Debates - Wednesday, 13th April, 2016

Printer Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, 13th April, 2016

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The Minister of Health (Dr Kasonde): Mr Speaker, thank you for granting me the opportunity to update the House and the nation on the cholera outbreak and national response to the epidemic. 

Mr Speaker, as I informed the House on 18th February, 2016, since early 2016, Zambia has reported isolated outbreaks of cholera in Lusaka, Rufunsa, Chongwe, Chibombo, Kabwe and Nsama districts. 

Since the beginning of the outbreak in early February, the Ministry of Health, together with the other line ministries and other stakeholders like the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has continued to work towards controlling it. 

Mr Speaker, as at 10th April, 2016, the cholera situation was as follows: 

(i)    the cumulative total number of cases for Lusaka District was 723, with twelve deaths;

(ii)    Rufunsa has had eight cases, with one death;

(iii)    Chongwe reported one case;

(iv)    Nsama District in the Northern Province has recorded sixty-six cases, cumulatively, with two deaths. However, the district has not reported any new cases in the past ten days;

(v)    Chibombo District had twenty-three cases, but the outbreak was contained more than a month ago; and
(vi)    There have been two cases in Kabwe. 

The cumulative total number of cholera cases for the country as at 10th April, was 822. 

Mr Speaker, since the current outbreak of cholera, my ministry, together with its partners, has continued to implement various measures in surveillance, prevention and case management in all the affected areas. 

In terms of surveillance, the following measures have been put in place: 

(i)    reconstituting rapid response teams in all districts; 

(ii)    putting on alert, requesting to re-enforce preventive measures and reactivating the epidemic preparedness committees in all health institutions in the country; 

(iii)    continuing with weekly meetings for the National Epidemic Preparedness Committee to monitor the situation and provide guidance; 

(iv)    following up people who have been in contact with cholera patients; 

(v)    continuing with health teams’ visits of communities to look for suspected cases of cholera;

(vi)    investigating outbreaks to find the source of infection; 

(vii)    sensitising communities through radio, television and providing health education materials; 

(viii)    collecting water samples for examination; and

(ix)    mapping cases in terms of location, as the ministry is aware of the zones that are currently affected.   

Mr Speaker, under case management, the following measures have been taken:

(i)    opening treatment centres in Kanyama, Bauleni, Matero Township and Chibombo District;

(ii)    mobilising all the necessary logistics, drugs and other medical supplies;

(iii)    mobilising staff to attend to patients;

(iv)    putting ambulances on standby in case of emergency;

Mr Speaker, in the prevention aspect, the following have been and continue to be done:

(i)    chlorine has been provided to affected communities. To date, 46,907 bottles of chlorine have been distributed;

(ii)    teams from the Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF, District Management Offices (DMO) have been put on the ground to assess the situation and conduct door-to-door campaigns on cholera prevention and control;

(iii)    the Ministry of Health and local authority have intensified the inspection of food premises and handlers. Water samples have been collected from various sources for examination. It has been strongly recommended that the premises that are not complying with food safety procedures be closed down;

(iv)    the local authorities has moved in to desludge the pit latrines in the affected compounds;

(v)    the local authorities have intensified garbage collection in the affected compounds; and

(vi)    the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has suspended street vending, specifically in cooked foods until the outbreak is over. 

Mr Speaker, in an effort to control cholera in endemic areas, the WHO has recommended a number of control strategies which Zambia has adopted. Global efforts to control the resurgence of cholera worldwide are now moving onto a new phase, following the development of safe and effective oral cholera vaccines. My ministry, in collaboration with the WHO and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has procured the oral cholera vaccine. 

Mr Speaker, on 9th April, 2016, the “Oral Cholera Vaccination Campaign” was launched in selected high-risk areas of Lusaka. This campaign is targeted at covering about 573,000 individuals. This is the first-ever cholera vaccination in Zambia. So far, this campaign is the largest in the world in terms of coverage. 

Mr Speaker, the WHO has recommended that immunisation be used alongside other prevention/control strategies and not in isolation. Cholera vaccination exercises have been carried out all over the world to prevent and respond to cholera epidemics. The MSF has many years of experience in conducting large-scale reactive cholera vaccination campaigns among affected vulnerable populations. 

Mr Speaker, the cholera vaccination will be administered to all persons older than one year, residing in Bauleni, John Laing, Chibolya, Kanyama West, New Kanyama, Old Kanyama, George, George-Soweto, Chawama, Misisi and John Howard. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable during cholera episodes such as the current one. Therefore, they should be included in the vaccination campaigns when the risk of contracting cholera is high. 

Mr Speaker, millions of people have safely received oral cholera vaccines (OCV) and have had no serious side effects. A few people who have received OCV have complained of mild stomach aches or diarrhoea. However, this only lasted a few hours and did not require treatment. Many people complain about the bitter taste of the vaccine, but this is normal. The oral cholera vaccine must not be seen as the ultimate measure against cholera, as it works well when used alongside the other control strategies that I mentioned earlier.

Sir, I would like to remind the general public about the importance of practising good personal hygiene as the first measure to prevent any disease outbreak. These include:

(a)    washing hands with clean water and soap;

(b)    boiling and chlorinating drinking water;

(c)    eating hot and properly cooked foods;

(d)    always using the toilet or latrine when answering the call of nature;

(e)    reporting to the local authorities any blocked sewer lines or over spilling latrines in the area; and

(f)     avoiding ready-to-eat foods sold on the street.

I believe that with these measures, this epidemic will be brought under control.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

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

Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister of Health for the update on the cholera situation. However, cholera is only the effect while dirty surroundings are the cause. When will the Government tackle the cause in order to eliminate the recurrence of cholera outbreaks?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear! Hear!

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, it is important for us to address this matter from a long-term perspective. The issue at hand relates to hygiene and the environment in which we live. This implies that it is not just about the provision of services by the Government but, more importantly, individual and community dedication to issues of hygiene. It is for this reason that the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has made every effort to have communities updated on the best ways to maintain levels of hygiene in their surroundings.
Sir, it is unfortunate that virtually everybody has this information, but some people still decide not to adhere to the set standards of hygiene. I hope that following this question, the message will percolate into all communities and lead to the end of the epidemic. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, I commend you for the efforts you are making towards modernisation. I did not know that the proceedings of this House were broadcast live on television and was wondering why there were a lot of cameras in the Chamber. This is commendable because the people of Zambia will see if hon. Ministers do not give proper answers.

Hon. Government Members: Ah!

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Ms Kapata interjected.

Mr Namulambe: Some people are dull.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, do not engage anybody.

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has banned the sale of food on the streets. However, we have noted that this has been ignored and people have continued to sell food on the streets. There are no toilet facilities on the street and garbage is not collected on a daily basis, hence the continued accumulation of dirt on the street. 

Sir, has the Government not banned street vending and ensured the cleaning of streets on a daily basis in order to prevent the outbreak of disease?

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member’s comment that it is important that we answer questions correctly and accurately since the proceedings of the House are now broadcast live. I suppose the hon. Member also implies that questions that are not of good quality will also be broadcast.


Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, the issue of street vending has been brought before us in the past. I hope that the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing will address this issue again. 

Sir, I do not believe that street vending is incompatible with good hygiene if we removed the component of food and drink in the way that they are currently sold. This, I presume, is what has displeased the hon. Member.

Mr Speaker, by suggesting that the solution to this problem is simply to ban street vending would be exaggerating the role of hygiene and burying it into the overall concept of street vending. What we should be doing is what the hon. Minister of Local Government has suggested. We should examine all the activities and exclude unhygienic practices from all the premises. To me, this applies not only to the street, but also schools and the like. I am unable to share the view that an overall ban is the solution to the problem of cholera. However, I agree that the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing may wish to come back to this issue at some point.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, ...

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

Mr Speaker: A point of order has been raised.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, I apologise to the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena for disrupting her debate. 

Sir, the Standing Orders of Parliament are very clear as far as the dress code is concerned. According to the Standing Orders, no one is allowed to wear political attire on the precincts of Parliament. I am concerned because the hon. Member of Parliament for Kamfinsa has come to the House in United Party for National Development (UPND) regalia. 


Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member of Parliament in order to do that? 

I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that I do happen to be aware about the source of that regalia you are referring to.


Mr Speaker: This is actually a product of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly.

Hon. Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Speaker: I have a similar attire of a different colour ...


Mr Speaker: … which, of course, I cannot don here.


Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the hon. Minister of Heath for the statement. However, I do not know whether it has been brought to the House voluntarily.    

Sir, in his response to the question raised by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mpongwe, the hon. Minister said that street vending is not directly related to cholera. The hon. Member of Parliament for Chavuma raised the issue of people trading from areas where there are no toilets. We know that people use items such as plastic bags, empty chibuku containers and plastic bottles to answer the call of nature. 


Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, has the hon. Minister of Health liaised with the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, seeing as they sit next to each other, to put measures in place to see to it that the containers people use to answer the call of nature are not thrown into the drainages since that is the conduit for the transmission of cholera? 

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for ‘hammering’ on the issue of street vending and, in particular, her reference to liaising with my colleague, the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, and Health who is not very distant from where I am at the moment. 

Yes, hon. Member, the two ministries have continued to liaise at technical and political levels. I have said that we have the national committee comprising staff from the Ministries of Local Government and Housing Health that deals with this matter on a weekly basis. 

Sir, I must return to the very important issue of lessons that the hon. Member has referred to, namely that it is the circumstances and practices of the vendors that need to be controlled. In other words, I would take it that the hon. Member agrees with me that much can be done to improve the hygiene standards in the environment that the vendors operate from without condemning entirely the practice of vending. The hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing has constantly said that there is a need to provide safe areas for vendors to operate from and not to ban the activity. This is where my colleague and I stand.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to apologise in advance to the hon. Minister if my question does not relate to what was addressed in his statement because I walked in shortly after the delivery of the statement had begun. What was the determining factor at arriving at the 572 vaccinations – subject to correction – when Lusaka has a population of more than 3 million? Does this figure include Chibombo which, I am told, he also mentioned? Would he shed more light on how many people in Chibombo District will be covered in the vaccination exercise.

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, I welcome the observation about the number of possible vaccinations. I mentioned that this number referred to the coverage of certain areas which, perhaps, I need not go back to. I mentioned exactly which areas were considered deserving of inclusion in the vaccination campaign. This, I agree, is an area whose inclusion is difficult for the public to understand. The methodology of arriving at what constitutes an appropriate risk population to vaccinate is one that has been tackled at great length and in great depth by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

Sir, we took time to consult with the WHO on defining the parameters which will guide the distribution and use of vaccinations. When we talk about numbers of vaccinations, we are talking scientifically. We are also talking about how we arrived at these numbers using formulae and guidelines provided by our colleagues at the WHO. We shall continue to do this, bearing in mind that there is no limit to the total number of vaccinations that we can administer. It could go to a million or come down to 400,000. The important thing is that it is scientifically determined and, therefore, scientifically sound. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the fact that the hon. Minister agrees with the reasoning that probably, we should look at the causes as we also tackle the effects of the disease. If you look at the areas of concentration in the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) project of water and sanitation, especially in Lusaka, you will wonder how the project was negotiated because areas such as Kanyama in Lusaka that are prone to cholera outbreaks have not been covered by that project. Has the hon. Minister ever thought of bringing on board the private sector in his efforts to try to improve the hygiene standards in trading areas, especially in big cities such as Lusaka?

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, I acknowledge the importance of involving the private sector. There is long-standing evidence that wherever we have had to deal with the environment in the streets of our cities, the private sector has constantly been involved and have proved to be a valuable partner. I do not want to specify cities. For example, we know what happened in Livingstone during the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). We know that the idea of involving the private sector in maintaining appropriate standards, including hygiene, in the environment in which street venders operate is definitely one that we believe in and practice as the Government.

 I thank you, Sir
 Mr Habeenzu (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, street vending in Lusaka is real. I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether the Government is taking any immediate action other than the vaccine being administered to protect the street venders from cholera since we have failed to remove them from the street.

 Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member’s concern about the action to be taken in order to encourage the maintenance of high hygiene standards among street venders.

Sir, we know that there is a faecal/oral transmission of the disease. Therefore, the solution is the one which we have repeatedly presented which consists of the interruption of the transmission. It is for this reason that I am a little surprised that the hon. Member has not acquainted himself with the measures that the colleagues in the Ministries of Local Government and Housing, and Health have been pursuing to control the transmission of the disease from faeces to the mouth.

