Debates- Wednesday, 20th March, 2002

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Wednesday, 20th March, 2002

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





Mr Speaker: As the House is already aware, the Zambian Parliament is undergoing a process of reformation in the manner it conducts its business and interacts with the public.

I have previously informed the House that the National Assembly launched a web site to disseminate as much information about Parliament as possible and also acquired an FM Radio Transmitter for the live transmission of parliamentary proceedings. This is part of our reform programme.

As hon. Members already know, parliamentary reform is a continual and evolutionary process. Therefore, starting today, we shall, from time to time, have television coverage of the proceedings of the House, which may either be transmitted live or pre-recorded.

This is aimed at raising awareness in the country of the democratic process and the central role of Parliament in our system of Government. Hon. Members should, therefore, not be surprised about the presence of television cameras in the House or conduct themselves differently because of this development.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! New Deal!



The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Kasonde): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the following Members of Parliament do constitute the Public Accounts Committee for the First Session of the Ninth National Assembly:

1.    Hon. E G Kasonde, Minister of Finance and National Planning;

2.    Mr. Francis Simenda;

3.    Mrs. Sylvia T Masebo;

4.    Mr. Ned son Nzowa;

5.    Mr. Joseph Kasongo;

6.    Mr. Geoffrey Samukonga;

7.    Mr. Cameron Pwele;

8.    Mr. Emmanuel M Musonda; and

9.    Mr. Chiti M Sampa;

Mr Speaker, as I propose these hon. Members to serve on the Public Accounts Committee, allow me to pay tribute to the previous Committee for the very commendable manner in which they performed their duties.

The Public Accounts Committee, Sir, has, in the recent past, tackled voluminous work-loads which have culminated in very useful recommendations through this House to the Executive.

Mr Speaker, this could not have been achieved but for the commitment and dedication of the individual members of the Committee who often had to put in extra hours to successfully accomplish the task at hand.

Mr Speaker, allow me to reiterate the commitment of the Government in general and the Ministry of Finance and National Planning in particular, to uphold the highest level of transparency and accountability in the management of public funds. As His Excellency the President said in his inaugural speech to this august House, there is no need to have an Auditor-General if his reports are not going to be appropriately and timely acted upon. 

The Government recognises the critical need of prudent financial management in the public sector, especially in view of the paucity of the resources currently available for implementation of various Government programmes.

In line with the foregoing, I wish to pledge that my ministry and Government in general will offer any assistance and co-operation to the Public Accounts Committee in order for the Committee to perform their functions effectively.

Further, Mr Speaker, I wish to express confidence that the team I am proposing to constitute the Public Accounts Committee is capable of performing the watchdog role of our public finances on behalf of this House very effectively.

Finally, Sir, allow me to wish the Public Accounts Committee for the First Session of Ninth National Assembly the best and encourage them to carry out their duties in the same diligent, faithful, efficient and effective manner that has over the years become the hallmark of this very important Committee.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): Thank you, Sir, for affording me this opportunity to debate this afternoon on this very important motion.

Mr Speaker, I fail to appreciate why we cannot change from the past for the purpose of improvement in our administration so that we can benefit our people. I continue to observe the same trend in the list that has been presented to this House. It is very clear that experts in finance and accounting have been left out. I begin to wonder why. I thought this would be reminiscent of the previous Government because, perhaps, they had a lot to hide. But, we have been assured that the New Deal Government intends to be transparent. If they intend to be transparent, what is it that they are hiding by avoiding the experts from both sides? I wish also to put it on record that I have observed this even in the other committees. What was the purpose of us giving our curriculum vitae? I expected that lawyers, accountants, economists and all of us in our skills would be put in the committees that we …

Mr Speaker: Order! Will you, please, debate the motion before the House.

Will you, please, continue.

Mr Hachipuka: I thought I was, but I take your advice. I know nothing will happen in terms of changing even if we debate it here. In supporting this motion, I would expect, therefore, at least, this country to move forward. We should be able to use a mechanic to repair a motor vehicle. We should be able to use the expertise that we have here. It is not true that because we are all Members of Parliament, therefore, we become equal and common. I implore you, Sir, that in order to advance the quality of our lives and lives of our people that people must be employed and utilised in the areas of their expertise.

Thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister for North-Western Province (Mr Mushala): Mr Speaker, I would like to support the motion on the Floor. In supporting this motion, I would like, from the outset, to make it very clear to hon. Members that as we go to serve on various committees, it is our duty that we try to gain as much information as possible on those committees.

In that vein, I disagree with my brother, Hon. Hachipuka and Member of Parliament for Mbabala, that the people on this Committee are not qualified. In the past, …

Mr Hachipuka: I did not say that.

Mr Mushala: But what you said implied that they are not qualified.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Members: No!


Hon. Government Member: Go ahead.

Mr Mushala: If I heard him correctly, Sir, he said that people who have done Accountancy are the people who have to serve on this Committee. He went further to say that lawyers should be put in Legal Committee. That is what I am saying. That it is not correct. So, I am not misquoting you.

Mr Speaker, I happen to have served on this Committee and I was Chairman of this Committee. It does not necessarily need an accountant to be a member. I have served on so many committees. You have given me the privilege to serve on so many committees and I think I have performed very well, not that I have had the expertise.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mushala: We should not try and block our minds. Hon. Members must be aware that as hon. Members of Parliament, we are supposed to be knowledgeable on almost every subject. That is the idea of the Public Accounts Committee. In Kaonde, we say, behave like a hyena. What it does is that when the wild dogs have eaten the game, it comes behind to eat the bones. That is what Public Accounts Committee is. We do not need a very qualified hyena to come and eat the bones.


Mr Mushala: Mr Speaker, I will invite my brother, Hon. Hachipuka, to go hunting with me so that he can see how the wild dogs and hyenas behave.

Coming to the subject on the Floor, this composition, Sir, will do a very commendable job. I support the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning when he said that they are going to serve and they will be a very capable watchdog committee. The selection has been well balanced. I will exclude the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning who will not be sitting on the Committee despite the fact that he is a Member of that Committee. I will start with:

Mr F.Z. Simenda, MP – UPND;
Mrs S. Masebo, MP – ZRP;
Mr N. Nzowa, MP - Heritage Party;
Mr J. C. Kasongo, MP – Independent;
Mr G M Samukonga, MP – FDD;
Mr C. Pwele, MP – UNIP;
Mr E. M. Musonda, MP – Patriotic Front; and
Mr Chiti M Sampa, MP – MMD.

This Committee is selected in a very balanced way when you look at the composition of the House.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mushala: As a watchdog Committee, there will be nothing that will be hidden. When this Committee brings the report to this House, that is when we need financially knowledgeable giants like Hon. Hachipuka to tear the report apart. Then this House will move forward. That is when we come to the checks and balances. However, when this Committee is sitting, they are entitled to try and get in touch with any of the hon. Members, even on certain things they do not understand. We should not be embarrassed to ask when we do not know. Let us interact and learn from one another. At the end of five years, we should have finished Form 1 to Form 5 and we must be able to pass in all the subjects. That is the idea and that is how we are going to lead this nation.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mushala: Mr Speaker, this is a very straightforward motion and we should not even waste time on it so that we can consider other matters on the Order Paper. I urge my colleagues that we make progress and move to other important debates.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shumina (Mangango): Mr Speaker, I am very grateful that I have to comment on the motion that is on the Floor. 

Mr Speaker, I submit that, yes, it is true that hon. Members are hon. Members. That is why all had to contest in our constituencies. I totally accept that. But I raise one serious issue of great concern. 

Mr Speaker, I have been in this House for the last five years. There is a tendency on the Front Bench that when a Public Accounts Committee does exceptionally well, hon. Members, especially those who raise serious issues of corruption, are not put on the Public Accounts Committee the following year. I have in mind hon. Members who served diligently on the Public Accounts Committee such as Hon. Sichinga and Hon. Hachipuka. Hon. Mushala himself was also a victim and we are wondering why the Government has this tendency of throwing away good talent that is exposing issues in the interest of the nation.

The second point, Mr Speaker, is what transpired last year. Mr Speaker’s reports, through his committees, including the Public Accounts Committee, were not discussed. It was a dead year, yet a lot of resources had been put into those committees. Unfortunately, when I look at these names, not even one of those who sat on the Public Accounts Committee, who are present, now, have been included on this Committee to allow an element of continuity. 

Mr Mulenga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member in order to subject the hon. Minister and, indeed, the Speaker to the fact that unless they do what he expects, what they have done is not valid?


Mr Speaker: Order! The Chair would like to take advantage of that point of order to guide the House. Take note that there was the Eighth Session of the National Assembly that ran from 1996 to 2001. Take further note that this is the Ninth Session of the National Assembly that will run from the first day this House assembled for the next five years hence. You are all new Members of Parliament.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: You are starting on a clean slate. However, the Chair does recall making the following suggestion at the end of the Eighth National Assembly that with regard to the many reports that were not finalised at the end of the Eighth National Assembly, there will be nothing to stop this House from looking at those reports in case there is something of some substance that can assist this new House. That offer remains valid. You may not necessarily resubmit those reports but you are free to consult them. I emphasise, you are all new Members here. The question of continuity, therefore, does not arise. It will arise from next year onwards if that is the issue.

Will the hon. Member for Mangango continue, please.

Mr Shumina: I am actually surprised, Mr Speaker, that the hon. Minister who is in Government does not know that our Government is a New Deal with continuity. I do not know where he is continuing from, whether he is continuing from 2002 or he is continuing from 2004. So, I actually wonder whether this is how he is going to run the affairs of this country.


Mr Shumina: Mr Speaker, it is against this background that I support what the hon. Member for Mbabala has said. I hope that our colleagues on this Committee finally do their work. And I am very confident and sure that they are going to work well. Now, whether or not what they are going to unearth will please the Executive, like the hon. Mr Speaker has put it, there should be an element of continuity the following year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chungu (Bahati): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the motion. If we look at the names that appear here, you will find that we have hon. Members like Hon. Simenda whom I know very well. He has been running the affairs of national companies for a long time. I do not know whether he is an accountant by profession but I know he did very well in those companies where he served. Professional accountants were reporting to him, I am sure he used to give them a tough time. 

When I look at Hon. Samukonga, Member of Parliament for Chawama, he actually runs international and local companies. I do not know whether he is an accountant by profession but I believe he has been in this business for a long time and his companies have flourished. I am sure he will be able to look at issues that will come before this Committee. 

In addition, Sir, we have Hon. Kasongo who was Permanent Secretary, if I remember correctly. And when you are a Permanent Secretary, I think, you are in charge of all the finances in the ministry and I am sure he managed. He probably emerged as a victor in the constituency because of the respect he attained. With those few comments, I would like to support the motion.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga (Kafue): Mr Speaker, I rise to disagree with the motion on the Floor of the House. I am very surprised that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning submitted this. I will preface my remarks by saying that I pay the greatest respect to my colleagues whose names appear on this list not because anyone underestimates their knowledge unlike my colleagues who spoke before me. It is true that all hon. Members of Parliament are presumed to be knowledgeable. 

It does not say that they all know about some things. Otherwise, we will be gods. My concern, Sir is that our country, time and again, tries to invent the hill as though the hill was not invented before. I would have thought that this House in particular and the reason why we submitted our CVs was to enable this House to come up with oversight committees that are going to be strong enough to be able to oversee, that is the word, oversee the Government. 

Sir, the strength of any committee clearly depends on the attributes and experiences individual Members of those committee bring to the Floor of the House. It is true that through the interactions that they have with others on the Floor of the House, they will be able to enrich what takes place. Sir, taking into account the fact that this is a new Parliament with Members that served here before, and in line with the Government of the New Deal that says continuity with change, what ever that means, I would have expected that some level of continuity would truly take place. 

We have also risen in this House before and raised similar issues, similar concerns.

Mr Mpombo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mpombo: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. The committee that has been announced here, in my view, is composed of a crop of seasoned parliamentarians. Is the Member of Parliament in order to continuously doubt the credibility and qualifications of the Members of Parliament who have been nominated to serve on this committee? I need your usual serious ruling, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Deputy Minister for Southern Province has raised a point of order, which is exactly being debated on this Floor. If he so wishes, he could indicate and debate the issue. It is a valid point of order but he should make an effort to debate in this House. 

May the Member for Kafue, please, continue.

Mr Sichinga: Sir, I believe that there is a difference of understanding of what a seasoned Member of Parliament is. I do not know if you become seasoned after being two months in this House. My understanding of English is completely different from that. However, Sir, I will not allow myself to be digressed from the issues at hand. The issues at hand are clearly that this Parliament in exercising its oversight role, must use all its resources to the best of their individual Members’ abilities. It is not true to say that all of us here have similar experiences or training or even exposure. For that reason, Sir, it would have been my considered view that the hon. Minister would have taken advantage of those that are available both from the ruling party as well as from the opposition that could have helped to bring about a situation where a better understanding of what takes place in these Committees would have been established.

Sir, I also want to correct one impression. The reason why we are raising these issues is not because we would like this to be a partisan committee, far from it. We want it to be a searching Committee that holds the Executive accountable. And that ability to do so depends on the skills of the individuals and the training they have had. Which is not to say you are not knowledgeable about other issues. 

Once again, we are digressing from ensuring that this House truly holds our colleagues in the Executive accountable in the manner Hon. Shumina put it. We know we will be able to bring out the very best of everything that we have been doing in this House. So, I am very disappointed and knowing the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for who is, I really would have expected that there would have been a mixture of experiences to ensure that this process is enriched. 

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister for Southern Province (Mr Mpombo): Sir, I thank you for this opportunity. 

Sir, what has killed politics in Africa is politics of personal aggrandisement ...

Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: … where people think it is only themselves who can guide affairs in a particular field. We perpetuate clinging to power because we believe no one else is able to do that. Once people elect you as Member of Parliament, whether you come from Kalabo or Mwinilunga, you are an hon. Member of Parliament and your ability should not be doubted. Delivery of goods does not depend on degrees. 

Mr Speaker: Order! The Deputy Minister for Southern Province is addressing me and there is no way I can hear what he is talking about if there is so much debating on the Floor of the House. If you are not interested in listening to what he is saying, I am because he is addressing me. I want to listen to him. Will you enable me to hear him. The hon. Minister may continue.

Mr Mpombo: Sir, I thank you for your usual wise rulings. 

Hon Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: This House is not coming from five years. It is coming from a historical background. There are seasoned administrators here. When you have a committee meeting, you have these people who are officers of Parliament giving you professional and accurate advice to help you make accurate decisions. Therefore, to say that those people who do not have a chain of degrees are not supposed to serve on committee is an insult to the constituents that elected them.

Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: Therefore, as far as I am concerned, this Committee is properly constituted with eminent personalities coming from brilliant backgrounds. We have hon. Masebo totally beyond reproach; she has acquitted herself. 

Hon Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: Nzowa and Pwele are brilliant trade unionists bringing to this committee a wealth of experience. These are very bold and wise men and women. Even Simenda, who was at Zambia Federation of Employers. 

Mr Shumina interjected.

Mr Speaker: Hon Member, you contributed and nobody interrupted your debate.

Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: So, this is a myth, which should be avoided. I will give an example of Hon. Edith Nawakwi. Her field is energy. But she was given a portfolio of Ministry of Finance and as a woman she did a good job. So, what I am saying is that let us give every body a chance. The success of this House will not depend on a few people. It is a collective responsibility. 

The office of the Solicitor-General will be doing that in conjunction with the Office of the Auditor-General. And already the Government has said they are going to empower the Office of the Auditor- General by giving them teeth to bite. So, they will be effective. They have decentralised the operations to provincial headquarters. So, the question of us casting aspersions on the integrity of this Committee is most unfortunate.

Sir, I thank you.

Mr L. L. Phiri (Chipangali): Sir, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate on this important motion before the House. Before I comment, I first of all want to say that I support the motion 

Hon Members: Hear, Hear! {mospagebreak}

Mr L. L. Phiri: But I have these past experiences that I want to share with the Minister. Sir, this is a House of integrity and we would not like to lower that. Taking your Members to various committees is really a thing to think about in future. We have seen a situation where some Members have been passengers, especially where your committee invites witnesses. When they bring certain documents, we have seen two if not three out of eight trying to assist your committee to debate forcing the Chairman or the workers to act as though they are Members of Parliament to fill in where Members failed. Sir, when you asked us at the first sitting of your Parliament to give what I know, as Lucas Phiri, - my background is that of a farmer and co-operator - it always assists you to put me in a committee where I will be relevant.

Mr Speaker, the outsiders, now, are hearing the way Lucas is debating and are able to say the chap is a leader.


Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, if a person like my brother for Mbala can stand and debate, people would say that is a branch chairman debating now.


Mr L. L. Phiri: So, Sir, we want to avoid putting you in a situation where people will think this Parliament is full of people who do not know what they are doing. This committee is welcome and I think it is a good committee. We are not saying that the hon. Minister has put a lot of MMD Members. We are saying that experience matters. People have been fighting to come here; some have been directors, Permanent Secretaries and so forth. The reason they come to fight is that it is a House of integrity. Therefore, we would want to guard our integrity jealously so that we do not expose ourselves now that your committee meetings have been made open to the public.

Our debates are well-intended. We do not want to bulldoze the hon. Minister or say that he has not done a good job. Hon. Pwele, my brother who is UNIP, is a miner. He may take six months without debating; he will be observing. So, those are the things we are talking about.


Mr L. L. Phiri: Next time, put people with experience like Hon. Nzowa, my brother who is an accountant and these others because we are talking about their experiences from the fields they are coming from.

With these few serious observations, I thank you, Sir.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, in supporting this motion, I want to thank the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning because the committee is composed of all the eight parties in this House. So, I totally support this motion and I want to reiterate that as much as I have done accounts, it is not always true that for you to make a good accountant, you have to do some accounting course or what. I support that these are men and women of integrity and I have no doubt that they will perform to the best of their abilities …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: In the same vein, I want to appeal to the hon. Members that have been adopted on this committee to learn the process of consultation.

With the few reservations that have been expressed, it is important that the hon. Members learn to consult. There is Hon. Sichinga and those that have been there in the Public Accounts Committee before, let us use their vast experience.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr P. G. Phiri (Vubwi): Mr Speaker, I concur with previous speakers and I think the debate here is that we have to use people in a manner I call KAP (Knowledge and Ability of a Person). This is the argument which they are trying to put across. If I, Philip, was put in this committee and during deliberations, there are disagreements, what would happen? So, I support the previous speakers’ stand.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Tetamashimba (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for allowing me to say something about this motion, which is on the Floor. The motion is straightforward as the hon. Member, Mr J L Ngoma, said about the membership of this committee. We have eight political parties in this House and each of us has been represented. Speaking on behalf of UPND, where I am Secretary-General, the man we are bringing to this committee, Hon. Simenda, is a man of very high integrity …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Tetamashimba: … and as a political party, I do not think we are giving a person to this committee who is not going to do a good job. We feel he is going to perform extremely well.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear! Hammer!

Mr Tetamashimba: I know of some people like my traditional cousin, Mr Samukonga, who is a businessman. How does he look after his money if he cannot look after papers? After all, he will just be counting papers and see if money has been utilised well or not. In short, Sir, I see that the people that have been put on this committee, as far as their political parties are concerned, are the best to come from those political parties and all we have to do, as Members of Parliament, is to support our colleagues who are on this committee.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Tetamashimba: We, in UPND, are going to support Hon. Simenda and we expect our colleagues who are in UNIP to support Hon. Pwele; the same for FDD and the rest. It is only for one term that we are having these Members. Who knows, next year, we may have a different composition.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr R. K. Chulumanda (Luanshya): Mr Speaker, first of all, let me congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning on having come up with a list as lovely as this one. I can only describe this as a team that will constitute what I would term a ‘talent’. First of all, as Members of Parliament, Sir, we ought to learn to believe in ourselves and to learn from others. It does not even matter whether you belong to the MMD or Opposition. What is important is that at the end of this year, all of us will have been deemed as having acquired some experience.

