Thursday, 25th October, 2018

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Thursday, 25th October, 2018


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you will recall that on Friday, 5th October, 2018, when the House was considering Question for Oral Answer No. 53 and the hon. Member for Mitete, Mr M. Mutelo, was asking a supplementary question, Hon. T. Ngulube, Member of Parliament for Kabwe Central, raised a point of order. The relevant portion of the point of order is as follows:


“Mr Speaker, my point of order is on my rights as a Member of Parliament.


“Sir, before the House adjourned in the last Session, we had filed in several questions that went for processing, but were not put on the Order Paper. Further, you have guided us on several occasions that we should raise points of order contemporaneously or when the issues are still under consideration, and I know that this week, there were questions on the foreign exchange rates, fuel price hikes and many other issues which were disallowed because they did not relate to the questions on the Order Paper. As a result, I filed in two Questions of Urgent Nature under Rule 31 of our Standing Orders. Today being Friday, it appears that our questions will not be tabled. The question we have is: Will we not have a repeat of what we saw in the last Meeting, when questions were considered when their subjects had become irrelevant due to changed circumstances?


“Sir, the people of Zambia want to know why there was a sudden hike in the price of petroleum products. On Friday, 28th September, 2018, when the hon. Minister of Finance was due to present the Budget, the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) told the nation that the anticipated price hike on fuel was mere speculation and that there would be no fuel increment. However, on Monday, 1st October, 2018, the fuel prices were increased. So, the people of Kabwe Central want to know why the prices were suddenly increased. We believe that some of the questions we filed in could have helped us to clarify issues while they are still relevant and topical.


“Sir, the other issue we want clarified is how questions are processed here at Parliament? I ask because I do not remember any question filed in by Kabwe Central ever being put on the Order Paper, yet we see questions filed in by our colleagues from the Western Province, including Mitete, on issues relating to education and other concerns. Sometimes, we get inadequate answers in the form of Written Replies to questions. So, we want to find out to what we can have recourse for issues that affect us when we raise questions, but they are not tabled. What or where is the problem? Should we continue filing in questions or just stop?


“Sir, is this House in order not to tell us whether our questions will be processed or not?”


Hon. Members, in my immediate response, as usual, I reserved my ruling to enable me to investigate the matter. I have since investigated the matter and I now proceed to render my ruling.


Hon. Members, the point of order raised by Hon. T. Ngulube raises the issue of the right of hon. Members to provide oversight over the Executive by asking questions. The hon. Member asserts that the two questions he submitted under Standing Order 31 were not processed by the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly. He further asserts that preference is given to questions from other hon. Members of Parliament and that his questions never appear on the Order Paper or are converted into Questions for Written Answer.


Hon. Members, let me begin by addressing the assertion that the two Questions of Urgent Nature submitted by the hon. Member were not processed.


Hon. Members, on Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, the hon. Member for Kabwe Central, indeed, submitted two questions that he intended to ask as Questions of Urgent Nature, a facility provided for under Order 31 of the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Orders, 2016, which stipulates as follows:


         “Notice of questions of urgent nature


“31. (1)      A question which is, in the Speaker’s opinion, of an urgent nature and relates to a matter of public policy may be asked without notice on any day.


“(2)    A question of urgent nature shall be delivered, in writing, to the Clerk’s office at least twenty-four hours before that day on which the member desires to ask it.


“(3)    A question of urgent nature shall conform to the ordinary rules governing admissibility of questions.”


Hon. Members, let me now guide the House on the practice regarding submitting questions.  There is a clear distinction in the manner in which ordinary questions under Standing Order 30, and Questions of Urgent Nature under Standing Order 31 are processed. The following are the procedural steps for submitting ordinary questions under Standing Order 30:


  1. an hon. Member obtains, at a small fee, a form commonly referred to as the Pink Form from the National Assembly Registry;


  1. the hon. Member drafts his/her questions using the Pink Form;


  1. the hon. Member submits the Pink Form to an officer in the Journals and Table Office Department;


  1. the Pink Form is put on the hon. Members’ file kept in the Journals and Table Office Department, and the file is allocated to an officer for processing;


  1. the officer allocated the file processes the question for ultimate approval by the Speaker;


  1. once approval is granted, the questions are dispatched to the relevant ministries for responses. The notice given to the ministries to respond to Questions for Oral Answer is seven days if the question is of a policy nature and fourteen days if the question requires extensive research. The notice required for Questions for Written Answer is fourteen days; and


  1. after the notice period to various ministries has elapsed, a Notice of Questions is published and issued to all hon. Members. It is from this Notice of Questions that questions are selected by the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly and placed on the Order Paper for each sitting day. In selecting the questions for placement on the Order Paper, the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly considers factors like admissibility, availability of the hon. Minister who is required to respond to the question, and party and gender balance.


