Debates - Thursday, 30th July, 2015

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Thursday, 30th July, 2015

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The Minister of Justice (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, on Wednesday, 15th July, 2015, there was a question, on the Order Paper, for Her Honour the Vice-President regarding when the Government would release the findings of the Commissions of Inquiry into the Mongu riots, sale of the Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel) to LAP Green of Libya and the oil procurement. The Hon. Questioner also wanted to know how much was spent on each of the commissions of inquiry. In response, Her Honour the Vice-President indicated that a statement would be issued to avail the House more information.

Mr Speaker, allow me to highlight the terms of reference for the commissions of inquiry and their status before I address the issues of when the findings shall be released and how much money was spent on each of them. It is important for the terms of reference to be highlighted so that members of this august House are afforded an insight into the rationale behind the setting up of the inquiries.

Commission of Inquiry into Mongu Riots of 14th January, 2011

Mr Speaker, the commission of inquiry into the Mongu riots was constituted on 6th October, 2011, to inquire into the following matters:

(a)    the cause of the riots that took place in Mongu in the Western Province of the Republic of Zambia on 14th January, 2011, and in which two people lost their lives, and about 100 people were arrested in connection with the riots;

(b)    whether the Barotse Freedom Movement (BFM) was responsible for the riots, and what gave rise to the riotous behaviour;

(c)    the conduct of the Zambia Police Force and its Paramilitary Unit during the riots;

(d)    whether the rioters were carrying any weapons and, if so, whether the force used by the paramilitary police in the riots was proportionate or excessive under the circumstances;
(e)    whether the riots necessitated the presence of Paramilitary Police drawn from areas other than the local police constabulary in Mongu;

(f)    whether the state’s decision to detain the accused in Mumbwa and Lusaka, and prosecute them in Mumbwa was necessary and reasonable;

(g)    whether the law was complied with in ensuring the welfare of the detainees, particularly with regard to medical treatment for those injured during their arrests, and what preparations if any, had been made by the authorities when transferring the group to the Mumbwa Prison;

(h)    whether those detained for their involvement in the riots are entitled to damages for wrongful detention;

(i)    whether the Executive interfered  with the due process;

(j)    the current relationship between the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and the Central Government and to determine whether it is conducive to the promotion of democratic governance; and

(k)    the concerns of the people of the Western Province and recommend mechanisms for addressing the concerns.

Commission of Inquiry into Oil Procurement under the Energy Regulation Board

Mr Speaker, on 4th October, 2011, the late Republican President, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, issued this commission of inquiry with the mandate to look into the following:

(a)    the procurement methods and tender procedures for the supply of oil by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB);

(b)    the costing of oil outside and within Zambia;

(c)    the capacity and corporate profiles of international and local oil suppliers;

(d)    the most economic routes and sources for the supply of oil into Zambia; and

(e)    any matter incidental to the foregoing.

Inquiry into the Sale of 75 Per Cent Government Shareholding in Zamtel to LAP Green of Libya

Mr Speaker, the inquiry was instituted at the direction of the late Republican President, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, to investigate the sale of Zamtel in order to determine how it was conducted and ascertain whether all the required procedures relating to the sale were complied with.

Sir, all the three inquiries were undertaken and, as required under the Inquiries Act, reports were submitted to the appointing authority, the late Republican President, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata. The reports were subsequently handed over to the current Republican President, His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu who is studying the contents of the reports.

Mr Speaker, the reports will be considered by the Cabinet and the appropriate follow-up action will be determined following the Cabinet’s consideration of the reports.

Amounts of Money Spent on the Inquiries

Mr Speaker, the Government spent a total of K5,529,475,000 on the Commission of Inquiry into the Mongu Riots, K4,722, 915,000 on the Commission of Inquiry into the Oil Procurement and K2,251,150,000 on the Commission of Inquiry into the Sale of Zamtel.

Sir, the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the Mongu riots will be made public once the report has been published.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement issued by the hon. Minister of Justice.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to seek clarification on the statement made by the learned hon. Minister of Justice. I want to put it on record that I am not in support of the secession plans of the Lozi people because they are my pets. I will not have anyone to play with if a border is created …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Katuba, I think I have given guidance before. Let us avoid these unnecessary prefaces. There is really no need for such. This is the time for points of clarification which is meant for you to seek further clarification on something you are not clear about. Now, if you take the route of talking about your relationship …

Hon. Members: With pets.

Mr Speaker: No, no, I will not permit that. The word you have used could, in itself, easily provoke a negative reaction. I do not think by any standard, even in a jest, it is acceptable. I, therefore, direct that you withdraw it.

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, I am sorry for that. I withdraw the word I used.

Mr Speaker: Thank you very much.

Mr Shakafuswa: Sir, time is ticking away. We thought that by now the commission of inquiry would have settled the issues which have been raised by the people of the Western Province, the Lozis in particular, about governance and the way forward for this country. In view of this, is it not ideal to engage the people who seem aggrieved or who have got the recent past, we have seen prisoners being pardoned by the President. The people who were arrested in the Western Province should also be pardoned so that relationships are normalised.

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, I agree with my hon. Younger Brother. Actually, the Government is actively consulting the various stakeholders on this matter so that an amicable solution is arrived at.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, some governments resort to commissions of inquiry on issues to which there are no solutions. The Government has delayed in finding a solution to this matter, and the hon. Minister’s explanation is that the current President is studying the reports of the commissions of inquiry. This explanation would only be plausible if the President was not part of the Cabinet in the previous Government. So, the implication is that the reports were studied by the previous Regime when the current President was in the Cabinet. In view of this, can the hon. Minister tell us if the reports will be published and, if so, when.

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, the current President was not the President in the last Government. As we all know, each President has got his own style of engaging stakeholders. So, we have to give President Lungu an opportunity to engage all the stakeholders in this matter. His desire and that for all of us – I am sure I am speaking for everyone here – is to see to it that we arrive at an amicable solution so that we, as a nation, move forward.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, I believe that the hon. Minister of Justice knows that never in the minds of the Zambian people did they think that it would take such a long time for the Government to release the reports of the commissions of inquiry. Now that we have been informed that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is still studying the reports, would the hon. Minister be kind enough to specify how much time President Lungu requires to study the reports before they are made public. Leadership is about succession and continuity?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, obviously, President Lungu wants this matter to be resolved in the shortest possible time. The reports will be published in due course. We are all anxious to have this matter put behind us because it has been with us for a long time. I think we need to get it behind us as quickly as possible.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister sure that the issue of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 will be resolved before the next General Elections?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, perhaps, the hon. Member knows that this matter was taken to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul, Gambia, and that the Government has since submitted its response. We are awaiting a ruling from the commission. We do not have control over how long the commission will take to make a ruling. So, it would be inappropriate for me to start estimating how much time will be required.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Sir, I am glad the hon. Member for Katuba had to withdraw the word he used.


Mr Shakafuswa: You are my pet.

Mr Speaker: You are flogging a dead horse.


Mr Speaker: Just continue with your point of clarification.

Mr Mutelo: Sir, as indicated, this is a sensitive matter. K5.5 million was spent on all the commissions of inquiry. Some issues need to be resolved quickly. When the President was in Ethiopia he mentioned he was going to will resolve this issue when he got back home. Today, we have been told that he is still studying the report. Hon. Minister, do you really want to resolve this matter, taking into account that some of the people you should be dialoguing with are still in prison? When the report on the Commission of Inquiry into the Mongu Riots is ready, who are you going to dialogue with? Are you going to dialogue with people who are in prison or those outside?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, when I say the President is still studying the report, I do not mean he has been reading it all this while.


Dr Simbyakula: He is engaging all the stakeholders involved in this matter. This is not an issue that can be resolved by His Excellency the President alone. He has to engage all the stakeholders in this matter, and that is what he is doing. Like I said, we want to resolve this matter as soon as possible so that as a nation, we can move forward as one Zambia, one nation.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister of Justice to allay the perception that is in the minds of the people of Zambia that the commissions of inquiry that were commissioned by the late President Michael Chilufya Sata were merely a smoke screen …

Mr Nkombo: Academic.

Mr Mwiimbu: … and academic, considering that a number of decisions have been implemented that affect the outcome of the commissions of inquiry.

Mr Speaker, I have in mind the repossession of the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) which is the subject of an inquiry, the concession of the Kasumbalesa Border Post, where you have decided to give back the concession to the concessioner, the Zambia Building Society, which was under a commission of inquiry, but you allowed the construction to continue, and a number of other decisions that were made before the results of the commissions of inquiry were released. Can you, hon. Minister of Justice, confirm that there is no need to release the reports of the commissions of inquiry because decisions have already been made.

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, first and foremost, I wish to allay the fears that the commissions of inquiry are smoke screens because they are not. When we, the Patriotic Front (PF), formed Government, we found a lot of issues that we needed to dip deeper into in order to understand what went on. This is precisely what we did. This brought out a number of issues which we had to deal with. Like I have said the reports will be released to the public in due course.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the statement though it does not raise much hope. Hon. Minister, you have indicated that the current President is studying the three reports, and I am sure you will agree with me that a stitch in time saves nine. I am referring specifically to one of the three inquiries, namely the Procurement Methods of Oil. Hon. Minister, you know very well that, currently, there is a smell of a scandal in the procurement process of oil which requires another inquiry.

Mr Muntanga: Eh!

Mr Nkombo: Given that scenario, do you not think that the President could have actually separated the three inquiries, depending on the scope of work. Obviously, in the case of the Barotseland riots, it is understood that the matter requires enough consultation. However, in the case of oil procurement, the terms of reference that you read out to me were simply seeking to find out the procurement method, the cost of oil, the capacity of suppliers and the economic routes. In the study that the President is conducting based on the four terms of reference, who does he have to continue talking to, considering that there is now another scandal in the procurement process of oil?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central is correct that a stitch in time always saves…

Mr Nkombo: Nine.

Dr Simbyakula: … nine or even more. I have said that the Government is still studying the reports ...


Dr Simbyakula: … and will release the findings in due course. What I state, for certain, is the actual time frame. All I can say is that they will be released pretty soon. President Lungu is desirous that we put some of the issues behind us, and I think he has demonstrated that quite ably.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, given that the reports of the commissions of inquiry have been overtaken by events by virtue of the fact that the areas they were intended to inquire into have been acted upon. Hon. Minister, do you not agree with me, therefore, that the huge amounts of money that you have mentioned here amount to wasteful expenditure and, in part, are the reason the Patriotic Front (PF) Administration has overspent, leading you to borrow everyday in order to continue running this Government?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, I am not sure I have understood the question. However, what I can say is that when we formed Government in 2011, we found a lot of issues that could not be explained. That is why we deemed it necessary to appoint the commissions of inquiry that have revealed quite a lot of things which are helping us resolve some of the issues we encountered. So, this money was justifiably spent, as you will see when the reports are published in due course.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker I know that the reports will only be released by President Hakainde.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaliteta: Question!


Mr Muntanga: I agree with you that each President has a different style of administration. When President Lungu was campaigning in the last Presidential Elections, he was aware that there was already a commission of inquiry on the Mongu riots. However, he promised the people that he would bring in a Referendum to decide on the issue immediately after the elections. Hon. Minister, does the study the President is conducting include when he is going to bring the Referendum over this issue?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, I have said that the President is engaging the stakeholders in this matter, and that the way forward will be determined by the decision of the stakeholders. If the decision will be to go the Referendum route, then, so be it. If it will be something else, then so be it. The consultations are on-going, and the way forward will be known at the conclusion of the consultations.

I thank you, Sir.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I note that in the hon. Minister’s statement, just over K12 billion was spent on the inquiries. With this amount of money, we could build Phase I of a first level hospital.

Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister in a position to explain why there are different amounts of money for each inquiry? There is K5.5 million, K4.7 and K2.3 million for the three           commissions of inquiry, and yet the scope of work seems to be more or less the same.
Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member was listening, he would have noted that the terms of reference for each commission of inquiry were quite different. The commissioners went to different places to make their findings and the number of meetings held for each inquiry was not exactly the same. So, obviously, the amounts cannot be the same.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, hon. Minister, you have said that one of the reasons you set up the commissions of inquiry was that you found a lot of issues when you took over the Government. Now that you have got the results of the inquiries, but you have not acted upon them, would you not attribute that to a lack of experience in politics? Why did you set up the commissions of inquiry that have not paid dividends?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, it is certainly not due to lack of experience. I am sure that the hon. Member for Chembe, who is the National Secretary for the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), remembers that the late President was the longest serving National Secretary for the MMD.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Simbyakula: He was a very experienced politician ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Simbyakula: ... whose lieutenants learnt quite a lot from him. One of his lieutenants is the current Republican President.

Mr Speaker, indeed, we found some issues and the recommendations in the report for the commissions of inquiry helped us to make certain decisions. Some of the delays I have referred to are due to the court proceedings. The Barotseland issue has been referred to the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the Zambian Telecommunications Company, and Lap Green issue is still before the courts of law. That too, may delay the publication of the reports.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, we, the hon. Members of Parliament from the Western Province, are stakeholders in the consultation process. We have waited for close to four years now for us to be consulted, but have not been consulted. When is the Patriotic Front (PF) Government going to consult us?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, at the risk of repeating myself, let me say that consultations are on-going. So, hon. Member for Kaoma Central, you just wait patiently if you have not been approached yet.
I thank you, Sir.




704. Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central) asked the Minister of Justice:

(a)    why the Government had not introduced, in the House, the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill consisting of non-contentious clauses as per the undertaking in the February-March, 2015, Meeting of the House;

(b)    whether the contentious and non-contentious clauses/issues had already been identified and, if so, by whom; and

(c)    when the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill would be introduced in the House to address the issues at (a) above.

The Minister of Justice (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Constitution of Zambia Bill, 2015 have been drafted and will be published on Saturday, 1st August, 2015. They are expected to be tabled in the Budget Sitting of the House after ensuring compliance with Article 79 (2) of the current Constitution, which requires a thirty-day publication period of a Bill prior to introduction in the House.
Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that priority was given to legislation dealing with tax reforms, retirement age and tourism, and wildlife that required urgent intervention measures.

Mr Speaker, I wish to express my gratitude to you and the House for passing, in an expeditious manner, the fourteen Bills introduced by the Government in this Sitting of the House. I further wish to inform the House that following the public concerns raised on the identification of clauses for enactment in the Constitution, the Cabinet decided to table all the provisions of the Draft Constitution prepared by the Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution, except the Bill of Rights and Provisions on alteration of the Constitution provided for under Article 79 of the current Constitution. The Bill of Rights and Article 79 of the Constitution will be subject to a Referendum during the 2016 General Elections.

Lastly, Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill will be tabled in this House during the Budget Sitting. I urge the House and the members of the public, once the documents are published this August, to take time to study the contents and make their submissions to the relevant Committee of this House at the appropriate time scheduled for such submissions.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, when the Patriotic Front (PF) was campaigning in the 2011 General Elections, they assured the people of this country that a new Constitution would be delivered within ninety days of their coming into power. When the PF assumed office, one of the hon. Ministers said, on the Floor of this House, that that was cheap political rhetoric.

Later on, this Government assured the nation and this House that the non-contentious clauses in the Constitution (Amendment) Bill would be brought to this House during this Sitting of the House, which ends tomorrow. A similar promise was made on many other issues, including the Access to Information Bill.

The PF has given deadlines on the Floor of this House which they have failed to meet. Why should the people of Zambia, especially this House, take you seriously when, on many occasions, you have negated the pronouncements you have made of your own volition. Why should we now think that what you are saying should be taken seriously when, on the many promises you have made, especially on the Constitution-making process, you have lamentably failed the people of this country?

