Debates - Friday, 20th June, 2014

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Friday, 20th June, 2014

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I continue, as earlier intimated, to render rulings. I have two rulings this morning and that will leave one outstanding. I will deliver it upon my return as I will be leading a delegation to the 135th Plenary Session of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF).


Hon. Members will recall that on Friday, 7th March, 2014, when the House was considering Question for Oral Answer No. 422 and the hon. Member of Parliament for Kaputa Parliamentary Constituency, Mr  Maxas  Ng’onga, MP, was asking a supplementary question, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Gabriel Namulambe, MP, raised a Point of Order in which he wished to know whether Mr Chilufya Tayali and Mr Nason Msoni were in order to make the derogatory statements against the Speaker attributed to them in two articles of The Daily Nation newspaper editions of Thursday, 6th March and Friday, 7th March, 2014 entitled “Speaker Abrogating Constitutional Authority” and “Speaker must Resign – Msoni”, respectively.

  The relevant excerpts of the point of order are as follows:
“Mr Speaker, we need to protect the integrity of this House against calculated attacks by members of the public who do not follow exactly what happens in the House but somehow, get part of it in the news broadcasts …

“… Mr Speaker, in yesterday’s The Daily Nation, there was an article entitled, ‘Speaker Abrogating Constitutional Authority’.  In this article, a civil rights activist by the name of Mr Tayali has been quoted as saying that you abrogated your Constitutional authority.

“Sir, in today’s The Daily Nation the headline is ‘Speaker must Resign – Msoni.’

“ … In light of the foregoing, and since this House has privileges, are The Daily Nation, Mr Tayali and Mr Msoni in order to make calculated attacks on the proceedings of this House and the Office of the Speaker, in particular, as if you are the one who made the provisions in the Members’ Handbook? This statement is meant to mislead the public that you are doing things outside the Members’ Handbook …

“ … Are these people in order to mislead the general public?”

In my immediate remarks, I  reserved my ruling on the matter because I needed to study the material which had been presented to me and, of course, I also needed to take recourse to the law so that I could render a measured response to this point of order.

Hon. Members may wish to know that I have since studied the point of order and now wish to make my ruling.

Let me acquaint the House with some of the contents of the articles in question. I will begin with the excerpt from the article attributed to Mr Chilufya Tayali and entitled “Speaker Abrogating Constitutional Authority.” It reads as follows:

“The Speaker, Dr Matibini, is the head of the House and if he cannot compel the Members to deliberate and make laws on behalf of the Zambian people, then, he is certainly and deliberately abrogating his constitutional authority. Why is he there if he has no control over what is deliberated by the Members of the House?

“Tayali charged that the Speaker’s threats against opposition MPs that they risk losing their sitting allowances was ironical because it was clear that Dr Matibini was forcing the law makers to proceed in a particular manner. Tayali explained that Dr Matibini was out of order by insinuating that Members of Parliament were more interested in allowances than the Constitution and the general state of the country when they were championing a national cause supported by the Church, the civil society organisations and the general citizenry.

“… for the first time in the history of the country, Zambia had witnessed a chaotic Parliament because the Speaker of the National Assembly had failed to manage Members of Parliament only for partisan affiliation.”

The next excerpt from the article attributed to Mr Nason Msoni entitled “Speaker Must Resign” reads as follows:

“It was unprecedented in the history of Parliaments in the Commonwealth for a sitting Speaker to attempt to resolve a national crisis of that magnitude by using a whipping stick as a means of diverting and resolving the self-sparked constitutional crisis brought by his partisan stance of refusing to allow hon. Members of the Opposition to debate the Motion.

“You cannot hold respectable hon. Members of Parliament hostage by withholding petty allowances and payments and making thinly-veiled threats as a means of side-tracking their principled position on the most important national assignment, the Constitution-making process.

“We, therefore, find his continued partisan behaviour incompatible with the most coveted office of Speaker of the Zambian Parliament. He must ask himself whether he is fit to continue in that office.

“The tragedy of the country, currently, was to have a visionless President leading the Executive on one hand and a partisan Speaker on the other hand leading Parliament.”

In line with parliamentary practice and procedure and in accordance with the rules of natural justice, the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly wrote to the Executive Director of Zambian Voice, Mr Tayali, and the president of All People’s Congress, Mr Msoni, requesting them to confirm or deny whether the articles in question and the contents therein were correctly attributed to them and further to state their side of the story. The Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly also wrote to the Managing Editor of The Daily Nation newspaper requesting him to state whether the articles and their content were correctly attributed to Mr Tayali and Mr Msoni, respectively.  

In response to the letter from the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Tayali stated as follows:

“I am in receipt of your letter regarding the captioned subject.

“I wish to confirm that I am the source of the said article. However, certain wordings are   not mine, particularly paragraph 2 of page 2, which reads:”

‘He said for the first time in the history of the country, Zambians had witnessed a chaotic Parliament because the Speaker of the National Assembly had failed to manage hon. Members of Parliament only for partisan affiliation.’

“The wordings ‘only for partisan affiliation’ are an addition to what I said. I did not give interest of the Speaker’s action because I do not know it. However, the rest is correctly attributed to me.

Yours sincerely

Chilufya Tayali.

Executive Director.”

Hon. Members, the Managing Editor of The Daily Nation Newspapers, in his response to the National Assembly, confirmed that the articles in question, published in his paper, were a fair representation of the import of the interviews conducted with Mr Tayali and Mr Msoni, respectively.

Mr Msoni, on his part, did not respond to the letter from the Clerk of the National Assembly.

Hon. Members, from the outset, I would like to state that the Office of the Speaker is a public office. As such, it is susceptible to public criticism. This means that in the exercise of the freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 20 of the Constitution of Zambia, Cap. 1 of the Laws of Zambia, the public is at liberty to comment on the proceedings of the House.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 Mr Speaker: However,  the public and, in particular, Mr Msoni and Mr Tayali, need to also appreciate that the freedom of expression is not absolute, but subject to certain limitations such as respect of the rights and liberties of other persons and citizens. This means that the exercise of freedom of expression places a responsibility on every person to take necessary measures so as not to exceed the limitations.  In addition, and more importantly, criticism against the Office of the Speaker should not be offensive, insulting, derogatory or founded on baseless assertions or aspersions. Needless to say that according to Section 19(a) of the National Assembly Powers and Privileges Act, it is an offence for anybody to show disrespect in speech or manner towards the Speaker.

Therefore, Mr Msoni and Mr Tayali cast aspersions on the Office of the Speaker that are not founded on facts and, therefore, are clearly disrespectful. Under the circumstances, Mr Msoni and Mr Tayali and other stakeholders are warned about the offence of showing disrespect to the Speaker both in speech and manner.

In ending my ruling, let me warn Mr Msoni and Mr Tayali that the Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly is one of dignity and commands extreme respect both nationally and internationally.  In this regard, they should exercise caution in commenting on the proceedings of the House and, in particular, on my decisions as Speaker in line, of course, with the relevant laws, practices and procedures of the House so as to avoid being punished by the House or alternatively prosecuted through the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for contempt of the House.

Thank You.


Hon. Members, the second ruling relates to Mr Cornelius Mweetwa, Member of Parliament for Choma Central Parliamentary Constituency, against His Honour the Vice-President and the hon. Minister of Justice for statements they made on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation News against hon. Opposition Members of Parliament.

Hon. Members will recall that on Wednesday, 5th March, 2014, when the House was considering Question for Oral Answer No. 397, and the hon. Member of Parliament for Chipili Parliamentary Constituency, Mr D. Mwila, MP, was asking a supplementary question, Hon. Mweetwa raised a point of order against His Honour the Vice-President, Dr Guy L Scott, MP, and the Minister of Justice, Hon. Wynter Kabimba, MP. The relevant part of the Point of Order reads as follows:

“ … Yesterday during the 13:00 hours news, the Patriotic Front (PF) Provincial Youth Chairperson, in his statement, asked the Hon. Mr Speaker to stop paying allowances to hon. Members who are disrupting the Business of the House which statement, in my view, was a directive.

“Sir, this was echoed at the 19 00 hours news by the Secretary-General of the PF, who is also Minister of Justice, Hon. Kabimba, SC. He said that the conduct of the hon. Members, who, in his words, are disrupting the Business of the House, is tantamount to fraud, and, therefore, designating us as fraudsters.

“Mr Speaker, in the same newscast, His Honour the Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Guy Scott, stated that we, the hon. Members of the Opposition, have been coming to this House to monkey around. 

“Sir, the term ‘monkeying’, …


Mr Speaker: Order!

“… according to the dictionary, means behaving in a silly way and has the history of a racist posture by orientation.”


Mr Speaker: Order!

I am still reposed with powers to exercise discipline even as I am standing.

“Sir, when you combine these three utterances by the hon. Members from the PF, is the hon. Minister of Justice, therefore, in order to state that we are fraudsters and are wasting taxpayers’ money by simply coming here to register and leave when our action is propelled by the views of the people of Zambia who elected us to this House and are demanding a new and people-driven Constitution?

“Mr Speaker, are Hon. Kabimba, SC. and his colleagues, therefore, in order to label us in a manner that suggests that we were elected to receive allowances when we were voted to represent the interests of the people of Zambia? The majority of Zambians who voted for us now want a new Constitution and this is the basis of our action in this House. I seek your serious ruling.”

In my response, I gave the following partial ruling:

“Firstly, I am not able to address all the issues that have been raised in the point of order and I will explain why. Some issues obviously require verification. Therefore, I will need to verify those parts of the point of order that need verification.

“Secondly, we, as presiding officers, have said before, and I think it was only the day before yesterday that it was repeated that we should not be drawn into the politicking of whatever sort that happens outside the House.”

Hon. Members, in his point of order, Hon. C. Mweetwa, MP, complained against the PF Provincial Youth Chairperson for a statement allegedly made by him against the Opposition Members. Hon. C. Mweetwa, MP, stated that the youth chairperson had asked the Hon. Mr Speaker to stop paying allowances to hon. Members who were disrupting the Business of the House which statement, in Hon. Mweetwa’s view, was a directive to me, as the Speaker.

Hon. Members, the alleged statement by the youth chairperson was made in the political arena. As I have ruled before on statements made by outsiders in the political arena, this House will not be drawn into the politics that occur outside the House.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: In this regard, my partial ruling responded to this part of Hon. Mweetwa’s Point of Order. I now proceed to render the rest of the ruling on the point of order.

Hon. Members, in the point of order, Hon. C. Mweetwa, MP, asked whether His Honour the Vice-President, Dr Guy Scott, and the Minister of Justice, Hon. Wynter Kabimba, SC., were in order to accuse hon. Members of the Opposition of being fraudsters and wasting taxpayers’ money for being paid the sitting allowances by merely registering their names on the attendance register without participating in the deliberations of the House, when the Opposition’s action was driven by the demands of their constituents for a new people-driven Constitution.

Hon. Members, a review of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) television footage by my office established that his Honour the Vice-President, Dr Guy Scott, alleged that by not participating in the deliberations of the House, the hon. Members of the Opposition were exhibiting a lack of seriousness in their work. Further, the Minister of Justice, Hon. Wynter Kabimba, SC., said that by hon. Members not participating in the deliberations of the House, but yet claiming a sitting allowance was tantamount to fraud.

The television footage also established that the words “monkeying around” and “fraud” were used by His Honour the Vice-President and the hon. Minister of Justice, respectively, in reference to the disorderly conduct of the hon. Opposition Members. The Concise Oxford Thesaurus, Second Edition, Edited by Maurice Waite, defines the words ‘monkeying around’ to mean fool about, play about, clown around, footle around or to mess about.

Hon. Members, at the time, I advised hon. Members that their work in the House was conducted at a great expense to the taxpayer and hence, there was a responsibility on each hon. Member to be in the House throughout the course of the Sitting.  In this way, the expenses of the House are justified, that is, expended on a public good. Thus, all hon. Members are advised to take heed of my counsel to avoid aspersions being cast on them for earning money for which they have not put in a full day’s job. 

