Debates - Thursday, 12th November, 2015

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Thursday, 12th November, 2015

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The Minister of General Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, on Tuesday, 3rd November, 2015, Hon. Masebo, the Member of Parliament for Chongwe Constituency, raised a point of order on the administration of the 2105 Grade 9 Computer Studies Examination, Paper 2, which was a practical examination. In your ruling, you directed the hon. Minister of General Education to issue a statement at an appropriate time, bearing in mind that the examinations were ongoing. I thank you for giving me the latitude to present my statement at an appropriate time. Just like in the legal fraternity, …


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Dr Phiri: … where a case before the courts of law cannot be commented on, in educational assessment, too, we guard against commenting on an on-going examination. Instead, a post-mortem of the whole examination process is conducted at the end of the examinations. In this case, it will be held after the last paper is written on 20th November, 2015. That is the context of this statement. 

Sir, the computer studies examination is divided into two papers. Paper 1 is on theory and was administered on 10th November, 2015, while Paper 2 is a practical and was administered on 2nd November, 2015. So, I had to wait until the two papers were examined before issuing this statement. 

Mr Speaker, the ministry breached its own guidelines to issue a press statement on 3rd November, 2015, a day after the practical examination was conducted. The statement which, no doubt, escaped the attention of Hon. Masebo, was as follows:

“The Ministry of Education would like to apologise to the parents and learners for the inconvenience caused during the administration of Computer Studies Practical Examinations yesterday 2nd November, 2015. 

“It was not the Ministry’s intention to have some learners write these examinations late in the night but due to circumstances and challenges beyond our control, such as inadequate computers in some schools while others experienced power cuts, whilst conducting the examination. 

“The Ministry would also like to take this opportunity to appeal for calm among parents and learners as the Computer Studies Examinations will not be a compulsory subject to determine qualification to Grade 10. 

“We would also assure parents and learners that such an experience will not happen again in future examinations.”

Mr Speaker, hon. Members of Parliament will recall that, in January, 2014, the ministry announced the phased implementation of the revised primary and secondary school curricula, starting with Grades 1, 5, 8 and 10. These classes progressed to Grades 2, 6, 9 and 11 in 2015.

Sir, as announced at the launch in January, 2014, the first examinations of the revised curriculum were administered at the Grade 9 level this year, and one of the subjects in the revised curriculum is Computer Studies. As I mentioned earlier, the subject examination is divided into two papers. Paper 1, which is theory, consists of Sections A, B and C, of which Section A has 15 multiple choice questions, Section B has fifteen short-answer questions while Section C has four long-answer questions. The total mark for this paper is 60 per cent of the overall examination. Paper 2, which is a practical, consists of two compulsory questions drawn from word processing, spreadsheets, desktop publishing, presentation and multimedia, and the candidates are required to answer using a computer. This paper accounts for 40 per cent of the examination. This year, Paper 2 required candidates to work on simple spreadsheet and to type a letter, all with simple instructions. I will lay a copy of this paper Numbered 402/2 on the Table of this august House.

Dr Phiri laid the paper on the Table.

Mr Speaker, there are two institutions working together in the implementation of the new curriculum, namely, the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ), which is mandated to set and print examination scripts, and process examination results up to the their declaration, and my ministry, which is responsible for the procuring requisites for practical examinations, storing examination materials at regions and centres, invigilating and supervising examinations, collecting examination fees, and publishing and announcing the results. In this regard, the council is exonerated from the happenings of 2nd November, 2015, because it followed the guidelines to the letter. Therefore, the ministry takes full responsibility for what took place. 

Sir, on 12th August, 2013, my ministry guided the ECZ to commence the formulation of the examination syllabus for Computer Studies and all other subjects based on the revised Grade 8-9 Syllabus and the council undertook many preparatory activities between 2013 and 2015. Notable among them was one major consultative meeting on 7th April, 2015, in which the rules to be used in grading candidates in the Grade 9 Examinations based on the revised curriculum were agreed on. Taking into consideration the inadequacy or absence of equipment, teachers and teaching resources for Computer Studies in some schools, the ministry, the ECZ and other stakeholders agreed that candidates for the Junior Secondary School Leaving Examinations (JSSLE) would be graded on any best six subjects. That was meant to ensure that candidates who may not have had adequate resources to learn Computer Studies would not be disadvantaged because they could still fall back on any other subject, and there would be no work overload on them, as all subjects would, then, be optional for grading purposes only. This rule will be followed.

Mr Speaker, allow me to emphasise the point that six passes are required for a learner to progress from Grade 9 to Grade 10. Therefore, during this transitional phase, as we expand access to the new and revised content, the Computer Studies examination will be optional. So, while all pupils will learn the subject, only schools and learners who are adequately prepared will be examined. In other words, for now, the teaching of the subject will be compulsory, but its examination will be optional. The candidates will be graded in any best six subjects.

Sir, learners who follow the academic career path take eight subjects, namely, Business Studies, English Language, Computer Studies, Integrated Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, Religious Education and Zambian Languages, with French, Chinese and Portuguese as options, although French is the only one of the three on offer. The other two await the development of syllabi. Learners who follow the vocational career path have five options to choose, namely, Agriculture, Technology, Performing and Creative Arts, Physical Education and Sports, and Home Economics and Hospitality. In each chosen path, learners must study seven subjects, the vocational subject and Computer Studies, English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies, and Business Studies, except for Performing and Creative Arts learners, who take Zambian Languages instead of Business Studies.

 Sir, candidates who may not have done the Computer Studies practical examination or who may not perform well in the subject can still do well in the other subjects, and be certified and selected to Grade 10. This information, unfortunately, did not filter through the structures of the ministry, hence the stampede and confusion in some schools on 2nd November, 2015. On behalf of the ministry, I apologise for the lapse, which resulted in many schools presenting their learners for the examination when they were not supposed to do so. In order to avoid such sad experiences in the future, the ministry has resolved the following:

(a)    the learning of Computer Studies will be compulsory, but its examination and use in grading will be optional until further notice;

(b)    for teaching purposes, the ministry will progressively introduce initiatives to increase information and communication technology (ICT) multimedia in schools. For example, it is currently working with iSchool to provide tablets in schools, as teaching and learning aids. The House will recall that His Excellency the President, in his Speech during the Official Opening of the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, called on the hon. Ministers responsible for education and industry, and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to initiate the local manufacturing of affordable computers for schools and to work towards providing, at least, 50 per cent of our learners with ZEduPads by 2017. This, the ministry is committed to fulfilling. Additionally, the ministry will award contracts for the supply computers to 300 schools using the 2016 Budgetary allocation, if approved;

(c)    the ministry, through the Provincial Educational Officers (PEOs), will instruct all schools on how many pupils should share a computer or on the computer-pupil ratio that should be met for any examination centre to present candidates for examination in Computer Studies. Schools that will not meet the set standards will teach the subject for purposes of exposing the learners to ICT, but not register such candidates for examinations;

(d)    the ECZ will set the examination timetable in such a way that the Computer Studies Paper 2 Examination will be conducted over three days, with different tasks on each of the days. The tasks will all be based on the same assessment scheme and will assess similar competencies in the candidates; 

(e)    the ministry will work with the ECZ to explore possibilities of having a separate examination for the large number of candidates who repeat Grade 9 examinations. This will reduce the congestion that was experienced during the 2015 Computer Studies Paper 2 Examinations and afford the ministry an opportunity to conduct the examination during the stipulated hours;

(f)    the ministry will continue to provide in-service training to teachers in Computer Studies during school holidays. A team of fifteen trainers, who received their training in France with support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), have been conducting the training using the cascading mode. So far, 2,545 teachers have been capacity-built; and

(g)    the ministry will continue to work with various stakeholders, such as the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Agency (ZICTA) and the co-operating partners in the continued provision of computers to schools.

Sir, I am confident that, when implemented, the stated measures will enable the administration of the Computers Studies, Paper 2 Examination to meet the expectations of this august House and Zambians, with whom we must work with to provide quality education to our learners. The ministry also notes that, despite the major challenges experienced during the problematic conduct of the practical examination, there were cases of best practices in some parts of the country, which the ministry and the ECZ will learn from and improve the administration of the practical examination in the future.

Sir, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!    

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement by the hon. Minster of General Education.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, I thank you for directing the hon. Minister to issue a statement because I realise how important this issue is to the children of Zambia.

Sir, the hon. Minister has tendered an apology for the disorganised manner in which the Computer Studies, Paper 2 Examination was administered, although his apology seems to have been diluted by intransigencies in his statement. That aside, the hon. Minister has said that the subject is optional and that the confusion was a result of a lack of information. As a teacher, does he think that it was the lack of information that compelled the children to stay up as late as 0200 hours to write that examination rather than the value they attach to their education?

 Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I appreciate Hon. Mbulakulima’s sentiments and, if he read my body language correctly, he must have seen that I was truly apologetic. If I have to emphasise that to him, I am here to do it. In fact, on the fateful day, I did not sleep much because I kept getting updates of what was happening, particularly at a school behind Matero Shoprite. One radio station, I think it was on 89.5 FM, kept reminding me that the children were still writing and that there was minimal adult supervision of the pupils, until about 0200 hours. So, I equally suffered.

Sir, as the hon. Member rightly pointed out, our children’s enthusiasm for technology is great. In some schools, they literally told their teachers that they would write the examination even if they did not have adequate equipment. That enthusiasm was truly astonishing, but I should not have been surprised at all because even in many homes, children show more interest in ICT and are able to operate cellular phones that we, adults, have difficulties operating. Children have a sharp grasp of technology. As a ministry, we needed to have reciprocated that enthusiasm by being prepared adequately for the examination, but we failed our children, and I must be the first to admit that. I think that we can do better, and we are taking steps to sustain our children’s interest in ICT by giving them an opportunity to practice next time around. 

Sir, let me correct an impression I may have created: Computers Studies will remain a compulsory subject, but its examination will not. 


Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Phiri: Sir, the children should be allowed to learn Computer Studies, but the subject must remain optional for grading purposes. So, like all subjects, it has been given an ‘Optional’ tag until the time we will be able to teach and examine it effectively. Then, its examination will become compulsory.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Order!

I will take the next questions from the hon. Members for Mumbwa, Kalomo Central, Nalikwanda, Kalabo Central, Liuwa, Senanga, Mapatizya, Chadiza and Monze Central.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that the enthusiasm of our children and grandchildren for Computer Studies is unparalleled. Has the ministry, in a similar manner, enthusiastically planned for the systematic in-service training of teachers in information and communication technology (ICT) throughout the country? If it has, could the hon. Minister share the plan with us.

 Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, as I indicated earlier, there is already an in-service programme of training teachers in Computer Studies, and the ministry will continue to implement it. I also said that fifteen trainers were trained in France with the support of UNESCO, and that they have been training other teachers and will continue with that programme. So far, 2,545 teachers have been trained, but that is just a drop in the ocean because this country is huge. Therefore, we will continue with the programme in earnest so that we train as many teachers as possible and make the teaching of this course meaningful. We want it to help our children to embrace ICT.

 I thank you, Sir.

 Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I appreciate your asking the hon. Minister of General Education to issue this statement. Without your directive, the ministry would have kept quiet.

Sir, the hon. Minister has mentioned that computer knowledge is important for our children. Seeing as the ministry is not ready to provide computers, electricity and other requisites to all parts of this country, is the ministry not creating social class-biased type of education in which some children in towns will be advantaged by access to the facilities while those in the villages will be disadvantaged by a lack of access? Is it not perpetuating the class divide?

 Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I have stated that because of what happened during the practical examination, the ministry went out of its way to issue a public statement of regret and apology to the nation. That was before the point of order was raised.

 Mr Livune: Question!

Dr Phiri: So, the hon. Member should give us the credit for that. We issued a very valid press statement. As I said earlier, Mr Speaker’s permission gave me the latitude to issue the statement later than many people would have preferred because I could not comment on an on-going examination. That was not an attempt to run away from responsibility, but rather adherence to the guidelines that we have set for ourselves.  

Sir, let me allay Hon. Muntanga’s fears by stating that there is no way this Government can run two parallel systems of education simultaneously. We know of the ICT limitations in the teaching of this subject. In fact, the President also addressed this matter in his Speech to this House because he, too, is aware of the challenges being faced by our children in this regard, and I referred to that in my statement. However, enthusiastic we may be, if we do not provide the equipment, then, we will disadvantage our children generally. That said, let me also say that we cannot wait for a time when everything will be in place for us to begin a journey to somewhere because there will never be such a time. We have to start from somewhere. 

Hon. PF Member: Hear, hear!

Dr Phiri: For example, when Hon. Muntanga started Sub-A, there may not have been adequate pencils for all schools. That is why some pupils started by writing on the ground. If our parents had questioned why we were being made to write on the ground instead of using pencils, where would we have been today? Similarly, now, ...


Dr Phiri: ... we can only assure our children that, yes, we do not have the resources to provide computers to every school, but that will not make us abrogate our responsibility, as a Government, to do so. We are committed to fulfilling our mandate.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi indicated.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Namwala, you may have come into the House late. So, you may not have heard me when I announced the list of hon. Members to ask questions, which I am following.

Ms Lubezhi resumed her seat.

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, under a normal educational environment, curriculum reform and implementation has one salient requirement, which is the provision of education materials. A quantitative analysis also has to be made to determine the level of materials in the environment. Where are we currently in terms of providing computers to our schools? How many of our schools have computers and how many do not? Further, what is the shortfall, and when does the Government expect to meet the shortfall?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the hon. Professor is exciting me because that is precisely what we would have done when we were in this ministry some years back.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Dr Phiri: However, that is not an excuse.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! Yes!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, as I had indicated earlier, ordinarily, this statement would have been issued only after a post-mortem of the examination process had been undertaken. I only issued it now because of the grave challenges that beset us on 2nd November, 2015, and Mr Speaker’s permission. The details on which schools have computers and those that do not, and the way forward will be part of the post-mortem assessment result I talked about in my statement. If the hon. Member is patient enough, I will present the post-mortem, ...

Mr Muntanga interjected.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, you may continue.

Dr Phiri: Sir, I hear Hon. Muntanga, but we will not provide the details of where we are to the House today, although I may have them already, because it is not the opportune time for me to do so. What I have issued is a preliminary report in response to a point of order. So, I will present the other facts later.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, I pity the hon. Minister of General Education because he does not understand life in the rural areas. In his statement, he has indicated that the grading of subjects, ...

Ms Kalima: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised, which is the only one I will allow until further notice.


Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, in today’s edition of The Post newspaper, there is an article on the first page headlined, “Experts Screen NRDC Students after Viral Disease Breakout.” 

Sir, there is an outbreak of a suspected viral disease at the Natural Resources Development College (NRDC), which has affected a number of students, who have since been admitted to hospital for treatment. I am very passionate about the NRDC because I am a Member of this House because of the Diploma in Agriculture I attained from that college.

Sir, is the hon. Minister in order to sit quietly and not inform this House and the nation at large on what exactly is happening at the NRDC, considering that the disease is suspected to have been contracted from livestock? 

Sir, I need your serious ruling.

Mr Speaker: Which hon. Minister?

Ms Kalmia: Mr Speaker, the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Kasonde.

Mr Speaker: I will give an opportunity to the hon. Minister of Health to update the House and the nation on this matter early next week.

Hon. Miyutu, you may continue.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, before the point of order was raised, I was saying that the hon. Minister has indicated that information and communication technology (ICT) will not be compulsory for purposes of qualifying pupils to Grade 10. How does the Government plan to compensate for the loss of two subjects, namely, Business Studies and Computer Studies, for pupils in Kalabo District? The implication is that the pupils in Kalabo will only be marked out of six subjects, all of which they must pass to progress to Grade 10 because they have already lost out on two subjects.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the syllabus that I referred to indicates that children in both paths have enough subjects on which to lean even if Computer Studies was removed from their subjects. 

Sir, once again, let me correct the notion that Computer Studies has ceased to be compulsory. I said that all pupils, with or without computers, will take this subject. There is a theory part on which the practical part is based. So, it is only for purposes of grading that the subject will not be compulsory. 

Sir, this statement is on the problems encountered in the administration of the Computer Studies Paper 2 Examination on 2nd November, 2015. So, I am not in a position to comment on whether Business Studies was equally affected in Kalabo District because I have not received any report to that effect.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I think it was Hon. Muntanga who accused the hon. Minister of trying to create two classes in society, with one class being computer literate and the other, mostly based in the rural areas, remaining without computer knowledge, but the hon. Minister refuted that accusation. However, just a few days ago, I was in Liuwa where I found teachers using dry cassava because they did not have chalk. 


