Debates- Wednesday, 17th July, 2013

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Wednesday, 17th July, 2013

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Hon. Members will recall that, on Wednesday, 26th June, 2013, when the House was considering Question for Oral Answer No. 614 and the hon. Member of Parliament for Dundumwezi was raising a Supplementary Question, the Member for Choma Central Parliamentary Constituency, Hon. C. Mweetwa, Member of Parliament, raised the following Point of Order: 

“Mr Speaker, I thank you, once again, for giving me the opportunity to raise another point of order.  I consider this one to be an extremely important procedural point of order. 

“Mr Speaker, when Committees of Parliament are conducting Business of the House, they are referred to as a miniature of Parliament, meaning that they are an extension of this House and, therefore, guided by certain rules and regulations and standard practices. 

“Mr Speaker, I know too well that when witnesses are called to appear before your Committees, the Committee’s observations and recommendations are not made known to the witnesses, but reported to the House and you, Sir.  I am also aware that regardless of this position, your Committees do not take that opportunity to side with witnesses.

“Mr Speaker, yesterday, during the 1900 hours Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) news, we saw your Committee on Public Accounts differ publicly in the presence of witnesses.  When one Member of your Committee suggested to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services’ Permanent Secretary on the need for the ZNBC to improve its news content, there was a reaction, there and then, from another Member who stated that only those members who chose to watch the digital satellite television (DSTV) reality show, Big Brother Africa Show, rather than the ZNBC would dispute the fact that the ZNBC had improved, a comment which I found both derogatory and demeaning to your Members.

“Sir, another Member of your Committee went ahead to side with the witnesses that had been summoned to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to clarify certain financial irregularities by stating that, ‘We, the Public Accounts Committee, are with you.  Continue what you are doing.’

“Sir, siding with witnesses in that manner is construed to be a persuasion of partisan politics by viewers.

“Mr Speaker, are the Members of the Public Accounts Committee in order to conduct themselves in such a manner when they are representing you and this House? I need your serious ruling, Sir.”

 Hon. Members will recall that my immediate remarks on the point of order were as follows:

“My ruling is that, in light of the various factual allegations that you have made, I think, it is necessary that I investigate this matter so that, in due course, I can make an informed ruling.  For that reason, my ruling is reserved.”

The House may wish to know that the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly viewed the video footage of the proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee aired by the ZNBC on the 1900 hours news of Tuesday, 25th June, 2013. The relevant excerpt of the recording is as follows:

“Mr Mucheleka: Mr Chairperson, when you look at the news content and what it projects, there is no difference with what used to happen under the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). So, if you are saying that the ZNBC has improved, I do not know whose voice you are listening to.

“Mr Matafwali: Mr Chairperson, those of us who take time to watch the ZNBC have seen what is happening. However, our friends who go straight to the Big Brother Africa Show every time they switch on the television will not be able to appreciate what the ZNBC has done in the last few months. 

“Mr Zimba: That is why I am very happy with your management. Continue to stand your ground. As PAC, we are behind you.  In case you are offline with regard to financial irregularities, we are here to help.  I have not heard many of the challenges here, but I can see that you are addressing them.”

Hon. Members, I have since studied the point of order and the relevant excerpts of the video recording and find that the point of order raises the following pertinent issues:

(a)    a Member disclosing the observations or recommendations of a Committee before the Committee’s report has been tabled in the House; and

(b)    Members openly differing in the presence of witnesses during Committee Proceedings.

As hon. Members are aware, the National Assembly of Zambia has formulated general guidelines for hon. Members serving on Parliamentary Sessional Committees, which all Members of Committees ought to be privy to and are provided at the commencement of each Parliamentary Session. These general guidelines, which are replicated in the guidelines on the operations of the Public Accounts Committee, are instructive on how Members of a Committee should conduct themselves in the presence of witnesses.

In particular, I wish to draw hon. Members’ attention to Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the general guidelines which state:

“8. While it is appreciated that Members of the Committee can afford to differ in their opinions during the Committee’s deliberations, the views expressed in the Committee’s report should be supported by all Members.  During the presentation of the Committee’s Report, therefore, no Member of the Committee should present dissenting views, as the Standing Orders of the National Assembly do not provide for minority reports. In this respect, Members are advised to be unanimous on all the issues presented in their report.  

“Further, Members may have different opinions on various issues, but they are expected to resolve them amicably through the Chairperson. Members should, therefore, not express these differences in the presence of witnesses or other persons with whom the Committee interacts.

“9. Although the proceedings of the Committee are open to the public, the deliberations of the Committee and the final outcome of these proceedings, which culminate into the Committees’ report, remain confidential until adopted by the House. Consequently, Committee Members should not express the Committee’s observations and recommendations on issues under discussion in front of witnesses or any other persons who are not part of the Committee.”

Hon. Members, evidently, two issues arise from the foregoing guidelines. The first is that while Members of a Committee are allowed to hold different opinions on the various matters before them, they are clearly forbidden to openly express this in the presence of witnesses.  It is for this reason that Committee deliberations to consider the various submissions by witnesses are held in camera. It is only at that time that Members can openly express their views on witnesses’ submissions and even differ, if need be.

The second issue to arise is that Committee deliberations and their outcome should always remain confidential until the Committee’s report has been adopted by the House.  In this regard, Members of a Committee are not allowed to disclose the Committee’s observations or recommendations in the presence of witnesses or, indeed, any other person who is not part of the Committee.  As hon. Members are aware, a Committee’s observations and recommendations are only arrived at after the Committee has, in fact, completed interviewing witnesses.  As such, any opinion rendered by a Member of the Committee during the process of interviewing witnesses cannot be attributed to the Committee. 

In view of the above, I wish to take this opportunity to guide Members on the importance of observing the rules and guidelines the House has set for itself.  In future, I will not take kindly to Members who breach the rules and guidelines the House has set for itself.

Hopefully, every hon. Member has, in his/her possession, the general guidelines regarding service on Parliamentary Sessional Committees. I, therefore, wish to urge all hon. Members to familiarise themselves with these rules and other literature regarding the general conduct of hon. Members in the House and its Committees. I must hasten to add that, in future, failure to abide by these rules and regulations governing the conduct of Members in Committees will inevitably attract stern action being taken against the erring Member by the House, as, of course, recommended by the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services. 

I thank you.

Hon Members: Hear, hear!




Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I have been notified that His Honour the Vice-President is still out of the country attending to national business and, in his absence, the Minister of Finance, Hon. Alexander B. Chikwanda, MP, will act as Leader of Government Business in this House. 

I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!



The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr E. C. Lungu): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for according me this opportunity to give a ministerial statement on the observance of the Public Order Act as it relates to hon. Members of Parliament and impacts on their rights, privileges and obligations.

This matter arose from the debate on whether hon. Members of Parliament need to seek authority from the police to visit their respective constituencies. 

Sir, a number of points of order have been raised on this issue with the latest being the one raised by Hon. Lt-Gen Shikapwasha on Friday, 12th July, 2013. First and foremost, I would like to state, here, that our Constitution guarantees us all the freedom of association and assembly, among others.

Nonetheless, it is advisable and necessary for all of us to inform the police whenever we have intentions to assemble for a rally, procession or any other form of public meeting, as prescribed in the Public Order Act. Furthermore, local police command ought to be informed.

Mr Speaker, this requirement is primarily intended to be a precautionary measure in the event that law and order is compromised. However, this measure is in no way intended to bar or prevent any hon. Member of Parliament from holding meetings in his or her constituency.

Sir, let me hasten to state that the Government does recognise and accept that the hon. Members of Parliament are at liberty to hold meetings or public rallies as they wish without informing the Zambia Police Force. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr E. C. Lungu: Mr Speaker, this is what the law is or states and the Government is duty-bound to obey that law.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr E. C. Lungu: However, Sir, the only worry to the Government is that, in the event that trouble arose endangering the lives of the hon. Members of Parliament, public order or property, it becomes very difficult for the Zambia Police Force to intervene and restore order or protect the hon. Member of Parliament or, indeed, any other people who may find themselves in the vicinity of the events which require policing.

Sir, I wish, at this juncture, to stress that the Zambia Police Force is the main institution established by law to provide security and maintain law and order for all Zambians and any other person within the boundaries of this country.

Mr Speaker, I would like to appeal to my colleagues to not misinterpret this issue. Hon. Members of Parliament are free to proceed to their constituencies any day and any time to perform their functions. I have already said that this is what the law says and what it should be. 

However, Sir, considering that the requirement of notification has given rise to a misunderstanding between the police and the hon. Members of Parliament, whereby the latter feel they are persecuted, intimidated and, in some cases, out rightly oppressed, the Government is in the process of developing a programme to engage the police countrywide with a view to enlightening them further on the provisions of the Pubic Order Act so that, in its implementation, hon. Members of Parliament do not feel they are being intimidated or denied their right to assembly.

Sir, these are immediate or short-term measures. Pending the outcome of the matter which is currently before the courts of law in which this matter is being litigated, the Government, through the ministries of Home Affairs and Justice, is considering reviewing the Act in the long-term to make it clear that all hon. Members of Parliament enjoy the same rights and privileges under the Act.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

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

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, the Public Order Act, as a law, was used in the attainment of Zambia’s independence. Now that we are independent and are in a democracy, has the Government got any plans of doing away with this Act so that Zambians can be free?

Mr E. C. Lungu: Mr Speaker, we have no intention of removing that law. However, we intend to amend it and provide for hon. Members of Parliament to have liberty to hold meetings, just like we do, without necessarily informing the police. That is what I said.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, hon. Members of Parliament enjoy their rights, as they represent their people. This is my third term of serving as an hon. Member of Parliament and there was no time that I needed to notify a police officer to address people in my constituency on matters pertaining to development. Why is it that the new hon. Minister of Home Affairs finds it necessary that hon. Members of Parliament, under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, should notify the police whenever any hon. Member of Parliament wants to address the people? I am not talking about public meetings, but meetings which hon. Members of Parliament hold on matters of development. How come the hon. Minister finds it necessary?

Mr E. C. Lungu: Mr Speaker, I was very precise in my statement. I did not say that hon. Members of Parliament require permission or any authority from the police for that matter. I do not know where the hon. Member picked that from.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the ministerial statement presented by the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and consider it as partial victory for the Zambian people and their representatives, the hon. Members of Parliament. Considering that I have been a victim of this law, can I find out from the hon. Minister whether I will be allowed, without hindrance, to perform my duties in my constituency, as assigned to me by the people of Lubansenshi Constituency?

Mr Speaker: I will, obviously, ask the hon. Minister to answer the question, but before he does that, from my following, I get the sense that he will constantly be repeating himself.  Please, recall, if you can, the statement he made earlier on.

Mr E. C. Lungu: Mr Speaker, it is a pity we want to become personal in asking questions on the Floor of this House. I said that there is no need for involving the police if you are going to hold a meeting if you deem it fit to do so. However, I did put a caution and said that it becomes difficult for the police to respond if there is a need for them to attend to the situation which might require their presence.

