Debates - Thursday, 14th April, 2016

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Thursday, 14th April, 2016

The House met at 1430 hours 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform you that, as you may already have noted, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television has been piloting the broadcasting of parliamentary debates live since 12th April, 2016. Viewers can access the broadcasts on the following dedicated channels:

(a)    112 on ZNBC decoders; and

(b)    825 on Go TV decoders.  

The broadcasts will cover all the parliamentary debates for this session. This is in our continued effort to take Parliament closer to the people.

I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!




390.    Mr Kasonso (Solwezi West) asked the Minister of General Education:

(a)    how many desks were available at Munyama Basic School in Solwezi West Parliamentary Constituency as of February, 2016;

(b)    what the shortfall of desks at the school was;

(c)    when additional desks would be procured; and 

(d)    what had caused the delay in procuring the desks.

The Deputy Minister of General Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, there were 140 double-seater desks at Munyama Basic Schools in Solwezi West Parliamentary Constituency, as at February, 2016. 

Mr Speaker, the shortfall at the school is 160 double-seater desks. 

Sir, the shortfall of desks is expected to be covered in the second quarter of 2016. 

Mr Speaker, the delay is because we are still waiting for the Ministry of Finance to release money for the procurement of the desks.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that the school has 2,250 students, which gives us a pupil to desk ratio of 15:1?

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Kasonso: What can the ministry do to alleviate this situation, which has contributed to the very poor pass rate of pupils in the North-Western Province?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, like I said, the shortfall of desks is expected to be covered in the second quarter of 2016, and we are about to enter that quarter. So, everything being equal, we will provide the 160 desks to that school. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, there are shortages of desks in schools throughout the country, including at Taferansoni School in Chadiza.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbewe: Is there a schedule for the distribution of desks to our constituencies?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, we conducted a census of desks in Zambian schools in 2012. So, we know the deficit. Suffice it for me to say that hon. Members of Parliament will be informed when the desks have been procured.

I thank you, Sir. 

Ms Sayifwanda (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, schools will open in two weeks’ time. Do we have an assurance from the Ministry of Finance that the money will have been released by then? 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the procurement of desks is ongoing. However, I cannot give a guarantee to Hon. Sayifwanda that the desks will be distributed to the schools during the time frame she has mentioned. I do not wish to mislead the House. However, I can confirm that we are committed to procuring desks and distributing them countrywide when the K76 million that was provided in the 2016 Budget is released by the Ministry of Finance.

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, ...

Mr Namulambe: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to raise this serious point of order.

Sir, in the last meeting, the availability and prices of mealie meal were debated and many questions asked on them. In one of his statements, the hon. Minister of Agriculture stated the following:

“Mr Speaker, following an outcry from the general public that the price of mealie meal in most parts of the country had escalated, the FRA was instructed by the Cabinet to sell 930,000 metric tonnes of maize to millers and communities at K85 for a 50 kg bag or K1,700 per tonne in order to stabilise the price. This was done in accordance with the Food Reserve Act (2015) of the Laws of Zambia. The agreement between the Government and the millers was that the wholesale price of a 25 kg of breakfast meal would be K70 while that of a 25 kg bag of roller meal would be K50.”

Mr Speaker, the prices of mealie meal have gone up in most of the parts of the country, with a 25 kg bag of breakfast meal going at up to K160. The cheapest I could buy this morning was at K100 in Chainda.


Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, we were told that the prices have gone up because there is inadequate maize in the country and, at some point, the export of maize was banned. Further, if you go to shops like Spar, you will find that people are restricted to buying only one bag of mealie meal, and that is making it difficult for those who have funerals to buy enough mealie meal to feed mourners. They have to get their colleagues to help them buy, at least, three or four bags. However, we have read in today’s The Post newspaper that the Government has lifted the ban on maize exports. So, while mealie meal is in short supply in the country and its prices have continued escalating, the Government has seen it fit to allow traders to export maize. Is the hon. Minister of Agriculture, therefore, in order not to update the nation on these matters? I was expecting him to issue a statement today, but I have not seen any indication of that happening.

I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that the hon. Minister of Agriculture should issue a comprehensive statement on a status quo regarding this important product to the House. Today being Thursday, I ask him to issue the statement not later than the middle of next week. 

The hon. Member for Senanga may continue.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, Munyama Basic School is in a place where one of the shameless Patriotic Front (PF) hon. Ministers was seen distributing money during the elections in September, 2016. How long has that school had 140 desks for 2,250 pupils? 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, I do not know for how long the situation has been like that. However, let me demonstrate that the PF is a caring Government. In 2012, 600,000 desks were distributed to all the provinces across the country. Like I said, the procurement and distribution of desks is an on-going exercise. So, even when we buy the new desks, we do not expect all of them to still be intact after two or three months. Obviously, some of them will be damaged. So, let me just repeat that we have committed ourselves to providing the 160 desks to Munyama Basic School. 

I thank you, Sir.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, the number of desks in most schools in this country is inadequate. Has the hon. Minister considered decentralising their procurement for purposes of speeding up the process?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, I agree with Hon. Brig-Gen. Chituwo on the benefits of decentralising the process. However, at times, that process is hampered by the huge number of desks that are procured nationally. So, the process cannot be left to the provinces. On a smaller scale, for example, using our trades training institutions to make the desks, consideration has been given to letting the provinces procure the desks.

I thank you, Sir.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has talked about the national distribution of desks. How many desks were distributed to Central Province, particularly Chibombo District? If he can, may he also indicate how many were distributed to Keembe Constituency?

Mr Speaker: If you can, hon. Minister.

The Minister of General Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, since our debates are now broadcast on national television, yes, I can.


Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the principal question was specific to Munyama Basic School, and I thank the hon. Member for Solwezi West for asking it. As for Hon. Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha’s question, we need time to check our records and come up with a reasonable answer to it.  

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the problem of inadequate desks in our schools has been a longstanding one. In fact, the hon. Minister and his Deputy have been battling with it for the past four or five years that they have been in their portfolios. 

Sir, once, the procurement of desks was decentralised, but that decision was later reversed on the pretext that the distribution would be better handled if it was centralised. Why is this Government still failing to distribute desks to places like Munyama, let alone other places like Kalomo, even after centralising the process? What is the problem?
Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, there is no issue at all for me to defend myself against. We continually procure and distribute desks. For Munyama Basic School, we have categorically stated that we will do something about the 160 desk deficit in the second quarter of 2016, subject to the release of the funds that this august House budgeted for our ministry. So, there is no controversy here, although there is always a temptation to create it. 

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I feel sorry for my brother that he has to deal with such a huge deficit of desks in the schools. That said, is he aware that the situation in Liuwa is worse than in Munyama, as the pupils there sit on logs in classrooms? If he is, what is he doing about it?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, nobody disputes the fact that we have a large deficit of desks in our schools and I do not think that we are hiding that truth in our responses. It is for this reason that we allocated K76 million for the procurement of desks. So, once this money is made available, we will take some strides towards reducing this heavy deficit. That is what we have been saying. We are not trying to trivialise the issue.

 I thank you, Sir.

 Mr Mutelo (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, we have been told that the school has 2,250 pupils and 140 desks. Is it correct to say that the shortfall is 160 double-seater desks?

Mr Mbewe: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I will get back to you, Hon. Mbewe.

Hon. Minister, please, respond.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the figure of the shortfall did not come from my ministry, but the hon. Member who asked the question. So, we have to verify whether the shortfall is 160 given that the population is believed to be that high. I cannot just answer that off-the-cuff. 

 Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister says that …

Mr Mbewe: On a point of order, Sir.

 Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I rarely rise on points of order, and I apologise to Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa for disrupting his debate. 

Sir, you just announced to the House that we are live on television and I wonder whether my uncle, Hon. Dr Phiri, is in order to answer questions while seated. I did not see him standing. 

Sir, I need your serious ruling.


 Mr Speaker: Order!

 I wonder whether you are asking that question just because we are now live on television.


Mr Speaker: Had the hon. Minister responded whilst seated, I would have certainly corrected that situation.

Continue, Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa.

Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister says that there is no controversy over the issue of inadequate desks in schools. He has also said that the problem is well known and very clear to his ministry. However, I would like to tell him that there is a controversy because the children from all over the country whom we represent in this House are very concerned about the inadequacy of desks in their classrooms. Does he, therefore, not think that the Ministry of Finance is perpetuating this problem by not giving his ministry adequate resources, and that this is where we, as hon. Members of Parliament representing the people, should come in and assist his ministry in lobbying for funding from the Ministry of Finance?

 Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I do not like controversies because it is not in my nature. 

Sir, I did not say that we have not been given due support in this area. All I said is that there is a huge deficit of desks in our schools and that we are addressing it by continually procuring and distributing school desks. That effort will be more visible in the second quarter of 2016 if the money allocated to us will be disbursed by the Ministry of Finance. So, we agree that there is a problem, but to suggest that the Ministry of Finance is not supporting us in combating it is not right because the ministry has a budget that was passed by everyone in this House. Besides, that is just politicking, which will not take us anywhere. We can philosophise all we want, but the problem will not go away. The hon. Member and the Government know that there is a problem. In fact, this problem has been there for a long time and I can assure the House that this Government has taken significant strides to meet the desk requirements in our schools. However, we cannot end it overnight because there are more schools now than before and there are many schools without adequate desks, not only Munyama Basic. Therefore, let us, together, see how we can meet the needs of boys and girls in our schools. That the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is determined to do that is very clear.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutati (Lunte): Mr Speaker, …

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

 Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, it is a well-known fact that I rarely rise on points of order.

Sir, I am not sure on whether the hon. Minister of General Education is in order to assure this House that desks will be procured when that assurance can only be given by the hon. Minister of Finance. Is he in order to mislead the House by implying that he has the capacity to assure us on the procurement of desks when he does not have the final say? 

I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that the hon. Minister indicated that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is determined to address the problem, and my understanding of the Government is that it includes all the hon. Ministers on the right. In any event, there is collective responsibility in the Cabinet. It goes without saying that all the monies budgeted for are disbursed to the various ministries by the Ministry of Finance. So, we can fairly infer that the hon. Minister is giving the assurance in concert with the Treasury. It cannot be done in any other way.

Continue, hon. Member for Lunte.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister indicated that K76 million was provided towards efforts to reduce the deficit this year. He also indicated that a national deficit assessment has been undertaken, that the deficit is colossal and that the Government is doing whatever is necessary to address it. Assuming that the K76 million is released this year, what proportion of the deficit will be reduced?  

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, indeed, the hon. Deputy Minister mentioned the amount to which the hon. Member has referred and how the ministry wants to use the money. However, he was also quick to say that the K76 million might not be the panacea to the deficit of desks in our schools. He further indicated that the procurement and distribution of desks is an on-going activity in the ministry. In this regard, we hope that we can make a difference using the sums that are appropriated to the ministry each year. This year, the situation is not the same as it was last year, but it is not possible for me to state the extent to which the allocated sum will help us reduce the deficit. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, when will community schools in rural areas also be provided with desks?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I was hoping that I would get your protection because that question requires my fishing around for a possible answer. So, I will just say that when we say we are procuring and distributing desks to schools, we mean all schools, including community schools. However, may I remind the House that the subject of the principal question is the deficit at Munyama Basic School in Solwezi West Constituency and that we have endeavoured to answer that question.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, we are aware that there is a deficit. However, is the hon. Minister in a position to tell us the national deficit?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the information we brought to this House concerns the deficit at Munyama Basic School. So, if the hon. Member wants to know the national deficit, he can either go to our offices or file in a new question so that we process the information he seeks, assuming that it will help in alleviating the plight of our school boys and girls.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sianga (Sesheke): Mr Speaker, the procurement of desks is one thing and their distribution to the end-users, another. In my interactions with the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS), I have come to realise that the latter is the biggest challenge because of inadequate transport facilities. When will this problem come to an end?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the challenge to which the hon. Member has referred does not apply to Munyama Basic School. We will know how to distribute the desks to the school in the second quarter of 2016. There is no administrative challenge that the ministry has failed to address because it has been distributing desks to schools for the past four years. If we come across such challenges, we will call upon the line ministries and our co-operating partners for help. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


391. Mr I. Banda (Lumezi) asked the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning:

(a)    when the Government would facilitate the repatriation of the former Lenshina followers who reside in the Kalundu Area in Lusaka West to their villages in Chama District; and

(b)    why the repatriation exercise had taken long to start when the people were willing to return to their villages.

The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Bwalya): Mr Speaker, the Office of the Vice-President is not aware of the former Lenshina followers residing in the Kalundu Area in Lusaka West. In this regard, we ask for more information about the settlers. We have since engaged the relevant institutions to facilitate investigations into the existence, number and need for repatriation of the settlers. The repatriation will only take place after the screening exercise has been concluded and the concerned chiefdoms in Chama District consulted on the availability of land to accommodate those to be repatriated.

