Debates- Friday, 8th March, 2002

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Friday, 8th March, 2002

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, once again, Commonwealth countries will be celebrating the Commonwealth Day on Monday, 11th March, 2002.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Zambia Branch, participates in the celebrations by organising activities involving young persons. As was the case last year, we have invited pupils from all the nine provinces to come to Lusaka. Apart from visiting Parliament Buildings, the participants will be given a test on current issues as they relate to the Commonwealth and parliamentary affairs

On Monday, 11th March, 2002, at 1430 hours, pupils will assemble in the Amphi-theatre at which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's speech will be read.

On Tuesday, 12th March, 2002, at 0930 hours, a prize giving ceremony will be held in the Amphi-theatre.

I would like to appeal to all hon. Members of Parliament to take personal interest in this event as it involves young representatives from all the provinces. This is one way of exposing Parliament to the people.

Thank you.


The Vice-President (Mr Kavindele): Mr Speaker, I wish to give the House some idea of the business it will consider next week. On Wednesday, 13th March 2002, the business of the house will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will also consider Private Members' Motions, if there will be any.

Thereafter, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Expenditure and will consider the following Heads of expenditure:

    Head 08 – Cabinet Office - Office of the President;

    Head 27 - Public Service Management Division - Office of the President;

    Head 09 - Teaching Service Commission - Office of the President;

    Head 10 - Police and Prisons Service Commission - Office of the President;

    Head 12 - Commission for Investigations - Office of the President; and

    Head 13 - Ministry of Energy and Water Development.

On Thursday, 14th March 2002, the Business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. After that, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Expenditure to consider the following Heads:

    Head 14 - Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development;

    Head 11 - Zambia Police - Ministry of Home Affairs; and

    Head - 15, Ministry of Home affairs.

On Friday, 15th March, 2002, the Business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there be any. Then, the House will go into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Expenditure to consider the following Heads of Expenditure:

Head 17 - Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

    Head 18 – Judiciary;

    Head 31 - Ministry of Legal Affairs; and

    Head 26 - Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.



The Vice-President (Mr Kavindele): Mr Speaker, I seek you indulgence and that of the House that the motion be deferred to a later date.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The Chair sees no desire for further debate nor do I hear any objection. I take the House to be in full agreement. 

Question that the motion be deferred put and agreed to. Motion deferred accordingly.



VOTE 01/01 – (Office of the President – State House – K3,900,712,522).

(Consideration resumed)

The Chairman: Hon. Members, we have, now, resolved into Committee of Supply. As you all know, you are normally referred to as hon. Member for constituency so and so. Nonetheless, in this Committee, I will be referring to you by your names except for Ministers. The difference is this: in this Committee, we will be making preparatory work, we are not going to make a decision at all as the Committee of Supply is not a decision-making Committee. We will just make preparations for the full House to make a decision. When we have done that, you will then collectively, as hon. Members of Parliament, be vested with the authority and responsibility to make decisions that will affect everybody in Zambia.

I think, I have made myself clear.

Mr Sibetta (Luena): Mr Chairman, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to open debate on State House Vote. For the past ten years, the former President, Mr Chiluba, misused this Vote. This Vote was recklessly misused. Under this Vote, …

Mr Shepande: On a point of order, Sir.

The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Shepande: Mr Chairman, I rise on a procedural point of order. I wonder if hon. Members are ready to debate without hearing the policy position of the Government on this Vote.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

The Chairman: The policy statement from His Honour the Vice-President will come after you have all debated the Vote. He will carry out two functions:

(a)    He will make replies to whatever issues you are going to raise; and

(b)    he will give you the policy statement.

We do appreciate that the Vice-President should, in the first place, give you the policy statement but unfortunately, when we tried this method, some two or three years ago, it did not work to our expectations. So, it was a complete waste of time. That is why we have decided that the policy statement, including replies to the issues raised on the Floor will be made at the same time.

Will the hon. Member, please, continue.

Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, as I said, this Vote was misused by the former President, Mr Chiluba. The excess expenditure that was incurred on this Vote outstripped the amount that could have gone to social sectors’ votes like education and health. This Vote, as you can see, Sir, carries also a facility or sub-vote for charitable organisations. This part of the Vote was also misused, it was combined with another Vote that is going to come, namely: Cabinet Office under which the presidential fund was expended to the extent that the expenditure went into billions of kwacha. I think that Parliament should, now, exercise its oversight on this Government to control spending. We cannot allow this Government, Sir, to be spending recklessly on matters that are not provided for in the Vote. There should be no excess expenditure any more. We would like the Government to stick to what is in the Yellow Book.

You can see, Sir, that, the supplementary expenditure that came in as excess expenditure was far too big as compared to the Vote that was approved. The Government went into excess by K5.6 billion when we had approved K3.3 billion. They over-spent by 100 per cent when they had no authority from this House. This money could have gone to education or roads since we have no feeder roads in agricultural producing areas, our schools are dilapidated and hospitals are short of drugs. People are dying from AIDS while the President goes to spend freely beyond what Parliament has authorised.

I think that this Vote should be looked at very carefully. This new Parliament should exercise its oversight on the President’s Vote and we do not want to see any more supplementary expenditure. Going by our experiences with Mr Chiluba, this Vote has to be watched by this Parliament very carefully and we are not going to allow any more excess expenditure because these same expenditures, as I have said, in the areas of purchase of goods and services, when you look at previous reports by the Auditor-General on some of these goods and services like linen and blankets, some have been changed when there was no need to change them.

You are aware, Sir, that, containers had to go to Ndola before the former President retired.


Mr Sibetta: Yet, he is still in Lusaka …

The Chairman: Order!  You are all carrying a tag, ‘honourable’. What it means, I do not have to tell you. Therefore, what must come out of your mouth must be factual. This House is not for speculations. If you have something tangible, you know the authorities where to go. We are not a court. So, let us stop speculating. If we keep on opening up past quarrels, we are going to forfeit our future. 

Will you, please, continue.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, you and I, Sir, are personal friends …


Mr Sibetta: … and there is no need for the Chair to quarrel with me when I am exercising my constitutional right to speak on this Vote.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: The Chair should not threaten me, I am a representative of the people.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Chairman: Will you abide my ruling. I am not stopping you from debating, but what I am advising you is not to bring up speculations. If you have cogent evidence about containers having been stolen from State House and transported to the Copperbelt, this is not the right forum. Take that evidence to agencies or institutions of the Government that can take appropriate action, not here.

Will you, please, continue and bear that in mind.

Mr Sibetta: Thank you very much, Sir.

On this item, purchase of services, which doubled up in the last year, food at State House is free and there is no need to overspend on food. 


Mr Sibetta: We are not approving this Vote. If you make any murmurs, we will call for a division and your president will have no money.

I thank you, Mr Chairman.


Mr Patel (Lusaka Central): Mr Chairman, I have reservations about this Vote. I expressed some sentiments during the general debate on the Budget the other day. In all candidness, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, it is not possible that for the fiscal year 2002, State House will only require K3.9 billion. Therefore, the question that begs an answer is how will the differentials be funded? The common practice has been to use the purchase of service through Cabinet Office. Hon. Minister and Your Honour the Vice-President, we are dealing with public resources and we come with a bulky Yellow Book which tells us very little. This page does not reflect the true cost of running State House, at all. Yet, it is being presented to us as if that is the cost of running State House. That is not right and I think it is absolutely immoral to continue to do so.

I heard you, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, in your very soft-spoken responses, last evening. Like I said, I hold you in high esteem as a man of high integrity, but the answers, to some extent, were superficial and I seek your indulgence in letting me explain that. I think we should suspend this Vote, in my view, because we have another 500 pages to go through, until such a time when you can bring the true cost of running State House on one page.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Patel: It is possible to do that because you have costed expenditure for State House, but you have not reflected that fact on page 1 and we have many days. The presidential warrant expires towards the end of April, hon. Minister. My check with the Auditor-General’s Office reveals that former President, Dr Chiluba, signed it just before Christmas and the Constitution allows you four months. There is no need to rush us here. You are asking us to plough through this book quickly and flip the pages faster than the wind will travel and we are not going to do that. We want legitimacy for being here.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Patel: When you go to a bank, hon. Minister, to ask for finance, you have to justify your request. After debating President Mwanawasa’s Speech and in the general debate on your speech, we have not heard any substantive position. I am just throwing an opening salvo here. For example, there is K150 billion reflected under your ministry, I think, for crop marketing or something, but we have not been told how it is going to be functioning. We have a lot more questions than you thought we had on almost every Vote. So, my appeal to this entire House is that we suspend this Vote until such time that we are given a true cost of running State House. We are not saying that the President must live like a pauper. We believe that that House, in fact, requires more repairs than you indicated. We want the true cost.

So, my earnest appeal, without having to go to a division, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, is that you allow us to suspend this Vote to a later date until we get the true cost and then we will be talking logically about this Vote.

Mr Chairman, there are many other costs related to State House. If it comes to the Ministry of Works and Supply or the repairs sector, that may, necessarily, go to the Ministry of Works and Supply, but there are tremendous costs. For example, when you have functions at State House, they are funded, maybe, through Cabinet Office, for purchase of goods and supplies to procure goods and services from Pamodzi Hotel. We are unaware of what it costs to run the institution. We know how much it costs to run your ministry, but not this.

So, with those few words, I appeal that we suspend this Vote until we get the true cost. If not and if necessary, we shall call for a division.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): Mr Chairman, I want to prefix my presentation by congratulating His Excellency the President, Mr Mwanawasa, and I hope I am not bringing rumours to the House because it was in the paper when he rejected re-furnishing some of the rooms at State House. That was very noble, but even then, I am sure that when this Budget was prepared, you had predicted that with the change of people in State House, there would be need to do some repairs.

I want to re-echo what my colleague, Hon. Patel, has just said. It is not possible, through you, Mr Chairman, for State House to simply extrapolate figures as indicated in the Yellow Book that because last year you budgeted for so much, this year you simply increase it by a percentage, when, in fact, your supplementary for last year was twice higher than the original Vote. So, I think that this time around, Mr Chairman, we should try and do our job with a reasonable level of integrity. This does not reflect any level of integrity at all. If we spend K9 billion, then nothing will change at State House. Therefore, to come here and ask for K3 billion when we spent K9 billion last year is unacceptable and it makes a mockery of this House. The rest of the world is listening to us. 

Mr Sibetta: He is going to spend K15 billion.

Mr Hachipuka: If possible, he is going to spend anything above K9 billion. So, I think, our figures must be realistic. Our people are listening. They want us to do a good job and we want this Government to do a good job. We want to assist them to do a good job but they cannot come here and expect us to endorse a figure that even arithmetically does not add.

