Debates- Tuesday, 3rd April, 2007

Printer Friendly and PDF


Tuesday, 3rd April, 2007
The House met at 1430 hours
[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]



The Vice-President (Mr Banda): Mr Speaker, I rise to respond to the point of order raised by Nalolo Member of Parliament, Hon. Mwangala, on what the Government has done for Nalolo Constituency and other flood affected parts of our country and why the Government has not declared a State of Emergency as a consequence of the flood disaster.

Mr Speaker, the rainy season of 2006-7 has been characterised by heavy downpours early in the season, leading to floods that have impacted negatively on people’s lives in forty-one districts. The floods have been classified as severe in twenty-seven districts of the forty-one.

Mr Speaker, the damage caused by the floods on human populations is varied and includes displacement of families, loss of property, populations being cut off from both health and education institutions and food insecurities due to loss of stored grain and field crops. Others include increased danger of malaria, water-borne diseases as well as cutting populations from social and economic amenities.

Mr Speaker, the Government has, through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) responded to this disaster by coming up with a number of activities. These include distributing tents and blankets for temporary shelter and to keep families warm, repairing bridges where possible so people can reach clinics and schools, distributing relief food in the form of mealie meal and maize, as well as treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria and distributing clean water and chlorine to purify water.

Mr Speaker, Members of the House may wish to know that relief activities are not designed on the basis of constituencies, but community populations that often cut across boundaries of constituencies, chiefdoms or wards. It is thus not on constituency basis but district basis.

Mr Speaker, the Government has also sent three motor-driven boats to Mwinilunga, Chavuma and Zambezi Districts in the North-Western Province. Four motorised boats have been distributed to the Zambezi flood plains in Lukulu, Kalabo, Mongu and Senanga Districts in the Western Province. One motorised boat was taken to Luangwa District while two were taken to Luapula Province.

Fuel has also been procured and distributed together with the funding to the District Disaster Management and Mitigation Committees in the severely affected districts.

Mr Speaker, I am laying on the Table the details of all the food, medical supplies and materials that have been procured and supplied by the Government through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit to each district for Members to access.

The process the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit has followed to determine relief requirements in affected areas is as follows:

(a) aerial and ground rapid assessments;

(b) monitoring activities;

(c)  primary response;

(d)  financial support to logistical requirements;

(e)  airlifting supplies in some districts;

(f)  and co-ordinated rapid flood impact assessment to determine the effects and extent of the floods on housing, infrastructure, health, food, access to water and sanitation, crops and livestock in the affected districts.

 Mr Speaker, the following is the summary of what has been distributed countrywide so far:

   Item     Quantity
  Tents            300     
Mosquito nets     800 
Sugar        170 bales  
Chlorine    1,965 boxes   
Maize     3,388 metric tonnes
Mealie meal    8,614 x 25kg bags

Other products distributed include cholera kits, syringes, catheters, aprons, soap, fly baits and polythene and clean water bottles etc.

In addition, a number of District Disaster Management Mitigation Units have been re-funded a total of about K350 million. The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit has sent ten boats as reported earlier.

Mr Speaker, allow me now to explain why the Government has not declared an emergency.  The Government created the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit in my office to manage and take mitigating measures when disasters occur. Although not yet fully equipped, I believe the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit has managed this disaster rather well.
Mr Speaker, disasters are declared when a disaster overwhelms the capacity to manage it.  Rushing to declare emergencies is not always in the best interest of the country. Usually, when an emergency is declared, resources have to be diverted from other developmental programmes and projects to the emergency. This disrupts development and must be avoided if possible.

Sir, the Government has adopted an approach to declare an emergency as a last resort. This is only when the disaster has or threatens to overwhelm our capacity to manage it, when we reach a point where all indications are that the problem might grow beyond our capacity to manage it or the disaster cannot be managed in an orderly manner and threatens life. This has not yet occurred.

Mr Speaker, this is not to say that the Government is not seeking help; it is. I will lay on the Table a second document entitled ‘Zambia Forward 2007 Flash Appeal.’ This document is a consolidated appeal by our co-operating partners led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It includes requirements of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNCEF), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Organisation Migration (IOM), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Red Cross.

This appeal is carefully put together after field assessment by twelve teams that visited all the affected areas. It is based on what is obtaining on the ground and is for a short-term of up to three months’ requirements. This flash appeal was issued in New York early last week. This is the orderly way to handle disasters.

Sir, a full assessment of long-term requirements as a result of the flood will only be possible when the floods have receded. The Government will, at the time, engage our co-operating partners to help with the more expensive rehabilitation and repairs to infrastructure such as roads, bridges and buildings.

Mr Speaker, the Government aims to develop the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit and equip it better so as to forecast on floods, droughts and other disasters before they occur and to respond in a timely manner. Emergencies should be declared when all else fails.

Sir, in the meantime the Government will continue to monitor the floods and decide when appropriate to declare an emergency or not to take into consideration the implications of such a declaration.

I thank you, Sir.

The Vice-President laid the document on the Table.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarifications on the statement that has just been made by His Honour the Vice-President.

Mr Muyanda (Sinazongwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President whether his office would apply the same active response to the drought- stricken areas of Sinazongwe, Siavonga and Gwembe. As you may be aware, the valley has been devastated by the drought.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, this is a very critical point of clarification. Perhaps, some hon. Members have read in the press today that I referred to this matter yesterday. I have been very concerned, as this matter was brought to the attention of my office when I went to Livingstone to attend a conference and also through the various conversations I have had with hon. Members from the drought hit areas.

I wish to take this opportunity to underline this very important point that the drought stricken areas are as devastated as the flooded areas. We have discussed this with my colleagues at DMMU, as these areas are known to be drought prone areas and we hope we will be prepared for such eventualities next year,.

However, we have taken measures already and sent some relief to that area. I would like to have an opportunity to discuss in more detail with the hon. Members of Parliament from these areas to see what else we can do in terms of infrastructures, especially the bridges, roads and schools. With regard to food, we have already started transporting it to the affected areas.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sinyinda (Senanga): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Vice-President whether he is aware that drugs, water, tents and other logistics have not reached Senanga District. At the same time, I would like to find out whether Senanga District is one of the beneficiaries of the airlifted supplies because Senanga is divided into three categories and there are some areas that are not accessible at the moment either by boat or road. The only way to reach such places is by air.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, unfortunately, I am not aware that no help has reached Senanga District. What I know is that some help has been extended to Senanga District from the DMMU.

However, what the hon. Member is saying is that some parts of these areas can only be reached by air. I would like to take your question into account and assure him that we will attend to that problem as quickly as possible. If it is necessary, we shall airlift supplies to Senanga District.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President when we should expect some help in the Bangweulu wet lands? I approached his office earlier when the problem had just started and assessments were carried out very early in the Bangweulu Swamps. However, to date no help has been received though I know that a list showing that this is one of the affected areas has been submitted. Could he inform this House and my constituency when we can expect some help.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, may I retract a little and say that we agreed with the hon. Member of Parliament to work closely with my office and ensure the help reaches Bangweulu which is one of the districts that have been affected by the floods. I wish he had told me earlier, but perhaps he wants to show the people in his constituency that he is taking care of them.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I therefore, wish to assure the hon. Member in front of everyone in this House that we will work together. I hope that after this, DMMU can meet with the people and ensure that help gets to Bangweulu as soon as possible.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Milupi (Luena): Mr Speaker, as His Honour the Vice-President is aware, in most of the rural areas, people retain seed for the next planting season from this year’s harvest. Will he assure this House that his office will not only provide relief food right up to the next harvest, but also extend the relief to seed for the next planting season.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact, it is Government policy to provide seed. I hope he takes me on after this so that we can ensure that the whole area is provided with seed.

I would also like to take this opportunity to inform the House that the Western Province has been hit by cattle disease. This is an issue that the hon. Member for Luena has campaigned vigorously for in our private meetings. I have had confirmation from the Western Province and I am pleased to inform you that some vaccines have reached the province and that the animals are being vaccinated. Hopefully, the vaccination programme can continue so that the cattle population in the Western Province and indeed in the other provinces can grow.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Imbwae (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out if His Honour the Vice-President is aware that whilst distribution of food from the headquarters to the other parts of the district has been going on smoothly, we are having problems with the distribution of relief food in Lukulu West because there is discrimination in the distribution of relief food.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, in answering the question, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the hon. Member on winning her petition. I see, she is happier ...


The Vice-President: … to be with us in this House and is more confident. We are always happy when hon. Members succeed in their petitions because we are esteemed colleagues.

Sir, the distribution of relief food in Lukulu West has not been able to reach certain people because of our representatives in the district who may be selective in distributing relief food.

Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to inform the House that our office has made it very clear to all the Chairmen of the District Disaster Management Units that they are not to discriminate against any hon. Member of Parliament, regardless of their political affiliation. If such a thing happens, we count on hon. Members to inform us as quickly as possible so that we take collective measures. It is simply not acceptable to discriminate against an hon. Member of Parliament because he does not represent himself or herself. An hon. Member of Parliament represents the people of Zambia who we are duty bound to look after and provide relief to when necessary.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chilembo (Chama North): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out if His Honour the Vice-President has a programme with erecting more permanent structures that have fallen due to the floods, as some of them have fallen because, in the first place, there were of a poor standard like those in my constituency.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, when funds are available, definitely, my office as Vice-President and indeed the Government of the Republic of Zambia has intentions of erecting more permanent structures such as schools, clinics, health centres and bridges.

As far as housing structures that were major victims of the current floods are concerned, it is part of our responsibility as hon. Members of Parliament to encourage people who can afford to build more permanent structures than what they are building at the moment.

Sir, it is Government’s policy to build more permanent structures than the ones that have fallen as a result of the floods.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Njobvu (Milanzi): Mr Speaker, I would like to know from His Honour the Vice-President whether the forty-one districts he has mentioned include Katete. I am saying so because I am receiving numerous calls from Katete that the rains have destroyed crops and that there is hunger in the district and other parts of Milanzi Constituency.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, as far as I can remember, Katete District is one of the districts that are on the list of beneficiaries for relief food. I hope as we agreed earlier before this session, we will be able to meet with the hon. Member of Parliament so that he can give us more information on the parts of the district that have been affected and require more assistance.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Hamir (Chitambo): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President the findings of the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit in the flood-hit areas of Chitambo Constituency.


Mr Hamir: I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President what the situation in Chitambo Constituency is regarding the floods.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Vice-President, is Chitambo flooded?

The Vice-President: The request is under consideration. Very shortly, we will be able to give a definite reply.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central):  Mr Speaker, can the hon. Vice-President assure us that he is aware that the problem is not only in exotic distant places that require a helicopter to reach, but also Lusaka Province, the district itself and the city that are showing the effects of two long dry-spells; one in December, the other in February and very cold wet conditions in January.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Lusaka Central. The Government is certainly aware of that.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the hon. Vice-President laid on the Table two detailed documents from which hon. Members may benefit. Hon. Members should please, look it up, as they may find answers regarding their area.



385. Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central): asked the Minister of Labour and Social Security:

(a) how many factory inspectors were recruited by the Ministry from 2005 to 2006; and

(b) where the inspectors at (a) above were deployed and which other parts of Zambia required this service.

The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Liato): Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that:

(a) A total of twelve Factory Inspectors were recruited by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security between 2005 and 2006; and

(b)  six inspectors are based at the Ministry Headquarters. Two inspectors were deployed to Ndola and two were sent to Kabwe, while one inspector of factories has been sent to the newly opened Livingstone Office.

Every part of the country requires factory inspections. Please take note that while the established offices are located along the line of rail, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security still conducts out of station inspections in other parts of the country.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kapeya: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister …

Mr Zulu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Zulu:  Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. Most grade twelve pupils on the Copperbelt will not be able to sit for the examinations this year. This has been a trend in this country for a long time. I think the Ministry of Education should put a stop to this.

 Some pupils sat for their Grade twelve examinations two years ago on the Copperbelt and decided to repeat in the formal schools. They were advised by their career masters and school heads to pay schools fees to the Examinations Council of Zambia. The closing date was 31st March, 2007. Examination numbers have been issued to pupils who will be allowed to sit for the exams. Unfortunately, those that were in the Education Production Unit that was formed due to inadequate classroom space will not be able to sit for the Grade twelve examinations even after paying the fees.

Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Education in order not to …

Hon. Member of Parliament: Inform the nation.

Mr Zulu: … inform the nation that the system has changed. Also, is it in order not to reimburse the pupils the examination fees?

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon Member for Bwana Mukubwa has raised a point of order on the difficulties that certain pupils in his area are facing with regard to sitting for the forth-coming examinations.

The ruling of the Chair on the matter with regard to what constitutes a point of order in this House is that a point of order is not procedural, but administrative. Hon. Members have always been advised that the doors to Members of the Executive are open. Accordingly, I would like to advise the hon. Member for Bwana Mukubwa to push the open door to the office of the hon. Minister of Education to resolve this matter if it is of national nature. The hon. Minister of Education has heard for himself the concerns of Members of Parliament on this matter.

Mr Kapeya: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security tell us when the inspectors will commence aggressive inspections of the private sector in order to improve conditions of service for workers in places such as commercial farms, supermarkets, bars and restaurants.

I thank you, Sir.
The Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Mukuma): Mr Speaker, actually, inspections are on going. At the moment, the only problem that we have is that we still have capacity constraints. That is why we seem not to be effective on the ground. As soon as our capacity is improved, we will certainly cover most of these areas. For now, inspections are only concentrated in areas with urgent needs. We are also trying to see if we can find some time to cover the farms as well.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the number of labour inspectors is adequate for this country because we have many factories across the country. What is the Government doing to alleviate this situation, which is not good?

Mr Mukuma: Mr Speaker, as quoted in our earlier answer, six inspectors were recruited between 2005 and 2006. Otherwise, we have about forty inspectors in all. However, these are still not enough and we are still recruiting some more.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.{mospagebreak}

Mr Chanda (Kankoyo): Mr Speaker, may I find out from the hon. Minister if the factory inspectors go through any form of training and if so, from which institution?

Mr Mukuma: Mr Speaker, yes, factory inspectors undergo training. At the moment, we have various fields of specialisation such as engineering and most of the plants that they inspect require an engineering background. After they are recruited, we take them for further training, depending on the level of specialisation. Some of them are sent abroad.

As for prosecution, which we have just started, some of the inspectors are trained within the country.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chimumbwa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security what he intends to do to sort out the problems that affect labour in this country since complaints seem to be perennial. If he is not backed by enough legislation, what is he doing to compel Parliament to come up with the necessary legislation to empower him to help sort out the problems that affect labour in this country.

Mr Mukuma: Mr Speaker, we have identified various factors that are contributing to the problems in our labour market. These include a lack of knowledge of labour laws by some investors and sometimes, the inadequate capacity within our ministry to enforce the labour laws.

As I have mentioned before in this House, we are strengthening our labour laws so that stiffer penalties ca be applied to the defaulters. We are hoping that in future, the new investors will be inducted to the labour laws of this Republic. We are also reinforcing

capacity building within the ministry. Therefore, it is our hope that through the various measures that we are taking, we will be able to contain the situation.

I think you, Mr Speaker.


386. Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola) asked the Minister of Tourism, Environment and natural Resources:

(a) how many people from Katombola Parliamentary Constituency were employed by Sun International in Livingstone, chiefdom by chiefdom:

(i) Zambezi Sun; and

(ii) Royal Livingstone; and

(b)       what positions they held.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (Mr Kaingu): Mr Speaker, the Sun International–Zambia (SIZ) profile of employees does not include a breakdown or division by ethnicity. Neither is the profile of employees segregated according to chiefdom nor indeed, constituency. As such, my ministry is not able to provide answers to the two questions asked by Hon. Musokotwane, sufficing to say that there are 782 Zambians working at Sun International out of which 401 are on permanent and pensionable conditions and the remaining 381 are on two-year fixed contracts.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister telling this House that when workers are employed, they do not fill forms to show where they come from. They are just employed by name.

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, employees fill the forms, but we do not look at the constituencies they come from.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!





The Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (Dr Chituwo): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for the opportunity.

Sir, I would like to state that with regard to the Biosafety Bill, currently, Zambia does not have a national biosafety regulatory framework. In reviewing existing laws, none can be used to protect human and animal health as well as the environment, including biological diversity from risks that could be posed by Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and products thereof. The laws that are there, basically, deal with the livestock diseases as well as sanitary and phytosanitary measures. In addition, some of the laws address the safety of food and food stuff as well as pharmaceuticals. The other laws are concerned with protecting the general public and the environment from possible adverse effects of industrial activities.

The Biosafety Bill No. 3 of 2007 is needed because GMOs are bound to find their way into Zambia. They will come into Zambia mainly through the importation of food and seeds. GMOS will also come into the country through food donations at times when this is necessary. 

In any case, even if there was no deliberate effort to import GMOs by authorities in Zambia, GMOs would still be introduced in Zambia from neighbouring states. Zambia is a landlocked country surrounded by eight neighbours. If any one of these countries neighbouring Zambia generates or imports GMOs, they will sooner or later find their way into Zambia.

GMOs from neighbouring countries may be introduced into Zambia through the informal cross-border trade popularly known as smuggling. Informal cross-border trading results in the transboundary movement of goods and commodities that is uncontrolled and unaccounted for since this form of trade is carried out without the approval of government agencies that deal with international trade. Foodstuffs, propagation materials and seeds move freely across borders in informal cross-border trading. There is no reason therefore, to believe that GMOs will not be introduced in the same manner. This will create difficulty in monitoring the transboundary GMOs. The need for a national biosafety regulatory framework can, therefore, not be doubted.

Mr Speaker, the overall objective of the Biosafety Bill is to establish a regulatory framework for the safe research, development and commercialisation of biotechnology in Zambia.

The Biosafety Bill is proposed to ensure that biotechnology research, development, application and commercialisation is carried out carefully and responsibly, and with unacceptable risk on human or animal life and the environment. Worldwide, only less than ten percent of developing countries have enacted the Biosafety Act. Zambia is one of those developing countries that do not have a Biosafety Act.

In the current Zambian scenario, it is not possible to ensure that biotechnology research development, application and commercialisation is carried out within minimum risk to human life and the environment. In the absence of the Biosafety Act, some laws in the Zambian statutes may be used to directly or indirectly address some of the biosafety issues. These are, however, limited in scope and/or do not adequately address issues such as the cross-border movement and handling of GMOs, the transfer, further handling and use of micro organisms etc. There is therefore, a need for Zambia to have a Biosafety Act.

Management of the legislation on biosafety should be in a cross cutting sector, in this case the Ministry of Science and Technology sector. Therefore, it was decided in 2002 that the policy as well as the legislation of biotechnology and biosafety be developed and managed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training. The Cartagena Protocol stipulates formation of an Authority and Authorities. Due to costs, we decided to form one authority. However, the authority will be consulting existing regulatory bodies responsible for the food and drug regulation; seed control and certification, environmental protection and pollution control and research and development during the formulation of regulations.

The Government has already invested a lot of money in the rehabilitation of the GMO detection laboratory and purchase of equipment as well as training of Zambian scientists. The Biosafety Act will also be addressing Zambia’s position on importation of GMO foods and food aid as per above position taken by Zambia in 2002.

Zambia is party to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and also ratified the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety which is a subsidiary instrument of the CBD.

Mr Speaker, having the Biosafety Act is part of Zambia’s fulfilment of its obligation to the CBD and Cartagena Protocol. The Act is key in ensuring regulation of research in modern biotechnology and its products such as plants, bacteria, animals etc. So far, in the region, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and recently Namibia have Biosafety Acts and the rest of the countries are in the process of presenting theirs to their respective parliaments. It should be noted that all the countries in the world researching, producing and trading in GMOs have legislations to protect their citizens and their interests.

Lack of legislation will affect operationalisation of the national GMO detection laboratory that is also meant to undertake research and training of scientists so as to continue building scientific capacity.

Mr Speaker, our horticultural exporters to EU have been looking forward to having a laboratory that will certify their produce for export as per EU requirement in addition to providing certification services to local organisations or citizens.

Sir, the Bill stands to promote our national sovereignty, food security and protection of the Zambian consumer and producer and the environment.

Mr Speaker, this Bill has been long overdue and I would like to urge all hon. Members of Parliament to support it.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba (Kasama Central): Mr Speaker, your Committee were informed that the proposed Biosafety Bill, NAB No. 3 of 2007, is the outcome of a National Policy on Biotechnology and Biosafety, developed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training. The policy articulates a number of measures for handling or dealing with issues of modern biotechnology and its products. Additionally, the Bill seeks to domesticate the provisions of the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity that Zambia has ratified.

The Bill makes a provision for regulations and mechanisms through which GMOs can be accessed on a case-by-case basis and in a manner that can reduce the risk of exposing human and animal health to dangers that may be associated with certain GMOs.

Specifically, the objectives of the Bill are:

(a) regulate the research, development, application, import, export, transit, contained use, release or placing on the market of any Genetically Modified Organism whether intended for use as a pharmaceutical, food, need or processing or a product of a Genetically Modified Organism;

(b) ensure that any activity involving the use of any GMO or a product of a GMO prevents any socio-economic impact or harm to human and animal health or any damage to the environment, non-Genetically Modified Organism crops and biological diversity;

(c) set and implement standards for the assessment, evaluation and management of any potential risk involving the use of any GMO or product of a GMO;

(d) establish the National Biosafety Authority and prescribe its powers and functions;

(e) provide for the establishment of the Scientific Advisory Committee;

(f) provide for public participation, information and consultation in the field of biosafety;

(g) provide for a mechanism for liability and redress for any harm or damage caused to human and animal health, non GMO crops, socio-economic conditions, biological diversity or a product of a Genetically Modified Organism;

(h) provide for the formation and registration of institutional biosafety committees; and

(i) provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

Your Committee invited several stakeholders to submit before them and these are:

(a) Ministry of Justice;

(b) National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research;

(c) University of Zambia;

(d) Organic Producers and Processors Association;

(e) Environmental Council of Zambia;

(f) Zambia National Farmers Union;

(g) Zambia Consumer Association;

(h) Ministry of Science and Vocational Training;

(i) Participatory Ecological Land-use Management (PELUM) Zambia; and

(j) Dr G. Scott, MP.

Mr Speaker, two witnesses, representing the Pharmaceutical Society and the Zambia Episcopal Conference were invited, but did not attend. Hon. Dr Chishya, MP also indicated willingness to make a submission, but he could not make it.

Mr Speaker, the majority of witnesses raised several concerns, chief of which was the creation of more Governmental institutions that would have recourse to private and public funds in addition to increasing governmental bureaucracy.

Further, the Bill is seen by some stakeholders as emphasising control and or deterrence of GMOS rather than providing a safety and regulatory framework as well as promoting research and development. In this regard, stakeholders are of the view that the Bill needs to be used as a tool for managing and fostering research and not only deterring GMOS. Related to what I have said earlier, institutions of higher learning such as universities have a core mandate to conduct research and to produce students who are competitive internationally. In this regard, a blanket restriction on research into GMOS would have a negative impact on national education and training. The suggestion was the need for a definition of the concept of research, bearing in mind the different players and their respective mandates.

Several other issues were highlighted by stakeholders as indicated in the report. Some recurring themes include the issue of transiting GMOS, public participation, identification and labelling of GMOS, powers of the Minister and ambiguous definitions of key terms. Mr Speaker, your Committee recommend that the Bill be deferred due to the following reasons.

There is a need to integrate and harmonise all legislation on Biosafety to circumvent duplication of legislation and institutional structures. In this regard, there is a need to look at all other legislation dealing or related to biosafety to avoid duplication of effort in order to have systems that work efficiently. There is also a need to look at the issue of biosafety in its broader context.

Mr Speaker, your Committee are of the view that the title of the Bill ‘BIOSAFETY’ is a wide and all encompassing topic whereas the contents of the Bill are specifically on GMOS.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: In this connection, a ‘Biosafety Bill’ must have as its objective the focus of protecting living organisms from all potentially harmful substances and not just GMOS.

Mr Speaker, your Committee, as well as other stakeholders are concerned at the proliferation of Governmental Institutions that have recourse to private and public funds. The Committee are of the view that the sponsoring ministry has a lot of work to do to convince stakeholders that the creation of yet another Governmental institution is necessary. The concern is that the National Biosafety Authority, as envisaged by the Bill, would be another body that would be obliged to derive its income from fees and levies payable from the private sector.

Mr Speaker, although fees are not specified, past experience of the private sector shows a tendency for such authorities to apply fees that meet their expectations for comfortable and sometimes inefficient execution of their duties.

Mr Speaker, such fees can pose a constraint to the acquisition of available technology for the advancement of the economy. Additionally, this authority would also be entitled to Governmental budgetary subventions from the already limited national resources.

Mr Speaker, related to the aforesaid, your Committee recommend that there should be one authority under which all pieces of legislation dealing with biosafety should be administered to avoid a proliferation of institutions that have recourse to public and private funds and to reduce duplication of functions and bureaucracy.

Additionally, all issues under the administration of the proposed Bill should be undertaken by existing Governmental institutions. In this regard, therefore, the functions of the proposed authority could be vested in the existing structures within the Government setup. The creation, if necessary, of a new Governmental authority, must include all issues on biosafety and not only GMOS. Your Committee, in recognising that the proposed Bill is, in part, a fulfilment through domestication of the Cartagena Protocol, are of the view that this is not binding on Zambia.

Mr Speaker, arising from the aforesaid, your Committee recommend that the Bill be reworked on and that the Government should take into account the observations that have been made and also the recommendations as well as other concerns from stakeholders as outlined in your Committee’s report.

In conclusion, your Committee wish to express their gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for not only appointing them to your Committee, but also granting them the opportunity to scrutinise the Biosafety Bill 2007. Your Committee also wish to thank the office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the support rendered to them throughout their deliberations. They are indebted to all the witnesses who appeared before them for their co-operation in providing the necessary briefs despite the short notice that was given to them. Your committee are hopeful that the observations and recommendations contained in their report will go a long way in helping the House make a decision on the said Bill.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Justice (Mr Kunda): Mr Speaker, I must state from the outset that we do not accept the recommendation of the Committee that this Bill should be deferred.

Mr Speaker, the report of the Committee appears to be contradictory in the sense that from the beginning of the report, the report has analysed the Bill that we are presenting today very well. The rationale behind this Bill has been well explained, but at the end of the report, a recommendation to withdraw the Bill has been made.

Mr Speaker, you will observe from the report that we had ten stakeholders submitting to the Committee out of which nine supported the Bill. We do not understand the suggestion that the Bill should be differed. Stakeholders, Sir, have made suggestions for amendments to improve the Bill. This can be done on the Floor of the House and I must emphasise that not all suggestions for amendments can be taken by the Government. That is the procedure here. There are some suggestions that may be made out of misunderstanding of the law or misconceptions. We analyse the recommendations that are made and we propose at Committee Stage whether to take on certain amendments. So, the position taken by various stakeholders on this Bill is very positive and constructive, I must say. Therefore, what we are trying to do, following other countries that are concerned about GMOS is pass legislation so that our people can be protected from GMOS.

Mr Speaker, we are trying to domesticate the Cartagena Protocol and the Convention on Biological Diversity. I am surprised to get a submission from this Committee that the Cartagena Protocol is not binding in Zambia. What does that mean? Zambia is a party and signatory to this protocol and we have been urged by this august House for the past five years to domesticate international protocols and conventions. This is what we are doing today. Surely, we need the support from this august House. It has been suggested that we should have institutional representation as opposed to mentioning fields from which the hon. Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training can appoint members of the Authority.

Mr Speaker, we have had experiences with institutional representation in Zambia. Institutional representation means that we choose members of the Authority from certain organisations. Now, our experience is that some of the organisations nowadays are very controversial, partisan and preoccupied with fighting the Government and derailing Government programmes. This is not the first time we shall be prescribing criteria by reference to fields of discipline such as economics, law and science and so on. This is not the only Act that has been prescribing this kind of criteria. We will be in order to empower the hon. Minister to constitute the Authority by reference to these fields or disciplines. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with this kind of legislation.

Mr Speaker, we need effective legislation to deal with the problem of GMOs. As a party to the Cartagena protocol, we do not want Zambia to be a dumping ground for GMOs. So, we must regulate this and that is what we are doing. Of course, there are some people who may have the interest of introducing GMOs in Zambia because we have no legislation and such people may want to object to us passing this progressive legislation. So, as a Government, we are proceeding with this measure.

Mr Speaker, we have a policy that we adopted on GMOs. We have consulted Zambian scientists and we involved the University of Zambia. We have our own dons, who have also contributed to the formulation of this policy and legal framework. The policy provides for legislation and a legal framework on how we are going to regulate GMOs and this is what we are doing. From the report, it is also clear that some of our hon. Members are against the Minister having certain powers.

Hon. Opposition Member interjected.

Mr Kunda: How can we regulate GMOs if we do not have adequate powers? So, the hon. Minister requires sufficient powers to deal with this particular serious problem of GMOs. The powers of the Minister that have been suggested are not different from what is provided for in other pieces of legislation. I must also emphasise that where reasonable proposals have been made on how we should provide for these powers and how these powers should be provided for in the Act, amendments can be made. We shall do that.

We are in a hurry, Mr Speaker, to regulate GMOs. I must conclude by saying that we do not accept the suggestion that this Bill should be withdrawn and we shall proceed with this particular Bill.

I thank you, Sir.

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

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, let me assure the House that from our side, in supporting the Committee’s views at this Bill should be taken away and reworked, there is no lack of concern about the safety of GMOs, the need to regulate them and the need when in doubt to ban them. After all, that has been the policy for the last five years. I do not think any one in this House can point out to us, on this side, the way we have opposed and said no to letting GMOs without regulation. The Committee’s problem, the PF’s problem and my personal problem is not to do with the need to regulate GMOs nor has it to do as the hon. learned Minister scurrilously suggested with any personal commercial interest on the part of anybody that I am aware of, on the side of the House wishing to create anarchy in relation to GMOs so that they can be brought in for somebody’s profit. That is not the problem. The problem is that, this need to legislate has been used as a pretext for yet more quango manufacturing, …

Mr Mtonga: Zoona.

Dr Scott: ... more empire building, more authorities with personal to holders vehicles, foreign travel to visit other countries and so on. The need to introduce legislation to regulate and recourse to expertise to regulate GMOs is self evident, but it does not need to be done through the creation of a narrow Authority on top of the many that are concerned. For example, if we wish to control mad cow disease that has nothing to do with genetic modification, this would not fall under this Authority. We will need another Authority to regulate diseases resulting from cannibalism …

Mr Mtonga: Zoona.

Dr Scott: … or take it under the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives Livestock and Veterinary Services …

Mr Sichilima: Swine fever.

Dr Scott: ... The same applies to swine fever. You do not need an Authority to regulate it; just laws that can be administered by the existing Government institutions.

I will give you an example, Sir, of what I considered to be a very appropriate Act. A very appropriate piece of legislation by the Research Department I have copied is this that I should lay on the Table. This is the witchcraft Act. It is five pages long. It deals with people pretending to be witches, people convincing other people that there are witches; it deals with people taking advantage of other people taking advantage of people pretending to be witches. It is only five pages long. It does not establish a National Witchcraft Authority that has personal to holder vehicles and committees of experts. It creates an offence or a series of offences that the police or relevant authorities then proceed to implement. This Act, by contrast, is sixty-nine pages long, fourteen times the length of the Witchcraft Act for the piece of modern chemical witchcraft.

Sir, the House should not take it that we are opposing this Bill because we feel that there is no problem with Genetically Modified Organisms. I was one of the first to blow the whistle on Genetically Modified Organisms in this country and I know that it worked extremely well. I have supported the ban that we have had on Genetically Modified Organisms although I do not really go over the top and believe that when any Genetically Modified Organism comes anywhere near a Zambian, his two eyes will pop out the back of the head. That is why they are doing it. However, I think we need the legislation, but should not be in this form.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Learned Minister of Justice raised an issue concerning powers of the Minister. We have every right to be concerned about powers of the hon. Minister in the new legislation. The right will have stems from what we observe.