Sir, indeed, we have been practicing what the hon. Member has said, and I hope that it is visible. Perhaps, he should come along and see what exactly is going on. I believe in what he says and that surely, the hon. Member knows that is what we are doing.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, maybe, the hon. Minister has to be clearer. In his earlier statement, he banned the sale of foodstuff from the streets. Meanwhile, it is general knowledge that street vending also contributes to the outbreak of cholera. Today, he seems to be softening up with regard to the issue of street vending. 

Sir, has the hon. Minister’s directive on the ban of sale of foodstuff on the streets been enforced, particularly by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing? Further, while we appreciate that there must be some special trading areas along the streets, it has not been implemented. Does the hon. Minister not think that it is the indiscriminate sale of foodstuff which has also contributed to the outbreak of cholera? What practical steps have the two ministries taken to mitigate the situation?

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for, again, coming back to the issue of measures that the Government has taken to control the hygiene standards on the streets.

Sir, at this point, it may be worth my accepting my humility not to judge the performance of my ministry and that of my colleague, but rather to ask the hon. Member the extent to which he has gone out to exactly see what is happening and say whether this corresponds with what we have demanded. If not, to what extent it does not correspond, and to want extent he, as hon. Member of Parliament, might be able to contribute to the fight against cholera.

Mr Speaker, much as we would like the Government to do a number of things, we must also ask ourselves the extent to which we accept that the principles which have been laid down are not for the ministries’ staff to go round with carrot and stick, but for all of us to participate in their adherence.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is going round in circles instead of answering the question by the hon. Member of Parliament for Chembe.

Sir, could the hon. Minister, please, be explicit on whether the two ministries, which the hon. Member for Chembe has mentioned, have taken the right measures to ensure that the cholera is eradicated in Zambia.

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, we would like to come back to this issue again. Disregarding the fact that the hon. Member’s village called Tamvera Nsoni was apparently coincidentally named at the time of the election of the hon. Member, maybe, the coincidence may not have been entirely unexpected.


Dr Kaonde: Sir, I have said that the actions to be taken on the streets have been made very clear by my colleague in the ministry of Local Government and Housing and myself. As staff of the two ministries, we have been around to see exactly what is going on on the streets. Therefore, when I request hon. Members to go and see for themselves what is going on, it means that we are satisfied that we have teams that are going to those places. 

Sir, in some cases, as presented by the media, it shows that we have been out on the streets and have seen for ourselves what can be done and what is being done. We do not deny that there has been disobedience in some cases. This is a character that we are trying to remove as a nation. When rules are made, we must understand that they are made for us and our own health. It is important, therefore, that we follow the rules although it is not always the case. This has nothing to do with our failure to enunciate, make clear and elaborate, the actions and activities that need to be conducted.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the statement. I hope I will be spared since we belong to the same profession.

Sir, in the hon. Minister’s responses, there is a subtle element of looking down upon the questioner. I hope I will be spared from that.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear! Hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, in his statement, the hon. Minister mentioned the introduction of a vaccine that can only be effective if administered in conjunction with proven preventive measures. Since we are aware that some measures go a long way in the prevention of cholera, could he not have considered channelling the money spent on the vaccines towards preventive measures that promote personal hygiene.

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, let me begin by recognising a colleague in the profession who has not only performed in the area of surgery in the country, …


Dr Kasonde: … but also performed excellently as hon. Minister of Health and representative of the people of Mumbwa. Surely, there can be no greater esteem than the one I have expressed.

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!


Dr Kasonde: Sir, I agree with the hon. Member’s sentiments. Let me repeat what I said. We cannot regard vaccination as the only tool. It has to be one of a number of tools, the most important of which is that of maintaining hygiene in the places we live. When we look at the history of this condition, way back to the days when it was only endemic in India in the last century to this day when it is around the world, we make the same conclusion that nothing will totally substitute the control of hygiene. That is the reason industrialised countries have had no cholera for nearly a hundred years. That is how, in Zambia, we shall come to the day when we shall have no cholera in the country if we follow the rules of hygiene. We must continue to press upon the rules of hygiene together and use vaccination as an interim measure. 

I thank you, Sir.




387. Mr Kasonso (Solwezi West) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:

(a)    how many miners were retrenched from the following mines from January, 2015, to January, 2016:

(i)    Kansanshi;

(ii)    Lumwana; and

(iii)    Kalumbila; and

(b)    what measures the Government had taken to assist the affected miners to settle down during the termination of their employment.

The Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Musukwa): Mr Speaker, there were no retrenchments at Kansanshi Lumwana mines between January, 2015, and January, 2016.

Mr Speaker, 220 direct employees and 159 contractor employees, totalling 379, were retrenched from Kalumbila Mine between January, 2015, and January, 2016.

Sir, the Government of the Republic of Zambia has put in place a resettlement programme for all the retrenched miners who are willing to settle in Lusuwishi Farming Block in Lufwanyama District. The Resettlement Programme includes all former miners from the Copperbelt and North-Western provinces, and other places who were retrenched during the time when the copper price was at its lowest. This process is spearheaded by the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) in the Office of the Vice-President.

Mr Speaker, I would like to conclude by saying that apart from the interventions that the Government has put in place, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, was personally involved in the discussions with various mining houses in order to resettle the miners who were traumatised by the retrenchment. To that effect, I would like to confirm that many former miners on the Copperbelt have received letters of offer for the land they were given. I want to further state that as the Government, we have several projects on the Copperbelt such as the Copperbelt 400 (C-400) Road Project, construction of the airport and the water reticulation programme. His Excellency the President has directed that most of the retrenched miners be employed in these projects.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, would it not have been better to consider resettling the retrenched miners from Kalumbila in the North-Western Province instead of the Copperbelt Province?

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, the Government has allowed the former miners to settle in their various localities because it will be easy for them to pick up the pieces and move on. If we were able to get land for them in their respective localities, it would have been better. However, we also have a national programme at Lusuwishi that is being carried out by the Office of the Vice-President. We intend to provide start-up business facilities in farming to former miners. We envisage giving them land that is on title, finances and other logistics for them to undertake farming as a business.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, farming is not a ‘dumping ground’ for anyone. Has the ministry put in place measures to train the former miners for them to venture into the farming business?
Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, indeed, farming is not a ‘dumping ground’. As the Government, we are not dumping anyone into farming. We have held discussions with the interested parties, especially the former miners. They will not only venture into farming but also construction projects such as the L-400 Road Project, construction of the airport and the water reticulation programme. All these undertakings will absorb the former miners. We are also training them in agriculture methods. That is why we have set aside some land for them in the farming block. We hope that the retrenched miners, including other interested parties, will take advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture sector to turn Zambia into a breadbasket.

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, the Zambians only talk about the need to diversify when there is a crisis. However, this time around, we want to ensure that every Zambian is involved in agriculture so as to turn the country into a breadbasket.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, mining is an occupation of a specialised nature. So is farming. Although my question is different, I want to ask it in a manner similar to that of the hon. Member for Kalomo Central’s question. I would like the hon. Minister to do me a favour of explaining the entire package accrued to the people who were resettled in a virgin piece of land. For instance, when a mining company in my constituency resettled people, it built houses for them. It also put up water points and sanitation facilities. I would like to find out to what extent the Government has helped to resettle the people where they are today.

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, I would like to make a distinction between the resettlement programme in Hon. Nkombo’s constituency and the one being talked about at the moment. The resettlement in Hon. Nkombo’s constituency was undertaken after the mining company started operating in the area. Under the Mines and Minerals Act, the mine is obliged to undertake such resettlement programmes. That is why the mining company was required, by law, to put up housing units and other facilities meant to better the lives of the people it had displaced.

Sir, the resettlement under discussion is different because it is as a result of people losing jobs. Therefore, the Government had to resettle them. As stated by Hon. Nkombo, we are asking people to go into farming because it is profitable. As the Government, we shall provide the basic necessities in the farming blocks. 

Further, Sir, in our quest to support the people, we intend to make sure that inputs such as seed and fertiliser are availed to them. Hon Nkombo, you are right by saying that mining is a profession and that it is as good as farming. However, as a country, we need to ensure that we move away from over-dependence on mining and promote other sectors such as agriculture and tourism as a means of providing employment.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister has told us that between January, 2015, and January, 2016, no miners were retrenched from and Lumwana copper mines. However, in April, 2015, ninety-three employees were retrenched from Kansanshi Copper Mine. Technically speaking, these were not miners as such, but employees in a mining operation, namely the smelter. Could he explain how the ninety-three former employees of the smelter are going to be resettled, seeing as they were also employees in the mining sector.

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, I still maintain what I said earlier that from January, 2015, to January, 2016, no employees of Kansanshi Copper Mine were retrenched. As the Government, we want to use appropriate terms for events that take place, especially in a mining operation.

Sir, the figure that Hon. Dr Musokotwane is talking about is much lower than what we have. The project of the construction of a processing plant or smelter that was undertaken by the company came to an end. So, there was no work for the people who were engaged to work on that project. Therefore, the company only got some of them to work at the smelter, as it could not get all of them. So, the others had to be laid off. However, the Government is in the process of resettling them.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, of the 220 people who were directly employed by Kalumbila Mine, how many were in management?

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, I do not have the information regarding which employee was in management and who was part of the general workforce. 


Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

Mr Musukwa: Suffice it to say that if a project comes to an end, the people who are retrenched include both general workers and those in management. As the Government, we treat all the workers the same way. We also have a duty to ensure that we resettle them.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, when asked what measures were being taken to alleviate the suffering of those who have lost their jobs in the mines, the hon. Deputy Minister mentioned, among other things, that the houses they were occupying would be sold to them. This is not the first time there have been job losses in the mines. So, I am wondering why a few months to election time, there are pronouncements of selling houses. Has the Government found it convenient to sell houses now because we are going towards elections? I say so because people have lost jobs in the past and no such pronouncements were made.

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, I am audible enough even when I do not use the microphone. I do not think I have talked about the Government selling houses to the miners. However, the issue of houses being sold came in following Hon. Gary Nkombo’s question. Therefore, I want to insist that the Mines and Minerals Act mandates the companies that displace people to build them houses. Whether we are going to the elections or not, the companies should go by the provisions in the Mines and Minerals Act. If you asked Hon. Gary Nkombo, you ouldnote that this process took place a long time ago in his constituency. It is not a new thing, but something that is enshrined in the law. So, we are not doing anything strange. As the Government, we have a duty to look after our people and ensure that they have bread and butter even in critical times.

Sir, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, had round table discussions with the mining houses so as to save jobs. The Government will continue to ensure that miners live a life that is befitting their status.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Habeenzu (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, how much start-up capital is the Government giving the miners who are being resettled so as to enable them start businesses?

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, I have indicated that the Government, through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), under the auspices of the Office of the Vice-President, is responsible for that undertaking. However, one of the critical things that we are doing is screening the miners, providing demographic surveys and layouts. We are also promoting education on conservation farming and entrepreneurship. In short, this cannot be quantified in monetary terms. We hope we can engage several players such as Hon. Munji Habeenzu, who is an expert in agriculture, to support the miners.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the good intentions of the Government in resettling the retrenched miners. However, how many of the 379 retrenched miners from Kalumbila Mine have been resettled?

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, the issue of resettling people is an emotive one, as it entails persuasion. So, we are in discussion with various stakeholders, especially the former miners. We do not want to force them into a scheme or programme which they are not willing to buy into. The mining houses are working in collaboration with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) to come up with measures that are acceptable to our people.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: How many have you resettled so far?

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, no one has been resettled so far because the piece of land where the people are supposed to be resettled is being demarcated.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is responding to questions very well. Therefore, he deserves to be a full Cabinet Minister. However, the Ruling Party’s time in office is up.


Mr Mbewe: Sir, how many hectares will be given to each retrenched miner? Further, does the Government have plans to give them loans to purchase farming implements such as tractors to enable them to settle on their farms?

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, in my earlier response, I said that we are not only dealing with the 379 former miners from the North-Western Province, but also a huge number of former miners from the Copperbelt Province. To that effect, we are hoping that we can give each one, at least, a minimum of 10 ha so that they can engage in farming activities that can sustain them. With time, we shall also give them other resources that are commensurate with the land they will be given.

Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member of Parliament for his commendation. However, I want to correct him by saying that our time has not run out because the Patriotic Front (PF) is bouncing back to power on 11th August, 2016.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. PF Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, most of the people in the mining industry are not miners. There are service providers as well as directors in the mining companies who do not go underground. All these people are affected by the reduced mining activities. Therefore, why are we only looking at the plight of miners and not everyone who is affected by the economic conditions in the country?


Mr Speaker: Order, on my left!

Mr Musukwa: Sir, it is true that mining activities have a multiplier effect. So, as we work towards resettling the miners, we need to ensure that we take into account those who have also been affected. In view of this, I thank Hon. Shakafuswa for that good advice. No wonder he has endorsed the candidature of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, in the 11th August, 2016 Elections …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Minister, you have already answered the question.

