Debates- Tuesday, 23rd January, 2001

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Tuesday, 23rd January, 2001

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The following Members took and subscribed the Oath:

Mr George Chanda Chulumanda

Mr Mumamba Potipher Chungu

Mr Mwamutenta Reuben Musakabantu

Mr Alfred Adamson Kaithandane Ndhlovu


Mr Speaker: Order! I would like to call on the House to remember that this is a solemn occasion. May we, please, limit the excitement that is going on here.

Mr Bwalya Nsakasha

Miss Elina Joyce Tembo


The Vice-President (Lieutenant-General Tembo): Mr Speaker, I rise to give the House some idea of the business it will consider this week. As indicated last Friday, 19th January, 2001, business of the House today will be restricted to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address which he delivered to this House on Friday.

On Wednesday, tomorrow, the House will continue with the general debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address. Again, on Thursday, 25th January, 2001, the House will continue with the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address. This debate will be wound up on this day. On this same day, Mr Speaker, I intend to move a motion to the effect that the relevant Standing Orders be suspended to enable the House to meet at 1415 hours on Friday, 26th January, 2001. This will facilitate the presentation of the 2001 Budget by the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

This means, Mr Speaker, that the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address which starts today, as indicated on the Order Paper, will last only three days up to Thursday, 25th January, 2001. In these circumstances, I would like to appeal to all hon. Members who wish to contribute to the Motion of Thanks to make their speeches as short as possible and stick to the speech so that we have as many hon. Members as possible taking part in the debate.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.



Mr Chilombo (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the thanks of this Assembly be recorded for the exposition of public policy contained in the President’s Address.

Mr Speaker: Is the motion being seconded?

Mr Muasa (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the motion.

Mr Chilombo: Mr Speaker, allow me, from the outset, to thank you sincerely for affording me the rare honour and privilege to move the Motion of Thanks to the speech of the President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Frederick J. T. Chiluba, on the occasion of the Official Opening of the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament on Friday, 19th January, 2001.

Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate the President on his brilliant and thought-provoking speech last Friday which, in my view, was a well researched overview of the performance of the Government in the past nine years. The President did not only remind Zambians of the many achievements this cherished democratic rule has made, but also spared no time to outline, with precision, areas of performance needing attention.

In his address, the President covered many areas of concern which included:

    (i)    Democracy and governance;

    (ii)    Parliamentary affairs;

    (iii)    Public Reform Programme;

    (iv)    The economy;

    (v)    Mining;
    (vi)    Agriculture;
    (vii)    Communications and Transport;
    (viii)    Commerce, Trade and Industry;
    (ix)    Law and order;
    (x)    Privatisation;
    (xi)    Tourism;
    (xii)    Natural Resources and Environment;

    (xiii)    Social Sector Reforms;

        (a)    Health;

        (b)    Education; and

    (xiv)    Regional and International Relations.

Mr Speaker, in my discussion, I will not necessarily follow the subheadings, but I would rather highlight only the most pertinent issues.

Sir, the House will recall that when the MMD Government came to power, we set out to achieve political democracy and economic liberalisation and creation of a Government for the benefit of the ordinary persons. During the past nine years, the Government has made significant progress in both the political and economical sector. On the political front, we have managed to entrench the democratic spirit and culture. 

Mr Speaker, I want to state, however, that democracy should not be taken for granted. It has to be developed and nurtured over a period of time by each successive generation. We must, without fear, keep alive the debate on the fundamental values of democracy. Practical expression in watchdog institutions, such as the Non-Governmental Organisations, popular movements and local development groups as well as new emerging networks must be encouraged.

Mr Speaker, there is also an urgent need for the introduction of continuous voters’ registration exercise and the commencement of the constituency delimitation process as soon as the National Census of Population results are formally announced. In this regard, I call upon the Executive to quickly release the money needed to effectively execute these two important tasks.

Sir, on the economic front, the completion of the privatisation of ZCCM mining assets is another success story of the MMD Government. As the President stated in his Address, the mining industry was at its lowest ebb in terms of mineral production due to under capitalisation and the lack of technological innovations over the years. This decline in production, coupled with low copper prices on the world market led to the decreased contribution of mining to the economy.

Mr Speaker, let me now go on to talk about some of the key areas of concern that the President mentioned in his address.

Democracy and Governance

Sir, the House will appreciate that in order to strengthen democracy and governance the MMD Government established the Human Rights Commission, the Zambia Competition Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and has given autonomy to the hitherto existing institutions such as the Drug Enforcement Commission, the Electoral Commission and the Anti-Corruption Commission. However, these institutions have not been as effective as expected due to gross underfunding by the MMD Government. If these institutions are not supported to support democracy then the same will be rendered ineffective, as they are bound to. Should the current trend of chronic underfunding continue, then the concept of democracy might become mere rhetoric and may not make the intended impact.

Parliamentary Affairs

Mr Speaker, I listened very carefully to the entire Presidential speech and I have had an opportunity to thoroughly go through it. Nothing, however, was mentioned about reforms in the Zambian Parliament. This is despite the fact that the other two wings of Government - the Judiciary and the Executive - with the funding and full support of the Government, have successfully implemented the reforms under the Public Service Reform Programme. However, no corresponding funding and support from the Executive has been exhibited and forthcoming in the past five years. This is despite the fact that we all agree that the Legislature should play a significant role in the system of checks and balances common to all parliamentary democracies.

May I also refer to page 5 of the Presidential speech on which the President said, and I quote:

    ‘Mr Speaker, when I Look back after the last ten years, I am delighted to note that one of the best achievements of the Government has been to fully accept and recognise that you are not only Members of this House, but you are also the true representatives of our dear people and, therefore, partners in development because our vision has been very ably translated into your dynamic programmes that have seen Zambia change for the better.’

Mr Speaker, this means that the Government has very serious thought about Parliament and, therefore, the reforms about Parliament should be supported.

Hon. Patel: Hear, hear! {mospagebreak}

Mr Chilombo: Mr Speaker, on economics, I would like to agree with the point raised by the President in his speech on the need to be cautious about privatisation. I totally agree that we should not privatise for the sake of privatisation or at the behest or demand of external pressure. In the same vein, I would like to commend the President and the Government for the bold measures it is endeavouring to put in place in order to curb capital flight so as to stabilise the Kwacha.

Sir, liberalisation of foreign exchange is an economic concept. The Government should find a prudent way of financial management of foreign currency through the Bank of Zambia. The Bank of Zambia does not seem to find a prescription of sound financial management of foreign currency to arrest the pressures and turbulence in the financial market. The Bank of Zambia does not seem to take a leading role as the advisor of the Government. The comments from Bank of Zambia that the depreciation of the Kwacha is not peculiar to Zambia alone are not good remarks coming from a prudent management at a bank like the Bank of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, at one time a kwacha was equivalent to a dollar. However, the kwacha is now K3,900 to about K4,500 to a dollar. The prices of the commodities are pegged to a dollar and, consequently, the cost of living has become unaffordable to the majority of Zambians. With the above foreign currency-kwacha scenario, it will, therefore, be impossible to pay the external debt.


Although the Government has made progress in this area, much remains to be done. The Government should not expect the private sector to make an impact in agriculture in the absence of Government participation. There is need for the Government to provide a budget for inputs as the private sector has no capacity to raise funds for inputs to satisfy the farmers in the country.

The problems of procuring and distribution of inputs and marketing of agricultural products appear to have no solution in sight. It is, therefore, important that the Government comes in to find a lasting solution. The late input distribution to farmers contributes to the increased poverty as many small farmers yield poor harvests of their products, causing inability to pay back loans and secure food for consumption. It is important, therefore, for the Government to participate side by side with the private sector until such a time when the private sector will be able to control the agricultural sector.


Mr Speaker, planning in running of the resources of the country plays a very important role in the development of the country.

I have observed with concern that the Department of Planning in various ministries has not been given adequate attention. Government programmes will not be properly executed if planning of various programmes in various ministries is not given the attention it deserves. There cannot be good management of resources without effective planning. I, therefore, appeal to the Government to consider the re-establishment of the National Commission for Development Planning (NCDP) or giving it national status that will enable it co-ordinate all the planning responsibilities found in all the ministries.

Sir, I would also like to commend the President for banning hunting concessions for a period of one year.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chilombo: Mr Speaker, I would like to conclude on yet another growing but vexing issue of the influx of refugees. The influx of refugees has posed a huge threat to the security of the country and, consequently, has placed a strain on our already over-stretched resources. I, therefore, appeal to the Government to liaise with other stakeholders on this issue to find modalities that would ease the current constraints of managing the refugee crisis in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Muasa: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, it is always an honour to be asked to move or second the Motion of Thanks to the Speech by the Republican President Dr Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba on the Official Opening of Parliament.

Sir, in his speech, the President referred to the successes of the privatisation exercise. I wish to mention, though, that while this exercise has been a success, it has brought untold discriminatory misery to most professionals of our land.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muasa: For example, it is a well-known fact that following the privatisation of the mines, most Zambian professionals with relevant educational qualifications and vast experience have been declared redundant in preference to expatriate personnel who are sometimes of inferior qualifications and experience.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muasa: A case in point is a situation where even a security guard has to be an expatriate.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Hon. Government Members: Where?


Mr Muasa: Further, Mr Speaker, it is regrettable that even the few professionals that have been retained in privatised companies have been relegated to inferior positions in relation to their experience and qualifications. Ironically, when our much discriminated and maligned professionals are employed elsewhere in the region and beyond, they are accorded positions and responsibilities commensurate with their qualifications and experience in internationally reputable companies.

Mr Speaker, that is why much as we appreciate the privatisation exercise, the investment that has come about has had some negative impact on our manufacturing industry and employment and has adversely affected the stability of the kwacha.

Sir, hon. Members may recall that as the House was adjourning sine die in December last year, the hon. Member for Kabwe Central Parliamentary Constituency (Captain Chewe) strongly advised the Government to put in place measures that would check the depreciation of our currency, the Kwacha. This depreciation of the Kwacha and the pegging of prices to the Dollar equivalent have resulted in the deepening of poverty, affecting over 80 per cent of Zambians. The response from the Government Bench to my colleague’s advice was in total opposition.

Mr Speaker, I am, therefore, saddened that at this point in our parliamentary democracy, it had to take the President to implement what my friends here on the Front Bench should have done.

Mr Luhila: Can you imagine!

Mr Muasa: Sir, in view of the foregoing, I want to appeal to Executive and this House to put in place effective measures that will correct the situation.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Major Kamanga (Lumezi): Mr Speaker, I thank you and in supporting the motion before the Floor of this House, I wish to congratulate the mover who has moved the motion very well and I am sure we are all heading in the right direction to see to it that the speech from the Head of State is well understood and it gives us a way forward for the MMD and its Government for this particular year. 

Before that, Mr Speaker, may I congratulate the three Members of Parliament who have been nominated to the House, welcome. I also wish to congratulate the winning team. I am on record informing the Opposition that whichever direction you want to come, we will take you on and we will win.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Major Kamanga: The testimony is here today as you can see the Members who have come in, the young crop, because you have nothing to offer.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamir: Kamba!

Major Kamanga: And I am not going to urge you to pull up your socks. You can keep on in the slumber. We will see you in the streets at the end of the year.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: No more poaching!


Major Kamanga: I wish to thank those in the Opposition who are urging people to poach that there is nobody who poaches around here.

Mr Speaker, the issue of democracy that the President talked about is one issue that we must ensure that we respect the democratic rights of our people. Sir, unless there is internal democracy, democracy at the national level will not be there. 

When we hear of senior members trying to kill democracy by intimidating members of the party and party cadres, we start to feel that there is something wrong somewhere. We must first democratise our own party. Then, there will be democracy at the national level.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Major Kamanga: The people in the Eastern Province are very democratic. Even when we are intimidated, we are not bothered because we know that we are democratic. We are the only province that sees the sun first and makes sure that it rises in the morning and Hon. P. Chungu will agree with us. This man is our former Chairman.


Major Kamanga: Mr Speaker, on gender, we have to implement this immediately and like I said, we in the Eastern Province who make sure that the sun rises in the morning have demonstrated that. We have four elected female Members of Parliament from the East, a sign that we are going towards that 30 per cent by the year 2005. By the that year, in the SADC Region, we are supposed to have 30 per cent of us seated here, as female Members of Parliament. 