Sir, the exercise has taken long due to our lack of information, as stated. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, history has it that the Lenshina followers had settled in Chama and Chinsali, but were moved to other areas across the country due to some problems they faced in the mid-1960s. Are those people still living in other parts of Zambia, apart from the Kalundu Area? Are they still alive after all this time?

Mr Speaker: Order!

The latter part is interesting.

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, like I said, we have engaged the relevant institutions to ascertain the existence of the settlers in the Kalundu Area. Yes, they were resettled in a number of places, especially in Chinsali, and a number of them may still be alive, including those to whom the question refers. What we mainly want to ascertain is why they want to move from where they currently are back to Chama District.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, the organisation to which those people belonged was proscribed by the then President. Therefore, it is necessary that the hon. Minister verifies whether it is still active and deal with the threat it poses.

Mr Speaker: That seems to be more of a comment than a question. Does the hon. Minister want to respond?

Mr Bwalya: No, Mr Speaker.

I thank you, Sir.




Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Choma Central Parliamentary Constituency.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Speaker: Order!

The hon. Member for Choma Central Parliamentary Constituency has a task to perform.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Proceed, hon. Member for Choma Central.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs for the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 4th April, 2016.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, during the period under review, your Committee considered the issue of the death penalty in Zambia. In tackling this subject, your Committee invited and received both oral and written submissions from various key stakeholders. In this regard, let me express your Committee’s gratitude to all the witnesses who made submissions to it for their co-operation, without which your Committee’s work would not have been successful.

Sir, allow me to highlight the key findings and recommendations of your Committee on the subject of its deliberations. 

Sir, your Committee was informed that there are three offences that attract the death penalty in Zambia in the Penal Code. These are treason, under Section 43; murder, under Section 200; and aggravated robbery, under Section 294.

Mr Speaker, there are divergent views among various stakeholders on the death penalty, its appropriateness and whether Zambia should maintain it. Some of the arguments in favour of the death penalty are that it is the ultimate deterrent against all crimes. Further, it is argued that the death penalty provides closure to the victims, as the execution of culprits engenders a feeling of relief for the victim, who no longer have to think about the ordeal, which is more often than not impossible while the murderer still lives. Another argument is that the death penalty makes society safer by permanently removing the worst criminals from it. Some people also argue that the death penalty is a cost-saving alternative to the costly long-term imprisonment of criminals. It is cheaper to execute a criminal than to imprison him or her for a long period. It is also argued by some that those who commit treason disturb justice, peace, order and individual liberties, and that they, consequently, deserve to pay a penalty commensurate with the harm that they occasion on society. It is argued that death is such a penalty.

Sir, on the other hand, a number of arguments have been advanced against the death penalty. One of them is that putting criminals to death, for whatever offence, teaches them nothing while sentencing them to life imprisonment helps them to learn from their mistakes and experiences. It is also argued that the death penalty dehumanises convicts and eliminates any chance of their rehabilitation and that capital punishment does not dissuade would-be criminals from their activities, as statistics do not show a reduction in the incidence of crimes despite the existence of the death penalty in our statutes. Yet another argument is that maintaining the death penalty is hypocritical in that the same society that denounces the practice of murder, on the one hand, essentially takes part in the killing of convicts instead of championing their right to life, on the other. 

Sir, opponents of the death penalty also contend that the methods of capital punishment are cruel, arguing that there is no humane method of putting a person to death despite what may be claimed to have been done to make executions humane. Further, it is alleged that there is a possibility of innocent people being executed after being wrongly convicted, in which case there would be no possibility of compensating the victims for such a miscarriage of justice. Notably, it is contended, whether a person is convicted for murder or manslaughter largely depends on the effectiveness of the prosecution and defence lawyers. Further, it is argued that in a country like Zambia, the poor are the more likely to be sentenced to death due to their inability to hire good defence lawyers to represent them. Yet another argument is that the death penalty is a cost-saving alternative to long-term imprisonment is not accurate, as the trials that culminate into the sentencing of a criminal to death are lengthy and complicated and, therefore, costly. 

Sir, your Committee also heard that the concept of deterrence is predicated on two key assumptions, namely that specific punishments meted out on offenders deter them from committing further crimes and that the fear of punishment prevents others from committing similar crimes. Three assumptions made in the theory of deterrence are that people know the penalties for the respective crimes, that they have control over their actions and that they think through their intentions and make decisions on to act in certain ways based on logic rather than passion. However, the three assumptions usually are not true. Therefore, although the penalty for committing murder, aggravated robbery and treason is capital punishment, people still commit these crimes. Additionally, in countries like Zambia, people are unlikely to know the penalties for crimes due to illiteracy. Your Committee also learnt that Section 303 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia, provides that when any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he or she be hanged by the neck until pronounced dead. Additionally, ...


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Mr Mweetwa: ... the Prisons Act, Chapter 97 of the Laws of Zambia, sets out other conditions for prisoners on death row, such as their confinement, the people who may have access to them and the manner in which they are executed. In this vein, it has been argued that the hanging of a person by the neck until pronounced dead violates the convict’s right not to be subjected to any form of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and undermines the dignity inherent in every human being, which is guaranteed by international human rights law.

Sir, the conditions to which death row inmates are subjected prior to execution, such as confinement; denial of access to family, other prisoners and any form of intellectual or social stimulation, along with the constant awareness of their impending execution, are also considered a form of torture. The Committee Against Torture (CAT), in its review of Zambia’s compliance with the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) in 2008, expressed concern that the conditions to which inmates on death row were subjected were so poor as to amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In particular, the committee criticised overcrowding and the amount of time spent on death row.

Mr Shakafuswa entered the Assembly Chamber.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear! Boma!

Mr Speaker: Let us have some order!

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, it is a notorious fact that Zambian prisons have been described as death traps characterised by overcrowding, malnutrition, rife with infectious diseases, grossly inadequate medical care and routine violence perpetrated on inmates by prison officers and fellow inmates, with some inmates becoming victims of rape and other forms of sexual abuse. Further, ventilation in prisons is poor and water is unclean, rationed or unavailable while the authorities do not provide soap, razors or sanitary pads for female inmates. Ablution facilities are insufficient and filthy while sewerage systems are not properly maintained, resulting in frequent blockages and spillage of effluent. Inmates on death row are not given adequate clothing and no warm clothes are provided in winter. This compromises inmates’ health and sense of dignity. As a result of these conditions, among others, there have been outbreaks of diseases, including cholera and tuberculosis (TB), in prisons. For example, in 2011, it was reported that 27 per cent of inmates were living with the human immune-deficiency virus (HIV) while the national infection rate was 14 per cent.

Mr Speaker, Zambia is party to various regional and international conventions that restrict the imposition of the death penalty to the most serious crimes and stipulate strict conditions under which executions are to be carried out. These are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. It is notable that Zambia has not ratified the optional second Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is aimed at the abolition of the death penalty. 

Sir, some stakeholders pointed out that three consecutive Presidents, namely Dr Levy Mwanawasa, SC, Mr Rupiah Banda and Mr Michael Sata, opposed capital punishment and officially imposed moratoria on executions. Similarly, the current President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, commuted 332 death sentences in July, 2015, although he has not formally imposed a moratorium on executions. On this point, it was explained that much as imposing moratoria on executions is positive action, it results in the country having a large number of inmates who spend years on death row, during which time they contribute nothing to society and do not benefit from correctional programmes. Additionally, a lot of money is spent on maintaining the inmates in prison.

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes that the debate on the death penalty is lively. In Zambia, the right to life is a fundamental one and is enshrined in the Constitution, although the Constitution does not prohibit the death penalty, but rather supports it in respect of specified criminal offences. In this regard, your Committee is of the view that the practice of Presidents not sanctioning the death penalty since 1997 despite the country retaining the penalty in its statutes makes Zambia a de facto abolitionist country. Therefore, the debate on the appropriateness of keeping the death penalty in the Constitution should be encouraged and a decision on whether to retain it in the Bill of Rights made by the people of Zambia in accordance with Article 79 of the Constitution. Your Committee further recommends that should Zambia retain the death penalty, the Penal Code be reviewed to provide for its imposition on for the most serious crimes and provide for clarity on whether the death sentence is mandatory for crimes to which it applies. Further, there is a need to review the provisions of Article 18(2) of the Constitution, which provides for the presumption of innocence in order to qualify it in the same way other rights are qualified in order to make Section 123 of the Criminal Procedure Code intra vires the Constitution. Your Committee also calls for the judicious exercise of the prerogative of mercy.

Finally, Sir, allow me to pay tribute to all the hon. Members of your Committee for their diligence and dedication to duty during the programme of work of your Committee. I would be failing in my duties if I did not also place on record your Committee’s gratitude to you for your invaluable guidance throughout the session. Your Committee also appreciates the services rendered to it by the office of the Clerk of the National Assembly.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Kapeya: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to second this Motion.

Sir, in seconding the Motion so ably moved by the Chairperson of your Committee, allow me to briefly acquaint this august House with some of the pertinent issues that your Committee encountered in following up on outstanding issues from the Action-Taken Report.

Mr Speaker, on the causes and extent of torture in Zambia, to date, Zambia has not yet criminalised torture in her penal laws despite ratifying the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Your Committee is, however, pleased to note that the Human Rights Commission (HRC) has taken a leading role in advocating for the domestication of the convention and has embarked on efforts to address the silent, yet prevalent, practice of torture in terms of incidents and the general public perception of torture in this country. This exercise has culminated in the development of an advocacy campaign strategy for the criminalisation of torture in Zambia, which seeks to pave the way for the enactment of legislation to criminalise torture. Your Committee looks forward to the presentation of such legislation to this House and encourages the Government to expedite the process.

Mr Speaker, as regards the limited mandate of the HRC, your previous Committee had recommended that the commission be empowered to prosecute cases of human rights abuses, especially acts of torture. It was reported that the commission was in the process of reviewing its enabling act, the Human Rights Commission Act, in order to enhance its mandate. In reviewing the said Act, the commission was undertaking a desk study of the mandate of other national human rights institutions, particularly those considered to be leaders in the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa, such as the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Ugandan Human Rights Commission (UHRC). Your Committee hopes that the study will inform the recommendations on the way forward for the HRC. Your Committee also hopes that the resultant amendments to the Human Rights Commission Act will empower the commission to sit as a quasi-judicial institution and make orders that will be enforceable in the same manner as a court order. This will ensure that victims of human rights violations get redress. It will also reduce the backlog of cases being adjudicated upon by the Judiciary and, in turn, promote greater protection of human rights by all duty bearers, since the commission provides free services to all people in Zambia on issues of human rights with less procedural formalities.

Mr Speaker, with regard to the administration of laws relating to elections, the Committee was pleased to learn that the Zambia Police Force, in collaboration with the HRC and the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD), commenced the training of regulating officers in the Zambia Police Force from the rank of Inspector upwards in the management of elections in line with the Public Order Act. The training, which had covered seven provinces, namely Lusaka, the Copperbelt, Central, the Southern, the Western, the Eastern and the North-Western provinces, and more than 110 officers, is ongoing. It covers topics like:         
(a)    the role and experiences of the Zambia Police Force in enforcing the Public Order Act;

(b)    the right to freedom of assembly;

(c)    the provisions of the Public Order Act; and

(d)    the role of civil society in elections.

Related to that, Mr Speaker, your Committee is of the view that the powers of the commission need to be enhanced in order for it to effectively enforce the Electoral Code of Conduct. Currently, the commission has no power to penalise erring stakeholders, for example, by disqualifying or suspending them from participating in an election.

On the handling of election results, Mr Speaker, your Committee calls upon the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to immediately inquire into and appreciate the concerns of stakeholders on this matter and address them comprehensively before the 2016 General Elections so as to avert unnecessary electoral conflicts. Further, your Committee is happy to note that the commission is exploring ways in which to transmit results electronically from the polling stations to the constituency totalling centres so as to enhance the efficiency of results transmission during the 2016 Elections.

Mr Speaker, your Committee also notes that in order to enhance voter education, the ECZ has established a Voter Education Centre at the Show Grounds in Lusaka, which is open from Monday to Friday, and Voter Education Clubs in secondary schools to enhance voter education. This is expected to help reduce, among other things, electoral violence and voter apathy. While your Committee welcomes these initiatives, it is of the view that there is an urgent need for voter education activities to cover all sections of the Zambian society and all the provinces. To this effect, your Committee calls upon the Government to provide the funding required to sustain and roll out voter education campaigns to the rest of the country.

Mr Speaker, another issue that arose from the Action-Taken Report was the review of operations of the Child Development Department. On this issue, the position of the Executive is that the Government has prioritised child development by revising the National Child Policy, which was approved on 15th June, 2015. Your Committee notes, however, that there has been no significant increase in funding of children’s programmes. That is unfortunate, and your Committee implores all stakeholders to seriously apply their collective mind and innovations in the quest to improve the levels of funding to children’s programmes in order to facilitate effective implementation.