As regards Questions of Urgent Nature, the procedure is as follows:


  1. an hon. Member intending to ask a Question of Urgent Nature informs an officer in the Journals and Table Office Department the subject of the question;


  1. the officer advises the hon. Member on the admissibility of the question;


  1. if the question is admissible, the officer drafts the question and submits it to the hon. Member for approval;


  1. thereafter, a formal letter signed by the hon. Member is submitted to the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly seeking the Speaker’s approval to ask the question on a specified date;


  1. the Speaker grants or refuses to grant approval and advances reasons for his/her decision; and


  1. the hon. Member is, then, informed of the decision of the Speaker by the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly.


Hon. Members, from the foregoing, it is crystal clear that the procedure for submitting a Question of Urgent Nature is distinct from that of submitting an ordinary question. In the present case, the hon. Member for Kabwe Central obtained the Pink Form used for processing ordinary questions under Standing Order 30, drafted two of his questions on it and submitted the form to the Journals and Table Office Department for processing. The Pink Form was accordingly put on his file and allocated to an officer. However, because the questions were on a Pink Form and file, they were to be processed as ordinary questions under Standing Order 30, not Questions of Urgent Nature under Standing Order 31. This is what caused the delay in processing the hon. Member’s questions.


I hope that hon. Members are now enlightened on the procedure for submitting Questions of Urgent Nature, which I have just highlighted, and that the procedure will be followed in order to avoid delays in the processing of Questions of Urgent Nature.


As regards the assertion by the hon. Member for Kabwe Central that preference is given to questions from other hon. Members of Parliament while most of his questions do not find their way onto the Order Paper, I wish to inform the House that I had recourse to all the four notices of questions published and issued to hon. Members from September 2017 to September 2018. The record reveals the following:


  1. in the September 2017 Notice of Questions, Mr Ngulube asked only one question, which was considered by the House as Question No. 48 on the Order Paper for Thursday, 5th October, 2017;


  1. in the February 2018 Notice of Questions, the hon. Member for Kabwe Central did not submit any questions. However, during the February/March Meeting, he asked two Questions of Urgent Nature, which were considered as Question No. 160 and Question No. 243 on Order Papers for Friday, 23rd February, 2018, and Wednesday, 21st March, 2018, respectively;


  1. in the June 2018 Notice of Questions, Mr Ngulube submitted fourteen questions. One question was considered by the House as Question No. 313 on the Order Paper for Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, while seven appeared as Questions for Written Answer on the same day. The remaining six questions appeared as Questions for Written Answer on the Order Paper for Friday, 13th July, 2018; and


  1. in the September 2018 Notice of Questions, the hon. Member has not asked any question, as the Notice of Questions dated Friday, 14th September, 2018, indicates.


Hon. Members, from the foregoing, it is evident that questions submitted by the hon. Member for Kabwe Central are duly processed and placed on the Order Paper as and when asked. The only period in which most of his questions were converted into Questions for Written Answer was during the June/July 2018 Meeting of the House, and that was not peculiar to his questions. As you are aware, questions from many other hon. Members were similarly converted into Questions for Written Answer to avoid their lapsing once the House was prorogued. In view of the foregoing, the assertion by the hon. Member for Kabwe Central that no question submitted by him has been placed on the Order Paper is not factually correct.


Hon. Members, as I end my ruling, I wish to reiterate what I stated in my ruling on Friday, 5th October, 2018. Your rights as hon. Members are duly protected, and you are at liberty to exercise, especially the colleagues on the left, your oversight role over the Executive by asking questions, provided that you comply with the rules, practice and procedure of the House.


Thank you.




Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I have a second ruling to render. The ruling relates to the point of order raised by Hon. G. Katuta, Member of Parliament for Chienge Constituency.