Hon. Female Members: Hear, hear!

Major Kamanga: Mr Speaker, I urge the Government, although Hon. Malambo is not here, to come up with legislation that each province must have, at least, five female Members of parliament to come to this House.

Hon. Female Members: Hear, hear!

Major Kamanga: It is, therefore, important that some seats must be reserved for women

Dr Pule: It is a game of elections iwe Kamanga.

Major Kamanga: The constituencies where Hon. S. P. Mulenga, Hon. M. Sata and Hon. Major Chibamba are must be given to ladies.


Major Kamanga: Mr Speaker, the issue of development with a bottom up approach is a welcome idea. We have already formed area development committees in the various districts in Eastern Province. In fact, in Lundazi we are well ahead. Sir, the bottom up approach must be a real bottom up approach in terms of planning and getting projects on the ground. There is a clash within the Government itself where the Ministry of Tourism is concerned. The Zambia wildlife Authority had already established the Community Resource Boards (CRBs) and now the councils have formed Area Development Committees (ADCs).

Now, in these game management areas, you have two authorities that are supposed to be carrying out development plans for those areas. I urge the Government to harmonise this arrangement so that, probably, in game management areas, the community resource boards which have already been well defined and are way ahead should be allowed to do the duties of the area development committees.

Mr Speaker, on agriculture, we have heard time and again the President and the Government telling us their intentions to see that agriculture takes over the earning of foreign exchange for Zambia. The plans are there, very good and well intended, but the implementers, I must say for lack of good or appropriate terminology, are sleeping.

Mr Sibetta: It is your Government.

Major Kamanga: Mr Speaker, right now people have paid the deposits which they are calling down payment for fertilisers. This has been done in many areas but, unfortunately, not even D-compound fertiliser has arrived in these areas. This is a very sad development. For Eastern Province, you may wish to know that sometimes, trucks, four or five of them, park in designated areas in good time but the following morning, you find one truck off-loaded and the other trucks gone. What is happening? 

When we say that these fertilisers are not reaching the intended people, when we say that the farmer will not be able to pay back the loans, we mean just that. I do not see any farmer this year paying back the loans they will get because the fertilisers have not arrived and how do you expect a good yield? Sir, when the maize has started to tassel, we still have, in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, highly qualified people doing absolutely nothing. Sir, I urge the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries to leave his office and go in the field and see what is not happening.

Mr Speaker, on communication, there was a time when we wanted television reception in our districts and we were ready to sacrifice part of the Constituency Development Fund for that purpose. We were advised that the Government was handling that. I talked about the bottom up approach. It was rejected and now the top bottom approach is not working. We want television in Lundazi, Kaputa and Zambezi. Sir, the televisions are there but we cannot watch ZNBC programmes. As it is, only people like Hon. Danny Pule, because of the money which they have, have television in their areas and they can watch TBN, CNN, BBC and so on.

Hon. Members: Haaah! Amen.


Major Kamanga: Mr Speaker, on education, we are all here because we went to school and we know very well that whoever cannot write and speak English cannot come to this august House. The Government should go out there to make sure that the schools in the rural areas are worked on by delivering desks and sending more teachers in rural schools. We thank the Government for the desks that have already been delivered but they are far from reaching what is required on the ground. We should face facts by helping the girl child.

Miss R. Phiri: Uzamwa iwe lelo.

Major Kamanga: Communication is very important in the rural areas, especially in the valley. Of course, not the valleys in Luapula Province. Sir, the valleys I am talking about are those in Mfuwe, Lumezi, and Chama North constituencies where children cannot go to school, especially girls. If you find girls in grade one, two and three, they are children of our brothers who have just retired and have gone back to the villages who are interested and know what education is. The children in schools have no teachers. My constituency is an example. If you had to go to Mwanya, Chitungulu, Kazembe, etc., you would find only one untrained teacher and, probably, one trained teacher teaching from Grade 1 to Grade 7. Yet, you expect him to teach. That is a tall order. Let us not ask for things that we know we cannot get.

Mr Speaker, I urge the ministry to change their modus operandi, in the way education provision in these hardship areas is being done presently.

Sir, as regards health, the ministry or the Government has done very well in health, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Do not tell us that you have built clinics, you have given us medicine, etc. If you check on the records, you will find that even if the medicines are delivered, they are not enough. If you look at one box, how many people is it supposed to cater for? A clinic which was catering for 1,000 people twenty years ago has now got 10,000 people. Yet, you have not made any provisions to increase the medical supplies to these clinics.

Mr Mwansa Interjected. {mospagebreak}

Major Kamanga: Hon. Mwansa, you will do well to listen and not to wait for your Permanent Secretary to go and give you notes.


Major Kamanga: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Health knows the requirements as to how many people will be catered for from one rural health centre kit. When we inform them that there is no medicine, they tell us that they delivered the medicine last week. One box which is meant for 600 people should last one month and yet we have 6,000 people. Let us be realistic. Go on the ground and see what is there. We have over multiplied. From 1964 to date, you know how many children we have around there.

Mr Speaker, there are clinics which were built under World Bank funding. One of them is Mwase Mphangwe Rural Health Centre which was completed more than three years ago and to date, it is just a white elephant. What are you doing? We heard the hon. Minister saying that we have built one of the most beautiful clinics and that it is going to be opened any time. There are just a few modalities to be sorted out and everything will be in place. This will go on for over three years and you expect us to listen.

Mr Speaker, it is a pity that you only listen without implementing what we are advising you.

A yellow timing light.

Dr Pule: Yellow Card!

Major Kamanga: Hon. Danny Pule, you do not even go to your constituency. So, just listen.


Major Kamanga: You are one of those that are not coming back.


Major Kamanga: Mr Speaker, with these few words, I urge the Government to go on the ground and implement the issues raised, not only here, but on the party programmes which are now at national level. Go out and implement them so that we can drive in our third term, walking with our heads up.

Dr Pule: Fyafula ikala panshi naiwe!

Major Kamanga: I just hope that as Hon. Dan Pule goes to pray at his church, he will say “fire” for the MMD.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Sibetta (Luena): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate the President on his speech.


Mr Sibetta: Very rarely as back-benchers and as hon. Members of this august House, have we got the opportunity to debate the President. In fact, it is uncustomary for us but at this particular time, we are debating the speech by the President ...

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

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member in order to say that we are going to discuss the President, when in fact, we are discussing the President’s Speech and not an individual?

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member of Parliament for Luena, through the point of order raised by His Honour the Vice-President, is being reminded that the motion relates to the President’s Address and not the President himself. That reminder is true for all of us.

May the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena, please, continue and bear that clarification in mind.

Mr Sibetta: Mr Speaker, I thank you for that first point of order in the year 2001.


Mr Sibetta: You are on record, the Leader of the House.

Mr Speaker, we were highly pleased to see the President come to this august House to open the Eighth National Assembly’s Fifth Session.

Hon. Member: He came alone.


Mr Sibetta: Yes, it is a very important point. He is noting that he came alone and yet the programme indicated that our first lady was to come. We were disappointed that she did not show up. I thank you for that.


Mr Sibetta: Mr Speaker, as a representative of the people of Luena and indeed, the people of this country, I first wish to thank you for allowing me a rare and historic opportunity to participate in this very important motion before the Floor of the House.

Mr Speaker, I listened to the President’s Speech very carefully, but I must say that I am one of those who were disappointed because the Speech was, in essence, an anti-climax. The President, in my opinion, should have set the ball rolling for this House and this country to know that as he prepares to leave the high office in this land, he should have catalogued what he has succeeded to do and where he had failed as a human being or his party. He should have also taken the opportunity to silence some of those zealots in his party, who are coming to camp here and say that they will not leave unless he agrees to a third term. That is unconstitutional.

Mr Speaker: Order! This is not the first time the Chair has guided this House on the issue that the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena is about to raise. Matters of how many terms one should serve as a Head of State are Constitutional and as far as the Chair is aware, this particular matter is not before this House, not even in form of a motion.

So, the hon. Member for Luena will do well to stay clear of this subject which, as he claims correctly, the Head of State, himself, did not raise and we do not want to know why it was not raised.

May the hon. Member for Luena, please, move on to issues that are before the House. The motion is, ‘That the thanks of this Assembly be recorded for the exposition of public policy contained in the President’s Address.’ Emphasis is on the phrase ‘President’s Address’.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: Sir, it is only right that I take note of what you have said. Mr Speaker, I would like to inform you that the majority of our people in this land go to bed hungry. Many of our countrymen, women and children do not have enough supply of clean water and cannot afford education. There are no teachers in many schools. I hear the Government saying that they have put everything in position and that it should be easy for Zambians to take off from there. My advice to this Government is that not enough has been done. We still have no feeder roads in the rural areas. I know that the fuel levy is concentrating on Lusaka/Ndola areas and a few lucky urban centres.

Mr Speaker, where I come from ...

Hon. Government Member: Where?

Mr Sibetta: ... in Western Province and, indeed, in most rural parts of Zambia, there are no feeder roads.

Hon. Government Member: You come from Makeni, not Western Province.

Mr Sibetta: The Makeni Road is completely finished. My neighbour will tell you that there is no road.


Hon. Member: Which neighbour is that one now?

Mr Patel: His Honour, the Vice-President.


Mr Sibetta: So, the Government cannot say they have put everything in position and ask us to thank them for that. There is still a lot to be done. What they have done is very little. It is a drop in the ocean. The hon. Member for Lumezi referred to a clinic that was built with donor funding and was finished in 1997 but up to date, it has not been opened because they are still waiting for a few modalities in order to open that clinic for the ordinary people to access health facilities.

My word is that the Government is tired. It is proper for me to say that our people are actually facing a much more enormous task than the one they faced in 1991 when this Government came to power. The problem at that time was a mental issue and the question of expression, but roads, schools and teachers were there. Today, it takes two years for a teacher from a college to be put on the payroll and start teaching.

There is bureaucracy between the Ministry of Education and Cabinet Office where the file has got to be taken for that teacher to be put on the payroll by Cabinet Office before he can actually be appointed. That bureaucracy should be broken down because, as you can see from a circular which the hon. Minister has kindly circulated to all of us, there has been stagnation in the enrollment of our school going children since 1991. The Government is stuck and yet the population is growing. Teachers have got to leave their schools to go to the district headquarters for their salaries. Before 1991, there were vanettes with officials and security going round the schools paying teachers. Teachers were being paid by the 15th and 17th of the month. Today, there are teachers who have to wait for three months without being paid. And then, the Government says it has put everything in position.

Mr Speaker, at the Public Service Commission, there are thousands of our retired men and women who wait for five years before they get their pension. Many of them die before they get their pensions. Meanwhile, inflation is also eating into that pension which is held without interest. And you say you have put everything in position. What have you put in position?

Mr Patel: The Third Term.

Mr Sibetta: Sir, clinics cannot open, teachers cannot get their salaries, children cannot be enrolled, the pensioners cannot get their dues and we still have soldiers rising up every morning in squatter compounds because they are not accommodated. Why does the Presidential Housing Initiative not start with housing for ordinary soldiers, teachers and civil servants? Why do you have to start with a house going at K100 million? Who is going to buy that house? Are these the modalities you are talking about, that you have put in place?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: Mr Speaker, who are the majority, the ordinary people who want simple houses or a few people you are building these houses for that are worth K100 million each?

Mr Luhila: Amu bulele ndate!

Mr Patel: Hanjika!

Mr Sibetta: The President gave Southern Province a fund worth K2 billion to see that cattle in that lovely province are protected from tick-borne diseases. As I speak here, Mr Speaker, the ordinary farmer needs to pay K20,000 membership.

Mr Keembe: No!

Mr Sibetta: Unless you have removed that. Your father’s animals were dying.

Mr Keembe: It is K10,000.

Mr Sibetta: I know you have scaled it down to K10,000 because your father’s cattle were dying.


Mr Sibetta: Why register an animal at K10,000? This is a national herd. Cattle should be protected from tick-borne and foot and mouth diseases. We must secure our quarter on the European market. We have never exported our beef and yet we have some of the most beautiful beef in the world.

