Debates- Friday, 26th July, 2002

Printer Friendly and PDF


Friday, 26th July, 2002

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





Mr Speaker: I have an announcement to make on a matter that will now have been explained to this House the fourth time since 1964. Hon. Members, I have …

Mr Kabaghe stood by the door.

Mr Speaker: I do not think you will be able to stand for the entire duration of my ruling. Would you come in, please?

Mr Kabaghe  proceeded to take his seat.

Mr Speaker: I have to inform the House that, on 15th February, 2002, I received a written request from Mr A. K. Mazoka, President of the United Party for National Development (UPND), to recognise UPND as the Official Opposition political party in the National Assembly of Zambia and that the hon. Member for Solwezi Central, Mr B. Tetamashimba, be recognised as Leader of the Opposition in the House.

I have examined the circumstances surrounding this request in great detail, and I have come to the conclusion that it is inevitable for me to make the following statement and guide the House in this respect.

To ensure that both new and old Members of this august House follow what I am going to say, I have decided to address this subject matter in the following manner. I shall start by briefly looking at the concept and role of political party recognition in Parliament, and then move on to state the conditions that should be satisfied by a political party in Parliament to enable it be considered for recognition as an Official Opposition political party in the House, and one of its Members as Leader of the Opposition.

I shall then proceed to draw the attention of the House to the Zambian experience or historical perspective in the recognition of political parties and Leader of the Opposition in the Zambian Parliament. I shall finally conclude my statement by advising the House on the Speaker’s decision on the current position in our Parliament on this subject matter.


Hon. Members, the party system is an integral part of 

parliamentary democracy and, in many respects, the functioning of the House is based on a clear-cut division between Government and the Opposition. An obvious recognition of this historical development is the sitting arrangement in the House with Government Members sitting on the right of the Speaker’s Chair and Opposition Members on the left. Thus, while the party in Government is vested with powers to govern, the party in Opposition acts as the responsible outlet for:

(i)     constructive criticism;

(ii)    the incorruptible searcher after scandals needing         exposure;

(iii)    the organised expression of legitimate grievances;         and 

(iv)    a party formed, trained and responsible team             prepared to take over the reins of Government.

In talking about recognised Official Opposition and its leadership, Erskine May and other authorities on parliamentary procedure and practice, have the following to say:

1.    Parliamentary Practice by Erskine May, twenty-        second edition, on page 211, define the term             ‘Official Opposition’ as follows: ‘The prevalence         (on the whole) of the two-party system has usually         obviated in uncertainty as to which party has the         right to be called the ‘Official Opposition’. It is the         largest minority party, which is prepared, in the         event of the resignation of the Government, to         assume office. The Leader of the Opposition and         some of his principal colleagues form a group,         popularly know as the ‘Shadow Cabinet’ each         member of which is given a particular range of         activities on which it is his task to direct criticism         of the Government’s policy and administration and         outline alternative policies. The Leader of the         Opposition is by custom accorded certain peculiar         rights in asking questions of Ministers.’

From what I have quoted, it is generally agreed that the Official Opposition is the largest minority party, which is prepared, in the event of the resignation of the Government, to assume office. A Leader of the Opposition is thus regarded as a Shadow Prime Minister prepared to form a Government if his party secures the majority at the election or if the Government resigns or is defeated.

2.    An Encyclopedia of Parliament by Norman Wilding         and Philip Laundy, fourth revised edition, on page         428, defines the term ‘Leader of the Opposition’ as         follows: ‘A Member of the House of Commons who         is, for the time being, the leader in the House of the         party in opposition to the Government having the         greatest numerical strength.’

Normally, for functional purposes in the House, it is the practice of Parliament to accord the nomenclature of ‘Parliamentary Party or Group’ to the constituent groups forming a party, having a common programme of 

[Mr Speaker]

parliamentary work, a common organisation, a common leader and a Whip to speak on their behalf on the Floor of the House.

The term ‘Parliamentary Party or Group’ is also used to refer to Members of different parties having different ideologies and unattached Members. In short, political parties that are not accorded formal recognition as Official Opposition Party in the House are given a nomenclature ‘Parliamentary Group.’ Members in Opposition who do not belong to registered parties or are independent of any party affiliation are not referred to as parliamentary parties or groups.

It is important to note that the recognition of a party as being the Official Opposition for the purpose of functioning in the House is accorded only by the Speaker, and his decision is final. In other jurisdictions, the power to accord the recognition is provided for in the Constitution and Standing Orders, and the Speaker’s role is to ensure that the provisions so made are followed or complied with. Once a party is recognised as the Official Opposition in the House, the Speaker may grant that party certain facilities. These, generally, include:

(i)    allotment of blocks of seats in the House in             proportion to the strength of the party and the total         number of seats available in the House;

(ii)    allotment of a room in the House for the purpose of         work of the party;

(iii)    supply of parliamentary or Government papers or         publications;

(iv)    allotment of a seat in the front row on the occasion         of the official opening of the House by the President         and other important functions; and

(v)    residential accommodation is sometimes provided         for the Leader of the Opposition on the             recommendation of the Leader of Government         Business in the House. The Leader of the Opposition         is entitled to a statutory fixed salary and allowances.

Conditions that must be satisfied by a political party in order to be considered for recognition as Official Opposition

Hon. Members, according to parliamentary conventions in existence in many Commonwealth Parliaments, there are certain conditions which a political party in Parliament has to satisfy before it can be recognised as a Parliamentary Group or Official Opposition Party. These are as follows:

(i)    it should have distinct ideology and programme of         work whether in the political, economic or social         field, which was announced by it at the time of         general elections and on which it has been returned         to the House. It should form a homogenous unit         capable of developing into a well knit entity;

(ii)    it should have an organisation, both inside and 

outside the House, which is in touch with public opinion on all important issues before the country; and

(iii)    in case of an Official Opposition, it should, at least         be able to command a strength which would enable         it to keep the House, that is, its number should not         be less than the quorum fixed to constitute a sitting         of the House.

Hon. Members, it should be emphasised that the political party with representation in the House which satisfies the first two conditions but fails to command the required minimum strength, namely, the quorum fixed to constitute a sitting of the House, is recognised as a Parliamentary Group and not as an Official Opposition party.