Hon. Members, you will recall that on Tuesday, 4th March, 2014, there were hon. Members who were listed on the Order Paper to ask Questions for Oral Answer. However, although the hon. Members had been present in the House and registered their initial and momentary presence, they later quickly withdrew from the House and made nearly all the questions to lapse albeit they were later paid a sitting allowance for that particular day. Therefore, to the extent that the hon. Members deliberately failed to perform their representative function of asking questions, and yet went on to claim allowances, Hon. Kabimba’s assertion was justified.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: However, with regard to Mr Mweetwa’s statement that the term ‘monkeying’ has a history of a racist posture by orientation and, therefore, implies that His Honour the Vice-President used the words in a racist manner, hon. Members, based on the definitions of the word and the context in which His Honour the Vice-President used the words ‘monkeying around’, I find nothing racist about the expression of those words. Rather, I understood His Honour the Vice-President to convey the message that in light of the gross disorderly conduct displayed on the Floor of the House, the hon. Opposition Members lacked seriousness in their discharge of their functions.

I thank you.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!




Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

The Vice-President (Dr Scott): Mr Speaker, I rise to give the House an overview of the business that it will consider next week. On Tuesday, 24th June, 2014, the Business of the House will commence with questions to hon. Ministers, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there be any, and the House will, then, consider Motions to adopt the reports of the two following Committees:

(a) Committee on Lands, Environment and Tourism; and

(b) Committee on Youth and Sport.

Sir, on Wednesday, 25th June, 2014, the Business of the House will begin with questions to hon. Ministers, if there will be any, and these will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will deal with Private Members Motions, if there will be any. The House will, then, consider a Motion to adopt the Report of the Committee on Communications, Transport, Works and Supply.

Mr Speaker, on Thursday, 26th June, 2014, the Business of the House will commence with questions to hon. Ministers, if there will be any, and these will be followed by the presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider a Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the Presidential appointment of Mr Musa Mwenye, SC., to serve as Attorney-General of the Republic of Zambia and Mr Abraham Mwansa, to serve as Solicitor-General of the Republic of Zambia.

Sir, on Friday, 27th June, 2014, the Business of the House will begin with His Honour the Vice-President’s Question Time, if there will be any questions. This will be followed by questions to hon. Ministers, if there will be any, and after that, the House will deal with the presentation of Government Bills, again, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider a Motion to adopt the Report of the Committee on Government Assurances. Then, the House will deal with any business that may be outstanding.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.




The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Simuusa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to issue this ministerial statement on the 2014/2015 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), 2014/2015 Maize Marketing Season and an update on the status of the export of maize and maize products.

Mr Speaker, in 2011, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government promised the farmers of this country to continue the implementation of the FISP. I am, therefore, pleased to acknowledge that the PF Government, through the FISP, has been distributing agricultural inputs in all the farming seasons since coming into office. The PF Government, under the able leadership of our Republican President, His Excellency Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, has the vision to promote agriculture and make Zambia the food basket of the region and beyond.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, through deliberate policies and the tireless effort by our hardworking farmers, the country has, once again, managed to produce a bumper harvest. You may wish to agree that this was achieved despite some challenges such as delayed rains and late delivery of inputs to some parts of the country.

Mr Speaker, this year, as a Government and as the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, we are determined to address the perennial cry of late delivery of farming inputs and to ensure that all the farming inputs reach our farmers on time. One of the strategies being employed is to start the farming input distribution programme early, hence the official flagging-off witnessed on 13th May, 2014, at the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) in Kafue.

Mr Speaker, also, all Provincial and District Agricultural Co-ordinating Officers (PACOs and DACOs) and all field extension staff countrywide are under instruction to ensure that all the camp and DACOs are reconstituted and intended beneficiaries are identified by the end of this month, June, 2014


Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

Mr Simuusa: Sir, as the inputs of fertiliser are transported to various districts, all those farmers who are ready should collect their inputs. The target we have set for ourselves is for the farmers awaiting planting to have all the inputs by the end of August or latest, early September, 2014.

Mr Speaker, allow me now to inform you and, through you, the nation on the quantities for the 2014/2015 FISP for this year’s agriculture season. These are as follows:

(a) Beneficiaries

Mr Speaker, the Government has targeted to increase support to the small-scale farmers under the FISP from 900,000 to one million beneficiaries. However, the number of bags per farmer or beneficiary will remain the same. This represents an increment of 100,000 farmers compared to the target of the last 2013/2014 Agriculture Season.

(b) Fertilisers

Mr Speaker, the quantities of inputs in terms of fertilisers being targeted are as follows:

 Fertiliser Quantities
   (metric tonnes)

 D-compound (bottom dressing) 1,649.75

Mr Muntanga: What is bottom dressing?

Mr Simuusa: Yes, bottom dressing.

 Urea (top dressing) 101,826,000

 Total 208,235,750

(c) Seed

 Seed Quantity 
   (metric tonnes)

 Maize 10, 000.0

 Rice 127.0

 Sorghum seed 119.1

 Groundnut seed 1,357.1

Mr Speaker, allow me to further inform you that all the D-Compound fertiliser required under the FISP this year will be produced by the NCZ in Kafue.

Hon. PF Members: Yes.

Mr Simuusa: The NCZ started the production of D-Compound fertiliser on 1st April, 2014, with a carryover stock from last year of 2,282 metric tonnes. So far, as of yesterday, 18th June, 2014, it had produced 29,285 metric tonnes of D-Compound fertilisers, giving a total stock of 31,567 metric tonnes out of the total requirement of 106,000 metric tonnes required.

Mr Speaker, this is testimony that the Government is committed to revamping and supporting …


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members for Gwembe and Monze Central, your consultations are too loud.

May the Hon. Minister continue.

Mr Simuusa: … the operations of the NCZ in line with its policy of job creation and self- reliance. Of this total stock of D-Compound fertiliser, 20,159.5 metric tonnes have already been delivered to all the ten provinces as follows:

Province Quantity (Metric tonnes)

Central 681.00

Copperbelt 1,644.00

Lusaka 285.00

North-Western 714.00

Southern 1,195.50

Western Province 380.00

Northern Province 3,165.00

Muchinga Province 2,796.00

Luapula Province 66.00

Eastern Province 694.00

Total 20,159.50

Mr Speaker, as at 1st April, 2014, we opened with carryover stock from last year of 18,111.5 metric tonnes of urea fertiliser. At the moment, this stock is being moved to designated districts in readiness for distribution to farmers.

Mr Speaker, the balance Urea fertiliser requirement of 83,714 million metric tonnes is being procured in a two-thronged approach. Firstly, 50,000 metric tonnes of urea fertiliser are being procured from Saudi Arabia through direct bidding. The procurement process for this fertiliser has reached an advanced stage. Secondly, for the remaining 33,714.5 metric tonnes, the Government is engaging the private sector through open tender. This procurement process has also reached an advanced stage.

Mr Speaker, with regard to the farmer contributions in the 2014/2015 Agriculture Season, allow me to inform the House that the farmer contribution towards the cost of inputs will be as follows:

Inputs Cost (K)
50 kg bag of fertiliser 90

10 kg bag of seed 40

10 kg bag of rice seed 40

5 kg bag of sorghum seed 25

20 kg bag of groundnut seed 70

Sir, this represents 25 per cent of the actual seed. Therefore, a selected beneficiary farmer will pay K400 for a maize pack of four bags of fertiliser and one 10 kg bag of maize seed.

Mr Speaker, allow me to end the first part of my ministerial statement by informing you that my ministry was allocated K500 million for implementation of this year’s FISP for the 2014/2015 Agriculture Season

Mr Speaker, as regards the 2014/2015 Maize Marketing Season, I wish to announce that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is ready for the season. This marketing season, the FRA will buy maize and paddy rice in remote areas across the country where the private sector will most likely not venture.

Mr Speaker, the agency will purchase 500,000 metric tonnes of maize and 2,100 metric tonnes of paddy rice from 1,115 satellite depots across the country. It has been decided that the same number of satellite depots used in the previous marketing season will be maintained.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: However, it is a requirement that for an area to be designated as a satellite depot, it should have a marketable surplus of maize of, at least, 5,000 by 50 kg bags. A marketable surplus less than this quantity will make operation of the depot uneconomical. Therefore, as the purchasing of maize commences, the performance of the satellite depots will be continually monitored and those underperforming will be closed.

Mr Speaker, as we are pushing to ensure that farming inputs reach the farmers on time, on one hand, on the other hand, it is equally important that the farmer is paid on time for the maize or rice delivered to the FRA. These two facets go hand-in-hand. It is, therefore, the intention of my ministry to pay farmers promptly this marketing season.

Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, farmers will continue to receive payment through appointed financial institutions in various locations. In an effort to avoid congestions at the paypoints and ensure speedy payments of farmers, the following measures have been introduced:

(i) satellite depots in districts have been zoned for purposes of payment to farmers. Zones will be assigned specific paypoints and pay days during the week when farmers will be paid;

(ii) more than one bank will be enlisted per district in order to minimise congestion;

(iii) the FRA will remit funds directly to paying banks based on the quantities of crops purchased; and

(iv) the farmer will need to present their national registration card and produce the original receipt and certification note (PRCN) in order to be paid.

Mr Speaker, besides the arrangements made for payment of farmers and designation of satellite depots, more than 50 per cent of empty grain bags and other marketing requisites such as twine, and scales for weighing are already in position.

However, to ensure that good quality maize that can be stored without easily getting damaged is purchased, the FRA is closely monitoring the maize moisture content. It will commence the buying of the maize in areas where the moisture content has reached the stipulated standard of 12.5 per cent with effect from 1st July, 2014. The areas where this anticipated moisture content is expected to be arrived at first are the Southern, Eastern, Luapula, Lusaka and Northern provinces.

Mr Speaker, after careful consideration and wide consultation, it has been decided to increase the maize purchase price, commonly known as the maize floor price, for this farming season from K65 per 50kg bag of maize to K70 per 50kg bag of maize for this marketing season.


Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, this is the price at which the FRA shall purchase maize …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Simuusa: … for the 2014/2015 Maize Marketing Season. However, allow me to make it clear that this price is only indicative and the farmer is free to get the best price for his or her crop.

Mr Speaker, the farmer is priority. Therefore, it is very important that he is adequately rewarded for growing the crop and this benefit of crop production should ultimately be enjoyed by all Zambians. It should also be mentioned here that the private sector and millers should also go in the field to buy maize grain for their operations and not wait to purchase from the FRA, as it will be restricted to purchase only the strategic stock mentioned earlier.

Mr Speaker, with these very positive measures by the Government and concerted effort from our farmers and all Zambians, I am confident that for this year’s 2014/2015 Agriculture, Marketing and Farming Season, we can, as a country, achieve a super bumper harvest of not less than four million metric tonnes of maize.

Mr Speaker, you will agree with me that the message from the demand from the region, the world and everywhere, is abundantly clear, that we need more food production, maize grain, livestock and fisheries. If others can ‘did’ it, why can we not ‘did’ it?


Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, this is slang for saying that we can do it.

 Sir, as I conclude my ministerial statement, allow me to update the House on the status of exports of maize and maize products. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock issues permits for import and export of agricultural commodities, including maize and maize products. You will recall that almost two months ago, I signed a Statutory Instrument (SI), on behalf of the Government, to lift the ban on the export of maize. There is no intention to ban the export of maize again. As a Government, we shall endeavour to be consistent on this policy of open borders for grain exports to enable our farmers and stakeholders to focus and plan ahead.

Mr Speaker, since January, 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has issued export permits for the following cumulative quantities of maize and maize products:

 Product Cumulative Quantities
   (metric tonnes)

 Maize Grain 43,000

 Brewer Grit 1,260

 Maize Bran 17,310

 Maize Seed 2,340

 Mealie-meal 59,910

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, we have heard that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock wants to diversify the crop under the FISP to include other crops in addition to maize and that the maximum number of farmers to be supported will be one million. This translates into a maximum of 500,000 hectares of maize. The hon. Minister has included rice and other crops with no mention of the extent to which their farming will be supported. Therefore, I would like to know how the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock wants to proceed in the next season. Are we continuing as maize crop farmers or will other crops be included and, if so, to what extent will they be supported?

