambia benefit the services so requested.

Mr Speaker, lastly, I wish to reiterate that the watchdog committees, especially the Public Accounts Committee should seek and be given the support required by the various ministries.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chimbaka (Bahati): Mr Speaker, I want to salute your Committee that did a recommendable job. The Zambian people were very happy to read and hear of revelations, which are the very key if we have to call our Government, a transparent and accountable Government.

Mr Speaker, I also want to say that as much as I appreciate the withdrawing of money meant for projects and national development, I equally want to point out that is not a solution in itself. What I think may have been a good solution was to identify the problems that lie in banks at many times. This is because I believe that there are people in your offices who were supposed to have implemented the programmes you proposed. Therefore, we should have moved steps forward because the development that the Zambians wanted to see has not taken off. This is the reason why people are criticising the Government for failure to perform. I want to appeal to my very effective and able hon. Minister that there should be put in place a system that must be meant to allow the people that are supposed to account and implement Government programmes to be held accountable for failure.

Mr Speaker, change in attitude is the key. We should not spare people who are trying to delay the progress of the people. How I wish that money was directly sent to programmes and projects they were intended for before you even approve of the new budget that is coming. The people out there desire services. How I wish the K900 billion had gone to build more schools, complete buildings that are incomplete out there, to employ doctors for Mansa General Hospital in particular where three doctors have passed on and none of them have been replaced, where we have problems like in ZESCO where we embarrassingly experienced at the SADC meeting a blackout with presidents here in Zambia and where very important Government business was disrupted yesterday. It is very retrogressive, embarrassing and uncalled for. I feel that we must do our assignments very well and prudently. I, therefore, want to say that room for improvement must be there. The heart that my elder brother displays needs support by all of us because we are all Government.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, in supporting the non-controversial motion, I would like to say that the hon. Members that have been chosen to serve on this Committee have the capacity to do the work.

In view of the fact that hon. Members of the Committee have a lot of work to look at, I urge them to produce a good report and not like the one we saw in the previous Committee where controlling officers who were found wanting were told to just refund and continue serving. We would like to see officers who are found wanting to be charged.

Major Chizhyuka: Hear, hear!

Mr Ntundu: Sir, I would also want to urge the Committee to be mindful that in the previous Committee we had controlling officers who were very cheeky. I do not want to mention names, but I have one in mind. There was a controlling officer from one ministry who did not want to respect the Committee. He would come at any time that he felt like and answer the Committee any how. We do not want to see this happening in this Committee that has been appointed.

Sir, I always say that we have nothing to hide in this country. A wrong is wrong. If a person is found misapplying Government resources, he must be brought to book. We want to clean the ministries from misappropriation of funds and support the President in his fight against corruption.

Today, I was intimidated because yesterday I said that Mwanawasa is a good President. For sure, Mwanawasa is a good President! Yes, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ntundu: … if you did not know.


Hon. Government Members: Bwekeshapo! Say that again!

Mr Ntundu: Yes, he is a good President. I can say it again.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ntundu: I have many reasons to say so.

Mr Speaker, hon. Members are free to debate in this House without intimidation. If there are any hon. Members who will intimidate others, they must not do it.

Hon. Member: Tell them!

Mr Ntundu: Every hon. Member is duly elected from his or her constituency.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ntundu: I am representing and speaking for the people in Gwembe…

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ntundu: … under UPND, and I will remain loyal to my party. However, a good thing is a good thing.

This Committee comprises of people of integrity and have no doubt that they will perform well. I have no reason not to support this Committee.

With these very few remarks, I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Let me assure the hon. Member for Gwembe and all other Members of this House that you are guaranteed freedom of speech in this House.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: I have cited on many occasions to a specific article in the Republican Constitution, which gives you powers to debate freely in this House. I have also cited many provisions in Cap. 12, a piece of legislation which guarantees you privileges while carrying out your official duties. All those provisions guarantee you freedom of speech and full protection of the law. If any person, in or outside this Chamber, intimidates hon. Members for carrying their lawful duties, I want to know who they are…

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: … so that the whip may crack.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I also want to agree with the previous speakers that your Committee is capable because of the way they worked last year. However, I want to request hon. Members of the Committee to go a little further this year by working harder. They should see to it that those controlling officers that are found wanting are charged harder by just more than paying.

Sir, I want to thank the hon. Members who constituted the Committee last year. They worked diligently, supported one another with the Auditor-General’s Office and the Accountant-General’s Office. I hope they will do the same this year. After all, from last year’s experience, they know how to work better this year.

As a result of their work, Mr Speaker, most of the controlling officers were taken to task. Some could explain and some could not. The only disappointing thing is that those controlling officers that were found wanting are still operating in their offices. I want to remind Government that this Committee is working on behalf of the Zambian people. Government should also take stern action on controlling officers that are found wanting. 
It is depressing for this House to bring issues to the Government and it does not take action.

Sir, more funds should be given to the Auditor-General’s Office in order for them to go to the districts. If they did that, detection of thefts would be much easier than what is happening now whereby thefts are detected after 3 or 4 years. By that time, the people who could have stolen Government money are charged, they have either died or retired.

Mr Speaker, I also want to commend the Secretary to the Treasury for withdrawing the money from spending agencies. If he had not withdrawn this money, it was going to be stolen because people forget about this money. After a few months or years, they use this money for their personal purposes. In fact, I would suggest that they withdraw it even earlier. However, Government should only be allowed to withdraw this money from the spending agencies if it is their fault of keeping the money in the banks. If it is the fault of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning because of giving these spending agencies the money late, then do not withdraw this money because the programmes would still be pending.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Musokotwane: The spending agencies did not use it because you gave them the money late.

Mr Muntanga: In October!

Mrs Musokotwane: We are also going to blame you and not the spending agencies for releasing this money late.

Mr Speaker, those agencies that let money lie in banks because of their inefficiency must explain to the Zambian people. I believe that delayed development is denied development. We are denied of development because of the inefficiency of either the Ministry of Finance or National Planning by releasing the money late or the spending agencies not spending that money. It is the ordinary Zambians who suffer. That is why we want this mistake to be rectified. If the money is released late by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, it should not be withdrawn from the spending agencies because they have programmes budgeted for that money.

The Ministry of Finance and National Planning must allow these spending agencies to use this money this year for the programmes that were supposed to be done last year. If the spending agencies did not use this money may be because they were inefficient, then they must explain to the Zambian people why they did not spend it. Therefore, the Government should take action on these spending officers who did not spend this money.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr F. R. Tembo (Nyimba): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this rare opportunity to add my voice to this non-controversial motion.

Mr Speaker, Allow me to thank the previous Committee for doing a commendable job during the last sitting. A lot was heard on misappropriation of funds during the last sitting, but I know as a listening Government, it is slowly taking action over the report which was submitted to this House.

Mr Speaker, I wish to propose to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning that during the sitting of this Committee, the law enforcement agency should be included on the same sitting so that those officers found wanting should be arrested immediately.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulyata: Bwekeshapo!

Mr F. R. Tembo: Mr Speaker, I have no doubt that this Committee will perform to our expectation.

With these few remarks, I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Shakafuswa): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to debate this motion.

Mr Speaker, I want to support the motion moved on the Floor of this House. In supporting the membership of your Committee, I want to start by thanking the previous Committee for discharging its functions diligently as an oversight wing of this House. This is how it should be. In doing their work effectively, it makes our work easier at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning because from the issues which are highlighted, it gives us a basis or foundation upon which the work for the next year is tabled.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning has been acting on previous reports and especially on the current reports. However, when you look at the reports, most of them came late to the House. You will find that we are talking about reports which are of may be a year, 2 or 3 years ago. If we were to look at the current situation, I would enjoy a situation whereby you find that there has been a lot of improvement on reports.

Mr Speaker, this also necessitated the ministry to make the department into a full fledged department, whereby we now have a Permanent Secretary in charge of planning. There is also monitoring the implementation of the plans. There is also monitoring and evaluation of the plans to find what work has been done on the ground.

Mr Speaker, yes, many people have said a lot of things about the mopping up exercise. This has been done in good faith as Hon. Musokotwane mentioned. It is good for this money to be at the Bank of Zambia because this is the money which remained. If you recall, you will find that there was no report previously of mopping up the money. These are the monies which came back as not being accounted for. The monies which have been mopped up are monies which were approved by this House. By law, if this money is still laying idle in the commercial banks or spending agencies, it is supposed to go back by law to Bank of Zambia. In most cases, it is supposed to be approved by this House for spending the following year. That is the law. Therefore, what the Ministry of Finance and National Planning is doing now is just following the provisions of the law.

Mr Speaker, if that money was meant for projects, it means it will still by lying in the account. If you talk about K900 billion, it is intact because there were other cheques that were passed for payment that are being honoured to reduce from that same money. The important point which the hon. Members of Parliament have to appreciate is that you must also help the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.

Mr Speaker, we also need to look urgently at the budget circle. The budget circle makes it very difficult to implement the major projects. I hope there will be a change of the Act this year, whereby we approve the budget very late and we start implementing it may be in April. You will find that you only have may be eight effective months of implementing the budget which will make it difficult. This is because when you have a budget, it does not mean that you have the whole K12 trillion in your account. That money has to be raised. You will find that money has to be raised may be towards the end of the budget and for that money to be released, it will now be a bad time by the time we are mopping up.

