Debates - Friday, 6th November, 2015

Printer Friendly and PDF

Friday, 6th November, 2015

The House met at 09 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

NATIONAL ANTHEM

PRAYER

______________

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

The Minister of Works and Supply, Chief Whip, and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I rise to give the House some idea of the business it will consider next week. 

Sir, on Tuesday, 10th November, 2015, the Business of the House will commence with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Then, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and will consider the following Heads: 

(a)    Head 11 – Zambia Police  - Ministry of Home Affairs;

(b)    Head 15 – Ministry of Home Affairs;

(c)    Head 16 – Drug Enforcement Commission; and

(d)    Head 14 – Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development.

Sir, on Wednesday, 11th November, 2015, the Business of the House will begin with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider Private Members’ Motions, if there will be any. The House will then resolve into Committee of Supply on the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, and the following Heads will be considered: 

(a)    Head 86 – Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock;

(b)    Head 26 – Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; and 

(c)    Head 51 – Ministry of Transport and Communication. 

Sir, on Thursday, 12th November, 2015, the Business of the House will start with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills if there will be any. The House will then consider the Second Reading of the Gender Equity and Equality Bill, National Assembly Bill, 2015. Then, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, and it will consider the following Heads: 

(a)    Head 17 – Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

(b)    Head 77 – Ministry of Defence;

(c)    Head 80 – Ministry of General Education; and 

(d)    Head 65 – Ministry of Higher Education. 

Sir, on Friday, 13th November, 2015, the Business of the House will commence with Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning’s Question Time. This will be followed by Questions For Oral Answer, if there will be any. After that, the House will deal with presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Then, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and the following Heads will be considered:

(a)    Head 45 – Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare; and 

(b)    Head 62 – Ministry of Energy and Water Development;

I thank you, Sir. 

__________

QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER

RIOTS IN ROAN AND MPATAMATU

158. Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe) asked the Minister of Home Affairs: 

(a)    what the cause of the riots in Roan and Mpatamatu townships in Luanshya District on Friday, 30th October, 2015 was; and

(b)    what measures the Government had taken to ensure that similar incidences do not recur. 

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Col. Kaunda): Mr Speaker, the riots in Roan and Mpatamatu townships in Luanshya District were caused by the miners from Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM), who were on forced leave and were demanding for an upward adjustment of their maintenance allowance from K900 per month. The miners first matched to the District Commissioner’s (DCs) Office demanding to be addressed. During the address, the miners were not satisfied with the explanation by the DC. So, they started to block Kapendelula Road and became riotous. The Zambia Police Force moved in and brought the situation under control. During the intervention, seventy-three people were arrested and charged with conduct likely to cause the breach of peace. All of them admitted the charge and paid their admission of guilt fines and were released from police custody. 

Mr Speaker, the Government has engaged the mining company owner to deal with the concerns of the miners through dialogue. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, I read in the media that the major complaint of the miners was that they were not able to pay back the loans that they owe the banks because of their reduced salaries. How is the Government going to stop this incident of riots from recurring? I heard the Chief Government Spokesperson say that the miners should be paid their salaries in full. Is dialogue the measure which has been put in place to stop this problem?

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, the only means of coming to an answer when you have got conflicts is talking. We hope that through dialogue, an answer to whatever grievances our friends have with their employer will be found. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, the riots in Luanshya were quite unfortunate. May I find out from the hon. Deputy Minister whether this riot, which took place in Luanshya, was somehow politically motivated. 

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, no, it was not politically motivated. According to our reports, the cause of the riot was basically the difference between the employer and the employees. There were no political issues involved in the matter. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, dialogue has been going on for some time now. In fact, various hon. Ministers have travelled to the Copperbelt to hold meetings with mine owners. The hon. Member of Parliament for the area is on record as having engaged the company in question, so that it pays our miners their dues. In short, there has not been a time, whatsoever, when there has not been dialogue.  

Sir, we are being told that the strike has been called off because of some dialogue that took place. I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether this is enough to forestall a recurrence of the riots. 

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Mwila): Mr Speaker, this issue is between the employer and the union representative of the workers. What happened was that the Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) had reduced workers’ salaries to K900 per month. 

Mr Speaker, there is a collective agreement in place which was signed between the employer and the union. Therefore, if there is any complaint or violation, the two parties are supposed to come together and discuss it. The union has engaged management so that the matter can be resolved. This is where we are at the moment.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting, who is also the Chief Government Spokesperson, issued a directive to this particular mine which is an employer of miners in Luanshya Town. Can the hon. Minister of Home Affairs confirm that the mining company has ignored the directive which was issued by the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting, and Chief Government Spokesperson?

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting is an hon. Member of Parliament for Roan, and at that particular time, he was speaking as such.  

Mr Mbewe: Ah!

Mr Mwila: Sir, it is not only that which I said, but also that the union has engaged management so that the matter can be resolved. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Chipungu (Rufunsa): Mr Speaker, thank you very much …

Mr Mbewe: On a point of order, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised. 

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order to say that Hon. Kambwili was speaking as an hon. Member of Parliament for Roan and not as the Chief Government Spokesperson, when he is part of the Government? Does this mean that he is playing double roles and finishing himself? Can I have your serious ruling?

Laughter 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chadiza, make your point of order clear to me. I have failed to follow you.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order to say that the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting was speaking as an hon. Member of Parliament for Roan and not as the Chief Government Spokesperson, when this information affects all the miners on the Copperbelt? Is he in order to contradict himself? 

Mr Speaker: Quite frankly, I do not see any contradiction here. A question was sought by the hon. Member for Monze Central regarding the directive that was given. The hon. Minister of Home Affairs has explained and interpreted the context in which that directive was made, and qualified it to the extent that the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting was speaking in his representative capacity as hon. Member of Parliament for that constituency. It is possible that certain matters could be spoken or addressed in that capacity. There is nothing unusual about that because he is a Member of Parliament, in addition to his Government portfolio, of hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting. Nonetheless, he has a constituency and constituents to speak for. Quite often, he does make this clear when he is speaking. 

Hon. Member for Rufunsa, you had the Floor. 

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, paying a Zambian worker a salary of K900 per month is a mockery. I am aware, from many incidents, that Chinese employers have a tendency to break our labour laws. I want to find out from the hon. Minister if at all there are programmes that are put in place …

Dr Katema interjected.

Mr Chipungu: Ah, Hon. Dr Katema, my brother, what has happened today?

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out something from the hon. Minister because he is a  leader in this Government and I know that he is able to answer any question. 

Mr Speaker: You seem to be engaging another hon. Member. That is a problem.

Laughter 

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, he is talking to me directly.

Mr Speaker: No, even if he spoke to you directly, you have no liberty to engage him in a dialogue. 

Mr Muchima: He is a witchdoctor!

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, I want to find out if there is any programme being put in place by the Government to orient the Chinese employers on the country’s labour laws. 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, when we are asking supplementary questions, let us not lose track of where the main question is emanating from. The issue at hand has to do with rioting and disorder, generally. Now, you want the hon. Minister of Home Affairs to talk about labour laws when the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security is there. 

Hon. Member for Mafinga, you may proceed.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, we are obviously very worried that the Chinese employers, who enjoy a lot of incentives, can pay such meagre salaries to our people, to the extent that they riot. I want to find out from the hon. Minister what serious steps have been taken to obviate the recurrence of the riot and to ensure that the salaries that our miners are getting are revisited and paid on time. 

Mr Speaker: I will repeat what I said. This particular hon. Minister is responsible for the maintenance of public order. This is the issue at hand. I know that this is a very topical, engaging and crosscutting issue. However, we must bear in mind that the hon. Minister can only discuss issues related to public order. 

Hon. Member for Siavonga, you may proceed. 

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, I hope that I will be in line with your expectations. 

Sir, the Chief Government Spokesperson, who is also Member of Parliament for Roan issued a directive that the miners be paid their salaries in full. We have just been told that he was speaking in his capacity as Member of Parliament and not as the Chief Government Spokesperson. 

Sir, the Government’s position is that dialogue must be encouraged between the union and the employer. Hon. Minister, my question is: Are you saying that as of now the Government has no position until the negotiations are over, despite the directive which was given by the area hon. Member of Parliament?

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, I have said that the union has engaged management. There is a collective agreement running. Thus, if there is a violation by either party, it must be resolved. At the moment, the issue is between the union and management. If there will be a dispute, the Government will come in.

I thank you, Sir.

FDD’S FARMER SUPPORT PROGRAMME

159.    Mr Musonda (Kapiri Mposhi) asked the Minister of Agriculture:

(a)    whether the Government had allowed the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), a political party, to operate a programme, similar to the Government-operated Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP);

(b)    if so, under what legal framework the FDD was operating its programme; and 

(c)    whether the FDD’s programme would not interfere with the Government-run FISP.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, the Government has not allowed the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), a political party, to operate a programme similar to the Government-run FISP. The Government is not aware of the programme being run by the FDD, its objectives, its coverage, its modus operandi or, indeed, its legality. 

Sir, the Societies Act of Zambia obliges that all community activities of this nature be carried out by organisations that are registered by the Registrar of Societies, where they state their objectives and area of coverage. A search at the Registrar of Societies yesterday did not indicate whether the FDD was running this programme as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) or as a political party.

Mr Speaker, the FISP is nation-wide programme covering 1,200,000 people. As such, it can only be interfered with by programmes of a particular magnitude and objectives. From what we have read in the press, the FDD programme is financed with a total amount of K500,000. Given the amount we are giving per farmer, that K500,000 will only reach 300 farmers in a very small localised area of Zambia and, therefore, the impact on FISP is highly negligible.

I thank you, Sir. 

Brig-Gen: Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, ...

Mr Speaker: Sorry, let me start with the source. I did not see him.

Mr Musonda: Mr Speaker, does the Government have any intentions to introduce legislation to compel organisations running programmes similar to those of the Government to register with the Ministry of Agriculture? 

Hon. Opposition Members: Why?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, there is no real compelling reason at the moment to ask people who are running these programmes to register. However, it is only morally right that those, who want to run programmes which complement the Government efforts make their programmes known to it so that there is co-ordination. We do not think that we should go the route of legislating at this stage.

Sir, like I stated in the answer that I gave, whoever is involved in community activities of this nature is obliged to make the activities known to the Government by registering their activities, through a civil society organisation, with the Registrar of Societies.

I thank you, Sir.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, there are 300 small-holder farmers that are going to be assisted by this programmes which means that, on average, it will support 1,800 human beings, taking into account an average family of six members. That being the case, is the hon. Minister not happy that there has been an initiative from one of our senior citizens, although it may be through a political party, to complement what the Government is doing? If the initiative was illegal, it might not have come out in the public.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I indicated that only 300 farmers are going to be reached by the programme, if the figures in the press are anything to go by. Using the figures that the hon. Member used, it translates to 1,800 people, if we have to compare that 1,800 to the total number of beneficiaries of the Government-run FISP that number comes to 7,200,000. The ratio shows that in terms of reach, the programme being run by the FDD is very insignificant. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Lubinda: As to whether I am happy or not ...

Interruptions 

Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Minister, you have the Floor.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, I do not think that we should focus on whether I am happy or not. The question is what the impact of this programme is on FISP. I indicated, firstly, that I am oblivious of the objectives of this programme. Secondly, we did a search at the Registrar of Societies and found out that no NGO has been registered to do what the FDD is doing. Thirdly, the FDD is a political party whose constitution does not say that it will run an agricultural programme.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Lubinda: So, whether this matter is legal or not is also an area which requires further study. 

Mr Speaker, with your permission, I have a tabloid before me, that I will lay on the Table, ...

Mr Mbewe: Lay yourself on the Table.

Mr Lubinda: ... that states that: ...

Interruptions 

Mr Speaker: Order!

There are a lot of comments being made. I can identify you. You have an opportunity to ask questions. Thus, you should not try to engage the hon. Minister while you are seated. The hon. Minister is available to be engaged on the Floor of the House. Just indicate if you have a question which you would like to ask.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to quote the Daily Nation of Friday, 6th November, 2015, whose headline reads:

“Nawakwi Agro-funds illegal”

In part, the story reads:

“Edith Nawakwi has been challenged to explain the source of the K500,000 she is using to fund the Forum for Democracy and Development Agriculture Grant Project. FDD founder member, Thomas Kaluba, said Ms Nawakwi was allegedly using funds to prop-up her political manoeuvres through an obscure politically inspired agricultural grant scheme because the party executive has never met to approve the project.”

Sir, going by this, even the political party itself and members thereof, are distancing themselves from this project. It further goes on to mention that even the vice-president who is number two in the hierarchy of the party is oblivious of this programme.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: On the basis of that, Sir, I would …

Interruptions

Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Minister. You are still on the Floor.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: Who is the Vice-President?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, Hon. Muntanga is asking me to name the Vice-President of the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD). I will …

Mr Speaker: No! He is not in order. Ignore that.

Mr Lubinda: … reserve my comment on that. If Hon. Muntanga wants to know the Vice-President of the FDD, he should buy a copy of the newspaper which I am referring to.