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, the Government’s policy is to diversify crop production from maize to other crops. However, having said that, it is fair to say that, as a country, we cannot run away from the issue of maize. Historically, culturally and socially, maize is our main crop.  Even when you look around us, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and as far as Kenya, there is a very high demand for maize as it is the main grain crop. Therefore, as a Government, we cannot ignore the issue of maize and will make every effort to ensure that the production is sustainable and that there is enough surplus for export.

 However, Sir, I mentioned that the FISP will include rice seed, sorghum and groundnuts. We are also promoting other crops like coffee, cotton and tobacco. Even as regards marketing, the Government is actually promoting and creating an enabling environment so that even other crops do well as per its policy.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, Jesus wept.


Hon. Opposition Member: Parliament weeps. We are weeping.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, K70 is a very low floor price.

Hon. Opposition Member: Farmers have wept.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, since farming is a business, does the Government have plans to …

Dr Kaingu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I would like to refer to the magnanimous ruling or rulings that you have been making and seek your clarification. Yesterday, you were crystal clear when you ruled on Mr Hakainde Hichilema (HH). You told this House that you and the House have the capacity to punish and, in fact, can send somebody to prison for, at least, two years.

Sir, you received communication from the advocates of The Post Newspaper who seem to be challenging that position. I did not hear you clearly and, therefore, would like to hear from you because that ruling on The Post Newspaper advocates was not very clear. I could not reconcile the ruling that you passed on HH and the one you passed on The Post Newspaper advocates. I seek your indulgence as it is not clear because they are saying that you, Mr Speaker, are not able to punish your House and that you cannot send anybody to prison. That is what I thought I heard. I did not hear clearly what you said.

Mr Speaker: My ruling …

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I need to make a small addition. I also want to seek your indulgence …

Mr Speaker: You have only raised one point of order.

Dr Kaingu: … on whether we should now add the term ‘monkeying around’ to our vocabulary.


Mr Speaker: Order!

My short ruling is that clearly, you did not understand the rulings. That is my ruling.


Mr Speaker: Order!

If you did, you would not have raised that point of order. I would urge all those who did not understand the rulings or who need services of lawyers to understand those rulings to seek copies from the Clerk of the National Assembly of Zambia. They will be supplied freely so that you can go back, reflect, read and consult your lawyers so that you have a proper understanding of what I have said. I must also state that these rulings are not subject to review. They are final. If you are harbouring some grievances over these rulings, again, you must consult the Standing Orders. Your constitution will direct you on what steps you should take. My rulings are not open to review or discussion. If you are not clear, please, the Clerk of the National Assembly will circulate the very long rulings, some of which are complex.

Again, I can see clearly that you are imputing sentencing powers which I did not even state that I possessed. However, you were seeking confirmation and, as you have rightly said yourself, you did not understand the ruling.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, just as I said earlier, Jesus wept and farmers are weeping …

Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order!

A point of order is raised.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I have in my hands the Standing Orders. Arising from the point of guidance raised by Hon. Dr Kaingu, allow me to just read very quickly Standing Order No. 61 which addresses challenging the decision of the Chair, an intention that I wish to execute regarding your decision surrounding Mr Hakainde Hichilema, on one hand, and your decision surrounding Mr Kennedy Kamba, on the other hand, who are both politicians:

“ 61(1) Subject to Standing Order sixty-two, any Member who wishes to challenge the decision of the Chair shall do so by moving a substantive Motion.

“(2)The substantive Motion referred to in this paragraph (1) may not be debated in the House unless the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services has so resolved that it be tabled before the House.”

Mr Speaker, my point of guidance is: At what stage and what processes are involved in getting the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services to determine whether this intention to challenge the decision of the Chair by moving a substantive Motion, which I intend to move, would be executed?

Mr Speaker: Order!

Well, I really do not understand the point of order and the reason is because you have read the procedure. If I may summarise the effect of the procedure, I would say that, firstly, it involves a Motion and secondly, reference to the Privileges, Absences and Support Services Committee.  Therefore, what is your point of order? I am giving you the liberty to explain.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I really need to be helped and this is the reason I stood and quoted the Standing Orders. Standing Order 61(1) is very clear as it says that a Motion may be moved to challenge the decision of the Chair, but at (2), it says:

 “(2)The substantive Motion referred to in paragraph (1) may not be debated in the House unless the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services has so resolved that it be tabled.”

Mr Speaker, my issue is that you, sitting in the Chair, are the one who invokes the assignment to the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services. My point of guidance, so that I do the right thing in challenging your decision is: At what stage shall the process invoke itself to determine whether the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services is going to decide to bring this Motion before the whole House? That is where I need some help.

Mr Speaker: Order!

 My short ruling is that in the structure of the establishment, I am assisted by the Clerk of the National Assembly, who for incidents and purposes, and I am using this as a term of art, not in the literal sense, is the master of the procedure. If you are not clear on what to do or how to go about some business of the House, and not just this point of order, but any other business where you are at sea, please, consult the Clerk of the National Assembly of Zambia.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, Jesus wept, farmers are weeping and hon. Members of Parliament have joined farmers in weeping as well.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I am an hon. Member of Parliament for a village. I come from the village and I am a village headman. I stay with the farmers and with the new policies of the Patriotic Front in power, the farmers are crying. May I find out from the hon. Minister how he is going to assist the farmers whose poverty levels are increasing each year? The hon. Minister has talked about encouraging farmers to begin growing other commercial crops such as cotton, tobacco and maize. However, does he intend to announce the floor price of these crops since it is supposed to be announced before the crops are grown so that a farmer can choose to grow a crop which is beneficial or profitable to his farming activities?

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, I do not know who made the hon. Member of Parliament for Chadiza the spokesperson for hon. Members of Parliament who are weeping.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, in answering the first part of the question about K70 for a bag of maize being too low, a lot of calculations went into account to come up with that amount. I can confirm to you and the House that at that price, a good majority of farmers will make money. In fact, I have been on the ground, moving in many areas and can attest to that fact. In areas like Choma and Kalomo, farmers are selling their maize between K55 and K60 or K65 per bag and they are making money and are happy.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, at K70 per bag of maize, they will make even more money. However, I made it very clear that K70 is an indicative price, and that is the price the FRA will use to buy maize on the market. The farmer is free to sell his produce at what he deems the best price. The borders are open now and people are free to maximise profits through whatever means they can, whether it is the local price or the export price. However, at K70 for a bag of maize, the farmers will be able to make money. In future, they will even be able to sell their maize at a higher price than they currently are.

Sir, in terms of the measures that we are putting in place to announce prices, I have just announced the floor price. For other products like tobacco and cotton, the prices are known. Currently, the price of cotton is at K2.60 per kg and for tobacco, there is a price metrics which was made known to all the farmers even before I opened the sales flow in Chipata in April, 2014.

Therefore, Mr Speaker, I stand to confirm that the prices are known and the farmers can actually decide on which crop they feel can give them the best returns on their investment.

Sir, as a Government, we are promoting agriculture as a business. We need to see how farmers can make money.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, first of all, I want to commend the hon. Minister and Government for the progressive pronouncements that have been made in today’s statement.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Sir, I would like the hon. Minister to clarify who the actual beneficiaries of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) are, as it relates to the civil servants. I would like him to clarify whether civil servants in the districts are also eligible to receive this fertiliser that the Government is distributing.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Chongwe for that very important question.

Sir, it has been on record in the previous years that this programme by the Government has been abused. We have found the FISP fertiliser getting into the wrong hands. The people who are not supposed to receive this fertiliser are the ones who get it. This fertiliser is meant for the poor peasant farmer who will be identified on the ground and not for civil servants or other undeserving people.

Mr Speaker, I announced that all beneficiary lists were suspended this year and new ones have been put in place. We have put in measures to ensure that the right people and beneficiaries get that fertiliser. We will be monitoring, even after the distribution starts, to see how effectively this will be done. If we find the wrong people, as usual, getting the fertiliser, action will be taken. However, this year, we are ensuring that the correct beneficiaries get the fertiliser.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, having launched the programme to distribute fertiliser, for example, D-Compound, to rural areas like Kaputa, at what point will the Government review the programme to make sure that fertiliser reaches the farmers? Last year, in Kaputa, fertiliser in the districts was received in June/July, but the farmers started receiving it in December. Therefore, how will the hon. Minister know that the fertiliser has been received by the farmers and is not in the warehouses in the districts?

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, I can confirm that the ministry will be physically on the ground to monitor the distribution of fertiliser. This will start in July, 2014. At the beginning of July, 2014, hon. Deputy Ministers, Directors and I will be going around to conduct on-the-spot checks to ascertain what is happening in terms of distribution. Wherever there are bottlenecks, they will be dealt with on the spot to ensure that we meet our target of farmers having their inputs ready for planting by 31st August and early September, this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, there have been a lot of lamentations about the lack of value addition to our products. The export of maize was banned but, now, it has been lifted without taking into account the issues of adding value to our products. In a business as usual manner, we just want to export the maize in raw form. Do you not think that we are not progressing?

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, this debate on value-addition of maize is very interesting, but I wish to say that it is very important to understand the value-chain for maize, mealie-meal and other products.

Sir, in the value-chain, we have different players. We have the farmer, who produces the maize, the miller, who adds value to the maize and the retailer, who is trying to sell the maize and in there, there are middlemen, grain traders, and so on and so forth. Each of these players in the value-chain has different interests. It is not correct to say that the millers, who add value, are the farmers.

Mr Speaker, if you are talking as a miller, that argument by the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena is sustainable. However, if you are talking as a farmer and you want to satisfy your interests, that debate will not be acceptable because the farmer will argue that he wants the best prices for his produce, and he does not want any hindrance from another group which does not even grow the crop.

Therefore, Sir, in order to level the playing field, let each interest group interact to create a very progressive market because the farmers want the best price for their product and there is a market in Zambia for mealie-meal. So, we can add value to the maize by producing mealie-meal, and it is not every country outside our borders that has milling plants. I announced here the figures of mealie-meal that are being exported. So, even the value adding, in terms of mealie-meal, maize bran and maize grits, we are doing is still finding itself outside.

So, Mr Speaker, I think to level the playing field for all the stakeholders and all the interest groups in the value-chain, it is important that we open up the market and let the various stakeholders interact.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutati (Lunte): Mr Speaker, in the statement that the hon. Minister made, he indicated that he was carrying out some reforms in terms of zoning the satellites and also engaging multiple banks to ease payments. One of the major challenges is the suffering that the farmers go through as a result of delayed payments. The hon. Minister has not indicated what measures the Government is going to put in place to ensure that the suffering of the farmers occasioned by delayed payments is minimised. Can the hon. Minister also indicate to this House whether the budget provision in this year’s Budget is adequate to finance the purchase of the maize by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, from the outset, allow me to say, yes, the budgetary allocation for the purchase of maize is adequate for us to put in place our strategic maize stock. In my statement, I said that learning from the few lapses in the past, this year, we will do things differently by ensuring that the farmers are paid on time. Those measures that I announced are in direct response to the challenges that are being highlighted by the hon. Member of Parliament for Lunte. In conclusion, the ministry has had meetings with the FRA and it is committed to pay the farmers within two weeks of delivery of the maize.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, last year, the Government of the Republic of Zambia defrauded farmers and it was monkeying around with the lives of our people.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: I want to find out whether the Government is not going to continue monkeying around with the lives of our people this year.


Mr Speaker: Let me make this point clear. I know the prompting and I think we should distinguish communications that are made on the Floor of the House from those that are made outside the House. There is a world of difference. I will not provide a discourse on that, but I retain, and I emphasise, the privilege to decree …

Hon. Opposition Members: Decree?

Mr Speaker: Yes, to decree …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: You may wish to consult a dictionary … to decree, indeed, what language to be used and what not to be used and I am declaring that term, hon. Member for Monze Central, ‘monkeying around’ unparliamentary.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central did not specify in which areas …


Mr Simuusa: … the Government mistreated farmers. However, I did say that from this year, we will make progress as a result of the good policies that are being put in place by the PF Government and the numbers are speaking. We shall continue to improve for the betterment of our nation.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, lately, we have heard of this so-called bumper harvest. I know that you started …

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. As the hon. Minister has clearly stated that the farmers will be paid within two weeks upon the delivery of maize, is he in order to make the same assurance which was made last year of paying farmers early without confirming whether the hon. Minister of Finance will honour the obligation to give the Food Reserve Agency money so that the assurance made in the House is honoured? Is he in order not to give us that assurance from the hon. Minister of Finance? 
Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, please, clarify that position as you respond.

