Wednesday, 8th November, 2017

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Wednesday, 8th November, 2017

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






79. Mr Mulenga (Ndola Central) asked the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources:

(a) why the Government was about to degazette the land belonging to Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Company (ZAFFICO) Limited in Ndola District to pave way for the construction of a Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ);

(b) whether the Government was aware that degazetting the land would result in loss of business and employment at the company; and

(c) whether ZAFFICO would be compensated for any loss, considering that the company used debt financing to grow the plantation on the earmarked land.

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (Ms Kapata): Mr Speaker, from the outset, it is important to note that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources does not initiate the process of degazetting or excision of forest reserves, but merely facilitates the process.

Sir, with regard to the land in question, the ministry has not yet received any documentation for the excision of any part of Chichele National Forest in Ndola for the purpose of establishing a Multi-facility Economic Zone (MFEZ). However, it has received a request from the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to consider the idea and it has constituted a team comprising various stakeholders, including officers from the two ministries and the Copperbelt Provincial Administration, to assess the identified land. The team observed that the proposed area consists of young pine plantations established at a high cost to ZAFFICO Limited and recommended compensation to the company to allow it to continue with plantation development in outlying areas, and ensure sustained business and employment for the people.

Mr Speaker, it is not the responsibility of my ministry to determine the impact of excision of forest reserve. The development proponent requesting for excision of a particular piece of land is expected to undertake a detailed environmental impact assessment (EIA) in which all the negative environmental impacts of the proposed developments, such as business and employment losses, are identified and mitigation measures outlined. The role of the ministry is to ensure that forest reserves are conserved as part of environmental protection, and sustained production and utilisation of forest resources.

Sir, being party to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (PACC), Zambia needs to adhere to the principles of that agreement, which are meant to contribute to efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. Therefore, once received by my ministry, the proposal to excise part of the land in question will be carefully reviewed to ensure that all parties concerned are adequately protected in the process. There shall be a need to balance the present and future needs of ZAFFICO without impacting negatively on the development of the country.

Mr Speaker, compensation for the land that will be degazetted is not the responsibility of my ministry. The initiating institutions need to agree that with all the affected parties before the ministry can facilitate the process.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the answers.

Sir, the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Environment recommended that the land on which ZAFFICO is planting trees be put on title in order for the company to secure its investments. However, ZAFFICO has been having challenges in getting the title. What is the ministry’s position on the matter?

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, indeed, it is the Patriotic Front (PF) Government’s wish to give title deeds to all the landowners in this country. I am sure that you are aware that the Government is in the process of rolling out the National Titling Programme. So, anybody who applies should be given the title, provided they meet the requirements set out by the ministry.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Dr Kambwili (Roan): Sir, there is already an impending problem with regard to pine timber on the Copperbelt because, at some point, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government stopped replanting trees. So, it is projected that the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Company (ZAFFICO) Limited will not have mature timber ten years from now and that, as a result, the country will have to import the product. Further, the area proposed for the development of a multi-facility economic zone (MFEZ) has a nursery that is almost five years old, but it takes fifteen years for a tree to mature. Is it not prudent for the Government to stop this process completely, as the project will cause shortages of timber in the country and adversely affect its construction industry?

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, year in and year out, the ministry has been championing a tree-planting exercise across the country, and this year is no exception. Each household will be requested to grow, at least, one tree of any species, whether indigenous or …

Mr Nkombo: Exotic.

Ms Kapata: Yes, exotic citrus trees, thank you, Hon. Nkombo.

Further, Madam, ZAFFICO has plantations outside the Copperbelt Province, one being in Kawambwa. The idea is for the company to diversify its operations outside the Copperbelt into the outskirts. So, the country will not run out of timber because it currently has enough.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kufakwandi (Sesheke Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is aware that the Ndola/Kitwe/Mufulira/Chingola portion of Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Company (ZAFFICO) Limited’s plantation is the largest. With the urbanisation that is taking place in Ndola and Kitwe, the two towns will probably be one town in the next twenty years. Does the Government plan to relocate the plantation to a rural area?

Mr Speaker, the idea of planting trees outside the Copperbelt is not, in the long term, a very good one because the cost of transportation will be so high …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Are you answering your question?

Mr Kufakwandi: No, I am just trying to explain why …

Mr Speaker: You have already asked your question.

Mr Kufakwandi: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, you may respond.

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, as I said in my response to Hon. Dr Kambwili’s question, ZAFFICO is, indeed, moving away from the Copperbelt to the rural areas where it can get larger tracts of land for its plantations.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Chanda (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, in its interactions with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, has the ministry seen any justification for the Government to excise land in a forest reserve when there are large tracts of idle land around Ndola?

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, indeed, there is justification.

Sir, a new airport being built in the area and the PF Government, under the leadership of His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, …

Mr Mwiinga: Question!

Ms Kapata: … is moving the country towards industrialisation. We want to build malls and hotels to grow tourism next to the airport. That is why an MFEZ is needed in the area.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, it is obvious that when a country is developing, forest reserves will have to be degazetted to pave way for infrastructure development. Whether we like it or not, with time, forest reserves will have to go.

Sir, Chama District is a gazetted game management area (GMA). Does the Government have plans to degazetted parts of the district and others in a similar situation for purposes of relocating forestry reserves there?

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, what ZAFFICO is looking for about 20,000 hectares of land to move its forestry plantation. So, if Chama District has that much land to spare, it can be considered because we want to establish as many plantations in the rural areas as possible to create wealth and the much-needed employment opportunities for the people of Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, given that Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Company (ZAFFICO) Limited is relocating to other areas in the Northern Province, …

Mr Chikote: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Chikote: Sir, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to raise this serious point of order.

Sir, this being the first point of order I am raising in this House, I would like you to consider it.


Mr Speaker: Order!

If I was not ready to consider it, I would not have allowed you to raise it.


Mr Chikote: Sir, since this is a very serious point of order, I rise on this point of order …


Mr Chikote: … due its compelling nature.

Sir, as hon. Members of Parliament, we are obliged to perform our functions.

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikote: Sir, among the functions that we are supposed to perform are legislation, Budget approval, representation and oversight.

Mr Livune: That is right.

Mr Chikote: Mr Speaker, on Tuesday, 7th November, 2017, I had received an invitation from the Provincial Administration Office to attend the commissioning of electricity supply in Luampa District by ...

Mr Lufuma: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikote: … Her Honour the Vice-President, who was accompanied by the hon. Ministers for Western Province and Energy. To my surprise, I, the area Member of Parliament, who is supposed to execute my duties on behalf of the people of Luampa …

Mr Lufuma: Jealous!

Mr Chikote: … who elected me …

Mr Lufuma: Overwhelmingly!


Mr Chikote: … and made me beat my opponents by 100 per cent, saw a hoard of Patriotic Front (PF) cadres led by a Zambian diplomat to Malaysia, Mr Musangu Muzaza, whom I believe is a civil servant, ...

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Your point of order is rather long and winding. I know what you are talking about because I follow events in the nation. So, you can serve the House some time by getting to the point.

You may continue.

Mr Chikote: Mr Speaker, I wanted to give the House a broader picture to enable them make a proper decision.


Mr Chikote: However, I thank you for the guidance. Let me go straight to the point.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikote: Sir, even if I am standing before this august House, I am still in serious shock.


Mr Chikote: Sir, I am just from serving a thirty-day suspension for not attending a Government function.

Sir, immediately Her Honour the Vice-President arrived, I was attacked by the PF cadres.

Hon. UPND Members: Shame!

Mr Chikote: The PF Government has been saying that United Party for National Development (UPND) hon. Members of Parliament shun Government functions. As a UPND Member of Parliament, I was there to attend a Government, not a PF, function, but was attacked by a hoard of PF cadres led by a diplomat ...

 Hon. UPND Members: Shame!

Mr Chikote: ... in full view of the Zambia Police, District Commissioner (DC), hon. Ministers and, above all, Her Honour the Vice-President.

Hon. UPND Members: Shame! Unacceptable!

Mr Chikote: I was …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

If you do not put your point of order now, I will revoke the opportunity I have given you to raise it.

You may continue.

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


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Chikote: Sir, was Her Honour the Vice-President in order to remain silent …


Mr Chikote: … and let an hon. Member of Parliament be attacked so badly …


Mr Chikote: … in her presence? Further, as Leader of Government Business in the House, is she in order to keep quiet when I was attacked whilst executing my duties? Is she in order to remain silent …


Mr Chikote: … over that serious incident in which I was involved?


Mr Chikote: Mr Speaker, I seek your serious ruling.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Firstly, I encourage all hon. Members to attend functions of that nature.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Do you want a ruling or I should stop?

You are expected to attend functions of that nature because you are civic leaders who do not represent only your political parties, but also all your constituents, including those who have no political affiliation. So, I urge you to attend those functions.

Secondly, as far as the particular function to which the hon. Member has referred is concerned, like I said, I follow events in the nation because I, too, am a citizen of this country. So, I followed it, too, including the reactions to it, particularly that of Her Honour the Vice-President. Therefore, I know that what the hon. Member is saying is contrary to what transpired.

Hon. UPND Members: Aah!

Mr Speaker: Yes, to the extent that Her Honour the Vice-President did not remain silent about the incident. Rather, she condemned what happened. You may not follow such events, but I do through broadcast. Further, I am informed that the concerned youths have since been disciplined and apologies have also been rendered.

Hon. UPND Members: To whom?


Mr Speaker: The bottom line is that hon. Members should continue attending such events. I must also mention that whenever your rights are infringed upon, especially in a criminal sense, you should report to the law enforcement agencies.

That is my ruling.

Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, before I was interrupted by the lengthy point of order, I was asking the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources the Government’s position on the relocation of ZAFFICO Limited plantations to the Northern Province and other areas. In view of the massive investments currently being made on the Copperbelt, what will the future of the current ZAFFICO plantations be?


Mr Speaker: Order!

You were being drowned out by the noise, hon. Member for Serenje.

Please, continue!

Mr Kabanda: Yes, I was drowned by the noise, Sir.

Mr Kabanda repeated his question.

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, ZAFFICO will remain on the Copperbelt. I did not say that ZAFFICO will move out of the province. The main plantation will remain. It is only the area where the airport will be built and another where the Ministry of Energy wants to set up a solar system that will be degazetted. However, we are also encouraging ZAFFICO to expand its operations to the rural areas.

Mr Speaker, I must hasten to mention that Her Honour the Vice-President has asked all hon. Provincial Ministers to ensure that each district provides my ministry with 100 ha so that it can grow more trees. We want to discourage the trend in this country of just continuously cutting trees without replacing them.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, regarding both the removal of a young plantation and anticipated massive development of the Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) that has been talked about, the regulations require the undertaking of an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA). Has that assessment been undertaken, in consultation with the community, to ascertain that neither the biodiversity status nor the communities surrounding the area where this development will take place will be disturbed?

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, there are no people living on the plantations. A social survey is always conducted when development is taken to an area to ensure that people understand what type of development is being taken to them so that the community is not left behind.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chiteme (Nkana): Mr Speaker, the creation of the Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) and airport to be built in the area in question is expected to cause the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Company (ZAFFICO) Limited a loss of about K315.6 million. How will the company, which got a loan to finance its projects, be compensated?

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, ZAFFICO paid off the loan. However, we agree that it needs to make a profit on its investments. We hope that if the Government goes through with the proposed development, it will, first of all, compensate ZAFFICO so that the company can get its profit.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mrs Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, I think the hon. Minister is a well-travelled person. Therefore, she must have noticed that countries like the United States of America (USA), Russia and Germany encourage the preservation of forests in their cities or towns. I also believe that she understands the importance of trees. In that regard, I do not see the reason the Government should degazette the land between Ndola and Kitwe and use it for industrialisation or to develop the proposed Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) on it. Does the Government not think we need to preserve more of the trees we have now instead of talking about each household planting a tree? I think the hon. Minister knows what it means to have a forest in a city, like it has been done in other countries.

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, it is not the whole forest that is being excised, but just part of it. Yes, we need the trees on the Copperbelt. At no time did I say that we do not. If anything, we are encouraging the planting of trees at the household level. Everyone should grow a tree to make Zambia green so that we reverse the negative impacts of climate change.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for her elaborate answer to this question. However, my question is about the K260 million investment that the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Company (ZAFFICO) Limited put into the land that is being degazetted. Will the Government absorb the debt before cutting off part of the plantation?

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, ZAFFICO has already paid off the loan, although it has not yet made a profit. I have also said that if this place will be degazetted, the relevant Government wings, including the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, should, first of all, ensure that ZAFFICO gets its profit on its investment.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.




Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House urges the Government to expedite the payment of terminal benefits to all former Government employees who retired before 5th January, 2016.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Dr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, allow me to thank Hon. Dr Chishimba Kambwili for accepting to second this Motion which, in my view, is very important.

Mr Speaker, the payment of retirement and pension benefits has always been a very thorny issue in our country. Therefore, this Motion must be of interest to all hon. Members of Parliament who represent various constituencies for, in every constituency, there are retirees and pensioners.

Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government assumed power in 2011 on the basis of many promises it had made to the electorates, primarily those made in its 2011-2016 Manifesto, whose themes were lower taxes, more jobs, more money in pockets of individuals and families alike, and a better life for all. The manifesto also promised the restoration of human dignity through social and economic development based on the observance of human rights and the rule of law.

Mr Speaker, the Motion before this august House is moved pursuant to the Public Service Pensions Act, Chapter 260 Act No. 35 of 1996, which is:

“An Act to consolidate the law relating to pensions and other benefits for persons employed in the Public Service”.

Sir, the Motion is also moved pursuant to the Local Authority Superannuation Fund (Amendment) Act No. 8 of 2015.

Sir, I have been compelled to move this Motion in response to a passionate appeal from one Serenje-based retiree and pensioner who authorised me to name him, Mr Gondwe, and many others who have written emotive letters, I am sure, to many hon. Members of Parliament.

Sir, Mr Gondwe’s letter, dated October, 20th, 2017, which I will table later, reads, in part:

“C/O Mr. Sampa F. M,

Serenje Town Council,

P.O.BOX 850013,


20th October, 2017.

“Hon. Garry Nkombo M.P

Mazabuka Central Constituency

P.O.BOX 31299


Dear Sir,


“I refer to the above subject matter and wish to bring your attention to the plight of Retirees and Pensioners.

“Sir, Retirees and Pensioners have become destitute in their own country because the Government has failed to recognise them as Zambians.

“Sir in the 2017 Budget there is an allocation for payment of Retirees and Pensioners. It is unfortunate that the Government has not honoured its promise to pay them.

“Sir, the 2017 Budget is expiring on 31st December, 2017, and if Retirees and Pensioners are not paid by that time they may never be paid. As you are aware, Sir, we have a very slippery Government. In 2018, they will say that they cannot pay them because there is no budget allocation for them in the 2018 Budget.

“Sir, Retirees and Pensioners contributed a lot to the development of this country while they were in service. I therefore feel strongly that it is very unfair for the Government to treat them as outcasts in their own Country.

“Sir, some Pensioners have become so vulnerable that they even qualify for the Social Cash Transfer Scheme. What wrong have these Retirees and Pensioners done to the Government or even to the President that they should be left behind and deserve such a fate? When the 2017 Budget was announced in 2016, the Minister of Labour, Hon. Madam Joyce Simukoko promised the nation, in particular the Retiree and Pensioners that her priority would be to pay them their dues. Unfortunately the Minister has decided to swallow worlds from her own mouth.

“Sir, the Minister of Finance Hon. Mutati is legally mandated by the 2017 Budget to pay Retirees and Pensioners their dues before it expires on December 31st, 2017 and he should not give a lame excuse for failing to do so.

“Sir, it is for the above reasons that a humble request is being made to you to assist in bailing out Retirees and Pensioners from the bondage that they are in. This could be done by asking the Minister of Finance while in Parliament to assure Retirees and Pensioners that their dues for five (5) years will be paid to them. If need be the Minister should make even make a Ministerial statement as this is a very serious and thorny issue.

“While Retirees and Pensioners have been paid part of their dues, I feel that this is not enough. We want the Minister of Finance to pay the Retirees and Pensioners in full as per Budget allocation of the 2017 Budget which expires on 31st December 2017. This should be done without any considerations.

“Sir, I do not want to waste your time ...”

Mr Speaker, the letter goes on and on. Let me just lay it on the Table.

Mr Nkombo laid the letter on the Table.

Mr Nkombo: Sir, on page 24 of its 2011-2016 Manifesto, the PF had the following to say in Section 7, which is titled “Social Security Reforms”:

“Under the MMD government the administration of the social security system has left the majority of workers destitute on retirement. This is due to unrealistic and inadequate retirement packages which are often overtaken by inflation and the ever rising cost of living. This is further compounded by the fact that pensioners and retirees are not paid their benefits on time, or never paid at all.

“In order to redress the above the PF government shall:

  • introduce reforms so as to ensure efficiency and a secure post-employment life for all retired employees and their families;
  • Use the social security schemes to advance loans to local authorities for investment in low and medium cost housing;
  • Pay pension arrears to all retired employees within 24 months in government;” …

Mr Speaker, the same manifesto promised that the PF would provide monthly social pension for all aged sixty-five and above if elected.

Sir, it is a fact that the twenty-four months in which the PF said it would liquidate all the outstanding amounts owed to retirees and pensioners are long gone.

Mr Speaker, the reason Zambia gave the PF the mandate to govern this country is the one that has motivated me to move this Motion. Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, may his soul rest in peace, who was the owner of the dream I have just read in the quote, is no more, and it appears that, post his reign, the dream is also dead.

Sir, in 2016-2021 PF Manifesto, we see the PF backtrack on the lofty and enticing promises it had made to the retirees and pensioners. Certainly, this group of citizens voted for the PF, but they have not got their dues at all. The PF was on all fours when making its promises, but people have died before getting their dues or have got them posthumously. The party has not done what it said it would do.

Sir, the PF, through a policy change, created for itself a ten-year window of relief by altering the retirement age from fifty-five to sixty-five. This is another reason the Government should not struggle to pay retirees and pensioners. It must fulfil its obligations to the senior citizens because senior citizens in all constituencies live in abject poverty. Some do not even have shelter or decent livelihoods, ...

Hon. Livune: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: ... yet the money they contributed while in gainful employment is still in the Government coffers.

Sir, some retirees and pensioners do not know where their next meal will come from, but we are consoled in because we know they are in this situation because the PF has not lived up to its words over the years. So, I think time has come for the party to do the right thing by agreeing that this Motion will serve the lives of those old men and women in our constituencies who served this country diligently during their time.

Mr Speaker, the PF has abrogated its pledge, and we do not need more evidence of that than the destitution of the retirees.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Unlike the 2011-2016 PF Manifesto, which addresses issues of retirees in Article 22, the current manifesto of the party is loudly silent on the matter, and I have read it in its entirety. It does not give the retirees any hope that their money will be paid.

Sir, the retirees have been resilient for a very long time, and it is a pity that they will end up being paid posthumously, if at all. No one can enjoy his or her benefits six feet under the ground in a coffin or reed mat if the family was not able to buy a coffin because the Government failed to meet its obligation.

Sir, my able seconder, Hon. Dr Chishimba Kambwili, will share with the House the details of the plight of retirees from 2010 to date, including some statistics of the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) for the past seven years. As we may all know, the performance of the pension fund is a pure function of how much importance the Government attaches to the helpless among citizens. In that regard, I do not know whether the PF promises should be considered dreams or nightmares?

Sir, the retirees have woken up to the hard reality of not being paid for a long time, and we have a collective duty to be serious about this matter. Why must we spend this money on things that have no bearing on the preservation of life? Anyway, I will come back to the specifics of this aspect later.

Mr Speaker, I did not look at the Local Authority Superannuation Fund (LASF). However, at the PSPF, the number of processed cases stood at approximately 2,252 as at the end of February, 2017. Assuming that these retirees are married, automatically the figure doubles to 4,504 individuals affected by the non-payment of retirees’ dues. To stretch the argument a little further, assuming that each family has six children, the number escalates to 28,000 Zambians. These statistics are for terminal benefits at the PSPF alone, and it gets worse when you also consider the monthly payments for pensioners, whose money is not even enough to buy a bag of mealie meal.

Mr Speaker, in a telephone conversation with seventy-one-year-old Mr Gondwe this morning, he revealed to me that he is entitled to K62 every month. That translates into K744 per annum. However, he has not seen his money for the last four years. Therefore, the Government owes him exactly K2,976 for the four years. The money amount might appear minute, but it can make a difference because it is the PF that has been boasting about the difference that the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) scheme, which is at about K100, makes a difference. However, the scheme is not money owed to people, but a social security scheme. Where, then, is the morality of not paying people what is due to them when others are given what they have not earned?

Sir, I urge the hon. Minister to think through this matter before we end this Session of the Budget and pay pensioners their dues.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Because of not doing so, we have condemned the retirees to a slow and painful death.

Sir, it is a fact that that should be understood by everyone that paying the retirees their money is not doing them a favour or gratifying them in any way because it is their accrued right, which must be respected by the PF Government without further procrastination. What happened to the PF’s undertaking to pay off all pension arrears within twenty-four months of assuming power? To be fair, the composition of the PF in 2011 is not what you see this afternoon and, maybe, that is why the dream has been lost. The men and women who sat on the right of the Chair included the seconder of my Motion. Over the years, however, you have seen that the complexion has changed.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

The trajectory your debate has taken now is clearly bordering you debating your colleagues.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, thank you for your guidance.

Sir, I stated what the PF Manifesto said in 2011 and what it says today. It is up to the listeners to judge if the cause of the difference is the change in the complexion of the PF and the demise of the late President, who was the owner of the dream of looking after the retirees.

Mr Speaker, what happened to the pro-poor stance that was held by the late President Michael Chilufya Sata? Clearly, the pensioners are now rated amongst the very poor. What happened to the promises of the social security schemes meant to advance loans to local authorities for investment in low and medium income housing for retirees? Where has the care fizzled out to from the PF’s undertaking to look after these employees starting in 2011?

Sir, is it not true that just like in Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), if we are not infected, we are affected. Many people, including some seated here, have relatives who are retirees on whom they depend for bread and butter. Those who are ranting may not have relatives who are retired. So, I understand them.

Mr Speaker, if the PF did not exhibit inertia to pay the retirees, can only be explained by some avoidable activities which, if avoided, the retires would not have been complaining today and I would not have moved this Motion.

Sir, it is a fact that the PF has an insatiable appetite for reckless borrowing, both internally and externally, at very high interest rates.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwale: Kamba kaleza!

Mr Nkombo: Kaleza!


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Just give me a minute

Mr Nkombo resumed his seat.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister for Local Government, you can do better than that, as an hon. Minister. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, thank you for the protection.

Sir, the second reason is the pilferage of money under reckless Government spending inconsiderate of the very human resource that helped to build the country. One example is the unnecessary purchase of forty-two fire tenders at US$42 million. The money used to buy just ten of the fire tenders could have got us half-way to resolving the problem of retirees’ arrears.

Mr Speaker, the purchase of Toyota Land Cruiser ambulances at US$288,000 per unit, when that model costs in the region of US$100,000 at Toyota Zambia, just 2 km from here, is another example of activities that prevent us from paying the retirees. What is the reason for buying ambulances at US$288,000 per unit? Is it to prepare for evacuating the retirees to hospital for them to die due to poverty? I would rather we pay them so that they can find their own way to the hospital because the ambulances were too expensive.

Sir, the 2016 Auditor-General’s Report tells the story of reckless spending in the Government, especially by some civil servants.

Sir, the Government has also failed to prioritise needs like the subject of this Motion. For example, and I am sure my seconder will put more flesh to this, this fiscal year, K1.6 million was allocated to the PSPF. However, much of that money was actually released?

Mr Speaker, I am certain that the civil servants see the plight of the retirees and can, therefore, not resist the temptation to steal money and keep it for when they retire.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

The word “steal” is unparliamentary.

Mr Nkombo: I withdraw it, Sir.

Sir, civil servants will not have a second thought to making an extra kwacha in an unconventional way whenever they get the opportunity to do so because they have seen the suffering of retirees. That is why I urge my colleagues, whom I must thank for listening attentively to me, to support the Motion, as doing so will be to the advantage of the people who woke up on 11th August, 2016, to cast their votes for us to have the privilege of being among the 164 Zambians who congregate in this House.

Mr Speaker, with those words, I beg to move.

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

Dr Kambwili: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, I thank you most sincerely for according me this opportunity to second this very important Motion that touches on the wellbeing of our former hardworking Government employees, and I commend Hon. Gary Nkombo, Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central, for ably moving it. I accepted to second the Motion because I have been approached by many retirees in dire straits over their benefits.

Sir, a secure and comfortable retirement is every worker’s dream. No wonder, workers spend a larger part of their life saving through pension contributions while looking forward to a comfortable life with their loved ones.

Mr Speaker, every human being in life is faced with socio-economic risks and uncertainties, and that is the basis for the provision of social security to workers in terms of terminal benefits. The benefits are meant to provide income security to former workers to ensure that they have an acceptable standard of living after their retirement and, subsequently, in their old age, when they are expected to be less productive. The assumption is always that workers will receive their money soon after leaving office and, thereby, avoid becoming vulnerable at a time they will not have a monthly income, such as a salary. However, retirement has become a gateway to various forms of vulnerability to former Government workers in Zambia.

Sir, the payment of terminal benefits to former Government workers, which has been and continues to be a big problem in Zambia, requires the immediate attention of this honourable House because most of the old people who served in various Government departments dependent on the terminal benefits to help them undertake various life-sustaining activities during retirement.