Hon. Government Member: Quality.

Mr Shakafuswa: If we had a situation whereby we can change the budget Act to allow for early introductory of the budget so that more time is meant for implementation, this is going to help. I hope those people who are saying the Constitution can be amended, they will be able to check what items in the Constitution have to be amended early so that it can allow us to work effectively.

Mr Speaker, on the issue of dishing out money, there is no bureaucracy in the releases of money. When money is available, it will be released.

Mr Speaker, I want to talk about the K900 billion. By the time the money was being withdrawn, this House was not sitting. We could not divert that money and take it to other areas without parliamentary approval. Parliamentary has to be requested for money to be removed from one vote to another. At the moment, you will be very happy to know that the Ministry of Finance and National Planning has allowed those controlling officers who have projects to be done this year to go ahead. Some have already gone to ask for tender authority so that by the time the money is released, there will be no time lag

Mr Speaker, I hope I have answered questions and concerns coming from the people of Zambia, and in particular, hon. Members. In fact, it is also our concern because if this money is idle, it means development is not taking root on the ground. The budget is coming next week and I hope you are going to help us and ensure that we look at the budget and the needs of the people and be able to approve the budget in time.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

The Deputy Minister of Defence (Mr Akakandelwa): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to contribute on this important motion.

In the first place, I would like to support the list wholly of the eminent hon. Members of Parliament who have been nominated to sit on the Committee. I would also like to thank the previous Committee under the leadership of the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena, …

Mr Milupi: Hear, hear!

Mr Akakandelwa: … Hon. Milupi. I would also like to thank the Auditor-General for the work that she is doing for the people of Zambia. I know it is not an easy job. I have been an auditor and it is very difficult sometimes to be as courageous as what the Auditor-General is doing.
Mr Speaker, I am happy that she has nothing to hide and, in fact, I am happier because she is drawing the courage from the Government. The Government is giving her the courage to do her work diligently and without anything to hide. For that, credit goes to Government.

Hon. Government Members:  Hear, hear!

Mr Akakandelwa: This was not the case previously for obvious reasons. This is because if the Auditor-General exposed all she needed to expose, she would have been exposing probably the powers that are. I am happy that this is not the case. The people of Zambia are now getting to know that there is the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). It used to be there, but its prominence was not as it is today. This is because the Auditor-General is doing a good job with help from the Government.

Mr Speaker, let me just say one thing about the work of the Auditor-General. There are times when she can influence the outcome of a report. If fact, the PAC just reproduces and talks about what the Auditor-General has done and so much of the credit goes to the Auditor-General. She has to be supported and this Government is doing just that and in so doing, PAC is also being given the courage and power to bring things out for the benefit of the people of Zambia and for accountability in line with the zero tolerance that this Government is pursuing.

With these few remarks, I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, I wish to rise to give full support to this non-controversial motion. The hon. Members that have been appointed to sit on this Committee are all credible men and women.

Last year was a very glorious year, probably, ever since I came to Parliament as far as the work of the Public Accounts Committee is concerned. There was a lot of talk, including in the media. There were a lot of intriguing questions that were asked by your hon. Members and for the first time, we saw the public writing through the press to commend the work of your Committee. As I stand here, I am a very proud parliamentarian because of what happened last year and this ought to continue.

Mr Speaker, I want to take advantage of this motion to talk about the Office of the Auditor-General. This office is presently doing a good job in this country. However, what we need is for this office to become more autonomous. In this regard, allow me to appeal to Zambians who are credible men and women that are taking part in the National Constitutional Conference to take a deep reflection and come up with good recommendations, reports and ways that are going to see to it that this office truly becomes autonomous. If this happens, we are then going to see further progress.

Mr Speaker, allow me to talk about funding to the Office of the Auditor-General. For this office to do a good job, being the office that produces reports for the Public Accounts Committee and Parliament, it needs to be well funded and this should be done on time. The Auditor-General’s Office should also increase the scope of its audit as opposed to merely auditing transactions. It should be able to go deep and do performance audits.

At the end of the day, there is also need for the public to know how this office is also audited. I am talking about the auditing of the office of the Auditor-General. We need transparency from both angles and, therefore, this office ought to be also audited annually and in a very serious manner. I guess Mr Speaker is enjoying my debate (looking at the clock) …


Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1045 hours until 1100 hours.  

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was just about to start winding up debate on this motion and appreciating the hon. Members of Parliament who have debated this issue.

There is quite a lot of support since it is a popular motion. However, there were issues raised on the question of release of funds that perhaps the Minister of Finance and National Planning delays in doing so and this is what is causing problems of not delivering programmes.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Kalomo alluded to the issue of money for fertiliser and said that perhaps because it was not released on time or was not released at all, that could what is causing the problems. I want to say that the issue of fertiliser is clearly a national issue. As Government, we have actually said that agriculture is very important and that is why when we come here every year, we defend the estimates that are on that particular vote. Last year, the vote that we came here to defend and successfully did so was for K150 billion. This money should be released so that farmers can acquire the fertiliser on time.

Mr Speaker, as you are aware, the Head of State is a farmer and so is the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, hon. Minister of Health, hon. Minister of Defence and hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development who is a successful farmer. Therefore, this is a very popular item when we sit in Cabinet.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: I would have loved to mention all of the other farmers because some of them, like hon. Mubika Mubika, are just beginning to learn from their elder brothers …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, the K150 billion was released by September last year. Out of that amount, only K20 billion was delayed, but it was released by November. We believe that money should have gone to assist in the programme that we so much want to succeed. When it was discovered that this was not enough, the Government came here for a supplementary estimate of K34 billion and we defended that amount.

On 27th November, 2007, K34 billion was released. The allocated amount for last year came to K184 billion for Fertiliser Support Programme. By middle of December, 2007, K34 billion which was supplementary was released. Since we are farmers and know the cropping season, we do not release fertiliser so late. Therefore, last year, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning released K184 billion.

During the last season, we had a budget of K198 billion and an amount of K188 billion and so the difference between last season and the season before was K4 billion. We have been doing what we think is the best that we should do by releasing these amounts in good time.

We have been calling all the accounts for the Government and have found that this money is not at the accounts for the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives. Therefore, it is not part of the money that we have mopped up, but that the money has gone out and spent by the spending ministry. To that extent, the question is not that the money is still with the Ministries of Finance and National Planning or Agriculture and Co-operatives. Therefore, we expected that fertiliser has been acquired by the farmers.

Mr Speaker, I want to assure this august House that our concern now is the complaints from the controlling officer that the period of implementing the project is too short and that the budget takes a long time to be approved. Like my hon. Deputy Minister said, it sometimes takes about 8 months. In some instances, some of the programmes need a tender process of ninety days. By the time the budget is approved in March, April or May, and by the time you are getting your ninety days, it could be in June and by the time the contractor mobilises himself, it is already end of the year. This is why we believe that the proposal to amend the Constitution in relation to this provision that the budget should be presented ninety days within the financial year should be a popular move by everybody here who is going to the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) to amend in order for us to present the budget before the beginning of each financial year.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Therefore, that means that the Budget will be approved before 1st January. The controlling officers will have the whole 12 months to prepare the budget. However, due to the programmes that we are putting in like the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and other controls, we will be able to track the money such that by the time we come here to present the budget for the following year we will know exactly how the budget has performed for that year.

These are some of the measures that we are taking to make work easier for the Auditor-General not to be complaining about money being returned to the Treasury or that projects are not being implemented. Like we have already promised, this Government is getting the budget in terms of revenue up to date. We are meeting with the budget implementation programme in terms of revenue and we intend to get more revenue and listen to the stakeholders to put that money in the programmes that they want. At the end of the day, we hope that we are going to deliver. Otherwise, I look forward to work in harmony with the Committee that I have proposed and I hope they will get the co-operation of all the controlling officers.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.{mospagebreak}


(Debate resumed)

Mr Muyanda (Sinazongwe): Mr Speaker, once again, I rise to support the motion on the Floor which His Excellency the President presented to this House.

Mr Speaker, in the first part of my debate, I wish to congratulate you, the Chair, the Clerk of the National Assembly, Members of the UPND, Members of Parliament for FDD and UNIP.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: My debate in brief will be historical in the sense that when we talk about the windfall tax of 37 per cent, it is the Government and other senior parliamentarians from the Opposition who marshalled and started the revisitation of mining tax. It is not last year’s issue.

Mr Mabenga: No!

Mr Muyanda: I disagree with that. We marshalled and initiated this. The Sibettas of yesterday and the Bob Sichingas, ‘financial wizard’, were here when we advised the Government that we are exploiting ourselves.

Today, I can stand and inform this august House that it was a long journey of 5 years to convince the Government that the previous regime of 1991 had signed obnoxious contracts. They sold our mines for blind man’s money.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: I am grateful today that Government is in place and able to listen.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: The UPND and FDD pressurised. It took time to see sense.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: I will be very frank by reminding you that way back, I suggested from this same back-bench, that Zambia had the capacity to regenerate itself.  Today, I want to pay special tribute to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for acting. He took heed slowly, but in the end, he advised accurately. Today, I am vindicated.