Mr Musukwa: I thank you, Sir.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether upon being resettled, the miners …

Mr Mweetwa: On point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, firstly, I would like to apologise for interrupting my brother’s thought process as he was developing his question. However, are we in order to gather and allow Hon. Shakafuswa to raise a clenched fist as a symbol of the Patriotic Front (PF) here in this House, exhibiting some level of political stupidity?


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Choma Central, before I rule, can you withdraw the latter part of your statement. 

Mr Mweetwa interjected.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Choma Central, withdraw the latter part of your statement.

Mr Mweetwa: I withdraw it, Mr Speaker …

Mr Speaker: Take a seat.

Mr Shakafuswa interjected.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, take it easy.


Mr Speaker: My ruling is simple because, perhaps, where I am positioned, I am unable to capture all the Members.

Mr Mweetwa interjected.

Mr Speaker:  Order, hon. Member for Choma Central!

Mr Mweetwa rose.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Choma Central, I think you should leave the Chamber and come back tomorrow.

Mr Mweetwa left Assembly Chamber.

Mr Speaker: I think it is redundant for me to render any ruling. The whip for the political grouping on my immediate left should help me maintain order in his grouping. What has just happened is very strange.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, I am very disturbed. However, will the miners be allowed to sell the land they will be given?

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, they will not be allowed to sell the land.

I thank you, Sir.


388. Mr I. Banda (Lumezi) asked the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning when the Government would repair the roofs of the following buildings, which were blown off in December, 2015, in Lumezi Parliamentary Constituency:

(a)    Yacobe Health Post in Lukusuzi Ward;

(b)    1x3 classroom block at Mwimba Primary School; and

(c)    local court building at Chief Chitungulu’s Palace in Lumimba Ward.
The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Sichalwe): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that Yacobe Health Post in Lukusuzi Ward was constructed using Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and was almost ready for handover before its roof was blown off. The local authority has already conducted an assessment of the damage and the health post will be worked on as soon as funds are made available.

Mr Speaker, the blown off roof for the 1x3 classroom block at Mwimba Primary School will be …

Ms Kalima conversed with Mr Kunda.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Kasenengwa!

May the hon. Minister, continue.

Mr Sichalwe: … rehabilitated in the second quarter of 2016. The House may further wish to note that the rehabilitation of blown off roofs for various schools across the country has been provided for in the Infrastructure Development Plan for 2016.

Mr Speaker, the House should also be cognisant of the fact that the roof for the local court building at Chief Chitungulu’s Palace in Lumimba Ward was blown off in December, 2015, after the 2016 Budget had already been passed. The blown-off roof will be repaired in the 2017 budgetary provision.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr I. Banda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has not indicated when rehabilitation works will carried out on the local court building since the roof was blown off after the 2016 Budget had been passed. What alternative does the Government think can be given to the judicial officers who are now finding it difficult to carry out their work?

Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) is looking for funds to undertake immediate remedial measures.

I thank you, Sir

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, while Hon. Mbewe likes commending his brothers like Hon. Musukwa, I also want to commend my brother, Hon. Sichalwe, for churning out good responses.

Mr Mbewe: Hear! Hear!


Mr Mbulakulima: Hon. Minster, you may be aware that Yacobe Health Post is in Chief Mwanya’s area. As you know, the people of Chief Mwanya are friendly …


Mr Mbewe: Ah!

Mr Mbulakulima: … like the chief, himself.

Mr Pande: Chief Mwanya.

Mr Mbulakulima: Hon. Minister, this is the only health post in the chiefdom. Taking into account the fact that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for Lumezi Constituency has not been disbursed, would you not be in a position to help the people of Yacobe, who use the CDF to implement such projects? Can you not use the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) to serve the people of Chief Mwanya’s area?

Mr Mbewe: Ba Zambia, naimwe.

Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. Member for the commendations he has showered on me.

Sir, I wish to inform the hon. Member that Yacobe Health Post is a CDF-funded project which has not been completed. This means that the Government cannot come in because the project has not been handed over to it. Maybe, the best we can do is liaise with our colleagues in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to expedite funding for the project, especially that it was at the point of handover to the Government.

I thank you, Sir.

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, the problem of blown-off roofs of health centres, school buildings and local courts and so on and so forth, has been with us for a very long time now. Has the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) thought of undertaking a comprehensive assessment of this problem so as to establish its causes so that mitigation measures can be put in place to solve it comprehensively?

Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member may wish to recall that it was this House that passed a huge reduction in the budget of the DMMU in which it was noted that all infrastructure developments and repairs are the sole responsibility of line ministries. This means that such projects will be taken care of by the various line ministries.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, my question is in line with Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa’s suggestion that the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) goes round the country to assess the damage and come up with ways of mitigating it.

Mr Speaker, the issue of line ministries does not arise. We are talking about emergency issues.

Mr Speaker: What is your question?

Mr Muchima: My question is: How proactive has the DMMU been in addressing the issue of blown-off roofs, especially in the North-Western Province where it rains heavily? What measures have been taken to mitigate the situation?

Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, a preliminary assessment of this challenge was conducted and it has been established that one of the contributing factors to the roofs being blown off is poor workmanship. This is due to the fact that we have not done a good job in monitoring and examining the structures that are built, especially under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) programmes. It is a necessity for the ministries responsible to ensure that structures, particularly schools and health centres, are well constructed.

Mr Speaker, the blowing off of the roof for Yacobe Health Post is surely an emergency that my office will look into as quickly as possible. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muchima: Yes.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I am talking on behalf of the people of Chadiza. 

Sir, I would like to thank Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning for ensuring that the people of Chadiza are given relief food. Now that they have started to harvest their own food, I would like to put it on record that ...

Mr Speaker: Are we still dealing with the same question?

Mr Mbewe: ... the people of Chadiza are very happy.

Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning what the standard reaction time is to a calamity after it has been reported to her office.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, it is very difficult to determine the time frame within which emergency repair works can be carried out. Depending on the resources available at the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) at the time of the calamity, we respond as quickly as is necessary.
Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, in Liuwa, we have not been spared from incidences of roofs being blown off, especially those of classroom blocks. I also believe that when you have many disasters of that nature, it ceases to be the issue for the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) because disasters cannot occur so frequently. 

Sir, has Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning liaised with her colleague in the Ministry of Works and Supply regarding the designs of the structures? I know she has talked about workmanship but, in our case, most of the blown-off roofs are those on spider roofs and not ordinary traces. Has Her Honour the Vice President and Minister of Development Planning liaised with her colleague regarding the adequacy of the designs? If these are proper designs, the number of blown-off roofs can reduce so that we do not have that many disasters of this nature.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that suggestion. We shall consult the ministry responsible for buildings. 

Sir, I do not think that we have gone as far as questioning the designs of classrooms or rural health centres. If the design is the cause of these emergencies, then, it will be looked into.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


389. Mr Chenda (Bwana Mkubwa) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to redesign the Kafubu Water Works Treatment Plant in Ndola in order to provide for the recycling process of the over-polluted water from the Kafubu Dam;

(b)    if so, when the plans would be implemented;

(c)    if there were no such plans, why; and

(d)    what the cost of the project was.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr N. Banda): Mr Speaker, the Government has no plans to redesign the Kafubu Water Treatment Plant in order to provide for the recycling process of the over-polluted water from the Kafubu Dam, as the pollution is due to the untreated sewerage from the dilapidated sewerage plants which need rehabilitation.

Sir, the project for the rehabilitation of the sewerage system commenced in April, 2015, and will be concluded by November, 2017. The scope of the works involves: 

(i)    the rehabilitation of sewerage treatment plants at Kanini and Lubuto in Ndola;

(ii)    rehabilitation of three sewer pumping stations;
(iii)    rehabilitation of the sewer network in Masala; and
(iv)    rehabilitation of the sewerage ponds and transmission lines in Luanshya.

The Government has realised that the source of pollution in the Kafubu Dam is the untreated effluent from the dilapidated Kanini and Lubuto sewerage treatment plants under the Kafubu Sustainable Water and Sanitation Improvement Project, supported by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), that is discharged upstream of the dam. In addition to the rehabilitation of the sewerage treatment plants, the Government has mobilised resources from the Chinese Government to implement the US$449 million Kafulafuta Bulk Water Supply Project which will provide alternative sources of water to the people of Ndola, Luanshya, Mpongwe and Masaiti.

Mr Speaker, the total cost of the rehabilitation of the four sewerage plants is US$12 million.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether he has ever considered commissioning a study in oreder to attend to this matter properly in view of the fact that the Kafubu Water Works supplies 50 per cent of the water to the residents of Ndola. The situation, as it prevails, is of great concern and needs urgent and serious attention.

Mr Speaker: That sounds more of a comment than a question.

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, a study was undertaken and its results helped to identify the source of the problem. We further determined how much it was going to cost to rehabilitate the plants which were polluting the dam with effluent.

 It is the study that further helped us appreciate the growth of the population that is serviced by the Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company in Ndola and the surrounding areas that we came up with the other project which has since been funded as mentioned by the hon. Deputy Minister. 

The rehabilitation project has commenced and the other project regarding bulk water supply from the Kafubu Dam will commence in a few weeks’ time. We shall construct a dam and put up another plant in order to service the other areas.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Health has just given a ministerial statement on the cholera situation, which is caused by the contamination of food and water with faecal matter. The situation presented through the question by the hon. Member of Parliament for Bwana Mkubwa raises a serious concern. According to the schedule, works at the water treatment plant are ongoing and will be completed in 2017. Are there any measures being implemented in the interim to avoid the contamination of drinking water for the residents of Ndola? 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the challenge of poor water treatment plants has been there for quite a long time. We needed resources in order to address the problem and the Government has made sure that the resources are available. Unfortunately, Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company Limited is spending a lot of money to treat water to standards set by the Ministry of Health in order not to expose people to the dangers that the hon. Minister of Health has belaboured in his statement this afternoon. There is a lot of money being pumped into Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company Limited to ensure that the water is treated to acceptable standards. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, this is a very important question that requires a lot of attention. I know that the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, through the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), partly deals with the issue of water contamination. However, what measures has the Ministry of Local Government and Housing put in place to test drinking water throughout the country, especially in compounds where there are pit latrines all over, and ensure that it is safe for drinking,? 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, as a ministry, we are concerned about the provision of safe drinking water. I would like to assure the hon. Member that water utility companies have laboratories where water is tested to ensure that it is up to an acceptable standard before it is pumped into the supply lines for consumption. The other challenge we have relates to underground water. Our technical experts have shared with us that this threat is real because for a long time, we have had no regulatory framework on the drilling of boreholes. People just wake up, get a technical expert to survey for water without any consideration of the possibility of the water from the boreholes being contaminated. That is why the Water Resource Management (WARMA), which is an organisation under the Ministry of Energy and Water Development, was put in place to try to regulate underground water sources. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, sewerage systems and how to handle the problem caused by them is part of the urban renewal issue globally. It is also part of the environmental challenge in urban development. Beyond the rehabilitation of sewerage facilities, can the hon. Minister inform us what measures the ministry is taking to handle the sewerage itself, which is a problem in the whole urban sector.  What plans does the ministry have to handle the sewerage itself so that it is user friendly to us the urban dwellers? 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister outlined a number of measures that were put in place specifically for Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company Limited to address the water and sewerage issues. We need to re-engineer our water and sewerage systems because most of them have outlived their usefulness or have been overwhelmed by the growth of the population in urban cities. However, re-engineering the facilities requires putting up a lot of investment, which has not happened for a number of years. Nonetheless, I am proud to stand here, as hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, and say that most of the capital projects that are being implemented in the ministry are meant to address the concerns that Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa referred to. We have a number of co-operating partners who have come on board to try to supplement the Government’s effort in terms of capital investments in rehabilitating sewerage facilities. We need to design modern sewerage facilities, considering the changes in the environment. I know how much my dear sister, Hon. Kapata, and the people of her constituency have been grappling with the old sewerage facilities that are in her constituency. So, we need to change the way we put up infrastructure. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, it is comforting to hear that most of the water utility companies have laboratories that test the water. How reliable is the equipment that is used in the laboratories, including those in places like Shiwang’andu and Kasempa? 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the laboratories are reliable. The water utility companies know what type and quantities of chemicals to use in their treatment plants. This is a complex process which needs competent people to manage it. My assurance to the hon. Member is that we have competent men and women working in laboratories that are well equipped. We are working towards modernising the equipment in certain areas. The hon. Member must be assured that we have reliable laboratories. 

I thank you, Sir. 