 Hon. Members, you will recall that on Friday, 5th October, 2018, when the House was considering Question for Oral Answer No. 53, and Hon. M. Mutelo, Member of Parliament for Mitete, was asking a follow-up question, Hon. Katuta, Member of Parliament for Chienge, raised the following point of order: 


“Mr Speaker, before Parliament Radio starts broadcasting the proceedings of the House, there is what I will call a jingle, I stand to be corrected, on which there is only a male voice. Is this House in order to discriminate against female parliamentarians?”


In my immediate response, I indicated that I had not heard the jingle that was referred to by the hon. Member of Parliament for Chienge. However, I noted that I had taken the hon. Member’s grievance, and undertook to investigate the matter and direct that any available remedial measures be taken.


Hon. Members, I have investigated the matter and found that the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Chienge does not conform to the rules regarding admissibility of points of order. This is because the jingle referred to in the hon. Member’s point of order is actually an advertisement on Parliament Radio, which is used when transitioning from one programme to another. Clearly, hon. Members, this does not relate to the Business of the House.


Hon. Members, of late, I have noticed a trend in which hon. Members of Parliament raise points of order on matters that do not relate to the Business of the House and, in some cases, on matters of a purely administrative nature that can be resolved by the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly. In this regard, let me seize this opportunity to remind the House of the rules and practice regarding points of order.


Firstly, the National Assembly Members’ Handbook, 2006, at page 25, provides as follows:


“A point of order is a question raised by a Member who believes that the rules of procedure of the House have been incorrectly applied or overlooked during the proceedings. A point of order can be raised at any time in the proceedings.”


Secondly, the learned authors of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, at page 632, are instructive regarding points of order. They indicate as follows:


 “A point of order is an intervention by a Member who believes that the rules or customary procedures of the House have been incorrectly applied or overlooked during the proceedings. Members may rise on points of order to bring the attention of the Chair to any breach of the relevance or repetition rule, unparliamentary remarks or a lack of quorum. They are able to do so at virtually any time in the proceedings, provided that the point of order is raised and concisely argued as soon as the irregularity occurs. Points of order respecting procedure must be raised promptly and before the question has passed to a stage at which the objection would be out of place.”


In view of the above authorities, a point of order should:


  1. be raised for the general maintenance of order and decorum in the House;


  1. raise a question of procedure in the House and alert the House to a violation of procedure; and 


  1. relate to the business before the House at a particular moment.


Finally, hon. Members, I wish to inform you that the concern raised by the hon. Member for Chienge has been noted and will be dealt with administratively. The hon. Member will, in due course, be notified by the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly of any remedial measures that will be taken.


Thank you.








The Minister of Information and Broadcasting (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to provide further clarity to this House and the nation at large on the so-called merger of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and StarTimes.


Sir, the ZNBC is a statutory body created under Act 154 of the Laws of Zambia. The corporation’s core mandate is to provide radio and television broadcasting services throughout the country.


Sir, Zambia is a member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) like many other countries. In 2010, it was agreed that all ITU Member States should embrace new technology in broadcasting and, as such, migrate from analogue to digital television broadcasting by June 2015. However, due to financial constraints, Zambia and many other African countries were unable to meet the deadline. In 2016, the Government allocated US$9.5 million to Phase I of the Digital Terrestrial Television Migration Project, which installed ten transmitters from Livingstone to Chililabombwe to create a digital network. In the same year, the Government decided to accelerate the digital migration to the rest of the country by acquiring a US $273 million loan through the ZNBC from the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China.


Sir, in an effort to not further burden the Treasury, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) was created by the ZNBC and StarTimes to carry the loan for the Digital Migration Project. TopStar Communication Company Limited was incorporated in June 2016 in Zambia on a 60/40 shareholding basis between StarTimes and the ZNBC. The purpose of this SPV is to implement digital migration by providing new broadcasting technology and equipment as well as constructing and equipping six broadcasting studios. The project also includes the training of more than 600 Zambians. Through the provision of digital terrestrial transmission (DTT) and direct-to-home (DTH) services, TopStar Communications Company Limited is expected to raise revenue and remit it to the Treasury for the repayment of the loan as stipulated in the loan agreement. So far, more than 800,000 TopStar decoders have been sold to subscribers.