To give an example of the operations of one of these quangos and its ministers, last year, National Milling Company in Cairo Road sought training permission to build new silos and manufacturing installations on its Cairo Road plant that was turned down …

Mr Daka: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, I stand on a very serious point of order. Is the hon. Member in order to use terms such as quango that we cannot understand? We have looked it up in the dictionary and it is not there. We do not understand what it means. Can the hon. Member explain what it means? He has been using this word for a very long time. I seek your serious ruling.

Mr Speaker: Order! The hon. Minister of Communications and Transport has raised a procedural matter and indeed, although we had gone past that, could the hon. Member interpret the word ‘quango’ for the House to follow.

Dr Scott: Mr Speaker, I thank you.

I also looked up the word biosafety in the same dictionary and it is not there.


Dr Scott: Quango is an abbreviation of Quasi Autonomous Non Governmental Organisation. That particular formulation is associated very much with the name of Mrs Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of Britain, who was very keen in semi-privatising all Government functions. I am using it in here to mean regulatory authorities, commissions and organisations such as the Environmental Council of Zambia that I trust the hon. Minister heard, turned down the National Milling Company’s request. However, the hon. Minister wrote a letter to the National Milling Company two months later and told them to go ahead. He also sent a copy of the letter to Environmental Council of Zambia. This followed a meeting convened in State House where the American Diplomatic Press was also involved because it is an American owned company.

Sir, this is what we fear. We fear setting up this nice regulatory Authority to deal with the word biosafety that is unknown in the dictionary. That means lack of safety arising from biological sources. We deal with this. Nonetheless, higher powers, in effect, control it. What is the point of the tax payer paying for the semi-autonomous Non Governmental Organisation if they are in fact, merely going to be fig leaves? I trust that the hon. Minister understands what I mean by fig leaf; a flimsy covering, …

Mr Daka: Address the Chair!

Dr Scott: I am addressing the Chair. I said the hon. Minister and not you.


Dr Scott: … a fig leaf for higher powers to basically pursue their own qualities. I am also very prejudiced against Genetically Modified Organisms. I probably understand as well as anyone in this House how they are made and what the arguments are on both sides. I mistrust them, but I also mistrust many other things in this country from the point of view of my children and my safety. We need to integrate a safety or biological safety policy or foodstuffs and environmental safety policy in this country. If you bring that legislation, you would be amazed by how much support it will get from this side of the House.

I will lay the relevant documents concerning National Milling Plant on the Table for the edification and benefit of anyone who doubts what I have said.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Scott laid the papers on the Table.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kazonga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this chance to debate the Bill on the Floor of the House. I rise in full support of the Bill that is on the Floor of House.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kazonga: Firstly, I wish to state that this Bill is actually long overdue. It is a very important Bill. As a starting point, I wish to identify three key words that are in the Bill. These are biotechnology, Genetically Modified Organisms and biosafety.

Sir, somebody was indicating that the term biosafety is not in the dictionary. I wish to indicate that most of the words in biology and sciences with a prefix of “bio” simply imply life. Therefore, we are talking about life safety.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kazonga: What I mean is that this Bill is actually aimed at protecting human and animal life, let alone the environment. That is the major thrust of this particular Bill that is long overdue.

Mr Speaker, biotechnology can be subdivided into three components. We have the first part that is known as green biotechnology. As the word green implies, it is basically technology to be used for agricultural applications. The other one is white biotechnology. This is the one that looks at industrial applications of this biotechnology, biosafety and the Genetically Modified Organisms inclusive. In this case, this Bill is taking into consideration these applications. The third component is what we call the red biotechnology that looks at the issues of applications of these concepts to pharmaceutical industry. This particular Bill has taken into consideration these three applications.

Therefore, I fully support this particular Bill.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, let me look at the issues that are being addressed in this Bill. One of the major issues that are being addressed is that Genetically Modified Organisms actually control foreign genes whose stability and predictability is not known. If we are not stable, we cannot predict them. We have to take precaution and this Bill is looking at the issues of precaution.

Sir, the other concern being addressed in the Bill is the potential health risk in producing allergies. In some quarters, it is possible that people can develop allergies. Therefore, you start consuming antibiotics and so many of these drugs.

Mr Speaker, the third concern that this Bill is addressing is the safety assurance from the Genetically Modified Organism producers. This Bill has taken into consideration this particular safety assurance. Therefore, there are possible long-term effects on humans and animal health, including the environment. This Bill has taken particular interest to look at that issue.

Mr Speaker, let me now move onto one important aspect that was partly dealt with by the hon. Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training and, that is the Convention on Biological Diversity. I wish to reinforce the importance of this particular Convention. Zambia signed the Convention on Biological Diversity on 11th June, 1992 and ratified it on 28th May, 1993. In that particular convention, there is Article 8(g) that states as follows, and I quote:

‘Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible, and as appropriate, establish or maintain means to regulate, manage or control the risks associated with the use and release of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology, which are likely to have adverse environmental impacts that could affect the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking into account the risks to human health.’

This is a very important convention that has had an input in this Bill. We are trying to regulate these products.

The next point, Mr Speaker, is about the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety that has been talked about. I want to reinforce the importance of this protocol. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was developed to fulfill Article 19 (3), and it states as follows:

‘The Parties shall consider the need and modalities of a protocol, setting out appropriate procedures, including, in particular, advance informed agreement in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of any living modified organism resulting from biotechnology that may have adverse effect on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.’

This particular Bill is taking into account this protocol. This protocol explicitly recognises that scientific uncertainties that can be converted to probabilities exist and decisions must be taken recognising that those uncertainties may never be resolved.

Mr Speaker, it is in Zambia’s national interest to have a Biosafety regulation system that should be in place. This can only be done through a well defined institutional framework according to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety that Zambia ratified. The Bill is proposing the establishment of the Biosafety regulatory mechanism through the creation of a National Biosafety Authority.

I wish to state that it is not just creating the Authority for its sake, but there is actually a need to have that Authority. This is a specialised area. Research is still gong on and that is why, as a Government, we are still improving on the laboratory facilities. We are also looking at the human resource so that they are able to handle this. Therefore, the concept of having an Authority is not something that we can get worried about. It is a specialised area. We need a body that would be able to implement this particular Bill.

I feel, this Biosafety Bill, in accordance with the Cartagena Protocol, stipulates the formation of an Authority and Authorities and the Government decided to form one Authority that I have just talked about. However, this Authority would be expected to regulate bodies responsible for food and drug regulation, seed control and certification, environmental protection and pollution control and research development. If you look at the proposed people to be on the Authority, all these aspects are taken care of.

Let me look at some of the effects of not having this in place. The lack of legislation in as far as biosafety is concerned will affect operationalisation of the National Genetically Modified Organic (GMO) detection laboratory that is also meant to undertake research and training of scientists so as to continue building scientific capacity.

Mr Speaker, I wish now to move onto the environmental impacts that this particular Bill is addressing. This includes gene pollution leading to the following:

(a) loss of bio-diversity and the Government wants to prevent that loss;

(b)  disruption of organic farming operations that is mainly due to contamination of genetic engineering crops;

(c) the production of super weed plants that will be carrying foreign genes that may become dominant over other important plants in the long run; and

(d) we also look a the production of super bugs that, again, will be difficult to control and this will lead to the use of new chemicals only produced by the same industries producing genetically engineered crops and there are also economic implications.

Sir, there are increased dependencies that are already seen elsewhere on a few multi-national corporations for food security. The trend that has been seen is that developers of GMOs are taking over the seed companies and are the producers of agro-chemicals, and thus the monopoly of what is grown.

There are also uncertainties on future marketing opportunities and the economic benefits of genetically modified crops. For example, the majority of consumers in the European Union do not want GMO products. Therefore, exporters to the European Union have to show certification that the products they are exporting are GMO free.

There is also a high cost of production from anticipated need to maintain separate production and marketing channels for GMOs and non-GMO crops. There are many things that we can talk about. Generally speaking, this Bill should be supported.

Mr Speaker, the Biosafety Act will present a vehicle for putting in place an effective institutional framework for the management and regulation of the developments in bio-technology and the utilisation of transgenic materials and trans-boundary movements of GMOs. Some of the European countries follow the precautionary approach to the issue of GMOs that states that the introduction of genetically modified crops into the environment should only be performed if a risk assessment has determined that the risk is acceptable. I implore hon. Members of this House to support the Bill that is long overdue. We need to move forward to support the policy on Biosafety.

Thank you, Sir.

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

Mr Sejani (Mapatizya): Thank you, Sir. Firstly, let me declare that I am a member of this committee and hence party to its report. Let me state from the onset that the Committee are not talking about withdrawing this Bill. The word we are using is ‘defer’. This is an important Bill and it is long overdue. The Committee, including the various witnesses that appeared before it, are very supportive of the Bill. This is why when it finally comes, it must be in very good shape.

Sir, our concern is not what the Bill includes. We agree with what is generally contained in the Bill. We are more concerned with what is omitted to make it complete and acceptable to all stakeholders. To start with, we believe that a Biosafety Bill will not only include safety against Genetically Modified Organisms, but also the safety of all living organisms against all possible harmful substances such as chemicals, drugs, viruses and so forth. We believe that a Biosafety Bill must be broad enough to include these other issues that are not included. That is why, in our report, we are talking about the need to harmonise various legislation that has anything to do with safeguarding living organisms.

Sir, it is not desirable, at this stage of our economic development, to proliferate the creation of other institutions that are going to be drawing from our meagre resources. I think that the movement must be towards harmonisation and reduce Government expenditure on such institutions.

Secondly, Sir, I have heard the hon. Minister of Justice, here, argue that if there are concerns that people have, we can make amendments on the Floor of this House. I agree. He is the first one to say that not all suggestions are going to be accepted by the Government.

 If you look at this report, on page 4 begins the list of concerns as voiced out by the Zambian stakeholders, through page 5 up to 6. There are about forty major concerns from various stakeholders. My belief is that if a Bill is going to require such major surgery to bring about amendments as contained in these two pages, then it needs a second look. That is why we are saying that to accommodate all these concerns from stakeholders, it is important that the hon. Minister defers this Bill in order to compare notes again with the stakeholders so that when the Bill finally comes, it is in a shape that is acceptable and agreeable to everyone because …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sejani: … it is an extremely important Bill. That is all the concern that the Committee is talking about. Let us give ourselves time to compare notes so that the various concerns that have been raised are harmonised and addressed in the final document. That is the only concern that …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1830 hours.

Mr Sejani: Before Business was suspended, I was just winding up my contribution in support of the recommendations of the Committee. As I stated, we are not saying the Bill must be withdrawn. We are talking about deferring, meaning that we must give ourselves time to consult further with stakeholders because of the importance of this document. I do not think that we can be so adverse to suggestions for improvement. It would be a strange House if we can be so opposed to suggestions to make an improvement for a good document. Defer; that is all we are asking. We do not mean take it out and throw it away. We are not saying that. We are saying that it is important that we bring along everybody else. Let us give ourselves time so that we can compare notes.

Sir, it will not do any good to have a document that will require amendments in every section. It will not, therefore, be worth the paper it will be written on. We need to give ourselves time. That is all we are saying in our report. That is the observation I wanted to make on the report.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Chishya (Pambashe): I rise to contribute to the Bill on the Floor. In this regard, I would like to make two points clearly. Firstly, with regard to the word Biosafety from which the name for the Bill is derived, I would like the House to understand that Biosafety, here, does not mean the everyday meaning of the word. The word Biosafety here has actually been the offspring of the Protocol. Biosafety refers to a set of rules that have been set to regulate the application of GMOs. Therefore, the word Biosafety has been used in the context of safe application of GMOs and what we are asking is clarity regarding the use of that word

If at all the word is required then the amendment has been put forward for the direct use of the word indicating the same application of GMOs.

The second point, Mr Speaker, regards the Authority. People have already talked in this House about the creation of another mammoth Authority that will need a lot of resources. However, in this case, we would like to have an Authority that is part time so as to regulate if this country is not in the process of importing or manufacturing or producing GMOs.

Therefore, a full time Authority or body that will be there doing almost nothing is not required. Such kinds of functions can be best performed by existing bodies or a part time Authority set in place.

That is my contribution.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Education (Professor Lungwangwa):  Thank you Mr Speaker. It is gratifying to know that both sides of the House are in total agreement over the substance of the Bill that is very important. Agreeing on the substance of the Bill is a very important step to take because if this Bill is not supported by this House, posterity will judge this House harshly.

Given the current inconclusive research in terms of the impact of incompetent scientific investigation in the area of biotechnology, we need to safeguard life in this country; human, animal, plant life and the general environment. This is exactly what this Bill is aiming at. At the moment, if one explores the information on the internet, one will find that there are so many concerns related to the impact of the current biotechnology scientific investigation.

As the previous speakers have stated, there are concerns about the health impact of the current Recombitant Scientific Investigations. There are fears of allergies that might arise as a result of eating, for example, GMO food staff. That is the major worry.  They have concerns about the impact of GMO products on the flora and fauna of the environment, living organisms and the destruction that might arise.

Currently, the evidence is that if nations are not taking measures to safeguard themselves against these products, they are bound to face major problems. Therefore, it is very important, Mr Speaker, for this House to take note of the fact that given the current levels of biotechnological research, we need, as a country, to take measures to firstly observe the reactions of the GMO products within our environment; taking measures to monitor the movement of GMO products within our region among our neighbouring countries to monitor and observe critically what is happening, for example to the crops and the plants within our environment.

We need to monitor and see how those who are handling GMO products are actually handling them in terms of safety concerns to our people, the animals and the environment. These are very important measures to take.

Given the current force behind competent scientific investigation, we need a very strong institutional mechanism to oversee all these measures even from the point of view of creating a data base that gives us very clear information on what is happening in this particular area of scientific development.

This institutional regulation as proposed in the Bill is extremely important for us as a nation to establish. Many countries that have established this type of Bill have gone the way of instituting very strong regulatory mechanisms as a way of protecting themselves.

It is therefore, important for the hon. Members in this House on the other side to take this into account and seriously reflect on it because at the end of the day, it is in the interest of this country for us to have very strong regulatory systems even in terms of scientific investigation that comes through research. Many countries are instituting very strong regulatory systems to try and oversee what research is doing in this particular area.

There are issues of ethics that are very important that should govern scientific investigation and as a country, we cannot gloss over that. We have to be very serious about it because this is a matter of life and death.

In conclusion Mr Speaker, I strongly support this Bill, as it is in the interest of this country now and in the future.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, in the first instance, I wish to thank your Committee for making thorough scrutiny of the Bill. However, I think something along the way went wrong to arrive at the conclusion that they did. Wrong in the sense that as has been alluded to in their own report, nine out of ten stake holders are in full support of the Bill and as I already stated, they are agreeing that the Bill is long overdue.

Mr Speaker, Hon. Sejani did mention the issues of concerns. We strongly feel that there are two issues we are discussing here. It is not possible to put all concerns or prescriptions in the Act. During the formulation of the regulations, for instance in areas of zoning to avoid cross contamination, stakeholders will participate because there is a need to have expertise as well as community concerns with regard to the environment, plant, seed, animal and human life. That will be taken care of. Those amendments that really do not impact and change the complete meaning surely, should not be tampered with.

I am grateful to Hon. Dr Chishya for at least defining what Biosafety is. I see that the Committee was debating on the generality of biosafety, meaning issues to do with water, food, air and so on. However, this Bill is specific with regard to the Cartagena Protocol. This is an international definition we agreed upon. How do they relate to us?

Therefore, biosafety talks about self application in the use of GMOs as they transit our country and as the people apply to use them. It does not contradict the exiting legislation such as the Environmental Pollution and Control Act, the Food and Drug Act and the Seed Act. If we can understand it from that perspective, we are not talking about different things if we zero in as to specificity of this Bill with regard to the Convention on Biological Diversity whose subsidiary is the Biosafety Act.