Mr Speaker, I know Hon. Samukonga, Hon. Masebo, Hon. Simenda, Hon. Pwele and literally everybody here. All I can say is that even Hon. Pwele, who is being referred to as a miner, is a man who is not easy to defeat when it comes to accounts. I have sat with him when I was Mayor of Luanshya and when I was District Administrator …


Mr R. K. Chulumanda: … I am no longer a District Administrator, anyway.


Mr R. K. Chulumanda: Mr Speaker, there is wisdom. These people are managers in their own ways and styles. So, let us not think that only lawyers will know how to judge or pass judgement. 

Some chiefs possess what we would call wisdom and that is the way they rule and govern. So, let us do away with that element of thinking that only accountants can handle accounts. Some accountants, in fact, I do not wish to demean them, do not even know how to look after their own money, but those who are not qualified in those fields know how to keep money.  Most of our colleagues, and I do not wish to make reference to anybody, from somewhere, only know how to keep money in their pillow cases and at the end of the day, those days when we used to have searches, you could find millions of kwacha in their homesteads. It means they are good bankers. It is only that they did not know where to take their money. My wife, the sister to Hon. Sichilima, who was a banker at the time, did not even have a single ngwee as extra money.

Mr Speaker, having said that, this element of wanting to think that there are Members of Parliament who are better placed to achieve results than others must go with immediate effect.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr R. K. Chulumanda: Let us learn to support each other. Otherwise, we are trekking back to kulibonesha ta.

Thank you, Mr Speaker,


Mr Chitalu M. Sampa (Kalulushi): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the motion by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning. The names suggested by the hon. Minister are names of people of integrity and I would suggest that after this sitting, the two colleagues should go and apologise to the hon. Members that they are disqualifying from sitting on this committee.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chitalu M. Sampa: What should be understood is that in this House there is no personal-to-holder position. Every position must be held by anybody. I remember, very well, that Hon. Sichinga was on this committee a number of times, together with Hon. Hachipuka and I am glad. Hon. Sichinga did a commendable job when he was on this committee and I appreciate his contributions but that does not mean that he should continuously be a member of this committee. He should give chance to others so that they can also learn and become as good as he is. This is the intention.

Mr Hachipuka: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Hachipuka: Mr Speaker, I have been referred to as having served on the Public Accounts Committee. I have never done so, Sir. I want the records to reflect that.

Mr Speaker: Records so corrected. 

Will the hon. Member for Kalulushi continue.

Mr Chitalu M. Sampa: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and thank you very much for that correction. What is important, really, as my colleagues have said, is that all of us should participate in any of the committees that the Chair finds fit to put somebody.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the very many Members of Parliament who have given us support over this important motion. I should remind those who are asking for experience that they should look in the archives. When former United States President Kennedy appointed his brother as Attorney-General, there was an uproar on the American Continent that the younger brother did not have the experience. I think the answer the wise President gave was that ‘How else do you want him to get the experience, except by doing the job’?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, this organisation is very important for the maintenance of standards in this country. The committee is supported with professionals. It does not operate in isolation. So, even Members of Parliament, who are not accountants by profession, would be assisted by professionals in following the documents that would be spread before it. Again, I would like to say that it is important to spread knowledge. I think it is also good to circulate Members of Parliament on different committees with each year that passes so that by the end of the five years, all of us will have known something about everything. I think it is important that we do that, Mr Speaker.

I also feel that there is a mixture. I think the mixture is good. I like to utilise every political party that is represented on the Floor of this House in the best possible way. In that way, we are building the nation and we are moving together.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.


Mr Shepande (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Select Committee to Scrutinise the Appointment of Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde as Solicitor-General for the First Session of the Ninth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 19th March, 2002.

Mr Speaker: Is the motion seconded?

Mr Bwalya (Kasama): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the motion.

Mr Shepande: Mr Speaker, in accordance with the provisions of Article 55 (1) and their mandate, your Select Committee closely scrutinised the suitability of Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde for appointment to the position of Solicitor-General. In carrying out their mandate, your Committee sought the input and views of various State security agencies and other relevant institutions as regards the qualifications, experience, conduct and character of the appointee. These were the Zambia State Intelligence Service, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Drug Enforcement Commission, the Zambia Police, the Law Association of Zambia and the Judicial Service Commission. 

Your Committee also considered submissions from the appointee himself. The submissions received from these stakeholder institutions and the appointee helped your Committee not only to understand the requirements of the Office of Solicitor-General but also the suitability of the nominated candidate.

Allow me, Mr Speaker, to briefly outline the main areas of responsibility and requirements for a candidate for the Office of Solicitor-General.

(a)    The Solicitor–General is the principal attorney representing the State in the High Court and Supreme Court of Zambia;

(b)    the position requires to be filled by a person with wide experience in litigation and who is possessed with competence in various branches of the law;

(c)    the Solicitor-General should be an eminent lawyer and of high standing at the bar; and

(d)    the Solicitor-General is responsible for servicing and managing the biggest client in the country, that is, the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

These responsibilities, therefore, require that the person appointed to the position of Solicitor-General should not only meet the basic requirements of having served at the bar for a minimum of ten years, as stipulated in Article 55 (2) of the Constitution of Zambia read together with Article 97 (1) b (11). As earlier stated, the appointee should also have wide experience in litigation and be competent in various branches of the law.

May I, now, Sir, brief this august House as regards your Committee’s findings, observations and recommendations in relation to the suitability of Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde for appointment to the position of Solicitor –General.

Mr Speaker, your Committee found that the candidate did not only meet the minimum qualifications of having served at the bar for, at least, ten years, but has substantial and significant experience in the relevant private legal domain.

Mr Speaker, it is also notable that throughout his fourteen years of service at the bar, the appointee has maintained a clean record at the bar, with his fellow lawyers and the Judicial Service Commission as testified by the representatives of the relevant stakeholder institutions.

In a nutshell, Mr Speaker, it is your Committee’s humble opinion that Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde is both qualified and experienced enough to serve and manage the serious legal matters that require to be dealt with in a very high constitutional office of Solicitor-General. Your Committee have no doubt, Mr Speaker, that Mr Nkonde will meet the challenges posed by the position to which he is being appointed.

In view of the foregoing, Mr Speaker, your Committee, therefore, strongly recommend that this House do ratify the appointment of Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde as Solicitor-General of the Republic of Zambia. 

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I wish to urge the House to support your Committee’s report and all the recommendations contained therein.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Bwalya: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, in seconding this important motion so ably moved by the Chairman of your Committee, let me take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to you, Sir, the Clerk of the National Assembly and his staff for the guidance that was provided to your Select Committee during the deliberations.

Sir, I would be failing in my duties if I did not pay special tribute to the Chairman of your Select Committee for the able manner in which he led the deliberations of your Committee.

Sir, I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Members of your Committee who, with the best interest of our nation at heart, deliberated in a spirit of togetherness which enabled your Committee to arrive at the recommendations made in this report.

Sir, as I mentioned earlier, the speech of the Chairman was very elaborate. Therefore, I will be very brief. Sir, your Committee were aware of the areas of responsibility and requirements for a candidate for the office of the Solicitor-General. They were also mindful of the fact that these responsibilities require that the person occupying this position should have served at the bar for a minimum of ten years and having experience in various branches of the law.

Mr Speaker, your Committee are convinced that Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde, not a relative, will be able to face the challenges of the position for which he is being appointed. Having served at the bar for fourteen years now, he is not only qualified to hold the position but is also, in your Committees’ opinion, adequately experienced for the job.

The reports from the investigative agencies also indicate that there are no adverse reports on record to warrant the disqualification of the candidate from being appointed as Solicitor-General.

Furthermore, from the information given by the relevant legal institution that appeared before your Committee, it is apparent that the candidate has the necessary experience and character to undertake this noble task.

Mr Speaker, in view of the foregoing, your Committee strongly support Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde’s appointment as Solicitor – General and urge this House to ratify the appointment.

Sir, in conclusion, your Committee observed that the process of consultation by the appointing authority is not wide enough. They, therefore, recommend that the appointing authority should consult widely and thoroughly before making appointments that require the ratification of this House.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Mr Kangwa (Solwezi East): Mr Speaker, I stand to support the motion.

Mr Sibetta: However, …


Mr Kangwa: … in supporting the motion, let me take this opportunity to deliver my Maiden Speech.


Mr Sibetta: Well done!

Mr Kangwa: Mr Speaker, in the first place, allow me to congratulate you and your Deputy on your re-election to your respective positions.

Mr. Speaker, people should know that in life there is always time for everything. That is why, Sir, there is time to campaign, differ, argue or even quarrel over one or more things but in the end there must be time to settle down and do things.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kangwa: Mr. Speaker, may I be allowed to congratulate and salute the great people of Solwezi East Constituency on giving me a second chance to come and represent them in this august House. Mr. Speaker, last year’s election was not an easy game as compared to the other past elections. Sir, the disappearance of many old faces from this august House is a result of survival of political heavy weight type of elections. It was a very heavy revolutionary wind which started with a small whirlwind in Monze of Southern Province of Zambia and this small whirl wind went up in the sky facing North West wards and landed in North-Western Province in Solwezi Boma.

Mr. Speaker, this small whirlwind made the wind grow into a big storm …


Mr Kangwa: …which reversed to Southern Province passing through the Copperbelt and Central provinces. The wind of change went into Western Province where it grew and became vicious and put off all the local political heavy weights off guard.


Mr Kangwa: Mr. Speaker, in its process, some politicians in Central and Lusaka provinces were caught in a crossfire. Mr. Speaker, I am a very proud and happy man because people of Solwezi East are not easily carried away by cheap politicians.

Mr. Speaker, during the 2001 elections, people who called themselves political engineers, people who matter in their own political fields, persons who have named themselves the number nines in political teams, people who have come out of Zambia and honoured with doctorates …

Mr Sibetta: In Malawi.


Mr Kangwa: …went into my constituency and addressed very powerful rallies, especially the one which was organised at Kasapa Basic School. Sir, the people of Solwezi East are very far from being betrayers no matter how much money one comes with.

Mr. Speaker, I am a bearer of a message from the people of Solwezi East. Sir, the people of Solwezi East are merely asking the office of His Honour the Vice-President to send them relief food. Sir, the people of my constituency have been without food since October 2001.

Hon Member: Because they voted for you.

Mr Kangwa: In October, Sir, people of Solwezi East depended on wild fruits and mangoes. Now that mangoes and wild fruits are finished, people are starving and are looking to His Honour's Office for their survival. Sir, when I say that food should be sent to the people of Solwezi East, I mean to say that food for Solwezi East should be off -loaded at Lunga, Mikambo, Kasapa, Mapunga, Mushindamo or Mujimanzovu Primary School. All the places I have mentioned are stations which have sheds. Any food that gets its way to Solwezi Boma, that food is for the people of Solwezi ...

Mr Sibetta: It will not come back.

Mr Kangwa: Sir, the people in my constituency would like to have a share since they have their own identity. Mr. Speaker, relief food should be sent to every place because there is no one in this august House who can claim that she or he has food in the constituency.

Mr. Speaker, since there is hunger everywhere in the country, the Government should not feel shy to declare the hunger situation a national disaster.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kangwa: Mr. Speaker, we, as national leaders, should not pretend that all is well because many people are dying from hunger nearly every day across the country. Sir, pretence by the Government is not good. We have lost a lot of lives. Why should you hide your faces in dry leaves?

Hon. Member: What is that?

Mr Sibetta: It is dried leaves.

Mr Kangwa: Mr. Speaker, let me, now, turn to roads in the constituency. Sir, there are three main roads in my constituency, namely: Solwezi/Kipushi Road, Kalulushi/Mufumbwe Road and Solwezi/Chingola Road. Sir, allow me to start by explaining the state of affairs of the mentioned roads one after the other. The Solwezi/Kipushi Road, Sir, is one of the international roads in Zambia because it connects two countries, that is Zambia and the Congo DR. 

Mr Speaker, I wonder why this road is unattended when it was used by Zambian soldiers during the Mobutu Seseseko/Kabila war. Along Kipushi/Solwezi Road there are three chiefs and their subjects. There are also twelve primary schools  and one clinic.

Mr Sibetta: That is the road where Kafumukache was kidnapped. Bauze!

Mr Kangwa: I think this road we are talking about is the road where Hon. Kafumukache met his fate.


Mr Kangwa: He was taken to Congo by thieves.

Mr Speaker, if you knew the place I am talking about, you would shed tears.


Mr Kangwa: Mr Speaker, people around Chieftainess Musaka, Chief Chikola and Chief Mulonga live as if they are not Zambians.

Sir, Kalulushi/Mufumbwe Road used to be a very big road during the UNIP Government. It is the only link for the people of Senior Chief Mujimanzovu and Copperbelt towns. The road has not been graded for more than ten years now. Why is it so?

The Government should open up rural roads for easy communication. 

Mr Sibetta: Feeder roads!

Mr Kangwa: A good road in the rural area is a telephone.

Hon. Government Member: What?


Mr Sibetta: Yes, it is a telephone. It is a feeder road!

Mr Kangwa: Mr Speaker, I get to wonder when I drive along Chingola/Solwezi Road. This road is used by His Honour the Vice-President, Mr E Kavindele, who acts as a President when the actual President is out of the country.


Hon. Government Members: Quality!

Mr Kangwa: Before last year’s elections, the road in question was within foot steps of His Honour the Vice-President. 

Mr Speaker, because of the state in which the roads I have mentioned are, I am asking the Minister of Finance and National Planning to allocate more funds to the Ministry of Works and Supply for them to do the job well.

Mr Speaker, with regard to agriculture, allow me to say something about this shameful and disappointing ministry.


Mr Kangwa: Mr Speaker, Zambia as a nation is missing a Ministry of Agriculture. That is why we are having endless hunger in the country. If hunger continues without any signs of change, then the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives shall be scrapped off like what has happened to the Ministry Without Portfolio.

Mr Speaker, it is not in order for the country like Zambia to be turned into a beggar. This is a country which has been independent for more than 37 years now. Zambia is a country that has so many big rivers, lakes and streams, a country that has never experienced war and has very strong and powerful citizens. For it to become a beggar for food from small countries like Malawi, it is very shameful. That is the extent to which Zambians have been reduced by the MMD Government.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! Hammer!

Mr Sibetta: Sondashi!

Mr Kangwa: Mr Speaker, may I, now, say something on the Presidential Speech. The Speech can be called a heart cooler. It is very good but it can only be congratulated by every citizen of Zambia if it is translated into reality.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kangwa: Mr Speaker, hearts of Zambians were cooled down during the time when His Excellency delivered the Speech on 22nd February, 2002. Mr Speaker, let me emphasise the point. Zambians were promised that things were going to change.

Mr Speaker, we are not going to praise this speech because we have not seen anything yet.

Hon. Government Members: It is too early!

Mr Kangwa: We cannot get satisfied on words only. When the President delivered the speech that day, Zambians felt like they had been relieved from poverty and other things which are troubling the nation. 

Sir, we should ask ourselves the following questions:

(a)     Can a speech alone be enough to solve our problems?

Hon. Members: No!

Mr Kangwa:

(b)    Is the speech alone enough to end hunger in the country?

Hon. Members: No!

Mr Kangwa:

(c)    Is the speech alone enough to end poverty?

Hon. Members: No!

Mr Kangwa:

(d)    Is the speech alone going to bring employment?

Hon. Members: No!


Mr Speaker: Order! The Chair regrets to interrupt the hon. Member for Solwezi’s maiden speech but I would like to appeal to the House not to back him up in the manner that I heard.


Mr Kangwa: Let him debate his ideas without assistance of the House.

May the hon. Member for Solwezi East, please, continue.

Mr Kangwa: Mr Speaker, we Zambians should not cheat ourselves that everything is now all right. Zambians should not, at anytime, start counting eggs before they hatch.

Mr Speaker, words and actions are two different things. So, the speeches delivered by President Mwanawasa and the Minister of Finance and National Planning cannot be viable without the inputs and commitment of line ministries, without which all the speeches are nothing. Once the speech is defeated, then everything collapses. President Levy Mwanawasa is like a Director who directs hi juniors to a job and they fail to perform.

In this case, Sir, the people who are going to shoot down the speech of the President are the Ministers and their Deputies and Permanent Secretaries and their District Administrators.

Mr Speaker, Zambian should wait for the final whistle before they start celebrating for things they have not seen. President Mwanawasa has said what he said, but the outcome is not yet seen. If both speeches fail, the people of Zambia will not spare the MMD Government for Zambians cannot live on good speeches.

With these few words, I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kazala-Laski (Nchanga): Nchanga is speaking now.

Hon. Opposition Member: Bombasa ya pona.

Mr Kazala-Laski: Mazoka ya pona. I am serious and not laughing today.

Mr Speaker: Order! The Presiding Officers keep reminding this House of the fact that time is of essence. May we get down to business. Members should ignore those that are heckling them and address the Chair.

May the hon. Member address the Chair, not the Floor.

Mr Kazala-Laski: Thank you, Sir, for protecting me.

Mr Speaker, I wish to support the appointment of Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde as Solicitor-General.

I wish to state that …

Mr L. L. Phiri: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr L. L. Phiri: I rise on a very serious point of order. It is the tradition of this House that once he has given a maiden speech, an hon. Member is not supposed to read. Is the hon. Member for Nchanga in order to start reading as if he is giving a maiden speech? I need your serious ruling.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Chipangali has raised a valid point of order, but the Chair simply wishes to observe that the hon. Member for Nchanga had just started speaking. So, the Chair is not very sure whether he was reading or referring to his copious notes

May he continue referring to his copious notes.

Mr Kazala-Laski: Sir, I am referring to my copious notes.

I wish to state that transparency in this office is very important. The office of Solicitor-General is very important and it is a public office. You will find that cases are very crowded in this office. I urge the Solicitor-General and his staff to be very honest and efficient to avoid Government being sued. Usually, you will find that matters that are in court will not be effectively represented by the Solicitor-General’s Office. Eventually, judgement is passed in default. This costs our Government a lot of money. Under the new administration, I urge the new appointee to put this to an end.

I do not have much more to say like the hon. Member of Parliament for Chipangali.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Moonde (Bweengwa): Sir, in the first place, I would like to thank the Committee for having come up with this report. They have done their job and it remains for the House to analyse the report and make a collective responsible decision.

In my opinion, Sir, I would not want to be associated with the appointment of Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde as Solicitor-General for the reasons that I am going to give here.

In the report, Sir, you will note a number of discrepancies. First of all, the Office of the Director-General, Office of the President, was approached and it did not appear to recommend the appointment of Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde for various reasons. Although later on, the Office of the Director-General, Office of the President, appeared to retract its earlier submissions, this does not, in any way, make the earlier submission invalid.

Secondly, Sir, the Law Association of Zambia, where Mr Sunday Bwalya Nkonde has been a member and for a long time served on various committees, has raised serious objections to the appointment of this man to this high office.

If you look also on page 4, paragraph 2, from the top page, you will find that the Director-General withdrew his earlier recommendation. He has not given any valid reason. This was just an afterthought. I believe, Sir, that this is a serious august House that should seriously look into the affairs of the nation and we should be the first ones to uphold integrity, especially in an office like this one that is supposed to serve the people of Zambia. Those who are holding offices that are charged with dispensing justice must be of high integrity. If you look at this report, the Committee was at pains in making the bare recommendations for the appointment of Mr Nkonde.