Mr Chairman, I would support the move or the suggestion that His Honour the Vice-President and, indeed, the Minister of Finance and National Planning must reallocate these figures. We still have time. Let us try and portray to our country some reasonable degree of integrity.

I thank you, Sir.

The Chairman: Hon. Members, just a word of advice. I think you will be moving on the right path if you ask His Honour the Vice-President to explain why there is this disparity.

Hon. Opposition Members: Standing Orders!

The Chairman: Order!

You know that when the Chair is on its feet, you are not supposed to make any comments, unless you want to turn this House into a tavern.

You may be making a point. Supplementary Estimates were K5 billion last year and, this year, it is K3 billion. Now, you would be on the right path if you queried what the reason behind this disparity is rather than coming to conclusions of what action to take.

Mr Sichinga (Kafue): Mr Chairman, I wish to endorse the proposal by Hon. Dipak Patel that we should defer this Vote. We have requested, in this House, that we want the hon. Ministers to give a policy statement before we start debating for exactly that reason, Mr Chairman, so that explanations are given to us in terms of differences between the previous year and the current year.

In the absence of that, we will go on to start debating on the Floor of the House even before we know what the Government’s intentions are. This is exactly the result of what we are talking about. 

We may debate in a vacuum. We are seeking your indulgence. Let the hon. Ministers state their case. Having done that, we can then debate in a more intelligent manner. After we have done that, they can conclude taking into account our comments as we normally do or as we did yesterday. However, in the absence of that, we are left to speculate. Hence, our submission, Sir, that we defer this to a later time so that the Government can give us justifications.

Let me make one more point without watering down any of the comments that my colleagues have made. This, Mr Chairman, is the area where we should be reflecting any discretionary fund by the President. There is a provision in Sub-item 3, Grants and other Payments, Charitable Organisations - Grants in Aid. That is where any particular requirement by the President for a discretionary fund must be reflected. 

We are not asking for anything more than just to reflect figures correctly and accurately. If the President wants a discretionary fund, let it come to this House so that this House can knowingly and openly discuss it and approve it.

Mr Situmbeko: Correct!

Mr Sichinga: Then we can help to justify it to our people but without that, Sir, we are left to speculate. I see that this year, there is no provision, whatsoever, for the funds by the President that he gives away. So, where did the previous President get money that he used to give away? 

In 1999, according to the Auditor-General's Report, the amounts that were approved in this House was only K12 billion but K39 billion was spent. Hon. Minister, I have the greatest regard for you, and you know that, but we must deal with these things openly. When we talk about inadequacies in financial accounting, this is what we are referring to. I hope that this year, we are not going to have some more political engineering as we had in State House last year.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: If we are not going to have that, then let us be open about it. Let all of us here, in this House, as responsible Members of Parliament, know what we are talking about. 

So, we want you, hon. Minister and Leader of the House, to reflect what the Grants-in-Aid that the President wants to use to be reflected here. Then, we will all be clear. Do not hide it anywhere else. Let us discuss it openly and clearly.

Mr Hachipuka: On this Floor.

Mr Sichinga: I also want to say here, with due respect, that there will be no projects at State House this year, none whatsoever. Not even changing some furniture which the previous President must have moved out with because that is his entitlement. So, how will the rooms be furnished? So, I endorse wholeheartedly, as my very own submission, Hon. Patel’s suggestion. We do not want to call for a division, but if we have to, we will.

So, we want this item to be left out for the moment and move on to the other items and then we can revert back to it when more accurate figures have been given. We do not agree that K3 billion or K4 billion would be equivalent to the K9 billion that was spent last year. 

I thank, you, Sir.

The Chairman: I think the reasons advanced are quite adequate. At this point in time, I would like to call upon His Honour the Vice-President to make a reply.

The Vice-President (Mr Kavindele): Mr Chairman, I thank the hon. Members who have debated and I wish to put it on record that the concerns expressed by the four Members of Parliament are certainly welcome. The Government will have no difficulties in deferring this particular Vote. So, I would like to defer it, Mr Chairman.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukwakwa (Zambezi-East): Mr Chairman, I rise on a point of clarification as a new Member of Parliament in this House. Some of us have not yet made our maiden speeches. Are we allowed to contribute during this debate?

The Chairman: If you can take ten minutes to deliver your maiden speech.

Mr Mukwakwa: Mr Chairman, I thank you very much for giving me time to deliver my maiden speech to the Ninth Assembly in response to the President’s Speech and that of the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning.

Mr Speaker, the second State President endangered State security by announcing the existence of tunnels. Did he not break his Oath of Office? We find ourselves, as a country, facing daunting problems because we have not been speaking out against bad governance. 

Mr Speaker, there is a perception in our country of political accidents. They affect people from different political parties. Examples are Mr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, road traffic accident, MMD; Lawyer Ngenda, mysteriously murdered, I do not know his political affiliation; Former President, Dr Kaunda’s son, Wezi, UNIP, murdered; Mr Anderson Mazoka of UPND, road traffic accident; and Mr Paul Tembo, murdered. Other Members of Parliament may have their own examples.

Mr Chairman, I am a Member of Parliament on the UPND ticket representing Zambezi-East Constituency. The people I represent want the following:

(a)    Building of markets and drilling of water wells; 

(b)    construction of feeder roads to open up the constituency; and
(c)    the removal of district administrators.

Mr Chairman, the country’s external debt, bilateral, multilateral, commercial and private, was US$6.2 billion in December 1988.  It moved to US$ 7 billion at the end of 1989, and rose to US$7.2 billion in 1991 before the Government corrected that figure to US$6.5 billion. In December 1999, it was US$6.5 billion, in December 2000 - US$6.3 billion and US$7.3 billion in December 2001. Mr Chairman, how accurate are these figures? Do we have a policy in the Government in the management and reduction of this debt? 

On the point of job creation, Sir, I wish to state that we are advising the Government to retire, firstly, from the Civil Service, all those who are fifty-five years of age except those excluded by the Constitution and secondly, from institutions where the Government has indirect control.  We think that by doing so you are going to create employment for the younger Zambians.

In terms of reforms of Parliament, Mr Chairman, His Excellency the President’s observation that Parliament be reformed is most welcome. Parliament must respect laws it has passed itself for its own operations. The National Assembly Staff Act states that the Clerk shall vacate his office when he attains the age of fifty-five. The Act says, ‘shall’ and not ‘will’.

Furthermore, under the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, the report of the Tribunal No. 1 of 2001 in which the Clerk is alleged to have facilitated the diversion of K2 billion from this House to the MMD Convention …

The Chairman: Order! Your maiden speech must not include conditions of service for members of staff of the National Assembly.


The Chairman: Will you, please, continue and leave that out.

Mr Mukwakwa: I withdraw that remark. I am a new Member of Parliament and I need guidance.


Mr Situmbeko: Continue!{mospagebreak}

Mr Mukwakwa: Mr Chairman, as we are discussing the Office of the Vice-President, who is the Leader of the House, may I just say that under the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, seven days after Parliament opened, we were supposed to have received the report of the Tribunal No.1/2001 which investigated the diversion of the K2 billion from this House. We have not received the report yet. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr P. G. Phiri (Vubwi): I sincerely thank you, Mr Chairman, for according me this rare opportunity to give my maiden speech. I feel most privileged and honoured to stand in the midst of such honourable Members of Parliament for the first time in my life.

Mr Chairman, I wish to thank and congratulate you and the Speaker on your hard-earned victory in the elections of this august House. I pray that God the Almighty, Father of wisdom, should give you that acquired wisdom to lead the House without fear or favour, for another five years. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr P. G. Phiri: Mr Chairman, my name is Phillip George Phiri, …


Mr P. G. Phiri: … commonly know by my father’s name as Kachiwala.


Mr P. G. Phiri: I congratulate all Members of Parliament on their well-earned election to Parliament. May I also pay tribute to my constituents and tell them that I will do the best to work together with them to develop Vubwi Constituency in all human endeavours, be it social, economical and political.

Sir, the speech by His Excellency the President, Mr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC., was really life giving and encouraging and also very hopeful.

Mr Chairman, Vubwi Constituency is highly productive and rich in natural resources. Sir, in the past, the constituency produced thousands and thousands of bags of white maize, soya beans, cow peas, beans, groundnuts, tobacco and cotton, to mention a few. Vubwi Constituency had also bred thousands and thousands of livestock like cattle, pigs, goats and chickens.

Hon. Opposition Members: Nkunda!


Mr P. G. Phiri: I wish to tell you, Mr Chairman and hon. Members, that the constituency was of milk and honey because of the knowledge and ability of the people there. The UNIP Government brought a lot of developmental projects supported by NGOs which were also supported by donors and parastatal companies like Tobacco Board of Zambia, Eastern Co-operative Union, Africare, UNICEF and others. The people themselves offered to contribute to the cost of construction of clinics, schools, storage sheds, and so on.

The road network to enable communication from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ was very good. During this time, three clinics were constructed adding to two clinics which were built by the colonial Government. We renovated the TBZ shed into a day secondary school as a start, believing that the Government would put up the rest of the required infrastructure. This secondary school runs classes from Grades 8 to 12 and is doing very well.

However, Mr Chairman, it is very sad to mention, here, that Mkumbudzi Clinic is like an old cemetery. 

Mr Chibanga: Oh, shame!

Mr P. G. Phiri: The road network is nothing but gullies. Those roads, which were even, are, now, gullies. The prosperous people of Vubwi Constituency are, now, the poorest in Zambia. They are completely isolated. The Chipata/Vubwi Road, the main road that links us to the rest of the world, is impassable.. The police station is deplorable. This is because of the negligence by the Chiluba Government.

Mr Chairman, it sounds like a joke here to mention that some good young men have willingly resigned from the teaching service upon transferring them to Vubwi Secondary School just because the situation is very bad. The hunger situation in Vubwi is so bad that it is even difficult to talk about it. Hunger visits other provinces but its home is in Vubwi. This has impoverished the people of Vubwi to the extent of losing lives, more especially the young and the very old.

Mr Chairman, the people of Vubwi have also lost the available livestock they realised in the days of the UNIP Government. They sell their animals to get food. They have no choice but to sell, otherwise, they will die from hunger. Those that have nothing are dying from hunger. Even though they sell their animals, they have nowhere to buy food, forcing them to go to Malawi where they are mistreated.

Hon. Members: Shame!

Mr P. G. Phiri: They just manage to buy maize bran mixed with malaina tree sawdust. Just imagine the situation the people are in.

Mr Chairman, the learned hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Sikatana) is cordially invited to come with me to Vubwi to determine the hunger situation for himself. Of late, ADRA, as an agent of the World Food Programme, has started giving relief food to the aged, orphans and the disabled, including the vulnerable but the problem is that everybody has no food so that all are, now, vulnerable persons.