Dr Musokotwane: I also found that many schools only have two teachers to handle all the classes from Grades 1 to 9, and the schools did not have textbooks, let alone computers. In fact, none of the pupils at the schools has ever seen a computer. Does the hon. Minister still deny the accusation that he is creating two societies in our country when some schools have teachers, books and, now, even computers while others have to use cassava and, perhaps, charcoal to chalk because they do not even have chalk?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I wish Hon. Dr Musokotwane only knew how much I value him and how, at every opportunity, I have used his presentations to Parliament to explain what we strive to achieve. He always talks passionately about how schools in Liuwa lacked such things as teachers and resources. In some ways, he helps us to refocus on what we should be doing, and that is evident in the recent deployment of teachers in which we paid particular attention to Liuwa and other rural areas where we have not been sending teachers or where the teachers we have been deploying have not stayed. 

Sir, I just said that our target is to provide 300 schools in rural areas with computers. I am, therefore, glad that the hon. Member has reminded me about the situation in his constituency. Someone said that I do not know what is obtaining in rural areas, but I am a product of a rural area. How else could I have remembered that I started writing on the floor before I graduated to a slate and, later, a pen? Therefore, I hear Hon. Dr Musokotwane’s cry. Nonetheless, it is important that we are given space to see what we can do to change the scenario in rural Zambia. I feel for the people there but, beyond that, I think they should just wait for us to see what we can do with the limited resources at our disposal to change the scenario in rural areas so that our children can proudly declare that they also know how to use a computer. There is no government that can just walk up and deliberately aim to disadvantage rural areas. What would it gain from that? We will endeavour to level the playing field but, as we all know, the challenges are colossal. We are, however, equal to the task.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, I know that the hon. Minister is an educationist, scholar and researcher. Not long ago, before the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education was split, a student committed suicide at the University of Zambia (UNZA). Has the ministry done any needs assessment for millennials, bearing in mind their desires? If so, why does it marvel when pupils come in numbers wanting to write Paper 2 for Computer Studies and being prepared to wait until very late in the night or early morning the following day? 

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, maybe, I was in too much of a hurry in saying some words. 

Sir, what I said is that, on 7th April, 2015, the ministry and some other major stakeholders, such as the ECZ, realised that there were some schools that would be disadvantaged if the ministry maintained the status quo then. So, we had to change the grading rules to suit both the schools that were not able to administer the Computer Studies Practical Examinations and those that were able to. The resolution was that we consider any basic subject for grading purposes regardless of the situation. I hope I have made that very clear.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, when the school curriculum was changed to introduce Business Studies and Computer Studies, we did away with three subjects. Initially, History, Civics and Geography were separate subjects in which children in both rural and urban places could make passing points. However, the three were lumped together into one subject. Would the hon. Minister not consider reintroducing the three as separate subjects until the time the country will be ready to effectively teach and examine Business Studies and Computer Studies? My thinking is that now there are only six subjects remaining, of which two are mathematics and science in which most of our children do not do well, leaving them with only four other subjects. What is the hon. Minister’s take on my suggestion?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, my take would be to repeat my statement that there will be a post-mortem assessment of this examination and related matters. However, I must say that the new curriculum did not just drop from heaven, but went through a very rigorous consultative process between the ministry and other stakeholders. It was very clear when I was launching it that the stakeholders approved it, and resources had already been invested in it for its fruits to be realised. Additionally, I have stated that the 2015 Grade 9 Computer Science Examination was the inaugural one. We have not yet reached the stage at which we can administer a revised curriculum examination for Grades 7 and 12. We deliberately chose to do things in a phased manner so that we can learn from the experiences of one stage as we go on to the next one because of obvious challenges. 

Sir, as regards reverting to the old curriculum, I do not think that would be the right move for the nation to make. What we must do is find the will and resources to make the revised curriculum effective. That is the only way forward for our children. Doing what the hon. Member has proposed would be a disservice to the generation that we will leave behind. As I have already said, the pride of parents is in the children who can do sophisticated work even with little gadgets like the cellular phone which we, adults, are unable to operate. Let us give them the impetus so that, tomorrow, both rural and urban children will be able to effectively contribute to the development of this country and compete with the rest of the children of the world.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza); Mr Speaker, this Patriotic Front (PF) Government …


Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

Mr Mbewe: … always amazes me…

Hon. Opposition Members: Mmm!

Mr Mbewe: … because it always does very strange things.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!


Mr Mbewe: So, it is not strange to hear it say strange things.

Sir, if you remember very well, it was in this House that the hon. Minister of General Education said very clearly that pupils in Grade 9 would not sit for examinations in Computer Studies. To my surprise, I heard that the examinations had taken place without this House being informed. The hon. Minister has also told us that 300 schools will receive computers. However, that is a drop in the ocean. Lusaka Province, alone, has more than 300 schools. So, I know that my constituency and Taferansoni in Chadiza are already left out.

Mr Monde: How do you know that?

Mr Mbewe: Be careful! I will handle you properly.


Mr Mbewe: Sir, my question is: Seeing as 90 per cent of our schools are not electrified and only 300 schools will benefit from the computers, how will he reconcile the two to make sure that all the pupils sit for examinations in November, 2016, and that this problem does not recur?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, it is good to be a little emotional on some of these issues, but the emotions will not bring any solutions.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Antonio: Question!

Dr Phiri: Let us face the challenges together, as a nation. The challenges can be resolved if we are committed to implementing the new curriculum effectively. There is a reason the new curriculum was implemented. Given the serious limitations of our education system, no one should belittle the effort to provide 300 schools with computers. It is the resource envelop that dedicates how much we can do. I went out of my way to suggest that the 300 schools that will receive computers should be in rural areas so that they change the life of our children there. I did not suggest that 300 schools was an adequate number to equip with computers. Does the hon. Member think that we just woke up and decided to provide computers to only 300 schools? No. We have a master plan, …

Mr Muntanga: Aah!


Dr Phiri: … that stipulates that we would launch the new syllabus in 2014 and implement it …

Mr Muntanga: Question!

Dr Phiri: … in a phased manner. That is what we are doing, and it does not matter whether the hon. Member likes it or not.


Dr Phiri: There is adequate evidence of this Government’s commitment to the revised curriculum.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I hate being drawn into creating the impression that we are divided because some people did not know anything about the new curriculum …


Dr Phiri: ... when …

Mr Muntanga: Yes!

Dr Phiri: … this august House was told that the examination of the subject would not be compulsory this year.

Dr Kaingu: Uh!

Dr Phiri: No hon. Minister said that pupils would not be allowed to write the examination.


Dr Phiri: We should shoulder this burden together because it will bring us the fruits that we need tomorrow.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I sympathise with the hon. Minister of General Education because he is struggling to admit that the practical examination for Computer Studies were chaotic and scandalous, ...

Mr Muntanga: Yes!

Mr Mwiimbu: … and that that examination must be nullified.

Ms Lubezhi: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, if we do not nullify that examination …

Mr Speaker: What is your question, by the way?

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I will get to the question. 

Sir, if we do not nullify that examination, then, the sentiments that have been expressed by Hon. Muntanga and Hon. Dr Musokotwane will be well-founded, …

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: … for the subject will be reflected on the certificates of the privileged few who sat for the examination and they will be at an advantage when being considered for places in Grade 10. Therefore, is the hon. Minister not considering nullifying that examination for the sake of the pupils, especially those in rural areas who had no access to computers, information and communication technology (ICT) text books and computer-literate teachers, but were meant to sit for the examinations?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I am at a loss to understand the direction this issue is taking. I thought that my ministerial statement was clear but, on reflection, I think that it was not. 

Sir, what we are saying is that the Computer Studies practical examination was a fiasco. No wonder we apologised. How would we apologise for something if we thought it was rightly done?

Mr Muntanga: Nullify that examination.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Phiri: Whether it was scandalous or not is not the point. What is important is that we are also aware that the examination was not properly administered. That is why we have decided to make its grading purposes optional. If the post-mortem assessment of the whole examination process reveals that a good section of our learners may have been disadvantaged, a decision will be made on whether to nullify the whole examination and remove the subject from those that will be considered for qualification to Grade 10. I made that very clear in my statement. So, I do not know where we are losing each other. We will not nullify, but we will, after the post-mortem assessment, consider which direction we will take in the teaching and examination of the subject. We will consider the options then.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, the predecessor to the hon. Minister of General Education, whom he sits next to, told us on the Floor of this House that the computer lessons that had been introduced were compulsory and theoretical, not practical. Was the hon. Minister not told that the computer lessons were supposed to be solely theoretical when he took over the ministry? If he was, why did the ministry make the children do the practical examinations?

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I will only be eager to accept what the hon. Member has said if I am shown a verbatim report. Nonetheless, let me use this opportunity, once again, to inform the House that Computer Studies is a compulsory subject. During this transitional period before all schools are equipped to the teeth, only schools and learners who are adequately prepared will seat for Computer Studies examinations. However, all pupils are to learn the subject in the whole of Zambia by whatever means possible so that they are exposed to ICT.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Livune: Question!

Dr Phiri: Hon. Member, learn to be patient. What I am saying is that Computer Studies is not compulsory for examination purposes because any six subjects will be graded for a child to go into Grade 10.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of Energy and Water Development (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to update the nation, …


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Ms Siliya: … through this august House, on the current status of the power crisis in the country.

Sir, as hon. Members may be aware, 95 per cent of electricity in Zambia is generated from three main hydro-power stations, namely, Kafue Gorge, Kariba North Bank and Victoria Falls.

Sir, due to the below-average rainfall the country received during the 2014/2015 rainy season, water inflow into the reservoirs has not been enough to meet the requirement for national power generation, and that will be the case until the end of 2015. For example, the Lake Kariba is at 6 m below previously recorded levels in the same rainfall period of past years, and hydrological simulation has shown that, at the current reduced generation levels, it will be just below 2 m above the minimum operating level of 475.5 m at the end of the hydrological year. Consequently, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), after carrying out hydrological modelling, reviewed the allocation of water to the two utility companies that generate electricity from the lake, namely, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), from 45,000,000,000 m3 to 33,000,000,000 m3 between March to December, 2015, in order to allow generation to last till the next rainy season.  

Mr Speaker, the reduced water allocation led to an initial shortfall in power generation of about 560 MW from July, 2015. However, both ZESCO and ZESA had to further reduce their water usage, leading to the power generation dropping to the current deficit of 700 MW. For example, the Kariba North Bank Power Station, which has an installed capacity of 1,080 MW now produces 429 MW while Kafue Gorge, whose installed capacity is 990 MW now produces 540 MW. The Victoria Falls Power Station, a run-of-the-river power plant with no water storage facility, has an installed capacity of 108 MW, but now generates less than 80 MW.

Mr Speaker, the increase in the power deficit from 560 MW to 700 MW has resulted in increased hours of load management to safeguard the power infrastructure. Load management, commonly called load shedding, is basically the distribution of limited amounts of power at different times to different areas when it cannot be supplied to all at once. The House will recall that when the load shedding programme began, ZESCO used to load shed an average of eight hours. However, due to a public outcry, the load shedding schedules were revised to between five and six hours for domestic users. However, due to the need to reduce generation further, ZESCO reverted to the eight-hour schedule. In some cases, the load shedding schedule is longer than eight hours. 

Mr Speaker, the load shedding is being implemented to keep generation levels low to allow the water in the reservoirs to last until the next rainy season. If this was not done, there would have been an imbalance between the power supply and demand equation, which would have led to damage of the power infrastructure. It is also worth mentioning that the rain forecast for 2016 indicates normal to below-normal rainfall. According to the simulations for next year, ZESCO and ZESA will be allocated only 20,000,000,000 m3 of water for power generation. This entails that, in 2016, ZESCO will need to generate at lower levels than the 2015 levels in order to maintain generation up to the 2017 rainy season. In fact, power generation would have to further reduce by 300 MW, leading to a deficit of 1,000 MW by December, 2015.

Hon. UPND Members: Aah!

Ms Siliya: Sir, if there is any over-generation by the two utility companies in 2016 in the face of the predicted below-normal rainfall, there may be no power generation at Kariba North Bank by the end of October, 2016. Hon. Members may further wish to know that it will take up to three years of normal rainfall to fill the Kariba Dam. 

Mr Speaker, allow me to address two issues that have been brought out in the public domain as the reason for the power deficit. The first is that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is exporting the power to raise money for the 2016 elections.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: The second is that sub-standard machines were installed at Kariba.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Government Member: Question!

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, these notions and any others that are contrary to the ones I have stated above are completely false. The power deficit is due to reduced water levels in the reservoirs. As I said earlier, 95 per cent of the power in Zambia is generated from hydro-power stations. 

Mr Speaker, I recently received photographs that show that there is currently no water flowing over the Victoria Falls, which is upstream of the Kariba Dam. That is partial evidence that there is too little water in the Zambezi and Kafue rivers to support power generation at the installed capacity of the machinery. 

Mr Speaker, let me remind this august House that Zambia hosted the 20th Anniversary Celebrations of the Formation of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) on 5th November, 2015. Being new to the sector, I was keen to engage the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the twelve SAPP utility companies and the SAPP Co-Ordination Centre in Harare on the status of power supply in the region. The interactions revealed to me that most, if not all, of the twelve Southern African Development Community (SADC) SAPP member countries are experiencing severe shortages of power supply at the deficit of 8000 MW. Additionally, while load shedding might be a new phenomenon in Zambia, a number of SADC countries have been grappling with it for a few years now, and projections show that the region will only be able to have surplus power supply in 2019. 

Mr Speaker, in view of the foregoing, the Government will do the following:

Immediate Measures

The Government has taken the following immediate measures:

(a)    ZESCO Limited has contracted 148 MW emergency power from Aggreko, a gas power plant in Mozambique, at US$13.1 million per month. The energy from Aggreko started flowing on Wednesday, 9th September, 2015, and is being delivered daily from 0600 hours to 2200 hours. However, from 1st January to 31st September, 2016, the emergency power supply by Aggreko is expected to drop to 40 MW, as the company had earlier committed 108 MW to other customers; 

(b)    in order to bridge the gap of the reduced supply from Aggreko, 200 MW will be imported from Karpowership of Turkey. The power will be supplied from a ship that will be docked at the Port of Nacala in Mozambique;

(c)    an advertisement has been issued for the procurement of an additional 200 MW of emergency power from four inland thermal, diesel and heavy fuel oils power plants. It is planned that this power will be availed from the first quarter of 2016.

Mr Speaker, managing the power deficit would require concerted efforts from the general public, as the situation affects every citizen. Therefore, on the demand side, a massive public sensitisation exercise on the efficient use of power will be undertaken by ZESCO and the Government. Among the measures to be promoted are:

(a)    the Switch and Save measure, which is the switching off of all electrical appliances and lights that are not in use at any time of the day;

(b)    migration from the ordinary incandescent bulbs to the compact florescent lights (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LED) bulbs;

(c)    use of solar water geysers; and 

(d)    use of alternative sources of energy, such as gas, for cooking and heating purposes. 

Sir, we are currently negotiating with a firm to manage the country’s migration to CFLs and LED bulbs. My ministry is also working very closely with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to support this migration through both financial and non-financial measures. 

Mr Speaker, please, note that the plans for the importation of emergency electricity will only be actualised if the Government will be able to raise the required resources to supplement ZESCO’s. The total cost of all the immediate interventions is expected to be about US$1 billion in the next two years. 

Short-Term Measures from December, 2015

Sir, between December, 2015, to June, 2016, the ministry expects to increase power generation by 720 MW through the following power projects:

(a)    the development of the 120 MW Itezhi-tezhi Hydro Power Project, at a cost of US$250 million by a consortium of ZESCO Limited and TATA Africa Limited. The first unit of this project, with a capacity of 60 MW is scheduled for commissioning in December, 2015, while the second unit is planned for commissioning in January, 2016;
(b)    the US$690 million 300 MW Maamba Coal-Fired Power Project joint venture between Nava Bharat of Singapore and the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH). The project is scheduled to be commissioned in June, 2016; and

(c)    the procurement of 300 MW from about eight solar projects embarked on by the ministry and the planned procurement of 100 MW by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). 

Medium-Term Measures Effective November, 2016

Sir, in the medium term, we intend to enhance our generation capacity through the following projects: 

(a)    the Ndola Energy Phase 11 Project, which will produce 50 MW, is expected to be commissioned in 2017; and 

(b)    the Chavuma Mini Hydro Project will be developed by Sino Hydro Corporation and will generate 14 MW. It is expected to be commissioned before the end of 2017.

