Debates - Tuesday, 3rd May, 2016

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Tuesday, 3rd May, 2016

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to update this august House on the preparations for the 2016 General Elections and the printing of the 2016 General Election ballot papers.

Sir, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has drawn up a road map in which it has outlined various activities it will undertake before the poll day on 11th August, 2016. The preparations are on schedule and, to date, the following activities have been undertaken:

(i) Consultations with Stakeholders

Mr Speaker, the ECZ has held several consultative meetings with stakeholders on the electoral process. In particular, the ECZ has held meetings with political parties, through the Political Party Liaison Committee, to inform and discuss various electoral issues affecting the political parties,

Sir, arising from the stakeholders’ meeting that was held on 4th February, 2016, at Mulungushi International Conference Centre, a Consultative Election Committee, whose aim is to look at key issues and concerns in relation to the 2016 General Elections, has been formed. The committee consists of five people from political parties with representation in Parliament, two from political parties with no representation in Parliament, two from faith-based organisations, three from civil society organisations, which includes representation from persons with disabilities, and a representative from the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ),

Mr Speaker, the ECZ has also held consultative meetings with stakeholders with special needs to obtain their views on the various electoral services that pertain to them and their participation in the electoral process;

(ii) Procurement of Election Materials and Services

Sir, the ECZ has commenced the bidding process for the procurement of various election materials and services for the 2016 General Elections and Referendum. The ECZ has, so far, secured non-security election materials such as ballot boxes. The distribution of these and other non-security election materials to the districts has begun;

(iii) Printing of Ballot Papers

Sir, with regard to the printing of ballot papers, the ECZ will soon conclude the open international tender bidding process for the printing of ballot papers. The ECZ had issued a notice to award the contract to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company, a company that is incorporated in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The notice to award expired on 21st April, 2016. 

Mr Speaker, as the tender process is still ongoing, to avoid prejudicing the whole process, a comprehensive statement shall be issued once the procurement process for the printing of ballot papers by the commission is complete. Currently, there is an appeal that is before the Zambia Procurement and Purchasing Authority (ZPPA) that the ECZ is awaiting;

(iv) Delimitation of Constituencies

Sir, the ECZ carried out delimitation in six constituencies. The objective of the 2016 delimitation of constituencies was to give effect to the Constitutional provision that amended the number of constituencies from 150 to 156.

Mr Speaker, the delimitation was undertaken in six districts that were established after the 2011 General Elections. The six districts were Ngabwe in the Central Province, Sinda in the Eastern Province, Chembe in Luapula Province, Chirundu in Lusaka Province and Nkeyema and Sioma in the Western Province.

Sir, these districts were established either out of a single constituency district such as Ngabwe, Chirundu and Sioma or by splitting an existing constituency into two such as Sinda, Chembe and Nkeyema.

This resulted in constituencies being located in two districts, which created challenges in managing elections in the constituencies. Following consultations with stakeholders during the delimitation, new constituencies were created from these districts while some constituencies were renamed.

Mr Speaker, once the commission finalises the post delimitation process, it shall issue a gazette notice indicating the names and details of the boundaries of the new constituencies. A public notice shall also be issued informing the public on the renamed and renumbered constituencies. The six constituencies will take effect after the dissolution of Parliament and will be contested in the 2016 National Assembly Elections;

(v) Training of Election Officers

Mr Speaker, the commission has commenced the training of election officers for various activities. The commission has begun the training of trainers for election officers and conflict management officers. The commission has also aligned its various training manuals with the provisions of the amended Constitution;

(vi) Voter Education and Publicity

Mr Speaker, the commission is preparing for the commencement of voter education. Procurement and distribution of voter education materials is underway. The training of voter education facilitators will soon commence so that the facilitators can be deployed by the end of May, 2016, in all the 1,624 wards to commence the sensitisation of voters on the forthcoming elections.

Mr Speaker, media programmes and advertisements will soon start running in the print and electronic media to inform the public on various activities on the elections. The commission will also use community radio stations for its publicity and the election reporting. Training will be concluded for public and private media reporters;

(vii) Accreditation

Mr Speaker, accreditation for both local monitors and the international observers has been scheduled for 23rd May to 2nd August, 2016. Accreditation of local monitors will be done in the respective districts while that of international observers will be done centrally at a venue to be advised by the commission. Accreditation for access to the national results centre will be done in Lusaka from 3rd to 9th August, 2016.

(viii) Nominations

Mr Speaker, I would like hon. Members of Parliament to pay attention to this particular phase. The nominations for candidates aspiring for presidency will be conducted from 30th May to 3rd June, 2016, while nominations for the mayoral or council chairpersons elections will be held on the 30th of May, 2016. The nominations for aspiring candidates for the National Assembly and local government elections will be received on the 31st of May, 2016. The commission has issued a nomination checklist of the requirements that all aspiring candidates need to meet during elections; and

(ix) The Referendum

Mr Speaker, as you are aware, the referendum is to be held together with the 2016 General Elections. The commission is finalising on the modalities of conducting the referendum. However, there will be a stream in the polling stations, especially for non-registered voters to vote.

Mr Speaker, as we move closer to the general elections, the Government will continue to update the House and the nation on the progress in the preparations for the elections.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement just given by Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, the referendum will be held and the people must know what they are going to vote for either a for “yes” or “no.” Is the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) going to separate certain issues such as the minority rights which deals with homosexuals and lesbians so that the people can see clearly what they are voting for in the referendum?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, usually during a referendum, what is formulated is either one or two questions. For example, the question, “Do you want this or not?” can be asked. So, the ECZ is currently formulating that question and the details in the Bill of Rights will be disseminated to the people during the sensitisation campaign. This will be undertaken not only by the ECZ, but also by all other stakeholders such as political parties and the CSOs.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, I would like to dwell on the issue of the delimitation of the six new constituencies. My question revolves around what has happened in Kabompo District. Contrary to what Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning has stated that the delimitation was limited to the six districts that she mentioned in her statement, we are surprised that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) went to Kabompo District to annex five polling stations from Kabompo West Constituency and some from Mufumbwe Constituency and amalgamated them into what is currently existing as Kabompo East Constituency, which is now in Manyinga District.

I would like to find out whether this is legal or Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning knows about what has transpired because as it is, Kabompo West and Mufumbwe are on fire because of that annexation. Could Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning enlighten us on this issue.

 The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, I want to urge the hon. Member for Kabompo West to quench the fire.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: It was inevitable that the creation of new districts would bring about issues such as the one the hon. Member has described in Kabompo West and Mufumbwe.

Sir, I am aware that some wards have been taken away from Kabompo West because that constituency was quite large while some have been taken away from Mufumbwe to make the new Manyinga Constituency. However, this has nothing to do with district boundaries because the delimitation of the district boundaries will be different from the current scenario where the elections had to be held. The number of wards for any constituency was also to be consistent with the electoral laws of the country. Therefore, I do not think the people of Manyinga should feel slighted by the ECZ.

 Mr Speaker, I understand that the fire the hon. Member is describing is not even there because recently, commission members visited Manyinga and Kabompo to explain to people what has transpired and the people, including the chiefs, accepted their explanation. Therefore, if there is any more concern by the people in that area, the ECZ will be informed so that it can go back to assure the people that they should not be apprehensive about this change.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning has informed this House that in a few days time, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) will open the bids for those who tendered to print the ballot papers. I want to find out from her what the Government considers as a matter of priority before choosing the company to print the ballot papers. Does it choose the lowest bidder or otherwise?

 Mr Speaker: Order!

My concern is that what you are saying is not what Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning said. Let us follow these matters closely. Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning said that this matter has gone on appeal to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) and it is pending. I do not know whether the hon. Member has another question.

 Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I have a problem asking another question now.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Then, you can sit down. I was just being liberal. I did not ask you to fetch one, just in case you did.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, my concern is over voter education in relation to the referendum.

Sir, we have observed inefficiencies in the voter education conducted by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). When the ECZ recruits people, it designates them to different locations. In places like Kalabo where there are no vehicles and good roads, people are made to walk quite long distances. In view of this, it is important that the issue of the referendum is made clear to people in villages.
Sir, what extra efforts will the ECZ put in place to make sure that this time around, this sensitisation reaches people in far-flung areas and the illiterate in villages to clear any difficult situations that may arise and inhibit their understanding of the issues concerning the referendum?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, the referendum is a very important national matter. The ECZ, as a referendum commission, is geared to undertake this exercise. The commission has also appealed to other stakeholders, given the time frame, to participate in the voter education, particularly on the issue of the Bill of Rights and the referendum. I believe that adequate logistics have been put in place to undertake this exercise.

 Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, the issue of the referendum is a very important matter and it is not an easy exercise.

Sir, the last time we had a referendum in this country, a number of us were not yet born, but I was.


Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I recall that when the referendum took place, I was at school. The Government, then, took time to educate people on this issue. My worry on the referendum is how certain issues can be camouflaged in a particular issue.

Sir, the hon. Member for Keembe mentioned the issue in the Bill of Rights concerning the rights of the minorities like the homosexuals and lesbians, yet Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning mentioned that, maybe, there will just be one or two questions. This means that all the issues will be camouflaged in one question. I want to request Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning that certain issues be singled out to enable Zambians to vote on them, especially the one I have mentioned. Being a Christian, I know what I am talking about. Above all, Zambia is a Christian nation. So, on that one, can people be in the clear so that they know what they are voting for.

Could Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning state what steps the Government will put in place to ensure that certain controversial issues such as the one I have cited are given specific questions to enable Zambians to make their views known so that nobody will be blamed in future. 

I thank you, Sir.

 The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, that is why I explained that the questions will either be two or one. We cannot have questions in a referendum for every clause that the electorate are asked to vote on. That is why voter and civic education is important so that people understand what is enshrined in the Bill of Rights, their rights and the right to their country. It is through that education that they will be able to isolate the issues that are very pertinent to them, including the issue that the hon. Member has mentioned on sexual orientation and many others that are part of the Bill of Rights.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I am sorry my voice is bad because I have a cough.

