Debates- Friday, 16th March, 2007

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Friday, 16th March, 2007

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





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

Sir, on Tuesday, 20th March, 2007, the Business of the House will begin with questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will go into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and will consider the following Heads:

Head 89 – Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives;

Head 21 – Loans and Investment, Ministry of Finance and National Planning;

Head 37 – Ministry of Finance and National Planning; and

Head 33 – Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.

Sir, on Wednesday, 21st March, 2007, the Business of the House will begin with questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. After that, the House will consider Private Members’ Motions, if there will be any. On this day, the House will consider the Second Reading of two Bills that were referred to the Committee on Education, Science and Technology and the Committee on Local Governance, Housing and Chiefs’ Affairs for examination namely; the Biosafety Bill and Markets and Bus Stations Bill. Thereafter, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and will consider the following Heads:

Head 65 – Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training;

Head 76 – Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development; and

Head 77 – Ministry of Defence.

Sir, on Thursday, 22nd March, 2007, the Business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. After that, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and will consider the following Heads:

Head 78 – Office of the President – Zambia Security Intelligence Service;

Head 80 – Ministry of Education; and

Head 85 – Ministry of Lands.

Sir, on Friday, 23rd March, 2007, the Business of the House will begin with the Vice-President’s Question Time. After that, the House will consider Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and will consider:

Head 87 – Anti-Corruption Commission.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.




Mr Speaker: I have a brief announcement to make. The House may recall that on Friday, 2nd March, 2007, I referred the Customs and Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2007, the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2007 the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2007 and the Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill, 2007 to the Estimates Committee for their consideration and directed that they table their report on 16th March, 2007, today.

However, due to the uncertainty over the Women’s Day celebrations as a holiday and the Youth Day holiday, the programme of the Committee was interrupted. Therefore, I have extended the Committee’s programme and they shall submit their report to the House on Wednesday, 21st March, 2007.

Thank you.



366. Mr Kambwili (Roan) asked the Minister of Health:

(a) when the former ZCCM Clinics in Roan Constituency would start operating for 24 hours;

(b) whether there were any plans to build a mortuary at either Section 25 or Section 26 of the clinics to cater for the population in Mpatamatu, Kawama and Kasununu; and

(c) when Kawama Clinic would be extended.

The Deputy Minister of Heath (Dr Puma): Mr Speaker, at the moment, Mpatamatu Section 26 Clinic is operational and is open up to 1800 hours due to inadequate staffing.

Sir, however, the Ministry of Health has planned to recruit about 1,900 health workers this year. It is hoped that health personnel will be sent to most of the health facilities that have inadequate personnel. Once this is done, former ZCCM clinics will start operating 24 hours a day.

Sir, currently, there are no plans to build a mortuary at either Section 25 or Section 26 clinics. The mortuary at Roan Hospital is big enough to cater for the area.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Health has plans to extend Kawama Clinic in future when funds are available.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, in view of the fact that we have a shortage of nurses in the country, are there any plans to employ or to put on contract retired nurses to mitigate this shortage?

The Minister of Health (Ms Cifire): Mr Speaker, we have already re-engaged some retired nurses. Our provision to recruit 1,900 staff this year is part of our plans to increase the number of nurses in the ministry.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out what prompted the Government to change the operating hours for former ZCCM clinics when the clinics had staff when the Government took them over.

Ms Cifire: Mr Speaker, before the Government took over the ZCCM hospitals and clinics, there had been retrenchments in ZCCM. That is why a number of people moved out of those facilities. Therefore, at the time the take over was done, this crisis was already in place and we could not overstretch the numbers that were there at the time. The most prudent action at that time was to reduce the operating hours. In view of the fact that there were hospitals dealing with cases 24 hours a day, the clinics could not do the same.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, is the shortage of health personnel in the clinics due to the fact that there are not enough trained health personnel in the country or due to the fact that the Government is not able to recruit these people because of a shortage of funds?

Ms Cifire: Mr Speaker, it may be a combination of both. ZCCM retrenched these people who had to go and find jobs elsewhere at the time. We are now trying to attract them back, but that also is dependent on the funding that we are going to have. However, I am glad to say that with the provision to increase the establishment from 23,000 to 51,000, we are going to try and make the necessary replacements to come out of this situation.
I thank you, Sir.

Dr Katema (Chingola): Mr Speaker, in view of the fact that the scenario in Mpatamatu is the same all over the country, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Health, through you, if she thinks that the 1,900 nurses who will be recruited are enough. Even in my constituency, there are institutions which have been extended …

Mr Speaker: Order! Hon. Member, can you ask your question.

Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, does she think that the number will be enough to cater for the whole country?

Ms Cifire: Mr Speaker, I talked about the establishment increasing from 23,000 to 51,000. The 1,900 nurses is the provision we have for this year. We are hoping that funds allowing, we should be able to get another almost 21,000 people into the ministry. However, of course, this is going to be dependent on the resources available in the country.

I thank you, Sir.
Ms Kapata (Mandevu): Mr Speaker, I just want to find out from the hon. Minister whether they take into consideration the location of the nurses when recruiting because some nurses who live in Kalingalinga are being posted to Matero.

Ms Cifire: Mr Speaker, the location of nurses cannot affect where they work. There are workers in other industries who may live in Chilenje and work in town. Therefore, I do not think that it would make sense for the Ministry of Health to make particular exception to only recruit nurses in the locations where they live. In any case, if we have few nurses living in a particular area, are we going to say that that institution will not have nurses because they do not come from that area? I think we need to start being very strategic in the moves that we make. In addition, the conditions of service allow a person to work where they are needed.
I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwansa (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, in the light of the limited numbers of nurses currently available in the hospitals, has the hon. Minister considered reviving the Zambia Enrolled Nursing Programme to increase the numbers as quickly as possible?

Ms Cifire: Mr Speaker, the programme was never abandoned. We are reopening the training schools so that we are able to train both registered and enrolled nurses.

I thank you, Sir.


367. Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives:

(a) what progress had been made on the irrigation project in Chiawa since its inception; and

(b) whether there were plans to extend the project to other parts of Zambia and, if so, which these were.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Mulonga): Mr Speaker, the irrigation project in Chiawa is funded and executed by the Catholic Centre for Justice Development and Peace (CCJDP) of Lusaka. The beneficiaries are the members of the Catholic Church.

The Government is not aware whether the CCJDP intends to extend the project to other areas since this is a private initiative.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether it is possible to embark on agricultural schemes in areas like Southern Province where they have failed to provide water to the farmers.

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, what the hon. Member for Monze Central is asking about is very possible. That is why in this year’s Budget, the ministry has allocated K37 billion specifically for irrigation projects throughout the country. So, Southern Province will be catered for in this project.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, I wonder if the hon. Minister could clear my confusion. There are, at least, three types of irrigation schemes I know of in Chiawa. There is the Masstock Winter Maize Farm, the Circle Banana Scheme of many years ago and traditional irrigation on Matoro Gardens. Is he referring to any of these three or is there something I have not noticed in Chiawa?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, I hope the hon. Member will no longer be confused.


Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, the winter maize was a project which the Government just facilitated. It was executed by an individual called Mr Burton. The Government had a banana plantation and the CCJDP is also running a banana and vegetable plantation. So, the current scheme for bananas and vegetables is being run by the CCJDP. I only hope now he is clear and will not be confused.
I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kapeya: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister tell us, in general, why the irrigation system is not encouraged very much in areas like Luapula Province where water is in abundance.

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, previously, our farmers were less oriented to the irrigation system. As a Government, we have now realised that we must encourage our farmers to go into irrigation. Hence, the inclusion of K37 billion for irrigation projects throughout the country which I talked about earlier. Therefore, hon. Members of Parliament are urged to disseminate the information that they can venture into irrigation system to farmers.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Imenda (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, the irrigation system referred to in Chiawa talks about the famous …

Mr Speaker: Order!

The hon. Member is debating. Pose the question.

Mr Imenda: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out the progress made by this irrigation scheme since it emanates from the famous winter maize.


Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, I hope the hon. Member was listening when I was debating. I said that the winter maize belonged to a private individual. The Government just helped in technicalities and other things. Therefore, his plan whether to continue with the winter maize project or not is not the Government’s decision. It is purely an individual decision. So, if he wants to stop or to continue with it this year, the Government will neither stop nor urge him to continue. That project is purely under that individual. As a Government, we can just provide the necessary assistance.

Mr Kakoma: You gave him money!


Mr Lubinda: But you gave him money!

Mr Mulonga: I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, I am slightly confused. When the winter maize project was started, we were told it was going to benefit the Zambians by helping mitigate the shortage of maize. Today, the hon. Minister has stated that the beneficiaries are only the Catholic Church. I would like a clarification on that.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!


Mr Mulonga: Now there is confusion.


Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, I said that the Winter Maize Project was executed by Mr Burton. The projects that the Catholic Church is executing are the banana plantation and vegetable irrigation system. It is not the winter maize. At that time, the Zambian people benefited from the winter maize because we had a shortage of maize. So, when that individual ploughed that maize, as a Government, we bought it and supplied it to our people in the needy areas. That is how we benefited from the winter maize. 
However, the irrigation that is going on now is for the CCJDP and for bananas and vegetables. It has nothing to do with winter maize.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili interjected.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Sikota (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the Government is considering facilitating other irrigation schemes in the same way they facilitated the Burton since that was Government money. In addition, can he respond in terms of the original question posed with regard to that particular scheme which was facilitated by the Government?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, it is the intention and wish of the Government to support each and every individual who comes into farming, especially using the irrigation system. So, whichever farmer is interested to go into irrigation farming, I still repeat, there is K37 billion in the budget. Just go and encourage them to go into irrigation farming and, as a Government, we will help.

As for winter maize cultivation, I will still say that it is not the wish of the Government to direct the private sector to do this or that. It is up to the private sector enterprise or individual to go into that system and then approach the Government. After that, the Government will give the necessary assistance.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Major Chizhyuka: Mr Speaker, arising from the answers given with respect to the Chiawa Winter Maize Project, could the hon. Minister inform us whether the billions of kwacha were given as a grant or a loan? If they were given as a loan, has that taxpayers’ money been paid back?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member remembers very well, when this project was starting, the individual had to go into negotiation with the Government. This particular individual was not given a grant. It was …

Mr Mwiimbu: A loan!

Mr Mulonga: Do not disturb me.


Mr Mulonga: He was not given a grant. At that time, as a Government, we had not paid for some maize we had bought from him previously …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Mulonga: … so we …


Hon. Government Members: Go on!


Mr Mulonga: … just paid back what belonged to him so that we could facilitate his ploughing. What we did, as a Government, thereafter, was to make an arrangement to buy that maize from him. We provided a market for that farmer. There was no loan or grant given to that individual.

I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Kwapwa, mdala!


Mr Speaker: Order!





The Minister of Justice (Mr Kunda): Mr Speaker, I beg to present a Bill entitled the Supplementary Appropriation (2005) Bill, 2007.

The object of this Bill is to confirm the supplementary expenditure of moneys aggregating four hundred and fifty-three billion, five hundred and eighty-four million, and thirty-one thousand, two hundred and forty-three kwacha required for the services of the Republic during the financial year ended 31st December, 2005.

Mr Speaker: The Bill stands referred to the Committee on Estimates. The Committee is required to submit its report on the Bill to the House by Wednesday, 28th March, 2007.
Hon. Members who wish to make submissions or amendments to the Bill are free to do so within the programme of work of the Committee.




VOTE 45 – (Ministry of Community Development and Social Services –K72,158,830,429).

(Consideration resumed)

Mr Chimbaka (Bahati): Mr Chairperson, before the House rose yesterday, I called upon hon. Members of Parliament to reflect on the experiences we all encountered during our campaign year. The reason I wanted us to do so was to look at how poverty has influenced the lives of people, including the constituency and district officials of all the parties.

Mr Chairperson, if we do not thoroughly utilise our being in this House to influence matters for the betterment of the people out there, we will do more harm to ourselves even as we go to campaign in the 2011 general elections. Because of poverty, we were forced during the campaigns to fill people’s stomachs, buy them soap and distribute chitenge materials. People received such gifts because of poverty. That’s the level to which poverty has reduced a Zambian.