Mr Speaker, the other issue that has been of concern to the Opposition Members of Parliament and your Committee is that of the Authority. I would like to retaliate here, as indicated in the Bill, that this is a part-time Authority called upon only when there are issues of Genetically Modified Organs upon which they have to advise the Government. Therefore, the issue of the colossal expense does not arise. Yes, there will be a small secretariat, but surely, can the Zambian Government not spend money on this very important Bill? I am sure we can.

Sir, regarding the issues of the Cartagena Protocol not binding, I am sorry to say that your Committee misled itself. Once a country ratifies and is a party to a convention and a protocol, all aspects in those conventions and protocols are binding to that country.

Mr Kunda: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: What is not binding is the actual prescription of the laws that should govern us. We maintain our sovereignty depending on the laws that already exist, the capacity and our environment. I am afraid that conclusion was not correct.

Mr Speaker, consultation in the formulation of this Bill has been extensive. In fact, there were fifteen hon. Members of Parliament that contributed in the formulation of this Biosafety Bill. The reason for this is that we have a new Parliament and most current hon. Members did not participate, but his House did participate. I think, we consulted widely and are concerned that if we are not careful and defer this, we will be flooded with GMOs. We are talking about the capacity that was started in order to detect GMOs.

Sir, I would like to restate that this Biosafety Bill is well meaning. It is intended to protect Zambians, their health, livestock and environment with the capacity that we are building. Further, it will protect the future generations. We do not have a problem in this regard. Surely, as was said, if there are amendments that need to be made and do not contravene anything, these would be taken on board. However, let us not delay because those with interest are not sitting by. They want these GMOs to come into our country.

Lastly, I have a statement here with regard to the United States Federal Court Order in which the Federal Court Judge ordered, for the first time, to halt the approval. The Judge directed the US Department of Agriculture to halt the approval of all new field trials of genetically engineered crops until more rigorous environmental reviews were conducted. This is the major shift by the judgement of the Federal Court.

Now, when we have such guidance in our research, we should take seriously the impact of GMOs on our environment.

Mr Speaker, with these very few words, I would like to thank all those that debated in support of this Bill. There is ample room for all of us to have an input in this Bill for the betterment of Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.

Committed to a committee of the whole House.

Committee on Wednesday, 4th April, 2007.




VOTE 78/01 – (Zambia Security Intelligence Service – Office of the President – K184,120,258,453).

(Consideration resumed)

External Threats to Security

The Vice-President (Mr R. Banda): Madam Chairperson, it has now been acknowledged that Zambia is endowed with abundant natural resources. However, it should be noted that the country’s attractive economic potential makes it susceptible to destabilisation by external forces that would want to control its rich natural resources either directly or indirectly.

We have all seen how the struggle for resource control by foreign interests on our continent has translated into internal conflicts and civil strife in some countries in Africa. We need to guard against these unfortunate eventualities so that our natural resources do not become a curse, but a blessing to our people. Adequate resources should, therefore, be made available to enable the Zambia Security Intelligence Service monitor and negate this sophisticated threat. 
Madam Chairperson, you may also wish to know that the Trans National Trade of International Terrorism has become a threat of worldwide dimensions. It is apparent that following the events of 11th September, 2001 and the war on terror launched by the United States of America (USA), particularly on the traditional basis of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East, Africa has become an attractive destination for Al-Qaeda operatives. In this connection, it has been established that Southern Africa in particular, is being used by terrorist groups for acquiring identity and travel documents, logistical and planning purposes, recruitment and fundraising. Religion is also used as a safe haven, as demonstrated by the stay of One Haroon Rashid Aswat in South Africa and Zambia before his arrest in Zambia on 26th July, 2005.

Madam Chairperson, it is expected that a threat of terrorism in our region will intensify as terrorist organisations are known to infiltrate target countries through sleep cells that can remain dormant for years without detection. It is therefore, important that the service is availed the means to confront this eminent threat.

Madam Chairperson, we also face threats emanating from post conflict situations along our borders and in neighbouring countries. The continued set of instability in those areas needs to be monitored for the benefit of continued peace in our country. In this connection, we have seen conflict situations in some parts of our continent cutting across borders and destabilising nations. These conflicts and conflict areas have provided fertile ground for the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons. This has given rise to organised and violent crime in the affected countries. The Zambia Security Intelligence Service must, therefore, have the capacity to monitor, analyse and negate these threats.

Madam Chairperson, looking at the complex nature of the world today where internal and external threats to security reinforce each other, we will be failing in our duty if we do not respond to the request for adequate funding to the Zambia Security Intelligence Services.

At this point, allow me to report to this House that our Service is the current first Vice-Chair representing Southern Africa for the Pan-African Intelligence and Security Organisation called the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA). It is an honour that professionalism of the Zambia Security Intelligence Service has been recognised by this forty-four member organisation that is an affiliate of the African Union (AU). We, therefore, need to support the Zambia Security Intelligence Service so that it maintains the profile and delivers on its mandate at home.

Budget Estimates for 2007

Madam Chairperson, may I now draw the attention of this august House to the proposed Budget for the Zambia Security Intelligence Service for the 2007. The estimates for 2007 are K184,120,258,453, while last year’s authorised expenditure was K164,978,149,574.

Madam Chairperson, this represents an increase of 20 per cent from last year’s Budget. This increase has been necessitated by among other reasons the inclusion of provisions that were not met last year such as in the critical area of training. Related to this, will be the recruitment of new officers this year that had been suspended for a long time and has created staffing difficulties in the Zambia Security Intelligence Service. There has also been an increase in the motor vehicle fleet, a component that is critical to the operations of any intelligence organisation. Consideration has also been made to the concerns raised in this august House during debates of last year’s Budget that brought to the fore the inadequate funding availed to this Zambia Security Intelligence Service.

In addition, the Budget Estimates include infrastructural development such as construction of new office blocks, renovations of old office blocks as well as completion of unfinished structures. This provision is intended to alleviate the current shortage of office accommodation in most districts, especially those in remote areas.

Madam Chairperson, I wish to conclude my statement by making a passionate appeal to this august House to consider favourably, the proposed Budget of K184,120,358,453 for the Zambia Security Intelligence Service for the 2007, as any variation to the Budget may have adverse effects in the operations of the Zambia Security Intelligence Service.

Madam Chairperson, in the same vein, may I reassure this august House that the resources proposed in this year’s Budget will be spent prudently for the benefit of the security interests of the people of Zambia. It is now my honour to present the 2007 Estimates of Expenditure for the Zambia Security Intelligence Service to this august House for consideration.

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba (Kasama): Madam Chairperson, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Zambia Security Intelligence Service. I will begin by looking at the key words due to the very fact that it is called a service …

Mr Lubinda: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.

The Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Lubinda: Madam Chairperson, I wish to seek your ruling on a very serious matter; a matter of procedure, precedence and a one affecting the Standing Orders of this House. 

Hon. Members are well aware that the precedence with regard to the enactment of the Appropriation Act has been that it shall be done by the end of March of every year and that is the reason Tax Acts that are passed in this session become effective on 1st April of every year.

On the other hand, Standing Order number 26(2) states very clearly that, and I quote:

“On Wednesdays, Private Members’ notices of motions shall have precedence on the order paper to be followed by Private Members’ orders of the day, to be followed by Government business. If there is no Private Members’ business, the time may be utilised for Government business”.

In addition, Article 115(2)(b) of the Constitution provides for a Presidential Warrant of Expenditure that extends up to and including the end of the fourth month of the financial year.

Given that background, I would like to find out whether the hon. Leader of Government Business in this House is in order firstly, by breaching the precedence of having to pass the Appropriation Act by the end of March and secondly, without regard to the provisions of Article 115 as referred to, rushing through the debate on the Budget to an extent that hardly one and a half hours are being allocated to debating every Vote.

As though that was not enough, to an extent where this institution of Parliament is forced to breach the Standing Orders as I recited, whereby Members are not allowed to present Private Members’ Motions for debate on Wednesdays, a day which, going by Standing Orders, is reserved for Private Members.

Is the hon. Vice-President in order to go against the precedence, the Constitution and the Standing Orders of this House? I seek your serious ruling on this matter, Madam Chairperson.

I thank you, Madam.

The Chairperson: In his point of order, the hon. Member for Kabwata has raised two important issues. The first one is the Constitutional issue regarding when the Budget is supposed to be passed. In his statement, he has talked of end of March and he has also talked of the fourth month. He has also talked about Wednesday being the day for Private Members’ business in the House. These are very important issues and in as much as the Chair is tempted to rule, I would rather the ruling is made tomorrow. Therefore, I defer the ruling on that point of order to tomorrow.

Dr Chishimba: Madam Chairperson, I was saying that since the organisation provides a service, the question is …

Mr Sichilima: On a point of order, Madam.

The Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

The Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Sichilima): Madam Chairperson, I rise on a very serious point of order. This country is surrounded by eight neighbouring countries and some borders are being closed. I seek your indulgence and guidance and that of the House.

 Is it in order for us to proceed with the debate of this Motion when the neighbouring countries are listening and we might expose what they are not supposed to hear?

Hon Members of Parliament: Hear, hear! {mospagebreak}

Mr Sichilima: A serious and peace-loving Member of Parliament will agree with me. I need your serious ruling and your indulgence.

I thank you, Madam.

The Chairperson: The hon. Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development has raised a point of order. His concern is that we are debating the Vote on Head 78 that deals with State Intelligence and Security. He feels that this may expose our nation to the outside world, some of whom, he says, may not be so friendly. This is because borders are being closed. The Chair’s guidance is that, even though this can be a very sensitive Head to debate, there is a need for caution and responsibility in the way that we debate. However, the Chair refers to precedence. We have debated this before and therefore, my only guidance is that let us take Zambia as Zambia and this House as part of Zambia and take caution in what we debate.

Dr Chishimba: Madam Chairperson, when we refer to the term intelligence, what are we talking about?  As I was saying, to be intelligent, to borrow from the Latin word intelligere, is to understand. Therefore, the word intelligence to me is about ensuring that the advice that is given to the Executive is based on information that is collected locally or internationally and well analysed and advised appropriately. This way, the information that will be provided to the Executive will be well aggregated in order to take measures that are going to be beneficial to this nation. Therefore, it is about information collection, analysis and advising accordingly.

When we introduce security, what exactly are we talking about? Is it security for the leaders or security for each and every person in this country? Therefore, when we talk about security, we are talking about making the country secure; the safety of the country and not individuals per se.

The safety of the country is what takes the leading pre-occupation of the Service and that is why it is called a Service. This is a Service that will ensure that the country is protected from anything that maybe prejudicial to the safety and welfare of the State as a whole.

Article 108 of the Constitution establishes the Zambia Security Intelligence Services. When you proceed from sub-article (1) to sub-article (2), the operations of the Intelligence Service will be regulated by or in accordance with an Act of Parliament of the laws that Parliament will make. As you know, Parliament or the National Assembly represents our sovereignty as a country. It also represents the collective will of the people to liberate this country from anything that threatens its existence.

Madam Chairperson, under sub-article (2) of article (108), it is very clear that Parliament is empowered to ensure that the structures and organs of the service are prescribed or established accordingly. Under ‘b’ of sub-article (2) again, it provides that in terms of recruitments, it will be from all the districts of this country. There, again, to me, underscores the importance of this particular organisation. It is the people’s organisation, where each and every citizen has a right to be part of. After all, in that particular case, generally, when you look at the role of this particular organisation, which provides safety to the nation and our people, it means that each and every citizen and member of society in this country is actually, a member of this particular organisation. In my view, the primary objective of the intelligence service should be that of securing the interest of the nation.

Madam Chairperson, I talked about the role of information, which is supplied to state managers. That information must be provided and ensure that appropriate advice is given. Sometimes, we politicians tend to misuse the service by using the service to fix other people in that particular term. That is not right. In that particular case, it means that any person, any situation or any person who attempts to make any utterances or any conducts, which is prejudicial to the welfare of this particular nation is a security risk. It does not matter, whether that person is a leader or a common man on the street, but whoever by utterances, actions or directive so given, if those are prejudicial to the welfare of the state, such a person must be declared a security risk, not just common people.    

Madam Chairperson, what I am trying to say again? What I am trying to say is that first and foremost, it is important to appreciate the fact that by Constitutional enactment, Zambia is an open society and a democracy. If you look at the preamble of our Constitution, it is very clear that Zambia shall be a democratic state and it shall uphold principles of transparency and accountability. In order to increase our people in holding different organs of the state of Government to account, of course, there is need for our people to be given that particular information. Therefore, when it comes to the enactment of laws, we must not be, of course, I know that it is a secrete service and that there is some information, which if you look at section (4) of the State Security Act, there is some kind of clause, which simply means that probably, if somebody wants information on the debts, which this country has contracted, to a certain extent, that public officer or those actions might be in controversial with that particular article. Hence, the need for us to be able to distinguish between information, which will generally help in trying to put our country on the right course to liberate ourselves from the difference intelligence that we face.

For sure, we have to draw the line for that information, which might of a security nature. Of course, this calls for the development of our laws and ensure that we enact laws, which are gong the enhance this particular information flow and not just declare everything, which to some extent, the state or Government leaders might feel that it will be a danger to their survival then, it must be declared ‘to be classified.’ Indeed, that raises so many questions.

Zambia is our own country. Therefore, whatever laws that we come up with, whatever we do and the manner in, which we govern the service, whether we abuse it or not, I must submit here today, that prosperity will judge us. For instance, I was talking about the cultural kind of sections in the State Security Act are convoluted as well up thrust. What do I mean by that? It is not so clear as to what that particular clause talks about. It appears that all information, as long as it comes from the Government, it must reach the people and yet, the people of Zambia have a right as stakeholders in this enterprise that we call Zambia. They also have the right to that particular information.

Again, when I talk about an open society, we bring in the press. The role of the press is critical in order for them to inform the people so that people can make informed decisions.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Madam Chairperson, we do not like to lead a country where people are misinformed. We need to have an informed citizenry to contribute effectively to the development of this nation. I must admit here that it is incontrovertible the press have a critical role to usher this country onto higher highest, where the country is put on the road to traverse the roads from independence and prosperity which our forefathers fought for. These are the struggles which we must always remember and bare on our minds that the greatest resources, which we must preserve as a nation is the human resource, our people in this country as well as any other infrastructure that are key to the development of our country.

Madam Chairperson, I was talking about flow and that if the service is abused by politicians, there will be danger. For instance, there might a declaration under article 30 of the Constitution - that is Public Emergence, which brings into oppression immediately. In that particular case, you will find that the fundamental, rights and freedoms which are guaranteed to our people will violated. There, I am talking about more specifically articles 13, 16, 17, 19 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24.

Mr Kambwili: Quality!

Dr Chishimba: In such a situation, you will find that the rights which our people are supposed to enjoy, will not be enjoyed them as enshrined in the Constitution. That is why it is my submission afternoon, that as politicians, there is need to refrain from using the state operatives in order to silence our people.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear

Dr Chishimba: If somebody criticises what is wrong, how do you declare such a person as a security risk? You must look at that person as a resource.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Do not follow people. It will not pay. Do not intimidate citizens. You should let people to criticise and from criticisms, you must know where you are going wrong. It also means that people love you.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba:  A couple of weeks ago, I was impressed when I read about His Excellency, President Mwanawasa. I am not very sure where he was, but I think he was in Namibia, where he said that criticisms have helped us.’ Therefore, if you accept criticisms in a democracy, why should you look at all those speak passionately for the liberation of this country, from the current constraints that we face in the economic spheres to be security risks? How do you declare them security risks? We need to embrace all the people. To me, even the leader maybe a security risk. For instance, if that leader is preaching on relation of other groups of people, such a one a security risk.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: If a leader in Government preaches assertions, such a person is a security risk. Those are the things that we must look at. I am saying so because Zambia is a unitary state. When our forefathers founded this nation, it was founded on a principle of ‘One Zambia One Nation.’

