Debates- Tuesday, 13th February, 2001

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Tuesday, 13th February, 2001

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





16. Mr Mwitwa (Mansa) asked the Minister of Works and Supply when the Chembe Pontoon on the Luapula River will be replaced with a bridge.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mululu): Mr Speaker, the Government is desirous of constructing a bridge across the Luapula River at Chembe.

The matter was discussed at the Ninth Session of the Zambia/Democratic Republic of Congo Joint Permanent Commission. The Commission directed that the construction of the Mukambo/Chembe Road together with the bridge at Chembe should be supported as a regional project under the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

It was agreed that a Joint Technical Committee should co-ordinate the administrative, legal and technical aspects of the project from inception to completion.

The eruption of the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has prevented the Joint Technical Committee to proceed with the work.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Kalifungwa (Mambilima): Mr Speaker, we are, now, getting uptight with the responses that we are getting from the hon. Minister of Works and Supply. This problem has been with us since ...

Mr Speaker: Order! Ask the question.

Mr Kalifungwa: The question is coming, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kalifungwa: The question is, could we have the time period when this will be agreed on.

Mr Mululu: Mr Speaker, the answer in my opinion, was extremely clear. If the hon. Member is getting uptight, I am more uptight myself because he heard me when I said that the whole thing had been put on halt as a result of the turmoil in the Congo DR. Now, I do not know whom I can talk to because right now, there is trouble in that country. Maybe, he wants me to talk to him, although we will achieve nothing.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkabika (Kapiri Mposhi): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister inform the House if there is any estimate on how much it will cost to put up that bridge.

Mr Mululu: Mr Speaker, I would request the hon. Member of Parliament for Kapiri Mposhi Constituency to go to his constituency. There a big problem of distribution of fertiliser.

Sir, I said that there is a technical committee that has been set up to determine what the cost will be and then we shall proceed.

I thank you, Sir.


18. Mr Ngulube (Lundazi) asked the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services when television transmission will be extended to Lundazi Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Mando): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform Hon. Ngulube that Lundazi, like many other districts of Zambia, including Luangwa, does not have a satellite service due to lack of infrastructure.

The extension of television service to Lundazi as well as other districts in Zambia is currently receiving active attention. This, however, will largely depend on the availability of adequate financial resources required to implement the Satellite Television Project under which all districts of Zambia, without exception, will be provided with television signals.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, we wanted to use our own Constituency Development Funds, but the hon. Minister told this House that they were going to put the satellite dishes and radio transmitters in all the districts. When is he going to do this? Time is running out.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Zimba): Mr Speaker, firstly, the Constituency Development Fund is not meant for projects he is talking about because Cabinet did make a decision on that. The funds should be used for other purposes.

Secondly, as the hon. Deputy Minister said, we are considering implementing satellite television in the country. The Vote has just been passed and we saw the figures.

I thank you, Sir.

Major Kamanga (Lumezi): Mr Speaker, evidently, the hon. Minister is not aware that the signal is there, in Lundazi, at Zamtel. The question was, when are they going to be connected? We do not want satellite dishes. All we need are transmitters.

Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, not anything that protrudes is a signal ...


Mr Zimba: ... to provide television services, . We are talking about technical issues that can bring the service that people want.

I thank you, Sir.

Miss Malama (Chipata): Sir, is the hon. Minister saying that we can watch television from Zamtel building?

Mr Mando: Mr Speaker, there is additional equipment to enable that part of the area to have access to television. The television towers that we are talking about need certain adjustment to provide the services adequately.

Thank you, Sir.


19. Mr Kangwa (Solwezi East) asked the hon. Minister of Education how many pupils from the following schools qualified for entrance into the two universities in the country from 1995 to 2000, year by year:

(i)    Solwezi Secondary Schools;
(ii)    Mukinge Girls Secondary School;
(iii)    Mwinilunga Secondary School;
(iv)    Zambezi Secondary School;
(v)    Kasempa Secondary School; and
(vi)    Maheba Secondary School.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Mr Mmembe): Mr Speaker, the following is the breakdown of the number of pupils from the following schools who qualified for entrance into the two universities in the country, from 1995 to 2000, year by year: ...

Mr Speaker: Order! It looks like television signals are more important than the answer being given by the hon. Minister of Education. May we have order in the House.

May the hon. Minister, please, continue.

Mr Mmembe: I was saying that the break down of the number of pupils who qualified for entrance into the two universities in the country from 1995 to 2000, year by year is as follows:


I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sibetta (Luena): Mr Speaker, may I know how many of those pupils from Maheba who qualified to go to university are children of refugees from neighbouring countries.

Mr Mmembe: Mr Speaker, I would have to do some homework and come back to the House with an accurate answer.

Thank you, Sir.


in the Chair]

VOTE 27/01 - (Public Service Management Division - Office of the Vice-President - Headquarters - K59,244,485,408).

(Consideration resumed)

The Vice-President (Lieutenant-General Tembo): Mr Chairman, I would like to thank the hon. Members of the House for, once again, supporting my Vote unanimously.

Thank you, Sir.

Vote 27/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates

Vote 27/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 27/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 29/01 - (Ministry of Local Government and Housing - Department of Human Resources and Administration - K56,906,250,822) and 20/01 - (Loans and Investments - Ministry of Local Government and Housing - K216,104,943,265).

Dr Sondashi (Solwezi Central): Thank you, Mr Chairman, for the opportunity given to me to debate on this Vote.

First of all, Mr Chairman, I wish to express my displeasure and disappointment over the manner the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has treated the Local Government system in this country as if there are no professionals in the ministry who can advise the hon. Minister. I know that the hon. Minister may not know what is wrong with the Local Government Act and what is wrong with the way the Act is governed. We have professionals in the ministry who are supposed to educate the hon. Minister.

Mr Chairman, I am talking as an expert on Local Government matters as you know that Local Government was my first profession ...

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Sondashi: ... and, therefore, I speak with authority. Law is my second profession and I am a Fellow of Local Government Administrators of Zambia.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Sondashi: Mr Chairman, when the law was amended from the previous Local Government Administration Act which was introduced by the UNIP Government, there was an error and I would like the hon. Minister to understand this and to go and consult his officials who understand Local Government. They will confirm to him that what I am saying is correct. 

Previously, Local Government was divided into city, township and rural areas. So we used to have city councils, township councils and we also used to have what were called rural councils. Rural councils were responsible for the administration of the rural areas and townships for smaller towns which are not municipals and then municipals with city councils. 

Hon. Opposition Member: And management boards.

Dr Sondashi: Of course, management boards were within the city boundaries. Now, when the law was changed, it was an error to convert rural councils into district councils. Now, we have district councils. The area of district councils encompasses the townships and the rural areas. Now, for instance, you will find that even where municipal councils are like Kasama, Solwezi, Mongu, Mansa and Choma, you will find that Choma Municipal Council also covers rural areas. That is an anomaly because the municipal council must only be responsible for the municipal boundaries. It is easy to administer because even the laws which are there do apply to municipalities. These, now, also cover chiefs’ areas.

If you notice, Choma covers certain chiefs’ areas. I do not know which chiefs are there. But in Solwezi, you will find that even the chiefs’ areas are covered by a municipal council. Sir, a municipal council cannot be responsible for rural areas. It is difficult. A municipal council, for instance, deals with rates, electricity and so forth. You will find that municipal councils will concentrate on running what I can refer to as municipal problems. As a result, the rural areas are suffering. They are not being administered. They are not being serviced because the services are limited. 

What the hon. Minister must do is regularise this by introducing rural councils which will be responsible for rural areas. This is the way the previous arrangement was and it worked well. Once there are rural councils, these will look after rural interests and problems. As it is now, municipal councils that I have mentioned are not looking after the interests of rural areas. So, this is an anomaly and that is why you have found that, for instance, in the area where I come from ...

Hon. Government Member: Where?{mospagebreak}

Do Sondashi: You know where I come from. Do you not know me?


Dr Sondashi: Who is that one who does not know the crocodile?


Dr Sondashi: So, rural areas are being denied services. Because of that, the development which is taking place, now, in Zambia is just being concentrated in the township boundaries. 

So, since municipal councils are responsible for rates, if you look at the law, you will find that a municipal council may even be tempted to levy rates in the rural areas. What can stop a rural council from asking people in the villages, if someone has a good house in the village, to pay rates since the boundary of a municipal council also encompasses the rural area? Have you seen, Mr Minister, the problem which is there?

Mr Sichinsambwe: No, he has not.

Dr Sondashi: Yes, he has. The Minister of Local Government and Housing who is there is very understanding. He is not like the previous one.


Dr Sondashi: So, that is where the problem is. If you go deeper, you will even find other services clashing. Certain services are not applicable to rural areas but those are the ones which municipalities run. So, I would like the hon. Minister to regularise. Obviously, I know there are budget implications involved here because what I am actually proposing is that once the hon. Minister exercises his power to demarcate the areas so that rural areas are also administered separately, it will mean creating other councils and that will have budgetary implications.

However, budgetary implications aside, the hon. Minister will find that once that is done, rural councils will be administered well also instead of combining them with urban councils. I will tell you that some of the Town Clerks, for instance, when we carried out a survey in Solwezi Municipal Council, had never even gone outside the boundary of the municipal council. So, when I took him to go and see the road  in the chief’s area, he did not know the place because that was his first time to go there. A Town Clerk is not a rural Council Secretary. This is the problem we have. In fact, as regards the set-up now, it must be properly done.

I know that the hon. Minister who brought it did not look into this and I just wonder why or, maybe, it is because the professionals did not advise the politicians properly. I am sure they will agree that there is an anomaly and it must be put right.

There are many other issues which I can bring up about Local Government, but I thought this is the most important one and I leave other smaller ones for other people to debate.

I thank you, Sir.


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika (Mongu Central): Mr Chairman, I am glad to see the hon. Minister back in the House.

Mr Ngulube: which one?

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: The Minister of Local Government and Housing.

This ministry is very crucial ...

Mr Ngulube: Cruciao

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: I grew up in Wusakile, so, I do not say cruciao.


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: The hon. Member of Parliament for Wusakile will vouch for me and I hope I will not be deported to Wusakile.

 Mr Chairman, this ministry is very important, crucial and helpful for development of the whole country in a very rapid manner. It is also a ministry that helps any government to connect with the people. Unfortunately, there is a disconnection between the Government and the people because this ministry is not functioning as it should.

There are many problems in the sense that there is too much centralisation in the Capital City; centralisation of human resource development, power and over centralisation of finances and financial distribution. Therefore, this ministry which should be ticking is not ticking and it disadvantages the Government because they are disconnected from the people whereas they have a vehicle which can help them to be connected with the people.

What I would like to advise the Government is to follow the written down guidelines and really decentralise. The Government needs to change gear so that it can go to the district not only in theory and on paper but practically concentrate on the district and let the district have the powers to administer, utilise resources, generate resources and even to develop human resources. As we know, most of our districts have a lot of resources. They are not poor but there is no support or facilitation for people to utilise their resources. For example, in my constituency and district, we have a lot of resources but there is no support for us to utilise those resources so as to  create employment and generate income.

Look at the fishing industry, rice and cattle and all those produce. They can be done in such a way that there is production and employment creation. The district needs to have those powers. In fact, the district is strangled and has been forced to beg in Lusaka. It should not be so. The ministry should be there for policy and let the district implement but, right now, unfortunately, their hands are tied. They are sitting on gold mines but they do not know how to access them. 

The ministry needs to get the leadership to help these people to utilise their resources and, if necessary, give them some kind of revolving fund, a good injection of the revolving fund which they can pay back but which will help the people to stand on their own. You know, power is not just ruling over a big territory. Power and leadership is delegating so that a lot of things happen and more people are involved.

Mr Chairman, we do not hear about the housing part of Local Government. Again, we need leadership in this area and one example I would like to cite is the utilisation of local materials for construction. Many areas of Zambia have stone but they do not use them for building. I would like to urge the Government to put a guideline that 70 per cent of the materials for housing should come from local resources so that those who have stone should build with stones and those with the type of clay that can be used to burn bricks should do so.

When you go to countries like Israel, it is so beautiful because they use their own stone and it blends with the environment. Go to Kenya, most of those old houses are out of stone and are much prettier than the ugly concrete buildings. Mr Chairman, I must say that Zambia which used to be a beautiful country is quite ugly, now, because of the ugly type of construction materials. 

Sir, let me say something about the House of Chiefs. The House of Chiefs has been promised since 1996. Each year, there is a promise and we do not know what to do; whether this is one of those broken promises, another u- turn or another yoyo  type of Government implementation. How long can we fool our own traditional leaders? If we commit ourselves to something, we must honour our word. Let our yes be yes and no be no. Let us mean what we say and say what we mean so that we do not confuse the people.

Another suggestion that I would like to make for the traditional leaders, Sir, is for us not to turn them into beggars who are sold, bought and resold. As we know, some of them have been beaten in the past because they are not leading the people properly. They want to go where the cash is. I would like to suggest that when we utilise local resources, a certain percentage of that resource, even five or seven per cent, goes back to the traditional rulers’ administration so that they can administer and fulfil their duties without begging or going on their knees. So, we can use some of the resources found where they are to support them. Also, we need to give them some kind of revolving fund so that they are financially independent. We do not want to have traditional rulers who are beggars.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Mr Ngulube (Lundazi): Mr Chairman, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute on the Department of Human Resources and Administration in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

Mr Chairman, I think the department has lamentably failed us as a nation. 

Mr Mululu: Ministry!

Mr Ngulube: I am talking of a department in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. Do not derail me.

Mr Chairman, these municipal, city and district councils have never been assisted by this department in the ministry. People who commit offences like Council Treasurers, or Municipal Treasurers and Council Secretaries are transferred to other districts and towns and continue committing the same offences. For example, a Secretary or Treasurer will commit an offence in a council and then after some months, be transferred to Livingstone or to Kitwe on the Copperbelt. There, they will commit the same irregularities. Surprisingly, instead of disciplining them, they will be transferred to Solwezi. So, this department is not helping municipal, district and city councils.

Mr Chairman, the Department of Human Resources should be able to educate these senior council officers how to broaden their bases of revenue and how to handle their jobs in these various councils. You find that they do not even move to see and supervise what is happening in other district councils. They are just confined in Lusaka and working in Lusaka. So, I would want to agree with what Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika said. This department is not only for Lusaka. It should go out there in the rural areas to see what officers are doing.

I think that even the houses in all the towns have, now, been turned into prisons because every house that you visit, you find that it has a tall wall fence. The beauty of these cities is no longer there. Even the wires which are on top of prison walls are also appearing on top of wall fences of many houses. So, the beauty of these houses is no longer there and our towns are looking like ramshackles.

Mr Shimonde: Bakabwalala bavuta.

Mr Ngulube: Mr Chairman, this department should be abolished because it has failed us as a nation.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr J. T. Phiri (Chama North): Mr Chairman, I thank you very much for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Vote of the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

Mr Chairman, it is a very dangerous situation where you send a man without hands to go and cut you firewood because he will never bring a log. In this regard, I am talking about the ministry having left everything in the hands of the councils that they should find ways of generating money and yet they have no means of doing so. The directive would have made sense if the councils had been given some money and given projects to carry out. They could then have stood on their feet.