The Zambian Experience

I now turn to the Zambian position on this matter. I should state from the outset that the Constitution of Zambia and other laws in general do not provide for the recognition or status of an opposition party in the House. However, by convention and practice, we have established our own rules of procedure on this matter. This procedure includes the three conditions I have already outlined, and the power to recognise an Official Opposition in the House which is vested in the Speaker, whose decision on the matter is final. It should be clearly stated here that, in making his decision on this matter, the Speaker is always guided by the three conditions and other relevant parliamentary procedures and practices.

Our precedents on this matter go as far as 1964. On 13th March, 1964, my predecessor, the late Hon. Thomas Williams, O. B. E., E. D., guided the House on the matter by not only outlining the conditions that must be satisfied by the political party to be considered, but also by indicating the authority responsible for the exercising of the power to recognise that political party. In his ruling, the late Hon. Thomas Williams guided that, on the basis of parliamentary procedure as stated by Erskine May, it was difficult for him to accord either of the two equal and small parties in the House, at that time, recognition as the Official Opposition.

In part, the late Hon. Thomas Williams stated, and I quote:

    ‘It is difficult on this basis to choose one or two         equal and small parties. The slightest fluctuation in         their strength might result in the smaller of the         groups being the Official Opposition. Neither could,         in any case, assume office as the Government. Nor         can one justify selecting one as satisfying, more than         the other, the requirement of “ensuring that the         indispensable function of criticism shall be             effectively co-ordinated” and I gather that there is         no question of a combined Opposition. 

    Yet I consider that it is an advantage, from the point         of view of the smooth running of the House and for         the Government itself, that there should be some         measure of consultation. Such consultation would         normally be with those party leaders, and that         imposes a special burden upon them, particularly         as the public will also be likely to approach them         about their problems.

    It seems to me, therefore, that our particular situation         can best be met by facing the fact that we have two         separate and independent groups in opposition equal         in size but neither strong enough to justify being         recognised as Official Opposition, but that the         special responsibilities of the leaders of these groups         should be recognised by the payment to each of         them of a special allowance.’

Furthermore, on 22nd January, 1969, my other predecessor, Hon. R. M. Nabulyato, O. G. C. F., made another ruling on this matter. After quoting from Erskine May’s treaties again on the conditions that should be satisfied by the political party to be considered for recognition, he had this to say, and I quote:

    “Section 78 of the Constitution of Zambia, provides         that:

        ‘one-fourth or one quarter of all the                 Members of the National Assembly shall             form a quorum.’

    In our House of 110 Members, this means that the         quorum is twenty-seven and a half Members and         as there is no half human being our quorum in this         case shall be twenty-seven Members.

    From the above, it will now be clear that if the         present Government resigned or got defeated on a         motion of censure, the African National Congress         with its twenty three Members and one             Independent would neither form a quorum to         execute the business of the House in the absence         of the United National Independence Party nor a         Government. I have, therefore, reluctantly             decided not to recognise the African National         Congress and its Leader as the Official             Opposition.’

On 28th January, 1992, Hon. R. M. Nabulyato laid plain a parliamentary procedure governing the recognition of an Official Opposition which I have already referred to. He stated in part, and I quote:

    ‘According to one of the rules for the recognition         of an Official Opposition in the House, the Members         of that party must be able to keep the House             functioning, that is, it should, at least constitute a         quorum. A quorum is constituted by one-third of         the Members of the Assembly besides the person         presiding. The United National Independence         Party’s membership in the House falls far short of         forming the quorum required. There is, therefore, a         strong argument that the United National             Independence Party should not have a recognised         Leader of the Opposition in the House.

    ‘However, the importance of the Opposition in the         system of parliamentary government, has long         received practical recognition in the procedures of         the Parliaments of the Commonwealth. In any         system of Government, there will always be a         struggle for power. Those who are not in office will 

    constantly try to oust those who form the             Government. Such struggle can take place in various         forms:

    (a)    by possible seizure of power;

    (b)    by revolution; and

    (c)    by elective process.

    The parliamentary system of Government makes it         obligatory for the Opposition forces to struggle for         power on the Floor of the House by recognised         parliamentary methods. It is better for parties to fight         on the Floor of the House rather than by seizure of         power, revolution or other methods which are not         parliamentary. One of the biggest achievements of         the present century is that the role of the Opposition         has been formally recognised and is given a due         place in the parliamentary system. Thus, the Leader         of the Opposition is an important person. He has,         therefore, to measure carefully his words and actions         and, on a matter of national interest or national         importance, has to act with as much responsibility         as is expected of a Head of State. Although he may         criticise the Government on the Floor of the House         and outside within the country or outside his country         he should eschew party politics. The national         interest has to prevail over party politics.

    Having said so, I take into account the very             important fact that, after eighteen years of one-party         system of Government, the Zambian people             decided, overwhelmingly, to establish a new             political culture. Zambia has set a very good             example in all the countries that have been             practising one-party systems of Government in         Africa and throughout the world by establishing a         truly parliamentary democracy.

    Experience has revealed that what some African         countries and most countries in the Eastern Europe         were falsely believing to be democratic systems of         Government, coined with words like ‘People’s         Democracy’, ‘Socialist Republic’, ‘Participatory         Democracy’, etc, were, in real sense, autocratic or         dictatorial forms of Governments. People, all over         the world today, have discovered – and are still         doing so – what the real parliamentary democracies         are. That being the case, I am now formally             recognising the United National Independence Party         as an official Opposition in the House and Mr H.         D. Banda, MP, as Leader of the Opposition.

    All the facilities and benefits for the recognition         will be accorded to the Leader of the Opposition         accordingly. In this decision, I have taken into         account the eagerness of the two parties represented         in this House for this recognition. If it were not that         both parties expect this recognition, I would have         not given it. But both the United National             Independence Party and MMD have requested the         recognition of the Opposition party.’ 

[Mr Speaker]

Meanwhile, the House may wish to know that, despite my predecessor’s and the governing party’s goodwill, UNIP’s recognition as an Official Opposition party had to be withdrawn later largely because it was based on a shaky foundation.