You may continue, hon. Member for Siavonga.

Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, before we started hearing about the so-called bumper harvest, the Patriotic Front Government treated us to a song of a number of jobs that it had created without substantiating the figures and we are now told that there is a looming bumper harvest. However, this pronouncement came even before the Central Statistical Office (CSO) had completed its Crop Forecasting Survey. What is the source of the figures of the PF Government’s so-called bumper harvest and what will happen if the results from the CSO are at variance with what it has been preached to the nation? 
Mr Speaker: Also, bear in mind the point by hon. Member for Kalomo Central as you respond, hon. Minister.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, let me start with the point raised by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalomo Central. The Government is one entity and it works as such in terms of the pronouncements in agriculture and the funding. I would like to acknowledge the noble efforts of the hon. Minister of Finance through the support he gives us. Those of you who have been following the allocations and release of funds to ministries will see that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has been receiving the most support. I would like to commend the Ministry of Finance for that and that two weeks agreement is in reference to that.

Sir, we are working as a team to ensure that early payment to farmers happens because, as a Government, we have agreed to prioritise agriculture and make it the sector that will help us push this nation forward.

Mr Speaker, with reference to the bumper harvest, it is not the “so-called bumper harvest,” but an actual bumper harvest of 3.3 million that has been projected. For the information of the hon. Member of Parliament for Siavonga, the CSO was involved in arriving at the figure and representatives from there were in my office when I announced it. The CSO came up with that figure in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. I am not sure what the hon. Member means or which CSO he is talking about when he says that the CSO has not completed its Crop Forecasting Survey.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, in the hon. Ministers statement …

Mr Hamudulu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Let me provide some guidance. I have a long list on this subject. Do not use this point of order to have a second bite at the cherry. There are a lot of people who want to intervene and we are almost getting to the suspension of business, and yet we have to deal with many other items on the Order Paper. If you have already intervened then, please, be fair to your colleagues.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, I was saying that the hon. Minister indicated in his statement that …

Mr Hamudulu rose on a point or order.

Mr Speaker: I will not allow your point of order.

Mr Mucheleka: … he is increasing the number of beneficiaries from 900,000 to 1 million. To what extent are we going to review the Farmer Input Support Programme to a point where we begin to have an exit strategy by way of not targeting the same farmers year in and year out? The number seems to be increasing instead of reducing. What mechanisms are being put in place to ensure that we have an exit strategy at some point?

Sir, in relation to that is the question of synergy between those that transport fertiliser and the Food Reserve Agency as regards when it transports maize. We often see trucks transporting fertiliser and coming back empty. Are you able to create the necessary linkages to ensure that you cut down on the high cost of the transportation of inputs as well as maize by the FRA?

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, I mentioned that the existing list of beneficiaries was suspended and we are identifying new ones. It is a built-in feature in the FISP that beneficiaries be weaned off from the programme and progress by reaching out to others who have not benefited be made. That is the policy and I can admit that there are challenges in administering it in some areas because when someone is used to receiving fertiliser, which is almost free, weaning them off takes some form of management. The main point is that we, as a Government, have recognised that 93 per cent of the bumper harvest we are forecasting is from our small-scale to medium-scale farmers, as they are the ones producing the bulk of our maize. The Government needs increased production.

So, if we increase the number of farmers that are benefiting, that will result in increased production. As a Government, we are putting our money where our mouth is and we would want to make sure that we have more production. Actually, this year, we are targeting a million farmers.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwila (Chipili): Mr Speaker, I still want to go back to the issue of bumper harvest. Yesterday, there is one hon. Member of Parliament from the Opposition who said that having a bumper harvest was a failure. Can the hon. Minister explain to the Zambian people what it means to have a bumper harvest.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, that was in reference to the response made by my hon. Deputy Minister yesterday. I think it was the question of the use of the English Language. 3.3 million metric tonnes bumper harvest is not failure. It is actually a super achievement in the sense that, as a country, we have never achieved that. The last was 2.5 million metric tonnes and if we achieve 3.3 million metric tonnes, it means that we are making progress. I have already said that we are targeting 4 million metric tonnes in this coming season. I am not ashamed to make that pronouncement. That is evidence of the policies, co-operation and tireless efforts our farmers and Zambians at large are putting in place to identify agriculture as a viable sector that will push the development agenda of this country forward.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Mwamba (Lukashya): Mr Speaker, the issue of satellite depots is a headache experienced by all the hon. Members of Parliament from the rural areas.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Mwamba: Mr Speaker, I want to agree that we have a bumper harvest. The hon. Members of Parliament who are from the rural areas do not need a crop forecast survey to verify that there is a bumper harvest. We went round and we saw it.


Mrs Mwamba: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that to have a satellite depot, a cluster of farmers needs to have about 5,000 metric tonnes of maize in an area. How does the Government hope to protect the small-scale farmers who do not meet that target because the grain dealers buy their maize at a cheaper price?

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, to start with, I would like to make a slight correction. It is 5,000 bags and not 5,000 metric tonnes. Each satellite depot is required to stock 5,000 bags of maize and any surplus. All it will mean is that in any area that we have zoned, we will have several satellite depots. The only difference is that if we close one, which is not performing, it means that the farmer will just have to travel a slightly longer distance to the next satellite depot. The fact is that we are going to have several satellite depots in the zoned area. There is no point at which the farmer will not have any place to deliver his maize. The Government is looking into that and it will be monitored continuously.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, I would also want the hon. Member to clarify the fact that we will use the same satellite depots that we used last year. In a number of instances, there have been situations where farmers have reached a satellite depot only to be told by the satellite depot clerk that the depot had already bought the target given by the FRA. These farmers are told to sell their maize elsewhere. May I be comforted by the hon. Minister that farmers will not be turned away on account of depots having purchased a particular target as set by the FRA?

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, let me emphasise, again, that the same satellite depots that were used last year will be used this year. However, they will be monitored to see if they are performing so that we proceed.

Mr Speaker, last year, the FRA was given the same target of 5,000 bags, but failed to meet it because the private sector and other players had mopped up all the maize on the market. Instead of 500,000 metric tonnes, it only managed 426,000 metric tonnes of maize. As the FRA goes in the field this year, we are cognisant of the fact it may face the situation it faced last year where the private sector would have bought all the maize. We will cross that bridge when we get to it. However, we are putting measures in place.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, in his ministerial statement, the hon. Minister actually gave an assurance on the quantities of fertiliser that the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia would produce. Last year, similar assurances were made and actions were taken to even exclude the private sector in the supply of fertiliser in relation to the Farmer Input Support Programme. However, when it came to implementation, the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia failed to produce the required quantities of fertiliser. As a result, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock had to revert to the private sector to supply fertiliser, which it did, but then the ministry failed to pay on time. This led to a chaotic and disastrous supply of fertiliser to the farmers. Why should we take this assurance seriously this time around? The hon. Minister is not even ashamed to make the assurance on the Floor of this House given that the Patriotic front Government is highly unreliable as per the example I have given. I need a very serious answer because this is a serious matter.


Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, the very serious answer I can give is that numbers tell a story. As a point of correction, last year, the NCZ actually managed to produce all the D-Compound.


Mr Simuusa: Yes, do not confuse D-Compound with urea, which is the top dressing. The problem was with the production of urea, hence it is coming from abroad. As you can remember, the problem arose because of the involvement of the private sector. That issue was even in court.

Mr Speaker, this year, things will be done differently. As I am talking, the NCZ is almost half way into the production of the fertiliser. I said that the NCZ would produce 106,000 metric tonnes of D-Compound and, at the moment, it is probably at 35,000 metric tonnes of production. By the end of June, it will be approaching 50,000 metric tonnes, which is already half way of the targeted quantity of fertiliser expected. We still have two to three months to go and there is no doubt that the NCZ will meet its target.

Mr Speaker, we are involving the private sector in the bringing in of urea from abroad. In order to avoid the fiasco we had last year, the Government will supply only half of the required quantity while the private sector will supply the other half. Currently, urea is already being distributed. This year, all the problems that the hon. Member of Parliament has talked about will not be experienced. After all, we learn lessons from mistakes and thereafter, improve and move forward.

I thank you, Sir.

Rev. Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, there are people in my constituency who dealt with the Food Reserve Agency, but have not been paid their money to date. The hon. Minister assured us that these people would be paid within fourteen days, and yet that was not the case. Can the hon. Minister clarify this because the promises of the Government are inaccurate.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, first of all, funds are there. I am at pains to understand who the hon. Member is talking about because to my knowledge, all the farmers have been paid. At the moment, we are putting funds together to pay farmers for this year. I am aware that there are cases where payments have been challenged because of fraudulent activities. Some people have not been accurate and there are cases where people have been double supplying. Those people who were engaged in those cases, obviously, will not be paid until all the issues surrounding them are investigated. I suspect that those are the cases that the hon. Member of Parliament is talking about. However, for all the genuine deliveries, I can confirm that those have been paid and we are now gearing to pay the farmers who will bring their maize forth.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, I was beginning to think that you were not noticing me.

Mr Speaker: No, hon. Member for Mafinga. I have noticed you. I have a long list and I will not be able to complete it. So, you are even lucky that I have been able to come back to you.


Mr Speaker: Others will not ask questions on this subject because we are closing it at 1045 hours.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I am worried that the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock has not learnt when he has been part of this House for the last three years that his predecessors have made pronouncements on the Floor of this House that they have failed to fulfil.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes.

Ms Namugala: Sir, this has largely been because the ministerial plans and budgetary allocations do not support those pronouncements. For instance, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether he thinks the budgetary allocation of K500 million is sufficient to purchase 500,000 metric tonnes at K70 per bag. It is insufficient. Already, we can see that the hon. Minister’s pronouncements are not reconciling with what is tangibly on the ground.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Also, Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether the hon. Minister thinks that he has got enough storage capacity in the outlaying areas to store this maize that he intends to buy through the Food Reserve Agency.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, as regards pronouncements and speaking for myself as the current Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, I think it is a sign of confidence when certain pronouncements are made. If I am not confident about certain issues, I will not make pronouncements. Therefore, I wish to say that for me to make those pronouncements, I am confident that we can achieve them.

Mr Speaker, the K500 million, as was said by the hon. Member for Mafinga, is for the FISP. There is a separate budget for the maize marketing and the purchasing and I will come with that figure shortly. This time around, the Government will endeavour to fulfill all the promises and pronouncements that have been made.

In terms of storage, Mr Speaker, we currently have capacity to store the anticipated quantities of maize. We have what is known as secure storage where we have roofs and a slab of 745,000 metric tonnes. We are upgrading slabs that are known as unsecure storage with a capacity of 119,000 metric tonnes of storage …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1045 hours to 1100 hours.


Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was answering a question with regard the storage capacity of maize that we have, as a country, at the moment. In terms of secure storage for our maize, we have a capacity of 745,000 metric tonnes and we are in the process of upgrading slabs to the capacity of 119,000 metric tonnes. Therefore, when combined, we are talking of close to 900,000 metric tonnes worth of secure storage. In addition to that, we have 500,000 metric tonnes of unsecure storage. Given these numbers, we even have more storage for our strategic stock than we need.

However, Mr Speaker, the challenge, at the moment, is to make sure that the storage is adequate in all areas to avoid transporting maize for long distances. What is currently obtaining is that there may be more storage in one area compared to other areas and we are forced to move our maize around.

Before I conclude, Mr Speaker, just to make the record clear, the K500 million is for the FISP. KI,013,530,695 has been allocated towards maize marketing and purchasing.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, the Zambian Embassy in Ghana is spending US$24,000 every month on two properties and it is paying two years in advance, which comes close to half a million dollars. Is His Honour the Vice-President aware of this wastage, and if he is, what is the Government doing about procuring property using this money being spent on rentals. If he is not aware, when will he come back to this House to tell us how he will handle this wastefulness?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, that was a very intelligent question and I agree with the contributor. I was not aware, but now I am. If the information is accurate, I will attempt to come back within two weeks to clarify this issue.