The farmers in Southern Province are asking this Government what has happened to that money. The ordinary civil servants who are involved in the scheme are drawing their per diems for seminars and you say you have put everything in position. What have you put in position? The kwacha is being eroded everyday and  second. We have the weakest currency in the SADC region. And you say, you have put everything in position. The question is: what are you doing? Where are your management skills to run the affairs of this country properly?

Hon. Opposition Member: And where are you going?

Mr Sibetta: You cannot come here and say that you have put everything in position when the kwacha is finished. You cannot even catch up with increments. On fuel, the Government has said that they have reduced the fuel cost but the retailer on the street is refusing to abide by the Government's directive. Who is running this country? Is it the President or retailer who is selling petrol? The President gave directives that fuel should be reduced by 10 per cent but it has not been reduced by retailers. Now the question is: who is in charge? Is it the retailer or the President? I am speaking from a wide experience. I have been a member on the Committee on Energy and I know what we have said on that Committee. People are worried because they cannot afford to go for work. The minibus rates are enormous. 

Mr Speaker, it is much more expensive for me to travel from Kalabo, your home district, to Mongu than from Mongu to Lusaka because of the cost of fuel. Kalabo has no road and, therefore, they have to use either a canoe or a speed boat. We cannot have this situation continuing. 

Mr Patel: Praise the Lord!

Mr Sibetta: So I find myself in a very difficult position to associate myself with this two and half hours speech by our President because he did not link up with the real issues that concern the lives of our people.

Mr Patel: Thank God he is the last one.

Mr Sibetta: He did not touch the issues that concern the people. Our people are dying and this Government has joined the pulpit men or the clergymen to talk about condoms.

Mr Patel: Praise the Lord!

Mr Sibetta: You must put subsidise on medicine that help people to be cured of HIV/AIDS.


Mr Sibetta: Sir, one needs to look at the issue of HIV/AIDS. Let me tell you that the biggest problem is that the Christians in Africa are the ones dying in numbers. The Moslems actually do not face the same problem. So when I hear Christians talking about HIV/AIDS and debating condoms and so on, they are wasting time. The real issue is to put medicine in the clinics and subsidise it and even give it to the people freely so that we can save the lives of some of these highly educated people.

Hon. Members: Alleluia!

Mr Sibetta: So we do not want this debate about condoms, which the President, hon. Ministers and churchmen are debating. People want action. Where is the medicine to cure the sick?

Mr Speaker, I wish you could give me the whole day ...


Mr Sibetta: ... to open up the tone of this debate because there is a lot to talk about. One arm is burning. On education schools fees, in my home village, the headmaster was saying they will not do without these levies. If you ban them, the schools will close because there is no money to run them. The same for the police. 

Where I come from, within the one month I was in the constituency, four men were killed for witching-hunting people believed to have been going around killing others. I asked the police officer in charge of Mongu District what he was doing about it. He told me that there was no fuel. They can only exhume a body when the pathologist from Lusaka goes there. They cannot go and arrest people who are killing others. So, there is a breakdown of law and order. So, what is there for us really, as hon. Members of Parliament, to associate ourselves with in this speech? This is absolutely nothing. 

Sir, why ban hunting licences this time? Who is hunting in this rain? Only hyenas are cuddling this time.


Mr Sibetta: All animals have cuddled. Are you banning so as to protect hyenas? And banning hunting licences for one year will not help the elephant. It takes five years for the elephant to cuddle. So, banning for one year does not help. I know you agree with me because you know what I am talking about. This banning is useless. No wonder you have a hon. Minister in charge of tourism every six weeks because you cannot associate yourself with this type. There is no need to ban licences.

Mr Patel: Every month, a new hon. Minister!

Mr Sibetta: There is no need and I pity my young brother, the hon. Minister who has to actually change from job to job. 

Mr Patel: Exay!


Mr Sibetta: If I were you, I would have said, I am sorry I have had enough. He is my nephew. Do not start pointing those fingers at me. I am your uncle. All of you, I am your uncle. You should respect me.


Mr Speaker: Order! The hon. Member for Luena is one of the most experienced hon. Members of this House and he knows that the first thing that any contributor must do is to address the Chair and, therefore, the pronoun 'you' does refer to the Chair. Secondly, there are no nephews in this House. All are hon. Members.

Will the hon. Member for Luena continue, please, and address the Chair.

Mr Sibetta: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker

As I say goodbye to this speech, ...

Mr Mwaanga: And to this House.

Mr Sibetta: It is you who is saying goodbye, Mr Chief Whip. You are going. You will be nominated I know but I do not know who will nominate you.


Mr Sibetta: As I leave the Floor, I really want to appeal. There is nothing to ...

Mr Speaker: Order! The hon. Member's time has expired.

Mr Kapangalwendo (Chinsali): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for affording me this rare opportunity to contribute to the debate on this very important speech of our beloved President.

In the first place, I want to extend my thanks and congratulations to you, Sir, personally and wish you a prosperous new year. I also want to congratulate the newly nominated hon. Members of Parliament. I also want to congratulate the hon. Members of MMD who scooped the three parliamentary seats. It is quite important to remind the Opposition in this country that they have no room this year. Definitely, they have no chance.

Mr Speaker, the President talked about Government reforms. This is a very important subject. I wish to remind Cabinet Office to look into this issue very carefully. Civil servants who have been retrenched have not yet been paid up to now and they have even lost the sense of responsibility in the ministries. They report for work very late and knock off early and in most offices these people just read newspapers. What are these reforms which we are talking about if the Permanent Secretaries or Heads of Department have never disciplined these civil servants? I wish Cabinet Office could look into this issue very seriously.

Sir, I also want to talk about the Auditor-General’s Office. It takes two or three years to issue a report more especially the report pertaining to local councils. You will find that you will debate a report in this House which is four years behind schedule. Therefore, I wish this office could pull up their socks and probably give us the report on time. I understand very well that they are inadequately funded but they should still strive so that we get the report on time.

Mr Speaker, I also want to talk about the Electoral Commission. This is a very important and sensitive section of our Constitution and I wonder whether they have looked at these mushrooming opposition parties. I am always amazed to find the Electoral Commission as indicated on page 16 of the speech and I would suggest that most of these parties who have had no elections or conventions, but are still saying we have Presidents for more than two or three years. Each party claiming to field a candidate must have support from districts and not less than thirty branches in a district. 

The situation today, Sir, is that a particular opposition party could even field a candidate in Nchelenge when they do not even have a single branch or member there. It is terrible because they are violating the Constitution. So, I would urge the Registrar of Societies to delete these briefcase opposition parties with immediate effect.


Mr Kapangalwendo: Mr Speaker, another point is on agriculture. In my constituency, Chinsali, I witnessed a nasty and very shameful situation. Like Hon. Major Kamanga has already said, fertiliser was actually marooned at the boma. Omnia and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) have failed to establish satellite depots and it is only when they have delivered this commodity to satellite depots that people have access to it. They have deliberately not distributed fertiliser even for the last season in spite of us having incorporated a lot of co-operative societies which we were asked to do by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries some two years back. You find that the Omnia people have totally disregarded the importance and existence of these co-operative societies.

Furthermore, Omnia and FRA have also failed to collect last year’s maize. It is still there, rotting and yet they have demanded complete payment from farmers even from those who have already paid. In my opinion, Sir, I would suggest that the Government takes over the FRA completely and let it be a department within the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and with regard to Omnia, the contract should be terminated immediately.

Mr Speaker, my last point is about commerce and trade.

Mr Kawinga: Do you understand it?

Mr Kapangalwendo: I have always said that if we talk about commerce and trade we should be serious about considering the transfer of technology, patents and trade marks, but if, in this country, we have no registered patent owners under the Registrar of Companies, then trade which we are talking about will not materialise. I would encourage the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry to look into this matter seriously because Zambia is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation where ...

Mr Sibetta: It is not in the speech iwe.

Mr Kapangalwendo: Yes, you can say that, but you understand what I mean.

Sir, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry can only be recognised if it attaches great importance to inventions; that is industrial property, trade marks and industrial designs.

With these few words, I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! {mospagebreak}

Mr Luhila (Lukulu East):  Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this very important speech by the President in the year 2001. In that same vein, let me welcome the new hon. Members, nominated and elected to this particular House.

Mr Speaker, let me also congratulate the MMD Government for accepting the good suggestions from this side of the House. This is in so far as the rate of the kwacha and the way the MMD Government is running the economy is concerned.

Mr Speaker, I would like to welcome the Government measures in trying to arrest the drain or the export of the foreign currency from this country. Having said that, I would like to remind hon. Members in this House, especially on the Government side, that as Members of this House and as we contribute to debates of national importance, we do that truly as responsible citizens of this country. So, certainly, I would wish that in future, many more suggestions, especially in the field of health and education will be taken seriously by the Government.

Mr Speaker, having said that, I would like to start my contribution with the Electoral Commission. I would like to welcome the inter-party talks where the Chief Whip is representing the ruling party. This is a very important year for our democracy and the Electoral Commission is going to play a very big role this year. So, I would like to suggest to the Chief Whip, who is representing his party at these very important talks, that suggestions coming from the opposition parties, who are represented at these talks, should be taken very seriously, indeed.

Mr Speaker, one of the very serious suggestions at these talks is to try and level the playing field in the political arena. I have in mind the idea of trying to, at least, have a certain level of expenditure by every party when it comes to elections. 


Mr Luhila: I can hear some other hon. Members interjecting. If we ought to have credibility to these elections coming this year, ...

Hon. Member: We have no money:

Mr Luhila: To win an election you do not need money. You sell your policies in order to be accepted by the people. So, one of the very important suggestions, Mr Speaker, is to try and limit the expenditure in elections by every party participating in the general elections. I feel this is a very important point so that our election results are accepted by all participants. I am saying so because we do not want to see a Florida case. We want anybody who is going to win to be accepted by all that he has won. We want anybody who has lost to accept that he has lost the election. I think this is very important. I am glad that the Chief Whip is taking note of that.


Mr Luhila: Mr Speaker, I would like to talk about what the President commented on air transport. In the SADC region, this is the only country where there is no flag-carrying airline.

Hon. Member: Shame!

Mr Luhila: Thank you, hon. Member. 

It is, indeed, a shame. We would like to see that something is done about the formation of our flag carrying airline. The defunct Zambia Airways Corporation went under because of debts but the idea of having a national airline is good. Even a small country like Swaziland has its own national airline. Why can we not have our own national airline? I am recommending to this Government, and I have seen that it is now becoming a real listening Government, that you should start putting everything in place to have our own national airline.

Mr Speaker, in the field of education, let me just emphasise what one hon. Member has said. For most of the hon. Members who are representing rural areas, it is so difficult and so shameful to visit some of these schools. You will find that in some of these rural schools, a school which is running from Grade one to Grade seven or even with a basic programme, has only two or three teachers and yet you find that a lot of teachers who have been trained in the last two to three years are still roaming the streets. They have not been employed by the Government. 

The Government has spent a lot of money to train those teachers. Why are we not seeing these teachers in the schools? Please, you claim to be a listening and responsible Government. A responsible Government, I believe, should be able to serve its people and some of those people you need to serve are in the field of education. Try and post those teachers whom you have trained at an enormous expense. Please, let us see those teachers in our schools.

Mr Speaker, the President referred to the reconstruction and resurfacing of some roads. Yes, indeed, you can see some of the good roads in Lusaka but the problem is very far from being over. You need to travel on the Lusaka/Mongu Road, Itezhi-Tezhi Road, Choma/Namwala Road and you need to travel, indeed, on the  Kaoma/Lukulu Road. It is a very sad situation. There is completely no road. We need a programme not only to resurface the city roads but also the roads which are going to our districts. I just came from Ndola this afternoon. The road which was referred to as one of the best roads, the Great North Road, is terrible. When you travel between Kapiri Mposhi and Kabwe, you will be shocked. I think, as a Government and as a people, we need to be honest with our people. 

Hon. Member: We need money.

Mr Luhila: We need money, indeed. That is why ZRA is there.