Laughter

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, the whole scheme has been brought to our attention through the media. If the party is distancing itself from this programme, I do not think that I am in the right place to either be happy or unhappy with it, until I understand the motive of this programme. If the programme is meant to reach some of those farmers who are not being reached by FISP and is being done in good faith, I do not expect that it would be implemented without the ministry being informed. There are many other organisations which do similar things. In fact, in Namwala, there is one that is run by men and women of integrity which is registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and whose objective is to supplement our efforts. If this is a programme that is intended to achieve the same objectives of the Government, I have no doubt that its managers will inform the Government about it. If they do not, people will speculate about the motives of the programme. The member of the party who said that the programme is politically motivated for ill-intentions might be right.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, assuming that Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) today or tomorrow informed the ministry about its programme, would it be welcomed by the hon. Minister?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, again, it will depend on the objectives that are enshrined in the constitution of the FDD. If the FDD, in its constitution, says that it is going to run a programme similar to FISP, we have no way of stopping it. We will just embrace the programme. If running the programme is contrary to its constitution, then obviously, we will have an issue with that.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is aware that farmers are in excess of 2 million and that the Government cannot allocate 10 per cent of the Budget to agriculture in this country. Our production is in excess due to the farmers who are not supported by the Government. This means that there is a lot of maize which is produced by farmers who are not supported by the Government. Considering these facts, why should the hon. Minister, therefore, find it necessary to worry about the activities of other organisations or individuals that are supporting farmers? 

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, when I was answering a follow-up question from the hon. Member of Parliament for Kapiri Mposhi, Hon. Muntanga, may have not been paying attention. I did say that there is no compelling reason for us to stop programmes which are intended to support the farmers in the country. However, when it comes to the initiative in question, our question is: Who is running it and what are his or her objectives? In the newspaper article which I referred to, members of the particular political party have distanced themselves from the programme and said that it is a politically motivated programme, which has sinister motives. Such stories raise worries in me. I want to state that I am fully aware of the fact that there are many farmers who are supported …

Interruptions

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Lubinda: … through different programmes. I wish to encourage the different organisations to continue to support our farmers. As stated earlier, there is an organisation in Namwala, which supports farmers. The organisation has made its programme known to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Interruptions

Mr Speaker: Order, on the far right.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, the reason the organisation has made its activities known to the Ministry of Agriculture is that it is run by people of high integrity, who understand the fact that if they want to operate a programme in the agriculture sector, they need to work together with the key player in the sector. The ministry needs to know about the activities of independent players so that we do not duplicate efforts. It would be sad for the 350 farmers who are being reached by this programme to also benefit from the FISP. I would like to encourage all those who are running similar schemes to kindly inform the Ministry of Agriculture.

Mr Speaker, if we are going to use programmes such as this to win votes, then we must make sure that we mobilise a lot of money. This is because 350 farmers, 1,800 beneficiaries, six people per family, would not even win you a ward election in Kabwata.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, according to the hon. Minister who conducted a search at the Registrar of Societies, the mandate of the FDD does not allow the distribution of inputs. I have read through the Electoral Code of Conduct and I think that the scheme cannot be referred to as a campaign material or tool. The selling of maize will be done almost at the time of elections. Would this be regarded as political inducement which is a malpractice?

Mr Speaker: I do not think I will get the Minister of Agriculture to deal with issues such as malpractices, level playing fields and electoral offences.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, may I find out from the hon. Minister …

Mr Shakafuswa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. As hon. Members, we are not allowed to come with punk haircuts to this House. Is the hon. Minister of Agriculture in order to dye a patch of his hair white and come with such a haircut to this House? I need your serious ruling.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Laughter

Mr Speaker: Quite frankly, I am incompetent …

Laughter

Mr Speaker: … to rule on the subject, especially in the manner it has been presented. I do not have the facts. All I can say is that the hon. Minister, on a serious note, is perfectly in order. Others attribute that to a sign of wisdom.

Laughter 

Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member for Chadiza.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, the 150 elected hon. Members of Parliament or any party can organise programmes for their people. Did the hon. Minister find out whether the fertiliser was only distributed to the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) members or everybody else?

Mr Speaker:I would like to provide guidance before the hon. Minister responds.Those who will ask questions after the hon. Member for Chadiza should, please, follow through the hon. Minister’s responses very closely. I think he has been very careful in his responses. I will give him an opportunity to answer the question which has been asked by Hon. Mbewe. However, let us avoid repetition because I think he has provided us with the relevant points.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, I am extremely indebted to you for that guidance. While I have been responding to important questions, some people have been looking at my hair. Maybe, that is the reason they have not been following my answers. 

Sir, in response to the question by the hon. Member for Chadiza, I will read my earlier answer. The Government is not aware of the programme being run by the FDD, its objective, its coverage, its modus operandi or, indeed, its legality. That simply means that I do not even know who the beneficiaries are. The only categorical issue I have stated is that the Ministry of Agriculture needs to be informed of such programmes whenever they are being implemented. The ministry does not even know if the ones running the programme are using genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? For all I care, this programme may be damaging to the cultural systems in different areas. That is the reason I am appealing to whoever engages in agriculture at that scale to kindly inform the Ministry of Agriculture for the sake of co-ordination.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, allow me to declare interest in matters related to the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) because I first came to Parliament on its ticket and it is doing a good job.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Sir, my understanding is that any political party can run empowerment programmes for its members. The Patriotic Front (PF) is running similar programmes related to the information communication technologies (ICTs), brick laying and tailoring for its youths. Could the hon. Minister bring evidence before this House that he informed the Government and other necessary authorities before they started running such programmes? Could it be that the PF is jealous of the FDD’s programme?

Mr Speaker: I will not request the hon. Minister to answer that question.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, since the hon. Minister seems not to be comfortable with the FDD’s programme, as if it is against its party manifesto, could he be kind enough to tell us the FDD’s agriculture policy?

Mr Speaker: Similarly, I will not ask the hon. Minister to answer that question.

Laughter

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether there is a law in this country which precludes any political party from running an empowerment programme or guideline that requires that a political party which wishes to empower its members to inform the Government about such initiatives?

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister indicated that he went out of his way and conducted a search to prove whether the Societies Act of Zambia, Chapter 119 of the Laws of Zambia, had been complied with. Could the hon. Minister clarify that for the avoidance of doubt.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, for the avoidance of doubt, every organisation that intends to carry out programmes of this nature is by law required to register itself and its objectives under the Societies Act of Zambia. There are some political parties that are run by men and women of high integrity which run such empowerment programmes. I can come next week, and lay on the Table, registration certificates for those programmes. They do not run them as fly by night activities, which are not legal. One political party that I can talk about is the one that I belong to. The Patriotic Front (PF) runs various empowerment programmes which are all registered. I can bring the certificates of registration to the House. The Macro Projects Programme (MPP) is one such programme. Some of its board members are here. These are men and women of impeccable credibility.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that apart from the circumstances surrounding that particular scheme, any organisation is free to run such a scheme as long as it follows laid down procedures. Since the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) has gone ahead to run this programme, which we are all happy about, is the hon. Minister not willing to engage the FDD leadership so that it can agree on the modus operandi of that particular scheme in order to dispel the insinuations surrounding it?

Mr Lubinda: Sir, when the need arises, we may engage the FDD party. However, I would like to reiterate what I said earlier. On behalf of the Government, I encourage all those individuals, organisation or even political parties that intend to get involved in the agriculture sector by providing inputs or extension services to farmers to make their intentions and programmes known to the Ministry of Agriculture and not the other way round. For instance, if the hon. Member for Siavonga who is also running a similar programme in Siavonga, using some of his hard earned money to support his people, informed the District Agricultural Co-ordinator (DACO), the officer could provide extension staff to ensure that the hon. Member’s people get a quality service.

I thank you, Sir.

GRADING OF FEEDER ROADS IN MPOROKOSO

160. Prof. Willombe (Mporokoso) asked the Minister of Defence:

(a)    when the grading of the following feeder roads in Mporokoso Parliamentary Constituency, by the Zambia National Service (ZNS) would commence:

(i)    Melu to Mutitima;
(ii)    Bulangililo to Kabusha
(iii)    Chishamwamba to Mulubwa via Njalamimba; and
(iv)    Mporokoso to Nsunge via Kambobe; and

(b)    what the cause of the delay in grading the above roads, was.

The Deputy Minister of Defence (Mr Mulenga): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that my ministry wrote to the Northern Provincial Administration to provide a list of prioritised feeder roads to be graded. From the four roads in Mporokoso Parliamentary Constituency referred to by the hon. Member of Parliament, only the Mporokoso to Nsunge via Kambobe is appearing on the prioritised list submitted by the provincial administration. 

Sir, the Zambia National Service has started receiving funds and works will commence before December, 2015.

Mr Speaker, there is no delay on the part of the grading of the said roads. The commencement of works by the Zambia National Service is guided by the list submitted by the provincial administration.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, even if there is a list of the prioritised road, is it not possible for the ministry to intervene since the hon. Member has brought it to the attention of Government that the roads in Mporokoso, Kaputa and Nsama districts are in a pathetic state? Is it possible for the ministry and the provincial administration to work together and grade the roads in Mporokoso, Kaputa and Nsama? 

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, as much as we are aware as the Government that the roads in Mporokoso Parliamentary Constituency are in a pathetic state, we do not want to work in conflict with the provincial administration. We can only encourage the provincial administration to prioritise those roads and submit a list to the Ministry of Defence Headquarters so that it can be forwarded to the ZNS to enable it to carry out some works.

 Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 Prof. Willombe: Sir, the list of the roads in question has been submitted almost four times to the provincial administration without it getting any attention. The roads in question have never been graded since Independence.

 Hon. Opposition Member: Ah!

 Prof. Willombe: Sir, the trees and grass are claiming the places where the people are supposed to be. I would like to find out from the hon. Deputy Minister when the good roads will bring good life to the people that live along those roads.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I would like to encourage the hon. Member together with his fellow councillors at the councils to prioritise those roads. I can assure him that once that is done, the roads will be worked on by the ZNS.

I thank you, Sir.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo:  Mr Speaker, in his response, the hon. Deputy Minister said that the works will start before the end of this year. 

Sir, in one to two weeks, the rains will start in earnest in that district. What quality of work can we be assured of when the ZNS starts to work on the roads when the rainy season begins?

 Mr Mulenga: Sir, we are talking about feeder and agriculture roads. We are aware that although the construction is not supposed to be carried out during the rainy season, it does not rain every day. So, the construction will go on according to plan. So, whenever there is a dry spell, our officers will be on the ground working.  

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether in instances like Mporokoso whereby the roads need to be worked on, but they are not on the main list of the Ministry of Defence, it is possible to do like we have done in Katuba whereby we have put aside some money to enable the Zambian National Service (ZNS) to work on the roads which are not on the list of the prioritised ones. 

 Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for that important suggestion.

Sir, as the hon. Member has rightly put it, it is possible for us, as a ministry, to do that. The constraint is in the strength of the equipment.

Interruptions

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, given a chance that we had enough sets of equipment, that suggestion would easily be utilised. Let me repeat what I said earlier on that it is up to the hon. Member of Parliament to prioritise the roads to be worked on so that they can be submitted to the provincial administration.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Order!

 I will take the last two questions from the hon. Members for Mkushi North and Luena.

Mrs Mphande (Mkushi North): Mr Speaker, considering that the problem is the same, when will this exercise take place in Mkushi North Parliamentary Constituency?

 Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, although we are discussing the roads in Mporokoso, I will give the hon. Member a bonus answer.

Sir, Mkushi North will be attended to as soon as we receive the submissions from the provincial administration from the Central Province 

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, the quality of works that have been done on the Limulunga/Usha Road by the Zambia National Service is so poor. What assurance can the hon. Deputy Minister give us that they will do a better job than what they have done on Limulunga/ Usha Road?

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question. We have competent engineers in the Zambia National Service (ZNS).

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Mulenga: Sir, for your own information, the ZNS Land Development Unit was created as a result of a decree by the President in 1989. The President decreed that it be removed from the ministry responsible for agriculture. It was mandated to provide quality civil engineering works and services. So, I am confident that the ZNS will do a good job.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

CONSTRUCTION OF SAMFYA AND CHISANGWA YOUTH RESOURCE CENTRES

161. Mr Kasandwe (Bangweulu) asked the Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development:

(a)    when the construction of Samfya and Chisangwa Youth Resource centres in Bangweulu Parliamentary Constituency would be completed;

(b)    what had caused the delay in completing the works; and

(c)    whether the designs for the two centres had been approved by the Government.

The Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, my ministry has a programme of developing infrastructure for youth skills training centres. It is the Government’s plan to, at least, establish one youth resource centre in all the districts of the Republic of Zambia. To this effect, an infrastructure development plan has been developed to guide the construction of youth resource centres in a phased manner.

Sir, the upgrading of the Chisangwa Youth Resource Centre, which is currently operational, is scheduled to commence in 2017, while the completion of the upgrading of the Samfya Youth Resource Centre, which is also operational, will depend on the availability of funds.