I know that there are old cases in foreign capitals where we have problems with both office buildings and accommodation that we own. Consequently, there are temporary rentals going on. However, I will look into it and come back with an answer.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I am asking His Honour the Vice-President for help. There is a disaster in an area called Kasisi in my constituency. The area has a dam called the Kasisi Dam and four days ago, one of the residents who went fishing on it on his canoe drowned. His canoe was seen floating away without him on board by someone who had seen him go to the dam.

For the last four days, …

The Deputy Chairperson: Get to the question.

Mrs Masebo: … the police have been going to the site in an effort to retrieve the body, but to no avail. 

Could His Honour the Vice-President, under the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), please, come in and help to retrieve the body?

Ms Lubezhi: Aah!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, that is an intelligently posed question.


The Vice-President: Of course, we have already instructed the DMMU to obtain police divers from Kafue to Kasisi and they will move in by late this afternoon. The hon. Member is merely asking the question for the record so that we know what is actually happening. 

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the Government of the Republic of Zambia appointed a technical committee to come up with a new Constitution. At the time the members of this particular committee were being appointed, the Government informed the nation that the members were of high calibre, integrity and professional qualifications.

Recently, His Honour the Vice-President has been casting aspersions on the integrity of the members of this technical committee. I would like to find out from him the position of the Government pertaining to the integrity and professionalism of this particular committee.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, we have no problems with the integrity and competence of the committee. It is simply that when the Opposition takes the position that this technical committee is somehow superior to the Government and to all the people of Zambia and that we must, therefore, treat this Draft Constitution as something like King Arthur’s Sword that could only be removed from the throne by the right person or like God handing down the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, we will not give in.

It is with this sort of attitude that we will not surrender, so to speak, or give up our own powers as the elected Government and accept whatever we happen to find in the Draft Constitution.  I was correcting this impression because these are also humans and only consultants to the Government. They are not something special that we should be obliged to adopt the same constitution that they find suitable. That is a clarification. I am sure that the hon. Member really knows what I said.

I thank you, Sir.

Rev. Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, the road from the Landless Corner to 65 km of Mumbwa Road is being worked on and the quality of the work is poor. How long will it take to complete the works on this road? Can His Honour the Vice-President comment.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I am informed that we are on site. However, I will look into it as well and come back with a more complete explanation of what is happening. I know that this has been a long-standing issue and I think that, perhaps, it is time we sorted it out in this House.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Matafwali (Bangweulu): Mr Speaker, a number of eminent persons in our society, including our own Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, have expressed some negative sentiments about our continued use of some of our national symbols like the Coat of Arms, the wigs worn by the Judges and some by people in this particular Chamber. 


Mr Matafwali: Sir, as we look forward to celebrating the Golden Jubilee on 24th October, 2014, are there any intentions by the Government to launch new national symbols?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, that is a very good question.

One of the matters that has been raised …

Mr Kabimba, SC. handed His Honour the Vice-President a piece of paper.


Hon. Opposition Members: Leakage!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, of course, it is leakage. He is from my side.


The Vice-President: You cannot expect me to pass up the opportunity of ensuring a bit of leakage.

Mr Speaker, the National Flag and Armorial Ensigns Act which governs the emblem with the man still wearing Kabudulas and the woman on the opposite side of the Victoria Falls is obviously out of date and inappropriate. The National Arts Council is working on some alternative update of the designs and we will have to bring in an amendment to the National Flag and Armorial Ensigns Act in order to turn it into law. I hope that it can be done by 24th October, 2014. 

As for wigs, I do not wear a wig.


The Vice-President: So, I cannot really pass an opinion on that. The people whom we got the wigs from, the British, have long since given up using them. There is no Speaker or judge with a wig. Wigs have gone past their sale by date. I think that I would leave that to other Zambians to decide whether we should go forward into the 21st Century with wigs.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. {mospagebreak}

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, this Government cancelled a contract to do with digital migration with a company called Star Times of China, citing irregularities. However, it went ahead to award the same company this particular contract. Is this confirmation by your Government, His Honour the Vice-President, that it actually erred when it cancelled this contract initially?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, that is asking through a degree of detail which I, obviously, do not have at hand, but can easily get and bring to this House. Apparently, the contract was re-done and the whole thing re-construed. They had some tactical expertise which other companies could not provide. However, I will look into it and let the honourable Lady know what the full answer to that question is.

I thank you.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, one of the functions under His Honour the Vice-President’s Office is disaster management and mitigation. For three years now, blown away bridges and school roofs and impassable roads in Ikeleng’i have not been worked on. Letters have been written and appointments made with officers in His Honour the Vice-President’s Office, but nothing has been done.

Are you telling us that the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit will remain inactive the whole five years that you will be in office? Is there a possibility that another ministry can attend to this function since your office seems to be too busy?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, as has become customary, the senior management of the DMMU is in my office at the moment. Therefore, when the question period is over, the hon. Member should find time to talk to him and ascertain what the exact problem is with Ikeleng’i.

Sir, there are fundamental questions about schools with blown-off roofs. I am not satisfied. I have never constructed a building whose roof has been blown-off, not even the roof of a simple farm building like a piggery has been blown-off. What is the problem with Zambian school buildings that we have this issue? We are looking into that. I appreciate that it is the DMMU’s responsibility to make sure that these emergencies are attended to. 

Sir, the question of bridges is one that is under study because a lot of people and local authorities would like the DMMU, together with the Zambia National Service (ZNS), who are the sub-contractors that the DMMU uses, to actually build the bridges because they do it more cheaply and more rapidly. The trouble is that there is a bit of a conflict between whether it is a disaster or emergency on the one hand or routine infrastructure maintenance on the other hand. This will be addressed. There are a number of issues, but I would advise the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i to get his answers directly from the horse’s mouth and the horse is currently staying in the office.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chishimba (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, although my initial question has already been asked by the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i, I will try to find another one to ask His Honour the Vice-President.

Mr Speaker, contractors who quoted works when the exchange rate of the United States dollar was below K520 are finding it difficult to carry out works properly now that it is at K630. I would like to find out what interventions the Government is putting in place to avoid shoddy works by these contractors and their totally abandoning the works that they have started.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the question that occurs to me is: What were the terms of the contract? Clearly, if on one hand the contract is denominated in dollar equivalent, then, the problem should not arise in terms of imports of input. However, if on the other hand, the contract was entered into while the Statutory Instrument (SI) 33 was still effective and had to be done in Kwacha strictly, one considers that there is a problem. However, I am sure that even without having to talk to the hon. Minister responsible, sanity will prevail in this transition period.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, recently one of the hon. Cabinet Ministers informed the nation that the Government had no money to fund the Constitution-making process and that those who were interested in having the Constitution could go ahead and find the money to fund the process. Is that the official position of the Government?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I do not recall who said that and the likely suspects are all looking as baffled as I am. My position is that if that was ever said, it was just politicking and it is not what we are here for.

 I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, I would like His Honour the Vice-President to bring closure to this matter.

Sir, I would like to know what the Government has done with the money that it received from the Malawians for the fuel that it supplied to them. If the Government has not received this money, when will it receive it so that the Zambian people can use it to build hospitals and schools for their children? Where is our money?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I would advise the questioner to re-direct that query as an urgent question, with your blessing, Mr Speaker, to the hon. Minister of Finance because it is quite specific. The hon. Member is talking about the actual quantities of money and accounts or states of escrow. I do not think you can expect His Honour the Vice-President of Zambia to know where the money for the sale of petrol, which was conducted two-and-a-half years ago, is.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwamba (Kasama Central): Mr Speaker, …

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

The Deputy Chairperson:  A point of order is raised.

Rev. Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, is His Honour the Vice-President in order to refuse to answer the question asked by hon. Member of Parliament for Mafinga, which is very clear? Is he in order to refer the question to another hon. Minister when he is the one standing on the Floor now?

The Deputy Chairperson:  Order!

The straightforward ruling is that His Honour the Vice-President should address that as he answers that question by the hon. Member for Kasama Central.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Quality!

Mr Mwamba: Mr Speaker, not too long ago, the then Minister of Local Government and Housing, Hon. Kabanshi, was in my constituency where I had pledged a K100,000 to my electorate for putting up a bus station which we have never had since Independence. I would like to know what the position is because the people of Kasama are yearning for an answer since the money which I had pledged was rejected by the then hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, for me to be straightforward about this issue, I should consult the then hon. Minister to ensure that the facts, as presented by my friend and colleague, the hon. Member for Kasama Central, are as he says they are. Otherwise, I will be acting on one version of the event. I am surprised that we would turn down such a generous offer. That is all I can say at this point.


The Vice-President: Sir, if the House and the hon. Member prefer my addressing the query instead of the hon. Minister himself, I will personally conduct the inquiry with the Ministry of Finance and come back to give the answer during the course of another session.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, in one of the responses given by the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock this morning, he referred to what happened in the importation of urea, to be specific, last year, as a ‘fiasco.’ According to my teacher of English, ‘fiasco’ means a complete failure. Another term which the hon. Minister used is ‘ludicrous’ which means ‘foolish and unreasonable.’


Mr Nkombo: Sir, since His Honour the Vice-President is the Leader of Government Business in this House and also the shepherd of his hon. Ministers who are bound by collective responsibility, could he confirm that, last year, indeed, there was a fiasco in one of his ministries. Going by the definitions that I have given here, that should, at least, relieve me of thinking that the PF is a semblance of a monkey show.

The Deputy Chairperson: You have asked your question. His Honour the Vice-President may respond.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I think that the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central should not give up his day job, as we say, of being a politician and Member of Parliament, which is promising, and take up complicated linguistics involving dictionaries. I think he should keep that as a hobby. When he comes to the House, he should actually ask political questions.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kunda (Muchinga): Mr Speaker, where I come from, we say “Uwangala ku nshima, fwebo tatumufwayapo.”

The Deputy Chairperson: Meaning?

Mr Kunda: Mr Speaker, this means that those who play with our staple food are not needed in our land. Could His Honour the Vice-President confirm that his Government has failed the people of Zambia as regards food security and that is why we are seeing high prices of mealie- meal.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I cannot confirm that. I do not believe there is a food security problem. I think we should, sometimes, be honest. If you want me to tell you how many times constituents in my constituency complain about the price of mealie-meal, the answer is virtually never.

Hon. UPND Member: They are well off.

The Vice-President: However, if you want me to tell you how often they ask about the cost of secondary education and even the hidden costs of primary education for their children, the answer is incessantly and constantly. Amongst the things that are failing consumers and families in this country, education is the number one, health is the number two and the K5 increment on the price of mealie-meal is, relatively speaking, neither here nor there.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mushanga (Bwacha): Mr Speaker, what measures is the Government putting in place …

Mr Shakafuswa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A Point of Order is raised.

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. I think the House is aware that Lusaka Central Parliamentary Constituency houses most of the elite Zambians, foreigners, diplomats, Managing Directors and business executives. Is His Honour the Vice-President in order to come to this House and insinuate that what is prevailing in his constituency where people are not feeling the effect of the high cost of the staple food, mealie-meal, is what is also prevailing around the country?

Sir, I need your serious ruling.

The Deputy Chairperson: A question was posed to His Honour the Vice-President and in his answer, he, by and large, dwelt on the experiences of his constituents. To that extent, he was right. However, that does not present a general view of the whole country.

You may continue, hon. Member for Bwacha.

Mr Mushanga: Mr Speaker, may His Honour the Vice-President indicate the measures that the Government has put in place to alleviate the suffering of the people of Mindolo, whose houses were demolished three weeks ago by the Kitwe City Council.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, through the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation, we are about to complete the electrification of a camp of 120 tents for those people who have no alternative to their accommodation in Mindolo. We are already signing up displaced people. Therefore, we are being as humane as is possible to be within the confines of the law. If I can just add something to that, my Government and I are dissatisfied by the habit that has grown amongst local councils of first of all allowing irregularities, corruption and planning deficiencies that lead to the occupying of large tracts of land and to tolerating this process for a matter of years.

Sir, the issue in Mindolo dates back five years ago. It is not just a recent problem and then to come in and start smashing houses and maximizing the number of people who are affected, I think, needs proper investigation and policies that quickly sort out the distortions that occur with these resettlements. We think that there are councillors and commercial interests involved, but we have to take control of this. The hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing needs to get a handle on this and I will certainly help him.