Mr Chairman, the records I have here say that the Office of the Vice-President, through our disaster management and mitigation unit, sent 40 metric tonnes of food on 1st September 2001, and another 40 metric tonnes on 1st …

The Chairman: Order! I would like to make, especially our new colleagues, know that those who have been here before will agree with me that under normal circumstances, we do this Yellow Book in two months’ time, that is February and March. That is eight weeks, which are thirty-two working days. But this year, for reasons best known to everyone of us, as from today, we have only ten days to finish this book.


The Chairman: It is mandatory that by 31st March, the Treasury must start disbursing the amounts of money which you are going to approve …

Mr Patel: Question!

The Chairman: You do not say such things to the Chair when he is on the Floor.


The Chairman: Be careful. I am not debating, I am guiding the House. So, from today, we have only ten days, if you exclude this day, we have only nine days to finish this Yellow Book.

I can see that we have a lot of colleagues who have not made their maiden speeches yet. From today onwards, I will allow only two people to deliver their maiden speeches, per day, so that we can concentrate on the estimates. Those who want to make their maiden speeches will have a chance when we come to debate the second stages of Bills. You will have a chance if you can catch the Speaker’s eye. That is the time you can sneak in and deliver your maiden speech. May I have someone to debate the Vote for the Vice-President’s Office.

Mr Patel: On a point of order, Sir.

The Chairman: A point of order on who? Stand up, let me see you. You want to raise a point of order on who?

Mr Patel: Procedure.


Mr Nakalonga (Chikankata): Mr Chairman, I would like to debate on one item under this Vote, and that is disaster relief. Sir, we all know that this year, we have a big problem at hand and that is hunger.

Mr Chairman, for last year alone, I can see a huge figure of K17 billion that was used but in this year’s estimates, we have only K5 billion. Sir, I think hon. Members know, especially those of us who come from rural areas that implements were not available last year.

Mr Chairman, this kind of figure, I think, will put a lot of pressure on the Government. Last year, the experts in the ministries told the Government that there was going to be a shortfall. This was done as early as March last year but here we are, this year, we have no money, we are just depending on the donor community to feed our people. I think this is not acceptable.

Mr Chairman, this figure is unacceptable. I think the Government should come up with a realistic figure. We have been going to the disaster management office, the moneys they have cannot help the population. I am asking the House to increase this particular figure. The money should be increased to acceptable levels where we shall be able to feed the Zambians. As I am talking, we have to feed the people up to next year March because there will be nothing to be harvested. Whatever little has been grown will be eaten as green maize. 

Mr Chairman, I am mindful of the irrigation proposal that has been suggested by the Government but we cannot count chickens before they are hatched. We should have realistic figures put here. I am not talking of emoluments and the rest but the disaster relief fund.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Mr Chairman, I would like to echo the sentiments expressed by my colleague, the hon. Member for Chikankata (Mr Nakalonga). In doing so, I wish to propose to make a via media on the Vote that has been proposed by the Minister of Finance and National Planning on the district administrators. As we mentioned earlier, the Office of the District Administrator must be disbanded. I propose that the saving that will be made on the district administrators be transferred to the disaster relief programme.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Chairman, I seek to be protected. It is a proposal I am making and if there are contrary proposals which Members would like to make, they are privileged to do so. But I am looking at the fact that currently, for us in Southern Province, there is disaster looming. There is no food and the people are not going to survive on the meagre resources that are being proposed by the Minister of Finance and National Planning. 

Of course, I have taken note that my colleagues are also proposing the same for the Constituency Development Fund.

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, I thank hon. Colleagues who have debated this Vote. As hon. Members are aware, my office is a statutory office established by Article 45 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia. Based upon this Article, I am the Principle Assistant to the President in the discharge of the Executive functions and I perform any other duties assigned to me by the President.

When he is out of the country, for instance, I take charge of the reigns of the presidency.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, the other functions for which I am seeking the support of this House include my role as Leader of Government business in this House and the coordination of parliamentary duties which incidentally are, now, on the increase with the on-going parliamentary reforms.

You, hon. Members, are, now, demanding timely information on questions, motions and Bills. Coordination of the management and mitigation of disasters such as the current food deficit owing to drought in the southern parts of the country and the adverse effects of the floods of 2001 that ravaged the northern half of the country are part of the things that I have to look at. Resettlement of unemployed, retired and retrenched persons who require habitable schemes with adequate roads, water supply, health centres and schools as well as honours and awards and independence celebrations are all under my office.

Mr Chairman, in addition, being the second highest office in the land, it also deals with national cross-cutting issues, including chiefs’ affairs and traditional ceremonies, social welfare and poverty alleviation, labour and public relations, HIV/AIDS and other issues referred to it by other ministries and the community.

Hon. Members are fully aware that these functions directly touch upon the welfare of our people and that to deliver, effectively, requires adequate funding. A good example are the ravaging food shortages across our country. We have to meet this need to save lives. For this purpose, I need in excess of 86,000 metric tonnes of relief food which will require a lot of money.

Our co-operating partners are, of course, rising to the challenge and only yesterday, the American Government gave us 10,000 metric tonnes of relief food for which I thank them on behalf of hon. Members of this House.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, another duty is to adequately resettle the youth, retired and retrenched workers as a result of the on-going privatisation and restructuring in the Public Service. These people need habitable schemes serviced with good access roads, health centres, water supply and schools which all require huge capital investment.

Mr Chairman, let me hasten to fully appreciate the overwhelming support hon. Members have continued to demonstrate in calling for additional funding to my office. This is as it should be for we all serve one greater constituency which is Zambia. As the President has advised, it is important for us to stand together on national issues such as these. Indeed, yesterday, I heard one hon. Member from the opposition state that hunger is not partisan. I agree with him. Hunger affects each and everyone of us.

For its part, Mr Chairman, the Government will ensure that Zambians, regardless of the constituency they hail from, will be given life sustenance and food relief wherever and whenever it is available.

Mr Chairman, some concerns have been raised regarding the adequacy of relief food and its distribution as well as donor inflows. To provide full details of these issues, I seek your permission, at a future date, to lay on the Table of the House, an explanatory document which I have prepared to update hon. Members with regard to where relief food has gone. I am aware that hon. Members have talked about the involvement of district administrators in distribution of food. This is not correct because the …

Hon. Opposition Members: It is!

The Vice-President: The Government has contracted the distribution of food to NGOs, churches and other people without involving district administrators.


The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, the hon. Member for Chikankata has voiced his concerns on the little amount of money that has been allocated for relief food. I entirely agree with him but I would like to assure him that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, in his Budget, has some more funds that will be used for food importation. I believe the figure for the moment is K50 billion. So, that should be able to sustain our people.

I am aware that, this year, we are, again, facing drought but should need arise, we shall ask the hon. Minister for some more funding so that our people do not die from hunger. The Government is fully aware of the drought situation. It is terrible in Southern Province because only a few days ago, we went round the province and the situation has never been like that for a long time.

The hon. Member of Parliament for Monze talked of transferring certain funds from another wing of Government to give to relief food. While I thank him, I am of the opinion that all sections of Government should be allowed to function properly because we complement each other.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

VOTE 02/03 – (Office of the Vice-President – Department of Resettlement – K540,596,333).

Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, I started indicating a long time except that you were very fast and your microphone was not on.

May I have clarification on item 02, sub-item 03 – Purchase of Services – K107,130,384. What services is His Honour the Vice-President envisaging?

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, this provision is required to meet costs of public transport for officers travelling on duty on local and foreign travel.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muleya (Choma): I am worried, Sir, that the Budget for 2001 was to the extent of K1.2 billion. Now, His Honour the Vice-President has, on item 03 - Purchase of Services …

The Chairman: Can you ask your question? Do not forget that His Honour the Vice-President has answered clarified that.

Mr Muleya: I am wondering why the item has been scaled down so much and at the same time, His Honour the Vice-President has indicated the services that are required. Will this not necessitate some over expenditure?

The Vice-President: It is the wish of the Government to cut down on foreign travel expenses. We shall be depending more on our Ambassadors and people that are based abroad.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Sir, I wanted to know the budget for disaster relief. I am aware that another department has been allocated some money. As a matter of interest …

The Chairman: Which item is that?

Mr Muntanga: On item 002 - Grants and Other Payments.

The Chairman: There is nothing there.

Mr Muntanga: I know.

I wanted to find out from His Honour the Vice-President why when there was a budget of K14.5 billion, they could not use K9.5 billion and only used K5 billion because that could have been a reflection on the following Budget. Why should we allow K14.5 billion for disaster management and only use K5 billion when people are suffering? What is the reason?

The Chairman: May I advise you to bring up such questions when we call for policy debate. That is when His Honour the Vice-President will comment on your contributions when he winds up debate on this Vote. This time, we are going through figures and you only indicate when you want to get clarification as other hon. Members did on item 003. In this particular case, we cannot ask His Honour the Vice-President to explain anything because there is no provision for the Head in question. So, we must go ahead.

Mr Sibetta: Why has the hon. Minister not provided for a social safety-net under his ministry? Why is the Vote blank?

The Chairman: I have just explained. Those are the questions you were supposed to raise in the policy statements you made. We are, now, doing figures. You can only query figures.

Can we proceed.

Vote 02/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.


The Chairman: What is it?

Hon. Opposition Members: You are too fast.

The Chairman: Do you all have the Yellow Book?

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes, but you are too fast.

The Chairman: Hon. Members, I have told you that we have only got ten days to finish the Yellow Book.


The Chairman: You should follow what I am doing …


The Chairman: Order! I am here to guide you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

The Chairman: Now, you think that I am too fast but when I read slowly, you will complain that I am too slow.

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

Mr Haakaloba indicating to ask.

The Chairman: What question are you asking?

Mr Haakaloba (Magoye): Mr Chairman, I stand to ask what business we are doing here because I see that we are just running through the figures and before we are able to understand anything, you are already tackling the next Head.

The Chairman: When you go to a place and you are a stranger, the best thing you do is open your eyes wide and put your ears to the ground. Do not show the locals that you know more than they do. Now, I am at your disposal and you can ask me anything about parliamentary operations. If you ask me a question that I do not know, I know where to get the answer from and I will get the answer for you.

Now, we cannot derail the business of this House just because you do not understand procedure. Some of you have said, I am too fast. I agree and I will slow down. For the benefit of new hon. Members, we are looking at every figure and approving it. When I say that a figure has been agreed to, that means the committee has, now, recommended the figure to be approved by the House collectively. We are in the Committee of Supply. Then, at the end of the day, when I report to the hon. Mr Speaker, that is when everything that we are going through, as a committee, will be approved. That is the procedure for approving the estimates.

VOTE 02/03 – (Office of the Vice President – Department of Resettlement – K540,596,333).