Long-Term Measures From 2017 - 2025

 In the long term, the following projects will be implemented:

(a)    at least, 300 MW will be produced from various solar energy project sites;

(b)    the Batoka Project will generate, at least, 1,200 MW. The ZRA is structuring the project and the updating of the feasibility study to determine the investment model and cost is ongoing;
(c)    the US2 billion Kafue Gorge Lower Project will generate 750 MW;

(d)    the 1,000 MW Luapula River Hydro Power Scheme, consists of the Mambilima and Mumbotuta Falls sites will be shared with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The two Governments have since signed an inter-governmental memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the development of the projects;

(e)    the EMCO Coal-Fired Power Plant based in Sinazongwe will generate 340 MW;

(f)    the Western Power Company is in the process of developing the 60 MW-80 MW Ngonye Falls Power Station in Sioma District, the Western Province; 

(g)    the upgrading of existing ZESCO small hydro power plants, such as Lunzua, from 0.75 MW to 14.8 MW; Lusiwasi, from 12 MW to 86MW; and Musonda Falls in Muchinga Province, from 5 MW to 10 MW; and 

(h)    the 40 MW Kabompo Power Project to be developed by the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC). The Government recently signed an implementation agreement with the CEC for this project.

Mr Speaker, the minimum combined production for the envisaged long-term projects is 3,000 MW. As a ministry, we are also exploring the possibility of bridging the financing gap for a number of ZESCO projects that have stalled. We will also cancel the concessions for projects that have failed to take off so that they may be offered to those who are serious about investing in the energy sector. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, Zambia’s economy is growing and the demand for electricity has been growing in tandem. This economic growth will have to be catered for in the medium and long-term plans that the Government is developing. Therefore, the expanded power generation projects need to be anchored on an expanded transmission network within the country and the region. It is for this reason that the Government is keen to support the regional inter-connection programmes that are underway, such as the Zambia-Tanzania Interconnector. We also, in the next few years, expect to spend about US$2 billion on rehabilitating and expanding the grid to the last mile so that it is able to take the extra load to be generated in the future. 

Sir, with regard to the current critical situation, I would like to inform this House and the citizens that the success of our interventions in this crisis, especially in the immediate term, will be determined by how much rainfall we will receive during the 2015/2016 Rainy Season. There is a possibility of increased load shedding in 2016 if the rains will be below normal. If this happens, it will be beyond Government or any human control. The Government, on its part, is doing everything possible to normalise the situation. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I thank the new hon. Minister of Energy and Water Development for a well-articulated statement. 

Sir, the hon. Minister stated that the reasons that some of us have put forward on the Floor of this House for the electricity deficit, such as sub-standard machinery at generation stations, are not correct. She also went on to explain the correct causes of the deficit. However, according to the Energy Regulation Board (ERB), the power plant in Kafue is supposed to operate for three-and-a-half hours only in a day, but I have been told that it has been operating for more hours and that, as a result, the water levels at Kariba Dam have gone down. What is the hon. Minister’s comment on that? 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, let me begin by stating that the power crisis is real and that it is high time everybody in the country understood that we are dealing with an emergency situation. The impact of the electricity crisis on the economy and social development is already being felt. Therefore, this being a responsible Government, we know that we have to cover the deficit, which has been caused by no one’s intention except our historical reliance on hydro electricity. I wish it to be made categorically clear that this electricity crisis has been caused by the natural calamity of low rainfall experienced last year. All these stories of inappropriate machinery are mere fabrications. I have taken time to discuss with the engineers and experts, and it has become very clear even to me, a lay person, that the problem is a result of concentrating our investments solely on hydro power generation in which we, as a nation, obviously have a comparative advantage in the region. However, clearly, in times of bad seasons, such as the one we had last year, we have to think of alternative sources of power. We are now importing at a great cost because of our failure to do so in the past. 

Sir, the main cause of the electricity deficit is that the reservoirs are drying up. Hon. Members can go to the sites and see for themselves how the water levels are way below the normal level. Instead of being 6 m above the 475 m, which is the ‘Safe’ level, the water has reduced to below 2 m of the “Dangerous” level, which is a very serious situation that must be seen as such.  

I thank you, Sir. 

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, indeed, this is a crisis. As the hon. Minister said, we have neglected to invest in alternative sources of energy, and that is certainly not the fault of the Patriotic Front (PF), but all of us, especially those of us who have been in power before. 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Your question!

Ms Namugala: My question, Hon. Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo, is: …


Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member. You have the Floor. 

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I know that the hon. Minister has the capacity to ensure that what I will ask of her is done. So, can she assure us that even after we experience normal rainfall in the next thirty-six months or so and the situation normalises somehow, the push for investment in this sector will not be abandoned. As she answers this question, could she also indicate the cost of the 200 MW that we will buy from Turkey.

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, again, I must emphasise that, as a country, in times of good rainfall, we will continue to enjoy a comparative advantage in hydro power generation capacity. Zambia, with its God-given gifts of various generation sites, can generate anything beyond 3,000 MW and export some of the power. So, in the long term, and all things being equal, that is where the jobs will come from. 

Sir, the power that we will import from Karpowership, Turkey, will cost us a colossal sum of money every month. Unfortunately, I cannot mention the exact amount off-the-cuff. 

Sir, it is important that, going forward, we bear in mind that, in this country, power will mainly be hydro-generated and that that is where the jobs will come from. If we shift our focus to solar generation, as we are advocating currently, it must be a short to medium-term measure because none of the solar plants that will be established in this country will create a significant number of jobs. In fact, they will export jobs to the people who make solar equipment. So, to me, it cannot be a matter of choosing one option over the other. In the short term, while we have this crisis, I think that it is important to look at solar energy and bio-fuel as alternatives, and at the overall impact of opting for these alternatives on the economy. My belief is that when the rains get back to normal, we will be able to export power, which will assist the economy. Our capacity for hydro power generation in normal seasons is enough to satisfy the whole region’s demand for power. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mumba (Mambilima): Mr Speaker, in talking about long-term measures to enhance our generation capacity, the hon. Minister referred to the Luapula River Basin, which she said has the potential to generate 1,000 MW at the Mumbotuta and Mambilima falls sites. Some time back, I remember very well her predecessor telling this House that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed between the ministry and Société nationale d'électricité (SNEL) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, from that time, we have not heard anything more. What is the status quo regarding that MoU? 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, in an emergency situation, our thought processes, decision-making and, most importantly, actions must reflect the situation. The ministry’s priority currently is to look at some due processes that will facilitate investment, especially by the private sector, in the energy sector. To that effect, the ministry has held many meetings in the last few weeks with the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA), ZESCO and the Attorney-General’s Office on how we can expedite the due processes so that the Government is not seen to be standing in the way of any possible investment. I am aware of the potential in the Luapula River Basin, but potential is nothing until it is developed and exploited. Until we can get power from there, we will just be talking about potential and simply sharing poverty. So, I totally understand the hon. Member’s dissatisfaction with the way this matter has been handled, but I assure him that it is receiving very urgent attention. We are working on activating the discussions we had with our counterparts in the DRC. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the good statement. That is Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) quality, Hon. Mwila.


Mr Mbewe: Very good quality.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mbewe: Sir, is it true that despite the power problems we are facing, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) has continued to export power to the region? Could the hon. Minister confirm or deny these allegations. If the allegations are true, to which countries is the power exported, and how many megawatts are being exported? 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I said that ZESCO is a member of the SAPP. In the past, when the country’s power generation situation was good, Zambia and any other member country could have access to extra power from the region using the day-ahead marketing mechanism in the co-ordination centre in Harare. Currently, Zambia exports 3.4 MW of off-peak energy to countries like Botswana. We declared a force majeure for the 40 MW that we were exporting to Kamoto Mine in the DRC. We also had a firm agreement with Namibia for peak-time supply of about 53 MW, which we negotiated to reduce to 3 MW to save the nation from further pressure. The hon. Member must remember that we also import power from the pool, especially during the off-peak hours between 0200 hours and 0600 hours to meet some of our demands before we get power from Aggreko between 0600 hours and 1000 hours.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I accept that we are in serious trouble, as this is quite a crisis. However, when the Kariba Dam was full, we still had load shedding. If we were to fill the dam today, would we not still have load shedding? Is it not true that the real problem is generation of electricity, which the hon. Minister has explained very well? Although low water levels have caused this crisis, we had load shedding even when we had enough water. 

Sir, the hon. Minister was poached by the Patriotic Front (PF) from the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) to sort out the problem. Is it not true that the failure by the previous governments to enhance the country’s generation capacity that Hon. Namugala mentioned is the reason we have this crisis? Additionally, the hon. Minister said that the Musonda Falls are in Muchinga when they are in Luapula. Can she clarify that, too.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I apologise if I said that the Musonda Falls are in Muchinga. Indeed, they are in Luapula.

Mr Muntanga: Yes!


Mr Speaker: Order!

Ms Siliya: Sir, this is not the first time this country is experiencing a drought. The only difference is that the economy and the demand for power have grown. There are currently 8,000 requests for power connections, especially to households, every month.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: That is the reason we have felt the impact now. I came from the Copperbelt yesterday and passed through Lubuto and Twapya townships where people are building everywhere and want power. That means that Zambians are doing well and using their extra income to construct, and want power to be supplied to the structures they are building.

Mr Speaker, it is true that successive governments have not invested in energy generation as quickly as they should have, and that is not the fault of my Government, the Patriotic Front (PF), at all. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Ms Siliya: It is important that I put things in context and explain them. The installed capacity of the Kariba North Bank, Kafue Gorge and Victoria Falls is about 2,164, but the actual generation capacity before the water levels went down was only 1,934. Today, as we know, demand grows exponentially at 3 per cent every year, and people will not stop doing business. So, the answer, in the long term, lies in enhancing our generation capacity and going back to the basics. For example, the Batoka Gorge is upstream of Lake Kariba. So, in the future, it can even help us because the water reservoirs at Batoka can be used to generate power at the Gorge and, then, used again for the same purpose at Lake Kariba. 

Mr Speaker, this year has not been a normal one because, apart from the drought situation, we have been forced to import power at extremely high costs from Mozambique. That is the only choice a responsible Government would make to ensure that the economy does not grind to a halt.

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minster for that well-informed statement to the House.

Sir, we are not experiencing the El Niño effect for the first or last time, yet we are still planning around hydro and other sources of energy like solar. Considering that this country has abundant uranium and this economy will continue to grow, can the Government not start planning for nuclear energy in the future, to avoid the setbacks inherent in relying on hydro electricity?

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, Zambia is not an island, but party to international protocols on matters like the handling of nuclear materials. I believe that this crisis is providing us an opportunity to look at the future of power generation in the country and I am sure that we will continue to discuss these issues in Cabinet meetings. It is not a matter of hydro versus other sources of energy, but one of finding the mix that will work for this country. For example, I know that many people in Germany use solar energy at the household level. That, however, does not mean that hydro energy cannot be developed, especially for bulk energy users like the mines, which currently use 50 per cent of the power generated in this country. Apart from the supply side of things, there is also quite a lot to be done on the demand side. How many of us leave lights on even in rooms where there are no people?

Mr Speaker, I talked about the efforts to encourage the use of LED and CFL bulbs and eventually ban ordinary bulbs. The SADC Energy Ministers agreed to ban energy-inefficient bulbs in 2012 so that the region could save over 1,000 MW. That decision has to be domesticated in each member country.

Sir, in terms of solar geysers, we have an opportunity not only to save energy, but also to provide jobs for our people by providing opportunities for our people to manufacture them. However, I think that the most important issue is that of using gas stoves. I lived in Egypt for four years where although houses have electricity, people mainly use gas stoves for cooking. So, this crisis is an opportunity for us to empower our people with opportunities for business in the production, distribution and retailing of gas. There are many opportunities in this crisis for our people, and we must go beyond thinking outside the box to collapsing the box so that we start seeing the opportunities in this sector.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba) Mr Speaker, I agree with the hon. Minister that we had less rainfall, especially during the early part of this year.


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Mr Shakafuswa: At my farm, we made a loss of over K300,000 by planting 50 ha of maize on which we put fertiliser at six bags per hectare expecting to harvest about 6,000 bags, but we only got less than 1,000 bags. So, that rainfall failure is real. That said, 50 per cent of the power that we generate is consumed by the mines, which are currently retrenching workers and giving this nation a headache, and have become unproductive. So, why do we not reduce the power we give them so that we can give more to the productive areas? There are companies whose productivity has been curtailed by load shedding due to most of the power being consumed by the mines. Are we not considering prioritising other industries? 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, if we are prepared to be that extreme, we should just liberalise the sale of electricity so that people buy it at cost-reflective tariffs. Two or three years ago, the hon. Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development agreed that our electricity tariffs in the SADC region must be cost-reflective by 2019. Even in this country, we have realised that we have been using a wrong tariff model, so to speak, because ZESCO generates power at about 12₵ to 13₵ per kW, but sells it to the mines at about 6₵. The Government has also been subsidising the tariff for citizens for a long time but, clearly, that is not sustainable because it takes resources away from social programmes. 

Sir, I said that over 50 per cent of our power goes to the mines. Yesterday, I was on the Copperbelt where I visited quite a number of the mines and told them that this is the time for them to show us that they are truly our friends. We have to hold each other’s hands. Currently, there is low demand for copper and low copper prices. So, we have a huge revenue gap and cannot avoid the relationship between the drop in revenue collection, on the one hand, and the fall in the value of the kwacha, and our ability to subsidise electricity and fuel at the consumption level, on the other. Maintaining the subsidies will continue to create a deficit in the current account, which is not sustainable. So, I told the mines that the President had led the way by saying that we have to become a little more realistic and start negotiating power supply, whether it is locally generated by ZESCO or imported, from the base of 10.35₵ per kilowatt so that we can mitigate the deficit. We can do it even just for 2016, which will be the worst. The Government does not want people to lose jobs. The businesses need to make a profit, but we have to find the middle ground because we cannot continue to buy power at high tariffs and supply it at subsidised rates. Equally, the mines cannot operate below a certain level. So, I think that we all understood that, going forward, we needed to meet each other halfway. Otherwise, nobody will come out of this situation smiling.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has emphasised that the problem we have currently is that of low water levels. She has also mentioned that the demand for power has grown, over the years, without corresponding investment. However, I would like her to state whether the factors I will mention have not contributed to the current energy crisis. The first factor is the lack of investment in an upstream reservoir that could have been feeding the Kariba Dam in years of low water levels; the second is that of the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) allowing water to be diverted into Zimbabwe for the mining projects there; and the third is that of the Government-owned power utility company, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO), dilly-dallying on agreeing to the tariffs at which the electricity generated by private companies will be sold. For example, ZESCO is dilly-dallying on agreeing to the correct rate at which power generated by the Maamba Power Plant should be sold. As a result, similar private-sector investments in the sector have also taken long to take off or have been completely abandoned.  

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, let me re-emphasise that had we experienced normal rainfall in the 2014/2015 Rainy Season, we would not really be talking about some of these issues. Obviously, if the Batoka Power Plant had also been constructed a few years ago, this problem would not have been this exacerbated. However, there were issues between Zimbabwe and Botswana regarding the asset management of the Kariba Dam. Nonetheless, I think that this Government is now making the tough decisions. The fact that we are committing resources to infrastructure development in a crisis shows that we are planning for the future. We cannot just fold our hands. That is why I said that even with the mines, we have to come up with a fiscal solution. As my colleague told me last week, we cannot keep talking around these problems. We have to find the answer even if doing so entails making some tough decisions. Currently, that responsibility lies with the PF Government, which has tough men and women capable of making such decisions, and are making them. 

Sir, regarding the story about the ZRA diverting water to Zimbabwe, all I can say is that there are protocols that govern such matters. The quantities of water allocated to both countries for generating power is usually the same. We have just been told by the authority that the projected quantity of water to be allocated to both countries next year is 20,000,000,000 m3, which means that each will get 10,000,000,000 m3. In fact, this year and in 2014, Zambia has already used over 22 per cent of the allocated water because we have too much economic activity on this side of the Kariba Dam. So, I do not really believe that the rumour is true.

Sir, regarding ZESCO and the issues of tariffs, I think that is a national problem that will only …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that the issue of ZESCO is a national problem. It is not a problem of the PF, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) or the United Party for National Development (UPND). As a nation, we must decide how we want to address some of these issues. 

Sir, in the past, efforts have been made to address the low electricity tariffs in the country because, clearly, it does not make business sense to generate power at a high cost and sell it cheaply. What this means is that, over time, the Government has continued to subsidise electricity even for the big business houses, such as the mines, because we have understood that they employ our people. Now, it has become even more of a challenge because we are just not charging low tariffs, but also struggling with low water levels, which have cut our generation capacity. We have also seen changes in some factors that had enabled us to cover the subsidies, especially copper prices and demand, which have fallen, mainly due to the reduced demand in China. 