Mr Speaker, when we opened the session last year, I said President Mwanawasa was a good President. Some new comers called me a sell out and a job seeker. If you look at my face and my background, do I need a job at this age? No!


Mr Muyanda: What job shall I be paid here?

Hon. Government Member: Minister!

Mr Muyanda: It is because I tell the truth to the benefit of the Zambians.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda:  Mr Speaker, there is no way we can fail to implement the 47 per cent tax process as Zambians. You have the capacity. This time around, you have the capacity because you take heed. You do not joke. The Government of jokers is long gone.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: This is a serious Government.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: This is also a serious Opposition.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: Mr Speaker, when we debate, it is not to make noise or insult. No!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, Hear!

Mr Muyanda: However, I am educating those who do not know how to debate, advise diligently and intelligently and the Government will react positively.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: Mr Speaker, if you are sarcastic, who wants sarcasm on earth? No one. I would not take that advice. I would throw it in the trash.

Mr Speaker, I am glad I am now vindicated by saying President Mwanawasa had a direction and vision. This year, nearly the whole House is saying President Mwanawasa is right. However, last year when I, Muyanda said it, I was castigated for a job seeker. I am today standing here as a proud senior hon. Member of Parliament who has a vision.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Government Members: Tell them, tell them!

Mr Muyanda: Mr Speaker, it is time we called a spade a spade in this country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear.

Hon. Government Member: Quality!

Mr Muyanda: If a colleague is doing a good job, give him a pat on the back for a job well done. If he does anything wrong, please do tell him that it is wrong, but using polite language.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: Mr Speaker, in the spirit of Zambia’s promise for having a new constitution, how many past Presidents have we had? You know the number. They promised the people of Zambia a better constitution. This Government has today given opportunity to all the Zambians from various parts of the Republic to meet at Mulungushi International Conference Centre so that they can chat and produce a constructive constitution which can stand a test of time. Why should a few disgruntled citizens refuse to attend a constitutional congress?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: I want to know. What has been fairly done and presented to the people of Zambia which the previous governments failed to do has now been done and laid on the table. Why should you refuse? Give us a good reason.

Mr Speaker, some of our colleagues are misled by some very dangerous people. There is also a bad church. This church is even promoting tribal hegemony.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: You will destroy mother Zambia if you work on a tribal hegemony led by this church. Their leaders are called telephone something. That is how they call their names.


Hon. Members: Telephone!

Mr Muyanda: Yes! Others are called Wireless something. I am a Catholic, but I do not like what the church is preaching to discourage people from going to the NCC.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: Do not ruin Zambia. We need to leave Zambia with a good constitution after we have gone from this august House.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: Mr Speaker, people are beginning to detest the preaching methods of some of our colleagues in these churches. They dress in white robes masquerading and posing as men of God. We are all men of God.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: There is nobody who is a child of Satan here.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: Let us have a moment of truth by informing President Mwanawasa that we are marching alongside the people of Zambia who want a constitution. Therefore, if you have any reservations, debate them. The forum is there. There is no restriction at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.

Hon. Member: Where the wireless people …

Mr Muyanda: You know those people called telephone and wireless something.


Mr Muyanda: They are the ones that are misleading the people of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, before I end my debate …

Mr Speaker: Order! The hon. Member will avoid making even oblique reference to people who cannot defend themselves in the House. Avoid that line of debate.

May you continue, please.

Mr Muyanda: I thank you Mr Speaker. I am much obliged.

Sir, may I give a constructive not destructive criticism of the Government. During the Ceremonial Opening of Parliament, why do air force jets fly and burn gas?

Hon. Government Member: Power!

Mr Muyanda: Change power in the time of peace.

Hon. Government Member: Boma!

Mr Muyanda: Zambia is at peace. In time of peace, the best any government can do is to withdraw the aircrafts. In the case of this Government, there are two or three choppers. Let us use them for rescue operations in areas like Mazabuka where there are floods.

Hon. UDA Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: Mr Speaker, it is my passionate appeal that the Government will take heed of my proposal. It is advice in good faith. It is not advice with sarcastic language. The choppers we have can be used to drop food where there is critical need. The very soldiers that we have should be used to go and repair Batoka/Maamba Road and other areas where the roads are cut off. We do not need to see jets flying around just burning gas instead of trickling down to the people of Mazabuka …

Hon. UPND Member: Namwala!

Mr Muyanda: Namwala.

Major Chizhyuka: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: … and Kazungula. It is not good for the Zambian Government which has an air force to seek support from the South African Air Force. What is the purpose of having an air force which cannot defend and help the weak and the stranded in the floods which have hit Zambia today? I hope you will take heed of my advice. It is a humble advice. I know some of the hon. Members. I have worked with some of them and I am sure they will take heed when advice is constructively presented before them.

Sir, His Excellency the President mentioned maintenance of public infrastructure, such as, roads. I wish to take this opportunity to advise the Ministry of Works and Supply to use contingency funds to start rebuilding the Batoka/Maamba Road. The road is in a dangerous state. That road is an economic road. It serves Zambia’s economic life line to supply coal to the mines. You have done well to open more and more mines, but how are you going to send copper to the smelter? You need the coal. Do not encourage other people or countries to supply cheap coal at the expense of Zambians. We have our own coal. Let us make use of it.

Major Chizhyuka: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: Mr Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to advise the Government not only to work on piece-meal operations when a road is damaged, but to take up an engineering or technical approach of preventive maintenance.

It is good to build a structure, but best to maintain it for the next generation. With this appeal, I hope the hon. Minister of Works and Supply will make a public announcement to the people of Zambia that Batoka/Mamba Road will be reconstructed because it was constructed in 1966 by Burton Construction.

Sir, I recall that when Hon. Simbao was in the Office of the President, he was one of the prominent members of Cabinet who supported me 6 years ago. He debated that Batoka/Mamba Road should be reconstructed because it was too old to withstand the huge tonnage of coal which is being ferried from Maamba to the Copperbelt. Now, the infrastructure is in pieces. It is totally destroyed. It is a sad development to report that Sinazongwe District has been cut off from the rest of Zambia. It not ought to happen.

Finally, I was a student at the Saabriicken University in West Germany. I went to Germany during the federal days when there was East and West Germany, and I went to West Germany. Professor Hakasamu who, unfortunately, is not a Tonga is Japanese…


Mr Muyanda: You know that Japanese and Tongas share names.


Mr Muyanda:  Professor Hakasamu, in the lecture theatre of technology, said that the success of any play in the theatre depends on the players and not the directors. Therefore, the onus is on hon. Ministers. You have to implement what President Mwanawasa said in this House. You have the capacity. Do not listen to detractors who have a habit of seeing you fail. No. The people of Zambia want success and you will do it with our constructive criticism from the Opposition.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: Mr Speaker, I wish to appeal to the members of the Cabinet not to lose faith in themselves, but come up with implementation policies. I also urge the Opposition not to lose faith in themselves, but to come up with constructive criticism that will benefit the Zambians.

Finally, I wish to pay tribute to the previous Cabinet and Opposition because they are the people that brought this 47 per cent pressure.

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Bonshe): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this chance to contribute to the motion moved by Hon. Muteteka and seconded by Hon. Milupi.

Mr Milupi: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: Both of them encouraged us to support this motion. Indeed, it is a good motion that was presented by the President.

Sir, may I also take this opportunity to thank Mr Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Deputy Chairman of Committee, the Clerk and her entire staff of the National Assembly for guiding and grooming some of us who are new parliamentarians to be what we are to day and be able to articulate issues well.

Hon. Members: Here, hear!

Mr Bonshe: Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for your guidance.

Sir, let me take this opportunity to also thank His Honour the Vice-President and Leader of the Government Business in the House for his fatherly advice. He was very parental in all his works. I wish to thank him in absentia. Furthermore, I would like to thank all the Members of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: … for bringing development to this country. I also thank, most sincerely, the Opposition who have acknowledged that President Mwanawasa really means well and he is a good man.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: I thank you very much. When we said that President Mwanawasa meant well, some people did not believe it, but we now have the response that he means well. We thank you for that and keep on encouraging us so that we do our work well.

Sir, with reference to the constitution, the President lived up to his own words when he said he was going to give the Zambians a good constitution.

Mr Kakoma: Not to give us!

Mr Bonshe: As a lawyer, he wants to give people a good piece of legislation which will be the law of the land.

Mr Muntanga: Give us! No!

Mr Bonshe: He is going to give us because that is what he promised.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah! We shall do it ourselves.


Mr Bonshe: Mr Speaker, we know that from the onset when we started talking about the constitution, there were obstacles. There were people who wanted to derail the whole process. When the President appointed the Constitution Review Commission (CRC), many people objected including the Christians. I am trying to avoid using the word ‘church’ because they will say the church is not here to represent itself. However, when I say Christians, and since I am also a Christian and an elder, I will be able to defend the Christians. In fact, we also have the newly ordained Reverend Mulasikwanda …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: … who will also be able to represent the Christians.


Mr Bonshe: Amen!