However, Sir, as I informed this august House in my earlier statement, I wish to assure the hon. Member that we are embarking on a programme of further enlightening the police men and women on the implementation of the Public Order Act. If that is not sufficient for now, I have also qualified further that, in the long-term, we intend to liaise with the Ministry of Justice to make amendments to the Act so that it is very clear that hon. Members of this House enjoy the privileges, across the board, to visit their constituencies without let or hindrance.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kazonga (Vubwi): Mr Speaker, on one hand, the hon. Minister has indicated that, as hon. Members of Parliament, we enjoy privileges that are accorded to us through the Constitution. On the other hand, he has indicated that we have to inform the police whenever we want to hold meetings in our constituencies, in addition to other activities of course. Could the hon. Minister categorically state what the Government is recommending.

Mr E. C. Lungu: Mr Speaker, at the expense of monotony, allow me to read what I said once more. I said that a number of points have been raised and that our Constitution guarantees us all the freedom to associate and assemble, among other rights. I went on to say that, nonetheless, it is advisable and necessary for all of us to inform the police whenever we have intentions to assemble for a rally, procession or any other gathering. Your judgment will tell you whether the meeting you are about to hold calls for police presence or not. However, if you choose to take a risk and go in an area like Chawama, where they want to beat me up for stopping the illegal allocation of plots, it is up to you, really.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwale (Chipangali): Mr Speaker, since we enjoy the privileges and the liberties accorded to us by the Constitution to represent our people, we had situations where the hon. Members of Parliament for Lubansenshi and Namwala were harassed while trying to perform duties in their constituencies. What action is the Government going to take against those police officers who harassed the two hon. Members of Parliament whose actions in their respective constituencies were in accordance with the Constitution?

Mr E. C. Lungu: Mr Speaker, it is the same question, but rephrased because I believe people want to contribute and so I will answer it. Hon. Mwale, I have assured the House that we are taking measures to enlighten our policemen and women further on hon. Members’ rights and privileges. However, if that is not enough, then, I do not know what to do under the current law because the police act out of knowledge of the local situation sometimes. If an hon. Member chose to notify the police, he/she is encouraged to let them know how many people are expected to attend a gathering and he/she will be advised. However, we are saying that you do not need to go that route if you do not want to. The police will not stop you from holding that gathering. That is what I am saying.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Let me give some guidance and comfort. I am the custodian of the privileges of hon. Members of Parliament and I am similarly concerned. We had a very productive meeting with the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, the hon. Minister of Justice and the Whips. This is a product of that effort. There are short-term, medium-term and long-term measures to address these issues. In my opinion, I think the hon. Minister has been quite clear about this position. We have to strike a balance between public order, on one hand, and the need for hon. Members of Parliament to perform and execute their functions without let or hindrance on the other hand. Part of that effort, which the hon. Minister has indicated, is also enlightening our police force in that regard. So, this is a matter that we shall all constantly review and ensure that the privileges enjoyed by hon. Members of Parliament are not hindered. You have important tasks to execute and that is the background to this issue. I think that the hon. Minister has been fairly clear on this subject.

 Hon. Minister, I was just interposing. You may continue.

Mr E. C. Lungu: Mr Speaker, I have lost track of the question.

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the question is: What action will the Government take against those officers who harassed hon. Members of Parliament?

Mr E. C. Lungu: Mr Speaker, ordinarily, we do have a Police Public Complaints Authority (PPCA) where an aggrieved citizen can take his/her complaint against the police. If such a complaint has been lodged with the PPCA, I am sure they will pick it up and censure the police officer concerned or bring him to book, as they will deem fit. Therefore, I would urge Hon. Mucheleka and the other colleague, who have been aggrieved, to tender their complaints to the PPCA.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: I will be winding down this discussion.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, I think the hon. Minister has been very clear and categorical. However, I would like to find out if that statement can and will be distributed to all police stations so that they are aware of the privileges of the hon. Members of Parliament.

Hon. UPND Member: Hear, hear!

Mr E. C. Lungu: Mr Speaker, I am very sure that this statement will be reproduced in the Hansard and those who want to have access to it will be able to. However, I wish to assure this House that, in my statement, I did say that we are embarking on a countrywide exercise, funds permitting, of course, to let the police know the position of the Government on the implementation of the Public Order Act. If it means issuing circulars or guidelines within the police system, we will find a way of getting this across to them.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.




721. Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West) asked the Minister of Health whether the Government had any plans to introduce legislation that would make circumcision of male babies at birth compulsory.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Chikusu): Mr Speaker, Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC), as the name suggests, is voluntary and requires the consent or assent of the client, as the case may be, or the parent or guardian in the case of infants. Early infant male circumcision is currently part of the National Scale-up Plan of the VMMC and is offered the same way adult circumcisions are done. This follows adequate counselling and the client needs to provide informed consent. Therefore, the Government has no current intentions to introduce legislation that will make circumcision of male babies at birth compulsory as the current measures in place are adequate to implement the programme successfully.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, in my understanding, the human immuno-deficiency virus/ acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) scourge is primarily the reason for introducing the so-called voluntary circumcision. This, in some parts of the country like where I come from, is not voluntary, but compulsory. There are a lot of countries around which have made circumcision compulsory and are making headway against the scourge. Why should the PF Government not think of introducing it?

The Minister of Health (Dr Kasonde): Mr Speaker, I think the hon. Member should clearly distinguish between legal and cultural compulsion. We do not believe that in the event that a particular culture insists that certain activities should be performed, that should be read as the legal guarantee for the same to apply to other members of the community.

Mr Speaker, for this reason, the Government has taken note of the beliefs and activities in this particular region of our country. However, considering that the primacy and paramouncy of human rights overrides that of national concern, we will insist on male circumcision to remain voluntary.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, there are vaccines, such as those for measles, that are compulsorily given to babies without the consent of their parents and were introduced by international bodies and we have accepted this. Now, looking at the impact of HIV/AIDS, can male circumcision not be made compulsory so that we start the law is formulated here in Zambia? If this was suggested from outside, it would have been made compulsory. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: At the risk of repetition, hon. Minister.

Dr Kasonde: Sir, I appreciate that this is a law-making assembly and, therefore, suggestions for changes in the law are within the remit of the hon. Member. Up to now, these suggestions have been considered and refused. It may be that the hon. Member will consider continuing his pursuit of what, to me, is a non-starter.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Muchima: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to raise a point of order. I know quite well that the House is rising this Friday. As it is, the public has been made to misunderstand the role hon. Members of Parliament, especially those from the North-Western Province. Just yesterday, there was a clip on the national television broadcaster on the Government informing the public about the twelve hon. Members of Parliament in the North-Western Province and this is a fact. Out of these hon. Members of Parliament, only one is a Member of the Patriotic Front (PF) while the rest are from the Opposition. According to the Government, here in Lusaka, it has no record that hon. Members of Parliament from the North-Western Province speak on behalf of their people and that is why the province is so underdeveloped.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, not long ago, on the Floor of this House, I posed a question to His Honour the Vice-President about the revenue coming from the North-Western Province and why the province was neglected. His Honour the Vice-President gave a very good answer. Further, not long ago, hon. Members of Parliament wrote a petition to His Excellency the President seeking audience with him to discuss the issues pertaining to the province. To-date we have not been given that opportunity. It is on record that hon. Members of Parliament have asked a lot of questions to the Government and the role of Parliament is to provide answers. The role of hon. Ministers is to take action. That is what has been done and the majority of hon. Members of Parliament have been doing a commendable job, including those from the North-Western Province.

Hon. Opposition Members: hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: The North-Western Province houses the source of the Zambezi River, the connection to Angola and big mines where much of our revenue is coming from. We hear pronouncements of big projects taking place in other corners of this country, but we rarely hear anything about the North-Western Province. When you move between Chingola and Solwezi, the road is almost impassable. When you move from Mwinilunga to Jimbe, it is as if you are in a war- torn country.

Mr Speaker, is the Government in order to denounce hon. Members of Parliament and assert that they do not speak on behalf of the people, and yet it is on record here in Parliament that this has been a song? I need your serious ruling.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Sing’ombe: Nguni okamba bobo?

Mr Speaker: Order! Order!


Mr Speaker: First and foremost, the point of order is not procedural. 

Mr Mulusa interjected.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Solwezi Central, it is not procedural.


Mr Speaker: No running comments.


Mr Speaker: Secondly, it strikes me as an issue arising from some form of electioneering. That is the sense I get of it and, unfortunately, materials emanating from those sources are outside my remit. 

Thirdly, assuming that you want hon. Members of the Executive wing to account to that extent, I think the most appropriate channel that is available within the precincts of the House is a question.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 Mr Speaker: In spite of the fact that we are rising on Friday, I can assure you that we have means to process that question as soon as possible.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, first of all, as a mother, I would not like to be compelled to take my baby for male circumcision. I would certainly fight that law. 


Mr Speaker: Order! Order, on the right!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, there has been a very aggressive campaign to promote male circumcision with its purported benefits.


Ms Namugala: However, there has been no information on its negative effects. Therefore, can the hon. Minister tell this House and, through it, the nation the negative effects of male circumcision.

Mr Ntundu: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Now, give the hon. Minister of Health an opportunity to respond.

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the comment by the hon. Member for …

Mr Ntundu interjected

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Gwembe, we want to hear the hon. Minister, now.

Continue, hon. Minister.

Dr Kasonde: … Mafinga. Indeed, it is not the first time that I have appreciated her very concrete observations. I, however, must differ with the approach that the hon. Member proposes for the good reason that this is a matter for counseling at the time of the procedure. It is not my intention, much as I might wish to, to stop this customary practice of doing our counseling in confidential environments. There is no evidence that the assembly has ever been meant to be a confidential environment.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


722.    Mr Lufuma asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a)    how many defilement cases were reported to the police from 2010 to 2012;

(b)    of the cases at (a), how many were prosecuted during the same period;

(c)    how many convictions were secured; and 

(d)    whether the Government had any plans to introduce legislation that would make the offence of defilement non-bailable.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, 


Mr Speaker: Order!

There are too many conversations running.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, a total number of 6,127 defilement cases were reported to the police from 2010 to 2012. The year by year statistics to show how the numbers have fluctuated during the period under review are as follows:

Year    Total Cases

2010    2,419

2011    1,339

2012    2,369

Total    6,127

Mr Speaker, out of the total number of 6,127 defilement cases that were reported, 2, 839 cases were prosecuted during the same period. Out of the total number of cases reported, a total of 798 convictions were secured after successful prosecutions. The remainders of the cases are still pending before the courts of law.

Mr Speaker, the Government has no immediate intentions of introducing legislation that would make defilement a non-bailable offence. Nevertheless, the Government enacted the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act of 2011 which provides for stiffer punishment for perpetrators of defilement and other gender-based-violence offences. For instance, a person convicted of the subject offence is liable to a mandatory custodial sentence of not less than fifteen years.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, this is another scourge that has befallen our society, today, and according to the statistics that have been given, it is ever rising. From experience, what happens is that when an accused is released on bail, he/she goes ahead to influence the decision of the court by interfering with witnesses. As a result, we have lesser convictions. Given the seriousness of the offence, what is the justification for not introducing the law which will ensure that the accused is in custody until the case is disposed of?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that passionate follow-up question. Indeed, the number of cases is alarming and is of concern to us, as law enforcers. However, you may also wish to know that this is more to do with the moral degradation in our society. You cannot really explain how a father of more than eighty years would pounce on a child of less than sixteen years. You cannot understand why a priest or a pastor in a church, where people should deposit their trust and faith, should be the first to pounce on our children. 