Mr Speaker, as part of a transparent process, in June 2018, TopStar applied to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) for authority to continue as an SPV implementing the Digital Migration Project and providing DTT and DTH services in Zambia, after some stakeholders had raised issues on TopStar being both a signal and content provider. The CCPC provided clear guidance to all parties in its statement on Friday, 19th October, 2018, of which I will lay a copy on the Table. The CCPC further stated that it had granted conditional authorisation to the proposed merger between the ZNBC and StarTimes.


Sir, allow me to quote Section 24(1) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Act No. 24 of 2010:


“For purposes of this part, a merger occurs where an enterprise, directly or indirectly, acquires or establishes, direct or indirect, control over the whole or part of the business of another enterprise, or when two or more enterprises mutually agree to adopt arrangements for common ownership or control over the whole or part or part of their respective businesses.”


Mr Speaker, in Sub-section 2, the Act provides as follows:


“A merger contemplated in subsection (1) may be achieved in the following circumstances:


     "(a)   where an enterprise purchases shares or leases assets in, or acquires an interest in, any shares or assets belonging to another enterprise;


    "(b)   where an enterprise amalgamates or combines with another enterprise; or


    "(c)   where a joint venture occurs between two or more independent enterprises."


Sir, according to the Act, one of the conditions for a merger, which is the one relevant to the current situation, is that of two independent enterprises going into a joint venture. Therefore, the merger between the ZNBC and StarTimes is merely one of their shared interest in a joint venture, not one of the two institutions.


I thank you, Sir.                      


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement issued by the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting.


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for her statement.


Mr Speaker, how many shares does TopStar Communications Company Limited have in the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC)?


Mr Speaker: That point has been made very clear in the statement. Therefore, the hon. Minister will merely revisit it as she answers another question.


Mr Kasandwe (Bangweulu): Mr Speaker, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) has shares in Digital Satellite Television (DStv) Zambia. Why do you think there is so much noise over the shares it has in TopStar Communications Company Limited than over the shares in DStv Zambia?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Bangweulu Parliamentary Constituency, in keeping with the nature of the House, could you substitute the word “noise” with an appropriate one because it will not sit well in our Hansard. What do you mean by noise? The word can mean anything.


Mr Kasandwe: Mr Speaker, I replace it with “too much misinformation”.


Mr Speaker: That is more appropriate.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, for the record, the ZNBC is a statutory body that was created by this House. Therefore, any change in its shareholding structure would have to be made by this House. Therefore, it is not possible for any institution to have shares in it because it is 100 per cent owned by the people of Zambia.


Sir, indeed, the ZNBC has shares in Digital Satellite Television (DStv), GOTv and, now, TopStar. The institution can pursue business interests and acquire shares in other enterprises, but nobody can acquire shares in it because it was created through an Act of Parliament and Chapter 154 of the Laws of Zambia. Unless we, in this House, decided to change that status, it is not possible for anyone to have shares in it.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, for the benefit of the hon. Member of Parliament for Livingstone, could you answer his question. He lost you when you made your statement.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the question was on how many shares TopStar has in the ZNBC. The answer is that TopStar has no shares in the ZNBC. Instead, it is the ZNBC which has 40 per cent shareholding in TopStar while StarTimes has 60 per cent shareholding.


Sir, I think that the noise could ‒


Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister! I have discouraged the use of the word ‘noise’.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I apologise and withdraw the word “noise”.


Sir, I think that the misinformation is merely a smear campaign against the people of Zambia, who are the owners of the ZBNC. The institution was created by the representatives of the people of Zambia in this House. Therefore, any move away from that position is an affront to the people of Zambia. I want to believe that the noise is purely a smear campaign and propaganda.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, you have used the word “noise” again.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I withdraw it.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I listened carefully to the hon. Minister as she said a special purpose vehicle (SPV) was created between the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and StarTimes Zambia. Could the hon. Minister be kind enough to tell us the assets and liabilities connected to the loan facility for which the SPV was created?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, please, respond to the question if the information is readily available.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, obviously, for the purpose of repaying the US$273 million loan, which is a biggest liability, the asset is the technological platform for the provision of DTT and DTH services. The services are provided to Zambians by subscription on decoders, which are sold. That asset is raising revenue because it provides services that we are enjoying under TopStar Communications Company Limited.


Sir, I may not have all the details at hand but, clearly, the biggest asset is the broadcasting service provided. That is what will guarantee the repayment of the loan through the SPV.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, with your permission, I would like to quote what the hon. Minister said to this House and, then, ask a question.