Mr Speaker, the delay in the completion of the upgrading of the Samfya Youth Resource Centre has been due to inadequate funding. The House may wish to note that the designs for the two youth resource centres were designed and approved by the Buildings Department. This is in an effort to have standardised infrastructure for youth training centres throughout the Republic of Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, the former hon. Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development once told us that there was money available for the construction of youth resource centres in every district. He then tasked us, the hon. Members of Parliament, to identify land. We were told that the money would be made available after land had been identified. Now, the hon. Deputy Minister is saying the upgrading of the Samfya Youth Resource Centre will depend on the availability of funds. He has also indicated that the Government has a plan to establish one youth resource centre in all the districts. I would like to find out where that money that was available when we were tasked to identify land where these youth resource centres should be put up, has gone.

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, even if money was available, the Government would not just start constructing these youth resource centres without first identifying the land and coming up with a programme of action. I will make sure that this plan is brought to fruition. As I have stated, every district in the Republic of Zambia will be given a modernised youth resource centre. This is because the Patriotic Front (PF) Government believes that once our youths are empowered with life-long skills, they will be able to survive and live on their own.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, the institution at Chisangwa Youth Resource Centre is similar to that of Simango Resource Centre in Kazungula. When these programmes were embarked on, some taxpayers’ money was spent. However, completing these projects is becoming a problem. It is now over two years since the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power, but it has not completed this programme. So, what programme and plan is the hon. Deputy Minister talking about when the Government just needs to complete this programme that was embarked on sometime back?

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, Hon. Livune may not understand that the Chisangwa Youth Resource Centre has been running programmes in carpentry, agriculture and other fields. What we want to do to Chisangwa Youth Resource Centre is upgrade and modernise it. As for Kazungula, we take note of the need to quicken the process of completing the construction of the centre so that the youth in that part of Zambia can be empowered with the necessary skills.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

_______

BILLS

SECOND READING

THE EMPLOYMENT (Amendment) BILL, 2015

The Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Shamenda): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Sir, I wish to thank you for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this Motion on the Floor of the House. On 22nd October, 2015, I tabled, before this august House, the Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

Mr Speaker, following the liberalisation of the economy, which commenced in the early 1990s, the labour market has seen a constant decline in the dominance of the standard form of employment contracts and an incremental shift towards a preference for non-standardised forms of employment contract. The challenge occasioned by this phenomenon is that as a labour administration tool, the Employment Act, Chapter 268 of the Laws of Zambia, has not had any corresponding revision to reflect this shift and, thereby, remained ineffective in responding to issues that arise out of the employment relationships in all its modern forms.

Sir, the net effect of maintaining the status quo is the continued exploitation and violation of workers’ rights. This effectively counters any meaningful effort in the pursuit of a decent work agenda. In our Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto, we promised the Zambian people that we would review the Employment Act so as to introduce clear legal provisions that would regulate casualisation and the out-sourcing of services.

Mr Speaker, in order to arrest the continued exploitation and violation of workers’ rights, the Government brought to this House the Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2015, with the following objectives:

(a)    revise the provisions relating to registration of employment agencies;

(b)    prohibit the casualisation of labour to ensure that employees who are performing work which is permanent in nature are deemed to be on short-term contracts;

(c)    regulate fixed-term contracts of service;

(d)    ensure that employees give reasons to an employee for termination of contract of service; and 

(e)    provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.

Mr Speaker, it is important to amend the Employment Act so that the law conforms to the modern international trends in the labour market. The ultimate objective of the Bill seeks to address the lack of employment security that characterises most employment relations in our country. It further seeks to eliminate the gross abuse of workers’ rights and enhance labour market administration in Zambia. Hon. Members may wish to note that the provisions in the Bill that seek to regulate casualisation do not affect small-scale enterprises in a bid not to stifle enterprise development. These, however, shall have to comply with conditions of employment as prescribed under the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, Cap. 276 of the Laws of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, the Bill takes into consideration the positive role that flexible labour arrangements have in the sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth of the economy. In seeking to regulate non-standard forms of employment, the Bill contains exceptions that will enable businesses to employ workers on fixed term, seasonal, temporary or part-time work, depending on the requirements of the business.

Mr Speaker, the Bill also seeks to comprehensively deal with the operations of employment agencies. Currently, the law permits the operation of these agencies that provide what are termed as ‘matching services’. In practice, some of these agencies also tend to employ persons with a view to making these employees provide labour to third parties. In common language, this trend is called labour brokering and is often seen when enterprises outsource some of their functions. Typically, employees in such triangular employment relationships are engaged on short-term or temporary basis but, in practice, these contracts are continuously renewed by the labour broker.

Mr Speaker, the concern under such arrangements is over some employers’ use of employment agencies to provide labour for ongoing or permanent tasks within enterprises. When these arrangements span long periods of time, workers are denied their labour rights on the grounds that they are classified as casual workers. This trend is not expressly prohibited under the law currently and has led to the extreme abuse of employees. 

Mr Speaker, Zambia is a State party to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Private Employment Agencies Convention No. 181, which it ratified in 2013. Therefore, the Bill intends to regulate employment agencies in line with the provisions of Convention 181. Under this convention, the broad scope of services these agencies may provide are:

(a)    matching services;

(b)    employing persons with a view to making them available to work for a third party; and

(c)    ancillary services relating to job seeking and these, under the Bill, will have to be prescribed.

Mr Speaker, hon. Members may also wish to note that Zambia is a State party to the ILO Termination of Employment Convention, 1982, which basically deals with protection against unjustified dismissals. The convention requires for every termination to be accompanied by a valid reason. The State ratified this convention in 1990, but has not domesticated it. Consequently, the State has continued to be in breach of the international law as Section 36 of the Employment Act has never been amended to introduce the requirement for every termination to be accompanied by a valid reason.

Mr Speaker, it is against this background that the amendment to the Employment Act is required and proposed. I wish to request hon. Members of Parliament to support the Bill because failure to do so will result in the continued exploitation and violation of workers’ rights. It is also my humble appeal to hon. Members to support this Bill because we are all confronted with the challenge of casualisation and a lack of job security in our constituencies. Our people in the constituencies are crying to us over this problem. Hence, this amendment Bill provides an opportunity for us, as leaders, to curb this problem, once and for all, in order to protect the weak voiceless workers in the country.

Sir, I wish to conclude by saying that the Government consulted widely with key stakeholders, including our social partners, the Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE), Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and Federation of Free Trade Unions in Zambia (FFTUZ).

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, in accordance with the terms of reference, as provided in the Standing Orders, your Committee was tasked to scrutinise the Employment (Amendment) Bill No. 18 of 2015. In order to gain insight into the ramifications of the Bill, your Committee sought oral and written submissions from various stakeholders, including representatives of workers, employers and the Government. The hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security was also gracious enough to accept the request to appear before your Committee.

Mr Speaker, let me point out from the outset that your Committee is in full support of the Bill. I will begin by stating a well-known fact to all of us that the Zambian labour market has, for a long time, been experiencing a lot of challenges, especially those affecting employees who are not in permanent employment. The country has witnessed a situation whereby most employers have resorted to the frequent use of fixed-term contracts and general abuse of casual labour provisions in the law. 

Interruptions

Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Mr Pande: Sir, all this can be attributed to weak labour laws. It is for this reason that stakeholders in the country have been calling for comprehensive labour law reforms. Your Committee joins the stakeholders in calling upon the Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, to expedite the process of undertaking comprehensive labour law reforms. The reforms cannot be delayed any longer.

Mr Speaker, casualisation is one of the evils that have thrived in Zambia because of weak labour laws in general and the Employment Act, Cap. 268 of the Laws of Zambia, in particular. The Act does not prohibit the recurrent hiring of a casual employee to fill a position that is permanent in nature. As a result, more and more employers have resorted to this form of employment principally to avoid honouring obligations such as the payment of retirement benefits to deserving employees on permanent and pensionable or fixed term contract employment.

Mr Speaker, in support this Bill, your Committee has made some observations and recommendations, some of which I wish to highlight. Clause 3(b) states that the provisions of the Employment Act, Cap. 268 of the Laws of Zambia, relating to casualisation shall not apply to an undertaking that employs ten or less employees. Your Committee is of the view that this provision has not fully taken into account the dynamism of the labour market, such as the quantum of business enjoyed by an employer. 

Sir, another matter that caught the attention of your Committee is that the Bill is silent on the requirement to pay gratuity at the end of each employment contract. Your Committee is of the view that if not addressed now, this issue will continue to disadvantage workers because it will allow employers to use their discretion as to whether or not to pay gratuity. Your Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that the Bill expressly provides for the payment of some gratuity which should be calculated according to one’s period of service under each form of employment. We are glad to report that the hon. Minister promised to attend to this matter.

Mr Speaker, another matter that was deliberated on by your Committee is the issue of deterrent measures that are being introduced in the Bill to discourage casualisation. Your Committee, while appreciating the intention of the Bill, is concerned that potential imprisonment of would-be offenders would pose a risk to potential investment and survival of a business. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the provision for imprisonment be removed and instead a scaling-up of fines which would be an adequate deterrent be provided for.

Sir, let me end by dwelling on a not so common concept of flexibilisation. This is an employment trend that is characterised by different aspects of human resource management, such as pay flexibility, contractual flexibility, task flexibility and working hours flexibility. Your Committee took interest in this concept because the Bill under proposed Section 12A provides that work performed under a flexible schedule shall not be a form of casualisation. The concern of your Committee is that if not checked, this could be used to disguise casualisation. Your Committee, therefore, urges the Government to ensure that this new system is not used to introduce a new form of casualisation.

In conclusion, your Committee wishes to express its gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for granting it the opportunity to scrutinise the Employment (Amendment) Bill, National Assembly Bill, 2015. Your Committee wishes also to thank the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the support rendered to it throughout its deliberations. It is indebted to all the witnesses who appeared before it for their co-operation in providing the necessary briefs. Special thanks go to the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security for accepting to appear before your Committee to clarify some policy matters.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Bill on the Floor and to commend the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security for this long overdue Bill. I think it is good for the hon. Minister, having been a labour man. At least, he will leave office having done something that will add to his …

Mr Mubukwanu: Where is he going?

Mrs Masebo: … positive curriculum vitae (CV) or legacy. People will, at least, see that the labour man tried to walk the talk.

Mr Speaker, as you will appreciate, Chongwe as a district and a constituency, will benefit from this Bill considering that most of the people in Chongwe are working on farms and some industries that have been established there. For a very long time, my people have been crying to the Government to protect them against abuse. In most cases, the people were not allowed to form unions. My area has felt the effect when it comes to issues of casualisation and just general poor working conditions for those who work in the farms and industries found in my constituency.

Mr Speaker, I just want to say that this is a very good Bill that we must all support. However, I would like the hon. Minister Labour and Social Security to go further ensure that he capacitates his officers who are in the districts. This is because most of the labour officers in the country do not have transport and good working conditions. Sometimes, as a Government, we come up with these good rules and regulations, but we are the worst culprits in the manner we treat our own staff. I think that this Bill will just remain on paper if his officers in the field are not given help to be able to go out and enforce what is in the Bill. 

Mr Speaker, in supporting this Bill, I will also want to say that the Government, through the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security, must take on board what the Chairperson of the Committee on Economic Affairs, Energy and Labour has alluded to on the fines. I think jailing should not be an option because remember that this Bill, good as it, is coming at a very difficult time when this country is grappling with high unemployment levels. So, we do not want to do things which will actually scare away investors. I think we have enough issues in this country currently and, therefore, coming up with laws through which we shall start jailing people as an answer, is not good for business. Let us just have stiffer punishment and not jailing people. I support this Bill with the amendments that have been proposed by the relevant Committee.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, I will be very brief. I also stand to support this Bill. Yes, indeed, it has been long overdue. I want to comment on one or two proposed amendments relating to the issues of workers’ rights versus the need for us to encourage the growth of the different sectors of the economy for enhanced productivity.

Mr Speaker, as Hon. Masebo has said, as a nation, we have agreed that in order for us to reduce poverty, the different sectors of the economy need to work harder to contribute more to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For that to happen, we must ensure that our laws do not inhibit investment in the various sectors of the economy. Sometimes, as national leaders, we focus on the welfare of the employees at the expense of the need for the investor to be able to earn and get a return on his or her investment. It is very important that this Act be balanced. What do we really want? We do not want our people to be exploited as employees, but at the same time, we know that it is in their best interest to encourage investment so that we get more of our people to get jobs so as to reduce poverty.

Mr Speaker, I am hoping that the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security is not only focused on ensuring that he protects the rights of the workers because we might end up not having any investment. We need to do things in a balanced manner, especially as Government leaders. 

Mr Speaker, the issue of workers being exploited has been encouraged to a great extent by the non-availability of support to the labour commissioners. As Hon. Masebo said, these commissioners or labour officers have no capacity even to inspect the areas where these workers are working from. We need to ensure that we build capacity for our officers to be able to inspect workplaces. We can create laws as we are doing now, but if there is no enforcement, this process will amount to nothing.