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, if a person goes to the Government Printers on Monday, he/she will find the Bill already printed. My appeal to hon. Members is that they should study its contents so that, together, we can come up with a Constitution that we shall all be proud of.

Mr Speaker, on the issue of ninety days, I have explained, on several occasions, that we believed that we could do it that way. I do not know if you would like me to go through that again?

Mr Speaker: Yes, briefly.

Dr Simbyakula: The reason we stated that we would deliver a Constitution within ninety days is simple. The raw data, starting from the Chona Constitution Review Commission of 1972, the Mvunga Constitution Review Commission of 1990/1991, the Mwanakatwe Constitution Review Commission of 1993, the Mung’omba Constitution Review Commission of 2003 and the National Constitution Conference (NCC) of 2007, was there. The Zambians had spoken their minds and we believed, and still believe, that with all the abundant raw data in place, all that we required was to assemble a team of drafters to draft the Constitution. Some of us believed that this could have been accomplished in less than ninety days or even six weeks.  

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Simbyakula: We believed so.

However, when we appointed the Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution, it convinced us, with good reasons, to go round, again, to validate what the Zambian people had said earlier. As I keep saying, Sir, Vox Populi Vox Dei, meaning the voice of the people is the voice of God.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, I did mention that we would bring to this House what we believed to be non-contentious clauses in the Constitution (Amendment) Bill. However, upon reflection, we thought that perhaps we should do this exercise with other elected representatives. If hon. Members will recall, in 1973, when the Chona Constitution Review Commission submitted its report, the United National Independence Party (UNIP) Cabinet responded with a White Paper where they indicated what was acceptable and what was not. The same thing happened with the commissions of 1991 and 1996. However, this creates problems.

Mr Speaker, upon reflection, we thought that if we cherry picked the various clauses which we deemed to be non-contentious, it would amount to the same thing as a White Paper.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Simbyakula: Therefore, we have decided not to take this route, but bring the whole Bill to this House.

Mr Speaker, this (waving the Draft Bill) is the Bill. You can see how voluminous it is. It has taken our drafters quite some time to come up with this, hence the delay. It is a bulky document that required a lot of work to be put in, in this fashion. I commend and applaud the technocrats in the ministry for coming up with this work.

My last appeal is to all the hon. Members and their constituents to, please, study the contents of the document so that when we sit together, we can quickly agree on what we think should be in the Constitution and move the nation forward. We want everyone to own this document. We do not want people to think that it is a Patriotic Front (PF) Constitution. This is why we have brought the whole document so that we do the ‘picking’ together.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.  

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the Bill of Rights will come as part of the Election Referendum next year. Who has made this decision? Is it the people of Zambia or yourselves, as the Patriotic Front (PF)?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, Sub Article 3 of Article 79 of the Constitution says:

Mr Speaker: Please, go ahead.

Dr Simbyakula:

“A Bill for the alteration of Part III (Bill of Rights) of this Constitution or alteration of this Article (Article 79), shall not be passed unless, before the First Reading of the Bill in the National Assembly, it has been put to a national Referendum with or without amendments, by not less than 50 per cent of persons entitled to be registered as voters for the purposes of Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.”

A Referendum must, therefore, be held with respect to the Bill of Rights and Article 79. So, it is not us who are saying that we must hold a Referendum, but Article 79 of the Constitution.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I am very astonished. Questions require to be answered in this House in their rightful context. Hon. Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha simply sought to find out who decided to club the Referendum with the elections and the hon. Minister responded contrary to that. I think that we should be together. My question, however, is …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, sit down.

I am sure that in due course, our system will be able to confirm this. As I understood the question by the hon. Member for Keembe, he wanted to know who decided that the Bill of Rights and Article 79 be submitted to a Referendum. This was the question as I understood it. This being the case, the answer is in the Constitution, itself, and this is what the hon. Minister said. He said that Article 79, itself, provides the answer.

I would, therefore, urge you, hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, to file in a question.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Mr Nkombo: Yes, what?

Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker …

Mr Speaker: Let me provide further guidance.

Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The Speaker is on the Floor.

Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha resumed his seat.

Mr Speaker: Let me provide further guidance because of the nature of this subject. We know the subject is of a sensitive nature and, if I may add, it is hypersensitive. In view of this, I want as many hon. Members of Parliament as possible to ask questions. So, I will not allow points of order.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance.

Sir, the roadmap to the Constitution-making process has been highly acrimonious and contentious due to the manner in which the Patriotic Front (PF) has decided to preside over this matter. They have had fights at every stage even with their own appointed Technical Committee ton Drafting the Zambian Constitution and with hon. Members of Parliament on the Floor of the House. This has been disastrous.

Hon. Minister, can you confirm that you are in breach of Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia for not bringing the Bill to the House in this Sitting of the House as promised. It took the hon. Member for Choma Central, two days ago, to rise on a point of order to remind you that you did not tell us the truth and the Hon. Mr Speaker had to order that you come with a statement before the House rises.

Sir, after self introspection, and having changed your goal posts every step of the way, do you not think that you are in breach of Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia which talks about immunities and privileges of Hon. Members of Parliament?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, I mentioned earlier that, initially, we had intended to bring to this House what we deemed to be non-contentious clauses but, upon reflection, we thought that we would be going the same route of bringing a White Paper.

Sir, those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it. We must learn from history in order to understand the present. Only when we understand the present will we be able to plan for a better future. This is what we are doing. We are trying to learn from the past and that is why we took that action. There were no ulterior motives.

Mr Speaker, we are trying, just as much as you, to do something good for the Zambian people. We want to come up with a Constitution that we shall all happily embrace as belonging to all of us and not just the Patriotic Front (PF). It is a Constitution that we want to leave for posterity. We are not just thinking about ourselves. We are thinking about our children and children’s children.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I wonder what happens to people when they get to the position of Minister of Justice. A couple of ministers who have held that portfolio said things, but reversed them later. The incumbent is also doing the same. Do you listen to yourselves?

Mr Muntanga: You promised that you would bring the non-contentious issues in the Constitution (Amendment) Bill and we were going to go into the Amphitheatre to discuss them, but you have changed.
Sir, since you believe in the people, who agreed with you that the Referendum should come with the General Elections?

Mr Nkombo: Yes, that was the question.

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, I think I have already responded to the concern raised by the hon. Member for Kalomo Central. If you go to the Government Printers after Monday, you will find the Bill. Start studying it because we are coming to consider it in the next Sitting of the House. We start to count the thirty days from 1st August, 2015, meaning that it will be ready for First Reading by the end of August, 2015. Then, a Committee will be apoointed, headed by a very able lawyer, my learned friend and former student, ...


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Simbyakula: ... Hon. Mwiimbu. I do not see what the difficulty is. We may have delayed a little, but that should not really matter.

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Dr Simbyakula: The important thing is that we do the right thing.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, the question, as I understood it from the hon. Member for Kalomo Central, was why combine the Referendum with the General Elections. Who decided to that effect?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, that is a good question.

Sir, a Referendum is an election and it costs money. If we had a choice, we would have a standalone Referendum, or we can combine the General Elections with the Referendum. We should spend our resources prudently. If we are going to have a Referendum and General Elections separately, then, we are going to spend a lot of money. However, we can be prudent by combining the two.

Mr Speaker, after all, it is an election and it will be conducted by the same institution. We thought that having a fourth ballot ...

Mr Nkombo: Who chose?

Dr Simbyakula: The Government, of course. The patriotic Front (PF) was elected by the people.

Mr Livune: Question!

Dr Simbyakula: Whether you like it or not, the people spoke. Like I keep saying, Vox Populi, Vox Dei …
Mr Muntanga interjected.

Dr Simbyakula: ... (pointing at Hon. Muntanga) this means that the voice of the people is the voice of God.

Mr Masumba: Hear, hear!

Dr Simbyakula: The people decided to put the PF in Government to make prudent decisions on their behalf, and that is what we are doing.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Just for the record, the hon. Minister is confirming that the Executive Branch of the Government made that decision and he has stated the reason, which is prudence.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, this afternoon, we are going to consider Bill No. 6 of 2015 which will be amending Article 63 to increase the number of constituencies in the Republic of Zambia. You said that on 1st August, 2015, you would be publishing another constitutional Bill that, amongst other provisions, would be amending Article 63 of the Constitution. In essence, we shall be making this amendment ...

Mr Nkombo: Which we are doing today.

Mr Mwiimbu: ... next week. Is it prudent for this House this afternoon to consider and, if possible, enact this Bill which you are going to amend in the next month? Do you not think that, with what you have told this House and the nation, it would be fair to withdraw the Bill so that we have a holistic approach ...

Dr Kalila: Exactly!

Mr Mwiimbu: ... to the amendment and the creation of constituencies?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Ba teacher!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, the purpose of the Bill that we will be considering today is to increase the number of seats by six, to 156. The reason is that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) will soon conduct voter registration. We would like them  to include the six new constituencies in that exercise so that the constituents in the six constituencies can start registering as soon as the Voter Registration Exercise commences.

Sir, as seen from the Bill, there will be no by-elections for the six constituencies. The elections for the six constituencies will only take place upon dissolution of the National Assembly, whenever that will be.
I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members indicated.

Mr Speaker: I have a list which I have announced.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, the inconsistencies of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, in as far as the new Constitution is concerned, are very frightening. This has led to the assertions that the PF is dead scared to go to next year’s General Elections under a new Constitution, hence the dillydallying in order to buy time. That being the case, hon. Minister of Justice, can you assure this House that come next year, we are going to the elections with a new Constitution which the people of Zambia have been advocating for?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, my hon. Younger Brother from Sinda is engaging in speculation. This Government is not scared of anything at all.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, the Bill shall be brought to this House and all of us should assure the nation that it shall be passed. Let us not behave the way we did when enacting the Bill which followed the National Constitutional Conference (NCC). The Constitution (Amendment) Bill failed in this House. So, we should ensure that this one does not fail. All of us will have a role to play. It is not just for the PF. We shall, therefore, need the support of everyone in this House.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, the Government is between a rock and a hard place.

Mr Namulambe: Yes!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is right when he says that brining the non-contentious issues in the Constitution will be as good as the Government issuing a White Paper. Enacting a Constitution is a difficult task that requires strong leadership. Looking at this House, ...

Mr Livune: Mm!

Ms Namugala: ... I am afraid, ...

Mr Livune: There is no leadership.

Ms Namugala: ... that in ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Mafinga, let me give guidance. On a very serious note, let us avoid these kinds of comments. I would not want to invite anybody outside the Chamber, especially today and tomorrow. Let us avoid this. She is developing her points. Do not put any word in her mouth. Let her speak for herself.

Continue, hon. Member.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, we are talking about a Constitution that will serve the Zambians that are not yet born. Looking at this politically-inclined House and the events of the recent past, does the hon. Minister of Justice truly think that this House can enact a Constitution apart from Article 79 and the Bill of Rights? Can we do justice to this document? Can we, as a House, truly enact a Constitution that the people of Zambia can accept as being truly theirs because partisan interest in this House is always at play?

Mr Speaker: This is a very different question from what was being suggested to her.


Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, actually, that is a very good question. There are some very good clauses in the Draft Bill which the Zambian people will have access to it. They will see who is supporting and not supporting it and will judge for themselves. 2016 is coming and people will be following the debates in this Chamber. I believe that all of us, combined, have the will. At least, I can safely say so on behalf of my colleagues. We have the will to put in place ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Simbyakula: ... what the people want. However, I do not know about the other side.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Minister for bringing the entire document to the House so that we can debate it because the power to make laws is vested in us, hon. Members of Parliament.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, now that this Bill is going to be published and that all the Zambians, including the civil society, are going to have a look at this document, are we going to be free to debate it? What I mean is that what the people of the Western Province submitted is not exactly the same as what the people of Mpongwe submitted. I may have a different view of what is contained in the Constitution. So, am I at liberty to support or reject some of the provisions in the Draft Constitution?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, Article 62 of the Constitution provides that:

“The legislative power of the Republic of Zambia shall vest in Parliament, which shall consist of the President and the National Assembly.”

Mr Speaker, hon. Members have all the powers to debate this Bill. If need be, we can meet as a caucus of the whole House outside this Chamber. We can meet in the Auditorium, have all the arguments, clause by clause, and arrive at a consensus so that we only come to this House to legislate. That is the procedure we should follow. Of course, members of the civil society and all the Zambians are entitled to make their submissions to the Committee as is the case whenever a Bill is being considered in this House.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Justice is also the Chairperson of the Patriotic Front (PF). As you know, apart from being the hon. Member of Parliament for Chembe, I am also the National Secretary for the ...


Mr Mbulakulima: ... mighty Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD).


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, there is a West African proverb that goes, “An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb.” Likewise, I am amazed when reference is made to previous governments.

Sir, I followed the hon. Minister’s presentation. With regard to the outcome of the commissions of inquiry and the Freedom of Information Bill, the Government ‘applied brakes’. Now we have the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, which the Government thought was as easy to handle as drinking water, but have since realised that, like the previous governments, they will end up with a White Paper. Looking at all these issues and the way the Government has been ‘applying brakes’, do you not think that the people of Zambia have a reason to be so apprehensive that, maybe, even in the next Sitting of Parliament, the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill might not be presented? This is because the Government could notice something preventing them presenting this important Bill.

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, let me assure the hon. Member of Parliament for Chembe, who is also the National Secretary for the mighty – atishani ...


Mr Kalaba: Movement for Multi-party Democracy.

Dr Simbyakula: Anyway, I have pointed out that the Bill will be published on 1st August, 2015. That is the start of the process in the amendment of the Constitution. So, that single act of taking the Bill to the Government Printers is a clear manifestation of the Bill being on its way to this House. I want to assure the nation that the Bill is certainly on its way to this House. Obviously, we will call upon the hon. Whips for the mighty Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), United Party for National Development (UPND) and Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) ...

Mr Speaker: You might be making some extensions.


Dr Simbyakula: ... to ensure that their Members take this matter seriously because, at the Second Reading Stage of the Bill, we shall need 106 hon. Members to vote in favour of the Bill. Do not stay away. Otherwise, it may fail and those who will be away will be blamed for it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune (Katombora): Mr Speaker, at the expense of talking about myself, I am a very experienced negotiator and conciliator of many years in the financial sector. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister when he will get the whole document, which contains the non-contentious issues that he picked, and invite all of us to the Amphitheatre so that we can go through it together in order to reduce on the tension or whether there are other legal challenges in bringing this important exercise to fruition.

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Katombora, who is an experienced negotiator and conciliator, for that question.


Dr Simbyakula: I am sure we are going to benefit from his rare skills of conciliation and consensus building when we meet in the Amphitheatre to reach a consensus. At the risk of repetition, this Bill has been published, and hon. Members can go and get copies from the Government Printers on Monday. Then, as soon as all of us are around, we will start meeting in the Amphitheatre to do exactly what Hon. Livune has suggested. We shall definitely rely on his exceptional skills ...


Dr Simbyakula: ... of negotiation and conciliation.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


705. Mr Muntanga asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock:

(a)    why the Government had not announced the floor price for maize;

(b)    if there was a policy shift by the Government, what the cause of the shift was;

(c)    what the current cost of producing a 50 kg bag of maize was; and

(d)    when the floor price would be announced.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Monde): Mr Speaker, there is no such thing as floor price for any crop, including maize. The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is scheduled to announce the time and price at which it will enter the market for the purchase of maize ...


Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

Mr Monde: ... and other crops produced. The private sector is actively buying maize across the country.

Sir, the Government policy has not cahnged. The policy is that agriculture, including the marketing of agricultural products, shall be private-sector led. This can be found in various Government documents such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP), the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) Act as well as the Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto.