Sir, your Committee’s report covers many other issues, including those related to judicial reforms and enforcement of the law relating to violence against women and girls. I will not belabour these points, but merely urge all hon. Members of this House and other stakeholders to find time to read this very informative report and take appropriate action.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I thank the mover and the seconder for ably moving and seconding this Motion. I am grateful that, although I am not a lawyer, I read this report because it is very important. The issue of whether to retain or abolish the death penalty, as recommended by your Committee, indeed, needs further exploration. 

Sir, the debate on the death penalty must be premised on our Constitution. How does the subsidiary legislation, vis-à-vis the Penal Code, relate to the Constitution as regards the right to life? I noted that the various arguments for retaining the death penalty seem to assume that when punishment is meted out, the offender repents. Clearly, however, when offenders are executed, they would not have the chance to reform because the act of execution is final. In this regard, I am of the view that, of the three crimes punishable by death, only murder justifies the punishment because a person who commits murder takes away the right to life of another individual. In such cases, the relatives and friends of the murder victim are reminded of the forceful taking away of the life of their loved one by another. Therefore, it is only human to feel that justice has not been served if the perpetrator does not receive similar punishment, that is, the taking away of his or her life. In cases of treason and aggravated robbery, the death penalty should only be imposed if the commission of the crimes leads to the death of a person, as has been noted by your Committee. In that case, the charge should automatically be that of murder. Yes, it can be inferred that a successful act of aggravated robbery or treason would lead to a loss of life or lives. However, can those be grounds for imposing a death penalty? My feeling is that only an actual commission of a serious crime should attract the death penalty. Aggravated robbery and treason, do not, in my view, constitute serious crimes if they do not result in a loss of life or lives. Therefore, other forms of punishment would be more appropriate for the individuals involved to reform.

Mr Speaker, the right to life has been protected in the various conventions to which we are party. If the argument for maintaining the death penalty is that it eliminates convicts and saves the State the money it spends on keeping them in our prisons, then, the State must make adequate preparation to properly look after the individuals on death row in terms of infrastructure, nutrition and health care. This, rather than the carrying out of the death penalty, must be an obligation in the dispensation of justice. 

Mr Speaker, it has been ably stated that Zambian Presidents have, by their actions, declared a moratorium on executions in the country. If that is the case, why should we keep the provisions in our statutes? In effect, we are saying that we will keep, but not implement them, which is a contradiction.

Mr Speaker, it has been universally noted, particularly in our setting, that the poor do not have the means to engage lawyers to adequately represent them in serious cases. So, more often than not, they spend more time in detention and are more likely to be convicted. In an instance where there is a wrongful conviction and an individual is executed, can one say that justice has been dispensed? The answer is no.

Mr Speaker, perhaps, our debate should concentrate on aggravated robbery and treason. These two crimes should be looked at separately from murder. Otherwise, with a commitment by the State to improving prison conditions, minimising congestion and assisting the Judiciary to carry out its job expeditiously, we can uphold the right to life even for people who commit aggravated robbery and treason.

Mr Speaker, our Presidents swear to uphold the Constitution. However, when one decides to go against the Constitution, and I stand to be corrected whether refusing to execute someone who has been sentenced to death does not constitute a breach of the Constitution, is there a remedy? The best would be to remove the provisions on the death penalty from the Constitution by amending it. 

Mr Speaker, those are the few views I wanted to share on the topical issue of whether to maintain or abolish the death penalty in our statutes.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, this report has been written at a time when cases of murder are rampant in the Capital City of Zambia. Therefore, I thank the Chairperson of the Committee for moving this Motion and the seconder for seconding it. 

Sir, it is coincidental that we are dealing with the issue of the death penalty in the wake of an increase in the number of heinous murders committed in the last fortnight. As a person who was once charged with murder, I have the experience of what we are talking about today. I have a good understanding of how those charged with murder feel because I have felt it. In Tonga, we say that “Imulula donda ulula lyamuchisa”, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: … which means that only he who had the injury can explain how painful it was. 

Mrs Mwanakatwe interjected. 

Mr Nkombo: Sir, I wish someone could stop interrupting me.

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

Please, leave that to me. 

Hon. Members, let us avoid making running commentaries. 

Mr Muntanga: Hon. Mwanakatwe.

Mr Livune: Lusaka Central Constituency aspiring candidate. 


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, you may continue. 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I have mixed feelings towards this report. On the one hand, I agree with the mover that, in many instances, when people who are less privileged are charged with murder, they may end up getting the death penalty despite being innocent because they lack legal representation. For now, I will isolate murder from the other two crimes punishable by death, which I do not think are as heinous as murder. 

Mr Livune rose on a point of order. 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 I will not allow points of order because you are disturbing the hon. Member on the Floor. 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, the report said that people who are less privileged and cannot afford legal representation may find themselves sentenced to death by hanging by the neck until pronounced dead for a crime they did not commit. My opinion is that in a society where the justice delivery system is effective and fair, not malicious, the issue of the death penalty should not be a worry. Where there is overwhelming evidence that someone took another person’s life, it should not worry us when the President of the Republic signs a death warrant for that convict because that is the President’s Constitutional duty. In 1997, when the President who was cited in this report to have signed the death warrant or execution order for certain individuals performed that act, it was the Zambian people who actually signed it. He did it on behalf of all of us because we could all not assemble ball pens to sign the death warrant. Otherwise, the grand law demanded that the convicts died. 

Mr Speaker, instruments have been crafted among us that speak about human rights and some people say that the doctrine of an eye for an eye exists in the Old Testament of the Bible. Gone are the days when we lived by the other doctrine that required a person who was slapped on one cheek to also offer the right cheek to be slapped because there are no more cheeks to slap. 


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, the point that I am trying to underscore here is that in an upright society or in developed democracies like the Americas, the death sentence is not an issue where someone is convicted of having terminated the life of another person. Maybe, the means of carrying out the sentence can be deemed a bit cruel, but not the sentence. However, if we are not careful, everyone of us will be forced to be vegetarian because there are some civil society organisations (CSOs) that have now emerged to advocate for the fair treatment of livestock, especially in the manner in which they are slaughtered. They talk about animal rights. We are simply animals. So, if we allow the breach of certain principles, rules and regulations that we have formulated on how we must live and govern ourselves peacefully, then so be it. 

Sir, I am not a lawyer, but I was told that there are stages of appeal in a criminal case. If a person is found guilty of committing the heinous crime of murder at the High Court, for example, he or she can appeal to the Supreme Court while remanded in prison. That is an avenue for the elimination of any doubt of his or her guilt. To me, it is folly to simply say that one head of State signed the death warrant while another did not, as the report has done. What about the Judges who presided over the cases? Let me cite the case of Edward Shamwana and others vs the State, which was a case of alleged treason. If I am not mistaken, Judge Musumali delivered judgement in that matter. I was still a young boy then, but I thought that the Judge had a heart made out of stone. However, he had just read the statutes and performed the task expected of him. There was also once a notorious fellow called the Strangler, but his real name was Roy Mudenda. He used to kill women and eluded the police for some time. When he was caught, the First Republican President immediately signed an execution order for him. I stand to be corrected, but I think that it was not Dr Kaunda who signed that order, but the people of Zambia because their law authorised him to do that. So, I want to caution against removing the death penalty from our statutes just because we are thinking with our hearts, not our heads. 

Sir, the Chairperson of the Committee has stated that even though the death penalty has remained in our books, there has been no empirical evidence of its having served as a deterrent. That could be because some people enjoy being in prison because they are guaranteed, at least, a meal or two in a day. Life is hard out there. During my time in prison, I learnt that some people who successfully serve their sentences go back to prison because they find it difficult to assimilate into society after they become accustomed to being confined. They also say that what does not kill them makes them stronger. So, this is a confusing state of affairs to me. 

Sir, in a society where there is justice and fairness, where people do not use their power to change indictments, as we have seen in this country, where we are told that we can exercise our right to freedom of expression and association, but when we do, we are arrested by the police, which is supposed to be a democratic institution. However, when the case goes to court, they apply to change the indictment. We also have some people who, in my view, are supposed to act a bit more responsibly than they do. Unfortunately, it is on your right, where someone who has no iota of legal knowledge, whatsoever, can stand up and just declare that some action amounts to treason. 


Mr Nkombo: This is not strange because we have heard it before.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: How on earth can the hon. Minister of Defence, who is not the Minister of Justice, state in a screaming headline in one of the papers, which I wish I had carried, that some offence is treasonable?  What does that tell you about the society in which you live? We all know that a charge of treason leaves very few escape options for the accused. When framed properly, the accused might not come out of the loop. He or she will be placed in a corner and if he or she does not have good legal representation, he or she can go in for treason. 

Mr Speaker, as if to add insult to injury, we, on this side of the House have a lawyer among us who is now a victim of what I am talking about because some person with a low level of thinking reported to the police that there was some document on plans to destabilise the country in the lawyer’s office. The police camped at that female lawyer’s office for three days. 

Hon. UPND Members: Aah!

Mr Nkombo: As I am speaking, they have broken into her office ... 

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Nkombo: … in search of the seditious documents. 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member! 

The Speaker is speaking. 

I have followed your debate and know that you started your debate by talking about the practice of amending charges and serious offences. Get your debate back to that level because if we descend to the level of discussing issues that are far removed from our topic, then, we will be off the mark, to put it politely. 

You may continue.

Mr Nkombo: I treasure your counsel, Sir. 

Mr Speaker, we are dealing with three offences and I think that I have fairly exhausted the discussion on murder. So, I would now like to discuss treason. 

Sir, currently, treason attracts the same penalty as murder and, on that score, I agree with Hon. Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo that other forms of punishment should be meted out for the other two offences. That is why I brought in the point of a private citizen reporting to the police that there was a document in the custody of a lawyer, in which there was a plan to destabilise the governance of the country. I was not trying to veer off the topic, but to point out how easily someone can find himself or herself facing treason charges. Remember that I opened my debate by saying that in a society where systems are balanced and fair, all these things should be the least of our worries. If I commit treason, I must face the consequences. In any case, treason is an indictment that perpetuates the colonial legacy and is most common in autocracies, such as was the case in our Second Republic, where people are not allowed to speak their mind. Whenever they voice their opinions, they were intimidated by being accused of committing treason. However, that should not be the case in this democracy we have built. Yesterday, Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa stated that our democracy is slightly unwell, to put it mildly, and I agree with him. There is no reason the police should camp at an office looking for seditious material because when it is there, it reveals itself, just like murder or aggravated robbery. 

Sir, those who have been victims of aggravated robbery have been traumatised. Sometimes, it is even better to be killed than to be a victim of aggravated robbery because in some cases, the aggravation of a robbery can be through the maiming, emotional traumatisation or, in case of our women, rape of the victim. Some victims have failed to live with such experiences. In this regard, I think that aggravated robbery and murder are different from treason because there is an intention to harm another human being in the two crimes while in the case of treason, people are just dissatisfied with the way they are governed and the offence of treason is there to stop them from rising against a government with whose rule they are dissatisfied. So, I think that it is our duty to revisit the statutes and recommend the apportioning of the correct or appropriate punishments for the three crimes, two of which are extremely heinous while treason should not even be in our statute books. 

Sir, as far as I am concerned, what we have been doing in the last five years is show to the country that the Patriotic Front (PF) is not running the affairs of this country very well while the PF, in turn, has been defending itself by saying that it has run the affairs of this country well.

Mr Muntanga: Hm!

Mr Nkombo: In other words, we have been selling competing ideas. So, there is no need for us to go into the bush to unseat anybody. Let us unseat each other right here, provided the people are given the freedom of expression. Once one says something, a balanced society should not allow those in power to call what is said treason as a tool for shutting the speaker up. 

Sir, I repeat that in a functional society, the death penalty should not be considered a problem because if I kill someone, the appropriate punishment should be for me to be killed. It is said that, “As a man lives, so shall he die.” So, if I live by the sword, I must die by the sword. If I live by an axe, I should be killed by an axe and, if I live by a panga, a panga is what should kill me. So, if I take someone’s life, I should expect my life to be taken for balance to be restored. The only question should be about how the penalty is effected. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I will be very brief and will concentrate on treason because I have followed the history of treason cases in Zambia.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Please, resume your seat.  

Ms Imenda resumed her seat.

Mr Speaker: I think that I need to provide some guidance here. 

You are free to refer to treason in your debate. However, at the centre of this Motion is the consequential punishment or sentence, the death penalty, to be precise. We should debate the merits or demerits of retaining it in the statute books. Of course, you may want to argue that this or that offence justifies our retaining the death penalty, but as we debate, whichever way we proceed, let us bear in mind that the central theme is the sentence. We can suggest, as it has been done in certain jurisdictions, that the death sentence be abolished for all offences or that it be retained. Alternatively, you may present segregated lists of offences and state your position on the applicability of the sentence to them. You are at liberty, but let us focus, more than on anything else, on the sentence.