Mr Speaker, terminal benefits, as the final entitlements of our employees after termination of employment contracts, are very important to workers’ lives after retirement, and are the largest and most important assets all retirees have for their future social and economical endeavours. So, if the retirees can receive their terminal benefits in time, they can manage their money according to their plans, and that can make a huge difference in their lives.

Mr Speaker, the current situation regarding the welfare of retirees leaves much to be desired. The former Government workers suffer in the process of getting their terminal benefits, hence, the need for this House to help them to get their dues. They have tried all the available avenues, including getting a court order in their favour but, to date, they are still struggling to get their hard-earned cash as if it is not their entitlement.

Mr Speaker, serious attention needs to be paid, especially, to those who retired before 5th January, 2016, because, as the House may be aware, they are not on the Government’s payroll like their colleagues who retired later and are entitled to their salaries until their dues are paid. For those who are retained on the payroll after retirement pending payment of their benefits, the monthly income they continue receiving enables them to lead a seemingly decent life. On the other hand, those who retired before 5th January, 2016, are literally street adults, with some having died without getting their benefits, leaving their dependents, spouses and children hopeless and helpless because Zambian Government of the current administration does not care to pay them.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, if this Government cares, it could, by now, have shown willingness to dismantle the arrears for retirees on the payroll. The following figures show the commitment of the Government under the leadership of His Excellency the late President, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, from 2011 to 2014:

Year               Budget ‘K’                          Released (K)                            Variance (K)

2011               373,574,352.00                   784,877,500.00                       411,303,148

2012               489,217,428.00                   718,240,630.78                       229,023,203

2013               632,832,185.44                   634,131,455.22                            1,299,270

Sir, the Government’s commitments and actual disbursements to pensioners after Mr Sata’s death were as follows:

2014               754,159,221.00                   620,790,484.00                       -133,368,737

2015               805,000,000.00                   668,369,883.24                       -136,630,117

2016               805,000,000.00                   464,341,275.00                       -340,658,725

2017             1,655,000,000.00                1,145,698,844.67                      -509,301,155


Dr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, the Government released K1,145,698,844.67 against K1,655,000,000, this year, because the retirees continue to draw their salaries. So, it is only releasing more money because it wants to run away from paying salaries. In the past, it released less.


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Members!

If we continue being this noisy, we will fail to communicate, and there is no need for that to happen. There is one row on my right that is too loud. I am watching.


Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member for Roan.

Dr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, it is clear that the Patriotic Front (PF) vision of paying the retirees, as articulated in the Manifesto of Mr Sata has been lost. The amounts released to dismantle arrears for retirees from 5th January, 2016, are not in any way encouraging to our men and women who once provided invaluable public service to this country.

Sir, as at 5th January, 2016, the Government owed 2,032 pensioners and retirees K1,624,588,265, against which the Government only budgeted for K805 million in 2016, representing 49.5 per cent. This was less than half of the amount budgeted for. Further, the Government only released K464,341,275, representing a paltry 2.5 per cent of the amount owed.

Sir, I know that, in 2017, Parliament approved K1,655,000,000, of which  it had already released K1,145,698,844.67, at July, 2017, leaving a balance of over K500 million. However, the Government’s commitment to the poor and the underprivileged former workers who retired before January, 2016, was very poor, especially considering that those people were no longer on the Government payroll. Hon. Members may wish to know that 253 former workers died without getting their pensions, a staggering figure of K72,038,883.50. How can a caring Government let so many of its people die without getting their life time savings?

Ms Kapata: Question!

Dr Kambwili: Question mukula!


Dr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, taking this figure further, considering the records …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Roan!

Please, resume your seat.


Ms Kapata: We will meet in court.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Roan, can you focus on your Motion. Otherwise, we will run into a technical problem of having nothing to debate if you do not second the Motion, of which there is a risk. Leave the running commentaries to me.


Dr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, considering that the estates of deceased persons cases have, on average, six dependants, it means that failure by this so-called caring Government to pay the deceased retirees has resulted in the suffering of 1,518 citizens.

Mr Speaker, it is totally unacceptable to see former Government employees languish and be exposed to unimaginable suffering because of a lack of political will to pay them. So, the payment of terminal benefits to all former Government employees must be prioritised. All the retirees who have not been paid their terminal benefits must be paid as soon as possible. Not a single retiree should spend years without being paid his or her hard-earned money or die leaving nothing to their loved ones. Sometimes, those left behind are not even in a position to give the deceased a decent burial.

Mr Speaker, I urge the hon. Members of this House to support this non-controversial Motion for the benefit of the people we represent.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Hon. PF Member: Question!

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, this is a very narrow and specific issue, and we need to be business-like. So, I will only allow three debaters on each side.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: On the left, the debaters will be the hon. Leader of the Opposition, and the hon. Members for Katombola and Kamfinsa. On my right, the hon. Member for Bangweulu, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and the hon. Minister of Finance will be the debaters.

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, the hon. Member for Kamfisa is not ready to debate.

Mr Speaker: Very well, I will substitute him with the next person who indicated, namely the hon. Member for Nkeyema.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to support the Motion that has been ably moved by the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, Mr Gary Nkombo, and seconded by the Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament for …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: … Roan, Hon. Dr Kambwili.

Mr Speaker, the Motion we are debating this afternoon goes to the core of our conscience as leaders in this House.

Sir, all of us who are elected hon. Members of Parliament know that there a number of former public workers who have become destitute in our constituencies. Some retirees are failing to meet their medical fees while others are unable to send their children to school.

Ms Kapata: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, we are not only inflicting pain …

Ms Kapata: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwiimbu: … on the retirees themselves …

Ms Kapata: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources!

I know there is a rule about points of order being raised contemporaneously. So, I will take note of your point of order and give you an opportunity later.

Hon. Member for Monze, continue.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I was saying that the failure by the PF Government to meet its obligations…

Ms Kapata (pointing at Dr Kambwili) Tukakumona. Ndekutwala ku Court.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: ... of paying…

Dr Kambwili: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Roan, resume your seat.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Monze, please, continue.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, the failure by the PF Government to meet its obligations of paying retirees does not just affect the retirees, but affects entire households in our constituencies.

I am aware, Mr Speaker, in constituencies on the Copperbelt, such as Kabushi and others in Kitwe, a number of people are failing to satisfy their daily needs, such as medical fees, because of the failure by our colleagues on your right. When you go to University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in the morning, you will find very long queues ...

Mr Kampyongo: “Chueues”?


Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member for Monze.

Mr Mwiimbu: ... of members of the public waiting to retrieve bodies of their dead loved ones, and the majority of the deceased are former public servants, such as police officers and teachers, who have worked diligently for this country. As a result of the increase in deaths, families of the deceased former retirees or those struggling to make their ends meet have ended up allowing their children to become street children.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: You look around, just around Manda Hill, which is not far from here, you will see a large number of street children there and, when you ask them why they are on the streets, they will tell you that their parents, who have not been paid terminal benefits, cannot afford to take them to school.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: The Government on your right is answerable for what has occurred in this country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: It is responsible for destroying the lives of our children …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: … because of the failure it has occasioned on this country.

Mr Speaker, those who have no consciences and believe that there are no retirees in their constituencies will vote against this Motion.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: As for me, I have many who come to Lusaka and sleep at the Intercity Bus Station for months, looking for crumbs from the Government in vain because there is no money.

Sir, this Government has the propensity of misusing money intended for paying retirees. That is what has been happening. As my colleague indicated earlier, if the hon. Members on your right had any kind of consciences, they would have not have allowed the expenditure of US$42 million on second-hand fire tenders.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Instead, they would have used that money to serve the lives…

Mr Kasonso: Second hand.

Mr Mwiimbu: … of the many who are suffering in this country because of the Patriotic Front (PF). There are so many cases of misappropriation, according to the Penal Code, theft and stealing by civil servants because they know that if they do not do that …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

The word ‘stealing’ is unparliamentary.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I am trying to quote Section 265 of the Penal Code, which reads:

“(1) A person who fraudulently and without claim of right takes anything capable of being stolen, or fraudulently converts to the use of any person other than the general or special owner thereof anything capable of being stolen, is said to steal that thing.”    

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, the Penal Code was passed by the Parliament of Zambia.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: So, forgive me for mentioning that word in quoting the law.

Mr Nkombo: Yes   

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, what I am saying is because of what we, the leaders, are failing to protect civil servants and the civil servants have known that those who retire die destitute, they end up stealing according to Section 265 of the Penal Code.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, this Government has failed our people. Even the paltry sums they are supposed to be paid are not paid. A resident of a constituency in Serenje …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: … had no alternative, but to ask for help from the hon. Member of Parliament for a constituency in Mazabuka, over this issue.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Mr Gondwe.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Gondwe …


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

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Serenje!

Resume your seat.

Mr Speaker: Resume your seat, too, Hon. Mwiimbu.

I thought it was apparent to you that I am not allowing points of order, seeing as I did not allow the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to raise one when she attempted to do so.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Anyway, to those who are not able to work things out for themselves, I am not allowing points of order.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, thank you for the protection.

Sir, Mr Gondwe of Serenje, a gallant son of the soil, worked for the Government diligently. However, he is unable to buy a bag of mealie meal and relish, or take his children to school or to the hospital when they sick because he is only entitled to K64 per month and the Government fails to pay him even that much.

Hon. UPND Members: Shame!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, what sought of leaders are we, who cannot look after the people who elected us to this House and serve us diligently? Instead, we forget about them when they retire.

Sir, we have the responsibility to look after the people. Let us have a conscience and search our souls, and consider the people in Senama in Mansa, Chibolya in Mufulira, Ndeke in Kitwe, Bauleni and Marapodi in Lusaka …

Hon. UPND Members: Makululu!

Mr Mwiimbu: … and Makululu in Kabwe.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ngulube: Question!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, how can we walk with our heads held high when our former employees are begging on the street and, when their loved ones die, cannot afford coffins? How can we claim to be leaders worth our salt? Zambians are listening this afternoon.

Sir, let us feel pity for the retirees. We have not passed the Budget. Therefore, we can make variations and ensure that the retirees are paid.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, it is such a pity to see former employees beg on the streets and walk from the Lusaka Inter-city Bus Terminus to the Ministry of Finance to follow up on their money. So, my colleagues who want to vote against this Motion must search their souls and think about the people in their constituencies who always flock to our houses to ask for assistance. They should also think about the children who are unable to go to school because their parents cannot pay for them. We are not only punishing those children, but their children, too, because the poverty levels will continue to escalate and be passed on to the next generation. As a result of that, posterity will judge us harshly.

Mr Speaker, I earnestly appeal to the hon. Ministers of Finance, and Labour and Social Security to look at the issue of unpaid retirees. This problem is a result of the Government’s failure to meet its obligation to finance public sector pension schemes. If the pension schemes have failed, why can we not abolish them and take all the other workers to another pension scheme where they can get an income.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let us, for once, speak with one voice, make variations in the Yellow Book and save some money to pay the retirees.

Sir, I call upon all the hon. Members of this House to support this Motion.

I thank you, Sir

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I support the Motion moved by the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central and very ably seconded by the hon. Member for Roan.

Sir, the subject before us is very important. So, our colleagues must listen and do what we are imploring them to do. In this regard, let me also remind our colleagues to actualise the pension reforms, whose song has been sung on the Floor of this House for too long. 

Mr Speaker, after Independence, we had three public pension schemes, namely the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF), for a particular category of workers, the National Provident Fund (NPF) for those who could not be in any category and the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF) for retirees. However, due the failures of the institutions to meet the expectations of the people, the NPF was transformed into the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and mandated to administer the National Pension Fund because it had the resources.

Mr Speaker, the fundamental difference between the PSPF and the NPF was that the Government used to give the returns in actual cash to the NPF while to the PSPF it released only the returns without the actual cash. So, the NPF grew although it did not benefit the people. Therefore, even now, we can talk about transformation, but it will not be actualised as long as the Government carries on with the culture of not remitting actual cash with the returns to the pension scheme, and it is important for us to bear in mind that which made LASF and the PSPF to match the financial soundness of the NPF as we move forward.

Mr Speaker, the retirees are suffering. The human resource management framework provides that when the Government wants to retire people, it must give them a notice period. How, then, does the Government fail to pay them when it gives them a six-month notice? People are communicated to so that they are psychologically prepared yet, when the due date arrives, the Government fails to pay them, and there are consequences for them.

Sir, most hon. Members of Parliament from rural constituencies have problems finding accommodation for teachers because most of those who have retired still occupy Government houses while ...


Mr Livune: ... waiting for the Government to pay them. So, the Government is failing to build houses in the villages and to pay retirees. How, does this Government want us to live? This is a bad Patriotic Front (PF) Government.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Speaker, we have crises in the villages. You heard from an earlier debater that the families of some dead civil servants and police officers are still occupying institutional houses. So, that trend is everywhere. In police camps, such families occupy houses when serving officers have no accommodation, yet that problem can be solved if the Government to do one thing. Then it will be providing a solution to all the other problems. If the Government does one thing, that is, pays pensioners what is owed to them. Then, their families will leave the houses they occupy and make room for serving officers or teachers in the villages. That way, we will continue on the path of finding solutions to the problems faced in our constituencies.

