Debates- Friday, 2nd November, 2007

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Friday, 2nd November, 2007

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





The Vice-President (Mr Rupiah Banda): Mr Speaker, I wish to give the House some idea of the business it will consider next week.

On Tuesday, 6th November, 2007, the business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will then consider the motion to adopt the Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Welfare.

On Wednesday, 7th November, 2007, the business of the House will commence with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider private Members’ motions, if there will be any. Then, the House will consider the motion to adopt the Special Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Welfare on the Petition by Persons with Disabilities.

On Thursday, 8th November, 2007, the business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider the motion to adopt the Report of the Committee on Agriculture and Lands.

Mr Speaker, on Friday, 9th November, 2007, the business of the House will begin with His Honour the Vice-President’s Question Time. I wish I could add, ‘if there will be any’.


The Vice-President: Then, the House will consider Questions, if there will be any.


The Vice-President: This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will, thereafter, consider the motion to adopt the Report of the Committee on Local Governance, Housing and Chiefs’ Affairs. After that, the House will consider any outstanding business that may not have been considered the previous day.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.



Mr Speaker: Are there any questions for His Honour the Vice-President’s Question Time?


Mr Mwanza (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, could His Honour the Vice-President confirm reports that the former Vice-President, Mr Enock Kavindele, has partnered with the New Deal Government to construct a railway line from Chingola to Lumwana via Kansanshi?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I wish to be specific in the sense that I am not aware of any agreement between the Zambian Government and the former Vice-President, Mr Kavindele, to construct this railway line. Maybe, there are private discussions going on, but I think that most hon. Members of the Government are not aware of that.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr F. R. Tembo (Nyimba): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Vice-President what the Government is doing to the people, especially politicians, who like issuing racial remarks against our friends, such as the Chinese, Lebanese, Indians and other foreigners.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I wish to sincerely thank Hon. Folly Tembo, Member of Parliament for Nyimba, for asking this very pertinent question at this time. I am pleased that some of the hon. Members who are prone to making these racial remarks are present here to listen to the opinion of His Honour the Vice-President, the old man and the father of twins.


The Vice-President: There is no wisdom …


The Vice-President: … in passing remarks, particularly in this House, and it is my sincere hope that one day we will have a specific ruling to outlaw racialistic, tribalistic and paternalistic remarks in this House.

What is most unfortunate about this is that we, indigenous Zambians, are willing to accept sincerely that everyone who was born in this country or has the Zambian status is a Zambian. However, the people we have received with both hands are the ones who want to teach us racism.

Sir, I have sat here on many occasions and said it is very sad, indeed, to hear hon. Members of this House making references to people as Indians and White people. The only ones they are afraid of are the indigenous Black people. They cannot talk about the Black people, but inside, they wish they could say that. I want to advise against this. Many of the wars we have experienced in the world, especially the ones that Germany has experienced, have come from a point of racialism.

Mr Kambwili: Address the question!

The Vice-President: Hon. Kambwili who is a great follower of these racialists …


The Vice-President: … must listen to me very carefully.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: I always refer to that friend of mine as my fellow Vice-President. I am Vice-President of the country and not of a political party.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Therefore, I want Hon. Kambwili and others like him to understand that this is a country for which I and many of our parents fought in order to eradicate racialism.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: In case Hon. Kambwili and others do not understand, the people of Taiwan and China are both called Chinese. If you think that you will be paid for insulting the Chinese, do not forget that the Taiwanese are also Chinese.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I want to repeat one point. China and India are two of the countries of this world which are responsible for the high prices of copper, nickel, gold and all the things which the Zambians, Americans, British and everybody in this world are benefiting from. Everybody in this world appreciates the developments that are taking place in China.

It is, therefore, naive for anyone to stand up here and expect the Zambian people to believe him when he says that Chinese investment in this country is contrary to the interests of the Zambians. We heard about this story when we were fighting against the British. We were told that the Chinese would colonise us. There is no country in Africa which was under the colonisation of India or China, but under the colonisation of Hon. Dr Scott’s grandparents.


The Vice-President: At the time when Hon. Scott was growing up - although he looks as old as me, if you check our dates of birth, he is actually much younger than me - …


The Vice-President: He just does not look after himself properly.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I would like to make it very clear that as a Zambian who fought for the independence of this country, I will not tolerate at anytime anybody trying to brainwash me into believing that the Chinese and Indians are likely to harm me.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order! I would like the clock to be stopped. The question on racialism was referred to His Honour the Vice-President and he has dealt with it satisfactorily.

However, let me remind the House that it is unconstitutional for anyone in this House or elsewhere to utter racial remarks or refer to anybody in disparaging racial fashion. This fact has been made very clear time and again in this very House. It is improper, offensive and unconstitutional to utter racial remarks.

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, at the risk of sounding as if there was something racial about it, could I ask His Honour the Vice-President what steps the Zambian Government has taken to intercede with the diplomats of the People’s Republic of China to ensure that the Zambian and other African peace-keepers in the Darfur Region are not killed with and by Chinese ammunition and weapons? Everybody accepts and understands mainland China except their brothers and cousins in Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China is well known to be protecting the Sudanese Government and through them, the Janjaweed militia that is committing atrocities in Western Sudan.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I did not know that he would ask that question, but I would like to say that Sudan is a sovereign state and for that matter, a brother state of Zambia in the African Union (AU). Zambia does not control what happens in that country. I want to take advantage of his question, once again, to say that these kinds of things have happened to us before when we were a colony of Britain. We were subjected to humiliating treatment by people who thought they were superior to us. If I were them, I would be a little bit shy to stand up and lecture to the same people that they should not worry about their humiliation, but about the Chinese and Indians. That is the point that I was trying to make.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, Zambia has many needs. If one sits here …

Mr Kambwili interrupted!

The Vice-President: What is wrong with you, Hon. Kambwili? You are just following those people your master is telling you to follow.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I have sat here many times and earlier this morning, as I came through the lift, one of my grand-daughters from the other side jokingly said to me that she was looking at me yesterday and thought I must be wishing for the old days when there was only one party. Now, I have to face the opposition. I told my beautiful grand-daughter that I have always been a believer in democracy and I think it is wonderful that we have all these political parties here to speak their minds.

However, it must be made very clear that it must not be the duty of certain individuals to use their knowledge, if they are so well educated, to try and prove a point which they cannot prove. The point is that China is a great nation and the United States of America which you are pleasing by attacking China are laughing at you because they are busy doing business with China.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I want to take this opportunity of His Honour the Vice-President’s Question Time to settle this matter once and for all. I would be ashamed if I was a Zambian of indigenous origin to sit there and listen to a lecture by a descendant of a colonialist.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Order! I hope the House notices that as you speak, the clock is ticking.{mospagebreak}

Mr C. K. B. Banda (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, from racism to environmental pollution. It is now clear that Kabwe Town in Zambia is one of the ten most polluted places in the world. What is this Government doing to ensure that the risk caused by pollution is reduced?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Chasefu for the question about Kabwe being one of the most polluted towns in the world. I would like to start by cautioning this House that we should question the statistics being given. Many of us who have travelled to other places know that there are many filthy and polluted places in the world and I really wonder whether Kabwe does merit that kind of status.

However, as Zambians who have been used to clean environments, I think that we should take note of what you are saying. The Government, all stakeholders, councils and the citizens of Kabwe are very much concerned about this matter. All the new companies that are coming into Kabwe are subjected to environmental conditions which will help clean up the environment. One of the intentions of the Keep Zambia Clean Campaign Programme initiated by this Government is to clean up the environment not only in Kabwe, but all the cities and villages of Zambia.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwangala (Nalolo): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President on the current industrial unrest at Civil Works Contact in Solwezi, in particular the Lumwana Mining Company.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Nalolo for bringing to our attention the current industrial unrest in Lumwana. We are actually not aware of that. I would have appreciated if he shed more light on this matter. The Government has not received reports that there is industrial unrest at Lumwana Mining Company. On the contrary, there is a lot of industrial activity.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President whether stating that Chinese investment is not benefiting the Zambians is racial remarks.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, of course, not. Hon. Kambwili, it is not racial to refer to the Chinese Government or to question whatever the Zambian and Chinese governments are doing. However, it is when you insinuate and take this to a political platform to try and break the good relations that exist with the country that has devoted itself to providing assistance to this country. It is because of this country that we have reached the levels that we have in our economic development whereby, in a place like Chambeshi, 10,000 of our people who were dormant and starving because there was nobody to invest in our mines now have jobs. To insinuate that any investment from China is injurious to Zambia is implying that …


The Vice-President: I wish you could listen. It is implying that the Zambian Government is full of people who do not think.

Hon. Opposition Member: That is what we think.

The Vice-President: Oh yes, that is what you think because you are a dunderhead yourself.


Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Speaker: Order! His Honour the Vice-President should withdraw that remark.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I gladly withdraw that remark. I will look for another one next time.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, may I find out from His Honour the Vice- President …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Muntanga: … the very strict and strong reasons that made the Government authorise National Milling Corporation Limited to construct a road three metres away from the railway line crossing it at an angle lower than 45 degrees and allowing it to be constructed at a place known as locomotive shunting. What are the real reasons that made the Government authorise that?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, it is obvious that this question means a lot to hon. Members because I remember that in his remarks yesterday afternoon, Hon. Muntanga raised this matter many times.