Mr Speaker, I wanted to mention the fact that while there is a need to ensure that our workers are well-looked-after, the need for us to grow this economy so that more of our people get jobs should also be a focus.

Sir, many economies are anchored in small and medium enterprises in the micro enterprises, the very small ones. There is a provision in this proposed Bill that the micro enterprises employing less than ten people be given exemptions to some extent. However, enterprises employing ten people are very small and few that we should not even be talking about them. Let us talk about the small enterprises that are employing less than 200 people. 

Mr Speaker, I would urge the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security to look up the Government policy on micro, small and medium enterprises and use that definition to arrive at those that he wants to exempt. If he is talking about those employing less than ten people, he is talking about micro enterprises. Those are the ones at the market. What about the emerging ones? Do they want to stifle the growth of the small and medium enterprises by these provisions? 

Mr Speaker, my last issue has to do with productivity. Our workers in this country have a very bad reputation of being non-productive. If you go to most businesses, you will find that they do not perform to expectations because the input or the contribution of the Zambian employees is so low. In fact, the Zambian employees, to a very large extent, feel that the companies that employ them owe them more than they owe those companies. Their contribution is less than we would all like to see our people contribute. 

Mr Speaker, as the Government is looking at the welfare of the employees, let it also look at the productivity of our workers. As we preach that we do not want casualisation, let us also ensure that our workers contribute to the growth of the economy through their daily commitment to work.

Ms Imenda: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, it is not unusual to see even a manager get into an office just to leave a jacket by the chair and go to run personal errands and, at the end of the month, want to get a salary, gratuity, a loan and many other incentives. The question that we need to ask ourselves as a nation is: How have the Tiger economies grown? They have grown because each individual employee commits to adding value to the companies for which they work. 

Mr Speaker, we must avoid creating an impression to our people that the companies for which they work owe them. We must avoid creating an impression that they are working for parastatal organisations and, therefore, their contribution is not important. In fact, this Government must try to encourage performance-related contracts even through legislation such as this one because if the private sector does not perform, we can forget about reducing poverty. 

Mr Speaker, countries that have reduced poverty have done so by creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. This also means avoiding coming up with legislation that makes it difficult for private sector organisations to create value.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, as political leaders, we want to be populist, but let us not forget that at the end of the day, job and wealth creation can only be achieved through creating an enabling environment for the private sector. As the Government, there are only a few jobs that we can create. If we neglect the private sector or create laws that inhibit its growth, those jobs that we seek, as the Government, will not come. 

With these words, I support the Bill.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I will not talk for long. This Bill is most welcome and highly supported. I support both Hon. Masebo and Hon. Namugala’s contributions.

Sir, whilst we are supporting this Bill, we want the hon. Minister to also counter-check what happened to the employment levels when the minimum wage was introduced. Did the levels improve or shrink? 

Mr Speaker, certain laws should have some exceptions. Some of us should declare interest that we are employers. Some institutions employed several workers, but because of the stiff laws and fear of going against the law, they reduced the number. This created a problem of unemployment.

Mr Speaker, we need to weigh ourselves, as a country, as Hon. Namugala said. What is lacking in this nation is a good mindset. Yes, the Government needs to support the interests of the worker. However, how does the worker respond to his employment terms? These are issues which are critical in this country. If you go to developed countries, an employee respects every minute of employment. However, even in the offices of the Government of the Republic of Zambia, much is left to be desired. These are the kinds of issues that we need to deal with as a nation. 

Sir, we need to set people the way we set a car in motion. When you put a car in gear one, it has to be in gear one and go. When a worker reports for work, every hour has to be accounted for. This is why in places like the United Kingdom (UK), people are paid hourly. If you stay away and do not report for work, the clock stops ticking. Everything is calculated. Your salary can be so much, but is calculated by how many hours you put in. It is not meant to punish people, but to buy a service. A worker provides a service which the employer buys. 

Mr Speaker, today, we are scared to employ in Zambia because of the stiff laws. Nobody wants to employ and be taken to court at the end of the day by people who are unproductive. They beg when looking for employment, but the day you employ them, you do not get the value you wanted because there is too much protection for them. Therefore, just as we protect an employee, we need to protect an employer. This will create employment in our country. We need to be productive. The Government needs to encourage Zambian entrepreneurs to employ more people by giving them certain incentives. I do not like seeing certain foreign nationals from different countries mistreating our people. We should not condone slave conditions for our workers. The Government should relax the law for the minimum wage so that Zambian entrepreneurs who cannot afford to pay it can employ more people. That way, we will be able to create more employment. We need to protect both employers and employees. We should not look at only one side of the coin. A coin has two sides. This country has everything, but we have not set ourselves in motion to increase production. We want to protect one side and weaken the other side. I am condemning the foreign investors who come here to treat Zambians like slaves in their companies. Their only interest is to get profits. I am condemning that behaviour totally. I urge fellow Zambians to work very hard so that we can produce enough things to export. 

Sir, we have problems in our nation because we are used to begging and receiving handouts. Begging is a big issue in our country. The streets are full of beggars. Let us create an environment that will be conducive for creating employment. When someone employs workers in his business, he must be happy with their performance. It would not be good for him to employ people who rip him off when he is away from his business. We should condemn that kind of attitude. 

Mr Speaker, this Bill is good. I want the Zambian employers to also be given some incentives to motivate them to employ more people. 

Mr Speaker, with these few contributions, I support the Bill.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Shamenda: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Members of the Committee who deliberated on this Bill. I had an interesting encounter with them the day before yesterday. They were very positive. I would also like to thank all the hon. Members who have supported this Bill. I have noted their comments. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to make a few comments quickly. I would like to assure the august House and the nation at large, that comprehensive labour reforms are on their way. Very soon, we will bring the Bills that will collapse the twelve pieces of labour legislation, which have not been reformed for a long time. I hope that those Bills will get the same support as this one has got. 

Mr Speaker, I have noted the issues surrounding the imprisonment of employers who abrogate labour laws. It will suffice to note that imprisonment is an option. It will only apply to those big companies which feel that they can continue abrogating the labour laws because they are able to pay the fines. It is equally important to note that the law provides for either to impose a fine or to imprison anyone who abrogates the law. So, the decision to fine or imprison someone depends on the Judge handling the issue. A fine on its own is enough for individual employers, but we feel that there should be a different approach of dealing with the people who are in charge of labour relations in big multinational companies, if they deliberately flout the law because they can pay the fines. 

Mr Speaker, in short, let me say that most of the issues which have been raised were addressed by the Committee. I would like to pay tribute to the other speakers who talked about productivity. My ministry is very concerned about that. That is why we intend to introduce a productivity centre so that we are able to improve productivity. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the contributors that I will take all their sentiments on board ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1045 until 1100 hours. 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

A number of Hon. Members were still outside the Assembly Chamber after Break.

Mr Shamenda: Mr Speaker, you can see the productivity we have around here. We need to change our mindset if we want to improve the levels of production.

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Shamenda: Mr Speaker, the Government has introduced the system of performance appraisals for all the workers in the Civil Service in order to improve production. It will suffice to say that effective performance management systems are the key to attaining higher levels of productivity. 

Mr Speaker, once again, I would like to thank all the hon. Members for giving me the necessary support.

I thank you, Sir. 

Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time. 

Committed to a committee of the Whole House.

Committee on Wednesday, 11th November, 2015.

__________

COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY

[THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF COMMITTEES in the
Chair]

VOTE 05 – (Electoral Commission – K776,806,907).

(Consideration resumed)

The Deputy Chairperson: When Business was interrupted yesterday, Thursday, 5th November, 2015, the Committee of Supply on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the Year 1st January, 2016, to 31st December, 2016, presented to the National Assembly in October, 2015, was considering Head 05 – Electoral Commission, and the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central was debating.  

Interruptions

The Deputy Chairperson: I note that the hon. Member is not in. Acting Leader of Government Business in the House, you may wind up debate. 

The Minister of Works and Supply, Chief Whip, and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House (Mr Mukanga): Mr Chairperson, I appreciate that productivity needs to be considered even at higher levels for leadership to lead by example. 

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Chairperson, hon. Members need to realise that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is an institution that was set up by an Act of Parliament, hence, as hon. Members of Parliament, we need to support it. There is no need for political leaders to demonise the institution. If anything, total support is what is expected. 

Sir, I understand the emotions that arise as a result of losing an election. A true leader, however, is one who has self-control. Political leaders should learn to control their emotions. How can a leader, after losing an election, go and push around officers at the ECZ, in the manner some people did? Let us support this institution, which is autonomous, and continues to provide us with election results. 

Sir, Hon. Mwiimbu said that the Patriotic Front (PF) had lost elections four times. I want to correct him and state that the PF lost elections in 2001, 2006 and 2008, at the level of President. In 2011, the party formed Government. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Sir, the United Party for National Development (UPND), however, lost elections in 2001, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015. Even in 2016, they will lose.  

Laughter 

Mr Mwila: Yamfwa Mukanga!

Mr Mukanga: Sir, the UPND, in the history of this country, deserves an award.  Even in the game of golf, an award is given to someone who has played the most golf, not necessarily because he or she is a good player. 

Laughter 

Mr Mukanga: So, even the UPND can be given an award for being the most consistent loser of elections.

Laughter 

Mr Mukanga: Mr Chairperson, I am following issues in the sequence they were raised. Now, I want to talk about the masons or freemasonry. Mr Charles Manson was born in 1934 and the freemasonry started in 1717, as a secret organisation. We appreciate the confirmation from some people in this House that they interact with them. 

Laughter 

Mr Mukanga: We were told that there are people in here who rub shoulders with them. I want to specify, however, that we do not need to associate with these cults or sects and the people who relate with them because Zambia is a Christian nation. Since Zambia is a Christian nation, it does not need leadership which will move it in the direction of the illuminati. 

Hon. UPND Members: Question!

Mr Mukanga: The illuminati will never be entertained in Zambia. Being a Christian nation, our desire is …

Mr Mulenga: Mortuary!

Mr Mukanga: … is to follow what the Scriptures say.

Mr Chairperson, talking about winning elections, the PF is on record …

Interruptions

Mr Mukanga: I am talking about the work of the ECZ. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Chairperson, I am responding to the issues that were raised and I am saying that it is pointless for leaders or hon. Members to complain about election results on the Floor of the House because they are legal issues. If, after elections, people are not happy, they should petition. When they say that the PF grabbed the victory from them, what do they mean? Which election are they talking about? 

Sir, probably, the PF has more complaints than they do. It is unacceptable for the PF to come out without a single vote in the Southern Province. We could have risen up and complained. The PF had the overall winning result and we waited for petitioners, but there were none forthcoming because the Opposition believed that there was no foul play in the elections. We are very happy that the people of Zambia did not reject us. If you are rejected more than five times, disband the party and forget about it. 

Laughter 

Mr Musukwa: Rebrand it!

Mr Mukanga: Yes, sometimes, you have to change the character by changing the name. That is what is known as rebranding.

Laughter

Mr Mukanga: Also, call for image builders. 

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Minister, that issue has been belaboured. Move to the next issue.

Mr Mukanga: Sir, we should not bring certain legal issues onto the Floor of this House. There will be no sympathy given. Sir, it is important that after we have accepted the results, prayed, repented and forgiven one another, and put God in control, we move forward, as one.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwale: Mvula yabwela!

Mr Mukanga: It is now raining as a result of the prayers. 

Laughter

Mr Mukanga: Sir, I now want to come to the specifics. I want to commend Hon. Dr Effron Lungu, Hon. Chilangwa, Hon. Mutelo, Hon. Mwiimbu and Hon. Nkombo, for their contributions. 

Sir, I want to take Hon. Dr Lungu’s, Hon. Chilangwa’s and Hon. Mutelo’s comments as my own. I believe that we need to firstly commend the ECZ, which is operating in very difficult circumstances. We need to give it support. There are many issues that were raised by Hon. Chilangwa and one of them was that we need to have an extension of the NRC issuance exercise. I think that these issues need to be looked at, and I am sure that the ECZ will sit down and see what can be done. 

Sir, in my statement, yesterday, I indicated that the residual registration of voters will be undertaken for a period of two weeks in March, 2016. We will continue to look at these issues and see what we can do. 

Mr Chairperson, the current ECZ, according to Hon. Mutelo, needs to be strengthened. We have a golden opportunity …

Mr Livune interjected.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Hon. Member, please, do not be in a habit of debating while seated. 

Continue, hon. Minister. 

Mr Mukanga: We have an opportunity, as hon. Members of this House, to deal with the Constitution. What we need to do is come together to support the Constitution as it comes to the House and we may just be in a position to assist the ECZ and strengthen its operations.

Mr Chairperson, everybody above the age of eighteen who qualifies to register as a voter, even if he or she has not registered as a voter, should go and vote on the referendum. However, in order for the referendum to be authentic, we need about 50 per cent of the people who qualify to register to vote. The onus is upon each one of us to encourage people to register and to vote.