Hon. Members, taking into account the three conditions I outlined earlier in my statement, I wish to state that, apart from the Independent Member of Parliament in the House, all the political parties represented in this House have met the first two, but have not satisfied the third. Article 84(4) of the Constitution, Cap. 1 of the Laws of Zambia states, and I quote:

    ‘84 (4) The quorum for a meeting of the National         Assembly shall be one third of the total number of         Members of the National Assembly and if at any         time during a meeting of the National Assembly         objection is taken by any Member present that there         is no quorum, it shall be the duty of the Speaker or         the person acting as such, either to adjourn the         National Assembly or, as he may think fit, to             suspend the meeting until there is a quorum.’

The quorum of this House, as stated in the constitutional provision I have just quoted, is one third of the total number of the Members of the National Assembly. Translated in figures, that is fifty-three Members, to the nearest. This is one-third of one hundred and fifty-nine Members.

The current membership of political parties, excluding the party in Government, is as follows:

United Party for National Development (UPND)    48
United National Independence Party (UNIP)    13
Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD)    12
Heritage Party (HP)                2
Patriotic Front (PF)                1
Zambia Republican Party (ZRP)            1

None of these political parties have at least fifty three Members to satisfy the quorum as provided by Article  84(4) of the Constitution.

Hon. Members, after taking into consideration the rules of parliamentary practice in our Parliament on this matter, I wish to rule that, according to our procedure and practice, no party in the Opposition qualifies for recognition as an official Opposition; and we leave the matter at this.

The House may wish to know that the same  decision was also taken by my predecessor, the Hon. R. M. Nabulyato, after the 1996 General Elections. It is not a new one. Neither is it a departure from what had happened before. It is important that the procedures and practices of this House are observed and accordingly followed.

I thank you. {mospagebreak}


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

On Tuesday, 30th July 2002, the business of the House will begin with Questions. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider reports from select committees, if there will be any.

On Wednesday, 31st July 2002, the business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will then debate private Members’ motions, if there will be any. After that, the House will consider reports from select committees, if there will be any.

On Thursday, 1st August 2002, the business of the House will start with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider stages of any Bills that may have been presented. After that, the House will consider reports from select committees, if there will be any.

On Friday, 2nd August 2002, the business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by consideration of the remaining stages of any Bills already before the House and reports from select committees, if there will be any.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.



71. Captain Moono (Chilanga) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives:

(a)    what Government’s policy on the exportation of         cattle is;

(b)    how many cattle were exported in 2001;

(c)    how many cattle were restocked country-wide in         2001; and

(d)    what the live-weight farm price of cattle per             kilogramme as at 31st March 2002 was.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Kamwendo): Mr Speaker, the Government’s policy provides that anyone is free to export cattle to any country for as long as the appropriate sanitary conditions required by the importing country have been met, necessary export procedures have been followed and permits obtained.

Sir, forty herd of cattle were exported to Malawi in 2001. There was no deliberate re-stocking programme by the Government. This will be done in due course as a livestock development trust being developed take root.

The average live-weight farm price of cattle per 

kilogramme as at 31st March, 2002 was K4,000.

Thank you, Sir.


72. Mr Patel (Lusaka Central) asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning:

(a)    how much money is owed by Government             ministries and parastatal bodies to the Zambia         National Commercial bank as at 31st January, 2002         and how long the debt has been outstanding; and

(b)    which parastatals are in debt with the bank or other         financial institutions.

The Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Mutati): Mr Speaker, the amount owed by parastatal bodies and Government ministries to the Zambia National Commercial Bank as at 31st January, 2002 is K222 billion, broken down as follows:

Thank you, Sir.


73. Mr Patel asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning:

(a)    who financed the construction of the OAU             Village in Lusaka under the Presidential Housing         Initiative and who signed and authorised the             financing agreement; and

(b)    who the current owners of the village are.

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, I wish to withdraw this question in view of the fact that His Honour the Vice-President will 

be issuing a comprehensive statement in due course.

Mr Speaker: I see no objection to that.

Question put and agreed to. Question by leave of the House withdrawn accordingly.


74. Mr L. L. Phiri (Chipangali) asked the Minister of Communications and Transport:

(a)    when construction of the Nacala/Mchinji/Chipata         Railway Line would be completed;

(b)    how much is needed to complete the railway line;         and

(c)    if the ministry can consider making the completion         of the railway line a priority.

The Deputy Minister of Communications and Transport (Mr Nsanda): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform thisaugust House that the Nacala Port is a natural deep sea port that is able to accommodate the largest sea vessel. It is currently going under reconstruction that aims at improving performance of operations.

The House may wish to know that a railway line already exists from Nacala in Mozambique up to Mchinji in Malawi. The only missing link is the stretch from Mchinji to Chipata in Zambia.

With regard to the exact date when construction of the connection between the two countries could be completed, this will solely depend on the availability of financial resources, either from the Treasury or from private investors.

[Mr Nsanda]

Mr Speaker, at the moment, there has been no independent study to determine the actual cost of the construction of Chipata/Mchinji Railway Line, apart from the pre-feasibility study report that has been conducted by V3 Consulting Engineers in the year 2000. From this report, the estimated cost was approximately US$10 million. There is need, however, to conduct a fresh full feasibility study of the same to accurately determine the cost of undertaking the construction.

Mr Speaker, my ministry has always put the construction of the Chipata/Mchinji Railway Line project as a priority in the Annual Budget Estimates. Regrettably, funding to the railway line project has stalled since 1995 when the last allocation was made.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister confirm to this august House the Government’s attitude of ignoring Eastern Province is deliberate, when it knows that the completion of this railway line means development. Can he also confirm whether it is a deliberate move for them to continue using South African routes instead of boosting the 
cross triangle, which is Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.

Mr Nsanda: Mr Speaker, the Government is not taking a deliberate move. We are already negotiating with the private sector. Very soon, we will bring the answer to this august House.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Sikota (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister, please, inform this House why the budget item is at variance with his explanation, regarding when this line will be completed.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nsanda: Mr Speaker, the Budget allocation this year is showing zero and the Budget was prepared last year.