Ms Imenda: Precisely, Mr Speaker.

Sir, the issue at hand is that of the death sentence as punishment for murder, aggravated robbery and treason. Like I said, I will argue that treason should not attract the death sentence. Other people have debated the other offences, but I want to concentrate on treason. 

Sir, there are questions surrounding treason, one of which is: Who decides what is treasonable? Is it a police officer, the hon. Minister of Justice, the hon. Minister of Defence or the hon. Minister of Home Affairs? Is it politicians who decide what is treasonable based on whether the accused is a political rival or is it a member of one tribe who decides that a member of another tribe has committed treason? These are all possibilities. So, we have to be very careful because we may end up sending innocent people to the gallows. To some minds, even exercising one’s freedom of expression is treason and they will frame it in such a way that the accused finds it difficult to defend himself or herself.

Mr Speaker, let me discuss a brief history of treason cases and arrests in my country. 

Sir, we may recall that in the colonial days, one vibrant politician named Mr Munukayumbwa Sipalo was charged with treason because he had said that anything white on two legs must be killed. He was, then, taken ―

Mr Muntanga: Sure?


Mr Livune: Anything white?

Ms Imenda: Yes. 

Mr Livune: Anything white.

Ms Imenda: He had said that anything white on two legs should be killed ... 


Ms Imenda: ... and he was charged with treason. However, he hired a white lawyer from England, who went to court carrying a white chicken that he held up and asked the court what colour it was and how many legs it had. When it was said that it was white and had two legs, the lawyer asked how many people killed were guilty of killing white chickens and why his client was the only one charged with treason for that.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: UPND material!

Ms Imenda: Further, during the One-party State, ...


Ms Imenda: Sir, …

Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member.

Ms Imenda: Sir, during the One-party State, many people were tried for treason because they objected to the obnoxious political system, and they were kept in ... 

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was telling the House how some people were charged with treason in the One-party political dispensation for opposing the system. 

Sir, the One-party State was introduced after the 1969 Referendum and what was consequently put in the Constitution prohibited people from saying that they did not like the system. The commission of inquiry that went around the country only asked people to state what they wanted to see in the One-party State because its institution was inevitable. Therefore, some people were left with no means of legally expressing their dislike for that kind of system. As a result, many were charged with treason, and I know quite a number of them. The strategy used was to accuse those who were speaking out of having been part to the training of a militia in South Africa. As you know, the relationship between South Africa and the then Zambian regime was very hostile. In the eyes of Zambians, the people who were charged with treason looked very bad when, in fact, their charges were just trumped up.  Anyway, that is what happened.

Mr Speaker, my argument is that treason arises out of political dynamics, such as dissatisfaction with the regime of the day ... 

Mr Nkombo: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda: … or the governance of the country. If you do not like the way things are going in the country and express your feelings, depending on who is listening, your words may be distorted and, eventually, you will find yourself charged with treason. In such a situation, if you do not have proper legal representation, you will end up on the guillotine even if you are innocent. So, why should treason be equated to murder? The easiest way of settling political scores could be accusing your opponents of having committed treason. I know this because it has happened to some people whom I represent in the Western Province. 

Mr Nkombo: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda: Sir, we all know of the people in the Western Province who were merely exercising their freedom of expression, but the Government of the day decided to order their arrest and the people who were in the forefront of pointing out those who had allegedly committed treason were political party functionaries. So, in such a situation, if somebody does not like you, he or she would simply include your name on that list of alleged culprits. Some of the people whose names were put on the list did not even participate in the activity. In any case, what is wrong with marching against something you do not like? Further, how can that be equated to murder? Should people be sentenced to death for that? I say no. However, if in the process of an alleged treasonable activity somebody ends up murdering another person, then the culprit must be charged with murder, not treason. 

Mr Nkombo: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, the death penalty is not good and, if it will be maintained, then, at least, it should not be punishment for treason.  

Mr Nkombo: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda: The definition of treason is too subjective, as it relies heavily on the perspective of the accuser. 

Sir, I promised to be brief, as I just wanted to give the House some food for thought. We should think about these issues.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I support the Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs, which has been ably moved by the Member of Parliament for Choma Central, Hon. Mweetwa, and seconded by the Member of Parliament for Mpika Central, Hon. Kapeya. 

Mr Speaker, in my debate, I will dwell on two issues. The first is the enforcement of the law on violence against and harassment of women and girls in Zambia while the second is the management of conflicts in the electoral process in Zambia. 

Sir, I am aware that when the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act was enacted in Parliament, I was Chairperson of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs, and I know that the Bill was supported unanimously by this House. It was our objective, when passing the Bill, to reduce the incidence of gender-based violence. Alas! The situation has worsened instead of improving. To buttress my point, I will cite one heinous incident that occurred at the Freedom Statue when Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning graced the activities to commemorate Youth Day. On that day, one young lady who had responded to the call by the Government of the Republic of Zambia for the youths to participate in the activities was violated wantonly by Patriotic Front (PF) cadres in full view of the police. She was undressed and other unspeakable things done to her, but no action has been taken against the perpetrators of that act. In this House, we have a number of female senior Cabinet Ministers, but none of them has condemned that behaviour.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: You have shifted your discourse. As hon. Members of this Assembly, as you know, we do not debate ourselves. You are at liberty to describe in whatever detail what happened after the heinous crime you are citing. However, when you loop and start the response or a lack of it, then we will begin debating ourselves. 

Please, continue.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I cherish your guidance. 

Sir, the point I am making is that there is a problem in the enforcement of the law, and that is the responsibility of the Executive. They are the ones in authority and they should have given guidance thereon. They should have instructed the police to take action because the perpetrators of that act are known, having been clearly shown in television clips. So, the police does not need to investigate because the evidence is there and senior Zambia Police officers were present at that event. In fact, they were seen smiling when the lady was being undressed. So, the point I am making is that if our intention is to protect our women, we should be seen to be doing just that by caging the perpetrators of violence against women. Otherwise, what precedence are we setting when those who were supposed to take action are loudly quiet as if they are happy with what happened? There is impunity. We live in the communities in this country and are aware of what those people are saying. They are telling us that they are above the law because they belong to the Ruling Party. 

Mr Speaker, there is nothing more humiliating to a woman than to be undressed and abused in public, and for the perpetrators to go unpunished. As I speak, the victim of that crime is not in her normal state of mind. She is helpless and has failed to seek justice. Letters have been written to the Inspector-General of Police and the hon. Minister of Home Affairs is also aware of this issue, but nothing has been done about it. There were champions of women’s rights in this House, but they are now quiet because the victim belongs to an opposition political party. If we will be selective in the dispensation of justice in this country, we will fail to protect our womenfolk.

Sir, as if the undressing of the young lady was not bad enough, we are also aware that a former First Lady was attacked in Shiwang’andu by known people, but no action has been taken.

 Mr Livune interjected.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Katombola!

You have a problem exercising self-discipline. 

May the hon. Member for Monze Central continue.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, my point is that justice should be seen to be dispensed.

 Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear! 

Mr Mwiimbu: If one commits an offence, the law must bear on him or her.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear! 

Mr Mwiimbu: If we start applying the law selectively, we will abet violence instead of averting it. So, we should not allow this to continue.

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, many women are being attacked in the markets and streets where they trade and, although they have reported these matters to the police, none of the perpetrators of the violence have been arrested. Why should we tolerate impunity in this country? This is our country and we should respect the laws that we have passed. In this regard, we expect our colleagues on your right to stand up for the rights of women. They have been champions of the rights of women in this House. Why are they conveniently quiet now?  One day, it will be their members who will be in such a situation. I expect a ministerial statement on the issues I have raised, especially on the plight of the young lady who was traumatised and whose future is now uncertain. She no longer lives a normal life because she sees her perpetrators around everyday, yet nothing is being done to them. I call upon the Leader of Government Business in the House to follow up on the plight of that lady. Let justice prevail so that she starts living a normal life.

Sir, the second issue I would like to tackle is on page 24 of the report of your Committee, and that is, the management of conflicts in Zambia’s electoral process.

Mr Speaker, I am one of those who participated in the Indaba at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, where it was unanimously agreed that violence must be averted in this country and that political parties should stop their members from participating in acts of violence. I subscribe to and wholly support the resolutions passed at that event. In that regard, I congratulate the Church for bringing us, political leaders, to the round table to resolve issues of violence in the electoral process. However, I am disappointed to note that violence has continued to escalate ...


Mr Speaker: Order!  

Mr Mwiimbu: ... and people are still doing all sorts of uncalled-for acts in the name of political parties despite our agreement to do whatever is required of us to avert the scourge. Unfortunately, one major arm of the Government, the police, is abetting violence in this country by failing to professionally administer the Public Order Act and police communities. Police officers tell us that the PF is above the law and that its members are not subject to the laws to which we, the commoner, are subject. Whenever PF members want to hold meetings, they do so, to the detriment of other stakeholders. If such a scenario continues, how do we avert violence? Some members of a political party have been hacking members of the public with impunity, but when members of the public report those cases of electoral violence, it is the victims, not the perpetrators, who get arrested by the police. The victims are, then, charged with offences, sometimes non-bailable ones. 

Mr Speaker, the police, which we expect to be professional, is pushing Zambians against the wall. We all expect to be treated fairly because nobody wants violence in this country, which has always been peaceful. However, I shudder to think of what will happen if we continue with this impunity on the part of the other side. After the meeting at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, I expected my colleagues on your right to lead by example, but they have not done so.  

Mr Sikazwe interjected.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I have heard the hon. Deputy Minister for the Northern Province make running commentaries.

Mr Speaker: Order, Hon. Mwiimbu!

Please, leave that to me. I am concentrating on your debate but, still, leave that to me.

Mr Mwiimbu: Much obliged, Mr Speaker.

Sir, we all cherish peace in this country and we look forward to having violence-free elections on 11th August, 2016. However, if our police officers continue to be unprofessional, violence will not be averted. I know of one police officer who had the audacity to remove United Party for National Development (UPND) campaign materials and tell our members that there is only one Republican flag in Zambia, yet the chitenge materials for another political party are all over the place. The Senior Commissioner of Police was filmed climbing an electrical pole to remove the chitenge materials of a political party.


Hon. UPND Members: Shame!

Mr Muntanga: Give me the video.

Mr Mwiimbu: Surely, how can a professional behave in such a manner? Can we expect justice when a member of an opposition political party goes to report a case to such a commissioner? The answer is that no report will be made to that officer because members of the public know that he is biased.

Mr Speaker, our colleagues on the right should ensure that the officers who execute duties on our behalf do the correct thing. This country is for all Zambians and those resident in it. Peace can be lost very easily, but not easily re-established. We should learn from what has happened in our neighbouring countries and allow our officers to operate professionally. It is not too much to ask. The churches that brought us together gave us an opportunity to discuss and resolve issues and they expect us to honour our resolutions. If we do not, they will leave us alone. Electoral violence is real and growing in this country. So, we need to address it as a matter of urgency before it gets out of hand.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga rose.

Mr Speaker: Order!

I have taken note of the hon. Member for Kalomo Central, but I am mindful of the need for me to balance things.

Mr Muntanga: They do not want to debate.

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Leave that to me. I know when to go to the right, where I have taken note of the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing. For now, I want to be sure that I have exhausted those on the left in a balanced fashion. In that regard, the last person to debate on the left will be Hon. Muntanga, the Member of Parliament for Kalomo Central.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate the Motion, although I would have loved to hear what my colleagues on the right want to say.

Mr Speaker: Order!

You will hear what they have to say when they speak.

Mr Muntanga: Sir, unfortunately, I will be unable to respond.

Mr Speaker: Do you wish to forfeit your right to debate?

Mr Muntanga: No, Sir.


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the question posed by your report is very straightforward and it requires us to decide whether to keep the death penalty or not. To that, our response should simply be, “Yes” or “No”. However, we seem to be going around it because some reasons for which people are sentenced to death are subjective. That is why the debate has been more on the reasons for sentencing someone to death. To be honest, I do not support the death penalty. Yes, Jesus said, “When one slaps you on one cheek, let him or her slap you on the other cheek as well.” However, if someone kills my daughter, I will not have another daughter to give him or her to kill …


Mr Muntanga: … and that becomes a problem. That is why the death penalty should be reserved for those who commit murder. In America, there are different degrees of murder, but in Zambia, we only have murder and manslaughter. In this regard, it would be too harsh to sentence to death someone guilty of manslaughter, and that is normally not done. 

Sir, one of the reasons many people say that we do not need the death penalty is that the offences that attract death penalty are subjective. One of the offences that has been highlighted is treason. If a government is overthrown by the killing of its members, the perpetrators of such an act would deserve the death penalty. However, when people want to remove the government through a legitimate political process, its members should not use the threat of treason to hold on to power. These are the problems we face over the death penalty, and that is why it is difficult for us to decide on a very simple issue like the death penalty, which was also debated when we were reviewing the Constitution. Many people submitted that we should keep it because they felt that it was the appropriate punishment for those people who are so cruel and criminally-minded as to kill others and cut off some body parts from their victims. Recently, we have heard of people being killed and their body parts taken to be used as spare parts somewhere.