Sir, Hon, Mwiimbu spoke about the violence that took place and how the District Commissioners (DCs) are getting involved. I think the DCs are just carrying out their day-to-day operations in trying to monitor what is happening. We would urge them to do more to ensure that the people are not disenfranchised. We are not going to look at practices in other countries like Kenya. We know what to do. We are the people who are in Government and we need to come up with our own ways to solve these issues.

Mr Chairperson, Hon. Nkombo talked about violence in Livingstone, thinking it is the PF which is perpetrating it. The former Mayor of Livingstone is currently in jail for the killings. The courts ...

Hon. Government Member: He was UPND

Mr Mukanga: He belongs to the UPND. He went through the process and the courts found him wanting.

Hon. UPND Members: Question!

Mr Mukanga: He is not a PF member. 

Interruptions 

Mr Mukanga: A killing is a killing. A life is lost.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Mukanga: Life is very important. A killer remains a killer.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Interruptions 

Mr Mukanga: We know that another UPND cadre is in jail.

Interruptions 

Mr Mukanga: What I am trying to say is that when you stay in a glass house, do not throw stones.

Hon. UPND Members: Aah!

Interruptions

Mr Mukanga: It is important to look at what you are doing ...

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! Let me give guidance. When people on my immediate left were debating, they belaboured the issue of violence and attributed that violence to the people on the right.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

The Deputy Chairperson: Those on the right have the right to respond. This is the nature of the game here. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: Those on the left must patiently listen just like they were listened to. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Long live the Chair!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Chairperson, thank you for the guidance. All I am saying is that if we do not respond to the issues raised on the Floor of the House, then we are not doing ourselves justice. It is important that we call a spade a spade and not a silver spoon. We do not need violence during elections. Leaders should lead by example. It is for this reason that I urge all political leaders to be sensitive to situations and preach non-violence.

Sir, this is the reason why our President has been preaching non-violence during elections. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Sir, we should ensure that we are above board if we are to be leaders in this country. We do not want a situation where leaders are in the forefront of causing violence and want to be elected into power. Zambia is a Christian nation. We should live peacefully with each other and ensure that now that we have set a new level of understanding, we would continue on this platform so that no one can point a finger at another.

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon Livune interjected. 

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Livune, the habit of debating while seated should come to an end. We hear you all the time, but we are merely restraining ourselves. 

Laughter

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

VOTE 87 – (Anti-Corruption Commission – K3,339,376).

Mr Mukanga: Mr Chairperson, I rise to present the Estimates of Expenditure for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for the year 2016. 

Sir, the PF Government has declared a smart Zambia which is zero-tolerant to corruption. The Government has made an undertaking to ensure that anyone found engaging in corrupt activities is not spared, but is dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Mukanga: Sir, there will be no sacred cows. The PF Government subscribes to the tenets and ideals of a transparent and accountable Government as the foundations for which a democratic and responsible Government are to be founded upon. This is so because we have witnessed the devastating effects that come with corruption, if left unchecked. 

Mr Chairperson, we all know that corruption has played a role in disfranchising some segments of our society and that the disease burden that Zambia is struggling with is partly because some financial resources meant for improving the well-being of our people have been corruptly misapplied. This has to stop. The PF Government is determined to ensure that institutions such as the ACC effectively discharge their mandate. 

Sir, the Government has continued to provide the desired leadership to the overall fight against corruption in Zambia as well as firm support to the ACC. The Government remains committed to the decentralisation of the operations of the operations of the commission to all provinces, including some selected districts, throughout the country. Tangible progress towards addressing corruption has been made over the years. According to the Ibrahim Index on African Governance, Zambia has made tremendous strides towards tackling corruption with a score of 44.7 in 2015 from a score of 39.3 out of 100 in 2011.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Similarly, the Transparency International Corruptions Perception Index scores show that Zambia’s score was at 38 out of 100 points in 2014 from 32 in 2011. This shows an improvement. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Chairperson, a number of achievements were also recorded under the National Anti-Corruption Policy. Four more integrity committees were established in 2015, bringing the total number of institutions with integrity committees throughout the country to forty-six from forty-two in 2014. This is an improvement. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Mukanga: Sir, over 5 million people were reached with anti-corruption messages through various public education programmes. This has resulted in an increase in the number of citizens sensitised on corruption matters as well as an improvement in the quality of the reports the commission receives from members of the public. Further, the numbers of convictions has also been steadily increasing. The investigation case management system which will enhance the effective management of investigations was also procured and operationalised.

Mr Chairperson, despite this success, some challenges continue to be encountered and these include inadequate staffing levels, inadequate office space and inadequate funding. The above mentioned challenges are all due to the increase in the number of cases being handled by the commission as result of the rise in the overall population levels of the country and the ever- increasing competing financial demands from the Central Government from across all line ministries. In meeting these challenges, the PF Government is confident that it will ensure that an enabling environment for fostering integrity in all the Government undertakings is created.

Mr Chairperson, allow me now to present to this august House estimates for the operations of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which are in line with its mandate as stipulated in the Anti-Corruption Act,  2012. 

Mr Chairperson, for the year 2016, the commission will place its focus on the following activities:
(a)    review the National Anti-Corruption Policy and its implementation strategy;

(b)    implement the case management system in order to enhance the management of investigations and prosecutions of cases;

(c)    conduct various corruption, prevention and education programmes in order to seal loopholes of corruption in institutions as well as ensure that citizens continue to report suspected cases of corruption to the ACC;

(d)    strengthen the implementation of the National Integrity Programme following the review of the programme in 2015;

(e)    implement a new organisation structure in order to decentralise its operation to one more province and some selected districts;

(f)    secure appropriate office accommodation for regional offices;

(g)    effectively communicate the commission’s achievement to the public; and

(h)    operationalise guidelines on the management of gifts by public officers.
Mr Chairperson, it is anticipated that the implementation of the above mentioned programmes and interventions in 2016, will further curtail corruption and foster integrity in the conduct of public service dealings throughout the country.

Sir, the Budget allocation for the commission for the year 2016 is K73,339,376. With this allocation, in 2016, my Government will continue to support the ACC in its endeavours and ensure that the commission is allocated adequate funds in order that it effectively executes its mandate to the expectation of the people of Zambia.
 
Mr Chairperson, the PF Government is determined to ensuring that corruption is addressed in both the public and private institutions. My Government is geared to ensure that all developmental programmes are fulfilled and public services are brought as close as possible to the doorsteps of the people of Zambia.

Sir, I wish to take this opportunity to thank all Members of this august House who continue to provide their constant support to the ACC and, indeed, to the overall anti-corruption fight in Zambia. 

Sir, I beg to move.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Chairperson, this is a very important commission. It is sad that the commission has very little capacity to reach out to the people who need to know about the functions of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). I note that for 2016, the budgetary allocation has been reduced from K79,924,032 in 2015 to K73,339,376 which basically, entails that even with their reduced capacity, the ACC officers will not be able to do many of the things that they did or have been doing in 2015. Sometimes, I ask the question: Is this ACC really serving the interest of the people of Zambia? Lately, I have been thinking to myself that, in fact, it is probably irrelevant now because it has been politicised to such an extent that the fight against corruption is no longer taken seriously as was the case during the days of President Mwanawasa, SC.. 

Mr Mbulakulima: May his soul rest in peace.

Ms Namugala: May his soul rest in peace, indeed.

Mr Chairperson, the fight against corruption has to be driven by the highest office of the land. Unfortunately, the ACC is getting very confusing signals from the leadership in the Government. I say so because it appears to me that when certain people who are viewed to be corrupt become allies of those in power, then their corruption charges suddenly drop. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Why?

Ms Namugala: Mr Chairperson, all of us, including myself, as an hon. Member of Parliament elected in 2011, were accused of having won those elections corruptly. Many of us had to go through the court processes and paid a lot of money. At the end of the day, some of us were cleared at the Supreme Court level and others had their elections nullified. This is confirming that some of these individuals had been elected corruptly and the records are there. When the seats were declared vacant, the same people accused of having been elected corruptly by the same party in power suddenly became credible candidates …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: … to stand on their party ticket. I am not saying this to create an impression that these particular individuals were indeed guilty or not guilty. I am just trying to show the very confusing signals which the PF Government is giving to the ACC and the fight against corruption.
 
Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Sir, it must start from those in leadership, if, indeed, the rest of us are going to join the fight against corruption. Those in leadership must not confuse the message and indicate to the ACC that some individuals, when they are not their allies are corrupt and when they are their allies are no longer corrupt.
 
Mr Chairperson, corruption is a cancer that all of us need to fight. There should be no sacrificial lambs. There should be no one above the law, regardless of who is involved. When one is corrupt, we must ensure that the law takes its course. In order for us to do this, we must ensure that we give the necessary support to the Judiciary so that the matters that come before the courts of law are dealt with and cleared in good time so that there is no loss of information. If, indeed, people are found to be corrupt, they must serve the sentences which are slapped on them. We should not have a situation whereby because one is a political ally of those in power, when he is in jail, suddenly, he is pardoned. We are sending a very confusing signal to those that we have entrusted with the fight against corruption. 

Sir, yes, the President has the power to pardon people who have been convicted for one offence or the other. However, that power must not be abused. It must not be used to weaken the fight against corruption. The President has the duty to ensure that matters that go before the courts of law are dealt with by an independent Judiciary. Whoever is involved should be allowed to serve the sentence so as to show to everybody that no one is above the law. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Chairperson, as leaders, we should not simply talk, but walk the talk. It is good to see a proposal in the Draft Constitution for political parties to be funded by the State. However, we cannot sit here and pretend that everybody who is financing our political parties means well. We know that many enterprises that are financing our political party activities have contracts with the Government.

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Sir, the question, however, is: Who really is financing our political parties? It is the people of Zambia because they are made to pay more than they should be paying for the work and contracts that those organisations have with the Government.

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Chairperson, this is the truth which we need to face. The Zambians are not gullible to believe that an Opposition political party that was even failing to buy ten vehicles a few years ago can suddenly start buying aircrafts. 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Chairperson, the Zambian people know that investors from all sorts of backgrounds come to this country and befriend our leaders in the Government so that they can get contracts and, to a very great extent, have inflated prices so that they can support the political parties in power.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Chairperson, the truth is that, as leaders, we must provide the leadership required of us by ensuring that we get elected into office because we have a good message, and not because we are going to buy materials and motor vehicles and bribe people to vote for us. Unless we are able to inspire our people, we must start asking ourselves if we were really legitimately elected when we were financed by foreign nationals to get into power. In short, it is the foreign nationals who choose our President because at the end of day, they offer financial support to those who end up getting elected.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Sir, where does all this leave the fight against corruption?

Mr Chairperson, this is why I earlier said that, as a mother, I wonder whether the ACC is really relevant or it is only there to pursue those in the Opposition …

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: … or those who are no longer in power and suddenly cross paths with those who are. When some people are in power, they are not corrupt. The moment they show dissent, suddenly, they are corrupt and are pursued and taken to court, …

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: … yet when they were in power, they were cleared by the ACC.

Mr Chairperson, we need to ask ourselves very serious questions. Whose interest do we serve? When we leave these offices, can we proudly say that we led our people with integrity?

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Chairperson, for many Zambian leaders, I am afraid the answer is no …

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: … because they keep displaying double standards. When you are my friend, you are not corrupt. The moment you cross my path, since I am in power, you are corrupt.

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Chairperson, the ACC needs to be run professionally. For that to happen, it needs to be supported by those in power, especially the Executive, and the President in particular. He needs to support the ACC even when it probes his own Ministers.

With these words, Mr Chairperson, I support this Vote.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Chairperson, I thank you and will try to be brief. I support the Motion, but suffice to say that pretence will destroy the Patriotic Front (PF). 

Sir, the ACC has lost its dignity because of the PF leadership. It relies on the Executive for it to survive, but it does not operate well. We have heard that in the corruption perception index, Zambia scored 38 out of 100 points. That is a poor score which we are not supposed to be happy with. This perception comes from State House and is caused by the private secretaries and Permanent Secretaries.

Mr Chairperson, we cannot have a situation whereby private secretaries at State House demand for money from people who want to see the President. That shows that the private secretaries at State House are corrupt. On top of that, we hear that letters are taken to State House to seek permission from the President for someone to be prosecuted. That is undermining the commission and should not happen. When we hear that files get lost at the commission, we realise that it has lost its dignity. That must not be the case. If files get lost at the commission, then something is wrong. 

Sir, one musician who was convicted of rape was seen dancing with the Presidenton stage. Another person who was convicted of corruption has become a chairperson in a province for a certain party. That is why I am saying that the hon. Government Members are pretending because some people who are convicted become officials. That should not be the case. We have to fight corruption. Everything centres on the President and that is why the private secretaries demand money from people who want to see him. The hon. Ministers should instead meet the dignitaries and investors and not the President. So, investors must not demand to meet the President because it creates a wrong perception. That is the reason Zambia is scoring lowly. We should not be proud of scoring 38 points.