Mrs Mwanakatwe) (on behalf of the Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda)): Mr Speaker, I beg to present a Bill entitled the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The object of the Bill is to:

(a)    remove the variable profit tax on income from mining operations;

(b)    reduce the presumptive tax applicable on bus and taxi operators; and

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

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Mr Speaker: The Bill stands referred to the Committee on Estimates. The Committee is required to submit its report on the Bill to the House by Wednesday, 27th April, 2016. Hon. Members who wish to make submissions to the Bill are free to do so within the programme of work of the Committee. 

Thank you. 


Mrs Mwanakatwe) (on behalf of Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, I beg to present a Bill entitled the Mines and Minerals Development (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The object of the Bill is to: 

(a)    reduce the rate of mineral royalty for copper extracted from both underground and opencast mining operations to range from 4 per cent to 6 per cent, depending on the prevailing prices;

(b)    reduce the rate of mineral royalty for other base metals to 5 per cent for both underground and opencast mining operations;

(c)    reduce the rate of mineral royalty for energy and industrial minerals to 5 per cent for both underground and opencast mining operations;

(d)    set the rate for mineral royalty for gemstones and precious minerals at 6 per cent for both underground and opencast mining operations; and

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

I thank you, Sir. 

 Mr Speaker: The Bill stands referred to the Committee on Estimates. The Committee is required to submit its report on the Bill to the House by Wednesday, 27th April, 2016. Hon. Members who wish to make submissions to the Bill are free to do so within the programme of work of the Committee. 

Thank you.




Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Information and Broadcasting Services for the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 4th April, 2016. 

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded? 

Dr Lungu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. 

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours. 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, I will continue from where I left before business was suspended. 

Sir, in accordance with Standing Order No. 157, your Committee undertook a study on the Importance of Access to Information in a Democracy: The Zambian Situation. The background to this study is based on the fact that access to information is a crucial element in an effort to reduce corruption, increase accountability and deepen trust between citizens and their governments, particularly in a democratic dispensation such as the one obtaining in Zambia. 

Public access to Government-held information allows individuals to better understand the role of the Government and the decisions being made on their behalf. An informed citizenry can hold its Government to account on its policies, and citizens can effectively choose their representatives. Of equal importance is the use of access to information laws to improve the lives of the people, as they request information relating to health care, education and other public services. 

Mr Speaker, Zambia has grappled with the issue of the access to information legislation for the last decade without success, the last being in 2002 when the Bill was withdrawn from Parliament at the Second Reading Stage. It is the view of your Committee and the stakeholders at large that the democracy that Zambia is striving to enhance cannot thrive without access to information. 

Mr Speaker, in order to gain insight into this matter, your Committee received and considered written and oral submissions from various stakeholders. Considering that hon. Members have read your Committee’s report and have it before them, I will just touch on a few salient issues contained therein.

Sir, access to information is premised on the principle that the public should obtain information, most of which is in possession of the State, for the purpose of keeping the public informed about the activities of the State. Therefore, decision makers are expected to provide information without waiting for a request and to promote a culture of openness. 

Mr Speaker, according to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedoms to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.

Sir, there are a lot of benefits associated with enacting the Access to Information Bill. One such benefit is that it provides useful oversight and participation mechanisms for citizens and watchdogs such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are sometimes left out of key policy processes. Further, democracy and national stability are generally enhanced by policies of openness which engender greater public trust in elected representatives. This is crucial because without the support and trust of the people, the Government faces resistance to proposed policies and programmes which makes implementation very difficult. In the absence of openness, conflict becomes more likely, particularly if the Government’s secrecy exacerbates perceptions of favouritism and exclusion.

Mr Speaker, with regard to best practices surrounding the Access to Information Bill around the world and in Africa in particular, your Committee was informed that access to information, which is still called freedom of information in some parts of the world, is not a new law. Countries such as Sweden and Finland were said to have enacted legislation in this regard as early as 1766. Since then, close to 100 countries have enacted access to information laws. Thirteen countries in Africa have enacted access to information legislation, representing 24 per cent of the continent compared to five countries prior to 2011, which represented only 9 per cent. Twelve African countries have Draft Bills pending enactment.

Sir, with regard to the withdrawal of the Freedom of Information Bill from Parliament in 2002, your Committee learnt that the Bill was presented on 22nd November, 2002, with the hon. Minister of Information, at the time, stating that the Government viewed information as a national resource which could be made public to benefit public debate and understanding. Sadly, on 18th December, 2002, the Bill was withdrawn from Parliament without explanation. On 30th December, 2002, the hon. Minister of Information said that the Freedom of Information Bill would be brought back to Parliament the following month, January, 2003, promising that it would become law by 2004. However, regrettably, to date, the status quo has not changed and the Executive has continued issuing contradictory statements on the matter, thereby confusing the public. 

Mr Speaker, allow me to briefly comment on the operations of public media companies. Your Committee shares the view of stakeholders that public media houses are being used as tools by the Ruling Party instead of covering all importance national events, including activities for opposition political parties. Arising from this concern, your Committee sought an audience with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services and the three public media houses, namely the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), the Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail. During this meeting, a number of issues were clarified and the public media houses pledged to be balanced in their coverage of political activities as the nation goes to the polls.

Sir, your Committee observes that there is a perception that the push for the enactment of the Access to Information Bill is a media issue, rather than a human rights issue. This has contributed to the reluctance by the Government to enact it. Your Committee, therefore, urges the Government to treat access to information as a fundamental human right and, as such, consider its enactment an obligation. 

Mr Speaker, your Committee further notes that there have been too many conflicting statements from the Executive on how soon the Access to Information Bill will be enacted and whether it is a necessary piece of legislation in Zambia. In this respect, your Committee recommends that in order to reduce despondency and confusion in the public, the Government takes a unified stand on the Access to Information Bill and avoids making conflicting statements. 

Sir, your Committee has also observed that the Government has not published the revised version of the draft Access to Information Bill to allow for awareness, scrutiny and comments from members of the public, civil society and other stakeholders in order to build consensus as was the case with the Draft Constitution. Your Committee, therefore, urges the Executive to publish the revised version of the Draft Bill in order to build consensus. Further, the Draft Bill also be published in the seven official vernacular languages. 

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes that the process of reviewing laws that may be in conflict with the Access to Information Bill has taken unnecessarily long. This has resulted in the public belief that the Government is buying time in order to avoid enacting the law. Consequently, your Committee urges the Government to expedite the review of the laws that may be in conflict with the Access to Information Bill in order to facilitate its enactment. 

Sir, your Committee further observes that there is no national media and information policy to provide a framework for the enactment of Access to Information Bill. Your Committee recommends that the Government expedite the formulation and operationalisation of the National Media and Information Policy. 

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes, with grave concern, the use of the public media as a tool for the Ruling Party instead of covering all national events of importance, including activities for the opposition political parties. In this regard, your Committee urges the Government to guarantee editorial sovereignty to public media houses in order for them to function as truly public institutions that will cover all important national events, including opposition political-party activities, particularly as the nation heads towards general elections.

Sir, as I conclude, I would like to thank you for the guidance and support rendered to your Committee during the execution of its programme of work during this session. I also wish to thank the chief executives of the institutions that made submissions before your Committee. Further, I would like to thank the members of your Committee for the co-operation and dedication to duty without which the work of your Committee would not have been a success. 

Mr Speaker, last but not the least, I would like to thank the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services rendered to your Committee during its business in this session.

Sir, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear! Hear!

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

Dr Lungu: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion moved by the Chairperson of your Committee, I wish to make comments on a few issues raised in your Committee’s report.

Mr Speaker, one of the issues brought to the attention of your Committee were the challenges faced by successive governments with regard to legislating access to information. Your Committee was informed that successive governments understood the essence for access to information in a democratic dispensation. The Government is expected to operate on the principle of maximum disclosure, as citizens should receive full information from the office bearers who are running the Government for them. Your Committee learnt that from 2002, Zambia has had various governments from three different political parties led by six Presidents who issued statements on the Bill. 

Mr Speaker, the other issues relate to the steps the Government has taken since the withdrawal of the Bill in 2002. There seems to be a gap between the Ministries of Information and Broadcasting Services and Justice with regard to who should finalise the review process. Your Committee was, however, informed that the process to amend such laws and having consultations with the relevant ministries and agencies is being co-ordinated by the Ministry of Justice. 

Mr Speaker, based on the consultations with the stakeholders, your Committee observes and recommends as follows:

(a)    there is a delay on the part of the Government in enacting the access to information law. In this regard, your Committee urges the Executive to walk the talk and show political will by enacting the Access to Information Bill;

(b)    your Committee urges the Government to take advantage of the model law on access to information prepared by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights which sets a standard for access to information in Africa. In this regard, your Committee recommends that the Government adopts the model law of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to the Zambian Environment; and

(a)    your Committee notes that institutions of higher learning such as the University of Zambia (UNZA) School of Mass Communication should be engaged either in the formulation or sensitisation of the public on the issue of access to information law. 
Sir, in view of this, your Committee urges the Government to engage institutions of higher learning on important national matters such as the access to information legislation.

Mr Speaker, lastly, I would like to thank the Chairperson of your Committee for the manner in which he presided over the business of your Committee and all the members of your Committee for their co-operation and dedication to duty.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Hon. Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate this Motion. I would also like to thank the Chairperson of your Committee for a well-delivered report. This report is quite precise and succinct. Let me also thank the seconder for being brief. I will also try to be brief in my debate.

Sir, in supporting this report, I would like to say that this report really presents the dichotomy between knowledge and ignorance. As a group that is charged with the responsibility of legislating, we also need to be clear about this issue. We need to know which one works better than the other. I imagine that we are all agreed that knowledge is much better than ignorance. The report is very clear in that it actually states that the access to information law is a matter that is long overdue. Having been shelved in 2002, there is so much that has worked to our disadvantage, not only to us, as leaders, but also the people whose interests and aspirations we represent. I say so because, as the Chairperson of the Committee said, it is the access to information, especially from Government departments, that would help people choose their leaders. 

Sir, sadly, while we appreciate that the media is actually the fourth estate and that it is one of the cornerstones and pillars of democracy, it is very clear that the media in this country has been abused by successive governments, including the current one. It is also true that the current Government, which I will dwell on now, used the freedom of information law as one of the platforms that helped them ascend to power. The former regime was not any better than the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. I recall that the former regime used the public media not only to black-out the activities of the PF at that time, but also demonise the late leader of the PF, May His Soul Rest in Peace, in a scheduled television programme dubbed, “Stand up for Zambia”. That was the epitome of abuse of a Government media house.  

Mr Speaker, sadly, the PF has subtly continued on this path by, for instance, allowing its operatives to cast aspersions on members of the public who do not hold their views. For example, you will all recall that there is a certain Bishop who called another leader satanic at a public rally during the 20th January Presidential By-election. This was broadcast by the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC). The Bishop who was the vuvuzela or trumpet for the Ruling Party in demonising others has been awarded a job of Permanent Secretary (PS). 

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Mr Nkombo: To me, this is a subtle way of the PF ring-fencing its interest using the public media. We have seen how the PF has been quick to report negativities. It has been emitting negative energy about people who stand on the opposite side when we know, for instance, that freedom to information is a right. I will give an illustration of how the PF diabolically used me as a punching bag when this House was passing the Budget. The Budget was clear, but little did I know that the devil of that Budget lay in the details. This House approved a budget of K150 billion, subject to correction, for the Women Empowerment Fund. 

Mr Speaker, on the surface, the budget looked innocent, but I would to say, today, that we were actually used as a bunching bag because there was no full disclosure of what the Women Empowerment Fund was going to be used for. By the way, let me also mention that the women who are found in markets are not the only women in Zambia.

Sir, since we are have moved to a level where we do not need the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) in order to know what is going on, it is public knowledge that the Governemnt actually intended to use the fund as a campaign tool. 

Mr Speaker, to those who care to know, there is social media which picks up information verbatim. I wish the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting was in the House. I have in my possession some information where the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting was captured talking to one of their operatives, whom they have made Chairman of the Women Empowerment Fund, in Bemba.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, you were proceeding well with your debate by not debating people who are not present in this House. I was comforted by your approach but, as you progress, you have veered off the caution you exercised and have now begun singling out individuals. That way, we risk getting into difficult terrain.

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

Mr Speaker, an hon. Minister, together with another operative who is a District Commissioner (DC), made it clear in their conversation that the budget, which was approved by this House, was a campaign fund. In that conversation, the hon. Minister was advising the operative to stop advertising the fund on ZNBC Television, as the party has no money. He further advised that this could work against the PF during the elections. I wish they could also advertise the amounts of loans this Government has contracted the same way they are advertising the Women Empowerment Fund for the chosen few who sing their song so that the people of Zambia can understand in full the indebtedness of this country.
 Mr Livune: Hear! Hear!