Sir, the people who are affected by the non-payment of retirees’ benefits are human beings just like us. So, how does this bad Government expect them to survive when it has inflicted pain on them through its bad policies? There is too much poverty and hunger out there, yet those people worked for this money. They are not asking for favours, and the Government must pay them their money so that they can live well. The cost of living is high, with fuel prices going up every day, yet people must pay school fees and meet other obligations. How can they do all that if the Government fails to do that which is noble? Is this Government, which came to this House and said it would not leave anyone behind, not leaving the retirees and pensioners behind?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, the Government must be serious and honour the pronouncements it makes here. We have said that the amounts of money that it spends on some reckless activities can go a long way in alleviating poverty.

Mr Ngulube: Question!

Mr Livune: How do you question what I am saying when you justify the purchase of the fire tenders, which are useless to many people in this country?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Katombola!

Hon. Members, if we continue behaving in this manner, this House will lose its dignity. Even those who are on the Floor want to engage others. How can it be so? If it was not for the nature of the subject of this Motion, I would have just stopped this debate. Let us debate this Motion in earnest because it is earnest. We must exercise self discipline.

Hon. Livune, you consistently question your colleagues.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: It is an accepted practice, anyway. So, I do not see why you should elect, in the middle of your speech, to address that issue when you know very well that there is no need. You always question one another here. However, if you are debating, for heavens’ sake, do not engage others. If you have a grievance regarding any running commentary, you can lodge a complaint. We have a mechanism for that. These proceedings are recorded verbatim and we can trace all the running commentaries. I have said this before. However, each person wants to begin managing the House independently and independent of the Speaker. We cannot continue that way. We are having punch-ups and near punch-ups because of these same issues. One hon. Member runs a commentary, another reacts, and yet another one wants to counter that yet, at the end of the day, we still want to maintain that we are honourable. The people out there are seeing whether we are acting honourably or not. We are being watched.

You may continue, hon. Member.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, in addition to their many obligations, the retirees must also pay for electricity, whose tariffs are being increased every day, yet the Government is failing to do that which is noble.

Sir, thank you for the guidance.

Sir, it is important that the people out there are reminded that when the PF was campaigning in 2011, it talked about the twenty-four months in which it would clear all areas owed to retirees and pensioners, and that was the basis on which many decided that the party might be the panacea to their problems and voted for it. However, after being voted for, the PF has left people behind. So, I want to remind it to fulfil the promises it made.

Sir, a pension is compensation for loss of one’s monthly income. The retirees used to get a salary, but that is not the case anymore, and we thought it is important to replace the salary that one gets on a monthly basis with a pension upon one’s retirement so as to lengthen one’s life. That is why pensions are important. So, if we sit here and talk about putting in place some form of compensation for lost monthly income, why should the Government be in the forefront of not fulfilling its mandate? Why should it not play its part so that the players in the market can continue paying the monthly pensions to our people?

Sir, it is important that when these issues are raised, we all treat them as important and non-partisan because they impact heavily on our people. Every day, many pensioners who have been neglected called on us to help them in one way or another, and I want to believe that our colleagues on your right are also called upon for assistance. So, when we are here and such matters are brought on the Floor, there is a need for all of us to be resolved and find a way forward. In our Yellow Book, we can we find money somewhere to help our people who have worked diligently and contributed to what and who we are today. The former teachers and police officers, among many others, who taught us and risked their lives to protect us and, after working for a long time, they should sit, relax and eat, but doing that has become a problem because we have become a problem to them by failing to make money available for them to get paid.

Sir, we should not make promises we cannot keep because we may not be able to ask the people to support us when the Government has failed to implement what it promised in 2011.

Mr Speaker, ...

Mr Ngulube: I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Kabwe Central Parliamentary Constituency, leave the Debating Chamber. You can come back tomorrow.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Ngulube left the Debating Chamber.

Mr Livune: Sir, it is important to feel for others. We may not be here tomorrow, just like the workers we are talking about were in active employment once, but are not anymore. So, we should ask ourselves how people will remember us when we are gone. Do we want to be remembered as a group of people who ignored their plight or one that provided solutions to the many problems that they faced? I, for one, want to belong to a group that will be remembered for having provided solutions to people’s problems. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that the PF Government has no solution to people’s problems, and I hope the people are listening. The PF will not manage to solve their problems. Only when my President, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, and the United Party for National Development (UPND) take over the Government will we secure the lives of the people in this country.

Sir, as I conclude, I want to remind the Government that this matter is important. So, let us vote for it so that our people can receive that which is good for them. If the hon. PF Members refuse to vote for this Motion, they should know that the people are listening and will do the needful when the time comes.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to support this Motion.

Sir, for pensioners to come to Parliament, it means that the Government, which prides itself on being a listening one, has failed to resolve their problems that it should resolve administratively.  I am concerned that our colleagues in the Patriotic Front (PF) are giving politics a bad name ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbangweta: … because what they desire …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Nkeyema!

Debate the issues, not your colleagues.


Mr Mbangweta: I thank you for the guidance, Sir.  

Mr Speaker, this Government claims to be a caring, listening and pro-poor one yet, in practice, it is the opposite of what it claims to be.

Sir, since last year, the Government has been saying that it wants to institute fiscal discipline. Their activities, however, indicate a contrary inclination. We have been complaining about the retirement of people in the national interest, which the PF Government has been doing wantonly, because there is a relationship between that activity and the subject of this Motion. If did not take that route, people would not be paid to stay home. People who have done something wrong have to be charged in accordance with the rules and regulations. However, because most people who are being retired in the national interest are innocent, the Government pays them to appease them using money that could have been used to pay, at least, some of the pensioners who are enduring hardships caused by this Government, which no one compelled to retire people in the national interest. Why does it do that when other citizens who have served us loyally for more than fifty years, in some cases, suffer because they are not being paid their benefits? Is that rational? This is very difficult to appreciate.

Mr Speaker, this Government also says it wants to encourage empowerment. How does it propose to do that if it does not pay pensioners their dues timely so that they can be investors? Now, they are destitute and nobody seems to care enough to take action. No one has stopped the Government from reforming the pension schemes so that this problem is resolved. Further, how is it that, in other areas, this Government has demonstrated a capacity to spend, yet it seems not prepared to spend on people who have served it loyally? 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbangweta: What is the problem? Can it convince someone who has not been paid his or her pension that this Government has no money in light of what happened in the last three weeks or so? How can you convince them? It is not possible. The only possibility is that the Government has not put its mind to the problem.

Sir, this is a really big problem because even service delivery under the productivity institute which the Government wants to set up will not work, as the people who hat are currently working can see how their colleagues have been mistreated. So, they will do exactly what the Leader of Opposition said, that is, start feathering their nests before retirement, because there is no point in working loyally when you know that, at the end of day, people will not appreciate your service. So, I encourage the Government to pay the people and start anew so that everybody is taken care of. Further, let us stop activities that trigger unnecessary expenses, yet add no value to our operations. Otherwise, we cannot keep coming here to complain about not having money. This should not be the route that we take.

Finally, Sir, the PF Government must not go round saying that it walks the talk because it does not. The Kafue Textiles of Zambia (KTZ) and Mulungushi Textiles have issues that relate to employees, who are in the Public Service. Those people also need to be paid. Therefore, let us put our energies into ensuring that people are paid so that we can move to other issues that, perhaps, do not have a human face like this one. I go to the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) often because many people in my constituency need help. Each time I go to my constituency, I find complaints of people not being paid, and I believe that happens to every hon. Member.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Mr Kasandwe (Bangweulu): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity.

Sir, I will begin by saying that the end does not justify the means. The means always justify the end. In my opinion, this Motion is non-controversial and user-friendly. However, the manner in which the mover and seconder proceeded has eroded the basis on which it should have been supported ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasandwe: … because they have politicised it.

Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is a caring one, and I thank the mover and seconder of this Motion for helping to elucidate what I am saying by moving this Motion and seconding it. The figures that they read out in their debates demonstrate that this Government cares about the retirees. I keenly followed the figures that the mover of the Motion read out. If we add them up, we will see that what has been allocated to the pensioners from 2011 …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Do you mean the seconder of the Motion?

Mr Kasandwe: The seconder, yes. Thank you for the correction, Sir.

Sir, if we add all the allocations to pensioners from 2011 to 2017, we will get a total of K5.5 billion, of which K5.1 billion or 91 per cent has been paid out. How, then, can anyone come to this House and say that this Government does not care. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasandwe: Again, I thank the two hon. Members for demonstrating to the people of Zambia that this, really, is a caring Government.  

Sir, as of 5th January, 2017, K1.625 billion was owed to pensioners but, as of 30th September, 2017, there was only K877 million in arrears or only 1,411 pending cases. These are the figures that were brought to this House, and figures do not lie. They have shown us that the Government does care and has been trying, in the past five years or so, to take care of our pensioners.

Sir, as a thinking and responsible Government, we have gone beyond merely budgeting for this programme to also advise pension institutions to invest in real estate so that they continue to generate resources to for dismantling the arrears owed to pensioners. For example, there are two big investments at the moment, namely Panganani Park, which is an investment by a pension institution. The other investment by a pension scheme, in case some hon. Members do not know, is the Alick Nkhata Shopping Mall, just next door, which is worth about US$72 million. If we continue to investment in real estate, the Government and the institutions will continue to mobilise resources so that pensioners are paid.

Mr Speaker, I just wanted to show that by moving this Motion in this House, the mover and the seconder have just helped the people of Zambia to see that this Government has been committed to taking care of pensioners.

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Kasandwe: I am sure, when my colleagues saw the figures, they were disappointed because they did not show the small amounts they wanted to see. As far as I am concerned, the Government, together with the pensioners, has been assisted.

Sir, like I said earlier, the end does not justify the means. It is always the means that justify the end. Therefore, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has been and will always take care of the pensioners, who are our brothers, sisters and parents. A few months ago, the monthly payments was raised to 11 per cent, and that demonstrates that this Government cares.

Sir, again, I thank the mover and the seconder for helping Zambians to see how committed this Government is to dismantling the arrears owed to pensioners.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to debate on this Motion, which has been moved by Hon. Nkombo, Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central, and seconded by Hon. Dr Kambwili. I do not know whether he is now a professor.


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

I am sorry, I did not get the first part. My attention was drawn.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I was just appreciating the mover and the seconder of the Motion.

Mr Speaker: About the titles?

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, I was saying I did not know whether Dr Kambwili is now a professor, ...


Mr Kampyongo: … but I was saying ...

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, just pause for a moment and resume your seat.

Hon. Members, let us show mutual respect so that many of the challenges we face may disappear. If we adopt sarcasm and other adversarial attitudes, the others will know and respond in kind. No wonder, sarcasm is prohibited in our handbook. We all know the hon. Member for Roan ‘Dr Kambwili’. If or when he attains the professorial level, I am sure he will advise my office accordingly ...


Mr Speaker: ... and I will, equally, advise the House to address him as such.

You may continue, hon. Minister.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I adopt part of Hon. Kasandwe’s debate as my own. I think he has, basically, said what we, on this side of the House, are saying on this Motion.

Sir, we find it very difficult to appreciate this Motion because it is not only mischievous, but also an attempt to gain political mileage. If the two hon. Members cared to focus not only on the Civil Service, but looked at the plight of all retirees, we would accept their sincerity and supported this Motion. Had they also cared to talk about one private multi-employer pension scheme established by Anglo-American in 1991, namely Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited, we would have appreciated their sincerity. The hon. Minister of Finance is still struggling to address issues surrounding that scheme because many people are living in squalor, yet the two hon. Members’ associates associate very well with the scheme. The scheme, which administers the pensions of more than 4,000 retirees, has yet failed to account for more than US$40 million. The money has been siphoned from the scheme. Therefore, I do not know whether some retirees are more important than others. Is it those only those from the Civil Service or otherwise?

Sir, I do not know whether the seconder of the Motion was contradicting himself or I got him wrongly when he was reading out the figures because he was giving progressive figures for the past five years, and they show that even when we had huge expenditures on unplanned eventualities like the death of a Republican President, we still managed to meet our obligations to the retirees. So, if there is any Government that will go down in history for taking care of the retirees, it is the current administration.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, we have demonstrated our commitment to the welfare of retirees. For example, it was under this administration that we decided to retain retirees on the Government payroll until they get their benefits.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Mr Kampyongo: No wonder, the mover and the seconder of the Motion only talked about those who retired before the 5th January, 2016. They know that this Government has made sure that it does not send its people on retirement without paying them in full. So, I do not know what more any caring Government can do. What this Government is doing is in addition to the continuous dismantling of the huge sums in arrears that it found when it formed Government in 2011. Again, this Government is committed to dismantling the arrears for our retirees

Mr Speaker, it is shocking that some hon. Members can still express ignorance on the reforms that we are implementing in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The labour law reforms are meant to address some of the challenges that we have had over the years regarding our retirees. We are currently considering whether to continue paying the lump sums when the workers exiting the service or to find better ways because the current system is not working well.