Mr Chairperson, the other reason the commission is failing to work effectively is that of the Government’s interference. How will the commission work if the majority of the people who have been convicted are later set free? Therefore, it becomes irrelevant to prosecute anyone. If you are politically connected, the President can pardon you on the pretext that you are sick. It is this kind of pretence that we are talking about. When you are released, you will be appointed chairperson of the structure of a particular political party. 

Sir, if we have to fight corruption, everyone must be treated equally before the law. If people are convicted on corruption, rape or robbery charges, and then released only after three days, then I think that the system might just as well release everyone who is in prison.  

Mr Chairperson, it is also corruption when those in authority start saying that some people cannot be given what is due to them just because they have different views on certain matters. If we have to fight corruption, it should be fought evenly. There should be no sacred cows.  There are sacred cows whom we all know about. After only servicing three to four months, they walked to freedom. 

 Mr Chairperson, let me allow other hon. Members to debate. The hon. Minister of Home Affairs should be aware that pretence is not good because it might tarnish the name of their party.

I thank you, Sir. 

 Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Chairperson, I want to support the Vote on the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Sir, I want to begin by regretting that the resources that have been allocated to this institution for 2016 are less than what was allocated this year particularly taking into accounting the levels of corruption in this country are its highest. I am sure that both my colleagues on the right and left will allude to the fact that, generally, the levels of corruption in Zambia have gone up. In the past, we used to hear about corruption among certain levels of either officers or politicians, but at the moment, corruption in this country is everywhere including in the villages and in the rural parts of the country. If anything, it looks like our culture has become corrupt.

Sir, in fact, currently, the situation is that if someone is not corrupt, it is as if something is wrong with such a person in Zambia. If you are not corrupt, it is like you do not understand what the language is for someone to get his/her child into school, to get a job or get a contract. The question that one would ask which is also supposed to be taken very seriously and taken into consideration is: Is the ACC currently playing its role in as far as fighting corruption is concerned? 

Mr Chairperson, people who are corrupt are glorified and respected. I have been in this House for a lot time and listened to so many debates. You will find that people who are corrupt are glorified. Normally, people who stand their positions are not even respected and are hated.

Sir, let me take this debate to a different level. Many a times, we stand on the Floor of the House, to criticise ourselves as, politicians, and say whatever we can. Hon. Namugala spoke very well. I must say that I love her statement and adopt everything that she has said as being my own.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 Mrs Masebo: Mr Chairperson, as politicians, we have to move a step further and look at those people who are responsible to fight corruption. The problems with Zambians is that officers feel that they can do something wrong even when they know their job description. Thereafter, we will start saying that the problem is with the President because he is hanging around with corruption people.

Sir, for example, if someone is employed to fight corruption or if a policeman is employed to arrest thieves, even if the President tells you not to take action, you should be able to say, “Sir, this is my job and do likewise.” 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Sir, let people be fired for doing the right thing. That way, we are going to have a culture of genuine people. You cannot use politicians as a scapegoat.

 Mr Chairperson, recently, somebody was talking about an officer who was fired and somebody wondered why the Patriotic Front (PF) Government had fired that man. Why should an officer compromise him/ herself when he or she knows the job? It is for this reason that some of us even as politicians never compromise ourselves. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Sir, when something is wrong, I will say that it is wrong. I do not care who is against what I say. Of course, I know that sometimes I could be wrong because I am a human being.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Sir, even the Bible which His Excellency was quoting from when he was telling us to be praying, it is said that:

“If I say to the wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but you do not warn him. You do not speak out to warn him about his wicked way in order to save his life. That wicked person will die for his iniquity. Yet I will hold you responsible for his blood.”

Mr Chairperson, this statement simply means that if you know that something is wrong, you must stand up and say so. The goodness with this House is that many people have been on the right, left, middle and everywhere. When some people change positions, they even change the way they speak.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 Mrs Masebo: Mr Chairperson, I never change with the way I speak. I am very consistent when it comes to that. Those who know and understand me will agree that I speak my mind.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 The Deputy Chairperson:  Order!

You have sufficiently debated yourself. You may move to another point.

Laughter

 Mrs Masebo: Sir, I just wanted to say that when civil servants and professionals are employed, they must do their job.  They should not worry about being fired. They should instead serve their country diligently because that is what is required out of them. If they compromise themselves, they will also become corrupt.

Mr Chairperson, the ACC is waiting for people to go and report corruption cases. Over the years, I have come to learn that Zambians have stopped taking complaints to that institution because they know that it is a waste of time. In fact, they are at risk when they go and tell the officers at the ACC that Mr X, Y and Z, or the President has done this because they know that they will phone the authority and reveal the identity of the one who reported as chakuti and chakuti.

 Laughter

 The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mrs Masebo: People are scared.

What does that mean?

Mrs Masebo: Sir, chakuti, chakuti is a name.

 Laughter

Mrs Masebo: Sir, people are scared to go and report cases of corruption. I have come across many stories concerning corruption through people who have been coming to tell me because they trust me. I have always told them to go and report such matters. As usual, they refuse and say that they cannot because they are scared.

Mr Chairperson, I agree with Hon. Namugala that, maybe, we should do away with the ACC because it is not serving its purpose. In fact, it is being used to kill innocent people.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 Mrs Masebo: Sir, this institution has become a weapon for those with power. They use it against other individuals. This is not good.

 The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

The House must debate factually.

Mrs Masebo: Yes!
 
The Deputy Chairperson: I have not heard any facts of how many people have been killed by the Anti-Corruption Commission. I know that we are debating by using the Queen’s language, but it is better to be as truthful as much as we possibly can and supply facts.

 Mrs Masebo: Mr Chairperson, I withdraw the word ‘kill.’ I used it instead of saying the word ‘destroy.’ I am sure the listeners here and wherever they maybe, will understand that. I take your guidance. I sometimes directly translate my thoughts from Soli to the English Language.

Sir, I was saying that the ACC is being used as a weapon to destroy good people in this country. I also want people to know that we know a lot of things. Many people also know that a number of things have gone wrong, but they just keep quiet. Even the officers at the ACC know that, but they do not have the guts to do their job. You will see what will happen when there is a change of Government. You will see how many people will be arrested in this country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Chairperson, many people will get arrested. The good part of life now is that we have social media. Some of the stories that are published on social media may be exaggerated and some may be false, but many of them are true. 

Sir, I would like to give the Government some guidance regarding the setup of the ACC. The Government is currently implementing the Decentralisation Policy. I keep saying that we do not have the resources for this exercise to be implemented in totality. On the other hand, the ACC is just here in Lusaka, where it is busy being used to settle political scores. When you go out of Lusaka, even just to Chongwe, you will see that our people are suffering. That suffering is due to corrupt acts by those responsible to run the affairs of this country.

Mr Chairperson, just yesterday, I received a phone call from a parent informing me that there was a problem at a certain school. I was informed that parents wishing to enrol their children into school were being asked to pay K5 for an application form even when the Government said it is offering free education from Grade 1 up to Grade 12. That parent told me that the authorities at that school were collecting money from over 1,000 parents and that they were not being issued with receipts. Those issues sound small, but are important and need to be followed up. If left unchecked, such issues make our people lead lives that are not just poverty-ridden, but also make them become very unhappy citizens who end up living like they are in a foreign country. These people are looking up to the ACC to deal with all these issues and make sure that their lives are at peace. Unfortunately, there is nobody to serve them. The ACC is only busy when it is a political story. That is not to say political matters should not be pursued. So, the point that I wanted to make here was simply to say why can we not decentralise the ACC using the District Commissioner’s (DC) Office or the local authorities? That way, we will not start talking about building new offices for the ACC in Chongwe, Rufunsa or anywhere else, especially now that we have districts everywhere. We can just make do with the already existing infrastructure. That way, we can have a presence of the ACC in all the districts in Zambia.

Mr Chairperson, the other issue that I wanted to bring out has to do with the participation of the ACC in some programmes. I have noted, with concern, a situation whereby officers from the ACC are engaged in a committee meeting that is carrying out a particular function, such as the allocation of plots or giving out a contract. Some people tend to think that just because an officer from the ACC is present in a meeting, then what is transpiring there is legal or okay, when, in fact not. The ACC must avoid that. It must not participate in issues it is not concerned with. That is because it becomes very difficult when something goes wrong and then somebody turns around and says even the ACC officers were present when we were giving out this contract or when we were allocating land in the council. I think there is normally a conflict of interest when such situations arise. From my experience, I can say that that is not helping us. If anything, there is more corruption when an officer from the ACC is present at some of these functions or meetings of the Government than when they are not in attendance.
 
Sir, as far as I know, the fight against corruption in Zambia does not exist anymore. From my experience, I can say that this country’s fight against corruption was real during the leadership of the late President Mwanawasa, SC.. Like Hon. Namugala has said, the fight against corruption started from the top and you could see that everyone, including those at the bottom were committed to fighting it. Those who were corrupt were scared, unlike today when the corrupt are the ones who even get promoted.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Sir, we have a many of officers in this country’s Civil Service who are being laid off every day because they are standing firm in what they believe in. If an officer is strong and refuses to be corrupt, even to a minister or senior officer of a department, with time, the superiors to that person will find something against that officer and he will be booted out of that institution. Unfortunately, there is no mechanism for protecting such people. When someone is incorruptible, that person is said not to be user-friendly. That is to simply say that person is not corrupt like them.

Mr Chairperson, I feel very sad because this country is backward. It is going backward not because we are poor, but because there is corruption starting from the top till the bottom of the system of Government. That is both in the private and public sector. This corruption is both in the cities as well as in the villages. Churches have also become part of this corruption and so, you do not even know where to go.

Hon. MMD Member: What about in Chongwe?

Mrs Masebo: Mr Chairperson, this is the reason the people are asking why it is easier for a foreigner to acquire land than a local person. This is so because a foreigner understands the business ethics in Zambia. Those of us who read a lot will attest to the fact that, now, there is even a song, which says that Zambia has become like some countries where one has to put a US$100 note inside the passport before presenting it to the relevant authorities to be able to get a seat on a plane. That is the level Zambia is at when it comes to corruption.

Hon. Government Member: Question!

Mrs Masebo: Yes. Almost every sector of the Zambian society today is corrupt. When you go to State House, you hear about corruption. When you go to the Office of the Vice-President and National Planning, you hear corruption, at Cabinet Ministers’ Offices, you hear corruption and it is the same at the hon. Deputy Ministers’ offices, Permanent Secretaries’ offices, directors’ offices, the Legislature, the Judiciary and the private sector. It is all corruption, ...

Hon. Opposition Member: Parliament?

Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Chairperson, I have been sitting here patiently listening to the hon. Member on the Floor of this House. You have tried to guide and urged her to be factual when debating. Sometimes, we must learn to declare interest when certain institutions dealing with certain matters for certain people are being debated. We should not take advantage of this platform and use it to cleanse ourselves. We should not use this Chamber or this institution to cleanse ourselves from certain allegations we could be facing. This Chamber is the place where we need to come and debate facts so that those who are being accused can exculpate themselves. I know that it is difficult when you have been in certain offices and all you know is corruption. It becomes a tendency to think that anyone you see occupy those offices is tucked in corruption. Is the hon. Member in order to use this Chamber to try to demonise a very well knit institution, which is working so hard? Some of us who are working with these people appreciate their services and understand their constraints. Is she in order to use this Chamber to demonise a very well knitted institution?

Sir, I need your serious ruling.

The Deputy Chairperson: My serious ruling is that to the extent that she was literally throwing mud at every Government institution, without providing evidence, she was out of order.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: I think, as hon. Members of Parliament, we must strive, as far as we can, to debate factually. It is one thing to sensationalise and another to provide evidence. So, with that guidance, strive to be factual. 

You may continue, Hon. Masebo

Hon. Government Member: Long live the Chair.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Chairperson, I just want to say that what I am saying is factual. These facts are there in black and white. There has been a story of corruption in all the institutions that I am mentioning. I am actually trying to avoid bringing names of individuals, ...

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Once a ruling has been made, however distasteful in your view, you have to honour that ruling. If you have those facts, I hope you have reported them to the Judiciary because then, you will be a shining example of a person who is committed to fighting corruption. 

You may continue.

Interruptions

Mrs Masebo: Mr Chairperson, thank you for that guidance. I hope with time, I can bring a question to this House through which I can provide facts about all the institutions that have been connected to corruption. I cannot just say there is corruption at State House when, in fact, not. I know that there have been issues of corruption there.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! 

Your time is up.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Chairperson, I thank you.
 
Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Chairperson, I thank you for the opportunity to give a few remarks in support of this Vote. The Acting Leader of Government Business in the House has stated that we have achieved a 38 per cent pass rate in terms of fighting corruption. Therefore, it means 62 per cent of our people are corrupt.  If I wrote a test and got 38 per cent, I do not think I would be considered as having passed. 

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

I was following the hon. Minister’s speech and he has just been misquoted by you. Nonetheless, continue with that guidance in mind.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: Mr Chairperson, going by your guidance, it means the 38 per cent does not relate to our performance in terms of fighting corruption. Nonetheless, I am still worried with our current situation, but I will not attack the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). Zambia is known to have had several cases of corruption. Therefore, the ACC has a big job, despite not being adequately funded. If the country was not financially constrained, we would have given the commission more money. 