However, we should also understand that in as much as we would want to cage these people, the trend world over is to have as many bailable cases as possible. This is to let the courts of law, which are the final arbiters, be the ones to determine the issue of bail and bail conditions. You should also understand that in as much as we would want to cage people, there are also those who are framed. Imagine that you deny a person bail only to discover such a person was actually innocent. It is important that we all take interest and responsibility of trying to see what we can do in order to change our society. 

Mr Speaker, that is the response I can give for now.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, out of 2,839 prosecutions, only 798 convictions were secured. This is a very small number, indeed. May I find out from the hon. Minister why this is the case?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the process of getting to secure convictions depends on so many factors, including the evidence available. What we have done, as the Government, and, hon. Members will recall, is to launch the one-stop-gender-based facilities. We did this is that not too long ago. These are facilities where a victim can find presence of the police and medical officers who can attend to a case holistically so that ‘quickly quickly’ the matter is taken to court.

Hon. Members: Quickly, quickly!


Mr Nkombo: Bwangu, bwangu!


Mr Speaker: Order! 

Mr Kampyongo: You must have also heard that we are introducing a ‘folensic’ lab …


Mr Speaker: Order, the hon. Minister is supplying vital information.


Hon. Government Member: Ubwekeshepo nakabili bomfwe!

Mr Kampyongo:  Mr Speaker, the ministry has also introduced, for the first time in the history of this country, a forensic laboratory where we expect to have some of these matters taken care of and determined. We are doing everything possible to see how we can attend to these cases. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, in many instances, we have been told that the root cause of the act of defiling underage girl children or infants is a result of people giving into ritualistic demands that are associated with patients who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, if you know what I mean. So, what has the ministry done in order to unearth the prescribers of molesting infants as a way to test negative to people who find themselves in the unfortunate position of being HIV positive?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, that is why I earlier said that these are matters that we all need to take keen interest in. This should start with hon. Members in this House. The hon. Member has brought out pertinent issues which we have all been wondering on how to deal with. It will be difficult for me to say much about those issues. However, we, in the Ministry of Home Affairs, have been informed that the Ministry of Justice is also trying to come up with initiatives such as introducing the child-friendly courts, where some of these cases can be dealt with thoroughly and easily, taking into consideration what the hon. Member has brought out. We are also trying to see how we can engage the traditional healers. We will take advantage of the Registrar of Societies to see how many traditional healers associations are registered so that we take stock of the numbers and see how we can deal with those who are operating outside the parameters of the registered entities. Probably, that can help us.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has informed us that the reported cases were in excess of 6,000 and prosecuted cases were about 2,839. Convictions were 700. The reasons given for the failure to have total convictions have been explained. May I find out what the problem in prosecuting these cases has been because out of 6,000 cases, there have been barely 50 per cent prosecutions. 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, you also need to understand that we, as the Ministry of Home Affairs, through our police, can only deal with these matters to a certain level. When the matters are taken to court, they are beyond us. The matters depend on how much evidence is presented before the courts and the work load before them. We have limitations when it comes to securing convictions.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, 6,000 …

Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order!

A point of order is raised.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I apologise to the hon. Member of Parliament for Chadiza for interjecting through this point of order. Going by the answer that the hon. Minister has delivered in answer to the question by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalomo Central, prosecution is under the ambit of the police and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Therefore, is the hon. Minister in order to misguide me by answering in the manner that he has? He has said that only less than 50 per cent of the 6,127 cases that were reported have been prosecuted because those matters are under the jurisdiction of the court? Is he in order to tell me that?

Mr Speaker: Order!

Ordinarily, this really should not be a point of order. It should be a follow-up question. However, I know the procedural restrictions that apply in that regard. I listened to the debate on issues of reform. Hon. Minister, take that into account as you respond. 

Hon. Member for Chadiza, you may continue.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, more than 6,000 defilement cases is a big number. I recall that, in this House, a law was passed to ensure that anybody found with a case relating to motor theft cannot be released on bail. I wonder why the hon. Minister, now, is saying that the Government has no plans to enact a similar law for defilement offenders. What is more important between a vehicle and life? Is the Government’s failure to enact this law not going to place the lives of women in danger? 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, bear in mind the intervention from the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Chadiza has cited a law which does not exist. I think that we all remember how controversial the form in which that piece of legislation was passed. Earlier, I also explained what the trend obtaining world over is. However, let me come back to the concern by Hon Nkombo. I indicated here that the major problem we have is evidence. In most cases, the perpetrators of these crimes are related to the victims. I gave an example of how a father pounced on his child. 


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, in as much as the State would want to prosecute the cases, the victims and relatives back out. That poses a challenge for the prosecution team. How can they proceed? These are the matters that we, as legislators, should take keen interest in and ensure that the people in our communities where we are leaders are taught and made to understand that a person who pounces on his child or niece needs to be brought before the courts of law so that the law can be meted out to him. That is what I said. I did not say that it is not our responsibility to prosecute these cases.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, if I heard the hon. Minister very well, he said that …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Sing’ombe: ... 798 convictions were secured. I want to find out how many of the convicted were women and how many were men.

Hon. Opposition Member: They are all men.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I must say that I have a challenge responding to that question in the manner the hon. Member would want me to. I do not want to make an assumption. Therefore, to give me a chance to provide the specific information the hon. Member is asking for, I would not mind him filing a question in that regard.  However, what I am assuming is that most of these were female-related cases.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order!

In short, the data is not available.


Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, one of the reasons these cases do not proceed further than the police station is because it is very difficult, especially in rural areas, to prove the age of a girl-child. In some situations, the parents of a child say, “This is a child,” while the police argue saying, “Nimukulu (this is an adult).” So, the issue of proof of the age of the girl is very important. Now, the Ministry of Home Affairs is also responsible for issuance of birth certificates. What is it doing in ensuring that children in rural and urban areas have birth certificates?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member’s question. In as much as it is not directly related to the cases of defilement, I may provide a bonus answer because the responsibility of registration falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Sir, my bonus answer is that this Government is making a lot of progress in making sure that it enhances and improves the civil registration process. We, as the Government, are also going to computerise the registration process of our national registration and change a lot of things. As regards the areas where there are no facilities, but only offices in districts, we are working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to ensure that even those births that occur in  rural areas are captured through the health centres and passed on to our national registration centres. So, those are the efforts that we are currently making. At the moment, a technical team is at Protea trying to put the working documents together so that we proceed in that direction.

I thank you, Sir.


726. Mr Matafwali (Bangweulu) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    how much money was realised from the following weigh bridges between January, 2011, and March, 2013:

(i)    Kapiri Mposhi;

(ii)    Mpika;

(iii)    Kafue; and

(iv)    Kafulafuta; and

(b)    whether the Government had any plans to construct a new weigh bridge between Lusaka and Kabwe in order to decongest the weigh bridge at Kapiri Mposhi.

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr M. H. Malama): Mr Speaker, the revenue collected by the Road Development Agency (RDA) from the weigh bridges between January, 2011, and March, 2013 is as follows:

Weigh Bridge    2011        2012    March
        (K)        (K)     2013 

Kapiri Mposhi    2,580,013.87    5,149,906.07    530,212.67

Mpika    758,034.75    2,113,893.47    491,252.00

Kafulafuta    334,024.50    1,088,796.95    242,890.00

Kafue    not in use    229,296.32    636,380.00

Total    3,672,073.12    8,571,892.81    1,900,734.67

Mr Speaker, there are no plans to construct a weigh bridge between Kabwe and Lusaka. However, to decongest Kapiri Mposhi Weigh Bridge, the following interventions are being implemented:

(a)    re-engineering of the Kapiri Mposhi junction to separate heavy trucks and light vehicles by providing filter and queuing lanes;

(b)    conversion of the existing axle weighing platform into a multi-deck platform to reduce the weighing time per truck; and

(c)    providing an additional multi-deck platform at the main Kapiri Mposhi Weigh Bridge. One weigh bridge will weigh north-bound trucks while the other one will weigh trucks coming from the direction of Mpika.

Sir, all trucks from the Copperbelt will be weighed at Kafulafuta Weigh Bridge. As a result, they will not pass through Kapiri Mposhi Weigh Bridge.

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Matafwali: Mr Speaker, there are a lot of …

Mr Livune: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing informed this House of the suspension of the councillors at the Livingstone City Council. As I speak, the suspension expired yesterday or thereabout. 

Is the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing in order to remain silent when the people of Livingstone and the nation at large are anxious to hear the current state of the Livingstone City Council?

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that you file a question.

Mr Matafwali: Mr Speaker, there are a lot of underhand methods that are used at weigh bridges to understate the weights of vehicles passing through the bridges. What measures is the Government undertaking to stop this scourge?

Mr M. H. Malama: Mr Speaker, that is a difficult issue to bring to an end. However, we, as the Government, are trying by all means to ensure that those who are doing that are brought to book. This is why we send auditors to check on performance at the weigh bridges. Otherwise, if there are dubious ways of doing work, then, I think it is important that the hon. Member helps us by reporting the culprits so that we make some follow ups.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, what measures is the Government putting in place to ensure that the congestion that is obtaining at the Kafue Weigh Bridge is addressed? At times, you find more than 100 vehicles queuing up, but with no one to attend to them.

Mr M. H. Malama: Mr Speaker, that is serious and we will look into it because the Kafue Weigh Bridge has just been worked on and if that is what is obtaining, then, we need to move in so that problem is solved.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, my follow up question …

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I know that you would have advised me to raise a question instead of a point of order, …


Mr Mwiimbu: … but considering that we are only remaining with two days before the House rises, is the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock in order to not inform the nation pertaining to the purchase of maize and other crops by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA)? The people in our various constituencies are getting concerned and desperate. Is the Government in order to remain silent and not inform us when we are about to rise in two days time?

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that we have not run out of time. File in a question.


Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, as the hon. Minister and his ministry consider the issue of increasing manpower at these weigh bridges, can they also think of extending the queuing lane at the Kafue Weigh Bridge because the trucks cause congestion along the main road as they wait to be weighed?

Mr M. H. Malama: Mr Speaker, when Hon. Jack Mwiimbu asked his question, I indicated that we would look into his area of concern. What the hon. Member for Siavonga has said will be part of what we are going to look into. We appreciate the fact that hon. Members have brought this problem to our attention.

I thank you, Sir.


727 Mr Chansa (Chimbamilonga) (on behalf of Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa)) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication: 

(a)    how many new drivers’ licences were issued in 2011 and 2012, year by year;

(b)    of the licences, how many were issued for Public Service Vehicles (PSVs)

(c)    how many temporary drivers’ licences were issued in the same period; and

(d)    why it take up to three months for the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) to process drivers’ licences.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications (Col. Kaunda): Mr Speaker, the number of new drivers’ licences issued in 2011 was 14,853 while the number of drivers licences issued in 2012 was 37,032.