Mr Nkombo: Sir, I wish such information could flow so that as the Chairperson indicated, Zambians can use the same information to decide who can best represent their interest. That is the comparison I am trying to make between the dichotomy of knowledge and ignorance. Sadly, the PF Government has chosen to use the old ways in this century. People should live without a speck of doubt about the manner in which they are being governed. This helps to do away with innuendos, rumours and malice.

Mr Speaker, I wish they could come up with a programme on this fund, like they have done with the Rural Electrification Master Plan, and as per our request to the successive governments, so that we know when they are in a particular area for a particular programme.

Sir, on several occasions, we have asked the Government to come up with infrastructure development programmes, but to no avail. When Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa was the Minister of Education, we used to receive periodic reports on the infrastructure development plan. It would be nice if the Women Empowerment Fund, which was a budget line approved by this House, could be put on paper and broadcast on television, and to inform us  that they have also been to Mazabuka and Chavuma.

Mr Speaker, in my view, they have concentrated on areas where they think they can galvanise political influence. In the same spirit of, Don’t kubeba, which means, “just deceive them,” they have been on television …

Hon. Government Member: Question!

Mr Nkombo: You can question yourself.

Sir, they have been on television, promoting themselves by dishing out money, yet there was no money to feed the students at the University of Zambia (UNZA). This now becomes a matter of priority. 

Mr Speaker, for people to be part and parcel of a governance system, they need to be informed because that is the only way you can get feedback on whether or not I do not want you to govern me in that manner. Let us assume that giving out loans to marketeers for political patronage was a sustainable route to go, why not ask for feedback so as to ascertain whether or the marketeers are happy with the money they are getting when their children are not in school because there is no meal allowance? They will tell you that education is an investment that cannot be bequeathed. Therefore, I would rather they do not give me the ‘crumbles’ of cash. By the way, I have heard that the women will not be paid.

Sir, this, again, borders on free flow of information. The Government has to be clear about the collateral on the loans they have given to women for empowerment. It should state whether there is collateral required in order for the women to benefit from the loans.
Mr Speaker, as they prepare to come to the constituency that I represent, I would like them to know that the criterion that they have been using of asking for voters’ cards or national registration cards (NRC) in order to submit to the person who is conducting the exercise is, obviously, draconian. Information must flow so that the women know what they need for them to access the loans and not them being asked about their political affiliation.

Sir, ignorance is a danger to our society. I am sorry to dwell so much on the women empowerment loans, but I would like to say that it is a sunk cost. If we had put our money where the mouth is by making sure that we discipline the students at the universities, we would be like Rwanda which has thrived because of investment in education. Instead, we have decided to send the students away, leaving them to engage in vices in order for them to raise money for their upkeep at the highest institution of learning.

Mr Speaker, a lot of damage happens during this particular window. For instance, some students did not have money for their transport to go back to their homes. The information we have is that they started engaging in illicit activities to make ends meet because life is difficult in Zambia. 

Sir, as I end my discourse, there is one thing that the Government can do by paying attention to the recommendations of your Committee so that it leaves a legacy in a month’s time when this House is dissolved. The gap between the Ministries of Justice and Information and Broadcasting, which the seconder spoke about, is satirical. 

Sir, it does not take a rocket scientist to deal with legislation, especially when we know that in Africa even countries like Zimbabwe and Angola, which were independent much later than Zambia have taken a lead in enacting this legislation. Your Committee has also submitted that in certain countries, the legislation is simply on paper. However, that is a step forward because in Zambia, we also have legislation that is simply on paper such as the Markets and Bus Station Act. Those in the Government will agree with me because when they came into power, …

Hon. UPND Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Nkombo: … they allowed the people to trade anywhere because they were suffering and we understood that reason. So, the Markets and Bus Station Act exists, but only on paper.

Mr Speaker, the Government should adopt the recommendations of your Committee and ensure it leaves a legacy before it goes for good …

Mr Livune: That is right.

Mr Nkombo: … because the Zambian people should be an enlightened society.

Mr Mufalali: They are going.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I urge my colleagues to bring this legislation in three weeks’ time.
Sir, the Constitution that we enacted has a lot of lacunas and I am sure you also know that.


Mr Speaker: Order! Order!

Mr Nkombo: We have been grappling with how to transit into this new document.


Mr Nkombo: I am speaking English.

Mr Livune: That is right.

Mr Nkombo: Sir, I need your protection because they do not want to listen to what I have to say.

Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member. You have my protection.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, we can enact the Access to Information Bill the same way we enacted the Constitution that has caused problems for certain people in this House. If there  are challenges, those who will come after us …

Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Let me provide guidance. I will not allow points of order on this debate. When your opportunity comes, you will clarify.

Continue, hon. Member.

Mr Nkombo: Sir, we enacted a law in this House in a hurry and we knocked off at 1000 hours the next day even after we had pleaded with our colleagues not to debate through the night. The hon. Minister of Justice said that there were contentious clauses in that document and we advised that we look at them together for the accord, but they used donchi kubeba.

Mr Speaker: Let us use the official language.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, they deceived themselves …


Mr Nkombo: … because most hon. Opposition Members are intact …

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Mr Livune: That is right.

Mr Nkombo: … in terms of the qualifications needed to come back to this House.


Mr Speaker: You are now debating hon. Members of the House.

Mr Nkombo: I am sorry, Sir. I withdraw that.

Mr Livune interjected.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Katombola, can you stop making running commentaries.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, all that I am saying is that there is simply no law that is cast in concrete. The Access to Information Bill should be brought to this House for it to leave a legacy and those who will come after us will polish it up. After all, our job is to legislate. However, it is clear that some people think that giving handouts, like they are giving in the markets, is what we are employed for. We are here to make laws so that the generations that will come after us, even in a millennium’s time, will be protected by the legislation that we make. I would like tell the hon. Minister of Justice that there is no reason to hide behind a finger and that they should bring the law for enactment. If it presents any challenges, those who will come after us will polish it up. 

I thank you for the opportunity to debate, Sir.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the mover and seconder for enlightening us on this important report.

Sir, access to information is what can liberate the Zambians from ignorance. The people are demanding that the Access to Information Bill be brought before Parliament and the reason is simple. This is because they want to know how their money is being used. The issue of the Access to Information Bill has been with us for some time now. When the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government was in power, the Patriotic Front (PF) promised that when they formed Government, they would bring the Bill to Parliament within ninety days. However, they have been in power for almost five years, but have not fulfilled their promise. Zambians should not be reduced to beggars. Zambia has been independent for more than fifty years.

Mr Speaker, according to the millennium development goals (MDGs), most parts of the country should have had access to television and radio by 2015. In Ikeleng’i Constituency, the Angolan and Congolese television channels are clearer than the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) channels. So, those of us in the township prefer watching those channels. These are some of the issues we should address. When far-flung areas have television and radio signals, they are brought in line with those along the line of rail. Unfortunately, this is not the case because only those who dwell along the line of rail enjoy certain facilities. This means that Zambia is divided.

Sir, certain issues require the explanation of a Government official on radio. However, people receive distorted information because there is no media from which they can access information. Today, one can predict the contents of the The Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail, The Post and Daily Nation newspapers. That should not be the case.

Mr Speaker, when a Member from the Opposition goes to the ZNBC in order to communicate to his/her people, he/she finds it difficult to do so because the moderators of the programmes are sanctioned …

Mr Mwamba: Boza!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, do not make running commentaries.


Mr Kalaba: It is not me.

Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member for Ikeleng’i.

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, moderators are punished for allowing hon. Members from the Opposition to use the ZNBC radio. The ZNBC is dominated by the Ruling Party or those in the Government, yet that institution was set up using taxpayer’s money.


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Mr Muchima: However, it chooses who to give coverage. Is that the Zambia that we want? We need fair coverage. When one turns on the radio, there are only politically-motivated advertisements and no information programmes to enlighten the nation. Television and radio broadcasts should be balanced so that the Zambians are fully aware of what is happening in the country. They have been cut off from radio and television communication for the five years that the Patriotic Front (PF) has been in the Government. The PF promised to perform wonders. However, it is shameful that the people of Ikeleng’i have seen none of the things that were promised. 

Mr Mwamba: Jimbe Road!

Mr Muchima: Sir, even the Jimbe Road that is being talked about has come at the wrong time.

Hon. Government Members: Ah!

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, during the rainy season, vehicles get stuck on the road. You cannot move from Mwinilunga to Ikeleng’i. For you to get to the other side, you need to be towed by heavy machinery. You cannot construct a road during this time of the year. It is, therefore, my prayer that the construction of the road continues even after elections.

Mr Speaker, information is key to many things. We need to know about the contracts for projects being signed. We need details of those contracts such as the money and the officers involved. It was only yesterday when I was listening to contractors for the Chingola/Solwezi Road and I heard that some were paid K52 million while others were paid K7 million. Why is there that variation? We need to scrutinise the contracts.


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Mr Muchima: Sir, the public, need to scrutinise the contracts so that it knows why some companies are favoured more than others.

Mr Speaker, let me give an example of rural areas where people have heard that there is money for marketeers. Some unscrupulous politicians, who are small in stature, are going to those marketers, asking them to surrender their national registration cards (NRCs) and voters’ cards so that they are included on the list of people to benefit from this money being given to marketeers. That is what is happening in Ikeleng’i at the moment. This is all because people lack information. Those with the information want to use it for political expedience. Why should you demand for someone’s voter’s card? These people going round collecting peoples’ voters’ cards are using Government offices. We know them, but we do not want to name them because they are not here to defend themselves.

Sir, public institutions such as The Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail and the ZNBC are supposed to be making money as commercial entities. However, the institutions are bankrupt because of the way they are managed. I do not even know why we have kept them. The institutions are now competing with private institutions. The ZNBC can compete with Muvi Television for the simple reason that Muvi TV operates as a commercial entity while the ZNBC is a tool for politics. It cannot make money from the Opposition Members. It always provides coverage to hon. Ministers at no profit. Institutions like the ZNBC should compete favourably with other radio and television stations. Today, small newspapers are able to look after their employees. However, if you go to the ZNBC, you will find that the furniture is in a bad state and the roof is leaking. How do we manage Government resources, including human resources, that way? Let that invisible hand come off the media institutions.

Mr Livune: Hear! Hear!

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, those institutions are meant for Zambians and not a political party. Political parties are free to set up their own institution. The Government should stop interfering with the operations of community radio stations. It should also stop threatening to close them down simply because they broadcast issues that are not of its taste. Let us have the freedom to express ourselves and communicate with our people. 

Sir, at the moment, our country is admired in Africa. Therefore, we should move from one level to the other. We should have corrected the wrongs that were committed by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), and not what we are seeing today. The MMD was much better because it cared for the people of Zambia in all aspects of life.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Muchima: Sir, that is why there is misery in the political, economic and social lives of the people. We need to change our attitude and avail ourselves to the people of Zambia by exposing ourselves and articulating issues. However, we can only do that by doing what the mover of the Motion, Hon. Kabinga Pande, has said in your Committee’s report. Even officers in the media institutions are not happy with the way you are managing the affairs of the institutions. The Access to Information Bill should be brought to this House even two days before the House rises. 

I know that the hon. Minister of Justice is very effective. He brought the, ...

Mr Speaker: Do not debate the hon. Minister.

Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, I would like to appeal to the Government to bring this Bill. The hon. Minister managed to bring the Constitution Bill even though it had problems. So, why not bring the Access to Information Bill? What are we afraid of? What are we hiding? Moreover, there are a many people who go to church in that Government. Where is your connection with the Church? Where is your faith?

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, ...

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to debate.

Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to debate the report of your Committee. From the outset, I must say that this report is quite thorough and refreshing. Since I came to this House, I think that this could be the second report on Information and Broadcasting Services. In the previous Government, there was a report that urged the Government to expedite the enactment of legislation on access to information.

Mr Speaker, I think the topic of your Committee, “Looking at the Importance of Access to Information in a Democracy: The Zambian Context or Situation” was timely and appropriate. Access to information is important for a country’s democratic development. In 1990, we, as a country, agreed to have a fully-fledged democracy because it is good for socio-economic development. 

Mr Speaker, as your Committee has stated, successive Governments have continued to dilly-dally on putting in place enabling legislation for access to information. As leaders, we forget that we are here on behalf of the people who sent us here. The people who put us in office want to know what is going on. 

Sir, the report of your Committee is very clear that access to information is a critical element in reducing corruption, increasing accountability and deepening trust between citizens and their governments. Many people have said that the media, which is key in this area, is the fourth branch of government. Sometimes, in a democracy, the three arms of government can collude against their own people. There must be a watchdog to stop any mischief. That is why the media is very important. We need an enabling environment for the media to report on us. I have not seen or heard of any politician here in Zambia or elsewhere who is an angel. That is why the media must report on us. 