Mr Masumba: As spare parts?


Mr Muntanga: Sir, what should be done to a person who kills others and removes their body parts? That is how subjective it becomes. In such a situation, you may feel that the only way to stop such a criminally-minded person is to permanently remove them from society through death. Otherwise, merely threatening them with a death sentence might not stop them because they enjoy committing crime. 

Sir, on the other hand, there are some people who think that the right way to punish others is to slap them with non-bailable offences. You may be aware that my nephew, Hon. Nkombo, and I were arrested …

Mr Nkombo: By these chaps.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, …

Mr Muntanga: He is enjoying the debate, Sir.

Mr Speaker: … please, avoid that.


Mr Speaker: Please, continue, hon. Member for Kalomo Central.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, it is true that we were detained on flimsy grounds and those who ordered our detention danced around and smiled. We did not even know what had happened or who had died, but we were detained because it was convenient for our political opponents.

Mr Nkombo: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the seventy-six of us were all accused of killing one person we did not even know and detained just for the State to enter a nolle prosequi in our favour. In entering the nolle prosequi, the State said it could still re-arrest us. However, that was just done to save the State’s face. How could we be re-arrested when the real culprit had already been arrested? These are the problems that arise when people act in an unprofessional manner.

Mr Nkombo: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the people who are supposed to effect controls are the ones causing serious problems, and we are all supposed to address this issue in unison. We do not need the death penalty. However, we are now tied to it. What do we do with people with criminal minds? What do we do with people who are killing others? 

Sir, our Presidents have not been signing death warrants for those sentenced to death and all the convicts are still on death row at Mukobeko Maximum Prison. They have not been guillotined. The late Dr Mwanawasa, SC., may his soul rest in peace, never signed a single death warrant. He always refused to do so. I know that the other Presidents would also not want to do that. Even the First Republican President had difficulties doing it. However, he had to sign the one for Roy Mudenda because he had become a menace to society who, after he was convicted and sent to prison, he escaped and killed two prison warders and another person, stripped a woman naked and used her clothes to disguise himself as a woman, and fled to Ndola. So, he was an extremely dangerous criminal who had ran away from a maximum prison in Zimbabwe to Zambia. That was one person whose death warrant had to be signed and nearly every Zambian agreed with the decision.

Mr Speaker, our current problem is that of people putting subjective offences under capital ones. Why should the punishment for treason be the death penalty when a person can be charged with treason simply because he or she does not like the way a regime is governing the nation? Why should a person be killed for that? So, we do not only want the death penalty abolished, but also the offences that have been wrongly put under capital offences re-categorised. The hon. Member who debated before me talked about what happened in the Western Province, where there are people who strongly believe in self-governance. Do we have to kill them? No. All we need to do is convince them otherwise.

Mr Nkombo: No.

Mr Muntanga: Sir, we have to convince them against their desire for self-governance. 

Sir, in essence, we do not like to kill just because someone has killed another person. In this House, there are many people who cannot even kill a chicken. It takes people like some former priests to kill a chicken in public. It is cruel for anyone to cut off the head of a chicken in public and appear to enjoy it. 

Mr Nkombo: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: That is cruelty to an animal, and anyone who can do that to a chicken in public can easily kill a person. That has been done in Zambia and some people seemed to enjoy it.

Sir, I want to say to all of us, including the hon. Members on your right, that the death penalty is a very serious issue. So, what do we do with it? Do we abolish it? If we do, then, we will only remain with life imprisonment for all who commit murder and fill Mukobeko Maximum Prison and, then, build more prisons, which will be costly. We know that some people on death row have been pardoned after realising that they had done something wrong and reforming. I also read about someone who was sentenced to death for an offence he had not committed. It was only after he was executed that his innocence was proved. Such scenarios underscore the demerits of retaining the death penalty. Once a person is wrongfully convicted and executed, you cannot bring him or her back to life, and it is on that score that I agree with your Committee that the death penalty should be abolished. However, there is a serious problem with that recommendation because not all people are the same. I shudder to hear of some of the offences that people commit.

Sir, you heard Hon. Mwiimbu talk about the lady who was undressed in public. Everyone is shying away from saying what happened to her. The culprits did that to her in public without shame, and the sad part is that police officers were watching. What sort of police officers do we have? With such police officers, it is not surprising that some people do things that they are not supposed to do. When people are angry, they can do anything. No wonder, anger is considered temporary madness, because angry people stop thinking just like mad ones. So, we still think that we have a serious debate on our hands regarding the death penalty. I earlier said that I wanted to hear from the hon. Government Members first so that I get some information. That way, I would have debated from a clearer view, bearing in mind the Government’s position on the issue. Otherwise, the way we are debating now, the members of the Executive may forget what we are saying and defend themselves along partisan lines. I want this debate to be based on issues, not political affiliations.

Mr Speaker, will we sentence people to death? If we will, what will the reasons be? Obviously, those convicted of murder will be sentenced to death. However, will it be the same for those who commit treason or aggravated robbery? In any case, if someone takes a bicycle from you without harming you, is that still aggravated robbery? No. however, if the culprit used force to kill someone and steal from him or her, then, maybe, that will be aggravated robbery. However, that should be more appropriately called murder. So, we should be very specific with the charges we slap on people.

Sir, I thank you for being patient with me. I can see that you are looking at your watch. I still have seven minutes, but let me thank you and end here.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

To begin with, I was not looking at my watch. There is a watch over there that I look at more conveniently, which is properly managed by the Clerks-at-the-Table. However, thank you for ending your debate when you still had time to debate.

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate the Motion ably moved by the Chairperson of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs.

Sir, the Motion is very clear and has brought out a number of pertinent issues that require sober reflection. 

Sir, before I focus my debate on the report, allow me to take this opportunity to clear a few issues. Indeed, the introduction of cameras and the live coverage of Parliamentary proceedings has generated a lot of excitement. However, as legislators, we should not be carried away and misuse this facility.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

Please, resume your seat. 

Mr Kampyongo resumed his seat.

Mr Speaker: Like I mentioned in my announcement earlier this afternoon, the only reason we have this facility, including the radio station that we have had for many years now, is just to get closer to the people. I have said before that if we focus on the issues on the agenda, which is the Order Paper, it will be very easy to conduct our business. The members of the public are entitled to this facility. So, let them have it and be drawn closer to what we are saying because we are all accountable to them and they will make the appropriate judgments on how we are conducting ourselves. So, again, let us focus on our business. 

You may continue, hon. Minister.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I thank you for the guidance. 

Sir, I just have a few comments to make on some of the issues that have been raised by the previous debaters. 

Sir, the issue of violence has been ably debated, but I think that, as we debate these issues, it is improper for us to cast aspersions that cannot be proven. I know for sure that when the incidents that have been cited, such as the stripping of the young lady, happened, Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning personally came out very strongly against it and issued instructions to law enforcement agencies to deal with the perpetrators. Similarly, the hon. Minister of Gender is on record of addressing the matter. Even His Excellency the President talked about it because of the realisation that dealing with violence, political or otherwise, requires concerted effort. That is also why our President was magnanimous enough to accept the call by church leaders for him to sit with other political leaders to seek the way forward against violence.

Mr Speaker, one of the pertinent issues raised by your Committee is that we need to reflect on seriously is the death penalty. In this regard, I think that this report should be the starting point of our debate on this matter. However, it is also my view that this matter should not be left to the Government alone. In fact, it should even be taken beyond the National Assembly to the people of Zambia, who may need to have a say on it. 

Sir, as stated by the mover of the Motion, this matter has been with us for a number of years. The mover also went as far as showing how our former Presidents have not signed warrants of execution as evidence of how difficult it has been to administer the processes that are supposed to follow after sentences have been passed. So, the question is: Should we retain it or scrap it from our statutes? In answering that question, we should look at where we are, where we have come from and what we have achieved, so far. 

Sir, I think the report has shown that in as much as we have these provisions among our statutes, we have continued to record the cases that they penalise. So, we should ask ourselves how we will administer the death penalty if we maintain it in our statute books. If we will maintain the practice of leaving it to the Presidency, which has a persona behind it, to sign the final warrant of execution after sentences have been passed, I can assure you that we will continue having the same situation we have now. It took His Excellency the current President to commute the sentences of those who have been on death row for more than ten years to life imprisonment. In this regard, we should reflect on how much anguish and torture those people have had to endure. Although they are offenders and have been condemned to death, they still have some human rights. If somebody is condemned to face the hangman, but kept waiting for ten to twenty years without execution, that is a breach of their rights. It becomes torture and anguish for them. So, these are some of the issues on which we need to reflect seriously.

Mr Speaker, the issue of providing enough space for people who are incarcerated is, indeed, critical. In this vein, there are some on-going reforms. We are now transforming the Prisons Service into the Correctional Service to enhance reformatory programmes for the people we put into these facilities. As we move in that direction, what, then, should we do? Should we maintain the death penalty or say that a life sentence is punishment enough, since the culprits will never go back into the community alive? What is the difference between being executed and being confined for life? Would it be wise, later, when they have reformed and engaged in productive activities, to say that they have paid back their debt to society for the crimes they committed against fellow human beings? 

Mr Speaker, these matters require serious reflection. I know that the hon. Minister of Justice will conclude on this matter. However, I personally feel that a decision on this matter will require input from beyond this august House. For now, let me just sincerely thank His Excellency the President for commuting the sentences of those who were on death row and say that if we decide to maintain the death sentence, there should be clarity on what happens after the sentence is pronounced in the High Court or upheld in the Supreme Court. I have seen that the death penalty has been maintained in the Draft Bill of Rights. However, there is a need for clarity. After a person is sentenced to death, it should be clearly stated, for example, that they must face the hangman within a given number of days. That will address the issue of congestion and keeping people unnecessarily long on death row and leaving the final say to the discretion of one office, in this case, the Presidency. 

Sir, if I was asked for my own opinion on the matter, I would say that sentencing people to life behind the walls of correctional services would be punishment enough for capital offences. We can look at the ways of making sure that those who are put behind bars stay there until their lives are determined by the Creator. 

Sir, I will leave the rest to the hon. Minister of Justice.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

The Minister of Justice (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to wind up this debate.

Sir, the death penalty …

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Order!

I would like this matter to be concluded smoothly. Anyway, I will allow the point of order as the hon. Minister of Justice takes the Floor.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing in order to breach the procedures of this House? Is an hon. Minister, who is a Member of the Executive, in order to express his personal opinion on a Motion? 

Mr Speaker: For clarity’s sake, which opinion are you referring to?

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Sir, he said that if his opinion was sought, he would say that the death penalty should be abolished.

Mr Nkombo: Is he in order?

Mr Speaker: Order!

Well, I must state that this subject is quite complex. The report, ultimately, recommends further interrogation of the issue, and I am sure that the hon. Minister of Justice will explain the procedure that will be adopted to see this matter to its conclusion. In the meantime, there are some recommendations that have been made by the report. So, at this juncture, I will be very slow to apply the principle of collective responsibility, if that is what you are suggesting. In any event, the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing went on to defer to the hon. Minister of Justice who, I believe, will finally speak on behalf of the Executive.

May the hon. Minister of Justice continue.
Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, the debate on whether the death penalty should continue to be in the statute books in Zambia is an emotive one. Whenever and wherever the issue is debated, it elicits diametrically opposing views because Zambians of all walks of life, be they members of the legal fraternity, the clergy, civil society or the women’s lobby, hold very strong views on it. There is no convergence or unanimity on the matter. Even academics like my colleague, Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa, hold divergent views from others’. The situation is the same here, in the House, as it is clear from the sentiments of the hon. Members who have debated the Motion on the Floor. For example, I heard the hon. Member for Mumbwa oppose the death penalty while the hon. Members for Mazabuka Central and Luena constituencies supported it. In view of the divergent views, the position of the Government is that the people of Zambia must be given an opportunity to directly decide the matter in accordance with Article 79 of the Constitution. The Government agrees with the recommendation of your Committee that this matter should be decided by the people of Zambia directly through a referendum so that we settle it once and for all. It is not for the Government or this House to make a decision on behalf of the people. 

Mr Speaker, I thank all those who have contributed to this debate.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the hon. Members who have ably debated this Motion for their insightful contributions. We have got many views from Hon. Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo, Hon. Imenda, Hon. Nkombo, Hon. Muntanga, Hon. Mwiimbu, Hon. Kampyongo and the hon. Minister of Justice. Allow me to also appreciate the democratic manner in which the debate has been conducted. I have always looked forward to a day when hon. Members from the same party can come to this House and take different positions on an issue on the Floor. Then, our country will start moving forward, ...

