Debates- Thursday, 25th January, 2001

Printer Friendly and PDF


Thursday, 25th January, 2001

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





The Vice-President (Lieutenant-General Tembo): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that on Friday, 26th January, 2001, Standing Orders 16 and 17 be suspended to enable the House to sit from 1415 hours to 1800 hours if business is not concluded before that hour.

Mr Speaker, the motion is quite simple and straightforward. Hon. Members will recall that on Tuesday, 23rd January, 2001, when I was outlining business of the House for this week, I intimated that the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development would deliver his Budget Address on Friday, 26th January, 2001. In accordance with the established practice of this House, the Budget is always delivered on Friday afternoon.

Mr Speaker, this is the main reason why I am asking the House to sit on Friday afternoon from 1415 hours to 1800 hours if business is not concluded before that time instead of meeting as is always the case from 0900 hours to 1300 hours. 

Mr Speaker, I trust that the motion will receive unanimous support of all the hon. Members. 

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Sondashi (Solwezi-Central): Mr Speaker, I wish to second the motion moved by the Vice-President to allow the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to present the Budget Address to this House.

Mr Speaker, whilst I do agree to this motion, I would like to urge the Government, through the great Leader of this House who has moved this motion, that, in future, the Presidential Address should be given sufficient time for hon. Members of Parliament to debate it.

Mr Speaker, you might have noticed that I did not show up to speak and I will not even show up today to speak because I do not want to speak in haste. It is not traditional for this House to time the Presidential Speech but, now, this is being done, Mr Speaker.

The Presidential Address is an important occasion upon which we hon. Members of Parliament can discuss and give possible advice and criticise so that the Government can take stock of what is happening. This is the speech in which a Member of Parliament can bring out any issue which he so wishes to the Government ...

Mr Sibetta: Cross country debate.

Dr Sondashi: This debate is referred to as a cross country debate, thank you very much Hon. Sibetta. So, when the Presidential Speech is limited to less than one week, it simply means that we are not giving the speech the importance it deserves. I do not think that this is fair.

Sir, one would think it was deliberate for the Government to limit the time because there is no reason why the President should have not been made to open the House much earlier than 19th January, 2001. This used to happen before. There is a precedent of this matter where the Presidential Address was debated for about two or three weeks.

Hon. Government Member: When?

Dr Sondashi: You are new, you do not know what I am talking about. You came yesterday, so, how can you know?


Dr Sondashi: So, Mr Speaker, we would like to urge His Honour the Vice-President that, in future, he should look into this matter. 

As I said earlier, I would not like us to rush because when we rush, we may leave out issues which are necessary. When some of us talk, we do not criticise for the sake of criticising. I can only criticise when it is necessary. When it is right, I can praise the Government. We do not come here to play but to issue concrete suggestions so that the Government can reflect upon them and take corrective measures. The Government is manned by human beings just like me and, therefore, subject to make mistakes. Because of this, I would like to urge the Government to look into this matter seriously. 

Mr Speaker, the role of a Member of Parliament is to speak. So, when I come here and someone tells me that the time is short, then they are contravening the constitutional right of a Member of Parliament.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Hear, hear!

Dr Sondashi: Speaking is a privilege of a Member of Parliament. I do not govern but speak. Therefore, this privilege should be given the due respect which it is supposed to be accorded. If you do not want Members of Parliament to come here and talk, then for goodness sake, why have this House? We are here to talk. That is why this is a united Zambia. For instance, in this House, we have some Lozis, we did not know them, others are Lundas and some come from this way (pointing to the East) ....


Dr Sondashi: We come here to talk because we have different ideas. We can criticise each other or quarrel ...

Mr Ng’uni: Next point!

Dr Sondashi: ... but when we go outside, we can be friends.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mwaice wandi show leadership!


Dr Sondashi: So, Mr Speaker, I wanted to make this point clear. I think that His Honour the Vice-President will take account of what I have outlined.

With these few remarks, I wish to thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta (Luena): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to debate the motion put forward by His Honour the Vice-President and Leader of the House and  ...

Mr Kalenga: And aspiring president!

Mr Sibetta: Mr Speaker, as we move into the budget, I wish to appeal to you and the Government that this House be given sufficient time to debate the budget policy the Government will be putting across tomorrow, before we move into individual ministries. The learned Member from Solwezi Central is saying that we have had very little time to debate the policy statement contained in the speech of the President.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Shame!

Mr Sibetta: We would like this not to be repeated.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: The Government should not be jittery ...

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: ... when we try to tear it to pieces from Tuesday next week. They must listen so that we can move forward as a nation. It would be a tragedy if we are going to discuss the policy statement in the Budget Speech in three days like we have done on the President’s Speech. It would mean that the Government is worried and in haste to cover up something and muzzle the House.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: So, we must be given sufficient time to allow people to express themselves. We have, roughly, twenty ministries in the Yellow Book which are to be covered in policy formulation. By the time we go to individual items, we should avoid repeating ourselves on policy issues. However, if you are not going to give us sufficient time, then we are going to bring in policy issues when we begin to discuss individual items. If that happens, the debate will be mumble jumbled.

So, I think the minimum we are asking for could be seven working days so that everybody who can express himself or herself can debate the policy aspect. Sir, it is in the policy aspect where we can tell the nation whether we are moving forward or backwards. As from Tuesday, we would like to examine whether the Minister of Foreign Affairs is succeeding or failing in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Mr Sibetta: If you give us two days, we will not be able to debate thoroughly. It is very important that we are not rushed . 

I thank you for giving me your listening ears, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I wish to acknowledge the points raised by the hon. Members for Solwezi Central and Luena. I take it that the hon. Member for Solwezi Central, being a former Cabinet Minister, knows the procedure that we follow when we are planning these sessions. Before each session begins, I sit down with relevant authorities to look at the business for that session.

Mr Patel: Why not us?

The Vice-President: No, it is not your responsibility. It is my responsibility. We sit down to look at the business of the House and work out our programme according to the business which we are likely to undertake. Also, you should not forget that everyday we sit here costs the National Assembly money.

Mr Sibetta: So what?

The Vice-President: You must take into account the budget.

Mr Sibetta: No!


The Vice-President: Yes, you must.

Mr Sibetta: No!


The Vice-President: Yes, you have to, you cannot just work without taking into account the budget. So, we are looking at the funding as well and I know the figures are quite high.

Secondly, Sir, if Members of Parliament are prepared to forfeit their Christmas and New Year holidays, we can consider that. We always make sure when we are planning, we do not spill over into December and also we want to give them some time after the new year break. So, this is why you find that we put the opening in the middle of January. Otherwise, you would have been here by the 12th January, 2001. I think that most of us here would rather be with our families a little bit longer.

Mr Patel indicated assent.

The Vice-President: Thirdly, if you consider the debate in the last two days, by the time we get to 1800 hours, Mr Speaker, there are very few Members who will indicate to contribute.


The Vice-President: On Tuesday, we adjourned earlier than normal ...

Dr Sondashi: Hon. Members are scared to debate.

The Vice-President: In fact, the hon. Mr Speaker was kind to us, otherwise, he would have curtailed the debate because hon. Members were not indicating to speak.


The Vice-President: Now, that means that there is sufficient time and it is not utilised by hon. Members of Parliament. The fourth point is that if you were following the debate closely, you should have heard that there were a lot of repetitions.

Dr Sondashi: That is not allowed in the House.

The Vice-President: You were coming up with the same ideas which was an indication that you were running out points within two days. Now, if we gave you another week, you would completely run out of ideas.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I think that the time allotted is sufficient. In addition to that, in the past, for those of you who have been here long, you will recall that we used to allow an hon. Member to debate for forty-five minutes compared to the twenty minutes which is allocated now.

Dr Sondashi: We are right.

The Vice-President: I am also aware that in the past we used to debate the Motion of Thanks for two weeks but as I said, I think that we just used to involve ourselves in repetitions and rhetoric and matters like that. So, timing debates has always been the practice. I do not think that it is true that he wants to have an endless debate as if we are debating Constitutional issues.

Mr Speaker, having explained that, I am sure that hon. Members will understand the points that I have raised and, please, bear with us. We are also trying to look at their welfare and I think they should appreciate the effort we are putting in to ensure that their welfare is properly looked after. Otherwise, I thank the august House for agreeing to this motion.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! {mospagebreak}

Question put and agreed to.


(Debate resumed)

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (Mr Chikamba): Mr Speaker, first of all, I would like to take my hat off as I contribute to the debate. I wish to pay tribute to you for the manner in which you have handled the affairs of Parliament since you were elected as Speaker of the House. Sir, the same applies to your staff who have been so good to us.

Mr Speaker, I thank you that I am able to subscribe to this very important speech by the President of the Republic of Zambia which I wish to acknowledge as wholesome, all-embracing and prophesying.

Mr Speaker, before I continue to contribute to the debate on this very important speech, in particular on matters of agriculture, I wish to observe one very important speech that I listened to yesterday, which emanated from the hon. Member for Lusaka Central (Mr Patel). In his speech, - although he may not realise it -  he confirmed that the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr F. J. T. Chiluba is worthy. He is harvestable, yes, he is a fruit that is ripening for the people of Zambia to pick for the success of this wonderful country, Zambia. I thank him for confirming that the President is really worthy.

I think the hon. Members of the MMD will agree with me on that one. What he meant was that the party cadres of Zambia, especially the MMD were not right in their resolve to appreciate the performance of the President. I say to you, good luck because we are on the move.

Mr Speaker, having said so, I wish to refer the hon. Members to page 17 of this important speech, and I quote:

    ‘I, however, wish to assure this House that Government is critically evaluating all aspects relating to the support of this sector (agriculture) so that these problems could be overcome in the shortest possible time.’

Oh! Mr President. I really have confidence in the President and also his Cabinet and I know that this assurance is practical. I am personally assured that the agricultural sector will get its due so that we can move forward to increase national food security. I have confidence that we will have local funding for this sector and that the bank for the vulnerable groups shall be supported for the good performance of the agricultural sector.

Mr Speaker, I wish to quote from the speech, again, and I quote:

    ‘Mr Speaker, small-scale farmers have embraced the strategy of crop diversification by producing more profitable crops which require less chemical fertilizer, and which are drought tolerant such as beans, groundnuts, sunflower, sweet potatoes, sorghum and cassava.’

Mr Speaker, I wish to add to this list some types of sorghum and pumpkins. Sir, I am totally in favour of this statement. I am, in fact, a supporter of the fact that chemical fertiliser is not agriculture. But I see and hear a lot of ignorant information accessed by farmers that without fertiliser, there would be no national food security. Today, the rich people of Europe and America are consuming organically produced food. They are eating food that has been produced by conservation farming. Therefore, the President is right.