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Who are we today when some of them died? This means that if we run awe from that and depart from that, those men and women will have died in vain. Even those that are still living, their struggles will have been in vain. Some of them are here. V. J. Mwaanga is here, a very militant young person at that time. Sikota Wina among others, were quite inspiring at that time.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: It will also mean that those risks which they took are in vain. Therefore, we have a duty as leaders to ensure that we politicians do not abuse the state operatives that we find there. 
Now we are talking about the role of information for a country to be secure. How do you expect intelligence officers to collect information and yet when you go to some districts they do not even have vehicles? What information are they going to collect? Look at what they are getting. Probably, they will get information from someone who has no money and will even reveal what the State intends to for that particular person. What information can they collect in that particular case?

Hon. PF Members: Nothing!

Dr Chishimba: In the process they will get information to mislead you.

Hon. PF Members: Shame!

Dr Chishimba: So, we want an intelligence service that is well motivated and adequately financed.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: That intelligence service should be providing information for the betterment of this nation. It should be providing information to alleviate the living standards of our people. Then its existence will be relevant to Zambia.

Therefore, I must emphasise, once again, that there is a need to ensure that we level the p-laying field and look at one another as one in this country.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: Madam Chairperson, I say so because what is happening on the street is that if you go to a place called ‘A’ they will look at a person whether he/she is green or yellow or if he/she is a chibuku or kachasu. If he/she is a kachasu and does not belong to chibuku then he/she must go back to kachasu. What kind of a country is this?

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: And yet, you are preaching that we are one people. If we are one people then let us support these principles. Let those principles that someone died for be supported. Even as we sit here let us remember that someone died. If you are a minister and you are driving a Government vehicle, that flag on your car is not for prestige.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Dr Chishimba: It is not prestigious. You must remember that the red colour you see means that someone died. Let us take these …

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

The Chairperson: Order! The hon. Member’s time has expired.

Before I give the Floor to another hon. Member, let me guide the House that in our debate of every Head, it is very important that we stick to that Head. Sometimes we tend to open up cross-country debate on a very specific issue. Let us be precise and brief. You do not have to spend fifteen minutes repeating the same thing five times. It is tedious repetition. Therefore, put your points clearly and briefly. I am sure everybody will appreciate that.

The other observation I would like to make is that as the Chair sits here, a new tendency by hon. Members has developed to send notes to the Chair making all sorts of requests. The Chair is able to see everyone and will give an opportunity to as many hon. Members as possible on a particular day. So, please allow the Chair to make her/his own decision in asking who to speak. The best you can do is indicate. Indicate clearly, that is the only way you show the Chair that you are ready to debate.

Mr Bonshe (Mufumbwe): Madam Chairperson, thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to speak on this Vote. I stand here to vehemently support the budget for the Zambia Security Intelligence Services.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate and commend the Director General of the Zambia Security Intelligence Services …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: … for the wonderful job he is doing in ensuring that there is peace in Zambia. The peace, stability and tranquillity we are enjoying in Zambia are because of the efficiency of the Zambia Security Intelligence Services.

To some extent, I can say that Zambia is one of the countries with the best security system.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: It is one of the best in the world.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: The Zambia Security Intelligence Services have been able to detect acts of rebellion, terrorism and activities just at the planning stage that is critical. It should be detected at planning stage before it enters the execution stage. If something reaches the execution stage, it becomes dangerous. By the time you stop it, it would have left a lot of casualties ending in fatalities.

Mr Tetamashimba: Quality my brother!

Mr Bonshe: According to the explanation by the Leader of Government Business in the House, the Zambia Security Intelligence Services is the principle advisor to the Government on security matters. To this effect, they have done very well.

Some hon. Members may think that the Zambia Security Intelligence Services are there to hunt for a few individuals, but that is not true. Do not fear them. They are only there for threats that affect the country. They are there to give maximum security to the President of the Republic of Zambia and Government ministers. The second grade of beneficiaries of their services is other leaders in the country such as opposition party leaders …

Hon. PF Members: No!

Mr Bonshe: … and NGOs. All these are covered.

Hon. PF Members: No!

Mr Kambwili: Questionable!

Mr Bonshe: Why do we say that the President, the Vice-President and the ministers should be given priority? It is because these are the targets. When an enemy attacks, these are on the target list.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: The success of an enemy will be measured by having assassinated or killed a minister or someone very important. Therefore, these people are supposed to be given maximum security.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: I am glad to hear that the Zambia Security Intelligence Services need to have vehicles. Even the allocation is inadequate.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: Even if this allocation was in trillions, I would have stood up to support the budget because of the nature of the job they do. It is a very risky job to penetrate an enemy’s territory or get information that is going to assist protect Zambia. That part is very risky. Probably the risk is higher than a health worker who is attending to an AIDS patient.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: In this case, when this officer is caught in the process of trying to get that information, he is called a spy and you know the treatment given to somebody who is perceived a spy. Therefore, the Zambia Security Intelligence Services must be motivated by giving them a risk allowance. Their remuneration should be higher than what they are getting now because of the risks they are involved in.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: All the security agencies of this country such as the Zambia Police …

Mr Tetamashimba: Drink some water.

Ms Njapau: I have opened a bottle.

Mr Bonshe drank some water.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bonshe: … Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force, Anti-Corruption Commission, Drug Enforcement Commission largely depend on the Zambia Security Intelligence Services. There is a saying that goes, ‘Information is power’. If you do not have information you are powerless and vulnerable. Therefore, they all need information.

If the country is at war, the Zambia Army and Zambia Air Force depend on information from the Zambia Security Intelligence Services on how and when the enemies are preparing to attack and what kind of weapons they would use. They will be told where their weapons are hidden so that as they are struck, they would also know how to attack their enemy.

Mr Tetamashimba: Quality!

Mr Bonshe: The Police are also greatly assisted especially in serious crimes. For example, there was a time in Zambia when we had a series of fires breaking out from one office to the other. Theses are fires considered as arson, but that was not ordinary arson that could be investigated by the Police. The Police needed information to find out why that was happening.

Madam Chairperson, in 1980 we had a serial killer who murdered his own innocent sisters from the Western Province. That man was strangling innocent women. He was being used to make it look like the people of Western Province were not protected. That man was known as the strangler, but we came to know him as Mufungulwa Sipalo. I think we all know where that name comes from. It was very unfortunate to wake up to find a dead woman on the side of the road.


Mr Bonshe: Madam Chairperson, coincidentally even in the United Kingdom, in the same year, there was another case of prostitutes being killed by Jack the Ripper. He was killing women in a similar manner except that the modus operandi was different. Jack the Ripper hammered the victims from the back whereas the strangler was wringing the neck. I happened to be in the United Kingdom in year undergoing skills training and I participated in the investigations of Jack the Ripper.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mr Bonshe: Madam Chairperson, fortunately, both criminals were arrested. Even in the United Kingdom the Police rely on the security intelligence to get information so that they know how to combat such kinds of acts of terrorism.

Madam Chairperson, even here with the help of the security intelligence we managed to apprehend or arrest Mufungulwa Sipalo. You can see that enemies are not only outside, but within. Mufungulwa Sipalo happened to be an internal enemy who was within the security system and when we were planning, he was in the forefront of planning. He was a sergeant in the Zambia Army and even when he was killing, he was doing it in uniform.

Madam Chairperson, unfortunately, he died before we could get more information from him. He sentenced himself to death by jumping through the third floor of the Central Police Station. 
Madam Chairperson, you can see that some of these crimes that pose a big threat to the country are perpetrated by our own people. The Security Intelligence do not give false information, they give correct information. When you talk about Preservation of the Public Security Act that was referred to, I can say that for the past six years, the Act has not been applied. That Act allows for a person to be detained for twenty eight days without being taken to court except that he or she should be furnished with facts of detention within fourteen days, but we have not applied that section because the information that is coming in is correct. Someone is arrested for a particular offence and appears in court and so it is important that we give support to this particular Vote.

Madam Chairperson, these people must be motivated by giving them a risk allowance, good vehicles and enough money for their investigations because there is no investigation that can be successful without money. When you get to the person you want information from, you start asking for money from him or her. That can be dangerous. As such, we should support the Intelligence Services by giving them more money than what has been allocated.

With these few remarks, I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for affording me an opportunity to support this Vote.

From the outset, I would like to clearly state that I support this Vote …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka: Madam Chairperson, the allocation was K164 billion last year versus K184 billion. This year is not a great slip considering the circumstances in the neighbourhood. The Congo DR is not doing very well, and Zimbabwe is also not doing very well, but I want to dwell specifically on this particular issue.

Madam Chairperson, I would like to commend our security forces, in particular the Security Intelligence wing because they have been able to assist us in propelling our democracy. They have been able to do this because in many countries, politicians tend to use them and as far as I am concerned, we have not been witnessing any serious upheavals of political leaders being arrested or locked up and that kind of thing …

Major Chizhyuka: Or disappearing.

Mr Hachipuka: Or, indeed, disappearing for that matter in this country.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka: I think they have been very professional.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka: You are aware that in many countries, they can be a source of …


Mr Hachipuka: … I know most of you have never been arrested.

Hon. Member: Have you?

Mr Hachipuka: Yes, I have been arrested. I was once locked up. I went to jail under the Christon Tembo issue when I was not even involved, but it was very good that they were able to depict that I was innocent. When in a country you have systems within the security wings that are able to investigate and separate the innocent from the criminals, it shows that the security systems are working.

Madam Chairperson, I want to say that Zambia is referred to as a peaceful country. I think it is a matter of debate as to what kind of peace we are enjoying. It is important that the quality of peace we are enjoying is more directed towards bettering our people. There should be lesser tilt towards the security of making sure that the MMD remains in power or this Government remains in power. The tilt must be to ensure that the Zambians are safe.

 I disagree with the previous debater who thinks that the security wings’ role is to protect the President and the rest of the ministers. That is not their role.

Madam Chairperson, their role is to ensure that the Zambians are safe.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka: They must spend a share balance on security between Zambia and our neighbours. They need to keep a fair balance in their expenditures and in their work. They also need to keep a fair balance in terms of internal security. Citizens must feel confident that they are secure. The ins and outs of democracy and our intra political dispensation and differences are part of what they are supposed to be looking at. They must keep peace both between nations and within us.

Madam Chairperson, this reminds me of the value of peace against our expenditure. As I said earlier, it is not so much how much money you have to spend on the intelligence wing, more so in a poverty stricken country like ours. Sometimes we complain about the amounts of money we are spending on the security wing, we think it is too high. It becomes high in the midst of poverty. It is sometimes very difficult to draw lines between what we as the Executive or Government are doing to run the affairs of the country. They have to spend money on fuel and other errands to keep the country running. Sometimes we think they are being wasteful, but I want to urge them in supporting this Vote that it is important that as they spend these moneys that we are approving, there should be value for money.

Madam Chairperson, it is not about developing systems by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning that would guarantee that resources are not wasted, but about themselves. A country such as ours would always have properly trained people in these positions. It is not about how rich they come out of this. It is about deliverance of service to ensure that this country remains peaceful.

As regards accountability for these resources, if you go round all these ministries and to the Ministry of Justice in particular, look at the amount of money we are spending on court processes. Looking at the amount of money that is not properly utilised in the various ministries, one can easily extrapolate that this is a cross cutting issue. Therefore, I am appealing very strongly to these men who should be men of integrity to perform their function. Other ministries can function perhaps at lesser degrees of integrity, but theirs calls for serious integrity count. Looking at where we have come from, I know that they have lived up to it and must continue to.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka: Please, do not get swayed. I am appealing through the Chairperson to the Vice-President, let us not misuse and abuse them. Let us not make them do things that do not add value to this country.

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

The Deputy Minister of North-Western Province (Mr Chipungu): Thank you, Madam Chairperson, for giving me an opportunity to contribute to the debate on the budget for the Zambian Security Intelligence Services.

Madam Chairperson, this Vote is similar to other Votes on the Defence Force, the Police as well as the army because they all border on the issues of state security. The only difference is that this Service deals with issues before they happen or before they take place.

Madam Chairperson, any institution such as this one that deals with security must be fully supported.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipungu: I, therefore, strongly support this Vote and wish to call upon all hon. Members of Parliament to do the same.

 I want to commend our intelligence system in this country for performing very well and wish to ask them to continue to do so. I am talking from experience. I have been very close to them. I have worked with some of them at the national, provincial and district level and I have found them to be helpful indeed. They are men and women of high integrity. You can never doubt them at all. There are very supportive and hardworking.

Madam Chairperson, a nation with a very weak intelligence system is at risk of collapsing. Where again the system goes to sleep, this becomes a security risk. We have examples of bombings and destruction of property and loss of lives in countries such as America. This simply means the system has gone to sleep at the time. As a nation, we need to strengthen our intelligence system.

Madam Chairperson, we need a very well motivated staff provided with adequate transport. At one time, I was very worried that the Zambia Security Intelligence System had no adequate transport, but this time around I am happy to note that new vehicles have been bought in districts as well as provinces. This is very encouraging indeed.

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota (Livingstone): Madam Chairperson, I would like to contribute to this Vote stating that the Zambia Security Intelligence Services is an institution that we definitively need as a country. It is an institution that every country needs, but what we should be concerned about is whether or not it is functioning in the manner in we want it to for the betterment and security of all Zambians. Essentially, that is what they should be there for, to serve us as a Zambian people. In doing this, they should also endeavour to ensure that they get the confidence of the Zambian people. They can only do that if they act professionally.

Last year, the budget for this institution was raised to K164 billion and it was quite a big rise at the time. That rise was attributed to the elections that we were going to have in 2006. This year, I note that we do not have an election, but still there is an increase and it has been put down to recruitment, training and motor vehicles. I, myself, would have been happier if the reason given for the increase was the one that Hon. Hachipuka had mentioned, namely that, at the moment, there seems to be quite a lot of tension with some of our neighbouring countries. Some of this tension is with us, but a lot of it to do with internal tensions within those countries namely, Zimbabwe and Congo DRC. As we know, anything that happens in direct neighbouring countries affects us as a country. If there are going to be movements of people across borders and so forth as refugees, that will certainly affect us.

I would like to see some kind of realignment to take into consideration this fact that was raised by Hon. Hachipuka. The Zambia Security Intelligence Services, at the moment, is not looked upon very favourably by the Zambian people. The recent happenings such as the ZAMTROP accounts and the false accusation made against citizens, have all contributed to giving the Zambia Security Intelligence Services a bad name.

The Zambia Security Intelligence Services are also extremely secretive. I would propose that they embark on a public relations exercise where they go out and explain exactly what they do on behalf of the people and to give regular briefings to the Zambian people. This is not something that is strange. For example, the Director General of MI5, Ms Eliza Manningham-Buller, regularly holds press briefings, gives out press releases and even appears on television and so on. There is not a mystical figure out there. They are people who are not afraid to meet with the public. That gives the Intelligence Service in the UK a human face. Right now, our own Zambia Security Intelligence Services is a very anonymous entity. There is no face to it, hence people quite rightly are very suspicious of this entity that they never get to interact with. There would be no harm in the Zambia Security Intelligence Service being more open and interacting more with the people they are supposed to serve.

Sometimes people say that the kinds of things they deal with are sensitive so they cannot interact with people. Let us take terrorism, for example in the UK, when Ms Buller gives details of how many people and terrorists are being investigated, it is not seen as a compromise on security, but in fact, makes the people in the UK feel more secure that their Intelligence Services is actually doing work that is helping to keep them safe. That kind of attitude is what we would like to have. They are very open in these briefings.

In the last November briefing that was held, for example, in the UK, there was both pro and anti-Government held position information that was released. The Government did not feel embarrassed by that because we are all concerned with the truth coming out. That is the kind of professionalism that we would call upon our own Zambia Security Intelligence Services.

Mr Mtonga: Zoona.