 Mr Chairperson, our biggest problem is that the anti-corruption fight has been politicised in this country. Those who want to hurt their political enemies just accuse them of being corrupt. Others just sing about corruption in order to be seen and praised by the people as champions of anti-corruption when, in fact, this is just a political gimmick. There is even a general belief that only political leaders, especially those in Government, are the ones who are corrupt. I think this is a misconception because corruption has permeated all sectors of the Zambian society. Therefore, we all need to look at who is involved in corruption. It is common for someone who wants a favour from a public official to offer money without even being asked. That is a form of corruption. We have to ask how many people are doing that corrupt activity every day. We should ask ourselves if we have tried to give someone something as gratification without being asked. How many of us have done that? We ourselves, have fueled corruption ourselves in this country. 

Mr Chairperson, in the First Republic, President Kaunda did not allow even tips to be given for service in hotels. You could not give gratification for service because there was a 10 per cent service charge on the bill. It was an offense to show gratification because he believed that the difference in the social status of people should not be shown in the service they were given.  However, things changed when we introduced multi-party democracy. The showing of gratification in public became a big thing. It was common to see the Head of State moving around with a big trunk of money. This was when the infamous ‘brown envelopes’ were created. 

Sir, at the level we have reached, you cannot even hold a free meeting in a village. Whenever you call villagers, they ask if they will be paid a sitting allowance. We have made people believe that they must be paid for coming to listen to you. We have taken corruption to an alarming level without even noticing. It should not be surprising when, as leaders, we are labeled corrupt. Therefore, if we do not fight this scourge with the vigour it requires, we will be in trouble. We will find that even our own children will ask us to pay them to go to school. They will wonder why they should suffer going to school if they are not being paid. We will end up bribing our children with money or sweets just to get them to do anything, instead of just telling them why it is important that they do certain things. Hence, we will introduce corruption to children as young as five years. When these children are grown up and want to practice what we have taught them in adulthood, we want the ACC to stop this corruption. It is not possible. Therefore, we need to appeal to every Zambian to take all forms of corruption seriously. Intolerance of corruption should be from the top. 

Mr Chairperson, as things stand, we will start accusing the ACC of being corrupt, instead of it being the body that is intended to fight corruption. If the ACC is corrupt, where does that leave us, as a country? We will have big problems if the ACC is seen to be corrupt. We have reached a stage where even the Judiciary, which was a mirror of society, is now said to be corrupt. Judges, magistrates, policemen and everybody else are said to be corrupt. We have politicised corruption to a level that has encouraged it to grow. We are now asking the ACC to do something. The officers in this commission are merely human beings.

Sir, some time back, I listened to a former chief of an anti-corruption commission in Kenya. He was fired for trying to tell some top officials to stop what they were doing. The same has happened in Uganda and many other countries. Those that have stood firm against this vice have been fired. When there was meeting in Uganda, the man from Kenya said that anyone who is a leader of an anti-corruption commission anywhere in Africa and is praised by the appointing authority is engaged in corruption.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Sir, that statement gave me food for thought. It is true because as leaders, particularly, those in Government, we have embraced corruption. We may have embraced it without noticing or realising it. We want our children to be employed in the police or army without going through the proper examination. There is always a predetermined list of names to be chosen. That is a form of corruption. 

Mr Chairperson, if we are going to stop corruption, there is a need for soul searching so that we have the will individually. We need to look at how we individually carry our daily lives. We must constantly check whether at the end of the day, we have given any form of gratification to anyone unnecessarily. Some people have a tendency of offering bribes to police officers at road blocks if they a vehicle with a defect. Are we going to blame the police for such behaviour? It is the citizens who initiate corruption. If I go to the office of any of my colleagues on your right and they refuse to attend to me because I am from the Opposition and they ask me to pay them homage, then they are corrupt. Why should I give gratification for a public service as a Zambian? That is what encourages corruption. 

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Chairperson, I pity the ACC because it has a big job to do in a society that has become highly corrupt. Even if we employed thousands of ACC officers, as long as many people in this country are corrupt, there is nothing they can do.

Mr Chairperson, all of us have a duty to help the ACC perform better. The Government in power must show seriousness in the fight against corruption. They are talking about the late President Mwanawasa,SC., may his soul rest in peace, because he openly detested corruption. There could have been certain corrupt activities around him, but as long as he talked and acted like he hated corruption, he appeared clean.

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Sir, after President Mwanawasa, SC.’s demise, we have openly embraced corruption.

Mr Mufalali: Openly!

Mr Muntanga: Yes, openly embraced corruption.

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Chairperson, I am not here to attack people who were forgiven after being convicted of corrupt activities at some stage. I am talking about those who are corrupt and not convicted. They do not even accept that they are corrupt. That is the issue.

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Sir, if you hear that at State House someone is corrupt, clean it up by acting on the allegation so that you give confidence to the people. 

Mr Mubukwanu: Who?

Mr Muntanga: Sir, we have made the Civil Service and civil servants become insecure in their jobs. It was not easy to fire a civil servant before because there was a system to follow. It took time to fire a civil servant because he had to explain himself before a decision to fire him was arrived at. Now it seems that we have shortcuts in place.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: Sir, they have made shortcuts in the process of firing civil servants. So, since there is no one to defend a civil servant, they are fired at will. When you go to the Ministry of Health, senior people are being fired at will. What are they doing? They move people around just because they speak a different language from them. There is a person from the Ministry of Health who was arrested, appeared before court and was convicted, who has been re-employed in the same position. They are making people not have confidence in the fight against corruption.

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Sir, our leaders need to lead the fight against corruption. I want the people working for the ACC not to be scared. Let the authorities fire them for telling the truth. Tell us that I have been fired because I have told them the truth. If they fire you now, …

Mr Nkombo: We will reinstate you.

Mr Muntanga: … we will reinstate you.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: We know that there were some bodyguards of some political leaders who were arrested and convicted for certain offences, but were reprieved when their party went into power. 

Mr Mwimba H Malama: Which power did they use?

Mr Muntanga: We should learn from them which powers they used to forgive people who had already been convicted.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: After being pardoned, the same individuals were taken to State House as security officers.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Sir, when someone is said to have fired a gun in a public place, the powers that be must ensure that the police follow up the matter properly. In this country, we had the intelligence system within the police force to investigate what was going on within the operations of the force. 

Mr Mufalali: They have collapsed.

Mr Muntanga: The systems have collapsed. They have made sure that all the self-cleansing systems have collapsed. They are destroying all the systems of governance. What sort of people are they? 

Mr Mvunga: Ah!

Mr Muntanga: Those of you who are in Government should check the systems. You are destroying the governance systems. 

Mr Milambo: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Sir, that is why people are now thinking of the old man Dr Kaunda. For Dr Kaunda, once he heard something even if it was not true, he would first suspend you while the investigations were being carried out. The people in the current Government are scared to do what Dr Kaunda used to do. Young old man (pointing at Col. Kaunda), can you tell them what your father was doing …

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: … so that people will know that the fight against corruption …

Mr Kasonso: One Zambia!

Mr Muntanga: … needs the involvement of everybody.

Mr Chairperson, I know that I have a lot of other things that I would have brought into my debate just to encourage the ACC and advise my friends in Government that what they are doing is not good, but for a lack of time. They are letting Zambia go into dangerous paths. They should stop what they are doing before it eats them up.

Mr Chairperson, I thank you.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Chairperson, I want to thank all hon. Members who have debated. Hon. Namugala, Hon. Mufalali, Hon. Sylvia Masebo and Hon. Muntanga. I would like to state that that it is not morally practical for individuals who are appearing in court on corruption-related issues to launch crusades from this House. I think it is important to declare interest every time so that our debate is appreciated. I think it is important to realise that when we are debating, we do so factually. I have some statistics here which I will read out.

Mr Chairperson, let me start by talking about what Hon. Masebo said. She said that people have stopped reporting cases to the ACC. She said that they instead report the cases to her. I do not know in what capacity people report to her.

Laughter

Mr Mukanga: Sir, over the years, the commission has received the following complaints

Year        No. of Complaints Received

2010            1,407

2011            1,404

2012            2,388

2013            1,987

2014            2,080

2015 (as at September)     1,239

Mr Chairperson, if you look at these statistics, you will notice that the trend is that the cases reported are increasing. If other people are reporting to Hon. Masebo, that is an additional number.

Laughter

Mr Mukanga: Mr Chairperson, as you can see the numbers are increasing. This is because the people have confidence in the ACC. We should support the work of the ACC so that the confidence in it continues to be built.

Sir, over the years, the arrests have been increasing as shown below:

Year        Number of Arrests

2010            24

2011            22

2012            38

2013            35

2014            31

2015 (as at September)               29

Sir, even the number of arrests is on the increase and many cases are in court. I can safely say that the confidence in the commission has been growing over the years. The ACC is operating as an autonomous institution with no interference coming from the Government. We do not have any invisible hands from the Government to control what is happening at the commission.

Sir, if you looked at the fight against corruption under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, you would clearly notice that the party has done very well. The first thing that we did when we were voted into office was to re-introduce the Abuse of Office Clause in the Laws of Zambia, which the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) did not want to do.

Mr Mubukwanu: They have forgotten.

Mr Mukanga: Sir, I think that people forget too quickly. If this is not leadership, then I do not know what leadership is all about. Our President even stated, at that time, that he was allergic to corruption. So, this is leading by example. If that is not walking the talk, then I do not know what walking the talk is.

Mr Chairperson, we are the only party in power which has allowed Members even from within the Government to be investigated. We do not want to have a situation whereby we control what is happening at the ACC. This institution is very important for all of us. We are doing all we can in the fight against corruption because we need to lead by example. We should be full of transparency and integrity. No files are lost at the ACC. The commission has introduced an investigation case management system which is an effective way of file management electronically. So, we will be able to monitor the filing procedures and to ensure that all the cases are worked on as planned. If there is a feeling that we have not strengthened the ACC, the issues may just be the lacunas that are in the law. We have a golden opportunity as lawmakers to make things right. Seeing as we will be looking at the Constitution, we should put our heads together and change things so that we can create a better Zambia for our people.

Mr Chairperson, it is important that we debate factually. There is an issue of an aircraft which people have been talking about. When aircrafts are bought, they need to be registered under the Civil Aviation Act.  I have not seen any aircraft that has been registered.

Laughter

Mr Mukanga: Sir, people are just talking. Perhaps, they are the ones planning to acquire an aircraft. However, if they have such plans, they need to register the aircraft so that we can know what is happening. We have not bought any aircraft as a party. I do not think that the Opposition has either. However, if it has, it should register and follow procedures so that we know what is happening everywhere.

Hon. UPND Member: We have.

Mr Mukanga: Yes, you may have done so, but you have to register it. 

Mr Chairperson, the PF does not segregate when it comes to development. For example, you will discover that even in the Southern Province where it lost, roads are being constructed. 

Mr Nkombo: We never received footballs here.

Mr Mukanga: Sir, everyone was given footballs. The giving out of footballs was not a corrupt activity. It was an effort to try and take development to the people of Zambia.

Sir, I would like to state that it is the duty of each one of us to ensure that we support the ACC because we need it. We need to improve its status every time. The onus is upon each one of us as leaders, to guard, guide and support it so that it becomes an institution that everyone will look up to.

Mr Chairperson, with those few words, I thank you.

VOTE 87/01 – (Anti-Corruption Commission – Headquarters – K73,333,376).

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Chairperson, I seek clarification on Programme 4000, Activity 001 – Salaries Division – K2,300,158. Sir, the Budget for next year has more than doubled as compared to what was provided this year. We know that there has been an employment freeze. What, therefore, constitutes this jump from K1,339,797 to K2,300.158?

The Deputy Chairperson: The freeze was for 2015. This provision is for 2016. Anyway, the Acting Leader of Government Business in the House may respond.

The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Bwalya): Mr Chairperson, as for the allocation to Programme 4000, Activity 001 – Salaries Division – K2,300,158, you guided rightly. His Excellency the President put it clearly that the freeze must end on 31st December, 2015. This means that those positions which were frozen will surely be filled. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Chairperson, I seek clarification on Programme 4013, Activity 094 – Provincial Tours – Management – Nil. What is the explanation?

The Deputy Minister in Vice-President’s Office (Mr Sichalwe): Mr Chairperson, Programme 4013, Activity 094 – Provincial Tours – Management – Nil, there is no allocation for 2016 because of limited financial resources. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Chairperson, I seek clarification on Programme 4047, Activity 013 – Corruption Vulnerability Assessment – Nil, Activity 017 – Administration of Integrity Committees in Public Institutions – Nil, Activity 033 – Systems Studies – Nil, Activity 034 – Co-ordinate NACP Implementation – K200,000, Activity 035 – UNCAC – Nil and Activity 036 – Joint Corruption Prevention Exercises – Nil. All the activities have not been funded except one. What is the reason behind this?