That is why the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is there to bring the Budget here and we see that there is a budget for roads. So, let us do something about the rural roads.

As regards the feeder roads, there is virtually nothing to talk about. Feeder roads are, in most cases, in our most productive areas. As I am talking now, there is completely no programme. As we received the equipment through the Zambia National Service, we have not yet seen any programme at district level to ask the district leaders which roads are going to be done.


Mr Luhila: Well, maybe, in your districts, but in my district, there is nothing.

Mr Malambo: When were you last there?

Mr Luhila:  Well, I was there just two weeks ago.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about the sad situation of refugees. I am representing a district which is receiving refugees. Indeed, this is a very noble cause by our Government but the refugees are increasing more and more in number than the local people and this is now posing a very dangerous security problem for most of our local people.

Mr Speaker, you will be surprised to learn that some of the serious crimes are perpetuated by some of these refugees. It is sad to say, but this is what is happening. These are violent crimes involving armed robbery and crimes which are not known in rural areas like grabbing peoples vehicles.

So, our Government, much as we would like to help our brothers and sisters, I think we need to be as careful as we can in trying to resettle these refugees. I have in mind an idea where we heard that, again, a new refugee camp is going to be established in Western Province. I think we are tired as a province. We do not need it. I hope the hon. Minister of Home Affairs is there. We do not need any new refugee camp. These people can be taken somewhere else. 


Mr Luhila: Well, even in Lusaka if you want them.

Mr Ngulube: They will be there.

Mr Luhila: Mr Speaker, in concluding my debate, I would like to urge the Government that in trying to review the whole programme of the sale of public companies, they should be as serious as possible. The new story that we have received is that the new investors are actually asset-stripping. They are transferring our equipment into  our neighbouring countries. This is a very sad development in our programme of privatisation. 

I have in mind the latest information, Mr Speaker, if the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry has not known yet, that Lever Brothers have gone to Ndola to take all the equipment which they have found to be of good quality. They are transferring that equipment to Zimbabwe. That equipment was bought with the Zambian taxpayers’ money. We cannot afford these new investors to continue asset-stripping our own companies.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Miss Mwansa (Mfuwe): I thank you very much Mr Speaker, ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

Miss Mwansa: I thank you Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the Floor. Before I start, I would like to congratulate the mover of the motion and also the seconder.

Mr Speaker, I would like also to welcome my colleagues from the festive season and I wish them a prosperous new year as we know it is a very important year for us.

Mr Speaker, the President touched on many important areas, but let me simply comment on a few of them. I was very elated when the President announced that the Office of the Auditor-General is going to be strengthened. Indeed, this is a very important office which can enhance democracy and accountability, and, if supported fully, would play its rightful role.

Mr Speaker, the fact that this office’s duty has been hitherto historical, thereby rendering it almost ineffective has been a great source of worry to most of us and we would, therefore, like to see that once this office has been strengthened and also that it has been decentralised, it will play its rightful role so that erring officials can be accountable to this office. 

In the same vein, Mr Speaker, I would like to echo my colleagues’ sentiments, hon. Member for Lumezi (Major Kamanga), that the Accounts Committee and other relevant committees in Parliament should be supported in the same vein as the Government is going to support the Office of the Auditor-General.

Mr Speaker, indeed, there has been progress in the area of Parliamentary Reforms and I would like to see that those Parliamentary Committees are given their right to play the oversight role. Sir, I was very impressed when I went to South Africa and saw how the Public Accounts Committee plays its rightful role as a watchdog committee. In this House, I would like to see a situation of that nature also so that when matters are brought before this House, those erring officers are made accountable so that we stamp out corruption and to see that the public funds are channeled in the right direction.

Mr Speaker I would like to talk about the Electoral Commission and would like to quote from sub-section 3 of the Regulations which states:

    ‘The Director of elections shall divide Zambia into polling districts and shall declare and publish by Gazette notice the names by which such polling districts are to be known and the descriptions of the boundaries of such polling districts.’

Sir, we are in an election year and to date, ...

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

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, I did not mean to disturb my colleague who is on the Floor but I rise on a very serious point of order for which I seek your serious ruling. Is the Leader of the House and the Government in order to allow all hon. Ministers and their Deputies to be outside when we are debating a  good Presidential speech? And yet these are the same hon. Ministers who will be answering or clarifying whatever will be raised by hon. Members in this House. I seek your serious ruling.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Chipangali raises a point of order which relates to the absence of Members of the Executive, particularly the Cabinet Ministers. Normally the Chair would rule that while it has noted there are vacancies in both the Front and the Deputies bench, the quorum is formed. That normally is the standard ruling of the Chair. On this particular occasion, however, I note that in many cases both the Cabinet Minister and the Deputy Minister are absent. I also doubt that the Cabinet Ministers who are here, three of them, are taking enough notes to reply on behalf of their colleagues.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: I doubt that, but I see some are doing so. I would like to guide the House that the business of this House takes precedence over anything else taking place elsewhere. It is, therefore, expected that when the House is sitting, every hon. Member must make an effort not only to attend, but also to participate in the debate.

I do expect that the Front Bench will take note of this guidance and, if some of them may wish to stretch their legs there should be ample representation especially, as the hon. Member for Chipangali points out, the House is debating a very serious issue relating to the President’s Address to this House. 

May the hon. Member for Mfuwe, please, continue.

Miss Mwansa: Mr Speaker, before I was interrupted, I was saying that we are in an election year and to date, there are some people who still live twenty or thirty kilometres away from the nearest polling station. And to expect that these people will walk twenty or thirty kilometres in order to go and exercise their democratic right to vote, is almost wishful thinking. I would like to see that the Electoral Commission takes up this challenge and that they create more polling districts which will be nearer to the people so that the people can exercise their democratic right to vote and so that we do not disenfranchise them.

Mr Speaker, I had the good fortune to observe elections in Tanzania and the lessons that I learnt there were very good. I noticed that almost every place that is available was made or created into a polling district in order to allow the citizens of Tanzania to vote in great numbers. So, the Electoral Commission has got the mandate to create more polling districts and I want them to rise to this challenge so that we can let our Zambian people exercise their democratic right.

Mr Speaker, on the question of gender, I think the hon. Member for Lumezi did ably dwell on the matter, but I would like also to add that the fact that we have adopted the National Gender Policy should not make us sit down and think that we have arrived, we have just began the journey. Sir, we should now operationalise the gender policy into concrete action so that we can achieve the gender equality that we are seeking. A mere fact of bringing about policies does not change anything. I would challenge the Zambian people, not only the Government, but also political parties that they look seriously into the question of policy regarding gender. 

In terms of adoption of females, especially to Parliament, we can do what is called a ‘zebra way’. For those hon. Members who may not know, the zebra’s colours are black and white. So, if we are adopting, please let us adopt male, female, male, female. That way, we shall ensure that we achieve the gender equality that we are looking for.

Hon. Female Members: Hear, hear!


Miss Mwansa: Mr Speaker, I would like to also dwell on the railway transport. The President did allude to the fact that a number of roads have been rehabilitated in Zambia. Indeed, the Great North Road is one such road, but I fear that unless we continue to rehabilitate and maintain these roads, we are going to go back the same way that we started off in 1991. Unless we seriously consider the fact of maintaining these roads we will not achieve much. 

Sir, in the same vein, I would like to marry this with the railway transport. I would like to see a situation where all heavy traffic is channeled through the railway systems so that we leave our roads free. And to this effect, I would like to see the Government come up with the appropriate legal framework so that we can maintain our roads. It is good, once in a while, to drive on a good road. I have been feeling like going to my constituency every single day because of the road. I fear the time when, in 1996, I thought about going to my constituency, it was a nightmare. I had to bring myself into the framework of that journey simply because of the road. So, we must try to maintain these roads.

Mr Speaker, I would like to dwell briefly on the question of tourism. The banning or suspension of the hunting concessions is a welcome development, but added to this is that I would like to see that as we consider granting and renewals of new licences that we consider serious people. 

We should not give licences to people because we know them. For some of us who are in game management areas, we would like to see serious operators who will get serious with their obligations and also look at the welfare of the communities that they are operating in. We should also look at the question of partnership with our local people. 

Mr Speaker, it is a fact that with ZAWA, a lot of our people have lost jobs and it is a fact that poaching has increased because our local communities no longer feel that they are part and parcel of the game management areas. So, I would like to see a situation where we give concessions to people who go into partnership with the local people. We should also give concessions to people who are serious with their obligations and who will give something back to the communities that they are operating from.

Mr Sata: It looks like you are talking from experience.

Miss Mwansa: Indeed, Sir. 

Mr Speaker, I, now, want to talk on the Drug Enforcement Commission. While I appreciate the work that the Commission is doing, I also get a bit concerned about the publicity that they are doing. Sometimes, it is to our detriment and I am speaking purely as a Zambian that it is about time that the Drug Enforcement Commission balanced the need to give out information on the drug situation in Zambia and also on the need to keep a little bit back so that we do not seem to portray Zambia as a drug trafficking haven. There must be some balancing in these things. We have created a situation where every Zambian looks like a drug trafficker. If you are well to do, people will think that the money came from drugs but this is because of the way we are portraying every little bit of information.

Sir, I appreciate the work they are doing but I think they must balance on the need to give information and it must be on the need to know basis only.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, it is my honour and privilege to bless you and to convey to you, your staff, hon. Members of Parliament and their families God’s richest blessings in this new year and beyond.

I am happy to say happy new year to all hon. Members and I can also say it in French bon anne. I am also happy to bless hon. Members in Kiswahili and say, Mungu amibariki sana.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! {mospagebreak}

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Mr Speaker, I would like to start by offering several congratulations to those who left us from this side and went on that side on their forthcoming promotions, particularly those who do not come from North Western Rhodesia. I also want to congratulate the hon. Chairman of the Northern Province on bouncing back and I want to parade his bravery as he was the first Chairman of Northern Province many years ago when many people were afraid to be associated with the Movement for Multi-party Democracy. 

I would also like to congratulate all the people who have been promoted and I would just like to save time and translate some Siluyana words of wisdom which say that when you are new in a place, "those who rush to you for friendship or those who become your friends first, may not necessarily be your permanent friends."

Mr Speaker, I am very happy to welcome to this House Hon. Musakabantu who was sort of discarded in a Simuyandi fashion but has been welcomed back. I welcome him and I hope that he will debate like he used to do in 1991.

Mr Speaker, I would like to accompany our President in spirit, with tears of mourning as he represents us at the burial of his colleague and ally, the late President Kabila. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Leader of the House for his introductory remarks and I would like to obey and support him by not repeating what has been said. However, I would like to plead that we are here to debate. I would like us to debate like we used to do in 1991 and 1992 such that even when a Bill came late, we would debate it. I remember one day when some hon. Member brought a Bill very late and we debated in this House until 0400 hours the following day.

Sir, we are here to debate and speak on behalf of the people and we would like to plead for time. I will say this in Sikololo, Mulutuhele lu luipande kona ze lutezi.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: In other words, do not block us, let us debate freely because that is why we are here. You should not curtail us, Hon. Members on the Front Bench. I would like you to relax and you should not be afraid and jittery. If I was not in Parliament, I would use that word jittery, but I will not. You should relax and wait for your turn. Do not use Standing Orders of ‘Blocking’ Orders so that we do not debate. We are here to debate and so we should debate.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Mr Speaker, I would like to pick up some points which the President said and I will try to be very brief on some of these points. He spoke about unity, peace and gender which I will paraphrase to the engendering of Zambia, the Government and Parliament.

I would also like to touch on what he talked on regional co-operation, international relations and some points on the social sector and on Governance and they were a few points that I thought he was going to speak about that were left out somehow.

Mr Speaker, on unity, I would like to endorse what the President said and go further and say, we need unity in our thoughts, words and actions. It should not only be unity in our vocabulary or unity only on paper, we must see it in action. We should have unity within our inner selves, in our families, in our communities, with our neighbours and in our Parliament. We need to accept diversity as a very strong component of unity. Where we harass diversity, where we squeeze it out, it does not help much. We need to see unity in action, implementation, in appointments on committees, commissions and boards and everywhere else.