Mr Sikota: When is the last time there was a briefing? Has there ever been a briefing from the Zambia Security Intelligence Services? There has never been, hence people believe that the Zambia Security Intelligence Services is there only to harass and make false accusations just because the Zambia Security Intelligence Services is not talking about the good work that it does. I know that there is a lot of good work that it does.

We, therefore, need to be more open even in terms of how we appoint the Director Generals. I propose that we look at changing the law so that there is scrutiny of that appointment and that this House is given the opportunity to ratify any future appointments of Director Generals. This is because after all, they are supposed to be serving the people and we are the representatives of the people.

There is nothing to hide in terms of who the Director General is. The Direct General should be somebody who is friendly to all Zambians. In fact, the Director General and the Zambia Security Intelligence Services should go as far as holding briefings for political leaders. This may sound controversial, but you have to realise that Opposition political leaders are also leaders in this society. They have a lot of responsibility. They represent a large proportion of the Zambian people. At the moment, the Opposition together represent in terms of people, almost an equal number, if not more, than the Government. We represent more people. Therefore, there should be no reason we should not be given security briefings.

Of course, these briefings should not be detailed, but be based on a need-to-know basis. The Director General and Zambia Security Intelligence Services themselves would be able to tell what kind of information they should give to the Opposition. However, it is important that there must be that interaction and exchange of information. That will make the Opposition understand some of the things the Government is doing. Sometimes, you would find opposition because there is no information being given.

Sometimes in this House, we see the Government becoming very jittery when we start talking about matters of foreign affairs and we are told that it is about relations and so on. If there was this exchange and briefings from the Zambia Security Intelligence Services, you would not land in that kind of situation. I can tell you without any contradiction that the people you see on the Opposition side are very responsible. They are people who love this country. They are people who care about the security of this country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota: Therefore, do not be afraid to have the Zambia Security Intelligence Services brief these men and women who are patriots just like you. There is no difference between the people on your right and left. We all love mother Zambia. We all want mother Zambia to be secure. We all want to see that the Zambia Security Intelligence Service does its work professionally.

Madam Chairperson, Hon. Hachipuka talked about his personal experiences with the Zambia Security Intelligence Services and stated that they acted very professionally in his case. However, I would like to point out that for every one Hachipuka, there were probably ten Dr Kaundas, ten late Dean Mung’ombas, ten Princess Nakatindis, ten Senior Chief Inyambo Yetas, ten Dr Steven Moyos, ten Muhabi Lungus, ten Rabson Chongos, ten Fred Mmembes, ten Mois Kalung’ombes and last, but not lease, ten Hon. Vice President Rupiah Bandas.

Madam, all these people I have mentioned suffered unnecessarily as a result of false information that was given by the Zambia State Intelligence Services about them. They were tortured physically, psychologically and incarcerated for long periods of time. I was privileged to be a lawyer acting in all of these cases running from the Zero Option to the Captain Solo Coup and the Fred Mmembe Trial over the referendum. As a lawyer, I had the opportunity of actually looking at the deposition of witnesses. That is the total evidence that was available to the State.

I must say, and I think that the hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs will bail me out on this because he also had sight of those depositions, that they were very unprofessional. They made people suffer unnecessarily. That is why just before the trials began, nolles were entered against these people, but in the very first place, these people should not have been arrested if we had a very professional Zambia Security Intelligence Service.

Hon. Opposition Members:

Mr Sikota: Therefore, that is what we must help them to get to. Part of it, definitely will be in terms of the training that they want to do.

With regard to the recruitment, let us not see what we saw with the Zambia Police and the Zambia Air Force a few years ago where there was partisan recruitment. Once you start having partisan recruitment, you will not have a professional group of people.

Therefore, in supporting this Vote, I ask that those who will implement it should ensure that the question of professionalism is really drummed into the administrators. I look forward to the day when the Zambia Security Intelligence Service Director General will invite me over for a briefing. Once we start having those kinds of exchanges, when I take over as President of the country in 2011 …


Mr Sikota: … we shall have a very smooth hand over.


Mr Sikota: There will be no need to panic, shred files and burn records. We shall move hand in hand in securing this nation and making it good for every Zambia.

Madam Chairperson, with those few words, I thank you.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Mwaanga): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to participate in this debate. Firstly, I would like to support this Vote as I have done over the years since I have been in Parliament because I believe that it is one of the most important Votes that this House debates.

Madam, listening to Hon. Sakwiba Sikota, I commend him for dreaming big. Sometimes dreams are sweeter and better than realities …

Ms Imbwae: On a point of order, Madam.

The Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Imbwae: Madam Chairperson, I am sorry for interrupting the hon. Minister, but I rise on a very serious point of order. I was waiting for the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha, to come into the House. Is it in order for the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, with his integrity, to allow a young boy of twelve years to transport his Commissioner without him commenting on it? This is on the front page of today’s Post Newspaper dated 3rd April, 2007. He is actually advocating for child labour. I will lay the paper on the Table.


Ms Imbwae laid the paper on the Table.

Madam Chairperson: The hon. Member for Lukulu West has raised a serious point of order that the hon. Minister of Home Affairs allowed his own Commissioner to be transported by a small boy and the evidence has been laid on the Table.


Madam Chairperson: The Chair’s ruling is that the boy who the point of order has been raised on could have been that probably this is child labour. Child labour, as the Chair knows, it is defined. This is not child labour, but actually part of informal education.


Madam Chairperson: The young man is learning the tricks.

Will the hon. Minister continue, please.

Mr Mwaanga: Thank you very much, Madam Chairperson. I am somehow taken aback that before I was rudely interrupted, Hon. Sakwiba Sikota was on the Floor and the hon. Member who is a member of his party sitting behind there did not raise a point of order while he was speaking. She waited until I got up to do so. Anyway, that is her President and I suppose, it was done out of respect for him.

I want to say, Madam Chairperson, that it is a good thing that we are debating this Vote and debating it extremely careful in this House in this year, 2007. Those who were with me in the UNIP Parliament will recall that this Vote never used to come to this House for debate.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: It was until the MMD Government came to power in 1991 that the Vote of the Zambia Security Intelligence Services first came to this House for debate. I thought that I should volunteer this information to hon. Members who may not have been here during that particular time.

I also must declare an interest in this matter because I was the first Zambian Director-General of the Zambia Security Intelligence Service …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: … and I was in that position more than forty years ago. I can assure you that it was considered a taboo for this issue to be discussed even in Cabinet, but we have demystified the Intelligence Service by bringing its vote to be debated here in Parliament.

There was a time, Madam Chairperson, when members of the public were afraid even to pass outside the headquarters of the Zambia Security intelligence Service because they were rumours going round that if you pass outside that building, you will disappear inside. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. That fear has disappeared because this is a people’s service. It has become a people’s service. It is not a service to service leaders, as is being alleged by some hon. Members. Protection of VIPs is not a function of the Zambia Security Intelligence Service, but of the Police. The Zambia Security Intelligence Services does not participate in VIP protection as it is not one of its mandates. It looks after the best interests of the country throughout Zambia on all our eight borders covering our eight neighbouring countries.

As has been stated already, there is no country that does not have this kind of service. The service is involved in many ways. Sometimes, it complements our diplomatic efforts by practising preventive security to prevent ugly situations from happening and marking up the diplomatic service so that we have enough information to be able to forestall certain situations that will injure the interests of the State.

Madam Chairperson, recently in the United Kingdom on the advice of the intelligence service, the United Kingdom Government through its Prime Minster, Mr Tony Blair, announced that it was discontinuing a particular investigation into a case involving British and Saudi businessmen and personalities on grounds that the outcome of this investigation would harm British national security. On the basis of this, that investigation was discontinued and an announcement was made in Parliament accordingly because they were able to place the interest of the country above the interests of the case which involved British and Saudi nationals.

Madam Chairperson, the Zambia Security Intelligence Services (ZSIS) is not what it used to be in the olden days. It has been modernised. It has recruited better personnel. There is better training that has been introduced in that institution. As a result, it is a much better service that is better equipped to serve the interests of the people of Zambia. There is greater accountability and integrity now than at any other time. The bad habits of the past, some of which have been referred to, are no more. There is a lot more professionalism and commitment to duty and I can assure you that the interests of Zambia are in good hands for as long as we have the service in the manner in which it is. The Zambia Security Intelligence Services Act came to Parliament and was passed. We passed the Act here in Parliament for those who remember and those who were here a few years ago.

As regards the issue of briefings, these are done on a selective basis if a request is made and there is genuine reason to believe that a briefing to that particular individual would benefit the country. These briefings are given to those who make a request, but they would not be given by making requests here in Parliament rather than making requests directly to the service itself. The head of ZSIS is not a shadow figure. He is known by everybody. His appointment is announced and there is no secret that surround this.

All I can say, finally, Madam  Chairperson, is that I would like to encourage ZSIS to continue this good work, to continue improving is operations and professionalism and that they deserve the fullest support of this House and the nation.

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Madam Chairperson: Order!{mospagebreak}

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.
The Vice-President (Mr R. Banda): Madam Chairperson, I thank you once again for according me this opportunity to summarise debate on the Vote for the Zambia Security Intelligence Services – Office of the President.

I would like to begin by saying, listening to these distinguished Hon. Members of Parliament, Hon. Chishimba, Bonshe, Hachipuka, Chipungu, Sikota, V. J. Mwaanga, it is quite clear to all of us, in this August House, that all hon. Members from all the parties present in this House have debated very ably. I am sure the Intelligence Service itself was listening to the suggestions being made by the hon. Members of Parliament who debated on this Vote with regards to improving it. I think it is unnecessary for me to go through all the points that have been raised. All I can do is to summarise by saying that I am most grateful for the constructive manner in which this debate has taken place and for the suggestions and pertinent comments as to how our Service can operate better.

We all agree that the programmes and activities contained in this Vote are what the Service needs. The increase or what the accountants call the variance of K20 billion in 2007 from 2006, is acceptable in the opinion of most of the Hon. Members who have debated. Therefore, in order to save time, I will assume that all hon. Members here agree that we need a confident Service that should go forward and protect this country as it attempts to attain higher developmental heights. I, therefore, want to thank these collogues that have spoken, particularly Hon. V. J. Mwaanga and all the others, for the very constructive contributions.

I want to assure Hon. Sikota, who is not here, that the Director General (DG), who is not a secret and is known by everybody, is extremely accessible. I want to underline that point. Every hon. Member of this House, as I have found out in my work, has a direct line to the DG and he will always give you open and honest advice. It is the same with all his men across the country. I hope that you will support our request without unnecessary questions that may come from those of you who are not as patriotic for Zambia as we all are here.

Madam Chairperson, I thank you once again for allowing us to debate in such an open manner that was unprecedented in the past. We must thank the Service itself for having been willing to move with times and wish them all the best as they continue the good work.

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

Mr D. Mwila (Chipili): On Programme 5, Activity 04 – Staff Training – K1,751,782,800. You are aware that last year and the other year, there was no allocation to that Vote in terms of training. I want to find out from the Leader of Government Business in the House whether they are targeting training all the staff this year, especially that they are all willing to be trained.

Secondly, on Programme 7, activity 01 – Procurement of Movable Assets –K1,800,000,000. You are aware that last year, they had budgeted for K13 billion and this year, they have drastically reduced the allocation to K1.8 billion.

You are also aware that there is a shortage of transport for the officers. I want to find out from the Leader of Government Business in the House whether this allocation is enough to buy vehicles. K1.8 billion can only buy fifteen vehicles and we have seventy-two districts. We do not seem to be serious on that. I would like to find out why this is so.

Thank you, Madam.

Ms Lundwe: On programme 5, the provision is meant to meet expenses related to in-service training as well as examination fees, meal and transport allowances and tuition fees in other colleges. The budget provision on staff training for the department in the previous year was removed due to budgetary constraints.

As for Programme 7, this allocation will be used to procure office furniture as well as water transport. Last year, a sum of K13 billion was released under the supplementary provision for land transport.

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.     

Ms Lundwe left the microphone on.

The Chairperson: Order! You have already answered. Switch the microphone off.

Mr D. Mwila: Madam Chairperson, I am not satisfied with Programme 5, Activity 4 on Training – K1, 751,728,800. I had asked the Leader of Government Business in the House whether he was targeting training all the officers or just some of them.

The Vice-President: I thank you Madam Chair. Last year, there was a general freeze on all training programmes in the whole Civil Service if you recall. However, this time we would like to continue the training programme.

I thank you, Madam.

Vote 78/01 Ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 51/01 – (Ministry of Communications and Transport – K73, 498,886,263)

The Minister of Communications and Transport (Mr Daka):  Madam Chair, I am most grateful for this opportunity accorded to me to make a Ministerial Statement in this august House in support of the Budget of 2007 for the Ministry of Communications and Transport.

Madam Chair, the 2007 Budget for the Ministry is meant to address critical transport, communication and meteorological infrastructural needs of our country.

Allow me to start by outlining the performance of the sector during the 2006. The transport and communications sector grew by 8.4 per cent compared to 11 per cent in 2005. The slowed down trend can be attributed to the decline in growth in some sub-sectors such as water transport and postal services. All other sub-sectors namely communications, roads, rail and air transport recorded a positive growth.

The water transport sub-sector continued to be constrained by low capital investment while the postal sub-sector continued to be challenged by the advent of the internet and its applications such as e-commerce and e-governance.

Madam Chair, the actual performance of the various sub-sectors under my ministry is as follows:


The total cargo carried by rail in Zambia reduced by 3 per cent from 1.8 million metric tonnes in 2005 to 1.7 million metric tonnes in 2006. The Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) moved a total of 550,000 metric tonnes of freight during the period under review compared to 630,000 metric tonnes in 2005. 

The Railway Systems of Zambia on the other hand, transported 1.2 million metric tonnes in 2006 and 1.1 million metric tonnes in 2005. A decline in the case of TAZARA may be attributed to the reduction in cargo traffic transported through the Port of Dar-es-laam in preference to the Port of Durban.

Secondly, due to more competitive tariffs attributed to various turn-around times, major mining companies such as Konkola and Mopani Copper Mines shifted back cargo haulage from railway to road.

However, passenger traffic figures rose by 21 per cent to 1.5 million in 2006 from 1.2 million in 2005. These can be attributed to a rise in passenger fares in road transport. The operations of Mulobezi Railway Line continue to be hampered by poor infrastructure, frequent derailments and other operational difficulties.

Air Transport

There was a reduction in aircraft movement due to preference for bigger aircrafts that accommodated more passengers per flight. The reduction was mainly on the domestic flights while there was an increase in international flights.

Madam Chair, despite the reduction in aircraft movement, passenger traffic increased during the same period from a total of 700,000 in 2005 to 900,000 in 2006, representing a 25 per cent increase due to the reduction in air fares, especially on the Johannesburg and Dar-es-laam routes.

There were no Budget Airlines operating domestically, hence we continued to see a downward trend. In terms of domestic passengers, there was an increase because of tourism activities taking place in Livingstone.

Cargo traffic for the year under review grew by 31 per cent to 35,000 in 2006 from 27,000 in 2005. This was mainly due to increased imports and exports of machinery spares for the mining industry and horticultural produce respectively.

Water Transport

There was generally a decline in the water transport sub-sector during the 2006. Whereas cargo traffic through Puta at Mpulungu Port rose to 70,000 metric tonnes in 2006 from 58,000 metric tonnes in 2005, there was a decline at Mulamba Harbour in terms of cargo movement from ninety metric tonnes in 2005 to fifty metric tonnes 2006.

Passenger traffic declined to 1,300 in 2006 from 6,000 in 2005 at Mpulungu Port while at Mulamba Harbour this increased to 3,000 passengers in 2006 from 1,600 in 2005.

Madam Chair, road accidents continued to take a toll on the lives of our people in 2006. There were a total of 19,000 road traffic accidents reported countrywide in 2006 with 1,000 persons having been killed and 4,000 having been seriously injured.

Lusaka Province had the highest reported number of road traffic accidents totaling 11,000 and fatalities totaling 355,000. The Western Province had the least reported number of fatalities of twenty-five.