Mr Speaker, I do not want to stress myself. Like I said, we, on this side of the House, do not support this Motion because we think it mischievous. We are already doing much more than the Motion is proposing. For example, the seconder said we had released K1.1 million of the budgeted K1.6 million as of July, 2017. I want to state that the amount mentioned had been released by mid-year. Does he know where we are now? The year has not even ended yet, and the hon. Minister of Finance can confirm that more money was released between July, 2017, and today. So, let us move sincere Motions in this House. It is not right to come here and try to gain cheap political mileage out of the plight of the poor.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: We all know that we are elected to represent our people and we are here because of them. Therefore, we cannot forget about them.

Sir, I am happy to hear some of my colleagues from the other side of the House appreciate the vision of the late President, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata. As you would recall, it was in this House that we were being scorned and the man, even in his sickness, demonised by our colleagues on your left. They used to say, “Chabwino ayende”.

Mr Speaker: What does that mean?

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, it means, ‘It is better he goes.’ We told them then that even if he went, it was us who would find a replacement. Therefore, his legacy would continue to live on. We are here to ensure that his legacy continues even if some are going away. We will continue to carry his vision forward.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, lastly, I urge the hon. Minister of Finance to find time and say something about Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited, which has ripped people off. People, who worked for British Petroleum (BP), have died. The pension scheme is owned by a very well-known president for one of the opposition political parties.

Hon. Member: Who is it?


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.      

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was commenting on one pension scheme.

Sir, many countries, including Japan, have been built through the investment of pension scheme funds. I think that is what has started happening in this country. However, when a private pension scheme with a membership of so many people siphons money and takes it into offshore accounts, it shows how defective the moral compass of the people at its helm is. Such people do not have this nation at heart, and one wonders what they would do if given an opportunity to run the entire nation.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the owners of Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited, which has made many people to suffer, are well-known citizens of this country. That is why I said that if this Motion was really genuine, it would have taken care of this matter, which is still sitting on Hon. Mutati’s desk.

Mr Speaker, as I said, this caring Government has embarked on pension reforms anchored on Article 188 of the Constitution, which states as follows:

“A pension benefit shall be reviewed periodically to take into account actuarial assessments. A pension benefit shall be exempt from tax.”

Meanwhile, Article 189 states that:

“A pension benefit shall be paid promptly and regularly.”

Sir, Article 189(2) goes on to state that:

“Where a pension benefit is not paid on a person’s last working day, that person shall stop work, but the person’s name shall be retained on the payroll until payment of the pension benefit based on the last salary received by that person while on the payroll.”

Sir, this provision is there because, although it is not so fair to the Ministry of Finance, we feel that it is important that our people are not thrown into destitution. I know the seconder served at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

Mr Sichone: He did?

Mr Kampyongo: Yes, he did.

Mr Mwakalombe: Where?

Mr Kampyongo: As a Minister.

Mr Mwakalombe: Oh!


Mr Kampyongo: So, he knows how much of a challenge it is to deal with the arrears of the pension benefits that we are discussing this afternoon. The creation of the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) created many challenges for the viability of the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF) because most of those who were contributing to LASF were moved to NAPSA. As you know, a scheme is a cycle. So, when there is disruption like it happened, many people who had subscribing to LASF were left with nothing. However, this Government has been working around the clock to pay those who were members of LASF their dues. That is what a working government does.

Sir, we find it a challenge to support this Motion due to the manner it was presented. Had it been fairly presented, we could have said that the mover is knocking on an open door. However, due to its politicisation, we find it very difficult to support it.

Sir, the Government knows what it is doing, and it is still committed …

Mr Nkombo: Question!

Mr Kampyongo: … to the legacy of our late President. However, those who have taken people’s money, yet still want to run this country, should own up and pay it back.

Dr Kambwili interjected.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I am shocked that the seconder of the Motion could ignore this very important matter.

Dr Kambwili: Bamobene!

Mr Kampyongo: He knows how much people who have suffered at the hands of Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited have cried to the PF Government.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: So, I would have expected him to tell his colleagues that if they wanted him to second this Motion, they should include this matter, which has left our people in destitution. For Hon. Dr Kambwili’s information, many of the people who were contributing to Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited have died.

Dr Kambwili: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: I will not allow any point order.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, we will not support this Motion.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

You are now repeating yourself.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I just want to buttress the point.

Mr Speaker: The record is very clear.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Finance (Mr Mutati): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate. I also thank the mover of the Motion and the seconder.

Sir, I particularly noticed the passion with which the mover of the Motion and his reference to a Mr Gondwe, who wrote him a letter.

Mr Speaker, we are the first ones to acknowledge that, as at end of December, 2016, we had accumulated arrears on accounts of pensions of K1.8 billion. We are also the first to acknowledge that the definition of terminal benefits includes leave pay, allowances, repatriation and pension. The other pension-related expenses were K787 million, taking the grand total to K2.6 billion.

Mr Speaker, we have, on many occasions, indicated the challenges that we had in 2015 and 2016, including issues related to climate change, whose effects eroded our electricity generation capacity by almost 50 per cent. That necessitated the Government’s dispatch of significant subsidies in the energy sector.


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

Just give me a moment to restore order. There are several conversations going on.

Hon. Members, if you have something you want to discuss with your colleagues, you have the liberty to go outside, consult and conclude your discussions, then, come back. We must listen to these debates in silence.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, there were many challenges, including those in the energy and the agricultural sectors, and the Government had to support almost 1.6 million farmers under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). Obviously, that programme requires resources. The Government is also implementing infrastructure projects under the Link Zambia 8,000 Kilometre Road Project (Link Zambia 8000). This also requires resources. Further, we held two elections in two consecutive years, and that had an impact on our resources.

Sir, as I said, at the end of December, 2016, there was K1.8 billion worth of accumulated arrears on pension benefits. So, in the 2017 Budget, we allocated K1.6 billion for dismantling those arrears so that we could make a difference to those who had served the people of Zambia. Of the K1.6 billion, we had paid K1.3 billion, as of 30th September, 2017, ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: ... leaving a balance of only K300 million. Hon. Dr Kambwili was right that, as of June, 2017, we had paid K1.145 billion, and he was right in demonstrating that the performance in paying pension was very high, ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: ... relative to what we had provided for. Certainly, you cannot urge us to expedite the payments. Rather, you must use more intensive language because we are beyond expediting.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: We are delivering and breaking down ...

Dr Kambwili left his seat and went to sit next to Mr Nkombo.

Mr Mutati hesitated.

Hon. PF Members: Iwe, ikala panshi!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Minister, continue. He is has just gone to consult.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, the point I am making is that we would have supported the Motion ...


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mutati: ... if the language was used was beyond mere ‘expediting’ because we have gone beyond that. In a classroom, if you score 85 per cent, are you told to improve?

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Mr Mutati: That is a distinction. So, how can one ask those who are ‘hammering’ distinctions to improve? It is not practicable.

Sir, President Lungu has prioritised pension payments. He has said, “Let me lift the people who have contributed to this country.”

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: He has given very clear directives for the K1.6 billion allocation to pensioners to be fully paid out by the end of 2017.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: A commitment to paying off all pensioners will define his legacy.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, we are also tackling other terminal benefits related to allowances, repatriation and leave pay. Of the K787 million that was outstanding, we have, so far, paid K400 million and remain with very little. So, the question I ask is: Would you truly ask me to expedite when I am in a different space?

Mr Speaker, in the 2018 Budget, we have provided K1.3 billion to continue the payments to pensioners. In the medium term, K3 billion will be paid out. We want to deal decisively with the issue of pensioners, ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Just like we have done with contractors. We have begun liquidating arrears to contractors because we want to ventilate those who have delivered services and products.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: To the private sector, we declared an amnesty in which we wrote off penalties and interest. The intention was to give life to the people of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, my colleague made a reference to Regna Saturnia. As of yesterday, the Registrar of the Pension and Insurance Authority (PIA) had written to the auditors who were contracted to audit the firm to submit the final report. That report will be made public so that the people of Zambia can make informed judgments on the conduct of the scheme.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, with those few words, ...

Hon. Government Members: Hammer, hammer!

Hon. Member: Mwapisha?

Mr Speaker: Complete your sentence, hon. Minister.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: I am quite confident that with the numbers that I have provided, which have also been confirmed by the seconder of the Motion, there is no dispute about the performance of this Government, ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: ... and that we do not need to be urged to expedite the payments. I think, what is required is for the Opposition to say, “Colleagues, well done. Continue the good job.”

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, your task, now, is to wind up the debate on the Motion. I repeat, wind up.

Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to wind up this debate.  Needless to say, I am also thankful to all the hon. Members who debated the Motion. I am especially thankful to those who have opposed the Motion. I congratulate them.

Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance said that I must say, “Well done.” I congratulate him for not recognising all the people who congregate at the Ministry of Finance looking for their benefits.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: His stance is an admission that he sees the world differently because of where he is seated.

Sir, I congratulate Hon. Kasandwe most sincerely for admitting that this Motion was well-intended. He has confirmed to the people of Zambia that the PF is doing well.

Mr Speaker, on the difference between the two PF administrations, we emphasised the differences between the PF Manifestos for 2011-2016 and 2016-2021.

Sir, I commend the PF for performing below par until this fiscal year.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: The point the seconder was advancing is simply that during the time of the late Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, the owner of the vision, may his soul rest in peace, money was allocated in the Budget to pay retirees. However, an allocation of money in the Budget is not an indication of what this Government owes. A Budget is merely a plan. Therefore, an individual can owe someone K100, plan to pay K20 and actually pay K19. In the eyes of the PF Government, that is doing done well. Well done!


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Sir, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs has done well to claim what was done by the Mung’omba Constitutional Review Commission when I was already in the House while he was not.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Sir, the Mung’omba Constitutional Review Commission …

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

Please, resume your seat.


Mr Speaker: You are now introducing new issues, particularly your reference to the Mung’omba Constitutional Review Commission. I know this is politics at play. However, we have been at this Motion since 14:30 hours and it is now 17:22 hours. The Motion has been debated and exhausted, and Zambians have listened to them. So, it is now time for you to conclude. Just do that. When you introduce new issues, it means you are reopening the debate.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, may I seek further guidance.

Must I not respond to the issues that the hon. Members have raised on the Motion? Then, I will do as you say.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, let us not be controversial about this. The winding up of debate on a Motion is settled practice and we know it very well, especially you senior hon. Members. You know it very well in your hearts of hearts. So, we are now wasting precious time.

Hon. Opposition Member: Question!

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, in his response, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs was allowed to say that the mover and the seconder of this Motion were insincere.

Mr Speaker: May I ask you a question? Would you want to engage the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in a debate?

Mr Nkombo: I would like to prove my sincerity.

Mr Speaker: So, do you want to engage him in a debate?

Mr Nkombo: My expectation was that the Chair would protect me from being accused of insincerity.

Mr Speaker: No, would you like to engage him in a debate?

Mr Nkombo: No, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: So, wind up.

Mr Nkombo: In winding up, Mr Speaker, I would like to say that I am a very sincere human being, contrary to what the some hon. Member said.

Hon. Opposition Member: Question!

Mr Nkombo: Sir, in a moment, we shall vote for or against this Motion and the people of Zambia will soon say mene, mene, tekel, upharsin to one group or the other.

Hon. Opposition Member: Question!

Mr Nkombo: Sir, the phrase means “God has numbered the days of your leadership. You have been weighted and found in the balances”. One of the two groupings will get that judgment tonight. So, I urge all hon. Members to follow their hearts and know that Zambians are listening.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Opposition Members called for a division.

Question that this House urges Government to expedite payment of terminal benefits to former Government employees who retired before 5th January, 2016, put and the House voted.