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: ... not the partisan politicking that we do, whereby we just toll party lines even when we personally do not agree with them. That is what we did on the debate on the new Constitution. Now, the Grade 12 Certificate provision is negatively affecting even those who voted for it.

Mr Livune: Ma hon. Deputy Minister sibalimo.

Mr Mweetwa: Sir, the hon. Minister of Justice has raised a very important matter, as it forms the core of your Committee’s recommendation. The Committee did not take a decisive position because it was aware that the Constitution has already prescribed a referendum as the procedure for dealing with this issue. May I take this opportunity, therefore, to request the Government to take a second glance at its decision to hold a referendum, which is such a serious undertaking, together with the general election, whose campaigns will be polarised on partisan lines. There is a risk of serious matters ending up being overshadowed by partisan political interests. 

Mr Speaker, let me conclude by urging all hon. Members to support this Motion because it simply sets the stage for further debate as we await the final decision to be made by the people of Zambia in a referendum. This is a very crucial and sensitive matter.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Question put and agreed to.


Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology for the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 4th April, 2016.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Mutale (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, your Committee, in performing its duties, was guided by its terms of reference, as set out in the Standing Orders. During the period under review, your Committee undertook a study on the role of book publishing and distribution in education. I am confident that hon. Members have read your Committee’s report. Therefore, I will only highlight the salient issues in moving this Motion.

Mr Speaker, your Committee was motivated to delve into the subject of book publishing and distribution by the important role that books play in education. It goes without saying that books help to sharpen the intellect, enrich the experience and broaden the outlook of learners. They are an important source of knowledge and must, therefore, be well written and widely distributed to all schools in the country. This means that the country should have in place good policies that support the book publishing and distribution sector. Your Committee, however, learnt that Zambia has no specific book policy to guide stakeholders in the publishing sector. Instead, a number of policy documents narrowly address aspects related to book development, publishing and procurement in the country. This is quite disheartening, and your Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government formulates a national book policy.

 Sir, your Committee learnt that, in 2014, the Government introduced a new school curriculum and that the reform entailed a need for new textbooks that were in tandem with the new curriculum. The reform also led to changes in the way books were procured and distributed to schools around the country. Prior to the curriculum change, books were selected by individual schools and distributed through a decentralised system that gave room to book publishers and sellers to participate in the distribution chain. However, since the advent of the new curriculum, the Ministry of General Education has used a centralised system to procure and distribute textbooks. This entails that the ministry is solely responsible for the selection and distribution of books to all schools in the country and a number of stakeholders raised some concerns on this aspect. One of the concerns was that the ministry only procured one textbook per grade per subject, thereby limiting the choice of reference materials for teachers and learners. 

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of General Education informed your Committee that it had always used a centralised procurement system and that the only change it had made was that books are now selected centrally. It also indicated that it considered the current system the best method of procuring books because there was no procurement capacity at the provincial, district and school levels, among other reasons. However, your Committee observes that book publishers and sellers appear not to agree with the ministry on that score, as they contended that the centralised system was unfair and non-transparent. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government clarifies this aspect to all the relevant stakeholders so that there is an understanding of the procedures used to procure books among all the stakeholders.

Sir, with regard to the ministry’s exclusive role in the distribution of books, the stakeholders informed your Committee that the practice has negatively impacted on the private sector because the major client for most book publishers and sellers is the ministry. In this regard, your Committee urges the Government to ensure that all the significant players, including book publishers and book sellers, are part of the distribution chain as a way of creating employment and empowering citizens. The important role played by the private sector in the development of the country should not be overlooked. The result of centralising the procurement of books has been the closure of many bookshops all around the country. So, your Committee recommends that the ministry reverts to the decentralised system of book delivery and concentrates on delivering books to difficult-to-reach areas. The re-inclusion of book sellers will, no doubt, lead to the reopening of bookshops that have closed around the country, an improved reading culture and, ultimately, more literate citizens.

Mr Speaker, one issue that has continued to raise dust in the book publishing sector over the years is the role of the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC). A number of stakeholders expressed concern at the involvement of the CDC in the authoring and development of books. Their view is that allowing the CDC to write and publish books is tantamount to allowing the centre to play the role of judge, jury and executioner. The stakeholders submitted that the CDC might be prejudiced if it was allowed to evaluate and approve books among which are its own. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the CDC’s role be restricted to its mandate of evaluating and approving books. Its involvement in authoring and publishing books might deprive private sector publishers of business and stifle the growth of the publishing sector. The CDC staff should only get involved in authoring of books when private sector publishers are unavailable to do so.

Mr Speaker, another concern relating to the CDC is that there is no specific timeline for the book evaluation process. Consequently, publishers submit materials at their convenience and there is no time frame in which the CDC should respond to them. Your Committee recommends that the ministry urgently sets up specific timelines for the different stages in the book evaluation and approval process and avails it to all the relevant stakeholders.

Mr Speaker, your Committee is dismayed that while there is a Copyright and Performance Rights Act, Chapter 406 of the Laws of Zambia, its enforcement is either weak or non-existent. This has resulted in members of the general public photocopying published educational materials at will. Book publishers lamented to your Committee that they produce books at a great cost and that it is disheartening for them to see their works reproduced without authority and resold cheaply without anything accruing to them. Your Committee, therefore, urges the Government to enhance the enforcement of copyright laws so that the interests of publishers are protected. One way of doing that is to control the sale of photocopied materials by unregistered book sellers and vendors. 

Sir, allow me to reiterate that the importance of book publishing and distribution in the education sector cannot be over-emphasised. It is, therefore, of great importance that the Ministry of General Education urgently sorts out the many problems that the sector is faced with.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I thank you for the guidance you provided during the year. Allow me to also thank the office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the advice and services rendered to your Committee during its programme of work. Your Committee is also indebted to all the witnesses who appeared before it for their co-operation in providing the necessary memoranda and oral briefs. My appreciation further goes to all the members of your Committee for their co-operation and dedication to the Committee’s work, which made my role, as Chairperson, very easy. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Mutale: Now, Sir. 

Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology for the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on Monday, 4th April, 2016, allow me to start by thanking the Chairperson of your Committee for ably moving the Motion. Allow me to also thank him for the leadership and guidance he provided to your Committee throughout its deliberations.  

Mr Speaker, I echo the sentiments of the Chairperson of your Committee on the importance of books and the book publishing sector to the education of the country’s citizens. It is, therefore, your Committee’s sincere hope that its recommendations will elicit the Executive’s necessary action so that the sector can continue to make a positive contribution to the education sector. 

Sir, an issue that came to your Committee’s attention during deliberations with stakeholders was the predicament of the State-owned publishing houses, that is, the Zambia Education Publishing House (ZEPH) and the Times Printpak Zambia Limited, which managed to weather the storm of privatisation and continue to compete with the private sector despite numerous challenges. It is, therefore, imperative that the Government deliberately ensures that some book publishing contracts are awarded to the two institutions whenever the Ministry of General Education issues tenders for book publishing. 

Mr Speaker, as I have already pointed out, books are an integral part of the education system. Therefore, the complaints about inadequate budgetary allocations for the purchase of books are a matter of great concern to your Committee. It is your Committee’s earnest hope that future budgetary allocations to the entire education sector, particularly to the purchase of books for schools, will improve. Your Committee has no doubt that the Government is committed to improving the education sector and having an enlightened and well-read citizenry as a means of fostering national development. Your Committee is, therefore, confident that the Government will address the concerns that have been highlighted in your Committee’s report. 

Sir, allow me to conclude by expressing my gratitude to you for your guidance rendered to your Committee during its session. Your Committee is also grateful to the witnesses who appeared before it for their co-operation and input into the deliberations. I also extend your Committee’s appreciation to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services rendered to it during the session. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to make comments on this very important report. I commend the Chairperson of the Committee and the seconder for a well-articulated and very clear report. 

Sir, this is a very important report because it has raised very salient issues affecting our education system. The children we, the hon. Members of Parliament, represent in this House are crying and looking up to us to address their plight, that is, the shortage of text books in their schools. 

Mr Speaker, the Chairperson of your Committee and the seconder have clearly outlined the issues raised in your report. So, I just want to make comments on one very important issue raised by the report on page 13, as follows:

“The Government’s budgetary allocation to the Ministry of General for the purchase of books is inadequate. This situation can impact negatively on book development and distribution to schools and, ultimately, disadvantage the pupils, who are the end users. 

“Your Committee urges the Government to ensure that the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of General Education for the purchase of books is increased.” 

Mr Speaker, that is the essence of this report’s recommendations on the book industry. Clearly, the situation regarding the availability of books in our schools, especially those in the rural areas, is really pathetic and, since most of us in this House represent rural communities, we must pay very serious attention to this problem because it is creating a very big and annually widening educational gap between the urban and rural areas. Allow me to cite some information coming from the work we are doing in the Western Province. 

Sir, a survey of the state of books in the province indicates that since the introduction of the new curriculum in 2014, a few books have been made available at Grades 1, 5 and 8 only in most of the schools while, to a large extent, the other grades, that is, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7, have no textbooks at all. This means that children who go through the school system from Grade 1 to Grade 7 will have seven years of schooling in which they will not have accessed textbooks in five grades, that is, Grades 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7. In the schools that have the textbooks, the pupil-book ratios are very high. On average, it is about 4:1, and this situation cannot improve the quality of learning in our schools. Most schools that have the textbooks have only twelve to fourteen textbooks per subject against between forty and fifty pupils. Our schools, especially those in the rural areas, therefore, are in a very difficult situation insofar as the availability of textbooks is concerned. 

Sir, shortage of textbooks in our schools means that the foundation of our education system in rural areas is extremely shaky, and that most of our children complete primary education without mastering the basics of numeracy, reading, communication skills and other skills that are foundational to learning in subsequent higher grades. Even literacy is not adequately cultivated at the lower level of our education system and that is why, from the assessments done in the Southern African region by the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ), our pupils are among the lowest performers at the Grade 5 level. The reports are there at the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC). We are not doing enough to prepare the future generation of our country because we are not giving them the necessary foundation for learning. No wonder, when our children progress to higher levels of the education system, such as university, they still have problems with the basics of learning.

Mr Speaker, the report makes reference to the need for a decentralisation of the system of procuring and delivering books. The pendulum has been swinging between a centralised and decentralised book procurement and delivery system. From Independence to about 1993, we had a predominantly centralised system in which the Kenneth Kaunda Foundation (KKF) was responsible for publishing books while the National Education Distribution Company of Zambia (NEDCOZ) distributed books to different parts of the country. However, that was changed to a more decentralised system after the conversion of the KKF into the Zambia Education Publishing House (ZEPH). So, we have gone through this debate before. Therefore, I think that the debate should not be so much on which mode to adopt, but rather what can be done to stimulate greater participation of the private sector in the publication, procurement and delivery of books to schools. In my opinion, if more resources can be pumped into the education system for purposes of procuring books for schools, that will be a catalyst for more players to participate. That was the intention for decentralising the system. The main challenge has been the amount of resources we put into the education system. 

Sir, the figures I cited give a picture of the situation in the Western Province and other predominantly rural provinces. If we were all honest enough to visit schools when we are in our respective constituencies, our conclusion throughout the country would be that we are not putting enough books in them. Consequently, we are doing an injustice to the learning process of our children. So, we hope that the Ministry of General Education will, firstly, carry out a more comprehensive study on the number of textbooks in our schools, especially in the rural ones. Secondly, it should look at how the state of textbooks in our schools is impacting on the quality of teaching and learning because textbooks are the medium of the interface between teachers and learners. That is what this report is telling us about the quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms and, ultimately, what we are doing to the future generation. 

Sir, this is a very sobering report, and it is our hope that our colleagues on your right will be able to profoundly address the issues in it in the interest of the helpless children who look up to us for support.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make some comments on the report. To start with, I thank the Committee and congratulate it on a report that has been well written.

Sir, I like commenting on issues of education because, although I am an economist, I know the link between what happens in the classrooms and what happens in the factories, on the shop floors, in agriculture and many other sectors. I am passionate about education, skills training and related activities.

Mr Speaker, my focus this afternoon will be on page 18 of the report, which discusses infrastructure development. There, the Committee asks the Government what it is doing about infrastructure in our education sector. That will be the focus of my debate. However, before I do that, let me provide a little more detail on the links between what happens in the classroom and economic performance. 

Sir, it is no secret that the countries that perform well economically are those that are able to produce goods and services. They flood the world markets with produce from their factories and farms. That is what defines success in the economic arena. Of course, a lack of success on the economic arena entails the opposite. It means that you produce less, sell less and, consequently, generate limited amounts of income. 

Mr Speaker, between 100 and 200 years ago, skills development did not matter much in economic success because we were producing bananas, groundnuts, tobacco, maize and other primary commodities. At the time, the skills required to produce these products were basic. However, today, the volume of the primary products in world trade and in generating money has reduced drastically and money is made in trading commodities that require skills to produce, such as machinery and technology like laptops, phones and cameras. That is what dominates world trade and determines the amount of money that a country can generate.

