Debates - Thursday, 26th February, 2015

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 Thursday, 26th February, 2015

The House met at 1430 hours 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I indicated yesterday that I had permitted the hon. Minister of Finance to issue a ministerial statement. Unfortunately, he has communicated to my office that he has been held up. However, as soon as he arrives, we will revert to that subject. In the meantime, we will continue with the rest of the business on the Order Paper.




326.    Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication when the Government would facilitate the construction of communication towers in the following areas in Sikongo Parliamentary Constituency:

(a)    Kaluwe;

(b)    Makia;

(c)    Mwenyi;

(d)    Tuuwa;

(e)    Mabua;

(f)    Lueti; and 

(g)    Nangandu.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, one tower was constructed at Sikongo Primary School in Sikongo Parliamentary Constituency under Phase I for the construction of communication towers. The areas which include Kaluwe, Makia, Mwenyi, Tuuwa, Mabua, Lueti and Nangandu will be surveyed and considered for coverage in Phase II. This is scheduled to commence by the end of the second quarter of this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, is the Government aware that the tower at Sikongo Primary School is not operational because there is no power there? The Government has failed to connect power to the area.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, we are aware of that fact. In fact, under Phase I, 200 towers were put up as of 15th February, 2015. Out of the 200 towers which we put up, 152 are functional. Twenty-two towers are waiting to be connected to the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) power grid. Twenty-seven towers which were on air earlier have ceased to be functional. The towers have developed technical faults in some cases either due to vandalism or the theft of materials from the sites such as solar panels. 

Sir, in the case of Sikongo, the tower is awaiting connection to the ZESCO power grid. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, there is a tower at Nyengo in Sikongo, which works using solar power. However, the hon. Minister said that there is only one tower in Sikongo. Is there no tower at Nyengo in Sikongo?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, he is right. There is a tower at Nyengo which is awaiting to be connected to the electricity grid. Right now, it is using solar power. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, I have received a schedule from the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication which has details regarding the putting up of the communication towers. The information in the schedule is contrary to what is obtaining on the ground. It shows that by 30th November, 2014, the towers in Kalabo Central, which includes the one at Sihole and the other one at Lukona, were operational. However, the facts are that the two towers are not operational. What does the ministry mean when it says that a tower is operational? 

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, it is possible that the towers Hon. Miyutu is referring to fall under the twenty-seven towers which I talked about earlier which were initially functional, but have since ceased to be functional.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the mobile network coverage in the Western Province is one of the lowest in the country, sitting at 30 per cent. In 2011, the construction works which had started in a number of places in the Western Province ceased immediately the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into office. Can the hon. Minister assure us that under Phase II, he is going to give priority to the completion of the works in the Western Province in areas such as Siluwe, Luhola and Liuwa which were abandoned when the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into office? 

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the Government plans to put up 270 communication towers in Phase II to cover the areas that were not covered in Phase I. In Phase II, the towers will have a minimum coverage area of between 30 to 40 km. We will sort out some of the shortcomings which came up in Phase I. 

I thank you, Sir. 

  Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, what is being done to rectify the challenges which are affecting the operationalisation of the towers which have already been put up? Some towers, including the ones which were put up in Lubansenshi, are only able to cover a radius of less than 5 km. What steps are being taken to improve the coverage of those forty towers that have been constructed, including those in Lubansenshi?

    The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, we have sent out a team of engineers to look at the coverage which is currently being experienced in the different parts of the country. I agree that we have towers that are only able to cover a radius of less than 5 km in some areas. In Phase II, the design will be different because we want to cover all the areas that were not being serviced at the moment.

I thank you, Sir.

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, we have been informed in this House that chiefdoms are the axis upon which the allocation of towers is based. The Western Province has very few chiefdoms. How does the criteria for the allocation of towers relate to the Western Province in general and areas like Sikongo, in particular?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, initially, we looked at chiefdoms as the main criterion upon which the allocation of towers was based. However, under Phase II, we shall focus on attending to the areas that have not been covered in Phase I. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: After the ministerial statement, the hon. Member for Chadiza will ask his question.




The Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, firstly, I would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to the House by my coming late. I am not one of the people prone to coming late. I started off from my office at ten minutes to 1400 hours. I just did not have the luck of getting here on time. 


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you for according me this opportunity to brief the House and the nation, at large, on the 2015 mining taxation regime which has become extremely topical in our country. 

Sir, despite Zambia being endowed with the vast mineral resources, the country has not realised maximum benefits from the sector’s potential to support growth and enhanced socio-economic development. This is against the backdrop that the sector has been experiencing high copper prices in the recent past. The various changes in tax policies in the last ten years have been aimed at optimising benefits from the mines. Sadly, the changes have not resulted into the desired results. The House may wish to note further, that the contribution of the mining sector’s revenue as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) remains low at 4 per cent. Similarly, the contribution of the mining sector to the National Budget has remained minimal even after the Government doubled its mineral royalty from 3 to 6 per cent. 

Sir, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is cognisant that our mineral wealth is a non-renewable and non-replenishable resource. It is, therefore, our responsibility as leaders of today to ensure that the exploited copper and other mineral resources contribute to development so as to ensure prosperity for future generations. The Government is fully aware that the gestation period for mining companies to reap gains from investments is long. This, notwithstanding, there is a need to have tax policies that guarantee a win-win situation by getting rid of the inherent weaknesses that existed in the mining tax regime prior to the 2015 Budget.

Sir, before the introduction of the 2015 tax regime, the tax system was vulnerable to all forms of tax planning schemes such as transfer pricing, hedging and trading through shell companies which are not directly linked to the core business. It has been a challenge for the revenue administrators to detect and abate such practices. 

Sir, further, provisions on capital allowances and carried forward losses eliminated potential taxable profits. The tax structure was simply illusory as only two mining companies were paying corporate income tax under the previous tax regime as most of them claimed that they were not in tax paying positions. 

Mr Speaker, it has, therefore, become imperative for the Government to restructure the mining tax regime by replacing the profit based tax system with a simple mineral royalty based regime that is final so that we insulate ourselves against tax planning schemes which are structured to wipe out taxable profits. In coming up with 8 per cent and 20 per cent mineral royalty rates for underground and open cast operations respectively, the Government took into account the different cost structures for underground mining and open pit mining. I am eternally obliged to Members of this House for having overwhelmingly supported the Bill for us to proceed with the tax changes.

Mr Speaker, we have, however, received submissions from the Chamber of Mines and some of the mining companies that the new tax regime for the mining sector may pose sustainability challenges to the sector given the high cost of production for some of the mines.

Sir, it is clear that the unfavourable cause of events in the global economy, particularly the weak demand for copper by China coupled with the Eurozone debt crisis, have occasioned a slump in copper prices to their lowest in first years. In the event that this outlook persists, our growth prospects will be dampened. 

Mr Speaker, the Government will pursue sector specific tax policies and will not be persuaded to put in place tax laws in favour of individual companies in order to avoid distortions. I wish to inform the nation that the Mines and Minerals Development Act contains mitigation measures which holders of the mining rights may wish to pursue with regard to the perceived challenges the 2015 mining tax regime may present. 

Sir, the Government is committed to promoting investment and efficiency in the mining sector. The Government has planned to address policy matters while all operational matters will be dealt with by the specialised agency, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), which is responsible for tax administration.

Mr Speaker, regarding concerns over the application of the Value Added Tax (VAT) General Administration, Rule No. 18 on proof of export requirements, I assured the House that it was the Government’s desire to expeditiously and amicably resolve the concerns surrounding the non-compliance to its requirements. 

  Sir, I am glad to inform this august House that as a listening Government, we have considered the submissions from the Chamber of Mines and proceeded to realign the provisions of Rule No. 18. This will ensure that mining companies and all exporters are not unduly encumbered by administrative rules which affect their cash flow and operations. This is a clear demonstration of our unfettered commitment to ensuring that regulations are not onerous, but supportive to investment and business development. In the same breath, we are confident that mining companies will remain resolute in complying with tax rules.

  Sir, rationality and efficacy demand that our solutions are duly balanced. I, therefore, would like to assure the nation, through this House, that the Government is committed to ensuring that the tax system is not burdensome, but conducive to tax compliance and beneficial to the country.

  Mr Speaker, the Government remains open to any meaningful dialogue and will welcome progressive ideas on matters relating to the development of the country, including those that pertain to taxation. This will be within the spirit of partnership between the investors and the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

  Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

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

  Mr Mwanza (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister did not name the two mining companies which have been paying tax under the old rules. Is it possible for the hon. Minister  to give us the names of the two mining firms?

  Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, principally, it is First Quantum Minerals which happens to be the largest taxpayer in the mining sector and, to some extent, a relatively smaller company which is Chibuluma Mine in Kalulushi.

  I thank you, Sir.

  Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, controversy always seems to surround the revision of the mining tax rules in Zambia. Is the mining tax regime in Zambia different from the ones of other copper producing countries? Have we tried to learn from other copper producing countries like Chile?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, taxes for countries are designed to suit the unique and particular circumstances of a country. The mineral royalty tax system has been tried in Australia although it was not accompanied by the abolition of other taxes. The difference between us and other mining countries that have tried this route is that in our case, we made it a final tax which renders simplicity to the tax operations and makes it possible for both the Government and the mining companies to plan.

  Sir, what has become strange about this matter is simply that the prices of copper went down at the time we were changing the tax system. A percentage formula tax system is appropriate because it is like a sliding rule. When your revenue declines, even your tax payments will decline. Let me give a simple example. 20 per cent of 200 is 40 and for 100, it is 20. I think what is being mixed up with the tax formula are the operational efficiencies of the different mines. Some mines are more efficient than others on the basis of certain factors. Some mining companies like the one that has become very topical have got issues which have their origins in the overpayment made for the acquisition of the mining assets which they are operating. Taxation relating to companies has to be sector specific. It cannot be company specific because that kind of position is untenable.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mpundu (Nchelenge): Mr Speaker, have the mining firms presented to the Government verifiable evidence indicating that the operationalisation of the 2015 mining tax regime will make them make losses?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, mining companies are required to present their case to the Zambia Revenue Agency (ZRA) which is the tax agency. What we have tried to avoid as a Government is getting involved in the operational matters relating to taxation because that will be a perfect script for chaos. We have left the operational matters pertaining to taxation to the specialised agency called the ZRA which is a product of the laws enacted by this House. However, the Government is actively discussing policy issues with the mining companies. This is contrary to the myth that there is no dialogue taking place. Yesterday, I was at Kalumbila Mine to familiarise myself with the enormous investment of US$ 2 billion which was injected into its operations. I needed to go there to see how that money has been used. Two weeks ago, the Chief Executive Officer of First Quantum Mines was in my office for a discussion. I have also had discussions with the staff of the famous Lumwana Mine. About a month ago, the staff of that mine gave us a presentation which was quite encouraging. We commend the splendiferous effort which Barrick Gold has put in which has led to the mine reducing its production costs from US$6 per pound weight to US$3.20. That is an incredible thing to do. It is not true that we do not interact with the mining firms. We even interact with the Chamber of Mines regularly. Sometimes, we even meet without sufficient notice.