First of all, in order to arrive at the decision to allow National Milling Corporation Limited to construct that road at that point, all stakeholders such as the Lusaka City Council, Environmental Council of Zambia, Government and the Railway Systems of Zambia were involved. The issues you raised so ably yesterday were discussed and necessary amendments were made to the decisions to construct this road. Only then was that decision taken.

Mr Speaker, I would like to add one more point. When we sit here in Parliament, we listen to hon. Members of Parliament and their lists of wishes for the people they represent are long. These lists can be satisfied only by investment and economic development. Therefore, where we see that there is a conflict between our requirements for environmental consideration and investment, we usually sit down and consider.

As to the specific statistics that you gave us, I do recall that at the meeting which I attended, the case that you are talking about was not exactly what you have said. I think we found a way to make the turning curve longer and …

Hon. Opposition Member: You were there.

The Vice-President: Yes, I was present at that meeting, unless someone is misinforming you. However, you asked me and I am telling you that the Railway Systems of Zambia and all the others agreed to build the road in such a way that they relieve some of the fears of the people such as the hon. Member’s.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Mumbi (Munali): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from this Government why they are being selective in the demolition of illegal structures, specifically in Lusaka. This is because I do not remember as a council in Lusaka authorising, under a full council meeting, to demolish houses in Mtendere East, and yet we have a house which has been built on top of the water pipes causing a health hazard to our people. We also have a wall fence which has been built in the middle of a gazzetted road in Mtendere. This road was actually constructed when His Honour the Vice-President was Member of Parliament for Munali.


Hon. Government Member: Question!

Mrs Mumbi: Your Honour the Vice President, I have gone to every ministry – that is a question if you cannot understand English.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Mumbi: Your Honour the Vice-President, I would like to find out why it is taking long for this Government to instruct the local council as they have done when they want to buy stones from our street vendors who are not causing a health hazard to anybody.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the question raised by the hon. Member of Parliament for Munali contained the reply when she said the ‘demolition of illegal structures’. If a structure is illegal, it has to be removed.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: With regard to discrimination, if the hon. Member can prove that a particular road, house or wall fence was built outside the legally allowable space, …

Ms Mumbi: I have proved.

Hon. Members: Aah!

The Vice-President: … I will personally be very pleased to meet with the good lady and hear her out and see what we can do together. I have always been very proud that she is a worthy successor as Munali Member of Parliament. However, sometimes when I see her getting carried away, I wonder whether that constituency is not too complex for her.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Chisanga (Mkushi South): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President when the Food Reserve Agency is going to pay the farmers.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for Mkushi for raising this question.

Sir, I am sure that in many parts of Zambia a number of farmers have not been paid for the produce that they have delivered to the Food Reserve Agency. This is a continuous process and as you can see from the previous season, this Government will ensure that all those that delivered their produce will eventually get money as soon as possible.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Njobvu (Milanzi): Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the Vice-President how far the Government has gone in renegotiating development agreements with various companies in the country.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, renegotiations of the mining development agreements is a very important national exercise and needs to be attended to very carefully. In fact, this is the third time that as a country, we are going to try to optimise the benefits from the wealth of the mining industry and in accordance with the wishes of many hon. Members of this House.

Sir, the nationalisation of the mines in the early 1970s was intended to maximise the benefits of the mining sector to Zambians. Subsequently, the privatisation of the mines in 1990s was also intended to achieve the same objective of maximising the benefits from the mines.

Sir, preparations for the negotiations of the development agreements are very advanced. Negotiations were expected to start three months ago. However, it has been necessary to involve international experts to support the Government negotiating team to ensure that international best practices are met. Procurement of these international experts is now complete and preparatory work between the Government of Republic of Zambia (GRZ) team and the consultants is continuing. It is hoped that, very shortly, the first batch of mining companies will be invited to the negotiating table.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mushili (Ndola Central): Mr Speaker, in the same way, will His Honour the Vice-President confirm how far the Government has gone in revisiting the issuing of mining licences, especially those that were granted to foreign investors and the period has passed in which they were supposed to utilise them? He needs to do this so that the Zambian investors can have access to mining licenses by the end of December this year.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for Ndola Central for asking that question which is of great interest to many Zambians.

Mr Speaker, as we all know, the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development has cancelled all those mining licenses which were not utilised on the instruction of His Excellency the President. If anyone has been given a piece of land to mine and they have not used it over a certain period, they lose it.

Sir, the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development and the Zambian Government are in the process of withdrawing many of these licenses. I have been assured by my hon. Colleague, the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development that the licences that have been withdrawn will be given to Zambians. Therefore, the process is going on. I think in January or February, we should start working on new applications. It is now our responsibility as Zambians to take advantage of this process which has been initiated by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Major Chizhyuka (Namwala): Mr Speaker, there is a bridge which is 3.6 kilometres long in this country which opens Luapula to the rest of the country. I would like to know from His Honour the Vice-President which country helped us build that bridge.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for Namwala who is an advocate of the interest of the indigenous people of this country.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I am very happy to answer this question. This bridge was built by one of the countries we are told are not doing a good job here. This river was open for many years …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: … and no one offered to build a bridge across it.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order! Order! I know that those statements were quite exciting, but let us calm down.




914. Dr Njobvu (Milanzi) asked the Minister of Education when rehabilitation of the following schools in Milanzi Parliamentary Constituency would commence:

(a) Katiula School;
(b) Mathipa School;
(c) Kagoro School; and
(d) Chirwa School.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Mr Sinyinda): Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the construction works to Katiula and Kagoro Basic schools have commenced as they were funded in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Sir, Katiula was funded K49,720,000, but K80,000,000 is required to complete the project. Kagoro Basic School was also funded K200,000,000; another K200,000,000 is required to complete the project.

Sir, Mathipa and Chirwa Basic schools are not yet funded and need K240,000,000 and K140,000,000 respectively for the rehabilitation to start. Rehabilitation of these schools will commence as soon as funding is available.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


915. Mr Mwapela (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Works and Supply when a qualified buildings officer would be sent to Kalabo District.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Ndalamei): Mr Speaker, in May, 2007, we wrote to the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) to recruit for all vacant positions, including that of Kalabo Works Supervisor. As soon as authority is granted, we will recruit. However, for now, we are looking for a replacement for Kalabo from other districts with excess personnel to temporarily supervise the works in the districts.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


916. Mr Sichamba (Isoka West) asked the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources:

(a) how many people from the Northern Province, in general, and Isoka District, in particular, had benefited from the Tourism Credit Facility; and

(b) what measures the Ministry had taken to sensitise the public, in general, and the people of Isoka District, in particular, about the existence of the above credit facility.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (Mr Chilembo): Mr Speaker, in general, eighteen businesses have benefited from the Tourism Credit Facility in the Northern Province from 2003 to date. These are:

1. Sahel Enterprises Kasama
2. Nellas Lodge  Kasama
3. Mwela Rocks Cultural Village Kasama
4. Msinje Gardens Kasama
5. Tusha Safaris Mpika
6. Mwaesa Enterprises Mpulungu
7. Misoda Enterprises Kasama
8. Zwange-ndaba Executive Lodge Nakonde
9. Makamache Guest House Nakonde
10. Diversity Enterprise Mporokoso
11. Dauson Lodge Kasama
12. Chinchi Inn Kasama
13. Mweetwe Guest House Nakonde
14. Christy’s Inn Mbala
15. Mapalo Rest Nest Kasama
16. Odro Investment Kasama
17. Gracious Rock Enterprises Mpika
18. Chipando Car Hire Mbala

As for Isoka District, there are no enterprises that benefited from the facility.

Mr Speaker, in an effort to sensitise people in the country, in general, and the people of Isoka, in particular, the ministry held two Tourism Development Credit Facility (TDCF) sensitisation workshops in Northern and Luapula provinces. The workshop which was held in June, 2006, in Northern Province was meant to assist unsuccessful applicants as well as would be applicants enhance their applications.

Advertisements calling for participants were run in the print media, namely: the Times of Zambia, the Zambia Daily Mail and The Post newspapers. In addition, radio advertisements were aired on Radio Phoenix and on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Radio One Bemba programmes. The workshop focused on how applicants should package their applications and the screening and analysis of application procedures. Unfortunately, no one from Isoka District attended the Northern Province workshop.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sichamba: Mr Speaker, arising from the Minister’s answer …

Mr Chongo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Chongo: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. This is the first time I am raising a point of order.


Mr Sichilima: Ikala iwe!

Mr Chongo: Mr Speaker, …

Mr D. Mwila: Lekeni alande naimwe ba Sichilima!

Mr Chongo: … is it in order for the Government, in particular, the Ministry of Education, to keep quiet and not act on a situation that is prevailing at Mwense High School where a number of students, 126 Grade 12s, have been stopped from writing their examinations?

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Chongo: Twenty minutes ago, I received a phone call from Bridget Mwaba, a doubled orphaned girl who is right now crying in my office because she has been prevented from writing an examination, and yet this information has reached the Minister and everybody down the line …

Mr Speaker: Order! The hon. Member may not continue because someone has asked a question of urgent matter on this very issue. Listen to the answer next Tuesday.

The hon. Member for Isoka West may continue.

Mr Sichamba: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether the hon. Minister has put in place a deliberate policy to attract investment in rural areas like Isoka in Northern Province. As we have heard, no one attended these workshops which were held in Kasama and Lusaka. Most of these workshops were held in cosmopolitan places like Kasama in Northern Province of which Isoka District is no part. What is the Minister doing to ensure that even those in the rural setup, at least, benefit from the national cake?

The Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (Mr Kaingu): Mr Speaker, yes, there is a deliberate policy to promote tourism in rural areas. In fact, there is one for Northern Province which we call Northern Circuit.

It is clear from the answer that out of twenty-six applicants for Tourism Development Credit Facility for this year, eleven applicants from Northern Province were successful.

Hon. PF Members: Kasama!

Mr Kaingu: Really, there is nothing we can do as a Government when we call people to come for workshops in their areas and they do not. We called for workshops in Northern Province and almost all the districts came except where the hon. Member of Parliament comes from.


Mr Kaingu:  I do not know really how we can help him because we had actually made an effort.

We know the potential of tourism in Northern Province. In fact, to be exact, I asked Hon. Chitika, when I was still a Deputy Minister, to organise the hon. Members from Northern and Luapula provinces to come to my office so that we could sit and discuss the potential that existed in Northern and Luapula provinces. I am still waiting.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka): Mr Speaker, the Tourism Credit Facility has been in place for a considerable amount of time now. Is this Government able to detail this House and the nation at large the real link between the existence of this facility and visible economic development, especially in the area of infrastructure and tourists inflow into the country?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, yes, there is a linkage between the fund and the enterprises. We have given 126 enterprises loans from this very facility and those who have actually put it to good use have put up very good infrastructures like Maka in Northern Province.

I thank you, Sir.


Ms Kapata (Mandevu): Mr Speaker, what measure has the ministry put in place in terms of corruption and whether the money reaches the deserving Zambians who apply?

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, yes, this is a good question, hon. Member. We have the Anti-Corruption Commission on the committee that disburses the money.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sikazwe (Chimbamilonga): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what measures his office has put in place so that this information reaches the remotest areas which have potential tourism attraction centres. How are they going to respond to the meetings like the one which was held in Kasama and Lusaka respectively? In Chimbamilonga Constituency, Kaputa District, we have able business personnel who can access those funds, but there is no information which has reached their offices through any media.

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, we have used all the media, electronic and print media and we have even advertised in Bemba …


Mr Kaingu: So, I do not see why that question should arise.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!


917. Mr Sejani (Mapatizya) asked the Minister of Energy and Water Development whether the Government had any deliberate plans to construct dams in the country and, if so, when such a programme would be extended to Mapatizya Parliamentary Constituency.

Mr Speaker: Order! The House should listen.

The Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development (Ms Lundwe): Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to construct dams in the country in accordance with the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP). The Government will construct, at least, four dams every year to be located in various districts where suitable sites exist. There are plans to construct a dam at Sichiba in Mapatizya Constituency in Kalomo between 2008 and 2009.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, this matter is of interest to everyone. Would the hon. Minister be in a position to inform us of areas, especially in Southern Province, where they intend to put up dams?

The Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Konga): Mr Speaker, it is Government’s intention, as it has been explained in the response, according to the Fifth National Development Plan, to construct four dams each year where suitable sites will be located. The Department of Water Affairs, under the Minister of Energy and Water Development, it will work in conjunction with stakeholders in various parts of the country and will identify the suitable areas. These will be brought to the House when the selection has been done.

I thank you, Sir.


918. Mr Msichili asked the Minister of Labour and Social Security whether the ministry had any plans to establish a labour data bank for all trained personnel in Zambia, both retired and in employment in order to reduce the country’s dependence on expatriate labour.

The Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Mukuma): Mr Speaker, currently, my ministry has a data bank only of numbers of people in employment and those not in employment from the survey which was carried out jointly with the Statistical Office in 2005. However, the Government in all the Central Statistical offices, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocation Training through TEVETA and my ministry are conceptualising the conducting of a skills survey which will provide information on available skills in the country both retired and in employment. This will enable our Zambianisation programme to operate effectively.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Msichili: Mr Speaker, would it not be prudent for the Government to speed up this process because these foreign investors are bringing in cheap labour on the pretext that in this country we do not have qualified manpower?

Mr Mukuma: Mr Speaker, we very much appreciate the urgency attached to this programme. The Government also attaches great importance to this programme. Processes have already started and they are almost at the end. We hope that in the first term of next year, this process should be implemented.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


919. Mr Silavwe asked the Minister of Energy and Water Development when electrification of Chieftainess Nawaitwika’s Palace in Nakonde Parliamentary Constituency, which was abandoned in 2006 due to shortage of poles, will be completed.

The Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Sichilima): Mr Speaker, electrification of Chieftainess Nawaitwika’s Palace in Nakonde Parliamentary Constituency was not abandoned. However, it was stopped due to lack of poles which have since been procured by the Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO) and the project is scheduled to be completed by December 2007.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simama (Kalulushi): Mr Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister what he has put in place to assist the Copperbelt Forestry Company (CFC) to procure creosote and termite chemicals from South Africa to treat ZESCO poles since this is a biggest constraint CFC is facing to produce treated poles.

Mr Konga: Mr Speaker, I recall answering a similar question earlier in the week. I responded that due to the inability of the Copperbelt Forest Company to procure certain materials, the delivery of poles on the market had actually been affected. This has subsequently affected execution of works by Zesco. Therefore, Zesco and the Copperbelt Forest Company are working together to try and come up with a strategy where Copperbelt Forest Company will be assisted, although it is a private company. However, they will be assisted because they are a chain in the delivery of electricity service to the customer so that they are able to procure the materials which will enable them provide poles to Zesco and in the process, facilitate customer connection.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwangala (Nalolo): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out if there are any plans by the Government to electrify Kaungamashi Royal Establishment in Shang’ombo District in Western Province.

Mr Konga: Mr Speaker, Kaungamashi Settlement is one of the growth points which have been identified in the Rural Electrification Master Plan which will be launched early next year. Therefore, Kaungamashi is going to be electrified once this programme is executed.

I thank you, Sir.


920. Mr V. Mwale (Chipangali) asked the hon. Minister of Gender and Women-in-Development whether there were any plans to provide women with income-generating equipment, such as cooking oil and peanut butter-making machines, and if so, when.

The Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Malwa): Mr Speaker, I rise to respond …


Mr Speaker: Order! You may continue. I was protecting you.


Mr Malwa: Mr Speaker, I am responding to this question because the hon. Minister of Gender and Women-in-Development is not in the House.

Sir, the office does not have a budget line for provision of income-generating equipment. It is envisaged that such projects will be catered for under the proposed Women’s Empowerment Fund. It was reported that the Government was working on modalities to establish a Women’s Empowerment Fund. The office is currently consulting the relevant authorities on the modalities of establishing such funds. Once again, I wish to state that the office will be working with relevant implementing ministries and other institutions to make this fund a reality in the near future.

I thank you, Sir.


921. Mr Singombe (Dundumwezi) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives when the Government would pay supervisors in satellite depots their dues.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Mulonga): Mr Speaker, the Food Reserve Agency has entered into nine months contracts from June to March every year with Satellite Depots Warehouse Managers to manage the affairs of the Food Reserve Agency at agreed fees. Warehouse managers file in monthly claims upon which payments are based. These payments are ongoing during the contract. This year, warehouse managers countrywide have, so far, been paid K1,032,293,767.36.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Singombe: Mr Speaker, is the ministry not aware that the Food Reserve Agency is injecting poverty by not paying these people? May I also know how many of the satellite depot supervises have been arrested for shortages?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, as I said, there is an agreement that only when they file in their claims are they supposed to be paid. Therefore, we are not injecting poverty in them when we are waiting for clearance so that they are paid accordingly. What he is talking about maybe is what happened in June and July. We had difficulties to raise money to pay them because by then, the Food Reserve Agency had not exported anything. This House may recall that it only approved the Food Reserve Agency to buy 250,000 metric tonnes of maize. As for money to buy the other 150,000 metric tonnes, the FRA was to raise money itself. That is the money which is supposed to be paying even those workers. This is the only time we had problems, but things have come back to normal.

What did you say about the second part?


Mr Mulonga: I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order! No dialogue is allowed.

Mr Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, farmers in Katete District are owed over K2.6 billion and the Fertiliser Support Programme is almost coming to an end. When will the Government pay them as opposed to claims that the Government bought maize from Mozambique and other places?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, there is a particular amount which the Food Reserve Agency itself is supposed to raise to pay the farmers. Currently, we have about K42 billion which we are supposed to pay the farmers. There was a problem with export, but the Food Reserve Agency is currently negotiating with Tanzania and we are exporting to Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. As soon as the transactions are complete, the Food Reserve Agency is going to raise the K42 billion to pay our farmers as soon as possible because that is already in the process. However, I cannot give a specific date when these transactions will be over and when this money will be in the pockets of farmers. Otherwise, we are doing everything possible to take care of our farmers.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Zulu (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, we approve money in this House year in year out to buy maize. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives where the money realized from the sale of maize goes.

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, this is like a repetition of the other question because I said this House approved only money worth 250,000 metric tonnes of maize. The other 150,000 metric tonnes was supposed to be raised by FRA itself. The other money which was supposed to come from the Government has already been given to FRA and those farmers have already been paid. So, it is the other 150,000 metric tonnes which we are trying to raise money for.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order! If I may guide the hon. Minister, I think the hon. Member is referring to the profits from the previous sales. Did they not revolve? That is what I believe he is referring to.