In most of the councils, especially rural councils, the only people who benefit are the Council Secretaries and their Treasurers. They attend several meetings, whatever little money is given to the council for any simple development or for paying a few of the workers’ salaries is chewed through these trips. There are too many seminars and you can imagine, we have, now, reached a situation where all council properties have been sold. In Chama District Council, the next thing to be sold are human beings, only that they run away from bailiffs.

Mr J. T. Phiri: We cannot have a situation like this. For the past five years I have been in this Parliament, I have never seen a tangible solution to put things right in these councils. Every year, we are given hope that things are going to improve yet even computers belonging to councils are collected by bailiffs and sold off. There are also too many strikes. There must be something wrong. If there are any experts, - I do not think we have any because the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing is a politician, as some hon. Members mentioned. 

If we have any experts, maybe, they have been in the ministry for too long and they are using the old formulas which are not workable. We must look at these things seriously. There is nothing to be proud of if you look at how the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has performed in rural areas. We have to be serious because the situation is extremely bad. Like Chama District Council, the creditors want to get all the buildings and the workers will not have offices.

The other time I was contributing on the same Vote I said before anything else that each district council needed to be assessed individually. Let those experts from the ministry assist them on what sort of ventures can help each particular council and then give them some money to enable them stand on their feet. The current situation is that all council properties and buildings are being sold. Is this what this ministry is supposed to be achieving? This is a very sad situation. It should not be like the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries which talks of delivering fertiliser at a time when they are supposed to have done that already. What is wrong with us? Let us be serious if we are to develop.

Mr Chairman, I do not have much to say because if I continue, I might end up mourning here.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Muloji (Chavuma): Mr Chairman, I am sure my debate will sound like a repeat but, I think, the commonness of the problems is the reason for that.

Mr Chairman, we have made representations to the Government to assist, especially the newly created districts to get staff that will start working in these places, but, unfortunately, the replies we get are that as councils we must engage the workers ourselves. How can we do that when our revenue base is so bad? I hope that the hon. Minister will look into the cry of the newly created districts with a view of assisting them in this scenario.

May I briefly just thank the Government for promising the new districts a few houses this year. This is a promise and I hope to see it come to fruition. Mr Chairman, I would like to also urge the Government that the year before last, we had a problem of feeder roads. It was, I think, Government policy that these feeder roads should have been given to small-scale contractors within the localities to create wealth and jobs for the local people. Unfortunately, big contractors were given small jobs to do in the rural areas. In Chavuma, they employed our people and ran away without paying salaries. 

I wish the hon. Minister would come up with a solution to make sure that the poor people who worked on those roads are paid. There is a contractor who worked on Chavuma and Zambezi roads by the name of Fratima. We do not know where he disappeared to. I am sure the enquiries I have made to the hon. Minister would be enough to yield results for our poor workers.

Some time this month I saw an advertisement in the paper about the new district councils having houses being built for them by the National Housing Authority asking for supply of building materials. 

Again, Mr Chairman, my request, through the Ministry Local Government and Housing, is that, where possible, the supply of these local buildings materials like sand, stone and blocks be localised so that locals can contribute and earn a living. Let us not have the bamba zonke type of contractors coming from Lusaka to deliver river sand in Chavuma when there is plenty there.

I am sure we would not like a situation like that to happen because we have in all these new districts councils enough local building materials. We may not have things like door frames and glasses, but I hope and pray that the Government will not get all these moneys into Lusaka. Sir, I believe that there is conspiracy somewhere where contractors are being given these jobs to do with a view of oiling the hands of a few people in the ministry. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sibetta (Luena): Mr Chairman, Local Government is one of the reasons why the ruling party has been looked at as being a failure. The ruling party, MMD, has killed Local Government in the country.

Mr Chairman, you are a councillor and so are all of us. The hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing ...

Mr Patel: But you are not wa muyayaya.

Mr Sibetta:  ... knows that Local Government has been killed. Day in, day out councils ...

The Deputy Chairman: Order!

When the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena used the word ‘killing’ in reference to destruction, I suppose, of the perceived destruction of local authority, I let it pass because I thought he would not repeat. However, the moment he repeated the word, he ran into difficulties of saying something which is unparliamentary. 

Will you, please, avoid that and find a better expression than ‘killing’ which is unparliamentary.

Mr Sibetta: I sincerely apologise for the use of this unparliamentary word.

I think Local Government has been destroyed and put in the dustbin ...


Mr Sibetta: ... by the ruling party.

Firstly, the municipal houses were sold to the sitting tenants in some cases for as cheap as K10,000.00. Today, most of those houses have not been paid for ...

Mr Patel: You are wa muyayaya.

Mr Sibetta: ... by those same sitting tenants.

Mr Sampa: They will pay!

Mr Sibetta: Yes, I know they will pay.

You were giving them for something which is about to come.

The Deputy Chairman: Order!

The Chair has not bought a house yet and may never buy a house. So, the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena should not accuse the Chair of buying the house for as little as K10,000.00. 

Will you, please, continue and refrain from referring to the Chair as having bought a house and be more relevant.

Mr Sibetta: I am very sorry, Mr Chairman.

I was directing my remarks to the hon. Minister of Defence (Mr Sampa) who was living in a ...

Mr Patel: In a council house.

Mr Sibetta: ...  council house when he was a Post Master ...


Mr Sibetta: ... of Broadway Post Office in Ndola.


Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, councils have been left without a source of revenue. Those houses which were given away to the sitting tenants have robed councils of a very big source of revenue. Councils were told to retire what the Government described as excess employees.  How do you retire people when you have no money to pay their terminal benefits? Consequently, the so-called retirees have remained without terminal benefits for five years or even more and they have resorted to banding together and taking all these councils to court. The property of these councils have been confiscated by the bailiffs, leaving them without any system to run the day to day affairs of their offices. Now, these bad policies by this bad group  - the Government - have put the councils in this situation.


Mr Sibetta: Secondly, there is an issue of ROADSIP. Many councils had to follow a programme of ROADSIP and we were to benefit from the revenue coming from the fuel levy. Most councils have not been given their share of the fuel levy. You are only concentrating in few places like Lusaka and Ndola. The other municipal councils or townships are not benefiting from this fuel levy. As a result, our roads are in a shambles. To make matters worse, the ROADSIP programme for Luapula, Northern and Western provinces has been diverted to Luapula. The tenders were floated and the money was removed from the provinces like Western Province. Not even a single stretch of 30 kilometres was done there. 

I have been to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and I have had two meetings with the Permanent Secretary who promised to come back to me. He has never come back to me.

Mr Patel: He is chewing.

Mr Sibetta: He has told me that the money has gone to Luapula Province. So, I am speaking of things that I know.

Mr Chikamba: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Sibetta: You are a Nominated Member of Parliament. You better keep quiet!


The Deputy Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Chikamba: Mr Chairman, I do not stand on points of order. However, I think I should help my brother ...

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Mu yayaya!

Mr Chikamba: I have just come from Luapula Province inspecting the projects and the roads there are in a terrible state. Is he in order to mislead this House that money has been relocated from Western Province to Luapula Province?

I seek your serious ruling, Mr Chairman.

The Deputy Chairman: In that point of order the hon. Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries is challenging the hon. Member for Luena to substantiate the allegation that money which was meant for one part of the country has been diverted to Luapula Province. The hon. Minister has just come from there and it is incumbent upon the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena, therefore, to substantiate that allegation or withdraw it.

Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, it is for the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing and his Deputies to reply to my debate, not through a point of order by a Nominated Deputy Minister.


The Deputy Chairman: Order!

Hon. Sibetta has been in this House for a long time and, in fact, this is the second Parliament he has served. So, he should know that when the Chair makes a ruling, it cannot be qualified. 

The allegation that money was diverted to Luapula should be substantiated by the person who made it. It should not be the task of the Minister to substantiate what he did not see. The Member on the Floor should be able to substantiate that or withdraw the statement.

Will you continue, please.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, I am prepared to stand by my word. I have been to the ministry twice, the funds have been diverted to Luapula.


Mr Sibetta: I am prepared to stand by my word. I have been to the ministry twice and the funds have gone to Luapula. There is only a short distance of thirty kilometres in Kaoma from the whole Western Province that was done. The rest has gone to Luapula. I am prepared to stand by my word, Sir.

The Deputy Chairman: Hon. Sibetta, please, I do not want to go further than just advising you to substantiate. If you do not have written evidence to that effect, it means you do not have the basis upon which you can make that allegation. Therefore, you are called upon to withdraw the statement. If you got the information from the offices of the Minister, that information should be made available. Merely to conclude that because one project was not completed, money went to Luapula is not good enough for this House because anybody else is capable of standing up and make similar far reaching allegations. It is not parliamentary to make such allegations. Do you have any evidence you can adduce before this House to that effect? That is what the Chair is interested in.

Will you continue, please.

Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, I stand by my word. I have been to the ministry twice. I have held discussions and I am telling you the truth ...

Mr Speaker: Order! Your debate is curtailed.

Mr Mwitwa (Mansa): I thank you, Mr Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to debate on this very important ministry. Sir, I would like to be a little bit constructive rather than destructive.

It may not be fair, Mr Chairman, to condemn or to find faults in others, but I think it is important to look at the issue and see if there is a way forward. Mr Chairman, it is not fair to blame this Government ...

Mr Patel: Aah, you also!

Mr Mwitwa: ... for the destruction of the councils. I think we should look behind and see how councils have operated from the time of UNIP. Sir, I speak from experience. I know that most of these councils had commercial ventures during the UNIP time. Most of them had commercial farms, hotels, some were running bus services, taverns and bars but what happened? 

Sir, the issue of councils lies on management within the councils themselves. There is no way we can blame our Government. If UNIP failed to redeem the councils and we inherited these bankrupt councils, I do not see why somebody should come here and blame us totally. This Government has been trying to sustain these bankrupt councils for too long. Maybe, this Government did not take drastic measures, the best should have been to fire everybody in the councils and employ new people from the MMD. Probably, that could have made sense. But the Government has continued with the same employees and here we are blaming it. Mr Chairman, it is not fair.

Sir, there are a lot of problems that have been besetting the councils. Some of the questions could be those of management at council level, more especially if you talk of councillors themselves who are supposed to make decisions which council officers are supposed to implement. Some of the councillors cannot even express themselves. When you sit in some of these councils as a Member of Parliament, even your contribution seems to be above everybody’s. It is impossible to implement anything or to be constructive. 

I would urge this Government, Mr Chairman, that maybe, the best is to set minimum qualifications for our councillors so that they would be able to advise and give proper advice to our chief officers. 

Mr Chairman, I realise that there is a lot that this Government is trying to do but, again, we cannot go on subsidising these councils by giving them money just for salaries. I think the councils should have money for some of their working capital projects that they can implement rather than having salaries only which is their cry throughout this country. Mr Chairman, today, they will have money for salaries and after one month, they will have to cry for the same. Where will the Central Government get the money to keep on subsidising the councils? The councils should sit down with us as councillors in those councils and come up with ways and means of raising funds. It is a pity that the councils have the capacity to raise the money, but they are failing even to collect debts. Some of us have stayed in townships and never received any bills for rates, not even for water. So, whom do we blame? The councils and their chief officers should take it upon themselves to raise money and sustain their operations.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sichinsambwe (Mbala): Mr Chairman, allow me to congratulate Hon. Kayope and Hon. Chilombo on being promoted to Front and Middle benches. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Address issues! {mospagebreak}

Mr Sata: Microphone bamudala, palameni!

Mr Sichinsambwe: Listen carefully.

Mr Chairman, the base of Central Government is rural councils where we sit. If we neglect the councils, then the Central Government will also be neglected. I suppose the reason councils are so poor and badly managed is because of poor funding. I would advise the Minister to negotiate with his fellow Ministers where they can find some funds to fund the councils. Councils are very poor because of the Government’s behaviour.

Training must be intensified, Mr Chairman, in order to have qualified workers in the councils. Maybe, this is one of the reasons why they have kept on sacking their workers. For example, Mbala has been made poor because it has several cases of sacking several workers. As a result, Mbala Council has been taken to court several times and lost cases hence the council has become the poorest in Zambia. I, therefore, ask the hon. Minister, Mr Sejani, to work hard and see that all councils are funded this year.

Mr Chairman, I have an observation to make on the House of Chiefs. The House of Chiefs has been talked about for more than a year or so because some provinces are without paramount chiefs. I do not know the criteria used to grade paramount chiefs. Some provinces have sub-chiefs and chiefs without senior chiefs. Sir, for example four provinces have no paramount chiefs but only one province has a King and three provinces paramount chiefs.

Mr Chairman, the Government should find a way of making paramount chiefs sit together so that they can start to work together in a way of combining power. Sir, in other words, the House of Chiefs should be re-introduced.

Furthermore, I would like the Government to intensify training for workers. Chalimbana and other training centres are already in place for this venture. A trained worker is knowledgeable. Sir, standards in councils have gone down because of employing untrained workers. Sir, another thing is that the councillors allowances are very low. K1,500 is given to a councillor for transport and K5,000 as night allowance.

Mr Chairman, how do you expect a councillor to contribute effectively? I would like the hon. Minister to consider increasing the allowances for councillors.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinsambwe: This also involves me because I am a councillor and I am paid K1,500 when I go to attend council meetings, sometimes, I do not even get it because I am paid here.

Lastly, I would like to request my colleagues to talk about adequate funding to councils so that the councils can work effectively day by day.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Tetamashimba (Solwezi West): Mr Chairman, I wish to thank you very much for allowing me to contribute to the debate on this Vote.

Mr Chairman, what is happening to the councils can actually be related to what happened with the Free Trade Area. I think in the COMESA FTA, there are agreements whereby if a nation loses out, there would be some compensation. Now, when you look at the councils, after the houses were sold, some of them for K10,000, if people have not paid for the past five years, you should just let them get them for free. Sir, the ministry should be given enough money so that they can start paying salaries from the Central Government, after all, where are we getting these ideas because if you go to the United Kingdom, over 70 per cent of the salaries of the workers come from the Central Government. Where do you expect a small town like Chavuma to find money to pay its workers?

Mr Chairman, we would like the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to be given a lot of money so that they can shoulder part of the Budget of the employees in all the councils so that they can stop staging unnecessary demonstrations and strikes. Mr Chairman, I must thank the hon. Minister for having sent his Permanent Secretary to Solwezi. I am sure he saw for himself the condition of the roads. One thing I would like to restate is what Dr Sondashi said. If you go to Solwezi at a place called Mumbenji, which is the centre between Solwezi and Mwinilunga, there are buildings there which were left by TIKA. These houses and offices are more than all the districts which have been given district status.

Mr Chairman, nobody is interested to buy TIKA. Sir, there are Zambia National Service personnel there who are just there to look after the Government property and rightly so. The chiefs have been saying we should upgrade that area to a district because you have given district status to areas which do not even have houses but Mumbenji is a former mining area with all the houses which could accommodate all the workers.

Mr Chairman, I also want to say something about the Ex-chiefs. There are some Ex chiefs, especially in Kaonde land where I come from who lost their status because they stood up to fight the colonial Government. Some of them lost their status because they were said to have very few villages which is not the case now. We would like the hon. Minister to consider giving full status to these chiefs. We have more than four in Kasempa and I think over two in Solwezi.

Mr Chairman, I would like to talk about the way our chiefs have been treated in the past months. The District Administrators have been very active in going to chiefs palaces to get signatures ...

Mr Patel: These chaps are for wamuyayaya.

Mr Tetamashimba: Some of these District Administrators have been, for the first time, to chiefs palaces to ask for a signature.