Ayes – 58

Mr Belemu

Mr Chaatila

Mr Chikote

Mr Chisangano

Mrs Chonya

Mr Fungulwe

Mr Imbuwa

Mr Jere

Mr Kakubo

Dr Kalila

Mr Kambita

Mr Kamboni

Dr Kambwili

Mr Kamondo

Ms Kasanda

Mr Kasonso

Ms Kasune

Mr Kintu

Ms Kucheka

Mr Kufakwandi

Mr Kundoti

Mr Lihefu

Mr Livune

Ms Lubezhi

Mr Lufuma

Mr Lumayi

Prof. Lungwangwa

Mr Machila

Mr Mandumbwa

Mr Mbangweta

Mr Michelo

Mr Miyanda

Mr Miyutu

Mr Mubika

Mr Muchima

Mr Mukumbuta

Mr Mulunda

Mr S. Mulusa

Mr Mulyata

Dr Musokotwane

Mr Mutaba

Mr Mutelo

Ms Mwashingwele

Mr Mweetwa

Mr Mwene

Mr Mwiimbu

Mr Mwiinga

Mr Nanjuwa

Mr Ndalamei

Mr Nkombo

Mr Samakayi

Evg. Shabula

Mr Sialubalo

Mr Sing’ombe

Brig-Gen. Sitwala

Mr Syakalima

Ms Tambatamba

Mrs Wina

Noes – (83)

Mr C. Banda

Mr W. Banda

Mr Chali

Ms Chalikosa

Mr Chama

Dr Chanda

Mr Chansa

Dr Chibanda

Mr Chilangwa

Dr Chilufya

Mr Chiteme

Mr Chitotela

Mr Chiyalika

Mr Chungu

Mr Daka

Mrs Fundanga

Dr Hamukale

Mrs Jere

Mr Kabanda

Mr Kafwaya

Mr Kalaba

Ms Kalima

Mr Kalobo

Mr Kampyongo

Ms Kapata

Mr Kapita

Mr Kasandwe

Mr Katambo

Mr Kopulande

Mr Kunda

Prof. Luo

Mr Lusambo

Mr Mabumba

Mr A. Malama

Dr M. Malama

Amb. Malanji

Mr Mbulakulima

Mr Mecha

Ms Miti

Mr Miti

Mr Mubukwanu

Mr Mukosa

Mr Mulenga

Ms Mulenga

Mr L. Mulusa

Mr A. Mumba

Mr Mundubile

Mr Mung’andu

Mr Mushanga

Mr Mushimba

Mr Musukwa

Mr Mutale

Mr Mutati

Mr Mwakalombe

Mr Mwale

Mr Mwamba

Mrs Mwanakatwe

Ms Mwape

Mr Mwewa

Mr Mwila

Mr Ng’ambi

Mr Ng’onga

Nr Nkhuwa

Mr Nyirenda

Mr Phiri

Ms Phiri

Mr Sichalwe

Mr Sichone

Mr Sikazwe

Ms Siliya

Mr Simbao

Mr Simfukwe

Mrs Simukoko

Mr Siwale

Mr Siwanzi

Ms Subulwa

Rev. Sumaili

Mr L. Tembo

Mr M. Tembo

Mr S. Tembo

Mr Zimba

Mr C. Zulu

Mr M. Zulu

Abstentions – (03)

Mr Chabi

Ms Katuta

Mr Musonda                      

Question accordingly negatived.





VOTE 26 – (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting – K125,201,480)

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Chairperson, thank you, once again, for allowing me to continue with my debate on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Sir, I would like to restate our position that the hon. Members on your left will not support this Vote. In opposing the Vote, I urge the Government to take it to the Patriotic Front (PF) for the party to fund its propaganda wing.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Chairperson, I also want to praise the PF Government for voting against a Motion that was intended to assist retirees, who are suffering every day. This is part of the information we are giving to members of the public. I congratulate the PF for ensuring that our retirees continue suffering.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: In this regard, tomorrow, the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting must publicise her Government’s opposition to the Motion intended to benefit the retirees.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Chairperson, like I indicated, your Government has been consistently abrogating Article 50 of the Constitution of Zambia, which allows members of the public who intend to join political parties and contest elections to have access to the media. We have noticed, with dismay, that during and after the elections, the members of the Opposition, including elected hon. Members of Parliament, are deliberately blacked out from appearing on the so-called Public Broadcaster. The public newspapers, the Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail, have equally systematically refused to positively cover Opposition hon. Members of Parliament, yet the money that is being used to fund the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail is from the public coffers. So, as hon. Members of Parliament and representatives of the people of Zambia, we have the right to be heard through these media. Unfortunately, this Government has decided to black us out.

Sir, the PF Government has systematically destroyed the ZNBC, …

Mr Mung’andu: Question!

Mr Mwiimbu:Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail. As a result of political interference in these media houses, professional ethics have been thrown to the wind. Gone are the days when we used to have articles against the Government of the Republic of Zambia in the Times of Zambia. Gone are the days of Marta Paynter, when every Zambian looked forward to having a copy of Times of Zambia. Nowadays, the people of Zambia do not even buy the papers, leading to a failure by their publishers to pay salaries and wages, and meet statutory obligations.

Mr Chairperson, when the PF Government came into power, it promised to liberalise and privatise the Government-owned newspapers. However, it has not done that. Instead, it has suppressed professionalism in the media houses. Every day, on ‘DeadNBC’, …


Mr Mwiimbu: … people know who will be featured and what will be said. The whole thing has become obnoxious. No one watches ‘DeadNBC’ anymore because of what this Government is doing. Every day, we see only the President, his wife, the leaders of the party and the cadres, yet we are expected to pass a Vote so that a broadcasting station similar the one run by Goebbels under Nazi Germany can be funded? We will not do it. If the PF Government wants to pass the Vote, let it do so alone. 


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Chairperson, through the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and her ministry has been misinforming the public on important national issues. For example, this afternoon, we heard the hon. Minister of Home Affairs talk about Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited, when the matter is still in court. It is a trite fact that when matters are in court, we are not supposed to talk about them. That was misinformation spread by the hon. Minister, who wants people to rise against an institution and individuals. That is what leads to the hatred that is being perpetrated in this country by the people on your right.

Sir, we also know of the ‘Daily Lies’, a newspaper that is financed by this Government. Every day, …


Mr Mwiimbu: … the paper promotes hatred by publishing false stories. If we allow such newspapers to continue sowing seeds of conflict in the country, we will allow the tension in the country to continue and escalate. That is what this Government is deliberately doing.

Mr Chairperson, the agreement between the ZNBC and Top Star smells corruption. It is a scandal.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: There is no way the Government can borrow money and, then, enter into an arrangement with an organisation that is not part of the loan scheme. Why has the Government done that? The Government knows that Top Star charges Zambians money and that has made it very expensive for members of the public to own television sets.

Mr Chiteme: Kambwili!

Dr Mr Kambwili: I have washed my hands. Ask your President.


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Chairperson, members of the public are now paying twice for the same service, that is, the proposed K5 television levy and the subscription fee to Top Star. Further, some people who own televisions are retirees who get K60 per month. So, where are they expected to get the money to pay Top Star and the ZNBC every month when they would rather buy cabbage or rape in order to sustain themselves? The Government knows that what it has done with Top Star is wrong and should not have been allowed, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: … but it has because some people have benefited from the scheme. We should not allow that.

Sir, we also heard about the dubious awarding of contracts under the Digital Migration Project for the benefit of some people. So, why should we vote with the people on your right over such issues so that we help them to propagate their agenda? Why should we help the PF to continue its propaganda? We will not do that. So, we will vote against this Motion.

I thank you, Mr Chairperson.

Hon. Member: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order, hon. Member!

I will not allow your point of order.

Hon. Mwila, please, take the Floor.

Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Chairperson, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate.

Sir, the people of Chimwemwe have directed me to support the Vote, and I will do just that. They have also asked me to say that their support for the Vote is premised on their expectation that the ministry will, when thus supported, provide adequate transport, especially for Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) staff. We are aware of the critical shortage of transport for Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) and ZNBC, especially in Kitwe and Lusaka.

Sir, my people also expect that allowances for ZNBC field staff will be reviewed. There have been situations in which reporters are called for a press briefing and, at the end of the briefing, towards lunch time, they get lost. So, the people of Chimwemwe are saying that ZNBC staff and reporters should be paid a lunch allowance in advance so that they do not fall prey to being compromised and failing to report objectively. If we allow a situation in which the person who calls for a briefing pays the lunch allowances for staff, the reporters’ objectivity will be compromised.

Additionally, Mr Chairperson, the people of Chimwemwe expect the ministry to buy latest cameras because the current ones are too heavy and, in most cases, fail to capture events as they happen. Not too long ago, just outside the main door to the Assembly Chamber, we experienced the baptism of the year when Hon. Dr Chishimba Kambwili was baptised by Hon. Jean Kapata, but the cameras failed to capture the baptism. By the time the cameraman had taken his camera outside, mount the stand and find a socket, the baptism had ended and Hon. Dr Kambwili ...

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwila: … had finished repenting for his sins against the Patriotic Front (PF).


Mr Mwila: So, apart from these big cameras, reporters should also be provided with smart phones for use where it is impossible to use the big cameras, like Muvi TV has done for its reporters.

Mr Chairperson, on programming, if we had a way, we would oppose the K2 increment to the Television Levy because that is taking more money from our pockets.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwila: However, since we have no option, we will support it on the condition that there will be an improvement in programming, especially by the ZNBC. When Frank Mutubila was still at the ZNBC, Frank Talk was a much-appreciated programme. After he left, I do not know what happened, but the programme was renamed The Sunday Interview, and it is no longer what it used to be. The two programmes are incomparable. I do not know what has happened to that young anchor. Maybe, he should be replaced. There should be a way of trying out all the potential anchors so that we can see who is best at asking the questions that need answers. We also want the programme to be aired more often, not only on Sundays. We could also have it on Wednesdays so that, instead of airing four times in a month, it can air eight times and cover more people.

Sir, we want as many hon. Ministers as possible to be interviewed. For instance, the hon. Finance of Finance should be featured on the programme so that he can face hard questions on, for example, what is happening to the Kwacha for it to start losing value against the United States Dollar and what the country should do to help the kwacha compete favourably against the dollar. We are aware that the import cover in Botswana is eight years while ours is three months. What is Botswana doing better than us? Further, Tanzanians have removed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from their vocabulary. So, what is Tanzania doing better than us? Those are the kind of questions the hon. Minister of Finance should answer if featured on The Sunday Interview. The ZNBC staff should ask probing questions and get answers. They should feature the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, for example, and ask her why Rwanda, a country that was a war zone not too long ago, has an excellent airline with state-of-the-art Airbus aeroplanes. Those are the topics that the people of Chimwemwe expect to be covered.

Mr Chairperson, there is a debate on social media about Hard Talk, an interview programme presented by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalist, Mr Stephen Sackur. People were calling me from Chimwemwe telling me that they had heard that an opposition party leader had failed to answer questions on the programme.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwila: However, such information should be provided by the ZNBC, not me. Probably, the station can get permission from Mr Sackur to rebroadcast the programme so that we know whether, indeed, the opposition party leader lamentably failed …

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwila: … to answer questions as it is being alleged. It is also alleged on social media that Mr Sackur put it to his interviewee that even in the United Kingdom (UK), the interpretation of the fourteen days within which electoral petitions must be heard is just like the one made in Zambia, that is, it includes weekend days and holidays. We want the ZNBC to clarify issues like that. Is it true that the reckoning of fourteen days in Zambia is the same as in the UK?

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwila: Mr Chairperson, just last week, I think, I read somewhere that a Chinese company had been given a contract to analyse water samples in Lusaka Province. I do not know whether that was true. However, if it was, I do not know what we can do, as Zambians, to strengthen the kwacha. If we award contracts for analysing water purity, something that can be done by our students at the University of Zambia (UNZA), to an Israeli company, when will the kwacha start performing better? We are giving all contracts to the Chinese. The other day, there was story about a school, it could be Kazungula Boarding School, where the contract to fill a gully has been given to a Chinese contractor. Can Zambians not do that job? Merely correcting a trench? If we continue like this, the people of Chimwemwe will not be surprised if they wake up one day to find that the Yuan has replaced the kwacha as the national currency.


Mr Mwila: Those are issues that we want the ZNBC to concern itself with.

Sir, the ZNBC should feature the hon. Minister of Health, who is currently not in the House, on the rumours that he intends to buy fifty Mercedes Benz ambulances at US$288,000 each when some Lusaka youth got a quotation from Toyota Zambia showing that a Toyota equivalent model costs about US$58,000. So, from the fifty ambulances, …

Mr Mwila became inaudible.

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Member, speak through your microphone.

Mr Mwila: I thank you, Mr Chairperson, for the guidance.

Sir, instead of buying fifty Mercedes Benz ambulances, we can buy 250 equivalents from Toyota Zambia with the same amount, and 250 ambulances can cover all the constituencies. So, if I was the Permanent Secretary (PS) or one of the people who sat on the procurement committee, I would have opted to buy 250 ambulances instead. In Kitwe, the District Health Management Team (DHMT) has only two ambulances against five constituencies, namely Nkana, Hon. Malanji’s Kwacha, my Chimwemwe, Kamfinsa and Hon. Pavyuma Kalobo’s. Why can we not get five ambulances, instead of one, at US$288,000? At Toyota Zambia, one Land Cruiser is K58,000 …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order, hon. Member!

The Vote is on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. So, if you have exhausted your points, we can move to the next person.