Mr Speaker, Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning talked about the training exercise for election agents. Why is it that year in and year out during election time, the same people are picked for training, especially those who are partisan in terms of political affiliation? As a result of this, Ikeleng’I, being a new district, has been omitted. Does it mean that there are no people who qualify to be agents from that district?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Sir, during one of these stakeholder meetings, the ECZ was reminded of that challenge. This year, it has indicated that it will recruit new people who will carry out this exercise because in the past, it has relied on the people it had trained previously. However, this year, new trainees will be recruited and sent to various areas. We have also emphasised that local people be integrated in these training programmes since they know the areas and can help the ECZ carry out its work efficiently.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning why the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabompo West was not consulted, as a stakeholder, or could she avail him a list of the stakeholders who were consulted on the delimitation exercise.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, I indicated in my presentation that all these stakeholder meetings were held with representatives of more than five people from the United Party for National Development (UPND), Patriotic Front (PF), Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) and other parties that are represented in Parliament. So, each political party is represented in the stakeholder meetings. It is hoped that after those meetings, the representatives of the political parties will go back to their parties and give a progress report on what transpired in the stakeholder meetings. So, if the representatives of the UPND do not report to their hon. Members of Parliament, I think the leaders of the parties should prevail on their representatives to ensure that they disseminate information to the relevant people in their parties.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, the cry for a new Constitution was as a result of the realisation by all of us that the Bill of Rights in the current Constitution did not respond to the many challenges that we face as Zambians. Having listened to Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning’s statement, it appears that the Government has decided to hold the referendum at the same time as the general elections.

Mr Speaker, the referendum is an important exercise that requires attention and resource allocation by the Government. It also requires that the Government ensures that all stakeholders come on board and that the citizens of Zambia are adequately sensitised about what is contained in the Draft Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights.

Sir, I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning whether, as a Government, they cannot consider postponing the referendum to a later date so that due attention is given to this very important exercise.

Mr Speaker, you will agree with me that in the next three months, everybody will be out there campaigning to be re-elected as Members of Parliament, councillors and even as President. So, there will be no time to pay attention to the question or even the formulation of the question in the referendum.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, I agree entirely that the referendum is a very important matter to the nation. However, that is why we have been holding stakeholder meetings so that we can discuss these matters. If the stakeholders feel that the referendum should not be held this year, I do not know when it will be held because this is an opportunity for us to hold the referendum so that we can incorporate the Bill of Rights in our new Constitution. We do not know how long it will take to hold the referendum if we postpone it this year. It may take many years before we can hold a good referendum where we have time to sensitise our people. However, even within the given time, if we are serious about sensitising our people on the Bill of Rights, we can do it as political parties and the CSOs. The ECZ will also undertake its voter education at the same time.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, arising from the answer just given by Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning, I am not very clear because, so far, some of the major stakeholders like the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) have proposed that the referendum be postponed.

In spite of craving to have a meeting with the stakeholders, who are already against holding the referendum together with the general elections, what is the Government’s position on this matter? Does the Government still want to proceed with the referendum or the position is that whatever the stakeholders will decide is what it will follow since they have already indicated that they do not want the referendum to go alongside the general elections?

 I need your serious clarification.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, LAZ is just one of the many stakeholders.

Hon. Government Member: Yes!

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: So, I cannot see why the Government can back peddle on this issue simply because one stakeholder has said so.

Mr Speaker, you may recall that this is exactly how it was before the Constitution was assented to. There was so much pressure from the other side to have the people’s Constitution assented to by His Excellency the President and passed by this Parliament. Now, the pressure is the referendum. Do you want us to postpone the elections as well?

Hon. Government Members: No!

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: If that is the wish of the stakeholders, then, we want to know. It is prudent for us to have this referendum together with the elections. You may never know when the referendum can be held if we miss this opportunity.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kazabu (Nkana): Mr Speaker, I wish to commend Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning for that statement. My question is a forward-looking one in the sense that the last delimitation of constituencies countrywide was held more than ten years ago. Today, we find ourselves in a situation where some constituencies are literally unmanageable. I have in mind constituencies like Kasempa, Livingstone and Chongwe. By the way, Livingstone is a city. How can a city have one constituency, yet other cities such as Kitwe has five constituencies, Lusaka has seven and Ndola has four constituencies? Considering the size of the population of our country now, which is around 15 million, when are we going to have the next national delimitation of constituencies carried out since the people in many of these constituencies are underrepresented due to their being too large?

Mrs Masebo: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, whenever there is a population census, which determines the number of people we have in different areas, that is when delimitation also takes place. With the creation of so many new districts, it will also be necessary for the delimitation commission to look into this matter. The ECZ will advise on when the next countrywide delimitation will be undertaken.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, in her statement, Her Honour Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning has said that elections are tied to the referendum. That is news to me. Elections have nothing to do with the referendum. It is the Government that wants it to appear like the referendum is tied to the elections. My question is: Considering that there will be five booths at polling stations, and the fact that the people voting for the referendum only do not need voters’ cards, but will use their national registration cards (NRC), have you considered that this action will pose problems for the elections which are already marred with problems and that there could be issues of rigging?

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Muntanga: If people use their NRCs to vote in the referendum, they can also vote in the elections.


Mr Muntanga: How does the Government intend to …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Muntanga: … clearly separate the two so that they do not get mixed up? How will people be sensitised about the referendum in order for them not to confuse it with elections? Has the Government done that homework? If the Government’s intention is to listen to the people, then, it should listen. Except, Mr Speaker, …

Mr Speaker: Are you through with your question?

Mr Muntanga: … through you, …

Mr Speaker: You seem to be commenting.


Mr Muntanga: I have asked my question …

Mr Speaker: I want her to answer your question now.


The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, …


Mr Speaker: Order!

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: … ideally, the referendum could have been held on its own because it is a national exercise.


Mr Speaker: Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning, may you, please, pose for a moment.

Hon. Members, can you stop these conversations. I want to concentrate. I cannot concentrate when you have these conversations going on.

May you continue, Your Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning, please.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, considering the resource constraints and also the time factor, it was necessary for this Government to combine the referendum with the general elections.

Sir, in answering the question by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalomo Central about the confusion that may arise in the polling booths during voting, I can only advise the hon. Member on the need to educate our people on this.

In any case, I explained in my presentation that there will be another booth for the referendum. In fact, the ECZ says that registered voters will have an additional stream for the referendum in addition to the streams for the presidential, parliamentary, mayor or council chairperson and councillors’ elections. It means that in addition to the usual booths for the five, there will be one for the referendum. There will be a queue for the referendum for those that are using NRCs only. For those with voters’ cards, after voting for the ward councillors, mayor, Member of Parliament and President, then, they will also vote for the referendum in the referendum booth.

So, everything will be straightforward. We just need to inform and educate our people to be alert about all these movements. Those who will go to the voting centre with just an NRC will go straight to vote in the referendum booth and back to their homes.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mufalali indicated

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member of Parliament for Senanga, just wait, I have already called you out.


Mr Speaker: I told you that I have noted you. So, I am going to announce when the time comes.


Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, in 2015, when election officers were being trained in readiness for the 11th January, 2015 By-election, people from different parts of the country were picked. Unfortunately, some teachers from Senanga were left out of this exercise. The conduct of these teachers in handling elections is professional and they get motivated when there is an election in the country. What criteria is the Government using to motivate these professionals and also ensure that those who are found in rural areas are not left out in this training? It would be better to train these teachers as opposed to bringing other people from Lusaka to conduct elections in Senanga. Further, what is the Government doing to ensure that police officers are picked to work during the elections as opposed to having more reserves to carry out the work?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, the choosing of trainees in the electoral exercise is done by the ECZ. The Government has no hand in it, whatsoever. The January, 2015 By-election was conducted by those who were in power at that time. So, I cannot say much about the choice of trainees. Those who were in office that time chose the people to work as electoral officers and I do not know the criteria that were used. This year, the ECZ has been informed that it should recruit trainees from various districts in all constituencies where it can obtain professional expertise.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mulomba (Magoye): Mr Speaker, as you can see, I am seated next to the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabompo West Parliamentary Constituency. Therefore, I got his question very clearly. Equally, I was very attentive when Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning was answering. However, her answer was not very clear.

Sir, there were some polling stations that were annexed from Kabompo and Mufumbwe into Manyinga. Therefore, may I find out from Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning, ...

Mr Speaker: I did not get the word that you used. Could you start again.

Mr Mulomba: Mr Speaker, the word is annexed.

Mr Speaker: Annexed?

Mr Lufuma: Grabbed.

Mr Mulomba: Sir, grabbed or got from Kabompo and Mufumbwe into Manyinga.

Mr Speaker: When you say annexed, do you mean that they were combined?

Mr Mulomba: Mr Speaker, they were combined.

Mr Mwila: Kulandafye mu ci Tonga nomba.

Hon. UPND Members: Iwe!

Mr Mulomba: Do you understand Tonga?

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, do not engage the hon. Minister.

Mr Muntanga: But he is fooling him.

Mr Speaker: You may continue.

Mr Mulomba: Mr Speaker, may I find out if the delimitation exercise in Kabompo West, which saw the creation of six new constituencies, happened elsewhere.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, this scenario is not only confined to Kabompo West. I do not want to use the word ‘suffered’, but other areas have also gone through the same processes. In areas like Mansa Central, there have been some polling stations that have been added to some constituencies. I know that this is the situation that is prevailing in Ngabwe as well. So, it is not only Kabompo West that underwent this. For the ECZ to create Manyinga Parliamentary Constituency, it had to go through that process so that it establishes a fully-fledged constituency. So, this is not peculiar to Kabompo Parliamentary Constituency only because it has happened in other areas too. It was easy for this to be done in one district such as Nalolo, for example, because there was no need to take away part of it and combine it with another area. However, places like Nkeyema in Kaoma have gone through the same processes where some of the polling stations from other areas have been taken to Kaoma.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, let me just, ...

Mr Lufuma: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members for Chongwe and Kabompo West, just hold on. Hon. Member for Kabompo West Parliamentary Constituency, I hope that you are not raising a point of order on Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, there is a misdirection.

Mr Speaker: No, I will not permit it. These are public offices. I know that your colleagues from Dundumwezi, Magoye, and yourself have tried your level best to seek clarification from Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning, and you are not getting that clarity. You can approach her and engage her.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I want to thank Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development for her very important and timely statement.

Sir, from the way Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning has been answering some of the questions relating to the referendum, and whether or not there was room for the Government to reconsider the decision to have the referendum on the same day as the general elections, it is clear that the Government has not closed the door to these issues. This is considering the illiteracy levels in our country.

Mr Speaker, I would like to add my voice to the questions asked by other hon. Members. Considering that, ....

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Chongwe Parliamentary Constituency, are you posing a question or making out a case?