  Sir, mining firms like other companies operating in Zambia are our partners in development. We owe each other an inescapable obligation to talk to each other and make sure that we harmonise our interests. It is not in the interest of the Government to see any company, even the smallest one, collapse because first of all, people lose employment and also, the country would lose tax revenue. It is in our interest to ensure that all the companies operating in Zambia, local or foreign, operate in an environment which is conducive to investment.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

  Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that he has met the Chamber of Mines to find a common ground regarding the issues which have surrounded Rule No. 18. Prior to enacting the new mining and taxation law, did the Government, through the Ministry of Finance, meet the stakeholders like the Chamber of Mines and mines to find a common ground and avoid the concerns they are raising now? 

  Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, there is no government in the world that goes to companies and asks them how they would want to be taxed. The bottom line is that after coming up with tax measures, we hold discussions with the stakeholders. The Government should not outsource its responsibility of coming up with taxation regulations because it is the custodian of the interests of the Zambian people.

  I thank you, Mr Speaker.

  Mr Musonda (Kapiri Mposhi): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out if the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has the capacity to verify the evidence that mining firms present during their discussions with the Government.

  Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the ZRA has the capacity to monitor the transactions in the mining sector. We shall continue to enhance the capacity of the ZRA to monitor the transactions in the mining sector. At the moment, there is a team of regional experts which is helping us to put in place an information system which will enable the ZRA to adequately inform us on what transactions will be taking place in the mining sector in order for us to make informed decisions. 

Sir, apart from that, in 2013 and 2014, the Government took steps to fund the Mines Department in order to enhance its capacity under a modernisation programme. This department has expertise which is at the disposal of the ZRA regarding what transpires in the mining sectors. The ZRA works in conjunction with other institutions in the country such as Mines Department, Bank of Zambia and other pertinent Government institutions to work out modalities of how to tax the mining sector. 
I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, I want to say that from what the hon. Minister has explained, it is like an extensive study was done before Zambia came up with the new mining tax regime. 

Sir, I am happy that the hon. Minister has not changed his position regarding what was enacted in this House, which is a very good position because in some countries, taxes are over 50 per cent of the total earnings, of the companies, especially in Europe. Since the Government has relaxed the implementation of Rule No. 18, what mechanisms has it put in place to ensure that the mining companies are not inflating their costs after using their companies abroad to buy their inputs which, at the end of the day, is just very expensive and a way of avoiding tax? 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, Rule No.18 has just been streamlined to remove the rigorous requirements which required documentation from importers outside our jurisdiction. That said, I wish to state that our tax regime is still rigorous from the point of view of verifying that exports have been made and that there is due accountability.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, we agree with the hon. Minister that the contribution of the mining sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) and ultimately to our Budget is very low. The argument by the mining firms is that the 2015 tax regime is inappropriate. I feel that the Government has not done its best to explain by using information that is available that, in fact, the regime is appropriate. Can the hon. Minister tell this House that from now going forward, the Government will not continue to appear as if it is trying to kill the goose that lays the golden egg by using facts and figures to show the Zambian people that, indeed, the new tax regime for the mining sector is appropriate.

  Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I would like to assure Hon. Namugala that we have taken adequate measures to safeguard the interests of the Zambian people. 

Sir, some companies and individuals do not simply want to pay tax. That is why it is usually difficult to reach an amicable settlement when it comes to such matters. Even as we talk, mining companies are thronging the ZRA to try and negotiate how their tax burdens can be lowered as soon as possible. It is unfortunate that some individuals with selfish interests are trying to exaggerate some differences. I would like to assure Hon. Namugala that things are okay. We benefit a lot from the input which the hon. Members of Parliament provide on the tax matters. That is why our doors remain open to their suggestions. You cannot afford to have an immutable stance over a matter because things evolve every day. There are different exigencies in the global economy at all times. In fact, mining taxation has become topical of late because of the externally induced shocks. Therefore, things keep evolving. Thus, we shall continue to listen to the voices of wisdom in this House and in the wider nation at large.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mucheleka: (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I know that the Government wants a win-win situation for Zambia as well as the investors. I also know that the mining sector is very important for our economic growth and poverty reduction. What exactly is making the mining companies uncomfortable with regard to the new tax regime? Is it the falling copper price on the international market which is creating problems for the mining companies as regards the new taxation system? What do they seem to be uncomfortable with? Could it be that if the copper prices were to improve then, they would be able to pay the tax without any challenges? 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, some companies are not very uncomfortable with the new tax regimes while others are. What is making some mining companies uncomfortable is that we have dealt with the fraudulence which they may have been engaging in to avoid paying taxes. Hon. Muntanga, tabajata bamaini.


Mr Speaker: Order!

What do you mean, hon. Minister?

Mr Chikwanda: Sir, I said we have caught them napping. Bajatwa.

I thank you, Sir


Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister for coming up with a resolute strategy to increase the income which the Government gets from the mines. Nonetheless, what measures has he put in place for the Government to be less vulnerable or exposed to blackmail by foreign investors when it comes to reviewing the tax regime, especially if it is being done in our favour?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, there are safeguards against vulnerability from those who do not want to pay tax. The wisdom of this House is one of our safeguards. This House expressed some reservations, but all the same, unanimously backed the new tax measures on the mines. That is a safeguard against being blackmailed by external interests.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, in relation to Rule No. 18, what has been done about the controversial more than K600 million owed to the mines? Can the hon. Minister give us a bonus answer on that issue. 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, that is quite a complex issue. It also involves the issue of accumulative rights. We shall be duly guided by the Ministry of Justice in dealing with that matter.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mumba (Mambilima): Mr Speaker, why have mining firms employed foreigners to head their accounting departments?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact, mining companies employ a combination of expatriates and Zambians. I think that where the expertise is available in Zambia, mining companies would rather employ Zambians because it is cost effective. As to the details, I do not think I am in a position to explain them because I am not fully acquainted with those matters. 

Sir, we have a very competent ministry that deals with mines. Therefore, those who have queries about issues relating to the structure of employment with regard to the accountancy profession can refer their queries to the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development in order to get satisfactory answers.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Chishimba (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, on a number of foras, mining firms have not disclosed their operating figures. An example I can give is when we interacted with mining firms here at Parliament. They refused to disclose their operating figures. Therefore, what could be the basis of their claim that they will start making losses if the new tax regime is implemented? 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, what the hon. Member is saying just shows that there are liabilities against which we need to insulate ourselves. Some of the claims by the mines are exaggerated. That is why, as the hon. Minister of Finance, I have persistently insisted that these operational matters relating to tax be dealt with by the specialised institution, which we have set up to collect taxes, the ZRA. Therefore, we should all refrain from infringing on the initiatives and discretion conferred on this agency by the various statutes of Parliament.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister of Finance for the brave decision on the taxes to the mines. Why is he being forced to go and sit down and discuss the tax regime with the mines? Does it mean that he is being told to go and u-turn on his decision? 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, it is just a normal function of the Government to interact with companies that operate in the country. Personally, I interact with various companies, including those in farming and so on and so forth. Therefore, I would enjoin the hon. Member of Parliament for Ikeleng’i, as he comes here passing through Lumwana, to stop over and have a chat with the mining company in that area so that he can familiarise himself with what is going on there. He may do the same with other mining companies operating at Kansanshi and Kalumbila, the new mining frontier of our country in the North-Western Province. 

Sir, it is just a good practice that as leaders, we interact with companies that operate in our country, first of all, to cheer those investors and also to make sure that we are adequately informed about their operations so that we can make informed decisions about matters related to their businesses.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister proudly says twabajata; meaning they have caught them in terms of taxation. However, there is a contradiction with one hon. Minister saying the mines have to pay this tax now, while another one says the payment can be deferred. How can we know now that we are not being treated to another donchi kubeba moment? 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the people who have spoken on this matter are the hon. Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development, the President and I. At every occasion we have spoken, even without liaising, we have used the same language. If you read the statements Hon. Yaluma has made on this matter and those which I have made, you would notice that they are all synchronised. We have been very consistent over this issue.

Mr Nkombo interjected.

Mr Speaker: Order! Do not speak from your seat. Nobody is stopping you from asking a question.

Mr Chikwanda: Sir, the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry while in Cape Town at an indaba made a very appropriate comment on the matter which some people tried to put out of context. Without even asking her, I was able to assume what she had said and it turned out to be true. There are those who specialise in putting a wedge between us in Government in order for them to indicate that there is disarray and disharmony in Government. However, their efforts will, in the end, be a total futility and will not work because we are one and speak the same language.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, in the mind of many Zambians, the mines are complaining mainly because of the 20 per cent royalty tax and Rule No. 18. Now that the Government has relaxed the implementation of Rule No.18, can the hon. Minister of Finance assure the Zambians that tomorrow, he will not come to the Floor of the House and reduce this 20 per cent mineral royalty so that the win-win situation is maintained on behalf of the Zambian people.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I want to assure the hon. Member and the entire nation that we will not somersault over these issues. There is no need to be immutable when attending to such matters. Should the circumstances necessitate an adjustment upwards or downwards, we shall not hesitate to do so by coming to this House. We shall not do it at night behind everybody’s back. We shall come to this House which has the exclusive preserve of enacting laws pertaining to taxation. I want to assure the nation that we can effect adjustments as and when circumstances so dictate.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, recently, we read of threats of job cuts at some mining firms due to what they referred to as an unfavourable tax regime. After the realignment of Rule No. 18, what is the position of the mining firms?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, all we have done is to align Rule No.18 in order to remove the bits which were excessive and a bit unrealistic. As for the tax regime, we have not adjusted anything. All we have done is enjoin the mining companies to go and sort out any perceived bottlenecks with the ZRA. The mining firms will get relief to the extent that is permissible. This will only be done when the Commissioner-General of the ZRA is satisfied beyond doubt that there is cause for relief as prescribed in the relevant statutes of the law, particularly, the Mines and Minerals Development Act.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, recently, I was privileged to be in the company of one of the mining gurus who has a lot of knowledge about tax regimes for extractive industries. He told me that the stance which has been taken by the Government is a very brave stance. He further stated that if it works, it will be a model for a lot of third world countries that are in similar situations because of transfer pricing, hedging and other factors which deprive these countries of the much-needed revenues.

Hon. UPND Members: Hmm!

Mr Lufuma: This is what I do not like. You are not the Speaker.


Mr Speaker: In fact, why not let him express his freedom of expression.

May the hon. Member, continue.

Mr Lufuma: Sir, Lumwana Mine has threatened to close down its operations and has set March as the deadline. Does the Government have a plan to ensure that Lumwana Mine continues to operate, so that, we continue harnessing the revenues which it gives to the country?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, first of all, it is very comforting to know that over these matters, we can always seek recourse from people who are repositories of wisdom like the hon. Member for Kabompo West.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Sir, officials from Lumwana Mines have been to the ZRA. They will continue to interact with the ZRA in order to sort of seek the reprieve that they are entitled to under the Acts of Parliament that I have referred to.

Sir, the alternative scenario was clearly outlined in a statement which was attributed to the President by the Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations which stated that the Government will, in the event that investors pull out, instruct the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) to seek other equity partners to carry on the operations at Lumwana. I do not think that the situation will come to that. 