Mr Speaker, I wish to advise this august House that we should inform farmers in Zambia that scientific research has retracted and we have to follow what God established right from the start. That is why I am going round telling Christians that they have a role to play in the development of agriculture. This is because the Bible is categorical in terms of the agricultural policy.

Proverbs 28:19 states, and I quote:

    ‘He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.’

So, we are poor because we chase fantasies. There is a lot of politics wherever we go, even among us hon. Members of Parliament and Christians for that matter, who are supposed to sensitise others.

Mr Speaker, Genesis 1:10 ...

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Chikamba: Mr Speaker, I want to ensure that those churches out there know that they have a role to play in agriculture. The scriptures state very clearly that, ‘When God created the earth, he separated water from the land and for land he gave vegetation and seeds and plants of all kinds’. In the Garden of Eden there was all the time, a flow of water to irrigate the crops. Mr Speaker, this means that if we want water and there is none, we have to use our rivers. 

The other reference, Mr Speaker, is on page 41 of the President’s Speech. This is a wholesome speech and I wonder how some people can call it useless. I am beginning to think that you can judge an intelligent person by your standards. The fourth paragraph on this page states, and I quote:

    ‘Fourthly, we must deliberately relegate to the past the mentality of the State benevolence and instead promote the ethic of work, productivity and enterprise. Welfare is not the answer to poverty eradication, but productivity will generate wealth.’

Mr Nkole: Yes, now, go to the point.

Mr Chikamba:  I want to get to the point.

State benevolence, hon. Member of Parliament for Bweengwa (Mr Keembe), is out of question. We had to teach our cattle owners business acumen. The problem that we have in Zambia at the moment, Mr Speaker, is that every cattle owner, whether he has 2,000,1,000, 500, 50, herds of cattle is a small scale farmer. I think we should meet with the hon. Members of Parliament from both Southern and Western provinces to plan a strategy of how we are going to influence our cattle farmers.

In Botswana, they have done a fantastic job in categorising the cattle farmers so that the Government is able to concentrate on small scale farmers.

Mr Speaker, when the President talks about ethic of work, I suppose he is talking about how we should approach our work. Agriculture will not take off if we do not take it seriously. I think that hon. Members of Parliament and party cadres have a role to play in the formulation and implementation of agriculture. The church also has a role to play. Even security officers. We have an influx of cattle diseases coming into Zambia because we have sidelined security officers. Women and children have a very important role to play as well. I must say that we have sidelined our party cadres. I would support a Member of Parliament who will go to his constituency and sit down to plan a strategy on how the community will participate in implementing our agricultural policy.

Mr Speaker, in summary, let me say that in the President’s opinion, what has negatively impacted the agricultural policy in Zambia is, firstly, the information that farmers have had over the years that only fertiliser is agriculture. God has given us seeds which do not require fertiliser and we can live on them. Solwezi exports some crops like sweet potatoes. Some farmers have been exporting pumpkins to Angola. In fact, Cameroon exports cassava chips and Yams to Europe. I do not see why we cannot do that.

Secondly, we have to approach agriculture politically. We must not put the blame on the Ministers of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries or Finance and Economic Development. We have to blame ourselves for not having approached agriculture politically.

Thirdly, our work culture has to change if we have to develop agriculture.

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Mr Ng’uni): Mr Speaker, in congratulating the President on his wonderful speech to this House, I would like to respond to a few points that hon. Members of Parliament have raised, which touch on the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

Mr Speaker, I would like to start with the question of Zambia’s qualification to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and what that will entail for the country. Sir, the qualification of Zambia to HIPC is real and the benefits are also real. The $2.3 billion plus that Zambia will receive in debt relief will go a long way in ameliorating some of the financial constraints that we have been experiencing as a result of servicing our debt.

The hon. Member of Parliament for Mwandi, Dr. Kabanje, referred to the fact that qualifying to HIPC does not mean that we should celebrate. Sir, this debt had been accumulated over a long period of time and it was going to be due this year. Zambia does not have the capacity, at all, to meet its obligations to the international community. Instead of spending all the money that we have in the Budget on servicing debts, some of it will go to help our people and, so, that is cause for celebration. It is not a debt that was accumulated under the MMD Government, but we found it.

Mr Speaker, normally, at decision point, there is no relief given to any country. Zambia is the first country that is going to enjoy this facility of starting to benefit just at decision point rather than waiting for completion point. Therefore, we should appreciate the assistance and consideration that we have been given by the international community.

Mr Speaker, the other issue deals with our local currency. When you detect a problem, the most important thing to do is to find out what factors are causing the problem. It would have been very fantastic for us last year to just respond, perhaps, by asking the Bank of Zambia to start selling the foreign currency on the market as a way of reducing the depreciation. That could have been a short term measure. We needed a complete mix of measures for a long lasting measure. Consequently, we had to take time in order to understand the underlying dynamics which were affecting the exchange rate in the country and then come up with measures that are appropriate in design and effect.

We think, Sir, that, at the moment, we have come up with measures to help us stabilise the currency. I am aware that, perhaps, there may be some hon. Members of Parliament who are experts in finance like Hon. Hachipuka, Hon. Sichinga and others. If there is anything that they believe is inadequate in the measures that we have designed and effected, we are prepared to listen to them. There is a committee at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development that is receiving submissions which will help strengthen the kwacha. But I think that right now, the measures we have taken are taking effect and the kwacha is strengthening. We are looking at the other aspect and we will be monitoring the situation as it develops.

Hon. Opposition Member: That is wishful thinking.

Mr Ng’uni: It is not wishful thinking. If you have not seen the rate going down, that is your problem 

Mr Simasiku: It is K3,500 per US$1 today.

Mr Ng’uni: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Parliament for Mpulungu alluded to the need for long term finance. We cannot agree more with him. Every country requires long term finance. It is cheaper, more sustainable than relying on short term finance. Indeed, the Government has taken measures on Development Bank of Zambia and soon these measures will be announced. We think that with the reorganisation that is going to take place, there should be sufficient long term finance to enable the business community to access long term but affordable finance.

Mr Speaker, social economic infrastructure is of critical importance to any country. As the President has already alluded to in his speech, measures have been taken in order to ensure that we rehabilitate, maintain and construct the necessary social infrastructure.

Last year, Sir, we had a meeting with hon. Members of Parliament at which we reviewed the operations of financing agencies under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development such as social fund and micro-projects. Certain constraints were identified and these have been rectified. Soon, we are going to issue communication to hon. Members of Parliament and all stakeholders to ensure that we speed up the pace at which the social infrastructure is maintained, constructed or repaired.

Sir, we know the feeder roads are critical to the development of the rural areas. These are going to be handled. Soon, we are going to issue communication to Provincial Ministers, hon. Members of Parliament and District Administrators to ensure that the roads that we are putting in the project reflect the priorities in each district. I hope, Sir, that when this communication comes to the hon. Members of Parliament and our colleagues, the hon. Ministers in provinces, they will respond as quickly as possible so that by the time we come to the end of the rainy season, Zambia National Service can start working.

We have already talked about tourism as a very critical sector for us in terms of generating foreign currency and employment in the country. Already, our colleagues at the Ministry of Tourism have responded with the critical roads that they think should be worked on which allow access to tourist resorts. Our colleagues at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries have responded with location of dams in order to promote small scale irrigation in the country.

Our colleagues at the Ministry of Local Government and Housing have been pro-active in ensuring that the plans in the districts include all the critical socio-economic infrastructure. We think, Sir, that we are addressing these issues. As we go on, hon. Members of Parliament will be the best witnesses who will be monitoring what is happening in this sector.

Thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Mr Simasiku): Thank you very much, Sir. I wish to take this opportunity to contribute on this very important motion. As the motion states, it is ‘“Thanks” the President’s Speech’ and not wholesale condemnation. That is the guideline.

From the outset, Mr Speaker, I would like to urge my hon. Colleagues that they have a very important role of complementing Government efforts in the overall goal of serving our people in this country. As we are all aware, the Government consists of three legs: the Judiciary, Legislature and Executive. All these three arms are very important and when one wishes to criticise the other, they must be based on constructive criticism and within the parameters of dialogue.

Mr Speaker, I was worried about some speeches that expressed a lot of hatred for the President as a person. I think the President, as Head of State, has to be given respect because he is not an ordinary president of a political party. 

So, let us view him in that context. We are not saying you cannot criticise his Government. Criticise the policies of his Government and give alternative solutions. You only condemn day and night what the Government thinks, plans and does. I think we have a wrong way of doing things. Why do I say this, Mr Speaker? In Zambia, we have over thirty-two political parties. Most of us could only remember, maybe, four if we were to write down how many parties there are in the country. Most of them are only on paper. Some of them have no fixed abode. Yesterday, we tried to send invitations to the heads of political parties to come to the Budget Address tomorrow. Unfortunately, Sir, we do not know where to find them.


Mr Simasiku: Honestly!


Mr Simasiku: We have thirty-eight of them. We can only trace five. We hope to find, maybe, four by today. What worries me more is that you will find that Opposition parties want to spend more time being too critical.

Hon. Opposition Members: In advising.

Mr Simasiku: Advising is a very important role, but what do you think when some say, ‘When we take over power this year’? How many are going to take over power from the Government? Each party says it is going to form the next Government. All of them are only focused at Plot One. How many people will occupy State House? They are spending so much time talking about one thing. We would like the Opposition to discuss the affairs of the nation on a daily basis so that we find workable solutions where we may have problems.

Wanton criticism saddens me. Let us look at defence in the country. Indeed, on our borders, all of us have been complaining. Too many refugees are coming in. Why are they coming in? It is because of instability in their own countries. Countries that have been at war for twenty, thirty, forty or forty-five years with no peace. Obviously, they are like water. Water has to find its own level. Now, to maintain this peace, there is a cost, Sir. We need to provide for our internal security personnel. Many a time, hon. Members here have urged the Government to provide transport for the defence personnel, namely: Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force, Zambia National Service and Zambia Police. Sir, what does the Government do? Within our limited resources, we have tried to meet this need. Now, instead of thanking the Government, the Opposition chooses to cast aspersions. I admire debates by my brother, Hon. Tetamashimba, although, sometimes, he allows his emotions to overcome him. 

I want to give an example. He mentioned that the vehicles the Government has bought for service personnel are salaula. 

Mr Tetamashimba: That is what they are.