Sir, incidentally, I wish to convey my greetings to the new hon. Member of the elite of Bauleni, the elitists who are vendors on the streets of Lusaka and Katondo Street and all the other rich people who do not care about the price of mealie-meal.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, do you find it prudent that people who were living in their own houses can, today, be accommodated in tents, in a democracy like Zambia? Does the Patriotic Front Government not think that it owes the people of Mindolo an apology?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, there is a court order in force to assist the internally displaced people − refugees in their own country − and the DMMU is one of the organisations that has the responsibility for watching over internally displaced persons. We have done what is required by law or human decency. We have water and sewerage already flowing at the camp and I do not see what more we can do. As I said, we do need to sort out the source of these problems because it should not take up to five years of illegal settlement for the issuance of a court order to remove people from illegal settlements. That is causing too much pain and suffering.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front Government has employed people in Mitete and eight other newly-created districts. However, some of these employees have gone for some time without getting paid. Did the Government employ them to docnhi kubeba them or to pay them? Does the Government not think that it is de-campaigning itself by not paying the people that it employed in the Western Province and the eight other districts that it created?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I will look into that and the allegation tabled yesterday about non-payment in Luapula. I can even promise to persuade the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to give us a picture of payments in these new districts. However, please, give my regards to Mitete. It is a very beautiful place and I hope to spend some time there, shortly, not to decampaign myself, but decampaign the hon. Member of Parliament.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, Kaputa Road was cut-off, thus, some of your Committees fail to get there. Is there anything that can be done about this road before the next rainy season?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, there are some plans to improve that road before the onset of the rains. However, I think the House will have to await a statement from the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I did not want my friend to go without answering my question. Therefore, when is His Honour the Vice-President bringing the Freedom of Information Bill to this House?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, we are still working on it. It still has to go to the Cabinet sub-committee and, later, to Cabinet. Therefore, it is in the process of being worked on and things are happening.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, there is a lot of political violence in the country. What is His Honour the Vice-President’s Government doing about it?

The Vice-President’s Question Time expired.




Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the ministerial appointment of Mr Duncan Mbazima and Dr Faustina Chibobela Chela, who, I shall hereafter, refer to as ‘the nominees’, to serve as Directors of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Board.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion second?

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

Mr Pande: Sir, in accordance with its terms of reference, your Committee was mandated to scrutinise the appointment of the nominees as Directors of the ZNBC Board. In its pursuit to ascertain the nominee’s suitability, in terms of professional qualifications and persona, to serve on the ZNBC Board, your Committee interacted with several relevant stakeholders and the appointing authority, who tendered written and oral submissions to it on the suitability or otherwise of the nominees to serve on the ZNBC Board. Further, your Committee interviewed the nominees and carefully scrutinised their curricula vitae.

Sir, Section 4(2) of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act Cap. 154 of the Laws of Zambia provides for the appointment of nine members of the ZNBC Board by the hon. Minister, subject to ratification by the House. The House will recall that during the first meeting of this Session, seven members of the ZNBC Board were ratified. When your previous Committee scrutinised these members, it recommended that one of the two remaining vacancies on the board be filled by an engineer and the other by a person from a civil society organisation dealing with media issues. Your Committee further recommended that the hon. Minister promptly submits the two nominees to fill up the two vacancies to Parliament so that the full board could be put in place expeditiously.

Mr Speaker, hence, it is pleasing to note that the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting has now brought forward the names of the remaining two members of the board to this House for ratification.

Mr Speaker, as can be seen from the report of your Committee, all the stakeholders that appeared before your Committee overwhelmingly supported the appointment of Mr Duncan Mbazima. The stakeholders described him as the right person for the job, as he possessed the requisite and unquestionable academic qualifications for the position. Further, the stakeholders submitted that the nominee had vast knowledge on the operations of a public broadcasting institution not just in Zambia, but in the region, having sat on various regional boards.

Sir, with regard to Dr Faustina Chibobela Chela, some witnesses expressed their reservations over her appointment as she did not possess any knowledge or experience in the operations of the ZNBC. However, when your Committee interacted with the nominee and read the qualifications for appointment to the ZNBC Board prescribed under the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act, it became apparent that the nominee possessed wide knowledge of various issues and, thus, would bring to the ZNBC Board an additional wealth of knowledge.

Further, your Committee was of the view that the nominee’s rich medical background would enable her to encourage the board to start health reforms for both the members of staff as well as in its programming of broadcasts. Your Committee further observed that Dr Faustina Chibobela Chela had a brief stint in the civil society when she worked as a volunteer for the acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) relief.

Sir, in its deliberations, your Committee observed that there is a need to amend the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act to clearly specify the professional qualifications for appointment to the board, as is the case with other statutory bodies. Your Committee further observed that the current qualifications contained in Section 4(3) of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act do not prescribe professional capabilities, but rather the persona of the appointee. For example, Section 4(3) of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act requires one to be committed to the values of fairness, freedom of expression, openness and accountability. These qualifications create the danger of the hon. Minister appointing a board which may lack the proper acumen to run vibrantly owing to the generality of the provisions. Your Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that an amendment be expeditiously made to strengthen the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act in so far as the appointment of board members is concerned.

Mr Speaker, your Committee views the two nominees being proposed for ratification to sit on the ZNBC Board as highly educated persons with proven records of excellent performance in their respective fields. In this regard, your Committee is satisfied that the nominees being ratified today will, through its oversight role, assist the ZNBC to be responsive to the changing needs and interests of the public.

In short, Mr Speaker, it is your Committee’s concerted view that the two nominees will contribute to the proper assimilation of the objectives and strategy of the ZNBC, as a public broadcaster, monitor its performance and ensure legal and regulatory compliance in its operations.

Sir, with these words, your Committee urges the House to ratify the ministerial appointment of Mr Duncan Mbazima and Dr Faustina Chibobela Chela to serve as Directors of the ZNBC Board.

In conclusion, let me state that the hon. Members of your Committee are deeply indebted to you, Mr Speaker, for appointing them to your Committee, which was entrusted with an important national duty of scrutinising the suitability of the nominees to serve as board directors of our public service broadcaster. Your Committee is further indebted to the witnesses who appeared before it and tendered oral and written submissions on the nominees.

Sir, last but not least, my gratitude also goes to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services rendered to your Committee during its deliberations.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

The Deputy Chairperson: Does the seconder, wish to speak now or later?

Dr Lungu: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, I thank you for affording me the opportunity to second this important Motion of the House to adopt the Report of the Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the Ministerial appointment of Mr Duncan Mbazima and Dr Faustina Chibobela Chela to serve as Directors of the Zambia Naitonal Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Board.

Sir, allow me to begin by thanking the mover of the Motion and Chairperson of your Committee, Mr K. J. Pande, MP, for the able manner in which he presided over your Committee’s deliberations and the way he has highlighted the pertinent issues raised in its report.

Mr Speaker, in seconding your Committee’s report, I urge the Government to assist in transforming the ZNBC from just a public broadcaster to a public interest broadcaster with a national character. Your Committee, therefore, hopes that the appointment of the ZNBC Board of Directors from various and diverse interest groups will enhance the operations of the ZNBC and ultimately positively change its image.

Sir, I want to emphasise that the ZNBC is a State broadcaster which is meant to be a mouth-piece for all citizens. The challenge before the board, which is now at full capacity, is, therefore, to provide leadership and guidance to assist the corporation execute its mandate and promote accountability through its oversight role. The board should ensure that the ZNBC operates independently and is accountable to the people.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, let me also take this opportunity to thank the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the invaluable support they rendered to your Committee during its deliberations.

With these few remarks, Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion on the Floor of the House.

Thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, in contributing to your report that has been submitted by your Committee with regard to the proposed appointment of the two nominees to sit on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Board, there is still something to be said.

Sir, while I may agree and support the two nominees, there are a number of issues that have been raised with regards to the role of the Board of Directors on the ZNBC Board. I am aware that the role of the board is to provide policy direction and, to some extent, provide oversight on the affairs of the management of the ZNBC. What comes to mind immediately is how, in this era and age, the ZNBC appears to have failed to reform. A question, therefore, arises: What value has the Board of Directors added?

Mr Speaker, the ZNBC, as it is today, has remained fixated or can only fit in a one-party dispensation. We have moved away from that. We are a democracy. If you agree that we are in a democratic dispensation, this, therefore, calls for a serious shift of mindset by all those who are going to sit on the ZNBC Board. One tends to think that these appointments to the Board of Directors are based on purely political patronage.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mucheleka: I have a lot of respect for some individuals who sit on that board, but not all …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mucheleka: … because I know who they are and their political affiliations. They are simply party cadres who have been appointed to the board to project the views of one political party.

Sir, the ZNBC is funded by the taxpayer, including me and many other Zambians.

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Mr Mucheleka: One would be tempted to think that we only have one political party in this country. When we have the Patriotic Front (PF) in the Government, it does not necessarily mean that only its views must be aired on the ZNBC. Is it true that there are no issues that come from the Opposition? Very often, when Opposition hon. Members of Parliament are featured on the ZNBC, once in a while, they appear on a Sunday interview programme. When it comes to news, the Opposition is covered only when it is being painted in very bad light. This started with the previous hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting, who took a ZNBC crew to cover him as he hailed insults at me, in Lubanseshi Parliamentary Constituency.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Ng’onga: Is it personal?

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

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I do agree that the ZNBC is an interesting topic to debate. However, is the hon. Member, who has your Committee’s report with him, in order to digress from its content, which is very clear and has been ably moved by the Chairperson and seconded by the hon. Member for Chama South, by debating personal issues with regards to the ZNBC?

I seek your serious ruling, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: To the extent that he was almost debating himself, he was out of order.

May the hon. Member, continue.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, with your guidance, let me continue.

Sir, I am talking about the issues of oversight and the role that we expect the ZNBC to play in the current democratic dispensation. You cannot have a public broadcaster which has simply failed to reform. The reforms that we should be talking about are those which truly portray the ZNBC as a public broadcaster. You cannot have a public broadcaster that is so biased.

Mr Speaker, we are talking about access to alternative sources of information. While we agree that it is true that it is, in fact, the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) which is supposed to project the image or programmes of the Government, the ZNBC is supposed to be accessed and used by all Zambians irrespective of their political affiliation. When you are in this country, you tend to think that other political players do not exist. We want to have equal access to the ZNBC. There are times when hon. Members of Parliament from the Opposition are insulted. People have used the ZNBC to insult others while no opportunity has been given to members of the Opposition, including hon. Members of Parliament, to appear. Who says that we cannot speak? Who says that we cannot talk? Seriously speaking, the point I am making is that …


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Let us desist from making running commentaries, please.

The hon. Member may continue.

Mr Mucheleka: We must have a broadcaster, funded by taxpayers’ money that will sincerely fit into the system. The ZNBC has simply failed the Zambian people. It should not be a tool for propaganda. This is why in this era, Zambians have moved ahead. Zambians are very intelligent. With or without the ZNBC, people are still able to make their own decisions using other sources of information.

Mr Speaker, this is a Government which, while in the Opposition, promised that it would free the airwaves. It has not done that. This is another failed promise. It is another lie by the PF Government.


The Deputy Chairperson:  The term “lie” is unparliamentary. Please, withdraw it.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the word.

Sir, I was in Malawi and ran into some staff from the ZNBC who wanted to find out why I was the Deputy Head of the African Union Observer Mission and why I was with President Nujoma. They wanted to find out how I found myself in Malawi. I said …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

I have already guided that we desist from debating ourselves. With that advice, please, continue.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, that was just an example I was giving to show how someone wanted to interview me on issues happening in Malawi when they cannot interview me on issues happening in Zambia, including in my own constituency where other people such as hon. Ministers have taken turns using the ZNBC to insult the people of Lubansenshi.


Mr Mucheleka: These people, the PF, Sir, have taken turns to do that.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Please, address them through the Chair.

You may continue.

Mr Mucheleka: Sir, I am saying that if we have to move our democracy forward, there is a very important role that access to information plays and this is where the ZNBC fits into the picture. Unfortunately, it has failed lamentably. I have a lot of respect for the men and women at the ZNBC who are working very hard under very difficult conditions and have confessed that what these people are doing is worse than what we saw under the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD).