Mr Speaker, the cost of producing a 50 kg of maize depends on the category of farmers. There are small scale, medium and commercial farmers. The cost of production will also depend on the price of inputs. Therefore, considering the cost of inputs, namely seed, fertiliser, actellic, packaging and labour at K1000 per hectare, the break-even price for producing a 50 kg bag of maize by small scale, medium scale and commercial farmers is around K61, K34 and K23 per 50 kg bag respectively. This excludes costs related to land preparation, harvesting, shelling and the most important cost of capital.

Sir, the FRA will soon announce the price at which it will enter the market for the purchase of maize and other crops.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that there is no such thing as the floor price for maize and that the Government policy has not changed. This House is cognisant of the fact that various hon. Ministers in charge of agriculture in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government announced what they called the floor price. Before that, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government used to tell us the production cost for a bag of maize and announced the floor price. Since the hon. Minister has stated that there is no such thing as the floor price for maize, I would like to know how truthful that statement is and what the FRA will announce?

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, the question was whether there was any shift in Government policy and the hon. Minister indicated that all Government policies are devoid of a floor price for any agricultural commodity. He further said that the FRA shall announce the price at which it shall enter the market and buy maize.
The farmers may base their negotiations on this price but, certainly, it is not the floor price. If my predecessors, irrespective of which Government they belonged to, came to this House to announce the floor price, then, they made these announcements without recourse to Government policies because the policy, as it stands, does not allow anyone to announce anything that can be referred to as a floor price. So, the Government has been consistent in implementing the policy and we are not going to depart from that. I want to emphasise that the FRA is currently monitoring the market and the moisture content of maize. When the moisture content is at 12.5 per cent, the market is right and the private sector has been allowed to participate, the FRA shall not only announce the price, but also the areas it will buy the maize from in order to keep the provisions of the FRA Act because that is what is provided for in the law. That is the Government policy which my hon. Deputy Minister referred to.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, maybe, from the Government policy to hon. Minister and then Government guidance.

Sir, in the past, hon. Ministers of Agriculture and Livestock guided and advised farmers not to sell or rush into selling their produce, but to wait for the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to provide guidance. This was one way of protecting the farmers from being exploited by briefcase buyers who went into the field earlier than the FRA. We have not experienced that this year. I would like to know whether there has been any change in the guidance to the farmers provided by the Government because this might lead to hunger. If anything, we do not want to see a situation like what is happening in the Eastern Province where people have started eating their fellow human beings as shared by Hon. Col. Kaunda and Hon. Forrie Tembo.


 Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, there has not been any shift in practice because the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, through its Deputy Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and the hon. Minister himself, are on record as having encouraged farmers to bargain for the best prices.

Sir, we get concerned when we hear that there are some people who are buying at rock bottom prices that are lower than the cost of production. We also ought to be careful not to go into the market with a price that will be considered political. This year, Zambia is well positioned in as far as maize production is concerned because it is the only country that produces sufficient grain for local consumption and export. In view of this, we would like the farmers to benefit from this. The demand for maize is high. So, like I have said several times, let the farmers make the best profit from the sale of maize. Therefore, there is no shift in policy at all. My predecessors told the farmers to get the best price. They may have asked them to wait for guidance from the FRA, but I am telling the farmers not to wait for the FRA. Instead, they should exploit the market because there is huge demand for grain. They should demand for the highest price possible and negotiate with the private sector.

 Mr Speaker, this morning, there was a symposium that brought together many players in the agriculture sector. Suffice it to say that a number of researchers produced pictures of maize and soya trading across the country that were taken a few weeks ago. I was impressed to see that some of the pictures had captions that read, “we are buying maize at K65 per 50 kg bag.”

Sir, if the moisture content is less than 12.5 per cent, and the private sector is buying at K65 per 50 kg bag, the farmer must be happy with that. I would not like us to stop that, but to strengthen the private sector so that the farmers are aware that when they grow their crop, they can demand a good price without any political interference.

I thank you, Sir.

 Mr Speaker: Order!

 I will take a limited number of questions for two reasons. Firstly, we have dealt with this subject quite extensively before. Secondly, in terms of time management, which I am responsible for, we are not doing very well. Therefore, I will just take four questions from the hon. Members for Katombora, Mpongwe Mafinga and Monze Central.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, it appears that this year, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will not perform like it has performed in the past. People in places like Kazungula and Katombora in particular are vulnerable. Can the hon. Minister assure me that all the satellite depots will be open when the FRA starts to buy the grain?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, from the outset, I mentioned that the FRA is observing what is happening on the market. I also indicated that the FRA will enter the market at some point. So, farmers in areas where there is minimal private-sector participation need not panic because the FRA will eventually enter the market.

Sir, Cap 225 of the FRA Act indicates that the FRA will enter the market particularly in rural areas where there is minimal private-sector participation. If Kazungula is one such area where there is minimal private-sector participation, I am sure that when the FRA announces the areas where it will buy grain, Kazungula will be amongst them. If the private sector is participating in Kazungula as well as it participating in Kabwe, Mkushi and Chongwe, then, the FRA may not have the urge to move in because the private is doing a good job and we want to encourage them to continue.

 I thank you, Sir.

 Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, at the moment, the moisture content for maize is 15 per cent. Zambia produces about 2.7 tonnes of maize and the famers are eager to sell their maize to the FRA. Since the FRA is going to announce the price at which it is going to buy the maize, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how many metric tonnes of maize the FRA is going to buy so that farmers do not hold onto their maize which the FRA may not buy.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Namulambe for that question. He has raised very important and accurate figures. The first mandate of the FRA is to maintain strategic food reserves. In the 2015 Budget, there is an allocation of K992 million for the purchase of crops. In the Budget Speech delivered to this House in October, 2014, the hon. Minister of Finance indicated that the allocation was for 500,000 metric tonnes of maize. So, I can assure Hon. Namulambe that the FRA shall enter the market when the moisture content of maize is 12.5 per cent and when the money allocated for us to procure the 500,000 metric tonnes of maize has been made available.

I thank you, Sir.
Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, every year, the Government budgets for 500,000 metric tonnes of maize, and yet the production is much more than 500,000 metric tonnes. We have heard that 2.7 million metric tonnes of maize have been produced this year. What ultimately happens is that the Government starts looking for money to buy more than the 500,000 metric tonnes of maize and the National Budget is distorted in the process.

Therefore, Sir, private sector participation is important. Could the hon. Minister tell us what arrangements he has made to encourage the private sector to buy the excess 2.2 million metric tonnes of maize, and whether the private sector has the capacity to buy all the maize from the farmers.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I wonder how to thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Mafinga Parliamentary Constituency. She has put the facts more eloquently than I could.

Sir, the private sector must be supported and provided with incentives. In the past, the private sector shied away from participating in grain trading and marketing because the FRA was forced to enter the market far too early and announce the price at which they would buy the maize. Often times, the private sector felt that the price was not determined by market forces, but that it was a ‘political price’. They, therefore, waited for the FRA to buy all the maize and asked the FRA for a reduction in the price. This led to a double subsidy. One subsidy was on the production and the other was on the consumption. The private sector has the capacity to buy maize from farmers and has already entered into collateral management arrangements to buy maize. One major private player told me that I should expect an invitation to go and commission the new silos and warehouses that they have built because they have noticed that the Government is going to allow them to trade in agriculture commodities. Besides that, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry also has a number of incentives that are being given to the private sector. So, we shall continue to provide such incentives and try, as much as possible, to be consistent with our policies so that the farmers are assured of a market and the traders are also assured that they can participate in the market.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I do not expect any appreciation from the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, I am not following you. What appreciation are you not expecting?

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, appreciation for what I am going to say.

Mr Speaker: Oh, I see!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has abandoned the small-scale farmers. The hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock is aware that most small-scale farmers in the rural areas, who produce less than ten bags of maize, are so desperate to find money to pay school fees for their children and medical fees to the extent that they are forced to sell their maize at a price less than K40 in most instances. Now, the hon. Minister is saying that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will leave the farmer to negotiate the price. I would like to find out whether the hon. Minister thinks that a farmer in Shang’ombo will have the capacity to negotiate for a good price when he/she is in a desperate situation.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central for that well-thought question. I also want to thank him for attempting to show his concern for the rural farmers. He gives me an opportunity to say to the people of Zambia that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has high regard for the farmers. That is the reason we have been campaigning that through farmers’ organisations such as the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), the Association of Small Scale Farmers (ASSF), Network of Small Scale Farmers (NSSF), the caring Members of Parliament such as Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, should join hands with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to strengthen the bargaining capacity of farmers by encouraging them to form co-operatives and farmers’ groups. That way, their bargaining capacity will be enhanced, not only for this season, but also for all seasons to come. That way, they can receive subsidised farming inputs and sell their commodities through the co-operatives.

Sir, let me end by reiterating my commendations for the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central Parliamentary Constituency; the lawyer from Monze.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, if I may ask him to do what the other hon. Members are doing, that is, going out to the farmers to explain the provisions of Part 4, Section 10 of Chapter 225 of the FRA Act which says:

“... the agency shall engage in the marketing and trading of designated agricultural commodities in conducting activities. Under Subsection 1, the agency shall, (b) identify and enter markets in rural areas.”

Sir, we are talking about farmers in areas away from the line of rail. If Hon. Jack Mwiimbu can assist us to inform farmers that the FRA will do what is provided for in the law, we shall go and buy from the farmers in rural areas where there is minimal private sector participation.

I thank you, Sir.


706. Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West) asked the Vice-President:

(a)    what plans the Government had for the Kamilende Rural Reconstruction Centre which was established in Lukulu in 1975; and

(b)    who owned the property at the centre

The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Bwalya): Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to provide infrastructure in Kamilende. This is a former rural reconstruction centre which was established in 1975. However, immediately after the Zambia National Service (ZNS) left the area in 1992, the local people moved in and occupied the land in Kamilende before the Government could prepare a layout plan to ensure orderly plot allocation.

The people who have settled at the centre have only benefited from the infrastructure which was put up by the ZNS before 1992. Kamilende is a resettlement area where the Government plans to build infrastructure to improve the living conditions of the people.

Mr Speaker, in order to meet the demand for plots in planned settlements in Lukulu East, another resettlement scheme called Dongwe was established not very far from Kamilende. The scheme covers an area of 15,500 hectares with 525 planned plots, ranging from 10 to 50 hectares. Four boreholes have been drilled and equipped at the resettlement scheme, and a 30 km road network formed.

Sir, the Government will continue providing infrastructure in Kamilende as funds are made available by the Ministry of Finance to implement the resettlement programme. The infrastructure at the centre belongs to the Government.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, if the property belongs to the Government, who has been manning it since 1992? Further, is the Government aware that no local person has settled there? The people who were taken from various places to be trained by the Zambia National Service (ZNS) are the ones who have settled there.

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, the property is under the care of the Resettlement Department in the Office of the Vice-President. It is clear that it is the local people who have occupied that resettlement scheme. Like I said, when the ZNS vacated the place, the locals moved in.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.


707. Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication why Huawei was awarded the contract for the construction and erection of communication towers despite under-performing in the earlier contract for erecting 169 towers.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Siamunene): Mr Speaker, the Government awarded Huawei Technologies Zambia Company Limited a contract to construct 169 Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) towers in un-served and underserved areas and an additional thirty-five towers, bringing the total number of towers under Phase I of the Universal Access Project to 204.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, although Phase I of the project faced a few rectifiable challenges like any other engineering project, it is not true that Huawei underperformed in the implementation of the project. The Government has only entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Huawei for Phase II of the project and has not yet awarded the contract to the company.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for that response. I am happy that it is only a Memorandum of Understanding that you have entered into so far because I have challenges concerning the towers that were erected in my area. Contrary to the specifications, which said that communication must cover, at least, a 5 km-radius, in my area, all the towers are underperforming because they only go up to 3 km. Hon. Minister, are you going to solve the problem since you say it is of an engineering nature?

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, currently, Huawei is trying to solve all the problems relating to communication towers in the area. However, if there are any remaining works, they will be attended to in Phase II of the project.

I thank you, Sir.


708. Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West) (on behalf of Mr Katuka (Mwinilunga)) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication when Chisanga and Lungu bridges on the road leading to the Democratic Republic of Congo Border, in Chief Kakoma’s area in Mwinilunga Parliamentary Constituency, would be rehabilitated.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Siamunene): Mr Speaker, Hon. Katuka – is it Katuka or …

Mr Speaker: Yes, Hon. Katuka is in hospital. So, the hon. Member for Kabompo West has asked the question on his behalf.

Mr Siamunene: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, the rehabilitation of Chisanga and Lungu bridges on the road (RD 276) leading to the Congo Border in Chief Kakoma’s area in Mwinilunga Parliamentary Constituency has been scheduled for 2016.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, 2016 comprises twelve months. When, exactly or precisely, is the rehabilitation going to commence?

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, we are going to conduct some feasibility studies. Thereafter, depending on the availability of resources, the project will be undertaken in 2016.

Mr Mukanga: Hear, hear!

709. Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a)    when the construction of Kabulamema Secondary School in Kabompo District would commence, considering that the local community had already constructed the foundation;

(b)    what had delayed the commencement of the project.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the construction of a 1 x 4 classroom block at Kabulamema in Kabompo District was initiated by the community using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in 2010. Currently, the structure is at slab level.

Mr Speaker, the ministry has no immediate plans to construct an additional secondary school in the area for the following reasons which Hon. Lufuma is aware of:

(a)    there is already a secondary school called Kabompo;

(b)    Kayombo Boarding Secondary School, which is more than a 100 km from Kabompo Boma and is currently under the last phase of construction, is already operational;

(c)    two primary schools are being upgraded in order to increase access at secondary sub-sector. These are Kanaji Chilanda and Pokola where construction works have already started.

However, in future, consideration could be made to construct a school in the area.

Mr Speaker, as indicated earlier, the project was initiated by the community through the CDF Committee. So, it is hoped that the community, with the support of the area Member of Parliament, Hon. Lufuma, will complete the project when the CDF has been released.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for that response. However, when we ask questions, it is because ‘our backs are itching’. When your back is itching, you want somebody to scratch you. This is exactly what we are doing. The community has failed. That is where their strength ends. They are now looking towards their ‘father’ so that he can scratch their backs. Hon. Minister, are you saying you are not going to consider Kabulamema even in next year’s Budget?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, it is difficult for me to make a commitment. However, having been to the project site in Kabulamema and seen the commendable job the community has done, I would to thank Hon. Lufuma for his support.

Mr Speaker we have made a commitment to support the project, like we did for Kayombo Secondary School, which is almost completed, and Kanaji Chilanda and Pokola schools that are being upgraded. So, at the moment, in Kabompo District, our priority is to focus on these three secondary schools.

Mr Speaker Hon. Lufuma and I were in Kabompo in March this year, and one of the suggestions I gave him was to proactively engage the Provincial Education Officer (PEO) for the North-Western Province because, when his office is allocated funds, he can decide not to put up additional structures at some schools and redirect the resources to Kabulamema, given the amount of work that the community has done.

Mr Speaker, we shall collaborate with Hon. Lufuma to see                                               how we can support the community in the commendable job they are doing.

I thank you, Sir.


710. Mr Mutelo asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication when a pontoon would be procured for Meso Akawa Crossing Point on the Lungwevungu River in Mitete District.

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, Hon. Mutelo, who is also my son, ...


Mr Speaker: There is no need for that, hon. Minister.


Mr Speaker: You can reserve it for outside the Chamber.


Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, there is a pontoon earmarked for the Meso Akawa Crossing Point. However, the challenge is the transportation of the pontoon floaters. The road to Meso Akawa Crossing Point currently is sandy, making it impassable for the low bed truck that is transporting the floaters. However, we have considered engaging the Zambia Army in transporting the floaters using 6 x 6 drive crane mounted truck that will also be used to assemble the pontoon on site. This should be done before the next rainy season.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, you have not heard me mention Lukulu/Katunda Road in this Meeting of the House because I have seen some advertisements for it. Thank you very much for this and I look forward to seeing some works before the onset of the rains. I hope you will not have an afterthought.