Mr Bonshe: When the CRC started sitting, some of the political parties and other groupings expelled their members who participated in the CRC, but that was the only legal framework in which to bring up the constitution. There was no any other way. It is unfortunate that those same people from the Christian fraternity who were totally against the CRC started championing the outcome of the CRC.


Mr Bonshe: However, we thank those people who have now embraced the method of the adopting the constitution through the enactment of the National Constitution Conference Act. Now that we are able to sit at Mulungushi, we are deliberating even if some organisations like the Oasis Forum boycotted. To me, I see that the Oasis Forum is with us because the Law Association of Zambia which is part of the Oasis Forum is participating.

Mr Speaker, even the Christians who boycotted are, this time around, found at the NCC. You will find a number of bishops,…

Mr Muntanga: And reverends!


Mr Bonshe: … reverends and pastors attending the NCC. Some of those present are leaders of mother body organisations of the Church. I have said so because I am also a leader in church and I understand the Church is supporting the constitution making-process.

Zambians have been given chance to make a constitution of their own. It is not like in the past where Government would produce a white paper and then bring out the constitution. This time, it has been thrown to the people of Zambia to make a constitution. The President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, wants to leave a legacy of bringing a good law, just like his predecessors did. The First Republican President brought in a lot of schools and the Second Republican President brought in a lot of buses which now are out numbering the travelling passengers. We pray that the constitution making-process, which is at Mulungushi Conference Centre, will go on well and that a good law will be made.

Sir, let me now talk about mining. Admittedly, we know that we were not getting full benefits from our copper. This was so because the prevailing situation at that time was compelling us to almost give away our mines because the copper prices were down and very few companies were able to take them on. That is what led to the unfavourable concessions because the Government did not want the miners to suffer. No one was prepared to take over the mines at a loss. It was almost a give away. We realised that copper prices had gone up and we needed to also benefit from that.

We appreciate that that motion was moved and the Government was very conscious about it and did not want to rush it. If they did, may be we were not going to get a better deal. Therefore, a team was set up to make all the necessary investigations so that we compare with what is obtaining in other countries. As a result, we came up with the percentage which surprised most of us. When the President was giving out those percentages, not even one thought we would go as far as 47 per cent. We thought we would go up to 40 or 42 per cent. We must praise the Government for the good job. The money will now go towards development of this country.

Mr Speaker, the New Deal Government has done it. It is at work.

Hon. Government Member: That is how it works!

Mr Bonshe: Yes, that is how it works.

Sir, the New Deal Administration has done very well economically in terms of stabilising the kwacha. At one time, the kwacha was unstable and all the companies were quoting in United Stated dollar. Now, our kwacha has stabilised. When it started dropping, people thought it was a political campaign.

Hon. Members: The kwacha has gained value.

Mr Bonshe:  Yes, the kwacha has gained value. I do not know whether they will still continue saying that it was a political campaign. We are now proud because our currency is stronger than the currencies in most of the neigbouring countries.

Mr Speaker, the inflation rate has also dropped tremendously in this Republic. It has gone down to a single digit and this has not happened before. Even the interest rates have gone down. Employment has been created in the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Health. At Lumwana Mine, thousands of people have been employed as well. All this has been done by the New Deal Government and so we should praise it.

Sir, let me now talk about education. I will restrict myself to my own constituency. I should praise the Government for a job well done.

Mr Speaker: Order! No Government Minister talks about his or her constituency. You speak with the Executive.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will talk about what the Government has done. We had only one high school in Mufumbwe, but four more high schools last year were built. I, therefore, give credit to Professor Lungwangwa for a job well done. In Mufumbwe, we now have five high schools. Right now, a boarding high school is also being constructed. This is really credible.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: And in Kalomo, how many are they?

Mr Bonshe: Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that my brothers and sisters in Southern Province which was our maize belt have been affected by the heavy rains, thus shifting the maize belt to North-Western Province. The only thing we can ask is for the good farmers in Southern Province to migrate to North-Western Province and do farming there.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: Mr Speaker, therefore, there is no need for you to blame the Government. The Government has also done enough in the area of restocking animals in Southern Province. They have put more dams and dip tanks.  I think the Government has been generous in this area of agriculture.

Sir, as regards police posts, more have been built all over the country. More police officers are being recruited to cater for each and every area needed.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let me say something about defence forces. Some hon. Members in this House have been saying that the Zambia Army is idle and, therefore, it should be reduced.  I do not believe that statement because the integrity and sovereignty of the country depends on a big and strong army. The fact that we are at peace does not mean that we should reduce the Zambia Army. Immediately we reduce it, we will be open to attacks. Therefore, let us not try to tamper with security wings.

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

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

Mr Sikota (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to contribute to this very important debate.

The opening speech by the President is traditionally a very important occasion because it sets a marker as to which direction the country is to go, the vision of the Government and what it wants to achieve in the coming year.

Sir, we have seen, during the past speeches that there has been a theme which has been given to those speeches, but sadly this year, there was no theme to the speech. As I looked at the speech itself, I noticed that on the cover as per usual, there was the National Coat of Arms. As I looked at it, I thought that perhaps that was deliberate and the national motto is what should have been the theme of the speech. Our national motto is, of course, ‘One Zambia One Nation.’

Mr Speaker, I will come back to that because if I were the one who was giving the speech, that is what would have been the central theme of my speech. I consider that to be something which is very important in terms of when you look around the region as to what is happening and the strife that is generally there and so forth. This is something which would help us to avert that kind of strife.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota: The speech touched on a lot of important issues. I will touch on some of them, but I will not be able to delabour them because quite a good number of people have talked about them.

There is the Freedom of Information Bill, which we have been promised, will be re-introduced to Parliament and I applaud the President for saying this. I also applaud the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services for promising that this Bill will be given to everybody. It will not be done in secret or rushed through, but it will be given in good time to everybody, and I hope that they will stick to that promise.

Mr Speaker, I also note that there were the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) boards, which we have been promised that they will now be put in place. I hope, as they put them in place, the Government will stick to the spirit of the Acts, which was that this should be independent with no interference from the Government. Therefore, the hand that we are seeing in the appointment of those boards will be withdrawn to let the process as per the Act take its course so that the members of the board will be people who have been selected generally by the people.

I also wish to make note of the national housing bonds which the President talked about. This is something we have been for, as city councils, for a long time. I am glad to note that this will actually be implemented this year because, as we all know, city councils have been finding it very difficult to raise moneys and this is one way that they will be able to raise moneys and bring about development in their particular areas. Again, I hope that this is not just going to be something in the speech, but something which will actually be implemented.

Mr Speaker, at Page 16 of the President’s Address, the President talked about helping rural areas with footbridges and other items. I want to appeal to the President that even urban areas are in need of things like footbridges. If you go to my constituency, Livingstone, for example, we already have had more than five people who have lost their lives due to the fact that the waters over the various streams and rivers in Livingstone have swelled to above the level of the footbridges and have been sweeping away people who are attempting to cross. In fact, we have also had incidents where people have been attacked by crocodiles because the water levels have come up so high. Therefore, my appeal is that this improvement which is talked about at Page 16 should not only be left to the rural areas, but also urban areas which are in need.

Mr Speaker, on the mineral royalties and windfall taxes, a lot has been said. I do not think that I can add much more, but just to state that let us move very quickly in implementing this particular thing.

There are, like I said, many good things in the speech. However, what is important is implementation. If there is no implementation, all those good things in the speech will be of no use. In fact, looking back at the various speeches that we have had during the last 7 years, I can confidently state that if we did have implementation of these various speeches of the President at the opening of Parliament, Zambia would be by now a middle-income country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota: However, we are not there because we do not implement what is in those speeches and my appeal is to implement them.

Mr Speaker, I now wish to turn back to what I feel should have been the main theme of the speech that of “One Zambia, One Nation”. We need to make the national motto a reality. If this is not done, we may experience the kind of violence and strife that is seen in other nations. When we describe our country today, one would have to paraphrase Charles Dickens in one of his literary books called, the Tale of Two Cities.

Mr Speaker, in Charles Dickens’ the Tale of Two Cities, it begins thus, and I quote:

  “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times
  It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness
  It was the epoch of belief; it was the epoch of incredulity
  It was the season of light; it was the season of darkness
  It was the spring of hope; it was the winter of despair
  We had everything before us; we had nothing before us”

Mr Speaker, I would like us to reflect on these words and look at what the President said in his speech. From the President’s Speech at Page 17, we are told that our economy has now been expanding every year without exception since 2002. Clearly, the best of times. We are also told on the same page that inflation remained at single digit and the exchange rate against major currencies was relatively stable. Further, interest rates continued to fall. There is a lot of hope in that statement.

Mr Speaker, at Page 18, the President shows that he does have some literary skills similar to those of Mr Charles Dickens…


Mr Sikota: …in that he brought about the same kind of paradox that Mr Charles Dickens was talking about. At Page 18, the President said that in spite of all these micro-economic games, we still have the challenges of equitably translating them into improved living standards for the people. The Government is dealing with this and I will come to what he said on that later.

Mr Speaker, it is clear that the President recognises this paradox of the best of times; the worst of times, of having everything, but at the same time having nothing. This is brought about because essentially, we have two nations. We do not have the one nation that we require.