I would like to urge all hon. Members of this House to collectively and responsibly reject this appointment. We should not please people just because we want to give them jobs. We have a responsibility to serve Zambians to the best of our ability and if we do not do this, we will have lost a golden opportunity and posterity will not forgive us for coming up with this kind of appointment.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Nzowa (Kabushi): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the motion.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

Mr Nzowa: I think we have to be serious. Just yesterday, we approved appointments of people who had worse reports than this one here. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! {mospagebreak}

Mr Nzowa: In fact, I do not support the Report of the Law Association of Zambia because it is inconclusive. It is not giving us reasons why this man cannot be appointed to that office. All it is saying is that he is too junior. Can we have more information on how lawyers are classified in Zambia. Yesterday, Hon. Patel condemned the Director-General of the Office of the President that we should not rely on reports from that office. They have very poor reports. How can he say he supports and then withdraw the support? That is very unprofessional. 

Yesterday, we are the same people who approved a worse case where even the Anti-Corruption Commission had given reasons. Here, there is nothing to argue about. I know Mr Sunday Nkonde. I think we should give him chance to prove himself. If there is any substantive facts to enable us reject that, I think let us be free and bring them out here. But if we are going to base our decision on what is written here, there is nothing adverse on this. I think it is very important that we start to give each other a chance. 

The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has just explained the Kennedy Brother issue. How do you judge somebody’s experience when you have not given him a chance to work? If he is not going to perform, we are going to condemn him and call for his removal. But, as at now, I think the report does not contain anything at all unless anyone brings fresh information contrary to what is recommended here. I think my colleagues who represented us, including myself, recommended that we ratify this appointment and I think they did a good job.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Quite clearly, the House is keen to go on debating but the Chair detects, with a minor variation, oneness of mind on this motion. Unless I hear to the contrary, I will ask the hon. Member for Nangoma to wind up debate on his motion.

Mr Shepande: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you, most sincerely, for affording me this opportunity to wind up debate on this motion.

In so doing, I wish to thank all hon. Members of this august House who have supported the motion. I have nothing further to add.

I thank you, Sir.

Question put and agreed to.




The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Kasonde): Mr Speaker, at this point in time, further consultations between hon. Members of the House have become essential. May I ask that the Bill be deferred to Tuesday, 26th March, 2002. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.

The debate on the Bill deferred to Tuesday, 26th March, 2002.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.


The following Bill was read the third time and passed: 

The Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill, 2002



(Consideration resumed)

VOTE 17/13 – (Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Headquaters – K85,907,331,994).

The Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (Mr Chambeshi): Mr Chairman, when the House adjourned last night, I had just finished presenting the Estimates for my ministry and was responding to the observations that had been made by hon. Members of this House.

Mr Chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the House for their support in the debate and I look forward that when we come to consider the remaining business, they will give us the support as well.

Thank you very much, Sir.

Vote 17/13 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/15 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/18 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/20 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/23 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/24 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/25 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/26 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/27 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/28 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/30 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/31 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/32 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 17/33 ordered to stand part of the Estimates

Vote 17/34 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 18/01 – (Judiciary – K6,443,548,671).

Mr S. Chilufya (Chingola): Thank you, Mr Chairman, for giving me this opportunity to deliver my maiden speech. Mr Chairman, firstly, I would like to thank God the Almighty, creator of visible and invisible things, for granting me this opportunity to address this Assembly of so diverse interests, professions, religious affiliatins, cultures, political inclinations and financial standing, who are but one, as created in the image of God.

Mr Chairman, allow me to thank the MMD, more especially the Party President, Dr F. J. T. Chiluba and the National Executive Committee, for having chosen Mr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC., as our Presidential candidate, as well as the person, now, speaking, as the Chingola Parliamentary candidate.

Mr Chairman, at the same time, allow me to congratulate the President, Mr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, for resoundingly winning the just ended tripartite elections. Well done, Your Excellency the President!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr S. Chilufya: Mr Chairman, may I join the list of hon. Members of this august House in congratulating you and Mr Speaker for being re-elected as Deputy Speaker and Speaker, respectively. Mr Chairman, may I beg you to also accept the heartfelt congratulations from the people of Chingola Constituency to you and Mr Speaker for being re-elected to this House.

Mr Chairman, let me thank and commend the people of Chingola Constituency for having vested me with the honour of being the official political spokesman for Chingola. I promise to remain committed throughout my life to the party, MMD, and to you all in Chingola Constituency. I love you. To you all, hon. Members of Parliament, I congratulate the people in your respective constituencies on their best choices.

Mr Chairman, sincerely speaking, I have never seen a ten year old boy married with children or a ten year old boy having grey hair similar to that of the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena Constituency, Mr. Sibetta.


Mr S. Chilufya: Mr Chairman, this simply means that the MMD Government has been in power for only ten years, hence, they need more time and they shall deliver the goods. Ten years is not enough.

Mr Chairman, the speech by the President, Mr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC., and the Budget presented by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mr Emmanuel Kasonde, are crystal clear testimony of a New Deal in our third term of governance let alone the fourth and fifth terms in which Zambia shall be a paradise.

Mr Chairman, despite the roundly condemned Anglo-American Corporation pull-out from Konkola Copper Mines, the policies of the MMD are very clear even to those in the Opposition camp. Chingola was on the verge of collapse, as the life-span of the mines was considered to have ended. The privatisation programme put in place has brought life back to the mines, bringing employment. The housing policy brought by the MMD Government has empowered us by enabling us to lead a more livable life as a people.

Mr Chairman, a lot of time has been wasted, investing in political arguments. Let us, now, invest in the development of our nation, as stated in the Presidential Speech, to achieve our goal.

Mr Chairman, I am mandated to this House by the people of Chingola Constituency to see to it that the following issues are attended to urgently and without fail. The first one is roads in Chingola. Mr Chairman, roads in Chingola are in a deplorable state. This includes the feeder roads.

Hon. Opposition Members: That is why Kavindele ran away.

Mr S. Chilufya: Mr Chairman, really, if you come to Chingola, it is an eyesore. We have tried our best, as the Chingola community, to try and patch up the potholes using gravel and every time when we get a spell of drought, the whole town is in dust. A contractor called SIETCO has been moved in to work on the Chingola/Solwezi Road, but he is yet to start work. Hence, the appointment of Members of Parliament in their respective constituencies as supervisors to speed up this kind of projects. I appeal to the hon. Minister of Works and Supply to try and consider this.

The second point is on agriculture.

Hon. Government Members: At a fee.


Mr S. Chilufya: At a fee because of fuel costs. Mr Chairman, the people in Chingola Constituency are more than ready to take up farming seriously, as per New Deal concept. Stocks of inputs should start rolling now to give ample time to farmers to plan for this coming season.

The third one is on United Milling Company. Mr Chairman, this company used to provide, not only employment, but also the staple food to the people of Chingola, Chililabombwe and Solwezi. This company used to produce a lot of mealie-meal.

It was privatised a few years ago. Today, it is an eyesore. I am appealing to my Government to re-possess this company and make it viable through Management Buy Out (MBO) or a co-operative. Mr Chairman, as far as Chingola District is concerned, we shall draw no boundaries in developing it and improve the quality of life of our people.

So, let us move quickly and approve the budget. Time for long empty mango speeches is long gone. We need action, now, and not tomorrow. Mr Chairman, allow me to explain to our comrades in Southern Province.

They have been talking about mangoes every day. There is nothing wrong in eating mangoes. I eat a lot of mangoes. Mango is just a fruit like any other. The only thing our comrades from Southern Province should have asked the Government to do is to try and provide logistics so that they can develop mango into a crop.


Mr S. Chilufya: Or even ask the Government to provide a factory to produce mango juice. Today, mango juice has a vast market in Europe. Our people are refusing to take mangoes.


Mr S. Chilufya: Mr Speaker, in view of the diversity of this Assembly here, it is incumbent upon us to emphasise the importance of unity. All we should be asking for is unity from everyone seated in this august House.

Our approach to developmental issues should be universal. We need everyone’s effort and co-operation regardless of one’s social, financial, religious or political standing. We need one another, rich or poor. I am, therefore, asking all hon. Members of Parliament, business houses, wealthy individuals, men, women and children of Zambia to contribute generously towards the eradicating of such primitive conditions in our society.

Mr Chairman, lastly, may I thank you in advance for the co-operation and guidance that you are going to give this House as we work together for the betterment of our country, Zambia. For this, I extend heart felt thanks to you and your deputy.

I thank you, Sir.

Reverend Nyirongo (Bwacha): I thank you, Sir, for according me this opportunity to present my maiden speech.

Sir, I would like to congratulate you and your deputy for your re-election. It is quite exciting to see that everyone has finally accepted and welcomed you to run this House with commitment and diligence.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: I would further like to congratulate the Republican President, His Excellency, Mr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC., for having delivered a good and qualitative speech based on his vision for our country, Zambia. 

Indeed, for every success, there must be a vision carrier. God says, in his Word, where there is no vision people perish. It is my sincere belief that this vision will live and bear fruit and not only that, but, will outlive the visionary. I, furthermore, congratulate the hon. Members of this House for having successfully obtained the mandate to be part of this august House from the Zambian people.

I also recognise the presence of Nominated Members of Parliament and, therefore, wish to extend my congratulatory sentiments to them for wining the confidence of our President to be part of this House. Indeed, you must prove to be relevant and committed to the New Deal.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: Mr Chairman, I would not forget the people of my constituency, Bwacha, for having had the confidence, trust and hope in bringing to fulfillment their long time desire to have me serve them as  their Member of Parliament and also as a mother to all of them and Kabwe District as a whole. They know me as mayo wa luse not only by mouth, but by practical demonstration.

Mr Chairman, I am not ashamed of the humiliation and abuse I have undergone for having supported your re-election.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: I did so with the full support and concern of the people of Bwacha.


Reverend Nyirongo: Indeed, we have to stand and work together until we see Bwacha Constituency transformed and developed for the better.

Mr Chairman, you may be aware of how our town Kabwe has been neglected in the past ten years. This, we understand has been a punishment to the people of Kabwe for having voted for the opposition. This, Mr Chairman has made the people of Kabwe and in particular, Bwacha Constituency feel more neglected. They have attributed this to bad governance displayed by the previous Government. We hope the New Deal will accommodate Kabwe and give it a new face.

Sir, with the budget presented on 1st March, 2002, we anticipate a national change of attitude and the New Deal to accommodate us all.

Sir, talking about Bwacha Constituency, there has been no running tap water for the past eight years and people have resorted to digging wells whose water has been environmentally declared a health hazard. Most of the underground pipes are damaged and grossly vandalised. 

Mr Chairman, for your information, the Kalulu Water Works, the major source of water in Kabwe, has sixteen pumps and only three are operational. This situation compels me to ask the Government to consider funding the council for this specific project. In the same vein, I am reliably informed that some money from the HIPC funds have been allocated to the Kabwe Municipal Council for water reticulation and sanitation but has not effected the intended goal. We ask for the release of these funds.

Sir, may I also take this opportunity to give this House the actual situation on ZESCO bills in my constituency. A few years ago, the people of Bwacha were addressed by senior Government officials in the previous Government regarding the same issue who asked them to stop remitting money to ZESCO and wait for installation of metre boxes as most houses do not have. To the contrary, ZESCO has continued sending astronomical statements without doing their work. Due to this unjustifiable situation, the people of Bwacha are appealing to the Government to completely cancel all unbearable arrears of bills and start afresh. The people of Bwacha cannot manage to pay due to the fact that most of them are unemployed.

May I emphasise and take this opportunity to make a plea for the people of Bwacha and Kabwe as a whole, that it is prudent for the Government to urgently reticulate water and improve sanitation. Kabwe is on record for cholera outbreaks and this can only be history if the New Deal Government can address the issues soon. A lot of people have died and suffered because of this problem. Even the last Government knew Kabwe as a ghost town. 

I challenge the New Deal to resuscitate this town and let it be full of life and hope again. It is never too late, it can be done and especially with the New Deal concept.

Dr Sondashi: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: The people of Bwacha Constituency are happy with the New Deal package which is ready to embrace everyone, including the opposition political parties available in the country, including the Heritage Party.

Sir, as regards education, the schools are in a deplorable state. There is a cry from the teachers that classrooms have shattered windows, damaged doors and cracked floors and this needs urgent redress. Some schools have no water at all. Hence, the use of wells whose safety is doubted. This makes education life very difficult for both the teaching staff and students.

Following the closure of Mwaiseni Stores by the last Government, the constituency has no other departmental shop in the locality. We, therefore, appeal to the Government of today to create a conducive atmosphere and facilitate shop investment in the area. This will enlighten the transport burden of our people. Of course, employment will also be created.

Mr. Chairman the people of Bwacha Constituency would like to express their gratitude over the home ownership scheme. However, I am compelled to request the Government to fund our local authority so as to enable them demarcate the plots and facilitate the issue of title deeds which are long waited for.

Mr. Chairman, allow me to bring another specific area of concern to the attention of the House. The feeder roads are in a terrible state and need urgent redress by the Government. The road that goes to Mukobeko Maximum Prison leaves much to be desired. I appeal to the Government to look with intent on this road. As a result of the poor state of this road, minibus operators have declined to operate on this route and people have to walk long distances to enable them board a bus at Kabwe Trades Training Institute. It is sad to say that even honourable people and Presidents have used this road and will still use it.

Mr. Chairman, Bwacha Constituency also covers the peri-urban areas. We have farmers like Dar Farms, Bonanza Des, Fischer and Mukobeko Prisons Farms, just to mention a few. Some commercial farmers, Sir, have enslaved our people and taken advantage of them. Our people work abnormal hours and without rest. Some of these farmers just provide shelter without toilets. People have to run to the bush in order to relieve themselves. On top of all this, they are given slave wages. I request the Minister of Labour and Social Security to take a keen interest in farm labourers.

Furthermore, the roads I can refer to as inter-townships and within townships are equally in a deplorable state. Kabwe is historical. I, therefore, request for your quick attention.

Mr. Chairman it is necessary for me to inform the House on the health situation of my area. Like I have mentioned already, my area does not cover the urban area alone but also the peri-urban areas. The peri-urban covers a large area with only one health centre in the locality. We have had cases where people have died …

The Chairman: Order! The hon. Member’s time has expired. Let us deal with the judiciary, no more maiden speeches.

VOTE 18/01 – (Judiciary – Headquarters – K33,192,095,287).

Mr Shemena (Solwezi West): Mr. Chairman, as a son, brother and father of those who are convicted with minor offences in relation to what has been happening in this country the last ten years, we have seen people with integrity involved in offences but were not convicted at all. Sir, I feel that this department can do good to these sons and daughters who were convicted on minor offences like stealing cobs of maize and napkins from shops to be given a better understanding because prisons are congested.

Mr. Chairman, with this poverty alleviation and renovation of prisons, it is only fair that there be a judicial review to consider these people and release them. The other issue I am concerned with are children, juveniles imprisoned together with adults. I feel that this is not the way people can reform, otherwise, we are doing the opposite to the young children. They are not going to reform as long as they stay with adults in these prisons.

Mr. Chairman, I feel that there must also be a deliberate judicial review to consider releasing the children so that they are able to go back to school and lead a normal life. Sir, I also feel that this thing of keeping people in prison long just because the Judiciary has no time to dispose of their cases has actually brought misery to the families because in some cases these people are the breadwinners. They are human and they commit offences but it is better to have a human face and look into this matter urgently.

I thank you.

Mr P. G.Phiri (Vubwi): Mr. Chairman, first of all, I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning on having prepared a very good Budget like this one.

Mr. Chairman, coming to the Judiciary, before I look at justice, I would rather draw the House’s attention to the head of the Judiciary Department that he should be aware that the courts in rural areas, particularly in my constituency, no longer exist. Sir, cases are heard under trees, an abnormal situation. Sir, people walk long distances to meet presiding officers or court justices. Sir, people working in this department, particularly local court clerks have no houses. I appeal to the Government that this should be looked into very seriously. There are no houses and offices and since 1991, people have been hearing their cases under trees. I do not see any justice in this Vote although we call it the Department of Justice.

Mr. Chairman, coming to justice as I said, I feel very injured when I read that one has been seriously tortured before being taken to court. This kind of treatment should be minimised. We should see to it that a person or suspect is judged before he can be tortured. Let a person be convicted and then be punished accordingly rather than torturing somebody before justice.

Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, I would like to say that I am looking forward to the Government building local courts in Vubwi Constituency. One should be located at Pemba Moyo Headquarters, the other one at Mbozi Ward and the other at Kanyankhwele/Mwangazi so that we cut the distances in between. The other one should be built at Chief Mwangala’s Palace at Tafelansoni. I would like to see that the next time I visit my constituency. I should find these people in proper courts rather than finding them under trees.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata) : Mr. Chairman, very often in this country, people complain about delayed …

disposal of cases in courts and everyone agrees that justice delayed is justice denied.

Mr Chairman, looking at your Budget …

Hon. Government Members: Our Budget!

Mr Lubinda: Your Budget.

Mr Chairman, looking at the complement and grading of posts in ministries, there is no indication of any intention by the New Deal Government to increase the number of officers to dispense of matters in courts with expedience and, therefore, give the people of Zambia their right to justice.

Secondly, in this country, political cases have become the order of the day. Zambians would like to listen when these political cases are being held and yet the Public Investment Programme does not indicate anywhere, any intention by the New Deal Government to provide bigger courtrooms to allow Zambians to participate when their political leaders are being tried.

Mr Chairman, others have spoken about lack of courtrooms in far-flung areas. I would like to speak about a township that is closest to State House and closest to Supreme Court. This is Chilenje. Sir, the people of Chilenje, Libala, Kabwata, Misisi Compound and Chawama who go to receive justice at that local court are being subjected to having their cases heard in a room that you, Mr Chairman, and particularly, His Honour the Vice-President would qualify to be called a pigsty. It is a room that none of us sitting would like to associate ourselves to.

Mr Chairman, I would like to urge the Minister responsible to take this matter seriously. The local court in Chilenje decongests the local courts at the Boma. Unless something is done to improve the status of the local court in Chilenje, soon the people of Chilenje will not accept to have their cases tried there. The result will be further congestion of the Boma Local Court.

Mr Chairman, sometime last year, the MMD Government entered into an agreement with some donors to finance the extension of the Magistrates Court and the High Court. In the Budget, we see a figure of K800 million and yet we do not see that the monies that were signed for with the donors are also reflected in the Budget. What picture do we want to create? Is it that we are financing all this from our own resources? Why do we not want to reflect in this Budget the fact that some of this money is donor finance?

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Chairman, at long last, you have seen me. Even when you are a huge man, you cannot be seen.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Chairman, I am pleased to note that there has been a general increase in salaries, personal emoluments and RDCs. It is a good thing that has been done by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning because, perhaps, this will reduce a number of strikes that are being conducted by the magistrates. If you observed or noticed what had happened last year, several cases could not be tried more than half the year last year because the magistrates chose to go on a go-slow. So, a lot of people suffered because their cases were not tried. So, I hope that this Budget is addressing the problems that the magistrates complained about.

Mr Chairman, I wish to comment on the Sheriff’s Office. This department …

Mr Sichilima: Took your chairs!

Mr Muntanga: It is not only that it is not doing its job, but I think that there is need to check on it. Officers there do not follow regulations. They are more than the courts themselves. They tend to take advantage of the poor people in the villages. Even before a case comes up in court, that under-Sheriff in that small area, will write some paper and go on to pounce on this poor fellow. By the time the lawyers follow up the case, this under-Sheriff will claim that he had already executed the court order.

Mr Chairman, people are suffering. It would appear like nothing is being done. I know that this does not appear to be of any issue but two years ago, the late Minister for Southern Province, from Kalomo …

Hon. Government Members: Who?