Mr Speaker, I do not know why we have so much fear. Your Committee has indicated, in its report, that the reason successive governments dilly-dally in bringing this legislation is fear of scrutiny. Those who are not ready to be scrutinised should not hold public office. There are many other things to do such as farming, operating a garage and so on and so forth.


Mr Hamududu: Those who are afraid of scrutiny are not fit for governance.

Sir, we need to embrace the attribute of transparency and collective responsibility. This country is a like a roller coaster moving up, but not going anywhere. Whenever we take thirty steps forward, we tend to move more than thirty steps backwards. At the end of the day, we are actually just going backwards because we do not embrace the values of democracy, with information transparency being one of them. 

Zambian democracy is premature. That is why we see people fighting everyday. Whenever people from different political parties meet, it is like fire and paraffin. They clash. We are doing this in our own country. This country has not defined the values that can make us progress. One of them is transparency. People have been asking me what causes political violence. It is immature politics.

Mr Speaker: I hope you are still addressing me.

Mr Hamududu: Yes, Sir. 

Premature democracy is the cause of violence. We have a democracy that is premature and that must grow. All the issues we are talking about today relate to fear of scrutiny. We want to use draconian laws to clamp down the media which is supposed to report on us. Like people are saying, our politics are now about personalities and not policies. Our democracy must be politics of policies and alternatives so that people can choose. If you do not like my height, you do not need to insult …

Mr Kalaba interjected.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Sorry, hon. Member, just pause. Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, I can see you from where I am seated.


Mr Speaker: Look, everybody will have an opportunity to debate. Those are the rules. When I am done with the left, I will come to the right. That is the way we conduct business in this House. I do not think we should be shouting across the Floor or else there will be mayhem in here.

Mr Hamududu: So, what are we afraid of? What we need is to put in place a framework for better governance. We must not make decisions based on our current position because they come and go. There will come a time when all of us will leave this House and there will be other people sitting on these green benches. No one is here permanently. Twenty years ago, none of us were in this House. We are all new and things will continue changing because, as human beings, we come and go. Therefore, let us put in place a framework or democratic template that will make the country move forward.

Sir, your Committee’s report has mentioned a country that is a model of transparency. The Chairperson of your Committee mentioned Finland as one of the countries that has embraced access to information. There is so much transparency in Finland that accountability is at the fore of governance. This is a country that is built from forestry, but has become one of the best places to live on earth. Finland has invested in education and many other sectors, but it has little natural resources. Zambia is far richer than Finland in terms of minerals, good weather, land, water and literally everything. Since we have not put in place what works and people are just emotional for nothing, this is really confusing.  

Sir, as politicians, we should leave the media alone. Political parties that want to be heard in a certain way must set up their own newspaper companies. 


Mr Hamududu: In Namibia, the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) has its own newspaper. In Zambia, however, we have two public newspapers, The Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail that usually carry the same headline. Why are we wasting money by having too many public media houses just for our colleagues to publish fake stories? We have advised in this House that there is no need to run two public newspapers because they carry the same news. We are spending money on two newspaper companies and have gone ahead …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, going by the direction you are facing, are you addressing a particular hon. Member? I thought you are supposed to address the Speaker.

Mr Hamududu: Sir, it is just that I am left handed. So, I tend to turn this way.


Mr Speaker: Try to be right handed.

Mr Hamududu: Let me go and sit on the other side so that I can keep facing you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: No, no! 

There are rules about sitting there.

Mr Hamududu: I write using my left hand, but I try to face my right.

Mr Speaker, I would like to address all the politicians in here. The Zambian people have aspirations. The law on access to information must not be driven at the behest of the Government. This is what the Zambian people aspired for when they embraced multi-party democracy. They want transparency, accountability and responsibility. So, this law is not about an individual nor is it driven by the media, but it is about the aspirations of the Zambian people.

Sir, what is lacking in this whole debate is sufficient political will to move the country forward. When our colleagues on your right were this side, they debated like me. I do not know what is that side. Maybe, the lack of access to information has made us not know what is there. I have seen politicians …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, now you are debating your colleagues. Debate the issue.

Mr Hamududu: Sir, I have seen that politicians lack the will to move this legislation forward. I have seen people change positions like a chameleon changes colours from green, blue or yellow, depending on where they are sitting in this House at a particular time. I want to emphasise that we must not change our position because of where we are seated. We must take a position based on principle. Let us define our democracy and what we want to do. Let us put in place a value system for our country. 

Sir, we should not forget that as human beings we will one day drop dead and be buried, and people will forget us after putting flowers on our graves and leaving. Therefore, we must have a framework that will serve our people in future. Let us leave a legacy for the future generation. We cannot have a backward democracy twenty-five years after having embraced multi-partyism. Even countries that did this after us are more transparent.

Mr Speaker, as I end my debate, I would like to say that the fears that we have are misplaced. When our colleagues in the Executive will be this side, they will remember that it would have been good to enact the Access to Information Bill because now they will want information from those who will be in power. 

Sir, the effect of a lack of access to information is not only felt by the media, but also the people in districts who would like to get any information they want. Our constituents who ask for information at the council on the performance of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) are told that they cannot be given that information because they do not work for the council. This is what is happening. 

Sir, if we can just open up a little, we shall see that once there is transparency, efficiency actually comes into place. At the moment, everything is hidden. The Government runs on public funds. If we do not put in place enabling legislation to ensure accountability, then, even the people in Government will be affected. Any government that does not have an enabling law for access to information will have difficulties governing. This is because some clever people in the Public Service begin to hide information for their own purposes. At the end of the day, you wonder why things are not moving in ministries.

Sir, when you bring about transparency, you lay bare the inefficient; the corrupt and all those who are irresponsible because everyone can see what is happening and will help you to govern.

Sir, it should not be like what we are seeing today. When young people write something about us, they end up in court. Do you think that is good? You are just de-campaigning yourselves. You are wasting time for the young people by taking them to court. Today, I saw in one newspaper that young people from one newspaper, which has actually helped many of us win elections, have been taken to court. That newspaper which you are persecuting has played a big role for all the political parties here. The Post Newspaper is in order to fight for democracy.


Mr Hamududu: From the bi-weekly post …

Ms Kapata: Which democracy are you talking about?

Mr Hamududu: Were you born yesterday?

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member.
Mr Hamududu: Yes.

Mr Speaker: This is what I always urge against.

Hon. Mwamba: Sit down.

Mr Sing’ombe: But it is coming from the other side.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, continue with your debate.

Mr Hamududu: Sir, give the people of Zambia what they want, and not what you want. Let us craft a Zambia the people want. The person who will bring the access to information law will bring a change of attitude, tolerance, unity and love for one another and transparency, and will be the greatest President this country will ever have. That President will actually open up a new platform for progress in future governments. No one wants to get that credit that is waiting to be crowned on one courageous person who will say, “I want to run a transparent Government.” 

Sir, that is why I say there is no political will. There is only fear of the unknown. If you have any ‘baggage’, this country is big, there are many things to do, please, excuse yourself and go and do other things. There are even better things to do than to sit in those Government offices. There is even better money out there. Just leave people …

Mr Speaker: You seem to be …

Mr Hamududu: … who are in synchrony …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, let me just…

Mr Hamududu: … with …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, I am speaking …

When the Speaker takes the Floor, you stop speaking.

Mr Hamududu: Yes, Sir.

Mr Speaker: These are the rules.

Avoid drifting to debating …

Mr Hamududu: I am debating offices.

Mr Speaker: Wait, wait!

Mr Hamududu: Then, we will not debate, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Ah!

Mr Speaker: No, no that is the problem.

You are constantly drifting to debating colleagues. Please, debate issues. 

You may continue.

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, you are the Chairperson of this House. You make it difficult for us to debate and I will explain why …

Mr Speaker: You know when you take that approach …

Mr Hamududu: We are talking about governments …

Hon. Government Members: Ah!

Mr Hamududu: … that are failing to implement the media law. This is what the report of your Committee is saying, and I have read it. 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member.

Mr Hamududu: I am giving examples and I am being generic.


Mr Speaker: I am following your debate.

Mr Hamududu: Yeah!

Mr Speaker: Continue with your debate.

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, I want to conclude by saying that the people of Zambia have aspirations. There is no force that will continue to subdue their aspirations. You can say whatever you want to say but, one day, the people of Zambia will decide. Unfortunately, it might take time before that decision is made and we will have lost time because we are entertaining a democracy that does not work for our people. The result is the increase in poverty levels and all the things that you are seeing in this country such as the cholera that was defeated and has since come back because people are not transparent. If you we were transparent, we could have had a good drainage system in Lusaka by now to spill away water. Today, you are ‘fire fighting’ to stop the spread of cholera. Fifty years after Independence, you are still fighting cholera. That is despicable and shameful. These things we are talking about must be connected to the real issues. You cannot debate freedom of information in a vacuum. If that is a problem, then, maybe, I am in the wrong place.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear! Hear!

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, I would also like to commend the Chairperson of your Committee and the seconder of the Motion.

Mr Speaker, this is an important report which focuses on a very important aspect of our existence, as a nation, namely the role of the information sector in the advancement of our democracy.

Mr Speaker, this report can be summarised in the statement that it makes on page 6, in the second paragraph from the bottom which read as follows:
“Without information, people have no power to make choices about their Government, no ability to meaningfully participate in the decision-making process, to hold their governments accountable, to thwart corruption, to reduce poverty or, ultimately, to live in a genuine democracy.”

Mr Speaker, what that statement indicates is that in order for genuine democracy to exist, people must be empowered with information. That is exactly what a great American leader stated many years ago that given a choice between newspapers without a government, or a government without newspapers, he would rather choose newspapers without a government. Why? It is because in a democracy, you need a critically informed citizenship. A citizenship that is well informed is able to generate information, process it and use it to meaningfully make the government or leadership accountable.

Ms Imenda: Hear! Hear!

Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker that is why information houses are very important in a genuine democracy. It is the responsibility of those in the governance of a democracy to ensure that an environment is created in which media houses can thrive as places for information dissemination; places where the citizenship can genuinely get information and use it to improve their lives. In a genuine democracy, differences of opinion are how things should be. A French philosopher stated many years ago that, “I may not agree with you, but I will defend your right to say what you want to say.” That is democracy. There should always be differences of opinion in a democracy for it is healthy.

Mr Speaker, our colleagues who took over power in 2011 had a grand opportunity to make a difference and demonstrate to Africa and the world how the information industry can best serve a young democracy like ours. For example, on your left side, Mr Speaker, I think none of us has ever appeared on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) to discuss topical issues of national development. 

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Hear! Hear!

Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, I would have loved to appear on public television with my colleague on the other side to debate the issue of meal allowances for the information of the public on whether it was a viable policy alternative for the direction of the country. We could have debated that.

Sir, in my past life, I was at the University of Zambia (UNZA) for twenty-five years and became Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university and, ultimately, hon. Minister of Education. We would have engaged on the subject of the removal of meal allowances. I think that the Zambian public would have witnessed a very informative debate on that topical subject of national policy. That is healthy and is part of democracy.

Mr Speaker, this country has contracted a lot of debt over the past five years. When Zambia was campaigning for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, one of us here was Secretary to the Treasury and eventually became Minister of Finance. It would have been interesting for the Zambian public to witness the former Secretary to the Treasury who was also at the Bank of Zambia and eventually became Minister of Finance, debating the issue of indebtedness on the public media with our colleague on the other side. The public would have been informed and would have seen different perspectives on an issue of great importance to our nation. 

Mr Speaker, even for matters of foreign policy, among ourselves here, for example, we have a former hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs ...

Hon. Members: Ministers.

Prof. Lungwangwa: There are two former Ministers of Foreign Affairs. How nice it would have been for the Zambian population to see a debate with the current hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs on a matter of foreign policy. That would have contributed to the growth of the public media. It would have contributed to seeing the development of a genuine democracy where there can be different policy positions for the good of the country. This is what the report of your Committee is saying. 

Sir, eventually, your report is saying that so far, we do not have a national media and information policy. This is very unfortunate. If my memory serves me right, one of the former hon. Ministers of Information and Broadcasting made reference to a Draft Information Policy which we have not seen and your report, five years down the road, is still informing the nation that we do not have a national media and information policy.

 This is one of the contributing factors to the mismanagement of our information industry which, to a large extent, is guided by emotions. It should not be that way. We should have a clear national media and information policy to guide how those in the governance of the nation relate to the media industry. That is healthy for a democracy. 