Sir, in 2011, out of the 14,853 driving licences issued, 189 were for the PSV class. In 2012, out of the 37,032 driving licences issued, 723 were for the PSV classes.

Mr Speaker, the number of temporary drivers licences issued in 2011 were 14,667 while 36,309 were issued in 2012. Currently, we are using the centralised system to process licences, however, equipment has been procured to decentralise the issuance of licences to the provinces. 

I thank you, Sir. {mospagebreak}


728 Mr Chansa (on behalf of Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa)) asked the Minister of Transport Works, Supply and Communication: 

(a)    how many motor vehicles were owned by the Government from 2009 to 2012, year by year;

(b)    of those vehicles, how many had since been sold off; and

(c)    how much money was raised from the sale, year by year.

Col. Kaunda: Mr the total number of vehicles owned by the Government from 2009 to 2012 was as follows:

Year    No. of Govt.-owned

2009    3,583

2010    4,338

2011    5,492

2012    6,296

Mr Speaker, the following numbers of vehicles were sold off from 2009 to 2012:

Year    No. of vehicles sold    
2009    87

2010    54

2011    193

2012    111

Mr Speaker, the number of Board of Survey (BOS) vehicles sold was as follows:

    Year    Board of Survey

    2009    215

    2010    549

    2011    Nil

    2012    Nil

Mr Speaker, the amounts of money raised from the sale of Government and personal-to- holder vehicles from 2009 to 2012 was as follows:

    Year    Amount

2009    1,190,234,572

2010    1,047,196,112

2011    5,007,800,514

2012    3,300,188,847

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


729    Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi) asked the Minister of Finance:

(a)    how much money the country received in form of grants from the international community from 2009 to 2011, year by year; and

(b)    how much money was spent on infrastructure development in Luwingu District.

The Deputy Minister of Finance (Mr Mukata): Speaker, the total amount of money that the country received from the international community, in 2009, was US$639.88 million. In 2010 and 2011, the country received US$367.05 million and US$433.59 million, respectively. 

Mr Speaker, out of the US$639.88 million received, in 2009, US$1.19 million was spent on infrastructure development in districts, including Luwingu while, in 2011, a total amount of US$2.38 million was spent on infrastructure development in Luwingu and three other districts. Nothing was spent on infrastructure development in 2010. However, the reason statistics do not indicate the amounts spent on infrastructure, per district for 2009, is because the activities were shared across district boundaries.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


730. Mr Bwalya asked the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development:

(a)    how much progress the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited had made on improving power supply to the Northern Province through the Pensulo/Kasama Project; and

(b)    when the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) would electrify Lupososhi Parliamentary Constituency in Luwingu District.

The Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Zulu): Mr Speaker, …

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

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I did not catch your eye when we were still on Question 729. I want clarification on why that Government is quoting in dollars when our denomination is in kwacha.


Mr Speaker: Order! 

 I think the point that you did not catch my eye puts the matter to rest. Your point of order is belated.


Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, ZESCO is currently understating a 330 KV transmission line project covering the Eastern, Muchinga and Northern provinces. The project is aimed at increasing electricity transmission capacity in the North-East Corridor that will ultimately result in improved quality and reliability of electricity supply to people in these areas. 

Mr Speaker, Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Co., Ltd (TBEA) of China has been engaged by ZESCO as the Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contractor to execute this important project. The contractor has just completed detailed surveys for the transmission line routes and is now mobilising and setting up construction camp sites at Pensulo in Serenje, Mpika, Kasama and Chipata. The contractor has already started engaging local people for the initial works, but will soon start recruiting more in preparation for actual construction works this month, July, 2013. The project has a delivery period of thirty months and should be completed by May, 2015. 

Sir, in addition, once commissioned, the project will act as a catalyst to stimulate industrial, mining, agriculture and tourism investments in these three provinces.

Mr Speaker, Lupososhi Constituency, according to our master plan, will be connected next year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Matafwali: Mr Speaker, when this particular project was being commissioned, we were informed by ZESCO that it would be completed within fifteen months. How come, today, the hon. Minister is talking about thirty months?

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, it takes a bit of time to procure some materials and equipment for such projects. I think ZESCO overlooked one or two things. Otherwise, this project has a delivery period of thirty months. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, the Pensulo/Kasama Project is supposed to be supplemented by the new Lunzuwa Power Project in Mbala. What progress has been made, so far, on the Lunzuwa Power Project?

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, I would look at that as a new question.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that according to the Rural Electrification Master Plan (REMP), Lupososhi will be connected next year. Has his ministry considered giving us a status report on how much has been achieved under the Rural Electrification Master Plan, which was designed in the days of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD)?

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, as far as I know, this year, we have about twenty-one projects. So far, I have commissioned some of the completed ones in Kafue, Kapiri Mposhi and the Western Province. As for the update, I will take that as a new question and will give that information to the House at a later stage.

I thank you, Sir. 



Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Welfare on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Distribution of Medicines and Medical Supplies, for the Second Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 8th July, 2013.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Habeenzu (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you for according me this opportunity to brief this august House on your Committee’s consideration of the Report of the Auditor-General on the Distribution of Medicines and Medical Supplies.

Sir, as you may be aware, the availability of medicine and medical supplies is of great importance to the well-being of society and as such, it is critical that essential medicines and medical supplies are always …


Mr Speaker: Order! 

Let us have order on the right. There are too many conversations going on. 

The hon. Member may continue.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: … available and accessible at all health facilities in the country. 

However, there was concern raised in the media and general public that some essential drugs such as Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARVs), anti-malaria and Tuberculosis (TB) medicines that were supposed to be distributed free of charge to patients under the Government-sponsored programmes were not readily available in some health centres. Further, some media reports also revealed that workers in the public health institutions had been involved in the pilferage of medicines.

Sir, despite the Government and co-operating partners investing substantial amounts of resources in the procurement of essential medicines and medical supplies, health facilities across Zambia continued to face challenges in accessing medicines and medical supplies timely and in appropriate quantities.

In light of the above, the Report of the Auditor- General on the Distribution of Medicines and Medical Supplies was, therefore, aimed at assessing the efficiency and effectiveness with which the Ministry of Health and Medical Stores Limited distribute medicines and medical supplies to hospitals, clinics and other health centres in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, the House will be interested to note that all stakeholders who appeared before your Committee were in support of the Auditor-General’s findings and recommendations. They observed that a multi-faceted approach was needed to address the problems faced with the distribution of medicines and medical supplies in the country in order to ensure increased availability and accessibility to essential medicines and supplies in Zambia.

Sir, your Committee agrees with stakeholders and commends the Office of the Auditor- General for the step it has taken in bringing this particular report to Parliament.

Mr Speaker, as hon. Members are privy to the contents of your Committee’s report, I shall merely highlight a few salient issues.

Sir, your Committee observed that some health facilities are overstocked with medicines and other medical supplies thereby causing wastage due to expiry, and yet other facilities go without medicines bringing about shortages. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that personnel at health facilities be trained in quantification and forecasting in order to ensure that only the required amounts of medicines and medical supplies are requested for to avoid over stocking. Your Committee further upholds the recommendation by the Auditor-General that overstocked medicines be redistributed to undersupplied facilities in order to avoid wastage. In light of this, the Ministry of Health must assist health centres to establish data bases which all district pharmacies should access in order to check for overstocked medicines.

Mr Speaker, your Committee is also concerned with the large sums of money spent on disposing of expired drugs. This, in your Committee’s view, is a wasteful expenditure. In view of the foregoing, your Committee strongly supports the recommendation made by the Auditor-General that the Ministry of Health improves the needs assessment at health centres so that the risk of medicines expiring on the shelves is reduced. Further, medicines with a short shelf life should not be accepted by both health facilities and Medical Stores Limited unless it is established that they will be used before the expiry dates. Your Committee further recommends that all donated medicines and medical supplies have pre-shipment documentation inspected to ensure that they conform to the dictates of the essential drugs list of Zambia and that their expiry dates are within acceptable limits.

Sir, your Committee observed, with concern, that the delay to order drugs in most health facilities is mainly due to poor planning and inertia at health centres. Your Committee, therefore, …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business   was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I had just started to state that your Committee observed with concern that the delay to order drugs in most health facilities is merely due to poor planning and inertia at the health centres. Your Committee, therefore, urges the controlling officer to be firm with officers and take disciplinary action for any discrepancies arising from this negligence of duty.

Sir, most health facilities have poor storage facilities for medicines and medical supplies thereby compounding wastage through damage and pilferage. In view of the foregoing, your Committee urges the Government to improve the management of medicine storage facilities in all areas where there is critical need. Further, the Ministry of Health should establish a rigorous inspection and monitoring system of the drug storage facilities in all hospitals and health centres.

Mr Speaker, you may wish to note that in an effort to appreciate what was obtaining on the ground, your Committee toured the Medical Stores Limited Warehouse. Although with marked improvement in packaging, transport fleet and computerisation of the warehouse management system, during this tour, your Committee observed that the current status of Medical Stores Limited of having only a single hub has immensely contributed to the late delivery of medical products in the country.

Sir, in light of the above, your Committee urges the Government to generate a programme of funding Medical Stores Limited for the construction of hubs in all the provincial headquarters and in selected rural districts in order to enhance timely delivery of medicines and medical supplies on a needs-basis and not on a push-basis, as observed by the Auditor-General’s Report of 2012. 

Sir, your Committee further observed that the lack of a fully-fledged procurement department at Medical Stores Limited has hampered the institution’s ability to discharge its mandate. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government ensures that the procurement of medicines and medical supplies is transferred from the Ministry of Health, taking into account the Public Finance Act and Zambia Public Procurement Act, to Medical Stores Limited so as to reduce the delays resulting from the procedure of procuring the medical products at the Ministry of Health. 

Sir, I wish to conclude by taking this opportunity to thank you for the guidance provided to your Committee during the consideration of the Report of the Auditor-General on the Distribution of Medicines and Medical Supplies. I also wish to thank all the stakeholders who appeared and made submissions to your Committee and acknowledged the valuable input from the Office of the Auditor-General when considering submissions. I also wish to thank Members of your Committee for their co-operation and input in the deliberations of your Committee’s work. Lastly, but not the least, allow me to also thank the Clerk of the National assembly and her staff for the unwavering support they rendered to your Committee. 

Mr Speaker, I beg to move. 

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

Mr Habeenzu: Now, Mr Speaker. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you for affording me the opportunity to second this important Motion to adopt the Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Welfare on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Distribution of Medicines and Medical Supplies which is on the Floor of the House. In seconding the Motion, I wish to comment on a few points contained in your Committee’s report. 

Mr Speaker, your Committee appreciates the significant increase in the national medicines budget. However, it observes that this is still not adequate to meet the various challenges in the availability of essential medicines at health centres. 

In light of the foregoing, Sir, your Committee recommends that the Government increases the budget allocation to the health sector in line with the Abuja Declaration which requires member-countries to allocate, at least, 15 per cent of their national budgets to the health sector. Increased budgetary allocations to the health sector will enable the national medicines budget to provide adequate funds for the procurement of medicines and train staff in quantification and forecasting. This will result in sufficient quantities being delivered. 