Sir, the situation in which we are demands that we address the problem of low electricity tariffs, and I am glad that the political leadership at the highest level has weighed in on it. The President referred to the need to adjust the tariffs upward during his Speech to Parliament. In the ministry, we are also talking about what else can be done to ensure power supply to households and businesses without the Government and ZESCO, in particular, losing out or feeling the pinch of producing the power at a very high cost, but selling it very cheaply. As hon. Members have seen, the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has advertised ZESCO’s request to migrate to more cost-reflective tariffs, and the nation should continue to discuss the issue. I hope that my colleagues on the left will not be the first to cry that the tariffs are too high when the time to effect them comes. Clearly, we have to find the middle ground on which the Government can support citizens and businesses and the business houses and citizens also play their part. I think that this conversation is heading in the right direction. My ministry will take the lead on this issue so that we can have a logical conclusion to the issues of tariffs surrounding electricity generation and supply in the country.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the load shedding that we are experiencing is a result of very low water levels in the Kariba Dam and that it will take three years for the dam to regain its normal water levels. Have the spillway gates at the dam not been opened in the last twelve months?

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I do not know if the spillway gates at the Kariba Dam have been opened in the last twelve months. However, according to the experts, the water levels are so low that even the generating equipment is at risk of being damaged. Yesterday in Kitwe, I was shown the dangers of exposing plants that are designed in such a way that the water levels are not supposed to be lower than a certain level and air is not supposed to be sucked into the machines, as is now happening with our generation plants. So, that is the reality.

Sir, the fact is the PF Government or President Edgar Lungu cannot manufacture rain …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: … to fill the Kariba Dam, and it would be …


Mr Speaker: Order! 

Continue, hon. Minister.

Ms Siliya: … unreasonable to believe that this elected Government does not want to meet the demands of the people for power supply. We are being as honest as possible with the people of Zambia because we know that they know that we cannot manufacture rain. That is why we even called for the prayers that some people ridiculed. I believe that when people are called to pray, they should not call for committee meetings, …

Mr Mwila: Yes!

Ms Siliya: … but just get on their knees and pray because, sometimes, that is the only answer. Like the PF, the UPND and the MMD cannot manufacture rain. The water levels are dangerously low, and we are holding on to the faint hope that the levels will not drop further. With adequate rainfall, we could generate enough power to meet our demand and continue to export. 

Mr Speaker, our biggest concern is the huge cost that the hon. Minister of Finance has to incur on importing power for the country to continue running in the face of low copper demand and prices. I do not believe that it needs a rocket scientist to understand that because we are seeing these challenges. I am sure even my colleagues on the left understand that the prevailing challenges have nothing to do with the Government. There are adverse factors and the only thing we can do is try to mitigate them as much as we can so that, ultimately, Zambians do not suffer. That is why we are also trying to find a fiscal solution to the problems of the mines. We want to find out what the Government can do for them and vice versa so that the miners do not lose their jobs in this very difficult time we are all facing.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Livune: Were the spillway gates opened?

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

You do not debate while seated. In any event, she has answered that question, but some of us may not have paid attention to what she was saying.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Mr Speaker: Let us concentrate. I know this is very a topical and engaging issue, but I have to close the debate on it at some point.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, as I was listening to the hon. Minister of Energy and Water Development make her statement on the electricity deficit this afternoon, I was taken back to the developments in Maamba. 

Sir, when the President addressed this House, he assured the nation that the Thermal Power Plant in Maamba would supply 300 MW in November, 2015, …

Mr Livune: Yes!

Mr Mwiimbu: … and another 300 MW early next year, meaning that we would have 600 MW before March, 2016. 

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: However, the hon. Minister is now telling us that the plant in Maamba will be commissioned in June, 2016. What has happened for the commissioning to be rescheduled?

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, it was very important for the House to be given the latest information. Obviously, by the time the President was giving his Speech, the investors had informed him that they would begin wiring and other works, and that we might get some power from the plant in November, 2015, but that has not happened. In my meeting with them on Friday, 6th November, 2015, they stated that the plant would be commissioned in June, 2016. That is the information I gave to this House. We know that the Itezhi-tezhi Hydro Power Project has an installed capacity of 120 MW and that the first 60 MW unit of the project is scheduled to be commissioned in December, 2015, while the other unit will be commissioned in January, 2016. 

Sir, the Government is planning for the delayed supply from the power plant in Maamba by speeding up the processes for inland solar power generation, and the plan to import 200 MW from Karpowership. In case those measures will not be sufficient, we are also pondering on what else we can do to ensure that there is no disruption, at least, from the levels that we are at now until the plant in Maamba is able to supply the 300 MW.  

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned that the power deficit we are experiencing is due to natural calamities, yet we are importing power from Mozambique, which also generates its power from the Zambezi River, whose source is in our country. So, my take is that the real problem is that of poor planning on the Government’s part. However, my question is on whether she can confirm that some of the transformers that were bought from India were faulty and that only one has been replaced so far?

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I am sure that my colleague, the hon. Member of Parliament, follows current affairs and that she may be aware that there is a deficit of 8,000 MW in the region, which is affecting all the countries, except Mozambique, which has more supply than it needs because the country has gas. That is why the 148 MW we are importing is gas powered.

Mr Speaker, I am aware that there is an issue involving some transformers ZESCO bought from India, but that has not contributed to the problem we are experiencing now because there is currently no ZESCO plant that has a challenges related to transformers. If the transformers referred to did not work well, then, they were not installed in the plants. If anything, ZESCO is dealing with that matter through the courts of law.

Sir, the problem is very easy to understand, as it is not a political, but a national issue that calls for a patriotic approach, as it will affect jobs and our people’s lives. I repeat, the energy crisis is due to low rainfall and our country’s reliance on hydro power. Even if we invested in solar energy, heavy fuels and thermal plants, we would always have predominantly hydro-generated power. Besides, at some stage, hydro power will serve us well because we will be able to export as we have done in the past. By the way, even thermal plants will still cost this Government a lot of money. I am sure that the hon. Minister of Finance is having sleepless nights over this problem. As I have said, a mere 148 MW from Aggreko is costing this country US$13.1 million a month while the 200 MW Karpowership deal about which Hon. Namugala asked will cost this country between US$18 million and US$20 million a month, which simply means that money is being taken away from social programmes. So, I believe that this is the time for everybody to apply their minds to finding solutions to these problems in a very patriotic and nationalistic manner.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 Ms Siliya: Sir, we must not go out and tell tales to the citizens about what has caused this power problem. I heard someone say that this Government has exported all the power to get money for election campaigns, but the fact is power cannot be produced in bulk and stored somewhere for us to sell it because it has to be produced as and when it is needed. When it is possible to sell some of it, that is done through the well-co-ordinated SAPP. Therefore, if hon. Members do not understand these things, my office is open. Let them come through ... 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: ... and we will tell them what the current status is so that they can disseminate the correct information. It is the responsibility of every hon. Members of Parliament, for a change, to go to their constituencies and tell the truth about this crisis.

 I thank you, Sir.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, many years ago, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO) had demand-side management, whereby it looked at the consumption of power. Why is this Government concentrating on talking about bulbs and other small things instead of the mines, which run big and very energy-inefficient motors? Are there no energy-efficient technologies that the Government is supposed to promote? Are there technologies that this Government intends to promote in order to make the motors that are used in the mines, the fridges we use in our homes and other equipment that use electricity energy-efficient?

 Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I am happy that the hon. Member has asked this question because we cannot under-estimate the role of the demand side in saving power. It looks like a simple thing to say that bulbs are small things, but this country has between 4 million and 5 million bulbs. So, if we replaced all of them with LED or CFL bulbs, the country would save about 100 MW, which is a lot of power. I also believe that ZESCO is currently working on having technology that can remotely switch off geysers, and the procurement of technology for enforcing efficient use of power, especially in bulk users, such as the mines, big millers and bakeries. So, we are not sleeping, but doing everything possible because even 1 MW saved is important because it can help a hospital or a school. 

Mr Speaker, a Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa. (COMESA) study in which all the ordinary bulbs in the COMESA Building were replaced with LED bulbs reviewed that the 20 MW that the building uses was reduced to 2 MW, saving 18 MW. So, demand-side efficiency is critical at the home level, work place and in Government buildings. As a Government, we definitely have to lead by example by migrating all Government offices to LED bulbs. We must also introduce legislation to ban the use of incandescent bulbs, and support the production and distribution of gas and other cheaper sources of energy for stoves and heating. So, it is very important for us to consider the demand-side management of power consumption.

 I thank you, Sir.

 Mr Speaker: I can see somebody pointing to the roof of the Chamber.


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, we are pointing to the roof because the Government is the worst culprit in the use of ordinary bulbs.

 Mr Mufalali: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: There will be no points of order until further notice.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I do not dispute the hon. Minister’s assertion that this crisis is mainly a result of a natural calamity, namely, a drought, and that it is a national issue.


 Mr Speaker: Order!

The hon. Member is asking a question.

 Mr Mbulakulima: Sir, my question is based on two experiences, the first of which was the trip I took to Botswana while the second was my trip to the Eastern Province. In Botswana, there was similarly a national debate about the crisis in the electricity sub-sector. The country does not produce hydro electricity, but has coal, thermal and all other kinds of energy. However, there was a national disaster because the machines had been tampered with. Eventually, it was decided that German engineers be called because the machines were initially maintained by the Chinese. It was the German engineers who discovered that the machines had been tampered with and corrected the situation. In my second experience, I went to the Eastern Province and was told that there was a lady, a daughter of the soil, who liked thinking outside the box. Later, I came to discover that they were talking about the hon. Minister of Energy and Water Development. Since this hon. Minister thinks outside the box, and the national calamity that she has talked about notwithstanding, does she not think that there is a need for her to take some time and think about other factors that may have contributed to this crisis?

 Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I spent the whole of the last one month figuring out the root cause of the problem and it has become clear to me that the root cause is clearly the dangerously low water levels. In the true spirit of thinking outside the box and collapsing it, I have investigated and read the reports, interviewed people, looked at the various pictures of water levels in Lake Kariba, over the years, and had a meeting with ZRA officials, and it has become clear to me that the most pronounced reason is truly that of low water levels which we have had not just in 2015, but which has been creeping on us for the last two years, and we expect the situation to continue or even worsen next year. 

Sir, it is not my job to create reasons to satisfy certain people’s fantasies on a good political story regarding why this is happening. My job is to tell hon. Members of Parliament the truth so that they, as part of the Zambian Government, can be well-informed in their engagements with their constituents. We cannot trade rumours. I do not know the facts, but if what the hon. Member talked about concerning Botswana really happened, then, that is an issue for that country. For my part, I have interrogated those who have the responsibility to provide me with the information and what I have told the House is what they told me. So, I will not create tales to collaborate political fantasies. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, if Batoka Gorge had been developed a few years back, we could have been using the same water that we use at Kariba Dam twice because the gorge is upstream of Lake Kariba. However, the gorge was not developed. So, for the time being, we have the responsibility to invest in such infrastructure. It will be a bitter pill to swallow, but we have to invest in the infrastructure that will generate more power in the future. We also have to invest in the national power grid so it can take the extra load, including that from solar and thermal plants. That way, the economy will grow further in the next thirty or so years. We must position the country to be the hub for power generation in the region because it will create jobs and provide us the much-needed foreign exchange.

I thank you, Sir. 

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about a thermal power plant that is about to be commissioned at Maamba. Could she confirm whether that plant has already been contracted to supply the mines with power, which will mean that the ordinary people will still be in the same quagmire. Also, is it true that US$70 million has been paid by the Government of Zimbabwe over the Kariba North Bank assets? If that money has been paid, why did the Government keep quiet about it? Further, where is that money, especially now that we are paying ...

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, I think that I have been very liberal with you.


Mr Speaker: You have asked more than two questions when you are only supposed to ask one. Could you wind up.

Ms Imenda: ... US$13.1 million a month to Turkey?

Mr Speaker: I am sure the hon. Minister has taken note of that.

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, let me just clarify that the US$13.1 million is being paid to Aggreko for the gas-powered electricity that we are importing. Karpowership of Turkey has not yet started supplying the power.

Sir, Maamba Collieries is expected to supply about 300 MW of power. However, it has not yet been commissioned. Like I said, we expect it to be commissioned in June, 2016. 

Sir, First Quantum Minerals, working with ZESCO, built a transmission line from Maamba, through Mumbwa, and all the way to the North-Western Province for purposes of sourcing power from Maamba Collieries Coal-Fired Power Plant. However, the line has not been supplied with power because the plant has not yet started generating power. Our intention, as a Government, is to supply power to all citizens and business houses. However, the power is not enough to go round. So, we are sharing it in a managed process and that is what is causing load shedding.

Mr Speaker, when we reduced power supply to the mines to 560 MW in July, 2015, we asked the mines to operate at about 70 per cent and that if they wanted to operate at full capacity, then, they would be required to pay cost-reflective rates for the imported power. These are some of the decisions that we have had to make. As we import more and other generation plants start producing power, we hope to distribute power in the nation in a better way. We also hope that there will be more equity in the distribution, especially among the big business houses, and that all will start paying the same price for the power they get instead of the price variations that I see in the mines. 

Sir, on the issue of the US$70 million paid by Zimbabwe, I want to say that the assets at the Kariba Dam are co-owned by Zambia and Zimbabwe. Of course, there were issues of asset management and cost sharing at some point and, at some stage, Zimbabwe had undertaken a commitment to pay Zambia’s share of the resources that were used to pay for the construction of the dam over and above its liability. However, I have been informed by the ZRA that those issues have now been resolved at the bilateral level. 

Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance should be able to answer the part of the question that concerns how much money was paid over the assets. 

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!




166. Mrs Mphande (Mkushi North) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)    when the construction of township roads in Mkushi District would be completed;

(b)    whether the works would be completed as scheduled and, if not, why; and

(c)    who the contractor for the project was.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Ching’imbu): Mr Speaker, the revised date for the completion of the construction of township roads in Mkushi is 13th January, 2016.

Sir, the works are expected to be completed on schedule provided there will be no setbacks. The contractor has since been instructed to speed the production of aggregate for the works and ensure that payment certificates or claims are forwarded timely to the ministry for quicker disbursement of funds. 

Sir, the name of the contractor is Keren Motors Limited.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


167. Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa) asked the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs:

(a)    when the construction of the palace for Chieftainess Mboanjikana at Libonda Royal Village in Liuwa Parliamentary Constituency would commence;

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

(c)    when rehabilitation of palaces for other traditional leaders in the Western Province would commence.

The Deputy Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (Mr Kufuna): Mr Speaker, the construction of chiefs’ palaces is being undertaken in a phased approach. Therefore, the palaces currently under construction in the Western Province in the first phase are for His Royal Highness Chief Imwiko of Lukulu District, His Royal Highness Chief Kahare of Nkeyema District and His Royal Highness Chief Chiyengele of Mongu District. The construction of the palace for Chieftainess Mboanjikana at Libonda Village in Liuwa Parliamentary Constituency will be undertaken in a later phase.

Mr Speaker, the construction of the Chieftainess’ palace has not been delayed because it is not in the first phase of the project. 

Sir, the rehabilitation of chiefs’ palaces will be undertaken as the need arises and funds are available.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has refuted my assertion that the construction of the palace has not been delayed. However, in 2012, a similar question was asked. Additionally, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Committee in Liuwa and others in Kalabo offered to contribute to the construction of the palace, but were blocked by the then hon. Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Hon. Prof. Nkandu Luo, who said that there was money for the construction of chiefs’ palaces in the 2013 Budget. So, if the money for the construction of the palace was budgeted for in 2013, why has the construction been delayed?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, just like in all other provinces, we are constructing three chiefs’ palaces in the Western Province. However, the construction of a palace for Chieftainess Mboanjikana is not in Phase I. Maybe, her palace will be in Phase II. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: I do not think you have followed the question, hon. Minister. I am afraid the hon. Member will have to repeat it. I want those questions to be answered. So, follow closely.

Dr Musokotwane repeated the question. 

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, the ministry’s 2013 budget did not have any money for the construction of chiefs’ palaces. That money was in the 2014 Budget. That said, I will have to consult in the ministry whether there was any money for the construction of Chieftainess Mboanjikana’s palace before 2014. 

Sir, the hon. Member must note that the three palaces we are constructing in the Western Province under Phase I, which started in 2014, were prioritised by the province. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, there are 286 chiefs in this country. If the ministry will construct three palaces per province in Phase I, how many phases does the whole programme have? In my constituency, the projects under Phase I have not even been started. 

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, before the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into power, this programme was not in place.


Mr Kufuna: As a starting point, we selected thirty-three palaces to be constructed in Phase I. How the programme unfolds after completion of Phase I will depend on the availability of funds. If we will have more funds in the future, we will be able to construct more palaces in one phase.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Sir, the construction of the palace for Chief Imwiko in Lukulu is in the first phase.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mutelo: At what stage is the project and how will its construction cost?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, although the question on the Order Paper is about the palace in Libonda Royal Village, I will just give a bonus answer

Sir, we have already started constructing the palace in Lukulu, but I cannot tell the stage at which the works are.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that the construction of chiefs’ palaces was started by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. As the hon. Member for Mpongwe mentioned, there are more than 200 chiefs in Zambia, but the ministry is only constructing three palaces per year. I put it to him that the PF Government started this programme based on a populist agenda. Is the delay in the construction of the chief’s palace in Liuwa not indicative of the fact that the programme is unsustainable and bound to fail? Could I have a comment from the hon. Minister on the sustainability of this programme.