Mr Patel: Those are sycophants.

Mr Tetamashimba: Mr Chairman, some of these chiefs do not have good roads to their palaces. Unfortunately, I did not know the strength of the DAs. Sir, I am told that they can make decisions above Ministers.


Mr Tetamashimba: Yes, that is what it is. So, Sir, you can see that instead of seeing to it that they ask for money to clear the roads to the Chiefs palaces, these DAs are going to the palaces to ask for signatures so that they can continue being in employment.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Shame! God save us.

Mr Tetamashimba: Mr Chairman, I know that the Government has, now, said people should debate the Third Term issue. We want the DAs to stop confusing the chiefs, let the chiefs be helped in terms of good housing, like the programme the Government put in place. The chiefs’ houses should be renovated and the roads to the palaces repaired. The kapasos should also have uniforms. Sir, at the moment, you cannot distinguish between a chief and a kapaso in cases where some kapasos are dressed nicely.

Mr Chairman, the Government has brought in equipment which I am told will be distributed to all the provinces through the Zambia National Service. I was told in Solwezi that the items will be in Solwezi this month or next month.

Mr Simasiku: They were dispatched three days ago.

Mr Tetamashimba: Yes, that is what I was told. Now, the councils have been given very little money because the equipment is going to be for hire. Sir, we would have loved a situation where the Minister would be given enough money so that the councils can also hire the equipment which is all over the country in almost all the provinces. However, with the current scenario, I do not think the councils, especially where I come from, Solwezi, are going to manage to find the money to clear the roads there.

Mr Chairman, I also wish to ask the hon. Minister about a very good document which is at his ministry, indicating all the roads in Zambia. Sir, one of the most important roads seem not to be in that document. This is the road from Solwezi to Congo DR, the Mushindamo Road.

Mr Chairman, I would be grateful if the hon. Minister could actually, enlighten us whether this road is going to be added to this very important document which his ministry has put in place. May he also explain whether he is considering finding some money so that the road from Solwezi to the border, through which most of our goods, including the COMESA products from outside this country, pass, can be attended to. It is a short-cut to Lubumbashi.

I thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Patel (Lusaka Central): Mr Chairman, the job of a District Administrator is not to arrange for coffins to be paraded on Cairo road for a Minister (Mr Sata) to receive it as if he is a pallbearer. In any case, I have said what I had to say.


Mr Patel: Mr Chairman, I would like to pay tribute to the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, Mr Sejani, for his courage and vision. I want to say that there are millions of Zambians, who are in the majority, to support him for his courage and vision. As he battles for his vision, he must be assured that the majority of Zambians are with him. So, I wish to join him in, and pay tribute to his battles against the Third Term.

Thank you, Sir.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Hear, hear!


The Deputy Chairman: Order! The hon. Member of Parliament for Lusaka Central Constituency places the Chair in a very awkward position. He clearly debated an issue that has been forbidden in this House at this time. Earlier on, there was a statement from the hon. Member of Parliament for Solwezi West, Mr Tetamashimba, who said that the issue was, now, open for discussion, but the Chair is not aware that the issue has been made free for discussion on the Floor of the House. I think it still remains free for speculation outside the House and not for hon. Members of Parliament to bring in the House.

Please, can I appeal to hon. Members not to refer to the Third Term in so far as parliamentary debates are concerned because if need be, that matter will formerly come before this House. At that stage, you alone and not the outsiders will have time to debate it. For now, leave it for speculators outside.

Major Kamanga (Lumezi): Mr Chairman, as I stand to support the Vote on the Floor of this House, I wish to pay tribute to the hon. Minister and his staff at the ministry, who, under very difficult conditions or circumstances, are doing extremely well. May I add that they need support from the Central Government.

Mr Chairman, the councils are the ones in charge of the people in the rural and urban areas. We know that whatever system we have here has been inherited from somewhere else. 

Mr Sibetta: Lottie Mwale!


Major Kamanga: Evidently, there is no district council in rural areas, not even where you come from, Hon. Sibetta, which is able to pay workers or raise money for salaries.

We are appealing to the Government to take over a certain percentage of the manpower in the districts which are not able to generate enough money. I do not see any council like in Lundazi, Chama, Luwingu, and so on, able to pay their council secretaries.

I urge the Government to take back council secretaries under their ministries and be able to transfer them from one area to the other when they are not doing well. We have able bodied men and women who can run these district councils, but in the absence of funds, I am afraid, they can  and will do nothing at all.

Mr Chairman, the House of Chiefs at Head 29/08 in the Yellow Book shows that there is no money allocated for salaries and wages. This means the House of Chiefs will not take off. We would like to know what the true position is.

Mr Chairman, the Evaluation Department is too slow in evaluating or carrying out its jobs. I urge the hon. Minister to look into this department.

Sir, I have observed that under feeder roads, there is K11 billion, K21 billion and K1.5 billion for Eastern Province. We are all aware that to do one kilometre labour and come up with the best feeder roads, it would cost between US$8,000 to US$12,000. That is about K32 million to K48 million per kilometre. If we look at the whole Eastern Province, K1.5 billion comes to just below 50 kilometres. Yet we have heard the Government say that it will do all the feeder roads. We have over advertised the ZNS equipment but allocated very little money. We do not see the actual work involved as far as these feeder roads are concerned.

I wish to advise that as we advertise ourselves and talk about ourselves and capabilities, we should make sure that we put our mouths where our money is.

Mr Chairman, ...

Hon. Members: The other way round!

Major Kamanga: I am speaking English which is just a language for communication. So, you know what I am talking about.

Hon. Members: No. We do not know.


Major Kamanga: You know what I am talking about. Years back, Ian Smith stood up and said, ‘Not in my life time will I see a black man rule Rhodesia’. We will remember that. Let us also remind ourselves.

Mr Chairman, without us working on feeder roads, what I have heard from some hon. Minister here that MMD will rule for ever, may be a tall order. Let us allocate more money to this ministry for the feeder roads so that we can come back. We know that we can make it, but we should not over advertise ourselves.

Mr Chairman, who is responsible for the allocation to feeder roads? Money is released from, probably, the Ministry of Works and Supply, it goes to the National Roads Board and then to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. In most of these instances, wherever the money passes through, ba nyonsolako  (some money is removed).


Major Kamanga: We are aware that the Ministry of Local Government and Housing is, now, responsible for feeder roads.

Mr Nkabika: MMD are thieves.

Major Kamanga: If this programme is going to work well, let the money be given directly ...

Mr Simasiku: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Simasiku: Mr Chairman, I stand on a serious point of order. Is the hon. Member for Kapiri Mposhi in order to shout that MMD are thieves? I need your serious ruling.

The Deputy Chairman: If the hon. Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development correctly heard the hon. Member of Parliament for Kapiri Mposhi say what is alleged, then the latter is out of order. When he takes the Floor, I would like him to apologise publicly for that.

Will the hon. Member for Lumezi continue, please.

Major Kamanga: Mr Chairman, the funding of feeders roads must be streamlined. There is total confusion. We do not know which ministry is responsible for this - whether it is the Ministry of Local Government and Housing or Ministry of Works and Supply or Ministry of Communications and Transport.

Sir, like I said earlier on, the system of councillors has been inherited from somewhere else. Let us develop our own. We know that in developed countries, councillors, as volunteers, are not expected to be paid by the councils. However, let us look at our situation. I have heard hon. Ministers referring to the British system. The councillors can walk the distance and cover the areas they represent but I do not see Hon. Musonda walking in his area to visit, identify and try to resolve problems that are in his ward. It is, therefore, incumbent upon this Government to look at the plight of the councillors. As Hon. Sichinsambwe said, there is need to revise the allowances for these councillors so that they can perform. If that is not possible, give them loans to buy motor bikes and let them find ways of paying back.

Mr Chairman, I would like to emphasise to the Government that they should assist the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, who is doing very well, but the problem is funding. With the advertisement that you have done on ZNS equipment and looking at the money that has been allocated for feeder roads, I am afraid, you will have to do something.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkabika (Kapiri Mposhi): Mr Chairman, thank you for giving me this opportunity to say something on the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

Hon. Government Members: Apologise!

Mr Nkabika: I am coming to that. What is your problem? The Floor is mine. You should not drive me into a position where we will be talking about wamuyayaya. I am not that type of person.

Thank you, Sir, for giving me this opportunity so that I can say, I am sorry. I was responding to what was said by Major Kamanga that, ‘ba nyonsolako.’ That is Nyanja meaning stealing, so, I just interpreted from Nyanja. So, if Hon. Simasiku took offence to my interpretation, I am sorry.

The Chairman: Order! Any apology in the House, to be acceptable by the Chair, must not be qualified. If the hon. Member of Parliament for Kapiri Mposhi is guilty of using unparliamentary language and being unsavoury to other hon. Members, will he please, unreservedly withdraw and apologise.

Mr Nkabika: I apologise and unreservedly withdraw the word.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Shimonde (Mwembeshi): Thank you, Mr Chairman, ...

Mr Ngulube: Yes, mukwabo.

Mr Shimonde: Yes, mukwabo.


Mr Shimonde (Mwembeshi): Mr Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity.

First of all, I would like to mention here that I am a sad person in that the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) sent notices to the council telling them that they were going to close the Libala Dump Site as far back as October, 2000. The council gave it a deaf ear or blind eye until the ECZ took action. Now, we have nowhere to throw the litter because even the Kafue Dump Site is still on a negotiating table. Places in Lusaka are so filthy that we have nowhere to dump our garbage because the council is still looking for a suitable place for disposing our garbage. If you go around the city today, it is very filthy, indeed.

Mr Chairman, I would like to mention that after planning and approving plans in the city, the planning officers just sit in their offices without taking time to go and see what they have approved. So, the Valuation Department values these properties without looking at them. It is either they make a loss or overcharge. The hon. Minister should ask these officers to go out to collect the right amounts. Some plans for houses were approved in the federal days. These houses have been renovated, upgraded and some of them are double storey, but the values still remain the same. I am referring to Hon. Kavindele who has a very big house and I know there are a lot of such business structures which have actually been upgraded.

Mr Chairman, the other point I have is the Chiefs’ Affairs. Of course, some hon. Members of Parliament have mentioned that the dressing of our retainers leaves much to be desired - they are in tatters. they need to be given good uniforms so that when they salute a chief, you know that the Chief has retainers. Some retainers wear their own suits or clothes which are actually better looking than the Chiefs’. So, could the hon. Minister look into the uniforms of our Chiefs’ retainers.

Mr Chairman, the Chiefs allowances are also remitted very late. They have to wait for a long time before they can receive their money. I think the hon. Minister should speed up the process.

As regards fire tenders, if fire breaks out anywhere, especially in Lusaka, the only good fire tender we have is at the airport. During October, I am a cotton farmer and cotton catches fire easily because drivers like smoking. By the time you phone the airport and for them to look for diesel, the truck will have been completely burnt. We have built skyscrapers, tall buildings, but there are no fire tenders. Cabinet Office was burning and you were just looking at it until it got to ashes. It is just a two-storey building. The Zambia National Building Society building also caught fire and we were just looking at it because we have no system at all in place when we design a skyscraper. The infernos are really something that we have to fight. Let us find the money and buy modern equipment to quench fires.

Mr Chairman, the councils day in, day out are visited by bailiffs. The Sheriff of Zambia is always sending out notices to the bailiffs to go and auction the little property that the councils are left with. In fact, the bailiffs are very happy to auction the property at the lowest price. You see, they also get some money after selling. 


Mr Shimonde: I want the hon. Minister to try and fund these councils so that they can secure the little property which is still there.

Mr Chairman, I have another point which is about unplanned settlements. We rush to set up a settlement but we do not provide the necessary services. Before a settlement is opened, let us make sure that roads and water are available.

Mr Chairman, the K30 million CDF is not enough in Mwembeshi. Give me K100 million and then I can do wonders because I have a lot of projects that are still waiting to be completed. The K30 million is not enough. The kwacha has lost value. When we approved the K30 million, some four years ago, the value of the kwacha was much higher than it is today. Today, K30 million cannot even buy seventeen pockets of cement.

Mr Chairman, the feeder roads need to be maintained. If you are travelling to Mumbwa from Mongu/Mumbwa Road Turn-Off or from Lusaka to Mumbwa, you will find that the road is bad. Although it is a trunk road, there are certain areas which the council is supposed to repair. The road is very bad. I do not know much money the ministry spent to patch up the area because whatever they spent was just a waste because the road has opened up, again, and the pot-holes are even deeper.

Mr Chairman, as regards water and sanitation, there are a lot of water borne diseases which come through because of this ...

Hon. Government Member: There is a patient.

Mr Shimonde: Mr Chairman, I was wondering if the Chair was listening or not. The Princess broke her leg. How unfortunate!


Mr Shimonde: Mr Chairman, I was saying that the district roads and water and sanitation ...

The Deputy Chairman: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

The Deputy Chairman: Before I give the Floor to the hon. Member for Mwembeshi, could I take this opportunity to advise that since there are so many repetitions, now, on this ministry, the Chair will very shortly call on either one hon. Minister of the Front Bench or the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to wind up. Clearly, no one is coming up with new points.

So, please, if you are not called upon to debate on this Vote, you should cleverly find a way of doing so when considering other Votes.

Will the hon. Member for Mwembeshi continue, please.

Mr Shimonde: Before business was suspended and my mukwabo walked in with walking sticks, I was driving a point ...

Mr Simasiku: Those are not walking sticks.

Mr Shimonde: They are clutches, but they are called walking sticks in Lozi.


Mr Shimonde: Mr Chairman, I was talking about the CDF that it is inadequate because the materials are very expensive nowadays. So, the Government should increase it to about K100 million. 

Dr Pule: Hear, hear, mulamu.

Mr Shimonde: Thank you mulamu. I also mentioned that provision of water and sanitation must be improved to avoid the outbreaks of water-borne diseases like cholera and dysentery.

The other point is the fly-over bridge. We need to construct, at least, two fly-over bridges at Kamwala Market and Lusaka City Market. There are a lot of people that risk their lives as they cross busy roads. 

The other point is the markings on our streets and roads. There are no street names. There are no road signs. If you ring the police, and you want to tell them where your house is, you have to really give them a proper explanation of your location. The council should improve on the markings of street names and road signs.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kabanje (Mwandi): Mr Chairman, I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to contribute on this Vote. I shall not repeat what has been said. The problem with Local Government is that we do not seem to understand what it is all about. Local Government is about empowering people at local level. It should be based on subsidiarity, meaning that what is not specifically given should be exercised by a given power. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

When council houses were sold under the Local Government Act, there were supposed to be resolutions by the local councils but this was not the case because a certain power was able to value houses outside the competence of the local council themselves. This, in short, Sir, means that there is no respect or recognition for the principles of local governance and that issue is an underlying threat which is threatening the public and whole structure of Local Government.

Coming to a specific point, Sir, I have noted that although the President, in his speech, talked about empowering the Zambian people through various business ventures and specifically, he mentioned the question of guest houses, this is a question which needs to be addressed by the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing because for an ordinary Zambian to venture into guest house business, you need to do a lot of paper work. One of them is the zoning fees which are extremely high for an ordinary Zambian. The current fee is about K2,500,000.00 just to have your property transferred from an ordinary residence to a guest house which, in all essence, is still a residential place. This means that the ordinary Zambian people are at a great disadvantage.