Mr Moonde (Bweengwa): Mr Chairman, on sub-head 2 – Recurrent Departmental Charges, I would like to find out. Almost all the figures have been drastically reduced.

The Chairman: Are you querying everything there?

Mr Moonde: Yes, it is everything, in my view ...


Mr Moonde: … because all the figures on all the allowances reflected there, if you check, Mr Chairman, have been reduced. Is there any reason for this drastic reduction?

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, we are trying to cut down on the cost of running Government.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ng’uni (Chama South): Mr Chairman, I beg for permission from you. It is not an offence to be a learner. I think we are authenticating or literally appending our signature to the Budget. Now, appending a signature to something under very difficult circumstance is tantamount to doing things under duress, in my opinion. Now, I beg you, Sir, to give us more time. You will guide me, Sir. There is no offence in trying to appreciate what you are appending your signature to in case tomorrow someone asks you that you actually approved something that you did not understand.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Thank you, Mr Chairman. Sir, as a new parliamentary young man, I think what is happening is very unfair. You see, this document took more than four months to be prepared and if you are going to hide in the name of rules, regulations and what, I do not think we will make progress in this House. So, with your due guidance, Mr Chairman, I beg that we move at a better pace so that we do not just rubber-stamp this document. The people of Zambia are expecting a lot from us. But I am afraid that at the rate we are going, we will destroy everything.

Thank you, Sir.

The Chairman: My dear colleagues, parliamentary operations are done according to procedure and these procedures are of the same pattern across the Commonwealth Parliaments. We cannot do anything in Zambia that will be different from the way things are done in the House of Commons. The best every one of you should do is to pay attention and be at the same pace as the rest of us or else you will lag behind. On certain things, as I have told you before, we have members of staff of the National Assembly, you can approach them for help. They will be ready to offer their services. I am also available for advice. But we must not impede progress in approving these estimates just because somebody does not know what to do.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah.

The Chairman: That is not good enough and it will not be good even to the nation. That much, you must understand. Can we make progress.

Mr Hachipuka: Mr Chairman, where is this K540,596,333 coming from because it is not extended under 2002.

Hon. Government Member: Read the Yellow Book.

Mr Hachipuka: There is no capital expenditure, if you read. Just look. He is saying capital expenditure, where is capital expenditure?

Vote 02/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 02/04 – (Office of the Vice President – Parliamentary Business – K327,030,966).

Mrs Wina (Nalolo): Mr Chairman, I want to comment on emoluments. I notice that, throughout the Yellow Book, on all the issues of emoluments, there is an item called ‘Other Emoluments’ and in most cases, this has been trebled. So, I would like to know the rationale behind this.

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, we have taken into account inflation over the years. But I think to help you, Mr Chairman, we are ready, from the Government side, to sit with the hon. Members who may wish to know how to read the documents because each one of them is explained. Each figure that you see in the Yellow Book is explained. So, I think that since the House, now, has 60 per cent of hon. Members who are new, perhaps, my colleagues and I are available for those colleagues who may wish to …

Hon. Opposition Members: No.

The Vice-President: I have sent the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport to go and teach Hon. Hachipuka who has been here for sometime. The Minister is there, now, teaching Hon. Hachipuka. If Hon. Hachipuka, who has been in this House longer than the rest, cannot follow these figures, then I think we have a problem with the new hon. Member but we are going to assist her.

I thank you, Sir.

Vote 02/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 02/05 – (Office of the Vice-President – Disaster Management and Mitigation – K14,905,135,226).

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr Chairman, on sub-head 1 – Personal Emoluments, I wish to raise a question on personal emoluments and this is with reference to the assurance of the Vice-President, in response to one question from this side, that he wanted to run an efficient Government. He made the comment during debate on an earlier Vote.

Mr Chairman, I am perturbed to see that this Vote, Disaster Management and Mitigation, under last year's budget, was part of the Office of the Vice-President – Headquarters. Therefore, if we relate the figures, the amounts on personal emoluments for these two Votes ought to be added giving us an increase of K500 million.

Does that go to show that the Government is going to be more efficient? Can we have the details, Mr Chairman, through you, from the Vice-President on why there is such a huge increase in personal emoluments to the Office of the Vice-President and the Department of Disaster Management and Mitigation.

The Chairman: The all essence of human error is due to defective communication from mind to mind. Two hon. Members earlier asked a similar question and I replied that what they had raised was supposed to come out in the policy debate. That is where your query fits in. Now , when we go to figures, you do as Hon. Sibetta did. Indicate the item and sub-item on which you wish to seek clarification. Then, His Honour the Vice-President will explain. But if we mix up policy queries and actual figure queries, we will just get muddled up and get no where.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! 

Mr Sichinga: Mr Chairman, on Subhead 3, Item 02, Sub-item 05, Disaster Relief Programme - K2,251,075,226, may I know what is involved in this.

The Vice- President: Sir, from time to time, the Disaster Management Department is asked, perhaps, to ferry food by air. Now, my office does not have helicopters. These helicopters have to be hired from Zambia Air Force and we pay for them, hence, this amount.

I thank you ,Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear

VOTE 02/05 – (Office of the Vice-President – Disaster Management and Mitigation – K14,905,135,226).

Mr Sichinga: Mr Chairman, on sub-head 4, item 04, sub-item 001, Disaster Relief Programme – K9,800,000,000, may I know what is going to be purchased with this amount. I want to know the number of tones of food that this is going to purchase.

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, I do not have the specific tonnage that the K9,800,000,000 will buy in terms of maize. However, Mr Chairman, disaster does not give notice, so, we have to be ready all the time.

Thank you, Sir.


Mr Matongo (Pemba): Sir, on Civil Works –K436,163,525, I would like to know what civil works are being provided for.Then, on National Disaster Management Information Systems - K183,000,000, will this go to adding to efficiency monitoring of disasters? It appears to me, Mr Chairman, that, as the Vice- President has said himself, disasters just happen. I appreciate that but …

The Chairman: Order!

When I call for policy debate, that is when you can go into details as you are tying to do. Now, you have asked a question on civil works. Let the Vice-President explain. It is not for you to explain. It is his duty.

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, I thank you. The amount is needed for civil works which are in very many ways in disaster management and mitigation. The money is needed because, at times, you want us to take food to places that have no roads and bridges. So, we have to make provisions.

For instance, I am aware of some Members of Paliament who come from areas where there are no bridges but we need to take berry bridges that we have. For these to be erected, we require to pay for civil works. That is what this figure represents. Also, Mr Chairman, if I may go back to the hon Member for Kafue on K9.8 billion. This provision is required to cater for relief food. Now, if you want the exact tonage, firstly, the price of maize does change from time to time. Today, it is US$240 per tonne and tomorrow, it may move up or down. So, for me to give you the exact tonnage would not be right.


The Chairman: Order! How do you expect the Vice- President to explain when you are talking? Hon. Members, please, let one person, at a time, ask. Nobody is muzzling you.

Mr Sichinga interjected.

The Chairman: Will you keep quiet! You know that when the Chair is on his feet, you do not answer back. This is not a tavern. I have said so before. Unless you have something up your sleeve.

Mr Sichinga interjected.

The Chairman: You better come out. Please, when I am on the Floor, do not talk. Listen to me. 

Will His Honour the Vice-President continue, please.

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, equally important is the fact that apart from buying food, say if we buy the food from Isoka and it has to be transferred to Monze, the transport cost is included. Now, all those matters have to be taken care of in this Budget and that is exactly what we have done. The amount of K2,251,175,000 is for transporting the food while K9,800,000,000 is for buying the food.

So, I see no problem. Sir, these are very straightforward issues, indeed. We want to buy computers so that we have this information at our finger tips, but you are also questioning that and yet you know that it is important that we acquire computers. Some of the questions Members are asking are straight forward while others are with suspicious motives.

I thank you, Sir. 


The Chairman: Hon. Members, please, understand that it is a procedural requirement. You cannot increase the Estimates. You can only query figures. Each ministry will have officers sitting behind us and their job is to take note of what you say. We are not required to increase whatever is reflected here, but we can give reasons for having it increased in the next Budget. This is the pattern in all Commonwealth countries. The other point is that if you say this must be deleted, it means you are killing the whole allocation to this Vote and it should be deleted from the Yellow Book. You know the consequences of such an action.

Secondly, we are in Committee. W are not here to make a decision but only a recommendation. If one feels very strongly about it, one can then move a motion to the full House and depending on the Speaker’s ruling, he can either reject that motion or accept it. You cannot call for a division. This is a constitutional requirement as the Budget is embodied in the Constitution. In any case, you will have to attract two thirds of this House for the motion to succeed.

Now, if that is the case, why start a journey which you will never be able to accomplish? Let us make progress.


The Chairman: It is the head total, what are you going to ask?

The Chairman: Order!

Business was suspended from 1045 hours until 1100 hours.

The Chairman: Before we proceed, I would like to make one point clear. Admittedly, most of my colleagues are new and when you are new, you must have an open mind in order to learn.

I am carrying two functions here. I have even deviated from the normal procedure just to accommodate our new colleagues. So, do not be shy. I appeal to all of you to listen carefully. If you do not understand, I am prepared to repeat the same message two more times as long as you are prepared to learn. If you are not prepared, it does not matter even if I pour down tonnes and tonnes of words and phrases. It will be futile. 

At the same time, I have to make sure that the business of the House is accomplished. So, I have two tasks; to share the knowledge with all of you my colleagues who are new and then at the same time, to make sure that the job, you and I have come here for is accomplished. It would appear some people have something at the back of their minds, especially those who have been here before. They are not being kind to me and also to the new Members, they just want to have their way. May I, once again, remind you that we have to follow procedure.

I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Chairman: When business was suspended, the Committee had just finished considering Vote 02/01 - Vice-President’s Office. We are, now, going to deal with the National Assembly. You are Members of this Assembly and cannot, therefore, debate this Vote because if you do, you will be debating yourselves. So, let us just go ahead and look at the figures provided for us to use. Even questions are not allowed.

Vote 03/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 05/01 – (Electoral Commission – K8, 793,066,551).

Mr Sichinga: Mr Chairman, the responsibility of the Electoral Commission, as we all know, is to undertake elections and we can only draw from the experiences we have had in the just ended elections and I wish to submit, Sir, that the performance of the Electoral Commission was less than acceptable. Members of this House are aware that contrary to what has been happening in the past, it took more than four to five days, in some cases, a week, before results from some constituencies were received at the Electoral Commission Headquarters. 

Mr Chairman, I spent a lot of time at the Electoral Commission myself and I was very surprised to note that even results from places where communication is good, like Livingstone, took four days to be communicated to the Electoral Commission. Clearly, the Electoral Commission has been a let down to the Zambian people.