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Mucheleka: Where are we? This is where we have a problem. The only comfort is that some of us have a lot of confidence in the Zambian people. In the same way that the ZNBC propaganda did not work for the MMD, it will not work for you and you will fail lamentably. We do not even need it. You can keep your ZNBC. There are other channels that we use to communicate to our people.

Mr Muntanga: Yes!

Mr Mucheleka: You may use the ZNBC to insult the people of Lubansenshi, but the minute you leave, I get there and move from door-to-door explaining to them how terrible you are and how you have failed the Zambian people.

Sir, the PF Government promised to bring the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill to the Floor of this House. How long should it take to bring a Bill before the House? It is almost three years in power. When is it going to bring that piece of legislation for enactment? Zambians are now able to judge performance. It was easier when the PF was in the Opposition. Now, we will see what lies it is going to tell in 2016.

The Deputy Chairperson: May you, again, withdraw the expression ‘lies? The word ‘lie’ is unparliamentary.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the word ‘lie’.

Sir, with those remarks, I reluctantly support the appointment of these two nominees and hope that the one of them who once held the position of Director-General has gone through some kind of transformation and can add a bit of value to the ZNBC Board. Having been there before and acquired experience, I hope he can add value.

Mr Speaker, I want to make a passionate appeal on behalf of the people of Lubansenshi and the Zambian people at large that can we do the right thing. We are all Zambians and deserve to be heard and seen. The ZNBC is not funded by the PF. It is funded by taxpayers’ money. You like to mislead people by saying that it is owned by the Government. Who is the Government? The Government is all of us. Some people have gone to Lubansenshi …

The Deputy Chairperson: I thought that point had been repeated over and over again. If you have no new point, perhaps, it would be appropriate for you to end there.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I stand to support your Committee’s report.

Mr Speaker, the issue of the Board of Directors of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) has been a thorny one. Years back, I remember that there was an hon. Minister of Information in the MMD Government who actually, more or less, dissolved the board even before it started working. I remember very well that directions to the ZNBC were coming from the hon. Minister. Since the coming of the Patriotic Front (PF) into power, it tried to do something about the board, but it keeps on changing members. The PF wants to change board members faster than clothes are changed in the same way it changes hon. Ministers. I hope that the appointment of the last two members to the board will ensure its effectiveness.

Mr Speaker, if we do not have a board and allow the ZNBC to be run by hon. Ministers, they will politicise it in favour of their parties. That is what it is. It was worse during the time of one of the nominees. He was simply politicking at the ZNBC. However, I want to imagine that the public broadcaster should be run as a proper business. It can compete with private broadcasters if we do not interfere in its operations.

Mr Speaker, I was listening to the out-going Director-General of the ZNBC, who has been offered a job elsewhere. He said that it was frustrating to make a decision because of the amount of red tape involved. We have made this public broadcaster a department of the Government where it takes long to arrive at decisions. How can it compete with Muvi TV or the vibrant Zambian Watchdog?


Mr Muntanga: Sir, the ZNBC must make proper decisions, as a public broadcaster. I am not arguing with the fact that a national broadcaster should relay certain information on behalf of a sitting Government as the same is done in America. However, allow the national broadcaster to air other views of whatever the Government is doing.

Mr Speaker, I want to appeal to the new board to ensure that proper standards are set. When you are going to talk about my president, Mr Hakainde, please, go to him for his view on the PF. If you are there to rule, you should be prepared to be criticised since you have put yourself as a public figure.

Sir, I am seeing this trend of people insulating themselves through the public media everywhere and the situation is slowly becoming like that of a one-party state. Why should we insult each other? When the Secretary-General of the Ruling Party goes somewhere, the whole team of camera persons follows him at the expense of covering other important development projects. They can only cover Kalomo Central if they hear that equipment, which was not in good condition, has been procured. Only then can they run there. However, they cannot go there to cover the developments happening there. The ZNBC has not been run as a business because it has not had a board. Therefore, these cameramen will keep behaving in the same way if the ZNBC continues to be without a board. They will come here and the first thing they will do is stand there and photograph the hon. Ministers. This morning …


Mr Muntanga: … they complained that we were obstructing them because they wanted to have the best shot of the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting so that he can be praised. We want you to do professional jobs. Do not be ashamed, shy or scared. Gone are the days of Charles Mando, may his soul rest in peace, who was fearless. The professionals of those days were not cowards.

Sir, he is now photographing me (pointed at the cameraman) and for that purpose I must tell him to do a proper job out there. These people should not take it for granted that they own the public media. It is for all Zambians.

Mr Speaker, the most important thing is the new board. I want to appeal to the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting to not interfere with the new ZNBC Board. We do not want you to go to court over doing certain things incorrectly when we come into Government because, very soon, in 2016, the Government will change.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I like to tell those people that whether they like it or not, they will swallow the “Question’’.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Muntanga: If you admit that what people say about you outside is true, then, you should change. I want the national broadcaster to give information, for example, on where the money released by the hon. Minister of Finance is taken. There is a lot of “don’t kubeba” behaviour. The only time they cover a place is when there is some hon. Minister talking about a project. We talked about lighting streets in townships. Money was released by the Ministry of Finance for this purpose, but no money was sent to a place like Kalomo Central. Some people questioned how this money was used when they realised that the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing did not send the money there. However, this issue of the Ministry of Finance having released the money was not publicly mentioned, but if it had been, we would have known that there was money. Therefore, the national broadcaster should be used for such purposes and not for politicking. We need to cover development issues.

Mr Speaker, I know that the staff at the ZNBC like following up on areas were roads are under construction and places where hon. Ministers are doing something. However, they should also cover the Opposition so that we can show them where the Government is not doing anything. There are so many roads that need construction and so many people are suffering.

Therefore, in supporting these board members for ratification, I hope that the board will work like the PF Government promised, although the promises of the PF do not hold. It promises, but never honours its promises. The PF had promised a number of things such as freeing the airwaves and had it done this, I would have been very happy because people would have benefited. I want to look at the person who is the former hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting because I know that he is scared. If he had allowed the freeing of the airwaves, people would have known the underlying truth in what is happening in his Government, and this is what we want the Zambian people to know. We do not want the people to rely on information coming from the Zambian Watchdog. The Zambian Watchdog will follow you to your bedroom …


Mr Muntanga: … and they will be able to tell us things. We are inclined to follow the Zambian Watchdog because the public media does not tell us certain things. You are even censoring pictures of yourselves. Why should it be so?


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, please, it is our time to tell this new board about the ZNBC. I know that we are only supposed to ratify the board members, but I want to remind our friends to let the public broadcaster be free for the benefit of all Zambians.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Motion on the Floor as we ratify the two nominees for the position of Directors of the ZNBC Board.

Mr Speaker, the ZNBC is a public broadcaster and as such, has the responsibility to ensure that it disseminates information to the Zambian people. It is also true that corporate governance demands that the board members not get involved in the day-to-day operations of the ZNBC. Their responsibility is to ensure that they give policy direction to the management of the ZNBC.  I want to urge the two nominees to bear in mind that they have to provide a vision which should be implemented by the management of the ZNBC. They have to look at issues such as why the ZNBC is not able to cover the entire country. That should be their priority. The ZNBC should have a board that will advocate for equipment to be purchased and bring about human development within the management of the ZNBC so that we can have quality and effective coverage of news and developmental projects that are being carried out countrywide.

Mr Speaker, for that to happen, the ZNBC requires funding. It is the Board of Directors of the ZNBC that should engage the hon. Minister of Finance and the private sector to see how best they can lobby for funding and drive the operations of the ZNBC forward. I know that Mr Mbazima has vast experience in the broadcasting world and, with that said, it is my hope and prayer and that of the people of Lupososhi Constituency that he is going to add value to the board of the ZNBC and look at how best it can raise the much-needed revenue for its operations.

Mr Speaker, more often than not, there is a temptation by those who sit on the boards to think that they can give instructions to staff on who should and should not be interviewed on the ZNBC. That, to me, and various people who have studied corporate governance, would be a violation of the requirements of corporate governance, which is well articulated in various schools.

Mr Speaker, it is true that the airwaves need to be liberalised because it will be difficult for us to give information to the Zambian people without that. Therefore, my appeal to our colleagues who have been nominated to sit on this board is to explore ways and means of ensuring that this aspect is realised. Information is power and the Zambian people are yearning for that information so that they can make quality decisions as they will get timely information within the confines of their homes. I am glad that, now, the board of the ZNBC is complete and it is expected that the ZNBC will progress.

Mr Speaker, we need to have a situation where we can have outside broadcasting equipment stationed in every provincial headquarter so that we can get the latest information in real time. That can only happen if the board has foresight, can provide leadership and formulate policies that will guide management to bring about this development.

Sir, the human resource which I mentioned earlier requires updating and needs to move with the current trends in the world of broadcasting. Some people may have been trained before the era of computer technology, but now we are in the era of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and it is important that this board looks at how best to develop the human resource, the journalists at the ZNBC.

Sir, any vision requires human resource in order to be meaningful. If this particular element is not attended to, then, I am afraid that we will continue going in circles and not progress because transformation and reforms that are being called for can only be done if the human resource is acquainted with new technology and reporting systems and equipment.

Mr Speaker, I congratulate our colleagues who have come on board and urge them to remain steadfast, uphold their integrity and direct this important institution on the right course.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to add my voice in supporting the nominees to the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Board.

Sir, the challenge that our country faces with regard to the national broadcaster is the question of what is national about the ZNBC. Is the ZNBC operating within the context of what we expect of a national institution? I think that is where the challenge is. The ZNBC should be operating within the context of our national values, which we cherish and bind us together as citizens of this country and ought to move this country forward. When you take that as your benchmark measure of the ZNBC, our institution has failed to advance our national values in a number of respects.

Mr Speaker, what are these national values which, in a way, need to move all of us, as citizens of this country? One of them is freedom of expression, which is our cherished national value as a democracy, and that the ZNBC ought to advance across the nation. We should express ourselves through this institution and there should not be any curtailment of freedom of expression from any quarter because that is a value that ought to be advancing our democracy.

Sir, you may not agree with what your opponent is saying, but you can only argue against it as it is his or her human right to say it. That is democracy and the ZNBC should stand on the firm ground of defending, advancing and soliciting freedom of expression regardless of how painful that expression might be.

Mr Speaker, another aspect that the ZNBC ought to be advancing, in the context of our values, is the challenge of development. Every aspect of our nation would like to benefit from the development process. The ZNBC should be able to advance equitable development in the nation. When we watch television and listen to the radio, we should be able to feel the equity of development. We should see every part of our country projected on our public media because it is for our value.

Sir, we are gathered in this House because we would like to see equitable development in all parts of our country. A national broadcaster like the ZNBC should be able to advance those values that we desire. Other values touch on human rights and justice and the ZNBC should be able to find ways of advancing human rights and justice so that people can begin to see that these values, which are the building foundation of our democracy, are finding expression in public media.

Mr Speaker, other values such as the freedom of movement, peace, and national unity must find a means of being expressed through our public media and this is the challenge the ZNBC is faced with. We need a board that will be able to clearly define a vision for the institution so that it can assist in the challenge of national development, unite us, as a nation, and assist in the development of our democracy.

Sir, if the board is able to do that, then, we shall all be able to say that we have a stake in the ZNBC, as a public media. We support it and are proud of it. It is a torchbearer of our national development. It is a flagship of our democracy. At the moment, that is the challenge of that public institution. As my colleagues have stated, it has become an institution for political patronage which it should not be. It should transcend that and be a national broadcasting institution.

With those few comments, I join in the ratification of the nominees.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the Motion on the Floor of this House and, in particular, to support the ratification of the nominees under discussion.

Sir, allow me to begin my submission by reminding these nominees that it is with a very heavy-laden heart that I stand on the Floor of this House to support the nominees to serve on the board of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) at a time when we have a draconian and de-facto despotic state of governance in this country.


Mr Mweetwa: Sir, this is at a time when we have a tyrannical and brutal administration in power, one which has no regard for human rights on one hand, but is failing to run and grow the economy on the other hand so that we can have resources to empower the ZNBC to carry out its mandate to the fullest.