Mr Muntanga: The late Miyanda.

Sir, even before the case was tried, local people there went and got the equipment which they later sold to their friends. On their way, they had a knock-engine between Lusaka and Mumbwa. The Government could not refund or pay back.

Mr Chairman, what I am saying is that the Sheriff’s Office should not behave like a monster. They should have a human heart while discharging their duties.

Mr Chairman, if they continue to behave in this manner, next time, we should hold the approval of the Budget for them because they seem to be making a lot of money from illegal deals. So, I would like to urge the Minister of Legal Affairs to check that department.

Sir, on local courts buildings, nearly in all my constituency, the buildings are in bad state and they are not being repaired. Perhaps, I should be talking to my brother there (pointing at Hon. Sondashi), the crocodile …


Mr Muntanga: … that the buildings should be repaired.

Dr Sondashi: On a point of order, Sir.

The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Dr Sondashi: Mr Chairman, is it in order for a man who is a small hippo …


Dr Sondashi: … to call someone who is innocently sitting a crocodile?


The Chairman: Will the hon. Member, please, continue.


Mr Muntanga: Mr Chairman, in fact, you will realise that I simply said crocodile and the only crocodile answered.


Mr Muntanga: I was saying that various local court buildings have their roofs blown-off. These buildings need repair. If you go to certain places, you would think that there are no people or that there was some kind of a riot because the buildings are completely gone. The cases, now, are tried under trees.

We are appealing to the hon. Minister. There is a bit of money, although I have noticed under the PRP that no capital projects have been allowed. I am not even sure how the Judiciary will be able to undertake some of the major repairs on the buildings. There is no capital development that has been allowed at the Judiciary. Although there is another Vote to be discussed on the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, all these courts are attached to the Chiefs’ Palaces. So, we cannot differentiate whether the Chief has shifted or something.

Sir, I know that we cannot ask for more money. Perhaps, the Ministry of Legal Affairs should ask the donors as we go round to help the local courts. 

Mr Chairman, I, now, wish to comment on the numerous adjournments of cases. People are really suffering because cases are not tried. I have a problem with the legal term ‘adjournment’. Lawyers and magistrates enjoy adjournments. They simply go to courts and adjourn the cases for a month, especially when they are busy with other things. People who cannot be released on bond or bail are really suffering. Some of the remand prisons are congested. The Kalomo Prison was built for seventy people and there are 273 now. This is because the cases are not tried at all or the cases have been going on for a year or two with no solution. Since a bit of money has been released, the Ministry of Legal Affairs has some consolation, otherwise, there is no justice. I urge the ministry to clear the backlog.

Thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Legal Affairs (Mr Kunda): Thank you, Mr Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to wind up the Judiciary Estimates of Expenditure for 2002.

Indeed, the Judiciary is one of the three important arms of Government. The others are the Executive and the Legislature. The Judiciary is responsible for the administration of justice and here we are talking about the Supreme Court, High Court, Industrial Relations Court, Subordinate Courts, Local Courts, Sheriff of Zambia and the Judicial Administration, which is the headquarters.

The mission of the Judiciary is to adjudicate and provide an efficient and effective administration of justice for the benefit of society. Of course, this is a daunting task, which demands that the Judiciary should be beyond reproach.

Now, the delivery of justice in the present democratic environment has to be impartial, fair and free from political interference. The legal status of the Judiciary is provided for under the Constitution and it requires that we should have an independent, impartial and autonomous Judiciary. In fact, there is an adequate legal provision for an autonomous Judiciary, although we are yet to fully attain autonomy of the Judiciary.

With regard to the performance of the Judiciary during the year 2002, it continues to play its pivotal role of dispensing justice in the country. Many cases were, of course, determined in these courts which I have referred to.

However, a new dimension of settling disputes was introduced in the court system that is the area of mediation with regard to civil cases. Everyone would like to see the Judiciary perform its role of dispensing justice. All of us, including politicians go to the Judiciary for settlement of disputes. Therefore, the need to strengthen the Judiciary cannot be over-emphasised. The Judiciary may face some operational constraints during the year, including inadequate funding. Levels of funding for the Judiciary did not match with its onerous and complicated responsibilities as one of the three arms of the State. As a result, execution of a core function of the Judiciary was affected. Some judges and justices could not fulfil their mandatory court sessions, thus creating a backlog of cases. Justice in this way suffered because it could not be delivered as expeditiously as it should be.

Now, because of the same funding problem, we could not secure critical items like stationery, typewriters, photocopiers, computers, and so on that can make the institution efficient.

Now, this problem permeated throughout the court system and there is need to look at the question of facilities. Hence, the need for funding to be available. The Judiciary experienced the problems of outstanding bills, unsettled debts for services rendered and this is a matter, which has to be addressed during the current year so that we can keep the operations of the Judiciary going.

There was also the problem of lack of court dress; uniforms. Some judges do not have robes because they are in short supply and we need to get those. Courts-Marshal and office orderlies also need uniforms.

On the problem of shortage of court rooms and dilapidated court buildings, as a Government, we are aware of this critical problem. The Judiciary is experiencing a critical shortage of court rooms. This leads to delays in the dispensation of justice. I agree with the hon. Members who touched on this very important point. The most hit are local and subordinate courts. Some have collapsed. It is true that there are situations where court sessions are held under trees. This is not something which, in this modern age, we should be proud of. We should work as a Government to address this particular problem.

There is lack of transport to facilitate the holding of sessions, especially in some places where there are no magistrates. We know there is a problem of shortage of magistrates in some districts. Therefore, if transport is available, we can address this problem through circulating, that is making magistrates move to these particular stations, which require magistrates.

There is also the problem of shortage of judges and magistrates due to poor conditions of service. This is the problem we have to tackle head on. We are quite alive to this problem. There is need for training of court staff. As you can see from the Budget, there is emphasis on training so that court officials can be trained in things like human rights and respect for the rights of accused persons. There was one hon. Member who talked about torture. How should we expedite cases? So, judicial officers should be trained and given information on human rights and other issues.

Now, the Government has been co-operating with donors who have made contributions to solving some of the problems, for example, in training, procurement of office equipment and office furniture and this is an on-going programme.

The Judiciary is also under-going restructuring. There is a programme of restructuring the Judiciary. The idea is at the end of the day to have a more efficient justice delivery system, a much skilled, effective and motivated staff and improved supervision and leadership and clearly defined laws for all employees.

The Judiciary will undertake some activities during the year 2002. Some of the major activities include, with the assistance of the Norwegian Government, the construction of a Magistrate’s Court Complex in Lusaka with twenty-four court rooms That contract is about to be signed. There is also an establishment of an inspectorate unit to monitor the collection of revenue and complete restructuring of the Judiciary. During the year, we shall embark on training. With the assistance of the Royal Danish Government, we shall embark on the rehabilitation of local courts in Luapula Province. There is a programme for that. We have to put in place stringent control measures to strengthen the proper utilisation of funds. With the assistance of the World Bank, we shall rehabilitate Kabwe, Kitwe and Mongu High Courts and Chingola, Kabwe, Kitwe, Livingstone and Mufulira Magistrate Courts. With the assistance of the World Bank, the Norwegian and Swedish Governments, we will procure office equipment, office furniture for magistrates and court benches for local and subordinate courts. 

There is also the programme of strengthening the alternative district resolution mechanisms, that is specific emphasis on mediation and arbitration. The Judiciary has also, as you can see from the Budget, to commence operations of the small claims courts this year at Lusaka, Kabwe, Ndola, Kitwe and Livingstone as a starting point. These are small claims courts, which will utilise arbitrators in the settlement of disputes. 

In conclusion, although the Judiciary has problems, these are not insurmountable. The Judiciary is determined to improve its image and with the support of our co-operating partners, we shall succeed. We also need the support of the House in approving these estimates so that justice can be delivered much more expeditiously.

The various points raised by the hon. Members have been noted. The Judiciary is working towards an expeditious disposal of cases. We have to eliminate delays. Problems in the Sheriff’s Office are genuine. The concerns raised are also genuine and they have to be looked into with a view to finding solutions.

Thank you, Sir. {mospagebreak}

VOTE 18/01 – (Judiciary –Headquarters – K6,443,548,671).

Mr  Mukuka (Malole): Mr Chairman, on sub-head 2, item 03 – Purchase of Services – K2,984,031,258, there is an increase from K608,004,785 to K2,984,031,258, what has necessitated this high increase?

Mr Kunda: Mr Chairman, the K2.4 billion is meant to provide for court sessions in other districts, that is circuiting to enable judicial officers to travel to attend to court sessions.

I thank you, Sir.

Vote 18/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 18/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 18/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 18/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 18/05 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 18/06 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 18/07 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 18/08 ordered to stand part of the Estimates. 

VOTE 31/01 – (Ministry of Legal Affairs - Headquarters – K12,981,983,718).

Mr Nyirenda (Kasenengwa):Thank you, Mr Speaker, for according me this opportunity to deliver my maiden speech to this august House.

The Chairman: Order! The operations of this House are based on rules. If we deviate from rules, we will be in chaos. I said from the beginning that we would allow two maiden speeches and the two maiden speeches have already been delivered. We are, now, dealing with the Estimates. Now, let me appeal to you, back-benchers. If you can convince the Minister of Finance and National Planning and the Vice-President who is the Leader of Government Business in this House that we should go beyond next week in order to finish this book, I will be very happy. On one Vote I will allow everybody to speak as long as they want. But the problem we have is that we have been told to finish this book quickly. That is why instead of knocking off at 2000 hours, we are knocking off at 2200 hours. If you exclude today, we have only tomorrow and Friday this week. Then, next week we have Tuesday and Wednesday, that is all. So, let us stick to this book. 

Mr Mukwakwa (Zambezi East): Thank you, Mr Chairman. In debating the Ministry of Legal Affairs, I would like to beg your indulgence in the sense that if we keep referring to issues of what happened over the last ten years, it is not for anything else but to ensure that the mistakes which were committed over the last decade should not be repeated in future.

I would wish to progress as follows, Sir. There have been a lot of laws which were passed in the past and some of these laws are, now, archaic. We would wish to appeal to the Ministry of Legal Affairs to ensure that the Zambia Law Development Commission looks at some of these. 

In view of the problems, especially in terms of health in this country, I wish to suggest that polygamy should be forbidden to help reduce health problems. 


Mr Mukwakwa: The other issue, Sir, is that when we talk of good governance and human rights, the human rights we are talking about, Sir, are not necessarily just for the other people in other areas. We are also talking in terms of human rights as they affect the development of the country. You have hard working lawyers in the Attorney-General’s Chambers. In terms of their remuneration, I think, the Government should consider remunerating them on the basis of the amount of income they are saving the Government and in terms of income they are bringing to the Government, and the nature of the complexity of some of the issues which they handle.

The other issue, Sir, is that in most cases in our country, when there is a problem, we do not want to solve that problem. We have a situation where it is much more appropriate to go and spend money, for example, on a putting up extra buildings for mortuaries instead of looking at the root cause of the problem. So, you have a situation whereby the Director of Public Prosecutions often enters nolle prosequi. Our perception, in the Opposition, is that in most cases he uses this provision with political cases affecting people who do not fear the views of the people in the Government. 

The other issue, Sir, is that when we talk of the Constitution, it is an orderly manner in which a country has to be governed. Unless we amend the Constitution, in the 2006 elections, we could end up, again, with a minority Government. You are going to have problems much worse than what we have faced this year. So, we are recommending to the Government that the date of the elections must be enshrined in the next Constitution. That would also help the Electoral Commission of Zambia to manage and plan the elections properly. 

Mr Chairman, we criticise when we want to help the Government. We have seen inadequacies and we want to address those inadequacies as citizens of this country. There is already a testimony. Some of the people who were on the Government benches in the previous Government are with us here. And some of the problems we have, now, is because of passing legislation which was not scrutinised properly. People were just agreeing simply because they were on the Government benches. I appeal to our colleagues on the other side that there are certain issues which go beyond political parties. One day, you will also be here. So, do not put this country into a mess. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Wina (Nalolo):Mr Chairman, in contributing to the debate on the Budget allocation to the Ministry of Legal Affairs, … 

Mr Sichilima: What do you say about polygamy?

Mrs Wina: I want to state that polygamy should be outlawed.


Mrs Wina: I want to state, Sir, that good laws and adherence to those laws is one of the cornerstones of good governance. Zambia, Sir, is not living in isolation, but part of a bigger global community, a global community that subscribes to international standards and norms of respectability and good laws. Zambia has also become a signatory to many international conventions some of which are very critical to the protection of human rights of all peoples. Some are contributing to the protection of vulnerable groups like women, children and people with disabilities such as the convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and the convention on the protection of the child or the rights of a child. My question to the learned hon. Minister is whether Zambia is considering making some of these international conventions part of the Zambian domestic law and if so, at what time of our development we shall see this realised.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Mr Silwamba (Ndola Central): Mr Chairman, I stand to support this Vote. It is a very important Vote representing the largest law firm in the country, various departments: Attorney-General’s Chambers, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Legal Aid Directorate, Law Development Commission Administrator-General, Official Receiver of Busters, Lunatics and Bankrupts to mention but a few. Now, Sir, this ministry used to have a very big department called Judicial Department. Ten years ago, focused Ministers of Legal Affairs, Rodger Chongwe, Ludwig Sondashi and Amusaa Mwanamwambwa realised the importance of the requisite checks and balances that the Judiciary could no longer operate as a department of Government in the ministry. It was important to create an independent autonomous judicature. That was the work of the last ten years. I have realised that given the competitive political market, it is becoming very fashionable to suffer from selective amnesia and forget the great strives that the last ten years have brought us. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Silwamba: We realise that with diversity, we need an independent umpire and the umpire in civilised conflict resolution is the judicature. That is why it was important to amend the Constitution and pass concomitant legislation creating the judicature as an arm of the Government never again to be a department of Government under the Minister’s superintendence. I think we deserve goodies for that.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Silwamba: I am not naïve and do not pretend or delude myself that mistakes were not made in the past ten years. They were made, but it is only fair that where right has been done, we objectively acknowledge and put this country to another stretch and that is why, indeed, there is a third term continuity with change. Our party is still in Government. People saw our mistakes and those that suffered from jaundice were able to see the positive aspects of our delivery.

So, Sir, I thought I should place on record my discomfort over the pretence that all has been the same from 1964. That is not fair. Please, let us be fair.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs R. C. Banda (Milanzi): Mr Chairman, …


Mrs R. C. Banda: … I know that is Hon. Chulumanda.

Mr Chairman, I would like to speak on two points. The protection of lawyers and the Interstate Law.

I would like to speak about the protection of lawyers because there is misinformation that if lawyers protect criminals in courts, then they are not good lawyers. To the general public, they are not good people. Can the Ministry of Legal Affairs work out something so that criminals are protected until convicted. So, lawyers should not be seen as bad people in the eyes of the public even if they would do a good job later on.

On the Interstate Law, I do not think that I have seen any improvement in the victimisation of the widows. This Interstate Law needs to be revisited and, perhaps, the ministry of Legal Affairs could work out modalities in which even women’s property could be recognised. Relatives of the deceased still grab everything, including what the woman had bought. Even with the Victims Support Unit, they still go ahead and victimise women leaving them in the cold with their children. So, I would like to see that the ministry of Legal Affairs works out a method of how best to handle the Interstate Law.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Chairman, looking at the Yellow Book, I discovered that salaries for the staff at this ministry are very low, only about K500 million. This is what makes the Ministry of Legal Affairs recruit lawyers of low calibre such that when they go to court, they just come up with nolle prosequi. I am making an earnest appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to look at this aspect. Government ends up losing a lot of money in paying legal costs as a result of poor representation in courts by the low calibre lawyers whose conditions of service are so poor.

Under Legal Aid, I equally appeal to the Government that Legal Aid Services should be decentralised so that all Zambian people, including those in rural areas can be represented effectively. 

Mr Sichilima: Talk like a man!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Behave!

It is also connected to the issue of fees at court. The Ministry of Legal Affairs - this is an appeal I am making as well. The fees demanded by the courts are too high keeping a lot people from accessing justice. So, they should consider reducing court fees.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Mr Nakalonga (Chikankata): Mr Chairman, I have two issues on which I am seeking clarification from the hon. Minister.

The first is that of the Good Governance Document. I know this document was produced sometime ago, but here we see quite a big figure of money allocated to it. I would like to know what really is going to happen with this document. At one time I asked for this document to come here and be debated so that it could be made part of the Zambian laws and compel the Executive to follow what is spelt out in the document. It has been used internationally and locally for the donor community in order to solicit for funds. But we see very little being done with it in terms of compliance.

So, Sir, may the hon. Minister assure us that this year, they are going to follow what is in there. If not, then this K1 billion will be wasted.

We have another document and this is on NGOs. The Bill is there in the ministry and I had talked to some people who were working on it. Since then, it has stalled on the grounds that we already have the Societies Act which they claim is similar. I feel there is need, now, to separate political parties, churches, NGOs and CBOs so that their roles can clearly be spelt out. As it is now, all these organisations are put together; even the registration is the same. Can we seek, at this point, separation …

The Chairman: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

Mr Nakalonga: Mr Chairman, when business was suspended, I was on capacity building for good governance. I was saying that we have a document that has been sold to many people, especially donors. Yet we have seen a lot of violations of human rights. This document is on human rights and the abuses have not decreased. We are seeing the same things continuing. There was talk of the police being trained in human rights. Seminars had started but they ended. So, Mr Chairman, the point I am driving at is that we want to know what exactly the Ministry of Legal Affairs intends to do with those abuses.

I remember that there were positions being advertised in relation to this same document and good governance. Again, in the Yellow Book we have another Vote of about K300 million and it is entitled Democratic Governance. I really do not understand what this means. So, before we go to figures, Mr Chairman, can we have these figures clarified.

Finally, on law development, we have a lot of archaic laws and people have been talking of reforming them. I have seen quite a good allocation for this commission this year. It is our hope that the Law Development Commission will do good research and bring these laws to the current dictates of Zambians. Doing research is one thing but enacting laws based on these researches is another thing. So, my request is that the Law Development Commission should not just research and keep their findings. It is better they feed the Ministry of Legal who will forward the ideas to Cabinet for policies to be developed into laws enacted.

I thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Minister of Legal Affairs (Mr Kunda): Thank you, Mr Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to wind up debate on my ministry’s Estimates of Expenditure for 2002.

Mr Chairman, my ministry’s mission is to provide an effective and efficient legal framework and services to the Government so as to evaluate, design and implement various political, legislative, economic and other policies of the Government. The policies of the Government are achieved by upholding the Republican Constitution, through the protection and promotion of fundamental human rights and freedoms so that all Zambians are free and equal before the law. We provide legal advice, opinion and guidance to the Government, provide law reform and update statutes to take into account the social values of the Zambian people. We ensure that new laws are drafted and interpreted to take into account the political and economic changes that have taken place. We enhance fundamental rights and freedoms of the general public in accordance with the national policies and principles of good governance. This is the mission of my ministry.

My ministry has departments, for example, the first one is the Attorney-General’s Department which has a Legislative and Drafting Department. This department drafts the bills, laws, and new legislation which have been going through this House. We have the Civil Litigation and Debt Collection Department. This department collects debts and defends and prosecutes claims on behalf of the Government.

We have the International Law and Agreements Department. This department renders advice on international law and agreements between the Zambian Government and foreign governments, international organisations and agencies. The department also deals with matters related to human rights. The department is responsible for the preparation of local agreements involving various ministries. If ministries make agreements, they are referred to this department for advice. International contracts are also dealt with through this department, bilateral agreements, international agreements, regional agreements such as those in the SADC and COMESA region, treaties and international conventions, Cabinet memoranda and agreements relating to privatisation.