Thank you, Sir. {mospagebreak}

Mr Sibetta (Luena): Mr Speaker, can His Honor the Vice-President give a satisfactory reply why his Government is contradicting its budgetary position on this matter.

Mr Speaker: Order! The question should be directed at the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport, unless His Honor the Vice-President wishes to help.

Mr Nsanda: Mr Speaker, there is no contradiction whatsoever.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister, please, clarify that the Budget for the year 2002, like the Budget for every other year, was prepared a year before. It is never prepared on the year of the budget. So, could he, please, clarify and 

be accurate, to this House, and not give us illogical answers.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Kasonde): Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would like to assist my colleague. It is the intention of this Government to not only do the Muchinji link, but also conduct a full study so that the railway-line can finally reach the one going to Dar-es-Salaam somewhere around Serenje. This will enable people to export goods to either Nacala or Dar-es-Salaam depending on the efficiency of the route. Our interest is to conduct a proper feasibility study and afterwards take the feasibility report to tender.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shumina (Mangango): Mr Speaker, I am very surprised. May the hon. Minister, please, come out clearly. A feasibility study was taken in the year 2000, and the hon. Minister is talking about another feasibility study. What do they really want to do? Can the ministry tell us what the correct situation is because we are getting contradictory statements from the Government.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President(Mr Kavindele): Mr Speaker, the situation is that an American company has taken over the concession of the Nacala Railway Line up to Mchinji. This company has offered the Zambian Government some finance to enable it complete the twenty one kilometre Mchinji/Chipata Railway Line. 

However, they have also requested that they be considered for another part concession of Zambia Railways Limited. Because of that, the Government is still studying the possibilities of linking the request of the American company to be considered for part of the Zambia railways line, to that of Mchinji/Chipata. Therefore, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is correct. The Government is considering linking Chipata to the Tazara railway line, and feasibility studies are to be undertaken when funding is provided. 

However, you may be interested to know that part of the fertiliser and maize that is being imported this year shall come on the Nacala railway line up to Mchinji. That gives us the opportunity to study the reliability and viability of that route. Once that is done, it is hoped that the American company, which runs the Nacala railway line, will be able to make a firm decision on that 21 kilometre stretch.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Ng’uni (Chama South): Mr Speaker, the question is very easy. When will the twenty one kilometres, where the feasibility study was conducted, be done? We are not getting confirmation here. We want to know when this stretch will be done so that things can start flowing in through Nacala.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I have stated that the 

American company has the finance to do that twenty one kilometre stretch. However, they have tried to marry the financing of Mchinji and Chipata, with taking part in the concessioning of Zambia Railways Limited. We, on the other hand, believe that, perhaps, the two are separate items. The Americans are coming here on the 21st August, 2002, for discussions with the Zambia Pricatisation Agency. Now, depending …


The Vice-President: Do you want an answer or not?

Mr Speaker: Order! I think we must be a serious House. There is no way you can hear, let alone understand, what is being said by the Government if you interject, laugh and make fun simultaneously. That is not a mature way of handling the issue. If you disagree with the answer that is being given, please, listen and follow up with relevant supplementary questions. That is the proper way of doing it. If you simultaneously interject, the Chair will take it that the House is not interested in the answer from the Government. When that is understood, the Chair will move on. But since His Honour the Vice-President was in the middle of a sentence, may he complete that sentence.

Will he continue, please.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the ruling. Like I said yesterday, we go to great lengths to research. We have permanent secretaries with full-time staff who research on the questions that hon. members ask. Now, if we do not come here with answers, it will not be good. I am aware that the issue of the Mchinji/Chipata railway line is very important. In fact, I have just stated that we are going to use it this year. We have already imported fertiliser that is going to come in through that route. Now, if you interject while I am explaining, I might as well sit down. Consequently, you will not find answers to take to your constituencies. We will, probably, have more answers, than you, when we go there. So, you might as well listen.

Mr Speaker, the money for the railway line is there. I have already said that there are Americans coming on the 21st August, 2002. It is our wish to discuss with them the fact that the two are unrelated. What we want to have is, Zambia being a landlocked country, access to as many entry points as possible and Nacala is one of those points. Although we bring our maize and fertiliser up to Mchinji and transport it by road to service Eastern Province, we hope that the Americans will understand the  need to complete this route up to Chipata, until such a time that the feasibility study to connect it to Tazara is made.

 Thank you, Sir.


75. Mr L. L. Phiri asked the Minister of Communications and Transport:

(a)    when Chipata Airport will be re-opened;

(b)    what the reasons for its closure were; and

(c)    how much is required to make it functional.

Mr Nsanda: Mr Speaker, from the question raised by the hon. Member of Parliament for Chipangali, I wish to inform this august House that Chipata Airport will be opened immediately the contractors complete rehabilitation works. The House may wish to know that the contractors are on the site, but awaiting payment before continuing with the outstanding works. The contractor has intimated that he would complete the remaining work within a month, as longas disbursement of funds is effected to meet operational costs.

The reason for this closure was that it became unsafe for aircraft operations due to most areas of the runway being washed away by rains.

The amount required to make it functional is as follows: outstanding payments for work done - K279, 119,458.14; outstanding payments for works not yet done - K407, 954,091.51.The total amount is K687, 7200,549.65

Thank you, Sir.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Deputy Minister state the timeframe. We Know very well that the MMD can abandon already completed projects for years. Can he state when funds will be released, for the small portion of work remaining, to complete this project?

Mr Nsanda: Sir, there was no budgetary provision for this year, but as soon as the funding is made available, the job will be completed. We are, currently, consulting stakeholders to fund us so that we can complete this work.

Thank you, Sir.

Miss Nawakwi: Mr Speaker, I am quite aware that their predecessors did a dismal job as far as provincial communication is concerned. Could it be possible that the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport can find a crash programme to allow us communicate to all our provincial capitals.

Mr Nsanda: Sir that is a new question, I think, you can ask it later.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Sibetta: Mr Speaker, Chipata Airport is a second alternative landing airport to Mfuwe. With the tourism industry being stepped up in that area, why is the Government risking the lives of tourists flying to Mfuwe and robbing the airlines of an alternative landing facility by not completing this project quickly?  I would like the Government to explain this matter seriously.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nsanda: Mr Speaker we have already answered that question. However, the answer is that the stakeholders are organising the money to complete the airport.