Sir, skills have become paramount in the production of most commodities because unless you have the know-how, you will not design and produce a computer, manufacture modern medicines and produce tomatoes, which we used to consider basic. Today, you need the technical know-how to produce tomatoes or wheat because you must invest in seed and production technology. It is not longer possible to assume that basic primary commodities can be produced by anyone. Israel, a country that is predominantly a desert, still produces oranges, grapes, tomatoes, mangoes and other fruits because of its technological advancements. So, if we do not impart skills into our people, in about 100 years, we will fail to produce even the things in which we believe we have a comparative advantage in producing, such as mangoes and cotton. This is because they will be produced more efficiently by others who will have better technology to enhance yields. That is why it is important that we focus on educating our people. There is no way around that. 

Sir, if we do not educate our people, we will buy mangoes, cassava and bananas from other people, who will have better knowledge of producing those fruits. Therefore, ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was emphasising the link between skills training and education, and economic performance. Just to square that point off, I would like to say that, in fact, trained or skilled manpower is the best resource that a country can have. It is even better than gold, iron and oil.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Countries like Singapore and Hong Kong have no natural resources. They are rocky. In fact, I remember that Singapore, a small and rocky island, had to import even the sand on which to construct a modern airport from Indonesia. So, if a country has skilled people, even in the absence of …


Mr Speaker: Order on the far right.

Dr Musokotwane: … natural resources, they can import the raw materials, fabricate goods and sell them to the rest of the world. That is a demonstration of how a skilled human resource is the best resource that a country can ever have. 

Mr Speaker, what are we, as a country, doing to develop our human resource to the levels of, say, Hong Kong and Singapore? This is where the report of the Committee comes in with one of the interventions, namely the development of educational infrastructure. In order to educate people properly so that they are skilled and able to compete on the world market, we need to invest in infrastructure.  

Mr Speaker, in Liuwa, we have serious infrastructural problems. I hear discussions on the new curriculum that is being introduced in schools in this House, but we need to look at the basics of what is happening in the rural areas. When the hon. Minister visits the Western Province, he should not end in Mongu or Kalabo. Next time, if he will still be responsible for education in the new Government, and in an unlikely event that I will still be on the Opposition side, I will take him to some of the remotest schools in Liuwa so that he can see what is happening there. 

Mr Speaker, there are places where 95 per cent of the teachers do not have proper accommodation and sleep in mud-and-pole houses. To make matters worse, and contrary to the instruction that the hon. Minister has always given that teachers must be hired locally, the ministry has been hiring teachers from Kabwe, Mufulira and Kitwe, and posting them to places like Liuwa, where they have to walk for four days to reach their work station just to find that there is no proper accommodation and end up sleeping in huts. Obviously, it does not take long before they leave such places. So, I am not confident that even half of the twenty teachers who were posted to Liuwa early this year will still be there in the next six months. If the lack of decent accommodation for teachers will not be sorted out, I am afraid that the kind of education that we will impart into our children will be very poor. I am saying so because poorly accommodated teachers are not motivated teachers.

Sir, my other concern is with respect to classroom blocks. I can confidently say that 70 per cent of the children in Liuwa attend classes in mud-and-pole buildings. Again, this is de-motivating to teachers, especially those who come from urban areas where most schools have electricity. In the places where they are posted, they find it difficult even to see properly because the classrooms have thatched roofs and no windows. How can the children in such areas be properly educated? Even simple things like blackboards are not there in rural schools. A blackboard costs very little. All that is needed is commitment on the part of the Ministry of General Education to provide just a little money so that the teachers can have blackboards and tables on which to write. The teachers should also have chalk so that they do not use sharpened dry cassava to write, as I mentioned last time.


Dr Musokotwane: This is the reality of what is happening in our schools. 

Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the hon. Minister that, due to the poor infrastructure that I am talking about, I can almost assure him that the presence of his ministry is not felt in rural schools. If you ask most teachers in the rural areas, they will tell you that the ministry is irrelevant to them and that even if the ministry was to be abolished, they would not see any difference in their schools because it does not give them books, chalk, blackboards and textbooks. Most will tell you that it is the Ministry of Finance whose abolition would affect them because the little salaries that they get would no longer be there. 

Sir, in the past five years, only one classroom block has been built in Liuwa, and that is why, when this Government decided to abolish the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) last year, I felt very sad because most of us had forgotten that the Ministry of General Education exists. It was the CDF that was used to build classrooms and teachers’ houses.


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Members on the right!

I will give the hon. Ministers an opportunity to respond.

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, I am sure the teachers where the hon. Minister comes from do not use cassava. Therefore, he is comfortable.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Just continue with your debate. 

 Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I am very sad that the Government decided to abolish the CDF because teachers will continue sleeping in shacks and the classroom blocks will not be repaired or constructed. For me, that was a very serious indictment on the Government over its commitment to develop the rural areas. After all, we all agreed in this House that most of us are products of the education system. Without the education that the colonialists gave us, especially those of us who went to school in the colonial days, very few of us would be here. So, why are we, the Africans who have produced the black child, denying it the chance to be like us? This is what makes me very sad over the lack of infrastructure development in rural Zambian schools today.

Sir, I appeal for the hon. Minister’s support in urging his Government, starting from His Excellency the President, through Her Honour the Vice President and Minister of Development Planning, and the hon. Minister of Finance, that if the Ministry of General Education has become irrelevant, at least, the CDF should be restored. 

Mr Speaker, nowadays, when a child in some places of Liuwa receives a letter, it takes it to its father for him to read it for it, which is the exact opposite of what used to happen during our time. Today, fathers who went up to Standard 5 or 6 are able to read and write while their children cannot even read. It is the parents who read for them.

Sir, let me share a question I read somewhere: Even if we aspire to be like Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore and for our people to start producing computers and other technologies when our children cannot even read, what chance do we have of developing this country? None. We are going backwards. So, we should just be content to continue producing and eating cassava, groundnuts and millet. That is all we will be able to produce in this country, unless we take education seriously. I know that the hon. Minister understands these issues very well. I am saying them to give him a picture of what is happening so that his Government can listen. After 2016, I hope that some of them will come back, maybe, as Back Benchers representing rural constituencies so that they can understand what we are talking about.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker. 


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I thank the Chairperson of your Committee for the able manner in which he has moved this important Motion, and my good elder brother, Hon. Mutale, who seconded the Motion. Allow me to also appreciate the debate of Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa and Hon. Dr Musokotwane. I adopt their sentiments as my own. Since many things have already been said, my debate will be brief. 

Sir, I want to refer the House to the page 23, where issues that are pertinent to us who represent rural areas have been raised. 

Sir, the issues that keep bothering us have been ably put across, but I would still like to touch on the issue of school infrastructure, particularly laboratories.

Sir, the Government upgraded many basic schools into secondary schools and the issue of laboratories is a thorn in the flesh of many of us. Back home, in Kazungula, there are schools that were built through partnership between the community and the Government. Specifically, I want to refer to Mukuni, Nyawa, Makunka, Musokotwane and the latest one, Simango, secondary schools. There is also Kazungula Seconday School, which was built with Government support. The challenge I have with those schools is with examination centres. Through the Constituency Development Fund, which has been suspended, although I saw the hon. Minister dispute this fact, we constructed a laboratory at Mukuni Secondary School, which enabled our children to start writing their Grade 12 examinations from there. Therefore, the pupils from all the schools in Kazungula that I have mentioned now go to Mukuni Secondary, which is quite far from their schools, to write their examinations. As you may be aware, your constituency, Katombola, is one of the largest, if not the largest, in the country. 


Mr Livune: It is common knowledge that Katombola is your constituency, and the facts are very clear. 

Sir, the pupils at Nyawa Secondary School have to cover between 150 km to 200 km to write their examinations at Mukuni Secondary School. They leave their parents and camp at Mukuni Secondary School just to be able to write examinations because there is no permanent laboratory at their school. 

Mr Speaker, it is my hope that the hon. Minister is paying serious attention to this debate because I can see him enjoying his …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Just focus on your debate.

Mr Livune: Sir, it is my hope that we will get a very serious response to that problem, which has been with us for as long as we have been together with our colleagues on your right in this House. There are mobile laboratory kits that are supposed to be provided to many of those schools. Why is it a problem for this Government to allow the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) to designate secondary schools that have those kits as examination centres? It is easier to procure the kits than to construct permanent laboratories at many schools. So, I want to hear whether the Government has managed to construct twenty-two laboratories at the twenty-two schools that have been upgraded. I seriously doubt whether that has been done. For example, there is no laboratory at Simango Secondary School because the K1,280,000 that was allocated to it has not been fully released to enable us to construct the much-needed infrastructure, and that is a serious problem. 

Sir, I just mentioned one school, Simango Secondary, which was given a little money by the Government. What about Makunka and Nyawa Secondary schools? The communities worked very hard to contribute to the construction of education facilities in their areas, but the Government is letting them down. I ask the ministry to recognise those schools as examination centres because the parents cannot continue sending their children to distant places for them to write examinations.

Sir, it is an open secret that one of the major electricity generation plants in the country is my Victoria Falls Power Station.


Hon. Government Members: How? Since when?

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, it does not make economic sense to export electricity to far-away places while many schools in Kazungula are not electrified. Cables that pass over our roofs carry power to other places where people enjoy our electricity when my people do not have electricity and cannot use computers. That is totally unacceptable. It is situations like this that remind me of the gallant son of the land, the late Hon. Mwanza, may his soul rest in peace. So, I ask this Government to be serious and electrify our schools, especially those closer to where the power is generated.

Ms Imenda: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, I saw the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing rise when Hon. Dr Musokotwane spoke about the Consistency Development Fund (CDF). It is true that this House was told that the 2014 CDF will not be disbursed. I presume that his rising was for purposes of reacting to what Hon. Dr Musokotwane was saying. So, at some point, let him tell us whether the 2015 and 2016 CDFs will be paid disbursed together.

Ms Imenda: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: When?
Mr Livune: Sir, there are questions of when the CDF will be disbursed because we have already gone past the first quarter of the year. The hon. Minister had said that it will be paid in 2016 …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Please, pause for a moment. You rightly stated that you were making a presumption. However, do not anchor too much of your debate on that presumption because it is just a presumption that can be right or wrong. It could be rebutted or not rebutted. So, please, focus on facts like you did earlier. Do not focus on presumptions.
Mr Livune: I thank you for your guidance, Sir.

Mr Speaker, it is a fact that the 2015 CDF will not be paid. This we were told on the Floor of this House. As I said earlier, the laboratory at Mukuni Secondary School was built using the CDF. So, the Government’s decision to not release the 2015 CDF has had a negative impact. So, I hope I can be told, this evening, that the Government has rescinded the decision and that the 2015 CDF will be paid together with the 2016 one so that we can implement some projects. For us in the rural areas, the only money with which we can construct physical infrastructure, such as teachers’ houses and classroom blocks, is the CDF.

Sir, the issue of the availability of books in schools is very important, but it also interfaces with the availability of teachers. There is a lamentation of the inadequacy of our teaching staff. Yes, the Early Childhood Learning Policy is welcome. However, as usual, the Government was quick to implement it without addressing the staffing implications of that policy by giving us adequate numbers of teachers. As I speak, in most rural areas, there are no teachers to teach the early children.


Mr Masumba: Early children?

Mr Mufalali: Iwe, Masumba.

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, I hope that the hon. Minister is getting this important position on the Early Childhood Learning Policy versus the availability of early childhood teachers needed to teach the classes that were introduced. Most teachers who teach early childhood classes in rural areas are not trained and, because of that, the children will not be taught what the Government intended them to learn.

Sir, every time the Government wants to employ teachers, we always hear about it employing 5,000 teachers, and I always wonder why that number is consistent. Does the Government also take into account the replacement of teachers who die and retire? The number of teachers recruited does not make a positive impact on teacher-pupil ratios because part of it is a replacement of teachers who retire, transfer, resign or die. So, we will not solve the problem of high teacher-pupil ratios because we are increasing the number of schools while consistently employing 5,000 teachers in every recruitment. I think that we must, first, help the schools that are affected by the movements of teachers and stabilise the staffing levels and, then, get round to recruiting a consistent number so that there are no negative effects.

Mr Speaker, we were told on the Floor of this House that there are over 200 surplus teachers in Lusaka. I do not know what the Government has done about that. Why is there an excess in one province? Where are the teachers from? The hon. Member for Luena once said that some teachers apply for deployment to some schools just to obtain Teaching Service Numbers and get on the Government payroll. Once recruited, they do not even report to their stations, and that does not help our high teacher-pupil ratios. So, the Government must tell us the measures it is effecting to arrest this situation because it is not helping us in the rural areas. Hon. Dr Kaingu agrees with me because we share Constituency boundaries. The Government must do something to help motivate the teachers in the villages to stay there for a longer time.