Will you assist the House on that matter?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, if that has to be referred to, you will remember very well that last year the money the Government gave us was only to buy a reserve of 150,000 metric tonnes. There was more production this year. Even the little money which was realised last year could not buy everything for this year because there was more maize compared to the previous years.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, the issue of FRA has been talked about for so long in this House and the Government has not shown any seriousness. Now, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister. Is FRA at one point surely going to sustain itself other than all the time asking for money from Government? The Food Reserve Agency took over from National Agriculture Marketing Board (NAMBOARD) which used to sustain itself. Why is FRA failing to do so? When are you dissolving the board which is failing FRA?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, I am thankful to the hon. Member of Parliament for that question. From the beginning, FRA was only meant to buy maize for the country’s strategic reserves and the others were invited as private partners to help buy maize from the farmers. Now, because of over production or the bumper harvest because of the good policies, …


Mr Mulonga: … FRA is now meant to expand beyond its mandate to buy more than it was initially scheduled for. The last time it was only supposed to buy 150,000 metric tonnes. Last year, we increased to 200,000 metric tonnes. This year, it was supposed to buy 400,000 metric tonnes and, so far, it has only bought 395,000 metric tonnes. So, clearly, it is expanding. Therefore, it is not failing, but it has been overwhelmed by the bumper harvest and lack of the private sector participation.

We had anticipated its participation in the purchase of the maize from our farmers. Now, there is very little being done by the private partner. The Food Reserve Agency is taking up all that challenge which was supposed to be a partnership. It is actually growing and we hope that very soon, as it has now been allowed to export some maize, it will sustain itself.

As regards the question of dissolving the board, I think I would be lying to say anything about that issue. I think it would be better for you to come to the ministry offices so that we discuss that in detail.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


922. Mr Kambwili (Roan) asked the Minister of Education why the process of paying repatriation allowances to deserving teachers on the Copperbelt has been delayed for a long time.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to inform this august House that the Copperbelt Province received funds for outstanding bills amounting to K955 million on 20th August, 2007, and the districts have since started paying out repatriation allowances to deserving officers.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how they expect Chinese investors who are fond of abrogating the law to follow the law when the Government itself is not observing the law. It is clear under the Industrial Relations Act …

Mr Speaker: Order! You are debating.

Mr Kambwili: … that when an employee is retired, he has to be paid repatriation allowance. Why is it taking five years to do that?

The Minister of Education (Professor Lungwangwa): Mr Speaker, I am sure the hon. Member is satisfied by our answer …

Hon. PF Members: Aah!

Professor Lungwangwa: … that the problem which he has identified is being attended to and the members of staff who are affected have been paid. Now, the delay in the payments, as the hon. Member is very much aware, has to do with the availability of funding. If a member of staff retires today, it may not be possible to pay immediately, but the payment is done subsequently as resources become available. The figure which has been mentioned regarding the payments from the allocation in August this year is a clear indication that this Government is committed to the alleviation of the problems of our staff.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister state whether the Government has plans to decentralise the process of paying retired teachers?

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, I think the problem we have is that of appreciating the answers which are given by the Government. We allocated K955 million to the Copperbelt Province. Is that not decentralisation? The payment is being done in the province. That is a clear example of a decentralised process of payment.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chimbaka (Bahati): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Education aware that one of the major causes of shortage of staff accommodation in schools is that the Government has failed to repatriate teachers? When is he intending to repatriate all the teachers to create accommodation for newly-employed teachers?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the Government is very much aware of the constraint in teachers’ accommodation which, of course, arises from some delay in the payment of the teachers’ benefits. This is why the process of addressing that constraint is in effect so that as resources become available we are going to ensure that all the teachers who are owed benefits are paid so that accommodation is available to the new teachers.

I thank you, Sir.


923. Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi) asked the Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training when the buildings for the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR) on the Airport Road were last rehabilitated.

The Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (Ms Changwe): Mr Speaker, rehabilitation of the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR) was started in 2004 through to 2007. The rehabilitation of the buildings is being undertaken in a phased manner, starting with the buildings that were most extensively dilapidated. The ICT laboratory and ancillary facilities, National Remove Sensing Centre Offices, Food Chemistry Laboratory and the Water Resources Research Unit have, so far, been rehabilitated at a cost of K900 million.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, may I know whether the hon. Minister has been to the institute because the buildings are dilapidated. What is he doing about this because that seems to be a theory?

The Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (Mr Daka): Mr Speaker, a figure of K900 million is not a theory. It is a realistic figure that has been spent on the building. The rehabilitation exercise is being done in phases.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chimbaka (Bahati): Mr Speaker, what efforts has the ministry put in place to replace old dysfunctional training facilities in colleges, particularly Mansa and Luanshya where the old 1950s engines are being used to train mechanics and manual old typewriters to train secretaries?


Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, this is evolving according to the principles of engineering. If you look at the old Range Rover, it is a principle that has been there from time immemorial. This is why we are asking the leadership to come in and assist our training institutions to bring in technology to partner with the Government to train engineers or mechanics using modern equipment.

I thank you, Sir.




Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Information and Broadcasting Services for the First Session of the Tenth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on the 23rd October, 2007.

Mr Speaker: Is the motion seconded?

Mr Muteteka (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the motion.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, in line with their terms of reference, your Committee considered the role of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services and the public media under its portfolio in collaboration with line ministry information units, the private media houses, that is looking at their role in promoting the image of Zambia, her people and their Government, tourism and investment opportunities both locally and from abroad.

Sir, taking into consideration the goals set under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, Information and Media Policy of 1996, your Committee sought to delve into the following specific issues:

(a) what the Public Media has done to promote the image of Zambia, her people and their government, tourism and investment opportunities both locally and abroad;

(b) what the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services has done to collaborate with other line ministry information units to market Zambia both locally and abroad;

(c) what steps have been taken by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services to collaborate with private media houses in order to promote the image of Zambia, her people and their Government, promote tourism and investment opportunities both locally and abroad;

(d) to find out the results the ‘Visit Zambia Campaign’ has yielded and whether what has been done so far by both public and private media is adequate to market Zambia; and

(e) how far the promotion of investment in tourism has appealed to Zambian investors.

Further, your Committee undertook tours of fourteen public and private media and communication-related institutions to consolidate the Committee’s understanding of the topical issues and to come up with well informed observations and recommendations to this House. In addition, your Committee also considered outstanding issues arising from the Action-Taken-Report and reports of your previous committees for 2005 and 2006.

To assist them in their deliberations, your Committee requested both written and oral submissions from chief executives of various stakeholder institutions. Regrettably, some private media institutions such as The Post did not turn up or send any written submissions in spite of the numerous efforts to contact them.

Allow me, Sir, now to highlight some salient issues that attracted the attention …

Mr Speaker: Order! There is feed back into that microphone. Is it possible that someone near the mover has a mobile phone which is on in the pocket? Could you, please, ensure the equipment is taken away?

The hon. Member for Luapula may continue, please.

Dr Machungwa: Before the interruption, I was about to highlight some salient issues that attracted the attention of your Committee during their deliberations.

With regard to the subject of what the public media has done to promote the image of Zambia, her people and their Government, tourism and investment opportunities from both local investors and investors from abroad, your Committee observed that the public media have not done as much as they should have done due to a number of reasons. Although they have been trying their best, the public media have been hampered in their execution of work by inadequate funding and lack of recapitalisation by the shareholder who is the Government.

Sir, your Committee also noted that the perception that the public media are biased towards Government has alienated the very public they are meant to serve which has adversely affected their circulation and audience levels. As a result, the public media suffer from low revenues and may not effectively market Zambia.

Mr Speaker, pertaining to the collaboration by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services with line ministry information units, your Committee noted that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services has a number of initiatives to provide professional assistance and advice to public relations information units of other ministries. One ministry that has benefited from their systems is the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources. There is also a website which has links to websites of other line ministries.

Your Committee observe that although these efforts are worth commending, the aggregate effect on Zambia’s image both at home and abroad is not that strong at all.

Sir, as regards steps taken by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services to collaborate with private media houses in order to promote the country’s image and promote tourism and investment both locally and abroad, your Committee notes that no deliberate co-ordinated steps to collaborate with the private media have been taken by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services. If anything, the private media have used their own unsolicited initiatives to market Zambia. Some of these include tourism news, The Post newspaper, The Monitor newspaper, Radio Phoenix and other private media. Your Committee see reluctance by the Government agencies to work with the private media. The reasons for these are not explained.

Mr Speaker, let me now comment on the results of the Visit Zambia Campaign. Your Committee observe that although the campaign has scored some successes, it has fallen short of expectations. This is because when it was launched, Zambians expected to see many more foreign tourists come to the country.

As regards the adequacy of what both public and private media have done so far to market Zambia, your Committee observe that it is without doubt inadequate. The main reasons for this are the following:

(a) there is a lack of adequate logistical and operational tools such as transport and computers at many of this media;

(b) there is below average proficiency among many of our journalists;

(c) there is lack of specialised reporting and where it exists, reporters merely give a superficial event-based account, especially on political activities without analysis of critical issues; and

(d) there is lack of collaboration between the public and private media.

Mr Speaker, promotion of investment in tourism has appealed to locals in a very small way. The probable reason for this is that the incentives in place for investment in tourism favour foreign rather than local investors. This is unfortunate.