The second point involves the work of the rating valuation tribunal, Sir. As we all know, a rate is a tax on property and that tax is given because of the service provided by the Government or council. What is happening today is that there is rating which does not correspond with any positive value given by the council. That, Sir, is a violation of rights. There are areas where councils extract money through rating but there are no services provided. In fact, Sir, you may wish to know that in one jurisdiction in the Commonwealth countries, legal challenges were done in the courts, adding that where there is no service, the council cannot tax that property. I think that the hon. Minister would wish to address that because it goes to the root of our problem, the question of poverty.

The other aspect, Sir, is that we all know that this is the only Government in the world which performed a magic. Here, in Zambia, you will find a situation where a house costs less than a pocket of cement.


Dr Kabanje: It can only be sheer magic, Sir, because in all normal economies, a pocket of cement or a door-frame should be less expensive than a house but where a house is valued at K10,000 to K15,000, that is a big problem.

However, the argument that I am building is that for an ordinary Zambian, he or she does not understand why a house he or she bought at K10,000 should attract a rate of say K50,000, for example, ...


Dr Kabanje: We know very well that we are just emerging from a community which owned shotguns and national registration cards as property to a new property owning class, thanks to the good policies of the MMD Government, what I might call an implementing factor. These policies by the way, were formulated in the dying days of the UNIP Government ...

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Dr Kabanje: Mr Chairman, as we all know and as the Chairman knows, the policies were already on the ground to sell Government houses but unfortunately, Sir, we all know what happened ...

Mr Kavindele: On a point of order, Sir!

Hon. Opposition Members: Fine tuning!

The Deputy Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kavindele: Mr Chairman, is the hon. Member of Parliament on the Floor, who is debating so well, in order to state that the policy of empowerment was a UNIP one when, in actual fact, I was Member of the Central Committee (MCC) and I did not hear that? Where did those who were Governors and District Chairmen get that from? Are they in order, Sir?


The Deputy Chairman: In that point of order by the hon. Minister of Health, the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwandi is being reminded that it is dangerous to hijack the credits of MMD and attribute them to UNIP.


The Deputy Chairman: The Chair which has been implicated in that contribution would like to refrain from being involved in this one and does not want to be drawn into this matter because it will have no chance whatsoever to debate.

Will the hon. Member, please, continue.

Dr Kabanje: Thank you very much, Sir, for that guidance. I realise that some people who were supposed to be Presidents chickened out. So, they were unable to know the policies which were formulated.


Mr Sibetta: They feared skirts.


Dr Kabanje: They feared skirts, I am told.


Dr Kabanje: Nevertheless, it is obvious that because we are a new property owning class, it would be very important, Sir, for the hon. Minister to work out some kind of moratorium. There are many Zambians who are owning property for the first time and they have not yet paid for that property who will, now, be subjected to bailiffs for non-payment of rates. Therefore, I would like to appeal to the hon. Minister that this matter should be looked into very closely. Then there is a question related to that. The rates charged on a property which is a residence should be different from the property which is rented. That, I think, would greatly facilitate our people.

Finally, Sir, we all know how sacred the institution of chieftainship is. Now that this Government is coming to an end, I think it is time ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kabanje: ... that a public apology was made by this Government to the people of Barotseland for that reckless and dastardly act of imprisoning the chief without any justified reason. It is always good when your time is coming to an end to say good-bye.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

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

Mr Mwaanga (Roan): Mr Chairman, I would like to support this Vote because I recognise that local governance is an essential part of any emerging democracy in the world. It reduces Government to the level where people can reach it and actually touch it and deal with it. That is why we have 1,287 local council seats throughout the country.

Mr Chairman, contrary to what has been said by some of the previous speakers, I do believe that our policy of selling houses to sitting tenants has been one of the most popular policies that the MMD Government has had to implement and I would like voters to be wary of parties that are threatening to take away the houses which they have been sold by the MMD Government. If they do that, it will amount to committing suicide because there are some parties that are advocating grabbing of houses which the MMD has sold to sitting tenants. I know that people are prepared to defend their rights and to ensure that those parties that are advocating that kind of policy do not come anywhere near any power base. They must be kept away and they must remain in the political wilderness for a very long time to come.

Mr Chairman, this is the Vote, obviously, which deals with matters pertaining to Chiefs. I recognise that as a Southerner, we Southerners are generally regarded as Republicans, unlike some of our colleagues who tend to worship their Chiefs a lot. I want to use this opportunity, Mr Chairman, to refer to a statement which I consider unfortunate which was made by Hon. Sikota Wina last Friday, 9th February, 2001, stating, among other things, that Senior Chief Chiwala had used State House headed paper to issue a statement pertaining to a subject which is not yet properly before this House. I am disturbed and I wish to observe that whereas sensationalism is important for some hon. Members because it sells newspapers, it is extremely important that the truth must always be preserved and I fear that the statement which Hon. Sikota Wina made misled this House because I have evidence here, Mr Chairman, to show clearly that Senior Chief Chiwala’s headed paper is not State House headed paper. 

I have headed paper from State House which is used for correspondence by the general staff. I also have headed paper which the President uses when he issues letters to other Heads of State, when he writes to his Ministers and when he writes to people within the Republic of Zambia. They are all in different forms. Neither of those come anywhere near Senior Chief Chiwala’s headed paper, which I also have here.


Mr Mwaanga: I have the headed paper as well as the Press release. I have both of them and I will lay them on the Table.


Mr Mwaanga: I have the letter and all the headed papers and I will lay them on the Table of the House. The Times of Zambia was already laid on the Table by Hon. Wina. Let us be factual. 

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

The Deputy Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kangwa: Mr Chairman, I seek your serious ruling. Is the hon. Member on the Floor in order to resurrect an issue which was raised last week, diverting from the topic before the House? I need your serious ruling, Mr Chairman.

The Deputy Chairman: The hon. Member of Parliament for Solwezi East is wondering whether it is in order for the Chief Whip to refer to a matter that was referred to last week. The simple answer is: yes, it is in order. Further, I would like to say that it is in order because at the time the statement was made, there was nobody from within the party leadership of MMD or from any side who was able to throw light on the allegation. It is in order, therefore, for the Chief Whip to state the real truth after those documents which were laid on the Table were scrutinised. He is helping us to understand the truth, nothing but the truth.

Will he, please, continue.

Mr Mwaanga: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I must say that I forgive Hon. Kangwa’s ignorance because he is, probably, not aware that Chiefs’ Affairs ...

The Deputy Chairman: Order!

Will the hon. Chief Whip, please, withdraw the word ‘ignorance’.

Mr Mwaanga: Mr Chairman, I wholeheartedly withdraw that word. I had, actually, intended to refer to his lack of adequate knowledge concerning the Vote under which Chiefs’ Affairs falls. It would be a serious mistake not to corrected the impression that Chiefs have started using headed paper from State House when this is, in fact, not the case. I wish to state, Mr Chairman, that the House has been misled and I hope that Hon. Sikota Wina, it is a pity that he is not in the House, will have an opportunity to issue an apology to this House for misleading hon. Members.

Sir, I wish to lay all the correspondence, including the Chief’s letter on the Table of the House and hon. Members, who have an interest in this matter, will be free to have a look at the correspondence. There is a statement from the Chief, the letter heads from State House and they will be able to see that there is no similarity whatsoever and I fear that if this kind of inaccurate debate is allowed, our individual discipline as Members of Parliament is likely to suffer.

I thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Mwaanga laid the papers on the Table.

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Sejani): Thank you, Mr Chairman, for the opportunity to wind up debate on the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

Sir, let me start by thanking all the hon. Members who have contributed to the debate on my ministry. Sir, we are indebted to all points or advice or suggestions that have been made to our ministry and I can assure the hon. Members of this House that those will prove invaluable in our day to day operations in the ministry.

Sir, naturally, this Vote attracts a lot of interest. Matters of local authorities or councils naturally attract a lot of interest. This is because all of us, one way or another, are affected by the work, the actions or inactions of councils from the time that we are born up to the time we ask somebody to go and demarcate a grave either at Chingwere Cemetery or Leopards Hill Cemetery or elsewhere. That is all part of Local Government.

So, indeed, this debate should interest all of us. In my speech last year, I highlighted the problems that are faced by nearly all councils in the country. I stated then, that almost every council in Zambia faces general financial malaise as it is revealed through non-payment of salaries, unmaintained feeder roads, uncollected garbage, poor water supply and sanitation and inefficient and poor management in general.

This was, and continues to be, due to low levels of revenue collection, resulting from various factors. It is sad, Sir, to note that not much improvement has been recorded in the way of addressing this particular situation. We are, however, in Government, continuing to look at ways and means of finding lasting solutions to the problems that affect our local authorities.

Sir, as many hon. Members of Parliament have indicated this afternoon, the problems of councils basically are threefold. There are problems that are related to the structural arrangement, the structure within which our local authorities find themselves today in Zambia, the laws that govern the local authorities and the environment within which our local authorities operate. 

We do acknowledge, Sir, that there is need to do something to improve the structure within which our local authorities operate. If this would entail looking at the various pieces of legislation that govern local authorities in this country, my ministry remains ready to look at all the pieces of legislation and see in which areas those pieces of legislation can be looked at with a view to improving the environment and the structure within which our local authorities are operating. That is what the Central Government is prepared to do and is already looking at that.

Sir, the problems are not only structural, we have problems that are related to the management of our local authorities. From time to time, we have talked about the inadequate levels of managerial capabilities of our men and women who are given the responsibility of steering our local authorities. It is sad, Sir, to note that our local authorities continue to surfer from this state of affairs. It is our hope, in the ministry, that the local authorities themselves, as semi-autonomous bodies, will start to have a critical look at the type of men and women that run the affairs of our local authorities. 

This is the responsibility, Sir, which cannot be expected or left to the Central Government, it is a responsibility which we must shoulder ourselves as councillors. We should be able to improve on the management of our local authorities. We should be able to provide necessary leadership and direction to our local authorities so that they perform to our expectations.

Sir, let me state, again, even before I go into details of my speech, that the main problems that our councils face will not be solved by one player alone. It must be recognised that there are certain roles and responsibilities that the Central Government can perform as I have indicated, looking at the structure, the laws and the pieces of legislation that govern our local authorities. There are certain roles that our local authorities can play to alleviate the situation which is found in our local authorities. Unless all of us identify what we are supposed to do, the day when management and operation of our local authorities is going to improve may not be near. Let me implore all of us that we have a role to play in ensuring that our local authorities perform to expected standards.

Sir, during the year, we noticed some unpleasant developments in that some councillors continued to flout existing rules of operations of council business. For example, we noticed, with dismay, allocation of plots without due consideration to existing guidelines and regulations. This situation, Sir, resulted in such ills as unplanned development as was indicated by Hon. Shimonde this afternoon.

Mr Shimonde: Hear, hear!

Mr Sejani: Sir, this led to the mushrooming of unauthorised settlements and unhygienic conditions. 

Let me emphasise, Mr Chairman, that there is no substitute for planning, but my ministry is going to insist that any development that is going to occur anywhere in this country will be planned. My ministry is not going to tolerate haphazard and unplanned development. We are not going to turn our cities and towns into huge shanty compounds.  I think that we have a duty, as leaders, to ensure that proper procedures are followed in ensuring that there is sanity in the way our cities and towns develop. That is why my ministry took corrective measures, including disciplining some culprits who were involved in this malpractice. I want to declare that there will be no relenting in this exercise. Wherever this ugly development raises its ugly head, we shall move in and restore sanity.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sejani: Mr Chairman, let me turn to the issue of Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Sir, it is my hope that this year, 2001, my ministry will be availed this very vital fund early enough to ensure that our constituencies embark or continue to execute the developmental programmes that may be undertaken in our various constituencies. This fund, Sir, plays an important role in the development of our localities and I will continue to urge hon. Members to ensure proper utilisation of this fund.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear, very good!

Mr Sejani: From time to time, I have been disturbed to hear of tendencies towards misuse of this fund. My ministry is going to ensure that these moneys continue to be used for the purposes they were intended.

The issue of fire service has been raised by some hon. Members this afternoon. Let me inform the House that the Government is expected to receive four fire fighters and one foam tender this weekend.

Hon. Opposition Members: Only!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: Those are toys!

Mr Sejani: His Honour the Vice-President will receive and hand over to the city councils at the ceremony to be held around the 20th of February. The Government has spent a sum of US$1.8 million to purchase the five fire tenders.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: Those are second hand toys!

Mr Sejani: Mr Chairman, on the Department of Physical Planning and Housing, the ministry has prepared a document on the status of all council houses sold and paid for and the ones not paid for. Hon. Members may be interested to know that out of the total council stock in the country, 82 per cent of the units have been fully paid for, thirty per cent partially paid for and only 4 per cent units have not been paid for. 

Sir, the Presidential Housing Unit which this Government is executing with excellency continues to be implemented at a very good speed. The House may wish to know that apart from the Bennie Mwiinga Housing Scheme in Lusaka, the PHI is also taking shape in the city of Ndola. As was indicated by the President in his opening speech in this House earlier this month, Sir, the PHI will expand to other districts in the country starting from Zambezi in the rural areas. It is a programme that is aimed at reaching all parts of this country. 

Apart from the PHI, Sir, under Shelter Afrique, the Government, through the National Housing Authority (NHA), is expected to build 450 houses in the newly created districts countrywide. So far, I have commissioned the project in Lufwanyama and Mpongwe. I should be moving to Kazungula soon ...

Mrs Nondo: Hear, hear!

Mr Sejani: ... and Shangombo before moving to Chiengi and Chavuma in the months ahead.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sejani: So, Sir, it can be seen that we are on the move and moving very well indeed.

Under the African Housing Fund, Sir, we have built 2,110 housing units in five provinces of Zambia. We are expected to build more houses under the African Housing Fund this year in the following provinces: Luapula, Copperbelt, Eastern and Central.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sejani: In addition, Sir, to the housing units, Government, through the African Housing Fund, will be sinking some 2,500 wells in the same towns that I have indicated. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sejani: So, the Government housing programme, Sir, is continuing to be implemented and executed well. No wonder Hon. Kabanje cannot help but admire what the MMD is doing in the sector of housing.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sejani: I can understand his appreciation of this policy, Sir. We are doing a very commendable job.

Sir, let me, now, turn to the Department of Infrastructure Services. The Government has a number of contracts that are on-going that will be commissioned in the roads and water sectors. Hon. Members of Parliament will be pleased to know that a number of feeder roads will be done during the course of this year as announced by the President in his address to this House.

On urban markets, Sir, the ministry, with the assistance of European Union, is expected to complete the rehabilitation of markets this year at Libala, Chilenje and the construction of a new one at Nyumba Yanga by the middle of the year. With further assistance of Euro$40 million, the Government will extend the rehabilitation and construction of new markets to the rest of the country.

Furthermore, under the Lusaka City Market, my ministry continues to disburse funds to other provinces. So far, we have disbursed funds to Chongwe in Lusaka Province, Kabwe in the Central Province and Mwansabombwe in Luapula for purposes of up grading or rehabilitating markets.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sejani: On Government Valuation Department, Sir, let me inform the House that Government is keen to ensure that new valuation laws are prepared by the Government Valuation Department so that local authorities can levy rates for more property thereby increasing their revenue.