Sir, why do I say that we are made up of two nations, and that ours is the tale of two nations? This is because we have within Zambia, the first world of the third world and we also have the third world of the third world. Those are the two nations we have within Zambia. One can refer to the first world of the third world as the centre of the periphery and the third world of the third world as the periphery of the periphery.

Mr Speaker, the child who is in the first world of the third world wakes up in the morning, takes a bath in a jacuzzi and the only hazard is, perhaps, that he will scold himself with the hot water from the Jacuzzi, whereas his counterpart in the third world of the third world…

Hon. Member: Kanyama.

Mr Sikota: …in areas like Kanyama, deep in the rural areas of Kalomo wakes up in the morning, walks 10 kilometres to the river in order to be able to get a bath and the hazards he has to undergo, are not similar to those of the one in the first world. The hazards that he has are of catching bilharzia or being caught by a crocodile or drowning. Those are the hazards that they face. After that, the child in the first world of the third is driven to school, a mere 1 kilometre away in an air-conditioned vehicle and the only hazard he has whilst being driven is that he will get obesity from lack of exercise.


Mr Sikota: Whereas the child in the third world of the third world has to walk 10 kilometres to the school and the hazards that he has to face are encountering wild animals, such as, hyenas or wild dogs from which they can only escape by climbing up a tree, but alas, he may meet a snake coming down.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota: Mr Speaker, the child in the first world attends a school where there is a teacher for every single subject that he takes. Whereas a child in the third world of the third world attends a school where there is only one teacher to dash between every single class in that school to try to service it.

Hon. Opposition Member: Yah!

Mr Sikota: Mr Speaker, when you look at the parents of these children, the parent in the first world of the third world, at meal time, the choices they have to make are whether they are going to have veal or quails or shrimps and  salads for that particular meal.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes.

Mr Sikota: Whereas, the parent of the third world has to make the choices of which one of the children will eat on that particular day and which one will have to wait for another meal before they can eat.

Hon. Opposition Member: Shame!

Mr Sikota: Mr Speaker, in the first world third world, when a child is crying in the home, they are merely having a tantrum because their parents have refused to give them extra pocket money for them to go and buy junk food when they are on and out with their friends. Whereas in the third world of the third world, when a child is crying in the home, it is because they are feeling the pain brought about by stomach cramps due to the lack of food.

Mr Speaker, in the first world of the third world, the head of the house sleeps at night dreaming about the allowances that they are going to earn in the following day’s workshop.

Hon. Opposition Members: NCC.

Mr Sikota: Whereas in the third world of the third world, the head of the house fails to sleep at night as they think about how they are going to dodge the landlord and the various Kaloba practitioners the following day.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota: Unfortunately, Mr Speaker, the majority of our people are living in the third world of the third world. That is the life of the majority of our people. We have Charles Dickens Paradox of where we have everything before us and we have nothing before us. At Page 17 of the President’s Speech, His Excellency the President said, and I quote:

“The sound economic policies that my Government has been implementing over the years have firmly established an economy that is stable and is consistently growing”.

This shows we have everything before us and yet, the majority of our people are living in conditions of dire poverty of the despair rather than the hope. This statement made by the President should be something which is avoided, if this Government is not to fall into the trap that the BJP party in India fell into. The BJP party was having growth which was only second to China at the time. They even coined the phrase ‘India shining’ because of what was happening. Alas, whilst we have all those years of growth, the number of the poor within India was growing and at the next election in spite of India shining, the BJP party was tossed out of Government. Therefore, be careful with praising yourselves and looking at only one of the nations of Zambia. Look at both nations and address the plight of both nations.

Mr Speaker, we have the pensioners and the retirees. We have not noted anything as to what will be done for them. We have generation gap families in Zambia, where you have people who are too old and too young to be able to work and the things which we are told is that the Government is dealing with this issue by diligently implementing the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP), whose theme is ‘Wealth and Job Creation’ through citizenry participation. We are also told that there will be a trickle down to these people. There was no trickle down in India. The poor kept on getting poorer and the rich richer. If we do not learn those lessons, that is what will happen. We need to have in place the social safety net for the poorest of the poor.

There is a cash transfer system which does not cost very much …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota: … which has a pilot scheme introduced by this very Government, but which the Government is reluctant to now make universal. The cash transfer scheme is aimed at servicing the 10 per cent most disadvantaged people in the country so that we can try to bridge this gap between the rich and the have-nots so that we can try to merge these two nations of Zambia to become one and so that there is no equity in the distribution of the wealth we have. What would be the cost of making that pilot scheme one which is universal? It would be no more than 3 per cent of Government spending. We are reluctant to use 3 per cent of our spending to help the 10 per cent who have utter despair, who have no hope so long as he continue to do that, as a country we will have no moral right to say we are leaders. We need to address the plight of the poor.

I would like us to edit Charles Dickens words and edit it thus.

Hon. Member: Translate.

Mr Sikota: We should all decide that you are going to work towards one nation in Zambia and no longer have a tear of two nations. We should be able to go out and tell the people of Zambia that these are the best of times. This is the edge of wisdom, the epoch of belief, the season of light and the spring of hope when everyone can have everything before them. I believe that if we set up our priorities right, we can create One Zambia and One Nation, where everybody lives to the best of what is expected and have a fair and equitable share of Zambia. Let us all work towards that One Zambia and One Nation.

I thank you, Sir.

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

Dr Chishimba (Kasama): Mr Speaker, may the peace and love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you ...


Hon. Members: Amen.

Dr Chishimba: … and this House.

Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, I am alive to the crude reality that another function of the Opposition and the legislature is that of being a watchdog over policy pronouncements that are presented by the Executive. I stand here this afternoon to pledge rightfulness with great joy over the following inspirational, exciting, promising, comprehensive and practical or shall I say pragmatic policy pronouncements that were presented in this august House by His Excellency Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC.

Ms Mulasikwanda: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Firstly, he talked about governance. Indeed, we need to have systems in the Public Service that are going to enhance transparency and accountability. Therefore, I support this.

 Secondly, he talked about the fight against corruption. This again is welcome. The fight against corruption may not be won overnight. This is a battle which must continue until we lead Zambia free of corruption.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Thirdly, I want to talk about media reforms. His Excellency underscored the importance of ensuring that we increase rural communities access to information so that they are well informed and are able to make evidence-based decisions on different matters concerning their lives.

Fourthly, the President talked about human rights. I am happy again that at the National Constitutional Conference, there is a committee specifically charged with looking at the issues of human rights. In other words, that committee will handle matters to do with fundamental freedoms and rights of our people. There cannot be a better method of protecting the rights of the people other than authoritatively entrenching them in the constitution and that is what is just happening under the Chairmanship of a man from the east who claims, I think, to be wise and that is …

Mr C. K. B Banda: Iwe, iwe.

Dr Chishimba: … Kingdom Chifumu Banda, SC. I believe it is a defunct kingdom…

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chishimba: … and he is called State Counsel, but I believe he is not more State Counsel than President Mwanawasa, my former lawyer, who triggered my interest in law. He would take time to explain matters of law.

Fifthly, on Local Government and Housing, the President said that district councils are going to raise finances through capital markets rather than through the Government Treasury. It means that this measure is going to create more jobs as we are going to see more participation of members from the private sector. What will happen is that there will be more money in the pockets of the rural people and this means that Patriotic Front (PF) policies are catered for. What is the complaint about?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chishimba: I hope that the pilot project through which this will be implemented, which is the National Housing Boards Trust, will succeed. He talked about ushering in integrated urban development plans. What we are going to see, as Hon. Lucy Changwe put it, is a situation where planning is going to be sensitive to the needs of the local communities …

Ms Changwe: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: … rather than top-to-the-bottom planning. I am a strategic planner and I believe in planning which starts from the bottom to the top because that is going to be responsive to the needs of our people in Zambia. The President talked about intensifying the programme of upgrading unplanned settlements. What more do we want?

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: There is the issue of demarcation of new plots for planned housing and the rural accessibility and mobility programme which is about improving community transport infrastructure. This includes foot-bridges and food-packs among other things.  I believe that this is going to open rural areas to markets through the improved infrastructure. I also believe that with improved infrastructure, we are going to address the rural-urban drift because the idea of what are called growth centres is going to work. People leave rural communities because of the poor state of infrastructure so as to go to areas where there are better social amenities. I must add that the village concept of Brigadier-General Godfrey Miyanda is fully and fantastically catered for.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Sixth, there is the issue of economic management. The President said that the economy is indeed now stable and consistently growing. In fact, the growth itself is broad-based. When you are talking about broad-based economic expansion, it means that the economy is getting slowly diversified, but surely. This simply means that we expect other areas of the economy like agriculture to contribute even more to the development of our country. If anyone, since 2002 has seen any negative growth, let him bring the facts and we will take it up.

Mr Speaker, the challenge though, is that of translating growth into grass roots development which I believe will be attained through the effective and efficient implementation policies promulgated by His Excellency Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC.

On taxation, the President said, and I quote:

“The long term objective is to have a predictable, efficient, fair and broad-based tax system”.