We also have the Director of Public Prosecutions Department. The department prosecutes criminal cases. All public prosecutions are conducted through this department. The Director of Public Prosecutions has certain powers under Article 56 (3) of the Constitution.

We have the Administrator-General’s Department which deals with estates of deceased persons who die testate or intestate. That is having made a will or having made no will at all. The department also deals with estates of bankrupt persons and mental patients.

We have the Directorate of Legal Aid which provides legal aid and services to underprivileged members of society under the Legal Aid Act. This department plays a pivotal role in the protection and advancement of human rights to vulnerable members of the nation.

We have the Law Development Commission which is responsible for the review reform development and simplification of the law. The commission will undertake the following projects this year: review the jurisdiction of the local courts, look at the Intestate Succession Act, review it and make proposals as was suggested in this House. Also, it will review legislation on customary law, look at the customary laws of this country and try to re-state them. That is one of the projects which the Zambia Law Development Commission will be undertaking during the year.

We also have the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education which provides legal education, nationally, regionally and internationally. It provides postgraduate studies for legal practitioners. 

It also provides training in legislative drafting and prosecution and training to magistrates and legal practitioners, as I have said generally. Then we have the Democratic Governance Unit. This is the unit that monitors the project that was referred to. This is the National Capacity Building Programme for Good Governance.

The National Capacity Building Programme for Good Governance is a ten year programme which started from in 2002. The overall estimated cost of this programme is US$449 9 million. The idea behind this project is the promotion of constitutionalism and human rights, enhancement of accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs, improvement of economic management, democratisation and strengthening of local Government.

The idea behind this project is to strengthen institutions that contribute to good governance. The project has just started and this is the second year. Some of the achievements include amending the Zambia Police Act, establishment of the Victims Support Units and Police Public Complaints Authority. Under the same programme, the Judicial Code of Conduct Act and the Arbitration Act were also passed, as part of the good governance project. The Gender Policy has been approved. Zambia has prepared an initial report under Article 19 of the Convention Against Torture and other Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Zambia has acceded to the 1907 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. A commercial list has been created within the High court for the speedy dispensation of commercial disputes. Court Mediation, that is a programme intended to contribute to the decongestion of the courts has been introduced.

Sir, this is an on-going programme which is there to ensure that capacity in institutions which can contribute to good governance is strengthened. Now, my ministry monitors this unit so that we achieve whatever is under this programme.

Mr Chairman, my ministry faced some major constraints in the year 2001, including inadequate funding which led to problems in procuring materials, equipment and so on and shortage of qualified professional staff due to poor conditions of service. The Government will seriously address these problems so that we can improve on the capacity of the Ministry of Legal Affairs to deliver, especially in the areas of law reforms.

Sir, despite these constraints, my ministry has been able to produce the necessary legislation, prepare agreements, render legal advice and it continues to undertake prosecutions, contribute to maintenance of law and order in that regard, recover debts, protect the rights and interests of the Government and render timely advice. Sir, to strengthen the ministry, the legal board will be operationalised this year so that a legal aid board fund is created from which private practitioners can be paid to represent poor members of the society.

Mr Chairman, I wish to conclude by saying that my ministry needs the support of this House. With specific reference to some of the issues which were raised by hon. Members of Parliament, this is in regard to domestication of international conventions on human rights and other international treaties, my Government has a programme of looking into these conventions, which Zambia has ratified, and will look into ways and means of making them part of our laws.

Sir, my ministry will continue from where the previous administration left under the Motto of Continuity with Change. We have straightforward programmes and we shall attend to constitutional review and reform of laws which may be archaic or which need to be brought into tune with modern trends.

I thank you, Sir.

Vote 31/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 31/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 31/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 31/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 31/07 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 26/01 – (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services – Headquarters – K8,550,427,955). {mospagebreak}

Mr L. L. Phiri (Chipangali): Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on this Vote which delivers information from one corner of Zambia to another.

Mr Chairman, before I support this Vote, with observations, I would, first of all, like to congratulate the hon. Minister who has come back after having served in that ministry. The hon. Minister did not complete fulfilling the promises he made. Sir, now that he has come back, we expect him to be very firm and act quickly on his promises.

Mr Chairman, I want to implore the Minister to quickly stop the tendency at ZNBC where directives are given not to cover the opposition. Directives are also being given on what news should be covered. Sir, that is unethical. The hon. Member for Kapoche debated and alluded to that. We are aware what directives the Director of Programmes has given to ZNBC and we do not want such instructions because such instructions deter progress on proper news coverage by that institution.

Mr Chairman, if this continues, we are capable of refusing to approve their Vote. We would like to have fair coverage. What happens here at Parliament is only read in papers. When we observe that people are not well paid and the buildings there are in a deplorable state and the chairs have not been changed since 1964, it means we want development to take place so that the people working there can be happy and work in a good environment. It is not that we want to lower the integrity of the ministry. Sir, we would like to see a situation where the news coming from ZNBC and other Government controlled papers is well-balanced. Workers should not be intimidated for producing well-balanced news.

Mr Chairman, transferring workers from department to department because they have covered a story, which some people are not happy about, will only increase mediocrity at ZNBC. Sir, we have well qualified young men and women there who can do a good job to make sure that we listen to well balanced news on radio and television.

Mr Chairman, the other thing I have observed is that those people have very bad conditions of service. We do not know when the last increment was given. Sir, we would like to see that the people who work for the public look presentable. We do not want them to be beggars. I am asking the hon. Minister to improve the conditions of service for these workers this year. The New Deal should start on a new note. The Minister should also make sure that ZNBC and ZANA are cleaned up. Sir, employing people on contract will not take us anywhere.

Mr Chairman, if a person has reached retirement age, let him go so that other people can be employed. Sir, for the past five years, ZNBC has been employing people on contract and those are the people who are getting a lot of money year in, year out. These contracts are taking a lot of money which could be used to develop that institution. The contract workers are the same people who are frustrating those who can develop Zambia by giving us well-balanced news.

Hon. Minister, you have come at the right time since you left those problems there, I hope you will solve them this time. On boards of directors, I would like to say that the last time we had problems with the issue of board of directors, you acted quickly. This time, you should appoint people with an understanding nature to be on that board so that they can solve the problems.

Mr Chairman, I am a man who would like to advise the Government seriously. The Government is not paying me for the advice I am giving them, it is just free service. I am always there and I know their complaints. Sir, I would like to end here because if I go on, I will become irrelevant like the hon. Member for Mbala (Mr. Sichilima) who, when hon. Members are debating issues, he is always shouting without listening and learning as other hon. Members do.

Mr. Chairman, you have taught me good leadership and as such I do not want to be irrelevant.

With those very serious observations, I thank you, Sir.

Mr Imenda (Lukulu East): Mr. Chairman, I would like to comment on the two newspapers, that is the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail. These two dailies have become the Government’s propaganda machinery. Their coverage does not reflect the true picture of what is happening in this country and for as long as this is left to continue, we are going to be left in a situation where we are going to be in a worse situation than what used to happen during the one-party State.

Mr. Chairman, the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail were much better then than now. 

Mr L. L. Phiri: Hear, hear!

Mr Imenda: We used to look forward to reading the Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail during the one-party State. As it is today, there is no news other than reflecting on Government issues. They have become Government Gazette.

Mr Chairman, we would also love to see the strengthening of the vernacular newspapers. As it is now, our views are being reflected in all these papers other than the vernacular newspapers for some of us who represent rural constituencies. Other people will never have a chance of knowing what we are saying here the reason being that newspapers like Imbila, Liseli, and so on are no longer seen in those areas where they are supposed to be read.

Mr Chairman, the Government seems to be comfortable with this because they have the Times of Zambia and Daily Mail to do their work. Therefore, we would also want the people we represent here to know what we talk about so that we are seen to be doing the work.

Sir, there is a very important network – rural television network under CASAT. Today, we have television coverage along the line of rail and, maybe, some privileged rural districts. Some of our districts are not being covered. We would like to see the introduction of television network in all districts of the Republic of Zambia.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Imenda: Mr Chairman, the other issue that I would like to dwell on relates to the changes of Boards of Directors in these newspapers, especially, Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and many more other pro-Government bodies. These Boards are changed every time there is a new Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services. That is why we see that the policy is reflected in relation to respective Ministers. Some are too pro-Government. It is for this reason that the editors of newspapers are afraid to reflect the true picture of what is obtaining in the country.

Mr Chairman, it is our wish that the newspapers will be seen to be doing the work for the Republic and not the party in power.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Kakoma (Kalabo): Mr Chairman, thank you very much. At last, I have caught your eye.

Mr Chairman, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services is very important to the whole country and the world at large. Sir, in my constituency, where information is concerned, people of Kalabo have not got anything. The television is only along the rail line. It is like it is in favour of the children in the urban areas. Television is educative for our rural children in schools. They also want to learn what is happening in the cities and the world. Even if they do not travel to Lusaka, they can be aware of what is happening.

Mr Chairman, though the money has been given to the ministry for CASAT, they have never received it in Kalabo. May I know how far the funding has gone?

Sir, we have women and men in the villages who want to contribute to this nation. They are so good and have the best voices to sing but they are still waiting, the reason being that television projects are not financed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services for them to reach the people who are in the rural constituencies. They are still waiting.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichilima (Mbala): Mr Chairman, I want to add my voice to the contributions of some of my colleagues from the Eastern Province who seem not to give credit where it is due.

Previously, we used to watch television only up to Chongwe. That was it. Today, even people of Mbala are able to watch.


Mr Sichilima: It is a process. The beginning is not the ending.


Mr Sichilima: Mr Chairman, may I remind my colleagues that new hon. Members, in the opposition camp, have been covered more than the people in MMD, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichilima: … to the extent that they have even given wrong information. Hon. Lucas Phiri has got three wives but they write that he has only one wife. That is misinformation.


Mr Sichilima: Mr Chairman, the Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail which my colleagues are complaining about were …

Mr L. L. Phiri: On a point of order, Sir.


The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Chairman, I stand on a very serious point of order. Is the hon. Member in order to mislead this august House and the nation, at large, by saying that Hon. Lucas Phiri has three wives when in the actual fact, he has never known my history of marriages …


Mr L. L. Phiri: … and has not been to my place?

Hon. Members: Quality!

The Chairman: Will the hon. Member, please, continue.

Mr Sichilima: Mr Chairman, I was talking about the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail. I was saying that, previously, these papers where photo albums for one leader. Every time you bought these newspapers and opened them, they had only one face on it. Today, all of you, if I am not mistaken, have been covered.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Sichilima: Let us give credit where it is due.

Mr Chairman, I would have appreciated if my colleagues on the opposition side talked of opening another television station in Chipangali. This is a liberalised economy and the New Deal and the previous Government have been good to all of us.

Mr Chairman, we have said that if you want, you can open your own television station. Today, we have so many newspapers which are busy misinforming the nation about, probably, the running of this Government and you are busy enjoying that.

Mr Chairman, I would have appreciated if my colleagues on the opposition had talked about increasing salaries and improving conditions of service of our colleagues in these media institutions. This is because technology and most of the areas in their working environment have changed. Officers in media, for instance, ZNBC, need to be exposed and trained.

Mr Chairman, may I point out that the Government is working. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Sichilima: Do not just rush to criticise. When you look at the figures, things have changed.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichilima: We are talking in billions and you were talking in hundreds of kwacha in the previous years. So, most of these things are really covered. Let us give credit where it is due. I cannot remember any ministerial statement from the Government which has said Chipangali will never benefit from the CASAT project. They said they were going rural and Chipangali is more rural than Mbala.


Mr Sichilima: With regard to age and awarding of contracts to some officers in some of these institutions, these same colleagues on your left, Mr Chairman, will be the first ones to cry if we say there are no contracts to serve. They will be the first ones to say they are too old.


Mr Sichilima: The media sells the news. If Hon. Mwale cannot make the news, then he is irrelevant.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichilima: If the New Deal says we are going to build Chipangali, that is news and it will be on air.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichilima: Mr Chairman, I thank you very much.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shumina (Mangango): Mr Chairman, I am at great pains to reconcile the line of thought of the hon. Member who has just spoken.

Sir, the whole nation is aware that part of the high death rate and high blood pressure at the Zambia Daily Mail, The Times of Zambia, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Zambia Information Services and Zambia News Agency are because of political interference.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shumina: Sir, I want to put it on record that even as of last week, the Times of Zambia workers were on strike. So, it is actually a very big surprise that an hon. Member can come and speak on the Floor of this House as if he is addressing a rally in his constituency.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Mr Shumina: The public media is national media. All Zambians are shareholders and no group of people in this country should believe and think that they are the owners of the public media. The 2001 election results, in spite of the propaganda that was put across which suffocated the people of Zambia, actually came out clearly when the counting started. You almost collapsed there, which was actually a true indication that the people of Zambia were sick and tired of stereo type of reporting of ideas that were imposed on them.

It will be in the interest of Government and Zambia and all of us to report and reflect the views of the people of Zambia because there are other newspapers and radio stations which reflect in totality what is happening in this country. So, if the Government is going to put up an agenda whose objective is to show otherwise, they are actually shooting themselves in the foot because the people will know the truth. So, in the interest of the Government, it is advisable that you allow these professionals to do professional work so that they reflect the true picture of what is happening in this country.

I also, Sir, would like to emphasise that the Government should either seriously fund Zambia Information Services and Zambia News Agency, especially at provincial headquarters and rural areas. If they do not, you should close or privatize them because a lot of your workers in districts have become farmers and village headmen. There is nothing that is happening. They do not even have typewriters. Actually, I do not even know how Ambassadors who are accredited to Zambia visit Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation. They use 1959 typewriter at ZNBC. Sometimes, they get their salaries after thirtieth. Sometimes, it is around tenth and fifteenth of the following month. It is just in order that when we discuss national issues, we should be serious and ensure that those who toil day in and day out are respected and given the support and the kind of salaries that they deserve.

It is against this background, Sir, that I also want to emphasise the CASAT dilemma. Last year was a political year. Some of these CASAT dilemmas, for example, if you phone Kaoma District, you will find that they are watching Tanzanian Television and the language is in ki Swahili.

Hon. Government Members: No!

Mr Shumina: You can check your facts. They even watch the National Assembly of Tanzania in Arusha doing their debates. These things were done in a hurry. You actually helped us because the people of Western Province, Kaoma in particular, realised that you were mocking them and they voted for us. So, thank you very much for that anomaly, but you should correct it now.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): I wish to start by saying that I served Zambia Daily Mail as managing editor without any oath. So, I am at liberty to talk.

It is true that there is state interference in the operations of the public media. Just recently, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation refused to accept a paid for programme by the United Party for National Development where the President of the party, Mr Anderson Kambela Mazoka wanted to inform the nation and thank them for having voted for him. But, ZNBC refused to accept that …

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Mr Kakoma: … on the mere excuse that the only person in Zambia who is supposed to give a state of the nation address is the President of the Republic. I wonder which editorial policy or Act they used.

Since I became Member of Parliament, I have issued more than five press statements and distributed them to all the media, private and public, but the public media, including where I was managing editor blacked me out. 

Hon. Opposition members: Aah! {mospagebreak}

Mr Kakoma: Only The Post, Radio Phoenix and other private media institution decided to give me coverage. It is all right to say that we are using our judgement to decide what is news but that discretion should be seen to be objective. In my statement, for example, I was alerting the Government that there is a serious security problem in Zambezi. If it had not been for the private media which highlighted that, up to now, soldiers would have not been sent to Zambezi to protect our people. Government sent troops there and the situation is under control. So, what judgement did you use in arriving at the news worthiness of the statement?

Mr Chairman, in the past when I was managing editor myself, I used to receive instructions from higher offices, including State House where, for example, they would instruct me not to cover one of the hon. Members here, Cameron Pwele.


Mr Kakoma: He never even knew why he was not appearing in the media. He was seen to be somebody causing trouble in Luanshya when, in fact, he was just a unionist who was advocating workers’ rights. 

We had situations where somebody would ring and say I should not cover their wife in the Zambia Daily Mail because she is running a popular NGO which is helping other people emerge.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame.

Mr Kakoma: But what do personal differences got to do with the State? 

Therefore, whereas Government would like to hold on to the public media, they only do so in so far as press coverage is concerned. It only becomes public to suit themselves when it comes to news coverage. But when it comes to helping these public media institutions, they tell them that their companies must look after themselves. You are holding on to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, but for the past eight years, they have never had any salary increment. Yet even civil servants have had salary increments. Even in this year’s Budget, you have decided not to give any grant to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Zambia Daily Mail and the Times of Zambia. 

You want them to continue producing your Government propaganda. If those were companies running commercially, they would report the news that would attract readership so that they make a profit but if they are only going to report about the MMD, then its readership will be reduced to 30 per cent which is representing the 30 per cent of the people who voted for MMD and, therefore, they will make a loss. When they make a loss, you are the same people in Government who are going to come back to the media heads and say, ‘Why have you made a loss? You are a bad manager. You must be kicked out.’

I think that even in the worst scenario, if we are to have the public media, they must be well funded. But, of course, the best situation is to let go of these public media institutions. Let these institutions be privatised so that they can function properly. I do not understand the fear. In Uganda, Malawi and Kenya, there are a lot of private newspapers and the governments still manage to survive. You are doing wrong things. You want to sweep the dirt under the carpet, and then hold on to the public media to do some public relations exercises. Sir, public relations is not news. The public newspapers are not going to sell their newspapers based on public relations stories. They never sell.

The hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services acts and behaves like he has power to run the public media. For your information, the Zambia Daily Mail and the Times of Zambia are registered under the Companies Act as private companies. They are not public corporations and, therefore, even the hon. Minister has no mandate to appoint the board of directors to those institutions. However, because of state interference and imposing himself on the public media, he illegally appoints those boards of directors. Even in their memorandum and articles of association, there is no law for the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services. Where the hon. Minister gets that power, nobody knows.

Mr Chairman, I think that like the previous speaker said, there is need for us to increase coverage by radio in rural areas. In Zambezi District, now, people only listen to foreign radio stations. Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation is not heard. Whatever is here in Lusaka is not known. People depend on rumours. For example, when the Government announced the dates for nomination for parliamentary and presidential elections, nobody heard because there is no radio reception and people had to walk for three days to look for me to tell me to come and file my nomination papers.

Mr Chairman, in conclusion, I think, there is need for the media institutions, I know they work under pressure, to act professionally, especially in relation to their fellow employees who are fellow journalists. I am aware that, for example, at the Zambia Daily Mail some workers have been victimised, some demoted, and others transferred. One editor was demoted to a junior reporter and transferred to an irrelevant department because he was suspected to be sympathetic to UPND. I think that is bad and in terms of good governance, we are not helping matters by portraying such an image.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Chipili): Mr Chairman, I stand to support the Vote under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services. 

Mr Chairman, I will highlight a few issues. I will also try to respond to what has been suggested on the Floor of the House by Hon. Lucas Phiri, the gallant Member of Parliament for Chipangali, who, on the radio, today, has been crowned as a Chief Whip of the whole Parliament. That is the media he claims is not covering him.


Mr Chipili: Mr Chairman, I would like to assure the House that the policy of this Government is not to muzzle any party or public media at all.

From the ministry, we have not given any such instructions. News is simply decided upon by the editors. The problem is that when you talk treason you want it to be a headline. That is not news because you are going to destroy people’s lives. Now, when reporters or editors decide that they cannot print something because it does not make sense, you come out and say the Government is giving instruction for no coverage. That is not true. I want to assure hon. Members that we are doing everything possible to try and reach remote parts of Zambia. We are re-organising the Zambia Information Services. We are merging it with ZANA for effective news delivery. And we are trying to get new equipment installed so that they can be linked up to computer. It becomes easier for them to have news reported at their headquarters. 