Sir, we think that Barrick Gold will stay. The Government will do everything possible to ensure that the company stays so that we can safeguard the 400,000 direct jobs and others which arise from suppliers of goods and services to the mines. The Government will also ensure that that, volume of copper, which we export, which is currently at 135,000 tonnes increases so that the country can earn more foreign exchange. 

So, I think that we should not be rattled by the fact that the investor at Lumwana Mine threatened to close down the mine. As I said earlier, Lumwana Mine has historical issues. The overpayment by the investor in purchasing the mining assets from Equinox is one case in point. I have said already that Lumwana Mine has been doing constructive things by trying to restructure the cost of production downwards. The mine has managed to reduce the processing of a pound of copper from US$5.95 to US$3.20 now. This is quite a stupendous achievement. 

 Sir, it is in the interest of both the Government and Barrick Gold to keep the operations of Lumwana Mine going. If Barrick Gold decides to close shop, what will happen to the obligations which are on the accounts of the mine? Is the company going to take money from other obligations to service the ones which Lumwana Mine has incurred on account of its operating that mine? So, it is not in Barrick Gold’s interest to close the mine. 

Sir, I would like to advise hon. Members that, as leaders of our nation, we should not really be seen to panic by stances taken by people who want to protect their sectional interests. We should stand firm. I am very grateful to the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabompo West for bringing the information to the House about that mining expert who commended us for the stance which we have taken over mining taxation.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, I just want to seek some clarity over the intention or plan, in the event that, Barrick Gold which owns Lumwana Mine pulls out of its operations. In what form will Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) take over the operations? Will it be a return to nationalisation?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, from the way the dialogue taking place between the investors in the mining industry and the Government is proceeding, it is most unlikely that Barrick Gold will take the extreme position of pulling out of the operations of Lumwana Mine. As regards the type of takeover which will take place if Barrick Gold makes a radical decision and withdraws from the operations of Lumwana Mine, all I can say is that we shall cross the bridge when we get there.

I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mr Kalaba): Mr Speaker, it is an honour and privilege for me to stand before this august House to make this statement on the foreign travels undertaken by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kalaba: … since his assumption of office. May I take this opportunity to congratulate the President …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kalaba: … on emerging a victor.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, the House will recall that His Excellency the President travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 29th January to 1st February, 2015 to participate in the 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU). This important annual meeting of all African Heads of State and Government came shortly after his inauguration and presented His Excellency the President with an opportunity not only to acquaint himself with his colleagues, but also to deliver a maiden speech laying out Zambia’s vision for the continental body. May I also inform the House that during the AU Summit, there are several other related side meetings at the level of Head of State in which Zambia participates addressing important political and social economic issues at the regional, continental and global levels. These include:

(a)    the Committee of Ten Heads of State on United Nations Reform (C-10);

(b)    the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and   
            Government Orientation Committee;

(c)    the Summit of the African Peer Review Mechanism;

(d)    the Summit of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region;

(e)    the Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Mr Speaker, the AU gathering is equally a platform for meeting other important dignitaries that are usually invited to the assembly such as the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Heads of State and Government and special representatives of non-African countries.

Mr Speaker, Zambia belongs to a global village and has always been an active player on the continental and international arena in the resolution of conflicts in Africa and within the Southern African region, in particular. This is because of the known fact that without peace and security, there can be no sustainable development. The agenda of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is to work towards social and economic development for the Zambian people. It is, therefore, in our national interest as a country that we work closely with our neighbours as well as countries within the region and beyond for the achievement of this goal. Meetings such as the summit in Addis Ababa avail the Head of State an opportunity to confer with other leaders and development partners in the pursuit of our foreign policy interests.

Mr Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to announce to this august House that His Excellency the President held fruitful bilateral meetings with the following fellow African Heads of State and Government:

(a)    His Excellency Mr Abdel Fattah El Sissi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt;

(b)     His Excellency Mr John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana;

(c)    His Excellency Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya;

(d)    His Excellency Professor Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi; and 

(e)    His Excellency Mr Salva Kiir, President of the Republic of South Sudan.

Mr Speaker, the meetings between His Excellency President Lungu and his counterparts centered mainly on enhancing Zambia’s bilateral relations with each of the individual countries with a focus on exploring other areas of co-operation. I must mention, at this juncture, that as a result of these interactions, two of the Heads of State, the Presidents of Ghana and Kenya will undertake to visit Zambia during the course of this year in the further advancement of our relations.

Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President also held constructive one on one meetings with His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the UN as well as with Her Excellency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the Commission of the AU. Zambia should expect an even greater involvement in her development projects that are championed by both the UN and AU as a result of commitments made by the Heads of these important institutions. 

Mr Speaker, His Excellency President Lungu equally held productive meetings with representatives of some of Zambia’s key partners, namely: 

(a)    Mr Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden;

(b)    Mr Zhang Ming, Vice Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China;

(c)    Mr Minoru Kiuchi, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan; and

(d)    Ms Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State of the United States of America.

Mr Speaker, the importance of our relations with the countries that these dignitaries hail from cannot be overemphasised. The Zambian people can, therefore, expect greater development assistance, an increased number of social and economic projects as well as enhanced trade and investment as a result of the interactions that His Excellency the President had with representatives of these co-operating partners.

Mr Speaker, at the invitation of His Excellency José Eduardo dos Santos, President of the Republic of Angola, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu , President of Republic of Zambia …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kalaba: … paid an official visit to the Republic of Angola on 13th and 14th February, 2015.The visit was undertaken within the framework of strengthening the fraternal relations and co-operation that exists between the two countries and their peoples.

Sir, the two Heads of State discussed matters of mutual interest regarding bilateral cooperation. They also discussed regional and global matters. They further recognised the immense opportunities that are increasingly available for the deepening of relations between Zambia and Angola in many areas. In this regard, the leaders reaffirmed their joint intention to continue working to consolidate the relations between the two countries and this was immediately evident with the signing of two agreements in the transport sector. At regional level, the two Heads of State reviewed the political and security situation prevailing in the region. They agreed on the need to continue to combine their efforts in promoting peace and stability and the ongoing search for lasting solutions for the prevention and resolution of conflicts.

Mr Speaker, as a mark of the importance attached to the visit, His Excellency the President Edgar Chagwa Lungu …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kalaba: … had the rare privilege to address a special session of the National Assembly of Angola, convened in his honour at which he outlined the significance of Zambia-Angola relations.

Mr Speaker, during the same visit, His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kalaba: … also joined His Excellency …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Katombola, that is an accepted expression, for want of a better expression, but it must be used judiciously. I do not want to add further adjectives to that. Exercise some judgment because there is important business being transacted. You are just leaving people to wonder what you are questioning.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, you may continue.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, during the same visit, His Excellency President Chagwa Lungu …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: … also joined His Excellency …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Kalaba: … Mr José Eduardo dos Santos, President of the Republic of Angola and His Excellency Mr Joseph Kabange Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the tripartite commissioning of the landmark Benguela Railway held in Luau, Republic of Angola, on 14th February, 2015. The three leaders stressed the importance of developing the road, rail, water and air infrastructure which connects to the Lobito Corridor and is cardinal to the flow of goods and services to and from the three countries, within the sub region and to the sea. This important railway will provide a convenient conduit for goods and services in the growth triangle and contribute to economic development, improved competiveness as well as increased trade and investment. The completion of the railway link on the Zambian side will open our economy and present immense opportunities not only as the shortest route to the sea, but will also provide access to trade and investment opportunities in Angola and the DRC.

Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President also visited Zimbabwe on 6th February, 2015 and travelled to the Republic of South Africa on 24th February, 2015, to undertake courtesy visits. I wish to inform this august House that within the Southern African region, and the continent at large, it is an established practice for a new head of state to pay courtesy calls on the Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), AU, Chairperson of the SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security, as well as the Chairperson of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).  His Excellency, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the SADC and AU Chairperson, whereas President Jacob G. Zuma holds the Chairmanship for the SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security, while President Joseph Kabange Kabila is the Chairperson of COMESA. 

Mr Speaker, these visits are for more than just fulfilling tradition. They also provide personal insights for the new head of state on regional and international matters. While rationalising the foreign travels of the Head of State, the PF Government will not hesitate to ensure that His Excellency, President Lungu undertakes only those trips that will ultimately result in maximum benefits to the people of the Republic of Zambia through the creation of more schools, health centres, boreholes, increased foreign direct investment (FDI), and other social and economic projects. 

Mr Speaker, with this statement, I have confidence that the hon. Members of this August House, and the nation at large, will appreciate that such visits are in the direct interest of the country’s overall development agenda. His Excellency the President is Zambia’s number one diplomat, whose role is to advance the country’s foreign policy. In this august House, let us all ensure that our Head of State flies the Zambian flag high, and with great pride, as we pursue our national interests abroad.

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 ministerial statement given by the hon. Minister.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, now that the hon. Minister has informed us about the travels of the President, will he also ensure that from now onwards, Parliament will be informed when the Head of State is sick, and where he will go for treatment?

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, since Hon. Muntanga has been in this House for quite some time, I am sure that he understands that information to do with international trips by the President is not a preserve only for those in the Executive, but it is also important to the ordinary Zambian in Kalomo, Shang’ombo as well as Mansa. We will endeavour to inform the House of the President’s visits to other countries when he travels there.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I recall that when the Patriotic Front (PF) members were in the Opposition, they used to condemn the foreign trips made by former President Rupiah Banda (RB). They even called him nicknames. They called him a political tourist.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, when the PF assumed office, the party made a commitment to the nation that the former President, Mr Sata, would not undertake many foreign trips, and that he was going to leave some assignments to the accredited diplomats in various countries, and there was so much praise for that. The former President, Mr Sata, never undertook those trips which the current President has undertaken, to pay courtesy calls to neigbouring presidents and the Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU).  Now that the PF has another President, it has changed the course, and started praising the trips. Is the hon. Minister condemning the stance of not undertaking trips outside the country, by the former President, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata? Is that the position of the Government now?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I thank Hon. Jack Mwiimbu for that question. It is good to see him after the elections. 


Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I just elucidated in my statement that the President is undertaking these trips because of their social and economic connotation, and because they can emancipate our economy. I alluded to the fact that he was in Addis Abba and also explained why he was there. I also alluded to why he went to South Africa and Angola, and the benefits that are attached to those trips. Anybody in this House that followed my statement closely will agree with me that, indeed, the trips that the President has made have been extremely important. 

Mr Speaker, I want to inform the House that there are several invitations that President Lungu has received since he got elected. Just this morning, I received a number of letters from him, telling me that he regrets that he will not be able to attend certain summits in about five places because of national commitments he has here. A President will only travel only when it is necessary and, as the PF Government, we have a very clear foreign-economic policy, which was launched last year in October, which states that Zambia will lag behind if it does not interact with its neighbours in the region. It is extremely imperative that these trips are undertaken in order to not only strengthen Zambia’s ties with other countries, but also to attract the FDI, which every country worth its salt, is busy competing for.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs for this report about the tours of the President. I am attracted to the information about the trip he made to my brothers in Angola because it touched on issues to do with the economy. What is Zambia’s commitment to the road infrastructure from Chingola, via Mwinilunga to Jimbe and Angola? That is an international road in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. What is our commitment to that road, following the bilateral agreement which was signed in Angola?