On the House of Chiefs, Sir, a subject that has interested Members of this House, let me state that we in the ministry are ready to conduct elections for the House of Chiefs. My ministry was already ready as early as towards the end of last year to conduct elections for the House of Chiefs and all that was left was for my ministry to source the required funding that is necessary to conduct the elections. As soon as my ministry lands these funds, and as soon as the rains are over, we should be able, Sir, to conduct the elections for the House of Chiefs as the first step towards opening this vital institution.

Sir, before I end my speech, let me state that the Government, through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, will continue to translate its intentions into practical reality and facilitate implementation of various issues. My ministry will continue to enhance devolution of responsibilities and ensure that decision making is placed in the hands of the people through representatives who are close and more directly accountable thereby promoting democracy and good governance. 

My ministry will continue to cherish and support equitable development through mobilisation of local resources and increase efficiency and effectiveness. 

I want to inform Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika that this Government is committed to taking Government closer to the people. This Government is not only going to take Government closer to the people through focus on the district, but we are prepared to go even further to the sub-district structures to ensure that Government is close to the people.

Sir, decentralisation is a continuous process. The Government continues, through its various programmes, to ensure that it gets closer to the people. We are continuing to decentralise through the proposed document on decentralisation. It will be seen that most of the issues that Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika talked about are accommodated. We cannot run away from localisation. Our people increasingly must take charge of their own destiny and that is why this Government continues to be committed to decentralisation.

Mr Chairman, Dr Sondashi is clearly still in love with the old order where we had a distinction between township councils and rural councils. The law as it obtains now recognises three types of councils, the city, municipal and district councils. The law has not changed. However, we will be interested to look at the issues and suggestions that Dr Sondashi has made to ensure that as we move forward, maybe, some of his suggestions can be incorporated so that we can serve our people better.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Sejani: Mr Chairman, Hon. Ngulube bemoaned the fact that the department responsible for Local Government administration has not done as well as was expected in that staff continue to be transferred from one council to another even when they have made a mistake in their previous councils.

Mr Chairman, let me inform Hon. Ngulube that, in fact, this particular exercise ceased as soon as the law changed. The ministry is no longer in charge or involved in transferring staff of councils. The law, now, does not allow the ministry or the Minister to interfere or transfer staff from one council to another. However, if the hon. Member is suggesting to the ministry that it is high time I was empowered to intervene in staff transfers, for example, at chief officer level, that is a suggestion which my ministry will be very prepared to consider.

Mr Chairman, I do agree that in a number of incidences, we have had some difficulties and something needs to be done along those lines. 

Mr Chairman, Hon. J. T. Phiri bemoaned the fact that our local authorities are not doing very well and he cited a number of reasons. I have already indicated in my speech that I do agree and sympathise with the situation. Indeed, the situation does not look very well. We must certainly do something to improve the operations of our local authorities.

Mr Chairman, Hon. Muloji bemoaned the fact that newly created district councils do not have staff and are not able to employ qualified staff. I sympathise with the situation. They are a semi autonomous body and have a responsibility to employ their own staff. However, his concern may be married with that of Hon. Ngulube so that in future, my ministry has a role in determining staff matters at that level. We are prepared to consider that matter as I have indicated. I have taken note of his concern on contracts on feeder roads, especially contractors who were given jobs in his area which were not executed to his satisfaction. We will continue to follow up this matter, Sir,  so that corrective measures are taken.

Mr Chairman, Hon. Sibetta accused this Government of destroying local authorities.

Dr Syamujaye: As usual.

Mr Sejani: Yes, as usual. I want to accuse Hon. Sibetta that he is responsible for the destruction of local authorities in this country as a councillor. You have brilliant ideas which you have continued to expound in this House. I do not know how many times you have stood in Mongu Chamber to expound those brilliant ideas. Those ideas, Hon. Sibetta, are required in Mongu and not here in this House.

Sir, we have bemoaned for a long time that the Government decision to sell council houses robbed local authorities of a revenue source. Mr Chairman, let me state this that it is pointless to continue to bemoan ...

Mr Sejani started coughing.


Mr Sejani: Stop bewitching me.


Mr Sejani: Mr Chairman, let me inform Hon. Sibetta that it is not going to help us to continue to bemoan the fact that council houses have been sold to the people. It is time to start looking forward and look at new avenues that have opened up after the sale of council houses. We have empowered our people to own houses but that particular exercise did not mean that we have removed those houses from Mongu. The sale did not entail removing the houses from Mongu to Lusaka. The sale took place and the houses are still standing where they were standing before the sale. These houses are owned by Zambians and these Zambians, now, because they own these houses are working on these houses and are looking better than they were looking before the sale. Some of these houses are being expanded which means that they have increased in value and if they have increased in value, there is revenue to be collected.

Mr Chairman, our city, municipal and district managers must identify new sources. If the rent is not coming to the local authorities now, through that sale, it is possible to get money for our local authorities from the rates from the houses that we have sold to our people. So, if one door was closed by that transaction of selling, twelve other doors have opened and we are saying to our local managers, can you identify these other doors that have opened and exploit them. These are the directions and the advice which we want you, Hon. Sibetta, to give our local authorities. You have brilliant ideas and I want to hear those ideas expounded in Mongu.

Mr Chairman, if the local authorities are not doing as well as we expect them, then before we point a figure at the Central Government, we must realise that ourselves, as leaders and councillors, have a role to play in this state of affairs. So, let us go down there and help our local authorities to perform and perform better.

Hon. Mwitwa, I thank you very much for your support which you have given to my ministry. Indeed, Sir, many of the problems that we are talking about are historical. We inherited a huge labour force that was employed during the days of our Governors.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Kuya bebele.

Mr Sejani: It has not been easy to shed off this labour force which was employed during the days of the Governors.

Mr Sibetta: It is just the same. You have employed District Administrators in place of Governors. What is the difference?


Mr Sejani: To retire or retrench this labour force requires resources which are not always available when we need them. And so I would like to thank Hon. Mwitwa for the support he has given to my ministry.

Hon. Sichinsambwe, I agree with your lamentation on the state of our councils. I have said, we will continue to look at ways and means of improving the situation of our local authorities. You bemoaned the non-existence of Paramount Chiefs in certain parts of this country. These Chiefs are not created by the Government. This is a historical and cultural arrangement which cannot be created by the Government. So, the non-existence of Paramount Chiefs in certain areas of our country does not mean that the Central Government has failed to do its job. That is the historical and cultural reality in those particular areas. We intend to respect that particular arrangement. We do not intend to disturb it at all.

I sympathise with you, Hon. Sichinsambwe, over the plight of our councillors in terms of the allowances and general conditions. This is a matter that my ministry is addressing very actively. It is my hope that we can resolve this particular issue as quickly as possible so that our councillors are enabled to do their job on a day to day basis.

Mr Chairman, Hon. Tetamashimba is suggesting that we start paying salaries from the Central Government to our local authorities. Sir, when I started speaking, I indicated that this Government was committed to decentralisation to ensure that our local authorities or the people increasingly took charge of their own lives. People should plan and execute programmes that affect their own lives. That decentralisation means, therefore, that even matters of finance must be addressed by the localities themselves. 

If we start arguing that the monies and the salaries must be coming from the centre, then we are defeating the purpose of decentralisation. In as much as that would be desirable, I think that we must encourage local initiative and authorities to generate necessary revenue to pay their own workers. In that way, when we talk about autonomous local authorities, then it will be much more meaningful. Otherwise, a situation where every month, every district council in this country sends a wage bill to the Central Government, is something that should not be encouraged at this stage. We should be moving forward and taking responsibilities to the people on a day to day basis.

Mr Chairman, I have taken the point on Mwembeshi Boma by Hon. Shimonde. Many areas are crying for boma status. At some point, these are matters that the Government will want to address, but as of now, let us direct our energies to ensuring that the new districts that we have created and that are still crying for the most basic services, are assisted to have basic infrastructure. As soon as new district councils that have already been declared take off the ground, the Government may want to look at other areas that require district status. Yes, it is desirable, but for the time being, let us look at the job that is before us before we can look at other areas.

The hon. Member has raised the issue of ex-Chiefs, Chiefdoms that were abolished by the colonial administrators or Government. Sir, I cannot do better than state what the policy of Government is in respect of this matter.

Sir, the Government policy is not to resurrect any Chiefdoms that may have been abolished by the colonial Government. Sir, the policy of the Government is not to create new Chiefdoms anywhere in the country for the time being. Until this matter is revisited sometime in the future, that will remain the position. So, inasmuch as that would be desirable, the Government position, now, is that we do not encourage the resurrection of Chiefdoms that may have been abolished for one reason or another by the colonial administration. The status quo is going to be respected.

Mr Chairman, the hon. Member also raised his concern on some feeder roads like Solwezi/Kombo Road as not appearing in the master document that he has seen at the ministry. That is not much of a problem. If certain roads have been omitted, it is not a hassle. We can include them and update our document so that every road, eventually, is worked on in our programme of rehabilitating our feeder roads.

Sir, I want to thank Major Kamanga and I agree that it may be important, now, to look at the law and empower the minister once again, to intervene or be involved in matters of staff in the local authorities. He has bemoaned the little resources allocated to Eastern Province in the Yellow Book. That particular allocation, Sir, is on Government counterpart funding to the continuing programme of feeder roads rehabilitation in Eastern Province, which is sponsored by the UNDP. So, that is just counterpart funding from the Government as our contribution to that important programme.

I have already addressed the concern of Hon. Shimonde on fire tenders and unplanned settlements. He was concerned about the Libala Dump Site which is, now, closed. I am informed that some stop-gap measures have been put in place before a permanent site is identified by the Lusaka City Council, where we are all going to be taking our garbage.

Mr Chairman, Hon. Kabanje was concerned, among other things, about the high rates that our local authorities are slapping on certain property. Sir, this responsibility is squarely on the local authorities themselves. My ministry does not fix rates. These are fixed by the councils themselves. So, if the rates charged in Sesheke are high, really, that question can only be answered by Hon. Kabanje and his council in Sesheke.


Mr Sejani: Indeed, the hon. Minister approves, but the suggestions come from the local authorities.

So, I am sure that Hon. Kabanje, at that stage, can make his inputs in ensuring that we charge rates that are affordable to our people in our particular localities.

Let me thank him for appreciating our policy on housing that it is doing very well. Indeed, I agree with him. We need his support and encouragement in ensuring that we provide adequate housing to all our people throughout the country.

Mr Chairman, I want to thank Hon. Mwaanga for his intervention in supporting the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

Mr Patel: What about the Third Term!


Mr Sejani: I want to take this opportunity, once again, to thank the many hon. Members of this House who have made their contributions on the work of the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. I want to assure them that every advice that they have given is going to be useful in addressing the many problems that my ministry faces. I thank the hon. Members of the House for the support that they have given my ministry.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Vote 29/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/05 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/06 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/07 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/08 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 20/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 18/01 - (Judiciary - Headquarters - K18,153,636,191).

Mr Luhila (Lukulu East): Mr Chairman, thank you very much for allowing me to contribute briefly on this very important Vote.

Mr Shimonde: Where were you?

Dr. Mbikusita-Lewanika: Never mind.

Mr Luhila: I am around. 

Mr Chairman, before I go further, let me congratulate the gallant son of Zambia, Hon. Kayope, on his elevation to a Cabinet post which he deserves. In the same vein, let me congratulate my mulamu, hon. Member for Kantanshi, and new Deputy Minister, I have just learnt, of Foreign Affairs. 

Mr Chairman, let me start with the conditions of local courts in rural areas. It is sad to note that year in, year out we talk about the conditions of local courts, especially in rural areas. There are no repairs which have been carried out on any local court building. In Lukulu East Constituency, for example, there is a local court building which had a crack for about fifteen years. Now, the wall has fallen.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: MMD naturally.

Mr Luhila: So, work, now, will be administered under the shade of a mango tree. In this part of the country, you will find that it rains almost everyday. So what it means is that during the rainy season like now, no court session will be conducted until the rainy season is over. How long are the people of Zambia going to wait for vital buildings where administration of justice is carried out to be repaired?

Mr Chairman, another problem we are facing in this department is the amount of money paid in terms of pension dues to the workers. You will find that most of the workers were transferred from the traditional service to the Public Service. As a result, a lot of people working in local courts now, as they retire, will have their pension calculated from 1965 to date. Most of them are losing out. I think it is high time the Government worked out a system where the service of these people should start from the time they were employed in the traditional courts. 

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Mr Banda (Mkaika): Mr Chairman, I thank you for the opportunity given to me to contribute to the debate on this very important Vote.

Mr Chairman, I wish to indicate from the outset that I support this Vote but I am very unhappy when I see very low figures in the Yellow Book for the Judiciary. This is so because we have been talking about the buildings from which Judges, Magistrates and other professionals operate from including, indeed, those from private practice. They work in dilapidated buildings. I have looked through the pages on the Judiciary.

Under headquarters, there is no allocation for Capital Expenditure; even last year, there was nothing. Under the Supreme Court, there is no allocation for Capital Expenditure. Similarly, on the High Court, there is a very small figure allocated to it in the amount of K36,065,000.00 as compared to last year’s allocation which was K80 million of which only K10 million was released.

On Subordinate Courts, there is a meagre amount of K21,639,000.00 for rehabilitation of courts. On local courts, there is nothing which is a shift from what was there last year, a sum of K100 million. This, Sir, does not speak well for this institution. We would wish to see some improvement in the allocation. Judges and Justices are honourable and should operate from honourable buildings.

Sir, one other point I would like to comment on is the Department of the Sheriff of Zambia. Last year, I made a contribution that this is a very important department under the Judiciary. Unfortunately, most of the staff who are, now, bailiffs lack education and training for this kind of work they are doing. Most of them rise from simple jobs like office orderly to bailiffs. The result is that there is lack of transparency and accountability which I think, we need very much in this department.

This department handles a lot of money for clients throughout the country and this  money needs to be accounted for. Therefore, I would like to urge the hon. Minister to consider working out a programme for training new cadres or bailiffs so that we man this department adequately and efficiently. That way, officers in that office will work in accordance with the provision of the Act.

One other comment I would like to make is on the Magistrates. First of all, the Magistrate belongs to an association which is a combined association of Magistrates and Judges. At this point in time, I would like to congratulate the Government on having approved better conditions of service and salaries for Judges and I think that most hon. Members have seen a Statutory Instrument on this matter. However, we still have, I think, the question of autonomy and other demands by the Magistrates. They are, now, threatening to go on full strike action from the go-slow which has been going on for the past few weeks.

However, I find it very difficult to appreciate how the Magistrates, through strike action, would get Government to give them autonomy today because it is not that easy although I know that the demands of autonomy, better salaries and better infrastructure are genuine. They are all centred on money and this is what we are talking about. With these figures, I cannot see the Magistrates resuming work until, perhaps, we bring a supplementary budget which should be discussed in this House. Sir, Magistrates belong to an honourable profession and should not make their demands felt through dishonourable means like going on strike.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Banda: Finally, I would like to urge the hon. learned Minister of Legal Affairs and the Magistrates to meet and negotiate so that we avoid a strike action by the hon. Men and Women who may hold this country to ransom.

With these few remarks, Sir, I thank you.

Mr Patel: Mr Chairman, the learned hon. Minister of Legal Affairs in a previous debate in this session said that the law that deals with judgement on election petitions was bad because it stipulated that judgement be made within six months. I would, therefore, like to know when he will be bringing amendments to the House. Also, I would like to find out from the Judiciary when a correct interpretation of all the Constitution’s clauses will be made. Further, I would like to hear from the hon. Minister what he thinks is the current interpretation of the Constitution with regard to the clause dealing with tenure of office of presidency.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Chipili (Kamfinsa): Mr Chairman, I stand to support this Vote on the Judiciary. In doing so, I would like to make a few comments. I will restrict my comments to the local courts.