Mrs Masebo: Sir, I was going to ask a question, but I was trying to build it up.

Mr Speaker: Order!

I would rather you just ask a question. As I pointed out earlier, the purpose of this session is for all hon. Members to ask questions on points of clarification. It means just that.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance. I will try to rephrase my question by getting directly to it. The additional booth, which will be meant for voting of the referendum, will have youths from the age of eighteen years, who may not be registered voters, but are eligible to vote in the referendum, voting from there. From the way I have come to understand the issues of voting and elections, what will happen is that by the time we get to the elections, so many people who will not vote in the general elections, but the referendum, will come to the polling stations. These people will try to use that event to cast a vote for candidates. Looking at the problems that we have had in the past, does the Government not think that combining these two important events will be a big challenge?

Therefore, the resources that Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning is talking about will actually be wasted, considering the fact that a referendum requires achieving a threshold of 50 per cent of total registered voters. At the end of the day, money would have been lost if that threshold will not be achieved. Taking these issues into account, I would suggest that, maybe, the referendum be postponed to a month or six months since Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning said that she does not know when a deferred date can be decided upon.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, money would be wasted if we had to hold the referendum as a stand-alone activity. We will save a lot if we hold the said referendum together with the general elections.

Sir, as for the hon. Member for Chongwe fearing the unknown, I can assure her that there will be a lot of security at polling centres. There will be separate lines for the two activities at the polling stations and security men and women will be there to ensure that there is law and order. People will know where to go in order to cast their votes.

I do not think we should fear something we have not even seen yet. Our job is to educate our people on what to expect at a polling station. So, the onus really is on us, as political parties and the CSOs, to sensitise our people as much as we can so that they can undertake this important exercise. It is a huge responsibility on all Zambian people because this will determine their future and human rights.

I thank you, Sir.




The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, thank you for permitting me to announce to the nation, through this House, the country’s estimated crop production for the 2015/2016 Agricultural Season as well as the national food balance for the marketing season covering the period 1st May, 2016 to 30th April, 2017.

Mr Livune interjected.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Katombola, order!

Mr Lubinda: The crop production estimates that I am releasing today are based on a universally applied scientific survey method that is used every year. The survey is jointly conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Central Statistical Office (CSO) and covers all the districts of the country.

Mr Speaker, as most of us may be aware, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region in general and Zambia, in particular, experienced poor rainfall from October to December, 2015. Many parts of the country experienced below normal rainfall, especially in the southern half of the country. This situation led to a relatively poor start to the planting season. There were fears that the El-Niño phenomenon would lead to very low crop production, particularly for maize. However, the rainfall situation in most parts of the country did improve significantly from January, 2016, up to the end of the rains in April, 2016. As a result, yields and production of several crops such as sorghum, rice, soya beans, sunflower, sweet potatoes and cowpeas has been forecast to increase.

Mr Speaker, production of millet is forecast to reduce by 6.24 per cent to 29,973 metric tonnes from 31,967 metric tonnes last year. Production of rice is forecast to increase by 4.6 per cent to 26,675 metric tonnes from 25,514 metric tonnes last season. Production of groundnuts is forecast to increase by 18.07 per cent to 131,562 metric tonnes from 111,429 metric tonnes last season. Seed cotton production is also forecast to increase by 7.71 per cent to 111,902 metric tonnes from 103,889 metric tonnes in 2015. Production of sweet potatoes is forecast to increase by a whopping 95.96 per cent to 231,882 metric tonnes from 118,330 metric tonnes. Production of mixed beans is forecast to decrease by 10 per cent to 45,451 metric tonnes from 50,398 metric tonnes.

Sir, production of Virginia and Burley tobacco is forecast to reduce by a huge margin of 36.7 per cent and 6.47 per cent respectively to 12,540 metric tonnes and 6,476 metric tonnes respectively. The decline in production of tobacco is partly due to poor marketing arrangements for the crop last season. To date, some tobacco farmers have still not been paid for the crop they sold to some marketing companies last year. Let me seize this opportunity to issue timely advice to tobacco marketing companies that the Government will not take kindly to such arrangements where farmers are not paid in good time.

Mr Speaker, production of sorghum is forecast to increase by 73.6 per cent to 14,107 metric tonnes from 8,123 metric tonnes. This increase is partly as a result of processing companies offering an attractive price for the crop to our farmers. On behalf of the Government, I would like to commend this diversification effort and urge farmers to grow drought-tolerant crops such as sorghum.

Mr Speaker, production of soya beans is forecast to increase by 18.19 per cent to 267,490 metric tonnes from 226,323 metric tonnes last season. It is heartening to report that the national yield rate for soya beans has increased by 5.01 per cent. The area on which soya beans has been planted also increased by 12.5 per cent. I am particularly pleased that production of soya beans by our small and medium-scale farmers has increased by 69.2 per cent to 65,304 metric tonnes, in the 2015/2016 Agricultural Season, from 38,595 metric tonnes last season.

This significant increase underscores the Government’s policy to support the local oil seed sector and reduce on the importation of edible oil products. This also indicates that the Government’s policy of crop diversification is bearing fruit.

Mr Speaker, I would like to thank our farmers for this laudable effort and encourage them to continue increasing the hectrage under oil seed crops such as soya beans and sunflower. This will enable Zambia to become self-sufficient in edible oil and increase investment in value-addition.

Sir, according to the crop forecast survey results, national cassava flour equivalent production for the 2015/2016 Agricultural Season has been forecast to decrease by 10.3 per cent to 854,393 metric tonnes as compared to 952,847 metric tonnes of cassava flour equivalent produced during the last season.

Sir, the wheat crop for the 2015/2016 Agricultural Season is currently being planted. However, preliminary estimates indicate that the country is likely to increase its wheat production this season as compared to last year’s season. As at today, the country has 156,555 metric tonnes of carryover stocks of wheat. Wheat requirements have been estimated at 395,000 metric tonnes for the entire period 2016/2017. A detailed estimate for the anticipated wheat production for the 2016/2017 Agricultural Season will be provided later in the season.

Mr Speaker, I am glad that in general, the productivity of Zambian farmers has gone up this year as compared to last year. As already stated, the yield rate for many crops has increased in the 2015/2016 Agricultural Season as compared to last year. The general increase is mainly due to the following factors:

(i) despite the erratic onset of rains, the country generally experienced favourable rainfall from January to early April, 2016. This resulted in better-than-expected yields for most crops;

(ii) the relatively good distribution of rainfall which characterised the season between January and early April also resulted in improved planting for crops that are planted after maize;

(iii) the introduction of the Electronic (e) Voucher System by the Government in thirteen districts gave farmers a choice of inputs to purchase in line with farming systems that are appropriate to their location and local weather patterns. This has had a positive impact on the productivity of our farmers;

(iv) the adoption of conservation farming practices by our farmers has also had a positive impact on productivity and, ultimately, production;

(v) the resilience and hard work of our farmers despite challenging weather conditions has also had a positive impact on production; and

(vi) the timely delivery of inputs by the Government in the 2015/2016 Agricultural Season also enabled our farmers to achieve improved yields.
Mr Speaker, let me now move to maize. This year, maize production is forecast to increase to 2,873,052 metric tonnes from 2,618,221 metric tonnes in the 2014/2015 Agricultural Season. This is an increase of 9.73 per cent. The national average yield rate for maize has also increased to 2.1 metric tonnes per hectare from 1.7 metric tonnes per hectare last season. This represents an increase of 20.14 per cent. Small and medium-scale farmers have recorded an average maize yield rate of 2.03 metric tonnes per hectare while large-scale farmers have recorded an average maize yield rate of 5.05 metric tonnes per hectare.

Sir, despite the increase in total maize production, I would like to inform the House that the area on which maize was planted and some other crops has decreased as compared to last season whereby the area under maize decreased by 8.66 per cent to 1,364,977 hectares in the 2015/2016 Agricultural Season from 1,494,451 hectares last season. As compared to last season, the usage of fertiliser on maize by farmers decreased by 22.5 per cent in 2015/2016 Agricultural Season. The percentage of farmers using fertiliser and hybrid seed, however, increased in part due to the increase in the quantity of fertiliser and seed distributed by the Government, through the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), and the recently launched e-Voucher System as well as the continuing extension efforts to improve crop production management practices.

Mr Speaker, let me now turn to the national food balance sheet for the 2016/2017 Marketing Season. The figures based on the crop forecasting survey showed that the country has produced sufficient maize for both human consumption and industrial use. I would like to repeat this. The national food balance sheet for the 2016/2017 Marketing Season, based on the crop forecasting survey, shows that Zambia has produced sufficient maize for both human consumption and industrial use.

Sir, as already stated, total maize production in the 2015/2016 Agricultural Season has been estimated at 2,873,052 metric tonnes. The country has a maize carryover stock amounting to 667,524 metric tonnes as at 1st May, 2016. Of this amount, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is holding 360,648 metric tonnes; the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) is holding on to 207,771 metric tonnes; the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) is holding 36,701 metric tonnes and small and medium-scale farmers are holding 38,751 metric tonnes. When the maize carryover stock from last season is added to the maize production for the 2015/2016 Agricultural Season, the total supply of maize available for the 2016/2017 Marketing Season is 3,540,577 metric tonnes.

Sir, the food balance sheet shows that the total maize required for the current population for human consumption, industrial use and other commitments amounts to 2,887,810 metric tonnes. The total maize requirements include an anticipated strategic reserve stock of 500,000 metric tonnes to be held by the FRA.

Sir, when the total maize requirements are subtracted from the total maize availability, the food balance sheet indicates that Zambia has recorded a maize surplus of 634,681 metric tonnes. In the next two days, my ministry will undertake consultative processes with all relevant stakeholders to discuss the marketing modalities for the 2016/2017 Marketing Season. This consultation is especially necessitated by the fact that the SADC region has experienced a deficit in maize production. Zambia is one of the few countries that are expected to record a surplus. The country is expected to have numerous requests to export maize into the region. After consultations with the various relevant stakeholders, I shall present to the Cabinet, for its approval, the marketing arrangements for the 2016/2017 Marketing Season and, with your permission, I shall come to announce the marketing arrangements to the nation, through this House, sometime early next week.