Sir, further, funds for the procurement of medicines must be determined on an item-by-item cost and quantity estimation basis as opposed to the current system where funds allocated are a lump sum and procurement of medicines or medical products is based on first-come-first-served basis, at least, without prioritisation for vital and essential medicines. 

Your Committee further urges the Ministry of Health to adopt a more pro-active approach of monitoring the demand and supply of essential drugs to ensure timely identification of reducing stock. Furthermore, Medical Stores Limited must improve the delivery and supply of medicines and medical supplies to health institutions. 

Mr Speaker, in order to appreciate what is obtaining on the ground, your Committee toured the Medical Stores Limited Warehouse. During the tour, your Committee learnt that the system of replenishing the Medical Stores Limited with medical products every six months has contributed to the continued absence of certain drugs in health facilities in the country. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government should ensure that replenishment of medicines and other medical products at Medical Stores Limited be revised to a quarterly system in order to enhance the availability of medical products at health institutions. 

Sir, your Committee was saddened by the number of expired drugs at the Medical Stores Limited. It was disheartening to note that the Medical Stores Limited has been spending huge amounts of resources to destroy both expired and contaminated medicines. In this regard, your Committee recommends that the Government purchases an incinerator which will reduce on the cost of destroying the expired and contaminated medical products.

Mr Speaker, your Committee also observed that the non-functional sprinklers and non-availability of fire detectors at the warehouse poses a serious threat to the medicines and medical products at the warehouse. In this regard, the Government should, as a matter of urgency, install modern sprinklers and fire detectors in an effort to curb the loss that may arise there from. 

In conclusion, Sir, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your guidance. I further wish to thank the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the invaluable support they rendered to your Committee during its deliberations. 

With these few remarks, Sir, I beg to move. 

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to debate this very important report. From the outset, I want to indicate that I support the report of this Committee and commend it for interrogating the Auditor-General’s Report on this particular matter because it concerns life.  

Mr Speaker, in supporting the report of this Committee, I would like to make a few comments. First and foremost, your Committee indicated the non-availability of certain essential drugs in medical centres. To many of us, this is cause for worry because it concerns human life. If there are measures that can be taken to address this situation as soon as possible, they need to be taken. For instance, your Committee has attributed the replenishment of these drugs every six months, in the current operations, as one of the reasons certain essential drugs are not available in health facilities. If there is anything that we can do, we must because we are dealing with matters of life. That is very straightforward. If the replenishment of drugs every six months is not working, why not go the quarterly way, as recommended by your Committee?

Mr Speaker, the second observation I would like to make is on the availability of drugs. It is not about taking pride in the storage levels of drugs at the Medical Stores Limited, but what is cardinal for citizens is the actual availability of drugs at the points from which they are accessed namely, the health facilities across the country.

Sir, at times, there are a number of contradictory statements issued on the availability of a certain type of drug. In certain instances, the Ministry of Health and Medical Stores Limited issue statements indicating that these drugs are available. However, when you go to the health facilities to access these drugs, they are not available. I think we need to change. Drug availability is very important for us because it is a matter of health.

Mr Speaker, at the moment, a number of essential drugs are not available. For example, when I was still bearing children …


Mr Belemu: … before I stopped bearing children …

Hon. Government Members: Aah! Question!


Mr Musukwa: Question!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Belemu: Before I stopped bearing children …


Mr Speaker: Continue!

Mr Belemu: … and it was time for my children to go for a particular immunisation, I would just start off from home with my wife and go to a health facility and all the drugs like Bacillus Calmette Guerine (BCG) would be there. In my ten years of bearing children, only once do I remember being told that the drug was not available, but was advised to access it at the next facility.

However, Sir, at the moment, even common drugs whose access we thought was automatic like BCG are not available even here in Lusaka. Up until last week, there were no drugs. For example, there were no BCG drugs in Matero and Chingwele clinics. That is reality. Now, if they are not available in Lusaka, can you imagine the state in the rural areas like Mapanza, Simaubi and Mangunze. It is worse off there. We need to change because we know that some of these drugs are a matter of necessity. We have basic statistics which have to be met. For example, when expectant mothers go for antenatal, there is an estimation of the number beds needed at delivery. Therefore, why are we finding it difficult to make these drugs available? If there are things that we need to change, then, let us change them.

Sir, the other example I can cite is, not too long ago I was in Lukulu West trying to buy fish. While there, I got injured and I needed a tetanus injection. It took me three days going from one facility to the other in search of a tetanus vaccine, but to no avail. Now, imagine you living there and not just having gone to buy fish. That becomes your way of life. It takes three to four days to access a medical facility that may have this kind of medicine. I think we need to do a few things differently.

Mr Antonio: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, in fact, whilst talking about the availability of drugs, there is a strange phenomenon now where people steal Antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs to try to save relatives.

Mr Muntanga: Shame!

Mr Belemu: You cannot entirely blame a person for stealing ARVs because that is not nshima or mealie-meal, but they are trying to save a life elsewhere. The reason is that these drugs are not available, and yet we know that we have a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in our country.

Mr Speaker, my second concern is that while it is important to have drugs, so many times we have asked in this House who qualifies to prescribe or administer them. We have been told that there is a certain level of personnel that qualifies. However, when you go across the country, you find that these people are not there. So, tied to the availability of drugs, I think, there is also the issue of personnel to administer these drugs. Probably, it is no wonder that some of these drugs go to waste. They expire because the personnel at these centres either do not qualify to administer them or do not know what do with these drugs.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mr Belemu: I have been to rural health centres where, as a patient, I have been asked what medicine I want. I have to check for myself what medicine I want, based on how I am feeling. If I feel like it is malaria that day, I will tell them to give me anti-malaria.

Mr Livune: Or coartem!

Mr Belemu: Yes, I like coartem very much.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: What is that other one for diarrhoea?

Mr Livune: Flagyl!

Mr Speaker: I cannot answer that question.


Mr Belemu: So, I just go and tell them I want flagyl and they will give me. The reason is because they are not qualified.

Mr Mbulakulima: That will make you start prescribing medicine to children!


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, we need to look at the issue of the personnel that is available to administer these drugs and utilise these drugs in the health facilities. Probably this is the reason we have drugs that go to waste in certain instances. Some of the issues are not because there are no patients or people that need these drugs, but it is because there is no one to administer them. As result, the drugs are just stored. Even when one tries to access these medicines, they are told to get a prescription in order to buy the medicine elsewhere. Now, if you are going to tell people in rural areas to buy drugs, it is as good as sentencing them to death. They will not be able to access facilities like a pharmacy where they can buy the drugs. So, we need to do a bit more because this is a matter of life and death.

Sir, the third observation I would like to make, as observed by your Committee, is about the limited budget on the procurement of drugs. If we are not going to invest in health, what else are we to invest in? If the Government is only going to invest in education and not health, the result will be people with stunted growth …

Mr Masumba: Like you!

Mr Belemu: … who enjoy forging school certificates and dancing carelessly in night clubs …


Hon. Opposition members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: … because it would have just provided in one area. So, it is important to ensure the need to invest in education as much as it is done in education.

Mr Livune: Fally Ipupa!

Mr Belemu: Over time, we have over invested in politics and by-elections. The money that we are spending on by-elections can go a long way in providing medicines and drugs in clinics such as Kabanze, Mbabala and Mang’unza and that will save life.

Mr Livune: Correct and the Mayemuyemu in Kazungula!

Mr Belemu: We need to be serious.

Yesterday,  we were told about money that is being misappropriated. If the Government cannot invest in health, what does it want to invest in?

Mr Antonio: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: The challenge people have when they are healthy is the failure to think of what may happen to them tomorrow. One day, some of you will come to Mbabala and get injured or bitten by a dog and it will take long for you to access medicine that you will even go bonkers …

Mr Muntanga: Correct!

Mr Belemu: … before you access a health facility to treat you. This is because you have not delivered the drugs there.

Mr Livune: Especially Mubukwanu!

Mr Belemu: We need to invest in our health. Not everyone has got the capacity to access medical treatment abroad. Our people rely on the health facilities that exist in this country. If the Government does not take drugs and adequate personnel there and allocate adequate funds, then, what is it doing to its citizens?

Sir, we were told that subsidies were benefiting the rich.

Mr Muntanga: Imagine!

Mr Belemu: Others say that when you are eating good food, you are not likely to consume as much drugs because you are not likely to be sick. Now, if that is the argument, let us make sure that, this year, there are drugs that are available for our people to access them.

Mr Speaker, the other observation that has been made by the Committee is that of having the correct drugs, depending on prevalence of diseases in a particular area. I do not quite understand how, after so many years of training and retraining people on managing ourselves and available statistics that the Ministry of Health has, for example, how we cannot know the number of children to be born who will need BCG immunisation, immunisation against measles. Instead, wrong drugs to health facilities. I think we need to improve. In my opinion, this is just a matter of inefficiency and nothing else.

Mr Mbulakulima: By the PF Government!

Mr Belemu: These are matters that the ministry and the Executive can attend to, as opposed to always reading about reports on how this and that was not done correctly. If the Executive applies itself correctly, there is enough data that is collected at health facility and district levels that can enable us to know which drugs are needed in a particular area.

Sir, we need to invest in our health. It is not always that we will remain healthy. Like I have already said, if you come to Mbabala and misbehave, a dog will bite you and you will need drugs. Where are you going to go if you have not invested in drugs in those areas?

Mr Speaker, tied to this is the disposal of expired drugs. This, ultimately not only costs the money at which the drugs were bought, but also the cost of disposal. Again, having so many drugs going to waste and, at the end of the day, being disposed at a cost is a matter of inefficiency. Let alone, the period it takes for us to dispose of these drugs and where they need to be taken to be disposed of. I totally agree with the report that we must consider finding ways of disposing of these drugs in some areas and we can start this at provincial level, at least. We must start doing that, as opposed to meeting costs twice in the procurement and the disposal. I am not sure how effective this system is. I want to suggest that it is possible, also, that drugs go to waste because of the nature in which they are stored at these health facilities. The Ministry of Health needs to do a bit more that it is doing currently.

Sir, we have been told about the construction of 650 rural health posts. I hope that they are coming with the correct way of managing the procurement and distribution of drugs, otherwise they will not add any value to our country and its people as they will just be a waste.

Mr Speaker, may I conclude by saying that even as we talk about drugs, let us pay attention to the rural health centres and other health facilities across the country. Hon. Mulenga can attest to the fact that even if the facilities that we have in Mbabala, like Mapanza Rural Health Centre, were homes, they would not be fit for anyone to sleep in there. Mapanza Rural Health Centre has cracks and all forms of destruction around. Some of those facilities were built in the 1930s and 1940s. Therefore, I do not know for how long drugs can be stored in a health facility with a leaking roof. 

Sir, there is a need to pay attention to infrastructure that assists our people in terms of health. Let us not invest in wrong things, as is the case right now. People are investing in wrong things such as buying jiggies and by-elections. Not too long ago, we were told that hon. Ministers and their hon. deputies needed to go round the country to explain to the people what the removal of subsidies means instead of focusing on buying drugs. I think there is a need to improve in the area of health matters. No one here will escape matters of health, whether you like it or not. So, it is very important to invest in health.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I will be very brief in my contribution. I would like to first thank the mover of the Motion, Hon. Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo, and the seconder, Hon. Habeenzu. I just have two or three comments to make on the report. I would like to start by saying that I support it whole-heartedly and I have picked up a few quotations from both your report and that read by the two hon. Members before you.