Mr Speaker, we need unity even as members of different political parties and unfortunately, democracy has not sunk in many people. I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister Without Portfolio. He is our friend, he visits us very often but, unfortunately, some of his followers are afraid of him. They do not even talk to their own relatives when they think that they are in the Opposition. That does not help.

I have been very interested in peace. I was working in Abidjan actually when the war in Liberia broke out and all of us African women in Abidjan had to take refugees. I had more than twelve people in my house, including a mother who did not know where her children were. That really forced me to be active in conflict resolution and prevention. We should really open our eyes and hearts. In our continent, the seeds of conflict are almost in every country. Fortunately, for us, the Organisation for African Unity has a department on the management of conflict. They have done so much research. All the early warnings are there. So, why do we not practice it, starting even from our own country?

Mr Speaker, we have housed many refugees most of whom are women and children. We would urge our Government that when they go to these refugee borders they should take women and young people who can respond to the female and children refugees.

Sir, I would also like to say something about prevention of conflicts. That is the full and free participation of every citizen. That means the registration of all those who want to vote, allowing other people to speak, etc., and all that goes for peace. We must really practice this. We also need the peace language. When our leaders insult each other by calling each other devils, wicked, etc., that is not peace. I am calling for a language of peace, starting with ourselves and we need to be issue oriented. When somebody is talking about water, do not talk about their grandmother and grandfather, their nose or where they were last night. Let us be issue oriented.

Mr Speaker, I have additional points to make on the engendering of Zambia, Government and Parliament. Our Government did sign the Beijing Platform of Action. That means we have agreed. We were also part and parcel of the SADC Gender Policy. We do have our own policy. We have committed ourselves to the gender balance, starting from this House, every ministry, sector, commission, everybody, etc. The laws were made for people not the people for the law. 

So, when these statutory boards and commissions call for Permanent Secretaries and Ministers, we know there are no women there. We must add the clauses or let me use the Latin word ‘addendum’, to make sure that we are not breaking our own commitment to the Beijing platform of action.

All political leaders need gender training and all political parties need a formula or a quota system to make sure women are there not only as party members or donkeys to do all the campaign and cooking but part and parcel of decision making. For those parties where they even select who is going to run, we would like 70 per cent of those people selected to be women right from decision making. Mr Speaker, the easiest and most rapid way is the political will. At the stroke of the pen and the sound of the voice, we can have eight additional women in here by those who are nominated. We can also have 50 per cent women Cabinet Ministers because there is no hon. Minister who goes for training.


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: At the stroke of the pen, we can have 50 per cent Ambassadors and High Commissioners. That is where the gender balancing of this country needs to start from.


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: I am not pleading to be a hon. Minister, but for my sisters who are on the other side. You can see I am not a young person and I am quite eager to retire. I am here not to represent myself although I know many people are here to represent themselves. I am here to represent several constituencies: Mongu, women, youth, children and the disabled.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Mr Speaker, on regional corporation, I would like to congratulate our President on the work that he has done particularly with the Democratic Republic of Congo. I was very happy to hear him say that he was one of the prime movers that nobody should get power by violence or force and we want to support him, but I want to encourage him to even go further than that. We agreed that nobody should take power by force and we would also like to urge our President to spearhead and champion the course of true democracy, that is the participation of the people that nobody will say that they are elected for ten years and then before we know it, they are there for muyaya. We hope he will champion that course in the region and also in Africa.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: It is unfortunate that we have a President in our region where the Constitution was changed and we hope our President will be right in the forefront so that it never happens, again, for the ...

Mr Speaker: Order! The Chair did take note of the fact that the hon. Member for Mongu was pleading for freedom to speak and the Chair did allow that freedom; but, on this subject, no. I reiterate, constitutional matters must be treated delicately. This House may not discuss these matters unless such issues are properly placed before it. Only then will the House debate, resolve or decide. Until such a time, if at all, this House will debate the motion before it: "That the thanks of the Assembly be recorded for the exposition of public policy contained in the President’s Address." 

This is a loaded motion, but it does not overstep constitutional bounds. Members who so wish can debate certain issues outside this House and they will be part of public debaters. The hon. Member for Mongu will have time to debate liberally but not on the issue she was about to raise.

May she continue, please.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: I thank you, Sir, for your guidance. We would like our President to continue his leadership role in this region of ensuring that democracy, industrial relations and human rights are championed by him and we hope that in the process, he will win many of his colleagues so that democracy will not only be in theory in our region but it will also be in practice.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: We would like to see systematic, public and transparent succession and registration of voters.

Mr Speaker, I want to say a few things on the social sector. Education,  is very dear to my heart and I am very happy to come from the education field and to be in the trade of training teachers who train teachers. I want to say briefly, Sir, that Singapore is not a miracle. In 1964, Singapore was even worse off than us, but it was education, science and technology that made her make it and not a miracle. Education is our tool to make it and, maybe, in short, I can just quote from our daily bread of 14th January where it says, and I quote:

    ‘The heart of Education is the Education of the heart.’

Mr Speaker, on health, I would just like to highlight mental health which I believe was not specifically mentioned and which I believe we are leaving out. This is mental health, from slight mental disorders to acute disorders. Unfortunately, we always look at acute mental disorder and as we would say in Sikololo ‘bapulumukezi mwa hae’ which means there are many people who are mad right in the community near us in our houses because we do not have services to help mild disorders. We just wait until they are acute. We need to pay attention to mental health. I would like to say that many women suffer from mental abuse. We need to pay attention to, not only physical abuse, but mental abuse which leads to mental ill-health.

Mr Speaker, I have somebody in mind whose constituency is by the great Zambezi River, which is also called, Lyambai Nang’ume. I would like to plead on his behalf for efficient and effective water transport.

Sir, cattle thefts should be looked at seriously, not only car thefts. In my constituency, these days, we walk distances of about fifteen to twenty kilometres. We know car thefts are very important but add cattle thefts because that is the livelihood of the people.

On the Presidential Housing Initiative (PHI), Sir, I am happy to note that the Government has at last remembered the connection between Zambezi and the name of the country, Zambia, after thirty-six years and in this era of realigning for elections.

 What I believe was left out, Mr Speaker, were children and the disabled. The youth are the future and lifeline of this nation.

The President talked about natural resources. I would like to add human resource development to that.

Sir, let me summarise by asking a question to all of us as leaders: What legacy are we going to leave? Are we are going to live like Jeroboam or King David? Jeroboam was the standard of bad governance and wickedness. In First Kings 12: 24-35, he is the standard and epitome of bad governance. He was rebellious, dishonest, manipulative, stubborn, stiff-necked, intimidating and not listening to advice.

David, on the other hand, is the standard for good governance. He did wrong. He sinned, but the Prophet came to him and said, ‘thou at the man,’ he cried and repented and gave us Psalm 51 as a standard of repentance. He was praised as a king and a ruler with integrity of heart and skillful in leading. That is my prayer for all of us. We should be leaders of integrity and skillful in leading. We need to keep on learning.

Finally, let us register all the Zambians who want to vote. My constituency is flooded up to July. When are they going to be registered? Funding shows up for everything else except for registration of voters. In that case then, let us make sure that all the people and youth have national registration cards so that we can use national registration cards for voting as we, in MMD in 1991, said.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Miti (Vubwi): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute on the motion on the Floor.

Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the President of the Republic of Zambia for the inspiring Address to this House and the nation. It is true that the President’s Address cannot be put in the context as described by the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena. In his description of this address, the hon. Member wants to give us the impression that there is no substance worth noting in this address. It is very unfortunate that this comes from a seasoned politician and hon. Member of Parliament. It is important to note the points that were raised and comment on them.

It is in this vein, Sir, that the MMD Government in its quest for development is applying what is prevailing in its manifesto. Accordingly, we should be able to understand that without the manifesto, then, perhaps, we could have no start at all. So, our colleagues on the other side, who may want to try and stamp on the speech, by making blanket type of criticisms, are not taking us anywhere because this speech is in the interest of the nation.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Miti: Mr Speaker, the President did refer to very cardinal issues in the development of this country. I would like to start by noting his mention of the House of Chiefs. I do recall that the issue on the House of Chiefs has been discussed for quite a long time. The fact is that our traditional rulers have a very big role in the development process of this country, therefore cannot be left behind. I know we do a lot of consultations as we get out there, but this House of Chiefs is a better forum from where Chiefs can come together to address the issues of this nation. I therefore, would want to make an earnest appeal that what the President has said should be implemented and implemented quickly so that our traditional leaders can fully participate in the deliberations and implementation of development projects in this country.

In Eastern Province, for example, a number of Chiefs are asking us what we are doing about the House of Chiefs. We normally tell them that the Government has put measures in place but for how long are we going to explain that? So, I would like to beg that, this is implemented as quickly as possible because the chiefs are eager to come down together and assist the Government in trying to implement Government policies.

Mr Speaker, I would like to comment on the Public Service Reform Programme. This is well-intended. It is an ongoing process. We cannot expect that this can be done overnight. It is an on-going process. But, I would like to believe, Sir, that as the reformation process goes on, we also put in place a deliberate policy to instill confidence in the civil servants as these are the people who are actually keeping the Government machinery working. I am saying this because even if we reform and there is no confidence instilled in the civil servants of this country, then we will be wasting our time. I think this issue should also be considered very seriously.

Mr Speaker, we should be able to say thank you where things are going on well. There is concentration in road rehabilitation in the urban areas. I would like, however, to commend the Government through the Ministry of Works and Supply. The Great East Road is a road that we should really talk about very seriously. Right now we are able to travel very safely from here to Luangwa Bridge and from Luangwa to Nyimba. We commend the Government for that and we think a good job is being done by Phoenix Contractors. But what happened with the other contractor? We would like to see to it that the contractor on the Great East Road now continues up to Mwami Border Post although the contract might be up to Nyimba for now.

Mr Sata: Where is the money?

Mr Miti: The money will be found because the Government is there and it is working.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Miti: Mr Speaker, the Great East Road is the only road that we use for transporting our goods and so on. There is need to pay attention on this road from time to time. We do not have a railway line yet and we cannot talk about air transport. So, I want to beg that this road be attended to as quickly as possible and that the company which is doing a commendable job should continue up to Mwami Border Post because we need the road to be in very good shape.

Mr Speaker, may I mention something about the contractors on feeder roads. There is a programme by the Ministry of Works and Supply and I thank the hon. Minister of Works and Supply through the Government. Some of the contractors are doing shoddy work. An example is the present Lundazi/Chama Road. I have not been there but information which has reached us is that the road is already in a very bad state. The recently done road between Vubwi and Chadiza is also already in bad shape. The road between Chipata and Chadiza is also in a very bad state. 

I know that there are many other roads of this kind not only in Eastern Province, but also throughout the Republic of Zambia. Can we be very serious with our contractors and ensure that our Provincial Roads Engineers are serious and inspect the road networks that are being done by our contractors. Some of them do very shoddy work and I believe that there is need for more inspection by our Provincial Roads Engineers. If our Provincial Roads Engineers cannot perform, can we devise a system where the offices are beefed up so that there is a proper inspection of the works on our roads. We need good work because communication is very important.

Mr Speaker, on law and order, indeed, a nation without law and order can disintegrate. I am aware there has been a programme to ensure that there are reforms in the police service and so on. I come from a rural constituency, Vubwi, and a number of hon. Members come from rural areas. The police posts and stations out there are a sad state of affairs. Transport is a problem. I know those fifty vehicles the President referred to are a good gesture, but we need a lot more and we are not talking about vehicles only. We are talking about simple motor bikes that can be given to police officers in rural areas, even bicycles. 

Mr Sata: How many have you donated?

Mr Miti: In fact, bicycles are very cheap. The hon. Minister Without Portfolio would like to know how many I have donated. I am still donating. In fact, there are many assembled at Luangwa Industries. I want to beg the Government that when acquiring transport for our police officers, especially in rural areas, they should consider Chadiza, Vubwi, and Sigogo Police stations and so on ...

Mr Mponda: And Chilubi Police Station. 

Mr Miti:  ... as well as Chilubi Police Station. Consider bicycles and motor bikes. They will go a long way.