Sir, we have, on many occasions, asked the hon. Minister to come up with a training programme for Local Court Justices because they have continued to run our courts more or less at Kangaroo level.


Mr Chipili: The sessions in those local courts leave much to be desired. First of all, I do not know what qualifications are considered before you are made a local court justice. Probably, you just have to be an old man who can sit, dispense justice and even lock up people when and if you want for no reason in many cases.

Secondly, their pay is too meagre. We need to look into their salary structure. They are very lowly paid; no wonder, in some cases, we hear that they are bribed.

The other point is that my constituency is as large as any other urban constituency but I have no local court and this has been so from time immemorial, I think from Federal Government to date. 

Miss Phiri: You have no criminals.

Mr Chipili: The population has trebled over the years and we continue to trek into Wusakile which is another constituency. The people have to walk over thirty kilometres just to go to court, it is rather taxing. If the hon. Minister has problems with structures, I can provide a building, as long as I am assured that they will commission it by assigning manpower.

The other point I want to make is the state of the existing infrastructure. Over the years, the structures have dilapidated and there is no maintenance. There is need for the hon. Minister to have long-term plans. I know we cannot repair all the local courts in one year, but we should have a programme in place so that if we begin with ten, at the end of five years, we will have done quite a big number. Otherwise, some buildings are a sorry sight. People go there just because they are summoned in the name of the President, so, they have no option. In some cases, there are no benches to sit on. So, you have to stand from morning until the court session is over.

Mr Sibetta: After ten years!

Mr Chipili: What are you saying, Hon. Sibetta?

Mr Sibetta: After ten years.

Mr Chipili: You should be another Local Justice. With these few remarks, Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Mr Sichinga (Isoka East): Mr Chairman, I wish to start by commending the Government, the learned Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr Malambo. My colleagues here advise that you are a good man and I can confirm that.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: I doubt that.


Mr Sichinga: I wish to commend the Government, Mr Chairman, for Statutory Instrument No. 2 of 2001 in which conditions of service of the Chief Justice and Supreme and High Court Judges have been improved and their salaries increased. I think in all fairness, I have been one of the advocates wishing to see this kind of change. You are dealing with offices that are supposed to be honourable, offices where most of the practitioners are restricted from doing a lot of their own business activities to sustain their lives. Under those circumstances, it is only fair that they be adequately compensated and I hear my colleague, making the point that these salaries are much higher than those of Members of Parliament, including that of the President. Be that as it may, these honourable men and women look after our interests and to ensure that there is dispensation of equity amongst us, it is encouraging that this has been done. So, I commend the Government and the hon. and learned Minister for this effort. This is the way it should be.

I wish, therefore, to take this opportunity to say, in the same vein, that it is essential that other officers at lower courts should be equally looked at and as we all know, right now, there is a go-slow and, in fact, a threat of strikes.

Mr Patel: Animal farm.

Mr Sichinga: I think it is important that inasmuch as we recognise the important work that the officers that have been indicated in this schedule do, we should go a lot further down and address not only the salaries, but also the general working environment of our Magistrates and Local Court Justices. I think that is extremely important. Part of the problem seems to have been addressed, especially that once the Judges retire, they will continue getting a salary in relation to the current practitioners’ salary because that is good security for them. I commend the Government and I think that is the way it should be.

Having said that, Mr Chairman, it is common knowledge that our courts are severely congested, hon. Minister. They are congested with cases that go back long periods. Committee after Committee of this House has made recommendations on ways to improve that particular situation so that we can decongest the courts and see that the cases move forward a lot faster than has been the case hitherto. I think that it is essential to make an appeal, through you, hon. Minister, that other mechanisms be worked out and I know that some of these proposals that have been put in Committee reports have included using such premises as schools during holidays, appointing more Justices at local level to arbitrate and deal with things at a lower level so that only those cases that really merit going to higher courts should do so.

I think that it would also be a good idea, hon. Minister, if most of our Chiefs can be retrained and put back to the original role where they were able to preside over the courts in their localities. This is important because, right now, Chiefs feel deprived, they think that their authority has not been given recognition because they no longer preside over case in their localities. Many of the Chiefs that are being elected, now, to various offices are educated enough. I think it would be a good idea to put in place a programme to train them in paralegal affairs.

I also want to touch on another issue, Mr Chairman, and that is the issue of the operations of the Office of the Sheriff of Zambia. Many people that have come face to face with this fearsome office will bear witness that the operations of this office need to be re-examined. The manner in which they carry out their work is almost sadist. I am not condemning any specific officers, but the manner in which they carry out their work, definitely, leaves much to be desired. Their operations need to be enhanced, especially in relation to the manner in which confiscated equipment, furniture and other properties are handled. Many bailiffs have become rich as a result of selling off the victims’ properties at almost give away prices usually to themselves. This cannot be allowed to go on any longer. Anyone who has not experienced this had better get it from those that have had this experience. It is a very sad way of operating any legal and equitable system.

Mr Chairman, a number of courts have been established and I am aware that the commercial court is supposed to be established as well and is in the process of being established. I think this is commendable in order to help in the process of de-congesting the courts. Hon. Minister, this is a good way to move forward. By the same token, I wish to appeal, through you, hon. Minister, that another area that needs to be quickly and urgently examined is the issue of establishing family courts which would be more user-friendly, especially to the young children and also other family issues that arise.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: What with a lot of cases of incest and others of that kind. There are a lot of disputes in families at the moment and I think it is important that our courts start to respond to this situation where there is a specific requirement for a family court. In my recent travels, I had the experience of seeing how the Japanese system works and I was very impressed with the fact that the confidentiality and also the support that is provided to the victims of this situation, I think, is most commendable, especially in a country which regards itself as a Christian nation. It is important that we be able to support families and to help create a conducive environment in families. So, Mr Chairman, I wish to ask that this area be examined to ensure that the courts become responsive to the current pressures. 

I hope that the Judges, now that they have been reasonably catered for, will be very judicious in looking at those that seek to abuse the various offices to which they are sworn, especially those that are supposed to uphold the Constitution. If they should abrogate their responsibilities, we expect the courts to be equitable and to be judicious and fearless in the way they will make judgements, rather than to cause question marks about how they are making decisions.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.


Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, I would also like to congratulate the hard-working young hon. Minister in charge of Legal Affairs.

The Deputy Chairman: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

Mr Sibetta: I thank you, once more, for according me the opportunity to continue my debate. In my opening remarks, Mr Chairman, I wish to thank the bearded hard working hon. Minister of Legal Affairs and learned gentleman. I would like him to keep his cool in this very difficult time. We shall be looking forward to him, but I would like to thank him for getting the Government and indeed, our President, to increase the personal emoluments of our senior judicial staff.

In doing so, my business is to urge the Government to let off the Judiciary so that they can be given their autonomy. The Judiciary, Sir, in this land can be trusted and they have come a long way and I think the question of autonomy is pertinent. We need an autonomous Judiciary system to run the affairs of our courts and in order for the courts to run properly. They are really in a very difficult situation. 

Their buildings are in very bad state, their personal emoluments are nothing to write home about, their housing, their regalia, the furniture and everything you can talk about, the courts need to be uplifted. The only way we can do that is by appealing to the Government to let the courts free of the Government or Executive control.

We have separation of powers and Parliament is looking at its own reforms. Therefore, it is pertinent that the courts should be allowed to have their autonomy. When courts have autonomy, issues of capital expenditure will be resolved. The allocation towards capital expenditure is not adequate. In fact, it is not there in our Yellow Book. The courts themselves would have prepared this budget and would have sent estimates to Parliament on their own through the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the hon. Minister of Legal Affairs and, indeed, our President. All they would do is take note.

Parliament would have to accord necessary respect to a budget coming from one of the third arms of the Government. We would not extensively debate it, but just pass it. Any consultations that would have to take place would be between our financial officers and our advisors jointly with their advisors. Therefore, I think time is ripe for the courts to be free. Time is ripe for the Judiciary to be given autonomy. 

Now, we have handsomely increased the salaries of the top echelon of our Judiciary. For Example, the Chief Justice has been given an increment of K19 million. Previously, he used to get K28 million per annum. So, he will be getting K48 million. That is very good.

This should have come from the Judiciary itself. We would have taken into consideration the uniforms of our kapasos in the courts, buildings, offices of the clerks in the courts, and so on. 

So, really, if we allow the courts to be autonomous, the issues of recurrent and capital expenditure would come to us and all we would do is to take note and pass it. As it is, we have half of the Judiciary, if not three quarters, Mr Chairman, on strike. It is embarrassing to have Judges go on strike in a Commonwealth country. You can understand such action in other countries in the neighbourhood where we are providing assistance. However, in a Commonwealth system, it is unheard of for court officers like Magistrates to be on strike.

Mr Chairman, before I wind up my debate, I would  like to send a warning note to my friend, Hon. Reuben Musakabantu, the Nominated Member of Parliament, ...


Mr Sibetta: ... who is trying his level best to get attention of the Princess here ...


Mr Sibetta: ... and trying to send valentine notes ...


Mr Sibetta: I hope the Chair will stop these valentine notes from Hon. Reuben Musakabantu to her royal highness the Princess.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr T. J. C. Phiri (Milanzi): I thank you, Mr Chairman, for according me the chance to contribute on this very important Vote.

First of all, I would like to congratulate my very best friend, Hon. Chilombo who has just been promoted to the post of Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I would also like to congratulate Hon. Kayope, whose promotion has been long overdue.

Mr Muloji: It is better late than never.

Mr T. J. C. Phiri: Indeed, it is better late than never. I think he is, now, a happy man.

Mr Chairman, I would like to contribute briefly on this very important Vote. First of all, I support the Vote but I would like to mention something that many hon. Members of Parliament seem to be omitting. This is the Legal Aid Department. The LAD is highly concentrated in the urban areas.

The Deputy Chairman: Order!

The hon. Member of Parliament would be better advised to leave that department until we get to the Ministry of Legal Affairs. It belongs to the Ministry of Legal Affairs and not to the Judiciary.

Will he, please, continue!

Mr T. J. C. Phiri: Thank you, Mr Chairman, for your guidance, I had prepared myself specifically on this department. Therefore, I beg to sit down.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): Mr Chairman, thank you for affording me this opportunity to speak on this Vote. 

Mr Chairman, I also want to join those that have congratulated the Government on increasing the salaries under this Statutory Instrument which we found in our pigeon holes. Sir, the only problem I have with this is that I often have difficulties in appreciating positive acts of the MMD Government without suspecting that there must be a carrot or a catch behind this.


Mr Hachipuka: The MMD Government is not capable of doing something good without a catch which I, right now, ...


Mr Patel: Like fake services!

Mr Hachipuka: I can only suspect, Mr Chairman, that ...

Mr Simasiku: Do not dwell on suspicion!

Mr Hachipuka: I can only suspect that ...

Mr Sampa interjected.

Mr Hachipuka: I think the hon. Minister would be doing himself a favour by keeping quiet because his wig does not look anywhere near your wig, Mr Chairman.


Mr Hachipuka: I have difficulties, Mr Chairman, and have reasons to believe that there is no way the Judges could have received this carrot out of everything else wrong happening in the country, especially this year. Why this year?


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

The Deputy Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Hon. Opposition Members: VP!


The Vice-President: Mr Chairman, is the hon. Member in order to say that there is a carrot dangling before Judges when, in fact, we started to work on this matter some two or three years ago? 

The Deputy Chairman: In that point of order raised by His Honour the Vice-President and Leader of the House, the Member of Parliament for Mbabala is advised to be careful not to insinuate and use innuendoes about matters that are legal and procedural like increasing salaries of a certain group of people by the Head of State. It is not advisable to dwell on suspicions. What this House wants are facts. So, he will do well not to refer to that any more and cast aspersions on the Judiciary.

Will he continue, please.

Mr Hachipuka: Thank you, Mr Chairman, for that eloquent advice. I take note of it except I would like to state that as a result of this increase, we, now, have a strike on our hands and that I think is not an innuendo but a fact.

Mr Patel: Animal Farm!

Mr Hachipuka: I hope that His Honour the Vice-President will do something about the other people who are not included in this Statutory Instrument.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: They will go on strike!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Mr Chairman, thank you for the opportunity.

Mr Zimba interjected.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Mr Chairman, I have a few points although the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting, who is not my Member of Parliament in Wusakile, is trying to prophesy over me.

Sir, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute on this very important Vote. First of all, I do sympathise with the neighbour of the hon. Minister of Legal Affairs who is growing a beard in protest and is still fighting for the struggle of independence.


Dr Kabanje: Hear, hear!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Mr Chairman, I would like to say that the Judiciary needs to be truly independent because they are professional people. They have colleagues in the whole Africa and all over the country and that is their check point. So, they should not behave like people who have no colleagues. They need to leave a legacy for their children when many years later their children and their children’s children read about what they did and how they worked and how they conducted themselves. Those children need to be proud of their judgements. They should not cry and even curse them. So, we would like to invite them to really be professional.

Mr Chairman, just a reminder to the Government that the local courts were a campaign issue in 1991. The people told us in 1991 how dilapidated the local courts were and are very disappointed today that after ten years, nothing has happened in many places. There is too much concentration in the urban areas and not in the rural areas. It is not uncommon to find court sessions under trees, in broken huts and the rains pouring on them. It is most unfortunate. 

Mr Chairman, I would like to mention another point which has not been mentioned and that is the fact that some of the royal establishments actually had buildings that the Government used for many years for local court sessions such as the Malyele Royal Establishment and many others. The Government used them without paying. If the Government, it is true, does not have money, then, they should go into proper arrangements so that they can even pay a little bit. It is not fair for people who once upon a time put up buildings and the Government abused such resources. I would be very grateful if the Minister of Legal Affairs can look into that.

Mr Chairman, many Zambians do not think that the Judiciary is free. If we had facilities for consensus or opinion poll, I think we would confirm that. Many people in Zambia would like to see that the Judiciary stands up and be counted so that they lead, direct and guide when it comes to laws in this land because they are the professionals and experts. They should not be afraid of anybody but give us light. We miss those days when, for example, because of the contribution of Mr Mwanawasa, even some of the legal terms were known by every Zambian. That is the kind of guidance and leadership that we want to see from the Judiciary. 

Nobody should be above the law in our country, there should be no discrimination among Zambians because they belong to this political party or because they are male or female or because they are urban or rural or because they are of a higher status. Unfortunately, in our country, more and more people do not differentiate. If you have money, even if you stole it, people admire you. 


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: It just shows how we have lost values. In most countries, even in this country, once upon a time, if you got where you are because you stole money, everybody dismissed you. Unfortunately, we have been sending messages, especially to the young people that it does not matter not to go to school but just do anything and get that money whether you strangle somebody or take Government money. Those are lop sided values and we need the Judiciary to help us catch all the big fishes. If anybody is out of line, we would like the Judiciary to be bold and courageous enough to stand up.

We are looking to the Judiciary to guide us. We have laws that we need to respect. They should not be changed every year or every now and then. The Judiciary should not be afraid of anybody, if they are afraid, they should resign and just join the party of their choice and let other professionals come and lead this country and show us the law and how to abide by it. So, we should not keep changing laws.