Hon. Government Members: Question!




Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of the Republic for the financial year ended 31st December, 2013, for the Fourth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 29th July, 2015.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Milambo (Mwembeshi): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, your Committee, in accordance with its terms of reference, considered the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts for the financial year ended 31st December, 2013. Your Committee received both oral and written submissions from the controlling officers of the ministries and institutions that were mentioned in the report of the Auditor-General. The Secretary to the Treasury was also requested to comment on the irregularities raised in all the ministries and institutions.

Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I would like to say something about your Committee’s work. I have received some comments from some hon. Members on your right that members of the Public Accounts Committee are working against them. We are not working against them.

Hon. Government Members: Read the report.

Ms Imenda: In fact, we are protecting them.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Let me be clear. Hon. Member, is what you are just stating part of your report?

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, it is just something I wanted to say, with your indulgence.

Mr Speaker: Order!

No, please, can you withdraw that comment.

If you have got those challenges, my office is open. If that comment relates to named persons, please, I would like to know who they are.

Present your report, hon. Member.
Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, your Committee undertook a local tour to selected infrastructure-construction projects that were cited for having various implementation challenges in the Central Western and Southern provinces.


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, your Committee thanks the Auditor-General for a detailed report.

Mr Speaker, Parliament performing its financial oversight function efficiently largely depends on the performance of the Auditor-General and her staff. So, we must all pay attention to the work of the Auditor-General because there are many issues at stake. It is imperative that public funds are safe. Quality infrastructure must be built, and social infrastructure provided. However, corruption stands in the way of all these ideals.

Mr Speaker, your Committee is concerned that in the current report, the Auditor-General has, once again, lamented the inadequate staffing levels and financial constraints in her office. Your Committee notes that if this state of affairs is allowed to continue, both the quality and amount of work done by the Auditor-General’s Office will be negatively affected. Therefore, your Committee strongly urges the Executive to take concrete steps to address the two constraints.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about the importance of leadership in the accountability process. Typically, accountability must start at the top leadership of the organisation. The hon. Ministers, department heads and controlling officers should lead the way and set the tone in their ministries and departments. They must assess the environment in their ministries and ensure that there are sound accounting processes, practices, internal controls and audit functions. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case. Most hon. Ministers and controlling officers are guilty of creating an enabling environment for malpractice and abuse of public resources in their ministries simply because they have not paid attention to the accountability processes for public funds.

Mr Speaker, my appeal to all those who hold these positions of responsibility is for them to take a leading role in curbing financial malpractices and abuse of resources in their respective ministries. They must simply never tolerate malpractice and corruption, let alone participate in these vices.

Mr Speaker, this does not mean that officers holding lower ranks should not be held responsible for their individual roles in malpractices. Your Committee strongly believes that each officer should be held accountable for whatever acts or omissions they are responsible for in the accountability process.

Mr Speaker, what happened at the Cabinet Office can, perhaps, illustrate my point better. The Cabinet Office has been cited for irregularities to an extent never seen before. Irregularities range from failure to follow procurement procedures to inflation of quantities of goods and prices. To the surprise of your Committee, only one former controlling officer is being investigated for such irregularities. The rest of the officers are still working. Your Committee does not accept that only the controlling officer should be held accountable for all the identified failures and irregularities. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that all the officers associated with the malpractices at the Cabinet Office be suspended forthwith in order to pave way for smooth investigations.

Mr Speaker, I will now discuss the importance of internal controls in ensuring accountability for public funds. Over the years, your Committee has consistently recommended to the Executive to strengthen this function. Unfortunately, the Executive has failed to implement this recommendation, resulting in most ministries, provinces and other spending agencies flouting procurement procedures, failing to account for stores procured and to supervise projects for which contractors have been paid. Worse still, some of the institutions have failed to undertake activities which were paid for, among other weaknesses. This should not be allowed to continue because it slows down development. In this regard, your Committee urges the Government to ensure that the Internal Audit Department in the Ministry of Finance is strengthened to effectively execute its mandate.

 Mr Speaker, it is an undeniable fact that the Government has embarked on a programme to implement massive infrastructure projects, which is commendable. However, if the projects are not executed efficiently, the country will not maximise benefits from them. Sadly, the current Auditor-General’s Report, like past ones, is riddled with numerous instances of prolonged delays and excessive cost overruns in infrastructure projects. In fact, it cannot be an exaggeration to say that only a few projects get implemented on time, and within budget. This is unacceptable because the implication of this is that the people and the economy have to wait for the provision of public goods and services longer than necessary.

Sir, a good example of this is the delay in the construction of the office block for the Central Statistical Office which commenced in 2001 and was scheduled to be completed in 2004. However, due to erratic funding, the project has delayed and the cost has escalated to unacceptable levels. The revised cost of construction as of October, 2014, was K42,413,003 from K36,584,341 in 2013. This has resulted in an increase in the cost of K5,828,752. The House may wish to know that this was the fifth time that the cost was revised from the original cost of K14,743,125 in 2001.

Mr Speaker, your Committee, therefore, calls upon the Secretary to the Treasury to ensure that adequate funding is availed to enable the completion of this project without any further delay. Your Committee also urges the Government to strengthen the supervision of all projects in order to ensure that works are completed on time. This will help avoid the widespread wastage of resources.

Mr Speaker, the Auditor-General’s Report has also revealed an increase in unaccounted for stores from K22,079,932 in 2011, to K72,371,091 in 2013. We must all be worried about such occurrences. Without receipt and disposal details, it is not possible for your Committee and the auditors to know whether the goods were procured or distributed to the end users. Your Committee, therefore, urges the Secretary to the Treasury to put measures in place to improve the management of stores in all the spending agencies throughout the country.

Mr Speaker, let me also comment on the failure by the Executive to implement the recommendations contained in your Committee’s report. The presentation of the report the House is not an end in itself. So, it is important to ensure that the Government takes appropriate corrective action. Otherwise, the presentation of Committee reports will be reduced to a meaningless ritual. The Executive should take timely action on the findings of your Committee. Your Committee’s current report is being tabled with an appendix containing outstanding matters.

Mr Speaker, your Committee has had to consider outstanding issues dating back to the accounts for the Financial Year ended 31st December, 1994. Your Committee is sad to inform the House that a lot of issues had to be closed, not because they have been attended to, but because they have been statute barred, as they have been outstanding for over seven years without being addressed by the Executive. This is unacceptable and must be addressed by the Secretary to the Treasury without any further delay. The Secretary to the Treasury must take a strong stance against controlling officers who fail to implement the recommendations of your Committee.

Mr Speaker, let me conclude by thanking you and the Office of the Clerk for the guidance and services rendered to your Committee during the Session. Let me also thank the Secretary to the Treasury and all the controlling officers, including their representatives who appeared before your Committee, for their co-operation.

The deliberations of your Committee would not have been effectively undertaken without the assistance of the offices of the Auditor-General, the Accountant-General and the Controller of Internal Audit. Lastly, but not in any way the least, let me express my gratitude to Members of your Committee for their professionalism and hard work.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Milambo: Now, Sir.

Mr Speaker, as I second this Motion, let me start by paying tribute to the mover of the Motion, Hon. Gertrude Mwendaweli Mwambwa Milambo Imenda, ...


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Milambo: ... for not only the able manner in which she has highlighted the key issues contained in your Committees report, but also the leadership qualities she has demonstrated during the proceedings of your Committee.

Sir, in fact, may I give her a pat on the back for being the first woman Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the history of this House.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Milambo: Mr Speaker, your Committee brings to your attention the fact that the Zambian people have entrusted the Executive with the responsibility of taking care of their financial resources and other assets on their behalf. As such, the Zambian people are asking for nothing but the prudent management of their assets. The Zambian people are asking for proper maintenance of all Government assets.

Sir, in short, the Zambian people are asking the Government to demonstrate total accountability of the financial resources under their charge. The Government is but a steward managing financial assets and resources on behalf of the Zambian people. So, prudence and accountability are not requested, but demanded of them.

Mr Speaker, at the core of accountability lies the office of the controlling officers in Government ministries. Your Committee is left with no option but to bring to your attention that the performance of most of the controlling officers leaves much to be desired. They do not measure up to the calling of the office, as they have failed to account for public funds in a number of areas.

Sir, most of the controlling officers have failed to provide auditors with accounting documents; account for the fuel under their charge; and to ensure that Government projects are properly supervised. They have also failed to transfer the financial risk exposures from the Government to the insurers by way of making sure that all Government properties and assets are insured.

Mr Speaker, it is in view of the highlighted failures that your Committee suggests that the controlling officers be given contracts with specific key performance indicators outlined. If they fail to meet the goals and objectives of the performance contracts, then, the only way forward is to part company.

Sir, let me turn to the issue of activity reports. When the officers undertake activities such as field visits, they are supposed to prepare activity reports. The reports are there to confirm attendance, among other things. However, to the surprise of your Committee, most of the officers who undertook field visits failed to prepare or produce activity reports, thus making it difficult for the auditors to determine whether the trips were undertaken or not.

Mr Speaker, this is unacceptable and should be put to a stop by the controlling officers in the concerned ministries. Your Committee urges the controlling officers, through the Secretary to the Treasury, to ensure that officers prepare activity reports whenever field visits are undertaken, as this has contributed towards the wasteful expenditure referred to in the Auditor-General’s Report.

Sir, let me now focus my attention on the US$750 million Eurobond. The Auditor-General’s Report has given us a glimpse of how the expenditure for the Eurobond is being accounted for. The House is aware that a total of US$735 million was disbursed to various institutions in the period under review. Your Committee is saddened to note that some of the institutions have not followed the accounting regulations for the Eurobond.

Mr Speaker, for example, Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) received US$120 million which is equivalent to K619 million. However, the management has failed to provide receipt and disposal details of K19.6 million. Further, K290 million, which was meant for the procurement of rolling stock, was spent on floor tiles for offices. Is this the way we to run the affairs of this country? The answer is no.
Sir, the situation is also the same at the Ministry of Health. The Auditor-General’s Report has brought out a lot of accounting irregularities regarding the Eurobond in this ministry. For example, the ministry engaged contractors for a project worth K72 million without clearance from the Office of the Attorney General.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Health also made a number of payments amounting to K1.5 million without sufficient supporting documents.

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Mr Milambo: The ministry further made payments amounting to K153,000 without vouchers. This is not the way we are supposed to run this country.

Sir, the Eurobond was acquired at a huge cost. So, we are doing a disservice to the people of Zambia by allowing it to be subjected to these avoidable accounting irregularities. Your Committee urges the Secretary to the Treasury to put measures in place to ensure that institutions accessing the Eurobond take extra care in accounting for the funds.

Mr Speaker, lastly, let me talk about the issue of undelivered materials which has featured prominently in the Auditor-General’s Report. Undelivered materials are materials which are paid for in full, but are not delivered by the suppliers. The amount in undelivered materials has increased from K2.1 million in 2011, to K20 million in 2013. Materials are not delivered because procurement officers and suppliers connive for personal financial gain. This must be stopped forthwith.

Sir, let me end by urging all hon. Members in this House to support this Motion. I beg to second.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, I must declare that I am a member of the Public Accounts Committee. So, with your indulgence, I would like to say a few words.

Mr Speaker, we, as a nation, are getting used to receiving the Report of the Auditor-General year in year out with very serious irregularities, but without raising any eyebrows. When you are from a rural constituency like Mafinga, it is very painful to see how people are struggling just to meet their basic needs. It is also painful to see how women have to struggle to access health services at nearest hospital and how children have to walk kilometres to access education. This is all because the Government does not have the resources to provide the necessary infrastructure to make life easy for the people. After all this, we come and sit in Public Accounts Committee meetings and listen to how public resources are misused by public officials or public service workers.

Mr Speaker, it is even worse to think that the Executive does not find any reason to hold the civil servants to account for the abuse of public resources. The issue of stewardship is very clear. The Executive has been given the responsibility to manage the resources on behalf of the people of Zambia. This responsibility must be taken seriously. I stand here very disappointed that the Executive is not taking action against controlling officers who blatantly, and without regard, abuse public resources. Public service workers appear before the Public Accounts Committee knowing fully well that nothing will happen to them after they leave the Committee Room.

Sir, the abuse of public resources must be brought to an end because every taxpayer contributes to Government revenue through the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) in order to help uplift the living standards of the vulnerable. Alas, the Executive is not taking this seriously. Instead of curbing the misuse of public resources, the Executive would rather go out to international financial markets to borrow money at huge costs and encumber the citizens of this country. The Report of the Auditor-General raises two questions. When the civil servants are costing the country such huge amounts of money through carelessness and abuse, where is the Executive? I am referring to the Executive because it is them that make promises to the people of Zambia every five years. The promises can only be fulfilled if the civil servants carry the dream and mandate of the Execute seriously by ensuring service delivery to the people.

Mr Speaker, I note that the Executive do not seem to appreciate that if the civil servants do not perform, they cannot perform. Clearly, after four years of being in power, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has not performed to people’s expectation. This is not because they have no ability to perform, but because the Civil Service has failed them.

Mr Speaker, there was an attempt by the Public Accounts Committee to broadcast live the sittings of the Public Accounts Committee. The reason was that we wanted to illustrate to the people that public resources are not necessarily being misused by the politicians, but the civil servants. We wanted the civil servants at controlling-officer level to explain to the people of Zambia on live television why they are paying so much for services. We also wanted them to tell us why they are being careless, if I may use that word, with the resources entrusted unto them. Who complained about the live broadcast of Public Accounts Committee sittings? It was the politicians themselves, and yet we were only trying to demonstrate to the people of Zambia that it is not them but the civil servants in the ministries who manage the resources. I hope that as the Executive are listening, they will reconsider bringing back the live broadcasts of the sitting of Parliamentary Committees, especially watchdog committees such as the Public Accounts Committee. This is going to exonerate you, politicians, and put the civil servants on the spot so that they can help you deliver on the promises that you make to the people.

Mr Speaker, the other challenge that makes it difficult for civil servants to perform is that controlling officers are appointed by the same authority that appoints the ministers. So, even when the hon. Ministers are aware that their controlling officers are under performing, there is very little they can do. After all, they are all looking up to the same appointing authority. The country is not going to develop and impact poverty if the status quo remains. We need political leadership that is going to say no to corruption and ensure that every Permanent Secretary who abuses public resources is not just dismissed but prosecuted. This will make civil servants understand that the resources they are entrusted with belong to the poorest of our people. It will also make them understand that the money that is being misused can make a difference in the life of that old woman in Chavuma and that young girl who has to walk 7 km to access education.

Mr Speaker, hon. Members of Parliament are tired of reading about same things in the report every year. There are always excesses, over pricing and abuse of resources here and there. What explanation can the Executive give for a council that pays for a grader that it has never seen, and yet the Council Secretary of that council remains in office? This will not happen in one council but many others.

Mr Speaker, we are becoming a nation of people who choose to turn their eyes away from the abuse of public resources. In fact, in other countries, this is the worst criminal offence that one can commit because it amounts to stealing from the poor.

I am sorry, Sir, I would like to withdraw the word, “stealing”.

Mr Speaker, where do our people turn to, to protect their interests, if not to the elected leaders? As a taxpayer, it is painful to see civil servants, whose salaries are so small, living way beyond their means and, at the end of the day, politicians are accused of abusing public resources. Unfortunately, the politicians do nothing about it. They, instead, continue making promises. Some projects have stalled for five years and the politicians do not know what explanation to give to the Zambian people. A time must come when the politicians must put their feet down and say enough is enough. We need a Civil Service that can make the dream that the Zambian people had by electing the Patriotic Front (PF) in Government come true.