In making this comment, Sir, in the last Parliament, we made submissions that the provisions that were made for the Electoral Commission were inadequate. In the same manner as what is happening right now, Members of the ruling party stood up and said they thought that the amounts were sufficient. Surprisingly, we are told the Electoral Commission could not perform its duties well because the provision was not sufficient. I think it is important that as citizens of this country, we need to reflect on the performance of those institutions that should be non-partisan. The performance of the Electoral Commission, in the year 2001, was less than adequate.

Mr Chairman, we, on the opposition side, are calling for a clear investigation in the functionality of the Electoral Commission because we want an electoral commission that is going to be impartial to all political parties. We are concerned, Sir, that soon after elections, all of a sudden, new vehicles were purchased, which were not provided for in last year’s Budget and yet we are told there was inadequate funding.

I, particularly, take note, Sir, that there was a tremendous amount of expenditure on hiring of vehicles to help with the process of moving boxes around despite the appalling performance. It is high time, Sir, that we were given a policy direction as to what the Government is going to do about the Electoral Commission in order to address the concerns that we have. 

I note, Sir, that the estimate for purchase of services is, now, K6 billion. When the matter is going to be responded to, I wish to know what this is going to procure and whether the concerns that the Zambians have had about identities, erasing of voters’ cards and also the manner in which elections, in general, are conducted will be addressed. This is the time to do so rather than when we have a few months to go before the actual elections because if anyone had been to the Electoral Commission during that time, one would recognise the almost chaotic situation that exists there.

I believe, Sir, that it is time for us to essentially change the Electoral Commission leadership.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: It has failed the Zambian people. In fact, it was very partisan. At the beginning, when we met at the Electoral Commission and inadequacies were pointed out and shortcomings indicated so that corrective action could be taken on a timely basis, what did we have? We had incredible arrogance from the leadership of the Electoral Commission that everything was under control. Come election day, you can very well remember, Mr Chairman and hon. Members, the long queues. People stayed on the queues from the early hours of the morning, for two days. In some places, elections were held two to four days later. How is that possible when, in fact, such an act, Sir, contradicts the Constitution of this country and electoral rules? While we are saying this, Sir, I want to address myself to our colleagues in the ruling party. Last year, when we were debating this matter, there were members of the ruling party that had not yet switched over to the opposition. So, I want to give timely caution to our colleagues that when we raise matters here, it is not because we are partisan. Your interests may be at stake next. Your colleagues have learnt a bitter lesson. Mr Chairman, we must look at these things as nationals.

There is nobody in this House and outside who is more Zambian than others. It does not matter what our political parties are. As far as we are concerned, Sir, it is important that as we discuss, there is no way the Electoral Commission can function without resources. We are giving the benefit of the experience that we have had in this House on this very Floor.

Mr Hachipuka: Yes!

Mr Sichilima: But do not mislead us.

Mr Hachipuka: Nobody is misleading anybody.


Mr Sichinga: Mr Chairman, those who know how I debate know very well that I stick to facts and I debate facts. It is not my intention to mislead this House, but it is also my responsibility to give timely warning. I am saying, Mr Chairman, that we want to know whether these provisions would be adequate. This is why we are asking for policy statements to be made before we start debating. That way, we can be more focused in our debate.

Sir, we also know that there were many by-elections, either from natural causes of death or, indeed, because of people switching parties. Is there sufficient provision here, for example, for by-elections? That is the question we would like answered. I am also aware that new vehicles were purchased this year. I have not seen any provision for motor vehicles.

Hon. Opposition Members: Perpetual buyers!

Mr Sichinga: The issue of national registration cards - and I know that this falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs - is pertinent to the right of citizens to vote. Sir, the voter’s cards and national registration cards are intertwined. Mr Chairman, we have requested the Government to consider producing one identity card that would serve as a voter’s card as well as an identity card.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: In fact, the former Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Dr Machungwa, stood up in this House and said that it was not necessary because the Government had paid some particular contractor to consider this. So, it was felt that at that point in time, they could deal with national registration cards, as hon. Members in this House know very well.

Mr Tetamashimba: US$1 million.

Mr Sichinga: That particular process, Sir, has never been accomplished. We have also passed legislation in this House that there would be continuous registration. Do we have sufficient provision in this Vote? I notice that we have a provision of K300 million to purchase computers. Do we have a mechanism? Do we have strategies for registering voters continuously? Hon. Members know how difficult it is to try to get a national registration card before a voter’s card. It is either the film is missing, cameras are not working or the mobile vehicles are not reaching the areas which should be reached.

Sir, I would, once again, on behalf of all us in this House, like the hon. Minister to state, very clearly, what plans they have put in place. Let us not be caught, again, in a situation where those who are entitled to vote are not able to exercise their constitutional right.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Mr Shumina (Mangango): Mr Chairman, from the outset, I would like to state that in a normal and well-organised society, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission should have resigned.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shumina: Mr Chairman, the whole essence of having elections in a democratic country is to ensure that those who have guns do not use them to take over Government. We do not want the military to use force and run over the nation but the kind of planning that took place towards the 2001 elections was a disaster.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shumina: Firstly, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, day in and out, told the people of Zambia that everything was under control, through advertisements, when, in essence, he was referring to an alliance between the MMD and the Electoral Commission on how they were going to undermine the elections.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shumina: Mr Chairman, …

The Vice-President: On a point of order.

The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, is the hon. Member on the Floor in order to suggest that the Electoral Commission and the MMD connived to ensure the latter won elections when he used the same system to become a Member of this House? Is he in order?

Hon. Government Members: Shame!

The Chairman: Hon. Members, we are debating a key institution in our democracy. It is important that we analyse its operations, armed with past experience. With a sense of unity and love for our people and the country, let us highlight what we consider to be weaknesses so the Executive can take remedial action. Let us dissuade ourselves from making statements that would provoke other people. I am not going to curtail anybody’s debate on this one because it is the focal point of our democracy. We are all here because of this institution.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shumina: I thank you, Mr Chairman, for your guidance.

I have reasons for still maintaining that the Chairman should have resigned on moral grounds.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shumina: Mr Chairman, in football, the only person who can help to have a good game is the referee because he is the one who controls the game according to the regulations. However, when the …

Mr Kazala-Laski: What about the coach?

Mr Shumina: The coach is on the bench. I do not know, maybe, your are talking about MMD football.


Mr Shumina: Mr Chairman, I would like to give examples.

Firstly, the guidance on presiding officers was not clear. We have cases where instead of allowing only two presiding officers to help people to vote, I remember, in my constituency, I almost threw out a presiding officer because he was queuing up people to vote for a certain party.


Mr Shumina: Now, the Electoral Commission has a responsibility to make sure that those they contract to preside on their behalf know the rules and guideline to the letter. If they do not do that, they will be creating problems.

The second point I think this man should go is that he misdirected the Chief Justice.

The Chairman: Order! It is not within the purview of parliamentarians to seek the sacking of anybody who is a citizen of the country. It is in order for us to point out weaknesses and mistakes, but it is not our jurisdiction to demand the removal of any officer at all. 

So, statements like this man must go should not be considered or made in this House. Point out his mistakes and if those mistakes can be proved, the Executive, or whoever is responsible, will take appropriate action.

Will you, please, continue.

Mr Shumina: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I was saying that the Electoral Commission misled the office of the Chief Justice. According to the Constitution, it is very clear that the announcement of the presidential and parliamentary results be done …

The Chairman: Order! Presidential results have been petitioned and the case is in court. So, let us not discuss that.

Will you, please, continue.


Mr Shumina: Mr Chairman, because of the disorganisation that we had within the management of our elections, the Government will spend a lot of money this year to have local government elections because in certain constituencies wrong boxes were sent to the wards and elections did not take place. This is how terrible the organisation of these elections was.

Mr Mpombo: On a point of order, Sir.

The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mpombo: Mr Chairman, I reluctantly rise on a point of order. The hon. Member of Parliament on the Floor continues to make sweeping statements that have no rational basis. He continues to use defective, …

Hon. Opposition Members: What is your point of order?


Mr Mpombo: Sir, ...


The Chairman: Order, order!

Mr Mpombo: Mr Chairman, please, guide me. Could the hon. Member of Parliament on the Floor be in order to continue making reckless statements without substantiating them? I need your ruling.

The Chairman: The point of order is very clear. Before I forget, when I am in this Chair, you refer to me as Chairman and not Speaker because I am chairing a Committee. Unfortunately, there is no deputy although my friend, Sibetta, wants to be the deputy.


The Chairman: I am the Chairman of this Committee. 

The point of order is very clear, please, stop being reckless in your statements.


Mr Shumina: Thank you, Sir. I think that the hon. Deputy Minister for Southern Province (Mr Mpombo) needs to read his Standing Orders. He claims that he rarely makes points of order and yet he is raising a point of order for the first time in his life. He has just come this year, so how can he claim that he rarely makes points of order?


Mr Shumina: Let him go back to school

Thank you very much, Sir.


Mr Mpombo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Shumina: The same one!

The Chairman: All right, let me take advantage of this point of order. You are free to raise a point of order, but no one individual Member of Parliament can raise two points of order on the same debate.

Mr L. L. Phiri: He was attempting!

The Chairman: He was attempting to raise another point of order, so, he was out of order.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. L. Phiri: Seminar VJ! Seminar for five days!

The Deputy Minister for North-Western Province (Mr Mushala): Thank you, Mr Chairman, for giving me this chance to debate the Electoral Commission.

Mr Hachipuka interjected.

Mr Mushala: Hon. Hachipuka, you must learn to keep quiet, that is why you are misleading people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mushala: Learn to keep quiet and listen. Otherwise, you will end up being one of the dull Members of Parliament in this House.


Mr Mushala: Mr Chairman, I would like to support this Vote. In doing so, I would like to try and explain one or two things. We appear to be having some problems as we debate the estimates. Maybe, we do not understanding how this is done. For the benefit of people like Hon. Hachipuka and most of these colleagues of mine from Western Province, I want to remind them that this Yellow Book says ‘Estimates’, so, it is not final. We are estimating how much money we are going to raise. When we have raised the money …

Mr Shumina: On a point of order, Sir.

The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Shumina: Mr Chairman, I rise on a very serious point of order. Is the hon. Member of Parliament for Mufumbwe, who is also a senior Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister for North-Western Province, in order to begin lecturing instead of debating the motion that is on the Floor? Is he in order, Sir?

The Chairman: The hon. Deputy Minister for North-Western Province is in order.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Chairman: He is explaining meanings of the words in the Yellow Book. It is important that all of us are together so that nobody is left out. You never did that yourself and I do not think you have even taken any chance of explaining to some of your colleagues who have come for the first time what all these words mean. You do not even know what they are unless somebody explains them.