As regards boards, boards of directors are being constituted.

Mr Haakaloba: On a point of order.

Mr. Chipili: I am responding to what you said. What is your problem? Just sit down.


Mr. Chipili: The position of the Government is …

The Chairman: Order! Let me, again, guide the House on points of order. If you shout ‘point of order’ twice and I do not respond, just sit down. It means, in my judgement, you are interfering with the progress of the House.

Will you, please, continue. 


Mr Chipili: Thank you, Sir. Before that interruption, I was saying that boards will be put in place. What we have done this time around is that the Government or the ministry is not appointing these boards without consultations. We have sent out a memorandum asking all these public media to give us their recommendations as to what, or which persons they think can constitute the board. For us, that is more transparent. We have already received a feedback from the public. 

In trying to improve the outreach of the media, we have immediate plans to try and connect every line ministry to ZIS so that your news will be able to reach us here through the district or the provincial offices from where ever you are. To this end, my ministry has devised a new approach. The new approach is that we are imploring line ministries to try and buy equipment for their use. My ministry will second staff to their ministries and they will be linked to ZIS, once we have acquired motor vehicles and equipment. That is a practical way of doing things. 

We want enough information. Dissemination of information must be country wide, not only along the line of rail. So, I would like to appeal to hon. Members that we need your support and we need the support of the Minister of Finance and National Planning as we go to figures. My ministry has been given far less than what we had last year. Yet, as all hon. Members are aware, we will need to cover agriculture, health, HIV/AIDS and gender imbalances. This cannot happen without funding. So, we need to, at least, in due course, with the indulgence of the hon. Minister of Finance and National of Planning, come up with a Supplementary Budget. 

So, this Government will not interfere with the running of the public newspapers or ZNBC. We are about to reactivate six vernacular newspapers in the provinces that should be out soon. So, when we say that we are committed to the provision of information, we mean very well as MMD under the New Deal Government.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipili: All we need is support. Somebody alluded to the fact that salaries of Pressmen in the public media are too low. I will be the first one to agree. I have visited all the public media. I know that the salaries are pathetic. But, right now, as I talk to you, management is negotiating with the union. That is how this Government is going to work 

We do not guarantee increments from the ministry, it is negotiations by management and the union. That is the way it has been and that is the way it will continue to be. Hon. Lucas Phiri, you should be happy that we are taking these measures because you will need this information in Chipangali, come 2006.In order to enhance coverage, we have given licences to a good number of people to open up radio stations. To name a few, there is Chengelo, Chikuni, Yatsani, Radio Maria in Chipata, Choice-FM, Q-FM, and Phoenix. All these are operational and they worked very well in supporting election bids of hon. Members here. The opposition benefitted more than us. You did not see a lot of MMD activities. So, that is how fair we are. 

Furthermore, in seventeen districts, CASAT is already operational. Now, to assure the House, we are still going ahead in introducing wider coverage of electronic media and, indeed, the radio which has shot up to 80 per cent.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon Member: Quality.

The Chairman: Can we make progress.

Mr Kazala-Laski: Progress.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Thank you, Sir, for affording me this opportunity to speak. Mr Chairman, I just want to seek clarification. The Vice-President is on record as having informed this august House that there will be a provision for AIDS awareness in every ministry. I have perused through the budget for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services and I cannot see any provision for that same purpose. I would like a clarification from the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services as to whether this particular ministry is not affected by the AIDS pandemic like others.

Thank you, Sir.

The Chairman: Order! May those who have had a chance of speaking on other issues stop indicating so that only those who have not spoken for sometime can indicate. I can see some people want to speak although they have already spoken more than two times before. I know everybody wants to be on the radio or in the Press tomorrow, but let us be fair to each other. I would like those who have not spoken for sometime to indicate so that we can give them the Floor.

Mr Muleya (Choma): Mr Chairman, I would like to make a few comments on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services. Information is always very cardinal to every single activity and I get very worried to note that and Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation is the only organisation in this region where it is difficult to pick a radio signal in the rural areas. Even a new organisation like the Christian Radio has a very strong signal in the rural areas. Radio Zambia has been in operation for a very long time. We have heard of expenditures on improving radio reception in rural areas. Therefore, I wonder whether this is a technical problem beyond the competence of our engineers or it is just by design. It is very important that all our citizens are able to get the messages they broadcast and the policy of this Government instead of having to listen to foreign radio broadcasts when, in fact, they could get all the development programmes of this Government and everything that they need to know about their own Government and what is happening in this country from their national station.

Mr Chairman, ZNBC is a sorry sight. The buildings are dilapidated and dilapidating. In this Budget, there is a provision of only K1 billion. Of course, it is not stated whether it is for repairs or not. I think an institution like this one and all Government institutions, for that matter, need to be taken care of so that the people who work in those organisations can be proud to operate from there. This will help to increase the levels of efficiency.

Mr Chairman, as I said earlier on, information is a very important instrument. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services is one organisation which can put the position of this country on the world map. If, for instance, it is noticed that in the media, only Government Ministers or programmes are covered, it means that even if, on a daily basis, we preach that we are democrats, we are biased. For instance, one of the previous speakers stated that this is a Government institution and we are even fair that some of you get covered on television and radio.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Mr Muleya: This is not as it should be, Sir. This is a national institution and this House where we are is part of the Government of this country. So, you cannot be proud and come to this House and say that if a Member of the opposition is covered, then the Government is being fair. I do not think that should be the case.

Mr Chairman, in respect of public media in rural areas, although this point has been covered, to some extent, we have a lot of people who are literate. All the rural newspapers, which used to be distributed, are no longer there. The hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives together with the Minister of Finance and National Planning have stated that there will be some agricultural inputs which are supposed to be distributed in order to enhance agriculture. If these newspapers were to be distributed in local languages, the work of the information department would become easier and the programmes, which we are debating in this House, would be carried out much more effectively.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (Miss Namugala): Mr Chairman, Hon. Shumina has suggested that the high rate of deaths at the institutions under this ministry are as a result of high blood pressure induced by the authorities. I wonder if he has evidence to that effect.


Miss Namugala: Yes! We would like you to provide that evidence because certainly that sounds very serious.

Sir, last year was a very difficult year, especially for the media institutions. I know that the hon. Members in opposition were covered and quite sufficiently by the newspapers they are accusing of having been biased. I am aware myself that there was a time that the FDD was being covered even more than MMD. I know that the Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail are probably the only newspapers that are balanced enough to portray a proper picture.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Namugala: We are aware that there are some newspapers in this country that do not report anything positive about the Government. If there is a report about Government, it is negative.

Mr Chairman, I wish to ask Hon. Shumina to provide evidence to the effect that the deaths at the institution, under this ministry, are as a result of high blood pressure that they get from the authorities.

I thank you, Sir.

The Chairman: I can see ten Members have contributed and as we advance, I do not hear any fresh ideas. I think it will be agreeable by all of us that the hon. Minister must be called in to wind up debate and make progress. We still have a lot more ministries to debate.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Zimba): Mr Chairman, I thank you for giving me the time to respond to the debate on my ministry. I would like, in advance, to thank my colleagues, Deputy Ministers, my Deputy and those from the Government side for putting in some explanations on the issues raised.

Mr Chairman, I wish to thank all hon. Members of this House who have contributed to the debate on the Estimates of Expenditure for my ministry, even those who sat listening, but wishing to bring out what they think about my ministry. Their contributions have been constructive and positive and I shall, certainly, take into account all their comments and observations on the performance of my ministry during the course of the year.

Mr Chairman, as for those who complained of not being covered, Parliament, as an institution, has already made advance progress in making your voices heard. Already, you saw a television camera here, although that television camera is not covering the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, as he puts across responses.

Sir, in line with our political process, my ministry continued to carry a heavy responsibility of ensuring free flow of information and ideas across the country. As the House is aware, every citizen has a right to information. The provision of information is there for personal development or for stimulation of an informed debate and works to guarantee the human rights of the people of Zambia. It, therefore, remains a challenge for my ministry, in accordance with its mission statement, to promote and facilitate the growth of a sustainable media industry capable of enhancing free flow of information and freedom of expression. 

The provision of several media channels gives effect to freedom of expression in a multi-party democracy like ours. It bestows on the media the pivotal role to expound, not only Government policies, programmes and issues of concern to the people, but, equally, to report the views of the people, which the two dailies do cover.

Mr Chairman, our people need to be sensitised to contribute to public debates and to make informed decisions and choices on the type of government that they want to govern them. I am, therefore, pleased to state that my ministry effectively executed this function during the tripartite elections last December and enabled the majority of Zambians to make an informed choice as to the type of government they wanted for the next five years.

Sir, hon. Members will recall that the debates to verbalise and also voice out the manifestos of various political parties was mainly carried out by the opposition. MMD representatives were missing in most cases. If that is not leveling the playing field, then we do not know what is.


Mr Zimba: Sir, during the campaign period preceding the election, my ministry worked hard to ensure that the public media gave the required balanced coverage to the eleven political parties. If there were pockets of blackouts, this was not deliberate. This could simply have resulted from the fact that some parties may not have been as pro-active as others were, including my party. Otherwise, Mr Chairman, the ministry did its best to widen the media outreach by purchasing twenty-one vehicles to supplement the shaking fleet of the public media, which all hon. Members know are operating under very difficult conditions. This has been pointed out by you when you talked of conditions of service and the conditions under which public media institutions operate.

Sir, my ministry even worked out a programme of rural coverage which saw the two dailies, the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail, supplement the efforts of the Zambia Information Services and the Zambia News Agency. The two papers also went to great lengths to run profiles of presidential aspirants so as to expose them and their party manifestos to the electorate. The debates and paid for adverts on ZNBC television and radio also provided opportunities for the parties and their candidates to sell themselves to the Zambian people thus providing an even playing field for all.

I can hear some shouts because some were campaigning in valleys in canoes, in deeper levels where …

Mr Sibetta: In Luena.

Mr Zimba: Yes, Luena is one of them, but that is not the only place where there are deep valleys. 

Mr Sibetta: Welcome back.

Mr Zimba: So, they could not be heard and they could not hear any news, but what I am saying is what happened.

Mr Chairman, all this was done to promote the democratic ideals and fulfill the tenets of good governance which, in turn, is an important ingredient of our democratic dispensation. The voters and candidates were all made aware of what was expected of them. This demonstrates that we are on the right track in our efforts to consolidate our democracy.

Mr Chairman, in an effort to extend media outreach, my ministry has issued several community radio licences under the liberalisation of the airwaves as my Deputy Minister has pointed out. Today, my Government boasts of having more than ten community-based and privately-owned commercial radio stations. Among those with confirmed broadcasting licences are Radio Ichengelo in Kitwe; Radio Chikuni in Monze; Mazabuka Community Radio; Radio Yatsani in Lusaka; Radio Maria in Chipata; Radio Choice in Lusaka; Radio Christian Voice; SKY-FM in Monze; and Radio Q-FM in Lusaka. 

Those given construction permits to test broadcasting include Radio Liambai in Mongu, Radio Chikaya in Lundazi and Radio UNZA in Lusaka. This, Mr Chairman, is a great achievement on the part of the Government because we have created a conducive environment for private investment in the media industry. The House will agree with me that, through community broadcasting, the Zambian people on the line of rail will understand and participate effectively in Government programmes and activities. I would just like to appeal to these stations to remain non-partisan in tackling various national issues. 

Another milestone made by the Government, through my ministry, is the provision of television to rural districts under the Rural Television Project. The project is being carried out with CASAT who are working with Zamtel to take the ZNBC signals to rural districts. I am glad to inform the House that some districts were even able to watch the debates on the national television during the campaign period. I am happy about your support for my ministry to accelerate the installation of transmitters in the remaining districts under the first phase. Sir, so far, seventeen districts have had television transmitters installed. These include the following: first of all, my district, Lundazi, Kaoma, Samfya, Petauke, Nakonde, Kabompo, Mporokoso, Mpulungu, Isoka, Chinsali, Mwense, Namwala, Kawambwa, Kasempa, Katete, Mufumbwe and Luwingu. In all, thirty-four districts are targeted under the project. May I just make one appeal to hon. Members to exercise patience and wait for their turn when transmitters will be installed in their respective constituencies.

Some reports have already reached my ministry about hon. Members who have gone to CASAT to demand for transmitters for their areas. Some have even accused the company of having received money from the Government. Sir, I wish to inform the House that the project is being carried out systematically and that only K9 million was released to CASAT for districts under the first tranche. This project needs a lot more money from the Treasury in order for the remaining districts to have theirs completed.

Mr Chairman, it has been discovered that some districts do not have the ZNBC signal. The required audio and video signals are a responsibility of Zamtel and CASAT cannot, therefore, be held responsible. Immediately Zamtel takes ZNBC signals, the affected districts and communities will be able to watch television. 

Sir, another major task that my ministry has, is the implementation of the Media Law Reforms. The reforms are aimed at safeguarding freedom of expression and media freedom by identifying and repealing or amending legislation that inhibit the excise and enjoyment of the said freedoms. 

Mr Chairman, may I inform this august House that considerable progress has been made in this area. Last year, the draft Freedom of Information Bill was published with a view to get feed backs and inputs from the members of the public and media bodies. I wish to commend the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA), Zambia Independent Media Association (ZIMA), and the Zambia Media Women Association (ZMWA) for the prompt manner in which they submitted their reactions to the Bill which was widely published for discussing. 

My ministry was, however, disappointed that very few members of the public responded to the same. Due to implications of such a Bill, we will require wider consultations with the Law Association of Zambia, business houses and civil society. I am pleased to inform the House that my ministry is working in close collaboration with media organisations to ensure that workable and fair pieces of legislation and relevant bodies are put in place. Sir, one such piece of legislation would give birth to the Broadcasting Regulatory Board. This new law would ensure that ZNBC does not regulate the broadcasting industry. 

Further, a new ZNBC Act has got to be introduced to allow the cash strapped national broadcaster widen the scope of its revenue generation. Sir, at present, as hon. Members may be aware, the corporation is facing severe financial constraints and is unable to provide countrywide coverage because most its equipment is obsolete. The coverage of the country is about 60 per cent for television and 80 per cent for radio. 

Sir, extending this coverage entails an injection of capital to buy the necessary equipment and services. The corporation raised its funds through the sale of air-time for adverts and programmes. It is envisaged that if this House passes a new Act that would in-corporate levies for television, the corporation would raise K7 billion annually, while, another one K1 billion will be raised through the new state of the art of outside broadcasting van which is covering us here. This also includes live television coverage of parliamentary debates.

Sir, it is my ministry’s responsibility to improve information communication technology and equip the public media with the required new technology. This House, therefore, needs to support my ministry to ensure that our media play their crucial role in providing information within and outside the country through the quickest possible means like the Internet.

Mr Chairman, since the New Dear centres around food security through production, the media will have a crucial role to play in agricultural policies and mobilise society around national agricultural programmes. Both the electronic and print media will face the challenge of making the farmer’s voice heard. The media will provide checks and balances on the Government to ensure that funds secured for boosting agricultural production are properly used.

Sir, poverty reduction is another area where my ministry will have to direct its energy. This will entail a great deal of work on the part of my ministry to ensure that the media sensitise the Zambian people through civic education on how they can effectively participate in programmes whose aims will be to find ways and means of increasing food production.

Now, let me advise Hon. Kakoma that both radio and television widely covered the security situation in Zambezi using reports from all authorities in that area. ZNBC has been given K1 billion in this year’s estimates to deal with some of these things. May I also say that, sometimes, things are done to avoid libel cases, distortion of information, alarming the people to react to certain things and so on. Hon. Kakoma knows these things having been managing editor of the Zambia Daily Mail. Libel cases for the public media which amount to so many billions of kwacha, which they cannot raise to pay, are still stuck. To avoid this, the editor has to control the type of information to be published.

On the vernacular news countrywide, as my deputy said, we would like that to be encouraged. We would also like to find out the readership of this news. Let us know that we have diversified the news media in the country. Let us make use of this. 

Sir, the existence of our two national dailies does not stop you from making your views known in the independent media. We have five private media organisations and if these are not adequate to cover what the two dailies cannot cover, you will still be heard.

Mr Chairman, I thank you, once more, and thank every body that contributed.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Vote 26/01 (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting – Headquarters – K6,213,605,587).

Mr Muleya (Choma): Mr Chairman, I would like the hon. Minister to clarify what this grant is for.

The Chairman: Which head?

Mr Muleya: Page 157, Grants 001.

The Chairman: What do you want to know about ZNBC? 

Mr Muleya: I want to know what this grant is going to achieve.

Mr Chipili: Mr. Chairman, on Sub-head 03, item 001 – ZNBC – K1,000,000,000, those are grants which are given monthly to ZNBC to support the media.

Thank you, Sir.

Vote 26/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 26/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 26/05 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 29/01 – (Ministry of Local Government and Housing – Department of Human Resources and Administration – K35,622,575,079).
VOTE 20/01 – (Loans and Investments – Ministry of Local Government and Housing – K233,768,102,560).

Mr Badat (Mumbwa): Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much for giving me this chance to contribute to the debate on the Vote. Mr. Chairman, I would like to highlight a few problems concerning our council, Mumbwa.

Mr Chairman, as a district council, we usually find difficulties in collecting revenue and this is because of the hon. Minister's delay in approving our by-laws which we intend to use to collect revenue. For example, Mumbwa District Council proposed some by-laws some two years ago but up to now, those by-laws have not been approved by the hon. Minister which directly hinders our revenue collection efforts.

Secondly, Sir, we have a problem of charging …

The Chairman: Order!

Business was suspended from 2015 hours until 2030 hours.

The Chairman: Before I call upon the hon. Member for Mumbwa, I would like to find out if we have a quorum. 

Hon. Members: We do have.

The Chairman: We threw out the suggestion by the Vice-President that we sit from 0930 hours to 2000 hours and opted for 1430 hours until 2200 hours. So, we must make sure that everybody is in until we knock off. Is that not fair?

Mr Badat: Mr. Chairman, my second point is that we, as a council, need assistance from the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing. The ministry should give us valuators. In Mumbwa, some houses which were built ten years ago have not been valuated up to date. If these houses are not valuated, as a council we are not allowed to charge rates. The council is losing a lot of revenue through non-valuation of the properties. So, I would like the hon. Minister to assist us in sending valuators.

Mr Chairman, we also would like assistance to repair a grader and the truck which is lying idle in Mumbwa so that we can grade the feeder and township roads and this will reduce the cost of giving contracts to some shoddy contractors we usually give contracts to. If we manage to put our grader in good working condition, we will be able to do the job ourselves. At the same time, if you assist us in repairing the truck, we will be able to generate some revenue.

Mr Chairman, this does not mean that the Government should not assist us through grants. We need the grants immediately because we have a backlog in salaries and other services. 

Mr Chairman, on water, almost the whole area of Mumbwa has no proper rivers except the Kafue River which passes through the national parks and is very far. We cannot make use of that water. I, therefore, request the hon. Minister to provide us with enough boreholes in the constituency and the district as a whole.

Mr Chairman, the other issue is on Constituency Development Funds. The K30 million which you have provided in the Budget is not enough. Honestly, with this amount of money, you cannot even develop your own property or put up a programme for projects. In fact, as a Member of Parliament for Mumba Constituency, the electorate will only think that the money is just being misused and yet the fact is it is not enough.

Mr Chairman, in future, I propose that a minimum of K500 million should be given to each constituency.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Badat: Mr Chairman, on the same issue, in my constituency when we chose members of the Constituency Development Committee, the District Administrator interfered and changed some of the names and put MMD officials in that committee.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Mr Badat: It is not only my constituency but all the three constituencies in Mumbwa District.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Mr Badat: I believe the DA has no right to interfere in that committee.