Mr Chairperson, it is a requirement of every government to meet the obligations of implementing its policies and systems because that is the only way the Government is going to be graded by the people and electorate. The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services is the only ministry that is close to the people. I think the Government will do very well to channel all the acceptable resources through this ministry to address the plight of the people that are poverty stricken out there.

Mr Chairperson, as hon. Members of Parliament, we should be aware of the fact that the people of Zambia are the arbiter in this profession. They can judge us harshly or fairly based on the amount of service we are going to deliver to the vulnerable in society. Forty-two years down the line, the people in our communities barely have blankets to cover during the cold season in Zambia. I have worked closely with society through human rights issues and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and what I am talking about is the reality in the villages. There are people and children who hardly have a meal a day. This is because the little the Government has done is not enough to reverse the situation. I think the Government and all of us would do better to try and avert the catastrophe that is inside. Because of the poverty levels, we see people demonstrating on the streets. The reason is simple. They are hungry and have no clothes and shelter. It is only the Ministry of Community Development, if and when supported adequately, that is going to address these issues.

Mr Chairperson, forty-three years down the line, a Zambian is still living in an island of poverty and a stranger in his or her own country. If you go to Manda Hill in the evening, hon. Members of Parliament, just take time to observe what happens. You will see foreigners everywhere. Rarely will you see a Zambian child there. They don’t even know how Arcades smells. The situation is the same at Manda Hill. A Zambian child, widow or the old has never smelt the smells of the pubs in Lusaka. Why? The reason is poverty.

A Zambian has been reduced to nothing; a stranger in his or her own country. We are only going to address this if we support the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services adequately. I want to implore other Government ministries to co-operate and co-ordinate with the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services. This is because the load is quite huge for the ministry to handle alone. It cannot sustain it alone. We need to apply corporate governance where the Ministry of Community and Social Services must network with the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives to address issues concerning the poverty stricken people out there. We would like a situation where the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services devise a scheme in which they will co-ordinate corporately to address issues of poverty because poverty is not an issue for the Ministry of Community and Social Services alone. It is a problem that concerns every ministry. So, my prayer is that all the ministries must eventuate and co-ordinate activities towards poverty reduction.

Mr Chairperson, the tension that we are talking about in the country is not being facilitated by anybody at all. It is being facilitated by the people, themselves, as a means of reacting against the Government’s failure. When the Government was campaigning, like I said, they signed a promissory note with the people of Zambia. Every one of us, as individuals, the Government and political parties had manifestoes that we sold to the people of Zambia. That was the promissory note that we all signed. I recall that when we were signing those promissory notes, people were saying they were going to address the situation. They were saying, ‘We are going to address poverty. We are the party that can do it. We are the only government because we have the resources.’ Now the promissory notes are not bearing fruit and, as a result, we are incubating a time bomb which is going to explode in our faces any time.

There is no question of anyone inciting the people. What is inciting the people is the failure by the Government to address the priority of Zambians which is poverty. Until a solution for this is found, I can tell you, hon. Members, we shall have a catastrophe.

Mr Chairperson, students of history will recall the storming of the Bastille by the French people during the French Revolution. The poor people mobilised themselves because they felt the bourgeoisie had exploited them enough. They teamed up and there was a revolution. It is not only PF, MMD or UPND youths inciting that. The people are just being incited by the situation, hence, the need for this listening Government to find a solution to the problem. It is not a fight for Hon. Namugala alone, but should be fought collectively by the ministries through the system and corporate governance.

Mr Chairperson, I am happy to note that there has been an increase in the allocation to the ministry. I would like to point out to the hon. Minister that she is facing a critical and very complex situation in her ministry. When I was reflecting and going through previous audit reports, I saw that your predecessors were in the forefront of trying to rob the Government of resources. They awarded themselves huge amounts of money which I cannot quote. It is written down there. The hon. Minister awarded himself to the tune of K280,000,000 as leave travel benefits. If you wait for the current audit report, it will reflect more than this.

Mr Chairperson, at the ministry, there are persons who have literally failed to retire all the money they accrued in terms of leave benefits and imprest and those huge sums are reflected. I would like to say that the Government is determined, but the problem we have cannot be caused by politicians alone. I am aware that some of you are being frustrated by the civil servants in your ministries. Some of you even complain, but you are the Executive and have the key to the Treasury and to hire and fire. Sort out those who are acting to the contrary …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

The hon. Member’s time has expired.

The Deputy Minister of Lands (Mr Muteteka): Mr Chairperson, I thank you very much for allowing me to contribute to the debate on this Vote.

Mr Chairperson, yesterday, when the hon. Minister of Community Development and Social Services was giving her policy statement, I listened attentively to what is contained in this year’s budget for the ministry. I wish to support the allocation to the ministry in total and I hope the support I am declaring is the support of all hon. Members of this House. This is because the hon. Minister alluded to key and critical functions of the ministry.

Mr Chairperson, in supporting the debate under discussion, I have the following to say. This ministry is very sensitive and special because it has no boundary. It is also non-partisan and reflects a lot of biblical demonstrations.
Mr Chairperson, this is a ministry which has strived to uplift the living standards of the people of this country. If the Government had the means, I would have proposed that its budget be increased.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

We want to guide the House each time these things are said. Only yesterday, if you recall, we advised one of your colleagues that as Members of the Executive, you should put your arguments in such a way that you are not seen to be criticising the Government. You are part of the Government and so if you want funds to be increased, you argue it out there. When you come here, you should say something else.

Continue, please.

Hon. PF Members: Cross over!

Mr Muteteka: Mr Chairperson, I thank you for that guidance, but I was emphasising that I am in the Government and understand the limitations in terms of resources and that if we had the means, we would have allocated huge sums of money to this ministry.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: This must be noted by the people of this nation. I say so because I would like to describe this ministry because I feel very little advocacy has been done to educate the people of Zambia of the functions available in this ministry.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: Mr Chairperson, this is a ministry which I said demonstrates biblical functions. HIV/AIDS Programmes are there in this ministry and the results can be seen. If you want to know about the street kids, this is a ministry associated with such welfare. The blind persons’ welfare is being handled by this ministry. Old people’s welfare is catered for in this ministry. The disabled persons’ welfare is handled under this ministry and the stranded persons, for various reasons, always report to this ministry and get assistance everyday.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: Mr Chairperson, orphans and widows are well known in this ministry. Vulnerable men and women, including children whose guardians and parents have failed to pay school fees, get relief from this ministry. This is what the Government is doing to address the poverty levels in this country through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services. It is not advisable for somebody to say that the ministry bought a lot of Salaula. They did so because that is what they could afford to distribute to the vulnerable people like the blind, street kids, orphans, widows and many more. This is how the Salaula you are condemning works.

Mr Chairperson, there are a lot of testimonies on what this Government has done, through this key ministry, for the people of Zambia. Therefore, I expect all hon. Members to fully and willingly support this budget because it affects all the people of Zambia in one way or the other.

Mr Chairperson, I also want to point out that the money given out as grants to churches and NGOs must be monitored strictly because most of it does not reach the intended targets.


Mr Muteteka: The NGOs and some churches officially (inaudible) with their objectives to convince the Government that, indeed, they are supplementing the Government’s efforts, they do get grants. In most cases, part of this money is used for fuel and rentals and, in the process, the blame comes to the Government. Therefore, it is important that the NGOs that benefit grants from the Government through this ministry should ensure that the money goes to the intended purposes. That is the only way we are going to reduce the high levels of poverty.

Mr Chairperson, I would like to speak about women’s clubs and the money that goes to them. In my opening remarks, I mentioned that this ministry is non-partisan.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Muteteka: Why do I say so?


Mr Muteteka: I want to point out that, yesterday, Hon. Muntanga, as a beneficiary in a province in which the MMD, which is in Government today, has no Member of Parliament, was praising this ministry. We have demonstrated that we assist the people countrywide.

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: I seek your guidance and ruling with regard to the debate of the hon. Member on the Floor who has implied that I was a beneficiary of the assistance provided by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services as though I was a disabled person.


Mr Muntanga: What is he talking about because, other than the clubs which are specifically for the MMD, I do not seem to have benefited from that ministry? Can he clarify.

The Deputy Chairperson: The Chair has noticed that the hon. Member has asked a point of order that the hon. Member who is on the Floor was praising him.

Can the hon. Minister continue, please.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: Thank you for your protection, Mr Chairperson.

In case the hon. Member is not aware how much this Government has done in his constituency, the Cash Transfer Project has done wonders in his constituency. The people of Zambia should know that this Government is all over the country through this ministry because, as I said, it has no boundaries. Therefore, you must continue praising the Government and the ministry implementing that function.

Mr Chairperson, I was talking about women’s clubs. I was in that ministry as a Deputy Permanent Secretary. The accountant and I used to see to it that hon. Members of Parliament received the cheques for their women’s clubs, which some of them abused and politicised. When delivering these cheques, they would talk as if it was coming from their own accounts. The Government allowed the release of these cheques to all hon. Members of Parliament in this country regardless of political affiliation. So, all hon. Members of Parliament are beneficiaries from the Government through this key ministry.

Dr Machungwa: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Chairperson, the hon. Deputy Minister debating, who was also Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS) in the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, is claiming that all hon. Members got cheques to take to women’s clubs. Is he in order because I was a Member of Parliament when he was DPS and I never saw any cheque going to any of the clubs in my constituency because it was taken by his ministers? Is he in order to claim that hon. Members of Parliament received cheques for their women’s clubs when some of us never got any?

Mr Kambwili: Where are the cheques?

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Members, we have quite a long agenda to deal with. The Chair would like to discourage, as much as possible, points of order so that we can make progress. At the same time, by way of guidance, we clock ourselves to 15 minutes. That does not mean that if you can make your point in 10 minutes you should go on up to 15 minutes. Some people can make points in 5 minutes and so on. You do not have to go the full length. My understanding of what the hon. Minister said was that not necessarily all received the cheques. I think he meant that some hon. Members got the cheques.


Mr Muteteka: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

Sir, I want to repeat that the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services has a programme to provide a maximum of three cheques worth K2 million each to each and every constituency in this country. That programme is on going. Those concerned hon. Members of Parliament have been collecting that money.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

I think that the Chair, in that case, would like to go back to what was said. The point made by the hon. Member of Parliament for Luapula was that not all got the cheques. I thought I had understood you correctly, saying that, ‘But those who got.’ Now, your statement seems to indicate that all of them got cheques. Can you, in your statement, take his point of order into account. Did all of them get the cheques?

Can you continue.

Mr Muteteka: Thank you, Mr Chairperson. I was talking about the programme which caters for 150 constituencies. There are records to reflect that we have been facilitating these programmes as a Government. I know that in cases where hon. Members of Parliament are rarely in touch with the people, the cheques must have been distributed by officers in this ministry and the records are there to reflect this.

Mr Kambwili interjected.


Mr Muteteka: Mr Chairperson, this money which is given to women’s clubs, is meant to empower the women in Zambia. This is because the Government has realised that, in most cases, the women are the ones who look after orphans and children. They are usually at home and if we empower them in that manner, as a Government, the nation will develop and improve. It is quite important that this budget is supported.

Mr Chairperson, it is not advisable that even when we clearly understand the functions of this ministry we should continue arguing instead of just saying, ‘Let us agree that this budget be approved because it attaches a lot of importance to different aspects of our lives.’

Mr Kambwili: Ikala, iwe.

Mr Muteteka: Mr Chairperson, for the people of Chisamba, where I come from and where I am a Member of Parliament, this ministry has demonstrated this by training women in entrepreneur skills in order to empower them with knowledge on how to manage these clubs. As I speak, I want to thank the ministry and the Government for sending an officer for the first time since independence. Madam Minister, you are doing a commendable job. We are behind you and support you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka: Suffice to say, Mr Chairperson, I know that the demand from the people of Zambia is overwhelming and the Government is addressing those issues accordingly.

Mr Chairperson, I wish to take this opportunity to inform the nation and this august House that, indeed, this ministry, which I describe to be biblical in demonstrations, must be supported and encouraged. It is not good to indicate that the officers that are at the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services are frustrating the efforts of the Government. Those are employees employed by the Government and they have a mandate to deliver. It should not be said that they are discouraging the programmes of the Government because they have a mandate and a job description and they just have to meet the target.