Will you, please, continue and repeat what you said.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mushala: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

I was trying to explain that these are estimates and when we estimate, what we are saying is that we shall raise, for example, K1 billion in the course of the year, but if luck is with us, we may raise K5 billion. Our expenditure will then be different. We will not keep the other extra K4 billion lying idle when we need to develop this country. But in the event that we fail to raise the K1 billion and manage only K500 million, we are not going to spend on all the projects that we intend to fund in this budget. Hence the words ‘Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure’.

Mr Hachipuka: Then you do not understand.

Mr Mushala: You are the one who does not understand, Hon. Hachipuka. Just keep quiet.

In the course of the year we may also have other programmes that may arise which will need immediate funding, that is when Government comes with supplementary allocations to cover shortfalls.

In case of a disaster, there is a sum of K9.8 billion for disaster relief. Last year, we estimated that we were going to have a shortfall of maize meal and put aside a sum of K5 billion. The K4.8 billion is there to cater for other disasters which we may not know of as at now.

Mr Sikota: You are just guessing. Those are not estimates.

Mr Mushala: May I, first, finish and then you can debate, Hon. Sikota. 

The issue here, Hon. Hachipuka, is that according to the weather forecast last year, Zambia was going to enjoy very favourable rainfall but the situation is not as forecast and this country is facing a disaster. Now, when we come here to consider these estimates, it is not important …

Mr Sichinga: On a point of order, Sir.

The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Chairman, is the hon. Deputy Minister for North-Western Province in order to be debating matters which have already been passed by this House, when the issue on the Floor of the House is the Electoral Commission?


Mr Sichinga: That is what we want to discuss. Other issues will be discussed later.

Mr Hachipuka: We must  move forward, that is what the Chairman said.

The Chairman: Will the hon. Deputy Minister continue and pay attention to that point of order.

Mr Mushala: Thank you, Sir. Hon. Sichinga, assist  Members in your party. 

Hon. Opposition Member: Assist yourself!

Mr Mushala: I am trying to assist people like Jonas.

Mr Shakafuswa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Mushala:  Hon. Shakafuswa, listen. Many Zambians who are professionals and experts have prepared this Budget. They are amore in number than we seated here. There could be more than 5,000 or 10,000 who contributed to this Budget. Now, what we have to do, hon. Members, is to try and understand what we are doing today. Let us not have hidden agendas to delay progress.

Sir, I want to explain that some of my new colleagues in this House have a problem. What they should do is ask the Chairman for clarification. The Chairman will hear you if you ask for clarification instead of just standing up. I have seen so many of them simply stand when the Chair is reading figures, he will not see you.

Mr Hachipuka: The Clerks -at -the -Table are there to see for him.

Mr Mushala: You are supposed to say, ‘Point of clarification, Mr Chairman’. If it is on Electoral Commission, you say, Sir, on Head 05, on Personal Emoluments …

Miss Nawakwi: On a point of order, Sir.

The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Ngosa: Li shati lyabaume bafwele mwa.


Miss Nawakwi: Mr Chairman, I am getting extremely worried. Is the hon. Member and Minister for North-Western Province in order to usurp the Chairman’s powers and start directing the hon. Members on how to conduct the debates in this House? I need your serious ruling.

The Chairman: If the hon. Member for Munali had been here from the beginning, she would not have raised that point of order. But she has just walked in, now, and is not aware of what has transpired …


The Chairman: A good number of us are here for the first time and, therefore, need to be tutored on parliamentary procedures. I cannot have the time to talk about everything, it is impossible. But as some of the things surface, I will talk about them and you, hon. Member for Munali, who has even been Member of the Cabinet, will be of great use to us by sharing your knowledge on parliamentary procedures. So, on that score, the hon. Member for Mufumbwe is a million times right.

Will the hon. Minister, continue, please.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mushala: Hon. Nawakwi when you come in, do not try to register your presence in the House. First, sit around the way we used to. I used to sit on that bench, you know that.

Mr Chairman, I felt pity for my colleagues who were standing but you did not notice them. They must catch your attention by saying, ‘Clarification, Mr Chairman, on Head 05, sub-head 01, in line 2 – Recurrent Departmental Charges – Purchases of Services, can the hon. Minister clarify what is contained in that figure’. That way, we will make progress and move forward.

Mr Chairman, I know my time is running out but I would like to talk about the Electoral Commission which did a very good job.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mr Mushala: Mr Chairman, we must understand that that was the first time in Zambia we held tripartite elections. We were used to only having the presidential and parliamentary elections and the number and volume of work cannot be the same. But even in that circumstance, they did their best. There are some complaints that the Electoral Commission favoured some parties. This, I think, is something we should forget about. 

Mr Chairman, when we look at this House, for the first time, it is representative of every party. Now, which party was favoured? There was none. Mr Chairman, Hon. Sichinga said that there will be by-elections and so on, and the amount of K6 billion is very little. I have already explained that if we have 50 Members of Parliament dying, which we do not want to happen, but may happen because it is unavoidable, this figure will be increased. That is when we will bring a supplementary budget to fund them to hold by-elections. But for now, we think that no one will die this year.

Mr Chairman, if you go by past records, you will see how many Members of Parliament die in five years and that is how they arrived at that figure. I looked at the emoluments and I wanted to say this because I saw Hon. Wina was not assisted. She wondered what ‘Other Emoluments’ were. They cater for allowances. Workers in ministries have, sometimes, to go out and must be paid allowances.

Mr Shumina: You are the Chairman now.

Mr Mushala: My brother, I am Chairman for North-Western Province.


Mr Mushala: Mr Chairman, Hon. Shumina assisted me a lot in Kaoma but he is trying to distract my debate. My brother …

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

Mr Matongo: Mr Chairman, I rise to debate the Electoral Commission ...

Mr Chulumanda: Stand up.

Mr Matongo: I am at full height.


Mr Matongo: This is the presidential height of yester year which you worshipped.

Sir, before I make my contribution to the debate, I would like to second what Hon. Sichinga said. I think it is best for the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and his colleagues to preamble each and everyone of these heads that we have before us in order to clarify some of the things that may arise in due course on the Floor and invariably delay progress in approving these estimates.

Mr Chairman, it does not cost them anything to stand up and state their intentions before we revert to figures. I would like that to be considered because it makes it a lot easier for me to debate. Sir, I come from a business background. Before a chief executive asks his board to approve his revenue and expenditure budget for a particular period, he gives a preamble to that. It makes work a lot easier. The Electoral Commission must be well-funded to avoid the constraints which they encountered last year.

This Commission should be truly independent and accountable to this House just like any other commission which helps in the way of democratising this country.

Mr Chairman, I am certain that the allocations under this Vote are totally insufficient. I believe that institutions such as the one before us should have enough money, not only for salaries and emoluments, but also for computers and other items that will help them do their job more efficiently.

Mr Chairman, let us assume the commission is of men and women of credibility. If they are not provided with good vehicles, sufficient furniture and offices, we shall be talking about their inadequacies year in and out. So, what I am saying is that perhaps, these institutions that have to safeguard democracy in this country, should be funded properly, now, and in the future.

Sir, I am mindful of the shortage of financial resources in our country. We must set our priorities right. Such institutions must be independent, non-partisan, accountable to this House and their salaries and emoluments must be sufficient so as not to promote corruption.

Mr Chairman, I do not believe that providing K300 million is enough to computerise and help the commission do its work and, indeed, for the National Registration Office to do continuous registration throughout the country. Let us transfer money from less important areas and fund this institution adequately.

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister in the President’s Office (Mr Chitala): Mr Chairman, in supporting the Vote of the Electoral Commission, I wish to just raise two points.

Firstly, we, as Government, are very happy that, at least, we have provided K4 billion for by-elections and if hon. Members expire, I am sure resources will be found to ensure that by-elections are conducted. I am also happy to note that, with respect to continuous registration, K3 billion has been set aside. I am sure that is a good start. More importantly, I want to say that in the previous tripartite elections, we had difficulties which we recognised as Government. These were not as a result of our deliberate effort to subvert the electoral process. Some of those problems were endemic in our system, which we all know, such as the geography of this country.

We held elections during the rainy season. Some boxes could not be delivered in time because some rivers were flooded …


Mr Chitala: We also recognised that we had inefficiencies within our management systems. We are going to do anything possible to ensure that we resolve some of the difficulties the Electoral Commission is facing.

We are the pioneers of democracy in this country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chitala: We know that …


Mr Chitala: … the electoral process is one of the fundamental tenets in our democracy. We shall invest as much as we can to ensure that democracy is upheld in this nation.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Patel: Mr Chairman, with regard to the remarks by the hon. Deputy Minister about K3 billion for Home Affairs, I would have thought that that provision was there for national registration cards because it is not the job of the Ministry of Home Affairs to do continuous registration of voters. I thought I should correct that. So, it does remain a fact that insufficient funds have been provided despite the lobbying in place for continuous registration.

What is interesting, Mr Chairman, is that if you look at the Vote, it covers poverty reduction, human rights and good governance and computerisation of continuous registration. Why is it linked to good governance? It is because it is a condition set by donors and the Government has acknowledged that it has an impact on poverty. 

Now, the insufficient funds that have been allocated for the purpose of continuous voter’s registration have to be released. There was a big difference of opinion with regard to the role of the European Union. I agree, to some extent, with the Government on these issues that there could be different opinions as to how they perceive the issue of observance, and so on. However, it was the Government that went to the European Union to ask them for money to help us in our electoral process.

Mr Chairman, this is a very serious issue. I do not think people fly in from Brussels with bags full of money and start asking how much money we want and what it is for. If you look at the letters of intent and the good governance documents that were negotiated by the former Minister of the then Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Kalumba, you will find that these negotiations took place much earlier. 

Now, the problem is that when we ask for money, which we did as a Government, from the European Union to help us finance our last elections, this money always comes with conditionalities. Those conditionalities are well-known. The documents are made available. A lot of this information is available despite the Government’s reluctance to always let other people know about it.

Some of the conditionalities were some of the amendments in the Electoral Act. If you recall in the last session, there were some amendments to the electoral law. These amendments did not come out of the good will of our Government but because they needed to make them before accessing the money.

Now, why is it that we cannot finance our own democratisation process? We had no problems spending about US$60 to US$80 million for a two-day OAU Conference. You did not bat an eyelid to bring in Mercedes Benz saloon cars in chartered planes from overseas but you did not release enough funds to finance our own elections.

These are contradictions and we need to deal with this. Prioritisation is a fundamental issue. What has been put in this Budget is inadequate. Continuous voter registration is very important. Mr Chairman, in the history of our country, we know that this is a non-partisan issue. You cannot get a voter’s card if you have no national registration card.

So, if you allocate K3 billion and the law says we must have continuous registration, you have to balance that. Unfortunately, the Constitution provides that it is the Executive that can increase a Vote, Parliament can only reduce it but cannot move it sideways, that is right or left.