Mr Simasiku: You go around town. We will ask the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and the hon. Minister of Defence, through their officers, to go with you and look at those vehicles. Come back and tell this House if your claim is true. Those are very beautiful vehicles. You have seen them in town. Hon. Tetamashimba, if we buy a Mercedes Benz, you criticise us, saying why buy a Mercedes Benz for these people? You are always complaining. 

Mr L. L. Phiri: From Dubai.

Mr Simasiku: I think we must live within our means. We were asked why we are proud of being poor. My colleague has answered that. The HIPC Programme which many people still do not understand has to do with debts that were accrued in the First and Second Republics. Now, when the ratio of your exports and debt is unsustainable, you qualify for HIPC to try and make you move forward without disrupting your earnings. So, I think it is important that we give due respect and support to the HIPC programme.

Mr Speaker, I must also state that there has been a lot of debate regarding poverty in Zambia. If you talk about poverty without doing anything about it, you are not helping matters. The HIPC programme is centred on poverty reduction. The money that is, now, being used on debt servicing will be channelled to assist in the programmes for health, education, the fight against HIV/AIDS, clean water, and sanitation. These are the programmes that will be given centre stage. The Government has drawn up programmes in agreement with the United Nations system. We have a programme to reduce poverty by 15 per cent in Zambia by the year 2004. Then we are looking ahead to reduce poverty by 50 per cent by the year 2015. These measures will be made possible through our own efforts using our own means of development which is the budget.

May I, now, turn to another point, Mr Speaker. There was an accusation that the Government is not paying those who have been affected by the Public Service Reform Programme or restructuring. I want to state here that last year, on the 4th January, 2000, my ministry released one lump sum payment of K74 billion for the Public Service Reform Programme under the Public Service Management Division. In December, another K20 billion was given to them to assist in finalising the issues of the Budget. So, all the money that was budgeted for last year was released by the beginning of the year. In addition,. this year, acting under warrant, we have released K20 billion towards the same programme. So, the Government is committed to this programme and everything is being done. The hon. Minister will come with final measures in support of this programme.

Mr Speaker, I want to state that a lot has been discussed on privatisation. There have been a lot of negative aspects that have been highlighted on privatisation leaving out the successful stories of the programme. I am glad that there were some very important lessons that we have learnt through privatisation and we need support because Zambians are the ones who are the final beneficiaries of this particular programme. The President said strategic firms, that is: Zamtel, Zesco and Zanaco would not be privatised and I think it is important that we support this important Government decision.

Mr Speaker, let me also comment briefly on tourism. Tourism is strategic to the economic development of the country although, sometimes, we seem to only be looking at the negative aspects. While the Government was busy negotiating the deal over the Mosi-O-Tunya Hotel in Livingstone, there was a lot of consternation. I visited that place two weeks ago and I would like to urge hon. Members to avail themselves an opportunity to visit Livingstone and see what transformation is taking place not only for Zambia but for the whole region. There are beautiful structures that have come up and even the lodges that have been set up in Livingstone. Some business houses have put up hangings on the cliffs of the gorges.

Look at the Liuwa National Park. If today our hon. Members went there, they would be surprised. We are grateful that the Government has taken measures to make it accessible to Zambians and the rest of the world by putting up a road between Kalabo and Mongu. This construction started in June or July. You find the heaviest concentration of wildebeest in Africa in that park. There are thousands of them. There is nowhere you will find this type of game. How many of us can highlight this and talk about it and spread the good news? 

Mr Patel: Take me there.

Mr Simasiku: We will take you. 

I would like this programme to really succeed. We, at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, would like to work hand in hand with the Ministry of Tourism to see what we can do about these issues.

Mr Speaker, I want also to agree with Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika when she mentioned that we should be issue-oriented. Let us discuss issues that affect the Zambian people, not personalities, because when we are out of this House, we are all one. Let us not look at who is who, who comes from where or what they look like. I was saddened to hear on the radio of one hon. Member from the Opposition who issued a statement citing the tragic death of the assassinated late President Kabila of the Congo DR and said President Chiluba must learn a lesson from that.

Hon. Government Members: Shame!

Mr Simasiku: How do you say such a thing? We want to plead with our colleagues in the Opposition; that is not right. Our history has not been of bloodshed but of peace. There is a tendency by certain quarters, when they do not agree with the Government, to threaten that they will go to the donors, not knowing that it is not the donors’ responsibility to govern Zambia. Zambians govern themselves and determine their destiny. It is not donors to fight your battles, let us use the avenues that have been put forward for dialogue. If you look around other countries in Africa, they have failed to be like Zambia.

I want to agree with the President when he urged us to search for oil. Let me give an example of Sudan. Hardly, four years ago, Sudan discovered oil and, now, is self-sufficient with oil and a net exporter of 25 per cent of its production. Before that, there were many companies which explored for oil but came up with negative results until they licensed some very committed foreign companies. So, let us not give up, one day, we will have oil somewhere.

Mr Speaker, there was a complaint that the Government was putting more emphasis on provincial accounting units than on the Auditor-General. I want to clarify this issue. This House had for along time urged the Government to support the accounting systems at all the centres. Now that we are doing that, I am sure those who are familiar with this type of work will agree with me that it makes the work of an auditor much easier. You cannot expect an auditor to come and work on something that does not exist. So, it is important that we support the accounting units and obviously, you have heard for yourself from the horse’s mouth that the Auditor-General’s Office will also be strengthened. Sometimes, you do not need only to hear from the horse’s mouth but even from the owner of the horse. That is the new term you must remember.


Mr Simasiku: There was also one hon. Member who mentioned that we expected the President to mention what he intended to do for the nation in future instead of spending too much time explaining what has been achieved. Let me state that it is important to explain everything that we have done so far. The Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair, stated that we must tell the people what we have done and defend what we have done. People easily forget that they used to hide money in their bras, socks, pants, and so on in this country. Even Coca-Cola was so scarce in this country. Mr Speaker, let us not choose to forget the successes of a responsible Government under a responsible leadership.

Finally, Sir, I want to state that, sometimes, we are quick to criticise. When Opposition parties lose elections, they say it is rigging but when they win, they shut up. You look at what happened in Florida, if this was in Africa, people would have been raising a lot of questions, but the Americans were calm, solved their problem and they have a President in place. You do not throw a system away, just improve it.

Sir, I would like to conclude by stating that the statement by the spokesman of UPND (Mr Mutesa) urging hon. Members of Parliament to try and derail the Presidential funding was cheap politics. A man who was a High Commissioner should not sink so low, even if there are differences, he must respect the President of the country.

Thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister for North-Western Province (Mr Kambilumbilu): Mr Speaker, I thank you for granting me this opportunity to say a few words in this House. First of all, may I welcome new Members of Parliament who have joined us.

Years ago, Professor John Tengo Jabah of South Africa at the time when colour bar was at its peak was one day approached by a white man who said, ‘Good morning John. How are you’? The Professor politely answered, ‘Good morning, I am very well, thank you, although there are some symptoms which symbolise mumblecity’.

Laughter. {mospagebreak}

Mr Kambilumbilu: The white man got perplexed because he did not understand what the Professor meant, what he meant was simply that one day racism will go or disappear when the blacks in that country would take over the reign of the Government. The Professor played a low profile, he knew that one day the blacks would rule but he accepted the inevitable. Yet he did not fail to remind the white man that one day South Africa would be free.

Today, here at home, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) have said, ‘Good morning MMD Government. How are you’? We have replied, ‘Good morning, we are the poorest of the poor because having inherited a shattered economy, we are spending sleepless nights in order to find some solution to our economic problems’.

Mr Speaker, we have said that when you are poor, you are poor. It is not shameful to appeal to other people who have the means to help. After all, Mr Speaker, there is all the greatness when men and women come down from their high ground of justification to meet at the level ground of pragmatism. Rigidity does not help. Other people here on the other side have condemned HIPC. Our situation is such that we have a responsibility to the people of Zambia. Some means have to be found. In this millennium of democracy, the MMD Government would wish to launch a very strong spring board of hope for our people in order to avoid coming closer to the blink of economic confrontation that can bring devastation to our social order.

Although already there are some rivals who have begun to look for some parking space in the competition for leadership, it should be appreciated that tranquillity in any given situation cannot be brought about by the MMD Government alone. This is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders here in Zambia. For those Zambian leaders who traverse the world discouraging some international communities that are fully prepared to come to our aid, they must stop. Every so often in the world today, we have experienced the work of the devil at its best. Brothers and sisters have been at each other’s throat to the amazement of the very devil resulting in the innocent harvesting hate and destruction in the end. The MMD Government, as at now, being the sitting tenant that has not defaulted in any way, will not allow that ugly situation to happen, come what may.

Finally, Mr Speaker, not to praise the MMD Government for all those good things that have been done is, indeed, madness. Sir, failure to appreciate what the MMD Government stands for is nothing but lunacy haunted by criminal hallucinations.


Mr Kambilumbilu: For those that are incapable of forming visions, Mr Speaker, their aboard is disaster that will lead them to extinction from the political, social or economic scene. Mr Speaker, men are many, but too few are real men, women are many but too few are real women, political parties are many but too few are real political parties.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambilumbilu: Therefore, the real men, real women and the real political parties must, now, support MMD, the real party.

I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister for Central Province (Mr Mulando): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the motion on the Floor. I would like to commend the President for his speech which guides the nation on what we should do during the year. 

Allow me, Mr Speaker, to also congratulate hon. Members of Parliament who were recently elected to Parliament and also those who were nominated. Specifically, may I welcome my dear brother, Hon. Musakabantu.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulando: Sir, as a nation, this country has contributed a lot to the democratic change that took place in the Southern African region and we have become leaders in democracy. I am sure, Sir, my dear colleagues will agree with me that we have done a good job and others have been following us. The Opposition political parties always criticise the MMD Government, but what they fail to do is to thank this Government for adhering to the principles of democratic governance.

Sir, the President did mention the need to alleviate poverty. I want to say that poverty alleviation, really, lies in all Zambians working to generate wealth in this country. Unless we can work hard to generate wealth, the alleviation of poverty will be a pipe dream. We should use our talents to make money both in the informal and formal sectors. Sir, the Government has put in place favourable economic policies that encourage individuals to participate freely in enterprise. We also need to change our work culture. Sometimes, when I go around, I see that some of our citizens are not putting in much in their work. I want to appeal to all relevant trade unions and other workers’ unions to encourage their members to work and avoid illegal work stoppages because this also contributes to reduced generation of wealth.

On agriculture, Sir, my province’s major economic activity, as you are all aware, is agriculture. I would like to say that effective and timely procurement and distribution of inputs and marketing of agricultural produce can only be achieved if all stakeholders play their part. The Government is always at the receiving end, Mr Speaker, regarding delayed delivery of inputs, but nothing has been said about the contribution our small-scale farmers make to this problem. Delayed repayments of farmers also contribute to the problem of delayed delivery of inputs. 