Mr Speaker, in view of the foregoing, your Committee recommend that:

(a) the Government, through the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, should come up with deliberate policies which will compel public media institutions to come up with specific programmes aimed at promoting Zambia’s image;

(b) the Government should ensure enhanced and sustainable collaboration between the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, line ministry information units, the Zambia National Tourist Board and the private media in drawing up and carrying out programmes for marketing Zambia’s image and tourism both locally and abroad;

(c) the Government should ensure that the Zambia National Tourist Board which is the arrow head in the marketing of tourism is given adequate capacity to undertake its mandate. Here, we are talking about financial support;

(d) the public media journalists should be accorded opportunities for retraining to enable them specialise in specific fields and to adjust to the dynamics of modern reporting;

(e) the Government should promote interest in tourism by recognising media institutions and individual reporters dealing with tourism through incentive-driven programmes such as media awards; and
(f) the Government should speed up the distribution and accessibility of the radio and television signals to rural areas. Simultaneous with this, the Government should ensure that the Rural Electrification Programme is speeded up because it will not be very easy or possible to spread the radio and television signals to rural areas in the absence of electrical power.

Mr Speaker, may I now turn to some outstanding issues in the Action Taken-Report. Some of the issues that your Committee and the one before it have belaboured are re-introduction of the Freedom of Information Bill in the National Assembly and the implementation of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Acts of 2002. Now that the Supreme Court has made its ruling on this matter, the Government should expedite the appointment of the board at Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation. Your Committee also strongly recommend that the Government quickly brings back the Freedom of Information Bill to the House.

Mr Speaker, lastly, let me highlight some issues that arose from the local tours your Committee undertook. Your Committee were shocked at the state of disrepair in public media institutions. The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Kitwe Studios and the Times of Zambia are a case in point. The printing presses at both the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail are antiquated. In fact, the printing machine at the Times of Zambia is obsolete. It is even a wonder that it is still working. The Kitwe Studios of Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation does not have adequate equipment and transport. The scenario is the same in many other State-owned media institutions. Even new small private media surpass the Government institutions in terms of their facilities. Unless and until these are recapitalised and adequately funded, we cannot expect them to effectively market Zambia at home, let alone abroad.

Mr Speaker, it was surprising to note when we were in Livingstone that a very prominent hotel in the tourist capital does not carry the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation signal on their television bouquet. This negates every effort by the Government, through the Zambia National Tourist Board and all concerned, to market Zambian tourism.

Mr Speaker, your Committee did not have an opportunity to undertake foreign tours on this. However, many members of the Committee have travelled and many hon. Members in this House have travelled to different countries, either in their individual capacities or on parliamentary business. I am sure that most will agree with me that it is unheard of not to see a national or local television channel on television in those countries.

Your Committee, therefore, strongly recommend that the Government compels all hoteliers and lodge owners to carry the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation signal on their bouquets. Otherwise, the whole marketing strategy will be an exercise in futility. We expect that when tourists come, they will get a chance to look at the television and choose the channel to see something about Zambia rather than everything from abroad.

Mr Speaker, may I conclude by thanking you for your valuable guidance during this and the previous sessions. May I also take this opportunity to thank my colleagues who served your Committee for their hard work and commitment during the course of the deliberations.

In addition, I wish to express your Committee’s gratitude to all the witnesses who appeared before them and made both oral and written submissions. I also thank all the institutions that hosted your Committee during their local tours.

Lastly, Sir, allow me to thank the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the advice and services rendered during the work of the Committee.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

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

Mr Muteteka: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker in seconding this motion, so ably moved by the Chairperson, allow me to highlight a few pertinent issues of great concern to your Committee as they considered the role of the public as well as the private media in the promotion of Zambia, her people and their Government, tourism and investment opportunities both at home and abroad.

Sir, I will be very brief since the Chairperson’s speech was quite elaborate. Your Committee during the tour noted with great concern the neglect that repeater stations and transmitter houses have suffered. It is amazing to note that an important installation such as a transmitter could be left unguarded to the extent that even when fire breaks out, there is absolutely no one to fight it, let alone alert the fire station or anyone who might render help.

Mr Speaker, the other worrisome issue that your Committee noted is that whereas Government has zero rated accommodation to encourage tourism in Livingstone, there is reluctance on the part of hotel and lodge owners to pass this benefit to Zambians visiting Livingstone. Despite the zero rated accommodation facility, hotel charges are still high and unaffordable to most Zambians visiting Livingstone. Your Committee, therefore, urge the Government to prevail on hoteliers and lodge owners in Livingstone to reduce their rates in consonance with the reduced taxes.

Sir, you Committee are also very concerned at the insistence by the private phone service providers to have the international gateway opened up or liberalised. What is even more surprising is that none of the countries from which these companies originate have allowed their companies to control the international gateway.

Sir, in the interest of national security and considering that Zambia Telecommunications (ZAMTEL) has excess capacity which is being under utilised your Committee strongly recommend that the Government retains total control of the international gateway through ZAMTEL.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: Mr Speaker, your Committee noted with great concern the operations of the recent established Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) which is supposed to be a-one-stop centre facility in charge of investor-licence processing, issuance of permits for multi-facility economic zones and responsible for investment promotion for both local and foreign investors.

Your Committee appreciate the initiative by the Government to set up this agency. However, due to inadequate funding, operations of some units such as the inspectorate, which is charged with the responsibility of monitoring of investor compliance and establishment of the trade and industrial parks for entrepreneurs, have suffered serious setbacks.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1045 hours until 1100 hours.

Mr Muteteka: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was saying that your Committee appreciate Government’s initiative to set up the Zambia Development Agency. However, due to inadequate funding, operations of some units such as the inspectorate which is charged with the responsibility of monitoring investor-compliance and establishment of the trade and industrial parks for entrepreneurs have suffered serious set backs.

Your Committee, therefore, urge the Government to provide increased funding in next year’s budget to enable ZDA enforce licence agreements and other conditions. Equally, I urge hon. Members to support and approve the budget when it comes to the House.
In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I wish to extend my thanks to the Chairperson of your Committee for the able manner in which he presided over the meetings. Let me also thank all the Members of your Committee and witnesses for their input.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mabenga (Mulobezi): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to contribute on this motion.

Sir, I want to pay tribute to your Committee for the very informative report that they have presented to this House. I would like to specifically refer to the good work that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services has done so far and continues to do. However, the good pieces of work will only be meaningful if we are going to ensure that enough funding is given to this ministry.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services has, so far, done a lot. Therefore, we need to give it the support it deserves. We do know today that there are a number of privately-owned media institutions that have been given licences to operate all over the country. This is the freedom that is required in a democratic dispensation like the one in our country. So, we must give them all the praise.

Sir, I remember that during the debate on the National Constitution Conference (NCC), the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services played a very significant role in ensuring that information was disseminated to all the parts of this country both in English and vernacular languages. That was very important. Therefore, we need to empower and give it as much support as possible so that we can even revive the old newspapers that are only coming out now in bits so that they can be printed as often as possible so that our people in rural areas are empowered even more.

Sir, I do also remember that today when you are travelling outside this country, you will be able to see more aeroplanes flying direct from Johannesburg or Nairobi to Livingstone. This was not there before. This means that the promotion of tourism through the use of the media has paid dividends. The ministry is doing very fine. Therefore, I urge the hon. Minister to continue helping out in these areas so that Zambia is put on the world map. The Livingstone Airport today is something to talk about. It is growing because of the much talk about development that we have been disseminating outside the country.

Mr Speaker, I know that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, especially radio and television services personnel, is ready to assist any hon. Member of Parliament who is ready to go with them to the constituency and see what is happening there. This can later be aired on radio and television so that the whole country can see what goes on in constituencies such as Kabompo West, Mwinilunga and Kalabo. This is what His Excellency the President has been saying. Let hon. Members of Parliament monitor their projects and this can be done by ensuring that hon. Members of Parliament use facilities such as radio and television. That is another very important issue that this ministry is doing.

Sir, I must confirm that most of our districts have now been connected to television reception.


Mr Mabenga: This is another milestone.

Mr Kasongo interjected.

Mr Mabenga: No, do not worry, my Permanent Secretary, you will get something very soon. Hon. Kasongo was my Permanent Secretary when I was at the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mabenga: … but he is now an honourable Member.

Mr Speaker, I would like to emphasise the fact that we need to ensure that this ministry is supported fully by suggestions made by this Committee. We have to do this as hon. Members of Parliament. We have to go out there and show the people what is happening, especially in rural areas. If there is maize which is still stuck in the rural areas, let it be shown on television. The services are there; let us use them. It is, therefore, important that we use them so that we are able to tell the people in and outside this country what we are doing.

Sir, I just wanted to emphasise these few important points that I have raised. I support the efforts of the Committee and encourage them to continue doing a good job if they return next year.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Government Member: Stand up.

Mr Matongo (Pemba): I am upright and standing up.

Mr Speaker, the information released by the able Chairman of the Committee and supported by my brother can only be emphasised by way of debate. I commend the Chairman for bringing out all the salient features in as far as this ministry is concerned. We have an able and dynamic hon. Minister brought up in the rural area who understands what information is. Hon. Members such as me believe that there are two things here.

Mr Speaker, it is understood that the public media are not financially supported by the Government. We need to look at the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail and compare what they used to be in the early 1970s.  They used to be as dynamic as the private newspapers of today. What has gone wrong? I think nothing has gone wrong except we have not given them the necessary impetus and support to be free and analyse and employ quality journalists.