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, let me correct the hon. Member of Parliament that the three chiefs’ palaces per year that we are constructing are not countrywide, but per province. The total for the whole country is about thirty-three palaces. In the Budget that is currently being scrutinised by this House, we have allocated about K18 million to the programme. So, we are capable of seeing the programme through and ensuring that the more than 280 palaces that we have countrywide are constructed or renovated.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, when answering a question from Hon. Dr Musokotwane, the hon. Minister said that there was no budget line in 2013 for constructing chiefs’ palaces. Is he telling us that the then hon. Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs misled this House when she told us that there was money meant for Chieftainess Mboanjikana’s palace in Libonda?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member can check the Yellow Book to confirm that the first time money was allocated to the programme was in 2014. As I have said, we will investigate the possibility of some money having been requested for the construction of the said palace before 2014. Maybe, it was under an emergency fund. I repeat, the programme of constructing chiefs’ palaces started in 2014 and the monies appeared in the 2014 Yellow Book.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, who are the contractors for the three palaces in the Western Province?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, although that is a new question, I will answer it by saying that there are different contractors working on the different palaces countrywide. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.





The Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development (Mr Mwale) on behalf of the Minister of Gender (Prof. Luo)): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr Speaker, the Government of the Republic of Zambia is concerned about the persistent gender inequalities across our society that have, by and large, led to women being denied their rights. 

Sir, the inequalities between women and men have manifested in areas such as poverty, where female-headed households continue to be poorer than those headed by males. The country also continues to experience high maternal mortality rates resulting from pregnancy-related complications. In addition, the information available shows that women are in greater danger of getting infected with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). Further, there are fewer young women than young men accessing secondary school, college and university education which, in turn, results in women earning their livelihoods in the informal sector. In view of this situation, it is obvious that gender inequalities have continued to prevent women and girls from contributing fully …


Mr Speaker: Order, both on the left and the right!

Hon. Minister, you may continue.

Mr Mwale: ... to the development of the country and having a fair share of the benefits thereof. This situation is mainly compounded by negative cultural and traditional practices in which girls are socialised to put themselves last, be good wives, obey their husbands and take care of the family. These demands on women and girls disadvantage females, thereby denying them their human rights. It is, therefore, the policy of the Government to address this undesirable situation without delay. 

Sir, as a State party to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other international and regional instruments, such as the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development, Zambia is obliged to realise the equality between men and women through domestication of appropriate legislation. However, most of the provisions of these instruments have not been domesticated for the women and girls of our country to fully enjoy the prescribed rights. The Patriotic Front (PF) Government, from the outset, clearly defined its agenda on the issues of gender and equality and women empowerment in its manifesto, which states, amongst other things, that the PF Government will domesticate all international protocols relating to women and gender in development so as to enhance the representation of women in decision-making. In this regard, the PF Government has demonstrated its desire to accelerate the gender agenda. 

Mr Speaker, in order to inform the processes of domesticating the international instruments that aim to achieve gender equity and equality, the hon. Minister of Gender undertook a review of all appropriate legislation and policies, which resulted in a report that informed the development of the Gender Equity and Equality Bill in 2013. The Bill, therefore, is Government’s effort to domesticate CEDAW, the ACHPR and the SADC protocol on gender and development. The enactment of the Gender Equity and Equality Bill …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Members! 

I am failing to follow the hon. Minister’s statement properly because there are too many conversations both on the left and the right.

Hon. Minister, you may continue.

Mr Mwale: Sir, the enactment of the Gender Equity and Equality Bill will, therefore, be in conformity with the international and regional conventions that call on member States to review, amend and repeal laws that promote gender imbalances and enact those that end sex discrimination and promote gender equality.

Mr Speaker, the Bill seeks to, among other things:

(a)    establish the Gender Equity and Equality Commission, as an autonomous body charged with the responsibility to ensure gender equity and equality in public and private affairs in liaison with the Ministry of Gender;

(b)    prohibit offensive and unwanted sexual conduct, victimisation and harmful socio-cultural and religious practices;

(c)    empower women to achieve gender equity and equality;

(d)    promote women’s economic empowerment by improving women’s access to land, credit, seeds, fertiliser and market information in rural areas to increase productivity and thus reduce poverty;

(e)    accelerate the fight against gender-based violence (GBV);

(f)    open up opportunities for women’s participation in the development processes;

(g)    increase women’s representation in decision making; and 

(h)    facilitate the attainment of gender equity and equality through the provision of a legal framework. 

Sir, the enacting of the Bill will require consequential amendments to other pieces of legislation that do not define a child as being a person below eighteen years. The adulthood age prescribed under this Bill is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). 

Mr Speaker, in view of the above, in terms of the impact, the Bill is expected to achieve the following:

(a)    increased access to productive resources and development, and enhanced participation of women in public life; and

(b)    improved prospects of health and productive opportunities for families and communities at large.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to debate the Gender Equity and Equality Bill, National Assembly Bill No. 19 of 2015. 

Sir, your Committee on Delegated Legislation was tasked by this august House to scrutinise the Bill. In that regard, allow me to inform this august House that the object of this Bill is to:

(a)    establish the Gender Equity and Equality Commission and to provide for its functions and powers;

(b)    provide for the taking of measures and making of strategic decisions in all spheres of life in order to ensure gender equity, equality and integration of both sexes in society;

(c)    promote gender equity and equality as a cross-cutting issue in all spheres of life and stimulate productive resources and development opportunities for both sexes and, by so doing, prohibit harassment, victimisation and harmful socio-cultural and religious practices;

(d)    provide for public awareness and training on issues of gender equity and equality and ensure the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women; and

(e)    empower women and achieve gender equity and equality by giving effect to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which is in line with the protocol of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) on the Rights of Women in Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development.

Sir, let me be quick to mention that your Committee supports the Bill and commends the Government for presenting it to the House. I am also glad to mention that the stakeholders who appeared before your Committee were in support of the Bill and affirmed that the decision to establish the Gender Equity and Equality Commission was long overdue. However, in supporting the Bill, both your Committee and the stakeholders expressed concern on some of the clauses. I will begin by highlighting a few stakeholder concerns.

Mr Speaker, some stakeholders raised concern on Clause 2 of the Bill, noting that although the terms ‘abusive,’ ‘violent’ and ‘degrading treatment’ had been extensively used in the Bill, they had not been defined. The stakeholders were of the view that the terms be defined to provide for more clarity and ease of interpretation of the Bill in its totality.

Mr Speaker, allow me to inform this august House that almost all the stakeholders who appeared before your Committee raised concern on some inconsistencies on the definition of a child. It was observed that in the Republican Constitution and in other Acts of Parliament, such as the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act No. 1 of 2011, and customary laws, the definition of a child ranges from fourteen to twenty-one years,  which is an anomaly. It is, therefore, proposed by the stakeholders that the definition in this Bill be harmonised with those found in other pieces of legislation and in the Republican Constitution, especially the intended Bill of Rights. 

Mr Speaker, another area that caught the attention of the stakeholders was the definition of sexual harassment in the Bill. Stakeholders are of the view that the definition should be harmonised with the provisions of Section 137(a) of the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.

Sir, upon receiving submissions from various stakeholders, and in its further scrutiny of the Bill, your Committee observed that there are some inconsistencies between the Bill and other laws in Zambia regarding issues like penalties. It also observes with great concern that Clause 3 has provided for the superiority of the Act, serve for the Republican Constitution yet, in other parts of the same Bill, the penalties proposed are less severe than those prescribed in the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia. In this regard, your Committee strongly recommends that where such inconsistencies occur, the penalties in the Bill be stiffened so that they are harmonised with those in the Penal Code.

Mr Speaker, another issue that caught the attention of your Committee was the role of the hon. Minister of Gender on the Gender Equity and Equality Commission. Your Committee observed with great concern that under Clause 5, the Bill empowers the hon. Minister to execute functions that should ordinarily be performed by the commission, yet Clause 8 of the Bill provides for the autonomy of the commission. In this regard, your Committee strongly recommends that the Bill be recast to emphasise the autonomy of the commission, and that the phrase “and as the Minister may direct” be deleted from Clause 9(2)(c).

Mr Speaker, your Committee observes that the word ‘gender’ has not been correctly defined in the Bill because the definition therein is of gender roles, not gender. Your Committee recommends that gender be defined as “the social and cultural construction of sex, such as femininity and masculinity.” 

Sir, your Committee was saddened by the inadequacy of the assistance it received from the Ministry of Gender during its deliberations on this Bill.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: The ministry had assured that it would make a second presentation on issues raised by stakeholders, but it did not make those submissions to either your Committee or the whole House.

Ms Lubezhi: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, lastly, your Committee urges this august House to pass the Bill mutatis mutandis.

Hon. Member: What does that mean?


Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, on behalf of your Committee, I thank you and the Clerk of the National Assembly for the guidance and administrative support rendered. 

Hon. Member: The official language is English. 

Mr Mwiimbu: I further thank all the stakeholders who made submissions on the Bill.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a few observations on the Bill. 

Sir, from the outset, I would like to say that the Bill is good, as it is supposed to ensure equality and equity.


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, my observation is that the result of the Government’s action to get rid of the draft Bill that was available at the ministry is beginning to show. While the Chairperson of your Committee was presenting your Committee’s report on the Bill, I went through the Bill and discovered many errors, including grammatical and typographical ones, in it. This is a reflection of some of the mistakes that had been made earlier, and I believe that the mistakes should now have been corrected. 

Mr Speaker, the Bill is rightly before the House. However, I think that there is a need to understand that we are Africans and that we need to reflect further on some of the provisions of the Bill. An example is the one on sexual harassment, which equates a mere touch with harassment.


Mr Mufalali: It is a fact that when we, Africans, interact, we touch.


Mr Mufalali: So, to call such touching sexual harassment shows that we are borrowing foreign ideas. The Patriotic Front (PF) Government must be original.

Mr Speaker: I do not know what meaning you attach to the word ‘touch’.


Mr Speaker: I am at a loss.


Mr Mufalali: Just touching, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Member: Mere touching

Mr Mufalali: Sir, I am talking about physical contact. 

Sir, even calling someone, we are told, is harassment and we may end up finding ourselves in court. We need to remember that we are Africans and that certain things are ingrained in us and we have grown up with them. Therefore, we need to live by what we have. However, now we want to import practices from other countries. For example, the Bill suggests that a man can only propose love to a woman once, which cannot happen in Africa. A man has to continue, ...


Hon. UPND Member: Until you conquer.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mufalali: … yet this Bill calls that “pestering”, and one can be charged for that. The truth is that an African woman who will accept a love proposal on the first call is not a cultured woman. An African woman must be continuously proposed to, and even when she is favourably predisposed to the proposal, she has to pretend that she is not.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mufalali: That is the African woman we know.

Hon. Members: Yes!

Mr Mufalali: Now, with this Bill, we are modifying our culture and tradition, which I think will make the enforcement of this law a challenge.

Hon. UPND Member: Yes!

Mr Mufalali: Sir, the Bill must reflect our culture, not imported cultural practices. 


Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, the Chairperson of the Committee referred to the inconsistencies in the definition of a child in our laws and the need for harmonisation. While this Bill defines a child as a person below eighteen years, another law allows a person to get married at sixteen years. In short, we are allowing children to get married. 

Mr Speaker, the other observation I have made about this Bill is that some of the issues contained in it seem to impact on the Bill of Rights. So, if the new Constitution will not be passed, it will be a challenge to implement those provisions. They will end up being put aside. 

Mr Speaker, I have also observed that this Bill has not indicated the qualifications of the Director of the Gender Equity and Equality Commission that will be created by this Bill. Why is that so when other Bills have stipulated the qualifications of the directors of quasi-governmental institutions? I do not think it will be prudent for us to allow this Bill to pass when it does not give the qualifications of the director of the commission because the qualifications are important. We cannot have a Bill that is open-ended on that aspect because in case we have a President who does not live by certain standards, he will appoint cadres to head the commission, and that will not augur well for the country. Therefore, there is a need for this Bill to stipulate the qualifications of the people who will run the commission so that it does not end up being headed by cadres. I do not believe that should be the spirit of the Bill.

Mr Speaker, I also want the commission to be autonomous. So, the hon. Minister should not be able to make decisions for it. If we really want the commission to be autonomous, we need to detach the hon. Minister from its operations. Maybe, we should even come up with another law that will stop the hon. Minister from interfering in its work. 

Mr Speaker, Clause 51 of the Bill gives the Director of the Gender Equity and Equality Commission power to arrest people who will commit offences under the Act. How can we give allow that, especially given the fact that we do not know the qualifications that the office holder will have? An unqualified director will end up arresting people for proposing love, which I think is not fair.


Mr Mufalali: Besides, we have already given the police the power to arrest people. How many Government bodies will we give the power to arrest people? There are other equally important Government bodies that have not been given powers to arrest people. Why should we give the commission this power and duplicate that responsibility? Some functions of the Police Victim Support Unit (VSU), Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act have been duplicated in this Bill. So, we need to do the right thing by synchronising the functions properly. 

Mr Speaker, I support the Gender Equity and Equality Bill. However, I hope that the observations I have made will be considered. The Bill should reflect the African spirit, not a European one. Otherwise, we are likely to be misled. We need to respect our culture and traditions because these are the things that have brought us to this level. 

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

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, I also stand to support this Bill because it is very important and long overdue. 

Mr Speaker, I have noted that many of the provisions of the Bill are very important in our endeavour to raise women to the same level as men. We have heard it stated many times that gender does not only refer to women, but the interaction between the sexes. As a nation trying to achieve gender equality, we must remember that there are some things in our culture that are good that we need to retain. We must not import too many things from the West, ...

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: ... lest some of the practices from the West end up working against the women we want to protect. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker, I think that we need to deal with the issue of sexual harassment in our African context. As the hon. Member who has just finished debating indicated, it will not be good to equate proposing love to a woman more than once to sexual harassment. Even as a woman who wants to promote the rights of my fellow women, I would argue that ...

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, pause for just a moment, please.

Hon. Members, please, let us be silent so that we give her the chance to debate. Agree or disagree with her inwardly. You are disturbing her. I know that this topic has personal ramifications, but that is not the reason for you to disturb her. 

Hon. Member for Mafinga, please, continue. 

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I was saying that even as a woman who wants to promote equal rights for women and men, I do not think that it is in our culture for women to accept a love proposal from a man the first time. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: As African women, we have been taught that men must pursue us. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! 

Ms Namugala: So, as an African woman, I expect to be pursued by a man for me to be sure that he is serious, and feel that I am attractive enough for him to come back to me three or four times. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Therefore, Sir, even as we enact these laws, we must not disadvantage our women. Certainly, if men become worried that they will commit an offence by calling or approaching women for the second time, women will be disadvantaged. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, in this Bill, there are many relevant provisions. For instance, with regard to the provision on Presidential appointments, the nomination of women, particularly to this House, leaves much to be desired. In the past, Presidents have been at liberty to nominate only men for all the eight nominated slots in Parliament. The provision in the Bill will help the President to ensure that 50 per cent of representatives in this House are women, which is good. 

Mr Speaker, there is also the issue of reproductive and sexual rights. Again, I have difficulties with that provision because it may disadvantage women. If a woman can, for instance, decide to have only two children or none at all, while the man wants more children, that will create difficulties. Yes, the woman has a right to choose, but it must be done in consultation with her husband ... 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: … because it is a marriage, and we cannot give women rights to the exclusion of the husband. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Women must be able to discuss …


Mr Speaker: Order, on my right!

Ms Namugala: … with their husbands how many children to have and when because, as I have said, they are in a marriage. 

Mr Speaker, the provision that follows the one on sexual and reproductive rights provides for a woman and her spouse to choose a family name. I am impressed that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, especially the Executive, decided to give women the right to choose the family name she wants to use. What that means is that if a woman’s family name is Banda and she marries a Mr Mulenga, she can agree with her husband that the children use either her name or his, and that the husband can also change his name from Mulenga to Banda. 


Ms Namugala:  That is the provision on family names.  Again, …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Members! 