Thank you, Sir.


76. Mr Patel asked the Minister of Energy and Water Development:

(a)    what reasons led to the Zambia National Oil             Company to obtain a loan of US$100 million ; and

(b)    what measures have been taken to recover the loan.

The Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Lembalemba): Mr Speaker, the hon. Member may wish to know that the US$100 million debt accumulated over a period of time was due to a number of factors. Primary amongst these was ZNOC’s inability to charge prices that would reflect the landed cost of fuel. The hon. Member may recall that in 1996, the Single Point Mooring (SPM), the loading facility at DarEsSalaam was destroyed by fire, and as such the country had to import finished petroleum products. Due to the prevailing situation at the time, the Government did not authorise ZNOC to increase the price of products in spite of the landed cost being higher. This contributed to ZNOC’s failure to service loans obtained from various banks. 

The inability to service these loans because of liquidity problems coupled with interest charges, led to the accumulation of debt of over US$100 million over time.To recover the loan, the Government has liquidated ZNOC and the MMD assumed its debt of US$140 million to all the creditors.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister, please, therefore, clarify why the resident representative of the International Monetary Fund, before the Consultative Group Meeting, in a public forum, suggested that the Government should investigate the loss of the US$100 million of the Zambia National Oil Company.

Mr Lembalemba: Mr Speaker, I think the statement by the hon. Member of Parliament for Lusaka Central is very correct. The Minister of Finance and National Planning has appointed a forensic auditor to look into this problem. We shall only get the correct position after this audit exercise has been completed.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Muyanda (Sinazongwe): Mr Speaker, from the hon. Minister’s statement that fire burnt Indeni, would he be kind enough to tell the nation what caused the fire. Was it accidental, technical or sabotage because I think it has cost this nation a lot of money?

Mr Speaker: I am afraid the question is not quite relevant to the one on the Order Paper. The Chair is aware that your predecessors were afforded the opportunity of a detailed statement on this matter. I can only hope that during the course of the next five years, this subject may be gone over in order for the new Members of the House to benefit. But, this matter 

was already gone into previously. 

Mr Sibetta: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister clear the air over the missing tankers, which could have led to this expenditure. The Minister of Finance and National Planning alluded to a different number and when His Excellency the President was here, he also alluded to a different number. Why can the Government not trace those who caused this debt rather than taking the burden of paying debt to a third party who brought in those missing tankers?

The Vice-President: Ask Nawakwi.


Mr Lembalemba: Mr Speaker, the question of the missing …

Miss Nawakwi: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Miss Nawakwi: Mr Speaker, is His Honour the Vice-President in order to make running commentaries across the Floor, when a follow-up question is being asked, and tell this House that they should ask me…


Miss Nawakwi: … about the sixty one missing tankers when His Honour the Vice-President knows very well that the tankers went missing way after I had left the Ministry of Energy and Water Development? The former President and the Vice-President were in the Chair and the two should know better. Is he in order, Mr Speaker?


Mr Speaker: The Chair is unaware of the point of order that has been raised by the hon. Member for Munali because the Chair did not hear His Honour the Vice-President or anyone else debate in such a manner as to point fingers at the hon. Member for Munali. The Chair takes it as one of those moments when the House must unwind and relax.


Mr Speaker: Will the hon. Minister continue, please.

Mr Lembalemba: Mr Speaker, I think the question of missing tankers is a new one. If my brother wants information on that, he should …

The Vice-President: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: No, Sir. 


Hon. Opposition Member: On his Minister?

Mr Speaker: Will the hon. Minister continue, please.

Mr Lembalemba: Mr Speaker, I was saying the question 

of missing tankers was a new question and if the hon. Member wants information, he could submit it as a new question. We have already appointed a forensic auditor to give us the correct position.

Thank you, Sir.


77. Mr Patel asked the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services what the indebtedness of the Times of Zambia, the Zambia Daily Mail and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation to the following was from January, 1996, to December, 2001, year by year:

(i)    the Zambia Revenue Authority;

(ii)    the Zambia Telecommunications Corporation; and

(iii)    the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Zimba): Mr Speaker, I ask for your indulgence, that due to the mix-up of figures and the detailed answer we need to give, we are unable to answer this question today. We, therefore, request to have it deferred.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The question has lapsed.


78. Mr Patel asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry when the non-core ZCCM assets will be sold by the Zambia Privatisation Agency.

The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Musanya): Mr Speaker, this is a delicate question which requires a lot of consultation with relevant stake-holders such as the Attorney-General and the ZPA board as to, find out what actually transpired. However, according to the information available from ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc, essentially, all non-core assets of ZCCM have already been disposed of either through sale or deed of gift. Other assets were taken over at the time of visiting. 

Mr Speaker, I wish to lay on the Table the full list of non-core assets and the status of each one of them as per records provided by ZCCM Investment Holdings Plc. I wish to further inform the House that the list provided will be subjected to further scrutiny after consultation with all institutions involved in the handling of ZCCM assets.

According to ZCCM Investment Holdings Plc., the proceeds from the sale of non-core assets were utilised in the operations of ZCCM Limited before privatisation whereas those arising out of the sale of listed items in schedule three have been used in the operations of ZCCM Investment Holdings.

The ministry has instructed the Zambia Privatisation Agency to constitute an independent audit team whose terms of reference will, among others, include establishing whether 

or not the assets were properly disposed of and how the proceeds were utilised.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry for being very candid after a long while. Is it correct that the hon. Minister has obtained the information from the ZCCM Investment 

Holdings, which is not responsible, by law, to sell or to provide the information? It is supposed to be the ZPA. Could the hon. Minister explain why they obtained the information from ZCCM Investment Holdings Limited and not ZPA.

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Namuyamba): Mr Speaker, we instructed ZPA to obtain the information from ZCCM Investment Holdings and as a ministry, we were not satisfied with the answers that were given. So, in this state we have instructed ZPA to constitute an independent team of auditors whose terms of reference have already been alluded to.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Sikota: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister, please, inform this House what his Government intends to do against those people who illegally sold ZCCM non-core assets.