Mr Speaker, as some of you may be aware, the Government has operationalised the Agricultural Credits Act of 2010. This mandated the Zambian Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) to manage the warehouse receipt system on behalf of the Government. This system means that farmers who deposit maize and other commodities for storage with ZAMACE can use their stored crop as collateral and borrow against it or discount against the receipts. The following locations have been certified by ZAMACE to receive grain, based on the ZAMACE market-driven grades and standards for the 2016/2017 Agricultural Season:

(i) Mkushi;

(ii) Mpongwe;

(iii) Kapiri Mposhi;

(iv) Kabwe;

(v) Lusaka;

(vi) Petauke; and

(vii) Katete.

Sir, the above certified locations offer a combined total storage space of 400,000 metric tonnes under the warehouse receipt system. Applications for certifications are being considered and more locations will be added to this list. As such, I would like to urge farmers to use the ZAMACE platform for marketing their commodity rather than selling to those who shall give them low prices.

Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Government, let me conclude by, once again, commending our hardworking farmers for their optimism. Even when they were discouraged by the weather and antagonists, they still went ahead and took that very important decision to plant the seed, to plant their hope. I would also like to commend the out-grower schemes, agro-dealers and many other players in the agriculture sector for their hard work and effort this season. It is only on their account and the good pragmatic policies of their Government that, once again, Zambia is food secure. I would like to urge them to perform even better in the next agricultural season because we certainly have started the journey to becoming the food basket of the region.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, I want to start by congratulating the hon. Minister his continued diligence in briefing the House on what is happening in the agriculture sector.

Sir, the hon. Minister has informed this House that he anticipates surplus production of 634,681 metric tonnes of maize above our domestic and industrial use. This surplus is probably destined for export and he has said he is engaged in discussions with stakeholders.

Mr Speaker, my question arises from the fact that very few countries or no country has become wealthy from exporting raw materials. South Africa makes money from agriculture because it processes agricultural products before exporting them. What concrete measures is the hon. Minister putting in place for us, as a country, to export this maize as processed material, that is, mealie meal, to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe? Exporting mealie meal will certainly generate a lot of jobs in milling plants and multiply the value of maize by probably ten times. What tangible arrangements are the hon. Minister of Agriculture and his counterpart from the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry making on how we can make real money out of this maize?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I take cognisance of the fact that each time my hon. Colleague asks questions, they are pointed at value adding.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Continue, hon. Minister. There is just some mishap somewhere.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, earlier this year, I mentioned to the House that the milling capacity in Zambia was increasing. This time last year, I indicated that the milling capacity was mostly concentrated along the line of rail and that the rural areas did not have sufficient milling capacity. As a result of the good, pragmatic policies of this Government, we have seen the emergence of new milling plants across the country. Currently, there is a study that is being carried out by a partner of the Government, the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI). This study will indicate to us whether, indeed, Zambia has exceeded the required milling capacity for local consumption. Once that is ascertained, certainly, as we decide on how to proceed with the export of maize, we shall factor that in because we cannot, for instance, stop people from exporting maize if we are not sure about our capacity to mill. The first responsibility we have is to ensure that our milling capacity is sufficient to feed the local market before we can encourage mealie meal to be exported. This is something that we are working on and I am sure that the next time I come to report, we will have received the findings of the IAPRI and I will be able to inform the nation accordingly.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Musonda (Kapiri Mposhi): Mr Speaker, the last time the hon. Minister gave a report here, an ultimatum was given to him to resign if the country did not produce enough food in this farming season. Is he going to resign?


 Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, yes, there was talk both in and outside Parliament by a few people that I was misinforming the nation about the food security of the country. It was said that contrary to the crop forecast, I would be shocked to find insufficient food and that if that was the case, I should resign. I accepted the challenge in this House that, indeed, if by June, 2016, there was not enough food in Zambia, I would willingly resign.

However, I did also say that in the most likely event that there was sufficient food, would those who were asking me to resign also willingly declare themselves people who are bent on telling half-truths for the sake of winning cheap political mileage?


Mr Lubinda: This is what I said.

Sir, I am glad that I have been vindicated. To answer the question, there will not be any food shortage. So, time has come for those who were asking me to resign to own up too. Can they now accept that they are bent on telling the Zambian people half-truths for one purpose only and that is, to win very cheap political mileage. They are complete rumour mongers who say things that are totally baseless and I hope that, as politicians, they will learn from this and tell the truth all the time.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for updating the House on our food security.

Sir, there is a maize surplus and the hon. Minister indicated that whereas Zambia has a surplus, our neighbouring countries have a deficit. According to the rules of supply and demand, when there is surplus, the price of a commodity goes down because there is excess supply and where there is deficit, the price of a commodity goes up because there is less supply and more demand.

Mr Speaker, in the likely event that maize is be exported, contrary to the very good suggestion by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mbala, are we going to see a situation where the price of maize and the cost of food in this country going down and the price of maize exported to neighbouring countries, who have a deficit, going up? I would also like to find out who determines these prices.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, having talked about the forces of supply and demand, I thought the hon. Member for Luena would also know how prices are fixed. These prices are regulated internationally, depending on the supply and demand of commodities. Supply and demand is what dictates the regional prices in the sub-region too.

Mr Speaker, I have stated before that Zambia is not insulated from the regional market. The mere fact that we will have sufficient maize when the whole sub-region has a shortfall means that the demand for our commodity will increase tremendously. This will have a push effect on the price of the commodity because the whole market will compete for the maize that is only available in Zambia and a few other countries. Should the price of maize in Zambia increase, our priority will be the Zambian people and this is why I said that I am going to consult with various stakeholders and finally go to the Cabinet to seek approval on the marketing arrangements to make sure that our first responsibility towards Zambians is met. 

Mr Speaker, I would also like to clarify one thing because there has been a lot of very careless and loose talk on the price of mealie meal. Admittedly, the price of mealie meal in Zambia is higher than what people would have wanted it to be. Zambians would have certainly wanted to pay K45 for a 50 kg bag of maize or K40 for a 25 kg bag of breakfast mealie meal. However, this is not the reality if we consider the cost of production of maize itself. Mealie meal cannot be sold at K45.

Sir, I would also like people to know that because of the prudent decisions of this Government, the people in Zambia are paying K1,700 per tonne of maize from the FRA, whereas in our neighbouring countries, they are paying as much as K3,800 per tonne. Whereas mealie meal in Zambia is selling at K75, K85 or K95 for a 25 kg bag of breakfast meal, across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), people are paying US$40 per 25 kg bag, which is more than K400. Our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe and Malawi are paying as much as K300 and K250 for a 25 kg bag of mealie meal, respectively. In this country, however, because of the Government’s decisions, people are paying the regulated price of K75 for a 25 kg bag of mealie meal.

In future, this Government will consider all these factors and ensure that mealie meal is affordable for the people and that the producer price that is paid to farmers is one that is attractive for them to continue to invest in agriculture. Farmers are not only going to produce for the sake of the urban consumers, but also for profit. It is the duty of this Government to ensure that we use agriculture to alleviate poverty amongst the producers of food.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chishimba (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, it is a fact that the northern part of this country has always had a good rainfall pattern. In the midst of the uncertainty in the weather pattern, at the moment, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister if his ministry has plans to turn the northern part of this country into a food basket not only for Zambia, but also for the whole region.  

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, Zambia has three ecological zones and each one of them is important and capable of producing different kinds of crops.

Over the last few years, the Northern Province has received sufficient rains for the production of maize. This does not necessarily mean that the other parts of the country cannot produce anything. They are also able to produce different crops, livestock and fisheries.

Pretty soon, I will announce the arrangements for the next cropping season when announcing our arrangements with FISP. At that stage, I shall lay on the Table of this House the strategy that this Government will try to use to capitalise on the good rainfall pattern in the northern part of the country and how it wants to also rejuvenate farming in areas that are getting arid.

I thank you.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, given the statistics by the hon. Minister that this country has enough food, why are people still hungry and dying of hunger?


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I want to thank my hon. Colleague and brother for that question.

Sir, you have guided, many times, that we should not use this House to tell fables or tales. You have always guided us to be truthful when we come to this House. My brother and colleague, as a responsible hon. Member of Parliament, would not have waited for this occasion had he heard of any person who had died out of starvation. He would have brought this to the attention of the Government, through Parliament, at an opportune time. This goes to show, as I have mentioned before, that there is a lot of careless talk about food and we should avoid it.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I have stated before that all hon. Members of Parliament have a duty to the people they represent. If there are any people who do not have sufficient food, there are three avenues to use. It takes a hardworking and brilliant hon. Member of Parliament to understand these channels. The first is to go to the FRA and ask for community sales maize, which it will happily release. The second channel is through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), under the Office of Her Honour the Vice-President. Any responsible hon. Member of Parliament, who has realised that there are some people who are starving, will quickly go to the office of the DMMU to alert it to people who have no food and the food will be made available.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Sir, the third option is to engage the private sector to deliver mealie meal to the people. To wait to create an impression that there are people who are dying out of starvation is totally unacceptable because the truth of the matter is that there is not a single Zambian who has been buried on account of starvation.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: If there is one, I would like someone to come and show us a post-mortem report indicating that the person died of starvation.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: I would like to put it on record that no one should use food to politic. The truth of the matter is that this Government, even against the difficult challenges faced by the entire SADC Region, has managed to supply food to its citizens from one season to the next without any shortfall.

Mr Speaker, we have a crop forecast for 2016 and we are going to produce 2.8 million tonnes of maize. While standing on my feet and saying we have carryover stock of 667,000 tonnes from last year’s production, ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: ... who, then, can say that we are starving? Can we, for once, use politics for the sake of developing the country and not reaping irresponsibility.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister clarify the role of the Government in this innovative modality of warehouse receipting. Will the hon. Minister also make available to hon. Members the modalities of the Zambian Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) operation in terms of the warehouse receipt.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Chipata Central is very keen on matters of development, especially in the agriculture sector. Now that he asked that question, I would imagine that it is not only he who would like to have that information and, therefore, I will make an undertaking that before the end of the week, with your permission, I shall lay on the Table information on how ZAMACE is to operate so that all my colleagues are well-informed because I depend on them to inform the farmers so that this program is a success.

Sir, I would like to thank the hon. Member for bringing that to my attention.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chansa (Chimbamilonga): Mr Speaker, Zambia is surrounded by various neighbouring countries which experienced heavy drought. Given that we are expecting them to lobby for food here in Zambia, how does the hon. Minister intend to secure food for this nation so that we do not experience a food shortage as well?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, as I indicated, our prime objective with regard to food production is ensuring national food security. We will come up with marketing modalities for maize marketing ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, the hon. Member for Chimbamilonga asked me what measures the Government would put in place to ensure that the food shortage in the sub-region does not impact negatively on us even if we have surplus maize.