Sir, while we appreciate the Government Spokesperson, I believe that there are three wings of the Government. There are times when we should talk about the Legislature and the hardworking hon. Members of Parliament who include you. We should be able to talk about the Judiciary. Every time you talk about the Government, you only talk about Cabinet. I think I would like you to be broad-based and I am sure you have ambitions for this country. Do not create unnecessary enemies, but create more friends by sometimes throwing deliberately your statements to cover even those that you may not want to please.

Sir, I think the ministry has been too much of a mouth piece specifically for Cabinet Office and State House. I am very convinced that sometimes people get bored about some of the statements made about them. We, therefore, ask you to be more deliberate. Speak on behalf of the people of Habanyuka and they will appreciate very much. If you open a small clinic there, talk about it.

Hon. Member: What is Habanyuka?

Mr Matongo: Habanyuka is a polling station in my constituency.


Mr Matongo: I can only talk about my constituency and not Ndola Rural.


Mr Matongo: Mr Speaker, more importantly, I would like to persuade the hon. Minister and the people on your right that they are no terribly bad chaps.


Mr Matongo: Sorry, bad people. I apologise for that. These people are very understanding. I have been with them in this Parliament for six years now. Some of you can reflect how you used to be when you first came in this House because of the many wrong people that were on your right. I think the good ones now are more than the bad ones. When we say…

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: Except that one who said, ‘hear, hear’.


Mr Matongo: When we say bring the Broadcasting Authority Act back, set free the Zambia Broadcasting Services or bring back the Freedom of Information Bill, we mean extremely well. We will make sure that when these Bills come here, they will not impinge on the privacy of the citizenry.

They should only have access to the information they need. Please, appoint the boards. I am informed that the Supreme Court has ruled. You have to go ahead and form the boards. Bring back the two Bills here.

I am aware that there are some awkward characters in most of the political circles. I am also aware that some of them oppose the Freedom of Information Bill because they have not been sufficiently educated in order to understand what an informed citizenry can do for their councillors, Members of Parliament and for all the three arms of the Government. Take this to those who have nothing to hide. We are all here to work in the interest of the Zambian people. When you are doing the right thing, we will compliment you. However, if you are not doing enough good works, we will persuade you and sometimes pressure you with hard language - not as hard as the indigenous peoples of this country …


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: …but softly enough to be understood.

Hon. Member: Awe!

Mr Matongo: I mean well. It is a compliment to you, Sir.

Hon. Member: Indeed, it is.

Mr Matongo: Please, let us persuade each other that, in fact, we are making these laws not only for ourselves and, maybe, for you, hon. Minister, but certainly we are moving towards leaving good laws to the younger people. Let us leave good governance practices for our children and grandchildren.

Hon. Minister, I have faith in you that you will bring these Bills as quickly as possible in the New Year.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Sinyangwe (Matero): Thank you, Mr Speaker. 

Sir, I would also like to thank the Committee for a very good report that they have given us this morning. The public media just like I said on education touch everybody and it is everybody’s concern.

Last time when I was debating, I said we are not giving enough attention to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services. It is like after everything has been done and all the money has been shared, then what remains goes to this ministry because we underrate its importance. The Government can either tick or fall because of information.

I would also like to talk about the quality of our journalists. We have not paid enough attention to training. We have seen a lot of training schools mushrooming, but their quality of training is questionable. Even the journalists that we employ need to be trained continuously because a lot of things keep on changing in the world. However, here when a journalist comes from Evelyn Hone College, you take her to television or radio without any special training. I think that we should endeavour to train our people adequately. One example I would give is when the President of the Republic is interviewed. How do you take a baby or toddler to interview the President or other dignitaries or even presidents of other parties? He or she does not even have adequate experience. They ask embarrassing questions not because they want to, but because sometimes they do not understand.

In the past, we had very good television. It was a pleasure to watch television, but now people have stopped watching our national broadcaster in preference for cable television and we miss a lot. As a politician, I would like to watch the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation because I want to learn a lot from it. Therefore, our programming also should be looked into.

The Freedom of Information Bill we are talking about is very important because most of the time we see our reporters being harassed. I used to do programmes, but each time one did a programme, the people with authority on your right would say ‘can you remove this and put in that’. I think we need to be comfortable and confident in ourselves so that if a reporter reports something that you think is not right, let the public judge. Do not be our own judges who dictate what reporters should do.

As regards the selection of news, it gives me much concern. In the public media, news should only come from the President, a Minister or someone with authority in society. It is not supposed to be like that. News can come from anybody. Sometimes, when a Minister attends a function and other people speak, the only news that will be picked is from the Minister even if there was not much to report about from the Minister. People who said better things will not be covered. That is not the way news should be selected. We should know that people need to know a lot of things anywhere and anyhow.

With regard to newspapers, we used to have newspapers in local languages. In fact, even with this, we do not pay much attention. Information is power. Our people in every part of Zambia need to know what is happening in their country. Even the Constitution we are talking of translating, I do not know how long it will take for the Government to translate this into the local languages.  A constitution does not just mean that the few elite must know and speak. It affects everybody. Even the people in the rural areas have things that they need to be addressed in the Constitution. 

This Ministry is important. We must give it more money for a change and see what it can do before we accuse it of many things. It does not even have transport. Sometimes, you hear that one vehicle has gone to cover the President, another has followed His Honour the Vice-President, Mr Rupiah Banda, and one is with Hon. Magande and that is it. They do not have enough cameras. What is happening with the other news? If you want cameras, buy more so that you can use them more and leave some for us to use because we also need cameras and coverage.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Sinyangwe: Another issue, Hon. Mulongoti, is that we have come to a stage where we have loved money so much in this country and have abrogated our responsibility to provide service as a Government. Anything that goes to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation has to be paid for. While we appreciate that people must pay, there should be some programmes that should run freely. If I need a slot because I want to tell the people about Matero, they will ask me to pay so much for a programme of five or ten minutes. Why should I pay for programmes like that? Why should we pay commercial rates for educational programmes? Why? We know that we have to educate our people and we are far from reaching the Education For All goal. I am sure my brother, Hon. Lungwangwa, agrees with me. We cannot achieve by the four walls of the classroom. The media can play a very important role.

I would like to salute The Post. One day in a week they publish the Education Post. Why can we not a have a slot on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation and dedicate it to education?

It is important …

Hon. Opposition Member: Taonga!

Mrs Sinyangwe: Even Taonga. We pay a lot of money. Very soon, it will close, but then we have a lot of children who need education, and yet we cannot offer it to them. Honestly, the Government must reserve some of the things for service though you are privatising everything.

Mr Speaker, lastly, I would like to say that our journalists are doing their best under very bad conditions. The Government has built a very beautiful building, but when you go there, it is a disaster.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Sinyangwe: I have been in a television station outside this country. People have been put in strategic places. The job that is supposed to be done by five people is being done by one person in Zambia. How do you expect quality? We are compromising quality. Please, when we visit Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, we need to sit on good chairs and not what is there now.

Sir, when it comes to transport, they even go to the extent of asking from people. If our children die, you will not even compensate their families tomorrow. You will be asking what vehicle they were riding in. I think we should pay more attention and the bottom line is funding. Let us fund the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services adequately so that it can give us the information that we need in every corner of Zambia.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central): Mr Speaker, allow me to start my debate by talking about the history of the broadcasting industry in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, broadcasting in this country started in 1931 during the Second World War. The purpose of broadcasting was to inform families of the soldiers who were involved in that war. It was mainly catering for Lusaka residents because families of the soldiers who were sent to Burma and East Africa were grouped in Lusaka. Therefore, the colonial Government thought of establishing a system which would enable them inform those families about the goings on during the war. That was in 1941.

Sir, when the war ended in 1945, the British Government thought of expanding the broadcasting system and established three areas of concern. These are what we call broadcasting objectives. This is to inform, entertain and educate. Indeed, the colonial masters did their best to expand broadcasting to all parts of this country on short-wave and medium-wave.

Sir, by 1953, the federation was created and Lusaka became the nerve centre for vernacular broadcasts for Malawi, Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia under the Federal Government. The English broadcasts were coming from Salisbury. By 1961, each member state of the federation had already established its own radio station. At independence, Zambia inherited very powerful radio transmissions on both short-wave and medium-wave. When I talk of powerful transmissions, I am referring to the coverage of radio signals throughout the country.

Sir, in 1966, the Government of the Republic of Zambia took over the running of Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and it was turned into a Government department called Zambia Broadcasting Services. That was the time when the services of the institution started going down because of limited maintenance and not funding the institution.

Today, radio signals in most parts of the country are not there.  I will give you an example of Mpika, where ZNBC radio today is never received. Radio is mainly received along the line of rail. In fact, radio in this country would have closed down had it not been for the expertise of young men and women at ZNBC who are trying their best to connect pieces of wires in order to put the signal on air.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kapeya: Therefore, there is need for the Government to pump in a lot of money to acquire new transmitters to enable ZNBC radio signals reach all parts of the country.

Mr Speaker, I would like to invite the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Corporation to go to Mpika and tune in to ZNBC radio. You will be shocked because it only picks radio stations of nearby countries like Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and others. The most painful thing is that countries who were transmitting their programmes from Lusaka as a nerve centre are the champions in the broadcasting industry today. Where are we as pioneers in the broadcasting industry?