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, in fact, I mentioned in my statement that while in Angola, we signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with the Angolan Government. Officials from Angola are in the country. They have come to finalise the MoU on infrastructure development. The works on the Mwinilunga/Jimbe Road will be tackled within the framework of that MoU.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. Minister for the statement explaining our President’s visits. 

Sir, I am very interested in the economic emancipation and connotations that the hon. Minister mentioned. In that light, I would like to find out whether the President considered constructing a refinery and pipeline in the Western Province so that the standard of the province, as the poorest in the country, could be improved. This is my suggestion, hon. Minister, but I would like your take. If this has not been done yet, take me along next time so that I can also speak some Portuguese. Obrigado. 


Ms Imenda: Obrigado.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I will take that message to President Lungu. I will inform him that Hon. Imenda is ready to accompany him as he goes on his productive trips. Thank you, Hon. Imenda, for your compliment.  

Mr Speaker, I must confirm that there are discussions around that venture. President Lungu is trying to interrogate every sector of this economy. He is also trying to interrogate which corridor will be easier and cheaper for us to relate well with our colleagues outside the borders of this country. Apart from this, he is also trying to look at ways of reducing the cost of doing business. This is why he has been travelling to other countries.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, my concern is the President’s visit to Zimbabwe, a country where the Head of State has started Phase II of sending away white farmers that remained after Phase I. 


Mr Miyanda: Shortly after that visit, our President, Mr Lungu, told those of us who do not agree with him, including his own people, to leave this country in Phase I. 


Mr Miyanda: Hon. Minister, I want to find out from you whether there is a connection between the chasing of the white farmers from Zimbabwe and our being told to leave this country? 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, the answer is a categorical no. The President went to Zimbabwe to visit President Robert Mugabe in his capacity as Chairperson of SADC and the AU. I did say that. The problem is that the hon. Member of Parliament for Mapatizya often dozes instead of listening to the deliberations on the Floor of the House. 

I thank you, Sir.


Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, I seek some clarification on a statement that was attributed to His Excellency to the effect that his travels so far are meant to re-profile Zambia’s image which had gone down in the last three years. I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether the President was misquoted. Can the hon. Minister indicate to us how Zambia’s profile had gone down under President Sata in the last three years?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, in this same august House, hon. Members stood up to say that Zambia’s profile had gone down. When President Lungu tried to explain in a language that they could understand …

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Mr Kalaba: … pertaining to why he was travelling …

Ms Lubezhi interjected.

Mr Kalaba: Sir, the fact is that Zambia’s profile …

Mr Muntanga:  Has gone down. 

Mr Kalaba: … is good. 


Mr Kalaba: It is good. President Lungu said early on that he would continue where Mr Sata left off. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: He has continued from where Mr Sata left off.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: Sir, President Lungu has continued to resuscitate the image of this country which was heavily tattered as a result of the misrule of some of the colleagues in this House. The President is trying his best to ensure that Zambia’s flag is raised high. Hon. Members are only encouraged to support him. Please, do not discourage him in this noble duty.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, at the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was anything about the Barotseland Agreement mentioned? Did the President talk about the boundaries of Barotseland? 

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, in my preamble I said that the AU Summit is used by various Heads of State to interact with their colleagues and share ideas on issues of mutual interest such as how countries and their presidents are fairing as well as how they can increase trade and interaction amongst themselves. 

Sir, issues relating to the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE), which the hon. Member for Lukulu West has been talking about ever since he came to the House, are domestic. I am sure that appropriate fora are dealing with those matters. The AU is there simply to allow Heads of State to interact and enhance their bilateral ties. 

Mr Speaker, let me take this opportunity to tell hon. Members that, as leaders, we have an obligation to project the right image of our country. We have an obligation to avoid propagating propaganda that is not putting the country in good standing. I was with Hon. Hamudulu in Geneva and I was very happy with the way he conducted himself. He conducted himself as a true leader.

Hon. UPND Members: Oh?

Mr Kalaba: Sir, I only hope, God, being with us, that we can meet him later on after this Parliament ... 


Mr Kalaba: … to continue our agenda of emancipating this country.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, soon after the Patriotic Front (PF) came into office in 2011, it sent the First Republican President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, to go and apologise to Angola. At the time, we asked the then His Honour the Vice-President, Dr Scott, about it and he said that he did not know what the nature of the offence was. 

Sir, our current President and his Ministers have been to Angola and have given us an impression that our relations with that country are at their best. Hon. Minister, would you tell us which Zambian had offended Angola and the nature of the offence?

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I do not agree with the statement by the hon. Member for Mbabala that Dr Kaunda was sent to Angola because there was something wrong which had happened earlier. Emissaries are sent for various reasons. 


Mr Speaker: Order!

You cannot speak whilst you are seated. 


Mr Kalaba: Sir, if you ask Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha, he will tell you that in the diplomatic circles, there are various ways in which leaders communicate and one of them is by sending special envoys. Dr Kaunda has been sent to China as Special Envoy. This does not signify that something had gone wrong in the relationship between Zambia and China. Dr Kaunda was also sent to Angola as an envoy not because something had gone wrong in the relationship between the two countries. 

Sir, tomorrow, they may hear that Mr Banda has been sent to Malawi. That will not mean that there is a problem in the relationship between Zambia and Malawi. There are issues happening in these countries and presidents want to show their commitment in trying to address them. For instance, in respect of the recent flood in Malawi, the President might choose to send Dr Kaunda to go and show solidarity. That is diplomacy. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I want to refer to an issue which was raised earlier on by one of my colleagues. The President is quoted as having said that Zambia’s international standing had suffered over the past three years. Presumably, the trips that the President is making now are partly to repair that image. What else is the ministry doing to repair the image of Zambia abroad, keeping in mind the appropriateness of some of the diplomatic staff who, as we understand, were appointed on a nepotistic basis? Some diplomats are unqualified and are a total embarrassment to the country like the young man who was drunk in New York and almost killed police officers.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, on 15th October, 2014, the ministry relaunched the Economic Foreign Policy and it is in that context that President Lungu talked about reprofiling Zambia’s national image. Prior to that, we were insisting on political diplomacy. Now, the President wants to put emphasis on economic diplomacy. 

Sir, it is true that we need to increase our FDI as we increase our embassies in those countries. The President wants each mission to account for its existence. That is the reprofiling that he was talking about. He wants each mission to show why it should be in existence because they are in those countries at a very high cost to the tax payer. 

Mr Speaker, the President is right that we need to reprofile our country’s image so that, for example, we know economically what is going to be extrapolated by having a mission in Berlin, Germany.

Sir, everyone that is going out in the Foreign Service, after the Revised Foreign Policy, is being looked at critically in line with what they are going to bring as they go out to the different missions. We are reassessing everything to ensure that Zambia begins benefiting hugely from its presence in all the missions. 

  Mr Speaker, we are on course and we will continue being on course as the Government to ensure that we serve the Zambian, who gave us the mandate, to the best of our abilities.

I thank you, Sir. 

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister, in response to Hon. Mwiimbu’s question, stated that the current President is receiving international invitations and that his travel is monumental. Is he then confirming that the late President Michael Sata never used to get any international invitations? 

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, to amplify my answer, I said that the President is scrutinising which trips he should undertake. Remember that President Lungu has only been in office for a month and he is scrutinising each and every trip he is taking.

Sir, if it were other people, whom I will not mention, they would have been taking each and every opportunity to travel, …

Hon. Government Member: UPND.

Mr Mwiimbu interjected.

Mr Kalaba: … but the President … no …


Mr Speaker: Direct your response to me.


Mr Kalaba: The President will continue being very selective in the trips that he will undertake and will ensure that he undertakes only those which are beneficial to the country. Some trips will be taken by Her Honour the Vice-President who will represent the President.

Mr Speaker, the late President Sata used to travel as well. The late President Sata was with me in Brussels for the European Union Africa Summit. He also attended an AU Summit with me in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. President Sata also went to India to woo investors.

Hon. Opposition Members: Three.

Mr Kalaba: There President was in several countries to woo investors.


Mr Kalaba: I cannot itemize them. He was in several countries.


Hon. Government Members: Korea.

Mr Kalaba: He went to Korea and also later attended the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Japan. 

Mr Mukanga: China.

Mr Kalaba: He then went to China for a State visit.


Hon. Government Member: He went to Brazil.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Do not speak for him.

Mr Kalaba: He was also at the Rio +20 Summit. President Sata also used to travel. However, sometimes when you want to fish from a pond which has no fish, you will fish for reasons that do not exist. There is no need to attack a President that has been in office for a month and is doing everything within his abilities to run the Government well.

Sir, President Lungu will only go out on trips that are beneficial to all our comrades here, especially the ones seated on your left.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, the history of Parliament shows that the word ‘comrade’ …

Mr Mwiimbu: Is unparliamentary.

Mr Speaker: … has been proscribed. You may substitute it. 

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I substitute that word with colleagues.

I thank you, Sir.


Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I am one person who advocates for travelling considering that you can gain from it. How many more trips are we expecting the President to make in 2015?

Hon. Government Members: Ah!

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mrs Masebo: Secondly, …

Mr Speaker: One question at a time. That is the practice.

Mrs Masebo: Sir, it is connected to the same question. Considering the costs that are associated with these travels, what plans does the ministry have to ensure that only those who are relevant to each meeting travel with His Excellency the President?

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, it is difficult for me to tell which trips the President will undertake off-the-cuff because we scrutinise invitations as they come. The President only undertakes trips that we deem fruitful to the country’s development. 

Sir, I am sure Hon. Masebo knows how the Government system operates. When a list is generated by the ministry, it goes through Cabinet Office until it reaches the President who also evaluates it. For instance, when there is a summit on issues to do with the economy, taking place in Egypt, Sharm El-Sheikh, the person who is going to travel is the one who works in that particular field. We will not misplace our priorities. Only relevant people will travel with the President of the Republic of Zambia when he makes those very important trips. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, I wish to commend the hon. Minister for coming up with that statement. That is the way that it should be. 

Sir, it is true that the President is diplomat number one. What efforts are being made to ensure that the trips of the President bear fruit? I ask this, bearing in mind the fact that when the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power, all and sundry were sent into Foreign Service. Some people who were sent into the Foreign Service did not even understand how an economy works. It is true that they are now scrutinising those who are being sent to foreign missions after the relaunch of the new foreign policy. What will be done to those who are already in the Foreign Service?

Mr Muntanga: Recall them.

Mr Pande: Sir, we are aware that there are so many people in the Foreign Service who do not understand what the President’s trips are all about. 

Mr Muntanga: Just recall them.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the Zambia Institute for Diplomacy and International Studies. We are using the institute effectively to ensure that people who are sent into the Foreign Service represent Hon. Kabinga Pande’s interest as well as mine while they are serving in the missions.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, the question was: What about those who went prior to the launch of the new policy?

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I wish to state that the ministry has embarked on a new orientation exercise. Last year, we had an Ambassadors’ conference where we were oriented them on the international relations procedures as they relate to today’s norms. We are going through each category to ensure that if it is a person who is in trade and is not conversant with trade, those matters are taken through. Those who do not represent us well will be recalled back to Zambia. It is just like the person that the Hon. ─  What is the name of the former Minister of Finance?


Hon. Government Members: Dr Musokotwane!