Hon. Opposition Members: New point!

Mr Muteteka: Mr Chairperson, this is what I had to contribute. I wish to support the budget.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister for Western Province (Mr Mufalali): Mr Chairperson, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to support the Vote for the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.

Sir, allow me to salute the people of Zambia and the New Deal Administration …
Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mufalali: … for their sacrifice to attain the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative(HIPC) completion point.

Hon. UPND Members interrupted.

Mr Mufalali: It was not easy.

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Chairperson, I rise on a very serious point of order. Is the Government, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to keep quiet? This morning, there was an announcement on radio that the leader of a big Opposition Party was deported from Malawi, and yet this Government is quiet about it. Are they after harassing the Opposition? Why is the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs quiet? We only heard it on the radio. Are they in order?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Once again, let me remind the House that sometime last week, we were reminded that points of order must:

(i) be relevant to the subject under discussion;

(ii) be on a matter of procedure; and

(iii) maintain decorum in the House.

That point of order, important as it may be, cannot be sustained.

May the hon. Minister, please, continue.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mufalali: Mr Chairperson, during that period, the people in the Opposition uttered a lot of insults against this Government.

Hon. UPND Members: Which period.

Mr Mufalali: The HIPC completion period.


Hon. Government Members: Do not answer them.


Mr Mufalali: People from the Opposition uttered insults during that period, but now, we are talking of free education from Grades 1 to 12. We are now talking about free medical services in this country.

Mr Chairperson, thank God Almighty.



Mr Mufalali: God has a purpose. He had the purpose last year and He still has it this year …

Hon. UPND Members interrupted.

Mr Mufalali: … to mandate the New Deal Administration to rule this country because of its good Government policies.


Hon. UPND Members interrupted.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Can the hon. Minister come back to the subject. I would like to advise hon. Members to be serious. What we are doing now is not in accordance with what we should do. Can we give him the opportunity to debate.

May the hon. Minister continue, please.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Chairperson, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services is doing a commendable job. This ministry is number one in the area of development in rural areas.

Hon. Government Members Hear, hear!

Mr Mufalali: It has decentralised to the grassroots. Community development offices are available in our constituencies. They also have committees for social welfare.

Sir, three years ago, I took a widow …
Hon. UPND Members: Aah!

Mr Mufalali: … whose hut had been burnt …

Hon. UPND Members: Where did you take her?

Mr Mufalali: I took her to the social welfare office. I reported that case to the social welfare office and she was helped immediately …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!
Mr Mufalali: … pending results from Lusaka. Really, this ministry is doing a commendable job.


Mr Muyanda: On a point of Order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Let me advise hon. Members that this is the last point of order on the hon. Member debating.

Mr Muyanda: Mr Chairperson, I thank you for allowing me to raise a point of order on the hon. Minister who is supposed to be in charge of Karavina work in Western Province. Is he in order to make wrinkles and express a lot of anger in this august House by clenching a fist which is a symbol for the Patriotic Front (PF) as though we are fighting or as if this is a political rally? Is he in order to perform actions which are not allowed in this august House? I seek your serious ruling.


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

The serious ruling of the Chair is that the hon. Minister for Western Province is emphasising a point.


The Deputy Chairperson: May the hon. Minister continue, please.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Chairperson, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services is doing a commendable job because it has decentralised to the grassroots. At branch level, there is a committee helping the people.

Sir, I support the budget for the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.

Therefore, Mr Chairperson …


The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Minister, thank you very much.

Mr Mufalali: Yes, Mr Chairperson, I thank ...


The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Minister, have you finished?

Mr Mufalali indicated assent.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!{mospagebreak}

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka): Mr Chairperson, I am very grateful that you have given me an opportunity to add my voice to this very important ministry’s budget. I would like to start by trying to harmonise the Presidential Speech on the official opening of Parliament, the Budget Speech and the policy statement presented by the hon. Minister of Community Development and Social Services.

Sir, it is true that according to the Central Statistical Office Living Conditions Survey of 2004, 68 per cent of Zambians live in extreme poverty. It does not make a lot of sense for me, for this very important ministry, which looks after the poor, the vulnerable and the aged to be allocated only 2.9 percent of the Budget. I will quote from the President’s Speech. Suffice to mention to you, in the House, that, in this speech, there is no specific statement regarding the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services other than on the disabled on page 43.

If you will allow me, I will simply quote because it is a very small caption. He said:

‘Government recognises that all persons with disabilities ought to have the same rights, choices and needs as people without disabilities. In this regard, the focus of Government is to enable persons with disabilities to assume more complete and meaningful responsibilities other than members of society. Therefore, disability being a cross cutting issue, I implore all stakeholders to take an active role in addressing the challenges of persons with disability.’

I would like to challenge this House by stating that, in my view, 68 per cent of our people are actually disabled by virtue of the Central Statistical Office report of 2004 which gave us that figure. I am sure that by now, that figure has probably escalated to 90 per cent.

I now come to the Budget Address of my elder brother, Hon. Magande. Again, on page 20, there is a small caption about social protection. He said that the Government proposes to spend K343 billion or 2.9 per cent on social protection. This includes K266 billion for grants, payments for pension funds and for dismantling pension arrears. The remainder has been directed to other social programmes such as the public welfare assistance scheme which the hon. Minister laboured on in yesterday’s presentation. 2.9 per cent against 68 per cent of the people who have been classified as poor and disabled in this country. This 11 per cent increment of the budgetary allocation to this ministry means very little to me.

In her statement, the hon. Minister said that the mission statement of the ministry was to work towards providing and facilitating social and economic empowerment to poor and vulnerable groups, including street children, the disabled and the aged. When you compare the budgetary allocation of K63 billion in 2006 to the current K 72 billion, there is a difference of K6.4 billion which has specifically been allocated to street children.

I shudder to think how this Government can allocate only K6.4 billion to the malignant cancerous problem that we have been facing for the last 10 years of street children. I call it malignant because I can swear that by the year 2015, we shall all be engulfed by the vices that come with street children. As adults, they will be hard core criminals. We are becoming enemies of ourselves in this country.

I would like to demonstrate why this K 6.4 billion that my colleagues on your right have been dancing about everyday does not make sense to me. I will take you back to the Yellow Book. The budgetary allocation for the embassy in Washington is K4.7 billion. I need someone to tell me how many people are employed in that embassy. The budgetary allocation for New York is K6.3 billion, equivalent to the budgetary allocation for the thousands of street children we have in this country. I do not know the number of people employed in New York, but I can bet you that they may not be more than fifty.

In London K8.1 billion …
The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Nkombo, I appreciate your reference to those figures, but I thought you would do it in passing because the subject is community development. In this vein, it would be difficult for the hon. Minister of Community Development and Social Services to make reference to those missions. So, can you get back to the subject.

Can you continue, please.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Chairperson, I am very thankful for your guidance, but allow me 30 seconds to make my point. I am trying to compare this allocation of K6.4 billion to the allocations to other line sectors this Government has put money in. We have over 100,000 people who deserve social protection. This budget, in my view, requires to be increased, maybe, hundredfold. I am giving this demonstration because there is money they can pluck out of New York, London and elsewhere to put into this ministry so that things can make sense.

Hon Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Of the K343 billion that was allocated to my elder sister’s ministry, K266 billion is going towards pension benefits and they call it social protection. It is not. This money belongs to the owners who have been waiting for it for a long time. Therefore, it does not make sense for this Government to say that they have actually allocated money to people who deserve it; the owners of the money. They are not doing the pensioners a favour. They need to give this money to its owners.

This Government, yet again, has indicated to us that we attained the HIPC completion point. Yes, it may have a positive effect on whatever we are going through right now, but, in my view, it has not. We may have been given debt relief by foreigners, but we have local debt amounting to K7 trillion the bulk of which is supposed to be given to Government grants, retirees and suppliers. These suppliers and retirees are failing to look after the vulnerable as a result of this Government’s failure to pay that K7 trillion which amounts to more than 50 per cent of this year’s budget.

In my view, this Government can pluck some money from the embassies to meet the urgent need of paying retirees so that there is no excuse for the mushrooming of street children because they are mushrooming from the homes of retirees. If this Government could simply meet the basic requirements of the retirees, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services would have a lighter burden.

This small amount of K6.4 billion is in the papers everyday. What it is doing is achieving one objective: Getting more street children to go on the streets because they think that the K6.4 billion is there. Yesterday, I interviewed Emmanuel Tembo, one of the street kids at Manda Hill Foot Bridge, for fifteen minutes. This boy has parents. He told me, ‘Ba tate banga bankala ku Ng’ombe,’which means, my father lives in Ng’ombe. There is need for this Government to exert a little pressure. It may be a subject of debate and an infringement of human rights, but they must exert a little pressure to keep these kids off the streets. If it means quarantining them, let them do so. Let this K6 billion be employed, like they have done, in apprenticeship colleges and skills training centres. Let them dangle this carrot of K6 billion towards those areas. However, as long as they continue making statements about the street children, we are actually legitimatising their existence. Without a clear cut plan on how this money is supposed to be expended, these children will continue going on the streets.

In supporting the budget, I would like to say that this Government must try to be practical by enforcing the law that forbids people from giving alms to street children. This is because the existence of these children on the streets is being perpetuated by people continuing to give them alms. In the name of compassion, people continue to give them left over food from their cars and money which they cannot get from their homes. I think they are doing more harm to these children than good because once they give them these alms, they go and buy glue which they sniff or kachasu, which is illicit beer, and start imbibing. Every morning, you find these street children high. They are drunk. I think this Government has what it takes to try and enforce the law that whoever is found giving alms to these street children must be brought to book.

With these few remarks, I would like to fully support the Vote for this ministry.

Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

Ms Phiri (Luanshya): Thank you, Mr Chairperson, for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the so many voices that have been speaking in this august House.

Mr Chairperson, I want to say that God, in His own faithfulness, sees all things beautiful in His own good time. This is one of the most beautiful times of the Almighty God even though sometimes we might not be able to see it.

Hon. Government Member: Amen.
Ms Phiri: Mr Chairperson, I want to acknowledge in this august House that God has given us three leaders that have the fear of the Lord. I ask the Almighty God to give wisdom to Mr Speaker, Madam Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairperson of Committees of the Whole House. I ask that, in His own goodness, He may give you wisdom, knowledge and understanding to guide this House.

Sir, I would be failing in my deliberations in this august House if I did not thank the body of Christ of Luanshya Constituency that had seen it favourable, day in and day out, to pray for me during the campaign which was not easy.

Hon. Member: Hallelujah!

Ms Phiri: Sir, allow me also to humbly thank the people of Luanshya whose wise vote made it possible for me to be a Member of Parliament in this august House.

It is the people’s aspirations that this House will add momentum to Zambia’s renewed quest to eradicate poverty and destitution for development and greater prosperity of the people. This House may only do so by debating policies and offering an analysis of poverty and under development in Zambia that does justice to our reality and seeks answers in our own sources. We should strive to do so by proposing realistic and achievable recommendations which, in time, may reduce if not entirely end, the suffering of our people. It aims to summon the political will of the governors and non-governors alike to act when action is so evidently needed today. The will without which no level of donor assistance and no degree of hope can make the difference between poverty and sustainable development in Zambia. As servants of the majority poor, there should be no personal goal and no greater personal ambition than to find answers to questions and provide for the majority poor.

Mr Chairperson, I wish to take a national perspective that engulfs my constituency’s challenges. I would love to reflect on where we have come from to where we are today. At independence in 1964, we are all aware that Zambia was one of the most prosperous countries in Africa. It was the most united nation in the region. Zambia’s population of 11 million has, over the years, seen the deterioration of its standard of living arising from a decline in its economic performance.

The deep rooted problems in the socio-economics of Zambia range from structural, physical, psychological to lack of skill and technical know-how and, where technical know-how abounds, then functional illiteracy has prevailed. Zambians are being torn at the altar of political expediencies.

On national unity, our heroes fought to liberate us from the yoke of colonialism with ‘One Zambia One Nation’ on their minds. With this, they spoke to one another and worked together as brothers and sisters. It is with this in mind that debates which border on regionalism in this House should be considered retrogressive to Zambia. This is the only sustainable way to uphold the dignity and peace under the sun of Zambia. It is my prayer that our brothers and sisters in the Executive demonstrate love and genuine commitment to the nation’s reconciliation in the discharge of their duties vis-à-vis our challenges as a nation.