Sir, I would like to begin by saying that there are two areas where nobody can say they will never go to. From my experience, one of these places is prison. You cannot say that the state of prisons should remain the way it is because in Tonga we say, “Kabuca uleta tunji” meaning everyday is different. The other place is the hospital. It is because of that fact that there is an absolute need in ensuring that the area under discussion now, that is the hospital and, in particular, the distribution of medicines and medical supplies does happen in a non-defective manner.

Mr Speaker, from time to time, I ask myself why quacks or pseudo doctors, traditional or fake medical practitioners are flourishing in this country. The only answer that I find is that there must be a defect in the manner in which our frontline medical support system is working. That is the reason, today, at every street corner, be it in Lusaka or elsewhere, you will find vendors selling medicines that have no prescriptions. This includes even conventional medicines and not just traditional medicines. You will find any sort of medicine anywhere in this country. That presents a problem to me. Just like the Ministry of Local Government and Housing would crack down on illicit brewers of alcohol, similarly, this is a matter on which the Ministry of Health should take action. There is a need for us to make sure that we crack the whip where we find vendors who sell medicines that are out of licence. This is rampant in our country. No wonder it is alarming to hear that every so often, there is a continuous procurement of drugs, and according to this report, on a half yearly-basis and the Committee is recommending that we trim it down to maybe a quarterly basis.


Mr Speaker: Order on the far right, please.

Mr Nkombo: Sir, that is a fine idea, but I think that when you look at the report and interrogate it a little bit further, then, you are confronted with the issue of destruction of the same drugs, on account of expiry. Then you ask yourself where the problem is. In the face of all this, there are drugs being sold on the streets without prescriptions. When you go to the Mazabuka District Hospital, there has been a continuation of business as usual. When we were de-campaigning the MMD, we used to say, when you go to the hospital, all you should prepare yourself for is to get a prescription slip and go and buy medicine from a drug store. Today, nothing has changed. If anything, it has become worse now under the PF Government.

Hon. Lufuma: Yes.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, it has become worse because even the non-prescriptive drugs, such as cafenol and panadol are sold on the streets and there is no expiry date on those drugs. When we were in the pact with the PF in a quest to unseat the MMD, we thought that we were actually finding solutions to the health problems of our country. Little did I know that we were jumping from a frying pan into the fire.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Sir, this is the situation as it exists today under the PF. I want to give the hon. Minister of Health some ideas on how I think we can resolve this problem.

Sir, from time to time, we have the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey, which is conducted by the Central Statistical Office (CSO). The Living Conditions Monitoring Survey brings out a lot of attributes that are an essential ingredient to knowing how our people are living.
I think it is from that information that a database can be developed to try as much as possible to know, for instance, how many people have got breast cancer in these homesteads. 

Sir, when the − I think they are called enumerators, I am sorry English is not my first language – go into these homes to collect data, they must capture some of the terminal illnesses that people of each homestead are suffering from and bring this information to a central place. This will make it easier for the ministry to know how many citizens, for instance, require therapy of one kind or another; be it cervical or breast cancer or whatever it may be. 

Sir, going by this report, unless I did not read it properly, I am inclined to think that the Ministry of Health has a procurement department while the Medical Stores Limited Stores Limited’s function is to store distribute medical supplies. Now, who determines the actual or approximate quantities of medicines that are required countrywide? This country is massive and requires a systematic way of determining what should be procured.

Sir, what I have read is that drugs are not only procured at a huge cost, but they are also destroyed at a huge cost. The report also indicates that, and I do not subscribe to that, the ministry must now buy incinerators in order to dispose of these drugs. For the Chairperson and seconder’s information, to me, this is an admission that we are actually agreeing that this trend of destroying expired drugs must go on. 

Sir, I think we can go around it by trying as much as possible to procure only what is needed. If there should be any margin of error, it should not be as colossal as is explained in this report. Year in and year out, huge quantities of medicines are procured and then destroyed. In the face of all this, certain rural and urban health facilities do not have medicines. According to this report, at the surgical departments of Kanyama and a few other urban locations of Lusaka, the situation there is not up to date. 

Sir, we also read that there is a need to improve the referral and record keeping systems from lower institutions all the way up to the big referral centre, being the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), in the case of Lusaka. I think all these things can be integrated by ensuring that the top is doing the right thing. It will not do for someone to sit in the Ministry of Health after he/she has presented a bill of quantities to Medical Stores Limited for utensils and medicines for surgical wards and then decide to buy medicines privately because of the availability of funds. That is why you find that they over procure in certain cases and under procure in others. I see that the hon. Minister is laughing indicating to me that, probably, I am not helping his ministry.


Mr Nkombo: However, I have a job to perform and the job that I was given by the people of Mazabuka Central is to make sure that this perennial destruction of drugs comes to a stop. All that is required is prudence. There is no reason the procurement department in the Ministry of Health should be disjointed with the people who are distributing the medicines. I would like the hon. Minister to tell me the actual link that establishes the requirement of drugs countrywide. If we said that we should trim it down to a quarter, I think somebody will again be making money, just like the situation I lamented and wailed about the 60 cents difference of petroleum prices in this country with the rest of the region. I think the same will apply to procurement of drugs. The ministry must always try to be on the ground in order to ensure that if it is paracetamol that is being procured, it is more or less in the right quantities or the margin of error should not be as alarming as it is in the Auditor-General’s Report.

Sir, finally, I thought that I must make a quick comment on the issue of traditional ‘healers’ because I have faith in traditional medicine. I think that time has come for the Ministry of Health to discontinue giving these providers freedom to sell these medicines anywhere. The genuine providers of traditional medical services supplement the efforts of the Ministry of Health. 

Sir, as it is, it is clear from this report that the quantities that are destroyed are a mark of failure, whether one likes it or not, and this requires improvement. Today, it is easy for me to say the PF has failed in this regard, even though it could claim to have succeeded in other areas. Every year medicines are disposed of because of being expired, some of which finds itself in the community and unsuspecting patients buy and take it. Do not forget that sometimes when you administer medicine, there is a psychological effect that takes a toll on you. You start feeling better even if the medicine may be expired. 

Sir, I think that the Ministry of Health must do what the ministry responsible for the protection of intellectual property rights did. The said ministry went with the paramilitary and removed all counterfeit music from the street that was being sold at the detriment of our local artists. The Ministry of Health should do the same by going into the city for a clean up and take away all medicines, expired or not, that are being sold in the street corners because, in the long run, they will pose as a hazard to our citizens.

Mr Speaker, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity debate.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to most sincerely thank the mover of the Motion, Hon. Brig Gen. Dr Chituwo, and the seconder, Hon. Munji Habeenzu. I will be very brief and confine myself to the sad scenario obtaining at the UTH, which is very near to the Medical Stores Limited in Lusaka.

Mr Speaker, the UTH is supposed to be the biggest hospital in this country and a reservoir for the most advanced professionals. It should also be endowed with various medicines to ensure that our professionals working under difficult conditions work well. Alas, I have noted with concern on various occasions I have visited relatives and friends admitted there that they have been denied the requisite medicines because the institution has not got them. 

Mr Speaker, it is not unusual to find patients at the UTH staying for more than one week waiting for medication because the institution has not got it, and yet we are told that medicines are going stale and being destroyed because they have over lived their shelf life span at the Medical Stores Limited. It is not unusual to find desperate patients being referred to certain pharmacies in Lusaka, in particular, Kabwata Market. It is not unusual to find that at the UTH, in certain instances, even Panadol is not available.

Mr Speaker, as a result of the lack of medicines at the UTH, relatives of patients vent their anger on personnel. It is unfair and should not be allowed to continue. The UTH is supposed to be the pride of the nation. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We need to do something as a matter of urgency. Even items like catheters are not available at the UTH. When medical officials or nurses want to administer certain medications that require the use of a catheter, the patients are referred to Kabwata.

Mr Speaker, I recall that when our colleagues where campaigning to win elections, they were assuring the nation that the shortages that were obtaining, purportedly under the MMD, would be a thing of the past. As my colleague has indicated, the situation is getting desperate and we need to do something about it. 

Mr Speaker, apart from the UTH, I would like to talk about Monze. I am aware, that we are very unfortunate in Monze because we do not have a district hospital. The only hospital that we have is a mission hospital being managed by the gallant Catholic Church. It is finding difficulties in ensuring that the requisite medicines are available to manage patients in the wards. I would like to appeal to the Government to ensure that it provides the requisite medicines to all the hospitals and clinics in the country, if we have to save our people. 

When you go to the UTH in the morning at 06 00 hours or before that and visit the mortuary, the situation is shameful. Mr Speaker, if you have never been UTH, you will find long winding queues ...

Mr Speaker: Who, now, has not been to the mortuary?


Mr Mwiimbu: … of people who are trying to collect the bodies of their loved ones. Not less than hundred bodies are moved out of the UTH every day. This is a reflection of our poor health facilities in the country. It is not a good thing. 

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutale: Question!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I want to tell the person who is saying “Question!”

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

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, to buttress my point, I was once privileged to be the Town Clerk for the Lusaka City Council …

Mr Chishimba: So what?

Mr Mwiimbu: … and there …

Mr Speaker:  Please, just wait. You may take your seat.

Mr Speaker: Can we avoid those kinds of negative interventions.  This is a serious issue. You must have that sense of judgment.

You may continue, hon. Member.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, if imbecility could be seen in the mirror, it would have been seen very clearly.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I was saying that the situation obtaining at the UTH Mortuary is very unfortunate. I indicated that I was once Town Clerk for Lusaka and at that time, according to the statistics we used to have, we used to bury not less than hundred bodies every day in Lusaka. If you multiply that by the number of days in a month, you are talking about burying not less than three thousand people in Lusaka alone. It is a reflection of our poor health facilities. 

Mr Speaker, in my view, the Government should give preference to health facilities. If anything, it should be priority because a healthy nation will thrive economically, educationally and in all the areas of human endeavor, as one son of Zambia indicated in the past, and Dr Phiri knows what I am talking about. 

Mr Speaker, I am earnestly appealing to the hon. Minister of Health to look at the pride of the nation. I am appealing to him to look at the situation that is obtaining at the UTH. When you go to the UTH, the first thing that will hit you is the stench. The next is the desperate faces of those looking after patients. The relatives of patients act as nurses because of a severe shortage of personnel to administer the requisite medical attention. 

Mr Speaker, it is not my intention to dwell on this matter further than what I have, but I hope that all of us will search our souls and consider this, as you have rightly put it Mr Speaker, very important for which all of us should unite and ensure that we provide good services to our citizens.

Mr Speaker, with those few remarks, I thank you.

Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the report that has been submitted by your Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Welfare with regard to the Report of the Auditor-General on Performance Audit on the Distribution of Medicines and Medical Supplies.

Mr Speaker, the issue of health is, indeed, very important because a healthy people constitute a healthy nation. It is very cardinal for human capital development for improved productivity as well as production. 