Mr Kalaba: Sir, just like Hon. Dr Musokotwane stated, the country needs quality representation in the missions. It is the right of every Zambian to be represented well. My ministry will continue making sure that those who do not perform accordingly are recalled. We have done that before on several occasions. Remember, we have an economic foreign policy which has set out the targets which we need to achieve. I will not sit idly, as hon. Minister, and see the targets suffocate.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: We are now going back to the Questions for Oral Answer.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, there were some places which were identified in nearly every constituency such as Sikongo, Chadiza, including Kantanshi, but the towers have not been constructed in those areas. The Government is finding it very difficult to speed up the construction of these towers. Why did the Government not go the direction of the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative so that the towers are constructed at a faster speed?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, since we have gained experience from the construction of  169 towers, I believe we would not have had a problem in terms of meeting our target when it comes to the completion period for constructing 204 towers. Through public-private partnerships, the Government has been trying to speed up many projects including the construction of communication towers.. 

I thank you, Sir.


327. Mr Musonda (Kapiri Mposhi) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a)           how many basic schools were earmarked for upgrading to secondary schools in      
       Kapiri Mposhi Parliamentary Constituency;

(b)          what the names of the schools were; and

(c)          when the process of upgrading the schools would commence.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that in Phase I, the Government earmarked two primary schools for upgrading into secondary schools in Kapiri Mposhi Parliamentary Constituency and their names are Lukanda and Lukomba Primary schools. 

Mr Speaker, in terms of when the upgrading will begin, Lukanda and Lukomba primary schools are already offering secondary education. However, the Government, of course, also released some additional funds to the tune of K454,545 to undertake the construction of additional classrooms and …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, before we went on break, I was saying that Lukanda and Lukomba primary schools have secondary school education because they have adequate infrastructure. I also informed the House that the Government released K454,545 for undertaking the construction of additional classroom space and ablution blocks.

I thank you, Sir.

328. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development when Nangoma Dam, in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency, which was damaged by heavy rains in 2012, would be rehabilitated. 

The Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Zulu): Mr Speaker, Nangoma Dam in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency will be rehabilitated in 2016.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, the last time I asked the same question, I was told that works on the same dam were in the pipeline. Can I be assured that this dam will be fully worked on in 2016?

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, yes, I can assure the hon. Member that the works on the dam will commence in 2016 because we have already made the pre-assessment. This year, we will have a detailed assessment so that we come up with the costs for the works.

I thank you, Sir.


329. Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education when a teachers’ resource centre would be constructed in Nkeyema District.

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the ministry has no immediate plans to construct a resource center in Nkeyema District as the district already has a teachers’ resource centre which is located at Munkuye Primary School. However, that resource centre is currently being used as an office by the Nkeyema District Educational Board Secretary (DEBS). This resource centre will revert to its normal function as soon as office accommodation for the DEBS has been constructed.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Antonio: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has clearly indicated that the resource centre at Munkuye Primary School is being used for another purpose, so how are the teachers expected to carry out their research?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, if the DEBS and the leaders in Nkeyema District are proactive, they can find an alternative classroom which can be used at the moment as a resource centre. If they are not proactive, we may need to offer guidance on the same matter.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, since the teachers’ resource center at Munkuye Primary School is currently being used as an office, what happened to the material which was in that room?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, since the centre is now being used as an office, then, the material which was there was moved and taken elsewhere.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Habeenzu (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister assure us that a resource centre will be constructed in Nkeyema District?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, I have already said that the office that the DEBS is using will, at some point, revert to its original use. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister when the ministry will construct office accommodation for the DEBS in Nkeyema?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, I cannot give a conclusive position now because we are just beginning the year 2015. We are yet to sit as a ministry to determine the district in which we will construct the DEBS’s office. So, when that has been done, I will inform your honourable House and the Zambian people.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister proposed that the authorities in Nkeyema could consider turning one of the classrooms at Munkuye Primary School into a resource centre. Is he aware that that school does not have enough classrooms?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the teachers' continuous professional development activities do not take place every day. So, with the infrastructure that is at that school, I am sure the DEBS and the head teacher should be able to find an alternative avenue for teachers' continuous professional development activities.

I thank you, Sir.


330. Mr Hamusonde asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)          when road works on the Lusaka-Mumbwa Road from the Lumumba Road Junction   
            to Star Cottage would be completed; and

(b)         who the contractors of the project were.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, a total of 8 km out of the total targeted length of 9.4 km has been substantially completed. Works on the remaining 1.4 km are expected to commence in the second quarter of 2015 after the completion of the relocation of services, including water, electricity and telephone lines. The Road Development Agency (RDA) has already engaged the service providers on this matter. It is expected that works on this remaining 1.4 km will be completed by 31st October, 2015. The contractor working on this road is AVIC International.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out why the contractor has not finished working on the road.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the major delay has been due to the need to relocate services which include electricity poles, water and telephone lines.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


331. Mr Kunda (Muchinga) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    how many Chinese contractors were awarded road contracts between September, 2011, and August, 2014, year by year; and

(b)    how many local contractors were awarded road contracts during the same period.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the following contracts were awarded to Chinese contractors in the period from 2011 to 2014:

    Year                        Contracts awarded
         2011                        11
    2012                  9
2013                10
2014                  5

Sir, the following contracts were awarded to local contractors in the period from 2011 to 2014:

        Year       Contracts awarded
           2011                            13
           2012                12
           2013                  2
           2014                21

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kunda: Mr Speaker, I am happy to learn that the local contractors are now getting some contracts because it is very important for the Government to empower its citizens. I would like to 
find out the measures that the Government is putting in place to make sure that this trend continues.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the Government has come up with an empowerment tool called the Local Capacity Enhancement Strategy (LCES) which, among other things, will ensure that the capacity of the local contractors is developed. We also want to revise the policy which determines the volume of the road works which is reserved for the local firms. When issuing contracts, we reserve a certain quota for the local contractors. Usually 25 per cent of the road works are given to the local contractors while the remaining 75 per cent is competed for fairly by all the contractors. We also ask the foreign contractors to sub-contract 20 per cent of their contacts to local contractors. Despite having all these strategies in place, we still have a problem with regard to the performance of the local contractors. That is why we have come up with ways of training our local contractors using the National Council for Constitution (NCC). We want to ensure that they can perform according to the specifications that are provided in the contracts.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Mbewe: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, my point of order is based on the economy of our nation.

Sir, I am always forced to raise points of order.

Mr Speaker: Order!

By who?


Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I am forced to raise points of order by the way the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is running the economic affairs of this nation.

 Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order.

Sir, on 20th February, 2013, the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central, Hon. Mwiimbu, raised a point of order on the continued depreciation of our local currency. 

Sir, arising from that point of order, the hon. Minister of Finance presented an elaborate ministerial statement in which he assured the House and the nation at large that appropriate measures had been taken to ensure a stable and predictable exchange rate of the Kwacha to the major currencies.

Mr Speaker, two years down the line, what is happening is extremely disturbing. The Kwacha has been depreciating at an alarming rate thus, affecting the economy and the lives of many of our people, especially those that directly depend on the importation of goods and services whether for their consumption or for business. 

Mr Speaker, if the trend continues, even the benefits of the reduced fuel prices which were recently effected will quickly be eroded. Even worse, the Kwacha cover for the Euro bonds will increase dramatically which will make it very expensive to service the interest and other principal repayments.

Sir,  is the hon. Minister of Finance in order to remain silent on this very important economic fact without informing this House and the nation what has happened to the measures which were implemented two years ago and what needs to be done in order to stabilise the exchange rate and …


Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I am sorry. I will read that again.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Can the hon. Member complete his point of order.

 Mr Mbewe: Sir, is the hon. Minister of Finance in order to remain silent on this very important economic factor without informing the House and the nation at large what has happened to the measures which were implemented only two years ago? Further, what needs to be done in order to stabilise the exchange rate and restore confidence in the economy of our country? Is the hon. Minister of Finance in order to sit there without informing us and the nation at large about what has gone wrong with our kwacha? I need your serious ruling.

Mr Speaker: Order!

There is a constant complaint about hon. Ministers being silent. Therefore, the only way you can break their silence is by asking them questions. It is as simple as that. How else would they break their silence if you do not ask questions? So, if the hon. Member for Chadiza has any specific issues on the subject matter he has raised, my office is open. It is always open and I will forward that question to the Office of the Clerk.

I have said several times that points of order are primarily made for procedural matters unless, something is very compelling like when Zambia is on fire. Otherwise, outside those exceptions, I will not sustain them. This will be my repeated response. I am sure those of you who have been observing my exercise of discretion in this regard, know that the appropriate route is Questions. They are most welcome. You are raising very important issues and yet, you are avoiding the appropriate door. The door is open.

Can the hon. Member or Mbala, please, continue.

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, why have we kept on receiving reports that foreign contractors have not been respecting the 20 per cent sub-contracting provision which is supposed to benefit our local contractors? A case in point is what has been happening during the works being carried out at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. We have been reading in the media about Chinese contractors refusing to pay their local partners for the works which they have done. We also hear that some of our local contractors are selling their 20 per cent share at cheap prices when we expect them to work and pick up skills from the foreign contractors so that in future, they can work on the big projects on their own. I would like the hon. Minister to address those issues.

 Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, first of all, I would like to state that when we came up with the 20 per cent sub-contracting work guidelines, the intention was to build the capacity of the local contractors so that they would eventually be able to execute the big projects on their own.

Sir, we have two scenarios at play. There is a group of contractors which is actually executing the construction works through the 20 per cent sub-contracting initiative. There is also a group of Zambian contractors who get the 20 per cent share on paper, but let the foreign contractors carry out all the works. We are currently carrying out a vendor rating exercise in order to ensure that every contractor who is supposed to be on site does the work.  Disciplinary action will be taken against any contractors who fail to carry out the works.

Mr Speaker, some Zambian contractors have been failing to perform according to the expected standards. For example, we recently heard about a dam which was worked on by a Zambian contractor which collapsed. That is why it is the Government’s intention to build the capacity of the local contractors so that we can look within the country when issuing out contracts. 

 Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minster response gave an impression that more local contractors are being given contracts than the foreign ones. That is contrary to the situation which is on the ground. In essence, what we know is that the value of the works being given to the local contractors is very small when it is compared to the ones given to the foreign contractors. What is the Government doing to reverse this situation because when the foreign contractors are paid the money, it is externalised? If that money was paid to the local contractors, it would stay in the country. 

Mr Mukanga: Sir, firstly, I would like to state that there are some preferential procurement intervention schemes that have been drafted through the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) and Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) for contracts. For example, contracts worth amounts falling below K30 million should be reserved for local contractors. That way, we shall ensure that Zambians get more contracts.

Sir, we are also implementing other strategies like the 20 per cent sub-contracting mechanism for locals and the contract financing initiative in order to build the capacity of our local contractors so that we migrate from the current situation of foreign contractors executing most of our construction works. We have set a target for ourselves. By 2020, we are supposed to have a situation whereby there will be, at least, twenty big local contractors getting most of the contracts in the country.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chishimba (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, in his response, the hon. Deputy Minister said that in the period from 2011 to 2014, we had forty-eight local contractors and thirty-five foreign ones working on our roads. In what category are the forty-eight local contractors undertaking the works?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, we are talking about major road projects only and not maintenance or patch up works. We are referring to works in categories one to three.  