Sir, we cannot continue to have women dying between Muyombe and Isoka on their way to a health facility to deliver because there is no district hospital in Mafinga and the district is not connected to the national electricity grid. We cannot afford to have old women dying because they cannot access the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme (PWAS) while civil servants are amassing wealth.

Mr Speaker, I challenge the Executive to bring to an end the lamentations of the Auditor- General’s Office. As the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said, we should be the leaders that we were elected to be. We must make the dream of the poor Zambians who cannot speak for themselves come true.

Sir, this challenge is especially on the hon. Minister of Finance. When he reads the Auditor-General’s Report, he should imagine the impact it has on the rural people and taxpayer who knows that even if he/she is paying the tax, it will end up in the pockets of a few civil servants who live way beyond their means.

Mr Speaker, I hope these words will not land on deaf ears.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Sir, let me start by thanking the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), through the Chairperson, who ably moved the Motion, and the seconder who spoke very well. I would be failing in my debate of this Motion if I do not acknowledge Hon. Namugala’s debate. I commend her for the compassion she has shown.

Mr Speaker, the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee used a term, which defines what was about to happen in the House this afternoon, where hon. Members were almost not debating the Motion. She stated that we read the same thing year in and year out. So, this Motion is becoming a meaningless ritual. In English, the lack of desire, on the part of hon. Members, to debate an issue which does not bear fruit is called despondency. This is what was evident in the House this afternoon.

Sir, what good will it do for us to stand and exhibit our pain if what we suggest is not taken into account? What good will the Zambian people see if, from time immemorial, the auditors of our country identify the mistakes, and yet the arms of the Government that include the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive, do not take effect? Really, where are we taking this country? This is a very sad situation because the report is treated as business as usual, and we do not see the strong arm of the Government taking effect.

Mr Speaker, Parliament is an institution that educates people. You conduct workshops for us hon. Members and invite people from outside the country at very high costs to educate us. For instance, people from the Parliament of Uganda came to share with us that in their country, when the Public Accounts Committee is sitting, the police are on hand to arrest erring officers. Here, we go round such issues, put icing on them and say that we cannot be Judges or arresting officers. We tend to push things under the carpet all the time. Our friends in Uganda are doing it. So, let us also arrest people who do wrong things because they are criminals.


Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member.

Mr Mtolo: Sir, I am being distracted by ...

Mr Speaker: The problem that is you are concentrating on them (referring to Hon. Government Members).

Mr Mtolo: ... Hon. Kalaba.

Mr Speaker: That is the problem.

Mr Mtolo: Sorry, Sir.

I consider this a very serious debate. In other countries like Uganda, people who are mentioned in the report of the Public Accounts Committee are arrested. Why can Zambia not learn from that?

Mr Speaker, you have invited people to come and educate us, but year in and year out there are similar financial irregularities in the report of the Public Accounts Committee. Today, we have been told that some cases that were reported as far back as 1994 have now been statute barred. I want to believe that that means that they have now become stale and can, therefore, not be acted upon because they have been written off. We are talking about Government resources that we have been elected to protect. The Public Accounts Committee is one of the most efficient Committees because, year in and year out, it tells us about the financial irregularities in the management of public resources that nothing is done about. As the hon. Member for Mafinga has stated, this has become a meaningless ritual.

Sir, last year, I stated on the Floor of this House that in the 1990s, a manager for the Grain Marketing Board in Zimbabwe was arrested not because he stole, but because he did not push for the money for maize that was sold to our country on time. Our friends are serious about such issues. It is the same in Kenya. Why can we not learn from that?

Mr Speaker, people have lamented the management of borrowed funds. The Eurobond has been cited as some of the funds that have been misused. It is sad that this country can borrow money which ends up being misused while we, the leaders, are doing nothing about. Instead, we defend the erring officers.

Sir, I would like to appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance to appoint an independent body to manage borrowed funds. If you look at the rehabilitation works on the Great East Road, you will see some lapses, and yet the project is being financed by the European Union (EU). When you go to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), you will be told that the institution has not received its allocation. However, today, we have been told that some of the money has been expended. Further, when you inquire why the Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) has been having operational problems, you will be told that the company has not received part of its money. Why can we not engage an independent body as a fund manager that will be releasing money to public institutions on behalf of the Ministry of Finance so that if the institutions fail to account for the money, the supply is cut or suspended? Keeping funds in one account may result in lack of performance of earmarked projects.

Mr Speaker, there is no progress in all the projects that are financed using borrowed funds. Hon. Members in different Committees can attest to this. If you want to prove what am saying, you can go to the UTH, check the road works or go the ZRL. You will find that the situation is the same. Amongst the companies that have benefitted from borrowed funds, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation ZESCO) is the only one that seems to have put the funds to good use. So, why can we not engage an independent body to manage the funds?

Sir, the second suggestion I would like to make relates to performance contracts. For controlling officers to perform according to expectation, they should be engaged on performance contracts. Performance contracts should not only apply to controlling officers, but also the Executive.


Mr Speaker: Order!

There are too many conversations on both my right and left.

You may continue, hon. Member.

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, as leaders of this country, we have a social contract with the people of Zambia. We also have an unwritten contract with the people because they expect performance. For example, people want to see how the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock is doing in terms of crop purchasing, the fish farming being encouraged and more centre pivots in the country. As for the hon. Minister of Finance, people want to see him disburse funds as budgeted. So, let people have performance contracts so that their performance can be measured against the terms of the contracts. Currently, it is normal for someone to go into an office and just sit. Thereafter, the Public Accounts will point out the misuse of public funds, but nothing happens. I think this is a dangerous trend.

Sir, consequently, like Hon. Namugala said, are afraid of live broadcasts of Committee sittings. The live broadcasts should start from this House. We should have cameras in this House so that people see how business is conducted in this House. This will keep us awake and we shall follow the business on the Floor.

As things are at the moment, an hon. Member can come to the House and sit the whole day without uttering a word for five years. The people will not challenge the hon. Member for this because they are not here to witness the proceedings of the House. We have done well with Parliament Radio, but let us have live debates. This should also extend to the sittings of your Committees. For example, if you travelled abroad, most of the debates are broadcast live on television. So, why should we, too, not have live broadcasts? People should know how active their Members of Parliament are and what exactly they are doing in this House.   

Mr Lubinda interjected.

 Mr Mtolo: Hon. Lubinda, please, do not disturb me.

Sir, as Hon. Namugala put it, the cost of the live broadcasts of sittings of the Public Accounts Committee is not much compared to the money that we are failing to account for in the report. So, let us have the debates broadcast live on air so that if a Permanent Secretary or Director misappropriates resources, he/she will appear before the Public Accounts Committee which will be aired live. Some officers from Lundazi were captured saying things which should have earned them an instant dismissal. I think that we need to be serious about the way we do things.

Sir, the consequence of not doing things properly is that we see hon. Members of Parliament coming to this House to ask for money to drill a borehole which costs about K18,000 and, when the price of the pump is added, the total cost comes to about K24,000. There are many hon. Members of Parliament who are looking for money to drill boreholes in their constituencies, but this cannot be done because money is being misused. It is for the same reasons that pupils in some areas are still learning from mud and pole classrooms fifty years after Independence.

Sir, how can we live like that in a country that produces more 700,000 metric tonnes of copper, more that 2 million tonnes of maize and close to a million tonnes of tobacco every year? We do not have proper schools and medicine in the hospitals because public resources are being misapplied? If someone goes to any public hospital, he/she will not be given anything apart from panadol. If you have malaria, you will be given panadol; if you have tetanus, you will be given panadol; and If you have kwashiorkor, you will be given panadol. What type of a country is this where people are given K60 as social cash transfer.

 Hon. MMD Members: K70.

Mr Mtolo: If you divide the K5.5 billion that we spent on commissions of inquiry by K60, as referred to by the hon. Minister of Justice, how many people can we support? We sit here debating the Report of the Public Accounts Committee year in and year out, and yet nothing is done about the irregularities that it brings out. It is for this reason that some hon. Members choose to keep quiet instead of contributing to the debate. We are becoming despondent because nothing happens after this.

Mr Speaker, at the risk of inciting the hon. Members, I will rest my case, and I support the report so much …

Mr Speaker: Order!

In fact, I would not have allowed you to do that.


Mr Mtolo: Sir, I wish to support the Motion in very strong terms.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, debating the Auditor-General’s Report and the report of the Public Accounts Committee is quite a serious matter.

Sir, sometimes, I wonder what the real problem is. Is it because the people who work in offices do not understand systems or is it that they are just bent on misusing public funds? Is it because of the poverty just want to enrich themselves? I have been asking all these questions.


Mr Speaker: Order, on the far right!

Mr Muntanga: There are various examples of parliaments that are also trying to improve the management of public resources. The best way to stop the misuse of public resources is by talking about it openly. That way, shall be able to control the misuse.

Sir, I know that we do not debate ourselves, but it is a fact that in the past, we used to appear in the Auditor-General’s Report. That was because there were people who not afraid of misusing public funds. Now, we hardly appear in this report because those that are in authority fear to misuse public funds. Everything should begin from the top. If this House did not respect its own rules, and went on to misuse public funds, we would have a problem. We had situations where money was being siphoned through Parliament. Huge sums of money were being stolen through Parliament, but that was put to a stop. There must be serious commitment to be able to do that.

Mr Speaker, I am mentioning civil servants because they are the ones working in Government ministries and institutions. However, we, the policy makers are responsible for their behaviour. If you become serious in your offices and make it clear that there is no room for misdoings, the workers will know that they should not misbehave. Unfortunately, the people who should set good examples are the first ones to tell the officers to arrange some allowances for a trip. The officials make several trips and so we have Members hardly attending meetings of Parliament. They will come and appear here and indicate that they are going on tour when they are just going to visit their constituencies. They go to inspect projects in their constituencies and spend not less than K50,000 on each trip. As a result, the principle officers and controlling officers start learning from this. So, you cannot stop them from misappropriating funds when they see the person in charge of the ministry displaying bad behaviour.

Sir, this corruption that we worry about in the country has reached dangerous levels. It is not only in the Public Service, but also the private sector. Who suffers the consequences in the end? The hon. Minister of Finance must look for more money because the funds allocated to certain sectors are diverted elsewhere. When that happens, the hon. Minister of Finance must try to explain how the country should be run with the available resources and we force him to take short cuts. We create this problem, and yet we do not want to take responsibility for our actions. We are scared of having the sittings of the Public Accounts Committee televised because we do not want what we are doing to be known. Can you stand the South African Parliament where the President sits in Parliament and is told to pay back the money he misused? When he attempts to speak, the hon. Members shout back at him, asking him to pay back the money. Can we do that in Zambia?

Mr Speaker, we talk about our country being a Christian nation, but I think we have taken this Christianity too far. We want to hide a lot of things under the guise of Christianity. You do not want what you are doing to be brought out in the open. You want to be holier than thou. When Zambia was being declared a Christian nation, that is when corruption was introduced in Zambia. That was when money exchanged hands and the culture of brown envelopes developed. That is when money was being moved from the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) to somewhere where there are bigger powers. That is the time we were talking about Christianity. That is breaking the rules.

Hon. MMD Member: Who were those?

Mr Muntanga: Sir, those who were moving trunks of money are known (facing the hon. MMD Members).

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, continue addressing me.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, they are now talking because this concerns them.

Mr Speaker: Continue addressing me.

Mr Muntanga: Sir, if you push me, I will tell you what happens in your ministry.

Hon. Government Members: Ah!

Mr Muntanga: Go ahead and push me, and I will tell you what happens in your ministry. Do not think that we do not know. You are creating these problems. Unfortunately, we are not courageous enough to stop it. We need to put a stop to corruption. If you are a parent in a home, and you want your children to use your property properly, you do not start by saying I want this big share to myself and leave a little for your children. Immediately you go out, the children will also sneak in and steal.

Mr Speaker, the Public Accounts Committee has said it is not able to take action against erring officers because the people involved are usually relatives, friends or close associates of those in positions of authority. Everyone wants to take action over these reports. So, why can we not do that? Firstly, before a person takes action, he/she must think about what he/she got or how this or that person helped them. So, action is not taken in the end. Even when it comes to issues of development, it has to be through association. If I say I want a road to be tarred in Kalomo, I will be told that that it will not be approved because I have not been good to someone. I will also hear that money for tarring the road was allocated, but it cannot be released. So, you want people to start breaking the rules giving a blind eye to the ills that are being committed? That is the Zambia that we are building.

Sir, we need to reach the level where every one of us must stop the rot. How can we do this? It does not cost you anything to transfer one officer who is misbehaving in one department from Zambezi to Kalomo and from Kalomo to Chipata. That is what you need to do when you know that this person misbehaved. We had serious problems in the Ministry of Health, but when the matter was taken to the courts of law, the accused persons were cleared. We are employing bad people and when we start receiving negative reports, we start complaining. We need to start addressing the problems now. What the Government needs to do is address the issues that have been brought out in this report before the 2015 Auditor-General’s Report is published. Do not allow things to be done corruptly. I am referring to the report so that the hon. Government Members can check what is going on with the construction of the 650 health posts. We are worried because Zambia must be cleaned up. My worry is that when I look at all these people (looking around the House), ...


Mr Muntanga: ... they seem to be in the saddle, and yet they are not. You make changes by replacing people, but you are not replacing them with the right people who know how to man the offices. The architects, experts and those who own mansions in Chalala and many other places know how to come up with budgets and claim allowances. Someone may think that I am jealous, but I am not. I want you to succeed in your work, but do it in a clean manner. You should be proud of what you are doing. You must not do things that you have not been allowed to do.

Mr Speaker, we need every penny to improve and develop Zambia. Public Service workers should be diligent in everything they do. If all Government departments improved in their time keeping by 50 per cent like Parliament, we would see change. I am not saying they should be efficient in everything they do because they cannot manage. Here, meetings of the House start at 1430 hours. I always look at my watch at 1430 hours and you are already in your seat by that time, Sir. I like that efficiency.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: When you become that efficient, you also learn how to use other people’s money. If a steward of the people’s property does not care how public resources are used, then, we have a problem. This is why we are worried about all the monies the Government is borrowing through foreign bonds. We have contracted bonds for US$750 million, US$1.2 billion and so on and so forth, but we do not know what these monies have been used for. We are worried because we are unable to follow what is going on.
Mr Speaker, those handling public finances now are not the first ones to be charged with this responsibility. Therefore, they should not think that they can take this money to their villages or relatives. Once their subordinates see them doing that, what will stop them from doing the same when the supervising officers are not in the office?  We should be selfless when offering services to the people in order to control the use of public resources.

Mr Speaker, it has been suggested that we should bring police officers to arrest controlling officers who are found wanting when they appear before your Committees. I do not think this is the solution because in Uganda where this is done, public servants have not stopped misusing public funds. It still happens. This is similar to sentencing murderers to death. No matter how many people are sentenced to death, heinous crimes continue to be committed. I think what we need is a complete change of mindset in the Public Service. If it means revealing what happens in the operations of public institutions, we should do just that.

Mr Speaker, I feel sorry for the Zambians who are suffering. When I look around the country, however, I see a lot of expensive vehicles. Any type of vehicle can be found in Zambia, including hummers. However, there is a tendency to think that hon. Ministers and hon. Members of Parliament are well paid. We need to look at the country as a whole. Why is it that we, as a country, are having problems when Zambia is endowed with so many resources? What is going on?