I am aware, Mr Speaker, for example, that a policeman at Emmasdale Police Station, Woodlands Police Station or Matero Police Station, if given a bicycle, will feel ashamed to ride it, pantu nimu town, meaning because it is in town. But if you give a bicycle to a policeman in the rural area, he will cycle proudly in the village. I have seen them cycling with a lot of pride. They are living simple lives. So can we try to think on how we can assist them with bicycles and motor bikes. That way, they will be able to maintain law and order. This is going to be a must in border areas.

Mr Speaker, our land policy is good, but I am still worried. The worry I have is that we still have vast tracts of land whose owners you cannot even tell. If you go and find out from, say, the councils, you will not be told who the owner of a piece of land is. All you are told is that the land belongs to so and so but they will not know where he is. And you are talking about the large tracts of land. In fact, in my constituency, we have one or two such large tracts of land and I know it is possible in other areas. What we are saying is that we should make sure that we follow up such pieces of land which have been lying idle for five to twenty years without being exploited. 

If the owner went to the United Kingdom twenty years ago and his children have businesses in Lusaka, that land will lie idle. Other farmers would like to utilise it but it is difficult because the owner has title deeds for the piece of land and it becomes a problem that way. So, I urge the Ministry of Lands to look into this issue very urgently because land is a lifetime asset and without it, all of us can have nowhere to live.

Mr Sata: What about hyena transport?

Mr Miti: Mr Speaker, hyena transport needs people who can handle hyenas, and since I have never known of characters who handle hyenas, it is difficult for me to talk about.


Mr Miti: Mr Speaker, information is power. If you have people in the rural areas who cannot follow the goings-on in the Government, the result is negative because they will not have time to say anything good about the Government. Where are our papers? I want to believe that we need information to flow out to the most rural parts of this country because if we keep people uninformed, there is a great danger. That is why the Opposition concentrate so much in these areas because they know these are people who have no information on what the Government is doing. Because of this, we need local language papers to go out to rural areas through the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services. The reception of radio and television must be improved on . 

 Some of us in the border areas find that out of four houses in a village, two listen to Radio Mozambique, especially those who can understand Portuguese. It becomes very sad and you start wondering why. Only yesterday, the President was addressing the nation and there was a very important statement by a hon. Minister and the people there cannot even talk about it because their radio reception is very poor. I want to beg that this matter be dealt with very quickly, especially as we go into elections this year. I am glad the President tried to review the performance of the Government over the last ten years and these are issues I feel need a lot of consideration.

Mr Speaker, I want to commend the Ministry of Education. A number of hon. Members have talked about education. The ministry has introduced what should be applauded as an incentive to our teachers. There was a solar credit facility. The teachers talked to are commending the Government for that because it gives an opportunity for the teachers to do homework properly when it is cool in the night and look at what he is supposed to do for the following day for his pupils or students. With solar electricity in his house, it will work out. So, I want to commend the Ministry of Education for that type of programme. It must spread throughout the country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Miti: And I am glad that once solar power is installed at a teacher’s house and when that teacher is transferred elsewhere, he can remove everything and fit them at his next destination. This is something which we must appreciate and also the rehabilitation of schools. At least I am talking about my constituency. It is a programme that I am happy about. I do not want to say something negative where good things are taking place. The schools are being rehabilitated and I am happy about that

Hon. Member: Fyapwa!

Mr Miti: Tafilapwa. 

Mr Speaker, the idea of FRA and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries is a let down. I want to say that, Sir, I know the creation of FRA was in good faith and Members of Parliament here did create co-operatives and the record is there and the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries can give data on that one, but the cumbersome procedure of getting this fertiliser is something that is a problem for a peasant farmer who is in the board of a co-operative society in Vubwi. First of all, he must leave Vubwi and go to Chadiza, from there to Chipata and then back to Chadiza. 

Sir, can I request FRA, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, to have their men stationed in these satellite depots. If they have representatives in satellite depots, what is going to happen is that it will reduce the movement of these co-operators from their rural places to boma areas. They go there hungry and stay for three or five days and, meanwhile, the co-operative officers do not even want to attend to them. This is a sad development and it has already been mentioned here that fertiliser has not yet reached the farmer and if it has, it is D Compound. Meanwhile, the maize is almost my height.

Mr Speaker, we would like FRA to pull up its socks because as of now, it is a let down. We cannot pretend. Things are not well in as far as the distribution of fertiliser is concerned.

Mr Speaker, I support this motion. 

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga (Isoka East): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to contribute to the President’s message to us this year and actually I did look forward to his Speech considering that this year is very decisive in many ways. We are going to have elections and I thought that there were going to be a number of programmes that the President would give as a prelude to the Budget in order to address a number of issues that were evident from the contributions of your Parliamentary Committees in the last session.

I will start my contribution by referring to the epilogue that the President gave. I share with him my belief that with God on our side, victory is certain and who dare be against us, but I also know that the good Book says, ‘faith without works is dead.’

It also goes on to say that God has given us wisdom so that we can use it for the good of our people. In the President’s address, in his epilogue he said he tried to look at the whole stretch or to sketch out the long part of the reform and transformation for the country since 1991. He also went on to talk about this country seeking out high value investment which adds technological and material wealth to the well-being of our people. He also emphasised labour productivity 

I was particularly pleased, Sir, with the President’s emphasis on appealing to all of us and particularly through this House to our being committed to nationalism. On page 41 in paragraph 5, he amply indicates that and I want to concur with him that I would like, myself, to see a lot more commitment to the well-being of our nation.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: A successful and prosperous Zambia gives better chances to most of the Zambians. The same would not apply to a few Zambians being well-off. Surely, it cannot be a God-given mandate just to work for a few pockets but to work for the good of many. In this regard, I totally support the President’s view and this is why I would have liked to see what programmes he was proposing for this year to see not just what has happened in the last nine years but how we are going to fulfill the remaining aspects, how his Government and this House can help to contribute to the fulfillment of the remaining one year before we come to the end of current session of Parliament.

Let me attempt, Sir, to touch on some specific issues. I would have wanted to see in the President’s Speech, that part of the way forward that there was a categorical statement from the Government about supporting Parliamentary Reforms because, as all of us in this House know, Parliamentary Reforms have stalled. If there was political will for reforms to take place, the Government should show much greater commitment to them. Many of us, myself included, would have liked to see the implementation of the very programmes that we spent time talking about last year and the year before in our discussions on Parliamentary Reforms. 

Why am I saying this? It is partly because the President has challenged Members of Parliament to help and right in the opening remarks, the President said that this Parliament had not failed to help in clearing the Bills that were so necessary for the Government to succeed in its programmes. That, in my opinion, Sir, means that this House has not been an impediment. Therefore, the problem must lie somewhere else in the three arms of the Government. 

I would have also liked to see the President going a little further about the reforms of the Electoral Commission. He talked about the Electoral Commission having put in place a code of conduct presumably, during elections. I am not so sure because I am not certain about the details because they have not been given to us, but I would have liked to see a categorical statement about not coercing our citizens especially during campaigns. I have difficulties in appreciating when higher officers of Government go out to the citizens and say to them that unless you vote a Member from MMD, you will not see development.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: MMD democracy!

Mr Sichinga: The President went on to say that people that are going to be placed in that situation are not exercising their free will. I want to make an appeal, especially to those of our colloquies in the Front and Middle benches, when you who are in high office, make statements like that to our people in the rural areas who may not have the same exposure as those of us in towns. It creates fear in their minds. It is situations where people feel they are not participating fully that we have seen in other countries where people feel frustrated and therefore they resort to undemocratic means of making changes around themselves. I would hate to see that happen in Zambia because I think we have set a record that should only be improved upon and I would like to see a Zambia that can pride itself that we can all compete on an equal basis.

So, in the case of good governance, Sir, I like it that when the President talked about freely and popularly elected representatives, meaning ourselves, that the competition we are going to have in the field, especially this year, is going to be on equitable basis, on an equal footing, therefore, a balanced field.

Mr Speaker, the President touched on other issues, particularly the Office of the Auditor-General. I was very pleased about that and, therefore, expecting that as we look at the Budget - and I am not debating the Budget - it will reflect that concern for strengthening the Office of the Auditor-General because supervision and oversight is not possible without the necessary financial resources. 

On page 7 of the President’s Speech, paragraph 6, the President made reference and listed some of the legislation that will be coming before us in this session. He talked about budget-related legislation, the Deposits and Insurance Bill and he talked about amendments, I guess, to the Electoral Act because he talked about the Electoral Act.. He also made reference to the Financial Control and Management Act which, I think, is most important. The Public Accounts Committee, year after year, has made reference many times, to lapses. As we are discussing at this point in time, the financial report for 1999 is not yet out and yet it is 2001. In fact, just as we came back, the report from the Bank of Zambia that was being distributed was for 1998. 

I would have liked to see from an institution like the Bank of Zambia that is giving us economic indicators, the report that we should be seeing now at this point in time should not be any older than the year 2000 because that is the information that this House can use to be able to articulate various issues as we debate the Budget. I would also have liked to see, as one of the items that will be brought to the House, the Anti-Money Laundering Bill and I will explain why. The hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development had indicated in his Budget Speech last year that this Bill was going to come. It did not come last year 2000 and from the submission by the President, it seems it is going to be omitted again. 

Of late, the President has spent a lot of time talking to us about the loss of value of our currency. Why? Because with the kind of policies that the country is pursuing, you cannot expect it to be otherwise. The value of the kwacha will continue to deteriorate. It will continue to lose its value because there are too many people who bring in what is called blood money. It does not stay. As soon as it comes in, it must be externalised.

Somewhere in the speech, the President talked about how we had liberalised and we were one of the two countries in Africa where you could bring in your money and take it out. That is precisely why the currency is losing its value the way it is. In my view, Mr Speaker, it is not enough to talk about agreeing with the business community. If you do not have laws that govern issues, then you subject them to the whims of those that are putting in place verbal regulations. It does not work. 

While I appreciate that the intention and the intent is good, it must be regulated by law. There must be a firm basis. There can be no situation where anybody can collect money and send it out of our country as they please. It just does not work. If we want to see a strong currency, surely, it must be accompanied by proper regulations, but better still, at the beginning rather than to change regulations mid-way, as we are doing now, because it reflects bad faith and it is not good governance.

I do agree with the President that the dollarisation of our economy cannot be good for this country. I sincerely hope that the hon. Minister  of Finance and Economic Development will go beyond the regulations that have been enunciated by his ministry regarding the control of the currency. Let me also say that the Central Bank, as a consequence of the Presidential directive, has now increased what is referred to as statutory reserves. It was at 8 per cent, it went up to 11 per cent of deposits, it is now at 15 per cent of deposits. I will digress a little bit just to talk about the implication of that. 

What is the meaning of an increase in the statutory reserves that are maintained by the commercial banks at the Central Bank? What it is saying is that there is too much kwacha floating around. It will lead to inflation and so, to cull it, it must be brought to the Central Bank. The implication is that interest rates must go up because you will have a shortage of currency or money supply.

I do not know who sees the kwacha because the Government is failing to even fund the very Budget it had presented. Last year’s disbursements did not even go to the amount that this House had approved, but we will discuss that when the Budget is presented after Friday. Suffice to say it should not take the President to give directives of that kind. It must be done by law through this House so that everybody understands the rules and this matter is clear.

Mr Speaker, on page 10, paragraph 3 the President made reference to the scourge of drugs. I am talking about drug money and drug dealing. I totally agree with him. That is why I also fully support the Anti-Money Laundering Bill to be brought to this House and I sincerely hope that it will be added onto the list.

On page 10, paragraph 5 the President made reference to local Government and said that we needed to ensure that there was strengthening of various local Government offices, including those of the district administrators to help with co-ordination. I wish it could have dealt with issues that the President made reference to. The Office of the District Administrator in most of our districts has led to more confusion and discord than order.

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

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, if the district administrators are civil servants as this House has been made to understand, then I expect that they should be playing that role rather than a political role. I would like to see them deal with the problems that beset us in our constituencies and councils that the President is talking about here. We will not deal with the problems of the councils without adequately funding them, not even the appointment of district administrators will address that particular problem. I, therefore, endorse what the President said, but I am saying that it must be followed up by resources being made available to it.