Mr Mwila: Mr Chairperson, my point is that when there are issues that need clarification, ZNBC reporters should seek the clarifications from the relevant authorities. Otherwise, sometimes, we accuse the wrong people. I did not have any kind words for the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) until I watched a television interview in which its officers clarified that they only approve procurement processes. In most cases, the end users, for example, the Ministry of Health, that is, the procurement committee there and the PS, budget according to the money it receives and indicates the specifications. Therefore, the decision-making is at the PS level, and that kind of information should be communicated by the ZNBC, which is a State broadcaster. Before listening to ZNBC Television One last evening, I was ready to call for the dissolution of the ZPPA. Now, however, I know that its officers are innocent and that we should, instead, grill the PSs. Similarly, when the Auditor-General’s Report is published, the ZNBC can identify the ministries cited for anomalies and seek explanations. Hon. Ministers are, sometimes, accused when there is another group of people sitting in offices and making the wrong decisions. The people of Chimwemwe want that corrected.

Mr Chairperson, successive Governments have expressed a desire to empower the Zambia Army to rehabilitate roads and bridges, and we expect reporters from the ZNBC to invite, for example, the person in charge of the Engineering Department at the Zambia Army to explain what the Government needs to do for the army to be able to construct roads and bridges in Zambia. The Army should not only be called upon when a bridge collapses, like it did in Lundazi, leading the people of the area’s rising against the hon. Member of Lundazi, my fellow Independent hon. Member, who came to cry on the Floor. When the ZNBC starts broadcasting interviews on such issues, we will support it.

Mr Chairperson, two days ago, it was reported that two Zambians of Asian origin in Emmasdale had put up sliding gates on gazetted road tarred by Her Honour the Vice-President and President Edgar Lungu, and that the Mayor of Lusaka had done nothing about it. The ZNBC should find out why that foreigner had the audacity to put a gate on a road he did not construct and, maybe, feature the Mayor on The Sunday Interview so that he can explain those issues. I understand the corporation has transport challenges, and that is why we want it to be capacitated in that regard. Also, at a press briefing he held today, he revealed that a Chinese-run bus company will be ferrying people to the Central Business District (CBD) using bigger buses while small minibuses will only be going to areas like Ng’ombe and Lilanda, a situation we cannot allow because there are youths in Lusaka who can run such a company. The Chinese can just supply the buses. So, I would not expect the hon. Minister of Local Government to support that.

Mr Chairperson, with those few words, I support this budget.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Mwashingwele (Katuba): Mr Chairperson, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to put my thoughts on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting across. I also thank the hon. Minister for the information, but I have a few observations to make.

Mr Chairperson, information is power and a well-informed person makes good decisions. However, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting always gives unbalanced information on the happenings in the country. Therefore, I will not support its budget line.

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

Ms Mwashingwele: Mr Chairperson, I strongly feel that half the population of this country is not well-informed because the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), the Times of Zambia and the Daily Mail only report about the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. Only negative news about the Opposition is reported, yet the three institutions are funded by taxpayers, who expect them to report fairly. How can we support a budget for such institutions?

Mr Chairperson, we are all leaders in this House, granted our colleagues have been favoured by time to be the Ruling Party while we are in the Opposition. So, I do not understand why the PF Government is this myopic. When it was in the Opposition and the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government was the Ruling Party, our current cry was its cry. In fact, when it took over power, it even took some people to court for having poorly informed the people of this country while it was in the Opposition. Further, the party’s manifesto promised Zambians that the party would ensure balanced reporting when in power. However, it is not doing that, and we look forward to its doing what it put in black and white. The ZNBC should inform the people of Zambia about not only the PF’s policies, but also those of the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), MMD and United Party for National Development (UPND) so that the people can know what to expect from whichever party that forms Government at any given time.

Sir, the PF Government has completely blacked out the Opposition in a multi-party dispensation, which is unfair and wrong. Therefore, when we say that we will not support the ministry’s budget line, it is not out of malice or irresponsibility because we, UPND, MMD and FDD hon. Members, have supported all the other budget lines. However, we will not support this one because the ministry does not serve the interests of the people, …

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mwashingwele: … yet it is a ministry of the people by the people and for the people. If there was no private media in this country, how would the people know about Katuba, Livingstone and Kaoma Central constituencies? The situation is very sad.

Mr Nkombo: Very sad!                                     

Ms Mwashingwele: Mr Chairperson, it would like to go on the ZNBC with a Member of Parliament on the Ruling Party and discuss issues because we govern the same people, although in a different way. Therefore, this House should understand our plight.

Mr Chairperson, I remember that some private media once applied for a countrywide broadcasting licence. However, the late President Sata, may his soul rest in peace, strongly opposed the application because he knew that once people everywhere were well-informed, they would make the right choices. That could be the reason the PF Government still insists that the Opposition be not covered by the public media. I must say that these decisions will haunt us.

Mr Chairperson, we will not pass budget lines that will not benefit the people, and the ZNBC is no longer a public media, but a propaganda wing of the PF.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mwashingwele: I see no reason I should support its budget when it does not serve the people of Katuba, who also want to be informed. Also, I cannot be featured on the ZNBC …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.



Ms Mwashingwele: Mr Chairperson, when business was suspended, I was belabouring the point on biased reporting by some media houses. In that regard, let me give a very clear example. During the last election campaigns, even paid for advertisements of the UPND were rejected by the ZNBC. That is how bad it was, and that is why I am wondering how I am expected to support this budget. In whose interest is it? How do I sharpen a knife that will be used to cut my throat?

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mwashingwele: Sir, how do I sharpen a knife that will cut Mr Hichilema’s throat? It is both unfair and immoral to expect me to do that.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mwashingwele: Mr Chairperson, the harassment of the private media has been rampant under the PF Government. No wonder, I said that the PF forgets quickly. Look at the Post Newspaper, which is now history, yet it put the PF where what it is today. How does one do such a thing? Is the Post Newspaper the only institution that had tax arrears? The answer is no. Now, Prime Television is being targeted for victimisation for covering the Opposition. I even wonder if the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) is still independent.

Hon. UPND Members: No!

Ms Mwashingwele: Sir, the IBA is supposed to be the flag carrier for media freedoms in this country, but it only supports the Government. It is supposed to protect, defend and inform the nation. Unfortunately, it is not doing that. As a result, broadcasting institutions have become victims of repression and over-regulation, and it is no longer interesting to be a broadcaster in this country. I remember, with nostalgia, the days of Frank Mutubila, when journalists could interview someone with a lot of objectivity and elicit clear answers. Now, we have lost that space.

Sir, the PF owes it to all of us, including the people of Katuba for whom I speak, to not muzzle the press. I want the people to listen to the ZNBC’s three radio channels with the pride we once had. I also want them to watch ZNBC TV News with the assurance of getting news from across the country, not only from PF strongholds.

Mr Chairperson, when somebody goes to the ZNBC, they are charged with trespassing simply because they do not support the PF.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mwashingwele: Sir, will we continue like that?

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

Ms Mwashingwele: Mr Chairperson, as an Opposition Member of Parliament, am I free to go to the ZNBC?

Hon. UPND Member: You will be arrested. Bamanga!

Ms Mwashingwele: Sir, unless we get to the point where everybody in this country will receive equal coverage, I will not support this Vote. I challenge the PF to follow its manifesto and honour its promises, which is a very good document that is being betrayed by the implementers, who are not good people.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mwashingwele: Mr Chairperson, why can we not implement what we promised the people? It is a fact that the PF assured the nation that information would be disseminated across the country without fear or favour, which is the essence of the motto of the Zambia Daily Mail. However, the reporters are too scared to inform the nation without fear or favour. They are only human. So, it is the case of he who pays the piper calls the tune. That is why the journalism profession has been reduced to nothing. No party or situation is continually good like the PF wants to portray itself.

Sir, if the PF Government blacks us out by dictating what is aired on TV and radio, then, we cannot support this budget. The PF must find the K125,201,480 needed by the ministry, not the taxpayers, because the public media only reports what is in the interest of the PF. How do I approve this money when I will not get a piece of the cake? How do I support this budget when I cannot be covered by the ZNBC, Times of Zambia or and Zambia Daily Mail? Should I give them that money for PF propaganda? No.

Sir, I do not support this Budget line. Unless we are assured that things will change for the better, which does not seem like it will be the case, the people of Katuba, whom I represent, do not support this Budget line.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasandwe (Bangweulu): Mr Chairperson, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to support the budget for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

Sir, the people of Bangweulu are very grateful to the Patriotic Front (PF) Government for implementing the Digital Migration Project. For your information, since the Creator created that part of the country, the television signal was just within a 3 km radius. However, beginning 1st October, 2017, when we migrated to the digital signal, Bangweulu Constituency, my people, are now able to watch television and the signal is everywhere. So, this is a plus for the Government.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasandwe: There are various reasons for which I want to support this budget.

Mr Chairperson, the mandate of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services goes beyond running the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail. The hon. Minister talked about promoting the film industry, and we know what will happen to this country when the film industry is promoted in the manner that is suggested.

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kasandwe: Jobs will be created, culture will be enhanced and traditional values will be promoted. As I said earlier, the ministry’s work goes beyond running the Government-controlled media houses. So, we encourage the ministry to come up with a policy on the film industry so that the talent of our youths can be harnessed and jobs can be created.

Sir, the hon. Minister also talked about expanding Frequency Modulated (FM) radio coverage to the rural areas. In most rural parts of the country, people are not able to listen to the radio because they have no signal. That is why I support this Vote. In doing so, I encourage the hon. Minister to invest in equipment, especially for Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) staff in the rural districts. Most of the offices lack the requisite tools to continue disseminating news and information. So, as the hon. Minister embarks on her robust programme to provide information and communication technology (ICT) tools to the officers under her ministry, we will continue to encourage her so that our brothers and sisters under ZANIS in the rural areas can do their jobs more effectively.

Mr Chairperson, I also want to bring one aspect to the hon. Minister’s attention. Most ZANIS journalists in rural areas complain because most hon. Ministers and other Government officials who have programmes in rural districts often carry with them journalists from Lusaka. Therefore, my appeal is that the hon. Minister gives the journalists at the local, district and provincial level the opportunity to do the work for which they are paid.

Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasandwe: Sir, the expansion of FM radio coverage to the rural areas is very important. It is also important to the hon. Members of Parliament on your left, who have decided not to support this Vote because it is only through the expansion of the services that our people will be informed on what is going on. It is also through this platform that our people will know what the Government is doing on their behalf so that, as they come to make decisions in one way or another, they will make decision on an informed conscious.

Sir, through this budget, the ministry seeks to renovate a number of offices in the rural areas so that they will be able to carry out their work properly.

Mr Chairperson, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. M. Zulu (Luangeni): Mr Chairperson, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate. I also salute the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting for her policy statement, which she presented very well and with confidence yesterday. Having known her since she was a young girl, we are proud of her.

Sir, I am in support of this budget.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. UPND Members: Question!

Mr C. M. Zulu: Mr Chairperson, this Government is a working one. Let me take the House back and say, a long time ago, my grandfather told me, “Charles, there two types of failures in life. The first failure is the one who thinks, but does not do. The second failure is the one who does things without thinking.”

Sir, this Government is thinking and working.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. M. Zulu: Sir, it is said that the last thirty years have seen more information in the world than the previous 5,000 years. That simply means that the world is changing every day. Therefore, we have to change with the times and follow whatever is happening across the world.

Mr Chairperson, going by the hon. Minister’s presentation, her ministry has managed to complete the digital migration process while many countries have failed to do so. That is a plus on her part, as a young hon. Minister.


Mr C. M. Zulu: Mr Chairperson, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) provincial studios that will be set up will give hon. Members of Parliament the opportunity to be interviewed in our provinces. Honestly, is that not an achievement? The hon. Minister also mentioned that the Zambia News and Information Service (ZANIS) is testing new equipment for showing its programmes throughout the day, which will give hon. Members of Parliament the opportunity to present projects to our constituents. Again, is that not an achievement?

Mr Chairperson, the hon. Minister also talked about the new television (TV) levy of K5. The problem with us, Zambians, is that we want to get things free-of-charge all the time. When the Ministry of Energy introduced new electricity tariffs, there were murmurs among citizens. We do not want to pay for electricity, TV or even water.

Sir, I know a country where citizens sat together and decided to pay for the construction of a hydropower station. They opened a bank account and made contributions. The project is now halfway through implementation and has started generating power. That country is no other than Ethiopia, and I think it is because Ethiopia was never colonised. The reason we want the Government to do everything for us is that we were once colonized and we still have a hangover from the colonial rule. We have not come out of the shell of colonisation yet.

Mr Kasonso: No!

Mr C. M. Zulu: Until we do that, we will not make progress. The problem with colonial rule is that the colonisers wanted to think for the colonised and did everything for the colonised.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. M. Zulu: It also entailed our using their language, dress code and following everything they wanted. However, after gaining independence, there are two things that a country has to look at. The first is the identity of citizens of that country. For example, who is a Zambian? We are still lagging behind in identifying ourselves. That is why we are bringing in tribal politics and things like that. The next thing a newly-independent state is supposed to do is decide where it wants to take. You can only take your country forward by bringing in new ideas, and that is what the hon. Minister is doing.