Madam Chair, the Government, through the Road Transport and Safety Agency had put in place the following measures to combat the high incidence of road traffic accidents.

(a) Mandatory installation of speed limiters on all public vehicles - The law on mandatory use of speed limiters on all public vehicles was introduced on 31st April, 2006 through Statutory Instrument Number 19 of 2006. This is to reduce the road accidents caused by over speeding.

(b) The use of alcohol breathalysers - The law on breathalysers to test motorists for drinking and driving was introduced through Statutory Instrument Number 66 of 2006 and this will reduce road traffic accidents caused by motorists driving under the influence of alcohol.

(c) Mandatory First Aid training for all motorists – A draft Statutory Instrument was developed and presented to the Ministry of Justice for their comments. The mandatory First Aid training for all motorists shall be effected by the third quarter of 2007.

(d) Intensified road safety publicity campaigns- RTSA has intensified road safety campaigns in order to enhance public knowledge and awareness.
(e) Enhanced law enforcement- RTSA jointly with the Zambia Police Service are working very closely to enhance enforcement on road users.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

The mobile phone segment recorded more buoyant results in 2006. The geographical coverage of the mobile footprint increased from around 16 per cent in 2005 to 26 per cent in 2006, while the population coverage rose from 48 per cent to 65 per cent respectively. The national mobile tele-density rose from 8.5 per cent in 2005 to 14 per cent in 2006 and the total subscriber base registered a growth of 78 per cent from 98,000 to 1.8 million subscribers in 2006.

For the first time in the history of Zambia, one of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) launched a mobile internet service utilising the General Package Radio Service (GPRS) and enhanced data rates for GSM evolution (EDGE Technology). The technology will enable Celtel provide internet access and picture messaging to its subscribers with internet enabling handsets in Zambia.

Zambia’s tele-density stood at three lines per 100 persons and will still be below the average of six lines in sub-Saharan Africa.

Madam Chairperson, the six line network has grown by 18 per cent over the last ten years from 76,000 in 1995 to 90,000 in 2005 for a population of 11 million people.

Policy Direction and Strategic Focus for the Ministry in 2007

Madam Chairperson, the thrust of the ministry’s budget this year is to address some critical infrastructural needs of the country in transport, communications and meteorological sectors.

My ministry will continue to ensure the efficient and effective transportation of goods, mobility of people and accessibility to all areas in the country. It will facilitate the provision of cost effective and equitable Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and also provide meteorological services that are critical to the nation’s agriculture, food security and disaster management.

Rail Sub-sector

The prime objective in 2007 for the sector is to ensure that the bulk of our cargo is hauled by rail. This will be achieved by systematically improving the rail track whilst at the same time maintaining attractive and competitive rates and other conditions.

In this regard, the Government will continue to address the poor state of infrastructure by accelerating construction of the Chipata-Mchinji Railway Line, attracting private sector participation in railways, using the route of build-operate-and-transfer (BOT) for construction of railway systems such as Njanji Commuter, Chipata-Petauke-Tazara Line and Nseluka-Mpulungu Line.

Madam Chairperson, the Government will also continue to dialogue with the Railway Systems of Zambia in a bid to improve the operations and investments in the Zambia Railways Systems. We are now looking at the possibility of introducing private sector participation in the running of TAZARA.

The Mulobezi Passenger Train Service deserves Government support in order to continue providing a service to the people in the Western Province.

Air Transport Sub-sector

Madam Chairperson, in the field of Civil Aviation, my ministry will continue to systematically rehabilitate aerodromes and airports around the country. The Government will continue to concentrate its efforts on the rehabilitation of airports such as Kasama, Southdowns Airport in Kitwe, and Solwezi Airport in the North-Western Province in order to cater for tourism in the Northern Province and also the increasing mining operations on the Copperbelt and North-Western provinces.

The bankable document on the establishment of a national flag carrier has been produced. I am appealing to this august House to consider favourably the budget provision we have made for this purpose.

Further, my ministry is in the process of revising the legal and regulatory framework governing the aviation industry. This is aimed at facilitating the liberalisation of the industry and also transforming the Department of Civil Aviation into a Civil Aviation Authority within the next there years.

Road Transport Sub-sector

The implementation of the Road Sector Reforms is almost complete. Recruitment of key staff in the three agencies, namely: Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), Road Development Agency (RDA) and National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) has been accomplished and the three agencies are fully operational.

The Government will also revise the Road Safety Action Plan with emphasis being placed on Road Traffic Law Enforcement, Road Safety Education in Schools, Road Safety Public Awareness and Road Safety Engineering. This is aimed at promoting road safety in the country that has in the recent past been plagued by a high rate of road traffic accidents. A business plan for the Road Transport and Safety Agency has been developed and will need to be implemented during this year.

Madam Chairperson, the Government’s priority in 2007 is to ensure improved road safety on our roads and this will be achieved through the following measures:

(a) review the highway code with a view of updating it and bringing it to internationally acceptable standards, and in particular in line with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) standards;

(b) enforce strictly the installation of speed limiters (Tachometers) on long distance public service vehicles;

(c) introduce the maxim number of hours that public service vehicle drivers can drive in a day;

(d) in consultation with the Ministry of Justice, introduce a fast track court system to expedite the process of dealing with road traffic offences; and

(e) enhance the Customer Complaints Hot-line Service.

Further, the Government will re-establish the Honorary Road Traffic Inspectors Scheme to enhance enforcement of road traffic regulations on the road.

The computerisation of the licensing and registration offices will be streamlined to assist curb long queues that characterise the renewal exercise every end of a quarter. This programme is aimed at not only improved revenue collection, but also to decongest the Lusaka Lumumba and Dedan Kimati Centres Office.

Madam Chairperson, of late, an unsatisfactory trend has developed in the Road Transport Public Passenger Transport Service. Some bus operators have taken advantage of the liberation to make indiscriminate fare changes in the most unpredicted fashion. I have received complaints that passengers are subjected to different fares on the same route at different times of the day. This situation must not continue. The Government may consider introducing regulations on how fare increases should be effected.

Water Transport
The Government intends to appoint a board of directors for the Mukuba Depot in Dar-es-salaam in order to enhance its performance and contribute effectively to the national economy. Mukuba Depot has the potential to handle a significant proportion of Zambia’s imports and exports at favourable conditions compared to other regional depots that are currently handling Zambia’s copper exports and other goods.

Madam Chairperson, the canals and water ways will equally continue to be rehabilitated with a view to improving the navigability and accessibility throughout the year. With more than normal rainfall that the country has experienced during this past rainy season, it is our intention that the water transportation will continue to play a significant role, especially in areas where water is the only means of transport.

My ministry has been rehabilitating canals in three provinces, namely Western, Luapula and Northern provinces under the Poverty Reduction Programme in the past three years. This programme will continue this year and we will include rehabilitation of harbours and provision of dredging equipment.

Madam Chairperson, we need to have dredging equipment for all waterways in the country. For example, during my recent attendance of the Kuomboka Ceremony, I noticed that the waterway was not very clear. I was reliably informed that the clearing of the canal in Mongu is done manually. In this regard, there is an urgent need to procure dredging equipment.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Daka: Madam Chairperson, life jackets for these areas are also required for the safety of travelling passengers.


Mr Chairperson, with regard to the metrological sector, I intend to table the Draft Metrological Policy Document to Cabinet during this year and also put in place a legal framework to support its implementation. Further, my ministry intends to establish two metrological stations and these will be at Mpulungu Harbour in the Northern Province to service the marine traffic on Lake Tanganyika and another at Southdowns Airport on the Copperbelt.

The Government will also ensure that disaster preparedness is enhanced through timely effective dissemination of weather data to the nation. The capacity of the department of metrology will be enhanced through the expected reforms.

Information Communications Technologies

Madam Chairperson, let me turn to the information technology sector. The Government launched the ICT Policy on 28th March, 2007. The occasion of the launch was graced by His Honour the Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Rupiah Banda, on behalf of the President. The launch of the ICT Policy will mark the beginning of a vigorous drive to ensure the ICTs make an impact on the economy in terms of reliable factors of production. A master plan will be developed to ensure an equitable growth and development of the ICT industry with particular emphasis on rural communications.

 In this field, it is a recognised fact that there exists a digital divide between the rich north and the poor south in the global dynamics of trade and development.  However, there even exists bigger divide in small economies such as ours between the more developed urban areas, especially along the line of rail and the less developed rural areas in terms of ICT infrastructure and services.

Madam Chairperson, it is this urban versus rural digital divide that my Government will pay particular attention to bridge. ZAMTEL continues to cover a widely spread out telecommunications network over the country’s nine provinces. It maintains and operates ninety-five telephone exchanges in eighty-five major towns, both peri-urban and rural centres. The total mobile exchange capacity stands at 150 lines with ninety fixed telephone lines.

Madam Chairperson, ZAMTEL will continue to:

(a) aggressively pursue the laying of the national telecommunication backbone infrastructure known as the fibre optic cable;

(b) explore the pilot project of introducing third generation telephone services (3G);

(c) digitalise all old analogue exchanges and transmission links in the Northern, North-Western, Luapula, Western and other provinces;

(d) implement prepaid services on the fixed lines network using an intelligent network (in) platform has already been done;

(e) extend the GSM coverage to all provincial headquarters and the rest of the country.

Madam Chairperson, once the entire network is digitalised, ZAMTEL will be in a position to extend internet points of presence to the remaining provincial headquarters and other districts throughout the country. ZAMTEL is planning to enter more quality service such as the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) that will result in reducing call tariffs.

Madam Chairperson, on the postal side of telecommunications, my ministry is working tirelessly to continue improving the network of Post Offices countrywide, especially in rural areas. One of the current major projects in this area is that of expanding Solwezi Post Office. Other Post Offices countrywide have also been identified. ZAMPOST will continuously diversify in other quality services that it provides to the public. This will enable it to keep in tune with the demands of the local communities on one hand and ever improving technology on the other.

Madam Chairperson, I wish to appeal to the hon. Members of the august House to support the programme my ministry has proposed to implement throughout the country. With the support of this august House, I have no doubt that my ministry will accomplish programmes and activities in transport and communications sectors that could make an effective contribution towards the national economic development.

I pray that the Budget of the ministry will be given maximum support.

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Madam Chairperson, thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate this vote. To start with, I would like to say that I support the vote and in doing so, I have three issues to bring to the attention of the Government.

Madam Chairperson, the first issue is that of the Metrological Department. This department is very important and it assists everybody, including professionals. For example, when it comes to the engineering profession, two or three weeks ago, I was reading about the cyclone in Mozambique called the Favio and the distraction that it caused to the country. The speed of the wind was 270 kilometres per hour. This information is provided by the weatherman or woman and is very important. This speed is used by engineers to design structures such as buildings. I was trying to compare the scenario in Zambia to the one in Mozambique.

Madam Chairperson, normally in Zambia, the speed that we use is about 35 metres per second which translates to 125 kilometres per hour. This is almost twice that speed. What is derived from that speed is the force of the wind. From that force of wind, the designer can design the structures very safely.

I was wondering what would have happened if that wind came to Zambia. I think trees would have been uprooted and buildings ripped off. This is a very important department, especially when it comes to the weatherman. This information is not only important to the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives and farmers, but also engineers. I can go on for two days, giving examples of how useful the information is to the engineering fraternity regarding the weather. 

Madam Chairperson, let me turn to bulk transport mentioned by the hon. Minister. I became very sad when I heard the hon. Minister say that transporters now transport their goods by road instead of rail.

I will not go into detail because we are aware of the destruction that has been caused by this action and how expensive it is. Imagine, to repair a road, you need trillions of Kwacha. It is roughly about US $200 000 per kilometre that is equivalent to K1 billion per kilometre. I think it is high time we reverted to the rail so that we can save our roads.

Finally, I would like to talk about the Lilayi Airport. In the early 70s, the Airport was worked on and about 60 per cent of the work was done. The runway is still solid, but the sad thing is that after almost thirty-six years, the money that was pumped into the project has gone to worst. If you go there now, you will find that there are a lot of illegal settlements.

The private sector would like that Airport to be leased to them. They have been knocking on the Ministry of Communications and Transport’s door for many years, but the ministry has not done anything about it. I am requesting the Government to come up with a solution to that because billions of Kwacha were pumped into the Aerodrome. The private sector is willing to take over that airport for the development of Zambia. I do not have much to say.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Sikazwe (Chimbamilonga):  I stand to support the Vote on the Floor. I thank the Minister of Communications and Transport for launching the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy that has been discussed before. I appreciate that this policy will mean well as the stance of governance of the Zambian people.

 Also, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for considering and realising that Mpulungu Port and Mulamba Harbour are not the only harbours that can support the movement of cargo in Zambia. Furthermore, we have, in away, rehabilitated the Nsumbu Harbour.

Hon Member of Parliament: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikazwe: With everything said and done, the consumption and movement of cargo will be much more than we expect and the region will grow.  For this reason, productivity in the areas of cement and other commodities will improve. The level of employment will also increase and that is the policy of this Government.

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

Mr Sikazwe: Madam Chairperson, I reflect on the Zambia Airways in 1978, the Kasaba Bay was the best destination for tourists in this country. That aerodrome, though locally known as an Airport, was receiving bigger planes. There were also plans to give that Airport international status as opposed to Mfuwe Airport because the volume of tourists there was bigger than that of Mfuwe …


Mr Sikazwe: I am not trying to injure the people of the Eastern Province, but would like to qualify something and they will get me clearly. The Northern Province is today, being given a leaf of Northern Circuit that is a way of tourism improvement. However, the movement of tourists is hindered. Much has been spoken about road rehabilitation and the Water Ways but, the aero plane is needed as much.

Recently, we had a fishing competition that attracted 120 competitors who had come to Nsumbu. It was reported that many more could have come to participate in the competition, but were unable to transport their boats by road. Most of the competitors have had to leave their boats with friends to keep for them and are being charged for the service. I am requesting the hon. Minister to think about renovating the Kasaba Bay Airport so that the tourism industry is boosted.

I stand here today to beg your ministry and lobby the mobile service providers. We may be able to do something, but at times, as you are coming up with policies on taxes for instance, I would rather you put in a deliberate policy so that they move further into the rural areas for communication to be easier.

I would like to propose that the Zambia Telecommunications Services, through the Cell Z Department, take a swipe and lead other cell phone net-work providers because that is our baby in the Ministry of Communications and Transport.

Hon. Member of Parliament: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikazwe: I am very thankful for reviving the training courses of the members of staff. However, looking at maritime and your response to question 263 early this year when I asked about the training of coxswain. The English was quite disturbing for some of my friends that read it. In any case, that is what people who drive motor engines are called. We need these courses to start, as they are important. As much as you are doing for road safety, you must move in to the Water Safety Programme.

You did talk about life jackets, but they are only being provided mostly for fisheries companies. Nevertheless, the movement of people from Mpulungu to Nsumbu, which is only by water, is not covered very much. In 2002, we lost more than 200 people in different incidents of drowning. This is because accidents on water are more serious than accidents on the road

When people drown, it is rare to give them relief unless they are nearer to land. The people of Mpulungu and Nsumbu are very worried about this. In Mpulungu, people have tired hard to ensure the safety of the people moving between Mpulungu and Nsumbu, but little has been done by the Maritime Programme.

There was a programme were the drivers of the motor engines were tested every year and their licences valid for a certain period. Unfortunately, that is not happening today. Everyone is doing what the gonena is doing, he is a gonena today and next day, he is a driver and gets a driving licence. This is why the level of driving and the ability is very low.

Hon. Members of Parliament: What is a gonena?

Mr Sikazwe: The minibus conductors or call boys.

We have a problem, as earlier alluded to. The programme you had in 1978 to 1980, you trained drivers who were driving Presidential Boats at the time, which was good. Even the level of driving and the number of accidents were reduced because they followed the rules.

However, today, the drivers will overload and young people are allowed to drive the boat.  When the storm comes, the young man will be overpowered by the strength of the waves and the boat will capsize. That thing Mr Speaker, has to be taken seriously.