I thank you, Sir.

Mr W. Banda (Milanzi): Mr Speaker, the local contractors have been complaining of late payments. What is the Government doing to ensure that local contractors are paid on time?

Mr Mukanga: Sir, we face a few challenges when it comes to paying our contractors. However, whenever possible, we pay the contractors on time.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, in his response, the hon. Minister indicated that in 2013, there were only two local contractors that were awarded contracts. In 2014, however, there were twenty-one. Would the hon. Minister care to indicate to us why there was such a drop from twelve in 2012 to only two in 2013 and what strategies were employed for the number to jump from two in 2013 to twenty-one in 2014.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, firstly, when we award a contract for a period of one or two years, it definitely comes to an end. Some of the contractors who started works in 2012 had finished them by 2013. That is why we only have two contractors still carrying out works in 2013. Let me restate the strategies we came up with in terms of increasing the number of local contractors carrying out public projects. Firstly, I talked about the preferential procurement intervention scheme for contracts falling below the K30 million threshold. This has led to an increase in the number of contracts that have been awarded to local contractors. Secondly, we developed a local empowerment tool called the LCES, which, among other things, seeks to ensure that capacity is developed by reserving a specific quota of contracts for Zambians.

Sir, the other strategy we came up with is the 20 per cent sub-contracting mechanism. Due to this, we saw an increase in the number of contracts being awarded to Zambian contractors. We also came up with the strategy of ensuring that we build capacity by training the local contractors so that they are in a position to execute big contracts.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


332. Mr Mpundu (Nchelenge) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education when the roof that was blown off at Mukumbwa Primary School in Nchelenge would be repaired.

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the blown off roof at Mukumbwa Primary School in Nchelenge was initially expected to be repaired with the support of the District Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DDMMU) under the Office of the Vice-President. However, in view of the unavailability of funds, the district managed to repair the roof with the support of the community. It is expected that when funds are available, major repairs works will be undertaken at the said school.

I thank you, Sir.


333. Mr Kapyanga (Kabwe Central) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)           which company had been contracted to rehabilitate the old bus station in Kabwe;

(b)           what type of works were earmarked to be undertaken;

(c)           how many jobs would be created when the bus station became fully operational;   

(d)           what the estimated cost of the project was.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Ching’imbu): Mr Speaker, the company which has been contracted to rehabilitate the old bus station in Kabwe is Bellview Tools Limited. The type of works earmarked to be undertaken are rehabilitation works which will include concrete paving of the site and the construction of ablution facilities. The total cost of the project is K2,928,602.43. It is difficult at this stage to state the number of jobs which will be created.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kapyanga: Mr Speaker, the contractor illegally hired a council grader to grade the area without the knowledge of the council. What will the ministry do about this because the contractor has shown a lack of capacity and is not on site?

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr N. Banda): Mr Speaker, that is news for us. We are getting it from the hon. Member, who is also a member of the council. I think that if the hon. Member puts what he has in writting, we will investigate the matter so that we acertain the correct position.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Musonda: Mr Speaker, the construction of the concrete slab and ablution blocks may not be enough to rehabilitate this old and dilapidated bus stop. What other measures are going to be taken to uplift the face of the bus stop?

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, indeed, paving the bus station and constructing an ablution block may not be a complete set of what is necessary for this bus station to be rehabilitated. However, through the municipal council in the area, the ministry is thinking of phasing out the works that should be done. The council itself is the one that prioritises works and informs the ministry.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Zimba (Chama North): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has categorically stated that he is not aware that a contractor who was contracted had no capacity and moved on site by illegally hiring a grader belonging to Kabwe Municipal Council. When was the contract awarded? What systems does the ministry use to monitor the work being done by the contractors?

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, I would like to put the record straight that. I did not confirm that the ministry knew that the contractor did not have the capacity to carry out the works. What we said was that the contractor was able to win the tender because he met the conditions to be awarded the contract. It was not the duty of the ministry to find out if the contractor was going to hire the machinery. There are so many Zambian contractors who do not have machines whom we award contracts. If the contractor did not hire that equipment in the right way, that is not the issue for the ministry. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


334. Mr Antonio asked the Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health when qualified personnel would be deployed to Kalumwange Health Centre in Kaoma Central Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (Mr Chisala): Mr Speaker, Kalumwange Health Centre in Kaoma Central Parliamentary Constituency whose official name is Kasimba Rural Health Centre has currently a nurse and an environmental health technologist. Notwithstanding, the ministry has been given Treasury authority in the 2015 Budget to recruit 500 health personnel. Therefore facilities that do not have adequate health workers, including Kalumwange Health Centre in Kaoma Central Parliamentary Constituency will be given first priority.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Antonio: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that the Government is going to recruit 500 Health Workers. How many officers is the Government intending to send to Kalumwange Health Centre?

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, the fact that we have a nurse and an environmental technologist at the centre means that we shall need to send two more members of staff in order to complete the establishment.

I thank you, Sir.


335. Mr Musonda asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)          when the Government would improve the water reticulation system in Kapiri    
       Mposhi Township;

(b)          what the cost of the project was; and

(c)    what the time frame for the project was.

Mr Ching’imbu: Mr Speaker, the Government through Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company, is currently finalising the preparations of designs for the water reticulation system in the partially serviced areas of Hilltop and Kawama in Kapiri Mposhi Township. The estimated cost of the project to improve water supply in Kapiri Mposhi Township is K4.4 million. However, the actual cost of the project will be known after the design and the bill of quantities have been completed.

Mr Speaker, the actual time frame for the project will be known after the designs have been completed.

I thank you, Sir.




Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the Presidential appointment of Hon. Madam Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima to serve as Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia, for the Fourth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 23rd February, 2015.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I wish to second the Motion.

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, the appointment of Hon. Madam Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima is made pursuant to Article 93 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia. From the outset, let me hasten to state that your Committee recognises the importance of the Office of the Chief Justice and the role that the Judiciary plays in the governance of our country. It also recognises that the country has had no substantive Chief Justice for the last three years. With this realisation, your Committee set out to ensure that the person appointed to serve as Chief Justice should be qualified, competent and with unquestionable integrity and commitment to the promotion of justice for all.

Sir, above all, your Committee sought to be satisfied that the person to be appointed to hold the position of Chief Justice was committed and ready to contribute to changing the negative public perception of the Judiciary by rebranding it into a truly autonomous, efficient and impartial arm of Government. In this regard, your Committee carefully selected the witnesses to assist it scrutinise the suitability of the nominee. The witnesses made both oral and written submissions to your Committee. Further, your Committee interviewed the nominee and carefully studied her curriculum vitae.

Mr Speaker, your Committee found that the nominee possesses the requisite qualifications required for one to be appointed as Chief Justice. Further, submissions from the State security agencies indicated that there were no adverse security traces against the nominee.

Mr Speaker, your Committee noted that the nominee’s career in the legal profession had spanned for a period of thirty-nine years. Beginning from 1976 when she obtained a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Zambia where upon she joined the Public Service as a Learner Legal Practitioner in the Department of Civil Litigation. She was admitted to practice as an Advocate of the High Court of Zambia in 1977 and was appointed State Advocate in the Attorney-General’s Chambers. She rose to the position of Senior State Advocate in the Attorney-General’s Chambers before taking up the appointment of Director of Legal Aid in Zambia in 1984. She was then appointed Commissioner of the High Court performing functions of a Judge of the High Court in 1985. The nominee was appointed Judge of the High Court in 1989 and Judge In-charge of the High Court at Lusaka in 1996. As Judge in charge, she led the High Court Civil Procedure Rules Reform Process that resulted in the creation of the Commercial List and the institution of the court annexed mediation popularly known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Sir, the nominee’s career in the Supreme Court of Zambia has spun close to fifteen years commencing in august 2000 when she was appointed Acting Judge of the Supreme Court. She was appointed Deputy Chief Justice in 2008. A position she has continued to hold to date. 

Mr Speaker, apart from serving the Republic as an adjudicator of several years’ experience, the nominee served as a member of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) from 1994 to 1996 and twice served as Chairperson of the ECZ having been appointed in 2005 and 2011 respectively. The nominee also recently presided over the Presidential By-elections held on 20th January, 2015 where she was widely commended for the manner in which she managed the election.

Mr Speaker, your Committee, through its interaction with the nominee and various witnesses, noted that the nominee was very exposed as she was a member of several professional associations, including the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) and the Zambia Association of Women Judges (ZAWJ). She was also the Chairperson of the Editorial Board of the Council of Law Reporting, Zambia Law Reports and a member of a number of other boards such as the Advisory Board of the Women in Law in Southern Africa (WILSA). 

Sir, your Committee was thus convinced that the nominee, if ratified, would discharge her duties diligently.

Mr Speaker, allow me to highlight some observations noted by your Committee which, if taken on board, would give more credence to the ratification process. Your Committee observed that serving Judges of either the High Court or Supreme Court have from time to time been seconded to serve in other public institutions such as the ECZ and the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia (ACC), among others. Your Committee is of the view that this practice not only takes away the much needed human resource from the Judiciary, but also has the potential to undermine the independence of the Judiciary. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the secondment of serving Judges to other public institutions be discouraged. Your Committee recommends that such appointments be given to retired Judges.

Sir, your Committee further observes that the appointment of a person who was Chairperson of the ECZ and superintended over the immediate past elections should not be made until the period allowed for lodging election petitions has lapsed. This is important as it will prevent the person appointed from being in conflict of interest. Further, it will prevent the public perception of a person being rewarded for delivering a seat to the appointing authority from being made.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, your Committee thus recommends that such appointments should only be made after the election atmosphere has cooled down and the period for lodging election petitions has lapsed.

 Mr Speaker, your Committee also observed that the practice by the Executive of publicly announcing appointments before they have been ratified by this House has the potential of prejudicing the ratification process and should be equally discouraged. Your Committee undertook the screening process of the nominee after the appointing authority had made public announcements about the appointment. 

Sir, while your Committee was not swayed by the public opinion, it is of the view that in order to preserve the integrity of the ratification process, public pronouncements about a nominee awaiting ratification by this House should only be made after the nominee has been ratified. Additionally, this would preserve the integrity of the nominee to the public if this House declines the ratification. 

Sir, in conclusion, your Committee did not find any information against the suitability of the nominee to be appointed to the position of Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia. To the contrary, your Committee found that the nominee had distinguished herself not only as a Judge, but also in the various capacities she had rendered her service to the Republic. Your Committee found that the nominee was of unquestionable integrity and eminently qualified for the appointment to the Office of Chief Justice. Your Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that this august House ratifies the presidential appointment of Hon. Madam Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima to serve as Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia.

Finally, Sir, your Committee wishes to put on record its gratitude for the services rendered to it by the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly. Above all, the hon. Members wish to express their appreciation to you, Mr Speaker, for appointing them to serve on this Select Committee. Your Committee is equally grateful to all the witnesses that appeared before it and provided valuable information that assisted it in making an informed recommendation to this House. 

Sir, it is now my pleasure to call upon this august House to ratify the appointment before it.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

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

Ms Imenda: Now, Sir.