The hon. Member is still debating. Continue.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, again, this is an import. It is something that probably happens in Sweden and other Western countries because it is normal there. Here, in Zambia, we have more serious issues that women face, such as challenges in access to economic empowerment and education, and maternal mortality. If this Bill could focus on those issues and ensure that the hon. Minister of Finance allocates resources towards the empowerment of women, through whatever body, then, we would be talking serious and real issues. If, for instance, this Bill provided for girl children to access tertiary education more than they do currently, then, we would be talking real empowerment of women. If we could also talk about women accessing health facilities that are closer to their homes and allocating resources for the provision of maternity facilities, then, we would be talking about serious things. I do not think that we should sit here and decide that a woman must be party to the decision on the family name. Neither should we sit here and decide that it is harassment for her to be touched on the shoulder. I think that a country like ours has more serious issues to worry about. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I am sure that the men will not be happy with my next point but, as I looked through this Bill, on sexual and reproductive rights, I thought that we needed to include, explicitly, marital rape. 


Ms Namugala: Sir, I said that they would not like this one. 

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, …


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, let me secure some silence for you. 

Hon. Members, let her debate. She warned you. So, let her debate. 

Hon. Member, continue.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I have been asked to define marital rape. 

Hon. Members: Yes!

Ms Namugala: It is when a woman who is married to a man is made to have sex with her husband against her will.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I need your protection. 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mafinga, I think that you need to pause until we have some silence.


Ms Namugala resumed her seat. 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, she has the right to debate, and we must respect that right. We are honourable. So, let us respect her right to debate. It is called freedom of expression. 

Hon. Member for Mafinga, let us try again.


Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I am being told that it can also be the other way round. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Of course, it can also be the other way round, but we know that, biologically, men are stronger than women. 


Ms Namugala: So, obviously, between the two, the one who is more likely to be raped is the wife. 

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: On a point of order, Sir. 

Ms Namugala: Sir, the point I am making is that …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mumbwa, I will not allow that point of order. 

Hon. Member for Mafinga, continue. 


Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, with the advent of HIV/AIDS, we know that many men hide their HIV status from their wives, but ... 

Hon. Members: Aah!

Ms Namugala: ... the wife will suspect that her husband might be sick and refuse to give him his conjugal rights. Then, the husband becomes brutal and rapes her.

Hon. Members: Aah!

Ms Namugala: As a result of this, the woman also gets infected.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, the male hon. Members of this House are not thinking ...

Mr Masumba: We are thinking.


Ms Namugala: ... about this woman in such a relationship being their sister or daughter.

Ms Siliya: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: No!

Ms Namugala: Male hon. Members, your child knows that her husband might be infected. Would you be happy for him to rape her if she refuses to sleep with him just because he is a man like you? Do you feel that you have the right to force yourselves on women just because you paid lobola?

Mr Kalaba: Yes!

Ms Namugala: Imagine your daughter ...

Kalaba: My daughter would never go there.


Ms Siliya: And your sister.

Ms Namugala: ... or your sister being in a marriage in which the husband has not been faithful, and is ill and secretly taking medication. Imagine she gets to know about that and refuses to sleep with him, but he insists because he thinks that he is entitled to having sex with her because of the lobola he paid you.

Mr Speaker, I think that ...


Mr Speaker: Order!

Ms Namugala: ... we should now turn the debate. We are not talking about our male colleagues’ wives, but about their daughters and sisters.

Mr Mbulakulima: Ali upwa, kabili.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, someone is saying, “Ali upwa, kabili.”

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Speaker: Ignore those unfortunate running commentaries.


Ms Namugala: Sir, “for better, for worse” does not mean endangering your life ... 

Ms Siliya: And the children’s.

Ms Namugala: ... and the lives of your children.

Mr Hamududu: Hammer!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I thought that this Bill would deal with this matter because it is a real threat to the safety of women. This is what many women have to go through. They cannot leave their husbands because they are not economically independent. These are the kinds of issues we needed to deal with because they are real.

Sir, like I said, when we make laws, we must make sure that they are practical, implementable and non-duplicative of any existing one. I have also said that many of the provisions in this Bill have been imported from outside our traditional norms. So, yes, we argue that many of the practices in our culture disadvantage women, but there are equally many very good practices.

Mr Speaker, wish those words, I support this Bill.
I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, from the outset, like previous debaters, I wholeheartedly support this Bill. In fact, it is long overdue. There could be some details that need review, like my colleagues have pointed out, but we must not throw the baby away with the bath water. There are more good things in this Bill than the few bad elements being discussed here. Perhaps, a little cleaning can be done but, by and large, this is a very progressive Bill.

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Hamududu: Sir, this debate makes me see why women say that we should have 50/50 representation in the House.

Ms Siliya: Yes!

Mr Hamududu: Other countries have made progress on that aspect, and I support that provision.

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Hamududu: Perhaps, women need to speak for themselves. They cannot be outnumbered if we do not want to have a one-sided view. I want to say that ...


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Hamududu: You have a mother.

Mr Speaker: That is my business, hon. Member. I will deal with it.

Mr Hamududu: No, Sir, I am not reacting to the hecklers, but just speaking generally. They all have mothers and sisters ...

Hon. Members: Sit down!

Mr Hamududu: Oh, I must sit down?


Mr Speaker: We need to make progress, hon. Members. Let the hon. Members debate in silence. It is a simple rule. It is very practical and advantageous, for that matter. I know that there are personal rights involved, but let us still be objective. 


Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, in Africa, poverty has a feminine face because of gender inequality. The economy could be growing at 12 per cent, but we still have poverty, high infant and maternal mortality, and malnutrition because the real solution lies in an empowered woman and a woman who is not discriminated against. 

Sir, women are close to the health of the child. Therefore, safeguarding child health can only be achieved with an empowered woman. Equally, it is a woman who gives nutrition to a child. Therefore, when you empower a woman, you deal with poverty because the poverty indicators are closer to women than they are to men.

Sir, women carry us for nine months and what they feed us determines what we become. From conception, a woman begins to take care of us. They are life carriers and, for that reason, they should be more favoured. The scale must tilt towards them if we are to fight poverty, and that is what other countries have done. So, if Zambia wants to continue in tradition, then, we will continue wallowing in poverty, our children will continue dying from preventable diseases and malnutrition while our women will continue dying while giving life. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) paints a despicable picture of our situation, and the Bill is a platform on which we can begin to address these issues more vigorously. 

Mr Speaker, there was a report by your Committee about under-age pregnancy and marriage. Some called it child ... Is it child pregnancy?

Hon. Members: Teenage pregnancy. 

Mr Hamududu: Yes, teenage pregnancy, but it is not even teenage pregnancy. It is illegal pregnancy, and illegal marriage. These are cases of criminals preying on young people. Again, this Bill is a platform that we can use to address such issues. For example, we should have been talking about raising the age of consent for marriage to twenty-one. Can we marry our own children off at eighteen or is it okay just because it is other people’s children, not ours? We tell our children that they are too young to marry at that age, yet we want to allow other people’s children to do so. we are not leaders for our daughters alone, but also for all children in this country.

Mr Speaker, we cannot use traditions that have brought so much poverty to defend wrong things. Not everything about tradition is good. Why are we wearing suits when we used to wear loincloths? 

Hon. Member: Vikumba.

Hon. UPND Member: Allow it.

Mr Hamududu: This is progress. We live in a global village and can pick the good things and leave the bad ones, as long as we make progress in the process. Neither religion nor tradition should be used to discriminate against women. Even in the Bible, Jesus refused to condemn the woman who was caught in adultery because the crowd that took her to Him did not take the woman along. Jesus told them that a person could not commit adultery alone and told them to get out.


Hon. Member: No!

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, yes, that is in the Bible. How can they say someone has been caught red-handed committing adultery when there is only one person? 

Sir, a reading of many books will show us that society must begin to progress, and this Bill is a good platform for that. 

Mr Speaker, two of the objects of this Bill are:  

“(b)    to provide for the taking of measures and making of strategic decisions in all spheres of life in order to ensure gender equity, equality and integration of both of both sexes in society;

(c)    promote gender equity and equality as a cross cutting issue in all spheres of life and stimulate productive resources and development opportunities for both sexes.”

Sir, we need a platform on which to begin to whip the different agencies to speak to this intention. This is also an avenue through which the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund (CEEF) under the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, and the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) under the Ministry of Agriculture should cater for both sexes on a 50/50 basis. It is in the programming that women are actually empowered. One day I will bring to this House a list of poverty indicators. 

Sir, dealing with inequality in society, especially that which disadvantages women, and empowering women is not only the right thing to do, but it is also the quickest way to socio-economic development. That has been proven by researchers. It is not just about politics. This economy has been growing at over 5 per cent, which is good. Even currently, it is growing at a reasonable pace, yet poverty is increasing. Is it inelastic? The reason is that we are not investing in the right things one of which is the elimination of inequality and empowering women so that the children do not die. Our children are privileged, yes, but if they went to Kalikiliki, Shang’ombo or the shores of Lake Tanganyika, today, they would be shocked to see how their fellow Zambians are dying of malnutrition and preventable diseases. They do not own anything, yet they are the ones who give care. Who is more important between a man and a woman? It is a woman.


Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, women bring forth life. The men are here today because of women. If their mothers had been disempowered, today, they would be physically stunted and mentally disfigured.


Mr Hamududu: Their mothers fed them while they did not even know what was happening yet, now, they want to deny women what they deserve. The mothers carried them in their wombs for nine months. Oh, my goodness!


Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, it is better that no human being be disempowered.  If people are born to be disempowered, then, they should not even be born in the first place. No one should be born for suffering. 

Mr Speaker, my colleagues have pointed out some things they want cleaned up in the Bill, and I understand them. However, the main issues are still valid and very important for us to move our people out of poverty. 

Sir, the Chairperson of the Committee referred to the Gender Equity and Equality Commission, which is very important. 

Sir, the placement of the commission is an issue we discussed even when we met as stakeholders and we agreed that the commission needed to be given the right political clout. It needs to be above the implementing ministries for the same reasons we advanced when debating the Ministry of National Planning. The commission should be able to whip the ministries into gender mainstreaming. If the issue at hand is about women in agriculture, the commission should have authority over the Ministry of Agriculture. Otherwise, it will be a toothless bulldog. Therefore, the placement of the commission in the Bill needs to be revisited. In fact, it has been observed in this House that the Ministry of Gender is not an implementing ministry, but a policy one because issues of gender are multi-sectoral. They cut across the ministries of Health; Commerce, Trade and Industry; and Agriculture. Even the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must have 50 per cent women employs. I think that they will be good at receiving politicians at airports because they are more caring.


Mr Hamududu: Sir, women everywhere are fighting for their rights. It is only in this country where things are lagging behind on this aspect. Even in representation, women are under-served. However, once we have passed this law, it will force all of us, including political players, to give space to women. Eventually, some of us may have to step back so that women can come on board. In Namibia, 49 per cent of women representation in Parliament was achieved with one election, which is good for the country’s profile. In this House, women are outnumbered. Consequently, their issues easily fall off the agenda despite being very dear because many of our men are still trapped in our tradition.  

Sir, let me comment on the issue that was raised by Hon. Namugala, that of men hiding their HIV status from their wives. If my wife wants to know my status before we go to bed, I must obey because I do not own her. It is her life. Even the people who go to church do not own their wives. Women are human beings who were made in the image of God. They are not men’s property. If lobola is an issue, then, we must abolish it because a human being cannot be bought. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Can any of us sell our daughters? 


Mr Hamududu: Yes, a person can go and get tested for HIV and, if found positive, have sex with a condom. It is as simple as that. Why would someone want to kill a fellow human being? Those who are killing people while hiding in tradition are murderers. If people do not want to talk about condoms because they want to follow tradition, then, they are wrong. If they are positive, they can have sex using a condom and keep their marriage. Those who know they are positive, but want to have unprotected sex are murderers, and we should help men and women to stop being murderers. I can also ask a woman to go and be tested and, if she is positive, then, I will have sex using a condom so that I do not infect myself. I know that my children still need me and my wife. So, these issues are real and we must embrace modernity. 


Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, by the way, when we were campaigning in Lubansenshi, I cried when I saw some children who looked malnourished. When I asked the villagers whether they thought the children have a future they replied in the negative. How can we, the leaders, not do something to improve the welfare of our people? It is not right to see such things happen in this country. This Bill makes it possible for us to talk about reproductive health and condoms, which is important because some of the children were unplanned for. In some cases, some just want to experiment with sex, but ended up having children. 


Mr Hamududu: Sir, I am not saying that people should not have children, but that they should plan their families. If they want to have twenty children, let them agree with their wives to do so until the wives die on the delivery beds.


Mr Hamududu: That is their own problem. The important thing is that families are planned. The advocates of these things are accused of copying foreign practices, but ...

Mr Kalaba interjected.

Mr Hamududu: You agree me? 

Mr Speaker: No, you will only speak through the Speaker.

Mr Mwiimbu: That one has no wife.


Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, finally, let me just read a few …


Mr Hamududu: Sir, tonight, I think I will also cry when I ...


Mr Speaker: Please, complete your debate.

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, the main point I want to leave with this House is that, when this Bill is passed, we will have a platform on which to address the many ills that affect our people. This law is a good beginning. 

Sir, Hon. Likando Mufalali talked about the marriage age for girls. If we say that girls should be married at eighteen years, all the other laws must be upgraded to be in line with that provision. That observation actually implies that all legislation should be cleaned up and harmonised with the spirit of this progressive law. The other smaller details should merely be pointed out and cleaned up without affecting the main thrust of this very important law.

Mr Speaker, with those few words, I wholeheartedly support this Bill and hope that Parliament will really stand up to support it when we vote. 


Mr Hamududu: Sir, for me, I will just lift my hands.

I thank you, Sir.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for this opportunity to lend my words to this very important Bill. 

Sir, I …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I had just thanked you for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the debate on this very important Bill. 

Sir, from the outset, I would like to state that, as a country, …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: … we are, as per the objective of this Bill, eliminating all forms of discrimination against women, empowering women and achieving gender equity and equality by domesticating the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) on the Rights of Women in Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development. This is a very good platform but, in domesticating these conventions, clearly, we must take into account our cultural and traditional setting. I agree that laws must govern our conduct in a democratic State. However, in my opinion, the thrust of this Bill seems to partly address rights enshrined in our Constitution under the Bill of Rights, that is, socio-economic and cultural rights. Seeing as we are yet to consider the amendment of our Constitution on which, granted, a Bill has been presented to the House, we seem to be putting the cart before the horse. 

Mr Speaker, I note that the general thrust of the Bill is that of ending discrimination, and promoting the rights of women, girls and men. However, there are certain issues that worry me. For example, Article 20 of the Bill addresses the right to nationality and gives a woman an equal right with a man to acquire, change or retain her nationality. I wondered what would happen if a woman, having been married for whatever length of time, suddenly decided to change her nationality, say, from being Zambian to being Malawian. What would be the meaning of that? Surely, such drastic decisions can only be arrived at through negotiation. Could it be a situation in which something has gone wrong between the couple and the woman says that it is her right to change her nationality without agreeing with her spouse? We need an explanation on this. This brings me to the major point in terms of our laws.

Sir, we can make a very good law but, as long as the men and women who administer it have not bought into its spirit, that law will just be on paper. If we are not careful, when this Bill becomes an Act and is not married to the supreme law of our land, the Constitution, it will just remain on the shelves. I agree that the Gender Equity and Equality Commission will probably advocate for the rights of women, girls and boys to education, health services and economic empowerment. However, should it be in the Ministry of Gender or part of the Ministry of Development Planning? If it were in the Ministry of Development Planning, it would ensure that the programmes mooted by the Executive fulfil those basic rights because, as it has already been stated, gender is a cross-cutting issue. Would it be duplication …


Mr Speaker: Order on my right!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: … if the policy arose from the commission, yet the overall national planning lies in the Ministry of Development Planning, which is superintended by Her Honour the Vice-President? I think we need to address that aspect.
Mr Speaker, on the issue of reproductive health, I want to say that, in our rural constituencies, most young girls are abused. As this Bill proposes, there has to be a concerted effort to sensitise our traditional leaders against the practices of marrying off girls at a very early age. However, in so doing, it brings us to the point of formulating programmes that, for instance, in education, would compel a young girl to remain in school beyond Grade 6 because of role models, such as teachers and nurses, in a particular locality. In the absence of role models, education is an exercise in futility and the young girls are not motivated to go beyond a certain level. So, we can have all these ideas and intentions, but they will not be achieved if they are not anchored on actual programmes. We need to have equity and equality in, for instance, the number of teachers in a particular school so that they can serve as role models for young people. Otherwise, after ten or fifteen years, posterity will say, “Yes, you passed these laws, but what did you achieve?” So, I hope that, as we pass this Act, these issues will be taken into account.