Mr Namuyamba: Mr Speaker, we have, on several occasions, indicated that our Government is that of laws and those who have breached any laws will be visited by the law.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Sibetta: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister confirm to this House whether an illegal privatisation team that was constituted against the privatisation law has been abolished by the New Deal Administration. There were two teams, the ZPA and a new team lead by Mr Francis Kaunda that was illegal. Can you confirm whether that illegal team has, now, been abolished and that you are relying on ZPA alone.

Mr Namuyamba: Mr Speaker, immediately I assumed office at the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, I disbanded that team.

Thank you, Sir.


79. Mr Patel asked the Minister of Health who the National AIDS Council Board members were as at 31st March, 2002, and how much sitting allowance they were entitled to.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the board members of the National AIDS Council as at 31st March 2002, were as follows:

1.    Mr Lavu Mulimba – Chairman
2.    Mr A. H. Chisuta – Member
3.    Mr A. Marijani – Member

[The Vice-President]

4.    Mrs Elizabeth Mataka – Member
5.    Dr Rodwell Vongo – Member
6.    Dr S. K. Miti – Member
7.    Mrs E. L . Kapulu – Member
8.    Mrs E. N. Wakumelo – Member
9.    Mr S. C. Kangali – Member

Their sitting allowances, as per Cabinet Circular No. 2 of 2002 category one, were as follows: Chairman –K300,000 and Members – K250,000

However, the chairperson was also in receipt of K3 million stipend per month at the time there was only a transitional team that required to work very closely, almost full time, with the chairperson. Hence the justification for the K3 million stipend per month. Now that the secretariat is in place as from 7th June, 2002, the Chairperson receives only K300,000 sitting allowance.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, would His Honour the Vice-President confirm whether it is appropriate for a permanent secretary or any public official who sits on a board to receive sitting allowance when they are already being paid for the jobs they are appointed to do.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, Cabinet Circular No. (2) of 2002 category one, unfortunately, does allow public officers who sit on some boards to be paid.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Kalumiana (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, could His Honour the Vice-President inform this House how the composition or selection of the National AIDS/STD/TB Council is done. Do you take into consideration provincial representation? What factors do you use to determine who should sit on this council because there is no provincial representation.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, firstly, if the hon. Member of Parliament is worried about representation from his constituency or province, we have Mrs Wakumelo there.

However, to a large extent, selection is based on the skill and ability of individuals. 

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mukwakwa (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, arising from the answer given by His Honour the Vice-President in reference to the Cabinet Circular, could he confirm whether that is the reason why we have not been availed the other exhibit of the Zamtrop Account.


Mr Speaker: The question is irrelevant!


Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I am concerned with representation. I notice, with interest, that every time there is a board or committee formed, the gender aspect seems to be ignored. You have said that you are a Government of laws and a Government of fairness …

Mr Shakafuswa: Government of men!

Mrs Masebo: Maybe, it is a Government of men.

Mr Speaker, why is it that most of the time you have two women out of ten or three women out of fifteen? I have noticed that even in Parliament, when it comes to committees it is one woman amongst ten. 

Interruptions. {mospagebreak}

Mrs Masebo: Could His Honour the Vice-President confirm whether this Government is gender insensitive.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, we have a gender policy in place, as the hon. Member of Parliament may be aware, and in this particular case, most of the people were chosen on ability basis. We had one traditional doctor, Dr Rodwel Vongo and if a lady traditional doctor does come along and offer services, she will also be considered but, in fact, out of nine members here, four are women. So, I think that is fair representation.

Thank you, Sir.


80. Mr Patel: asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)    what the total debt of all cities and district councils         in the country was  as at March, 2002; and 

(b)    what steps have been taken to repay the debt.

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, I wish to withdraw that question because it was asked during the week and was adequately answered.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I do not see or hear any objection. 

Question put and agreed to Question withdrawn accordingly.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, the House may have noticed that during the course of this week, at least, three questions lapsed. The House may wish to know that the Executive does not get away as easily as that.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Although I may not give specific details, I wish to inform the House that when a question lapses, a great deal of enquiry goes into establishing what actually happened. In the past, action has been taken against officers or officials who have not facilitated their hon. Ministers with timely, 

detailed and correct answers. I am saying so only for the benefit of the new hon. Members of the House.

However, when the question has lapsed, the process has to be started all over again, even though what I have said is taking or has taken place. 

So, I would like to request hon. Ministers to ensure that their permanent secretaries or their experts deal with the subjects that have been asked accurately and expeditiously.



Mr Shepande (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the appointment of the Hon. Justice Sandson S. Silomba as Supreme Court Judge, laid on the Table of the House on the 25th July, 2002.

Mr Speaker: Is the motion seconded?

Mrs R. C. Banda(Milanzi): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the motion.

Mr Shepande: Mr Speaker, your Parliamentary Select Committee was appointed to undertake this important assignment pursuant to the provisions of Article 93(2) of the Constitution, Cap. 1 of the Laws of Zambia which states that:

    ‘The Judges of the Supreme Court shall, subject to         ratification by the National Assembly, be appointed         by the President.’

The terms of reference of your Committee were to scrutinise the appointment of Hon. Justice Sandson S. Silomba as per the cited provision of the Constitution.

In order to ascertain the suitability of the appointee to serve as Supreme Court Judge, your Committee made inquiries from the State investigatory agencies and independent legal bodies and got both verbal and written responses from them. Your committee also interviewed the appointee.

Since the appointee was going to serve as Judge of the highest court in Zambia after ratification, it was imperative that your Committee establishes, among other things, that he had no criminal record, no adverse reports of corrupt practices, no adverse reports relating to drug trafficking and money laundering, and that he had competently discharged his duties as puisne Judge.

Mr Speaker, the record of the appointee, as can be seen from the report, is impressive. He is professionally qualified and has the necessary experience to serve as Supreme Court Judge. In addition, he has served in the Public Service since 1966 and has continued to do so despite the poor conditions of service associated with the civil service. With his experience, he could have chosen to leave the Public Service, 

but he did not, which in it self suggests that he is committed to rendering his services to the Judiciary.