On democracy, notwithstanding the reintroduction of multi-party elections in Zambia, much more must be done to provide an environment in which individuals feel protected, civil liberties are able to flourish and the Government carries out its functions efficiently, effectively and competitively with adequate institutional mechanisms to ensure accountability, transparency, probity and integrity.

In 1991, we, the Zambian people, resolved to change and improve the country’s management system. Thus, we resolved to bring back the multi-party system of governing ourselves, which required every citizen to participate in the management of our sovereign affairs. This system intended to empower Zambians with accessibility to shape Zambia’s political and socio-economic destiny. However, the necessary avenues of nation building have been pursued through the heavy centralisation of political and economic power which has led to the suppression of citizens’ rights and civil liberties by those with the instruments of power. Predictably, a political hegemony and monopoly has led to increased corruption, nepotism, complacency and lawlessness through abuse of power.

Mr Chairperson, in my humble view, the following lessons can be learnt from the experiences of the 1990s:

(i) ultimate power rests with the people and no amount of weaponry formed against the people can prosper;

(ii) suppressing the will of the people is a time bomb the continuance of which results in catastrophic people led actions;

(iii) people desire freedom and they are always ready to pay the price to ensure enjoyment of their God given freedom if they detect an element of dictatorship among leaders;

(iv) power corrupts and if it is absolute, it corrupts absolutely;

(v) once a leader is out of power, his best allies desert him and they become the best critics of his leadership and usually plot nothing, but his total destruction; and

(vi) the inaction of today will be the price for which leaders always pay.

Mr Chairperson, these lessons are a reality which every leader of the moment must reflect on today.

I am alive to the fact that democracy is a game of numbers, but realise that it will be meaningless to the Zambians if any party in Government abuses its majority seats in this House or uses the power of the purse to impose measures that do not help our people in any way.

Sir, I wish to submit that even though democracy is a game of numbers, national priorities and facts of every matter reign supreme. The abuse of numbers for the sake of it will haunt those responsible to their graves. Let us work passionately to liberate our people through objective diplomatic governance.

Mr Speaker, let me come to the heart of the nation and that is the women and children. Since yesterday, I have heard people debate on women as they debate on the Vote for the ministry that my sister is running, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.

Motherhood and childhood are the windows of hope and promise. However, it is a time of hardships, particularly in Zambia today, in that the burdens of gender inequality, physical abuse and child sexual assault, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, so often fall heavily on women and girl child.

Physical abuse, defilement, molestation and consequently, infecting women and children with HIV/AIDS and other STIs constitute a moral gender and child health crisis in Zambia. The traditional conspiracy of silence is undoing achievements in women and children’s rights, health and welfare in the past decade.

Selective prosecution of culprits by the State endorses continued gender violence and child defilement and molestation which, in turn, put severe health and psychological trauma on women and children.

Mr Speaker, if fighting the conspiracy of cultural silence on sex and defilement is to be won, we must suitably modify the existing laws that govern tradition and culture so as to ensure the effective protection of women and children from immoral and harmful traditional practices and values or norms that expose women and children to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.
Sir, mining is one of the issues that are close to my heart and my constituency. Currently, copper prices have reached record high at the London Metal Exchange, but with no corresponding benefits for the Zambian people, especially those living in Luanshya Constituency today.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Phiri: The much needed multiplier effect necessary to create wealth and jobs has not taken place. This criminality is happening with the full blessings of the Government. An era of serious mismanagement of State resources in Zambia has introduced new levels of poverty and unemployment, underdevelopment aided by unrealistic investors.

The consequences of these dubious dealings have increased the levels of poverty in Luanshya Constituency. The employment figures that remain at 4 per cent of the national population and the stripping of our mineral resources with no due regard to the effects on the future generations is worrying me.

Mr Speaker, it is criminal, on our part in this generation, to consume our children’s share of our national resources all because of greed and lack of foresight. The country and its citizenry have continued to lose confidence and self respect as the socio-economic crisis depends.

Mr Speaker, as I conclude, there are a few things that I should raise. Transport has been a problem since the 1990s. As I stand to speak, today, I feel ashamed because the children of Luanshya have been deprived of a railway station. The railway line that was the heart of transporting people from Ndola into Luanshya cheaply has been stripped and buried. Now that we are saying we are resuscitating the mines in Luanshya, which cheap means of transport are they going to use to transport copper and agricultural produce? How are they going to do that?

Mr Tetamashimba: There was no passenger train!

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!
You see what is happening now. You are not listening to the person debating.

Can the hon. Member, continue.

Ms J. Phiri: Thank you, Sir, for protecting me.

Sir, as I conclude, allow me to say just a few words. It is the people’s aspiration that this particular House will add momentum to Zambia’s renewed quest to eradicate poverty and destitution and increase development and greater prosperity. This House may only do so by debating policies and offering an analysis of poverty and under development in Zambia that does justice to our reality and seeks answers in our resources.

We should try to do so by proposing realistic and achievable recommendations which, in turn, will reduce, if not entirely end, the suffering of our people, especially those that are suffering in Luanshya without proper jobs. It aims to summon the political will of the governors and non-governors alike to act when action is so evidently needed of them. The will is that which no level of donor assistance and no degree of hope can make the difference between poverty and sustainable development in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, I urge this House to start fearing our God that has given us this opportunity. We are 150 in this House, while the other 11 million are outside, watching this House, especially those that are governing and have the power to govern because God has given them the ability to do so at this particular time. We should not look to the left or right, but the fear of God and servant hood of Christ should come upon all of us and we should not be critical, but submissive to that which we are called for.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: For the sake of the people out there, I wish to make a little correction. We are 158 and not 150.

The Minister of Community Development and Social Services (Ms Namugala): Mr Chairperson, allow me to thank the hon. Members of this august House for the unanimous support that they have given to the Vote for the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.

Mr Chairperson, Hon. Muntanga, although out of the House, has noted the impact of the Cash Transfer Scheme in his constituency in Kalomo. It is true that scheme is changing lives where it is being piloted. We have noticed that school attendance for the children of the beneficiaries has gone up, their nutritional status has also improved and, generally, so has the economies of these areas. There is need for us to scale up and ensure that more areas are targeted.

Mr Chairperson, on the issue of disability, it is true that there is need for us to pay more attention to persons with disabilities, but I think we also need to look at the causes of disability. We need to ensure that our roads are safer and that occupational risk is reduced. A lot of people are becoming disabled as a result of road accidents.

Mr Chairperson, on the issue raised by many hon. Members of Parliament regarding women’s clubs, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services endeavours to empower women in rural localities especially.

I would like to take this opportunity to inform all hon. Members of this House that this year, all constituencies will be supported regardless of their political affiliation.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: In this regard, I would like to urge all hon. Members of Parliament to get in touch with their District Community Development Offices so that they can guide them on where to find their community level. We now have Community Development Offices at community level. We call them sub-centre offices.

We would like to empower women’s groups in these constituencies, but hon. Members of Parliament have a tendency to create new women’s groups every time they come into office. This should not be the case. If you find that your friend had some credible women’s groups, support them because we would like to build capacity in these women’s groups so that they can become independent at some point. There are application forms at the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services which you could even assist in taking to your respective districts. 
Hon. Chair, I notice that we are running out of time. With regard to the issue of street children, I agree with Hon. Nkombo that street children must not be given food, money and clothing. My ministry has mounted a campaign against this. We have started putting up billboards to discourage people from giving money, food and clothing to street children. However, we need support from you and the members of the public. Above that, we need to agree, as a nation, that smaller families are easier to manage. We must have fewer children because if a person dies and leaves six children, who, amongst us, is willing and ready to take on six orphans.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: This point is very important. Smaller families are easier at personal as well as national level to manage.

Hon. Government Members: Ban polygamy in Southern Province!

Ms Namugala: The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services is extremely committed to improving the welfare of disabled persons. There is political will. My colleagues, the hon. Deputy Ministers, are working extremely hard with the help of our hard working staff to ensure that there is accountability. Therefore, we would like hon. Members of Parliament to support us by ensuring that officers in their respective localities are giving the welfare to persons that deserve it. We have received a lot of complaints from vulnerable persons that they do not receive this welfare. We would like hon. Members of Parliament to assist us with this task.

Mr Chairperson, I would like to thank you for allowing me to wind up the debate on the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Vote 45/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 45/02 – (Ministry of Community Development and Social Services – Social Welfare Department – K19,380,152,607).

Mr Sikazwe (Chimbamilonga): Mr Chairperson, I rise to debate and support the increase …


The Deputy Chairperson: The debate is over. Ask your question.


Mr Sikazwe: I wanted to appreciate the input of the International Year of the Family …

The Deputy Chairperson: We are no longer debating. If you have a specific question on that Head, ask it.

Mr Sikazwe: Under PRP, I would like to find out how much has been set aside for the International Year of the Family because it is the best …

The Deputy Chairperson: What Programme is that?

Mr Sikazwe: It is Programme 7, Activity 01.

The Deputy Chairperson: Programme 7, Activity 01 – International Year of the Family.

Mr Sikazwe: Yes!
The Deputy Minister of Community Development and Social Services (Mr N. Banda): Mr Chairperson, the funds are required to …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Business was suspended from 1045 hours until 1100 hours.

Mr N. Banda: Mr Chairperson, when business was suspended, I was making a clarification on Head 45/02, Programme 7, Activity 01 – International Year of the Family. The amount allocated to the International Year of the Family is K60 million.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Chairperson, may I have clarification on Programme 3, Activity 11 – Children’s Homes. There is no allocation at all, and yet there was an allocation of K200 million last year. Could the hon. Minister explain why there is no allocation because there are children’s homes like the Lusaka Children’s Home and others to be supported? Why is there no allocation this year?

Mr Muchima: Mr Chairperson, the K200 million has been included in the K6.4 billion meant for street children. That amount will also take into consideration the children’s homes.

I thank you, Sir.

Vote 45/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 45/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 45/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 45/05 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 34 – (Human Rights Commission – K7,897,296,671).

Mr Mpombo: Mr Chairperson, I rise to present the policy statement and justification for the Estimates of Expenditure for the Human Rights Commission for this year, 2007.

Sir, the Human Rights Commission is established under Article 125 of the Constitution of Zambia. The powers and functions of the commission are contained in the Human Rights Commission Act No. 39 of 1996. Its main functions are investigation of human rights violations, investigation of maladministration of justice and to conduct visits to prisons and prison cells. It is also mandated to conduct research in human rights, to carry out human rights education programmes and to facilitate the rehabilitation of victims of human rights abuse.

Mr Chairperson, to implement the above mentioned functions, the commission was allocated K5,823,273,153 and of this amount, K3,707,909,590 was allocated towards personal emoluments and the balance of K2,115,163,563 was allocated towards non-personal emoluments. The whole amount that was allocated to personal emoluments was released in 2006 whilst 72 per cent of the total amount that was allocated to non-personal emoluments was released. The released funds allowed the commission to undertake the under listed activities in 2006.

Mr Chairperson, at headquarters, the commission received 470 complaints from members of the public in 2006. A total of 124 cases were brought forward from 2005 bringing the total outstanding cases to 594. From its provincial offices, the commission received 303 complaints from the Ndola office, 58 from the Mongu office, 37 from the Kasama office and 49 from the Chipata office. From its newly opened office in Livingstone, which was opened on 31st August, 2006, the commission received 39 cases. In total, therefore, the commission considered 1,080 complaints in 2006.

Sir, as earlier outlined, Section 9 of the Human Rights Commission Act mandates the commission to visit prisons and places of detention or related facilities with a view to assessing and inspecting conditions of the persons held in such places and make recommendations to redress the existing problems.

Mr Chairperson, during the year 2006, the commission undertook the inspection of prisons, prison cells and other places of detention in Southern Province from 18th to 30th  June, 2006. However, the effective investigation of complaints of human rights violation and inspection of prisons and police cells was hampered by limited budgetary allocations for employing investigation officers, lawyers, procurement of motor vehicles, fuel and other logistics required to conduct investigations and prison inspections.