I would like to echo the Presidents’ appeal to us to play a role in the establishment of co-operative societies. I believe that we should not end there, Mr Speaker, we should also help in guiding these co-operative societies which we know are new. They have just been established and are lacking capacity and training. What I have discovered, Mr Speaker, is that co-operative societies come to life when it is time to receive inputs. After receiving inputs, they become inactive until the next season. 

Sir, I think it is important that we as national leaders should guide the leaders who are leading these co-operative societies so that they know that farming is business. It is not different from trading in a shop. It is a business where they can get a profit. I think that most of our farmers are lacking knowledge in managing their small scale farming enterprises. They do not know how to cost their produce and because of that they end up selling their produce for a song.

So, it is important that we play a role as national leaders to guide these people to provide capacity building so that these co-operative societies stand the test of time. The co-operative societies, Sir, are the only methods in which we can encourage agricultural production within our policy of economic liberalisation.

Mr Speaker, coming to the issue of Local Government, it is sad that most of our district councils are not performing to the expectations of the people they serve. I am saying this because I want to respond to Hon. Chisanga, Member of Parliament for Bwacha, and I want to thank him for expressing his concern on the issue of cholera in Kabwe. Indeed, Sir, this issue can also be blamed on the council itself. The Government has in the past provided financial support to Kabwe Municipal Council. At one time, the Government provided K250 million in order to repair the drainage system. That money was misused by the council and the councillors were suspended by the late Bennie Mwiinga when he was Minister of Local Government and Housing.

Mr Speaker, recently, Zesco was kind enough to give some contracts on the leeway clearance to the district councils. Two of the district councils in Central Province, Kabwe Municipal Council and Mkushi District Council did not put that money to good use and the matter is being investigated by the Government. 

Sir, the issue of cholera has been compounded by poor drainage and sanitation systems which have collapsed due to the break down of water pipes. I want to assure the House that we have been working between my office and the Minister of Health and indeed, the Office of the Vice-President to put our resources together and logistics so that cholera in Kabwe does not spread further.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion I wish to thank you for the manner in which you are leading this august House and I wish you a prosperous 2001 and beyond.

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister for Eastern Province (Mr Mbuzi): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me time to debate the Presidential Speech. It is a great speech which is, in its unique way, promoting the rule of law and democracy in the country.

The President continues to support peace initiatives in the nation and in the region as a whole. In this speech, all sectors of development have been included and given their due attention and rightful place. It gives us all great hope for the future and confidence. We are moving forward knowing full well that the past is so little and highly compacted with greater achievements. Records are there to show. The eleven by-elections recently won by MMD, including Kapoche in the Eastern Province ...

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbuzi: ... must prove the point. The political landscape for the MMD is clear and firmly on course and on our side. Yes, critics will say what they think will make sense to the public, but I can assure this House that the people of Zambia know who has put a full stop to black marketeering and who has flooded shops with goods which at one time in the recent past were as scarce as gold or diamond.

Mr Speaker, the speech by the Head of State must always be taken seriously. It does not matter how cynically inclined or naturally malicious or mendacious a critic’s mind may be, that mind must at all time recognise the fact that the President is the apex of all authority in the land and, therefore, co-ordinator of all Government machinery. Without this kind of arrangement, we are all lost. 

Mr Speaker, I wish to pay special thanks to our colleagues whether on Government side or the opposite side who have recognised this fact and have contributed positively on this debate. I shall never accept that a powerful speech like this one would in any way be anti-climax. The speech is a thesis of wisdom lined up with the economic socio-scientific agricultural bench marks. The speech is focused and only requires a mind that is able to paraphrase intelligently not a mind that flips over information maybe, because it is not trained to dissect, deduce, infer or extrapolate from any serious literally works. 

If you allow such a mind to lead you, you will end up arriving at totally unrelated and uninformed inferences which are only fit for consumption by the simple and gullible minds. Hard work and high productivity are congruent. Africa will have to learn that poverty will never be driven away by mere talk and wishful thinking. We shall have to toil hard just as the Americans and the Australians did. Those of us who owe FRA must remember to pay back. 

Finally, I wish to congratulate those who have been either nominated to this House or elected. Hon. Chungu is one of them, Hon. Tembo is another from Kapoche and several others.


Mr Mbuzi: Including all the new Members of Parliament. I am also very happy, Sir, that Hon. Nyangu, Member of Parliament for Nyimba, is the current Provincial Chairman for the Eastern Province.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbuzi: He is most welcome, we will work together.

Sir, Hon. Lucas Phiri, who is not here, should learn that people in glass houses should not through stones. I do not hate him. He is welcome to the provincial office and at the same time, he must learn to co-operate. If he wants to join MMD, please, let him come and see us.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Mr Mbuzi: Sir, I do not want to bore you with any more remarks, but I would like to thank you for allowing me time to speak.

The Minister of Tourism (Mr Harrington): Mr Speaker, I am most grateful to you, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to debate the motion on the Floor which was very ably presented by the hon. Member for Kantanshi and seconded by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kasempa.

From the outset, I seize this opportunity to welcome my recent appointment to the Ministry of Tourism - an appointment to yet another key economic ministry. I appreciate that the President continues to enhance my political curriculum vitae and to give me invaluable exposure in Government.

Mr Speaker, in welcoming the appointment, I recognise the great challenges that lie ahead at the ministry, especially that of restoring the lost integrity and dignity of this key economic ministry which had been eroded over recent times.

Mr Speaker, I can only promise the people of Zambia, through this House, that I will endeavour, as usual, to ensure that the nation and indeed, the economy derives maximum benefits from our great tourism industry and our vast natural resources, especially our wildlife and biodiversity on which the sector so much depends not only for sustainability, Sir, but also for medium and long-term survival. Our national survival depends, by and large, on tourism as well as agriculture.

Mr Speaker, in his well delivered landmark speech on the occasion of the official opening of the Fifth Session of the Eighth National Assembly on Friday 19th January, 2001, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Frederick T. J. Chiluba, did address himself to various areas of the national economy, including tourism.

The Republican President alluded to various matters of concern under the tourism sector, more especially on the issue of safari hunting concessions. Mr Speaker, expressing his deep concern on the gross abuse of hunting concessions by certain operators which has, over the years, resulted in wanton and indiscriminate dissipation of our precious wildlife resources through forged special hunting licences without any monetary or other benefits to the national economy and the Zambian people, the President declared a one year ban on professional safari hunting.

Mr Speaker, this decision was timely, bold and pragmatic and needs to be supported by all of us and on behalf of the people we represent, and of course, our future generations. It cannot be over-emphasised that tourism can and must increase its contribution to our country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in line with my ministry’s mission statement.

Mr Speaker, however, success in this regard depends on how well we can manage our wildlife and other natural resources. Contrary to certain misconceptions in certain quarters, Mr Speaker, it must be made clear here that the President has not in any way banned normal hunting activities as provided for in the Act which was legislated by this House. I am talking about the Zambia Wildlife Act. The general interested public should be assured that special hunting licences are still available upon application by eligible parties or individuals as provided for in the Act. Those non-eligible for special hunting licences can apply for ordinary hunting licenses but are expected to pay the prescribed fees. I hope the hon. Member for Lumezi should be comforted by this clarification.

Major Kamanga: Very comfortable!

Mr Harrington: Mr Speaker, the President’s decision is totally justifiable. There has been gross abuse of special hunting licences. Hon. Members may wish to learn that from January 2000 to November 2000, a total of 776 licences were issued free of charge to people who could have otherwise paid and who are not eligible for licences. About US$365, which was almost K1.6 million could have gone towards building a few clinics in our constituencies. I am quite sure.

Mr Speaker, I want to urge hon. Members of Parliament or those interested to await the new guidelines which will be published in the media on the new procedures which should be followed when applying either for special hunting licences or indeed, ordinary hunting licences.

Mr Speaker, as confirmed by the President in his landmark speech, a prime factor which contributed to his declaration is that most, if not all, operators have failed to produce audited accounts to the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) Technical Evaluating Committee which was established to consider bids for hunting concessions. This was a specific requirement if they had to qualify for allocation of a safari hunting concession.

To add salt to injury, Mr Speaker, most operating companies declared losses in their operations. The question we must ask ourselves then is: how is it that all these companies which claim to be no-profit making are on the other hand desperately scrambling and fighting for concession areas?

I think there is something seriously wrong. Many safari hunting companies have also failed to state what social economic benefits they have brought to the local communities in the operating areas.

Mr Speaker, the Government has the moral duty and responsibility to ensure that our natural resources, in this case, our wildlife on which the tourism industry depends is really utilised and exploited in a sustainable manner for the benefit of present and future generations and, indeed, our national economy.

Mr Speaker, therefore, the presidential decree should be seen in the context of our overall tourism policy and the role of the Government in the tourism and wildlife sector, which is to promote the sustainable use of wildlife and habitats and also to ensure equitable distribution of benefits from wildlife to the communities.

Mr Speaker, some concern has been raised that the ban on safari hunting concessions may cause a vacuum in the various hunting blocks and, thereby lead to an increase in poaching. I wish to very strongly warn people against engaging in poaching because I have directed the Zambia Wildlife Authority to workout  measures and strategies to strengthen their anti-poaching units.

The long arm of the law will continue to deal ruthlessly with poachers. Mr Speaker, recognising that ZAWA needs financial and logistical support to enhance their wildlife conservation efforts in light of the presidential ban, I intend to meet our co-operating partners soon on the matter with a view to soliciting their necessary support.

I am hopeful, Sir, that the presidential decree will be seen by our co-operating partners in the wildlife sector as testimony of the commitment, at the highest level of the Government, to address the problem of wanton destruction and depletion of our wildlife.

Mr Speaker, arrangements are also being made for me to meet all operators and stakeholders as soon as possible to see how best we can work together during the twelve months ban period. I need to mention here, Sir, that the bids so far submitted to my ministry, through ZAWA by operators, will be re-evaluated and more closely scrutinised in terms of their operations, including true ownership of these companies, reputation in the operational areas, compliance with the provisions of the law relating to fire arms, exports, licences, tax, declaration of income, contribution to local communities and commitment to supporting the work of ZAWA. My ministry expects all operators to take advantage of the time to regularise their operations and account properly to the State in terms of what I have just mentioned.

In this regard, my ministry will work closely with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to ensure compliance and accountability by our safari hunting companies.