Sir, I promised not to take too much of the House’s time because many issues have already been raised. I just wanted to re-emphasise the few issues that seriously affect us in the rural areas. I hope the hon. Ministers were listening and that we will get their favourable responses to the challenges that we face.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Higher Education (Dr Kaingu): Mr Speaker, I thank the Chairperson of your Committee and the seconder of the Motion for the well-articulated report, which brings out many pertinent issues in the education sector, especially on technical and vocational training, which falls under my portfolio. My ministry will submit an Action-Taken Report on the recommendations of your Committee. However, I thought it necessary to respond to some of the issues raised.

Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is committed to ensuring that the training provided in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TEVET) and other higher learning institutions is of a high quality and relevant to the development needs of our country. In this regard, various interventions have been put in place, with a focus on the upgrading of lecturer skills and qualifications, and providing institutions with modern equipment.

Sir, the report of your Committee emphasises the need for the Government to hasten the provision of new equipment to TEVET institutions. In this regard, I wish to report to this august House that my ministry has, so far, equipped the Lusaka Business and Technical College (LBTC) and Luanshya Teachers Vocational Training Centre (LTVTC) with state-of-the-art equipment in automotive and electrical engineering. Some additional equipment meant for twelve other trades training institutions, most of which are in remote areas, was donated by our co-operating partners and is expected to arrive in the country and be distributed before the end of this year. I also wish to confirm, as outlined by the report, that in addition to that equipment, the African Development Bank (AfDB), through a loan facility to my ministry, will equip five colleges and three universities, namely the University of Zambia (UNZA), Copperbelt University (CBU), Mulungushi University, Northern Technical College (NORTEC), Nkumbi International College, Lukashya Trades Training Institute (LTTI), Choma Trades Training Institute (CTTI) and three Luanshya-based colleges. The preparation of tender documents for the procurement of the equipment has reached an advanced stage. 

Sir, on the upgrading of lecturer skills and qualifications, the ministry, working with its co-operating partners, has put in place an ambitious training programme for lecturers in the respective technical and science-related fields. Two thousand (2,000) training slots have been reserved under this initiative.

Sir, the Committee has sought a progressive report on the improvement in funding of TEVET institutions reported in the Action-Taken Report of the previous Committee. I wish to inform the House that the ministry is exploring ways of improving funding to this sector by engaging donors. However, most of the institutions also offer either engineering or entrepreneurship courses. Therefore, they are encouraged to sustain themselves.

Mr Speaker, the ministry has continued to develop profiles for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in various districts across the country, air documentaries on them on television, and produce handbooks and digital versatile discs (DVDs) that can be used by institutes to improve their entrepreneurship training and enhance interaction between training institutes and the industry, particularly with the MSME. An example of an entrepreneurship profile is that at Mansa Trades Training Institute, where:

(a)    former graduates who run enterprises continue to have interactions with their former college;

(b)    a female former student, who is a plumber, is normally engaged to do plumbing works at the institute and the institute constantly upgrades her profile; and 

(c)    five former female students teamed up to set up a crop farm on the outskirts of Mansa and are doing well in their business. Their success is an inspiration to other youths who have graduated and seek to establish their own enterprises.

Mr Speaker, the ministry is working on a system by which institutes can trace former students who run enterprises and businesses. 

Sir, I wish to inform this august House that the ministerial committee tasked to evaluate the two proposals by UNZA and the CBU for the operationalisation of Robert Kapasa Makasa University has completed the assignment and submitted its recommendations, but we are yet to award the contract to the preferred university. I only hope that we will not see the same problems that we have had with the old universities at the new institution. In this vein, allow me to say that most of the problems we are grappling with at UNZA were not created by the PF Government. We found them. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I agree with my predecessor that those who were at that institution and those who ran the ministry in the past should have a public debate with us so that we tell the people how they left the institutions in such a deplorable state. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: We, the members of the PF Government, should also tell the people that we have tried our level best, for example, to dismantle the arrears we inherited. Those arrears accumulated because those who ran the institutions were paying themselves six month’s gratuity for every year served. So, you can imagine the backlog they left for us. That is why I accept the challenge to a public debate. I want the public to know that it is not the PF Government that has failed to fund the universities.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

This evening.

Dr Kaingu: Sir, as a rider to Hon. Dr Musokotwane’s sentiments on vocational training and skills development, I would like to agree that our education system has been academic for a long time. That is why the PF Government is trying by all means to move away from academic to vocational education. For that reason, we are building technical colleges in almost every district. We started with Sesheke, Kalabo and Mporokoso, and will continue when we come back after 11th August, 2016.

Mr Livune: Question!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, that is the truth. If we rely only on theoretical learning instead of developing vocational and skills training, we will not develop the nation. We know that countries that have no minerals, such as Japan, Israel, South Korea and Hong Kong, have developed because of skills development.

Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I remember the time I served in the Zambia Air Force (ZAF), which I left as a Lance Corporal ...


Dr Kaingu: ... in the Engineering Department. We had two important colleges, namely the Zambia Institute of Technology (ZIT) and NORTEC. When I was leaving ZAF, the Zambia Airways was full of ZAF-trained technicians and pilots because our training was different from the training that our colleagues were getting. While other institutions only provided cognitive training, we received cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills. 


Dr Kaingu: We transferred the knowledge from the head to the hands. That is the learning we are now encouraging in the education sector. It is a pity that we have only been in office for five years and I appeal to the people of Zambia to give us another five years so that …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

I think that you are done now.

The Minister of General Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, allow me to express my sincere gratitude to the Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology for the detailed and robust approach the Committee adopted in addressing a critical area affecting the education sector, namely book publication and distribution in the education sector. Let me also thank Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa, Hon. Dr Musokotwane and Hon. Livune for their comments. No doubt, whether negative or positive, their comments added value to the debate. 

Sir, I wish to inform Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa that the Committee was attracted to look at the role of book publishing and distribution in the education sector because of the controversy that had been generated by some local publishers who sued the ministry and the Government because they felt they had been sidelined. That action delayed the implementation of our plans for one-and-a-half years. Gladly, however, the courts ruled in favour of the ministry. So, we are now on course.

Sir, after I launched the revised curriculum in 2014, there was a need for us to review the way we were publishing and distributing teaching materials. As you know, the revised curriculum has affected the early childhood, primary, secondary and teacher education levels. 

Sir, in the short time between 2014 and now, we have developed the Early Childhood Education Policy and an implementation plan. In this regard, we have deployed 1,250 early childhood teachers to schools. I am sorry if the teachers have not reached Kazungula yet, but they will soon. This is just the beginning. We are sending teaching and learning materials to early childhood centres all over the country. 

Sir, at the primary school level, things are even more exciting because, from Grade 1 to 4, as Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa knows, local languages are now being used as the medium of instruction.  That is meant to help our young boys and girls to acquire reading and writing skills, and assessments being undertaken on that indicate a promising start. For example, almost 50 per cent of the children at Grade 1 were able to breakthrough reading and writing last year, and I do not have to remind those in the education sector that once a child can read and write, the movement upwards becomes more interesting and enjoyable.

Sir, at the secondary school level, as you heard from my colleague, the hon. Minister of Higher Education, there is now a two-tier system. At Grade 8, one can choose either an academic or vocational pathway. Although still at the pilot stage, there are signs that this system is what we have been looking for.

At the teacher education level, Sir, the curriculum has now been harmonised with the school curriculum, which was not the case in the past. So, again, I must say that with this revised curriculum, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has scored a great success that the people of Zambia have appreciated. No doubt, as the hon. Minister of Higher Education was saying, they will give us another mandate.

Sir, I was in Hon. Livune’s constituency about a week ago and I visited Mukuni Secondary School. I was pleased to see that …

Mr Livune indicated assent.

Dr Phiri: In fact, I over-praised him. Now, I am withdrawing those praises because he has been cantankerous here.


Dr Phiri: Sir, I indicated that …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

Dr Phiri: I beg your pardon, Mr Speaker. He was being a bit mischievous, but …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Please, just withdraw that statement.

Dr Phiri: I withdraw that statement, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Thank you.

Dr Phiri: Sir, it was exciting to see how the local community is working with the ministry to upgrade basic schools into secondary schools. I hear the hon. Member’s cry. In fact, while in Mukuni, I stated that we would work with the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) to allow schools with mobile laboratories to be examination centres. I have also taken note of all the other issues he has raised.

Sir, as regards Hon. Dr Musokotwane’s comments, I must say that the plight of Liuwa is shared by many other areas in this country. I, however, hear his cry, and that is precisely why the revised curriculum must be given a chance to take root so that it changes lives because, through it, whether poor or rich, children will have an equal opportunity to succeed. Education, as you know, is the only avenue to the prosperity of children, particularly those in rural areas. 

Sir, I think that I have explained to Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa why we revised the curriculum and why the start of its implementation has been rough. It is because we were tied up in a court case. Now, we have gained momentum in our endeavour to provide textbooks, re-align teachers and take all the other necessary steps so that the revised curriculum can be implemented as soon as possible.

Sir, the revised curriculum is being implemented in phases, like I indicated in 2014. That is why only last year’s Grade 9 Examinations were based on it. This year, we hope to base the examinations at all three levels on it and we will keep sending the teaching and learning materials to the schools until 2017, when we will finish with Grade 4. We have had some serious hitches, but the situation is not alarming. I think that we are on course and most of our programme indicators have not changed much.

Sir, going back to book publication and distribution in the education sector, I note that the Committee endeavoured to consult various stakeholders in the education sector to attain a deep appreciation of its study area. Indeed, the concerns raised by the key stakeholders will be carefully studied and, where need be, changes will be effected to make the publishing and distribution of books in the education sector effective throughout the country. That said, I wish to underscore my ministry’s resolve to continue ensuring that book content in various subject areas complies with the national education curriculum and syllabi framework through the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC). 

Mr Speaker, while the ministry will continue to work within various legal frameworks governing book publication and distribution in Zambia, it will also formulate a national book policy. In this regard, I am glad to report that the policy is now in draft form and we will expedite the work on it and complete it quickly. We will also continue educating book publishers on the procurement system so that we establish a common understanding with them. Additionally, we work towards improving the efficiency of the book evaluation framework. In this regard, we will to make the key players, including book publishers and sellers, part of the distribution chain. We will also progressively work towards awarding a certain percentage of all publishing contracts to the Zambia Education Publishing House (ZEPH) and Times Printpak Zambia Limited. Let me mention that the two institutions are now part of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), but we will still work with them.

Sir, I must emphasise that my ministry cannot operate in isolation. It is for this reason that it will continue to engage publishers on the need to adhere to the procurement legal framework guidelines, and encourage them to supply books to remote schools although it is the Government’s responsibility to reach the remotest schools. This programme is ongoing, as I said.

Mr Speaker, my ministry will also continue to use both the decentralised and centralised procurement systems to ensure that rural schools also have adequate educational materials. In this regard, I would like to thank Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa for his very good lecture on decentralised and centralised procurement systems. 

Like your Committee, Mr Speaker, the ministry also expresses its concern with the disunity among the members of the Book Publishers Association of Zambia (BPAZ). We only hope that they can come to terms with one another so that we have a united team with which we can work. 

Sir, I assure this august House that the ministry is mindful of the role that Constituency Development Fund (CDF) plays, particularly in the education sector, and the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing will guide the House on that subject in due course. Suffice it for me to say that it is not true that this Government has abolished or suspended the CDF. On the contrary, it is looking forward to a time when the CDF can be enhanced so that hon. Members can continue aiding us in the education sector by providing the services that they have ably provided in the past. Our common denominator is the Zambian child, who demands that we work together. 

Sir, we appreciate what the PF Government has done in the education sector. I think that it has generally performed beyond expectations of the people of Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Phiri: It is that performance, which people can see, that will get us back here.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, I thank my hon. Colleagues who participated in this debate, namely Hon. Mutale, the Member of Parliament for Kwacha Constituency, for seconding the Motion very well; the hon. Member for Nalikwanda, Prof. Lungwangwa, for his rich debate; the hon. Member for Liuwa, Dr Musokotwane; the hon. Member for Katombola, Mr Livune; and the hon. Minister of Higher Education, Lance Corporal Kaingu, …


Mr Speaker: No, no. He has moved on and that is in his past.

Mr Hamudulu: … for responding so well.

Mr Speaker: He is Hon. Dr Kaingu.


Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is proud of having attained that rank in the Zambia Air Force (ZAF), which was not easy in his day.

Sir, I also thank the hon. Minister of General Education, Dr John Phiri, for responding to the pertinent issues that were raised in the report and by all those who debated this evening. I would also like to thank my hon. Colleagues who debated in silence. It is my sincere hope that this House will adopt your Committee’s report.

I thank you Sir.

Question put and agreed to.


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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1928 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 15th April, 2016.