So, my appeal to hon. Members is that this is an important unit. We must learn from our mistakes of the last ten years, if not since 1964. I, therefore, again, submit to the House that we should ask for the kindly indulgence of His Honour the Vice-President and, indeed, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning that we suspend these Votes until they reconsider this matter.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, I wish to thank all those hon. Members who have contributed on this Vote.

In thanking them, Sir, I wish everyone to recognise the fact that this was the first time we had tripartite elections and anything done for the first time does have some hiccups. One of them were the long queues; people queued for six hours or more. Now, we have learnt that, perhaps, in future, such elections should be held in two or three days because of the nature of some of our areas. Our friends in Zimbabwe have learnt from us. They are going to hold their elections over a period of two days. This is the experience that they have gained from Zambia. So, I believe that, in future, we shall do better.

However, I wish to state, Sir, that we have, indeed, provided for continuous registration and the Vote on the Ministry of Home Affairs has some element of that. The ministry will be in charge of registering people and K1.6 billion is for that purpose. It is true that money can never be enough, Hon. Dipak Patel. The Electoral Commission asked for K12 billion, but we did not have that kind of money. If we did, we would have liked to give it to them. So, we have to do with what is available. In this particular case, I think that K4 billion is sufficient, at least, for now.

With regard to the hired vehicles, hon. Members are aware that we have 150 constituencies and 5,509 polling stations. Therefore, it became necessary for the Electoral Commission to seek hired vehicles in order to be able to reach polling stations, at least, in those areas that were accessible. I am aware of one or two areas, in fact, even my own constituency could not be reached by motor vehicle because of the nature of the terrain there. So, I hope that in due course, the Electoral Commission will acquire some vehicles of their own. For now, they will need a lot more money.

Mr Chairman, we are thankful to those who funded the elections. Funding elections is not coming up with statements like they did. I am, of course, constrained about this matter because it is in courts. So, I cannot say much about it, but all I can say is that we are very thankful to all those who have continued to contribute to our democratisation process. The commission worked. Hence, Hon. Patel, Hon. Shumina and all other hon. Members of Parliament are here using that very system which some condemn and others believe that it was all right.

Thank you, Sir.

The Chairman: What is your question, Sir?

VOTE 05/01 - (Electoral Commission – K8,793,066,551).

Mr Moonde: Sir, I would like to find out on Personal Emoluments, item 02 wages – K72,000,000, which appears to be less than should have been provided. The figure has been reduced but the number of people who are employed has not changed. If you look at the Establishment Register, …

The Chairman: Order! Since we are, now, approving figures, we are not supposed to debate. Hon. Members are just supposed to raise points, for example, on wages and the figure and then ask whether the figure is small or big. Then you can get an explanation from His Honour the Vice-President. What is your question?

Mr Moonde: Why is the figure so small?

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, as far as I know, during the election year, people were hired and they had to be paid. That is why the figure was high. Since elections are over, some officers have been re-deployed to other ministries, hence, the reduction.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Haakaloba: Mr Chairman, I would like to know whether the amount under this Vote will include the delimitation of polling districts and constituencies.

The Vice-President: Sir, I believe the figure is for computerisation.

Thank you, Sir.

Vote 05/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 06/01 - (Public Service Commission - Office of the President - K946,090,304).

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, I thank the whole House for the unanimous support.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Vote 05/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 07/01 – (Office of the Auditor-General – Headquarters – K8,744,497,578).

Miss Nawakwi (Munali): Thank you, Mr Chairman. 

As I mentioned yesterday, Mr Chairman, we do enjoy making good statements and this is one Vote that the Government has paid lip service to. At page 14, item 19 of the President’s Speech, he said, and I quote:

‘Mr Speaker, support for the rule of law will require strengthening of the institutions that safeguard good governance such as the Zambia Police Service, Anti-Corruption Commission, Drug Enforcement Commission, Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Auditor-General and that of the Investigator-General. Our resolve to foster checks and balances for good governance will be extended to the role played by the legislature.’

We have heard repeatedly in this House that the Government this year is going to be a Government of laws and not of men, luckily, not of women.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Nawakwi: I listened to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning. He has proposed to spend trillions. I do not even know how you can count trillions. In trying to explain K2 billion to Munali, I tried to give an analogue that you can start laying that money on the road from Lusaka to Chipata and back. But I assume that the K5 trillion that the hon. Minister wants to spend, with our authority, can be used as a subsidy for asphalt for all the roads in Zambia. I wanted to hear how our hon. Minister is going to safeguard the expenditure that he has proposed. To my disappointment, in the speech, we are being told that expenditure will be increased for offices such as that of the Auditor-General. A brief look at the item. On the Lusaka Regional Office of the Auditor-General, last year, the hon. Minister spent K228,936,570. This year, to include good governance, he proposes to spend even less, that is K277,436,000.

Mr Speaker, this office, in Lusaka, has to audit all Government departments in Lusaka Province. The point I am trying to make here is that the increase in expenditure for the Office of the Auditor-General does not match with the presidential pronouncement to this House save for the donation of K3 billion from NORAD, and as you and I know very well, the release of K3 billion from NORAD will come with its own . Therefore, if we are going to improve good governance, I would have expected that the internally allocated expenditure should have shown a substantial increase. We are not going to have money being carried in suitcases for us to believe that the Auditor-General will assist the hon. Minister table the reports to this House in good time. I do not see any method. Maybe, it is by witchcraft that the Auditor-General will come in this particular financial year with improved performance and reports to be tabled as suggested by the hon. Minister. Unless he is going to provide them with supplementary expenditure.

Mr Speaker, I would suggest that accountability for public resources should be given high priority before we even embark on any expenditure. This is one Vote where all of us must agree that it needs to be increased. The hon. Minister needs to suggest ways and means to finance the Auditor-General.

Mr Speaker, I believe that Public Service accountants in this country will only be accountable if a way is found that the accountants in different ministries can report to their respective Controlling Officers. The current practice where you have an accountant in Kasama whose only boss is found in Lusaka at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning leaves much to be desired. I would like to suggest that in the New Deal, the Controlling Officers must be allocated money and given full powers to discipline erring officers in their ministries, including accountants. The current practice where all public accountants only have one boss at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, the Permanent Secretary for Finance, I think, is what causes the problems in terms of accountability and accounting for the resources.

Hon. Government Members: We have already done that.

Miss Nawakwi: Oh, you took my advice. I am glad you have implemented my advice.

Mr Speaker, I would like to also suggest to the hon. Minister of Legal Affairs to bring the urgent legislation on this particular item to this House. Cabinet needs to draft a Bill before this House rises. This amendment is to give power to the Auditor-General to prosecute erring accountants on site. Good governance requires sanctions. The reason people in this country are so lucky is that there is no sanction. If you find an officer stealing, it is reported to the Permanent Secretary and then time goes on. I would suggest that the urgent legislation that is required is to give powers to the Auditor-General to prosecute erring accountants and I think that is very urgent. If the Executive has no powers, I would suggest that we could bring a Private Member’s Motion to help you call some amendments to this particular act so that the Auditor-General can be given functional powers.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to say that it is not enough to make nice statements that accountants and auditors will be out in the field auditing and actually finding out what is going wrong when you will not do that.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Chairman, in commenting on this Vote, I often find myself at sea lost because in this country, several audit reports on our ministries have actually been produced by the Auditor-General’s Office. The problem I find is the lack of integrity in the controlling officers who should take action once an audit report has been produced. It is pointless, Sir, that audit reports are produced, on very important issues, but are not acted upon. Mr Chairman, other than the controlling officers, physically using the audit information to go to the Ministry of Home Affairs, or to initiate action for the apprehension of the culprits, will achieve very little in this country. 

So, what I question, Mr Chairman, is whether there is any political willpower to actually act on the audit report. Is it becoming part of our culture that reports of malpractice be produced but they do not necessarily have to be produced through the Auditor-General’s office? Even the Press, investigative journalism, can be a source of prosecution. It can be a source of information for any Government to make moves to prosecute.

Sir, there is a report in today’s newspapers and it was also on radio this morning that, again, at the Ministry of Home affairs, K2 billion is missing.

Hon. Government Members: Aah

Mr Hachipuka: Yes, it is in the paper and it was on radio, and nothing will happen.

Hon. Government Member: Maybe, the hon. Minister does not know.

Mr Hachipuka: He does. If he does not, this is what we are fighting against, to hide, to sweep things under the carpet. How can an hon. Minister come from the ministry and not know that two billion kwacha is missing and some of his staff are currently suspended? It also makes me wonder what the role of the Government is if the controlling officers, Permanent Secretaries, keep information and we do nothing. It explains why most hon. Ministers spend most of their time here instead of running their ministries.


Mr Hachipuka: they have no knowledge about what is happening in their own ministries.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka: People like my cousin, Mabenga, are putting on weight 


Mr Hachipuka: I will not even say, ‘Hon.’ Mabenga, because you are an embarrassment to the Front Bench. You are too fat. You should do some work and exercises.


Mr Hachipuka: Mr Chairman, I am concerned. I am aware that my colleague, the Auditor General, is a man of distinction. He has withstood the test of time. He has been able to produce reports in the previous Government. As you know, the procedure is that his reports go to the President. If not acted upon by the President, they can be brought to Parliament. He has that power and has lived up to his expectations …

Hon Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka: … even with little resources. We do not want to wait for audit reports for a year or two after a theft has occurred. It will be difficult to take action. We have been told that two billion kwacha can go missing without the hon. Minister knowing anything. We want hon. Minister to act because these things are what are causing our country not to be helped by outsiders. We must be seen to be a nation of integrity. So many things have been said, so many things written about us, and we do nothing about them. Even if we have been told that certain evidence cannot be brought here, we do not want to do what happened last year when Members of Parliament had to go to the Show Grounds to join the civil society to bring change to this country. This is where our country expects us to make changes destined for our country and not in the streets.

Mr Patel: Hanjika!

Mr Hachipuka: We are representing our electorate and when I speak, I do it on behalf of my constituency. This is the place where they want me to come and tell you what we expect of you. So, take note that this time, it is serious business. We do not come here to drink tea.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Chairman, in most of our Budgets, there comes a ray of hope and I want to commend the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for making decisive moves. Hon. Kasonde, I commend you for the changes that have been made in this area and the support that is provided. 

Leader of the House, we thank you for making sure that the Office of the Auditor-General is expanded and will, now, be in every province.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: That is a commendable effort. However, I wish to reiterate my earlier call that we need to make this institution more independent than it is, now, especially on the funding side. An institution that runs to the Government every time they want to buy a vehicle or make a trip to go and carry out an audit cannot exercise the kind of independence that we expect from the Auditor-General’s office. I must commend this particular office and the Auditor-General for a job well done in the face of financial shortages. He really has stood up and helped this House to receive reports some of which had been based purely on transaction audit as opposed to the financial reports which the Government is supposed to produce through the Accountant-General’s Office.