Mr Speaker, before I second the Motion, I would like to recognise and congratulate our first ever female Vice-President …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda: … of the Republic of Zambia Her Honour the Vice-President, Inonge Wina. Congratulations!

Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion to adopt the Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the Presidential appointment of Hon. Madam Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima to serve as Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia, allow me first to thank the Chairperson for having ably moved the Motion.

Sir, the Chairperson has already pointed out the salient issues that caught the attention of your Committee during their deliberations. Therefore, I will not spend so much time on those issues. In fact, this will probably be the shortest secondment. 

Mr Speaker, your Committee had an opportunity to interact with the various witnesses and took note of the views expressed. What was prominent was their confidence in the nominee’s ability to discharge the functions of the Office of Chief Justice. In this regard, bringing well qualified and eminent persons to the House for ratification should, therefore, be encouraged. 

Further, Sir, it would be a great omission my part if I did not recognise and appreciate the fact that the nominee, if ratified, would be the first female Chief Justice in the Republic of Zambia which would be an important milestone in the gender agenda at national and international level. However, of great importance is the fact that she is a woman of substance and integrity and when a name for a person of such calibre is brought to the Floor of this House for ratification, it makes the work of this House easy.

Mr Speaker, finally, I wish to pay tribute to your Committee for the manner in which it conducted its deliberations and observed the views of all the witnesses who appeared before it. Your Committee did so in the spirit and manner that helped it make recommendations which are, in its view, in the best interest of the people of Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion seeking the ratification of Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima as Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia. I would like to state that I support the ratification without any contradiction whatsoever. I am aware that she is a lady of integrity. She is a lady who is principled and qualified for this job.

Mr Speaker, as I make my remarks pertaining to this ratification, I would like to raise a number of issues pertaining to the administration of justice in Zambia. My colleagues and I, as well as a number of Zambian citizens have been concerned with the happenings in the Judiciary of late. We have been concerned in particular, with the happenings of the Judiciary in the last three years under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. 

Mr Speaker, we have noted with concern, the impunity that has been obtaining in Zambia. We have noted with concern, that justice is not seen to be done for certain individuals in this country. We have noted with concern, the biasness pertaining to the administration of justice and the implementation of laws in this country. The last three years will go down in the annals of history in this country as a period where the Judiciary in Zambia was brutalised by the Executive. We, in the Opposition, and other members of the public, have been voicing our concerns pertaining to the appointments in the Judiciary, and the administration of justice. We are all aware that the Opposition, the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and non-governmental organisations questioned the appointment of the previous Chief Justice. Reasons were given for our not supporting that appointment, but our colleagues on your right decided to ignore our pleas and also those from other interested parties in the administration of justice in this country, to the extent that the matter ended up in the courts of law. It was the first time that a sitting Chief Justice was dragged to court. That was highly unfortunate, and we hope that such a scenario will never recur in this country. When people raise issues that are pertinent, the Executive must learn to listen to the pleas that are made.  We hope and trust that our colleagues who have been given the mandate to rule us for the next one year and eight months …


Mr Mwiimbu: … will be able to listen to us. We are aware that we are not your drinking mates, but we are Zambians …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, you were proceeding well. Now, you are personalising issues. Please, move away from those aspersions. 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I was envying a certain statement that was made, that some people associate with their drinking mates only. 


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, as Zambians, we must learn to respect the institutions we create. The institutions which have been created by the Constitution of Zambia must be allowed to operate as per the laws of this country. We do not want a situation where one arm of the Government interferes in the other arm of Government. We do not want that scenario to continue. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to raise one issue that I would like the new Chief Justice, whom I am positive all of us will support, to address. As hon. Members of Parliament, we have noted with concern that for the last two years, three constituencies in the Republic of Zambia have had no representation in this House.  This matter has remained unresolved.  The Supreme Court is yet to make a decision pertaining to the plight of three former hon. Members of Parliament. It is not the former three hon. Members of Parliament who are being punished. It is the residents of those three constituencies who have been denied the right to representation in the House for two years.  The people of Malambo, Petauke, and Mulobezi have had no representation in this House for two years. I would like to appeal to the able lady, who is currently the Deputy Chief Justice, to ensure that this matter is closed once her appointment is ratified, in order to facilitate the holding of elections in those three constituencies. The people of those constituencies have suffered. They have no forum where they can express issues that need to be considered by this House. I earnestly appeal to her to conclude this matter.

Mr Speaker, the other issue I would like to raise relates to discrimination in this country. I know that as Chief Justice, she will have a very important role to play in the administration and dispensation of justice in the county. We have noted that matters for certain individuals, despite being cited, being found wanting by the police or being taken to court, drag and nothing much is done. 

Mr Muntanga: Yes!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I would like to remind this House of the unfortunate case of one poor family which lost a family member under the ugly hand of the Patriotic Front (PF) cadres. This boy, by the name of Moses Simwelu, died as a result of the intra-party fights in the PF. The Simwelu family has been crying for the justice which has been denied. The perpetrators of this heinous act are known, but because they are privileged and belong to the royal family, nothing has being done. We are all Zambians and have the right to protection by the law. Why is it that those who are unfortunate because they do not belong to certain institutions are the only ones being victimised? All of us, collectively, have a responsibility to our people. The Simwelu family is still to date crying for justice. 

Mr Speaker, we are aware of certain individuals who have been cited and arrested for political violence, but their cases are not moving. There is impunity in this country which should not be allowed to continue. Every one of us is entitled to the protection of the law under the Constitution of the country. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, if we allow a situation where laws are only applicable to a certain class of people, we are going to breed anarchy in this country. If an individual is not protected by the law, the only logical thing to do is to protect oneself. We should not allow this situation to obtain in this country. 

Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that in the last five years, we have lost five members of the Zambian community through political violence and no one has been brought to justice or convicted over this matter. 

Mr Belemu: The reason?

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, the reason is that those who are committing these crimes are being protected. Witnesses are not willing to come forward because they know that if they come and testify, they will be harassed. 

Mr Muntanga: They will be killed.

Mr Mwiimbu: I have in mind one young man who was a cook for Hon. Mwaliteta. He was killed in Livingstone and, to date, no one has been brought to book for that crime. Someone was killed in Rufunsa and no one has been brought to book for it. Moses Simwelu was attacked at the airport and no one has been brought to book. Tomorrow, we will be burying one of our members who was brutally killed and no substantive action has been taken. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to inform my colleagues that if we do not take appropriate action over such matters, we, as leaders in this House, will be held accountable and we will be answerable in future for our acts. Zambia has been a haven of peace. The country has never witnessed death as a result of politics. We have always been brothers and sisters. We have always been differing over opinions but, alas, we are witnessing a very sad part of our history as Zambians. 

Mr Speaker, in 2011 when our colleagues in the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) lost the elections, they lived in fear. They were being brutalised. Their trading areas and homes were vandalised. They were not allowed to trade in markets. They could not go to bus stations and other public facilities. They were the ones who lost the elections. This made them became victims of violence and intimidation. We thought that this had ended. After the 20th January, 2015 Presidential Election, we have witnessed a repeat of what happened to our colleagues in the MMD. Our people are being brutalised. We have more than 300 police and medical reports and the police are not doing anything. We have written to them and informed them about this sad scenario and nothing much is being done. There is a limit. Even a rat, if pushed against the wall, will bite. We should not allow this situation. 

Mr Speaker, I beg you to advise our colleagues. This is the only country we have. We should not allow anarchy in this country. We should not allow citizens to take the law in their own hands to defend themselves because the institutions of Government are failing to do so. I am appealing to you because it not too late. However, if we delay, it will be too late. Let us do something about it. Those who are being beaten, even if they are in other political parties, are our brothers and sisters. We have a responsibility to protect them. I would like to thank Hon. Mwila for giving audience yesterday to our ladies who went to his office to seek justice. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: That is how it should be. We are all Zambians. Hon. Mwila, I am appealing to you, through The Speaker, to take appropriate action. Let us not allow impunity to rule in this country. We have one country and if we destroy it, it will be difficult to mend.

With these few remarks, I support the Motion. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kalima (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, thank you for granting me this opportunity to add my voice to this Motion. I am excited today that it has come to pass that we are going to ratify the Chief Justice.

Sir, I, alone, walked barefoot from the Post Office up to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kalima: … protesting against the stay of the Chief Justice. I protested was because the whole nation complained that they knew that the former Chief Justice was not rightfully in that office. What matters more than the fact that you appoint a woman to that office is the type of woman you appoint to that office. That woman should be put in that office based on merit. 

Mr Speaker, this appointment has been long overdue. The Judiciary has suffered, but the people of Zambia have suffered more. I was a victim who suffered because of the country having the wrong Chief Justice in office.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kalima: Sir, this is not a controversial appointment. It is an appointment based on merit. I would like to state that I support it with all my heart and appeal to every well-meaning Zambian to support it as well.

Mr Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to commend President Edgar Chagwa Lungu for showing that he listens to the people. We have hope that things will be different in future.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kalima: Sir, we are sure that he is determined to add value to the nation of Zambia. I want to say congratulations to the Patriotic Front (PF) on making this nomination.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, I am certain that Justice Mambilima will perform her duties to the expectation of the Zambian people. She is not just a woman of substance who brings hope to women who aim high. She is also a woman who is qualified and has performed well in her position as Deputy Chief Justice and also in her position at the Electoral Commission of Zambia.

Sir, with these few words, I want to support the nomination and appeal to everyone to do the same.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, outrightly, who would not support that which is good?

Mr Hamududu: No one. 


Mr Mutelo: Who would divert from a path when they know that the way is straight? 

Mr Mushanga: Washishi!

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, the ratification of this nominee is welcome and long overdue. Go to the Curriculum Vitae (CV) of the Madam and see what is there. What else would you need? This is how things should be. If we will run the nation in this manner, putting the right people in the right places at the right times, then we will be doing the right thing for the people we are representing. However, if we put issues on the table which do not matter, then we will be missing the mark. Issues which do not matter would include, for example, someone calling this appointment tribalism. The candidate is from the same province as the President. People could easily claim that the appointment was made along tribal lines. However, people like us will not do that. We are looking at what she is and what she has acquired in terms of experience and education.

Mr Sing’ombe: Substance.

Mr Mutelo: We are looking at her substance and not tribalism, although she comes from Chipata. It should be like this even when it comes to other things. Look at the material, just like we are doing right now. It is in the public domain. We have no objections.

Mr Speaker, this appointment is long overdue. She is the substantive Deputy Chief Justice and this appointment should have come a long time ago. We are now ratifying her appointment when she only has two years before retiring. This might make us fall into the same trap all over again. Things should not be like that.

Sir, look at the coincidences. The President said, when recently swearing in new Deputy Ministers, one of whom is my friend, Hon. Mushanga, that there should be no nepotism. I hope people will not see the appointment of the Chief Justice as having been made along the lines of nepotism. 

Sir, further, some people may question why Justice Mambilima has been appointed Chief Justice right after presiding over an election. It may seem, like it has been stated in the Report, as if it is a reward. 


Hon. UPND Member: Nepotism.

Mr Mutelo: However, we do not see things like that. We see the substance and material.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutelo: When something is right, you should admit that it is right.

Mr Sing’ombe: Tell them.

Mr Mutelo: We are not saying that the President is practising nepotism or rewarding people.