Sir, I had just begun to respond that the Ministry of Agriculture is going to meet with various stakeholders to consider the maize marketing modalities for the 2016/2017 Marketing Season, which will be presented to the Cabinet for its approval. The reason for doing this is to ensure that we maintain internal food security. We have to make sure that we come up with measures that will cushion Zambian citizens from the huge demand of maize from outside. This will, obviously, be similar to what we did this year by ensuring that we control exports, if any, and also check the smuggling that ordinarily takes place when there is a short supply of a commodity in our neighbouring countries.

So, very soon, I will announce the specific measures that we will put in place. I want to assure the nation that we managed to do this over the last year and we shall, again, manage to do it going forward.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned that the price for a 25 kg bag of mealie meal in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is about K400. In Zimbabwe, it is about K300 whilst in Zambia, it is about K100 or K95. This is creating an impression that the mealie meal in our country is cheaper when, in fact, it is not. We all know that mealie meal is expensive in those countries because of low production of maize. We have been hearing that there will be a statutory instrument (SI) to regulate the price of mealie meal, which will be signed by His Excellency the President. How far is this SI and what does it intend to achieve? Will price controls like in the United National Independence Party (UNIP) era be brought back?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, this question gives me an opportunity to just reiterate what I said. The recommended price for breakfast mealie meal that is produced from the maize sold by the FRA in Zambia is K75 for a 25 kg bag. In Zimbabwe, that same bag of mealie meal is fetching as high as K300. In the DRC, it is fetching as much as US$40 or K400. In Malawi, it is fetching K250. In Zambia, yes, it may fetch K85 and, obviously, that means that the mealie meal in other countries around us is costing much more than it is costing in Zambia. That is a fact that must be acknowledged.

Sir, whether it is because the prices are higher due to a lack of the commodity in those countries is not the issue. The issue is that in Zambia, the price of the commodity is still lower than it is in other countries. That is only because this Government managed to regulate the flow of maize. Had we been a reckless Government, we would not have had the maize in the country because the total amount of maize is not enough to feed all the citizens of the region. We managed to maintain these prices because we had good policies in place. We managed to police the borders. That is how come we managed to keep the prices lower than what is obtaining in the region.

Mr Speaker, the statutory instrument (SI) that my colleague is asking for shall be published when it is ready and necessary. We cannot issue an SI just because somebody has asked for it. Sometimes, we do make statements that we will come up with an SI and the Government decides when and how to bring it about. I would like to assure my colleague that when it becomes necessary, that SI shall be published. For the time being, it is clear to the Government that there is no need for it. All I can say for now is that we are happy with what is happening on the market. We are happy that most shops are holding on to a lot of mealie meal. There is a lot of mealie meal on the market at the moment.

Sir, I have been mandated by requests by many millers who come to tell me that their warehouse are filled to the brim with mealie meal and maize bran. This means that our market is saturated. I recently issued a statement that the Government is willing to consider allowing export of mealie meal only after even the people of Mafinga and Kalabo start to buy mealie meal at the price that we recommended. Only at that point shall we agree that the millers can export. For the time being, we are very happy that most of the shops on the line of rail have all the mealie meal that is required because of the good policies of this Government.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutale (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, there has been tremendous improvement in the market as regards the availability of mealie meal, as the hon. Minister has pointed it out. What does the Government think this is attributed to?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, indeed, like I said, there is tremendous improvement in the supply of mealie meal on the market and this is due to a number of factors. The first one is that I announced that at the beginning of March, 2016, we were going to ask the FRA to increase the allocations to millers by about 20 per cent. Secondly, during this period when the crop is ready in the field, a lot of farmers do not merely depend on commercially milled mealie meal. They depend on their own crop. Thirdly, on behalf of the Government, I have to say, “well done” to the law enforcement agencies for policing our borders and curbing what had become a rampant phenomenon of smuggling. Since the security at our borders is tighter now, the incidence of smuggling of commodities has reduced, thereby increasing the quantity of mealie meal available on the market. I am sure that these millers who were complaining about having a lot of stocks will have no choice, but to start reducing prices because they have to make sure they sell their commodity.

I thank you, Sir.




419. Mr Chipungu (Rufunsa) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a) when the construction of Mupanshya/Shikabeta/Mkushi Road would commence, considering that feasibility studies had been completed;

(b) what the cause of the delay in commencing the project was; and

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

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, the feasibility studies for the Mupanshya/Shikabeta/Mkushi Road, which is a distance of 100 km, have not yet been carried out. However, the procurement of a consultant to carry out the detailed designs is currently going on and the consultancy contract will be signed during the third quarter of 2016.

Mr Speaker, it is upon the completion of the detailed designs that the process of procuring a contractor will commence. Works on the road have not delayed as they were not planned for in the 2016 Road Sector Annual Work Plan. Only consultancy services for the detailed designs have been planned for in 2016. The time frame for the works will only be known once the designs have been completed.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that the contract in question was awarded to a certain contractor who commenced the construction of a bridge on Lunsemfwa River? What is the Government going to do with the pillars that were erected along the Lunsemfwa River? Are they going to be abandoned just like that?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is right. Actually, what he is referring to are designs which were made for the bridges. Upon the completion of the designs for the bridges, a contractor was engaged to start working on them.

 I thank you, Sir.


421. Mr Chipungu asked the Minister of Justice:

(a) when magistrates would be deployed to Chinyunyu and Shikabeta Local Courts in Rufunsa Parliamentary Constituency; and

(b) what the cause of the delay in deploying magistrates to the local courts was.

The Minister of Justice (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that a local court magistrate has since been identified and will be deployed to Bunda bunda Local Court in Chinyunyu area.

Sir, a magistrate by the name of Mr Matias Phiri has been identified for Shikabeta Local Court. The Judiciary has since recognised two local court messengers and one assistant court clerk who will be deployed to the court soon.

 Mr Speaker, the cause for the delay in deploying a local court magistrate at Bunda bunda Local Court is that the position was frozen on the staff establishment, hence the interim measures, as I stated above, whilst Treasury authority is being awaited from the Ministry of Finance.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker. 

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has used the word ‘soon.’ I do not know how soon this will be. The hon. Minister may wish to know that the local people are anxious, especially that we have no chief in Bunda bunda, in particular, and a magistrate for the local court. So, you can imagine the inconvenience that my people are going through. Is it possible for the hon. Minister to indicate to the House and the people, who I believe are listening, when this deployment will happen? Is it next month, after next month or something in those lines?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, we are just dealing with the logistical arrangements for the transfer of the officers because they are being transferred from Lusaka Boma to Rufunsa. The officers are expected to be at the station in the next two to three weeks.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.




Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Provision of Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care in Maternal Health for the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 11th April, 2016.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

 Mr Lingweshi (Mangango): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. 

Mr Mufalali: Sir, based on its terms of reference as set out in the National Assembly Standing Orders, your Committee considered the Report of the Auditor-General on the Provision of Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care in Maternal Health. To better understand the audit findings and the recommendations by the Auditor-General, your Committee sought oral and written submissions from relevant stakeholders. Your Committee further toured the Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital and the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in order to follow up some issues that arose during the meetings with the stakeholders.

Mr Speaker, the Auditor-General informed your Committee that the motivation to conduct an audit on the provision of comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care in maternal health arose from, among other factors, the debates in Parliament on the adequacy of maternal health care services and the Government’s efforts to attain Millennium Development Goal (MDG) No. Five on improving maternal health and by the unacceptably high maternal mortality ratio of 591 deaths per 100,000 live births reported in the 2007 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS).

Sir, I wish to put it on record that your Committee commends the Office of the Auditor-General for conducting this particular audit, considering that Zambia has unfinished business with MDG No. Five on improving maternal health. The country did not achieve the goal whose target was to reduce the maternal mortality ration by three quarters, that is, to 162.3 deaths per 100,000 live births between 1990 and 2015. Currently, Zambia’s maternal mortality ratio stands at 398 deaths per 100,000 live births and this is still unacceptably high.

Mr Speaker, at this juncture, your Committee notes the audit findings and agrees with the recommendations by the Auditor-General. Nevertheless, I wish to highlight some pertinent issues on the subject that caught your Committee’s attention as I move this Motion.

Sir, your Committee was informed that emergency obstetric and newborn care refers to care given to women and newborn babies experiencing complications occurring during pregnancy, labour and immediately after childbirth. Your Committee further learnt that emergency obstetric and newborn care was introduced in 2006 as a strategy to accelerate the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality. This entailed that relevant health personnel were expected to undergo emergency obstetric and newborn care training to enhance their skills. However, this is contrary to what the audit revealed as, out of the 226 officers providing these services at the health facilities audited, only fifty-two officers representing 23 per cent had been trained.

Mr Speaker, your Committee is nonetheless happy to note that the Ministry of Health has started conducting the emergency obstetric and newborn care training in the nursing schools in selected provinces and the training has become part of the nursing curriculum. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the new curriculum should be implemented in all the nursing schools. In the interim, the training should be conducted for more health workers countrywide. Further, as mentioned by the Auditor-General and the stakeholders who interacted with your Committee, the emergency obstetric and newborn care training should be conducted within health facilities to make it affordable.

Sir, the audit revealed that staff that had been trained in emergency obstetric and newborn care at some institutions audited was not providing the services due to the staff rotation practice. Some stakeholders who appeared before your Committee were of the view that although staff rotation, which requires midwives and general medical doctors to work in other departments within a hospital, was good for the maintenance of staff morale, it was a factor in the misplacement of the emergency obstetric and newborn care trained staff.

Mr Speaker, your Committee learnt that the Ministry of Health had directed hospitals to stop rotating the few health workers who had been trained in emergency obstetric and newborn care to ensure skills utilisation. In this regard, your Committee commends the Ministry of Health for implementing the Auditor-General’s recommendation to re-examine the Staff Rotation Policy to provide for staff trained in emergency obstetric and newborn care to continue to practice in areas of the field’s competence. It urges the Ministry of Health to ensure that the hospitals comply with the directive to stop rotating the few health workers who have been trained in emergency obstetric and newborn care, where possible. To ensure skills utilisation, the staff should be rotated only in areas where they can continue to offer the emergency obstetric and newborn care services.