Sir, it is unfortunate that these nominees are joining the ZNBC Board at a time when this brutal regime, whose popularity is waning at an exponential rate, has become so desperate that it has to cling on to power using propaganda. Unfortunately, the ZNBC has been identified as a tool for its propaganda in its attempt to remain relevant to the people of Zambia.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: Sir, therefore, with this preface, I would like to urge these nominees to go on that board to promote the real role that the ZNBC should be performing. They should help the ZNBC to meet the obligations of its mandate. The obligation of the ZNBC is very clear. From a governance point of view, the media is a fourth estate of a democracy. This means that the ZNBC is part and parcel of the fabric of governance; especially that it is a conveyer belt through which the governance machinery circulates information. In this regard, being a fourth estate, I would like to urge the nominees to help the ZNBC to carry out its mandate in a more professional manner through which it will remain relevant to the democratisation of this country. When human rights are violated, the ZNBC should actually be the vanguard in that regard.

Mr Speaker, at the moment, we have situations in which, as citizens of Zambia, we are relying more on social media networks. Many of the stories that come through the social media networks are credible and one would have loved to see the national broadcaster bring out these stories to give them authenticity and, more importantly, make those pieces of information available to the majority of our people since very few people can access the social media network. This is because the majority of our people are in rural areas and do not have the technology through which to access these stories.

Sir, for instance, not too long ago, we had the President of the United Party for National Development (UPND), Mr Hakainde Hichilema, being blocked from visiting the Litunga. A police truck was paraded to block the road and this story was flashed out in the Zambian Watchdog. This is a very serious violation of human rights. One would have expected the ZNBC to quickly follow through that story and give it authenticity, but that did not come through. It is very disheartening that this is the way things are going.

Mr Speaker, let me quickly narrow down my debate to the two points I want to share in my submission. The last time your Committee brought seven names here for debate and ratification, it made recommendations that one would have thought the Patriotic Front (PF) Administration would have attended to by now. The hon. Minister then, on the Floor of the House, assured this House that those recommendations would be attended to. One of the recommendations which the hon. Minister assured this House was to bring, at the soonest instance, amendments of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Act so that the Chief Executive Officer of the ZNBC can be allowed to sit on the ZNBC Board as an ex-officio member since, in its current form, the Act does not make any provisions for that or, indeed, any other senior officers of that institution to sit on the ZNBC Board. However, this has not happened.

Mr Speaker, it worries me that it looks like the PF Administration has not only reneged on the promises it made before coming into power, but that it is very determined to continue with its lifestyle of not telling the truth by coming to this House and making undertakings which it does not fulfil. This is reflecting very badly on its governance. However, it is consolling that 2016 is around the corner and the PF will be removed from power.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, the other recommendation that was made, which has been repeated today, was the issue of amending Section 4 of the Act, which sets out the criteria of which people should sit on the board. To date, that has not been done. Therefore, I would like to urge the hon. Minister to take these two recommendations seriously.

Mr Speaker, I am also concerned about the high turnover of Chief Executives at the ZNBC. Not too long ago, we saw the out-going Chief Executive Officer of the ZNBC take that position and now we are told that he is leaving. Therefore, I would like to urge the nominees to bring stability to that office because it helps in credible policy implementation of what the ZNBC would like to achieve. As it is now on the ground, many people are speculating that he was not user-friendly. So, they would like to bring a stooge who they can use as a propaganda outlet for that party which has become so unpopular …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: … that the only thing it knows now is that it has brought unprecedented development, …

Mr Kalaba: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mweetwa: … especially the one who has just stood up.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, is my brother, Hon. Mweetwa, in order to keep on debating far and wide and east and west, on a Motion which is very straightforward? Is he in order not to mention, as he is debating, that the Patriotic Front has made very serious in-roads in Choma Central and that whether he likes it or not he will be replaced as hon. Member in 2016?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: Sir, is he in order to avoid mentioning that?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: Since the hon. Member debating is at liberty to choose where to start from and where to end in his debate, he is in order.

Continue, hon. Member for Choma Central.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: I thank you, Sir. The people of Choma Central would gladly vote for the PF if it delivered on its promises. As things stand, their rating about that Government is horrendous.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: In fact, you annoy people when you talk as if there is something sensible you are doing.

The Deputy Chairperson: I hope you can now go back to the Motion.

Mr Mweetwa: Thank you, Sir. I was only exercising my right to reply. I also wanted to talk about the issue which has been raised by the seconder of the Motion. He talked about the board promoting the transformation of the ZNBC from merely being a public broadcaster into, according to his words, a public interest broadcaster. This public interest broadcaster now brings me to question on what is it that is of public interest? This is because the ZNBC got a lot of credibility out there when it began to broadcast live the proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) because it gave the citizens an opportunity to watch how their resources were being managed by those in public office.

Sir, I am sad to note that the ZNBC, in that particular regard of transforming into a public interest broadcaster, has let the people of Zambia down. This is because without any reasonable cause, that live screening …{mospagebreak}

Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa: … was terminated much to the dismay of the people of Zambia who are interested to see what their resources …

Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, thank you so much for allowing me to raise this very serious point of order on the hon. Member currently on the Floor, who happened to be part of this Select Committee. The hon. Member has opted to depart from debating the content of the report. He has been talking about the outgoing Director-General of the ZNBC, whom he knows has taken up another job and insinuated that the gentleman is going so that he can be replaced by a puppet, which is a total fabrication. He has further gone, on the Floor of this House, to insinuate that the ZNBC stopped filming the proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee without giving any reason when, in this Chamber, an extensive explanation was given by the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting why that was done.

 Sir, is he in order to continue misleading us and the nation in the manner he is doing when he was a member of the Select Committee? I seek your serious ruling.

The Deputy Chairperson: To the extent that you have sufficiently debated your point of order, the hon. Member can continue with his debate.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: Sir, for the benefit of my brother, I am discussing public interest broadcasting which is in the report of Mr Speaker’s Committee. So, I am reminding you because I know that you were not listening.


Mr Mweetwa: Sir, I wanted to say that it was very discouraging to see that the live broadcast was terminated. The ZNBC Board Chairperson actually appeared before PAC, where I sit, and failed to give satisfactory reasons for stopping the broadcasting, notwithstanding that a political explanation was given on the Floor of the House. He went as far as refusing to accommodate an outside sponsor who wanted to sponsor the PAC live screening and stated that, as ZNBC, it would only accept funding from the Government or a governmental agency and would not accept any funds from a donor. What are people talking about when they talk about a public interest broadcaster if you are going to refuse to be held accountable by the people who voted for you?

Finally Sir, I wanted to talk about political interference. Since I am running out of time, I am very concerned …

The Deputy Chairperson: Honourable, are you a member of this Select Committee?

Hon. Government Members: He is.

The Deputy Chairperson: We do not expect you to debate at such length if you are a Member of the Committee, but you can wind up your debate.

Mr Mweetwa: Thank you very much for your generosity. As I wind up my debate, I would like to urge the nominees to promote professionalism at the ZNBC. I know the men and women who work at the ZNBC are professional, save for political interference from the PF Administration. However, I have noted a very worrying trend. Lately, each time we come from a by-election, the PF Secretary-General is given an opportunity to appear on the Sunday interview to exonerate why the PF will have lamentably lost a by-election.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! Order! Order!

You are a member of this Select Committee …

Hon. Government Members: Why is he even debating?


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

May the hon. Member for Kasempa wind up debate.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the House for the support. All I can say is that the nominees as well as the other members of the board have listened to the sentiments and the counsel on the expectations of the House.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Question put and agreed to.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Agriculture for the Third Session of the Eleventh National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 13th June, 2014.

The Deputy Chairperson: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, in accordance with its terms of reference, your Committee considered the topical issue, the potential of the non-traditional crops in Zambia and the Action-Taken Reports on the Committee’s reports for the First and Second Sessions of the Eleventh National Assembly.

In line with the topical issue, your Committee undertook a bench-marking foreign tour to Kenya to appreciate how the country has managed to explore the potential of the non-traditional crops. Your Committee also undertook a local tour to some local institutions that promote non-traditional crops.

Sir, as hon. Members are privy to the content of your Committee’s report, I will endeavour to highlight a few salient issues contained in your report.

Mr Speaker, your Committee observes, with concern, that although Zambia has vast agricultural potential, this has not been fully exploited. The country is endowed with a favourable climate, fertile land and 40 per cent of the water resources in the entire Southern African Region. However, despite these factors, the potential is yet to be fully realised. Zambia has 58 per cent of arable land suitable for agricultural production, but only 14 per cent is currently under cultivation.

Further, the agriculture sector accounts for 20 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) even though it has the potential to contribute more. Part of the reason for Zambia’s reduced agricultural productivity is heavy dependence on copper. The mining sector has traditionally been prioritised above agriculture in terms of investment, despite the fact that over 80 per cent of the country’s 13 million people rely on agriculture for their livelihood.

Sir, the promotion of non-traditional crop production has been seen as a practical and viable option not only for enhancing the country’s foreign exchange earnings, but also for enhancing the fight against rural poverty and increased job creation. 

Mr Speaker, the potential of the non-traditional crops cannot be over-emphasised. Given that the country is endowed with a vast resource of land, labour and water, the potential to expand its agriculture production, particularly in the non-traditional crop sector, should not be overlooked. The country’s strategic location in Africa, being a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), provides easy access to regional markets and positions the country as a food basket for the region. In addition, the country has access to the American market through the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) as well as the European and Asian markets.

Sir, the country has three ecological regions which support different crops and receives different levels of rainfall per year, needless to state that the country’s irrigation potential for crop production is immense. Zambia hosts 40 per cent of SADC water, but irrigation has largely remained untapped. The country’s irrigation potential is estimated at 520,000 hectares and out of this, only 156,000 hectares has been developed for irrigation.

Mr Speaker, allow me to share some of the challenges the promotion of non-traditional crops in Zambia is faced with.

Sir, the biggest constraint in the growth of the non-traditional crops is that these crops have been traded largely informally as opposed to structured markets. Demand and markets for crops or crop products in informal settings is not well-structured and does not attract correct responses at production levels. Demand in the market would inspire production in order to satisfy the market. Therefore, forces of production would always positively respond to positive indicators of effective demand whether local or foreign.

Sir, your Committee also notes that the high cost of production is another constraint which, in turn, negates costs competitiveness of Zambian agricultural products within the region. This situation, in turn, results in diseconomies of scale associated with very low volumes from subsistence production.

Sir, another stumbling block in the promotion of non-traditional crops is the lopsided or skewed support in favour of maize by the Government. Thus, subsidy programmes like the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP), although now promising to include other crops such as rice, had traditionally been synonymous with maize subsidy programmes.

Sir, small-scale farmers who have been involved in production of the more labour-intensive crops have been faced with challenges of quality and standards, especially when the crops have been destined for the export markets.

Sir, in view of the foregoing, your Committee makes the observations and recommendations set out below:

(i) it is saddening that despite the availability of agro-ecological data, which is important as it guides what crops should be grown in the different regions, the data has not been fully utilised thereby affecting the promotion of crops, especially the non-traditional crops.

        Your Committee, therefore, urges the Government to ensure that specific crops are grown in specific agro-ecological zones so as to maximise the growth of the non-traditional crops. The Government must also step up sensitisation programmes to ensure that the general public is enlightened on which crops to grow in particular regions;

(ii) the lopsided or skewed support in favour of maize by the Government has hampered the growth and production of the non-traditional crops. It is worth noting that 90 per cent of the agriculture budget goes to maize through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and the FISP, thereby neglecting the main driving factors in agriculture like research and extension service;

  Your Committee strongly recommends that the FISP, being a poverty reduction programme, be moved to another Government department as it has immensely affected the mandate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, especially the growth of the non-traditional crops;

(iii) the non-availability of seed for most non-traditional crops such as cotton and tobacco has resulted in the monopoly of the crops by the ginners and merchants respectively. In addition, this has caused problems on pricing which has most often affected the small scale farmers.

 Your Committee recommends that, as a matter of urgency, the Government, in collaboration with seed companies, ensures that all seed for non-traditional crops is made available on the market.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

(Debate adjourned)


The House adjourned at 1255 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 24th June, 2014.