It is against this background that the Committee recommends that the Honourable Justice Sandson S. Silomba be ratified by this august House as Supreme Court Judge.

Mr Speaker, your Committee, while in the process of scrutinising the appointee, observed a number of other issues, cardinal of which were the poor conditions of service for judges and magistrates. As the situation is today, the Judiciary has staff shortfalls. Younger and other outstanding lawyers will not be attracted to join the Judiciary if conditions of service remain the way they are. In addition, poor remuneration also serve as catalysts for corrupt practices. Judges and magistrates are also human and have needs to be met. 

While granting of super conditions of service may be difficult considering the harsh economic difficulties the country is experiencing, at least, conditions that may enablejudges and magistrates lead fairly decent lives should be provided, especially easy access to loans and housing. If the present situation continues without improvement, impartiality of our judges and magistrates may be affected, which in turn may lower the integrity of our judicial system and ultimately affect the whole concept of good governance.

Mr Speaker, your Committee realises that it is important to second judges to serve in other capacities both locally and internationally. However, your Committee are of the view that a flexible replacement system on the tenure of office of judges should be introduced so that the Supreme and High Court Benches do not suffer when judges are seconded elsewhere. To illustrate the point, out of an establishment of thirty High Court Judges, only twenty-four vacancies are filled and of these, three judges are on secondment to other institutions, meaning that only twenty-one are active on the Bench.

In the case of the Supreme Court, the establishment provides for nine positions of judges, but currently only seven are filled. In fact out of the seven, only six judges are available to sit on the Bench because one judge is currently on leave due to international engagement. Furthermore, even out of the six, one is indisposed. Technically, therefore, only five judges are actively performing duties on the Bench. It is, however, gratifying to learn that the Executive is taking appropriate measures to correct the situation..

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, may I thank you for nominating us to serve on this important select committee. May I also express my gratitude to the office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the valuable advice and services that were rendered to your Committee. I wish to further extend my thanks to all the witnesses, including the appointee, who appeared before your Committee despite the short notice, without whose contributions our task would not have been successfully concluded.

Lastly, Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. Members of your Committee for their valuable contributions and dedication to duty.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

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

Mrs Banda: Now, Sir.

Mr Speaker, your Committee observed that the witnesses that appeared before them, especially the state security wings gave very brief and uninformative submissions. This is as a result of the inadequate time that the appointing authority gives to Parliament in order to complete the ratification process. In turn, Parliament does not give adequate notice to witnesses who subsequently do not always give the best of submissions.

In view of the seriousness and need for the highest level of integrity that the office of judge deserves, your Committee, Sir, would like to see more informative and detailed submissions that give them the chance to do a thorough job. Your Committee, therefore, implore the appointing authority to give Parliament adequate notice so that witnesses will also be given the opportunity to present accurate, exhaustive and representative submissions.

Mr Speaker, I would like to touch on another issue that the mover has already spoken on. There is need, for the Judiciary to always work effectively and efficiently. This, can only be achieved if the Benches at both the High Court and the Supreme Court were operating at full capacity.

Mr Speaker, your Committee cannot over emphasise the need to fill both the High Court and Supreme Court Benches in order for justice to be dispensed. As you know justice delayed is justice denied.

Furthermore, Mr Speaker, the current scenario in the nation today paints a gloomy picture of the Judiciary which needs to be urgently reversed. To this effect, the Zambian public would like to have a Judiciary that will enhance transparency in order to once more win back the confidence of the people.

Mr Speaker, as already been said, your Committee fully supports the appointment of Hon. Mr Justice S. S. Silomba 

as Supreme Court Judge and would, therefore, ask that the House do ratify this appointment.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Mr Kabaghe (Matero): Mr Speaker, in supporting the adoption of this report by this very important Parliamentary Select Committee, I would like to state that I have known Justice Sandson Silomba for a long time.

He hails from Sami Village in Senior Headman Mulekatembo’s area, Chief Mwenechifungwe of Isoka East. His parents reside in Ndola, but he and his immediate family are here in Lusaka. In all these three areas, the Silombas, as a family are held in very high esteem. Where they hail from, the Silombas, even in Ndola, no one will speak evil of them because of their family’s culture of integrity.

Justice Silomba is a person of great integrity. Wherever 

he has gone and whoever he has associated with has talked kindly of him. We also know that he headed a very complicated institution as Commissioner of Lands. We also do know that very few Commissioners of Land leave that position and go for higher positions. Most of them end up there. But here we are talking of Justice Silomba for the position of Supreme Court Judge. He has excelled in these very difficult positions. Really, he is going to add value to the Bench in the Supreme Court. I have no doubt, and this is why all those who have contributed to the debate have talked about the excellence of Justice Silomba.

Mr Speaker, I sit down hoping that we are not going to have any problem in supporting Justice Silomba as Supreme Court Judge.

Thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Mabenga): Mr Speaker, first of all I would like to congratulate Hon. Shepande, MP, together with his select committee on the job well done. I do realise that they have followed what was required of them to do in order to arrive at this recommendation.

Mr Speaker, I have looked at the CV for Hon. Justice Silomba and I find it quite progressive and befitting of him to be elevated to serve in the Supreme Court. I do note also that the various agencies that have been asked to submit information on Hon. Justice Silomba have done so to the best of their ability and in the interest of the nation.

 Therefore, I strongly support this recommendation.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Sikota (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I stand to support the ratification of Justice Silomba. There is a need for quality people to ascend to the High Bench and I do believe that Justice Silomba meets this criteria. I say this from personal knowledge because as a legal professional I have had the privilege of working closely with Justice Silomba and have been before him when he has been on the Bench. And at all times, he has exhibited a sober and judicious mind and there can be no doubt that he fits to be ratified by this House.

Mr Speaker, lately in Zambia we have had people ascending to high offices and people later on ask the background of these people. They even ask who the school mates of these people were. I can let this House know that, in fact, the Hon. Justice Silomba has a lot of school mates who can verify that he did go through law school.


Mr Sikota: I see the hon. learned Minister of Legal Affairs who was a class mate of Justice Silomba and I might as well add that I, too, was a class mate of Justice Silomba. I have seen him from the early formative stages and know that there is no professional blemish that one can place upon Justice Silomba.