Mr Speaker, this pronouncement authoritatively represents an achievable or attainable tax regime because the President is talking about fairness, which is something that we can predict. This is a very practical system that is entrenched in reality in the real world and not in the world of hallucinations. People sometimes make pronouncements about better options, but these options are not entrenched in a system which is going to ensure that whatever they are talking about is implemented. The President’s talked about a fair and predictable tax regime which must be supported because this is what we need.


The President was very careful when he further said, and I quote:

“This Government took Zambia out of a serious debt trap”.

He did not say the ‘New Deal Government’, but ‘Government’. Therefore, even Dr Chiluba’s contributions are embraced as well as those of Dr Kaunda because Government is based on continuation. What more do we need to bring unity in the nation? We need such arrangements which recognise the efforts of different players in the country. I believe that His Excellency Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa is truly committed and I have seen this in his endeavour to leave behind a legacy of professionalism in politics as opposed to hooliganism or punches that incite violence.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, there is what I am calling ‘Chibuku shake-shake political warfare’.


Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, ‘Chibuku shake-shake political warfare’ fyakale and belongs to the Federal Government. Politics of stone-throwing and machetes is gone with the brutality of the Northern Rhodesia Police. It was a Police Force mercilessly murdered freedom fighters in cold blood. Some of the policemen even stood as witnesses against freedom fighters. Someone stood as a witness in the federal court against my own uncle, Mr Joseph Chileshe.

Hon. Member: Yes.

Dr. Chishimba: This same witness is the one who murdered Ms Lillian Burton. That was during Chachacha. We have forgotten all those lessons.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! 

Dr Chishimba: The road to freedom was not without a high price. We shall not go back to that era of stone-throwing …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Today’s politics is about the use of calculators and not manual applications.


Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, we have to apply our skills, minds and intelligence and face issues and not resort to stones. Calculators are very much part of us because we have electronics everywhere. Therefore, we cannot say that we do not need calculators because we need people who understand them as we are in the world of technology.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, it is important that before we say anything, we scan the environment so as to look at issues from different stand points and be able to predict the future, of course, in accordance with the will of God. We have to read where we are going because we cannot afford to move blindly.

Seventh, on the issue of commerce, trade and industry, the President called for policy and legislative actions to further an environment conducive for foreign and local investments. We should take note of the phrase ‘legislative actions’. This means that we are also called on to play a role. Let us bring Private Member’s bills here so that we make progressive laws that are going to help this country to address economic independence and prosperity. It will not help to simply to criticise or pull down whatever is happening. The same people who are aspiring to lead are the ones that are going to benefit. They will drive and live comfortably.

Major Chizhyuka: Simuusa.


Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, this is like a situation where someone tells you not to go and pick the mpundus from the mpundu tree, which is a wild fruit and meanwhile that person is standing on top of the mountain saying that do not go come here because there is a snake, with masukus in the pockets.


Dr Chishimba: Go and climb the mountain and if you find that there is a snake, hit it on its head and pick the masukus.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. MMD Members: Kill the cobra!

Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, talking about commerce and industry, the President talked about private …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Chishimba: … sector development programme. Some of the hon. Members are supplying to the mines. I have two companies. We are doing very fine. This means that policies of the private sector are working. What more do you want?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: The President talked about the Citizens Economic Empowerment Programme. What more do you want?

Mr Speaker, I come from a family of freedom fighters. My paternal grandmother, Julia Chikamoneka among others fought for the independence of this country. That independence was to empower people which must be supported even today. There cannot be a better arrangement than this empowerment programme communicated to us by the President.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: He also talked about the creation of ‘One Stop Shop’ for investment and export promotion at the Zambia Development Agency.

Mr Speaker, I believe, through the Public Private Partnership, the Government is committed as he rightly put it to reduce the cost of doing business with the business people and the pronouncement is made to reduce the cost of business. What else do you want? Let us support it by bringing bills here so that an environment to support business is supported by law. He talked about the change of work initiative, the creation of multi-facility economic zones, one in Chambeshi and two in Lusaka.

Mr Speaker, in research the Statutory Instrument No. 65 of 2007 has already been passed to stipulate the change of rules of zones, meaning that the Government is ready. Therefore, let us just go for accelerated implementation of programmes rather than criticising. What more are you going to bring if you criticise this?


Dr Chishimba: The eighth point is on mining. He said while the new fiscal regime is implemented by all the mining companies, it is anticipated that the country will earn in excess of US$500 million in additional revenues in 2008. He further said that when the new tax system is enacted, the country is expected to earn revenue estimated at US$250 million in additional revenues in 2008 from the companies waiting development agreements.

Mr Speaker, what does this mean for Zambia? It means that the following will be done in due course under the leadership of Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: There will be more houses for Defence Forces, the Zambia Intelligence Service as well as police and prisons. More feeder roads will be done and Hon. Kapembwa Simbao is doing very fine in that area.


Dr Chishimba: It means that more township roads will be tarred like what is happening in Kasama. For the very first time, after 44 years, roads are being tarred in the location area. There will be improved crop marketing for our farmers and there will be a reduction on the tax base on the Zambian worker because you cannot reduce taxes without an alternative. If we increase taxes in the mines, it means that the idea of reducing the tax burden on the Zambian worker is just closer to us.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: There will be more houses for teachers and other civil servants. It means improved working conditions for the civil servants, more drugs in hospitals, more schools for our children, more strategic reserves for fuel, hence no more fuel shortages and creation of more jobs for the Zambian youths and generally an employment labour force. It also means that paying retirees their dues because there will be more money. There maybe creations of some kind of a fund to even support freedom fighters. All these developments will go on without disrupting the peaceful proceedings of the national Constitutional Conference.

Mr Speaker, even if there are people agitating for violence by supporting freedom fighters, all these developments will go on without disrupting the peaceful proceedings of the National Constitutional Conference.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: What a promising future!

Mr Speaker, as a student of political engineering, I cannot debate without contributing to the topic close to my heart. This is constitutionalism which is about ensuring that powers of the Government or political parties are used to the good of society or party members. Thus constitutionalism connotes in essence a limitation on Government. It is the antithesis of arbitrary rule. The opposite is a despotic government or political party. A despotic government or political party is a government of will and not of law or the government of will and not what the party constitution says.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, when I talk about a party constitution, I am talking about the adopted constitution. If anyone makes reference to this draft constitution of the Republic which is currently being deliberated through the NCC, it means that this person who is referring to something which is not adopted or enacted is a potential candidate to go to an institution after the University of Zambia, through Mumana Pleasure Resort, now the next institution.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, arbitrary rule in governments or political party business conducted not according to predetermined rules, but according to the momentum wings and caprices of rulers, such a one cannot be tolerated. An arbitrary government or political party is more or less so because it happens to be benevolent or a new kind of arrangement among the leaders since their fated power is by its very nature autocratic.

Mr Speaker, on democracy and constitutionalism, democracy to start with is more susceptible to a variety of tendentious interpretations, but I will adopt one by Mr Abraham Lincoln which says, “A Government of the People by the People for the people or a political party of members by the members for the members”, and not one man. No.


Dr Chishimba: That is democracy. The underlying idea is the popular basis of government or party. The idea that government rests just as a political, consent of the governed or the members given by the means of elections in which the franchise is a reversible document of both men and women.  We need consensus in political parties and then move forward.

Mr Speaker, on the constitution, this is just a symbol and instrument of constitutionalism or a formal document. However, it must have leaders who respect constitutions. This leads me to the concept of dictatorship. It is unfortunate that time is running against me. I have constructed a matrix of dictators’ circle. A dictatorship is not a constitutional government or political party. As I said earlier, a totalitarian regime is even less so because even dictators in political parties or governments have constitutions that they give themselves extra constitutional powers. They begin to look at themselves as the Alfa in small leaders and Omega of all the people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Dictators want to become a religion that must be worshiped. When they speak, they want everybody to be intimated. We say no to that. That era is gone and it will never come back to Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Dictators also fashion or mode constitutions on the lines of party constitutions of the Western countries. They will say that the right of members in a party are protected by law, but they do not state which law and so this means that this is just come kind of hallucinations.


Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, let me talk about dictators. If you look at Mr Hitler, he came from Austria and Mr Stalin from Georgia and so these are normally not indigenous people.


Dr Chishimba: If you dig deeper you will find that they come from somewhere and they have nothing to lose. Therefore, we have to learn something from this.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, these dictators believe that the masses are like an animal that obeys its instinct. They do not react to conclusions by listening at a mass meeting to be eliminated and so they can promise …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member’s time has expired!{mospagebreak}

The Deputy Minister for Copperbelt Province (Mr Mbulakulima): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to the debate on the motion.

Mr Speaker, before I proceed, may I salute the other hon. Members of Parliament who have contributed in the affirmative to the President’s Speech. The President’s Speech was precise, concise and deep in diversity of ways. Once again, this Government has demonstrated capacity to deal with national issues in a very viable and educative manner.

Mr Speaker, let me also add my voice to those who have complained about the behaviour of some of the hon.  Members of Parliament. His Excellency the President, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, has great respect for all hon. Members of Parliament and, therefore, it is important that we reciprocate.