Sir, obstetricians are key medical personnel in the provision of emergency obstetric and newborn care services. This cadre of medical personnel makes important decisions in maternal health, some of which are a matter of life and death for pregnant women and their unborn or newborn babies. In light of this, the audit finding that there is a shortage of obstetricians makes sad reading. This situation is also at variance with the principle of equity of access to health care. Your Committee urges the Government to prioritise the training of the various cadre for the health sector, including obstetricians, and to distribute the available ones equitably. The Ministry of Health is further urged to seek Treasury authority to increase the staff establishment for obstetricians so that health facilities that do not have obstetricians can be allocated according to demand.

Mr Speaker, your Committee is aware that the health sector continues to face the challenge of inadequate infrastructure. This poses challenges to health service provision. In the case of provision of the emergency obstetric and newborn care services, the issue of the lack of privacy may arise in situations where the labour ward, delivery room, post-natal ward, for both normal and caesarean section deliveries, and the special baby care unit are all housed the same room. The Government has acknowledged the concerns on medical infrastructure in relation to the appropriateness and the location of delivery rooms in its National Health Strategic Plan 2011-2015. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government expands and modernises existing infrastructure, where possible. The Government should further build more infrastructure, especially in rural areas, for the provision of emergency obstetric and newborn care services.

Sir, monitoring a programme such as the emergency obstetric and newborn care is necessary for determining whether the programme is accomplishing its goals. On this basis, your Committee is concerned that the health facilities audited and their provincial medical officers did not have any guidelines showing the requirement to use the United Nations (UN) process indicators used to assess and monitor the Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Programme. Your Committee, however, notes that the Ministry of Health has commenced the process of developing the guidelines and customising the UN process indicators and, therefore, urges the ministry to expedite the process and ensure that the guidelines are disseminated to the relevant staff.

Mr Speaker, your Committee is disappointed that the Ministry of Health has been implementing a programme for almost ten years without any monitoring of how it has been performing, and evaluation of its impact. Allow me to reiterate that monitoring and evaluation of any programme is important for assessing its performance. An evaluation is also what informs decisions on whether to terminate, redesign or continue implementing a programme. Your Committee wonders how quality control can be assured and whether value for money being spent on the programme can be ascertained in the absence of a monitoring plan for the Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Programme. In this regard, your Committee recommends that the Ministry of Health develops and implements a monitoring plan for the Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Programme. Further, the Government should undertake an evaluation of this programme to determine its impact on improving maternal health in Zambia.

Sir, your Committee was motivated to undertake a tour of the Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital, following a report by the hospital that it had created a special baby care unit or Neonatal Ward in line with the Auditor-General’s recommendation that adequate infrastructure be provided. Your Committee observed that there is inadequate space and incubators in the n
Neonatal Ward which poses a serious challenge to effective service provision. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the Ministry of Health considers creating an alternative neonatal ward with adequate space for more babies and ensure that more incubators are procured.

Mr Speaker, let me end by commending the Auditor-General once more for conducting this performance audit. In the spirit of improving maternal health and ensuring that no woman dies while giving life, …

Ms Imenda: Hear, hear!

Mr Mufalali: … your Committee urges the Executive to take action on the recommendations contained in your Committee’s report and that of the Auditor-General.

In conclusion, I wish to record your Committee’s indebtedness and gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for according it the opportunity to scrutinise the Auditor-General’s Report on the Provision of Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care in Maternal Health. I would also like to thank all the stakeholders who appeared before your Committee and contributed to the process of scrutinising the report. Gratitude also goes to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services rendered to your Committee.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

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

Mr Lingweshi: Now, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lingweshi: Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to second the Motion for the House to adopt the Committee’s report on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Provision of Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care in Maternal Health. I also thank the mover of the Motion for the able manner in which he has highlighted the pertinent issues contained in your Committee’s report.

Sir, the provision of comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care services entails that essential medical equipment be available for the efficient and effective management of obstetric and neonatal emergencies. This equipment requires proper servicing and maintenance in order to prolong the lifespan. However, the audit revealed that some of the health facilities audited had broken down essential equipment. Your Committee laments the non-maintenance of the much-needed equipment for the provision of comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care services and recommends that the Ministry of Health prioritises the maintenance of hospital equipment. Your Committee further recommends that the Ministry of Health resources the relevant equipment for the provision of comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care services.

Mr Speaker, your Committee learnt that the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) provides more services than it should, as a specialist hospital. This could be attributed partly to the challenges of the referral system as so many citizens refer themselves to the UTH for various reasons. However, your Committee observes that the financial allocation to the UTH is inadequate and does not commensurate with the services it provides. In this regard, your Committee recommends that the hospital be funded adequately and consistently.

Sir, your Committee observed that the dialysis machines at the UTH’s Renal Unit are not adequate to cater for the number of clients suffering from kidney-related complications that seek services at the hospital. This has resulted in the hospital reducing the number of sessions or shortening the length of a session for chronic patients whenever the unit receives acute emergency cases.

Your Committee is of the view that this may compromise the quality of the services. Therefore, in order to ensure that the quality of the services provided by the Renal Unit is maintained, your Committee urges the Government to procure more dialysis machines.

Sir, with regard to the Radiology Department, its importance cannot be over emphasised. The department provides various specialist radiological services. Unfortunately, the department is understaffed. Your Committee was informed that there were only two consultants against an establishment of ten. In this regard, your Committee recommends that the Ministry of Health urgently trains more consultants needed to provide services in the Radiology Department.

Mr Speaker, the constant breakdown of the Computed Tomography (CT) scanner at the UTH Radiology Department is a source of great concern to your Committee. During its tour of the UTH, your Committee noted that the Radiology Department has only one CT scanner. This puts pressure on the equipment resulting in its constantly breaking down. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the Ministry of Health buys more CT scanners for the UTH in order to relieve the pressure on the only available scanner and provide quality scanning services.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you, on behalf of the members of your Committee, for allowing us to serve on your Committee. I further wish to thank the members of your Committee for giving me an opportunity to second this important Motion.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, in supporting your Committee’s report that was ably moved by the mover and seconded by the seconder, I would like to just say a few observations.

Sir, firstly, it is commendable that the Auditor-General carried out a performance audit on one of the most important performance indicators of health provision in any country, which is the care of the mother and neonate.

Mr Speaker, as has already been stated in the report, the Ministry of Health has its own internal mechanisms at various levels to monitor the delivery or performance of its services. However, the question is: Do such self-internal monitoring and evaluation services create a sense of urgency for various institutions to improve on their performance?

Sir, there is a need for the seven aspects that constitute basic emergency of neonatal care to be improved upon. Such services are the ones available in the majority of our health institutions. However, comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care is confined to major institutions starting from the first, second and, of course, tertiary levels. These are institutions that are under pressure, as we have read in your report that measures of training need to be increased and also that trained staff need to be retained to do what they were trained for.

Mr Speaker, these measures are important. However, I would like to state that if these are not improved upon, it is like mopping the floor while the tap is open. As long as we do not improve on the provision of the long-lasting family planning services, as we are aware, we shall continue to have teenage pregnancies and child marriages. This is where we have the largest number of complications such as prolonged labour, complications of ruptured uteri and fistulae that develop.

Therefore, Sir, whereas it is commendable that there are promises to improve on training, retention of staff and recruitment, there is a need to request for Treasury authority. Hence, before the ministry reaches this level, as it is said, prevention is better than cure. There is a need to educate teenagers about neonatal complications and family planning services, then, we will have less of these young mothers or neonates not developing complications and dying if they have spaced children and, of course, getting pregnant at the right time.

Sir, with increased infrastructure development, there is definitely an urgent need to manage and provide human resource service in the health plan so that the Treasury can authorise the employment of this special cadre that will look after our neonates and mothers.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

The Minister of Health (Dr Kasonde): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to respond to this important report on the subject of great importance to the country as a whole, namely comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care.

First of all, allow me to thank the mover, Hon. Mufalali, and to note with satisfaction that it was in his constituency that only a week ago, His Excellency the President opened a centre which is going to be a centre of excellence in the training of nurses and midwives.

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Dr Kasonde: Therefore, evidence of the extent to which this Government is already responding to the many issues that have been raised is before us.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, let me also thank those who have made contributions to this issue, the seconder and the hon. Member of Parliament for Mumbwa. I think that the points they have raised are all important. Perhaps, we are able to summarise by saying that the issues of human resource, infrastructure and equipment seem to dominate this discussion.

However, before commenting specifically on those, let me first also appreciate the comment by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mumbwa regarding the causes of the kind of difficulties that we might have with maternal neonatal care in the general and central hospitals. Yes, it must be appreciated that by the time obstetrics is practiced in the central and general hospitals, we are dealing with those who have travelled a long distance and who, therefore, must be provided with support at a much earlier stage. We are dealing with difficulties of transporting those people to institutions that are central or general and with issues of what we actually do in those central and general hospitals. These are the components.

Mr Speaker, we can, at least, say that as far as taking health care closer to the people is concerned, the health posts have now become part of the Government of the Patriotic Front’s (PF) network.

However, in terms of transport, the road works done by the PF have become the reason for the easier access, which we can expect. Further, the Modernisation Programme, which I have recently talked about, is, therefore, a final stage in the care of the mother and new born. Let me now look at those three issues.

As regards human resource, let us admit that we have had a problem of producing nurses, particularly midwives. However, let me assure the hon. Members that in this regard, we are proceeding according to our Human Resource Development Programme (HRDP) in such a way that it is true the final issue is not so much of the human resource as of the funding for that human resource.

Sir, secondly, there is the issue of equipment. I did address this House on the extent to which we, as a Government, have gone to recognise the importance of appropriate equipment for appropriate care. This is an investment that we have taken seriously and made a major contribution towards.

Finally, the issue of funding is of interest not only to the Government, but also to Parliament as a whole. I think that this House knows that it has a responsibility to allocate priorities. When the hon. Member refers to priorities of funding, it is those priorities that have been set in this House, and which may be reset again by this very House.

Mr Speaker, the assurance that we can give is the commitment of this Government to the improvement of maternal health care to the extent that at the same time that this Committee was doing its excellent work, there was already a survey of some thirty-three centres across the country to assess the need for a new initiative for improving maternal and neonatal health care. There was already contribution coming from the European Union in support of this to the extent of US$52 million and the World Bank has also come forward. We believe that this is a recognition of the importance of this programme. We, as a Government, have gone ahead to prepare new strategies using the resources that we have now been given. I have no doubt that the priority that we are giving to maternal and neonatal health now will show results which we can afford to be proud of.