If you want to build on the three objectives of broadcasting, that is information, education and entertainment, there is need to open up regional stations which management of ZNBC has already done. As I speak to you, these plans are on paper. What is needed is funding from the Government. Today, we would be talking of other things instead of complaining of a radio or television signal. Let us ensure that we go by the recommendations of the Committee, especially where the Government should speed up the process of upgrading infrastructure to enable ZNBC cover the whole country.

Sir, the Government should improve conditions of service to attract and retain qualified and experienced personnel, particularly in the ICT and Engineering Department. This qualifies my statement. As I said, had it not been for the expertise of young men and women at ZNBC, we would have no radio in this country today.

Mr Speaker, another point is that ZNBC should be helped to create more channels to allow for increased quality coverage. This is important because there is need to open up broadcasting in regional stations across the nation so that those regional broadcasters become correspondents of ZNBC. They should be reporting on a daily basis on what is taking place in each area of this country. That is what we call broadcasting. Bwana Minister, it is time for you to stand up and be counted.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

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

Mr Chimbaka: Mr Speaker, I just want to add to what experienced persons have said on this important Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

Mr Speaker, in my own understanding as a lay man in this field, to inform means to tell or speak to the people. Broadcasting means scattering and allowing what you intend to scatter reach every intended goal. Therefore, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services is very important in national development, negatively or positively.

Sir, during the federation and struggle for independence, I recall that there were radio stations that used to send propaganda out there in Azania, which is now known as South Africa, Mozambique and other countries. The reason was to make people in those countries understand what those that were disseminating the information wanted them to do. Therefore, at this stage, particularly in Zambia, information is quite important and critical to national development. There is no way people in the media should be selective with regard to whom to cover.

Mr Speaker, the Government has shown good will because it has provided vans, motor bikes and a lot of vehicles for people out there in the rural areas to go where they can to pick up information. This information will enable the Government to make right decisions and the people of Zambia to appreciate the services being given by Government. Alas! Again, Mr Speaker, the culture of some of the leaders is like we are still in a one-party system where an opposition Member of Parliament or anybody else cannot be covered. There are instances where I have written formalising that I would be undertaking a tour with my own fuel. I have also said I would pay lunch allowance to the media people so that they could cover what the President says must be done only to be told, “You are not a provincial Minister and the fact that you are not MMD you cannot be covered.”

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chimbaka: I work for the Government as a Member of the Legislature and I am a people’s leader. I do not believe in whatever ‘ism’. On that issue, my Learned Minister, I say learned Minister because I know that you are a student of law and you have graduated. My brother, check on those people. They are denying Government information which is required for you to formulate correct policies. You may want to consider the same information even as we budget. Let the people appreciate governance in this country.

Mr D. Mwila: He is the one who stops them!

Mr Chimbaka: The other concern, Mr Speaker, I want to dwell on is the way most people abuse the media. With due respect, I believe the media are very important to human development either scientifically, politically or educationally. What is of concern to me is the way we are trying to use the media, especially in the area of language.

I perused what my mulamu said yesterday that the internet is a key. When I look at the internet or the Times of Zambia and The Post, I come across words which are not used properly. There is uncivilised language in the media to criticise one another. People should focus on development. There is need to inculcate diligence integrity in the way the media operate.

Mr D. Mwila: Shakafuswa!

Mr Chimbaka: That is key.

As a teacher, I know very well - and many of you will agree with me - that if you have very good information you want to deliver, but you do not know the language to use, you distort your information and the children will fail. It is very important to choose the language that will enable you communicate your information to the audience exactly how you intended. It does not build Zambia at all to use unparliamentary language where people want to show that they can box or insult.  That is not the purpose of the media!

Mr Kambwili: Shakafuswa!

Mr Chimbaka: The media are very important. They are a conduit for education.

Today, if we do not change, our younger generation is going to have a culture which is going to have adverse bearing on you. What can stop a child to stand up and call you stupid? What would stop your grandson to call you ‘idiot’!


Mr Chimbaka: This is what you are telling them and that is the language you are using. This is not the intention. The intention is for the people out there in Kaputa to gauge and understand that there is the Citizens Empowerment Act for them to come up with a co-operative, organise themselves, get some resources, go to the province and access funding. That is the information the people deserve.

The purpose of the media is to go by a van right up to Shang’ombo to help the people there to appreciate that there is a government, especially when they see that the mines are doing A, B, C, and D. The people of Kaputa and Shang’ombo must see the construction works being done. They have to enjoy the tourism in Siavonga. Let those in Mporokoso know what is happening in Livingstone so that they can learn from their colleagues there. That is the purpose of the media.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chimbaka: Mr Speaker, there should be commitment and political will. The media are like what a mouth is to a person. It is very cardinal that there is political will and monetary assistance it desires so that Zambia develops.

Sir, I remember there was Inshila on the Copperbelt. There was a local language programme written in Lozi that time.

Hon. Member: Liseli!

Mr Chimbaka: Liseli, thank you very much, my brother. It is unfortunate that today the reading culture is eroded. However, within Shang’ombo, Liuwa and Kaputa are old men, old Form II and Standard 6, who want to read and know what is happening. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services must be focused, level headed and stand up to the challenge of the times. There must be priority in what to say, how to say it and where to say it. We must sieve information to decide whether it is in tandem with national or political development.

Politics are good, but sometimes they can undo you. Whatever you say and however you say it has a bearing on you. You may forget, but posterity shall recall. As indigenous Zambians who are developing, evolution and dynamism must be pursued. If you do not do that, you will believe that you are alive when you are actually dead. It is very important that we do not abuse information. Let us use this ministry to development Zambia for the people to appreciate us.

I thank you, Sir.

Major Chizhyuka (Namwala): Mr Speaker, I arise to state that whereas there is a popular fallacy that the public media are diametrically opposed to any issues that are negative to the existing Government, those in the name of the Zambia Daily Mail and the Times of Zambia and, indeed, the private media have been allies of the struggle for the indigenous people of this country.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Major Chizhyuka: I want to recall, Mr Speaker, that in the early days, there used to be a time when one foreigner wanted to take the entire Chiawa in terms of hectarage. It was the Zambia Daily Mail that stood up to the occasion and got counted. That foreigner does not have that land because the public media in the name of the Zambia Daily Mail stood up.

Hon. Members: hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Member interjected.

Major Chizhyuka: I do not want to mention that name. Thanks for that though. When the people of Namwala were fighting for their self determination to ensure that the Kafue Flats remained an area in which they could foster their central cultural preoccupation, which is cattle rearing …

Hon. UPND Member: Quality.

Major Chizhyuka: … and a foreigner from a certain country wanted to grow rice, it was the Zambia Daily Mail that came to their aid. It was possible for the entire nation to understand the calls of the people of Namwala and in the process our fight for our rights was in that way enhanced.

I do realise that there were times when we held press conferences on matters that were pertinent to the people of Zambia and all the many tabloids would fail to publish, and yet they attended the press conference. They blacked us out. The Times of Zambia, through Isabel Chimangeni, - May Her Soul Rest In Peace - were able to publish articles which ordinarily would not be published because they would be considered opposed to Government.

I do know that we are now dealing with corruption in the Ministry of Lands. If it had not been for The Post newspaper, we would not probably even think that we have in this country the Anti-Corruption Commission. We would not have dealt with the issue of corruption in the Ministry of Lands to the extent that we have today. I want to say that we should give accolades to the public media, to a certain extent.

Mr Speaker, the powers that be, through the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, should stop belittling media heads. Once they are told that their task is never to criticise the Government, it means rubbishing their very existence as well as that of the directors and senior management in their media organisations. I think that it is statements like these that make people start wondering whether they should buy the Zambia Daily Mail or Times of Zambia the following morning.

Mr Speaker, having said that, I am sure that the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services will ensure that the Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail reach Namwala. These newspapers never reach Namwala which is 300 kilometres from the capital city of Lusaka. We never read the Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia, and yet by 0600 hours every day, The Post newspaper will have arrived in Namwala. We also want to read the Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia and so forth.

Mr Speaker, you know that I am an advocate of media freedoms. I am not so sure that in the current form we should support the Freedom of Information Bill. You need to add some level of responsibility to the media to self-regulate. These are issues that are happening even in England. I want to tell you that there is a newspaper which was very radical. It is called The Sun. Somehow, at some point, the newspaper jumped on the band wagon and it is now a member of a self-governing regulatory body within the overall framework of news media in England. In South Africa, it is called Complaints Commission and this is an organisation that helps to regulate the media. I am not too sure that, as a Member of Parliament for Namwala, I would be supporting the Freedom of Information Bill in its current form. I think that we need to put benchmarks. I have said this in the past, and I have said it on radio and television that there is absolutely no need whatsoever to call the president of a country ‘stupid’. What benefit do you get from that?

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Major Chizhyuka: Can you tell me what benefit you get by calling the president of a country ‘stupid’ even if you hate him? Do you know that the following day, you yourself might be president and you will be called an ‘idiot’?

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Major Chizhyuka: You will be called an ‘idiot’. He might even be called a ‘hyena’.

Hon. Government Members: Or a snake. Now, you are talking.

Major Chizhyuka: Mr Speaker, can the person who called a president ‘idiot’ go and call a bus conductor the same name at a bus stop? I want somebody to come and tell me whether 3 seconds down the line, he will not be on the floor.