Mr Speaker, my ministry will also consult hon. Members of Parliament, where applicable, to find out from them what benefits have accrued to their communities in hunting concession areas in their constituencies. Donation of a bicycle, radio, television set or video cassette recorder to a chief or village headman will not be regarded as a contribution to the socio-economic development of the local communities.

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to know that ZAWA has already submitted to my ministry, a document containing some considerations and recommendations ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

Mr Harrington: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was saying that ZAWA had already submitted to my ministry a document containing some considerations and recommendations on how best we could manage the presidential ban on safari hunting concessions and the way forward.

Mr Speaker, some hon. Members have expressed interest in  how far my ministry has gone in investigating the allegation of forgery and recycling of hunting supplementary safari licences. I would like to confirm, Sir, that I was presented with a preliminary report prepared by our senior investigations officers at ZAWA headquarters, in Lusaka. I have studied the recommendations and I have cleared them so that they can proceed.

Mr Speaker, I can only say that the revelations contained in this report confirm that there is total anarchy in the operations of some of our safari hunting companies. Mr Speaker, I also want to support the President’s call to hon. Members to become honorary wildlife guards.

Mr Sibetta: Ooh, it is going to be worse!


Mr Harrington: Mr Speaker, the doors of my ministry and those of the Zambia Wildlife Authority remain open to register all hon. Members and, indeed, all those willing members of their constituencies who may wish to register. I am sure we will be able to supply appropriate uniform for hon. Members of Parliament.

Mr Speaker, on page 29, the President spoke about an important and rare occasion or event on our tourism calendar, to which some hon. Members made reference in their debates on the motion. This is on the 2001 Solar Eclipse. Sir, contrary to certain assertions made, Government has already set up a 2001 Solar Eclipse Secretariat, which is a Task Force Committee aimed at ensuring that Zambia takes full advantage of the strategic location as the world witnesses this rare event of the total eclipse of the sun on 21st June 2001. Especially , I believe, in Chisamba where my hardworking colleague and distinguished hon. Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister of Tourism is preparing some land for those tourists and even citizens who may wish to travel there to camp and wait for this day. Chisamba is the only point in the world where there will be a total eclipse of the sun.

Hon. Members: What time!

Mr Harrington: I believe at 1304 hours.

Mr Speaker, we will ensure we maximise benefits to be accrued from the over 10,000 expected tourists. I intend to issue a ministerial statement, if I am given permission by His Honour the Vice-President during the coming sitting of Parliament, to inform the House and the nation on the matter. I have already received the budget from the 2001 Solar Eclipse Secretariat.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I appeal to all hon. Members for sympathy, understanding and most importantly, support and co-operation which I already have from my Cabinet colleagues in my ministry’s effort to restore order in the tourism and wildlife sectors.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mr Walubita): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you most sincerely for according me this opportunity to congratulate Mr President for his eloquent, thought provoking and direction setting speech, marking the official opening of the Fifth Session of the Eighth National Assembly.

Before I move over to my main contribution this afternoon, Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the mover and the seconder of the motion. May I also join my colleagues in congratulating the various hon. Members of Parliament who took oath at the beginning of this Session. In particular, I want to welcome and congratulate our youngest hon. Member of Parliament, Hon. George Chulumanda, at the age of 31, who is smartly dressed just like the Minister of Foreign Affairs.


Mr Walubita: I also wish to congratulate Hon. Bwalya Nsakasha, Member of Parliament for Nchelenge, a renowned young banker. Of course, I recognise the presence of my own sister, Mrs Elina Tembo, Member of Parliament for Kapoche Constituency. 

Mr Speaker, I want to join the Minister for Eastern Province in emphasising that our success in the eastern part of this country is something to reckon with and really, we must thank the people of Eastern Province, Kapoche in particular, for having brought to this House, another Tembo.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Walubita: Mr Speaker, I do recall, sometime back, we were proud in this House to have three able Miyandas. We lost one Miyanda, but still have two. Really, it is quite interesting, Mr Speaker, to note that today, we have three Tembos. I want to congratulate the people of Kapoche on bringing to this House, a renowned economist in Zambia, in the name of Elina Tembo.

Mr Speaker, I also want to welcome the nominated Member of Parliament, Hon. Potipher Chungu. Another very able banker in this country. Let me join Hon. Mulando, Deputy Minister for Central Province, in welcoming Hon. Reuben Musakabantu. I want to assure Hon. Musakabantu that we really missed him in this House and we must thank the President for exercising his prerogative powers to nominate him. We are here to enjoy your debates.

Of course, I also wish to welcome a very renowned experienced politician in the name of Hon. Alfred Ndhlovu. My brother, you have seen both sides of the coin and I want to say that we are very happy to welcome you on the Government bench.

Mr Speaker, I wish to state that the President has given instructions and guidelines and has also challenged us and the people of Zambia to work extra hard for the development and prosperity of our country. 

As Minister of Foreign Affairs, I will be failing in my duties if I do not comment on the tragic developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where President Laurent Kabila was assassinated last week. His death, Mr Speaker, is a very sad development, not only for the Democratic Republic of Congo, but for Zambia as well. {mospagebreak}


Mr Walubita: I want to remind hon. Members of the Opposition, who do not seem to have taken this death so seriously, that five of our provinces, namely: Central, Copperbelt, Luapula, Northern and Northwestern provinces share a common border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Consequently, Mr Speaker, any instability in that country could have an adverse effect on our country. It could also impact negatively on the economic developments, peace and security in the sub-region.

Mr Speaker, it is in this regard that Zambia is determined to continue working towards a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Indeed, there have been some difficulties in the peace process. Our hope lies in the fact that all the parties to the Lusaka Peace Agreement signed in 1999, have repeatedly re-affirmed their commitment to the agreement. I am confident, Mr Speaker, that the process of implementing the agreement will soon be resumed.

Mr Speaker, it is equally our hope as a Government and as people of Zambia that peace prevails in the neighbouring country of the Republic of Angola where hostilities have intensified in the past one year. Zambia has and continues in this regard, to comply with all the United Nations resolutions adopted on sanctions against UNITA. I need not emphasise that bilateral co-operation between ourselves and Angola is also improving.

Mr Speaker, on the global level, the Government has, in the past nine years, hastened its interactions with other members of what is increasingly referred to as a global village in order to promote international peace and development.

Mr Sibetta: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Sibetta: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs in order to debate so well but fail to congratulate his speech to his hon. Deputy Minister (Mr Kayope) who recently got married to a beautiful young lady ...


Mr Sibetta: ... and is enjoying his honeymoon behind him there? Is he in order to fail to take note of that development? I need your ruling.


Mr Speaker: May the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, please, continue.


Mr Walubita: Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the protection. Hon. Sibetta has always found it necessary to raise some points of order on his younger brother. However, he should never be in the habit of presuming that I would fail in my duty to congratulate my own brother, whom we refer to in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as bakalamba or elder in English.


Mr Walubita: Mr Speaker, Zambia is working through various Joint Permanent Commissions of Co-operation to fight for peace and stability in the neighbourhood and also to strengthen on our bilateral relations in and beyond the region and Africa.

Mr Speaker, let me, now, turn to one other important task which Zambia will be undertaking this year, namely: the hosting of the OAU Heads of State and Government Summit sometime in July, 2001. The Assembly of the OAU Heads of State and Government is by all accounts the most important annual event for African leaders to formulate policies and adopt major decisions affecting the continent. It is also an occasion for any hosting country to market itself and we have no doubt that ministries like Tourism with the obvious coming in of the commissioning of this very important hotel in Livingstone, Sun International Hotel, will do everything possible to market Zambia during this very important political gathering.

Mr Speaker, it, therefore, means each one of us has a role to play in this event. I am proud to note that Zambia has a lot of past experiences from which to draw to ensure a well organised and highly successful summit.

Mr Speaker, in order to manage international relations effectively and efficiently, my ministry has to have Zambian Missions abroad. The running costs and allowances of staff in these missions are in foreign exchange. The weakening of the kwacha, therefore, adversely affects the staff and performance of these missions. This scenario not only affects the image of our country but also defeats my ministry’s objectives of having a well-looked after and efficient diplomat who has an enabling environment to work in.

Mr Speaker, in this vein, I would like to remind the House that diplomacy is costly and requires large sums of money and I look forward to the support of this august House when it comes to budgetary consideration.

Mr Speaker, I am, therefore, looking forward to the promising upturn in our economy as a result of the completion of the privatisation of the mines, coupled with the economic measures announced recently to reduce capital flight in order to stabilise our local currency, the kwacha, to alleviate some of the negative effects on my ministry. In the meantime, I hope when time comes to debating my ministry’s estimates, the House will bear our difficulties in mind and give us all the support that we require.

Mr Speaker, finally, I would like to thank you for the manner you have conducted the business of this House. Our National Assembly proceedings are known for peace and stability that prevail. In this National Assembly, Sir, we are on record worldwide that chairs have never been thrown either at the Opposition or at the Government.

Mr Speaker, I would like to commend you for this culture that has been with us for many years. I wish you success and we look forward to a very prosperous 2001 and, of course, as the MMD Government bounces back. This is undisputed as it can be seen from various successes we have scored, not only in local or by-elections, but our performance as a Government.

Mr Speaker, we wish you the best for the future.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwaanga (Roan): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this debate.

I would like, first of all, to congratulate the mover and seconder of this motion. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the new hon. Members who have joined the House this year; the three elected hon. Members from Nkana, Nchelenge and Kapoche; and the three nominated hon. Members of Parliament. I am sure that they will find a very friendly, occasionally hostile and exciting environment here in Parliament.

Mr Speaker, I would like to begin by clarifying a matter which appeared in one of the newspapers under the headline, ‘Vera snubs invitation to Parliament’.

Mr Speaker, I am sure the House is aware that there was one official programme which was issued by the National Assembly and it is this programme which I am holding in my hands. This programme does not refer to the attendance of the First Lady at Parliament. The official programme was one and this is the programme which you, Mr Speaker, issued through your office.

Therefore, the issue of the First Lady having snubbed the invitation to Parliament does not arise. Mr Speaker, this was connected to a statement which was made by the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena (Mr Sibetta) as well as the hon. Member for Solwezi Central (Dr Sondashi).

Mr Speaker, the debates before the Floor relates to a motion of thanks that this Assembly be recorded for the exposition of public policy contained in the President’s Address. The subject for discussion is the President’s Address, not the President or members of his family. I hope that in future, hon. members will desist from debating issues which are irrelevant and have no bearing on the motion which is before the House.