Mr Speaker, I agree that sexual and reproductive health is a very important ingredient in our socio-economic development. People should be educated on when to have children and the facilities available to them. However, all these things take us back to the question of how seriously we are in implementing appropriate programmes in the ministries of Health, General Education, and Local Government and Housing so that women can be given an opportunity to advance themselves instead of spending most of their time fetching water. In some instances, they wake up at 0500 hours, walk to the borehole and queue up there for three hours and, when they get back home, they have to see to it that the children go to school and fetch firewood to prepare meals. What time do such women have to themselves? None! So, they have no time to advance themselves unless we decide that enough is enough and get our womenfolk to substantially participate in economic activities through positive discrimination. There have been suggestions that a quarter or half of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) be dedicated to bringing women to the same economic level as men, and we can monitor the product of such a programme.

Sir, again, let me say that this Bill is good, but I have a comment on the issue of marital rape. As I already said, we can have a law to prevent it, but more important is the tradition that goes before marriage. The respect of a woman or a wife and the teaching that both men and women receive before marrying are what will eliminate or minimise the so-called marital rape. Obviously, I would not be happy for my daughter to be raped, if that is the thrust. In fact, I cannot support any man forcing himself on his wife. However, in the first place, in marriage, we leave our fathers and mothers and go into a union. So, if there are issues of marital rape, it is because there has been a breakdown in communication. Therefore, the thrust of our sensitisation must be on what our culture and tradition say about marriage and issues of family planning. Even if our land and forests have been depleted, our forefathers used to undertake journeys after a baby was born as a means of family planning and to give the wife time to recover from childbirth. That was a form of family planning. Nowadays, those things are no longer done. There are modern family planning methods, but our young ladies must not take these pills behind their husbands’ backs. They have to sit down with their husbands and agree that they are not able to look after a given number of children. We cannot legislate on those matters and say that we are advocating for rights.

 Mr Speaker, many of the points have been articulated by my colleagues, but I thought that I could just add that, indeed, this is a good platform, but we should go beyond just making laws to transforming our thinking and behaviour because our thoughts are the ones that manifest themselves into our behaviour. So, our thoughts are the ones we should always strive to change.

Mr Speaker, I thank.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I think you for giving me the opportunity to wind up debate on this important matter.

Sir, I was getting worried at the start of our debate that we seemed to be trivialising issues, but we got back on track and started seriously discussing the issues that are raised in this Bill. This is a very progressive Bill and I am grateful to all those who have supported it.

Mr Speaker, your Committee raised very valid points that we should take into account. One of the concerns of your Committee was on the definition of sexual harassment.

 Sir, it is very important for the House to note that the definition adopted in this Bill is derived from the CEDAW, which we are trying to domesticate. In fact, most of the definitions we used are in line with that convention. It was important for us to clearly define sexual harassment the way we did regardless of our feelings and our cultural context. 

Sir, let me answer those who think that this law is there to victimise men, that it does not work for them and that even women will really find it hard to accept it. I want to say that the advances that we are talking about in this Bill are those that are clearly harassing in nature. Let me cite the section that gives the definition:

“Engaging in conduct that induces in a person the fear of imminent harm or feelings of annoyance and aggravation, and includes ―

(a)    sexual harassment;

(b)    psychological harassment;

(c)    making persistent, unwelcome, non-consensual communication or contact with a person, including ―

(i)    following, pursuing or accosting the person;

(ii)    watching, loitering outside or near a building where the person resides, works or carries on business, studies or happens to be, ...”

Sir, the list goes on.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, we are talking about somebody harassing and inducing fear in another, not somebody making genuine advances. These things happen in our society. In towns, it might be very difficult to believe that it is happening because if you talk to some girls, they may seem to be receptive and will smile back at you. Maybe, that is normal. In the rural areas, however, rich people take advantage of their status in society to abuse young girls. Some men drink an overdose of mutototo …


Mr Speaker: What is mutototo, hon. Minister?

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, mutototo is a herbal concoction that men, especially in the Eastern part of this country, drink to enhance their sexual energy. There is another one called mwanya aniche. As is evident from the term, …

Mr Speaker: I did not ask for you to volunteer for many more.

 Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, would you believe that the term means that once one … 

 Hon. Members: Aah!

 Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mwale: … drinks it, the little girls will be in trouble.


Mr Mwale: Sir, these are some of the things that should not be condoned in our society because we are talking about young girls who are powerless and people who use money, social status or other things to impose themselves on them. Unfortunately, sometimes, these are the people that society wants to protect. So, we need to protect the young people. We are not concerned with people who are in agreement and both love the interaction between them and are able to talk to each other. We are trying to defend the vulnerable in society. So, I would find it very disturbing if even ladies did not welcome this kind of protection. I am sure that most of them would want it. If some do not need it, somebody else in society does.

Mr Speaker, we agree with your Committee’s observations on the autonomy of the commission, which is very important. Let me explain that this anomaly is due to the fact that when we were engaged in consultations, at some point, some people thought that the commission was not necessary. Therefore, the word ‘commission’ was replaced with ‘ministry’ or ‘minister’ in some sections. So, when the commission was reintroduced into the document after further consultation, we forgot to erase ‘ministry’. So, we concede that we need to move amendments on that.

Sir, on the qualifications of the director of the commission, we agreed that he or she must have a minimum qualification of a degree in economics, development studies, relevant social sciences or any experience in such other field as may be considered relevant to the provisions of the Bill. Again, I assure the House that we will move the necessary amendments to the Bill to include this aspect.

Mr Speaker, the issue raised by your Committee regarding the harmonisation of penalties is very important. So, we will insert the penalty clauses in the Bill and harmonise the penalties. I agree with the Committee that we had some challenges when drafting this Bill with the Ministry of Justice.

Sir, another important issue raised is the definition of the child. We have settled for the definition of the child as a person below the age of eighteen so as to harmonise the Bill with other legal provisions. I think that the CRC defines the child similarly. So, we will harmonise the definitions in all legislation in this country.

Mr Speaker, many things have been said concerning this Bill. Hon. Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo wondered what the reasoning behind giving a woman the right to choose her nationality was. I think the issue of a woman’s nationality is important because when you look at the provision in this Bill, it does not relate to married women only, but all women. A woman should have the right to choose her nationality. Nobody should force his wife to change his nationality so that she becomes a Zambian. Married or not, a woman should be given the right to choose her nationality

Sir, let me now talk about sexual and reproductive health rights. Hon. Namugala talked about women having the right to decide the number of children she wants to have. This Bill provides for unmarried women to choose the number of children they want to have. Further, in Section 22, which is on marriage and family life, the Bill states that a woman has, on equal basis with a man, the power to decide and act on all matters relating to marriage and family life. So, she will not enjoy this right in isolation, but on an equal basis with the husband. She will not decide alone how many children she would like to have, but will discuss with her husband, which is only fair because we have seen situations in our society in which women have been made to have ten children and later dumped by their men and ended up suffering with their ten children. The man simply walks away to marry another woman because he has the financial muscle to do so. I think that it is not fair that we have allowed this to happen in our society for such a long time. This generation must begin to think ahead and change some of our traditional practices.

Mr Speaker, giving birth is a matter of life and death for a woman. So, she must have the right to decide the number of children she would like to have. I worked for Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) before becoming a Member of Parliament. Under PPAZ, we introduced family planning in the Eastern Province. So, I know that the first people to resist family planning were not women, but men. They actually questioned why we were introducing birth control methods to their wives without their consent. Fortunately, the women saw the need to control or plan their families while the men did not care. The women cared because they are the ones who go to the hospital and they carry the child in the womb during pregnancy. Therefore, they are stakeholders and must have equal rights with men to freely choose how many children they want to have. So, this is a very important and progressive Bill that should be supported by all, including men.

Sir, on the issue of marital rape, I want to say that no normal man would love to have sex with a woman or his wife without her consent. We, the men, are not monsters, but loving human beings who love to have sex with our wives when they want to. We do not like forcing ourselves on them. I do not want to put myself in that position of being a monster because that is not what I am. We want to have sex with people who want to have sex with us, not to force ourselves on them, and I know that all real men feel this way. 

Sir, I could go on and on, but I just want to say that I am very proud to have acted as Minister of Gender at the time of passing this legislation. This Bill is progressive and historic.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Masumba: Expert.

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

Committed to a committee of the Whole House.

Committee on Wednesday, 18th November, 2015.



THE EMPLOYMENT (Amendment) BILL, 2015

Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

CLAUSE 2 – (Amendment to Section 3).

The Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Shamenda): Mr Chairperson, I beg to move an amendment in Clause 2:

(a)    on page 3 in line 16 by the deletion of the word ‘remuneration’ and the substitution therefor of the word ‘wages’; and

(b)    on page 6: 

(i)    after line 21 by the insertion of the following definition:

‘“micro business enterprise’ has the meaning assigned to it in the Zambia Development Agency Act”; and

(ii)    after line 33 by the insertion of the following definition:

‘“small business enterprise’ has the meaning assigned to it in the Zambia Development Agency Act, 2006.”

Amendment agreed to. Clause amended accordingly.

Clause 2, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

CLAUSE 3 – (Insertion of Section 12A).

Mr Shamenda: Mr Chairperson, I beg to move an amendment on page 7 in Clause 3, lines 31 to 32 by the deletion of the words “an undertaking that employs ten or less than ten employees” and the substitution therefor of the words “a micro or small business enterprise”.

Amendment agreed to. Clause amended accordingly.

Clause 3, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

CLAUSE 5 – (Amendment of section 36).

Mr Shamenda: Mr Chairperson, I beg to move an amendment on page 9, in Clause 5:

(i)    in lines 14 to 15 by the deletion of paragraph (4) and the substitution therefor of the following: 

(4) Reasons that are not valid for termination of contracts include –

(ii)    in line 32 by the deletion of paragraph (e) and the substitution therefor of the following: 

(e) absence from work during leave or a rest period in accordance with a written law.

Amendment agreed to. Clause amended accordingly.

Clause 5, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Title agreed to.



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

The following Bill was reported to the House as having passed through Committee with amendments:

The Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

Report Stage on Friday, 13th November, 2015.




(Debate resumed)

VOTE 17 – (Ministry of Foreign Affairs – K679,911,344).

The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mr Kalaba): Mr Chairperson, as the world celebrates seventy years of the existence of the United Nations (UN) this year, it is imperative that we look back with a sense of contentment on the progress that we have made as a people. Our journey as individual States might be singular, but our destiny is shared. More and more, humanity is focusing on the convergences rather than the divergences. 

Sir, while peace is being advocated across the globe, some parts of the world have remained starkly unsafe. However, this has not deterred governments from seeking the very best for their peoples, including the emancipation of women as propagated twenty years ago during the Beijing Platform of Action. 

Sir, Africa, as a continent, has continued to realise its potential every day, while our very own Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region is placing emphasis on industrialisation as the key to economic emancipation. It is our dream, as the African Union (AU), to be able to process our raw materials ably and export finished products to the outside world by 2063. It is in this context that I have this unique honour and privilege to make my ministry’s 2016 budget policy statement to this august House. 

From the outset, Sir, allow me to congratulate His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, on delivering his maiden Speech during the Official Opening of the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly after he took over as Zambia’s sixth Republican President in January this year.

Mr Chairperson, let me also take this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude for the invaluable support this House continues to render to my ministry as it carries out its task of articulating Zambia’s foreign policy. You will recall that our foreign policy is anchored on promoting and protecting Zambia’s interests as well as maintaining good international relations in order to contribute to sustainable national development. Further, our foreign policy was revised last year with a view to reasserting our influence on the international arena in pursuit of economic diplomacy while placing equal emphasis on peace-building, conflict-resolution and preventive diplomacy. In tandem with the global shift to economic diplomacy, it is a known fact that a secure and stable environment is a prerequisite to the promotion of investor confidence and forging of strategic economic partnerships for the benefit of the country.

Mr Chairperson, in line with one of the objectives of our country’s revised foreign policy, which is to promote international peace, I reassure this House that Zambia will continue to play a strategic role in the promotion of peace and security, and to support all efforts aimed at contributing to lasting peace and security in the region, on the continent and in the world at large. This has been evidenced by our proactive role and participation, under regional and international organisations, such as SADC, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the AU and the UN, in various activities aimed at maintaining peace and security.

Mr Chairperson, as you are aware, warm and cordial relations provide impetus for enhanced economic co-operation between countries. In this regard, Zambia must continue to foster good and friendly ties with her neighbours and other nations at both the bilateral and multilateral levels on the basis of mutual understanding and common interest. We must also uphold the principle of peaceful co-existence among States. As such, the ministry will continue to pursue our policy of safeguarding Zambia’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national dignity. The ministry, in pursuing closer co-operation will, therefore, maximise on all opportunities to advance Zambia’s interests in line with our foreign policy. This will be done to accelerate the realisation of the national development agenda.

Mr Chairperson, in the execution of our foreign policy, the ministry will promote bilateral co-operation, region integration and multilateral co-operation through various frameworks. These include joint permanent commissions (JPCs), strategic partnerships, such as the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) and India-Africa Forum (IAF). The ministry will, therefore, take full advantage of Zambia’s membership in various international organisations to further her national interests.

In addition, Sir, Zambia will maximise the benefits of its membership in regional and international bodies by lobbying and campaigning for placement of suitably-qualified Zambian nationals into those bodies. It is imperative that our country is well-positioned in the international community as a strategically-located investment hub that could harness the wider COMESA-SADC-East African Community (EAC) tripartite market, which is made up of more than 600 million people. In this regard, my ministry stands ready to work with all key stakeholders in bolstering this advantageous position for the prosperity of our great country.

Mr Chairperson, the diplomatic corps accredited to the Republic of Zambia contribute towards building the country’s relations with their countries, thereby facilitating enhanced bilateral, regional and multilateral co-operation. The resident missions allow for more regular and time-bound contact with relevant Government departments and other key players in the development agenda. It is for this reason that my ministry will make more effort to attract the physical representation of more countries in Zambia.

Sir, in order to improve the co-ordination of the diplomatic corps, my ministry will launch the “Revised Guidelines for the Diplomatic Corps on Protocol, Procedure and Privileges and Immunities in the Republic of Zambia” next year. The guidelines, known as vade mecum, will provide clarity on various issues on the welfare and operations of diplomats accredited to the Republic of Zambia in order to enhance their representation as we seek to forge stronger ties with other countries.

Mr Chairperson, in recognition of the importance of Zambians in the Diaspora and their invaluable contribution to the development of the country, the ministry held a successful National Indaba as one of the steps towards the finalisation of the Diaspora Policy. It is our intention to launch the policy before the end of the year in order to integrate the Zambian Diaspora in the development of the country by creating a framework and platform for its effective participation.

Mr Chairperson, in order to cut down on the colossal amounts of money spent on office and staff accommodation in our missions abroad, my ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, will commence the process of purchasing and constructing properties through mortgage financing next year. This will be done in a phased and meticulous approach to ensure that the mortgages are correctly obtained and the financing acquired is used for its intended purpose. 

Sir, under the Infrastructure Management Programme, the ministry will continue the rehabilitation of infrastructure, which will be monitored through regular mission inspections. The ministry will also put in place a sustainable maintenance regime to prevent our properties from falling into dilapidation.

Mr Chairperson, as hon. Members will recall that His Excellency the President, in his Speech to this House during the Official Opening of Parliament on 18th September, 2015, stated that in order to effectively implement the country’s foreign policy, the PF Government remained committed to developing a professional Foreign Service manned by officers with the necessary expertise and a strong sense of patriotism. To this effect, I am pleased to inform this august House that my ministry will, in due course, present before this House the Foreign Service Bill. The Bill is primarily intended to establish a career Foreign Service, which will greatly improve the performance of Zambian missions and elevate their operational standards to match international best practices and enable the country to derive maximum benefits for its people.
Mr Chairperson, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is mandated with the management, co-ordination and facilitation of all mine action activities. This mandate was born out of the need to deal with the effects of landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERWs) left behind by retreating armies of the liberation struggle in the region. Although the landmines have largely been cleared and Zambia was declared mine-free, a lasting legacy of maimed civilians has remained. The ministry, in collaboration with stakeholder ministries, is also mandated to assist survivors of landmines and ERWs. As proof of the importance he attaches to this matter, earlier this year, His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, made history by becoming the first Republican President to meet survivors of landmines and ERWs drawn from all the affected provinces of Zambia in Kaleni, Ikeleng’i District. That was a demonstration of the PF Government’s commitment to responding to the plight of survivors of landmines and ERWs.

Additionally, being a promoter of peace in the region and beyond, Zambia has been recognised as one of the key players in the promotion of the Convention on Cluster Munitions since its inception in 2008. This year, Zambia was elected Vice-President and co-ordinator for universalisation during the First Review Conference of the convention in Croatia in September, 2015.

Mr Chairperson, allow me to re-emphasise the need for Zambia to strategically position herself on the international arena in order to effectively respond to the changing global political and economic landscape. My ministry is supremely confident that with the measure I have outlined, the country will gain greater prominence on the international stage, which will greatly help in the pursuit of our national interests abroad for the benefit of our people.