Major Chizhyuka: These are the issues, Mr Speaker. I have a lot of friends in the media circles and I know that there are some fine men. Until I, Major Chizhyuka, see the media exhibiting a sense of responsibility, I want to tell you that I will not support the Freedom of Information Bill in its current form.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Mulongoti): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to respond to this wonderful report presented by Hon. Dr. Machungwa and seconded by Hon. Muteteka.

Sir, all the major problems of the public media have been highlighted in the report. I am grateful for the wonderful report that the Committee has submitted to this House. I have been in that ministry for just a few months now. During this period, I have found myself saddled with a lot of problems. Coming from the corporate world, I have had to tackle these problems head on.

Sir, you might not understand the difficulties that are there. Let me say that all of them except Zambia National Information Service (ZANIS) are corporate entities. They are companies under the Companies Act. This means that the way they perform and conduct their business is governed by the law. They have Boards of Directors and management who are supposed to run these companies. Like what has happened to many parastatals in this country, there have been difficulties of work culture.

Mr Speaker, if you go to most of these parastatals and ask them whether or when they ever declared dividends to the shareholder, they will not remember, and yet this is what enhances shareholder value. This has been lacking. First of all, the challenge is not to go to the Government to ask for money, but the challenge is to put your house in order and be able to say if you support us in this way, we will be able to bring forth these results.

Sir, the indigenous supporter, the hon. Member for Namwala (Major Chizhyuka), said that we are trying to demean the editors and so on, no. I would like to remind him that there is no freedom that is absolute. You can go to any newspaper in the world. You cannot create a newspaper and tell the editors to write what they please. It does not work.

In this country, we have given freedom to the private media to freely criticise the Government. However, surely, will it make sense that the people who are supposed to, first of all, defend the integrity of the Government and the people in Government are the first ones to throw abuse at the Government? We are not saying that they should not publish the mistakes, but they should not be in the forefront of insulting the leadership. They are free to publish. However, when they criticise, there is a way to do that. If, for instance, you have a son who today will say that you are an adulterous father and tomorrow says that you are a good father, will the people believe him?


Mr Mulongoti: What you expect him to say to you as a father is that you sometimes come home late.


Mr Mulongoti: That is a polite way of saying it. What does coming home late imply? That is all I am saying.

I have challenged the boards. I have appointed two boards now, the Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia, Printpak and so on and they must use their initiative, enterprise and go out to look for money from the market. For instance, there are structures in prime areas which they are using as offices, and yet if they found a developer, they would develop those premises and give them space for offices and use the offices to make some money for the company. Why should they sit on prime land just for the purpose of collecting news everyday from here and there? I told them that I would not allow them to do that as long as I remained Minister.

I have said before in this House that if Bill Gates came and bought some of these companies, what could be his first exercise? Would it be to look at the board and management? I think he would first look at the company to enhance shareholder value. In this case, the shareholders in the public media are the people of Zambia.

If you visit most parastatals today, you will find that they pay themselves salaries very punctually every month. However, ask them if at the end of the year they declare anything to the shareholder. In other words, the owners of those companies are the people who work there and not the shareholders who are the people of Zambia.

Therefore, I would like to assure this House that I am committed to leaving a legacy there. Hon. Kakoma was Managing Director of the Zambia Daily Mail. What he left is still what is there in terms of structures. It is the same thing at the Times Printpak.

Mr Speaker, the Committee report states that the equipment is outdated. At what point are we going to get it replaced? Unless we challenge the management and the boards to do this, these difficulties will continue.

Sir, in today’s world, things have changed. I know that there are those who would want to use the public media for the purpose of advancing their own causes and show that they have capacity to incite and demand the impossible from the Government. However, if they were in Government, they would not do anything. I feel sad that even the little that the public media are trying to do in promoting tourism, there are statements that are coming from leaders that create an impression that there is chaos here and that violence can break out anytime. Do you think that tourists can come here with such statements?

Hon. Government Members: No!

Mr Mulongoti: We must, first of all, examine ourselves whether our contributions are enhancing the attraction of tourists to Zambia.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, with regard to freedom of information, I have demanded that in as much as you want freedom, we must also talk about obligations and responsibility. Why do you want freedom to say anything, but when we challenge you, you do not want to take responsibility for what you said? These are the difficulties.

I have had the opportunity to look at the draft of the Freedom of Information Bill. There are so many challenges in it. The British who enacted the Freedom of Information Bill took five years to operationalise it because they discovered that it was frustrating to the public. When the public went to look for information, they were not able to get it because they did not train the people that receive, store, retrieve and safeguard such information. The impression created is that when we have freedom of information, you can walk in an office and pick up anything you like. That is chaos. There is no such a thing. We should do things in an orderly manner.

First of all, the media must regulate themselves. I have been telling them to regulate themselves. What I mean is that if one amongst the media makes a mistake, the media themselves must punish, admonish or guide that person. You cannot have a situation where there is nobody to take responsibility for the mistake of others. When, as Government, we say if you cannot regulate yourselves, we will regulate you, we expect them as professions to do that because they ought to set up professional bodies like lawyers and accountants. All these have regulated themselves and statutes have been passed in this House. So, journalists must do the same. All we are saying is that we want responsibility from every citizen. If you want to enjoy your freedom and rights, you must be responsible enough.

Those of you who are advocating for the Freedom of Information Bill, yes we want to bring it. However, firstly, we must make it clear to all of us that what we are asking for is not access to information for abuse of others. For example, when I go to see a doctor and he examines me and finds that I have deficiencies in my morphology, should it be a headline the following day.


Mr Mulongoti: That is what we are saying no to.


Mr Mulongoti: If you are going to ask for my file at the University Teaching Hospital, they must ask you why you want it. Is it because you want to break my marriage by publishing the conditions I have hidden from my wife?


Mr Mulongoti: These are issues that are critical. Therefore, in as much as we want you to access information, we want it accessed in good faith, but not for reasons that are improper or for purposes of looking for assistance from other people.

Hon. Government Members: Taiwan!


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, we also have a ruling from the Supreme Court over the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). What we have done is that because there could be lacunas or areas of deficiency in the statute, we do not want to make a mistake. Therefore, we have asked the Attorney-General to guide us on how we should proceed.

We have gone to court and the courts have determined the matter. How do we proceed without finding ourselves in the same quagmire that we found ourselves in the original stage? As soon as that is clarified, we will definitely bring the names of those who must come and be ratified.

In any case, if you are invited to serve on a board from an institution and somebody says, “Look, you are not fit for reasons we cannot disclose to protect your integrity”, why should that institution insist that he is the only one available? Why should they do that because there are so many other Zambians who can serve? Why insist on an individual? I want to warn here that once we have been guided, we shall call for names. Now, if you insist that only that individual will come, you will face difficulties. What we are looking for are people who are going to serve with integrity.

Even in the United States of America, they have a regulatory body where they have old men and women who regulate the conduct of journalists and that is because they have experience, knowledge and so forth. The reason is simple, that is to protect the integrity of every citizen in the way journalists conduct themselves in the public arena.

Yes, there is need for training, I agree with you. There is need for motivation of our people and it is important that we do that. I, as an individual, am keen on ensuring that people are trained and given opportunities to develop. I want to assure this House that I have no wish to stifle freedom of information, speech and all these other things. I have been a victim myself before. I understand how it feels and I will do everything in my power, but there must be responsibility on the part of the people who disseminate information so that the people who receive it are not injured in their person or integrity.

I want to assure you that you have an ally, even those of you who are fond of throwing mud at others, be sure you are protected but also be ready to protect yourselves over what you say.

Sir, I am grateful for what Hon. Sinyangwe said. I can see that she has no wish to hide who she is. That is why even the colour of her hair is like mine.


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the support that I have got from hon. Members of this House. We will continue to work together, my office is open. My brother from Bahati has complained that he is not covered in his area. Come over and let us talk about it. I have gone on radio and television and said if you have a difficulty or problem, come over and we will discuss. Some of the people who make decisions are quite junior. Maybe, they want to protect their jobs. You cannot blame them. Come over and we shall sort out these problems.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, I am most obliged to be given an opportunity to wind up debate on this motion.

Firstly, I wish to thank all those who have contributed, including the seconder, Hon. Muteteka. These are Hon. Mabenga; Hon. Matongo; Hon. Sinyangwe; Hon. Kapeya; Hon. Chimbaka; Hon. Major Chizhyuka; and, of course, the hon. Minister and all colleagues who have been listening very attentively and quietly for supporting this Motion.

Sir, we note the responses of the hon. Minister. We look forward, as a committee and House, to him ensuring that the media play an effective role in informing, educating and entertaining the people of Zambia and the outside world. We also want him to help improve the image of Zambia as well as attract investment into the country and encourage the locals themselves to participate adequately in tourism activities in a manner that will ensure equity.

With regard to the issue of control of the media, especially public media, Government must be cautious because most people think that public media are controlled strongly by the Government. Their credibility will always remain doubtful and this will make them less effective in performing the role that the ministry would like them to perform.

When it comes to regulation, responsibility and freedom of information, it is the wish of this House that the Freedom of Information Bill should be presented. Of course, the Committee observe that the issue of self-regulation is important. Otherwise, if there is no self regulation within the media, then the House or Government may be forced to move towards State regulation. You cannot have freedom without responsibilities. I thank the House for the support.

I thank you, Sir.

Question put and agreed to.




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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1211 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 6th  November, 2007.