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

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member for Roan, who is also the Chief Whip, in order to say that the Official Programme of the Opening of Parliament did not have the name of the First Lady whereas, in fact, it does? Mr Speaker, on page 4, it states that at 1022 hours, the First Lady, Madam Chiluba, accompanied by the Social Secretary will ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: ... enter the Chamber and take her seat to the left of the Presidential Chair. Mr Speaker, this programme says 'Republic of Zambia, Programme for the Ceremonial State Opening of Parliament by the President, Dr Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba, 19th January, 2001. Mr Speaker, I have no interest in this matter except just to ask the hon. Member of Parliament if he is in order to deny something that is in the programme that was circulated. Is he in order to mislead this House? I lay this programme on the Table, Sir.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika laid the paper on the Table.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Member: All in all, he has another programme.

Mr Speaker: May the hon. Member for Roan and Chief Whip continue, please.

Mr Mwaanga: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I do, indeed, have a copy of the official programme which does not contain that detail. The programme is here. 

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Mwaanga: This is the official programme and this is the programme which was authorised by Mr Speaker’s Office.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Why was it not circulated?


Mr Mwaanga: I do hope, Mr Speaker, that we will stop, as a House, trivialising the life of the Head of State because he is not the subject for debate. It is not the tradition of this House to debate the President. It is the tradition of this House to debate the President’s Address. That is the motion which is before the House.

Mr Speaker, one or two hon. Members referred to the fact that the President’s Speech did not contain much detail concerning the legislative programme that is coming. I wish to explain that the President’s Speech is not intended to be a detailed programme of work which is going to come. Nowhere in the world is this ever done. Even when the Queen of England addresses the two Houses of Parliament, she merely gives an indicative programme of what the Government is going to bring. It does not bring details which are normally brought by the Leader of the House and by Members of the Government or other Ministers in the course of the sitting of the House. It is not intended to be an exhaustive programme. It is intended to be an indicative programme and there is a very substantial difference between the two.

If hon. Members read the President’s Speeches since January, 1992, nowhere is there any detailed legislative programme because that evolves as the year progresses and as Government Ministers come up with new ideas and Bills which they want to bring to this House; it is an evolutionary process. It is not a process which can be dealt with in a conclusive manner in the President’s Speech. 

For example, Mr Speaker, in January, 2000, when the President officially opened Parliament, he indicated what the legislative programme was likely to be. We ended up having twenty-five Bills and twenty-two Committee reports which was far more than what the President had indicated. That is how governments work. The legislative programme evolves as we go along. It is not a fixed process which the President has to go into detail about. If he had to do that, we would spend many days listening to the official President’s Speech, something we used to do during the Second Republic, but which has, now, become a thing of the past.

Mr L. L. Phiri: It was good and very effective.

Mr Mwaanga: I also heard, Mr Speaker, a number of hon. Members who referred to the fact that the President did not refer to parliamentary reforms. I do not see how the President can talk about parliamentary reforms because in the programme that the Government has worked out on National Capacity Building Programme for Good Governance, it is clearly stated in that programme that parliamentary reforms will be Parliament driven. They will not be driven by the Executive. It would, therefore, be unrealistic to expect the President to come to the House and begin talking about parliamentary reforms because these are going to be initiated by Parliament itself. There is a paragraph in this Good Governance document which specifically refers to the amount of support the Executive is going to give to parliamentary-driven reforms.

The President also talked about the fact that the Government has become much more accountable to Parliament. This is true because Article 51 of the Constitution of Zambia states, and I quote: 

    ‘The Cabinet and Deputy Ministers shall be accountable collectively to the National Assembly.’

Prior to the Departmentally Related Committees being formed, only certain ministries were covered under Watchdog Committees of the National Assembly. Other ministries were excluded. But under the DRCs which have, now, been put in place, we have twenty-two Committees and each and every Government ministry is monitored or shadowed by a parliamentary Committee. That is a major achievement because it is the first time that this provision in the Constitution has been complied with.

Hon. Opposition Member: It took ten years.

Mr Mwaanga: It may have taken ten years but it could not be done in twenty-seven years. At least, we have done it in ten years which is a major achievement.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: There were also a number of hon. Members who questioned the role and even the efficacy of appointing District Administrators who have been given all sorts of names, most of them, very unpalatable. I have heard statements to the effect that legal challenges will be mounted to the constitutionality of the office of District Administrators. We have been waiting for this challenge to come. Unfortunately, it has not come because Article 61 of the Constitution of Zambia specifically provides for the creation and abolition of these offices by none other than the President of the Republic of Zambia. So, I hope that there will be, indeed, a legal challenge which we have been promised but which has not been forthcoming for a long time now.

Mr Speaker, a number of hon. Members raised the issues relating to the electoral process. All these matters are being addressed by the Committee on inter-party dialogue of which Hon. Sata and myself are a part together with Hon. Malambo, Hon. Zimba, and Hon. Sejani to mention but some. We started this process as MMD in 1992, notwithstanding that we had won an overwhelming majority during the 1991 elections. Having won 125 seats out of 150, we still recognised that there was need for the Opposition parties and other political stakeholders to be given a forum where they could air their grievances and where they would have an opportunity to make suggestions to the Government on improvements that needed to be made to the political, electoral and constitutional process of the country. This is a consultative forum. 

This is a consultative forum which is advisory to the Government and we have taken advice from this process which has been implemented in a number of cases. It was not intended to empower the Opposition parties to share power with the MMD Government because the latter has the mandate to govern. If we abdicate that mandate and decide to share it with any other persons, the people would lose confidence in us as MMD Government because the mandate was given to us and us alone. We have no desire to abdicate our responsibilities whatsoever.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: We also have another committee; the Electoral Commission chaired by Judge Bobby Bwalya. This committee deals with the electoral issues and there is an Electoral Code of Conduct on how to strengthen it and all serious political parties, particularly those that participate in elections are adequately represented on that committee, including those who do not participate in elections.

It has even formed the sub-committee which comprises members of the Opposition parties to come up with suggestions for consideration on how we can improve and strengthen the integrity of the electoral process. This  shows that we have never acted in bad faith when it comes to matters of governance. To my hon. Colleague, Dr Kabanje, who is a constitutional lawyer, although he does not need this, I can take liberties with him because of my relationship with him. We heard what he said about the minority views, it is not our intention to suppress minority opinions. The minority will always have their say and they must always have their say, but in the final analysis the majority will have their way.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: The consultative process cannot go on, there must be a cut-off point where we will have consulted enough. We may not agree on everything and it is not even necessary to agree on everything because we have different manifestos and mandates but, at least, we must be seen to be making an effort to address issues which are of concern to all political stakeholders in the country. We are committed to this process and committed to continuing it.

We recognise, as the President very candid admitted, that poverty is still an issue in our country. It is an issue all over the world even in the richest of countries, poverty is there. There are many poor people who live in the widest economies in the world. It cannot be eliminated by a sheer word of mouth, you have to design policies, programmes and find resources with which to fight poverty. The Opposition members have the luxury of talking about poverty and leaving it there. We have the responsibility as Government to ensure that we do not only talk about it but design programmes, which is precisely what we are doing at the moment, which will address issues of poverty because we recognise that it is a problem and it needs our urgent attention as a responsible Government.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: We have indeed brought about change as the President said. Mr Speaker, sometimes, memories are short but we must remember where we have come from. In 1991, when MMD came into office, we still had queues on Cairo Road of people queuing for essential commodities. Women and children were on these queues scrambling for basic things such as salt, cooking oil, mealie meal and so on and we ended them within three months. Let us not forget where we have come from. If we lose our sense of history, we will lose our sense for the future. We have made a lot of progress to get where we are and we have travelled a long journey where we have made some difficult and unpopular decisions but we insisted on them because we were convinced that they were right for the country and the people. We will not take decisions merely because they are popular, we did not campaign on a populist platform, we campaigned on a platform of realism which was based on the realities that we found on the ground.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: With your co-operation, contribution and God on our side, we shall succeed.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Education (Brigadier-General Miyanda): Mr Speaker, I thank you for affording me a chance to contribute to the debate on the motion. I, too, want to join my colleagues who have congratulated our new additions (hon. Members of Parliament) who have joined us and I want to say to them that it is a rare privilege and honour to join this august House. In this place you should feel free to question, contribute, agree or disagree but in the end you must contribute to the development of our country.

Mr Speaker, I wish to make very brief remarks arising from the President’s Address. Sir, I am concerned about certain remarks which have been made by some of my colleagues who said that there is nothing in the speech. I wonder how such a document with so many words can have nothing. So, I thought that I should read two paragraphs in order to put this matter in its proper context.

On the first page, after salutations, the third and fourth paragraphs read as follows, and I quote:

    ‘This occasion is auspicious for many reasons, firstly: it marks the beginning of the last session of the 8th National Assembly before we hold the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections to elect new Members of the 9th National Assembly later this year.

    Secondly and perhaps most importantly, this occasion accords us an opportunity to review the last ten years of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy Government and to take stock of the tremendous strides we have made in changing and transforming this country for good and indeed for the better.’

The President addressed this House and I think we should appreciate that he recognises the importance of this House and that is why he came here. He is part of this Parliament. Article 62 says the legislative powers of the Republic of Zambia shall vest in Parliament which shall consist of the President and the National Assembly. So, he recognises that this is the place where he can get support and co-operation to get things happen. In the past, if you made a statement here, it was not uncommon to hear the President then threaten Parliament. That is the history we must not forget.

Hon. Government Members: It was a dictatorship.

Brigadier-General Miyanda: Yes, therefore, to think that in the speech there is nothing, it is either there is lack of good faith or we just want to debate any how.

I wish to say, Sir, that I have listened to the debates by my colleagues, a number of which referred to my ministry. They raised certain concerns. The position that I take, Sir, is that since this was just a general address, I just stood up to support the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Speech, but when we come to debate the Budget Speech, that is an opportunity for discussing policy. It is surprising that those who claim that the speech is hollow are the ones who are complaining that we do not have enough time to debate, it is not correct. Next week, they can raise policy issues and each ministry will come and present its affairs.

What I am happy about is the President saying to the House, ‘We have been here for ten years, now, can you help me to review what we have done?’ Is that nothing? Not at all. So, I will bring programmes for my ministry and other hon. Ministers will come and present their detailed programmes. This is the brief remark I wanted to make on this aspect, Sir.

I have another issue which may be contentious, but it touched on public policy. Sir, I think that I should refer to it so that the context is understood. The matter of condoms and adverts on our television was raised by the hon. Member for Luena, Mr Sibetta, who is not in the House now. I am commenting because apart from being a Minister of the Government. I am the only Minister who publicly debated this issue on radio and television. The hon. Member said these debates by some Ministers was a waste of time.