Mr Speaker, in supporting your report, I wish to observe that, just yesterday, we passed the Motion which aimed at accelerating the attainment of the millennium development goals (MDGs). You will agree with me that MDGs numbers four, five and six all relate to the health sector. When you look at the statistics in the report that has been jointly authored by the Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), you will see that we have not been able to make serious progress with regard to those MDGs which relate to health. 

Mr Speaker, when you look at the statistics, you will find that even where progress was reported, if you were to segregate the urban and the rural areas, you would see that the rural sector bears the burden and takes away the progress that has been reported under the MDG Progress Report. The reason is simple. When you relate the issue of disease burden, it is more pronounced in the rural areas relative to the urban areas. I would not want to dwell so much on how it affects the urban sector because that has been ably dealt with by the previous speakers, Hon. Jack Mwiimbu and Hon. Nkombo. I, therefore, want to bring in the rural perspective.

Mr Speaker, in commenting on your report, I want to first of all make a very serious recommendation which agrees with one of the recommendations that has already been pointed out by your Committee. This is with regard to funding of the health sector. If it is possible, I would like to propose to the Executive wing of the Government to, perhaps, allocate 15 per cent of the 2014 Budget to the health sector, in line with the 2001 Abuja Protocol to which Zambia is a signatory. I believe it is time we did that.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about the issue of procurement of medicines. When you look at the supply chain of the medicines and the role that is played by the Medical Stores Limited, you will see that this procurement, to some extent, is basically supply-driven, as opposed to being demand-driven. Perhaps, at this stage, we should be looking at decentralising the procurement process to the district level so that the district hospitals can be given authority to demand relevant medicines and medical supplies that are required, as opposed to the current system were we have a supply-driven arrangement by the Medical Stores Limited. 

Sir, your report has highlighted the situation were a lot of medicines in the rural hospitals have been supplied when they were about to expire. The people in the rural areas are the ones who really bear this brunt. Sometimes, they access medicines that have expired or are just about to expire.

Mr Speaker, on page six of your report, it is indicated that almost K10 million worth of medicines were destroyed. That is a very huge figure. We cannot afford to do that. We are a resource constrained economy and, therefore, need to utilise the resources that we have prudently. 

Mr Speaker, as I recommend increased budget allocation to the health sector, I also have in mind the idea that this has give leeway to the relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community Development and Social welfare to realign the budget lines regarding how much should be allocated to medical supplies and equipment so that we have an improved service delivery in the health sector. This is where we have a challenge. 

Sir, as I said, the disease burden is more in the rural areas compared to the urban areas. Most importantly, there is the issue of human resource. Those of us who come from rural constituencies agree that our health personnel are seriously working under very difficult conditions. When you walk into a clinic, you find a Daily Classified Employee (DCE) is playing multiple roles. He/she is the doctor, nurse as well as the cleaner. We appreciate the 650 clinics that the Government has earmarked for construction. However, as we call for increased budgetary allocation, we also need the Government to put in place an equally important programme to support the clinics that will be constructed so that, as much as possible, we reduce the distances that the people have to cover to access health services. The Government should also ensure that appropriate personnel in the health sector is trained and motivated. As I said earlier, the personnel in rural health facilities perform multiple roles, but are very poorly paid. Sometimes, these people go for weeks or months on end without a visit from doctors or other personnel from the district or the province. These are very serious issues.

Mr Speaker, I talked about the issue of decentralising. Decentralisation has to come with increased capacity. It is true that this economy is resource constrained, and yet we have heard of cases in the health sector where funds have been misappropriated. The report of the Auditor-General, from time to time, has indicated the misuse or misapplication of funds. I would like to call for the strengthening of the systems of internal controls so that if people are going to be given that responsibility of participating in the procurement of drugs, then, they need to be backed by competent personnel in accounts and management so that the resources are adequately and prudently utilised. 

Mr Speaker, most importantly, there is the issue of provision of services by the front line. We also need to look at how best we can invest in Primary Health Care. This is because this is where we have serious challenges in the rural sector. I think that with improved or increased budgetary allocation, we will begin to specifically target those programmes that are aimed at improving Primary Health Care and other support services, including the aspect of raising awareness and capacity building for the communities. Raising awareness and capacity building can be done through educating mothers and fathers regarding the role that they can play in improving Primary Health Care.

Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I wish to support your report.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to debate this very important report. First of all, let me commend and congratulate the Chairperson of this Committee for this report that is so important and opens our eyes to the many areas of need in our country. Let me also commend the mover and the seconder of this Motion.

Mr Speaker, your report is very clear on many areas that we need to deal with as a country.  My debate is headed “priorities”. This report allows us to understand the areas of priorities that are a cry of the people in the country. 

Is it feasible that we, the people of Zambia, must build huge stadia in areas such as Mongu when the people there require the important needs indicated in this report? We spend billions to build stadia, and yet people are sick and are not going to play sports in those stadia. Priorities,  Mr Speaker


Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, earlier in this sitting of Parliament, I was ruled out of order because I wanted to debate on the high number of by-elections we were going to have in the country. Seventy-five seats were put up for by-elections. I was told that it was out of order because the issue was in court. However, I wanted to bring out a point that, as a nation, our priorities were lopsided. Must we go and fight for political power when the little ones are dying of malaria in Keembe Constituency? The drugs are available and all we need is the money and a better system to dispatch them from the Medical Stores Limited or from wherever they are found instead of spending billions of money for by-elections.

Mr Speaker, we must be conscious of the priorities needed in order to move this nation forward. Is it necessary to spend a lot of money partying and celebrating a 100 years of Lusaka’s existence when malaria is so prevalent in Lusaka? Children in Lusaka do not have the anti-malaria drugs that they need. The few that is available is so expensive that the people in these compounds cannot afford to buy them, and yet we want to spend huge amounts of money for centenary celebrations for Lusaka. 

Sir, there is nothing wrong in having celebrations, but we should pay attention to priorities in order for this nation to move forward. Posterity will judge us harshly if we do not spend the money on important things and support our own children so that they arise and take up the mantle of governance in future.

Mr Speaker, this report is an eye-opener for us to deal with issues of distribution of medicine in rural areas. I represent a rural constituency, Keembe. There is a place called Health post at Ipongo, which is 200km from Lusaka. It is manned by one medical personnel and when he is sick, the watchman is the one who administers panadol to patients. Is it not our priority to use the money to employ extra medical personnel to allow for our people to receive the needed medical attention?

Sir, I take Hon. Garry Nkombo and Hon. Mwiimbu’s debates as my own. The UTH is an institution which everybody looks up to. Only yesterday and the day before, there were reports that many hospitals were going to be built in Ndola, Kitwe, Livingstone and a few other areas. These hospitals are going to be referral hospitals. This idea is good, but priorities must be made. Today, the UTH does not answer to the needs of the people. 

Mr Speaker, my own brother was in the UTH for many months before he died, and yet he could not access the medicine that he needed to survive. Eventually, he died and when I asked the doctors what had killed him, they could not tell me. Later on, we found out that he needed certain substantial medicines, which would have kept him alive for a few more years. Such are the priorities that this report has brought out for us to look at. 

Sir, priorities in this nation are important. There is no need for spending huge sums of money on buying political favour at the expense of children who are dying in hospitals. No. If we save these children’s lives, people will give us a vote enabling us to sustain our governance over them, for them and, indeed, for posterity. This is important.

Mr Speaker, we are talking about the need for mines to pay taxes, but where will this money go? This report provides for us to see priority areas where this money is to be spent. Let us not be reckless and throw away the future of Zambia by spending huge sums of money in areas like taking people to the courts of law. We can choose our priorities.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I have been following the debate of the hon. Member for Keembe who is debating from east to west, south to north and he is all over the map without adding a head or tail to his debate. Is he in order to debate in the manner he is doing when just a while ago, he was in the driving seat of this country and most of the things that he is debating could have easily been done when he was in the Government? Is he in order to continue misleading the House and debating in the manner he is doing without informing the people of this country that he is part of all this mess that we are trying to correct as the Government? I seek your ruling.

Mr Speaker: Order! The word “mess” is unparliamentary. Please, withdraw it

Mr Kalaba: I withdraw the word “mess” and replace it with – what word can I replace it with Hon. Shikapwasha?


Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Suffering.

Mr Kalaba: Suffering, Mr Speaker.

Sir, is he in order to continue misleading the people of this country in such a manner when, in fact, he was at the very hem and architect of all these challenges that the people of Zambia are going through, …

Mr Kampyongo: Chanda Chiimba the Third!

Mr Kalaba: … and spending money on issues such as Chanda Chiimba the Third’s programme? He is aware of all those things.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Let us be temperament about these issues. First and foremost, the Executive branch will be given an opportunity to respond at an appropriate juncture. I am noting the Minister of Health following through this debate very studiously. 

I think I have said this before. The blame game will not do. We are getting close to two years in this House. We need to move on and focus on what ought to be done. This is our report. It is our report. It is my report. This report is highlighting certain issues which need to be addressed, but if you have a way of responding to the debate, at an appropriate juncture, I will give you an opportunity to defend and state your position and indicate which way you should be going. 

Regarding my only concern with the hon. Member for Keembe, I think, you have made your point about priorities. One of our rules of debate is to refrain from repetition. You have given a litany of examples. Of course, you are free to do so. However, in principle, you have made your point about priorities and you appropriately styled your debate as one premised on priority. 

May the hon. Member for Keembe, please, wind up his debate.

Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for your ruling and guidance. 

Sir, I want to quote a wonderful former head of state for Kenya. I do not want to mention his name in this House. He addressed the people of Zambia about the amount of dosage that was being given by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and all these institutions in order for us to obtain money for our economies to survive and move forward. He gave an analogue. He said that there were young people who were playing around a very big pond of water. Frogs lived in that pond. These children were throwing stones to see if they could go over the water to the other side of the pond. Most of the stones fell inside the water and hit the frogs and they died. He said that, similarly, we are playing a dangerous game with all these conditions that were being given to us by these institutions. They do not know that we have people to look after who may die if we do not deal with these issues.

M Speaker, I want to end my debate by saying that no matter what games we play, there are lives out there that need for us to look after them.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to contribute to this wonderful Report by the Auditor General.

Sir, I am particularly delighted that the office of the auditor general is beginning to focus on issues of performance in the economy rather than looking at figures in accounts. One of these reports that the Auditor General has produced has to do with the distribution of medicines in our country.

Mr Speaker, let me begin by giving a situation analysis of what is obtaining in rural areas, which I represent. In a rural area, many people live in places where there are no health facilities. When they fall sick, they have to walk hundreds of kilometers to the nearest health facilities with the hope of accessing medicine. For example, some people walk from Washishi …


Mr Kakoma: … in Lukulu West, to Chitokoloki in Zambezi East for three to four days crossing districts and provinces in search of medicine. People walk from Zambezi and Nyachikayi, near the border of Angola, in search of medicine at the district hospital. 

Mr Speaker, after making such efforts, people arrive at the district hospital only to find that there are no doctors and nurses to attend to them. Even when they are lucky enough to find a nurse or a doctor, there will be no medicine to be given to them. In many instances, the patients are given prescriptions to enable them to buy medicines from pharmacies. 