Sir, in this regard, only one province was visited and many complaints were not investigated. The challenge for 2007 to 2009 is to source sufficient allocation on the budget for carrying out investigations and prison inspections throughout the country.

Sir, to make people aware of their rights and to enhance the protection f human rights, the commission undertook a number of sensitisation and education programmes and campaigns in the year 2006. The activities included radio programmes to discuss specific human rights issues and press statements on topical human rights issues to state the position of the commission on such issues. The commission was also invited by other stakeholders to facilitate at various human rights workshops covering a wide range of human rights topics.

Mr Chairperson, in 2006, the commission intensified its education and information campaigns through various media, including, among other things, radio and television programmes, drama and theatre and production of relevant human rights materials. The commission also undertook a research on community radio and human rights knowledge and attitudes survey. The objective of the survey was to find out how much knowledge of human rights the citizens had and the results will help the commission train community radio broadcasters on human rights issues and then sensitise the citizens on their rights through community radio stations around the country. The commission believes community radio stations can play an important role in informing people about their human rights, especially in rural areas where radio is usually the best source of information for the public. In this regard, the commission, with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) undertook surveys in Lusaka, Copperbelt, Western, Northern and Southern provinces to determine the human rights education and information needs of the public and also training needs of community radio personnel.

Sir, the commission also undertook a number of activities under its research and planning programme. One of the research activities was a study on Zambia’s compliance with major international human rights treaties. The study undertook the following:

(a) Convention against Torture;

(b) International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); and

(c) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Sir, in August, 2006, the commission, in conjunction with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – Treaty Body Section, held a workshop as part of a series of training sessions that begun in 2005 to equip the commission and other actors with skills to monitor the Government’s compliance with treaty body recommendations. The objective was to formulate an action plan for the implementation by various national actors. The plan of action was written and will be implemented this year. The challenge is for the commission to source funding, through the National Budget, for this activity.

Mr Chairperson, during 2006, the commission commemorated important days that remind us of the importance of respect and observance of human rights. These included International Women’s Day, Day of the African Child and International Human Rights Day, which falls on 10th December every year. The theme for 2006 was ‘Poverty Eradication, a Matter of Obligation and not Charity.’ The commission carried out various activities based on this theme.

Sir, the implementation of the commission’s mandate demands collaboration with other stakeholders, both locally and internationally. At the local level, the commission participated in meetings of various issues affecting human rights. At international level, the commission participated in various conferences and workshops on human rights. The main sponsors of these events were the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Development Programme. I wish, through you, to extend our appreciation to our co-operating partners for complementing our efforts to improve the capacity of the commission in order for it to discharge its mandate effectively and efficiently.

Mr Chairperson, during the year 2006, the commission also experienced a number of constraints in the implementation of the programmes. The commission continued to be under-staffed in 2006 and continued to operate at 30 per cent of its recommended staff levels. In addition, the commission did not have adequate transport to carry out investigations, prison visits, education campaigns and supervision of field programmes. Due to the limited financial resources available to the nation, the budgetary allocation was not sufficient to adequately support all of the commission’s planned programmes.

Sir, looking at the activities the commission undertook during 2006 and its planned programmes for 2007, it is clear that the commission performs important functions in the promotion and protection of human rights and implementation of good governance in our country. It is, therefore, important that hon. Members should support the Estimates which are before the House in order to enable the commission continue and expand its operations.

Mr Chairperson, I thank you.

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

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Mr Chairperson, thank you for according me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Vote pertaining to the Human Rights Commission. I reluctantly support this Vote because for the last five years, we have been urging the Government to turn the Human Rights Commission into a quasi-judicial commission.

Mr Chairman, as it is now, the commission is a paper tiger. It is toothless and has no power, whatsoever, pertaining to issues of human rights. The Acting Leader of Government Business in the House is telling the nation it is playing a major role in protecting the rights of citizens. What rights is it protecting? How can it protect the rights of citizens if it has no power? All it does is make recommendations and recommendations, by their nature, can either be accepted or rejected.

The establishment of the Human Rights Commission by the Government was window dressing. They had no political will to ensure that adequate powers were given to the Human Rights Commission. There are so many reports that have been made by the Human Rights Commission pertaining to abuses that are happening in this country, but nothing has been done. They are recommendations, but it is up to the ones in power to accept them or not.  In my view, if the Government has no intentions of giving the commission powers to decide on issues, let them scrap it. There is no point for us to continue to pass Votes for a Human Rights Commission which is not functioning according to the wishes of the people.

Mr Chairperson, human rights are critical to the development of any nation. However, if they are not adequately protected, then there is no need for us to start establishing institutions which are not going to function in accordance with the aspirations of the people. There is no point.

Mr Chairperson, I note that under the able leadership of the then Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, the current Attorney-General, a number of recommendations were made to enhance the role of the Human Rights Commission. These recommendations are lying idle without being given any consideration in the offices of the Acting Leader of Government Business in the House, not as Minister of Defence, but in his capacity as Vice President and the leadership of this country.

Mr Chairperson, there is urgent need, on the part of the Government, to come up with an amendment to the Human Rights Commission Act to empower and give it authority. I understand it is giving education on rights to the people of this country. That is a noble cause, but after giving the lectures and education to the nation, then what? Are we facilitating our people going to court to pursue issues of human rights? The answer is no. This Government is very sensitive when it comes to issues of human rights. Anyone who talks about the violation of human rights is viewed as a detractor; an enemy of the State. However, we should bear in mind that even those who are against the advocacy of human rights at one time in their lifetime will need the services of the protectors of human rights. As a Government, we must be seen to be protecting human rights. On this call, I would like to urge the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is not listening to what I am saying, to be an ardent protector of human rights not only in this country, but in Africa as a whole.

If you do not protect human rights locally, there is no way you can condemn your neighbour over alleged human rights violations. Recently, in Africa, we have heard stories of tin pot dictators who have been harassing, abusing and torturing their opponents, but the governments in Africa are quiet. With regard to the human rights abuses obtaining in the Dafur Region, it is only countries outside Africa that are very vocal. Why are African Governments quiet? It is because, Mr Chairperson, birds of a feather flock together. They fear that if they condemn their neighbour, the neighbour will also reveal what they are doing.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Why should we do that? There is a neighbour, who I am not going to mention, whose people are violently oppressed and abused and we are all quiet. We are even happy and are busy wining and dining with dictators. For me, Mr Chairperson, it does not do us any good to have neighbours who abuse the rights of their citizens. If we are seen to be cohabiting with individuals with such characters, the day there is a change of government in that country our relationship with that neighbour will be bad. We should be seen to be speaking out when atrocities are committed in Africa. Why is it that the lives of Africans are not valuable? In Europe, even one person being killed is an issue. It is news all over the world. How many African lives have been lost in neighbouring Congo? Are we talking about .

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Mwiimbu: The answer is no! I am talking about human rights, Mr Chairperson.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

I liked your earlier statement, but you make the Chair uncomfortable when you begin mentioning names.

Can you continue.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Chairperson, there are so many Congos. I did not specify one. I would like to urge the Government to be forthright and speak prudently on issues of human rights. We are all aware that in certain situations, civil wars in countries have arisen from human rights abuses. It is important that we start taking corrective measures. The only way we can do this is by empowering the Human Rights Commission. It must be given quasi-judicial powers. It must be seen to be making decisions that are binding on authorities or all those abusing human rights. If we do not do that, next year, I will actually urge my colleagues to reject the Vote for the Human Rights Commission because it will be irrelevant for us to continue approving it. I hope the able Leader of Government Business in the House with my learned brother and colleague, Hon. Sikatana, will take up this matter. It is in the interest of all of us to empower and give legislative authority to the Human Rights Commission to make decisions and not mere recommendations.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mr Sikatana): Mr Chairperson, human rights are very dear to this Government as can be seen. We allocate funds for the maintenance of the commission. I have often visited the commission to make sure that we are on course to trace any reports that may be made by Zambians to the commission to their logical conclusions. Some of us have lived our lives defending human rights. There is no way we can change our colours just because we are now in Government.

Mr Chairperson, reference has been made to our stand on human rights in neighbouring countries. It is this Government that has come out vehemently advocating for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to show its concerns over the happenings in Zimbabwe.

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Minister, I know that …

Mr Sikatana: I will skirt around, Mr Chairperson.

The Deputy Chairperson: Yes.

Mr Sikatana:  I will not violate the rules of this noble House.

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikatana: We have been deliberate in believing that it is only when we engage our neighbour, that we can make meaningful contributions to the plight of those whose human rights have been violated.

I will be excused for mentioning Zimbabwe, but we have held a very strong stance that we should not be silent when our neighbour needs our voice. We were the first to come out advocating for the SADC to give its concern over the happenings in Zimbabwe. Do not mistake us to be saying anything against the Government in Zimbabwe, no.

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikatana: We are saying Zimbabwe, today, is suffering and, as a result, there are so many refugees pouring into Zambia, Botswana and South Africa. Sometimes, these poor people are deported to Zimbabwe and, in no time, they are back. Zimbabwe has been ostracised mainly by the European Union (EU). We have engaged the European Union, as a Government, and told them that they will not gain anything by pretending that they are against President Mugabe when their action makes not only Mr Mugabe, but the entire country to suffer. We have reminded them that the ink they used to sign the Lancaster Agreement, though dry, is still effective.


Mr Sikatana: They undertook to compensate …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! Hon. Minister, I really feel that you have made your point, but I do not think you should continue along those lines.

Mr Sikatana: Finally, …


Mr Sikatana: Finally, Mr Chairperson, this Government, whose President was a prominent advocate representing detainees under the obnoxious government of the so-called One Party Participatory Democracy, …


Mr Sikatana: … cannot be the same Head of State that would turn round to act contrary to what he used to sustain.

I, therefore, wish to assure the hon. and learned Member of Parliament for Monze to feel free to show us where he thinks there is any violation of human rights. You will see the speed with which we shall move against such violation.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikatana: I remember reminding President Kaunda, in 1971, …

Mr Mtonga: I saw you!


Mr Sikatana: Hon. Mtonga will bear me witness. I confronted Dr Kaunda at the University of Zambia and reminded him not to legislate …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

It is alright to make reference to persons, but the Chair’s fear is that you should not go deep into discussing former presidents and other people because it would be difficult for them to say that Hon. Sikatana said this or that. You can mention a name in passing, but do not make it a subject.

May you continue.

Mr Sikatana: Just one word. I was not …

Mr Mwiimbu: Say, ‘former president.’

Mr Sikatana: I was dealing with the former system, but because it was being run by people, I have to make reference to them.

Mr Mwiimbu: Yes.


Mr Sikatana: Let us remind ourselves …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!


The Deputy Chairperson: I honestly feel that you have understood what I mean because you are about to say what I wanted you to say. You are referring to a system and there is no harm with that. However, when you discuss individuals, it becomes a problem for the Chair. That is why I said no reference should be made to a person. However, you can refer to a system that was there.

Continue, please.

Mr Sikatana: Sir, under that system where they constitutionalised dictatorship and there was detention without trail, …

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikatana: … I represented detainees that were in detention for eleven years without trail.


Mr Sikatana: Hon. Mtonga will remember how notorious the Police Force was in those days when he was Inspector-General of Police.


Mr Mtonga: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mtonga: Mr Chairperson, is the hon. Minister, who inherited the name Kachembele kabu Lozi ya UNIP …

Hon. UPND Member: Kachepa!

Mr Mtonga: … in order to mislead this House about the leadership of the Police Force when he was merely a student at the University of Zambia and knew no order or peace at that time? I can even say how many times we had to close that university on his account.


Mr Mtonga: Is he in order to mislead and misassign blame to outsiders, especially the former Inspector-General of Police, Henry Mtonga? Is he in order?


The Deputy Chairperson: As you debate, hon. Minister, take that point of order into account.

You may continue.

Mr Sikatana: Mr Chairperson, I thank you, but I shall make reference to the Police Force that Hon. Mtonga was leading. We saw a violation of human rights. If a court of law sentenced a person to three months imprisonment and twenty canes, …


Mr Sikatana: … the victim would be taken to Lusaka Central Prison and be laid on a with his body tied to it. Yes, there is a senior police officer, such as our friend, here, who can defend himself because he is within the House.


Mr Sikatana: When these strokes were being landed on the body of this human being, that human being had to count them.