I would like to acquaint the House with the context of the debate so that we do not distort it and twist it . In his remarks, he condemned Christians, I do not know the reason. In the debate that I took part in, Sir, the first thing I said was that HIV/AIDS was not a religion because it did not know the status of the person who got infected. This means I am not ashamed of the Gospel, I am a Christian, but when I appeared on the programme, I was speaking as a concerned citizen about certain aspects which I shall refer to. I hope that the hon. Members will pay attention and reflect on them to see whether there is value in the debate that I participated in.

Sir, we, as a country should have standards. We have laws, a Constitution and we have other laws supporting the Constitution. These laws are very carefully drafted to protect and guide the country. In this case, Sir, the issue of the adverts of the condoms which I participated in arose because, first of all, at the occasion I spoke there were leaders who had gathered from nine countries. I was addressing them. Of course, you cannot stop the Press from reporting, but I was addressing that gathering and I expressed a concern about the nature of the advertisements. At no point did I say no one should talk about HIV/AIDS or condoms, but I concerned myself with the message that was being conveyed on television.

In fact, I am very surprised that in our country we could allow some of the adverts, not necessarily on condoms, there are many others. We have laws in place. So, we are getting concerned and for me the most serious issue was not religion. It was the effect that these adverts would have, particularly on the young people.

Sir, the experts tell us how a child develops and they tell us, for instance, that when children are very young between zero and two years, that time they do not have the sense to reason. They depend only on, maybe, imitating and they are like robots. Because of that, television or pictures can be very influential on these young people. So, the petitioners who complained, I suppose, with the support of Hon. Sibetta, were claiming their rights. Now, their rights in Zambia are not absolute. 

If we read our Constitution, we will find that where it gives a right, it also puts some limitations and one of the limitations that is in the Constitution relates to public interest and morality. There are people who misunderstand that the use of the term ‘morality’ or ‘morals’ is specifically for Christians. That is not correct. Morals amount to a standard that you set in a particular time or for a specific group, that is all. So, you ought to have standards and I think that we Zambians should declare our standards. If you want standards which are not concerned about children, then you say it.

Sir, even on films, we seem to have forgotten that in the western world films were classified. You had what they called ‘U’ certificate, which is universal and the guideline is that anyone could watch that. Young people, maybe, would be with their parents guiding them. ‘A’ certificate was meant for adults, but a certain age group from four to sixteen years could watch, but they must be accompanied by an adult. Movies classified ‘X’ were only for adults. 

Why did they do that? They were concerned about corrupting young people. I can give a specific example. We have in our home a little baby who came in as an orphan at the age of one week. She is now two years. Hon. Members, we have never taught her to dance, never, but when you play some of these songs and even the adverts on condoms, instinctively, she starts to jump up like the people who are jumping on television. We did not teach her, but how did she know this? She watches television and is learning by sensory motion. This is a serious matter, hon. Members. Let us not just worry because we will get dollars, dollars are important, but the point I was making is that we must have some standards. I am not saying that do not use the condoms. If you ask me my personal view in confidence, I will tell you, but I will not go to the public and tell you to stop using condoms. As far as I am concerned, that is your business.

One of the arguments I revisited on the discussion was the fact that the condom is not 100 per cent safe. The young people, who petitioned, responded and said they agreed the condom was not 100 per cent safe. However, they alleged that I was misinforming the public.

The point I was making is that the adverts should be reasonable and decent. I believe that the children are being used as  a potential market not just for condoms but for other commodities as well. When they watch, they will come to persuade their daddy to go and buy this type of sweet and that type of dress because they have great influence on the parents. 

My appeal and concern, Mr Speaker, is on the impact of television. It is quite serious and, therefore, if they do advertise, they should educate rather than sell. That is the point I was making. In some adverts which were withdrawn I said that I had not heard a message about the problem of HIV/AIDS. I wanted them to change the message because when you advertise, your purpose is to sell. So, the motive for advertising is different from the one who is teaching or educating. 

So, I hope that hon. Members, particularly Hon. Sibetta have understood that this is not a matter for Christians. Please, if you do not understand Christianity, come, I will assist you. You will be amazed how you will be freed and liberated. You will learn a lot of things. You will learn about management or running an economy, leadership and appointments. All those things are in the Bible.

Mr Patel: Praise the Lord 

Brigadier-General Miyanda: Amen, alleluia.


Brigadier-General Miyanda: Sir, that is my contribution.

 I thank you very much, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Mpamba): Mr Speaker, I would like to begin my debate firstly, by wishing you and all the hon. Members of this House a prosperous new year, though belatedly.

Mr Speaker, I would like to join my colleagues who debated earlier in welcoming both elected and nominated Members from Nkana, Kapoche and Nchelenge and Hon. Chungu, Ndhlovu and Reuben Musakabantu.

Further, Mr Speaker, I would like to commend my sister and colleague, Professor Luo for bringing sanity to our streets. Traffic, Mr Speaker, at least, in Lusaka, looks very beautiful and organised. The blue buses are adding beauty to this city. It must be admitted.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! {mospagebreak}

Mr Mpamba: Mr Speaker, I rise not to make a speech because a speech was made on Friday by the President. It was a powerful speech. It covers a lot of areas, highlighting all our perspectives as a party, MMD. It covers our political, social, health, legal and human rights perspectives. I will not go into that, Mr Speaker, because I want to concern myself with areas that pertain to my ministry, the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry.

Many times, Mr Speaker, you have heard both in this House and outside that the advent of the Free Trade Area will bring misery or stiff competition to our manufacturers. Mr Speaker, this is a true concern, but I want to apprise this House that I have had a privilege, Mr Speaker, to read some of the embryonic stages of the major Free Trade Areas. This concern has been everywhere. When NAFTA, which is North American Free Trade Area which comprises the USA, Canada, Alaska and all North American countries was in its embryonic stage, even the big giants like USA complained.

Mr Speaker, now, it is very difficult to enter the North American Free Trade Area. They are using their advantage to trade within themselves before they can allow other goods to come in. These short term problems will be there. There will be casualties but the long term benefits are greater than the short term benefits. We do not have to be short sighted. We have to be long sighted. The world order is changing, we are at the tail end of the free trade areas. 

The Latin American scenario has what is called MECRUSO Free Trade Area which includes Mexico, Cuba and all those Latin American countries. Now, because they have come together, they are able to fight wars. As individual countries, they could not penetrate the European market. They could not even sell their bananas as individuals. Today, they have come together and are able to convince the World Trade Organisation and sell their bananas into Europe. This is the beauty of coming together to build leverage and synergy. In fact, in synergy, we can say one plus two is five. My arithmetic is wrong but that is synergy. Hence, the need for this Free Trade Area.

I will further say, Mr Speaker, that Asian countries have the Asian Pacific Ring. The European Union have their own. ECOWAS was created before COMESA and SADC. We are at the tail end. So, these fears must be temporal fears because in the long run we shall have a lot to benefit. How do we benefit, Mr Speaker, from this arrangement? We have to use our comparative advantage. In fact, the President, in his speech, talked about our comparative advantage. We have plenty of land which most countries do not have. 

When we go to some mountainous countries, you will find that they produce more food because they use their comparative advantage. We have plenty of water which we allow to run to the sea and a wonderful climate which can grow almost any crop. Literate labour force is available in Zambia. If we concentrate on our agricultural based industries, we could be the bread basket of this region.

COMESA, now, talks of 400 million people. We have been planning all our production for 10 million people. Now, we have to be wide awake and plan for a bigger market. So, these are the advantages of joining the Free Trade Area.

Mr Speaker, there has been concern about privatisation. This is our programme. It is in our manifesto from 1991/1996. It is our programme, it is not for an individual but for the Government. This programme should not be dictated by external forces. When we take time in privatising, for instance, ZANACO, ZAMTEL, ZNOC, we are aware that these are strategic companies that must be privatised or commercialised by the Government at our own pace.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah, why?

Mr Mpamba: There was an argument yesterday in this House that parastatals only benefit the executives. I will cite one case, that of ZESCO. If you brought in external investors to take over ZESCO, what would happen to Kalabo?

Mr Tetamashimba: You told us that two years ago!

Mr Mpamba: Their motive is profit. We are, now, wiser than we were yesterday ...


Mr Mpamba: So, we are saying the interest of the people ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Ooh, too late!

Mr Mpamba: We admit of course. We do no hide under the carpet. We are wiser today than we were yesterday.

Mr Walubita: Yes!

Mr Mpamba: We want to give service to our rural areas, the Government must have a controlling hand.

Mr Tetamashimba: You were selling on wholesale.

Mr Mpamba: It is not wholesale; that is why we tranche. You must understand tranching. The loss makers were sold first, we reserved strategic ones  for the benefit of our people. There is no U-turn, we know what we are doing. If we have to sell shares, we shall do it for the Zambian people to buy.

Mr Speaker, I want also to address another issue which is worrying this Government, and this is the issue on scrap metal dealing. There is a real danger, Sir, in the short time I have been at the ministry. I have received a lot of complaints from the general public. A number of companies are now, either relocating or planning to relocate to other countries.

Mr Sibetta: We are bored!

Mr Mpamba: What some of these companies are doing is that they are shifting real plants and equipment under the guise of scrap metal.

Mr Tetamashimba: We told you about that!

Mr Mpamba: So, our Government is in the process of forming a committee to deal with this scourge. In fact, the first meeting was held in my ministry and within one week, I will be able to announce the composition of this committee to deal with scrap metal dealings.

Hon. Opposition Members: We told you!

Mr Mpamba: On the issue of manufacturing, the President’s Speech records that in the nine years, the growth in manufacturing has only been 2 per cent. It is true because we have been undergoing the privatisation process.

On the mines, because we could not sell them on time, all the peripheral companies that were depending on them became static. It is a process we have to go through. Right now, if you go to the Copperbelt, it is ticking. You may not even get accommodation as you go to Solwezi in Kitwe. You are aware of that ...

Mr Tetamashimba: Come to Kansanshi! it is finished!

Mr Mpamba: ... because of the development going on in Kitwe.

Mr Tetamashimba: There is no development where I come from!

Mr Mpamba: I am talking about the Copperbelt.


Hon. Government Members: Address the Chair!

Mr Mpamba: Mr Speaker, this is the real explanation why there was stagnation in manufacturing. ZCCM and the parastatals were not performing at their best because the new owners took their time to revive these companies. It is understandable. Any supporter of this programme must understand this process. From now on, there will be progress.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Mpamba: Yes, because the investors are in there. They have invested their own money and so, they will ensure that their money works. It is no longer the days when directors were picked from nowhere, they did not even know where they got their qualifications as directors. You must know your role in a company. Now, the people in place know what they are doing in Zambia. They will make their profit, employ our people and create value for this country.