Mr Chairperson, let me end by pledging my ministry’s commitment to executing its mandate of effectively promoting and protecting Zambia’s interests in order to contribute to sustainable national development. I assure the House that my ministry will continue to play an effective and efficient role of contributing to Zambia’s development agenda.

Mr Chairperson, with those few remarks, I urge the hon. Members to support my ministry’s budget.

Mr Chairperson, may God bless our motherland.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Chairperson, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Vote for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

From the outset, Sir, let me appreciate the hon. Minister’s statement, which has outlined the measures that he has taken to ensure that the ministry and our diplomats across the globe execute their mandates effectively.

Mr Chairperson, although the hon. Minister has requested us to support his ministry’s Vote, I would like to state that the money is not enough for him to carry out his duties effectively. 

Sir, the image of the country is reflected by the people who represent us in foreign countries. When you look at the money that we have allocated to the ministry and consider the fact that the figures are in kwacha, you will realise that their value is not equivalent to what will be sent to the missions abroad. As such, I request the hon. Minister of Finance to adequately fund our missions abroad through the contingency fund in order to maintain the integrity of this nation. Otherwise, we will be embarrassed when our officials start being evicted from their rented premises for failing to pay rentals. In this regard, let me also say that the decision by the Government to start the process of constructing chanceries and residences for our missions abroad through mortgages next year is very commendable because we are spending colossal sums of money on rentals. However, I would like to advise that we start with the missions that are the most important to our strategic interests and attach those that we feel are not very important necessary to other missions so that we save money. We should not just build everywhere around the world for the sake of doing it. It is not necessary to have several missions when we cannot afford to run them. For example, some of the cars that our diplomats drive are in a very bad condition. It is embarrassing that our diplomats drive indecent cars when their colleagues from other countries drive very good cars. Other people can tell how poor we are by looking at the car that our diplomats drive. So, it is important that we look after the people in our missions abroad well.
Mr Chairperson, the President has talked about the training of career diplomats and the hon. Minister also talked about presenting to this House a Bill on the same. That will be very good because it is important that we have career or professional diplomats. The practice of recalling people each time there is a change of Government is unnecessary and costs us colossal sums of money. Our diplomats are supposed to be civil servants who should serve Mother Zambia in the Foreign Service until they retire. Currently, each time there is a change of Government, we send into the Foreign Service people who have only been trained in diplomatic practice for a month, which is not enough. We should go back to training our prospective diplomats for a minimum of six months, which is a little more adequate training. The inadequate training of our diplomatic staff has resulted in the conduct of some diplomats being pathetic. One of the results of a non-professional Foreign Service is that of hon. Ministers having to travel unnecessarily to perform some diplomatic roles that could be executed by our diplomats in the host countries. We could save resources if our diplomats were in a position to ably represent us. 

Sir, I stated on the Floor of this House that I once attended a meeting whose delegates were all diplomats. I was the only Minister and that was embarrassing. However, it was necessary for me to attend that meeting because our diplomats were not very knowledgeable about the issues that were to be discussed.

Hon Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary (PS) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must not be a political appointee who is relieved of his position when there is a change of Government. Just as we should have career diplomats, we should also have career PSs. The job should be permanent, like its name suggests. The frequent change of personnel takes away from institutional memory. The PS is supposed to be in his position long enough to know the performance of the officers in the various missions. 

Mr Chairperson, during consideration of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report, we always come across very bad audit reports on funds in foreign missions. That is because of the high turnover in the Office of the PS. Therefore, having PSs with permanent tenures will save us a lot of resources because the rampant abuse of public funds in Foreign Missions would be reduced. Sometimes, staff in the Foreign Service take advantage of the high turnover of PSs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Sometimes, people are appointed PSs at the young age of forty-five and, for whatever political reasons, they differ with the hon. Ministers and are reported to the President, and the President replaces them. I think that is retrogressive. So, I propose that the Bill that the hon. Minister will present to this House should not only call for the introduction of career diplomacy, but also secure the tenure of the Office of the PS in this ministry. A PS in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be different from those in all the other ministries. 

Mr Speaker, one of the reasons we should safeguard the position of the PS in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is that the office holders are always interacting with diplomats accredited to Zambia. So, they need to have the right qualifications to handle the diplomats accredited to Zambia well. 

Sir, our diplomats abroad should also be able to solve the problems we face in the country. For example, our diplomat in China should have been able to engage with the Chinese Government over the imminent closure of Chinese-owned mines in Zambia to save the jobs of our people here, in Zambia. Equally, our diplomat in India, where Vedanta Limited is headquartered, should have been able to engage the company in an effort to save jobs in Zambia. The authority of the branch chief executive officers (CEOs) of the multinational corporations based in Zambia is limited. So, it would be much more effective for our diplomats to engage the more senior officers in the countries where the companies are headquartered to resolve issues being faced in Zambia. Therefore, we must send adequately qualified people into the Foreign Service. They are the image-bearers of the nation. 

Mr Chairperson, we should not even question the funds allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Yellow Book because they are, in fact, not enough. If you asked the hon. Minister how much money he has sent to our foreign missions after the kwacha lost value, you would be told that the money is more than what was originally allocated. For that reason, I propose that the budget for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be reflected in foreign currency because the money sent to our missions is equally in foreign currency. Why should we maintain the Zambian kwacha in the books? This ministry should be treated differently from other ministries because it is the anchor of development in Zambia. However, we do not give it the priority it deserves. Actually, the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs is more like a President because he knows everything that happens in other countries. Therefore, it is important for us to give more funds to the ministry.

Mr Chairperson, the price of fertiliser is very high in Zambia today and, as a result, we will have less yields of maize next year because very few people will grow it. However, do we know the price at which the companies that supply fertiliser to us buy it from abroad? Can we not use our diplomats abroad to engage the companies that produce fertiliser so that we can access it cheaply, as opposed to buying it from the middlemen in this country, who are exploiting us? Let us make use of our diplomats. In that regard, we should appoint professionals as Trade Attachés, not people who do not understand the demands of their jobs. For example, we should not send a person to be a Trade Attaché for agriculture who does not understand anything in that field. Furthermore, the Foreign Service should not be a resting place for people who have failed to win elections in the country, but a place where people go to work for Mother Zambia and bring value to our country. 

Mr Chairperson, I am also very passionate about the dilapidated infrastructure in our missions abroad. For instance, in Zimbabwe, Zambia has many houses, most of which are not even occupied. However, we cannot put tenants in those houses because of international conventions. So, there should be a way to get value from such infrastructure. Let us do something about the properties we have in Zimbabwe. In Mozambique, we had been given some houses, but they have been repossessed because we did not have proper documentation for them.  

The Deputy Chairperson: Order, Hon. Namulambe! You have run out of time.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Chairperson, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to support this Vote. 

Mr Chairperson, in supporting this Vote, the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs talked about the achievements of his ministry at the United Nations (UN). In that regard, I would like to see African countries given the respect they deserve on the international stage. The West says that Africans are lazy people who only want to reproduce. What those people do not understand is that God endowed us with the many resources that have made the Western countries to be what they are today. The history of the West is that of plunder and ... What is the parliamentary word for theft? The West has plundered our resources and, today, we are going back to France, Britain and the Americas to ask for the same resources that were plundered from our territories. Our voice is not heard in the world because Western countries think that we are poor, yet we are not. 

Mr Chairperson, the United States of America and Britain asked for reparations for the atrocities that were perpetrated on their countries by the Germans in the First World War and the Second World War. So, when we go to the UN, we should also be heard. Let us not be cowards just because the Western countries dangle carrots in our faces. Their economies were built using our resources and we can trace those resources because history has showed us who came to get our gold and other minerals. Look at the Federation of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Where did the money from those areas go? Did it help the people of Zambia, Zimbabwe or Malawi? No. It went to help Her Majesty the Queen of England. So, she is the biggest plunderer. 


Mr Shakafuswa: So, we need to stand up, as a continent, and say, “We are not poor. Our resources were stolen.” At the end of it all, we have to claim what is ours. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Chairperson, today, African leaders are being prosecuted at The Hague. Former United States (US) President George Bush Jr. and Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, invaded Iraq on the pretext of going after the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein had allegedly amassed. The result of that action was the death of thousands of people. Why were the two leaders not taken to The Hague like it has happened to some African leaders? It is because they have money and we foolishly look up to them as the leaders of the world when they are the ones causing misery on our continent.  

Sir, the West alleged that Libya had sponsored the Lockerbie bombing of the Pan American (Pan Am) World Airways Flight 103 in 1988. However, today, evidence has exonerated the so-called Lockerbie Bomber. He was nowhere near the scene, yet Libya was bombed and is a failed State today. The same powers that were behind the destabilisation of Egypt, Libya and Iraq also said that they wanted to democratise Syria and sponsored an insurrection there. That gave rise to the conquest of a large chunk of the country by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which had been held under check before then. The West is now asking the Syrian people to fight ISIS, but why should people kolopa the mess of the West?  Look at Iraq.

The Deputy Chairperson: What do you mean by “kolopad”? 

Mr Shakafuswa: Sir, it means cleaning the droppings of the West. 


Mr Shakafuswa: Look at Iraq, a country the West said was ruled by a dictator? That so-called dictator was able to put lid on these factional tendencies of the people. The West has opened … What is the opposite of paradise? 

Mr Mufalali: Hell!

Mr Shakafuswa: They have created hell in the Middle East. For them, when a certain grouping, such as the Jews, has money, it is alright for it to perpetrate atrocities on their people or neighbours. 

Mr Chairperson, as Africans, we should never define people according to the money they have. There are people, even among us, who have stolen or dealt in drugs and become rich. Today, should their riches blind us to the origin of their money when our children have died because of their dealings? 

Mr Chairperson, as Africans, we should not prop up the West, but call them what they are, namely, plunderers. 


Mr Shakafuswa: They are plunderers of African resources. We are poor today because our resources have been plundered. In fact, we should document how much the West got from our lands and go to the UN to ask for reparations. We are not poor by design. God actually loved the African continent so much that he endowed it with many resources. The reason we are poor is that when we work, we want to do it like the bourgeoisie. We want to eat with plunderers and be corrupted by them. What has made Africa poor today are ministers who are cheated that US$5 million will be deposited into Swiss accounts if they do certain things. However, all they are doing is make their countries poorer because all that the money will do is attract 35 per cent tax liabilities in the Swiss accounts. Were that money invested in their countries, their countries would be far better off.  

Sir, today, African leaders want to emulate the European way of stealing and identifying themselves with those plunderers. As a result, we are cutting deals that are detrimental to our country and we continue to transfer wealth to the West, thereby improving the economies in the West at the expense of our own, which is a very shameful situation.  

Mr Chairperson, today, there is Apartheid in Israel because Britain did not want to give independence to Palestine. Instead, the British granted it to Israel at the expense of the Palestinians who were living in that land. If we became nomadic today and moved out of our land, and someone else settled on it, can we come back years later and reclaim that this land? Otherwise, the many peoples who founded colonies in the Americas would not be entitled to that land because its original owners are the American Indians. In the same vein, the Jews left Israel, but could not live in harmony with their neighbours in the lands where they settled and were tossed about. Why should the Palestinians suffer and be Stateless just because they cannot defend themselves? Why should America, a third party, even come in and claim that the security of Israel is America’s concern? Hon. Minister, tell the West that this is wrong. I could have used a stronger word, but I do not want to be unparliamentary. Let us, Africans, stand together and put our foot down. 

Mr Chairperson, I remember attending a conference on African funding in Dar-es-Salaam during which Zimbabwe was discussed. Some Western delegates said that Zimbabwe would not get any funding because it had hounded out white farmers. However, I told them that Zimbabwe had done the right thing because Zimbabwean land belonged to Zimbabweans. In the Southern Province of Zambia, all the land has been taken up by some absentee landlords, some bourgeoisie who are now in the United Kingdom (UK), but their great grandchildren are coming to claim the land to which the people of the province have no access. When you ask their great grandchildren how their fathers came here, they say that their fathers were soldiers in the British Army and were given the land as retirement benefits. When I hear such statements, I am tempted to tell them to go back to Britain and get land there.


Mr Shakafuswa: So, we have to reclaim the land in the Southern Province, where our brothers have no land.


Mr Shakafuswa: We have to be Africans and stop dancing to the tune of the West. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: Sir, when the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs goes to the UN, he should not feel ashamed to speak his mind because Zambia will still belong to us. Those people have no resources. Even the Chinese are coming here en masse because there are no resources in China and they know that they will find them here in Africa. So, we need to start using our resources as a bargaining chip in world politics. 

Sir, like Hon. Namulambe said, the mining companies are saying that they will cut jobs. What about when the price of copper was US$13,000 per tonne? We asked for the windfall tax, but they refused to pay, saying that they had to make profits. Where has that profit gone? It has gone to build other countries. Why can the mining companies not bring back some of those profits to cushion the negative impact of the low copper prices on our country? Tell them to leave our copper alone so that we can find suitable people to work and build with, people who will be with us even in trying times. 

So, these fake investors …


Mr Shakafuswa: They are very fake because they want to make our people jobless. 

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Shakafuswa: Is ‘fake’ not parliamentary? What is the acceptable equivalent of ‘fake’?


Mr Mufalali: Useless!

Mr Shakafuswa: Useless investors. They are not genuine investors. 

Mr Chairperson, I loved the late Dr Levy Mwanawasa, SC., may his soul rest in peace, because his view was that, maybe, we , the leadership, were “foolish”. 

Mr Mbewe: Ah!

Mr Shakafuswa: That was the word he used. I am just quoting him. He said that, maybe, our children and grandchildren would be cleverer than us. So, he wanted us to tell the investors that if they could not give us the windfall tax, they were supposed to leave our mines for our children, who may discover a better way of generating wealth out of them. Today, I agree with those wise words. If all that the so-called investors are doing is coming to get our resources and making us poor, let them go back to their countries because, at the end of the day, the world still needs our resources. We should not have only the holes where the copper or emeralds used to be to show our children and our children’s children. Instead, let us make the most of our resources now. I do not believe that a white man is cleverer than me simply because he is able to steal from me. To the contrary, we are better than them because we are richly endowed with resources. God loves Africa so much, but we have had foolish leaders. 

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I hope to be brief. 

Sir, I thank the hon. Minister for his statement. For a moment, I thought that he was addressing the United Nations (UN). 


Ms Imenda: However, I have a few concerns or points that I want to make. 

First of all, Sir, …

Mr Shakafuswa left the Assembly Chamber.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda: First and foremost, we live under austerity because our economy is under stress. So, as we look at the estimates of expenditure for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we should look at ways of cutting costs in this ministry. 

Mr Chairperson, yesterday, when I went to get my fingerprints taken, I thought I was going to the French Embassy, but I found out that it was at the Royal Norwegian or Royal Netherlands or one of the Nordic countries’ embassies. That was because even in Europe, which is said to be rich, they have started compressing their missions because they know that they have to save costs. They have come together and handed their interests over to the missions of other European countries. Even when we wanted to travel to Belgium a couple of years ago, we were taken to another embassy because we did not have the Belgian Embassy here. So, I suggest that we do the same. Are all the many diplomats we have abroad necessary when our economy is under stress? If we need embassies in Europe, we should group certain countries together. For example, I suggest that our High Commission in London takes care of countries like France, which is just across the English Channel, Portugal, Spain and, maybe, Belgium. We can, then, proceed to another part of Europe and establish an embassy in Germany to take care of Austria, Poland and, maybe, Italy. So, we can have only two or three embassies in the whole of Europe. Maybe, we could also have one in Russia to take care of Russia, Latvia and the other countries in the region. That can help us cut costs because, then, we can recall most of the diplomats, as we cannot sustain them.

Mr Chairperson, like hon. Members who debated before me have mentioned, it is embarrassing to have so many embassies when we do not have the resources to properly maintain them, which causes our diplomats to live under terrible conditions. We should have a small, but well-maintained Foreign Service so that it can project a good image of the country. We should reduce the number of embassies and concentrate the resources that are now thinly spread on the remaining ones so that our diplomats stop looking like beggars.

Sir, I applaud the hon. Minister’s sentiments on economic diplomacy. I hope that he will walk the talk on that one. 

Sir, given the austere economic situation in which we are, we should also reduce on the number of trips we take abroad because they are just too many. We live under austerity and we should not pretend otherwise. It may sound uncomfortable when someone recommends reducing costs, but we should not pretend. We have to save money so that we can have productivity instead of luxuries that serve no purpose. 

Sir, the other issue I would like to talk about, taking over from where Hon. Shakafuswa, the Member of Parliament for Katuba, left, is that we supported the liberation struggle in other countries and lost resources ...

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

(Debate adjourned)



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progress reported)


The House adjourned at 1957 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 13th November, 2015.