Mr Sikatana: Yes! As it hits, he is supposed to shout, ‘One, bwana!’ Oh, yes! ‘Two bwana!’ and so on and so forth.

Mr Tetamashimba: That’s true. We really suffered.

Mr Sikatana: Yes, we saw, Mr Chairperson, …

Mr Muyanda: A point of order, Mr Chairperson.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muyanda: Mr Chairperson, I rise on a very serious point of order. Is the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs in order to orchestrate how human beings were suffering at the hands of the previous Government in such a manner that it is almost causing some hon. Members to shed tears…


Mr Muyanda: …when we are debating the very serious issue of human rights? Is he in order? I need your serious ruling.

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: My ruling on that point of order is that it appears to the Chair that the person debating is recounting, maybe, the experience he had. So, can the hon. Minister continue.


Mr Sikatana: Mr Chairperson, I am not impressed when he wants to shed crocodile tears.


Mr Sikatana: We are discussing a very serious issue, the violation of human rights. Hon. Mtonga will remember how a young Bemba boy was murdered in cold blood. We only got to know through a note that was smuggled from the Lusaka Central Prison that a boy of about 15 years had been murdered by policemen and buried the same day. After fourteen days, we were engaged to investigate the case because the police was unable to investigate itself. We obtained a court order to exhume that body after it had been underground for fourteen days. We had to hire a medical practitioner to witness the post-mortem. There is a written report, today, that …

Mr Mtonga: Which year?

Mr Sikatana: The year I was arrested.


Mr Sikatana: Yes, it was in 1980. The doctor counted 201 assault spots on the body of this boy. When I stated that I would take the case further, I got locked up.

Mr Chisanga: Mtonga.

Mr Sikatana: Finally, I would say, Mr Chairperson, as we improve our finances, we should strengthen this commission. Let us not legislate for people’s neck, like legislating in order to get UPP into prison. I reminded the then president not to tailor legislation for particular necks because it would be applied to his own neck. Indeed, during the Third Republic, President Chiluba locked up my former president and I went and reminded him, ‘Do you remember what I said?’


The Deputy Chairperson: Order! Hon. Minister, Order!

No, hon. Minister. I know that, maybe, the experiences of the past cannot be forgotten, but I think let us not continue along those lines.

Can you, please, continue.

Mr Sikatana: Mr Chairperson I can only appeal to all hon. Members of this august House to support this Vote. If there will be any opportunity of supplementary support from the Treasury, let us remember this commission.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mtonga (Kanyama): Mr Chairperson, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on this important Vote.

Firstly, let me correct one thing and, please, listen.


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Mtonga: When this country entered the Third Republic, there was a deliberate decision by the people of Zambia, through the Government, to set up a commission led by an eminent son of Zambia, Bruce Munyama, to inquire into the complaints such as Hon. Mundia Sikatana, Kachembele ka MMD, would present openly at Mulungushi.

Many Zambians were invited to that. They all came there in order and variety to make their point about the past of Zambia. It became the duty of that commission to set an agenda, a solution, a kind of truth of how Zambia would survive after that period from 1991. The reason that I am raising this point is that it is important to put a perspective on the important points Hon. Mundia Sikatana is making. Some of them quite obviously exaggerated. Yes, because first of all you are mixing up the issue of human rights with court decisions, corporal punishment and treason suspects like yourself. We cannot mix these things.

When a court order is given it is an order to be complied with unless you appeal. Unless you appeal against it, the police must fulfill it. Even today, if the Zambians or Government officials made an issue a crime………..

Mr Sikatana: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mtonga: Mr Kachembele, please, sit down. Not now…

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Sikatana: Mr Chairperson, is it in order for an hon. Member of Parliament like Henry Mtonga to mislead this House and the nation that it is was lawful to legislate to do harm to human beings when there was legislation on our law books authorising the caning of people and this House has amended the law and removed it for being obnoxious? Is he in order to start urging this nation to long for such legislation and say it was being done by a court of law? What court of law are we talking about it sentences you to be assaulted and battered when assault and battery are offences in the same law books?


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

You now understand why the Chair was apprehensive. I was trying to avoid precisely what is happening. It sounded nice when you began talking about it, but it has repercussions. We cannot go too far back in history because we are going to get into trouble. I am not a lawyer, but I can advise that we should concentrate on the Vote before us. You are going too far back by telling us stories.

The hon. Minister has adequately debated his point of order.

Will the hon. Member continue, please, and take into account my advice.

Mr Mtonga: Mr Chairperson, I thank you for your advice. I am sure hon. Members will agree with me, especially the learned hon. Minister of Justice, that until a law is repealed, it is still in force. So, I am not mixing up issues. I am saying the statutes, as they stand today, amended, have the force of law. The Police Force must enforce them until this House amends them. That is not to say I would like the amended laws to be reinstituted. No, it is a different thing. However, when the Bruce Munyama Commission was set up, the agenda for dealing with human rights in the country was very clear. It became very clear what issues Zambians wanted corrected in terms of their rights. Since that time, we have had serious cases of abuse of human rights.

Mr Chairperson, since that time, we have had deaths outside the legal system that have gone unexplained. The Human Rights Commission must visit that if it is not to lose its reputation of authenticity. Take, for example, the loss of life, in Kitwe, of the late Baldwin Nkumbula.

Major Chizyhuka: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtonga: Up to this day, that loss of the right to life has not been explained to Zambians. There was a commission that sat and no-one is monitoring why after more than five years, we have not been told what really happened to that son of Zambia. We are still waiting for the report for the Gabon Disaster that cost this country a lot of lives. This House has had questions and the Human Rights Commission, I am sure, attends to many ordinary people who have asked where our people are and what really happened and why we lost them. That is the right to life. The Human Rights Commission is not helping us in that regard.

Mr Chairperson, at present, there are a number of people who have been retrenched and are dying without receiving their dues. There are a number of widows who have joined the queues after their husbands have died. The right to life and their earnings has not been granted and I know that the Human Rights Commission receives many who want an order of payment to be reinstituted. As you retire, you have the right to your earnings. Why is that right denied now? What is the Human Rights Commission doing about that?

Mr Chairperson, we have cases that have gone before the courts for compensation and I know that people are struggling to get their dues. Those people have a right to reparation, or restitution. The Human Rights Commission does not seem to have an agenda.

Mr Chairperson, I would like to support Hon. Mwiimbu’s contribution. The Human Rights Commission should be seen to be authentic and carrying an agenda that answers the cries of Zambians. If it does not do that, you cannot blame the police for playing their role. The Human Rights Commission should carry this agenda over and above every other need. It is not doing so and it seems to me it is doing a public relations job and nothing more. I understand that they are being down graded to a temporary nature. They are not full time because human rights in Zambia, I suppose, take a break when, in fact, they should be there twenty four hours a day. Even when I am asleep, I have the right to life. Why should the Human Rights Commission be temporary? I think that it should be permanent. As my colleagues have submitted, let us put a law that ensures that this agenda is carried out properly.

Sir, I also want to correct a point that my colleague and brother, Hon. Sikatana, made. It is correct that I accompanied the former President to the University of Zambia when he was a law student. So, he must respect me because I was working when he was not. When we arrived there, the good thing about my colleague is that, and I have always admired him for it and I still have his speech, he did say, ‘Mr President, do not legislate the kind of laws that you yourself would not like to receive if you are not in power.’ This is a principle which I expected the MMD Government to follow now, but it is not.


Mr Mtonga: At the time he was making that point, I did not know that Hon. Sikatana would end up a legislator and a senior member of the Government. I hope and pray that before your tenure is over, you can impact positively on your Government to give Zambians a better deal.

I finally want to say that my ideal of human rights is basically to do unto others as I would wish them to do unto me. In Zambia, the Government is failing to do that. The MMD Government is failing to do unto us as you would like us to do unto you which was principally what you were telling the former President. This issue is now in your court. What are doing to us? I would like to submit that the Government has the duty to fully support the commission and make it a permanent full time job with an agenda to correct the imbalances with regard to the rights that they seem to protect, and yet they undermine through various misgoverning.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Puma): Mr Chairperson, I stand to support the allocation given to the Human Rights Commission. This is a very important commission as it allows human rights to be upheld and protected. I note that the inspection of prisons, public hearings and public submissions are all catered for in the budget. This is, indeed, very good.

In supporting the Motion, I would like to mention that each Zambian has human rights which have to be protected. One thing we need to know is that where one’s rights end, another person’s begin.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Puma: Sir, I have noted, with concern, that, in this country, there are some people who seem to exercise too much of their rights, which, in the end, tends to affect others. This is a major concern. At the same time, I have noted that the democracy which has been well introduced and well intended by this Government is abused from time to time.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Puma: We have to copy from our colleagues, for example, America. When a presidential candidate loses elections in America, he keeps quiet. You will never hear John Kerry insult George Bush. It never happens.


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Dr Puma: We need to take note of what happens in those countries so that we are on the right path.

Sir, at this point, I would like to commend His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, for exercising a lot of patience and tolerance with regard to some of our colleagues. Otherwise, we would have heard of fractured skulls earlier than it happened in Zimbabwe.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Puma: Mr Chairperson, …

Dr Machungwa: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Chairperson, I need your very serious ruling. We are debating the Vote for the Human Rights Commission and the hon. Deputy Minister is saying that we would have had fractured skulls in Zambia as is the case in Zimbabwe. Is he in order to threaten that the President would have cracked skulls, here in Zambia, as is the case in Zimbabwe when this has been criticised? Is he in order to say that?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Members, let me, once again, earnestly appeal to you not to make Zimbabwe a subject of discussion here. I do not think we are making the points that we need to. Zimbabwe and other neighbouring countries have nationals here and some of you will be travelling to these countries. That is why we get scared when you begin making such reference to them. So, can you come back on track.

Can you continue, hon. Deputy Minister.

Dr Puma: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

Sir, I would like to mention what happens, for instance, in the American situation. When President Bush is addressing the nation, all the radio and television stations, whether private or public, cover the President’s State of the Nation Address. Now, if the same happened in this country, we would hear a lot of complaints. However, I am sure that as we introduce more community radio stations, even in this country. it will be the same. We will realise that when the President is addressing the nation, people are busy listening to community radio stations and all the people will be tuned in so that they understand what the President is talking about.

Mr Chairperson, I would like to comment briefly on the tension that has been mentioned from time to time as being in this country. There is no tension in this country as is purported, from time to time, by some hon. Members. We have a well elected Government that is in full control of both the power and resources. We have a Government that has very articulate ministers and deputy ministers and …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Puma: … a Parliament in which all hon. Members of Parliament in the ruling party and the Opposition have upheld loyalty to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia. We have a Government in which all the shops are open and people are going about their usual businesses. Therefore, how can we talk about tension? What tension are you talking about? There is no tension in this country.

Mr Chairperson, that tension is in the minds of some people as they talk and as they write. When you have lost, you have lost. It is just like an exam. Once you have failed, even if you say, ‘I read and I do not know what happened,’ you have failed. Similarly, …

Dr Scott: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Dr Scott: I really regret having to hold that debate like this, but is the hon. Deputy Minister of Health in order to repeat himself and go on like a cadre trying to provoke the very tension whose existence he denies? Can he not stick to the subject?

The Deputy Chairperson: That point of order gives the Chair an opportunity to advise the hon. Deputy Minster not to dwell too much on politics, but to come back to the subject.

Can the hon. Deputy Minister continue, please.

Dr Puma: Yes, I am actually on the path of human rights. I was saying …


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Give him a chance to debate.

Dr Puma: I was just concluding that when someone has failed an exam, he or she has failed whether they claim to have read very well or not. I am aware that it is not easy to accept defeat. In fact, it is actually very painful because people have to think of the resources they have lost, where they could have been and whom they had promised to appoint. Even the subordinates think of the resources they lost.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Hon. Minister, come back to the subject.

Can you continue, please.