Mr Speaker, the principles that are laid down in this document are so important that each and every one of us in this House should pay very serious attention to because, by not paying attention to the importance of the media and information, we are actually nurturing a sick democracy instead of a healthy one. Ours is a sick democracy because we have not done well in the management of our information industry.

Sir, I think that it is an opportunity lost on the part of our colleagues who should have done things differently and projected a media industry in which all of us are proud. This is an opportunity lost all in the quest to ensure that power is exercised to the ultimate and that people can see that you are in control, and that you are the most powerful. That is not how things ought to be in a democracy.

Mr Speaker, we are coming to the end of our five-year term and I think that we are ending on a very sad note because our colleagues have succeeded in making our democracy sick.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on this very important report. I would like to commend your Committee for a very well-laid out document.

Sir, from the outset, I would like to state that you can only develop effectively and efficiently if you have access to information. My take on this matter is that it is important for any government to ensure that information flows in a very transparent and timely way in order for people to be able to participate effectively and have effective development.

Mr Speaker, looking at what has transpired in successive governments from the time democracy took root in this country in 1991/1992, we have ended up having problems because the public has not been given information. Having been a Minister, my experience is that every time I interacted with the public on any issue or programme and gave full disclosure of what the Government wanted to do and why, we had no difficulties implementing the programmes.

Mr Speaker, when we, in the Government, tried to be secretive because we felt that the public should not know certain things for some reason, we failed to achieve what we wanted, even when it was good for the people. So, I think that any government that wants to succeed must try very much to ensure that the media and the public are given all the information. 

Sir, again, my experience is that once the press has the liberty to give out any information on what is taking place in the Government, it helps the leaders to be more accountable and to live or work above board. The Government thinks that by withholding information, it is protecting itself when it is actually entrapping itself. Those in the Government will find that they would have protected themselves by enacting the Freedom of Information Bill. 
Mr Speaker, this Government is now implementing the Decentralisation Policy.  For this policy to be successful, my humble advice to the Government of the day is that they will do better to enact this Bill. The quicker this Bill is enacted, the better for them. This is because the Central Government will be further away from what is happening at district level, unless we have an environment where the media and the public have access to information without too many roadblocks or rather too many secrets. When the Government enacts this Bill, it will find that most of its policies and programmes at district level are well implemented. However, if the Bill will not be passed, and information will still be a secret, a lot of wrong things will happen at district level. By the time the Central Government will come to understand or know what happened, more damage would have been done. So, I believe that when this Bill is enacted, there will be more benefits to the Government and the people. It will be a win-win situation. I know that there may be certain things that any government would not want the public to know about at a certain stage because it might not help the public, but I believe that there are ways and means of regulating that kind of information because it would not be in the public interest. 

Sir, I recall that in 2002, one of the reasons the Freedom of Information Bill was not passed was that the Government felt that the committee that was supposed to be in charge of looking at this Bill comprised more non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which were anti-Government. Therefore, the Government would not participate effectively in the process. I recall this because I was in the Government then. Therefore, it was felt that passing the Bill would not be good for the Government of the day. The Bill was withdrawn so that the composition of the committee that was charged with the responsibility of looking at the Bill would be looked at again. I think that by today, the issue of the composition of the committee should have been dealt with. By now, as a country, we should have had the Freedom of Information Bill even if it was not going to be perfect. By now, this democracy would have grown to an extent where there would have been more benefits to the Government and the people of Zambia. 

Mr Speaker, if there is a country with high levels of ignorance, it is Zambia. The levels of ignorance in this country, even on how the Government operates, are scary. Even those who are in the Government have high levels of ignorance when it comes to understanding what their role is or what information they are supposed to give to the public and so on and so forth. Many people think that being in the Government means that all the information must be exclusive to them because they hold a particular position such as that of Permanent Secretary (PS), Minister or Member of Parliament. They do not understand that information should be given to the public. 

Sir, I will not ask this Administration to pass this Bill because I am looking at the limited time that that we have before Parliament is dissolved. I know that there is less than a month remaining before this Parliament is dissolved. So, it will not be reasonable for me to ask this Administration to enact the Bill. It is sufficient to say that there will be another Government in the next four months. I would like to appeal to the next Government not to make the same mistakes of past governments. They should not make the mistake of thinking that they will be helping themselves by hiding information. If they will hide information from the public, there will be no transparency, accountability and responsibility among those in the Government. The media will become more irresponsible because it will start thriving on lies and gossip. This country is polluted with propaganda. Sometimes, I do not watch the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television even though I pay for it. I do not buy the Zambia Daily Mail and The Times of Zambia newspapers because it is very clear that they are just for propaganda. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear! Hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I do not watch ZNBC Television at all and I know that I am not the only one who does not watch it. There are many people in this country who say that they do not buy the newspapers I have mentioned because they are just for propaganda. That is why most of our public newspapers have collapsed. They are broke because nobody buys their newspapers as there is nothing in there. They are not educative. They are boring, to say the least. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear! Hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, my advice to those who will be given the favour of ruling this country is that they should support the enactment of the Access to Information Bill because it will help them. It will create transparency, bring about accountability, people become more responsible and participate more in governance.

Mr Speaker, can you imagine that many people do not know what is in the Constitution that we have just passed. It is no wonder that some of us in the House were not very clear about the contents of the document when enacting the law. If there had been openness in the dissemination of information, the issue of the Grade 12 Certificate would have come up at every stage of passing the Constitution. However, this information was hidden. So, some of us did not know what was coming. So, because we were not fully aware of the contents of the document, we made a mistake and locked ourselves out of the House. 


Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I just hope that we shall be more careful next time. If God will give me the opportunity to come back to the House, I will still support this Bill because I think it will help the country. It will help the politicians and the media. It will also bring about development for the good of the country. 

I thank you, Sir. 

The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Bwalya): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to support the report of your Committee. 

Sir, it has been a long road towards the enactment of the Freedom of Information Bill. It appears that the independence of this country came with the Patriotic Front (PF) in 2011. I am cognisant of the fact that there has been a lot of talk about the Freedom of Information Bill. However, there has also been a lot of progress as regards the enactment of this Bill. 

Mr Speaker, it is important that we examine and understand the society in which we live as we look at issues of this nature. There have been references to a number of issues relating to what the social media, which others have been abusing, is doing. It is from this perspective that as the Government, we need to be very careful even as we bring these Bills to the fore or as we govern the country. We need to understand, and cautiously so, so that we can be able to lead the country on the right path. 

There have been comparisons of this country with other countries or democracies such as Finland, which has come a long way to get where it is at the moment in terms of development and educating its population to that level. 

Mr Mwila: Hear! Hear!

Mr Bwalya: Certain laws require us to reach certain levels of understanding of cultures and norms of our society before they are enacted.  

Finland, as referred to by one of the debaters, is an old democracy. So is the United States of America (USA) which was referred to by Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa. The two countries enacted these laws after spending much in educating their masses to ensure that they reached a certain level of understanding. 

Mr Speaker, it is for this reason that this Government of Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu wants to ensure that when we bring a Bill to Parliament, we would have done thorough work and consulted widely. 

Mr Livune: Question!

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Bwalya: Therefore, let us compare like with like. Comparing the USA or Finland to Zambia is not comparing like with like. In any case, speed kills. 

I am glad that the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central referred to the Constitution. There was a chorus which was sung in this House by the Opposition on the Constitution. Little did they know that certain sectors of the society did not understand what was in the document. The hon. Member agreed that there are some lacunas in the Constitution. This is because as a party and Government, we wanted to ensure that we looked at the document thoroughly. Today, there is an insinuation that the information about the Constitution was not disseminated to the public.  However, I recall that there was a lot of talk on the release of the Draft Constitution. It was released to the public in an effort to give access to information to the general public. However, because people did not read it, they did not bring any of the issues here for debate. All that they wanted was for it to be presented in its entirety. This is the same fear I have of giving in to the pressures of bringing the Access to Information Bill in its raw form. Let us move cautiously and make sure that we allow the general public time to comment and contribute to it, as it is their document. 

Mr Speaker, with regard to scrutiny, it is unfortunate that most of the laws are targeted at politicians. Laws that have been targeted at a certain sector or section of society, or individual have fallen off and have not achieved their objectives. As the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, this is not what we want to do. 

A law was enacted in this House that made the offence of a theft of a motor vehicle unbailable. This law ended up ‘biting’ certain individuals. We want to do a good job before we bring the Access to Information Bill so that every individual or possibly the majority of Zambians, contribute to it. 

Scrutiny is for every individual and not just for public officers or politicians. It must be noted that this law will also affect ordinary individuals. Therefore, they will also be scrutinised. So, to narrow it down to politicians and public officers is not correct. 

You can see how society relates with the social media. People tap private phone calls. This is a concern that all of us must have as we look at the Access to Information Bill. Is this what we want? Is that the best way of using the Access to Information Bill? There must be a level of responsibility even as we ask for this law. 

Mr Speaker, we have in our possession a recent recording of a vice-president of a certain political party insulting and using unpalatable language. Is that what we want in this country?

Hon. Government Members: No!

Mr Bwalya: Have we reached a level where the Access to Information Bill will serve its purpose if enacted,? I think that we, as a country, need to exercise some patience and ensure that we do a thorough job before we can rush into enacting the Bill. 

Mr Speaker, it is also true that there is a big difference between programming and access to information. Each entity has got its own way of programming. I do not think that the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) would refuse to air a programme that will cause people to engage in debate which will add value to the well-being of the Zambian people as long as it is paid for. They would surely air it. We have seen a lot of programmes that have been aired where people have engaged in debate. We need to differentiate between access to information and the operatives and operations of various media houses. 

We have a lot of television stations at the moment. For example, there is Muvi Television, which has a lot of programmes. The station has not been told not to air certain programmes. However, because it is an avenue for disseminating information to the people, it has been allowed to do so. There is a law that allows this. That is why the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services has allowed the establishment of various radio and television stations. 

Finally, Mr Speaker, I would like to state that as we adopt this report and demand for the enactment of the Access to Information Bill, it is important that we have a balanced dissemination of information. It is one thing to say that we have contracted a lot of debt and another to say that this debt has brought about a lot of development. 

Mr Livune: Question!

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Bwalya: Why can we not say that this debt that has been contracted has helped construct many good roads that have enhanced the well-being of the Zambian people?

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Mwila: Mansa/Luwingu!

Mr Bwalya: Let us also ensure that we inform the Zambian people that the PF Government got loans to build the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport ...

Mr Livune: Question!

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Bwalya: … and expand the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. We have implemented all these projects and many others. 

Sir, I thank you. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours. 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on Floor. I know that the Acting Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Hon. Mwale, will wind up debate. However, I would like to make a few comments.

Sir, firstly, I would like to thank the mover of the Motion whom I had the privilege to work with in your Committee for a year. I am happy that he has built on what we started just after we formed Government.

Mr Pande indicated assent.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, introspection is important when debating a Motion of this importance. Today, I have witnessed some of our leaders admit the missed opportunity to have done justice to the Access to Information Bill. 

Sir, today, I stand here a proud legislator and I believe all my colleagues should also pat themselves on the back. We have heard people talk about leaving legacies. I believe we are leaving a legacy that will be remembered for a long time.

Ms Kapata: Hear! Hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, what we are dealing with is a question of logic. The Bill we are talking about is subsidiary legislation. In this session, we shall deal with a number of Bills that will give effect to the supreme document of the land which is the Constitution. Would it be logical to deal with this Bill using the old Constitution? The Patriotic Front (PF) Government saw it fit to first deal with the Constitution before dealing with other Bills.

Mr Speaker, it is shocking to see that the people who decided to stay away from the deliberations on that important document want to speak the loudest today on one Bill amongst the many Bills that will come to this House. The President, himself, has given away some of his powers which other people would have wanted to keep for themselves. This is one of the reasons it took so long to table this document. If we can deliver the supreme document of the land to the people of Zambia, what would stop us from giving them this one Bill?

Sir, it is important that leaders are not hypocritical. If we, as leaders, consider hypocrisy a virtue, we shall end up with situations like this. Basically, today’s debates in this House have been on the freedom of debate. I have noticed that most of the Members are in a political mood and are forgetting about the fundamentals of being in this House. 

Mr Speaker, the Bill is a piece of document. I want to state here that the PF Government has been user friendly in as far as the media is concerned. 

Mr Livune: Question!