Mr Speaker, the President on Page 1 said, and I quote:

“Overall, hon. Members debated these matters with maturity and transparency. This is a good sign for our fledging democracy. I congratulate all honourable Members for this”.

Mr Speaker, you are aware of some hon. Members of Parliament who are clumsy ….


Mr Mbulakulima: …who do not deserve to be in this category …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: … because he is the father of the nation who wants to nurture everybody. That is why he came up with a statement like this. Does he need heckling or booing? If that is done, it will be uncalled for.

Mr Speaker, His Excellency acknowledges the role of this House and indeed the role of the Opposition. The President on Page 2 said, and I quote:

“Their outstanding leadership enabled the House to fulfill its cardinal functions of legislating and exercising oversight of Government programmes.”

Mr Speaker, this in itself shows that the President gives respect to the Opposition and this House. This Government does not only require praises. No. What this Government needs is constructive criticism and this is what the hon. Member for Sinazongwe said. That is why I would like to pay tribute to hon. Members of Parliament like Hon. Milupi, Hon. Chimbaka, Hon. Mooya, and Hon. Matongo, the indigenous …


Mr Mbulakulima: … Hon. Chishimba and Hon. Muyanda. These are people whose criticisms, one can learn from. That is the way it is supposed to be. Those of you who underwent Zambia National Service training will agree with me that when we were being advised as recruits, management never showed that they were going to implement anything, but they did. Therefore, even the Government does exactly the same although this Government has even gone a step further.

Mr Speaker, apart from clumsy debating, I think I have seen hon. Members of Parliament who are able to debate issues. They can talk about engineering, constitutional issues, NEPAD and macro-economics. They are able to articulate matters. The Government stands ready to accommodate such ideas.

However, when hon. Members are debating, they should not say things like this Government must be serious or was voted by the people from rural areas because that is only clumsy, but Grade 7 stuff.  I do not expect the Government to take Grade 7 ideas. We need to be above that.

Mr Speaker, talking about rural areas and the insinuations coming from some of these political parties, I take that as an insult. I thought all of us are Zambians, even hon. Members of Parliament seated here today have roots from the villages.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: All our parents are based in the villages. That is where we draw the wisdom and strength. It is very rare that we bring our relatives in town except when they are in very critical situations. The insinuations being made by some hon. Members that people voted for this Government because they do not think is tantamount to insult and that must come to an end.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: That is what I call Grade 7 stuff. You cannot say such things and expect the Government to take such ideas, not at all.

Let me advise you. Probably, some of you might agree with me that the people of the rural areas are well focused. Yes, we all have ambitions, but the beauty about the people in rural areas is that they are happy when you promise them a road and you deliver.
Hon. Njapau: They will stick to you.

Mr Mbulakulima: When you promise them a school and you deliver, they will be satisfied. It is not that the people of the urban areas do not like this Government. No. If you check, this is the trend across Africa or may be the world over. The reason is very simple. People from the urban areas are envious. After all, they are competing for the same positions.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: When they see Hon. Mbulakulima, they will not go deeper to say who was he before. All they will say is that is the man who was talking about football some few days ago and he is now a Minister. They will not say he was head of human resource. It does not also matter whether somebody was a Managing Director. If a lawyer becomes a Minister, they will still criticise him and say that after all, he was only admitted to the bar 2 years ago. If they see a doctor, they will say that he is just a junior doctor at the University Teaching hospital (UTH). We also have Ministers and Permanent Secretaries; they believe it should be them. We are competing for these positions. It is not just a question of putting up shopping malls, tarred roads and so on, but there is more to it and so even if you came into office, you will find it and you will face similar situations.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about the mines. I still want to believe and I believe what the hon. Member for Sinazongwe said that this, unlike what some people want to portray, did not start yesterday. These have been long discussions. However, before we even talk about the windfall tax, it is important that we acknowledge the developments that have taken place in the mining sector. The mines were gone. However, it is a different story today. Why can you not pay tribute and give credit where it is due? The highest rate of production the mines recorded during the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) was 700,000 tonnes. Today, we are hitting the same figure. It is envisaged that by 2009, we shall hit one million, closer to Chile. These are the achievements that this Government has recorded.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: People have said the decision has come too late, not at all. Most of the scholars will agree with me. I do not know where some of these people who are saying it has come too late are rushing to. However, it is said that if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go in a group. Some of these political parties which have only about 12 people can afford to go alone, but this is a big party and it has to move with the people.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: There are a lot of stakeholders whose interests must be taken into account. You cannot ignore the investors. We have to move and move with everybody. It was yesterday, when the same people who were in the forefront changed and where asking whether this Government had consulted or had been having meetings with other people. What makes you think that the same people will not turn around tomorrow? This Government had to be thorough in its dealings. 

Mr Speaker, talking about studying performance, I think this is a Cabinet where there are no passengers. Every hon. Minister in this Government is a performer. As hon. Members look at the performance of hon. Ministers, I think it is important to be broad- based. There are 150 constituencies. If one or two issues are not done in a constituency, it does not mean hon. Ministers are not performing.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, on the issue of economic performance, we have seen the improvement done in our economy today countrywide. There has been progress in every sector. Most of you who have read the Fifth National Development Plan will agree with me that the highest growth rate recorded from 1964 to 1992 was 2 per cent. Botswana, Egypt, Gabon was recording 10 per cent at the time and Indonesia was recording about 7 per cent.

However, the average economic growth recorded by this Government today is about 5.5 per cent which is about 6 per cent. It is already said that we shall reach 7 per cent. In 2 years time, we will be talking about 10 per cent. This is how this Government is working and no one can criticise.

Mr Speaker, again, this is what I call Grade 7 talk. You know that what we need is food on the table and so we should not criticise the fiscal policies that the Government has put in place. The concept of inflation control is cardinal in the growth of the economy. The inflation and exchange rates control is very important.

At one time, I was listening to the discussion between the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and Ndola Lime Company officials. They talked about how vital Ndola Lime is over the stability in the exchange rate. Most of you have done accounts and you will agree with me that after the trading account before you come to the profit and loss account and before you go to the balance sheet, there is a provision for either exchange gain or loss. The management of Ndola Lime Company is happy because there is stability in the economic and this is making their organisation grow bigger. This is because of the Government’s good policies. That is the way this Government is going to work.

Mr Speaker, with regard to corruption, the Government has done well by putting in place the Task Force, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and indeed, the integrity of the committees pieces of work. The only problem that we have is that we like parading plunderers as heroes. Unless we change that attitude, we will be grateful.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, on the issue of climatic change, allow me to congratulate His Excellency the President for coming out clear on the issue of climate change and the environment. The President was specific on this issue as it affects, more often than not, developmental programmes. Zambia has been hit hard by the effects of climatic change, such as, the floods we are witnessing today in some parts of the country.

Sir, as we debate here, we are aware that yesterday, the President was in Mazabuka to see for himself the extent of the floods, thus matching his ways with action. He was in Mazabuka at a time when most of the people were having mineral water and Amstel in the evening and had moved away from Castle.

Mr Speaker, it is not a secrete that this Government has set up a Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit to deal with, among many other things, factors of climatic change. No wonder they say, in our village set up that ‘Umulilo uchingile abakalamba ta ocha,’ meaning that what is protected by elders, nothing can penetrate. Above all, His Excellency has provided hope on this issue, especially with the National Adaptation Programme which seeks to find ways to address the adverse impact of climatic change.

Mr Speaker, on gender, allow me again to congratulate the President for coming out clear on issues of gender. His Excellency has set the tone on how all of us should take issues of gender seriously. I am happy to mention that the New Deal Government has translated words into actions. Hon. Members of this august House will agree with me that issues of gender are given prominence in this Government because we know that once women are given responsibilities, they perform them diligently and to the satisfaction of many. The English saying is, “If you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” This Government is on course in ensuring that women are given equal opportunities like their male counterparts. That is why it makes sad reading to hear of women being poured with Shake-Shake Beer simply because they have expressed an independent thought.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: While this Government is busy soliciting for a woman to be chairperson of the African Union, some organisations are busy parading themselves as anti-women. What a shame!

Hon. Government Members: Shame!

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, some women came in slippers and yet these are women of integrity. Such is a negation to the development of women in this country.

Mr Speaker, it must be noted with gratitude that women have continued to make us proud as a nation from the days of Mama Julia Chikamoneka to the days of Esther Phiri.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: Women have simply remained outstanding. They have been emanated from being confined to the kitchen up to knocking on the doors of the African Union.

Ms Changwe: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: This Government will continue to encourage such initiatives.

Mr Speaker, on the concept of the NCC, I think that it is a well known fact that for the first time since independence, this is the only Government that has demonstrated this way. I want to address the Chairperson of the NCC, Hon. C. K. B. Banda, SC, the Vice Chairperson, Hon.  Musokotwane and Hon. Sinyangwe. My only appeal to all of us is that let us support the chairmanship and his team because if they fail, it is actually hon. Members of Parliament who will be blamed. I have seen that most of us are complaining about not being given an opportunity to speak, but there are a lot of people who have come and most of them do not have the experience in terms of procedures. Therefore, we might find that the Chairperson is not looking at us and yet he is. I would like to urge you to support the Chairperson because his success will be the success of this House.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, finally, let me stray into the territorial waters of Hon. Namulambe. When our Zambia National Team Coach said that he was surprised when Zambia National Team beat Tunisia two goals to one, most of the people said that Mr Phiri is a humble man, but his humility has gone beyond. How can you be surprised?