Last year’s speech by the President made reference to a very important component and I was looking forward to hearing that something had been done about it and that was on communication, the issue of satellite communication. It seems to have died a natural death. Why am I talking about satellite communication? Because for those of us in the rural areas, the most certain way to receive radio and television broadcasts, telephones messages, faxes, must be by means other than micro-wave links because that is a very expensive way. The technology of satellite communications is a far much more cost-effective means and when this was mentioned in the President’s Speech last year, I was elated. Nothing seems to have happened and this is part of the problem. There is no consistency, no follow-up.

Sir, I want to talk about the issue that the President referred to, here, of HIPC. I hope that the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development will explain to us how the US $3 billion that is expected to be written off through HIPC will come about because other sources are saying this will not happen and we would like to be clear. It would be good if this money would be forthcoming, but above all, if the Government would take steps to use it for the purpose for which it is intended and not to start committing it to prestigious projects.

Mr Luhila: OAU.

Mr Sichinga: Like the OAU Village that is being put up with labour from abroad as though this country had full employment. Surely, it cannot be acceptable in this situation.

On page 25, and 26 the President made reference to the failure to follow up on privatisation. I thank the President very much for recognising that point. We have said, in this House, and certainly from this section of the House.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Eight years ago.

Mr Sichinga: We have said it so many times and not for the first time.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Since 1992.

Mr Sichinga: We said, yes, you can privatise, but be careful. When you have companies taking out equipment that has been purchased and taken to another country and having production taking place there, you cannot expect to create employment in this country. It just will not happen.

Mr Speaker, hon. Ministers and hon. Members in this House must protect the interests of the Zambians, not of individual institutions. Where there was an engineering firm, now you have got somebody who is taking equipment and sending it out of the country. How is that going to create employment for our people?

I agree with the President when he says that tourism has a tremendous potential and he goes on to qualify it and says if properly managed and exploited, it stands a chance to overtake mining as a major earner of foreign currency. Yes, I agree totally. But how will that happen? That is what I expected to hear from the speech. What programmes are being put in place to make that a reality? I have not heard that. 

Mr Luhila: More hope

Mr Sichinga: I, sincerely, hope that my brothers who help to write these speeches could just do that little bit more to let us know how we are going to move forward.

Lastly, I wish to just touch on page 39, paragraph 4 where the President talked about the red card principle which Zambia supports about Governments coming in illegally. It is not just by the force of arms. Even manipulation of elections is equally illegitimate.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Hear, hear!


Mr Sichinga: I would like to see a better performance of that because the standard that Zambia has set has been high. I would like this country to maintain that so that all of us can accept the results that come out of these elections.

Mr Speaker, I totally support this motion which has been moved by my colleague, Hon. Chilombo and seconded by Hon. Muasa. I do believe that a lot more could have been said in terms of what will happen this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sikasote (Mpulungu): I thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to contribute on this important motion. 

Sir, let me start by congratulating the President on a two hour powerful speech which was delivered to this august House. This speech revealed the progress made by the MMD Government from 1991 to date and the way forward.

Mr Speaker, allow me to make a few comments on the speech. With regard to privatisation, I feel there is need to analyse the effects of privatisation and also ensuring that the agreements which the Government entered into are completely adhered to. I am saying this because if you look at the privatisation of the mines, the development agreements which were agreed upon between the mines and the Government are not being followed or not being monitored properly. We need the ministries involved to properly monitor these development agreements and these are basically the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and also not to leave out the Bank of Zambia.

Part of the reason why there is kwacha instability is lack of monitoring. Mr Speaker, the President mentioned that most Zambians have acquired companies from the privatisation programme in Zambia. Yes, the Zambians did acquire the companies but are the companies productive? The answer is no. This is because the companies have not been recapitalised. There is no long-term finance available for Zambians in Zambia and how do you expect the companies to be productive?

Mr Speaker, this brings me to the question of the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ). How do we have a nation which is being driven by the private sector not to have a development bank? Currently, we have employees in the Development Bank of Zambia who are just earning salaries. They are just debt collectors. 

So, this bank must start functioning so that Zambians must have access to finance and that is why people are saying that Zambians are not good entrepreneurs. What is happening is that foreigners have access to long-term finance and that is why they are looking successful. Mr Speaker, the question of trying to monitor the post privatisation programme is very important as the President put it at one forum, and I quote:

    ‘An operation is not deemed successful until the patient is discharged and completely recovered.’

The lack of monitoring of the privatisation programme can only be compared to an operation where a patient is discharged immediately.

Mr Shimonde: End of quote.

Mr Sikasote: End of quote.

Mr Patel: Hanjika!

Mr Sikasote: Mr Speaker, let me also dwell on a few issues with regard to the private sector. The private sector cannot succeed in Zambia if the Zambians are not involved. The private sector has not succeeded anywhere in the world if the indigenous people are not involved. It is at this point that, after privatisation, most Zambians are feeling left out. What the Government needs is to make an intervention now. What sort of intervention do we need?

 First of all, Mr Speaker, this year we need an empowerment Bill to be brought to this august House to empower Zambians. It means that foreigners cannot be involved in businesses such as running bars, bakeries and filling stations. If we allow foreigners to be involved in these businesses, we will have a conduit to externalise money which is basically very unproductive and will lead to the instability of the Kwacha.

So, Mr Speaker, we are urging the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry to bring a Bill here for the empowerment of Zambians. We have seen Government contracts being awarded to foreigners. These contracts do not even need the expertise of foreigners. For instance, just painting a building, you award a contract to a foreigner. You are draining foreign exchange.

Mr Speaker, there is no Government which does not make an intervention to support the private sector. I was privileged to be in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mr Luhila: When?

Mr Sikasote: Mr Speaker, there, the private sector was being supported by the State of Georgia and the black entrepreneurs were being supported. If you go to neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe, Botswana or South Africa, they have an empowerment legislation. Time has not run out, we need an empowerment legislation or a Bill brought to this House.

Mr Muloji: So that all of us are rich men!

Mr Sikasote: Mr Speaker, I now wish to speak on the parastatals. While there is this need that we should not let these parastatals not to be privatised, I think it is important for the remaining parastatals, first of all, to be effective and efficient. Secondly, they should be profitable. We cannot allow  mismanagement ruin parastatals and yet we know we can make a profit. 

Mr Speaker, there are also other issues, for instance, pressure from the donor community to privatise Zesco. One of the reasons why there is pressure to privatise Zesco is simple. It is that we have failed to move forward in terms of the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro Power Project which is one of the best projects in Africa or in the world in which to invest. We have also failed to move quickly on the Itezhi Tezhi Hydro Power Project plus the associated line and Zambia/Tanzania interconnect due to administrative Government hiccups. We need to move quickly because these are investments which are worth about one billion dollars. These projects have been viewed throughout the world, in the energy sector, as projects basically viable and good for investment. Expression of interests have been done and multi-nationals are pressuring Zambia to invest this money. What is the inertia? Let us move forward.

Sir, for instance, the Kafue Gorge Project is deemed for almost US$ 700 million and the spiral effect of this investment is immense. For instance, on the volumes of cement which will be used for this project, Zambia needs to build two more cement factories. So, why the inertia?

Mr Speaker, this also brings me to the question of poor performance of the railway line. The railway line can be simplified as not very important to the performance of the economy, but I say, no. The business transport costs in Zambia have been analysed to be forty per cent in terms of the high cost of doing business in terms of transport costs. Mostly, in Zambia we depend on the road transport. And I heard some hon. Members in this august House saying that the roads have been rehabilitated. No, those roads will soon be damaged because of the pressure of the trucks. Rehabilitate the railway lines and reduce pressure on the roads. Then, those roads will last twenty years.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikasote: Kill the railway lines, then you will be begging for money to rehabilitate roads within three or four years.

Mr Muloji: Cabinet material!

Mr Sikasote: Mr Speaker, on the question of growth, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme which the Government has embarked on must be implemented. Though our colleagues are now calling it ‘creation of wealth programme’ because the poverty seems to be negative, this programme must be coupled with a ten year economic strategic plan. If we do not have a plan, then, we will be oscillating. The economy will be moving depending on which type of hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development we have. We do not want that. Let us have a national economic strategic plan for ten years and monitor it properly, whether we are moving forward or backwards.


Mr Sikasote: For your information, hon. Members of this august House, UNDP are prepared to chip in for Zambia to have a ten or fifteen year or twenty year economic strategic plan. Essentially what that plan is, is that we have a wide consultation from the hon. Members and the districts, until we come up with one plan which is actually agreed upon which will be our way forward. We do not divert the plan just by one individual, no. To divert from that plan becomes difficult. And if we have this poverty reduction programme or wealth creation programme which is being supported by the donors, coupled with a long term economic strategy programme, these two will be a vehicle for economic growth in Zambia.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. L. Phiri (Chipangali): Mr Speaker, thank you for affording me this opportunity to make a few observations on the President’s Speech which I find not to be well understood and very contradictory in itself because what is being done practically in Zambia and what was said in the speech are two different issues. This speech is just theory compared to what is happening on the ground in the country. 

Mr Speaker, I will begin my debate by talking about law and order. The President said that when they were coming in Government in 1991, they just found 5,000 police officers. Yes, they were 5,000, but well-trained, well-equipped and disciplined officers and not party cadres who are employed and trained for two months. That is why there is a lot of indiscipline in the police service. The job of police officers now is just to be kicking people anyhow and some people have died in cells. There is a lot of brutality. People who are staging illegal demonstrations are going scot-free. The order of the day is just to oppress the Opposition.

Mr Speaker, that is not the law and order we would like to have in this country. We would want police officers who are well-equipped and have fuel all the time to combat crime. I am happy the President indicated clearly that since 1991, crime in Zambia has been  rampant. He agreed.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: MMD is working!

Mr L. L. Phiri: Why is this so? It is because the police are not well-equipped, they do not have fuel, transport and their conditions of service are poor. So, Mr Speaker, for someone to say what the President was saying that UNIP ...

Mr Mwitwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwitwa: Mr Speaker, I rarely rise on points of order but is the hon. Member of Parliament for Chipangali in order to tell lies ...

Hon. Members: Aah, that is unparliamentary!


Mr Simasiku: To mislead!

Mr Mwitwa: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the word ‘lies’, and replace it with mislead. 

Is the hon. Member of Parliament for Chipangali in order to mislead this House that our police service undergoes short training when they are actually regarded as one of the best trained police officers on this continent? They have a college in Lilayi. Is he in order to mislead this House? I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Chipangali is being challenged by the hon. Member for Mansa. His facts are being questioned. The Chair feels that both Members are expressing an opinion and they are free to debate an opinion. When an opportunity arises, the hon. Member for Mansa may put across a different view point on this matter.

Will the hon. Member for Chipangali continue, please.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, I am dealing with serious issues which are affecting the nation and when I am confronted with such disturbances, I do not normally answer back because I know that my young boy is just running away from ...


Mr L. L. Phiri: I am his senior. He is running away from the suspensions he served recently and he wants to be a good hon. Member.


Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, I, now, want to talk about agriculture. The MMD Government will be to blame this year for the hunger situation which is in all provinces. In Eastern Province, they are to blame. Tomorrow, I would like the hon. Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries to give us a bag of maize for farmers to plant  like they have distributed some to plant in a demonstration field here at Parliament Buildings gardens. We would like to see what yield we are going to have at the end of the season. If we will not yield anything, then the Zambian people should never pay back the loans which they have given them this year.

Mr Speaker, it is very dangerous to talk about poverty reduction and yet we do the opposite in agriculture. Zambia is going to experience the worst hunger this year. When you travel from Chongwe to Eastern Province to places like Chama, Petauke, Sinda, Katete and Chipata, you will see that the maize has tasselled at knee height and it is yellow which is a sad affair.

Mr Speaker, if you go to Chipata now, some Indian shops are selling fertilisers at K80,000 per bag. I would like to know which Zambian can afford that. There is no marketing system in Zambia and this is so, especially in the rural areas where maize and fertiliser are sold in a five litre containers. It is clear now that unless the MMD stops to politicise the situation, we are not going to achieve anything in agriculture. The co-operatives which have been formed, if you go there now, you will just find MMD cadres, constituency leaders, branch officials and those are the people who have not paid back the loans. This is the reason why FRA is in a mess. FRA cannot find money to order fertilisers in time. This is the situation in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Ministers I am seeing here in this House today are the same hon. Ministers such as VJ, Hon. Sata ...