Mr Mutelo: What we are saying is that the nominee is the right person for now because she has substance. If every Zambian thought in that way, then we would be doing the right thing for Zambia. 

Mr Livune: Otherwise doom

Mr Mutelo: We are even enhancing the operations of Parliament. Although only three of us have stood up to say that we are ratifying her appointment, others who do not want to indicate are also ratifying the appointment whilst seated …


Mr Mutelo: … and that is the right thing. Then, Parliament …

Mr Speaker: I will come to that procedurally.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, at the end of it all, we will all ratify her appointment. This process is giving strength to Parliament as opposed to a situation whereby people occupy certain offices without their appointments being properly ratified. In that case, what would the need of Parliament be? 

Sir, we will now have an elected Speaker, an elected President and a ratified Chief Justice who will be leading the three arms of Government. Zambia was limping at some point because it had an Acting President, an Acting Chief Justice and only an elected Speaker.


Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, I have no objection to this appointment. This is how things should be done for the good of the nation. We should look at the material. Advice can be either taken or not taken.  On Page 15 of the report, your Committee states that:

“The nominee acknowledged that the public perception of the Judiciary was extremely low.”

Mr Livune: Correct!

Mr Mutelo: Correct! 

“She submitted that the main problem in the Judiciary was that of delayed judgments and concerns about the quality of judgments being rendered.”

Mr Speaker, that is true. As she comes into this office, we want to see an improvement in the areas which she talked about when she appeared before your Committee. We do not want to open Pandora’s boxes here. I fully support the ratification of Madam Irene Chirwa Mambilima as the Chief Justice because of her substance and not tribe.

Mr Speaker, with these very few words, I am going to support this ratification if the Judiciary is put in the right track. 

Mr Speaker, litumezi.


Mr Speaker: What is what?


Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, “litumezi” means that with such appointments, ...


Mr Mutelo: … we thank you very much for having given us the first ever female Vice-President and the first ever …


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, I asked about the meaning of the word ‘litumezi.’

Mr Mutelo: … female Chief Justice. That is what the word ‘litumezi’ means.

I thank you, Sir.


Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I want to join my colleagues who have spoken before me in supporting this important nomination of Hon. Madam Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima to serve as Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia. 

Mr Speaker, I am supporting this nomination because it is meritorious. I hope that future nominations to constitutional offices will be based on merit. The Office of Chief Justice is very important because a country without justice has no good governance. It also means that the country has lawlessness and anarchy. It is also important that the public have confidence in the Chief Justice’s Office. If the public does not have confidence in an office, even if the person who is occupying that office is right, there will still be a problem, especially when it comes to issues of justice. This is why it is always said that justice needs to be practised. I think that the issue of perception is very important in this regard. 

Sir, those of us who have been in public office for quite some time and those that know Madam Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima in particular, will all agree that this is a right nomination. This is a woman of unquestionable integrity. I have no doubt that even those who will speak after me will support this appointment. I know that there will be no controversy over Madam Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima’s appointment because her integrity is unquestionable. She has earned the appointment. 

Sir, as public servants or politicians, I think that we must learn from her. How many of us today can be celebrated in the manner this woman is being celebrated? We still say that she is the right person to take up this appointment even after coming out of an election where one would have felt it was unfair. This clearly tells us that she deserves that clean record. All those that are in constitutional offices, public offices or any position of authority must learn something from her. I am breathing fresh air just by listening to the debate about this great woman. This is how it should always be.

Sir, I would like to refer to some salient points that were brought out in the Report of your Committee, in particular, the timing of this nomination. I was telling somebody who knows the Chief Justice to be a great woman, and nobody has any doubts about that. I even went further to say that it is a pity that in the report, somebody questioned if this appointment is a reward or not. I also said that there must be timing in the way we appoint people. Otherwise, we will create a wrong perception amongst the members of the general public. 


Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, the person I was talking to, who seemed to know the Chief Justice very well said the following: 

“No, maybe you were not following these events. This woman should have been appointed a long time ago. Her appointment is actually long overdue. She was the one that should have taken this place but, somehow, it did not happen that way. In the legal fraternity and, indeed, the public, it was felt that she was being sidelined.”

Mr Speaker, I am saying this deliberately on the Floor of this House because this issue was brought out in your report. There are a lot of lay persons out there who might think that this great woman has been nominated because she did somebody a favour during the elections.

Hon. Government Members: Which favour?

Mrs Masebo: Do not say, “Which favour?” What I am talking about is in the report.

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Hon. Member, just address me if you intend to continue.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I would like to say to my colleagues who may have that doubt that, in fact, this woman qualifies to be Chief Justice. The appointment is long overdue. She was actually the Deputy Chief Justice and by all standards, there should be no doubt about her.

Mr Speaker, the other point that I thought I should raise in this debate relates to what your Committee brought out in the report with regard the timing of the appointment because it should not be meant to look as if Parliament is just rubber stamping it. I think this is an issue that I have heard in this House time and again after every constitutional appointment by successive Presidents. I feel that the announcement of the appointment should only come after the nominee has been ratified by Parliament. That is how our colleagues in the United States of America do things.

Mr Speaker, Article 93 (1) of the Constitution of Zambia, Cap.1 of the Laws of Zambia states:

“The Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice shall, subject to ratification by the National Assembly, be appointed by the President.”

Sir, according to my understanding of English, the words nomination and appointment have two different meaning. Thus, the appointing authority should have said that he had nominated XY to a constitutional office, subject to ratification by the National Assembly. That way, the ratification process would be given credibility and not be seen as merely a rubber tamping activity. I think we should do things differently in future. However, when a Head of State appoints and that appointment is subject to ratification, normally it is most likely that those from the Ruling Party will debate in a certain way. They would not want to debate in a manner which would disappoint the appointing authority.

You can see, Mr Speaker, that even when some of us stand up, people are very uncomfortable so …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, do not debate yourself. There is no need to debate yourself.

Mrs Masebo: Point taken, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, we all need justice. Therefore, a system whereby people begin to feel that there is no justice can create anarchy in a country. We have three arms of Government. The Judiciary can be likened to a church because when we go to church, we are all supposed to feel safe and should not even look over our shoulders. When people go to court, they must feel that they have a chance of getting justice. 

Sir, the head of any institution is important. Since we now have a nominated person that everybody supporting and has confidence in, we hope, that spirit can trickle down to the other Judges that are there. They should emulate their own leader and act like her. She is principled, and never shaky. As a country, we must have people that we can all be proud of and have confidence in. When we have such people, even when one loses a case, they can be able to accept that they were wrong. We should not have a situation whereby even those people that are not legal minded such as a 12-year-old girl questions the outcome of some cases as has been the case in the recent past. We truly hope that as a country that we can start on a new leaf in the Judiciary system with somebody whom everyone is happy with as the head and that this can also trickle down to everybody and we can all be happy even when we are convicted.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister at State House (Mr Sata): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to debate on this important Motion. Before I proceed, allow me to express my profound gratitude to His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, for nominating me Member of this august House and appointing me Deputy Minister at State House.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sata: Mr Speaker, I am truly humbled by the confidence and trust that the President has shown in me and I would like to assure the people of Zambia as well as the President that this responsibility, I will not take lightly. I will endeavour to work tirelessly for the benefit of the people of Zambia. I believe that if each one of us put in our best regardless of the positions we hold in society, our country will be a better place to live in.

Sir, let me now turn to the subject matter currently on the Floor of the House. Allow me to join my hon. Colleagues in thanking the mover of the Motion, the seconder and the entire Committee for their comments and thorough work they undertook on this important assignment. I also wish to extend my sincere gratitude to hon. Members who have contributed to this Motion for their constructive debate.

Mr Speaker, on behalf of the appointing authority, let me state that the Government is committed to the independence of the Judiciary. The independence of the Judiciary is a cornerstone of democracy. With Hon. Madam Justice Irene Mambilima at the helm of the Judiciary, the Government believes strongly that the Judiciary will not only perform its functions independently, but also perform them efficiently and effectively. We are hopeful that the nominee will facilitate the transformation of the Judiciary into a strong institution of governance. The Government is aware of the many challenges that the Judiciary is facing and, as a Government, we will do all we can to ensure that the Judiciary operates smoothly.

Finally, Mr Speaker, let me state that the Government is committed to gender equality and to appointing more women to high positions in high decision-making institutions not simply because they are women, but because they are equal to the tasks of the positions they are appointed to. This, as a Government, we have been able to demonstrate through the appointments made thus far. Once again, let me thank the House for the support they have shown towards the nomination of Hon. Madam Justice Mambilima to the position of Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Justice (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, from the outset, I would like to thank all hon. Members of the Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the presidential appointment of …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

  Mr Speaker: Before business was suspended, the House was considering a Motion which has been moved by the hon. Member of Parliament for Choma Central that this House do adopt the Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the Presidential appointment of Hon. Madam Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima to serve as Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia, for the Fourth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 23rd February, 2015. The hon. Minister of Justice was contributing to the Motion.

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, from the outset, I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Mweetwa, and all members of the Select Committee appointed to scruitinise the Presidential appointment of Hon. Madam Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima to the Office of Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia for their diligent and thorough manner in which they undertook this task.


Mr Speaker: Can we have order, both on the left and the right!

Dr Simbyakula: Sir, I would also like to seize this opportunity to thank all Members who have contributed to the Motion. I would like to thank them on behalf of the appointing authority for their kind and generous words of support for this nomination.

Mr Speaker, as we have all heard, Justice Mambilima has spent all her working life, forty long years, in the Public Service. As we all know, the legal profession can be quite lucrative. Justice Mambilima with her exceptional skills as a lawyer could have chosen to go into private practice where she could have made herself tonnes and tonnes of money, but chose to serve in the Public Service.

 Sir, in whatever position that Justice Mambilima has held, she has served Zambia with distinction. He work has always been of a very high calibre. I am not saying this because she and I were in the same intake at the University of Zambia in 1972 and that we went to the National service together. In 1973, Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima together with the hon. Member for Luena and I were at Mushili Camp in Ndola. I am saying this because all those who have known Justice Mambilima will agree with me that this daughter of the Zambian soil is truly an eminent person of high integrity.

 Mr Speaker, before I conclude, I would like to reaffirm the Government’s commitment to ensuring that our Judiciary is truly independent. Those who have long memories will recall that in 1969, Dr Kaunda said that the Judiciary is the mirror of our society. For you and I to be truly free, we must make our Judiciary independent.

Sir, the Government of His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu is committed to do all what it takes to ensure that the Judiciary is truly independent, financial autonomy inclusive.

Mr Speaker, let me conclude by urging this House to support the ratification of Madam Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima to the high office of Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank all hon. Members who have debated on this Motion like Hon. Mwiimbu, Mutelo, Masebo, Sata, the hon. Minister of Justice and the many whose views have resonated through those who have spoken, but did not speak. I hope the Executive is going to take into account the various issues that were raised on the Floor of this House, including those contained in the report that may not have come under discussion this afternoon.

Sir, allow me to ask the Executive to take particular consideration of the pertinent issues raised by Hon. Mwiimbu because they sit at the core of the peace, unity and progress of this country.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to urge the House to ratify the nomination Hon. Irene Chirwa Mambilima as Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.


The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mrs Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1839 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 27th February, 2015.