Sir, equally, we have pleaded with our colleagues from one political party to come to the NCC, but I believe that there is a limit. I, personally, would like to put it on record that we do not need them. Let them stay away. It is good riddance after all.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: We are better off without them. Actually, I would like to assure them that no one in this country will ever remember them. Let them stay away.

 The issue of money has been exaggerated. You cannot take a lawyer, an accountant, or a business and confine them in a place without taking into what you call an opportunity cost. Dear colleagues, let me share with you what I did with the money I got. I spent K2.2 million on blankets for people in the village and they appreciated. Every constituency in here is yearning for development. We do not have enough resources, if you believe that you need money, you can use that occasion to get the money and take it to the constituency. It does not mean necessarily to go into your pockets.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: We need that money to develop our constituencies.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for according me this opportunity to add my voice in debating the President’s Speech.

Mr Speaker, this year’s President’s Speech is similar to the speeches he presented in 2002 and 2003. We all applauded the President’s Speech. He has not chosen a particular theme, but has decided to handle the issues as they stand. I am, therefore, very happy that the President has done this.

Sir, I would like to congratulate Hon. Sikota and Hon. Chishimba. I will borrow their speeches because when you listen to them, you will find that they are able to talk about what the President had said. Hon. Chishimba debated well like a Minister in this Government. He analysed what the President stated. I think that is what hon. Ministers ought to do.

The danger we have is that there are those that are more interested in being praised for nothing. I am not advocating for unwarranted attacks. I want people that will accept when something is corrected.

Sir, I am happy that the President informed us that the designs of the National Assembly Media and Public Centre have finally been done and construction will commence this year. I think that is a concern that all of us should be happy about. We do not debate ourselves, but when the President said that very soon we shall have a Media and Public Relations Centre built at Parliament, then we know that the reform that Parliament was undergoing is receiving attention.

Mr Speaker, the President praised the Public Accounts Committee and other Committees. This means that the reforms at Parliament are working. The Public Accounts Committee has been in existence for a long time, but it was not open to the public. Let me praise the media for their job well done.

Sir, we are grateful that constituency offices will be opened in all constituencies. I hope hon. Members will make use of these offices. On the part of the Government, they should know that these constituency offices will encompass all ministries, such as, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Community Development and Social Services and Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development though they are not being fully funded. Money is just enough to cater for the staff working there.

Mr Speaker, as time goes on, I think there will be a great demand from the constituency offices.  Some of us who have been running these offices already will inform you that we spend more than K30 million.  I urge the Government to give Parliament more money to support those offices. Otherwise, what the President praised will mean nothing. We need proper funding in order to run these offices.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, let me also say that the President is happy because we are going to hold the 39th  Regional Commonwealth Parliament Association (CPA) Conference in Livingstone this year. I am a member of the CPA and I want to urge other hon. Members that even if they are not elected members, they can still go there to listen. I have seen this happen in South Africa. It is not necessarily that you will be attending as a delegate, but to show that the Zambian Parliament supports the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I urge hon. Member to attend this conference. Those of us that are near Livingstone should go and attend. Those hon. Members whose constituencies will be visited should attend to the visitors so that you show that hon. Members of Parliament of Zambia also mean well to the organisation.

Mr Speaker, Hon. Sikota has analysed the situation extremely well. I want to say that when analysis is done above the average thinking of other Zambians, it is important to simplify it.  The mining industries are calling for all the taxes to be increased.  The problem we have in Zambia is we raise the anxiety of Zambians. During the time of the HIPC Completion Point, for example, we raised the anxieties of all Zambians. We told them that if we succeeded, everything would be all right. The Zambians thought that by achieving the HIPC Completion Point, the salaries would be increased and prices would be reduced. Government did not go further to explain what would happen on the ground. Now, when things did not happen, people realised that this HIPC Completion Point actually meant nothing. All it meant was more poverty.

The anxiety now is the high taxes on the mines, which generate US$400 million. Are we going to reduce taxes on our incomes? That is the question now. They expect the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to come to this House and reduce tax from 33 to 25 per cent. We expect Value Added Tax (VAT) to be reduced from 17 to 15 per cent.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: If we do not show these benefits, it means nothing.

Hon. Sikota gave an example of India. They praise themselves for having a good economy. India was shining, but the average Indian was in the dark. In Zambia, we can talk about improving …

Hon Member: Growth rate.

Mr Muntanga: …the growth rate…

Hon. Member: In town.

Mr Muntanga: …not even in town, but elsewhere. If you go to Matero, Kanyama and other places, you will find that some people’s lives have not been improved. As such, you will find that they do not know what micro-economic is. For example, the people in Chibomboma and Dimbwe in my constituency do not understand this. What they want to see is the reduction of costs on commodities. They want to see that it costs less to educate children. If we do not achieve that, then what we are telling the Zambians will mean nothing.

Hon. Member: Absolutely nothing.

Mr Muntanga: The President also spoke about agriculture. As you know, when you go into the waters, swim where you know.

Mr Speaker, the President in 2003 said that there are people that are interested in causing chaos in agriculture management when we have done very well. There has been a big improvement in agriculture if you compare it with the agriculture we had in the previous regime of MMD. The first regime of MMD did badly. By 1992 and 1993, they had destroyed agriculture. This Government picked up from the worst, even though they have not reached the Kaunda level.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Kalomo was given 8,000 food-packs last year to support farmers and the result was increased production. This year, Kalomo has been given 6,000 packs, which is a reduction even before they start farming. The reasons for this have not been explained. The Government is happy with the high production, but you want to give less support. This is not good. Let me remind the Government that there are over 26,000 farmers in Kalomo that should be supported. We thought they would maintain 8,000, but they have reduced it. That high production is from other farmers that are finding money on their own without assistance from the Government. When we complained, the Government gave us 3,600 packs. In fact, I do not know why they reduced the food-packs because the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives who is sick mentioned to me and his Permanent Secretary announced and told PACO to collect money from farmers for their second allocation. Now, the farmers have done their part, but what has happened with the Government?

Hon. Member: Nothing.

Mr Muntanga: They have not done anything. We are busy hearing stories about the K184 billion and meanwhile the farmers are suffering.

 Mr Speaker, we have heard of the floods in the Southern Province. There is a very big difference between the farmers in lower areas and the farmers in high lands. There is a disaster for the farmers that have farmed in lower areas. There is hope for the farmers that have farmed in high lands, but that hope depends on the Government delivering fertiliser to the farmers. This is because these rains we have been blessed with….

Mr Speaker: Order!

(Debate adjourned)


The House adjourned at 1255 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 22nd January, 2008.




38. Mr Malama (Mfuwe) asked the Minister of Education the number of primary and basic schools which have been built in Mfuwe Parliamentary Constituency from 1991-2007.

The Minister of Education (Professor Lungwangwa): Mr Speaker, only Mano Camp Basic School was built in 2005. However, the Government intends to construct a 1 x 2 classroom block at Kashida Basic School and a 1 x 3 classroom block at Kapwanya Basic School in 2008.

In addition to the construction of the two schools, the following schools have been earmarked for rehabilitation in 2008. These are Salamo 1 x 3 classroom block, Munkungule 1 x 2 classroom block and Kalonje 1 x 3 classroom block.

I thank you, Sir.


47. Mr Malama asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a) when public places, such as, markets, shopping centres and churches, would be provided with the following:

(i) toilets; and

(ii) waste bins; and

(b) when the ministry would ban the off-loading of goods in front of shops by truck drivers and shop owners, thereby inconveniencing shoppers.

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mrs Masebo): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that:

(a) (i) all premises private or public including markets, shopping centres and churches under the Public Health Act Cap. 295 of the Laws of Zambia are required to provide adequate and clean sanitary facilities before commencing operations. Mr Speaker, the onus to provide sanitation facilities on such premises is on the developer. The role of the Government through the Local Authorities is to ensure that use of such premises commence only after the provision of these facilities which also include fire safety gadgets.

Mr Speaker, all premises that operate without providing sanitation and fire safety facilities are operating without the permission or blessing of the Local Authorities and are hence abrogating the provision of the law.

(ii) Mr Speaker, the current Waste Management System practiced in Local Authorities, especially in big towns is based on “Polluter Pays” principle which demands that all households and institutions subscribe to the system and pay for the service. Currently, all conventional shopping malls, markets and Churches have waste storages collecting systems in place and being serviced either by councils or franchise contractors. Councils also provide bins to other public places, such as, corridors and islands in central business districts.

(b) Mr Speaker, the off loading of goods in front of shops by truck drivers is mostly common in urban areas and the Government has issued directives to all affected councils to band the off loading of goods in front of shops. Most councils, especially Lusaka City Council have already commenced the ban and have since circulated notices to shop owners against the practice of off loading and loading goods in front of shops. Shop owners have further been asked to re-open back street alleys where loading and off loading of goods should take place as required.

I thank you, Sir.