Dr Puma: Above all, Mr Chairperson, these are big grounds to create tension in people’s heads. However, these personal tensions in people’s heads should not be interpreted as tension in the nation. For example, here, in Parliament, when some hon. Members rise to speak, you can read the tension in their heads.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Puma: However, this cannot be translated as tension in Parliament. Tension is in some hon. Member’s heads. Similarly, there is no tension in this country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Quality.
Dr Puma: Mr Chairperson, finally, I would like to commend the hon. Members of the Opposition, especially some hon. Opposition Members whom I will not mention. I wish to commend them for coming back on track and beginning to participate in public events, particularly the International Women’s Day and the Youth Day. It is commendable that, at least, they are back on track and able to participate in national activities. However, there is need for continuous counselling and guidance of our colleagues, as they come back to participate in these activities. At this point, I would like to commend the hon. Minster of Home Affairs and the team that has kept peace and made sure that even as people come back on track, they are guided and counselled.

Mr Chairperson, it is like a situation where you have a rebel who goes in the bush hoping to come and take over the Government. When they realise that it is not working and come back, as you integrate them, you need to guide and counsel them a lot because they can relapse into day dreaming of what they thought could actually happen.

Finally, Mr Chairperson, I fully support the budget for the Human Rights Commission.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

It is clear to the Chair that we seem to be unanimous in our support for the Vote for the commission because what we are discussing now, really, does not seem to be within the subject. I will give one more hon. Member chance to debate on the subject. Dr Chishimba.

Dr Chishimba (Kasama Central): Mr Chairperson, let me start by submitting that when discussing human rights, we must remember that the struggle for independence was a human rights issue. We must remember that the people of Zambia have gone through suffering. When our ancestors, the founding fathers and mothers of Zambia, resolved to fight for freedom and for their rights, it was because they knew that God intended that each and every human being enjoys the rights that have been conferred upon us by Him.

Sir, I will start by looking at the constitutional arrangement in Zambia. Part III of the Constitution of Zambia entrenches human rights and freedoms, but it is quite surprising that Article 25 of the Constitution of Zambia, which establishes the Human Rights Commission, is expressed in very simplistic terms. Article 25(1) states:

‘There is hereby established a Human Rights Commission.’

Sub-Article (2) states:

‘The Human Rights Commission shall be autonomous.’

Article 126 states:

‘The functions, duties, administrative procedures, employment procedures of the Human Rights Commission, will be determined, prescribed or shall be so stated in an Act of Parliament.’

Now, how can you, when the human rights themselves are entrenched under Part III, let the functions of the Human Rights Commission, which is supposed to be a watchdog or an enforcer of those human rights that you are talking about, be prescribed by an Act of Parliament? By ‘enforcing’, I mean, it is supposed to ensure that the State does not abuse the rights of the citizens. How can you let its functions be prescribed in an Act of Parliament? I say so because the Constitution of Zambia under Article 1(3) states very clearly that the Constitution of Zambia shall be the supreme law of Zambia and that any other Act or law which is inconsistent with it shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void. This simply means that when you leave the functions of the Human Rights Commission to be prescribed under an Act of Parliament, what you are saying is that human rights are not that important because that Act can be declared unconstitutional. That is what I am trying to say. Hence, the need to ensure that as we embark on the constitution making process, it is important that we entrench the functions of the Human Rights Commission so that it can enforce the rights that are so provided under Part III.

As I said, I do not necessarily mean that with the Constitution, I should be there to implement what the Government is supposed to implement. The functions and powers of the commission should be entrenched in the Constitution so that it can have the stamina and powers to make sure that its watchdog role is given the meaning which is so required.

Mr Chairperson, earlier on, I said that whenever we are discussing human rights, we have to remember that even as we sit here, somebody died in order for us to have the freedom of speech and to debate. That is what you have to remember always. When you look at this territory, Zambia, before it was unified, our people lived in ethnic groupings. By 1890, as you are aware, when the influence of the white settlers began to be extended to this region, the rights which the people of this territory had were simply taken away.

Sir, as you are aware, this was done through treachery as our chiefs, who were not very well oriented or did not have much information on their rights and because of what was referred to as primitivity, probably, did not know that even when they were signing some of the treaties and concessions, they gave the white settlers who came in the name of the trade, for example, the British South African Company (BSAC), their human rights.

Mr Chairperson, we must also reflect that on 25th January 1898, when King Mpezeni put up a spirited fight. I thank God for that because the king realised that by allowing the white settlers to take of over the land, it would simply mean that the rights of the people would be taken away or trampled upon. He put up a spirited fight, but on 25th January, the Ngoni were defeated. Mpezeni, himself, was captured, imprisoned and killed.

Sir, I am trying to say that someone died. People die in the process of trying to preserve or protect the rights, which as I said, were given to them by God. Human rights must not be perceived as a gift from any individual, but as a gift from God. Therefore, no one on earth has the authority to attempt to take them away.

Sir, as you aware, in 1911, North Eastern Rhodesia and North Western Rhodesia were amalgamated to form Northern Rhodesia. The white settlers were, at all costs, committed to ensuring that they had so much power so that they could continue sitting on the rights of our people by stripping the chiefs of their powers. They began removing and appointing chiefs at will, thus, disturbing the arrangement which the people had traditionally.

We must also remember that in 1924, when colonial rule came into this country, then Northern Rhodesia, in totality, the Constitution was framed in such a way that a lot of power was vested in the Governor. Institutions like the Executive Council and Legislative Council, what we would call the Legco, were created. When all those institutions were created, the powers which were vested in the Governor were too much. The Governor was responsible for the introduction of legislation in the Legislative Council. Apart from that, the Governor had powers to pardon, which we see even today.

Sir, what did we see when it came to the 1953 constitutional developments? Again, that was before independence. More powers were vested in the rulers that we had, even at the time that the federation came to an end in 1963. From there, your Independence Constitution came as an appendage to the Zambia 1964 Independence Act. Our independence was by way of a British statute and the Constitution was prescribed for this country. What did we see continuing when we look at the post independence constitutional developments? Too much power, again, being vested in the Executive.

Sir, I have always said that Zambia is a single Executive. This simply means that all the Executive powers are vested in the President and all hon. Ministers just act on behalf of the President. That is too much power. If you look at the way the constitutions were framed before independence, they were aimed at giving a lot of power to one person because they wanted to ensure that British rule continued in this country. How can you frame the Constitution along the same lines? That is why there is a call for constitutional autochthony where you sit as free independent people.

It is shocking to note that whilst on 24th October, 1964, Zambia became independent, forty-three years after independence, our people still wake up to the rude shock that their houses have been demolished, they are still exposed to the brutal treatment of the police, they cannot access health care and go for days without having a meal. Poverty is the order of the day and we still cannot address it. How serious are we? Was the struggle for independence worthy, for instance, when people sacrificed their lives? The answer is no. The culture which is developing in this nation is iconoclastic in so far as good order is concerned.

Whilst the former colonialists respect the rights of their people, we are shamelessly abusing the rights of our people. We must, as leaders, accept where we go wrong. For instance, the mushrooming of unplanned settlements is as a result of the Government’s failure to plan adequately. While people are expecting to be given land, you are busy giving land to foreigners. You have made our people suffer. You have made people refugees in their own country. That is why you have to be very serious when discussing such issues.

Mr Chairperson, to me, the Human Rights Commission is a symbol of independence. In fact, this is one area that you must strengthen. You must even ensure that the commissioners are well remunerated. After all, they are trying to be an effective watchdog to ensure that the rights of our people are guaranteed.

Sir, other aspects like the right to have clean and safe water must be looked at. However, these rights only appear under Part IX of the Constitution as Directive Principles of State Policy which are not justiciable. This simply means that there is something wrong with our systems, therefore, we have to address them.

We cannot afford, Mr Chairperson, to truly be a sovereign and independent nation on paper when practically our actions seem to be a total departure from what we saw being proclaimed as a nation. This practice was there in the past. For instance, in 1935, the colonialists said that the rights of Africans would be guaranteed. In the same year, there was Proclamation 9 which prohibited the accessibility of certain literature and there was a person called Mr De Jagger who sued. There is a case called R v De Jagger. This person sued because he was convicted for being found with books entitled: ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Jehovah’. The court ruled that when that when literature of a political and religious nature was found in the hands of a primitive African, it would lead to misconceptions and when it was found with a literate white settler, it would lead to exciting controversy. These are things we see happening in our country.

Mr Chairperson, I want to submit that we cannot afford, as a country, to go back to the atrocities of the Second Republic where people were imprisoned without trial. Look at what happened to Lombe, Chisapo and others. They were detained and we continue to see this happen. The selective application of the law is also questionable. The destiny of every nation …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

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

Mr Mpombo: Mr Chairperson, I want to sincerely thank all …


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

The decision is made by the Chair and you cannot challenge it. I know you wanted to debate just like anybody else, but the Chair can use his discretion. Do not challenge the Chair.
Will the hon. Minister continue, please.

Mr Mpombo: Mr Chairman, I want to sincerely thank all the hon. Members who have debated this Motion for their support.

We have taken note of the hon. Member for Monze, Mr Mwiimbu’s, concern that the legal framework of the commission should be strengthened in order to make it more effective or give it more teeth to bite. He talked about recommendations gathering dust on Government shelves. We have taken note of that and will make a follow up just to ensure that these recommendations are put to good use.

Sir, I want to thank the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs for his support on the issues he raised. I also want to thank the hon. Deputy Minister of Health and the hon. Member for Kanyama.

With regard to the hon. Member for Kasama Central, who gave us a historical perspective of human rights in Zambia, I want to say that we should use the past to build the future. The Government came up with the Human Rights Commission in order to correct the human rights abuses that took place in the past. This is now water under the bridge and we must forge ahead in the spirit of this new arrangement.

Finally, I want to sincerely thank all the hon. Members, once again, and say that the Government has very seriously taken note of all the submissions that have been made and they will be acted upon. We will consider them because they are quite useful. As a Government, we are very grateful for this support.

I thank you, Sir.

Vote 34/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 44 ─ (Ministry of Labour and Social Security ─ K16,375,818,658).
The Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Mukuma): Mr Chairperson, I would like to thank you for according me this opportunity to deliver the policy statement in support of my ministry’s 2007 budget.

Taking into consideration the dynamic and uncertain nature of the Zambian labour market, it goes without saying that my ministry has a major challenge ahead in this coming year.

Mr Chairperson, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is responsible for labour administration and labour market management. These functions are implemented through the following programmes:

(i) labour and policy administration;

(ii) provision of juvenile productivity services;

(iii) factories inspections; and

(iv) industrial relations.

The ministry is also mandated to supervise two statutory organisations. These are social security institutions, namely, the National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Workers Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB).

Their underlying objective is to ensure that all matters pertaining to social protection for the retrenched, retired and employees incapacitated while on duty are catered for. It is important to emphasise the need for continued prudent labour management as it is the pre-requisite to social-economic development. Labour, as one of the factors of production, plays a key role, hence, the need for it to continuously provide its services without interruption. The withdrawal of labour due to strife and other industrial unrest reduces the productivity of the nation and this could have a serious bearing on the overall national goals such as those of poverty reduction and wealth creation as outlined in the Fifth National Development Plan.

My ministry has the mandate to maintain industrial harmony and promote labour welfare. In this regard, the ministry has identified social dialogue as an effective promoter of industrial harmony as opposed to resorting to industrial strife and the social partners should endeavour to use this tool to ensure that all grievances from the different stakeholders are taken in to account, thereby, ensuring that industrial unrest is the last resort.

My ministry will continue to promote social dialogue through a tripartite consultative system with all stakeholders on the labour market, mainly, employers, the trade unions and the Government.

Challenges of the Labour Market: Employment Situation

Mr Chairperson, we are aware that, in the last decade, he country underwent major economic structural adjustment. This resulted in the closure and down sizing of a number of factories and organisations. The resultant effect of the above stated adjustments impacted negatively on the employment situation as formal sector employment declined. The slow economic growth that presided over the same period meant that only few of the economically active population could be absorbed into formal employment.

This predicament gave rise to the unemployed economically active population being engaged in a parallel but significant informal sector. This is the unregulated sector and is characterised by under employment, inadequate social protection and poor occupational safety and health standards.  Furthermore, the people operating in this sector are more often than not, likely to find themselves working longer hours and have intermittent work and insecure arrangements that tend to be characterised by low productivity, low wages and limited labour standards. This situation has produced a new dimension in the Zambian labour market referred to as the ‘working poor’. 
On the other hand, it is important to note that there has been a turn in events in recent years. The economy has steadily been growing over the last four years. There has also been an increased flow of foreign direct investment in the country, which has also witnessed an increase in mining as well as tourism activities. The newly opened mines, as well as increased activity in the hospitality industry, have employed a considerable number of people and many more are yet to be employed. The knock-of-effect of these economic activities, particularly in the mines, will likely increase the overall contribution to employment. These and many other positive economic development are likely to scale up the demand for labour in the economy and thereby liberate most of our people from the poverty trap which has engulfed their well being in recent years.