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, in the past, it was unusual to find a Cabinet Minister featuring on a programme at a private or community radio station. Today, as Cabinet Ministers, we are available to give the people the information they need at any public or private media house. Currently, my ministry is a landlord to most private radio stations that people hear about. There are radio and television stations at buildings in the Central Business Districts (CBDs) of Lusaka such as Kulima Tower, FINDECO House and Metal Marketing Corporation (Zambia) Ltd (MEMACO). Not a single day did the PF Government try to stifle any the media institutions because we know what we have provided for their existence. The media institutions are housed by my ministry. So, how much more should the Government do to show that it is creating the environment for the media to thrive in this country? The Bill is just a document. What is important is to create a conducive environment for the media to operate in, which we have done. 

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, today, there are cameras in this House and people are able to watch the proceedings live on television. They are able to see the conduct of some of their elected representatives. 


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, they are also able to see the kind of hypocrisy some of the Members are exhibiting. The people know some of the leaders from way back and are able to judge them. I, therefore, want to commend the management of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for this milestone. 

Mr Speaker, this Government does not want to base its decisions on innuendos. One of my colleagues was quoted in the social media. As the Government, we could have queried why a person vying for Vice-Presidency could go on rampage, insulting innocent citizens on social media. He was also quoted in the newspapers. He uttered insults, maybe, because of his financial status. Is that the kind of leadership that the people of Zambia want?

Hon. Government Members: No!

Mr Kampyongo: So, even as we talk about this freedom, we must show that we are responsible citizens. As the Government, we have nothing to fear at all. Like I have stated earlier, we were all cautious about going beyond what the Zambian people expected. The Constitution is not meant for us alone. It is meant for generations to come. If some people expected us to pass a Constitution that would suit them as individuals, then, they are not supposed to be in leadership. They are in the wrong place and must understand that. We are here to serve the people for posterity. What we have done is not for us, but for generations to come. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Kampyongo: If there is any challenge that will be noted in that document, this institution will still be there to deal with it. What we, collectively with some progressive Members from the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) did, was to come together because …


Mr Kampyongo: … chilingalinga, …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, …

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Speaker: … please, avoid whatever that communication is. I do not even know it.

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, chilingalinga is a snake with two heads and moves aimlessly.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, colleagues who stayed away from the making of the major document knew their fears because the Constitution is very clear, just like the Bill is going to be clear on who is going to be the Vice-President. We shall name the person in due course. It is as simple as that. Therefore, those who were afraid of participating I it knew what they were afraid of. Our role was clear and it shall remain so. The same will apply when dealing with the Bill in question.

Sir, like I have said, there are many Bills to be presented by the able Minister of Justice.

 Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kampyongo: He has gone on record for that. 

The hon. Member can question this, but he will never erase the record that he has left.

Sir, some people had the audacity to try to dupe the people of Zambia in regard to these issues, but the people will judge them. If the supreme document was dealt with much earlier, the passing of the Bill, which has been cited in the report, could have been a thing of the past. Unfortunately, there were masqueraders, but we are not ashamed to have had masqueraders in our midst.

 Mr Speaker: Order!

Could the hon. Minister, please, withdraw the statement on masqueraders?

 Mr Kampyongo: Your Excellency, …  


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I am sorry. I wish to withdraw that statement and replace it with pretenders or dishonest leaders.


Mr Kampyongo: Sir, they collectively hid your document from us with their colleagues, but God has his own way of making things right. Even the John Walkers … 


Mr Kampyongo: By the way, John Walkers are people who have a tendency of hiding their lack of performance …

 Mr Speaker: Order!

 If the hon. Minister can just use plain English, we will make progress and avoid constant interjections.

 Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I was just trying to describe certain characters who have the tendency of hiding their inability to perform from the citizens who have given them the opportunity to be in leadership.

Mr Speaker: Order!

In the last few minutes, your debate has tilted to debating colleagues. Let us debate the report and issues contained in the report. Let us not use this platform to begin launching attacks. I was cautioning on the same thing earlier on in the evening although I was misconstrued as stifling debate. I have no intention of stifling debate.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I thank you for the guidance and shall remain indebted to you.

Sir, I was trying to say that the people of Zambia have seen the tested leadership of the PF because it walks the talk.

 Mr Livune: Question!


 Mr Kampyongo: Sir, this is a Government that walks the talk. We promised the people the Constitution and they now have the Constitution. We also promise the people that the Bill will certainly be dealt with. Some hon. Members are questioning that on the basis that we have limited time, yet there is still enough time. In any case, we are still coming back to this House.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

 Mr Kampyongo: Sir, to the Doubting Thomases, we have heard their language before. In January last year, we bounced back against all odds to fulfil the promises that we had made to the Zambian people. I cannot imagine what could have happened to the …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Are you through, hon. Minister?

Hon. Government Members: No! No! Not yet!
Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I am just imagining what could have happened to the Freedom of Information Bill and the Constitution if we did bounce back. This is the reason the people of Zambia should continue trusting this Government because we mean well and shall continue to deliver on our promises.

Mr Speaker, with these remarks, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!      

The Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you. Considering that the House has to …

Hon. Government Members: Hammer! Hammer!

Mr Mwale: … adjourn at 1915 hours, I will try to be brief, especially that two hon. Ministers have given the Government’s position on the Access to Information Bill and other issues that have been raised in the report that was tabled by your Committee. I will deal with other issues and end with the one relating to access to information.

Sir, I wish to thank the Chairperson of your Committee on Information and Broadcasting Services for the comprehensive report tabled before this august House.

Mr Speaker, the ministry was privileged to attend two sessions of your Committee on the topical issue of the “Importance of Access to Information in a Democracy: the Zambian Situation”. I am happy to report that on both occasions, the ministry adequately dealt with all the matters. Allow me though to give an update on a few issues that were covered in the report.

Sir, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has finalised the preparation of the policy and consultations among hon. Ministers have been completed. Very soon, the Cabinet will make a decision on the matter. This is a procedural issue. So, hon. Ministers have made their comments and the Cabinet will soon make a decision thereon.

Mr Speaker, I wish to update the House that each election year, the media in Zambia comes under scrutiny, with political players accusing each other of undue influence on the editorial content. The Opposition parties or rather public opinion, in particular, claim that the public media favours the Ruling Party in their coverage and editorial decision making. This was also highlighted by a number of debaters.

Mr Speaker, the Government policy on this matter is that all political players should be fairly covered by all the media because not doing so is, in fact, against the current Republican Constitution, which states in Clause 50 that a political party and a candidate contesting an election shall have access to the media, especially during election campaigns. The ministry has taken steps to protect editorial independence by all the public media. Some of the steps taken include:

(a)    the appointment of boards for the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC). In addition, the Board of the ZNBC was ratified by this august House. The board also appointed the Director-General of the ZNBC after a competitive process;

(b)    the operationalisation of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) which is in charge of giving radio and television licences. This is done with no Government perceived interference;

(c)    putting The Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail directly under the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the appointment of the boards of these companies will be done by the IDC after the necessary consultations;

(d)    the composition of the Task Force on Digital Migration with key stakeholders from both public and private sectors;

(e)    developing in-house editorial policies that uphold high ethical and professional standards as well as entrench integrity and impartiality for media institutions;

(f)    ensuring that the public media upholds the right of privacy of individuals or institutions;

(g)    ensuring high standards of advertising and all forms of publicity in compliance with best media practices and relevant codes of ethics; and

(h)    guaranteeing and safeguarding professional rights of media personnel.

Mr Speaker, there are high expectations among the citizens regarding the performance of the public media, but the media houses face major challenges, among them:

(a)    a lack of investment;

(b)    high indebtedness, especially statutory debt; and

(c)    a lack of equipment, including vehicles and cameras.

Mr Speaker, with such challenges, it is hard for the media houses to meet all public expectations. Added to that, the Opposition perceives journalists from the public media as spies. So, they chase them from their political activities. Some leaders from the Opposition have vowed not to allow journalists from the public media to interview them.

Mr Speaker, I hope that the Opposition can also adjust and give a test to the public media to see whether or not they are biased rather than sending them away.

Sir, the financial challenges faced by the public media companies and other State-owned enterprises mean that these companies cannot borrow from the capital market. This is why the Government decided to create the IDC, which is now the umbrella conglomerate for State-owned enterprises like the Zambia Daily Mail Limited and Times Printpack Limited. It is hoped that the two companies will be restructured under the IDC to attract investment and capital. Despite the transfer of shares of the two companies, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will continue engaging the boards of the two companies to ensure that they adhere to professional journalistic norms. 

Mr Speaker, as regards the ZNBC, it will receive a massive infrastructure and equipment upgrade under the Digital Migration Project which the Government is implementing. Phase I of the project has been completed. So far, twelve channels are running on the digital platform, including the Parliament TV Channel which other hon. Members have talked about as well as applauded the Government for. Very soon, Phases II and III, covering all the provinces, will commence.

Sir, the other burning issue that has been raised by the hon. Members, which dominated the debate, was the Access to Information Bill. It is a serious indictment that since 2002 when this Bill was first brought to Parliament, we have not managed to pass it. From 2002 to 2016, we are talking about fourteen years. Those of us who have been in this House long enough must all take the blame. We should not point fingers at one group of people and accuse it of failure. All of us have not done our part to honour the Zambians with this piece of legislation. As we have heard, there have been more than six Ministers of Information since 2002 with more than three Presidents and quite a number of sessions of Parliament, yet we have not given the Zambians this Bill. So, none of us has a moral right to point at any one individual and accuse that individual of not passing this legislation. All of us have not done our part. However, where are we now? I agree with Hon. Hamududu and everybody who has spoken on the importance of access that it enhances democracy, promotes transparency and accountability, promotes human rights and brings about good governance. It also enhances security in the nation. This Government is willing to enact this Bill and make ensure that it is seen as a Government that was given a chance to enact the Bill and managed to do it. 

Hon. Kampyongo has talked about the Constitution. For a long time, it eluded us. It was a huge story as well as a scandal. President Lungu has emerged courageous and given Zambians the Constitution.

Mr Livune: Question!

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, all of us, including those who are questioning what we are saying, stood on the Floor of this House in protest and demanded for a new Constitution to be enacted. President Lungu proved to be a listening President and has given it to the Zambians. The issue of the Constitution is now a bygone. Now, we promise that this Government will look into the issue of the Access to Information Bill. How far has the process of enacting this Bill reached? The hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting has finalised it and has since submitted it to the Ministry of Justice for polishing up. So, the Ministry of Justice is working on it and very soon, it will go through the due process in the ministries, the legislative committee and then it will be approved by the Cabinet. When that is done, it will be brought to this House for enactment. I think that we have proved to be a trustworthy Government. Please, give space to this Government to be able to complete this process.

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the Zambians waited for a long time for the enactment of a new Constitution. Finally, the matter has been put to rest. Similarly, the enactment of the Access to Information Bill will soon be put to rest. We just need hon. Members to be patient.

Mr Speaker, I must say that while we have been waiting for the enactment of the Access to Information Bill, the Government has given licences to thirteen television (TV) stations in the last five years. We had no private TV stations in the past.

Hon. PF Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Mwale: This is in a bid to disseminate and increase access to information. I am not saying that this is justification for not enacting the Bill, but that the increase in the number of privately-owned TV stations to thirteen during this Government’s tenure is commendable. We have further seen seventy new radio stations become operational. This is happening because this Government is serious about access to information.

Mr Speaker, somebody talked about us not wanting to be scrutinised. Hon. Kampyongo has talked about the enhancement of democracy in this country. I think the enactment of the new Constitution renders us open to scrutiny. Therefore, how can we fail to enact a ‘little’ Bill like the Access to Information? We are open to being scrutinised and will soon prove this to the nation.

Mr Speaker, Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa talked about our democracy being sick. I think that term is not pleasant. The Government agrees that we are a young democracy, but not a sick one. This Government is determined to grow this young democracy. We have been talking about violence in this nation. Our Head of State and other political party leaders got together to discuss this problem and we seem to have solved it. In the past few days, this nation has not experienced any political violence. So, we shall continue striving to ensure that our young democracy grows and it will. I want to stress that we cannot call it a sick democracy. If people are looking for examples of sick democracies all over the world, we can give them examples. Zambia is doing very well and our democracy is young but growing.

Mr Speaker, I think my colleagues on this side have said a lot on this matter and my job was just to summarise. We thank your Committee for a good report and this House for supporting the Motion.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear! Hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, on behalf of your Committee, I would like to wholeheartedly thank all the debaters of this Motion. There were little sparks here and there, which shows the importance of the Access to Information Bill. I will not mention any individual who has debated, but would like to dwell briefly on the conclusion by the Acting hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting. It is pleasing that what he has said is what Zambians are looking forward to; the presentation of the Bill to the House. This Bill is not for individuals. It will benefit each and every citizen, including the Executive and Opposition.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, at this juncture, I would like to urge all hon. Members to support the Motion.

I thank you very much, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear! Hear!

Question put and agreed to.


The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1900 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 14th April, 2016.