Mr L. L. Phiri: ... and others.

Mr Speaker: Order!


Mr Speaker: The Chair is unaware of what happens after sunset, but certainly, in this House, hon. Members shall be addressed as hon. Members and not as I just have heard now.


Mr Speaker: So, the hon. Member for Chipangali is guided to address hon. Members as hon. Members.

May he continue, please.

Mr Mwaanga: I will see him outside.


Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance. 

What I was saying was that most of these hon. Members here were once hon. Ministers in a party which did a lot to put Zambia where it is now but it is unfortunate to see that they are performing as if they have just started today and yet they have been in Cabinet for ten years. What UNIP did in agriculture was to create co-operatives which were not political. These co-operatives were delivering fertilisers in September and October and this is the time a farmer can do well. What is happening now is that we are being told by the hon. Ministers of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries that this year we are going to deliver fertilisers together with seeds in September and October.

Mr Speaker, I would like to urge the MMD Government to issue fertilisers in June to prepare for the farming season in 2001 and 2002, although no preparations were done last year. So, in agriculture, the MMD Government should copy what UNIP used to do and they will not lose anything. During the UNIP Government, a lot of maize was being produced in the country and we had a lot of storage facilities like silos, etc. and there were a lot of agricultural exports.

Mr Speaker, this year the MMD Government has not delivered any inputs. This is a deliberate move and I say so because what they want is that there should be hunger throughout the country and then during the general election campaigns, they will start distributing bags of mealie meal and maize in exchange for votes from the people. This will be corruption and we are not going to accept that. No Member of Parliament in this House who represents people in rural areas can now address a meeting which people will attend. They should tell the Vice-President the truth of what is happening in rural areas which is very unfortunate. What I am doing now is just to help them because I am merely a concerned citizen sent genuinely by the people of Chipangali. So, on agriculture, I am appealing to the Government which claims to be a listening one not to ask the people of Zambia to pay back the loans because they have messed up the agriculture sector.

Mr Speaker, as a serious debater who does not normally repeat what other hon. Members have said, ...


Mr L. L. Phiri: ... I would like to discuss democracy.

Mr Speaker, if the MMD does not accept to take the Opposition as enemies, we are going to see a true democracy. The way the Opposition is being treated now is not good. I will give you some examples. On two occasions, I have been prevented from attending provincial consultative meetings. I have been sidelined. I am the only Member from the Opposition in the Eastern Province and this sidelining is done by the hon. Deputy Minister for Eastern Province. He is not the Deputy Minister for MMD, but Deputy Minister for the Eastern Province. So, he is a national leader and, in my opinion, it is unfortunate for him to do such things. Now, here we are being told of democracy and governance. 

Sir, if the MMD cannot accept to work with the Opposition, where are we going and what type of democracy are we talking about?

Hon. Members: Mbuzi!

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, if you talk about the Constituency Development Fund, up to now, in most of the constituencies, they have just picked party cadres to manage the funds. These cadres are just letting down the Government. At the moment, no development can be seen as a result of those funds having been used. In 1995 and 1996, when this money was being introduced, there was maturity and development could be seen taking place but now, everything has been politicised. The cadres are the ones who are destroying what the MMD Government is trying to build, but the year 2001 has come when everyone who will go to ask for a vote from the people will be asked what they have done for them.

This time, Members of Parliament have ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was debating on democracy and good governance. I was putting forward a practical situation in Zambia. Opposition Members of Parliament are being regarded as enemies, a situation we would not want to see because Zambia is ten years old with its young democracy. So, we would like the Government to make sure ...

Major Kamanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Major Kamanga: Mr Speaker, I rise on a serious point of order which needs a serious ruling. Is the hon. Member of Parliament in order to come and mislead this House that the MMD has no democracy when in their own party, examples stand out. Hon. Kavindele was lifted by air when he wanted to challenge Dr Kaunda for the presidency. Right now, Mr Nekoosa is being harassed. Is the hon. Member for Chipangali in order?

Hon. Opposition Member: It is in court.

Mr Nyangu: It was thrown out.

Major Kamanga: Mr Speaker, the problem with old men like him is that they suffer from amnesia.

Is the hon. Member in order to come here and mislead the House that there is no democracy in MMD today when, in his party, democracy is non-existent at all?

Mr Speaker: May the hon. Member for Chipangali, please, continue.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, let me put it on record that as for my neighbour - I am a Member of Parliament for Chipangali and he is Member of Parliament for Lumezi - he has never gone to his constituency and he knows that he is not coming back after elections.


Mr L. L. Phiri: So, he is just there to disturb people who are discussing national issues. I will not debate him. He has never been to Mwanya. Another Major Kamanga, a UNIP man has done damage to him. 


Mr L. L. Phiri: What the IMF is being promised or what is happening in Zambia or what we are saying, that we are working together or we will do that, Mr Speaker, we would want to see that this year that institution which is being built there Frederick Chiluba Institute proves what people are saying about democracy and governance. They should tally, otherwise, Sir, no matter what we propound to be good governance or democracy, no one will understand us. When I am talking of, and being a national leader, I should respect other people who are also leaders in the same country. That is what we term to be democracy and good governance.

Mr Speaker, as regards councillors, the President agreed that nothing has been done. I would appeal to the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to seriously consider upgrading the allowances councillors are getting. It is really very sad that a councillor in Chipangali Ward gets K30,000 to travel to and from attending a meeting. Whatever people are paid is less than what they are spending. They spend K50,000 and they are given K15,000 in turn. We cannot accept that considering what these leaders are contributing to this nation.

Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the Government as regards education. Being in Opposition does not mean that I have to condemn everything that the Government does. No! You pat their back where they have, at least, done something. So, as far as education is concerned, they have gone back to UNIP policies and they are doing it the way we used to do it. So, they should continue.

Mr Speaker, as regards the Presidential Housing Initiative (PHI), I would like to mention that teachers and rural medical staff have not benefited. We would also want to see teachers also benefiting from this.

Mr Speaker, on land, there are forests in the rural areas where Chiefs have taken over. I would like to put to the Government that when such measures were introduced in the country, there were few people at that time. People have not gone back to the rural areas. So, we want those forests and objects of the Government to be re-demarcated so that Chiefs also should have power to give ownership to their people. 

Mr Speaker, as a serious debater who does not repeat what other Members have said - I can see new hon. Members like Hon. Chola and Hon. Mwila want to debate. I want to teach them that here we debate by not repeating what others have said.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Chibambula (Dundumwenzi): Mr Speaker, it gives me much pleasure and satisfaction to stand before you exactly seven months before we dissolve Parliament.

Mr Speaker, this Parliament has a unique feature during the Fifth Session of the Eighth National Assembly. We are all grieved having lost our compatriots such as Hon. Mwiinga and Hon. Nawa who were combatants. It is sad that Parliament has never been the same since their deaths.

Mr Speaker, we are not able to look back, but look ahead. Our diverse histories and common struggle in the MMD have forged what has joined us together. The bond is based on shared values of African culture, human rights and freedom. In the Second Republic, integration at national level was an important aspect and, indeed, a prerequisite as a building block of national unity which our Government has continued to cherish. National unity, under One Zambia, One Nation, has been ideal and I think we have achieved that through the MMD. We are all one and we speak one language of love. This is an ideal that we hope to all work for.

Mr Speaker, we parliamentarians have to act and provide leadership without fear or favour and ensure that the provision of the tide that holds Zambia together are met and secure so that the promise that we make to our people and our country are, indeed, fulfilled. In working together, we are able to bring meaningful changes in the quality of lives of our people.

Hon. Sibetta: Hear, hear!

Mr Chibambula: Therefore, Mr Speaker, we must protect, preserve and defend our people.

Mr Speaker, we came here as representatives of the people of Zambia in order to clarify our vision, determine our mission, create a strategy and agree on a programme of action. I believe and trust that there is a lot to be done.

Mr Speaker, the President's Speech reminds us of fresh challenges ahead of us and even Jesus would have lost elections if Pontious Pirate was the electoral officer.

Hon. Members: Kamba!

Mr Chibambula: The President’s Speech highlights an economic development programme which is quite clear, but some of us charged with that responsibility to deliver are getting tired. Some of our colleagues in the Front Bench are not giving us the full value for our stay here.

Hon. Member: Thank you, I like that.

Mr Chibambula: Mr Speaker, some of our colleagues in the Front Bench are slightly tired and they have become partisan.


Mr Chibambula: For instance, Mr Speaker, about six months have passed since I reported the need for bridge in my area. We have been cut off. There are three chiefs that are cut off; two from Namwala and one from Kalomo. I reported about this bridge at Munyeke. People cannot go to Macha Hospital as a result of that bridge which has collapsed. Nothing has been done, no action has been taken. It is not my duty to call on the Ministry of Works and Supply everyday. I do not have to report to His honour the Vice-President just for a bridge.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Chibambula: I do not think that is the way we are going to talk about development. The President’s Speech is straightforward and clear. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Tell them.

Mr Chibambula: Mr Speaker, the other point I would like to point out is the issue of the role of a Member of Parliament as a legislator, translator and transmitter of Government and party programmes. We have been able to do this in the last few years or so, but I do understand and agree that the Zambian people have great expectations. While we will be there to help our party and Government, the means to deliver are very limited. The majority of us are either poor or rendered helpless due to circumstances beyond our control.

Mr Speaker, I will now deal with the issue of agriculture. The potential for our country to develop a strong agriculture base is there, as pointed out in the President’s Speech, but the Government lacks the managerial skills, capacity and interest, particularly interest in agriculture. I wish we could have the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries go round the country during this season. A few of our colleagues go round and see what is happening in the country side. We should not remain in the offices. We should go out and work and encourage our farmers.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chibambula: Mr Speaker, the agriculture interest is paramount to provide technical advice and data. I am aware that the UNIP Government took a populist policy in providing subsidies to the consumer ...

Mr L. L. Phiri: Hear, hear!

Mr Chibambula: ... rather than subsidise the producer. Meanwhile, the producer got angry and reduced food production and decided to default on agricultural loan repayments. This has brought about widespread hunger started by UNIP. I am trying to answer the hon. Member of Parliament for Chipangali.

Mr Speaker, the agriculture industry had remained a pipe dream. When we say go back to the land, which land do we mean? Was it the land of Egypt or the Land of Israel?


Mr Chibambula: Now, Mr Speaker, the agricultural industry in the Southern Province had been the strongest, but the industry was systematically killed and their people brought down to their knees, I think this was a political move to abandon agriculture as part of their wealth.

Mr Mwaanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwaanga: Mr Speaker , is the hon. Member for Dundumwenzi, who normally debates well, in order to use the word, ‘killed’ when the Chair has ruled on main occasions that the word, ‘kill’ is unparliamentary? I need your ruling Sir.

Mr Speaker: The Hon. Chief Whip, in his point of order, has correctly heard the hon. Member for Dundumwenzi use that word. ‘Kill’ is unparliamentary. May he be reminded that the word, ‘kill’, even in the context he has used it, is unparliamentary. 

May he continue, but use parliamentary words in debating in this Chamber.

Mr Chibambula: Mr Speaker, the Hon. Chief Whip, who is my brother-in-law, has not spoken to me for many months. So, I am grateful that he has given me guidance. I, humbly, withdraw that word.

In my last contribution, I did say that time had come and I wish to appeal to our colleagues in the Front Bench to develop a systematic way of doing things because it is never too late, even between now and election time, we can still finish some of our programmes in the national interest. I know that some of our colleagues are quite fortunate. They only know how to report for duty, but they are not putting in as much effort as possible to help the President.

Now, Mr Speaker, I wish as much as possible that some of the reports that we submit, as hon. Members of Parliament, are dealt with without due regard as to who has brought them or where that report is coming from. I think we are all one family. I would like to end by thanking you, most sincerely, for according me this opportunity and I hope that we will all do our best in the interest of the nation.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.


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

Question put and agreed to.

The House adjourned at 1850 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 24th January, 2001.