Mr Speaker, I thank the contributors the debate on this Motion and I thank you.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, I want to thank the seconder of the Motion. I also want to thank Hon. Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo for the enlightened contribution he made to the debate on our report. Further, I thank the hon. Minister of Health for acknowledging what is in the report.

I thank you, Sir.

Question put and agreed to.





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

Sir, the object of the Bill is to amend the Local Government Act so as to facilitate the payment of salaries for principal officers and officers of the council from the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF).

Mr Speaker, the councils have, for a long time, been unable to provide feasible services to the community. This is due to the fiscal challenges arising from inadequate revenue bases and inadequate Government support. In this vein, councils were also not up to date in payment of salaries and other obligations. Hence, an amendment was made to the Local Government Act Cap. 281 of the Laws of Zambia to allow for the establishment of the LGEF to provide supplementary flow of revenue to councils to enable them to implement developmental programmes.

Sir, from August, 2012, before the LGEF was introduced, on one hand, the Government was paying salaries for all council officers using the Salary Support Grant while on the other hand, services were provided using the local government revenues and grants from the Government. This was an imbalance as officers were being paid for not fully providing services to the communities in which the councils operated.

Mr Speaker, the LGEF was, therefore, introduced through an amendment of the Local Government Act to provide support for service provision as well as payment for salaries for officers in councils. However, in amending the Local Government Act, Section 45(3)(h) was deleted. This particular section of the Act dealt with support towards payment of salaries for council officers. In view of the deletion mentioned, the use of the LGEF was tied to meet functions of the councils that foster service delivery without subsidiary issues such as support towards payment of salaries for council officers being considered.

Sir, as I have already stated, the LGEF was introduced to support the fiscal decentralisation and to form part of the several strategies that were designed to have a comprehensive Inter-Governmental Fiscal Architecture (IFA), which is built to reflect stability, predictability and accountability so as to encourage proactive planning in councils for improvement of service delivery.

Mr Speaker, the LGEF would be difficult to manage without consideration of remuneration for officers in councils who manage and implement the fund. As mentioned earlier, the councils are coming from a background of delayed or non-payment of salaries due to an inadequate revenue base and unpredictable revenues. Therefore, in the event that the state of affairs is left like that of the LGEF, this will create a situation where the fund will be prone to abuse.

Sir, this Bill has been presented before this House so that it considers the re-instatement of the section which will allow payment of salaries to council staff through an amendment submitted. The deletion of Section 45(3)(h) due to the amendment created a challenge on councils regarding the use part of the LGEF to pay salaries to officers.

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to know that to effect the decentralisation system of the Government by devolution, additional functions to councils need to be financially supported to enable local authorities to perform these functions effectively. Therefore, there is a need to amend this piece of legislation to introduce a section in the Local Government Act that will facilitate for payment of salaries to council officers.

Sir, the Local Government (Amendment) Bill No. 11 of 2016 will re-introduce a section which will provide a component of salary grants within the LGEF to enhance service delivery and support capital projects.

Mr Speaker, further, the introduction of the said section in the Local Government Act will remove the pressure exerted on councils, as the case is now, to raise funds locally to meet payments for salaries. Above all, the amendment will, on one hand, result in less labour turnover and increase retention of skilled manpower in local authorities. On the other hand, councils will invest in local development programmes.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, the Bill whose second reading is being moved today was referred to your Committee by the House on 26th April, 2016. The Bill’s object is to amend the Local Government Act, Cap. 281 of the Laws of Zambia, in order to facilitate the payment of salaries of principal officers and officers of councils from the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF). Your Committee wishes to state, from the outset, that it welcomes the proposed amendment to the Local Government Act.

Mr Speaker, in scrutinising the Bill, your Committee requested written submissions and oral input from various stakeholders. While noting the background information and the concerns of stakeholders, your Committee observed that the amendment frees the Government from the responsibility of paying salaries of principal officers and officers of the council, as earlier provided for under the Local Government (Amendment) Act No. 6 of 2010.

Mr Speaker, this huge responsibility is being placed on the councils, which currently have no control over human resource. Your Committee observed that the control of human resource in councils is placed with the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC). Your Committee, therefore, recommends enhanced communication and close consultation between the councils and the LGSC before the implementation of any changes concerning human resource in councils.

Sir, your Committee observed that although the LGEF is predictable, it is not sufficient to meet all the assigned functions of councils. Your Committee recommends that local authorities be continuously reminded of the fact that the fund is supplemental to other sources, which include local revenue sources and grants.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, allow me to express my gratitude to you for affording your Committee the opportunity to scrutinise the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2016. May I also thank all the stakeholders who submitted written memoranda and subsequently appeared before your Committee to give oral evidence. My appreciation also goes to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the able manner in which they rendered their services to your Committee.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on this very short Bill, whose objectives have been spelt out by the Acting hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing. I support this Bill, but would be very comfortable if the hon. Minister states the meaning of ‘principal officer’ and ‘officer of the council’, as enshrined in the Local Government Act. According to Cap. 281 of the Laws of Zambia:

“"officer", in relation to a council, means a person employed in the permanent establishment of a council, and includes a person appointed on probation in such establishment;

"principal officer" means the Chief Executive Officer of a council and includes any person, for the time being, discharging the functions of the Chief Executive Officer;”
Mr Speaker, in the service regulations and other conditions of service governing local government, this word ‘officer’ only refers to those from Division I to III. The council workers in Division IV, who were previously referred to as classified daily employees, have not been getting their salaries under the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF). Although this amendment has come now, there was a circular distributed to councils which authorised councils to use part of the money on payment of salaries for the senior officers and not the junior officers or unionised workers, who are the general workers of the councils.

Sir, if this amendment, therefore, is going to take into account all the employees of councils, regardless of which position one holds, including drivers, toilet cleaners and sweepers, then, I think that will be very fair. There are certain councils which, despite bringing in this amendment, will still have difficulties to raise money to pay employees. For instance, I know of councils like Mitete, which have no means of raising revenue. So, if the definition of ‘officer’ will only mean those in Division I to III, as the practice is now, then, we are still going to witness a situation where the people who do the actual work for these councils go without being paid salaries for months on end.

So, as I said earlier, I would be very glad to hear, as the hon. Minister concludes this matter, whether all the employees of local authorities are going to benefit from the LGEF. Even if that happens, we know that the biggest chunk of this fund is going towards capital projects and other services for the respective local authorities. So, if the people who do the work for councils are not paid, then, we would have not achieved anything.

Mr Speaker, when I saw the title of this Bill containing the word ‘amendment’, I wondered how many times the Local Government Act is going to be amended. If this amendment of the Local Government Act only about the LGEF, then, I would say that the person who was responsible for drafting this amendment was very lazy. When we enacted the new Constitution, this Act was amended for the second time and there are a lot of issues that require the Local Government Act to be amended from Article 151 to 164.

For instance, in the previous Local Government Act, mayors were supposed to be elected from amongst councillors. However, this time around, according to the new Constitution, mayors are going to be elected by the people in that district. The Local Government Act has not been amended to cater for that. The composition of a council has been changed through the amended Constitution.

So, at what point is the Government going to propose these amendments? According to the amended Constitution, even chiefs will sit in the councils. The Local Government Act, however, provides that chief’s representatives appointed by the chiefs are to sit in the councils, not the chiefs themselves. If we are to look at these amendments, at what point are we going to bring them, considering that we are going to have elections very soon? Are we going to have chiefs or their representatives sitting in the councils? Bringing piecemeal amendments to Parliament is laziness. It is important that when we bring amendments, we do so wholesomely so that we amend the Act wholesomely and not in piecemeal.

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutale: Question!

Mr Namulambe: There is a need for people to read the Local Government Act as well as understand the provisions in the Constitution in order to synchronise the two through amendments to the Local Government Act. Otherwise, some of the provisions in the Local Government Act are going to be ultra vires the Constitution.

Mr Speaker, there is a need for people to be proactive enough to look at the issues that should be brought to Parliament for amendment. Only the issue of salaries was chosen. What about these many other issues? The only achievement of this amendment is that there will be equitable distribution of qualified manpower in all local authorities in the country because there will be certainty of salaries. In the past, we used to have difficulties in recruiting and retaining manpower in the local government because of the lack of payment of salaries. The only mistake that has been made is to choose only one of the many amendments that are supposed to be brought before the House.

Mr Speaker, I urge this Government to bring a comprehensive Bill for amendment before we rise so as to avoid problems arises with the amended Constitution.

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

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I intend to be very brief. I would like to start by saying that I do not support this amendment because, in my view, it does not take into account the current provisions in the new Constitution.

Mr Speaker, as my colleague ably stated, the Constitution tells you the various sources of revenue for the councils. It also talks about the composition and structure of the councils. For those who have taken a bit of time to look at the Local Government Chapter, the summary of the entire Decentralisation Policy has been pushed into the Constitution and a number of those issues are well-articulated.

Sir, the Executive should take time to look at what is already there and do what needs to be done first. Otherwise, this scapegoat of an idea of trying to find money to pay salaries will not solve the problem. I think that temporarily, looking at the current Local Government Act, the Government still has avenues through which it can get money and give grants to councils to help them pay for those salaries that I know, currently, are a problem for most local authorities.

Mr Speaker, it is cosmetic to make this amendment because now we have the principal Constitution Act which is guiding us on what kind of local government structure the country is going to have. If we are not clear of what we are doing, we would opt for this shortcut. However, this shortcut will not solve the problem. In fact, I would humbly ask the Government to withdraw this amendment Bill because ...

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: ... it is not resolving the problem. I think that there is a need to go back and see that the current problem of the lack of salaries is provided for just by way of grants. Looking at the real picture, there is a need to do much more than just bringing this amendment. Otherwise, in my view, this amendment is not solving the problem.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to wind up debate on this matter. Hon. Namulambe asked who principal officers and ordinary officers are. A principal officer, as I think he knows very well, is one who runs an office as a supervisor. This category is well taken care of by the Bill together with the employees who are the ordinary officers. Most of them, I think up to about Division IV, are taken care of by the Bill.