Sir, can you imagine that the poor villager who has walked for two or three days to access medication only ends up with a piece of paper with no money to buy that medicine from a chemist or pharmacy. The end result is obviously death.

Mr Speaker, the report by the Auditor General clearly reveals that even essential drugs such as ARVs drugs are not readily available, particularly in rural areas. You know that such types of medicines should be taken continuously. However, we have found ourselves in a situation where this Government is not procuring enough ARVs or is not distributing them well enough so that the people that need the medication consciously get them in order to prolong their lives. 

Sir, because the Government is not providing enough ARV drugs, the people are becoming resistant to them. Once the intake of ARVs and essential drugs such those for TB is missed for days or weeks, the drugs become ineffective after resumption. Thus, the failure to provide ARVs is a crime against the people who the Government is supposed to be looking after because it is sentencing them to death. Somebody must be to blame. 

M Speaker, the Government collects revenue through the tax payers, and yet they are dying because there is no medicine. The tax collected is not used to buy money to be used. That is criminal.

Sir, in rural areas, children are dying because the Government has run out of simple anti-malaria. For example, the rural area that I represent, which is a flood plain, is infested with a lot of mosquitoes which bite children and subject them to having malaria day in and day out. However, this Government does not have anti-malaria drugs to treat these children who are dying. 

Sir, this Government is failing despite having the Roll Back Malaria Programme in place. Under this programme, the Government was supposed to distribute mosquito nets to mothers and children. However, in my constituency, for example, these mosquito nets are not available. As a result, the children are being bitten by mosquitoes and contracting malaria. 

Mr Speaker, such levels of negligence by the Government should not be tolerated and I commend the Auditor General for coming out with this report. I urge the Auditor General to go further and provide a performance audit on other sectors such as education so that we know what is happening in the sector. I would further urge her to do a performance audit on sub-sectors such as elections and by-elections and how much money is being channeled towards by-elections at the expense of social sectors such as health and education.

Mr Speaker, in rural areas, there is a health programme under which the Ministry of Health Provides health kits to health centres and clinics. Sometimes, they give them one kit to last two months. Owing to the number of people who fall sick, this health kit only lasts a few days, a week at most. After that, the people have to wait for another two to six months before another health kit arrives in order for them to be treated. Can a disease wait to be treated for medicine for six months?

Mr Speaker, we have special challenges in rural areas such as Zambezi West, Chavuma West, Lukulu West, Kalabo West, Liuwa and all those areas that are west of the Zambezi River because of the flooding situation there. When these rural health centres do not receive health kits by December, they have to wait for another six months to receive health kits, say until June when the floods go down. You can imagine what happens to the people who fall sick during that period. When there are floods, helicopters are needed to deliver these kits to rural health centres.   

Mr Speaker, at our health facilities, we have challenges such as shortage of medicines and medical supplies like gloves. As a result, pregnant women are advised to carry their own gloves as they go to deliver at our health facilities. This is unfortunate because the Government is there to provide these things in hospitals to enable our women deliver in a dignified manner. 

Mr Speaker, we have a situation where patients go to public hospitals or clinics, but are told that there is no paper on which to write their particulars. As a result, these patients are told to buy exercise books. There is not even a registry at these health facilities to talk about. Imagine that somebody does not have a K2 or K5 to buy panadol, but he or she is asked to buy an exercise book. Where is that person expected to get the money? In some of these health facilities, they do not even have thermometers. Doctors and Nurses use their hands to determine the body temperature of patients. 


Mr Kakoma: This is deplorable.

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


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Speaker: Order!

 He is entitled to raise a point of order.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to rise on this point of order. Indeed, you have guided that we have to wait for our turn to debate, but I think I cannot sit and allow the hon. Member to continue debating in the manner he is. He has constantly referred to this Government as being criminal.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, he has also gone on to insinuate, in his debate, that trained medical personnel actually use their thumbs and hands to measure people’s temperature.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, that is a bit reckless. Let us be serious when we debate.

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Just continue with your point of order.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, such statements are so discouraging to the professionals who are serving the people in his constituency. I find his debate the hon. Member’s debate misleading. Is he in order to continue debating in such a reckless fashion? I need your serious ruling.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order! 

The first aspect of the point of order has to do more with language than anything else because, unfortunately or fortunately, in the queen’s language, in its nature, each word tends to yield several meanings, depending on the context in which it is used. Perhaps, for avoidance of doubt and also to minimise confusion in communication, I would suggest that we refrain from the use of the word, “criminal” in that sense because it may be misunderstood to mean that you are referring to breach of the penal code, which is not the case. These are nuances, but I think to put everybody at ease, I would suggest that we do refrain. 

Secondly, I do not think it is fair for me to rule that the practice that he is referring to, for example, substitutes of thermometers …


Mr Speaker: …. should not be a subject of debate. I do not think I can go that far for one simple reason that it may be true.

Hon. Opposition Members: It is true!

Mr Speaker: It may be true. That is a ruling.


Mr Speaker: I do not think I would stop the hon. Member from debating in that manner because I will be inhibiting debate.

 The hon. Member may continue.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, thank you for your guidance and wise ruling. I first thought in my mother tongue, Luvale, and then spoke in English.


Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, we have a lot of challenges in the health sector in as far as delivery of health services to rural areas is concerned. The Auditor-General’s Report referred to challenges of transportation of medicines by the Medical Stores Limited, but it is not the only institution facing those challenges. In the rural areas, the Medical Stores Limited only delivers medicines to district level. There are no means of transporting medicines to far flung health centres.

Mr Mwiimbu: In Mwinilunga, they use goats.


Mr Kakoma: Sir, I will cite Zambezi because I am familiar with that area and I think Hon. Kampyongo can also challenge me on that one. In Zambezi, we transport some of these medicines using oxcarts. Villagers are asked to bring their oxcarts and they travel for two to three days delivering the medicines to those far flung places. Some of those medicines such as vaccines are very sensitive and if not put in refrigerators, they easily go stale. By the time they arrive at the health centres, they have gone bad. No wonder, even children do not get effective vaccinations. 

Mr Speaker, in rural areas, we even use canoes to transport these medicines. So, there are a lot of challenges in these rural areas as other hon. Members have mentioned. We do not only have challenges with medicines, but also medical staff in many of these rural places. Most of these rural places are manned by people who are not qualified. There are no doctors and nurses at the clinics. These places do not even have environmental assistants, but DEC employees. In my village, that is the case. It is something that this Government needs to address. It may not be just peculiar to Zambia, but we have to learn lessons. Some of these things do not only apply to Zambia, but to other countries in Africa and all over the world. As you may wish to know, I am a co-rapporteur of the Report on Health for African, Caribbean and Pacific European Union (ACP-EU) countries. The report which I have just submitted to your office highlights some of these problems. When we are bringing them up, our colleagues in the Executive must not feel injured. In fact, they must appreciate that we are bringing out these issues so that they take steps to address them.

With these few remarks, I thank you, Mr Speaker. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Health (Dr Kasonde): Mr Speaker, considering that the last speaker was beginning to link Zambia from Washishi to Chitokoloke and from language to language, perhaps, it is appropriate that, at this point, I make a few remarks on behalf of the Government. I thank the hon. Member for Mumbwa and the secorder of the Motion for delivering this valuable report to the House.
Sir, let me also thank the many contributors to this vigorous, lively and sober debate benefiting the seriousness of the issue at hand. I shall, therefore, be brief in commenting on these contributions, adding my own observations and taking the message that there is an enormous support to the importance and urgency of the issue. My message is that, it is not up to me to trivialise such an important issue.
Mr Speaker, first, let me look at the speakers who have spoken on this very important debate and only to note rather than to contend any of their contributions. To note, for example, the importance attached to ARVs by the hon. Member for Zambezi West. I have taken note of the priorities that have been suggested by the hon. Member for Keembe. I have also noted from the debate by the hon. Member for Lubansenshi, the return to MDGs, which we have discussed before, but continue to guide our discussions. Further, the hon. Member for Monze Central talked about the importance of our own central hospital without, perhaps, saying that we risk the hon. Member winning the nobel prize for the understatement. The hon. Member for Mazabuka Central said kabuca uleta tunji, he and I are products of Mazabuka and are proud to be contributing to this debate. In this Parliament, it is not what arises every day, but what arises every minute and hour of our debate that matters. Finally, the hon. Member for Mbabala, whose point about access at the point of use is the very foundation of our concern to ensure that these drugs are delivered.
Sir, perhaps, I can make one or two other comments in addition to those that have been made by hon. Members. For instance, on the issue of the distribution of drugs, we accept your Committee’s recommendation on the importance of the now established distribution centre in Choma which we call a hub. We note the importance of submitting orders from health facilities. We accept this need and are acting on it. We accept that the Medical Stores Limited has been misutilised and underutilised in the past and we are of the view, as stated, that some reorganisation is called for. So, a number of actions, in my view, emanate from our discussion and these may be summarised as follows:

(a)    to increase availability, we need increased resources. I appreciate the support of hon. Members for the call for increased funding to pharmaceutical supply;

(b)    to increase accessibility at the point of use, we have started the programme of shortening the distance between the facility and supply point by establishing the first hub in Choma and we will continue with those in Chipata, Kitwe and others to follow; and

(c)    to review and reorganise the governance of Medical Stores Limited. To this end, I can already say that the procurement function has already been directed to move to Medical Stores Limited from the Ministry of Health. I can also confirm that I am in the process of rejuvenating the board of Medical Stores Limited by infusing what I consider to be fresh blood in the system.
 Therefore, I think, that our systemic approach to the issue of shortage of drugs is the correct one because it involves not only those logistic activities at the Medical Stores Limited, but also those surrounding human resources, governance and financing.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let me just say that we have before us one of the most significant contributions of this House in the small number of pages in the litany of reports to this august House. With the combination of this quality report and the most efficient and effective administration in the history of our country, we have a reason to believe that the so-called crisis of drug shortage is nearing its end.
I thank you, Sir.
Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank, you, and all hon. Members of Parliament who have debated and looked at your report. I further wish to thank the hon. Minister of Health, with whom I come a long way and who needs help and support from his colleagues as we advocate for increased funding to the health sector.
Sir, as he has rightly stated, this is one of the most serious issues that this House has considered since it affects all of us. As the adage goes, “to win a war, you must prepare for war”, this war we are talking about is that of disease and suffering which we must prepare for. I hope that hon. Members who have not taken this report seriously and those that I observed were busy with their perpetual consultations, and yet are in charge of souls out there in the provinces will relook at their reports and see the invaluable information that it contains.
Mr Speaker, with these words, we look forward to the improved performance in the medicine and medical supplies in our facilities because if we do so, all Zambians will be winners.
I thank you, Sir.
Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!
Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Question put and agreed to. 






Clause 1 and 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill. 

Schedule ordered to stand part of the Bill. 

Title agreed to.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

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

The Supplementary Appropriation (2011) Bill, 2013

Third Reading 18th July, 2013.


The following Bill was read the third time and passed:

The Excess Expenditure Appropriation (2010) Bill, 2013




The Minister of Finance and Acting Leader of Government Business (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1837 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 18th July, 2013.