Mr Chairman, even in the forest, animals have laws that they abide by. They know how to treat each other, they know how to run, there is even opposition in the forest. They have their own constitution. Mr Chairman, if an animal changes the laws, there would be chaos in the forest and so I would like to say that even kangaroos ...


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: I would like to say that even kangaroos have rules and they abide by them, they do not change them. If you are hungry, you change the law. If you did not eat for three days, you change the law. If a chameleon is coming, you change the law. No, we should be better than the animal kingdom.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Sondashi: I thank you, Mr Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on this Vote.

Mr Chairman, I wish to support the Vote. In supporting the Vote, I wish to thank the energetic Minister of Local Government and Housing for the manner he handled his Vote. This shows that the hon. Minister is an emerging politician and I think that we can do well by asking His Honour the Vice President or the Minister Without Portfolio (Mr Sata) to go and congratulate him on handling the issues as a Minister not as an MMD cadre. Sir, that is the way things should be handled and I think we should all congratulate him on being bold. I was very impressed and I wish him more promotions in the time to come. Jealousy down.

Mr Chairman, I would like to make a few comments on two issues. The first one is about MAJAZ. MAJAZ is the Magistrates and Judges Association of Zambia. This is an organisation which is fighting for the conditions of service of Magistrates and Judges. But, Sir, I would like the hon. Minister to state whether really it is in order for Magistrates and Judges of the High Court or Supreme Court to belong to an association of this nature and agitate for their conditions of service. Is that according to their code of ethics and etiquette of the profession of Judges?

Mr Chairman, I know the problems which are there but the problems of conditions of service are everywhere yet, Sir, are we going to allow Judges or Magistrates to behave in this manner? I think we have lost track here.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Sondashi: Mr Chairman, the code of ethics should not allow this kind of situation where the Magistrates should go on a go-slow. This is not in order.

Hon. Member: Which side are you?

Dr Sondashi: Do not ask the side I am. I am just trying to point out the truth. If something is right or wrong, I must point it out.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Sondashi: Mr Chairman, if we do not put things right, we are going to face a very big problem in this country where everyone will go on strike. The next people to go on strike will be Ministers and they will say, why can we not, if Judges were allowed. The next will be the National Assembly and it will go on. I think we should take control, we should show that there is a Government and order starts with the Judiciary before it can go to anybody else.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Sondashi: The second point I would like to make is a proposal with regard to what other hon. Members have already lamented on. This is the problem of the Office of the Sheriff of Zambia. There is a problem not only in the way they handle their work but it is also difficult as a matter of fact for a person who has won a case to get the fruits of his or her judgement. There is chaos at the Office of the Sheriff. It can take you even a year for the Sheriff to act in order for someone to get the fruits of judgement. Now, Sir, I do not think that is right. I was wondering, Sir, whether you cannot consider reforming this office.

Mr Chairman, in view of this, is it not possible to introduce the privatisation concept in this area to allow people with the necessary qualifications -  and not party cadres - to change the law so that private citizens can become bailiffs? Even lawyers can actually employ bailiffs who can conduct the execution of judgement.

Mr Chairman, if a private company is involved, it will be concerned with efficiency and to do things properly other than allowing a Government department to handle this affair. Sir, a Government department knows that even if they do not work, they will get their salary. The Law Association of Zambia can be interested in employing a sheriff in their organisation who can deal with this aspect. So, hon. Minister, enhance productivity in this area. It is very simple to do that because you can create standards and qualifications for someone to become a bailiff and also some yard sticks and you will see that there will not be any of these problems which we are facing now.

Mr Chairman, my third point, although many hon. Members have dealt on it, is on the question of salaries of Judges to which I have no objection. It is a good thing but, Sir, the problem which I have seen is that in this country, we are increasing the salaries of Judges leaving out the supporting staff. Judges are not the only people in the Judiciary. The Judiciary includes the supporting staff as well. Judges without supporting staff cannot do anything and even corruption can be created by the supporting staff if this will go unchecked. As you know, hon. Minister, files in the registry go missing because people have been paid to hide a file or to destroy evidence.

Mr Patel: Animal farm.

Dr Sondashi: Sir, it is not only the Judges that we should look after. We should also look after the supporting staff. The Magistrates, who constitute the subordinate courts, including the Local Court Justices and their staff need to be looked after as well. After all, the subordinate and Local Court Justices are the ones who deliver judgments quickly. I cannot call local courts as Kangaroo courts. They are not. In fact, they are faster in delivery of justice than Judges. Judgement in the High Court can take up to four years. So, let us help them. Let us make their lives better and improve their salaries.

Thank you, Sir.

Dr Kabanje: Mr Chairman, I will begin with a poem.

    ‘We return to our places ...’

Hon. Members: Volume! Emphasise!

Dr Kabanje: Mr Chairman, ...

The Deputy Chairman: Order!

Can the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwandi Constituency, please, speak into the microphone so that we can hear the poem properly.

Will you continue, please

Dr Kabanje: Mr Chairman, my poem is as follows:

    ‘We return to our places
    In these kingdoms
    But no longer at ease here 
    With an alien people clutching their gods 
    I should have died of another death.’

Now, Mr Chairman, that summarises how very important one must feel attached to the Judiciary because that makes our home or not in a democratic process. I will start with a preamble.

First of all, Sir, it is important for the hon. Minister of Legal Affairs to reverse the pyramid. The pyramid I am talking about is that at the apex, we have the Supreme Court and in between the subordinate courts and at the base of the pyramid is the old court; the local courts. Throughout history, Mr Chairman, focus has been on the apex of the pyramid, leaving behind the bulwark of work. The salt of the earth. I am trying to pay tribute to the old men and women who are responsible for our judicial process. These are the men who are always neglected and remembered maybe, after every five years when campaign time has come. I am talking about the Local Court Justices. Those who understand history of law like ‘Professor’ Sata, will bear with me, Sir, ...


Dr Kabanje: ... that the evolution of law has always started from the base. When we talk about common law in England, we are talking about local courts law. Unfortunately, because half knowledge is always dangerous, we do not remember the history. As long as our local courts remain unattended to, are given false promises, there will not be justice. The local courts are the justice which is easily accessed by the ordinary people. The High and Subordinate courts are what they call a white man’s court. When you go there, you are a bit apprehensive, but in the local courts, you feel much more at home.

In fact, previously, even the proceedings were always done in local languages. Here in Lusaka, before the Government was taken over by the Copperbelt, the local language, Nyanja, was used in the courts. Now, there are fundamental changes. Wherever you go in the local courts, you are addressed in Bemba. This must be corrected, Mr Chairman.


Dr Kabanje: I will, now, make a brief reference, Mr Chairman, to the issue relating to the Industrial Relations Court. This court was meant to be an efficient court. The rules of evidence were supposed to be simplified because the aim was to attain what we call substantive justice. Unfortunately, over the years, the Industrial Relations Court has been clogged because every common man realised that it was much easier to get a remedy than in the High court. Now, people have forgotten that the High court has concurrent jurisdiction. You can still seek remedies in the High Court, but the problem is that in the High court, you are expected to conform strictly to the rules of evidence. 

I am trying to find out from the hon. Minister whether some amendments can be made so that we can also engage the High Court in a simpler manner as we do in the Industrial Relations Court.

Mr Chairman, I want to argue a final point. This was a centre of contention in the Mwanakatwe Constitution Review Commission. The need to establish a constitutional court. Why was this necessary? It was necessary, Mr Chairman, because later on, in the process of our democracy, people may not be able to interpret the term ‘two terms.’ It was, therefore, important for us to have a constitutional court. This court is very important because many people are still in the old model of democracy. This is what I call dinosaur type of democracy, where they say the majority is always right.

I want to quote my beloved uncle, Hon. Mwaanga, when he said that the majority rule will always prevail. That is the old interpretation because democracy means understanding the intrinsic human rights of the minority. For example, if of the ten people, nine of them, who constitute the majority, say that any person who is less than five feet four inches must be killed- I am sorry to use that term, but it is an example used by the courts. That is the democratic decision because that is the majority rule yet it will not be sustained because we are robbing the fundamental right and expectation of the minority.

Mr Chairman, it is very important ...

Mr Mwaanga interjected.

Dr Kabanje: There is a difference between majority rule and a republic. Let me define this for the sake of my uncle, Hon. Mwaanga, whom I respect so much, but is a bit behind ...


Mr Mwaanga: I will take away my daughter.

Dr Kabanje: I shall give away your daughter if you insist on that.

It is important for us to understand. The writers of the American Constitution, the veterans, it is very clear, were not arguing about democracy, but a republic. Hon. Sata will understand. I will define that.


Dr Kabanje: They said that a democracy will lead to problems of anarchy and oppression of the majority, but a republic would be a system which is rule governed. For example, you cannot wake up in a republic and say that today you are changing the Constitution. The Constitution is a Supreme Law. You cannot, for example, come here and say that we are the majority, therefore, we are going back to a One-party State because there is a Constitution here, which is saying that Zambia shall be a plural democracy.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kabanje: Although, theoretically, you may do that, you are actually hurting the very foundation of democracy which says that everything has a limit. Power, time, and so on, are limited. If your years in office are finished, that is it.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kabanje: That is part of democracy, the power of the courts to say that you cannot do this.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Major Kamanga: Mr Chairman, it is important for us to know where we have come from, ...

Dr Kamata: From South Africa!


Major Kamanga: ... where we are now and where we are going.

I remember, during one of the OPEC meetings, a Nigerian Minister was asked to say something on the reduction of oil quotas. One gentleman said that, ‘We have both feet in OPEC and our eyes on the North Sea’.

There are countries in the north sea that pump out oil, but they are not members of the OPEC countries. As you are aware, Nigeria has high grade crude oil.

The Vote on the Floor, now, is a custodian of what we passed here. The Judiciary can only perform well if they are truly independent. Their independence hinges on their financial muscle. As long as you do not give them the money that they require, they will not perform well. It is like dangling a carrot to a rabbit and you are holding a stick. These learned gentlemen and ladies need all the support, not from the House, but from the Government to ensure that they perform well. You have the well remunerated Supreme Court Judges and High Court Judges - what about the Magistrates and supporting staff? Where have we come from, where are we and where are we going?

The hon. Member of Parliament who was on the Floor a short while ago talked about the interpretation of the laws here and one of them was democracy. Hon. Michael Sata will remember very well how he was nearly thrown out of this House for crossing the Floor. Those are the people who stood up and said it was a One-party State. These are ladies and gentlemen who interpreted the law very well, carefully, and they knew that they were doing the right thing. Why can the Government, for a change, not give the entire system, starting from the supporting staff to the Supreme Court Judges, what they deserve? When there is a deadlock here, those are the people who would undo what you will fail to do.

I remember one law which hinged on human rights. The Judiciary came up and said that there was no need to get permission to hold a meeting but we brought another Bill. These are the things we should not forget. We are here today but where are we going to be tomorrow?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: You will be locked up.

Major Kamanga: If you are afraid of being locked up, you are not supposed to be here.


Major Kamanga: We are talking on behalf of the people who brought us here.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Major Kamanga: As we talk, we should not be looking over our shoulders ...

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: I rise on a point of order and I need your ruling, Sir. Is the hon. Member of Parliament, who is debating very well, in order to mislead this House by suggesting that the hon. Minister Without Portfolio crossed the Floor when we only know of the late Joshua Lumina, the late Bennie Mwiinga and Mr Chairman himself?


The Deputy Chairman: The Chair is placed in an awkward position by the point of order raised by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mongu because it is involved. It will, therefore, not make a ruling apart from encouraging the hon. Member for Lumezi, perhaps, to continue with his debate and research thereafter to get the truth whether, in fact, what the hon. Member of Parliament for Mongu is saying is true. I will give him the benefit of doubt and ask him to continue.

Will the hon. Member for Lumezi continue, please.

Mr Sata: We will give you the Daily Parliamentary Debates.

Major Kamanga: The hon. Member of Parliament, who raised a point of order, will know very well that there are some people who do not actually stand and cross just like that, but inside they wish to.


Major Kamanga: The hon. Minister Without Portfolio ...

Mr Sata: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Sata: Mr Chairman, is the hon. Member of Parliament for Mongu in order to twist the history of this House when there were twelve hon. Members who crossed the Floor? She wanted more knowledge from the hon. Member of Parliament for Lumezi ...

Dr Kabanje: What is your point of order?

Mr Sata: It is a point of order, Sir. Among those hon. Members were Hon. Kapapa, Hon. Sekwila, Hon. Hapunda, Hon. Sata, the late Hon. Lumina, the late Hon. Mwiinga and the Daily Parliamentary Debates on the Amendment of the Constitution are there. Is she in order to pretend to be the Alpha and Omega when she was only discovered to be a politician in September, 1990?

Mr Patel: Former President Sata!

The Deputy Chairman: Again, the point of order raised by the hon. Minister Without Portfolio continues to place the Chair in an awkward situation and the Chair refuses to make a ruling.

Will the hon. Member for Lumezi continue, please.

Major Kamanga: Mr Chairman, this is where we must identify ourselves. Where did we come from? Where are we now? Where are we going? History always repeats itself. It is important, therefore, that those of us who were afraid at that time to stand up and say, I am now going to cross the Floor, should do that so that we know about them. The Judiciary always refers to what happened in the past.

The hon. Minister Without Portfolio will know and he knows what he said at the meeting near Kafue Roundabout. The Judiciary is a department and we must ensure that it is given the prerequisites so that when Judges sit behind the bench, they pass judgement without fear or favour. We are getting there and a few weeks from now, a lot of things will be happening in these courts.

Mr Sibetta: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Major Kamanga: Bamudala!

Mr Sibetta: I am giving you time to reflect.


Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, yourself, Hon. Luhila, the hon. Minister Without Portfolio and I were in this House when we voted to bring in plural politics. Is the hon. Minister Without Portfolio in order to imply that his Vote meant crossing the Floor? I beg your serious ruling.


Mr Sibetta: I was there myself. Did he cross the Floor?

Mr Patel: Michael, it is time for you to retire mwana.


The Deputy Chairman: Order!

Hon. Members, we are not here to discuss crossing the Floor.


The Deputy Chairman: Further, we are not here to discuss the events of 1990 per se but to discuss the operations of the Judiciary, how they interpret the law and how they conduct themselves in our various courts. That is what is at stake. I do not really want to continue to rule on a matter in which I have already declared interest.

Will the hon. Member, continue, please, and wind up.

Major Kamanga: Look at the deplorable state of the court buildings in this country. If you talk about the floors, the Floor of this House is all right.

Dr. Mbikusita-Lewanika: And the MMD Party!

Major Kamanga: You are wrong there. That is why you ran away. 

Look at the deplorable state of these courts where these learned gentlemen operate from. One of the silent incentives in any working institution is your environment. If the environment is not all right, you cannot work properly. It is important that these courts be given an inward and outward appearance that will reflect the respect that the Judiciary deserves. 

I wish to emphasise the point of remunerating Magistrates as you have done for the Supreme Court Judges. Do the same for the Magistrates and supporting staff, otherwise a lot of documents will go missing and you should not blame them.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

The Minister of Legal Affairs (Mr Malambo): Mr Chairman, I wish to thank the hon. Members of this House who have very constructively debated the Vote of the Judiciary. I want to thank each and everyone of them most sincerely for their support because each and everyone of them, in fact, supports this Vote.