Lastly, Mr Chairman, I would like to request the hon. Minister to assist our chiefs. We have six chiefs in my constituency and none of them has been assisted by rehabilitating the palaces. I wonder when and where chiefs’ palaces have been rehabilitated despite the Government announcing that they have done so. I would like to find out which chiefs’ palaces have been rehabilitated because I have not seen a single palace rehabilitated in my area. We have never been funded.

With these few remarks, I thank you, Sir.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Chairman, I thank you very much for allowing me to air my views on this Vote.

Sir, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing is very important to me, at least. May be, to Mabenga it is not. 

Hon. Members: Who is Mabenga? Hon. Mabenga!

Mr Shakafuswa: Hon. Mabenga.

Sir, when we look at failures of Government at local level, I think the direct translation is that we have failed at local and district levels because we have not decentralised local governance.

Mr Chairman, if we empower district councils, we will be going nearer to the people. The local Government ministry is just on paper. 

Sir, previously, district councils used to tick. They used to be a source of revenue. They were collecting revenues on their own. Let me say, they were empowered. From those revenues, they were able to pay their workers, do developmental works and look into social welfare but today, it is a ghost ministry. What is happening is, for example, in the district councils, we have got experienced people who are capable of helping translate the New Deal into something tangible but we have actually made those people inefficient. People in offices just read newspapers, do the crossword puzzle and go home. This is because we do not have money for them to do work.

Sir, district councils have to be empowered. Nowadays, what we have done is to give them District Administrators and we think we have empowered them. Council and other officers, together with the councillors, who are in the system are capable of transmitting Government policies to the people. Sir, in local councils, you will find that councillors get a sitting allowance of K15.00 per sitting and subsistence allowance comes to about K15,000. Let us be very serious. 

If we are saying councillors are part of us, I am in Parliament and I need someone who is local there because I am going to spend most of my time here. I need somebody who is going to translate what is happening here and what the Government intentions are and someone who can be near to the people. I do not think the DA is the one who is going to be near to the people. We have got councillors who are on the ground. Let us make use of them, otherwise, we should abolish the position of councillors. We do not need DAs. We need to actually work on a method where we effectively empower the people who constitutionally, we have put in offices to do the work.

Mr Chairman, I think we should also appreciate the roles chiefs play in our country. Because of centralised administration, we have turned our chiefs into paupers. We have made these people depend on Government handouts, at the end of the day, for them to be recognised, they have to sing praise to even their subjects.

Sir, I have got a chief, actually, …

Hon. Government Members: Which one?{mospagebreak}

Mr Shakafuswa: I am proud to say Katuba Constituency is the domain of Chieftainess Mungule and I am proud of that lady.

Hon. Government Member: Married to who?


Mr Shakafuswa: To E. P. K. Kavindele.


Mr Shakafuswa: What we should do is look into the affairs of the chiefs. Those people are the custodian of the traditional and cultural values. I mean, they should remind us of where we have come from. I know that we have modernised but at the end of the day, we are still people with an identity and we should give them the respect due to them. Of late, they have not been receiving their allocation of funds and salaries. Only those who have parroted Government lines are helped.

Mr Chairman, look at Mwata Kazembe’s palace. It is electrified but not the palace of my chief yet it is within walking distance. Headman Lusaka, who owned this land where we are, National Assembly, is one of the subjects of my chief. The fact is that we are not looking after our chiefs. Why do we not give them respect? We are given more respect as hon. Members of Parliament than our chiefs. It is wrong.

Sir, look at the way the retainers dress. Let us be proud of where we have come from. We have changed because of modernisation thinking that all our cultural values and traditions should be forgotten in a matter of time.

Mr Chairman, I have said that the Ministry of Local Government and Housing is a very important ministry. If local government and housing has no teeth or resources to work with, you will find that the epidemic of cholera, a shameful disease, cannot be tackled. If we have proper sanitation, the disease can be controlled. What is happening nowadays is that we are concentrating on the urban areas where there is concentration of population. What you are forgetting is that even in the rural areas, we have got people who belong to the Republic of Zambia and need services from the Government. I am sitting here as a Member of Parliament approving Bills and Votes that I must translate to my people at the end of the day.

I hope that the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, when he starts allocating who gets what on water, sanitation and other things, there will be equitable distribution of resources. What is happening is that we are concentrating on some areas leaving other areas with nothing.

Mr Kazala-Laski: You murderer!

Mr Shakafuswa: Richard, if you came to this House to make such comments, you should reconsider your position as Member of Parliament.


Mr Shakafuswa: So, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing should also come down to empower district councils. We give contracts to foreigners. We are not creating wealth within our own country. There are people who are coming from outside who are getting contracts when we have capable contractors. Councils have engineers, a little money that we are using for these foreign contractors can create wealth within our areas.

I am appealing to the ministry, especially when it comes to implementing the work on the poverty reduction programme, that let us empower our people and create wealth within our people. Why should I give contracts to someone who is in Lusaka when I have got contractors who have been laid off by ZECCO and other big companies which have gone into liquidation, and they are still capable of doing some work? I would rather that money comes to my constituency and create wealth within my constituency. I need the money within my constituency.

So, as we work, let us also consider that we have expertise going to waste. I would rather use that expertise than give someone else contracts.

I would like to inform the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing that my district council is owed K98 million. This was a contract order given by ZESCO for us to clear bushes in Chisamba. People are actually going without pay and other emoluments. That money was actually given to the ministry and it has not yet been given to our district council.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr  Zulu (Chadiza): Thank you very much for giving me this chance to contribute to the debate on this Vote.

It appears that the problems that are in various councils are of Government’s own making. I say so because the Front Bench is very much aware that before the loss of revenues in form of rent, the situation was not this bad. Now, having taken away these sources of revenue, the Government should find a way of compensating what was taken away from the councils. Failure to do that will mean that councils are always going to be impoverished.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Hear, hear!

Mr  Zulu: We are talking about grants that come from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to the councils. These are inadequate, indeed, and they are given as and when the ministry feels they should be given to councils and yet problems do not wait. 

I come from a rural area. Chadiza District Council is running the water works that take care of Chadiza Boma. When there is a small problem at the water works, it is hell. It takes three months for them to solve the problem. Financially, they are completely grounded. We are talking of so many tributary roads that if councils were sound as they were previously, we would not be talking so much on this ministry. Things would be okay.

When we talk about the past, we must appreciate it because we cannot be here today or tomorrow without looking at the past.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr  Zulu: There used to be graders at short notice. When a bridge collapsed, the council would quickly arrest the situation.

So, I think, as we debate, hon. Members, especially those from the Northern Province, should see sense.

May I mention one thing that is peculiar to my district council, in case others, maybe, do not have the same problem. This is the thirtieth month that workers at Chadiza District Council have gone without salaries. How do you expect people to work without food? Let us revisit our policy on councils. We must resort to funding the councils adequately and regularly so that they can venture into other productive activities and be well refurbished as they were in the past. Workers should get salaries at the month end.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwale (Chipata): Sir, I, first of all, would like to echo what every Member has said as far as the funding of local authorities is concerned. Any Government you go to in the world, I think, the focal point for development is local authority. I think that whatever wonderful ideas we may have on this Floor, if local government is under-funded, we might as well forget about the new ideas and the New Deal.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwale: First things first. Let us look at local government, after all, Government is at Local Government whether you like it or not. I would like to put this very strongly and I hope that the Government will hear.

Several researches have been carried out, workshops upon workshop every year in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and the reports have always been the same. That councils need to be funded and receive from the national cake. What was seen in this country in the past ten years is a reduction of the councils’ capacity to generate finances. We have seen the reduction of the councils’ finance base to zero. At the same time, we have seen Government adamantly asking councils to come out and raise finances for developmental issues.

The issue of allowances for councillors is just a tip of the iceberg because this is the man who must formulate policy. For him to get from home to where the council is, he must pay K10,000. But the council pays him K5,000. What logic is there? Do you expect this councillor to be corrupt-free and come in with policies that should help the Government?

I would also like to talk about something that is very dear to me because I am a product of the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

Hon. Opposition Members: Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwale: The man who is just speaking, Mr Chairman, has just come for consultation on English. I promised him. He can come to my room. May he allow me to continue my debate.

Mr Chairman, my particular concern is on the Office of the Director of Audits in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and I believe the hon. Minister is here. In the vote of thanks to the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, we have unanimously agreed in this House that the Office of the Auditor-General needs to be strengthened by way of funding, independence and training. In other words, we want autonomy for that office. But what I want to bring it to this House and to the awareness of the Mpulungu Member of Parliament that the Auditor-General in the present law and arrangement does not audit local authorities. I would like the House to know this and understand very clearly.

Under the present law, the Auditor-General does not audit local authorities. The Minister of Local Government and Housing has auditors under his charge who audit local authorities and who, in my view, require equal strengthening if financial management in local authorities is going to make sense and if local authorities are going to move on.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwale: Under the present arrangement, they are forced to refer to and depend on the Local Government Act, as far as I am concerned. The hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing has got what are called Provincial Local Government Officers in all the provincial centres of this country. These are the eyes for the hon. Minister in the provinces. These people have qualified auditors in those provincial centres, but he cannot send them to local authorities to audit councils, until he gets a ministerial appointment. This takes time to come by. This creates a backlog for audits. I think I am not wrong to say I am yet to know which council is up to date on its audit in this country, for the very reason that they are still waiting for the ministerial appointments.

This is a recipe for fraud, theft and inefficiency. Because if I am a clever fellow and I enter a local authority to work as a town clerk, I know I can steal for four years and walk out before my books are audited. And the fact that the council has accepted my resignation means that I am a clean man. So, after four years of audit, even if it I can be pinpointed, I am no longer in that authority and I left as a clean man and so, it does not make sense at all.

I am appealing to the Minister of Local Government and Housing, through this august House, to change this Act to delegate this authority to appoint onto the provincial local Government officer so that we can have speedy and meaningful audits. The advantages of such a scenario are many. This would include timely audits, reduction of the backlog that I have referred to in terms of audits, increase efficiency and financial management in local authorities, value for money practices in the local authorities and, of course, improve financial management and increase customer confidence. What do I mean by customer confidence and what has happened? No single dealer can accept a cheque from a council, at the moment, because they cannot trust them any more …

Hon. Opposition Member: Shame!

Mr Mwale: … because of lack of financial discipline. That is the situation the councils have found themselves in. Years back, councils could get into contracts and be able to pay because there was that customer confidence, but that has disappeared. The root cause is this fact. And so, I thought that I should sing this song on local authorities. I know it applies to every local authority in this land. There is no special area where this does not apply because it is in the ministry. I repeat, can the Government revisit the Local Government Act and bring it in line with these areas and ideas of efficiency that I have referred to.

Mr Chairman, secondly, I would like to speak on a matter that has been very pressing for me and probably that made me become a Member of Parliament. In trying to strengthen the local authority ideas, the bazungus before independence, and I believe in the federal days, came up with a Local Government Training Institute at Chalimbana. Most of these big names in this country, and some of them serving in this Cabinet, are products of the Local Government Training Institute at Chalimbana. The institute is still in the same state and is going down the drain by worsening every day. The workshop is, now, closed down, the lecturers are not there, the funding to that institute is reducing every other year, and yet we are saying we want to strengthen local Government and talk about decentralisation and things like that. I am urging this Government to look back at that institute which has produced the men and women that made this country become independent and become a recognised country, to revisit that institute, and to see to it that it is upgraded.

The issue about councilors is absurd. Imagine, electing someone who has never been in a council and you give him one week councilors orientation workshop which is also shoddy and not well organised. Do you expect him to perform in a council, when you have a Local Government Training Institute which was performing this very exercise I am talking about from as far back as 1948? I think that these issues need to be addressed if local governance in this country is going to make sense.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! Quality!

Mr R. K. Chulumanda (Luanshya): Mr Chairman, first of all, let me start by, not necessarily praising the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing but really to say, well done. For he has tried. Let me tell you that most of the local authorities that had not paid salaries are literally up to date. One of them is Luanshya District Council. Everybody knows that we have had difficulties in Luanshya in collecting. Charging is one issue, collecting is another. So, thank you, hon. Minister, and thank you to the MMD Government.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr R. K. Chulumanda: Mr Chairman, having said that, there is enough expertise in local Government. Some of the officers you have seen there have served as junior officers in councils rising on merit up to where they are now but we need to revisit the programmes that are in place now. 

A number of workshops have been conducted and some of us who were privileged to rise up to the position of Vice-President of Local Government Association of Zambia had an opportunity to travel. I visited Uganda, Mauritius, Ivory Coast, and South Africa. I cannot count how many times I have been to South Africa. I have been to Zimbabwe, not to go and drink tea but to learn one or two things.

We have former town clerks in this House like Hon. Jack Mwiimbu and, of course, others. There is also Hon. Masebo who equally had an opportunity to travel. We brought ideas from outside but not all ideas could work, but position papers were done and some of those are yet to be pushed through.

Mr Chairman, it is important that the last paper, especially which was done around 1996/1997, be pushed through because in that paper, a number of programmes have been highlighted. One of them is to right size the work force in local authorities. 

Hon. Opposition Member: What about down size?

Mr R. K. Chulumanda: Right size is the term we used because if you say ‘down size’, you are only looking at going down but what about technically qualified personnel? As you bring certain categories down, you also need to go up in terms of technically qualified people so that service delivery is enhanced.

Mr Chairman, I know that as MMD, we have the right programmes, but the hour has to come soon so that we put this to work.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr R. K. Chulumanda: Yes, you can say what you want to say. But if my memory serves me right, when we took over in 1991, Luanshya had more than a year in arrears. Today, because of the caring attitude of this Government and the personal involvement of hon. Ministers and others, we are literally up to date. If it were not for the mines not performing to expectations, we would not have had these problems.

Mr Chairman, let me also highlight the fact that when houses were hived-off, they were actually a problem. Why do I say so? 

because some people have mistakenly taken that stance as meaning the dwindling of the revenue to Local Authorities. To the contrary people suffered at the hands of officers who day in, day out decided with every budget to increase on rentals and yet the condition or the state of the properties could not be improved. So, to us in Local Government Association of Zambia, we welcomed the hiving-off of the housing units. But that is where we said right sizing was required so that certain numbers could be gotten rid off. By the way, if Hon Lucas Phiri is here, in those days, before 1991, you just had to be a nephew or niece to a senior man in order to be employed in councils. Therefore, councils became employment agencies. 

Mr Chairman, it is important that we support local government. In fact, we need more money to be channeled towards local government because minus local government, we cannot talk of service delivery. I will continue to urge officers at the Ministry Headquarters that in spite of difficulties, they should continue to strive as they have done because we need to deliver services.

I thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Lungu (Lundazi): Mr Chairman, I will not repeat what the other hon. Members have said. But I want to say this, Mr Chairman. I was looking at the Yellow Book and discovered that under the Head for chiefs,… I am sorry, just a few minutes, my glasses are letting me down. 

Mr Sichilima: Those are wrong glasses.

Mr Lungu: Never mind. Now, Sir, on page 167, under capital expenditure, 02, minor works Chiefs’ Palaces, I notice that last year 2001, we had K150 million approved and K150 million was spent. Now, in this year, there is nothing. I said in my maiden speech, Sir, that we should respect the institution of chiefs. All of us here, Sir, are subjects of one chief or the other. It is important, in my view, that we should respect these people.

When I raised a question of renovating chiefs’ palaces, it was revealed at a later stage that they had given about K5 Million for the renovation of chiefs’ palaces. Sir, I want to submit that this is not being serious. Five million kwacha can not do much work in terms of improving the chiefs palaces. I tell you this, Mr Vice-President …

Hon Government Member: Your honour.

Mr Lungu: …Your Honour the Vice-President. Maybe, it will be able to do a few things but not much. I mean the three chiefs in my constituency in Lundazi, Chief Kapichila, Chief Mwase and Chief Mpamba. If you go to their palaces, it is a disgrace. I am sure that if his Honour the Vice-President or any other VIP or Minister goes to visit these palaces, they will really understand what I mean. We are demeaning the institution which should be respected. I know we will not change the Budget but for next year, I hope that we can do something about this. It is agonising to see these Chiefs sleep in structures which are not fit for habitation by these people. So, I appeal, Sir, that we should all be united in ensuring that the welfare of our chiefs is properly taken care of.

Mr Chairman, I, now, come to the question of councillors. I said this, again, in my speech and I echo the words made by Hon Members. The sitting allowances are pathetic. You expect hon. Members Parliament or a councillor to live on ten thousand kwacha which they get as sitting allowance. You cannot find hotels and motels in Lundazi which charge ten thousand kwacha. They charge more than that. So, how do you expect these people to discharge their functions efficiently? We should look at this seriously because these people help us in the overall development of these areas.

Mr Chairman, before I sit down, I want to talk about the question of transport for our Chiefs. I do not have an immediate answer. But I think that if we put our heads together, we can do some thing to assist our chiefs in terms of their movements from their palaces to the respective townships and so on. 

A the moment, I am talking about the experience of my three chiefs. But I do know that most of our chiefs maybe find themselves in this situation. I have, on many occasions, when I have toured my constituencies, found these chiefs working from their palaces. For Example, Mwase is over 20 kilometres from the Boma. Sometimes, when I am driving my little Datsun, I find the chief walking with his kapasos. Surely, we can do something to help the chiefs. I do not know what we can do. But I am sure that some mechanisms can be worked out to assist our chiefs.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, for this very rare opportunity. I want to say that a Government is judged through its local government system. And I think in the past years, especially in the last ten years, we have done very badly as a country in local government. That is why generally you will hear people say that the Government of the day failed. It was because they were looking at the local government as a structure and what was happening there. I think my colleagues have articulated, very well, the major problems in local government. I will not limit my discussion to Chongwe Constituency because I am a national leader. 

Hon Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: When I talk about local government, I will be talking about all the councils. Generally, the problems are the same. The basic one which my friends have already articulated, very well, is the issue of finances. We are all aware that the finance base of the councils was reduced by the sale of houses. Yes, it had its own good side. Most of us are happy that we benefited by buying houses, we own houses for the first time and the houses are clean, better than when they were under the local authority. But what has happened is that most of the councils are broke. They have no money as a result of that exercise and other factors, of course. I think that the Minster of Local Government and Housing has a big task, especially in the next five years to ensure that there is enough money. But looking at the Estimates and the amount that has been allocated, you find the in almost all the lines, you have reduced and I am wondering whether you are going to be better this time around as compared to the last ten years. The last ten years were disastrous. 

On the issue of chiefs, I realise that we do not seem to be respecting our chiefs country wide. We only use them when there is a political reason like in the third term debate. We saw chiefs being brought in good cars, sleeping in good hotels and they were given K5 million to go for shopping at Manda Hill and so on. But now, when there is no campaign or any other political reason, they are irrelevant. 

Somebody talked about chiefs walking, in fact, I feel very sad. Most of our chiefs are kept like they have no people. We have completely dehumanised them and my hope is that the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing at this time will look at the chiefs without looking at their faces and treat all of them fairly. Somebody has already talked about the allocation even in terms of chiefs’ palaces. I know that you will find out that in other areas the chiefs have better palaces than others because others are considered to be controversial because they are telling you the truth. So, let us be fair and ensure that everybody is treated the same. While on the same point, I want to say that for Lusaka Province, Senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya has not been allowed, in the last ten years, to appoint a councillor here at the Lusaka City Council and yet when you go to other places like Central Province, Kabwe in particular, you will find that the chiefs there are able to appoint councillors …


Mrs Masebo: Well, there were politics involved in the last Government. I am just appealing to the New Deal Government to be fair and make sure that there is fairness in the way you treat chiefs. When somebody tells you the truth, she is only trying to assist you to be a better Government.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: One of the biggest problems that I noticed in the previous Government was that we did not seem to be clear about the local government policy. There was so much inconsistency and my worry is that when you look at the President’s Speech, he did not touch on local government. There was nothing really that we can base our discussion on and say this is the direction.