Mr Chairperson, we welcome Top Star Zambia on the broadcasting scene, although I heard someone criticised its operations. There is nothing wrong with its presence on the market because it has enhanced competition among broadcasting houses. Already, subscription fees for various television packages are going down. What is wrong with that? Further, the ZNBC is rehabilitating all its studios. Very soon, they will look like those for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Modern equipment is also being installed in all the studios. Surely, can we say we cannot support this budget when all these things are being done?

Hon. UPND Members: No!

Mr Livune: Just sit down!

Mr C. M. Zulu: Mr Chairperson, I advise the hon. Minister to ensure that as we establish the provincial studios for the ZNBC, we should remember to name some of them after our fallen heroes like Charles Mando and Mark Botha as a way of remembering and honouring them.

Hon. UPND Members: Question!


Mr C. M. Zulu: Mr Chairperson, success is like wrestling a gorilla. During the fight, one does not quit because one is tired. One only quits when the gorilla is tired. So, the hon. Minister should continue fighting.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. M. Zulu: Success, Sir, is a journey, not a destination, and it starts from where one is, not where one wants to be. So, I urge the hon. Minister not to lose hope or be afraid of making mistakes as she implements new ideas. Mistakes are acceptable. The problem will only come if she repeats the mistakes.

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr C. M. Zulu: If one is afraid of making mistakes, one will not achieve anything in life. We must be risk takers.

Hon. Government Member: Ema Ngoni warriors aba.

Mr C. M. Zulu: Yes, I am a Ngoni warrior.

Mr Chairperson, the other problem we have in this country is called the ‘destination disease’, whereby those who achieve certain targets, they become complacent and lose the aspiration to achieve more. For example, those who go to school, and get a good job and a car stop researching or studying because they have reached their destination. However, life changes every day. So, let us send Directors in our ministry to school so that they learn new modes of transmitting information. How many hon. Members have read books in the past one year?

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr C. M. Zulu: It is important that we continue to research and read every day. As the President said the other day, the absence of a culture of reading in this country is very bad.

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr C. M. Zulu: Yes, there are a few individuals who read, but I know that three-quarters of us do not.

Sir, with those few words, I encourage the hon. Minister not to relent, but to keep it up.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Chairperson, it is sad to talk about the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting today because it is now a ministry of misinformation.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Mr Chairperson, when the Patriotic Front (PF) was in the Opposition here, I was on the other side, and my colleagues campaigned heavily for the Access to Information Bill. It was a song that they sang daily that they would present the Bill to Parliament within ninety days of getting into power. What has happened? So, like my colleagues who have debated before me, I will not support this Vote.

Mr Kapita: Why?

Mr Muchima: One of the reasons, for my brother there who is asking why, the hon. Minister for the North-Western Province, is that the is no frequency modulation (FM) radio reception that is being talked about in Ikeleng’i. Even the television signal is not there. So, when will he take them there? We have passed one Budget after s another, but those services have not been taken to our areas and the ministry, which is supposed to be balanced, continues to take a biased stance. It officers continue to act like cadres.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Nobody believes in what the ministry says anymore.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Instead of listening to and watching the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television, our own broadcaster, many Zambians have chosen to listen to Cable News Network (CNN) and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which are fairer in their reporting while the ZNBC is purely a PF mouthpiece.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Kampamba!

Mr Muchima: When Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) was in Government, it used to cover everyone.

Mr Mubika: Exactly!

Mr Syakalima: Kampamba!

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Today, if I asked the hon. Minister what is happening in the North-Western Province, in terms of bridges, schools and such things, she will not know because the area is not covered. We, the ordinary people, are supposed to depend on her ministry for that kind of information, but she does not have it. She is completely blank.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: What is her ministry there for? For what does she want this money?

Sir, recently, the hon. Minister talked about Top Star Company, which is offering decoders cheaply, at a cost of K99. However, her cadres are selling them at K300 in Ikeleng’i.

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Mr Muchima: They are exploiting the people.

Hon. Opposition Members: Oh!

Mr Muchima: Yes, I am telling the truth. They are taking the decoders to Ikeleng’i and selling them at K300.

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Mr Muchima: This Government even wants to increase the Television Levy from K3 to K5 when it does not provide broadcasting services. Honestly, you people, mumverako na nsoni imwe?


The Deputy Chairperson: What do you mean, Hon. Muchima?

Mr Muchima: Sir, do our colleagues have a sense of shame? Do they have a conscience?


Mr Muchima: They must be ashamed of what is happening. Their party promised to do better than the MMD but, today, every Zambian will tell you that this is the worst Government ever.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: They are doing the total opposite of what they promised.


Mrs Simukoko: Tone down!

Mr Muchima: It is unfortunate that the hon. Government Members do not hear what I hear. The majority of Zambians have no confidence in the people in this Government because they have no integrity.

Ms Lubezhi: Exactly!

Mr Muchima: At the moment, we are approving money for the ministry, but it will not be used for the intended purpose and will not reach the villages. The ministry is supposed to report on the conditions of roads and classrooms, and how people are suffering in the rural areas in a balanced and objective manner. It should report things as they are on the ground. Is that what it does?

Ms Mulenga: Timvesesa!

Mr Muchima: I want them to hear because they do not listen

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: Order, Hon. Muchima!

Can you speak through the Chair, please.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Sir, the money the hon. Minister spends on covering events is public money.


Mr Muchima:  It is taxpayers’ money.

Hon. Government Members: Drink water.

Mr Muchima: Which water, should I drink when I am still talking.


Mr Muchima: Sir, the ministry is using our tax money to promote the PF. Our colleagues must learn to differentiate the party structures from Government structures.

Mr Mubika: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting it is for everyone.

Sir, those of us who were born in the colonial days used to be shown what was happening in the country ‘barsco’.

Ms Lubezhi: Bar scope.

Mr Muchima: They used to go into all the villages before some of us had even known town to tell us exactly what was happening in the country, including about the freedom fighters like the late Mr Nkumbula and their plight, and the reporting was balanced. Today, nothing like that is happening, yet this Government is even talking about digital migration. Migrating to where …


Mr Muchima: … when, in my constituency, I cannot even listen to FM radio or the ZNBC.  Further, when I issue a statement in my area, the ZNBC cannot even cover me. It only covers the PF and its cadres like Kamba muma komboni. So, let us agree today that the ministry will be collecting the Television Levy from PF members ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: … because those are the beneficiaries.


Mr Muchima: The ZNBC only covers the PF instead of covering the poverty levels prevailing in the country. One hon. Member was almost beaten up somewhere, yet the ZNBC did not report on that. We should have been told who the aggressors were. The national broadcaster is also supposed to cover the smuggling of the mukula tree. We are supposed to see coverage of such issues.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Further, many hon. Members of Parliament have debated extensively on the procurement of fire tenders. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was supposed to cover that issue on television.

Mr Sing’ombe: Wheelbarrows!

Mr Muchima: Yes, the wheelbarrows.

Sir, I remind the hon. Members on your right that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting does not belong to the PF, napapata! It belongs to Zambia, as a country.

If we are to appropriate this money to it and, possibly increase the budget, it should address issues that affect all the people.


Mr Muchima: The hon. Minister talked about accountability over the K5 levy. Has the Government accounted for the money it has collected through the K3 levy?

Mr Mwiimbu: No!

Mr Muchima: It also want to expand the FM coverage, but how can it expand something that does not exist?

Mr Chairperson, I want the hon. Minister to come to Ikeleng’i to see what I am talking about.

Ms Kapata: She was there.

Mr Muchima: In this era, we are, at least, supposed to have access to radio and television, but we have none. Meanwhile, every time the hon. Minister stands up to speak, she is defending wrong things instead of balancing things up.


Mr Muchima: Mr Chairperson, it has been fifty-one years since Independence and the country should progress.


Mr Muchima: We have heard about many things happening around the country and the hon. Minister is supposed to be honest enough to ...

Mr Kalaba: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Muchima, pause for a minute.

Mr Muchima resumed his seat.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Chairperson, ...

The Deputy Chairperson: I have not given you the Floor, hon. Minister.

Mr Kalaba interjected.

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Members, I am following the hon. Member who is debating very well and if he said anything that merited an intervention, I would have allowed Hon. Kalaba’s point of order. Further, hon. Ministers are yet to debate. So, I will not allow that point of order.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Mr Chairperson, thank you. That is the democracy we want in this country.

Mr Chairperson, Zambia needs the Access to Information Bill so that they can know what is happening in public offices. When hon. Minister talks about sorting out issues, which issues is she talking about? We appropriate money in this Yellow Book, but it is not even released for its intended purpose. The Government’s failure to release the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is affecting Members of Parliament, but the ministry comes here with misinformation ...


Mr Muchima: … instead of going on TV to tell the people that the Government has not given them their CDF for four years. That is the information we want to hear to hear. We want to know why the CDF has not been released, and this ministry is responsible for giving such information to the people.

Sir, we have heard rumours of some ballot papers being buried in Kalulushi.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: We need to hear the truth from the ministry. That is why the ministry is very important.

Sir, we need this country to be led by men and women of integrity. All Zambians must be covered. The moment the hon. Minister was appointed, she ceased to be a party cadre and became a national asset.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Sir, the hon. Minister needs to protect everyone because what she says affects the entire nation. Unfortunately, she only protects the PF, forgetting that she will not be in that office forever. So, the Government should learn from others and help this country to move towards civilisation.

Mr Chilangwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Sit down!


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Muchima: This country, today, ...

The Deputy Chairperson: Order, hon. Muchima!

Please, resume your sea. A point of order is raised.

Mr Muchima resumed his seat.

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!


Hon. Opposition Members: No!

The Deputy Chairperson: Order, hon. Members!

Allow the hon. Minister for Luapula Province to ...

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Minister, go ahead.

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

Mr Chilangwa: Mr Chairperson, I am very grateful to be allowed to raise this point of order.

Mr Chairperson, is the hon. Member of Parliament, who is a former Minister in the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) and a Minister in the Patriotic Front (PF), ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Mr Chilangwa: ... in order not to mention the Paradise Papers as he debates this important Motion?

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Mr Chilangwa: Is he in order not to remind the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting that the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), the Mast Newspaper ...

The Deputy Chairperson: Order, hon. Minister!

I think you have raised your point of order clearly enough. You can resume your seat.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: My ruling is that the point of order has nothing to do with what the hon. Member is talking about.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Mr Chairperson, I thank you for your protection.

Sir, the hon. Members on the other side should know that our debates in this House are not meant to be mere rhetoric, but for us to identify gaps that they should fill. To my surprise, they have taken these debates for jokes.

Sir, when I was a Minister, the late President, Dr Mwanawasa, SC., may his soul rest in peace, used to tell us that he liked Mr Sata for telling him some things his Ministers could not tell him. He wanted to listen to Mr Sata so that he could attend to the issues raised.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Mr Chairperson, the members of the Executive is supposed to listen to what we are telling them in this House so that they know what is happening in Ikeleng’i and, thereafter, go to verify what I am talking about. That is how they can attract people.

Sir, let me tell my colleague who talked about the Paradise Papers that paradise is in heaven.


Mr Muchima:  He does not know that due to a lack of information.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order, hon. Member!

Do not take that direction because, in my ruling, I said that there is no connection between the issues he raised in his point of order. So, you will make things difficult for me if you bring those issues into your debate.

Mr Muchima: Mr Chairperson, I oblige.

Sir, I just want to tell my colleagues that this is our nation and that we should leave a legacy. If we pass a Bill that we are against in this House, the people will take it that we are for it. This Government must know that we are connected and it should be doing things that really connect us. There is only a small gap that divides us. Otherwise, we are one, and we are part and parcel of the Government. So, the Executive should fully embrace us in governance.

Hon. Government Members: Awe!

Mr Muchima: Sir, our colleagues should digest what we are talking about, not please themselves. A certain American said that the difference between the American and Zambian Governments was that the American Government gave 95 per cent of its national cake to the people and 5 per cent to the leadership while the Zambian Government did the opposite. The Zambian Government spends 95 per cent of the national cake on the Executive and 5 per cent on the ordinary people. Even ZNBC coverage follows that pattern.

Mr Chairperson, as long as this Government does not improve television and radio services in our places, we will not have any reason to support this vote. We cannot support a ministry that does not provide services to the people.

With those few words, I thank you, Sir.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Chairperson, I thank the hon. Minister for her policy statement.

Sir, I must make very clear that I support the budget for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mumba: … and I think the reasons for that are very clear. We have to accept that our economy has to embrace technology. Further, all the modernisation exercises that the ministry will undertake and its commitment to leaving no one behind, are, I think, causes worth supporting. I do realise that, yes, that there are a number of mistakes that have been observed, but those for the hon. Minister to correct.

Sir, let me take a slightly different approach in my contribution to the debate on this Vote, especially regarding the modernisation exercise and digital migration that are currently being implemented.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

(Debate adjourned)




[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progress reported)




The Acting Leader of Government Business in the House and Chief Whip (Mr Musukwa): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1913 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 16th November, 2017.