Mr Speaker, those in Government really need to focus. There is no need to be biased when signing a contract to develop any part of Zambia. For instance, when universities are constructed in certain places, some people do not complain. However, when they hear that there is a general hospital being constructed in Livingstone, for example, they make noise. They keep asking why the hospital has been located in Livingstone, Choma or Mazabuka and not in their constituencies. They should not go to those levels because then they will start stealing. They will start misusing money …

Mr Speaker: Use parliamentary language.

Mr Muntanga: Sorry, I withdraw the term, “stealing”. They will start taking money without authority.


Mr Muntanga: It is the same thing in a way, but they are different words.


Mr Speaker: That is why there is parliamentary language.


Mr Muntanga: I can also replace that word with, “taking without being given”. When I look at you, some are guilty but others are not. Look at them, Sir (looking around the House).


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, I am getting concerned. We should not debate ourselves. You should not address the hon. Members.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I am saying that some are not guilty.

Sir, we need to find a way of ensuring that those in public offices do the right thing. We should not scare public servants to an extent where they are unable to perform their duties properly. Those who are not related to the powers that be must not be marginalised or persecuted. Some workers in the Public Service are working in fear. Public servants that are not liked because they come from certain parts of the country are being transferred without reason.  

Why should this be so? Does one have to be liked to work in Government? The Government needs to employ people who are going to deliver for the people of Zambia. The unfair treatment of certain groups of public employees has to stop. If our colleagues in the Executive keep employing people they are friends with in the Public Service, they will be misusing public finances. The law will catch up with our colleagues one day and they will be arrested. We do not want to visit them at Chimbokaela Prison soon.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

The Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity to make a few comments on the report of the Public Accounts Committee. The Government accepts the report of your Committee and we shall seriously ponder all the issues raised therein.

Mr Speaker, hon. Members are right to be concerned about public resource misdirection or misuse of the meagre resources in a country where the poverty levels are as high as 60 per cent. We should all be duly concerned about issues of corruption. The levels of probity or integrity in the management of public resources need to be raised. There are alarming incidences of slippages in the levels of probity and integrity.

Sir, what is more is that the corruption, which we want to restrict to the public sector, is even spreading to the private sector. As a country, we need to seriously talk about this. We should not just sensationalise issues or compete to capture headlines so as to be in the limelight. These are serious matters. Soon, we shall go to a financial institution and find that our loan application cannot be processed by the credit division because we have not paid the young men and women in these institutions. That is why when I spoke about a certain matter last week, I said that I was more concerned about the integrity and commitment deficit than the fiscal deficit.

Mr Speaker, as regards the situation in our country, let us be serious when addressing it, and not try to dubiously score points in our debates. We should really put things in the proper context so that this country attends to the matter and gets development going.

Mr Speaker, the Government supports the institution of the Auditor-General. That is why, at least, under my watch, we have ensured that this office is adequately funded. We have not only got our own resources, but also donors resources on board because we think it is a very important office.

Mr Speaker, not everything that is in the Auditor-General’s Report is gospel truth. Some of the issues are refutable. As we have said in the past, some of the things do not represent the truth. I will take the example of the Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL). We released US$120 million promptly to the ZRL. The management, however, was very imaginative. It put money into high interest-earning accounts. In fact, banks were competing to get the account of the ZRL. Some banks even spoke to those of us in the institution that mobilises public finance. So, the ZRL earned a lot of money in interest which was used for some of the things which are said to have been funded from the Eurobond proceeds.

Sir, as hon. Members of Parliament, let us learn to probe into these issues. We will be doing this country a disservice if we continue sensationalising falsehoods. In the process, we are being invited to embrace some countries that are outrageous dictatorships where elections have always been rigged as role models of. These countries have become role models in the eyes of some hon. Members. So, let us also learn to embrace the truth.

Mr Speaker, Hon. Namugala talked about the appointment of controlling officers. Let me just say that controlling officers are Permanent Secretaries who are appointed by the President but, as Permanent Secretary under the Public Finance Act, they are appointed by the Secretary to the Treasury to be controlling officers. That is why you can take issues with us at the Ministry of Finance because we are the appointing authority for controlling officers. I think it is to your expectation that we should take much more rigorous action against breaches. I think that is accepted. Personally, I accept that, but let me repeat that the Government values the institution of the Office of Auditor-General. It is the duty of the Government to do that because the Auditor-General’s Office is an institution of the Government. It is not a separate wing of the Government except for purposes of ensuring that it was not interfered with, thus it is give the autonomy.

Mr Speaker, I think it will be sacrilege, as your Minister of Finance, to talk ill of the Office of the Auditor-General. I do think that it will be a serious breach of, maybe, the eleventh commandment for the Minister of Finance to talk in derogatory terms about an important office like that which we set up to make sure that public resources are safeguarded.

However, I just want to enter a passionate plea, on behalf of the Government, that this office, which is sacrosanct, that it is our duty to ensure that we safeguard the structural integrity of all the public institutions. We make a passionate plea that I think they should upgrade the level of professionalism so that they can tone down on the excesses because, if the excesses have become so glaring, credibility or public confidence in an important institution like this one can be eroded. Thus, I can only enter a public passionate plea. I think that they should worry about the accuracy or the recipe for some of the things that they do.

Mr Speaker, the Government is not idle. We want to make sure that we prevent some of these excesses which the Auditor-General inevitably stumbles upon. We want to pre-empt the scams because we think prevention is better than cure. So, we are enforcing offices like the Controller of Internal Audit to make sure that the little crimes are nipped in the bud before the Auditor-General gets to that.

Mr Speaker, there is also one way the Government is trying to ensure or roll back the glaring abuses of public resources. We now have established what we call a Treasury single account. Going forward, we shall ensure that we bring to the minimum the number of accounts in Government institutions, ministries, provinces and spending agencies because, in the past, a ministry could have a proliferation of accounts. Now, we are trying to roll back those excesses so that we can better control the public resources.

Mr Speaker, in any case, Parliamentarians must appreciate that our efforts, as Ministry of Finance, to control the misuse of resources is not in vein. Last year, we ended the year, in terms of deficit, at 5.4 per cent of growth domestic product (GDP). At the beginning of the fiscal year, we were expecting the fiscal deficit to end up at 6.4 per cent, but we brought it down to 5.4 per cent, meaning that we were really controlling things and taking care of matters to ensure we forestall the pervasive misuse of public resources.

Mr Speaker, the Government is making efforts but, us as law makers and leaders of our country, we are happy that you are not amused by the abuses. The hon. Member for Mafinga rightly spoke with anger because the poverty in the rural areas is extensive. So, even the smallest breaches in the financial management arena must be made to be intolerable. Financial indiscipline must be absolutely intolerable and zero rated…

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: … by all of us the leadership.

Mr Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Members for their contributions and say that on behalf of the Government, we shall pay serious attention to all the matters of concern that have been raised in this House in absolutely good faith even where there was a bit of drama by my distinguished cousin from Chipata Central.

Mr Mtolo laughed.

Mr Chikwanda: We accept your submissions, hon. Members and, please, trust us. Of course, it is your duty to keep whipping us because we are not supposed to sit comfortably on our laurels when there are so many things that are going wrong in our country.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Members who have contributed to the debate on this Motion. These are Hon. Members of Parliament for Mafinga, Chipata Central and Kalomo Central. Most sincerely, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Finance who is also concerned and is taking steps to curb the financial indiscipline and irregularities.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.





The Minister of Justice (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr Speaker, the object of the Constitutional Bill, 2015, is to increase the number of elected Members to the National Assembly to 156. The increase has been necessitated by the creation of new districts. As a result of the creation of new districts, the boundaries of the six constituencies have been affected …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, the object of the Bill is to increase the number of elected hon. Members to the National Assembly to 156. The increase by six seats has been necessitated by the creation of new districts. As a result of the creation of the new districts, the boundaries of the six constituencies have been affected, and are now overlapping into two or more districts. The affected constituencies are:

(a)    Siavonga, which now falls under Chirundu and Siavonga districts;

(b)    Mansa Central, which now belongs to Mansa District and the new District of Chembe;

(c)    Sinjembela, which now belongs to Shang’ombo and Sioma districts;

(d)    Kaoma Central now belongs to Kaoma District and the new District of Nkeyema;

(e)    Kapiri Mposhi now belongs to Kapiri Mposhi District and the new District of Ngabwe; and
(f)    Kapoche now belongs to Petauke District and Sinda District.

Mr Speaker, it has been a long standing electoral practice that a constituency should fall within one district and not overlap into two or more districts. This promotes easy election administration in terms of personnel and logistics arrangements. The practice also enhances local representation, as councillors will belong to one district.

Mr Speaker, the Voter Registration Exercise will soon commence in August, up to January next year. Therefore, it is necessary that people living in the affected areas are registered in readiness for next year’s General Elections. Article 77 (6) of the Constitution reads:

“Any alteration of the constituencies shall come into effect upon the next dissolution of Parliament.”

Mr Speaker, what this entails is that there will be no by-elections in the six new constituencies. The purpose of the creation of new constituencies, therefore, was to ensure that voter registration takes place in the newly-created districts.

Mr Speaker, at a meeting held on 13th June, 2004, all political parties, including all those represented in the House, met and agreed that delimitation of the six new districts takes place. All political parties represented here, including those that are not represented, took part. A total of fifty-nine political parties were represented.

Mr Speaker, this is a non-contentious Bill. I think that it is for the benefit of all of us. I, therefore, call upon all hon. Members to support it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, was referred to your Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs for scrutiny on Tuesday, 14th July, 2015. In this regard, your Committee invited several stakeholders who greatly assisted your Committee in its work.

Mr Speaker, since the findings of your Committee are detailed in the report, I will just highlight a few matters.

Mr Speaker, the main objective of this Bill is to amend Article 63 of the Constitution of Zambia in order to increase the number of constituencies from 150 to 156. The six new constituencies will be in those areas affected by the creation of new districts, and will take effect after the dissolution of this Parliament, prior to the next General Elections.

Mr Speaker, the House may recall that between 2011 and 2013, the Government created a number of districts across the country. As a result of the creation of new districts, some constituencies have ended up having more than one district in their jurisdiction. This has created administration challenges in the implementation of district development projects. For example, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is administered by the parent council in the old district to the disadvantage of the new district. Your Committee, therefore, welcomes this amendment because it will take care of the challenges I have just highlighted and will hopefully create a platform for better planning in the new constituencies.

Mr Speaker, notwithstanding your Committee’s support of this Bill, I urge the Government to take note of the concerns raised by some stakeholders during your Committee’s deliberations. Some stakeholders were of the view that this amendment is premature, misplaced, and an attempt by the Government to amend the Constitution in piecemeal fashion. These stakeholders expressed the view that the Final Draft Constitution was more comprehensive on increasing constituencies and, therefore, they did not see the need for this amendment.

Sir, in view of this, allow me to caution the Government, through the Ministry of Justice, that as the country anticipates the adoption of a new Constitution, the views of all stakeholders should be brought on board. Further, in as much as it is appreciated that this particular amendment is necessary, the Government should guard against the temptation of bringing piecemeal constitutional amendments to this House, as doing so might breed unnecessary anxiety among stakeholders, which may result in another failure to adopt a people-driven Constitution for the Republic of Zambia.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I wish to reiterate that the Government should, sooner rather than later, cause a more comprehensive and inclusive Constitution-adoption process to be undertaken in order to avoid partial amendments to the Constitution.

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

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, I will be very brief in making one or two comments.

Mr Speaker, as a House, we have no choice because this is a technicality. This is why, at the very beginning, we questioned the basis for the creation of districts. The delimitation of boundaries is supposed to go through a proper technical process that is professional. There must be a commission appointed to do that before the President pronounces new districts. At the moment, we are proposing the creation of new constituencies on a technicality and not on fundamental thresholds.

Ordinarily, the creation of new constituencies should be based on some fundamentals. Some of the constituencies like Kasempa, Kalomo Central, Namwala, Mpika, Kazungula and many others are quite big and they are actually the right candidates for delimitation. We have left out constituencies that are right for delimitation and delimitated constituencies that are ordinarily small and do not qualify to be delimitated. As a Government, you must be very careful in pronouncing new districts. This is why this draft report must undergo proper review.

Mr Speaker, there is something in the proposal about the President having powers to create new districts and provinces. This should not be the case. Again, you are giving too much power to the President. This is something that must go through a proper professional process. The President must only assent to a report from professionals. Let us not give too many powers to one person to create many things.

This country cannot afford to continue growing its Parliament. The problem is not in the number of Members of Parliament but the inefficiency of institutions. There are people who think that we must have more Members of Parliament, which is not the solution. The solution lies in having working systems. We might be a big geographical area, but representation is based on the number of people and this country does not have a big population.

Mr Speaker, our population is so sparsely distributed to a point where it becomes difficult to deliver services. We are having challenges to throw around schools and clinics. We are a small population having so much infrastructure resulting in very high per unit costs. I want to remind the Government and caution it that the creation of new districts must go through a due professional process so that we do not find ourselves in this problem.

Finally, I want to say that I am happy that you are circulating the draft Constitution. We must begin to think about whether to continue with these by-elections and their corrupt systems or not.


Mr Hamududu: Can we think outside the box and begin to vote for party policies? Some countries have done this and we can do this too. It is cheaper because there are no by-elections. Perhaps, some people do not want to change and want to keep doing the same things the same way but expecting different results.

Thinking outside the box as we craft for ourselves a new Constitution to create a new governance system for our country, calls for men and women who think differently. The way we have been doing things has not produced the desired results. We must not get used to the same things we have been doing which have been producing very bad results.

I, therefore, throw this to all of us to apply our minds. We have no choice in this matter and we should take into account the concerns of the stakeholders. This is tantamount to making a shortcut to what people want. If we are due to formulate a new Constitution, why do we have this piecemeal process ahead of the bigger one that is imminent? The delay in enacting a new Constitution has no good excuse. The witnesses have a good basis to question why we are running ahead of the process they are waiting for. We could have waited until we have a new Constitution, and this is realisable.

Mr Speaker, if we have the political will to give the people of Zambia the Constitution they want, it can be done. We can actually have it within three months, with or without a Referendum. If money for bye-elections, aimless travels or swearing-in ceremonies, which we see every day, can be found, why not for the enactment of a new Constitution? At the moment, swearing-in ceremonies are a cost centre. This Government has money to maintain district commissioners, open new embassies, against the global trend, and drive posh cars, also against the global trend, and yet it has no money for a Referendum.

Mr Speaker, in this House, we are politically divided. That is is why the hon. Member for Mafinga asked if this is the right way for Parliament to make laws. The problem is that we are so pregnant with politics.


Mr Hamududu: Yes!

This is the biggest problem we have and all of us are on trial. Here is a Parliament which has failed to enact a Constitution in five years because it only sees things through political lenses. We cannot change fundamental governance issues this way.
Sir, I thought I should spice up the debate as I conclude. We have no choice. So, f it means voting, we shall vote. However, we need to take into account some of the concerns and also take into account that even if we vote because of a technicality, the basis on which these divisions in the enactment of the new Constitution are being made is not correct. We have small constituencies receiving a bigger chunk of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) than Kalomo Central, Mpika, Namwala, Kazungula and others. What type of governance is this? We are doing things as if we never went to school?

Mr Speaker, we shall vote on a technicality.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I hope that we shall limit the discussion.


Mr Speaker: I will go by political party. Unfortunately, all hon. Members indicating to speak are from different political parties. I will start with the hon. Member for Katombora. Let us, please, be businesslike.

Mr Livune (Katombora): Mr Speaker, my debate will be very brief. From the outset, I would like to state that I support the Bill.

Mr Mushanga: Then, sit down, kaili!

Mr Livune: Sir, I would like to take Hon. Hamududu’s debate as my own, but with a little lamentation.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Please, let us be patient.

Mr Livune: Sir, my hope is that ...

Mr Muntanga: Wait for the people.