Mr V. Mwale: Mr Speaker?


Mr Sikazwe: Sorry, I was trying to talk about Mr. Minister.

Madam Chairperson, let me now move to the procurement of a vessel. I wanted to know more about this vessel that I proposed. The vessel that was named Independence used to transport cement from Mpulungu to Rwanda. That was part of our business plan. As we speak about Mukuba in Dar-es-salaam, I would like to suggest that one vessel should be run by ZAMPOST that runs other post boats. When this is done, the vessel will be very useful. It will also supplement what the Liemba is doing because other vessels that used to transport people are no longer there.

Madam Chairperson, further, the fares from Mpulungu to Nsumbu are exorbitant. There is no regulation whatsoever. People are exploited because there is no regulation to guide them. Unlike the way it is done with public buses, it is very surprising that nobody is taking this as a serious matter. Each time we have a meeting, fares are increased. As for the water sector, nothing is being done.

Madam Chairperson, there is no road for people who live along the lakeshore between Mpulungu and Nsumbu. The easiest and shortest way is by boat. Therefore, I would like to urge the Government to come put with a piece of legislation that will control the loading capacity of passenger boats. The overloading of boats has brought a lot of misery and we have also lost a lot of lives. Above all, I want this to be like it used to be in Mpulungu and Sinazongwe.

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! Quality!

Mr Zulu: Madam Chairperson, I would like to thank you again, for this particular opportunity to enable me debate the estimates for the Ministry of Communications and Transport.

Madam, transport and communication is one of the key factors to the development of this country. What has happened during the past few years is a disaster.  Having said this, I will give an example.

Anywhere in the world, railway transport is the cheapest, whereas road transport is the most expensive transport. If you are a young man, very handsome and women are running away from you, you should know that there is something wrong with you.


Mr Zulu: If you are a very beautiful woman and men are running way from you, definitely, you should know that there is something wrong with you.  There is no way the Zambian industry can run away from the Zambia Railways, which is the cheapest and go for very expensive transport.

Madam Chairperson, there is something wrong with the Railway System of Zambia.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu:  Maybe, we should go back to our tradition of having a General Manager for this particular company from the Southern Province because people from this area understand the Railway Systems of Zambia.

Hon UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Zulu: Whenever we had a General Manager from the Southern Province for Railways System of Zambia, the company ran very well.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: Our friends from the Southern Province believe in quality.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Zulu: Madam Chairperson, we have heard about a number of accidents. What we need in this country is to have one particular training school for public transport drivers before getting any driving licences.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: They should also pass through a particular school the way Mimosa was. We should not have assistant drivers going for tests, getting licences and driving` passengers. No! They should pass through a training school like Mimosa for them to drive public transport because we have lost a lot of lives.

The Hon. Minister spoke about ZAMTEL. ZAMTEL is the worst among the three mobile phone providers because it does not look after its customers very well. The customers I am talking about are not the ones you see here, but those that buy K5,000 worth of scratch cards. If you bought such scratch cards, you will not be able to read the numbers. I have spoken to them on several occasions and ZAMTEL has admitted this and they have written to the supplier.

Madam Chairperson, what any customer wants is a good product. When I buy talk time, I want to recharge my phone immediately and not ask ZAMTEL to recharge my phone. I want to recharge my phone there and then and phone whoever I want to phone. The numbers on K5,000 ZAMTEL scratch cards are unreadable and so, you have to contact them. I spoke to the Marketing Manager and he has admitted this. Therefore, I would suggest that the best we can do as a country, is to remove the K5,000 scratch cards until they get better ones because the people of Zambia want quality.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes, hammer!

Mr Zulu: Madam Chairperson, most of the hon. Members here might be like me who does not have a driving licence. I only got a receipt for my driving licence.


Mr Zulu: There are no driving licences. Since I came back to this country I have never been given a driving licence apart from a receipt.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hammer!


Mr Zulu: We cannot run a country like this. Those men and women on your right hand side all know that the big brains are on the left side of the House.


Mr Zulu: Ladies and gentlemen from the other side, I request you to consult us. If you cannot consult us during the day, come at night like the witches do. We will still advise you.


Mr Zulu: Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


Reverend Nyirongo (Bwacha): Madam Chairperson, thank you for allowing me to add my voice to this debate. I rise to support the Vote.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: I have a keen interest in the moneys allocated to railway inspectors. I take note that in 2006, they were given K125,288,353 and this year, they have been given K249,679,330. In my judgement, this amount is not adequate because there is a lot that the Government railway inspectors do.

I stand to sympathise with the people of Kabwe, especially on the concession of the Zambia Railways to the Railway Systems of Zambia. When we were working for the Railways, we were told about the concession and we thought that the whole idea was progressive and good because Kabwe was going to develop a little further. However, when you go to Kabwe today, it is a sorry sight; let alone the railway line itself.

We have heard from the hon. Minister on the high turn over from the big tonnage that the railway system is transporting, but when you look at the state of the railway line that is yielding this high turnover, it is something to cry about.

My appeal to the hon. Minister is on the job of the Government railway inspectors because what I know is that these inspectors, at the time of Zambia Railways, used to keep the management on their toes. They used to make them sit up and each time we heard that the railway inspectors were coming; everyone was jittery and grew cold feet because when they came, they needed more answers than questions.

At the time, the Zambia Railways new that it was accountable to the Central Government. I wonder whether the Railway System of Zambia knows that it is accountable to this Government because if they knew, they were going to pull their socks and change the course of direction they are going.

I am appealing to the hon. Minister because I know that he is hard working and that he is taking note of what I am saying and he is going to come to the aid of the people of Kabwe and the nation from Livingstone to Chililabombwe.

Madam Chairperson, I used to monitor cargo at the time I worked for the Zambia Railways from Livingstone to Chililabombwe. I used to run eight administrations, namely, National Railways of Zimbabwe, TAZAMA, South Africa Railways, Congo DR and others. Madam Chairperson, when we were told that cargo was moving from South Africa and it would be in Livingstone in two days, exactly two days, the cargo would be in Livingstone. There was no problem. Even though derailments were there, we could attend to them immediately and the line would be repaired promptly.

Madam Chairperson, the Government railway inspectors ensured that the railway line was safe and secure. They made sure that the people responsible for looking after the railway line were doing their job and we all knew that once a Government railway inspector came, he was there as a whip, he did not come there for a visit or maybe to just come to dine and wine. We all made sure that things were in order. The Government railway inspectors used to carry on the spot checks of the railway line, they never used to get reports just on paper, but they would themselves inspect to make sure that the railway line was in a perfect condition. Not only that, Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister would also take a ride on the train to ensure that the railway system was effective and perfect.

Madam Chairperson, I think that is what we are missing and as such, hon. Minister, we are appealing to you to take a ride from Livingstone to Chililabombwe so that you see what is on the ground. Do not just read the reports of the Railway Systems of Zambia, but physically verify what is written and what is on the ground.

Hon. Members: Quality.

Reverend Nyirongo: It is very interesting that RSZ is always rushing to give us reports that they have achieved this and that, but when we go physically on the ground, there is little progress or literally nothing that we are able to see moving in the right course.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Nchekelako.

Reverend Nyirongo: It is very scaring, Madam Chairperson, to notice tall grass along the line of rail because it was never there. The line of rail is supposed to be clear of any obstacles and there should be no tall grass growing along it.

I am appealing, again, to the hon. Minister to ensure that he tells the RSZ that they need to clear the rail line of grass. There should not be grass growing along the line of rail. In short, I am saying he should ensure that the Government/RSZ inspectors do their job, rather than waiting to see it deteriorate.

I am also appealing to you hon. Minister to take a keen interest in the plight of the workers of RSZ because what they are getting is really not worth their input. Hon. Minister, you are a patriot, and therefore, I know that you have the heart of the people of Kabwe and the nation at large.

As I conclude, Madam Chairperson, I will be failing in my duties if I do not bring to memory the times of Hon. Hachipuka, as he was called Hachi ...

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: …in the Zambia Railways. In his time, under his able management, Hon. Hachipuka usually came and told us that he was interested in seeing a job done. How you do it that is your problem. He would just come and say, I want this job done. How you are going to do it is your problem. I think the hon. Minister should give the same language to RSZ. Tell them, you are interested in seeing RSZ improve. How they do it is their own problem, but as a Government we want to see an improved RSZ.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: I think I would say we had a different railway system under his management. We saw competence, we saw efficiency and effectiveness. I would say he was one of the best Managing Directors that Zambia Railways (ZR) ever produced. He had a vision and a heart to see ZR prosper and succeed. This brought a lot of cautiousness and accountability to the whole system that I am appealing the hon. Minister, right now, to bring also to RSZ. Let them be cautious of this Government. Let them be accountable to the Government.

Even those that could not reason using their sixth sense started reasoning and using their sixth sense.

Mr Hachipuka: Yah!

Reverend Nyirongo: We saw people maximising their potential. We saw people being motivated. We saw people performing very highly in their jobs. I know that this Government can keep RSZ on their toes to make them also account for what they are doing.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: At the time, the Government railway inspectors had teeth to bite. Please, hon. Minister let these people grow teeth to bite RSZ. We are crying and we are on our knees.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hammer!

Reverend Nyirongo: Every railway man and woman was eager to deliver. So, should it be this time.


Hon. Members: Hammer!

Reverend Nyirongo: Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


Mr Munaile (Malole): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for according me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Vote on the Floor. I stand to support the Budget for the Ministry of Communications and Transport although more could have been given. However, since I cannot make any amendments …


The Chairperson: Order! Can the hon. Members consult quietly so that the Chair can hear what the hon. Member on the Floor is saying.

May the hon. Member continue, please.

Mr Munaile: Madam Chairperson, since I cannot make any amendments to the Budget, I am resigned to supporting what has been allocated to the ministry. The Ministry of Communications and Transport is so important that we do not need to underplay it. However, allow me to say a few things.

Firstly, I would like to urge the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport to ensure that accidents are minimised in our transport sector, especially the public transport. I believe that one of the contributing factors is the age of drivers. In Europe and other countries, you can never find a seventeen year old boy driving a public bus. I would like the hon. Minister to bring a Bill to this House that will allow only elderly men to drive public buses. This is because elderly men are responsible on roads and do not over speed.

Secondly, I would like to talk about TAZARA. It used to be a very good company, but today, it is limping. It is no longer making the same profits it used to make some years back because it has no locomotives. The entire line from Kapiri-Mponshi to Dar-es-Salaam is being serviced by eight locomotives, if not less, and yet we expect them to realise the much needed revenue to run the company. It is impossible.

Today, TAZARA has no personnel because they are not properly remunerated. I would like to urge the hon. Minister to ensure that TAZARA is used for the purpose it was created. At the rate we are going, it will become a white elephant because there is no management and nothing goes on. The passenger train service today should have reached Kasama at 0600 hours, but it only left Lusaka at 1900 hours yesterday, going to Dar-es-Salaam. This means that people have been at different stations for more than twelve hours, waiting for the train.

Madam, I am concerned because half of my constituency uses TAZARA as a means of transport. I am very concerned about TAZARA and I would like to see that it performs to its expectations.

Madam Chairperson, if there is anything the hon. Minister can do to bring TAZARA back to where it was, could he ensure that it is done. Hon. Nyirongo has spoken extensively well on the Zambia Railways.

In the same vein, I would TAZARA to be considered much more than what it is today. The conditions of service for drivers of TAZARA are something we cannot talk about, yet these are men who have been given the responsibility to transport cargo and passengers to different destinations.

In this year’s Budget, there is only K500 million that has been allocated to TAZARA and I do not know what can come out of K500 million because one locomotive costs millions of dollars. If you have to recapitalise the company, more than K500 million is needed.

As a result of the poor conditions or because of the company’s failure to make profits, TAZARA is not even able to support the Express Football Team just as Kabwe Warriors is finding it very difficult to get sponsorship from the Railways Specialised Authority (RSA). This means that there is something wrong. Kabwe Warriors, as we all know, is a household name in Zambia and I think something ought to be done to ensure that money is pumped into the team.

Finally, Madam Chairperson, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Continue.


Mr Munaile: …I urge the hon. Minister to get involved in improving the conditions of service for bus drivers on distant routes. This Government has tried, but I think it is a question of who is responsible for what. Drivers have been told that they should not start off until a particular time, but you find those going to Mpulungu, Nakonde, Mongu and Livingstone starting off at 0200 hours, yet we have been told that they can only start off at 0500 hours. Who is responsible? Someone somewhere is not doing their job. That is why we have this problem. They start off very early. As a result, they fall asleep while driving. The end result is an accident. I urge the hon. Minister to look into this issue as well as the conditions for long distant drivers.

I thank you, Madam.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasongo (Bangweulu): I thank you, Madam Chairperson, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this important Vote.

It is not healthy, Madam Chairperson, that hon. Ministers in this ministry behave in a similar fashion. Whatever advice you give them, they will never listen until a calamity takes place in that ministry. When the chips are down, that is when they realise the importance of your advice.

I have in mind the timely advice to get the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport at the time not to spend K1 billion to construct a boat in Kafue for the Mweru Water Transport. We even went to his offices with the former Member of Parliament for Chilubi and we gave reasons it was going to be cost effective to procure a boat outside the country. They never heeded our advice, and as I am talking to you, Madam Chairperson, the boat that was made in Kafue is a white elephant in Nchelenge. It has never served any purpose. That money that was raised by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning was just wasted.

Similarly, I personally wrote a letter in June, 2005 to the hon. Minister at the time, in which I recorded my appreciation to the Government for having released K1 billion to procure a boat for Bangweulu Water Transport. I indicated in the letter that it would be cost effective on the part of the country to purchase a boat. To date, no action has been taken, yet people are dying. Why? You take pride in seeing your own people dying. I can not even calm down, it is very saddening indeed. You see your own nationals dying while the Government on the other hand is releasing money to save other people. They cannot make a decision. Three years down the line, who will be responsible for that mess? That is theft by public servant. Somebody must be penalised.

The intention is to allow few individuals to generate money out of the same money that is meant to procure a boat for the people of Bangweulu Constituency, Chilubi Island and other places.

 In 2005, money was released by the hon. Minister and I commend him for that. Why has the Hon. Minister of Communications and Transport not taken any action? Why? That is why I am saying all hon. Ministers in that Ministry behave in a similar fashion and I have no kind words for them.

I drew the attention of the same hon. Minister to the same problem. To date, they have not taken action. You are even proud of calling yourselves hon. Ministers and so on. We need serious-minded hon. ministers that are action and result oriented and can act on the spot.  Not ministers who are fond of giving excuses and so on.

I am not blaming all the ministers. For example, when I drew the attention of Hon. Kapembwa Simbao to a problem pertaining to my constituency, he took action on the spot. Funds were utilised as quickly as possible. Those are the ministers that we are going to respect. Not those who cannot even attend to the plight of the people on the lake and yet money is kept in their ministry. You even stand up and call yourself a leader.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasongo: That is not leadership. Even when the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs was contributing, I said these are the ministers we treasure. They are action oriented and if you give them a report saying, ‘Money is in office, Minister, can you take action?’ they do so. We will continue respecting ministers such as Hon. Shikapwasha. Not those ministers who appear to be funny and yet they are attending to a serious problem.


Mr Kasongo: If you cannot provide strong leadership, I express my personal opinion, I will never respect you. People are dying in my constituency, in Chilubi Island and on the lake, yet money is kept by the Ministry of Communications and Transport. When they die, you go there to say you are sorry for the lives that were lost and so on. Those are contradictions.

Madam Chairperson, I would like through you to appeal to the Minister responsible for this Ministry to ensure that funds are released as quickly as possible. What is the purpose of allowing officials to keep the money in the bank? This only allows interest to accrue and then they share this interest. That is daylight robbery and somebody must be penalised. The Minister is there, but he cannot even take any action. I will not have any kind words for such ministers who are not action oriented. We have to be serious.

Madam Chairperson: Order!   

(Debate adjourned)



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progress reported)


The House adjourned at 1957 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 4th April, 2007.