Mr Speaker, I am also aware of the intellectual ability of Justice Silomba. Out of a class of forty two of the Law 

Practice Institute, he was one of only nine who went through in the year 1981 on first attempt and with several distinctions and, therefore, this House can be assured that we are talking of a man of great intellectual ability. We were only nine who went through.


Mr Sikota: I, therefore, fully endorse that this House do ratify this great son of Zambia who has dedicated his entire life to public service.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (Miss Namugala): Mr Speaker, I wish to support the ratification of Justice S. Silomba. He is, indeed, a man of high integrity. I have known Justice Silomba for a long time and I am sure that he will serve the people of Zambia with humility and integrity.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga (Kafue): Mr Speaker,  thank you for the opportunity and I speak in my capacity as a former Member of Parliament for Isoka East, that I have known Justice Silomba for just over forty-two years, having met him in 1960 when he came to Standard Five at Muyombe Primary School.

Indeed, Justice Silomba is truly a distinguished Member of the Bench. He was not only my school mate but also the captain of the school and he was a very good goal keeper...


Mr Sichinga:... and very much along the lines that hon. Sikatana in his other profession as a footballer would have appreciated having somebody in the goal post.


Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, let me say that not only was he a dependable goal keeper, but as the hon. Member for Matero (Mr Kabaghe) has said, you can count on Justice Silomba. Let me say that not only was he my school captain at Muyombe Primary School, he was also my school captain at Isoka Secondary School.

Miss Nawakwi: Hear, hear!


Mr Sichinga: In those circumstances, short of a few people in here who could have known him longer than I, I can divulge for his integrity not only in his adult life, but even as a youth. I know that he was very strict with me, especially on Wednesdays because on this day we used to eat rice and we used to call it India day.


Mr Sichinga: I know that captain Silomba then, made sure that – because I was very small – I received an extra portion.


Mr Sichinga: I wish to say that this also reflects his generosity. I have also seen him at work at the Lands Department, Labour Office, Industrial Relations Court and, indeed, at the High Court. Frankly, I have no hesitation, whatsoever, in supporting the ratification of Justice Silomba because I know that he will do well to bring back the integrity that has been eroded in our judicial system especially in view of what has just taken place in the country. So, I fully endorse this motion.

Thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister for Southern Province (Mr Mpombo): Mr Speaker, your Committee has done an excellent piece of work. The Judiciary is the mirror of society. Time has come to appoint people of impeccable credentials to the Bench so that they do not succumb to any sort of temptations. The Judge has acquitted himself in his role as a judge. He brings to the Bench a wealth of experience, which will be to the benefit of this nation. I strongly support the appointment of Judge Silomba.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The Chair senses unanimity. Hon. Members may debate.

Mr Patel (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, I am not from Isoka, unlike some hon. Members who just debated.


Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, I support the motion before us. However, I would like to make a few comments. In the past few months, we have seen the very foundation of the Judiciary, probably for the first time in our recent history, shaken. There must be a reason that this happened. 

Today, in our debates, we have heard how inefficient parastatals have gobbled-up billions of kwacha from public resources that will never be recovered. It is obvious that the root cause of these problems is the terms of service and conditions in which such very senior people in our society are appointed. I commend the Government for trimming down and I hope it will continue doing so. However, the point is that the services and conditions of people in such high positions should be improved.

It is very important that the very tenets of our democracy are maintained in the Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive. Each of these institutions must be well catered for. It is often said that we do not have enough money in our country. This is not true. It is the way in which we use the resources of our country that has borne dispute.

I hope from next year onwards, seeing as it is not possible 

[Mr Patel]

to do anything this year, the Government should seriously look at the issue of remuneration so that temptations are avoided. We are, after all, only human.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Imenda (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, in endorsing the ratification of the appointment of Judge Silomba, I would like to advise on the importance of the office that he has
ascended to.

Mr Speaker, the Judiciary has found itself on trial when sensitive cases that require men of integrity arise. On many occasions we have, as a nation, found ourselves in a situation where there has been political interference. It is the responsibility of the Judiciary as an independent arm of Government to withstand the test of political interference and to avoid it. As Judge Silomba finds himself in this position of defending the Constitution of Zambia through the this arm of the law, we feel that he should, not only please people of influence, but also defend the people that are in under-privileged positions. I have followed his career at the Industrial Relations Court. His judgements to workers victimised by managers defending their companies, were fair. So, we also advise that these qualities be taken upwards as he ascends to almost the apex of his career. 

Thank you, Sir.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, firstly, I wish to commend the Chairman of the Select Committee, Hon. Shepande, and his colleagues for doing a very good job. Indeed, when Hon. Shepande wants to work, he works well.


The Vice-President: But only when he wants to work. We thank him and I also wish to thank all those who have contributed to this motion. I would like to say that the Government is very delighted that a man of experience and integrity who will assist in dispensing quality Justice has ascended to the Supreme Court.

As hon. Members are aware, there is a shortage of judges on the Bench, especially that of the Supreme Court. Several of them, unfortunately, only passed away in the last few years. 

Therefore, we do believe that they need to be replaced in order for this country to continue to enjoy quality dispensation of justice.

I have taken note of the remarks made by the hon. Member who debated this motion regarding the conditions and salaries of judges. I would like to inform him that the Government is also very concerned about the poor salaries. Like the hon. 

Member for Lusaka Central said, it is necessary that the Government upgrades salaries and conditions of service of our men on the Bench so that we do away with the temptations that befall human beings. I will take the suggested conditions and salaries of Judges to Cabinet at the next Cabinet meeting. 

Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I wish to thank everyone who contributed in getting this eminent son of our country ratified. 

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Shepande: Mr Speaker, I wish, in winding up the motion, to thank His Honour the Vice-President for the positive response that he has given to the comments on the conditions of service for members of the Judiciary. I also wish to thank the seconder of the motion and all the hon. Members of Parliament who supported this motion and all hon. Ministers who spoke in favour of this motion.

Sir, given the unanimity that the motion has received, I have nothing further to add.

Mr Speaker, thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.


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

Question put and agreed to.

The House adjourned at 1051 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 30th July 2002