In the wake of the increase in foreign and domestic investment, there is need for my ministry to improve its performance to ensure that industrial harmony is maintained, which is a necessary ingredient for optimum production.


Mr Chairperson, it has been established that the majority of employers in Zambia are moving away from employing permanent workers in their establishments and caualising what are usually permanent positions, thus, creating insecurity and uncertainty amongst workers. This phenomenon has grown in the recent years, particularly with the increased private sector participation in the economy and there is urgent need to regulate it before it spreads out of control. It is appreciated that casual work will always be part of any economy, but the vice to be avoided is the notion of casualisation of permanent jobs. My ministry will, this year, embark on measures aimed at eradicating this vice.

Occupational Safety and Health

Mr Chairperson, the enforcement of the Factories Act is undertaken by the Occupational Safety and Health Services Department in my ministry. The performance of the department is greatly affected by weak legislation, lack of adequate manpower, inadequate specialised inspection equipment, lack of training in occupational safety and health coupled with inadequate inspection logistics. These constraints have translated into poor safety and health awareness and practice by employers who are ever ready to exploit any situation that apparently reduces their spending on the measures to protect the health of workers.

Breaches of law such as non-compliance by employers to provide personal protective equipment, safeguarding of machinery and under-reporting of accidents and dangerous occurrences are a common feature of today in our factories.


Mr Chairperson, another serious challenge facing Zambia, today, is low productivity in many sectors of our economy. Productivity, improvement and management in Zambia is hampered by various factors which among others include:

(i) negative work attitude;

(ii) inability by social partners to measure and interpret productivity levels at national, industry and enterprise levels; and

(iii) lack of objective selection procedures for employment and training.

Social Security

Mr Chairman, there are still a number of challenges that the ministry is faced with in the social security sector. The social security sector schemes are considered inadequate and health care schemes are not included. The increased impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on the labour force is likely to have a significant bearing on the productivity of the labour force. 
Currently, the social security schemes in Zambia only cover the formal sector and the bigger proportion of the labour force, which is the informal sector, is not serviced by the current social security system. Is extended to the formal sector that is extending at a faster rate.

Compliance is another major problem that most pension schemes are facing. Non-compliance is partially responsible for the poor performance of the social security schemes in Zambia. In addition, the majority of the pension schemes are financially bankrupt. This scenario calls for aggressive public awareness programmes from both employers and employees on the importance of social security, and my ministry’s pivotal role is to provide investment guidelines and policies to ensure viability of the schemes.

Child Labour

Mr Chairperson, according to the findings of the Labour Force Survey of 2005, child labour in Zambia is on the increase. Currently, there are 895,246 cases of working children from about 500,000 cases reported in the 1999 End of Decade and Child Labour Survey. This problem needs concerted efforts for it to be progressively fought and eventually eliminated. Child labour, in its worst form, is both a social and economic problem that should be eliminated.

One of the reasons for this incidence is that a large number of children drop out of school at a tender age and are compelled to enter the labour market prematurely.

This phenomenon could also be attributed to the problem of HIV/AIDS that has led to an increased number of orphans and child headed households in the country. Although the Employment Act, Cap. 468, especially Section 12, forbids the employment of children under the age of 15 years in the formal sector, there is evidence of child labour, especially in the informal sector. Some of the consequences of child labour include prostitution and street kids.


Mr Chairperson, HIV/AIDS is a crossing cutting issue. It is prevalent in the work places and has been having a negative impact on the labour force. Despite significant efforts to curb the pandemic, it has continued to erode the labour force and reduce labour productivity both in terms of the high morbidity and mortality rates. There is, therefore, the need for my ministry to join other line ministries in implementing HIV/AIDS programmes in the work places.

Performance in the 2006 Budget Period

Mr Chairperson, during the 2006 Budget period, my ministry continued to perform its responsibilities normally though constrained by various negative factors. Notwithstanding these difficulties, the ministry endeavoured to improve upon its performance with regard to labour and factory inspections. The ministry managed to carry out 828 and 850 labour and factory inspections respectively on major establishments employing labour in the country. In addition, the ministry scored the following achievements:

(i) the ministry made remarkable progress in the process of review of labour laws leading to finalising them later this year;

(ii) the ministry launched the National Time Bound Programme on the elimination of the worst forms of child labour in conformity with the International Labour Organisation Convention No. 182.

(iii) the ministry drafted a National Child Labour Policy to be harmonised with the National Child Policy under the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development;

(iv) the ministry initiated the issuance of a Statutory Instrument stipulating hazardous work under the Employment of Young Persons and Children’s Act Cap. 276 of the Laws of Zambia; and

(v) the ministry managed to raise revenue amounting to K117,240,000.00 in the year 2006 as compared to K31,608 million in the year 2005.


Mr Chairperson, the ministry experienced a lot of problems that impeded its operations. The main problems encountered were:

(i) financial difficulties due to inadequate budget allocations;

(ii) inadequate capacity in terms of human resources; and

(iii) lack of equipment such as motor vehicles and office machines in the field stations.

Due to the above cited constraints, the ministry was generally thin on the ground in terms of law enforcement on the labour market. This shortage of field officers caused rampant flouting of labour laws by employers, which my ministry will address in the 2007 Budget period.

2007 Budget Interventions

Mr Chairperson, in this year’s Budget, my ministry has been allocated K16.4 billion and it will be utilised to undertake the following interventions to meet the challenges that have arisen on the labour market:
Employment Creation
Mr Chairperson, the Government has placed employment creation a top priority. To this end, my ministry has prepared a National Employment and Labour Market Policy which will serve as a major policy solution in the employment and labour sector. The policy will promote rural employment in key sectors such as agriculture, mining and tourism. The ministry will also join other line ministries like the ministries of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Community Development and Social Services and Youth, Sport and Child Development in imparting appropriate skills to the youth and assisting the Zambian citizens to engage in productive programmes and participate effectively in the economic development of the country.
Review of Labour Laws

Mr Chairperson, through the Labour Department, the ministry will review labour laws to meet the challenges of the labour market to ensure that employers do not abuse the clause relating to casual employment. My ministry has already held consultative meetings with the social partners to amend the Employment Act, Cap. 268, the Industrial and Labour Relations Act, Cap. 269 and the Factories Act, Cap. 441 of the Laws of. The proposed amendment will be submitted to this august House during the 2007 Budget period for approval.

Social Dialogue

Mr Chairperson, during the budget period, the ministry will establish a full time secretariat to coordinate consultative meetings with the employers’ and employees’ representative bodies in order to resolve industrial disputes in the country. The ministry will also continue to collaborate with various social partners such as the International Labour Organisation and Southern African Development Community in order to finalise the various components of the decent work agenda and regional programmes in the employment and labour sector.

Mr Chairperson, with regard to the scourge of HIV/AIDS, the ministry has introduced a Chapter in the Employment Act, Cap. 268 of the Laws of Zambia, which will address the problems surrounding HIV/AIDS at the work places. The chapter will focus on issues of non-discrimination on account of HIV/AIDS status on recruitment and placement. Furthermore, the chapter will also deal with aspects relating to the involuntary testing of an employee. In case of breach of law, heavy penalties for the offenders have been prescribed in the chapter in order to prevent discrimination. The ministry will also carry out sensitisation campaigns to encourage employers to set up HIV/AIDS programmes at places of work.


Mr Speaker, on the need to eradicate casualisation, the ministry will intensify labour inspections to ensure that the phenomenon is reduced. Furthermore, the labour laws will be amended to effectively ban labour brokering.

Training of Inspection Officers

Mr Chairperson, in order to effectively supervise and control the labour market and reduce on the infringement of the law, the ministry has embarked on a capacity building exercise of training inspection officers as prosecutors. So far, six labour officers have been trained and twenty-five have been targeted for training this year. The ministry will also recruit more inspectors and open up more offices in districts where our services are on high demand.

Child Labour

Sir, in an effort to reduce the worst form of child labour, the ministry is setting up District Child Labour Committees in twenty-two districts where there are labour department field stations. A National Child Labour Policy will be put in place and a statutory instrument will be issued under the Employment of Young Persons and Children’s Act, Cap, 276, stipulating forms of work considered to be hazardous. To ensure compliance with the provisions of the statutory instrument, inspections that are targeted towards reducing the incidence of child labour will be increased. This is in keeping with the targets that are envisaged to be achieved during the course of the National Time Bound Programme on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
Control of Foreign Labour

Mr Chairperson, the ministry has, in its proposed amendment of the Employment Act, Cap. 268, provided for a section on the establishment of the Zambianisation Committee in order to effectively control foreign labour.

Labour inspections

Sir, the ministry is determined to intensify labour inspections throughout the country in order to ensure compliance with the provisions of the law by both employees and employers. Following the acquisition of six new vehicles, the ministry will endeavour to ensure that the number of inspections is increased from this year.

Occupational Safety and Health

Mr Chairperson, the importance of occupational safety and health cannot be over emphasised. My ministry, in consultation with other stakeholders, including the social partners, has reached an advanced stage in the process of reviewing the Factories Act, Cap. 441 of the Laws of Zambia, so as to make it conform to international labour standards and meet current challenges on the labour market.

Sir, the ministry is also in the process of decentralising occupational safety and health services. It is hoped that with the implementation of the latter, the impact of occupational safety and health will be spread throughout the country with the sole objective of promoting safety and health standards in the work place and, thus, reducing occupational diseases and accidents.

Sir, my ministry will continue with the capacity building of the Occupational Safety and Health Services Department with regard to recruitment and placement of factories and boiler inspectors and also with regard to the procurement of vehicles for use during inspections.

Mr Chairperson, my ministry will also prepare a National Occupational Safety and Health Policy whose objective will be to provide guidance and realm within which the department will operate and enforce the Factories Act with the view to improving service delivery.


Mr Chairperson, my ministry will, during 2007, undertake work culture awareness programmes in both the public and private sector. The ministry will also undertake the following:

(i) hold awareness seminars for employers and unions on productivity based collective bargaining in order to encourage wealth creation;

(ii) establish industry productivity benchmarks in order to promote competitiveness amongst enterprises; and

(iii) conduct aptitude testing in order to ensure transparency in the recruitment and selection process for employment and training.

Sir, over and above, the ministry will, in collaboration with other stakeholders and cooperating partners, continue pursuing the matter of creating an autonomous national productivity centre as the most appropriate institutional framework to promote productivity in the country.

Social Security

Mr Chairperson, social security, as is the case in Zambia, consists primarily of pension policy. It should be recognised that good pension schemes reduce the immediate poverty risk of older people and improves their general well being.

Sir, the Social Security Reform Programme that was implemented to streamline the system and improve its financial base has led to many positive outcomes, including a relatively efficient delivery of services. However, there is need to strengthen investment portfolios of social security schemes in Zambia to lessen the financial difficulties threatening their operations. There is also need to review the law of public schemes in the economic development of the country and to base benefit structures on actuarial projections and not on foundations that are not sustainable.

Mr Chairperson, my ministry, in consultation with other stakeholders, will produce a social security policy to address, among others, some of the impediments already referred to above. This includes the harmonisation of the regulation of social security in the country as well as extending the coverage of social security contingencies to those currently excluded. It is anticipated that once this policy is adopted and implemented, it will provide an overall arching policy and regulatory framework from which legislative measures could be derived for the Zambian Social Security System. The ministry is also considering modalities of creating a national health insurance scheme which will cover both formal and informal sectors.

Sir, in conclusion, I wish to point out to my colleagues in this august House that the private sector is expanding very fast and the problems of the ministry are becoming more and more compounded.

I, therefore, appeal to my colleagues to support the allocation for my ministry this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila(Chipili): Mr Chairperson, I thank you for …


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

(Debate adjourned)




(Progress reported)

The House adjourned at 1256 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 20th March, 2007.