Mr Bwalya: Mr Chairperson, in 2016, the ACC will concentrate on its core business. It is also due to limited resources that some of these activities have not been funded.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Chairperson, I seek clarification on Programme 4013, Activity 016 – Investigations – Central Province – Nil, Activity 017 – Investigations – Copperbelt Province – Nil, Activity 018 – Investigations – Luapula Province – Nil, Activity 019 – Investigations – Southern Province – Nil, Activity 020 – Investigations – Eastern Province – Nil. Activity 021 – Investigations – Lusaka – K1,276,996, Activity 022 – Investigations – North-Western Province– Nil, Activity 023 – Investigations – Northern Province – Nil, Activity 024 – Investigations – Western Province – Nil,  Activity 065 – Archiving of Dockets and Files – Nil, Activity 074 – Investigations in Muchinga (39) – Nil, Activity 075 – Investigations in Choma (41) – Nil and Activity 093 – Intelligence Unit – Nil. Why have they only funded one province, even if the resources are limited? 

Mr Bwalya: Mr Chairperson, as for Programme 4013, Activity 016 – Investigations – Central Province – Nil, Activity 017 – Investigations – Copperbelt Province – Nil, Activity 018 – Investigations – Luapula Province – Nil, Activity 019 – Investigations – Southern Province – Nil, Activity 020 – Investigations – Eastern Province – Nil. Activity 021 – Investigations – Lusaka – K1,276,996, Activity 022 – Investigations – North-Western Province– Nil, Activity 023 – Investigations – Northern Province – Nil, Activity 024 – Investigations – Western Province – Nil,  Activity 065 – Archiving of Dockets and Files – Nil, Activity 074 – Investigations in Muchinga (39) – Nil, Activity 075 – Investigations in Choma (41) – Nil and Activity 093- Intelligence Unit – Nil, most of these activities will be funded centrally from the headquarters.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Vote 87/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 20 – (Loans and Investments – Local Government and Housing – K352,070,016) and VOTE 29 – (Ministry of Local Government and Housing – K984,100,179).

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Chairperson, I would like to start by thanking you most sincerely for according me the opportunity to present the policy statement in support of the 2016 Budget Estimates for the Ministry of Local Government and Housing under Heads 20 and 29, respectively.

Mr Chairperson, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing is charged with the responsibility of promoting a decentralised local governance system and facilitating the delivery of municipal services, infrastructure development and housing through authorities in order to effectively and efficiently contribute to sustainable social economic development at local levels.  I must state, from the outset, that the budget estimates for my ministry which are about to be debated focus on the completion of ongoing projects and programmes while new projects will be implemented mainly in the water supply and sanitation, and housing through local support and partnerships. 

Mr Chairperson, allow me to present my policy statement, which will outline the following sectors: 

(a)    housing and infrastructure development;

(b)    physical planning;

(c)    local government administration; and 

(d)    government valuation. 

     Housing and Infrastructure Development

Mr Chairperson, in 2016, the Government, through my ministry, will continue facilitating the construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure such as housing units, water supply and sanitation systems, urban and feeder roads, fire stations, markets and bus stations, drainage systems, street lights, and solid waste management. Under housing development, my ministry has completed the review of the National Housing Policy, and the National Housing Development Strategy has been developed to streamline the provision of decent and affordable housing aimed at improving the quality of life for the Zambian people. There are 180 low-cost houses that were budgeted for in 2015 for local authorities, and projects are on-going in selected councils, while twenty have been completed and handed over. In the same vein, my ministry, through the National Housing Authority (NHA), will continue with this programme in selected districts in a continued effort to reduce the housing deficit. The Government will continue to provide an enabling environment to encourage the private sector to partner with local authorities in the provision of affordable housing through the public-private partnerships (PPP) in order to reduce the housing deficit. My ministry will continue to upgrade informal settlements with a view to improving the security of tenure for settlers, in line with the new Urban and Regional Planning Act, 2016. 

Mr Chairperson, water supply and sanitation remains one of the social development challenges of our time. The Government, through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing is resolved to provide increased access to clean and safe drinking water, and better sanitation services to both urban and rural areas. In 2016, the Government, working in conjunction with various partners, will continue to increase rural access to clean and safe drinking water through the construction of water points, which will be mainly boreholes and piped water schemes. In addition, the Government will continue rehabilitating dilapidated water points and improving access to proper sanitation facilities in rural areas through sensitisation activities using community based approaches, and constructing latrines in public places such as rural health centres and schools. 

Mr Chairperson, the Government intends to increase access to clean and safe drinking water, and adequate sanitation in urban and peri-urban areas by rehabilitating and constructing water supply and sanitation infrastructure in areas being serviced by all the eleven water and sewerage utility companies. The Government is also encouraging private sector participation in these programmes to mobilise more resources for improved service delivery.

Mr Chairperson, solid waste management remains a serious challenge in most cities and towns. My ministry will prioritise improved solid waste management by facilitating the mobilisation of resources for the development of landfills ...

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir. 

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

A point of order is raised. 

Mr Muntanga: Mr Chairperson, is the House in order to continue with the Business of the House, when the quorum has collapsed? 

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

The information I have is that we have a quorum. However, you can count the hon. Members for yourself. 

Hon. Members were counted. 

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

The count has been done. We are fifty-five with those two hon. Members who have just come in. 

Laughter

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Minister, you may continue. 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Chairperson, before I was disturbed by the Acting Whip of the United Party for National Development (UPND), I was talking about solid waste management. 

Sir, solid waste management remains a serious challenge in most cities and towns. My ministry will prioritise improved solid waste management by facilitating the mobilisation of resources for landfills development, refuse collection and disposal equipment, to enhance the capacity of our local authorities in maintaining healthy and clean environments. My ministry is encouraging local authorities to partner with the private sector in solid waste management to ensure that our cities, towns and districts are kept clean.

Mr Chairperson, my ministry will continue to construct and rehabilitate modern markets and bus stations in both urban and rural areas. As part of a deliberate Government policy of reducing poverty, this will create conducive trading environments and improve business. Further, my ministry has embarked on improving the fire and rescue services by procuring firefighting equipment to mitigate and protect property against fire accidents in our communities.  

Mr Chairperson, my ministry is in the process of engaging the private sector to construct a modern firefighters’ training school in Kabwe to improve the skills among our people in the firefighting rescue services.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Chairperson, this cannot be overemphasised because I am sure that you have witnessed the huge number of infernos that have been engulfing our people’s properties. Indeed, this Government is not sitting back, but making frantic efforts to ensure that we start addressing these issues effectively. 

Mr Chairperson, road infrastructure development is the backbone of sustainable economic development. In 2016, the Government will focus on upgrading both urban and rural road networks, to improve access for goods and services, through local authorities. A properly maintained rural road network will unlock the existing agricultural production potential and facilitate the movement of goods and services for enhanced social and economic activities. 

Physical Planning

Mr Chairperson, my ministry is mandated to promote and facilitate planned, orderly and sustainable development of human settlements, through the preparation of integrated development plans. The Government has put emphasis on the preparation of development plans, in order to rectify the outdated plans which have resulted in haphazard development. In this regard, my ministry will continue with the preparation of integrated development plans (IDPs) in all the provinces. The IDPs seek to develop and promote appropriate policies and tools for land management, infrastructure, municipal finance and urban environment, as provided for under the Urban and Region Planning Act, 2015. 

Mr Chairperson, the Government has continued to face challenges with regard to human resource capacity in physical planning, and henceforth, will continue training physical planners in local authorities, through the already established two-year post graduate university degree programme at the University of Zambia (UNZA). This will increase the number of trained professional planners working in Government at national, provincial and district levels, throughout the country. 

Local Government Financing: Inter Governmental Fiscal Architecture  

Mr Chairperson, in 2015, the hon. Minister of Finance, in his Budget, announced the local government allocation shifting towards the Local Government Equalisation Fund. Through the Local Government Amendment Act, 2014, the Local Government Equalisation Fund is one of the aspects of the overall Inter-Governmental fiscal architecture which this Government has embarked on. This fund has provided stable and predictable supplementary funding to local authorities to support them in the delivery of services through the devolved functions as identified in the Local Government Act Cap. 281. My ministry, in close liaison with the Ministry of Finance, will review the performance of the Local Government Equalisation Fund for 2015 in order to improve its effectiveness in 2016.

Sir, given the complexity of the decentralisation process and the political, administrative and institutional challenges in its implementation, the Inter-Governmental Fiscal Architecture Framework will be implemented in a phased, sequential and strategic manner. The PF Government has continued to demonstrate its support to financing local authorities through the Local Government Equalisation Fund which is linked to a minimum of 5 per cent of the income tax.

Mr Chairperson, I note that the Local Government Equalisation Fund allocation was K586,759,459 in 2015 and has been increased to K717,013,167 million, which represents a 22.5 per cent increment and I, sincerely, commend the hon. Minister of Finance for that.

Constituency Development Fund

Mr Chairperson, the ministry has been allocated a total sum of K210,000,000 towards the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in the 2016 Budget. The CDF guidelines of 2016 are being reviewed to strengthen its implementation processes and accountability. My ministry will soon call upon hon. Members of this House to comment on the revised guidelines before they are approved. That is how we work.

Mr Muntanga interjected.

Mr Kampyongo: You are stakeholders so we need to engage you.

Sir, all 150 constituencies have since received their 2014 CDF allocations ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: ... and we have 113 constituencies awaiting to receive their 2015 CDF allocations while thirty-seven constituencies are yet to submit their 2014 CDF returns.

Mr Chairperson, I want to encourage the hon. Members of this House to ensure that projects earmarked on using the CDF funds are packaged in a manner that does not thinly spread the resources. We must ensure that CDF projects have an impact in the communities we serve. The allocation of funds should enable the completion of the projects within the scheduled times.

Local Government Revenues 

Mr Chairperson, the Government is committed to the improvement of the local government revenue systems for councils. The process of addressing deficiencies in the local taxes structure has commenced. One of the processes is through the review of the Rating Act Cap 192, as amended. This will enhance efficiency in the local tax administration system in order to promote local revenue autonomy. The Local Government Act will be revised and updated to provide for expenditure assignments, revenue assignments, sub-national borrowing and inter-governmental fiscal transfers as stated in the National Decentralisation Policy.

Sir, in this vein, the Government will initiate the harmonisation of the Public Finance Act and the local government financial regulations to strengthen the financial systems of the local authorities. 

Decentralisation 

Mr Chairperson, my ministry plays a pivotal role in ensuring that decentralisation becomes a reality to enable our people to plan for their development at local level. In this vein, the devolution of functions to councils will continue in a phased manner. 

Mr Chairperson, in conclusion, Members of this House will agree with me on the need to strengthen the local governance system in order to facilitate the delivery of municipal services, infrastructure development and housing, through local authorities in order to effectively and efficiently contribute to sustainable socio-economic development at local level. I, therefore, appeal to this august House to support the 2016 budget estimates, especially that this is where the CDF is contained. 

Mr Chairperson, I thank you.

Ms Kalima (Kasenengwa): Mr Chairperson, thank you for allowing me to contribute to the debate on the Budget of the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. We are all aware that this ministry is very cardinal to the running of the country. It is also important to hon. Members of Parliament because it touches on very important areas which are connected to the development of the nation. These are the road network, construction of bridges and sanitation. The Ministry of Local Government and Housing also deals with the welfare of the city. The cleanliness of the city is dealt with by the councils which are under the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. 

Mr Chairperson, in my debate on the Budget for the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, I want to specifically talk more on the councils. 

Mr Chairperson, after being an hon. Member for Parliament for four years, I have realised that councils need to be strengthened. Every year, councils are provided with a budget. I wonder if the usage guidelines of that money are really adhered to and checked. Councils have got rules, but they are not adhered to. Councils do not pay attention to their regulations and it brings me to the question of who supervises them. It is like these councils supervise themselves. They have procedures which take so long. You will find that from the time of procurement to the issuance of a cheque, it will take ages. 

Sir, the hon. Minister did indicate that there is money that has been allocated for the Constituency Development Fund, but just to access this money is ‘a disaster’. We all know that this money is very cardinal to the development of a constituency, but it has not been managed properly. We have situations whereby a project is not approved at the levels of CDF Committee and full council. Yesterday, I actually heard somebody talk about shadow people. You will find that through conniving with a shadow person, if you belong to the Ruling Party, the project which was not approved in the full council will be implemented. There are situations whereby boreholes are sunk and when you go to inquire, you will not be told anything and nothing will be done about it. 

Sir, being a victim and after having written so many letters, nothing has happened. I wonder why we should have such situations. Full council meetings are called on the days when hon. Members of Parliament are in this House. For example, in Chipata, they had their full council meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, this week when we were supposed to be in this House. Despite lodging in my complaint that these full councils meetings are very important to us, those in power have not paid attention to our cries. I really look up to the new hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to make a change. We need to change the drivers …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

(Debate adjourned)

_______

HOUSE RESUMED

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progress reported)

________

The House adjourned at 1257 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 10th November, 2015.