Mr Speaker, the rest of the issues had to do with the Constitution. We agree that there are a lot of amendments, including amendments to the parent Act itself, that have to be enacted and they will be tabled. There are many of them that have to be dealt with. However, for now, we want to place priority on service delivery and ensure that staff is well remunerated. As we wait to allow the processes that take care of the amendments that will be tabled as a result of the new Constitution, we must take care of service delivery and staff. We agree with you. We are all saying the same thing. The amendments will be brought before the House very soon, but we must deal with this matter of priority at the moment.

Mr Speaker, I know that the right side of the House is in support of this Bill. For those sitting on your left, I would like to state that there is nothing controversial except that we want to place priority on this matter.

Sir, I am grateful to the Committee for the support that it has given.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!
Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.

Committed to a committee of the Whole House.

Committee on Wednesday, 4th May, 2016.


The Minister Home Affairs (Mr Mwila): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr Speaker, the Immigration and Deportation (Amendment Bill), 2016, seeks to provide for a penalty fee for persons that contravene the Immigration and Deportation Act. It has been found necessary to provide for a penalty fee in order to reduce the number of prohibited immigrants in our prisons.

Sir, our prisons are currently extremely congested. Prohibited immigrants contribute to congestion in prisons very significantly. Therefore, the proposed amendment will allow immigration officers to charge illegal immigrants penalty fees for illegal entry or stay and, thereby avoid sending the illegal immigrants to the courts of law and prisons. This measure will help decongest the prisons and bring additional revenue through the penalty fees.

Mr Speaker, I would like to urge all the hon. Members of this august House to support the proposed amendment.

I thank you, Sir.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, in accordance with its terms of reference, as prescribed in the Standing Orders, your Committee was tasked to scrutinise the impact of the Immigration and Deportation (Amendment) Bill, National Assembly Bill, No. 13 of 2016.

Mr Speaker, in order to gain an insight into the ramifications of the Bill, your Committee sought oral and written submissions from a number of stakeholders. Your Committee also felt that it was necessary to have the oral submissions from the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and others that provided the inside information.

Mr Speaker, let me point out, from the outset, that your Committee is in full support of the Bill because there is a need to streamline the Immigration and Deportation Act of 2010 in order for it to be in tandem with the amended Constitution. Further, the 2010 Immigration and Deportation Act, in its current form, has a number of areas that need to be dealt with and presented a number of administrative challenges for officers when dealing with their work. For instance, whereas Section 20(5) of the principle Act provides for a holder of a residence permit from engaging in activities such as employment and trading, your Committee feels that this should be brought in line with the current situation specified in the resident’s permit in order to effectively deal with Section 20(7). The holder of a residence permit shall have the rights, privileges, duties and obligations of a citizen, except for those rights, privileges, duties and obligations which a law or the Constitution explicitly ascribes to citizenship.

Your Committee was informed that the immigration officers who tried to effectively use Section 20(5) were challenged by Section 20(7) in their work and, therefore, faced difficulties. Therefore, your Committee welcomes the amendment to the Act.

Sir, your Committee also found it necessary to point out a few areas of concern as outlined herewith.

Mr Speaker, your Committee noted that whereas Section 18(1)(a) of the principle Act is being amended by the deletion of the words, “Or deportation” the same does not apply to Sub-section (1) from where Section 18(1) is derived. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that for the purposes of consistency, the amendment be extended to Section 18(1) and wherever applicable.

Sir, in agreeing with the stakeholders, your Committee noted that Section 56(a)(6), which is intended to deal with an immigration officer who fails to issue a receipt to an illegal immigrant after a payment has been made, appears under the marginal note, “Payment of fine without appearing in court.” Your Committee noted that this is an entirely new subject that should not be dealt with under the current note. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that a stand-alone section possibly under the marginal note, “Immigration officer failing to provide a receipt for payment made” be created in order to clarify this area.

Mr Speaker, your Committee further observed that whereas the provision to allow a person who has committed an offence under the Immigration and Deportation Act, has admitted it and is willing to pay a fine without the need to appear in court might help to decongest the prisons, it might also be a recipe for corruption, particularly considering that persons committing this sort of offence have a propensity for committing white collar crime. In this regard, your Committee recommends that care be taken to ensure that the provision does not exacerbate another form of crime.

In conclusion, your Committee wishes to express its gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for giving it an opportunity to scrutinise the Immigration and Deportation (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Your Committee also wishes to thank the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the support rendered to it throughout its deliberations. Your Committee is indebted to all the witnesses that appeared before it for their co-operation in providing the necessary materials that were used.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, I would like to commend your Committee for the recommendations that it has made even though I would have loved to hear what this penalty fee would be. I support this amendment and want to urge the Executive to ensure that it is implemented.

Mr Speaker, there are so many illegal immigrants roving around Zambia and finishing our mealie meal.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Namulambe: There are so many illegal immigrants.

Here in Lusaka, when you go to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) market, you will find tuntembas.

Mr Speaker: What does that mean?

Mr Namulambe: Makeshift shops. This is the place where women usually go to plait the famous “Masai” hairdo. You will find three men, who do not even have papers, holding your wife while plaiting her hair.


Mr Speaker: What is the issue?


Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, there must be a follow-up by immigration officers. Many a times we harass those that came in legally, but have overstayed and leave out the ones who enter the country illegally.

Prof. Nkandu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, as you know, I rarely rise on points of order.

Hon. UPND Members: Aah!

Prof Luo: However, as Minister of Gender, I have been compelled to raise this point of order. Is the hon. Member of Parliament who is debating in support of the Bill in order to come to this august House to demean his wife when these men also plait men’s hair? Is he in order to come to this House and demean his wife, and not talk about his fellow men?
I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Mr Speaker: My ruling is simple. Let us try to be relevant to the issue. This is why I asked what the issue was.


Mr Speaker: Focus on the issue, hon. Member.

Mr Mwale: Holding the wife. 

Mr Speaker: Focus on the issue. This strikes me as an amendment where there is unanimity. Let us see how far we go with the debate even though we seem to be agreed.

Continue, hon. Member.

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, maybe, the hon. Minister is a client of those illegal immigrants.

Mr Speaker: No.


Mr Namulambe: Sir, I was saying that this fee must be imposed on those people who have illegally entered Zambia to plait our women’s hair. They are illegal immigrants. If they can raise revenue through plaiting of hair, they can afford to pay that fee. The officers must follow them up. People have entered this country for a lot of issues, some of which are criminal activities.

There was one area I went to in Garden Compound … Inkoloko tailebomba apo. Yaleka.


Mr Namulambe: I went to this area in my Land Cruiser. People must have thought that I was a police officer or, perhaps, the Flying Squad because they ran away. When I asked one of the people who was familiar with the area why these people had run away, he told me that all those that had run away were foreigners. I, then, communicated to the authorities about the presence of illegal immigrants. So, much as we would want to decongest our prisons through the imposition of this fee, there is a need to conduct clean-ups to remove these people from these places such as the one I have cited.

Mr Speaker, Ndeke Township in Ndola is full of illegal immigrants. Unless what is being said is that the imposition of this fee is meant to be a fundraising venture for the Government, then, it is fine. However, if it is to deter illegal immigrants from entering Zambia, the Government has to make sure that interest is not only placed on this fee, but it also has to be ensured that these people are reported and deported. There are so many of them. Our interest must not only be in the fee they should pay because what next after they pay the fee? Will these people be left to stay or will they pay the fee and be deported? These are questions that the hon. Minister should answer. Will these people be charged a penalty fee for entering Zambia illegally and be left to stay or will they be charged and deported? 

Mr Speaker, it is very difficult to enter other countries even when we have passports. Zambia, however, is free for all. It is too peaceful a country, hence people find it very easy to enter. Some of them even obtain national registration cards (NRCs) using the local people.

Mr N. Banda: Yes!

Mr Namulambe: You will find a person known as Mugubudu in his or her country changing his name to …

Mr Mwewa: Gabriel Namulambe!

Mr Namulambe: … Mutelo.  


Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, we have to ensure that even the people who issue NRCs scrutinise the people that they give these national documents to, otherwise we will legalise the stay of people who come to Zambia illegally. Some of them even become very conversant with our languages to the extent that you would think one is Lozi or Lamba when they converse in these languages when they are not.

Sir, as much as we are trying to impose this penalty fee, let us ensure that the other ways of stopping illegal immigrants from entering the country are also implemented. Officers must also resist being corrupted. These penalties that we intend to impose could be exorbitant and could make officers solicit bribes in exchange for allowing the illegal immigrants not to pay the fines. Let us stamp out corruption and ensure that the officers who are in charge of implementing this are corrupt free.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, I have picked three issues that Hon. Namulambe has raised. Firstly, once illegal immigrants are arrested, charged and pay the fine, they definitely have to leave the country. Secondly, on the issuance of national registration cards (NRCs), the hon. Member knows that our officers screen whoever wants to get an NRC. Thirdly, on the payment of the fine, payments will be done at the immigration offices. So, there will be no opportunity for any immigration officer to ask for a bribe. Moreover, whoever will be found seeking a bribe or whoever is reported to have sought a bribe will be disciplined.

Sir, I also want to thank the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha, for the report that he has submitted to this august House. He raised the issue of a resident’s permit under Section 20 and also the issue on the deletion of the word ‘deportation’ in Section18, which is in the principle Act. He has also raised the issue in Section 56(a) that is failure to issue a receipt. We have taken note of all these concerns raised by the Chairperson of your Committee.

I thank you, Sir.

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

Committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Committee on Thursday, 5th May, 2016.




Clauses 2 and 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Title agreed to.



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

The following Bill was reported to the House as having passed through Committee without amendments:

The High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Third Reading on Wednesday, 4th May, 2016.


The Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The Mines and Minerals Development (Amendment) Bill, 2016

Report adopted.

Third Readings on Wednesday, 4th May, 2016.




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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1814 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 4th May, 2016.


























420. Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West) asked the Minister of General Education:

(a) whether the Government had any plans to upgrade Chikenge Primary School, in Kabompo West parliamentary Constituency, to a secondary school; and

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

The Minister of General Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Government has plans to upgrade Chikenge Secondary School, in Kabompo West Parliamentary Constituency, to a secondary school.

Sir, the first step that has been taken is that of opening of a Grade 10 class this year. The Government will, at the right time in future, plan for the construction of additional infrastructure as well as the creation of payroll establishment at the school.

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to note that, for now, the focus is to ensure that Kanaji-Chilanda and Pokola Primary schools, in Kabompo, are upgraded into secondary schools.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.