I will do the unusual, Mr Chairman, by beginning to respond to some of the queries that have been raised and then, I will make one or two points on the policy position of the Judiciary.

Mr Chairman, on the controversial issue of whether or not Hon. Sata crossed the Floor, I want to confirm that he was my client in 1990. Hon. Sata and twelve other hon. Members of this House had occasion to resign from the United National Independence Party. The party then tried to expel them from this House but by the time they were trying to do that, they had already obtained the ruling of the Supreme Court in respect of the case that we took on behalf of the late Joshua Lumina and the late Bennie H. W. Mwiinga that it was legitimate then to resign from UNIP and still remain and sit in this House. Many will remember the many gallant sons and daughters of Zambia who stood up in 1991, including the hon. Minister Without Portfolio in this House arguing about the sweetness of political plurality. So, we should give tribute where it is due and I believe it is due in this instance.

Mr Chairman, I will begin from the last debate, not because it was the most important, but because it is more convenient for me to begin from what I have just been saying than proceed backwards.

Yes, Sir, the Judiciary is the custodian of our democracy. Judicial officers are the custodians of our laws. The Judiciary underpins some of the fundamental beliefs that the Zambian people hold and it is to the Judiciary that we all run when we need an independent umpire. Their importance to the life of each individual Zambian cannot be overemphasised and it is this belief that makes our Government continue to place the Judiciary at the head of the ladder of our priorities. 

The Judiciary has never left this slot in the ladder of our priorities and that is why hon. Members will have noticed that the K13 billion that the Judiciary was allocated last year, this year, has been increased by another K5 billion to K18 billion. It is a measure of commitment of this Government on the role that the Judiciary will continue to play in the life of our people. 

Judicial independence, Mr Chairman, is half the time very much misunderstood. When we talk about judicial autonomy, I would like to let the House know that the Judiciary is not run from the Ministry of Legal Affairs. The Judiciary is not run from any Government ministry. This House will recall, at least, those who were there in the last Parliament before 1996 that in 1994, you hon. Members of this House passed the Judicature Administration Act that removed the administration of the Judiciary from the Ministry of Legal Affairs where they had been administratively dealt with to the Judiciary.

You, now, have an institution called the Judiciary directly run by the Chief Justice with his own Permanent Secretary who is the Accounting Officer. Before 1994, the Accounting Officer for the Judiciary was the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Legal Affairs. This is no longer so and this is as a result of an Act that this House passed in 1994. We should acknowledge the main major steps that we have done and not belittle the major achievements that we have made in this regard.

I want to confirm, Mr Chairman, that in this region, we are the only country that has passed that kind of Act, giving autonomy to the Judiciary. The hon. Member for Luena would like the budget of the Judiciary to come directly from the Judiciary to this House. I want to say that even the budget of this House does not come directly to this House.

Mr Sibetta: That is what we want.

Mr Malambo: I am talking about what obtains now. The budget of this House, that is why it is appearing in the Yellow Book, goes to the Central Government and this is for very simple reasons. There is only one Treasury in this country. There is only one set of tax payers in this country and the duty to tax Zambians is in this House. This is the House that passes the laws that authorise Government to levy taxes.

Mr Patel: Tell us, what is your position on Third Term?


Mr Malambo: There is not one institution in this country that should have the right to spend whatever they want when that which they can spend is beyond the capacity of the Zambian tax payer to bear and the Zambian tax payer includes Hon. Sibetta ...

Mr Hamir: And myself.


Mr Malambo: I wonder whether your constituency would be ready, Hon. Sibetta, to be taxed directly by the Judiciary in order for them to have a budget that they can spend on their own. So, I am not sure, Sir, if it is the best thing to do in the circumstances of our Government that a budget of any Government department should by pass the Treasury, people who know the resource base of this country who can best allocate the few resources that we have through this House.

Mr Sibetta: Mr Minister, do not attach strings

Mr Sata: Even in India, that is how it is done.


Mr Malambo: Mr Chairman, a point that has been raised and consistently so, is that whereas the Government has made some strides in improving the conditions of service of the higher bench, we should do what we can in respect of the lower bench. I cannot agree with you more, there is no sense at all and as you correctly stated, the large bulk of our people access the local courts, that is where justice is done for the majority of our citizens. So, if we are to be of service to the majority, we must work in that area. It will not be a good product if the Local Court Justices and the Magistrates work under deplorable environment and get poorly remunerated. 

We have a commitment, Sir, as Government, that we should do whatever we can within the limitations of our resources to improve on this cadre of our justice deliverers and I want to say that there is not any sense at all in which this Government would think of purposely disregarding the conditions under which the Magistrates and the Local Court Justices operate because that would be negligence.

Mr Chairman, it was argued that the constitutional court would in some way be a guarantee for our democracy. I am not sure because I think the best guarantee for our democracy is the people of this country and not the constitutional court. It is what our people ...

Hon. Opposition Members: The DAs.

Mr Malambo: The Zambian people are not the DAs. The DAs of this country are just one of the sectors of our country.


Mr Malambo: It is the Zambian people who are the best guarantees of our democracy.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Malambo: If the Zambian people stand by the value they have given to themselves, democracy will not be eroded in this country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkabika: Not bangwele!

Mr Malambo: In relation to the High Court, Sir, I just want to assure the hon. Member for Mwandi that the High Court is in the process of revising its procedures to make it do substantive justice, not only that, also to help in decongesting and shortening the normal time table for litigation that you and I know. Now, a Judge takes charge of a case from the day it is lodged in court. Litigation will no longer be law driven, it will be judge driven in order to hasten the process of justice.

Mr Chairman, the Sheriff’s Office has been addressed by a number of hon. Members in their debate. I want to confirm that both the Chief Justice and myself are worried about the operations of the Office of the Sheriff, but I want to assure you that we are not sitting idly by. There is a lot of work going on in this area. Hon. Members will be grateful to know that with the support of the Law Association of Zambia, the Judiciary has re-organised the Office of the Sheriff of Zambia. You will be delighted to hear that, now, it is headed by someone with a Masters Degree and also the Deputy Sheriff is someone with a basic degree and the process, hon. Members, will go down to make sure that the bailiffs that go out to execute the court process will do it not for themselves, but in the interest of the litigants whose court process they will be enforcing.

Issues of corruption in the department will be dealt with. There is, now, a mechanism to try and put the rules that will provide for minimum values on property that the bailiffs seize so that the opportunities for them to sell property to themselves does not exist. I will be grateful, hon. Members, if any of you has any information about a bailiff who sold things to themselves because that is wrong and fraudulent and that sort of thing should never be allowed to happen and it can only be stopped if we show examples that wrong will be visited with punishment. I think we have lived too long in the past where mediocrity is rewarded, where wrong is rewarded and we should stop and the earlier we stop the better.

Mr Patel: Of the highest level.

Mr Malambo: Hon. Sondashi, I listened very carefully to your debate and I am very grateful for the suggestions that you made and for the concerns that you raised. The legal profession is a profession of honour. Without taking away from the rights of anybody to fight for good conditions of service, if a person in the legal profession finds that they are no longer in a position to serve where they are, the honourable thing is to leave, not to go on strike because when you go on strike, you are inconveniencing the people who seek your service in a public institution. The code of ethics and the code of honour of a Judge, a legal practitioner, and a qualified lawyer is service first. The personal emoluments come second. If you can no longer give a service, seek to do it elsewhere where you will be properly remunerated.

I also listened to Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika. I want to assure you, hon. Member, that, in fact, it is a policy of Government to pay rent for properties that are used as local courts if those properties do not belong to the Government. So, if there are properties that have been used hitherto and no rent has been paid, I will invite you to go to the High Court and discuss this matter with the Chief Administrator and the issue will be resolved.

Mr Sata: Taishiba ko.


Mr Malambo: The hon. Member for Mongu Central made the point that the Judiciary should take the lead in interpreting the Constitution. This is the calling of the Judiciary. The Judiciary members are sworn to the interpretation of the Constitution. 

So, if you have an issue on which you want the courts to interpret and you are legitimately before them, I can assure you, Hon. Mbikusita-Lewanika, that they will not refuse. They will interpret the Constitution for you. All you have to do is to have a legitimate case before them and they will do their duty.

Mr Patel: There goes Third Term again.

Mr Malambo: Mr Chairman, the assumption that is often made is that autonomy implies that people should, now, have the right to set the conditions of service, have the authority to set whatever salaries they want and be able to get them.  I want to say, Mr Chairman, that unless a Government department that has been made autonomous has the capacity to generate money out of which it is going to pay higher salaries that its officers hanker for, it will remain on Public Service salaries. Sir, it is a matter of whether of not the Government is in a position to do it.

Autonomy does not imply salaries higher than the rest of the Public Service. Autonomy implies that you are in a position to do your work both, administratively and also in the decision making process as independently as you can.

I am not aware, Mr Chairman, that the Judiciary is in a position to generate money that will enable it pay salaries that are high and above those of the rest of the Public Service workers.

I was listening also very attentively to Hon Sichinga’s contribution on this debate. We are, indeed, concerned about congestion in the Courts Diary and that is why in the last four years or so, you have heard of the Judiciary setting up a fast track commercial court. You have heard of the Judiciary encouraging arbitration and conciliation. Now, if a matter can be reconciled not through trial but through other means, there is a trained pool of conciliators and arbitrators to who Judges are continuing to refer cases so that they can be dealt with at that level without going to trial. That is one way in which the Judiciary are trying to de-congest the Diary.

The Arbitration Act was passed very recently by this House and we hope that when we have set up the institutions under that Act  there will be less work in the Judiciary. 

Now, the Chiefs are adjudicators. I can tell you, Hon. Sichinga, that this is one matter that has been exercising my mind. Our written memoranda on this issue was to whether we should go back to the pre-1966 situations when Chiefs were adjudicators. Nevertheless, you will realise that Chiefs have a role of administering and are essentially an aspect of the Executive. If you are going to give the Executive power to adjudicate even at that level, you will very well be in danger of crossing the lines of separation. When you cross the lines of separation, then, you will never know where you will stop. The next stage, you will give the Chairman and councils adjudicative powers. You will probably end up giving Ministers adjudicative powers and then you are probably on a slippery road down hill.

So, this is an issue that requires to be considered very carefully because then you will get the Chiefs to answer to the Chief Justice and there may be very serious difficulties. But I welcome ideas on this matter on how you think it can work in practice.

Mr Sata: Sibetta tomfwa.

Mr Malambo: The issue of child friendly courts which you mentioned is extremely important. I have said this in more recent times, children are brutalised even when they appear as witnesses at the hands of aggressive lawyers or aggressive cross-examination. When children are exposed to crowds that are unfair, justice can never be done correctly in that sort of environment. We should move, especially take advantage of recent developments in electronics and the issues of in house video cameras so that the children should be able to give evidence, not in the presence of a crowd where they can be heard and seen, but where they would not be able to see who their questioners are. These are issues that we will continue to examine and we intend to move in that direction.

On the issue of training Local Court Justices, Hon. Chipili, I can tell you that, in fact, the Judiciary is already involved in updating the knowledge of Local Court Justices in their work. The training programmes are on-going and they will continue. I do not, though, agree that they are, now, operating at Kangaroo level. You will probably appreciate that the most satisfactory justice our people get is from local courts. That is why most of them go there. If it was Kangaroo type of justice, they would not have been going to the local courts.

Dr Sondashi: Even MPs go there!

Mr Malambo: You said that you require a court in Kamfinsa, the procedure is simple, Hon. Chipili. If you have a building in Kamfinsa, approach the Local Courts Officer in Kitwe who will make a submission to the Director of Local Courts in Lusaka, and then they will come to me and, with their justifications, I will be able to sign a warrant for your court so that the court can sit in your area.

Hon. Patel asked what the interpretation of the Constitution on tenure of office was. The interpretation is very clear. All you have to do is to read it.

Mr Patel: Tell us, we do not have the Constitution!

Mr Malambo: Well, read it. Pick a volume from here and it will be very easy for you. The tenure of office is limited, as at now, because that is what the Constitution says. 

As regards amending the law on election petitions, we will consider whether, in fact, this is something that we need to do. This is one piece of legislation that I believe should never have been there. Limiting courts to a time within which they must deliver judgement, I think, is not the best of ideas. It does not work like that and having a piece of legislation on the Statute Book that does not work does not help at all.

I believe I have addressed some of the issues that Hon. Luhila and Hon. Banda raised and I am certainly grateful for the debate. Mr Chairman, very briefly within the next two minutes, I want to assure the House that out of concern for the infrastructure within which the Judges and Magistrates work, the Government is presently working on building a Magistrates court complex in Lusaka. It is planned to be a twenty-four court complex and built very near where Lusaka Central Prison is near the Edwin Imboela Stadium. We have sourced some money, at least, to begin the first twelve court rooms there. We have had the assistance of the Norwegian Government who have committed US$1.8 million for this project.

Mr Sibetta: Who is the contractor?

Mr Malambo: This contract will be given to Zambian contractors.


Mr Patel: Do not give it to Richard Sakala, please.

Mr Malambo: I concede the fact that the capital expenditure allocation to the Judiciary in this year’s Budget is inadequate. In some cases, there is capital expenditure allocation in the Supreme Court, in the High Court as well as in the Local Courts for rehabilitation of courts. The money is not adequate, but I know that when this money is released, it will be put to good use.

Mr Chairman, hon. Members will also be interested to know that as a way of making institutional linkages work towards efficiency under the Judiciary, we have a Court Users Committee that meets often to evaluate how the court is operating and this Committee comprises Members of the Judiciary from my office, from the Director of Public Prosecutions Office, the Director of Legal Aid, the Law Association of Zambia, the police and other interested stakeholders in the manner we deliver justice. So, we hope that through this process, we will improve on the issue of transportation of witnesses and the question of too many adjournments in the court system.

Mr Chairman, I have mentioned the steps that the Judiciary will take in ensuring that justice moves more speedily in the civil justice system and we will continue to implement initiatives that will help move justice faster in this area. Training programmes in the Judiciary will continue both beginning with the Supreme Court Judges and High Court Judges through seminars, through continuing education programmes. Next week, I will be, in fact, myself presenting a paper at the Judges forum on continuing education in Livingstone.

Mr Chairman, there is goodwill from this House and from members of the public for the Judiciary. There is goodwill for the Judiciary from the Government and the donor community and I hope that we can martial this goodwill and re-forecast this goodwill so that sooner rather than later, we should be able to deliver the quality of justice that the Zambian people truly and honestly deserve.

Mr Chairman, I want to thank the hon. Members for their support to this Vote.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Patel: Long live the Constitution.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

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

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

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


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progress reported)

The House adjourned at 1958 hours until 1430 hours on  Wednesday, 14th February, 2001.



20. Mr L. L. Phiri (Chipangali) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

    (a)    how many Chiefs’ palaces had been renovated from 1996 to date;

(b)    how many of the renovated palaces belonged to:

    (i)    paramount chiefs;
    (ii)    senior chiefs; and
    (iii)    junior chiefs; and

    (c)    how much money had been spent on the exercise in the same period.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Miss Kalenga): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that a total of 116 palaces have been rehabilitated from 1996 to date.

The rehabilitated palaces are broken down as follows: Paramount chiefs - 02; Senior chiefs - 10 ; and junior Chiefs - 104. A total sum of K77,000,000 was spent on the rehabilitation exercise.

Thank you, Sir.