Mr Speaker, we welcome the President’s invitation for prospecting companies to come and prospect for oil. I know studies were carried out. I just want to remind this House of the Malabo experience. If you do not know Malabo, it is an island off the Coast of Guinea. An American company was invited some years ago by the French Government to explore for oil. It went there and at the end of three years they said there was no oil. After another three years, another American company went there, maybe, a sister company, which found plenty of oil. Now, Malabo is a destination for all the oil prospectors from all over the world. All the engineers are in Malabo. It is becoming one of the richest islands off the coast of Africa. So, we welcome this experience from Malabo because it encourages that these explorations must continue in Zambia because we know there is a prospect of oil in this country.

Mr Tetamashimba: You were laughing at Kaunda!

Mr Mpamba: Mr Speaker, my ministry intends, in order to protect the consumers, to create competitiveness. To this end, we intend to make some amendments to the Investments Act. 

Mr Sibetta: It is too late!

Mr Tetamashimba: We told you!

Mr Mpamba: The people who come under the Zambia Privatisation Act are not bound by the code of behaviour of the Investments Act. We want to marry these together and I believe a Bill will be coming shortly. 

We also want to effect some amendments to the Weights and Measurements Act because we want to protect the consumers. When my ministry comes for debate on this Floor, there will be further policy pronouncements.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President (Lieutenant-General Tembo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to wind up debate on this most important motion.

Let me inform the House that we have taken note of all the issues. I think we have had twenty-seven Members of the back bench from both sides who have contributed and about ten Ministers. We have taken note of all those contributions and the points are far too many and in any case some of them have been covered by my colleagues, the Ministers, who have contributed this afternoon. So, I will not go to the extent of going through each issue which was raised in the House, except for those which I think were not covered by my colleagues. Let me also join my colleagues in paying tribute to the mover of the motion, Hon. Chilombo, and the seconder, Hon. Muasa, for setting the tone and pace of this most invigorating debate.

Mr Speaker, judging by the many contributions that have been made by more than twenty-seven Members who have debated this motion, I am left with no doubt that the President’s Speech has both been inspiring, thought provoking and has provided a framework full of substance contrary to a few isolated opinions.

Mr Speaker, before I join the debate, let me join my colleagues, who have spoken before me, in congratulating the six new hon. Members who have joined us. I welcome them heartily. Allow me to seize this opportunity to briefly outline and explain the intent and purpose of the President’s annual address to this august House and to clarify to those among us who may feel the speech should be outlining even issues outside our manifesto.

Mr Speaker, hon. Members are in no doubt aware that the President addresses Parliament at the beginning of each year to outline Government programmes and initiatives. The President’s Speech is essentially an annual report on the state of the nation and an update to Parliament on the achievements of the ruling party’s objectives contained in the manifesto. This, Sir, is what our President did on Friday last week. He recounted the MMD Government’s achievement, based upon our manifesto, over the past nine years from 1991.

Mr Speaker, the President had aptly titled his speech ‘A Decade of Reform and Transformation’. The question which immediately comes to my mind is whether or not anything has changed from 1991 to date.

Mr Speaker, indeed, let me pay tribute to the many hon. Members who have contributed to the debate and recognised the many positive changes that our country has undergone since the MMD took over the reigns of power from the one-party dictatorship of the Second Republic.

Many who have contributed to the debate on the motion have acknowledged that Zambia has forever, been transformed from a one-party dictatorship to a vibrant democratic nation of many political parties, of active Non-Government Organisations and civil societies working in partnership with Government of free Zambians with free expression, free Press and institutions created to specifically safeguard human rights and individual liberties. This, Sir, is an achievement worth applauding. It is, therefore, not true that the speech lacks substance.

The system of managing our economic affairs has also drastically changed and the economy is, now, firmly under private enterprise, which, with the completion of the sale of the remaining assets of ZCCM, is slowly but surely looking up in terms of job creation and wealth generation.

Mr Speaker, we did not say that this transformation would be easy or that it would be without social cost. We made it clear to our citizenry that in the short-term, difficulties would be experienced but promised that in the long run, more benefits would be realised. I believe, we have begun to see these benefits having set a secure foundation and framework.

Mr Speaker, allow me to turn to a few individual contributions. Firstly, I wish to thank all the hon. Members who have contributed to the debate on this motion. I wish to thank them for frankly and honestly contributing to the debate. I have taken note of their many suggestions and will keep them in view during the course of our programme implementation. Doubtless, some may already have been incorporated in this year’s Budget.

Mr Speaker, the mover of the motion, Hon. Chilombo, talked about restoring of parliamentary reforms and that they are not supported. The Chief Whip has already explained this but I would like to inform the House that we have, in fact, set up a Committee of Permanent Secretaries and other officials to look at the cost implication of the reforms and I hope that the Committee can submit its report to the Standing Orders Committee quickly so that we can make progress.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Lumezi (Major Kamanga) raised, among other issues, the need to harmonise operations of community resource boards and area development committees in the Eastern Province. I agree with him and I hope that the hon. Deputy Minister for Eastern Province has taken note of that. He also said that there is poor fertiliser supply to the Eastern Province and that traders in fertilisers are disappearing with the fertiliser and that the commodity does not reach intended beneficiaries. If the hon. Member has evidence of any wrong doing on the part of the traders, he should feel free to come and report to either the hon. Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries or even me and we shall endeavour to follow up such matters.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Lukulu East (Mr Luhila) said that there was need for legislation to limit the amount of money to be spent on elections by every political party and I hope by each individual to curb undue advantage. This matter, hon. Members, is being looked at by relevant authorities. I am not saying that it will come up during this year’s Parliamentary and General Elections but I can assure you that it is being looked at. I have also taken note of the other issues that he raised.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Mfuwe (Miss Mwansa) raised very interesting points. She also called for more support to the parliamentary reforms, a point I have already explained. She wanted the Government to strengthen the Office of the Auditor-General. Sir, this is one of the issues which were raised by the President in his Speech and we shall certainly follow it up.

On the Electoral Commission, she said that this Commission should undertake delimitation of polling districts and constituencies to shorten distances to polling stations and increase voter turn-out. Yes, we agree and I think that this will be implemented shortly. She also talked of the need to adopt more proactive ways of involving women in decision making by adopting the ‘Zebra way’. This is, again, an issue which is being studied and I think that as time goes by the participation by women in decision making will definitely increase.

The other thing she said was that the railway lines needed urgent rehabilitation to enable them handle bulk haulage and spare roads of heavy traffic. I think that if she read today’s paper, she would find that this has, in fact, been handled and that the project is being undertaken.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Mongu Central (Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika) said that water transport is required in Mongu. I agree with her. At the same time, I wish to say that it is not only in Mongu where there are lakes and navigable rivers. She also said that the veterinary drugs for Western Province should be procured in the same way that we did for the Southern Province. I think that is a good point which deserves following up.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Isoka East (Mr Sichinga), among other issues, talked about the urgent need to re-introduce the Prohibition and Prevention of the Money Laundering Bill to curb capital flight and strengthen the kwacha. The position is that we have set up a small committee of hon. Members of Parliament which will look at this Bill, again, following the objections that were raised by some hon. Members of Parliament and I think I am meeting them on Tuesday to brief them so that we can start making progress.

He also said that the HIPC Initiative relief funds should be used to stimulate modulation in agriculture, tourism, energy and so on. I think the way the HIPC funds will be used has been explained many times and I would like to assure him that the funds will not be used on the OAU Village being constructed near the Inter-continental Hotel. That is a completely different issue unrelated to the HIPC Initiative.

The hon. Member of Parliament for Mpulungu Constituency, Hon. Sikasote, raised a number of issues, among them, the need to strengthen the Development Bank of Zambia for long term credit and that small industries such as the running of filling stations, bakeries, butcheries, and so on, should be left to indigenous Zambians, I could not agree more with him. I think that this is a genuine point. In the Empowerment Bill for Zambian businesses, our officials are looking at this issue. He also agreed with the President over non-privatisation of the parastatals of ZESCO, ZNBC, ZAMOIL and INDENI and that there is need to involve the private sector in Kafue Gorge, Ithezi-tezhi, Tazama power lines and Tazama.

The hon. Member of Parliament for Chipangali Constituency (Mr Lucas Phiri) stated that indiscipline in the Police Force is rampant. Now, when we make such statements, hon. Members, and say that the police are indisciplined, we are demoralising police officers. Police officers might have problems in carrying out their operations, but these problems are not necessarily of their own making. So, if we generalise and say that the police are indisciplined, all we are doing, really, is lowering their morale. We should be very careful when we make these statements because they will have an adverse effect on our officers. He also complained about late supply of agricultural inputs to Eastern Province.

As regards the insinuation that farmers should not be expected to pay back loans, this was an unfortunate statement to make. First of all, my office has something to do with relief food and I want to assure Hon. Phiri that we have no such considerations at all. Secondly, farmers will naturally be expected to pay back the loans. To come here and encourage farmers not to pay back loans is highly responsible. 

Thirdly, he said that co-operatives are politicised and are for MMD party cadres. I think that this, again, is an unfortunate statement because you, as an hon. Member of Parliament, are supposed to help supervise the operations of these co-operatives.

 The hon. Member of Parliament for Solwezi West (Mr Tetamashimba) raised quite a good number of issues. Amongst them, he said the District Administrators should be development oriented and not Third Term agents. I think there is a programme to educate our District Administrators as time goes by so that they can look at issues of development in the districts. He also called for re-tarring of the Solwezi/Lubumbashi Road. This will be passed on to the relevant people to study and see if it is feasible in the short term.

Mr Speaker, those are the main issues which I thought I should highlight. The other matters have been raised by my friends. As I said, we have a complete summary of all issues that were raised in this House and I am sure that we will be able to follow them up.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chilombo (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, in summing up the debate on the motion, I would like, first of all, to thank you, most sincerely, for the excellent way you have handled this debate. I also want to thank the thirty-seven hon. Members of this House who have contributed to the motion and those who have silently supported the motion.

I want to quote from page 1, paragraph 7, of the President’s Speech which says, and I quote:

    ‘You, my dear colleagues, have served the country, the cause of democracy and indeed the cause of reform and transformation with great honour, credit and distinction. The last ten years will undoubtedly stand out in the annals of history as a turning point in the political and economic direction of this great country.’

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.


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

Question put and agreed to.

The House adjourned at 1802 hours until 1415 hours on Friday, 26th January, 2001.