Mr Livune: I would like to know the Government’s position on the non-contentious issues. I want to believe that the recommendation to increase constituencies is not a contentious issue.

Mr Speaker, Kazungula, or Katombora as it is known, is a very big constituency, comprising five big chiefdoms. It is important that the powers that be bear in mind that this is one of the biggest constituencies in the country.

Sir, I would like the hon. Minister to clarify one issue when he wraps up the debate. When the districts were initially created, we were told that they would consider the boundaries of existing constituencies. I have in mind Pemba which took the geography of Pemba Constituency and Mapatizya which took the geography of Zimba District. I know that Sinda and Kapoche have been constituencies before, but it has come to my knowledge that a part of Kapoche has been moved into Sinda, meaning that four wards have been moved to Sinda District. Technically, this leaves Kapoche with four wards.

Mr Speaker, I do not know what name one of the constituencies will be called. Maybe, the hon. Minister can enlighten us on what name it will be called.

Mr L. Ngoma: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Will Kapoche be changed to Sinda or will Kapoche remain Kapoche while the new constituency between Sinda and Kapoche will have a different name?


Mr Speaker: Order, order!

Mr Livune: Sir, I am aware that Sinda is a big constituency with twelve wards.

Mr L. Ngoma: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: The district now comprises the four wards from Kapoche – I wish I was the hon. Member of Parliament for a constituency that comprises with only four wards because I would be a very happy man. It is important to note, like we heard, that small constituencies with four wards get the same amount of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) as big constituencies such as Kazungula. I know that Chilubi, which is the constituency for my brother, which has almost twenty-two wards.

Mr Speaker, when we lament, it is because we who are working with the constituencies bear a huge liability. We get almost the same amount as those who have smaller constituencies, and yet, at the end of the day, we are measured by the same productivity.

Sir, my plea is that in future our voice be heard. That is why I was hoping that the non-contentious issues would be included in the consensus that we are going to have after thirty days, like the hon. Minister of Justice has stated on the Floor of this House.

Mr Speaker, I said I will be very brief. So, as I support the Motion, I want to place on record the lamentation of Katombora which is a vast constituency that needs to be broken into one or two more constituencies.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Let us be as brief as possible.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, I thank you and I want to promise you that I will actually take long on the Floor so that I can propound the issues.

Hon. Government Members: Ah!


Mr Mbulakulima: I will actually do the opposite. I will debate for less than five munities.

Sir, I support the Motion, technically, because it has very little to do with me. We would have loved the hon. Minister to bring the Motion in the next sitting of the House, but he has said that they want to take care of the voter registration because if it comes in the next meeting of the House, then, many people would have been disfranchised, coupled with the fact that a constituency should not fall under two districts. In this regard, there is a need for us to harmonise the situation.

Mr Speaker, the point that I would like to drive home is in line with Hon. Hamududu’s debate. No one is against the creation of districts. The only problem is that it should have been harmonised and, at least, there should have been input from many stakeholders.

Sir, I will give an example of the creation of Chembe District. What comes into the mind of many is Chembe Constituency that we know, but Chembe Constituency does not sit in the district which that is call Chembe today.

Mr Speaker, Chembe District has been cut off Mansa Central. Mansa Central has more than twenty-two wards while Chembe, which is actually Milenge, has about thirteen wards. The district that has been created, which is called Chembe, is a constituency that has only three wards now.

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Mr Mbulakulima: Anyone who hails from Luapula will tell you that the problem in that area has been with Milenge Constituency which is vast. It stretches about 5 km from the Mwanawasa or Chembe Bridge up to Tuta Bridge. People expected Chembe District to extent into Senior Chief Milambo’s area. That is why I said that everybody who comes from Luapula will tell you that they are extremely disappointed.

Sir, the creation of Chembe District will not serve any purpose at all. The input of the people of that area should have been had taken into account when creating the district. Even the name “Chembe Constituency” is misplaced. From the 1996 Delimitation, what you see as Chembe, which is at the immigration centre, has been part of Mansa Central which has now been turned into a district. Therefore, Chembe Constituency must change to Milenge Constituency.

Hon. Opposition Member passed Hon. Mbulakulima a note.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, we support this Motion, but we should have been more careful for it to benefit the ...

Mr Mbulakulima read the note.

Mr Mbulakulima: I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, I also want to promise that I will be very brief. From the outset, I want to support this Motion and borrow the words of the hon. Member of Parliament for Bweengwa who said that if we are pregnant with politics, we should abort so that we, as a country, move forward above partisan politics.

Sir, on page 3 of the report, there are concerns raised by those who opposed the Bill. They said that the proposed Amendment Bill was misplaced and premature because there was a more comprehensive proposal to increase the number of constituencies in the Final Draft Constitution. They also said that the amendments to the Constitution were being done in piecemeal fashion, were done in bad faith and were a scapegoat by the Government to avoid adopting the Final Draft Constitution through a Referendum.

Mr Speaker, during the question that was on the Floor of the House, I asked the hon. Minister of Justice whether we were going to be allowed to debate the issues that are contained in the Draft Constitution freely and he replied in the affirmative. My understanding of that is that the contents of the Draft Constitution are going to be debated and some of us who are interested in ensuring that our districts are divided into two are going to put our arguments forward so that we benefit from the creation of new districts.

Sir, I know, for instance, that the constituency where the young man from Mufumbwe comes from is vast. One of the areas in that constituency is Miluzhi where most of the people who live in that area are related to the Lukulu/Katunda man (Mr Mutelo).


Mr Namulambe: The constituency is big and it should be divided. Yes, the Draft Constitution is going to be published, but we are looking at what has been done so far. According to the Local Government Act, the President has powers to create a district and the hon. Minister establishes a council thereafter. I think this was done when consultations on the Draft Constitution were being made. The Government does not stop operating just because there are consultations going on. I, therefore, take it that the districts such as Sinjembela that were subdivided were lucky. In Mpongwe, we also submitted our application to have the district subdivided, but it did not go through.

Mr Speaker, I have a serious concern relating to Kapiri Mposhi and Ngabwe districts. The new Ngabwe District has encroached into Mpongwe District, thereby limiting our chances of the district being divided into two. When it was Kapiri Mposhi Constituency, we had no problems. I take it that these problems were created by the people who prepared the descriptions. Had they followed the descriptions of the wards that were in Kapiri Mposhi Constituency, they were not going to make the mistake they have made where four polling stations in Mpongwe Constituency are now in the new Ngabwe District.

Sir, this has further created a problem of boundary disputes between chiefs. I know that the problem of boundary disputes between the two chiefs was created by the then District Commissioner, a Mr Brinden when he wanted Chief Mwinuna to move to Kabwe Rural. When Chief Mwinuna refused to move, they went ahead with the demarcation and this prolonged the dispute. On 21st July, 1972, the two chiefs, together with the Provincial Administration from the Copperbelt and Central provinces agreed on the boundary as it were. All that was remaining was for the beacons to be placed.  After this, we lived in harmony and there was no problem.

Mr Speaker, at the moment, part of Chief Machiya’s area has been moved to the new district. This means that Chief Machiya falls under two districts. According to Statutory Instrument No. 51 of 1998, when Chief Machiya was recognised, Chiefs Kansankala and Chang’ombe fell under his area. Kansankala has now been moved to the new Ngabwe District which will eventually be the new constituency. This has created a problem. I have written to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, but have not received any response. I, therefore, urge the hon. Minister of Justice, as we approve this Bill, to ensure that the Surveyor-General corrects the mistake where four polling stations under Mpongwe Constituency have been moved to the new Ngabwe Constituency. This is unfortunate. Let us maintain the status quo. Let the ward boundaries that existed in Kapiri Mposhi Constituency be used as the basis for creating the boundaries for the new Ngabwe District, which will also conform to the boundaries of the new Ngabwe Constituency.

Sir, I think this will lessen the chiefs’ disputes. Sometimes, our officials are the ones who create problems. The chiefs told me that I should use the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill to advise you that the mistake should be corrected. We are also interested in ensuring that Mpongwe is divided into two constituencies. I remember writing to the Ministry of Finance during last Census of Population and Housing, informing them that some of the people of Mpongwe were counted under Kapiri Mposhi, and yet the enumerators and others were from Mpongwe. We do not know how they really mixed up the figures. We have made presentations but no action has been made. So, we look forward to quick action so that these problems are lessened.

Sir, to those who have doubts about the amendments which has been brought to this House, I wish to assure them that the whole Draft Constitution will come. The current amendments to the Constitution are based on the Local Government Act that allowed for the creation of new districts. We have got no option but to follow this. I want to request all my colleagues who are outside to come into the House so that we pass this Bill and wait for the Draft Constitution which will come in the next Sitting of Parliament. That will allow us to raise issues of concern on behalf of our people. For now, I do not think that this is a matter that we can oppose. Even the civil society out there should appreciate that this is being done in good faith because the districts were created when the consultations on the Constitution were ongoing. The Government could not have stopped to function. People like Hon. Mphande here is looking forward to having Kasempa Constituency divided into two. I also look forward to the same in my constituency. The people of Mpika and Keembe are also waiting for the same. This means that people are happy that the creation of new districts is actually a vehicle to having their constituencies divided, thereby increasing the size of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The more constituencies you have in a district the more CDF you get. The people who are looking forward to developing their areas faster must ensure that more constituencies are created. I, therefore, request the hon. Minister of Justice to correct the wrong description of Mpongwe.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, from the outset, I want to declare that I support the Bill. The need to increase constituencies in this country cannot be overemphasised. The only question which begs an answer is: Are the six constituencies which we are trying to increase today adequate? The answer is no. Some of constituencies are so. I have in mind Chipangali Constituency in the Eastern Province, ...

Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha: Keembe!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: … Kasempa Constituency, which is the biggest in the country, Mwinilunga Constituency and Musanzala Constituency. I remember traversing Musanzala Constituency and discovering that it is also quite vast.

Hon. Opposition Members: Even Keembe!

Mr L. Ngoma: I am being reminded by my colleagues that ...

Rev. Lt- Gen. Shikapwasha: Even Keembe.

Mr L. Ngoma: ... Keembe, where Hon. Shikapwasha comes from, is equally big. So, I can go on and on giving examples, but the point is that we need more constituencies if we are to move forward.

Mr Speaker, however, you can see that hon. Members are a bit apprehensive. When we are dealing with issues of the Constitution, there is normally a threshold of 106 Members in the House. So, when we are talking about the issue of constitutionalism, hon. Members of Parliament ought to take issues of the amendment of the Constitution seriously. This is because I am mindful that in 2011, an opportunity was created for us to amend the constitution right here at Parliament, but we missed it. Otherwise, we would not have been talking about increasing the number of constituencies today. That time, the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) recommended that we increase the number of constituencies but, because a few hon. Members of Parliament were not present during that meeting of the House, the Bill could not proceed. Today, we are almost threatened with the same risk if we are not going to the magic number of 106 Members in the House.

Sir, let me echo Hon. Livune’s debate. When the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) came to Sinda, we put up a spirited argument, indicating to them that even if the four wards, which are part of Kapoche, appear to be small numerically but, geographically, they are equivalent to a huge constituency. So, what that meant was that if we are going to have one constituency by the name of Sinda, it will be second to Kasempa in terms of size. Hence, I appeal to the ECZ to subdivide Kapoche Constistuency. So, it is important that we increase the number of constituencies in this country.

With those few words, I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Lungu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me a chance to support this Bill which has been classified as non-contentious.

Sir, now that the grieving period is over after my team lost to Zimbabwe because they left me behind, ...

Dr Lungu: ... I want to say that in future we shall do much better than that. This is because there were technicalities and I am waiting for the patron of the team to inform me about this in writing.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Lungu: Mr Speaker, certain matters do not need divergent views. We are talking about increasing the number of constituencies arising from the creation of new districts. It is not possible for two districts to encroach on each other and have one constituency. So, there are challenges of formality. I want to echo Hon. Hamududu’s words that we are dealing with technicalities. Firstly, two wrongs do not make a right. Let us iron out what is supposed to be ironed out and that is the creation of new constituencies because new districts have been created. Once we do that, then, we shall move onto the next stage. We are still at the introductory stage and later we shall move onto the body and conclusion. Let us all agree to move forward by agreeing to adopt the Bill. There are non-contentious issues in the Bill ...


Dr Lungu: ... and I do not want to speak for too long because I am a man of few words but many facts.


Dr Lungu: All that I am saying is that let us all be unanimous and agree to move forward so that we allow for the increase in the number of constituencies arising from the creation of new districts. Why should we bring in the issue of the Referendum? We do need this at this stage, but at a later stage.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Lungu: However, we have also explained why we are taking this route. We are looking at several variables. When we conduct research, there are certain issues that we do not expect.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Lungu: There are variables that we cannot foresee. The question of funding is paramount and everybody knows that. You cannot make a three piece suit when the piece of cloth is only enough for a two piece suit. So, all we are saying is that we cannot proceed holistically because we do not have the resources.


Dr Lungu: It is in the interest of the nation that we should move gradually, but remain focused at the same time. As the Government, we want to move from a platform of focus, morality and integrity. We do not want to put too many things in one basket. So, that is why we are saying that allow us now ...


Mr Speaker: Order, order!

Dr Lungu:  ... to take this step. Then, we can do the rest later on.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Lungu: The hon. Minister of Justice, who is a very learned friend of mine, has explained in very clear terms ...


Mr Speaker: Order, order!

 Let us have Order. Let us not debate whilst we are seated.

Dr Lungu sat down.

Mr Speaker: Are you through?

Dr Lungu: Well, I was actually obeying your request for order before I proceed.


Dr Lungu: Mr Speaker, I was commending the hon. Minister of Justice who has served in many portfolios at very high levels.

Mr Kampyongo: Hear, hear!

Dr Lungu: A man of integrity is saying let us go step by step and there is nothing to quarrel about. You cannot say let us do things this way when it is clear that the challenge we have now is to increase the number of constituencies. The word increase means to add more. So, there are 150 elected hon. Members and we need to increase the number because certain issues have come up suddenly which we did not anticipate.

Sir, I know that many people are hungry to feed us with information in order to derail us, but we shall remain focused.

Mr Kampyongo: Yes!

Mr Livune: Question!

Dr Lungu: Mr Speaker, in our cars, there are indicators that warn us that the petrol may not reach where we going. So, all we are saying ...


Mr Speaker: Please, I will give everyone an opportunity to speak.
Dr Lungu: ... is that let us do this piecemeal, but also correctly. We do not want to rush because we also want to do things correctly.


Dr Lungu: Sir, I know that at this stage, many hon. Members want to contribute, but all I am saying is that let us all agree to do things correctly. In fact, even Chama constituency is vast. I can also suggest that Chama be divided into three or four constituencies. Since we already have Chama North and Chama South, we can have Chama Central. However, because of the financial implications, I cannot say let us do it now but, maybe, in future.


Dr Lungu: Although others may not agree with this, but what we are saying is that let us cut the cloth according to our size. For now, we can only manage three and later on, we shall manage more when funds are made available.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 Dr Lungu: We will manage when the agriculture sector develops. So, we shall have more money from the agriculture and mining sectors which are now showing signs of improvements. So, we shall move in that direction.

Mr Speaker, I think that the first and last thing that we can do here as group is to go in one direction. I know that people would want to say what about this or that. However, as far as I am concerned, …

 Mr Mbulakulima: On a point of order, Sir.

 Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I have been restraining myself from raising points of order and you have guided that let we be brief and to the point. You will agree with me that none of us is against that harmless, but important Motion so far. Therefore, we also thought that we could serve time. However, my distant cousin has been on the Floor for the past seven minutes. Is he really in order to keep kicking the door that that is already open when there is no one who is against what the hon. Minister of Justice has said. I need your serious guidance.