I am hoping that, maybe, the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing will come up with something that is very clear. In fact, what has happened is that you have just confused the councils. The last time you said they were supposed to be independent but unfortunately that word only applies when it suits the hon. Ministers that have been in the ministries. There has been so much political interference and I am appealing to the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to ensure that this issue of branches which you call ‘political structures’ in markets must be abolished.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Mrs Masebo: It has brought a lot of problems for most of our mothers and people who are working in the markets and are spending so much money paying for funerals and many other things. This money just goes into pockets of individuals. And there is no development or maintenance of those markets. 

My proposal, hon. Minister, is that let us have what others are calling ‘Market Advisory Committee’ and I know in Lusaka the committee is there as a management team, consisting of the owners, those people that are working in the markets as opposed to having some super structure men coming to bully everybody around. This is also true of bus stations where people have ended up buying Mercedes Benz cars and cellular phones using people’s money in the name of the party. So, please, let us see if we can assist our people. I noticed also that your budget has no provision for maintenance of markets and if that is the way you want it to be, then, I think there will be need for us to strengthen the markets so that they are able to raise their own money to expand their own markets or even to rehabilitate.

Mr Chairman, the other problem which the hon. Minister must look at is the issue of skilled manpower. Most of these councillors, especially the ones in the rural areas do not really have proper skills. You just get your tribesman and put him as director of finance and so on and so forth. In the meantime, the man has no basic skills and you do not expect those councils to function. 

The other problem related to that is the issue of councillors themselves. The calibre of councillors in most of these councils leaves much to be desired and we should remember what the late Shamwana had proposed if we are going to make any improvement. Otherwise, you do not expect a council where somebody cannot even read those budget reports that are prepared. Councils are just as complicated as Parliament here. How do you expect those people to deliver or do something good for the country when they do not even have the basics and cannot even read what is given to them? So, they just sit and agree to vote when it suits them and so on and so forth. Let us think of how we can improve ourselves in terms of the calibre of our staff and even the elected officials themselves.

The other issue, hon. Minister, was that in the last Government, you kept talking about strengthening local authorities by ensuring that mayors, council chairpersons would be elected by the residents of the city but instead, as we went towards the end of Mr Chiluba’s ten year reign, we saw you imposing mayors on the councillors as opposed to getting people elected.


Mrs Masebo: So, I think let us look at strengthening our councils by ensuring that we allow the people to elect their own mayors so that, at least, we can get somewhere instead of imposing mayors on the people.

Before I forget, there is another point which you must consider and that is the issue of Members of Parliament. Currently, Members of Parliament are not ex-officio members of the committees of the council. Now, as a Member of Parliament, if I am going to be effective, I need to sit on most of these committees. It will be necessary for you, Hon. Minister, to ensure that hon. Members, as councillors, should become ex-officio members of council committees so that they can be of assistance to their respective councils.

I think there is need for us to see that Members of Parliament are also included and given extra powers in order to assist councils to be more effective.

On the allocation of grants, I have seen a figure of K3 billion, which is much less than what you had last time where you had something like K12 billion. I think it is not enough because if you calculate it at the end of the day, it means you are saying K30 million per council. It is nothing really and I am not sure what you want to achieve and whether we are serious about bringing development to this country because there can only be development if the councils are supported. So, K3 billion is not enough for grants. You have a situation, for example, on rural water. You have given very little money to the Vote on water. If you go to Chongwe, right now, and turn on the taps, you will find that the water coming out from the taps have worms and ...

The Chairman: The hon. Member’s time has expired!

The Deputy Minister for Luapula Province (Mr Chama): Mr Chairman, after having worked as a Provincial Minister for almost four years now, I have come to notice that there is some cancer in the mentality of some of our people in the councils. We have to change the working habits. If we do not change, no matter how much money the Government is going to pump into the councils, we will be moving one step forward and two steps backwards; and as a result, we are not going to improve. There is a tendency of laziness in our people. They are there looking to the Government for money to be given to them and the way they make use of that money is very questionable.

In my province, there are certain councils which are equipped with tractors, graders and vehicles but they are just there gathering dust instead of putting them into good use. Meanwhile, they are still waiting for the Government to send them some money. We have a lot of land in my province and the councils can even acquire a council farm which can assist to generate some funds, but they are just there waiting for money to come from the Government. That habit must change and it is not fair for us to cry to the Government for everything. For how long are you going to cry? We are supposed to assist the Government as well because it is our own Government anyway. Let us learn to be self-sustaining, do not poison our people’s minds by saying the Government has not funded this. I know very well that since 1991, we have been pumping a lot of money into the councils, but where does that money go? It is our responsibility all of us to assist our people in councils. Let us be creative and innovative towards our work. If we do not improve our working behaviour, we will remain backwards and continue crying. Even if you bring in another Government, after twenty years from now anyway, and you do not change the behaviour, the problems will persist. 

I would like to urge all of us in here to work closely with our councillors because we are all ex-officios. Let us advise them which way forward instead of remaining stagnant. Mr Chairman, it pains me a lot when I visit most of our councils. In some councils, the Government pumped in as much as K300 million. They even let some of their treasurers some of the finances. It is not fair.

Somebody talked about electrification of Mwata Kazembe’s Palace. It is the subjects who did that. It is not the Government.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chama: Even in the past, subjects used to look after their chiefs. There is a saying in my language, akamana ukupomapoma ni pa mabwe, efili ne mfumu ukutangala ni pa bantu. We have to look after our chiefs. It is our responsibility. You do not have to look up to the Government to provide even a simple thing.

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Mr Chairman.

Mr Chama: What point of order. Keep quiet.


Mr Chama: We do not have to look to the Government for every simple thing.

The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Chairman, is the hon. Minister, who is debating so viciously, in order to use some strange language we do not understand?


The Chairman: Will the hon. Minister, please, continue.

Mr Chama: I will explain that, Mr Chairman. It means that for the chief to be proud, he must be looked after properly by his own subjects. That is what we should do. It is not the responsibility of the Government to look after our chiefs. It is our responsibility. So, Mr Chairman, knowing very well how much time we have, I would not like to prolong.

I thank you so much.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

Mrs Wamulume (Liuwa): Mr Chairman, I also want to add my voice to what others have said, but I will restrict myself to our palace because, as I stated in my maiden speech, we have no Kuta at our Palace. I hope the hon. Minister is listening and he is going to help us. We have no Kashanti.


Mrs Wamulume: When there is no Kashanti at the royal establishment, it means that everything comes to a stand still because they cannot operate without that Kashanti. The Mukena also, that is the main house for the chief, is in a very bad state. Mr Chairman, I am surprised that in your budget, you even budgeted K1 billion for the house of the former President, forgetting the people who put him into power, the chiefs. Without the chiefs, that President was not going to be there. Let us respect our chiefs because those are the people you use when you want to ascend to power.

I complained in my maiden speech and I hope the hon. Minister will, now, take the matter extremely seriously. On transport, Mr Chairman, our chiefs are different from other chiefs who can walk. According to our traditions, our chiefs do not walk. It is either they are carried in a vehicle or in a boat. They use only two modes of transport. Now that transport is not provided to them, they are stranded.


The Chairman: Order!

Dr Sondashi: On a point of order, Mr Chairman.

Mrs Wamulume: What is the point of order for?


The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Dr Sondashi: I am sorry to raise a point of order on a lady who promised to marry me.


Dr Sondashi: Mr Chairman, I am getting worried. Is it in order for Hon. Sibetta to keep quiet when he is so notorious?


Dr Sondashi: What is he planning?


The Chairman: Will Mrs Wamulume, please, continue.

Mrs Wamulume: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I am worried about this husband of mine because I can even divorce him right now. He is not supposed to interrupt me when I am speaking and this is a very serious matter which I hope the hon. Minister has taken note of. 

The other matter, Mr Chairman, is that the Government has created friction, without knowing, between council secretaries and district administrators. Right now, in all the rural councils, I do not know about here in town, they are fighting for power. As a result, both of them cannot function and that has brought problems in districts and in councils. I am told it is the same even here in town. So, we should look into this matter. The Government should decide who should be there between the council secretary and the district administrator, to avoid the friction and problems that are being faced by the councils. Surely, Mr Chairman, people should not just laugh, it is critical.


Mrs Wamulume: We, hon. Members from the rural constituencies have seen the problems in the councils, but some of you have not even noticed one problem. There is not even transport in the councils. Water in the Western Province is very dirty, but in the budget you have allocated only eight boreholes for the whole province. Surely, is it fair for this Government to allocate only eight boreholes to the whole province when we need so much clean water? You should revisit the budget for the Western Province. We called in the professionals to translate the budget for us and we found that we had a raw deal in this budget. So, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, you revisit your budget and allocate something more to the Western Province.

Thank, Mr Chairman.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Chairman: I want somebody with new ideas, not one who will repeat what has been said. Secondly, I want those people who had no chance to speak yesterday and who have had no chance today to keep standing. Those who already have had a chance, please, let us give chance to others.

Mr Sikota (Livingstone): Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. We in Livingstone feel that, as a council, we have a great duty to bring about urban renewal in Livingstone. However, our work to do this is greatly hampered by the fact that inadequate resources are given to us as a council.

The hon. Minister for the Southern Province, Mr Mpombo, will agree with me that the quality of councillors that we have is extremely high. I know that he will not contradict me on that and I can tell from his nod. Unfortunately, all this talent is being wasted due to the fact that these people who are able, ready and willing to work are not given the necessary resources. So, I hope that there will be a restructuring of the local government system to ensure that local government does, actually, lead to proper devolution of power where the people at the local level have resources which they can utilise to bring about development.

One of the things which we wish to do in Livingstone is to bring about rehabilitation of the city in order to make it more presentable since it is, actually, one of the windows Zambia has to the world in that it is the capital of tourism in this country. Unfortunately, Livingstone is a total eyesore due to the fact that it has been neglected for a very long time. So, all the lofty dreams about tourism being revamped are, actually, going to face a major hurdle unless we can see to it that there is some kind of urban renewal in Livingstone.

If you look at the budget, there is nothing at all which has been put in there for the rehabilitation of the urban road network in Livingstone. And yet, of all the cities that I have visited, Livingstone seems to be the one that is the most devastated. I t looks as if, since the days of the Rhodesian War, it has never been attended to. I would, therefore, pray that consideration be given, at least, in the very next budget for the roads in Livingstone.

Sir, tourism cannot take hold if there is neglect. Part of the neglect is with regard to provisions for security by way of street lighting to be put in place in the city. There is no provision at all which has been put in place for this in the budget. Yet, one of the things that tourists often wish to do is, after having been to various spots, to walk about the town. We are lucky in that most of our buildings in Livingstone have, now, been recognised as heritage sites and with a little bit of rehabilitation, Livingstone can become a pretty town for tourists to walk around in. But, they will not do that if there is no security in place.

Mr Chairman, there is also the issue of unplanned settlements in Livingstone. These bring about a situation that makes the town look like an eye sore. Other cities have been given provision for upgrading of unplanned settlements and Livingstone seems to be the forgotten city that has nothing at all in the budget. Again, it shows that we are only paying lip service to the desire of making tourism in Zambia a reality. These are some of the issues that need to be addressed if, indeed, we are going to attract tourists to come to the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls rather than to go to the Victoria Falls town. In fact, this would be the perfect time to take advantage of what is happening worldwide for us to maximise our tourism potential. So far, all the advantages have been to Zimbabwe, with problems they have, if we were serious about putting in place an environment that would be attractive, we would be able to overtake Zimbabwe and make this the premier place for tourists.

Sir, I would like to turn to the arrears for local government workers. There is no sufficient provision made for clearing this backlog. I think connected to this backlog is the fact that we have had problems in raising our monies from sources that are there. We have a number of markets in Livingstone where market levies could almost satisfy our monthly wage bill. However, we are not able to collect these levies because of interference by all kinds of people. More especially, political appointees such as district administrators and other MMD operatives who insist on squatting in our local markets and hindering the work of councils from collecting the dues which could go to alleviate the burden on Central Government in terms of grants for salaries. 

So, we would like to ask the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to make a very clear and unequivocal statement in which he should state that he expects all political parties and their cadres to leave the market and not interfere with the collection of revenue.

Sir, the other issue I wish to turn to is that of the movement of Kazungula District Council from Livingstone. Currently, they are squatting in some of our buildings. We welcome the Kazungula Council move but we feel that whilst the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and the hon. Minister Local Government and Housing were providing for Kazungula to move out, they left a gap in that the buildings that were being occupied need to be converted to other use. And as a council, we have got, like I said, a lot of plans. We have already earmarked the current offices for a very good maternity hospital clinic. If that should be considered seriously for the next budget because those buildings are going to be empty and there is need to make provision as to what we shall do with them as we have already missed this year.

Mr Chairman, the next thing I would like to raise is the issue of the Constituency Development Funds. There seems to be no proper guidelines as to the use of these funds and their disbursements. For example, last year, I do know that in certain district councils, there were allocations made on the 3rd of December, when in fact, Parliament had already been dissolved. Certain people utilised those funds. One of those places is Mulobezi. We would like to know how that came about that such allocations could have been made at such a time. How did the then hon. Minister manage to access those funds when the Member of Parliament for the area had been dissolved? I think that is a very serious anomaly.

Mr Sibetta: Namuyamba should know.

Mr Sikota: There is a need for an explanation on that.

Sir, all in all, it seems that the New Deal Government, when it comes to local government, has given us no deal at all.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Mabenga): I thank you, Mr Chairman, for according me the opportunity to wind up debate on the Vote for the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. 

In the first place, the ministry is mandated under the current Government institutional setup under Government Gazette notice No. 46 of 1992 with the responsibility of coordinating local Government administration including Superannuation Fund and training, national housing policy, shopping hours, theatres and cinemas, rates and rent control, regional and physical and planning variation and chiefs affairs.

Mr Chairman, in this regard, the ministry is charged with the responsibilities of developing sector policies and programmes to facilitate the effective and efficient implementation of Government programmes in local administration and centralisation. This also includes housing as well as infrastructure development. 

Sir, because of the nature of its statutory portfolio, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing is one of the first Government ministries to be restructured under the Public Sector Restructuring Programme  (PSRP). Following the successful completion of its restructuring, the ministry has, now, developed a strategic plan. The strategic plan was designed under the auspices of and with technical assistance from the Management Development Division of Cabinet Office and was officially launched on 28th November, 2001. 

Mr Chairman, in the implementation of the strategic plan and sector programmes, the ministry is being driven by the national aspiration of the standards of living for the people through the provision of quality services by local authorities.

Sir, we also refer to the Strategic Plan of 2001 to 2005 which draws its goals and objectives from the 1994 to 2001 strategic plan which has been designed to reinforce the ministry’s focus on the need to provide quality service delivery and focuses its attention on issues of good governance, infrastructure development, operational capacity building in local authorities, and infrastructure development and issues of capacity building in the local authorities. To this effect, under the new statutory plan, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has the following mission statement. Borrowing ideas from a very important British scholar Aristotle…


Mr. Mabenga: Yes, Aristotle. Sir, he had this wise saying which I will quote: ‘If a man is interested in himself, he is spoilt, if he is interested in his family, he is larger and if he is interested in his community, he is even larger still.’

Mr. Chairman, in quoting this very wise saying, we have this mission statement in place and this statement is to promote democratic local governance and facilitate the efficiency and effective delivery of quality housing, quality infrastructure and quality social services by local authorities and other stakeholders in order to contribute to the improvement in the quality of life of communities.

Hon. Member: You should improve on services to new sites like what the PHI has done.

Mr Mabenga: Mr. Chairman, there are a number of objectives which we intend to achieve through the 2001/2005 strategic plans. I will be referring to them as I answer individual concerns that have been brought up by a number of colleagues in this House.

Mr Chairman, first and foremost, let me say that our primary objective and what we want to see happen is to formulate relevant policies and legislation and review existing ones in order to provide appropriate guidance. In this case, we are revisiting the Local Government Act and this process is already circulating in Cabinet and should be able to come to this House to be debated upon, agreed and ratified consequently. That should be able to look at the various concerns that colleagues here have mentioned this evening.

Mr Chairman, hon. Members have also talked about giving houses value by valuating them. Sir, this is true and we are also giving a lot of priority to the Government Valuation Department which we have in our ministry and we are going to make sure that our Valuation Department goes to all our councils to valuate all the houses which were sold to people because at the moment the council is not getting any revenue from there. We want to start getting funding from those units.

Mr Chairman, I also got a concern about the provision of clean water. The Department of Infrastructure and Support Services in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has drawn up a programme which will be able to see a lot of our rural areas attended to with regard to provision of clean water. I am happy that you are concerned about the inadequacy of the Constituency Development Fund as it is at the moment. I do hope that in future this will be increased as the ministry does not determine how much should be allocated but it is only the conveyor belt used to deliver the money to constituencies. So, I hope that you will be able to bring this up in the near future so that the Ministry of Finance and National Planning can look at it.

Mr Chairman, on the question of Constituency Development Fund Committees, first and foremost, the Member of Parliament is there and he is mandated to appoint two persons, thereafter, the rest of the members of the committee should come from the communities within the constituency. Therefore, Members of Parliament and councils are supposed to work hand in hard together with all stakeholders who include traditional leaders, NGOs and so on, to put these committees in place.

Mr Chairman, Hon. Badat mentioned about the rehabilitation of palaces in his constituency. Hon. Members from other constituencies debated this matter also. It looks like it is a common complaint. Sir, when I was commenting on concerns that were brought about when we were debating the speeches by His Excellency the President and by the Minister of Finance and National Planning, I mentioned that moneys were disbursed last year. The money was not enough to do all the major repairs that were required  at the palaces. But I do believe that while the Government has the mammoth task of looking after the affairs of chiefs, the subjects in those jurisdictions also have a role to play in order to help their chiefs.

Mr Chairman, Hon. Shikafwa or Shakafwasa, whatever his name is …


Mr Mabenga: Mr. Chairman, some of these names are not names and, therefore, you tend to – anyway that name from Katuba Constituency. Sir, he mentioned the need for decentralising. I would like to inform you that we have something circulating in Cabinet, which is the National Decentralisation Policy.

Let me give you a little background to this policy. This policy has not just come out of the blues at all. A number of people who included the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions - where hon. Moonde was a member and I think he remembers this very clearly - the Zambia Local Authorities Workers Union, the Local Government Association of Zambia, and our chief officers in the councils were asked to contribute to what they thought would be the best way to decentralise our powers to the local levels and a report has been compiled and put forward. Again, this document is going round and we should be able to bring it to this House as time goes by.

Mr Chairman, on lack of adequate funding, we have produced at Ministry Headquarters a document entitled Action Plan for Financing Local Authorities. A lot of ideas are there which you have put forward. Some of them are actually going to come into force through pieces of legislation that should come to this House after Cabinet has looked at them. So, we have a number of these things coming which should be able to help us get around this problem of inadequate funding in our councils.

On the question of allowances for our councillors, this is another memo that is being considered by Cabinet. We should be able to bring this so that you can look at the amounts that we have proposed.

Mr Chairman, as regards CDF, there was a question asked about CDF for Mulobezi which, I think, is out of context. The CDF for Mulobezi Constituency, …

The Chairman: Order!

Mr Mabenga: … Yes, it …

Hon. Members: Order! Order!

The Chairman: Order!

(Debate adjourned)


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progress reported)

The House adjourned at 2156 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 21st March, 2002.