I commend Auditor-General Siame and I know, Sir, that given your integrity, my hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and as a man that has been in this field for a long time and also your stand on this particular issue, I am sure that we can only move from this position to a position of strength.

However, I am also aware of the fact that there are constraints in the Auditor-General’s Office and salaries are not comparable to what other accountants in the industry earn. If they are going to be on a par with their colleagues, they need to be rewarded commensurate with the kind of qualifications that they have. It is clear that the Auditor-General’s Office cannot attract professional accountants with qualifications such as ACCA, FCA and many others because the kind of remuneration such individuals command is way beyond the levels of salaries in this particular institution.

I plead with you that we should serve the Auditor-General’s Office in the same way we have done with the Zambia Revenue Authority and you know what that has done to the collection of taxes. We asked for this in the last Parliament and I want to reiterate that it is necessary in order to attract a certain level of qualified personnel to this office in order to maintain a professional level of service.

Another point I wish to make, Sir, through you, is local Government which has always suffered in the area of audit.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: It is important that we establish another audit office to specifically look at local Government. The frequency between audits in the local Government has been very scanty. Hon. Members will be aware that we have raised this point in the House before. Auditing, for example, of the CDF, has been so superficial that the results have not been conclusive. It is important, Sir, that we have a focused group that is looking at nothing else but local Government only because it is spread throughout the country. 

Associated with the competence of the various audit offices, Sir, is the need for training of controlling officers. My colleagues have alluded to the fact that audit reports go to the controlling officers but they do not respond to the audit queries raised. When the Auditor-General just gets tired of waiting and produces a report which comes to the Public Accounts Committee, the next thing you have, when your controlling officer is called here, is that he did not have a chance to respond to the audit queries at all because they did not pay attention to the requirements.

Sir, you will recall, very well, that the President, in his address to the House, said that he wanted to re-introduce examinations for the Civil Service. I think controlling officers need training in financial management.

I notice also, Sir, and I mentioned it yesterday that you are introducing a financial management information system. They need to be conscious of that and what that calls for so that they can respond in the rightful manner. Hence, the comment that Hon. Hachipuka has just made that here are controlling officers who may not even be aware of what is happening to the finances in their own ministries. Sir, clearly, they are not discharging their duties as controlling officers as the Constitution and the Financial Regulations require of them. Therefore, I urge, Sir, that they should undergo training to make them responsive to the audit queries.

Lastly, Sir, I wish to mention that the audit reports have usually come to the Public Accounts Committee and to this House late not because the Auditor-General has been incompetent in performing his duties, but because he waits for the financial report coming from the Accountant-General’s Office. It is against this background, Sir, that yesterday, Mr Chairman, I suggested that we should have an improvement in the reporting timing. At the moment, the Constitution states that so long as this House receives it by the 30th of September, nine months down the road. I am saying that with the computers, it is possible, and without even changing the Constitution, to improve the performance of the Accountant-General’s Office so that we receive these reports, at least, not later than 30th June. This will enable the Auditor-General to report to this House, at least, by 30th September so that committees of this House, when they are sitting, can report on the previous years by November.

Without doing that, Sir, we are always going to be two years in arrears. In the past, we have even been in arrears for four years, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of this country. This, Sir, can be done without even changing the Constitution. I, sincerely, hope that there is adequate provision when we come to the figures of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. We will be able to see that there has been sufficient money provided for the financial management information system that will make the ministry and, in particular, the Accountant-General’s Office, to be responsive so that the Auditor-General can discharge his constitutional requirements.

Mr Chairman, I thank you very much.

Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, I will be very brief. Through you, I would like to appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and, indeed, to the Government that the Public Accounts Committee Report for last year which was not tabled should be urgently re-visited and tabled. 

Our Auditor-General is a constitutional officer who sits on the Public Accounts Committee. Since independence, we have had a continuous link, Mr Chairman. There has been no break. Every year, the Public Accounts Report has been filed, accepted and debated by the House, but last year, Mr Chairman, due to circumstances you fully know, it was not possible for the report to be tabled. Therefore, we have a break in the accountability and in the role of this House to approve the Auditor-General’s report and he is concerned.

I think it is a matter of constitutional importance that we do not break this link which has been operating for the past thirty-six years since independence. Last year, we allowed it to break because the House could not sit for eight and half months. I believe, as a matter of urgency, while this House is still in session, this report should be revisited quickly. A small committee should be set up to look at the report so that we can approve it. Certain organisations in the world follow these reports. As we are, we have elapsed and would qualify for a banana Republic because banana Republics do not have audited accounts.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mukwakwa (Zambezi East): Mr Chairman, in contributing to the Auditor-General’s Vote, I wish to mention that in terms of Government focus it is gratifying to note that in the President’s Speech there are measures to encourage accountability in the ministries. We commend them for that. 

Mr Chairman, the reasons for putting emphasis on the Auditor-General’s Report is that as far as the outside world is concerned, when they talk of countries which are corrupt, they talk of all of us as Zambians. There is no distinction between those who are corrupt and those who are not. As far as they are concerned, Zambians are corrupt. So, we commend Government for putting efforts in the right direction.

Mr Chairman, the other issue is that we have to give support to the Government in this direction because if you remember, the current President left the Government alleging corruption. So, if this area is not taken seriously, we may have a situation where the President resigns, again, because of corruption in the Government.


Mr Mukwakwa: I thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Kasonde): Mr Chairman, I think the hon. Member of Parliament for Munali should learn to stay in the House a little longer. If she had stayed last night, she would not have asked the questions she did this morning.

When I summed up last night, I did indicate that there was decentralisation in the Auditor-General’s Office. I added that there were provincial offices that had double the amounts allocated to that office, but I noticed that her bench was glaringly empty.

Miss Nawakwi: On a point of order, Sir.


The Chairman: I am ruling for the sake of new Members of Parliament. You know very well that when Members of the Executive are given the Floor to reply to the issues raised, no points of order must be raised. If you want me to curtail his speech, I have those powers. He is replying to the issues raised and, therefore, there should be no interference. 

Will the hon. Minister, please, continue.

Mr Kasonde: I thank you, Mr Chairman.

The next point is about action that follows the Auditor-General’s report. I think this is extremely important. When flaws are brought to light, after the Auditor-General has gone through, I think it is important for the Executive to take follow-up action. I have, in fact, taken some follow-up actions on a number of issues. In this case, I will be talking to the law enforcement agencies so that they can follow up glaring cases that have come up during the Auditor-General’s reports.

I would also like to answer a question asked by my colleague, Member of Parliament for Kafue, about public accounts. Indeed, accounts are meaningless if they are not placed before the House on time. I have, therefore, since returning to the ministry, appointed one officer who is taking responsibility to ensure that all those institutions that are constitutionally obligated to table their reports before this House do so on time or else I will need an explanation.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, I wish to thank all hon. Members who have contributed to the debate on this Vote.

Having served in the distinguished position of Minister of Finance and Economic Development, one would have thought that the hon. Member of Parliament for Munali would have put into effect the ideas she expounded. Of course, now, she is older and wiser, hopefully, one of these days when she comes back here, we shall give her the opportunity …


The Vice-President: … to do that job once more.

Hon. Hachipuka, I wish to say that there is integrity and Auditor-General’s reports are presented on a timely basis as the Minister has stated.

Hon. Sibetta, I can assure you that there is no banana Republic here. Everything is audited and you will see people that transgress the law being brought to answer for their deeds.

Hon. Mukwakwa, we thank you and recognise the fact that the President had once resigned as a result of corruption, but that is why we are fighting the vice, now, because we do not want him to resign again. We want him to stay there for ten years and thereafter you will know what will happen.


The Vice-President: We will continue to take over.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Chairman: Before we go to figures, let me make another clarification on points of order. Firstly, when a Minister is delivering a ministerial statement, no points of order are allowed. Secondly, when a Minister is replying to the issues that have been raised on the Floor, no points of order are to be raised. However, they are also Members of Parliament as everybody here. They can stand up and be given the Floor to debate like anybody else. During that time, they attract points of order and you can raise as many points of order as you can. That is, when they are debating like anybody else.

Vote 07/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 07/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 07/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 07/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 07/05 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 07/06 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

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

Vote 07/08 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 07/09 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 07/10 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 08/01 – (Cabinet Office – Office of the President – Headquarters – K51,020,909,942).

Mr Tetamashimba (Solwezi Central): Mr Chairman, I would like to debate and contribute by firstly, supporting Head 08/04 totally. Sir, when you compare Head 08/05 to Head 08/04 under the Recurrent Expenditure …

Mr Patel: On a point of order, Sir.

The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Patel: Mr Chairman, in accordance with Standing Order 82(4), this morning, I had asked amendments to be circulated as provided in our Standing Orders. It is my right as a Member of Parliament. This was about 0900 hours this morning.

We are debating the Vote and those amendments have not been circulated. I find this unacceptable and I would like to be guided by the Chair whether we can proceed with this Vote.

The Chairman: Firstly, you do not raise a point of order on the Office of the Speaker. Secondly, if you have something that you would like to draw to the attention of the Speaker, you have to see the Clerk or any of his members of staff, then your complaint will be brought to the attention of the Speaker. Depending on the nature of the matter, the Speaker will then act on it.

Thirdly, you do not circulate amendments to the figures of the Budget but you can query the figures on the Floor of the House. That is the reason the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and every ministry have their staff behind me. These are responsible for taking note of all the queries that you are going to raise. If they find that the queries can be answered promptly, they will write down the answer and communicate it to the hon. Minister who will give you the answer when he is winding up the debate. If they cannot do it now, they will go back to their ministries and take action at a later stage. It may not be this year. So, this is the way things work out. If you want a short-cut to that, you can come up with a motion in the full House.

Will the hon. Member on the Floor, please, continue.

Mr Tetamashimba: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, for allowing me to continue. Before the point of order was raised, Sir, I was trying to find out under Recurrent Expenditure the differences in figures between the founding President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, under Purchase of Services - K74,739,460 and that of the immediate past President, Dr Frederick J. T. Chiluba - K81,601,320. I think there is a difference of about K6 million.

Mr Chairman, I am happy, Sir, that the learned hon. Minister of Legal Affairs has always been telling us about some changes in the Constitution. Not long ago, some people were thinking that the immediate past President should not be entitled to benefits. Today, we have in our Budget, estimates for the immediate past President. My view is that these estimates must stand by …

The Chairman: Order!

(Debate adjourned)


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progress reported)

The House adjourned at 1257 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 13th March, 2002.