 Mr Speaker: Order!

I think the point has been made. Please, do not engage in repetitive debate. If there are no further points to advance, just give way.

You may continue, hon. Member.

Dr Lungu: Mr Speaker, as I continue to utilise the time given to me, I also wish to state that we have all agreed and I do not want us to change in privacy. We should support the Motion openly and move in one direction because it is non-contentious.
 Mr Speaker, now that we shall be looking at the Budget shortly, I think that the most important thing to do is to look at the other issues in which we have not done well. We are coming back to ask for …

Mr Speaker: Order!

 I think I have provided enough guidance.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Lungu: Mr Speaker, I wish to sincerely thank you for giving me the chance to debate on behalf of the people of Chama South. I persuade my colleagues to support this Bill.

With these very few words, I thank you, Mr Speaker and I support the Bill.

 Hon. Members:  Hear, hear!

 Mr Kazabu (Nkana): Mr Speaker, I want to add another dimension to the issue under debate…

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kazabu: … in view of the impending increase in the number of elective constituencies, and that is the issue of infrastructure development.

Sir, if, as the people who are empowered to make laws, we agree that we are increase the number of constituencies besides the six that are under debate, clearly, this Chamber will be too small.   

Mr Speaker, what I want to say is that as we look forward to the increase in the number of constituencies, we should also consider extending not only the Chamber, but also the motel which is the village for the hon. Members.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 Mr Kazabu: We will need additional accommodation.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kazabu: Mr Speaker, I am convinced that the time to begin to look at this issue is now and not tomorrow because if we wait until some more constituencies are added, we will be caught on the wrong footing and will end up with a situation where a good number of hon. Members Parliament will have nowhere to sleep. So, as we are moving towards the Budget for 2016, the issue of improving the infrastructure should be at the back of our minds so that we do not gloss over it.

Mr Speaker, that is the only dimension I wanted to add to the debate.

 I thank you, Sir.
  Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, there is a need to do certain things correctly. I did not want to debate, but I am forced because of certain words which have been used on the Floor of this House. My brother here was talking about technicalities and I agreed with him that we are duty bound to do that. It is, therefore, important that we have that technicality.

However, Sir, there is one word that we should not talk about and this is piecemeal. When you talk about piecemeal, you are referring to the Constitution that we are all looking forward to amending. So, when a debater stands up and says that we have decided that we shall amend the Constitution piecemeal, I do not that that is a principle that has moved the hon. Minister of Justice to bring the Bill to this House.

Mr Speaker, I thought I heard him and others clearly say that we have a problem with constituencies that house two districts and therefore, for development purposes, we need to correct this so that districts can stand on their own.

Sir, my dilemma is that when we are making these amendments, we are also saying that it will only take effect when Parliament is dissolved next year which means that we are not actually amending the Constitution for us to achieve anything now. Instead, we are conducting an academic exercise which is going to be applicable next year. In the meantime, the hon. Minister of Justice has said that he has advertised the Constitution for one month. Therefore, come September, he will bring it to the House for us to talk about issues that hon. Members have raised such as the need to increase the number of constituencies to 240 to be precise.

Sir, we are talking about the need to divide Katombora, …

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: … Kalomo Central, Kasempa, Keembe and Luena constituencies. So, when we begin to think about the problems that we face in these districts, we will realise that it is the main reason that this House should start thinking about how this issue is going to be resolved. We are now playing with people who do not want us to change anything in the Constitution when Parliament is duty bound to amend the Constitution. The way we are doing it is to show the people out there that we wanted to change it piecemeal, and yet we are also going flat-out to the people who do not accept this and make them not believe in the powers that this House has. Why should we do things like that?

Sir, I would have wanted the hon. Minister of Justice to bring the Constitution (Amendment) Bill at the beginning of this Meeting so that we could have ample time to discuss it fully and reach a resolution, but to bring it a day before the House rises is not a good thing. Once you do not do things correctly, nothing will happen as there may not be the required 106 Members to pass any legislation in the House.            

Sir, I would rather do something that is conclusive. We need to reach a level where I should tell the electorate that I agreed to have this document amended in this manner because I have a problem in Kalomo Central or Kazungula. To amend the Constitution simply because you are talking about increasing the number of constituencies is one thing, but to tell the people that we shall amend the Constitution again after a month is another. I thought someone had appealed to the hon. Minister of Justice not to subject the amendment of the Constitution to a vote now, but to withdraw it and then bring it back later. That way, we can sit down and resolve the outstanding issues.

Mr Speaker, we were here to approve the Constitution amendment. We once considered a Motion to change the benefits for former Speakers of the National Assembly. We needed the required two-thirds majority for the Motion to pass, but due to this tendency of failing to listen to one another, we failed to have it passed. One hundred hon. Members voted for it, but we needed six more to make the two-thirds majority. Up to now, we are still thinking about the people who served this institution and our failure to change the law regarding their benefits. Yes, we have a problem with constituencies and we need to increase their number, but we are going about it the wrong way. When something fails, we should not blame those that are not present at that particular time. There are gaps everywhere. You can vote, but you will fail.

Mr Nkombo: It is not too late to withdraw.

Mr Muntanga: Sir, let us not work like that. We need to have something that all of us will agree on. The Chief Whip needed to have discussed with his fellow whips on the direction to take. When we appealed to the hon. Minister of Justice to come and sit down and discuss with us in the Amphitheatre so that all outstanding issues are resolved, we did  that so that we do not have anyone standing here as a loose cannon. Now, you come here and tell us that you have decided to make piecemeal amendments to the Constitution. If I do not agree to these piecemeal amendments, then, you are persuading me to abstain from participating in this cause.


Mr Muntanga: Do not do things that way. We are all politicians here. You are appealing to people who will start pointing fingers. We are sensitive about what goes on and what people write on the blogs. We want the credibility of Parliament to be maintained. So, when we resolve to do something, it should be done unanimously. If this Bill is withdrawn and deferred to a later date, then, you can call back all the people who have gone out to campaign. If you want to make a decision that is binding, then, we must look at the Constitution in its entirety.

Mr Speaker, I thought I should say this and make people understand that we have a very serious issue to decide.

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister in the President’s Office (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to put my contribution on this very important Bill on record.
Sir, we are all elected hon. Members and this institution is here to do exactly what the hon. Minister of Justice is requesting us to do. As we are working on the new Constitution, we should be looking realistically at all the provisions that are meant to safeguard the clauses in the Constitution. We should also bear in mind that at the time the current Constitution was being drafted, the composition of this House was not the same. When changing the Constitution, we should be mindful of the clauses that we amend. For example, when we talk about the two-thirds majority threshold, what was the rationale behind this threshold that was put in the Constitution? Like I have said, perhaps, when that threshold was proposed, the composition of this House was not the same. So, we …

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, initially, I thought that there was almost consensus in this House but, from the flow of debate, everything will be derailed. I hope that you will guide that our colleagues be careful with the way they are debating this issue.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member on the Floor should take that into account.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I was just saying that when we come here, and have got an issue like this one before us, we have every right to debate it. We should not be curtailed from debating just because we are all in agreement. Yes, we agree with each other, but we need to express our views because this is a pertinent matter. We need to agree on the way forward because further amendments to the Constitution will still be there anyway. Everybody is talking about the new Constitution. Therefore, we cannot ignore some of these pertinent issues. We know that some hon. Members have deliberately stayed away from the Chamber. That is something we cannot ignore.

Mr Speaker, let me take you back to the issue of the Parliamentary Select Committee that you appointed at one point to look at the Draft Constitution. I remember that time it was suggested by the Parliamentary Select Committee that all the three arms of Government, the Judiciary, Parliament and Executive, were to pass comments on Articles that hinged on their institutions. The spirit that existed in that Parliamentary Select Committee is what we need to see. In the Committee’s meetings, we sat just like it is being proposed, that we go and sit in the Amphitheatre and deliberate and probe all the Articles in the Constitution. The Parliamentary Select Committee released a very good report and I would urge the hon. Minister of Justice to extract it.

Mr Speaker, this House risks losing respect because it seems as though there are people who want to take over the duty that we were given by the people of Zambia.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Minister, I do not think we should debate in that fashion.

Mr Kampyongo: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for that guidance, but all I am saying is …

Mr Speaker: Let me make my point. Just take a seat. You know that this is a constitutional democracy. It has rules and there are ways in which power is assumed. There are very well established rules. I do not think it is fair to insinuate that others are trying to use extra constitutional means. So, please, avoid doing that, hon. Minister.

Mr Kampyongo: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for that guidance.

Sir, all I am saying is that we should agree to disagree but, at the end of the day, perform the function that is reposed in us by the people of Zambia. Yes, we have agreed and the challenge that my colleagues on the left are bringing to the attention of the House is also very valid. However, why should we abdicate our responsibilities when we know what we are supposed to do? We all knew that this Bill was coming and everybody was supposed to be here and agree with Hon. Muntanga. Why should we have empty seats on both sides of the House, especially after people had registered their presence? How can someone justify these empty seats we are seeing? We all know the time that we are supposed to be out of this Chamber, after performing our functions. So, …

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

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I have been listening very attentively to the discourse and my own thinking is that, the hon. Member on the Floor is now endeavouring to debate fellow Members especially those who are not in this Chamber this evening. Is he in order not to stay with the substantive matter on the Floor of the House to convince those of us who are at pains to agree to vote for this particular Bill occasioned by the haphazard manner in which the Patriotic Front (PF) have been creating new districts. Is he in order now to start discussing those who are not here for various reasons?

Mr Speaker: I think it goes without saying that the discussion of Members is certainly not the way to go. If there are pros and cons to any issue, I think it is important to always confine the debate to those issues.

May the hon. Deputy Minister continue.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Justice was very clear when moving the Bill. Yes, the new districts are now in existence and the registration of voters will commence very soon. Why should we sit here and deny our people an opportunity? The people in these new constituencies would also need to be afforded a chance to register as voters. It is very important that they do that because the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) will not wait because they have to perform their role.

Mr Speaker, currently, the Ministry of Home Affairs is sending officers in the various provinces and districts to register as citizens so that they can eventually participate in the electoral process. I would not want to use the word piecemeal, but we have a responsibility to visit the Constitution as and when the need arises and justifiably so because we are mandated to do just that.

Mr Speaker, my appeal is that when we are here, whether us in the Ruling Party or our colleagues on your left hand side, we know exactly what to do. They say, “He who carries the bag of salt, feels the weight.” So, we know that there is this need to ensure that these constituencies are put in place. I will also be looking forward just like my colleagues have said, to a time when my constituency and the others can also be considered for delimitation. We are happy that the ECZ, in their quest to reform and serve the people of Zambia better, have started the Delimitation Programme which is just waiting for the main Constitutional changes.

Ms Siliya: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, speaking on behalf of the people of Shiwang’andu, ...

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: … I want to place it on record that I would have been the happiest to see this non-contentious Bill get concluded with the urgency that it deserves. I will certainly be one of those who will be very disappointed if there will be any further delays in this Bill being amended.

Mr Speaker, ...


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, are you through?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I am still on the Floor.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker, I also want to place on record, that as the constituencies are being delimitated, we also want to ensure that the funds are allocated to the Clerk’s Office in order to ensure that the offices which we have already started constructing are completed. I am feeling happy now because the construction of the new constituency office in Shiwang’andu has just been finished. While we consider expanding this facility to make us and those that will come after us very comfortable, we should also make sure that the offices we should operate from in our constituencies are also put in place. Let us see if we can provide accommodation for hon. Members of Parliament. It is v cardinal because some of our constituencies are vast. We want to live in an official residence when we are in the constituencies.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker the hon. Member of Parliament depends on the support staff to be effective ...

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Mr Kampyongo: ... and the support staff also require facilities. Therefore, in addition to the accommodation for the hon. Member of Parliament, we should consider ...

Mr L. J. Ngoma: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order!

A point of order is raised.

Mr Livune: Sit down!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, I need your protection. Hon. Livune is disturbing me.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Livune, please, leave your colleague in peace.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, Hon. Kampyongo is debating so well. Now, I am wondering why in his well-thought-out debate, he has opted to talk about support staff and the conditions of whatever, when the matter before us is the Constitution.

Hon. Opposition Members: We are debating ourselves.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, I am worried because you have guided him so many times, but it appears that he does not want to heed your advice. In so doing, is Hon. Kampyongo, the Member of Parliament for Shiwang’andu Constituency, which happens to be a new District in the Northern Province, in order to continue debating in such a manner, and preventing us from doing the right thing, which we have come here for? We want to vote, but he is taking a lot of time, Mr Speaker.


Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, is he in order?

Mr Speaker, I seek your serious ruling on this matter.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Well, my ruling is that he should focus on the business that is before the House. I know that there is a temptation to go to all manner of subject and issues, but that will not accord with what is before the House. Therefore, I believe, as you begin winding up your debate, hon. Minister, please, ensure that you remain focused.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, thank you so much. I am happy that he is saying ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

I have already provided guidance.


Mr Speaker: Order!

I do not think that you should go back to him.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, like my colleague has stated, I know that Shiwang’andu is a new district. If I was a beneficiary of another constituency in Shiwang’andu, I would have been the happiest. However, he is a beneficiary of this Bill.

Sir, changing the Constitution also comes with a cost. This is what I was trying to elaborate. Even as we make these changes, we have to be mindful of the costs that will come with it. This is why I was emphasising that even for my dear colleague over there to perform his function, he depends on his support staff. We should also make sure that we make the support staff mobile. I know that you have been providing motorbikes, but they need more in order to reach out to constituencies which are vast, like mine.

Mr Speaker, the Chairperson of your Committee, who has left the Chamber, did a very good job. I would have loved him to highlight more on those observations which he referred to as coming from the people concerned and what that concern is.  

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, wind up your debate because you seem to have exhausted your points.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, with these very few …

Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, I have been listening very attentively to the hon. Deputy Minister who happens to be my nephew and I am rather disappointed.

Mr Speaker, this Bill is very clear on what we want to achieve, but he is now bringing in issues of money and telling us what figures we have to consider, which the hon. Minister for Justice has never put on the Floor of this House. Is he in order to take us to financial issues now?

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, bear that in mind, especially the statement that the hon. Minister of Justice has made.

You may continue, hon. Minister.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I am enjoying this debate knowing the challenges that we are facing.

Mr Kampyongo: This is a challenge I do not want to ignore. I want it to be on record as having said that I would have been the happiest person to have this matter dealt with, with the urgency that it deserves. However, I do not think that it is receiving the urgency I deserves This is a concern and anyone who thinks otherwise can challenge me. I know that unanimously we have agreed.

Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: It seems we have a series of points of order now. Let the hon. Minister conclude.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, it is just unfortunate that my comrades on the other side do not seem to understand.

Mr Speaker: Order!

There are no comrades here. The word “comrade” is unparliamentary. Continue.

Mr Kampyongo: My apologies, Sir. Hon. Colleagues have been very supportive on this matter, but do not seem to understand my point of attaching some urgency to this important Bill. Come tomorrow …


 Mr Chishimba: Drink some water.


Ms Siliya: Drink some water!

Mr Chishimba: Nwako amenshi, iwe!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I want us all to sleep over what we need to achieve as a collective institution.

Mr Mwale: Mwako manzi manje!
Mr Kampyongo: We need to maintain the dignity and perform the duties that we have been assigned by the people of Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: They have sent us here for a purpose and they keep waiting. So, as we go back to our homes today, I am requesting everyone to reflect on this so that come tomorrow, we can conclude this matter.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: We want collective responsibility…

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: … because this is a non-contentious matter. We should, therefore, not use other means to try and derail it.

Mr Speaker: Order!

(Debate adjourned)




The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, Chief Whip and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1955 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 31st July, 2015.