Sir, the hon. Minister has admitted that TopStar Communications Company Limited has merged with the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).


Hon. Government Members: Mm!


Mr Mwiimbu: That is what she said.


Further, according to her, the ZNBC is a statutory body formed by an Act of this House. What I know is that TopStar Communications Company Limited is made up of the ZNBC and another company from China. Now, if there is supposed to be a merger between the two, it means that there will be a restructuring of the shares of the two entities to create one. That is what a merger entails. So, if there is a merger, the two companies have become one.




Mr Mwiimbu: Yes. It entails that the Chinese company now –




Mr Speaker: Order on the right!




Mr Mwiimbu: Maybe, our colleagues do not know what a merger is.


Mr Speaker, if the hon. Minister is confirming that there is a merger between TopStar Communications Company Limited and the ZNBC, what law has been used to merge the two companies, taking into account that the one is a statutory body while the other is a private entity owned by foreigners?


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, clearly the law is not an exact science because if it was, we would not be having this debate. The ZNBC is a statutory body, and none of its shares have been given to anybody because it is created by an act of Parliament ‒




Ms Siliya: If the hon. Member of Parliament could pay attention, he would avoid being misled.


Sir, the ZNBC has not merged with TopStar Communications Company Limited. It has merely created a new entity called TopStar Communications Company Limited with a company called StarTimes through the Companies Act. I am sure that is very clear in legal language. So, the ZNBC remains 100 per cent an independent statutory entity under Cap. 154 of the Laws of Zambia, but it has an interest in TopStar. As provided for under the Act I cited earlier, its interest can be merged with the interest of another company. I am sure the issue is very clear now.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: I hope so too.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister called one of the entities in this arrangement a special purpose vehicle (SPV). Could she provide clarity on what or who is the SPV? Further, what is the time frame of the SPV? Usually, SPVs have a time frame.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the SPV is not one of the entities. It is the only one, and it was formed to handle the arrangement between the ZNBC and StarTimes for the implementation of the Digital Migration Project. For purposes of clarity, I repeat that the ZNBC remains 100 per cent public-owned because the only people who have power to change that status are the hon. Members in this House. Its interest has merged with the interest of another entity called StarTimes and, together, they have created another entity called TopStar Communications Company Limited.


Sir, the arrangement under TopStar is that the loan facility is supposed to be for twenty-five years, although we hope the loan can be paid off in less than fifteen years. Thereafter, StarTimes’ shareholding in TopStar Communications Company Limited will reduce from 60 per cent to 30 per cent. The other 30 per cent will be offered to public institutions and Zambians. Then, the ZNBC will become the major shareholder of that platform.


Mr Speaker, ZNBC is intact as an institution owned by the people of Zambia, and there should be no doubts in the minds of Zambians on that. The allegation that its shares have been sold to another company is pure propaganda. In fact, it has no shares to sell because it was created by an Act of Parliament, not under the Companies Act.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the statement. The people of Chama South are now able to watch the deliberations in Parliament because of the special purpose vehicle (SPV).


Sir, clarification I seek from the hon. Minister on whose account the US$273 million loan sits. In the SPV, there is StarTimes and the ZNBC, which have formed TopStar Communications Company Limited. Who will be liable for the repayment of the loan? Is it the Government or TopStar Communications Company Limited? I ask so that it can be clear to those who are …


Mr Speaker: No. It should just be clear to you because you are asking on your own behalf, not others’.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the loan is sitting on the SPV, TopStar. That is why it is from its operations that it should repay the loan from Exim Bank of China. The purpose of creating the SPV was to lessen the burden on the taxpayers in Zambia. The loan is repaid by those who enjoy the services provided by TopStar Communications Company Limited through subscription.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Chanda (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for her lecture, which has taken care of much of the ignorance and disinformation from our colleagues.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chanda: There has been a deliberate disinformation campaign on the alleged sale of the ZNBC, and the Chinese …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Bwana Mkubwa!


What is your question?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, my question is: What is the hon. Minister going to do to curb further disinformation from our colleagues on your left?


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I think, first of all, all of us, as leaders in this country and hon. Members of Parliament, have a responsibility to be truthful and conduct our politics in a manner that does not mislead Zambians.


Secondly, as Government, we will continue to share information with citizens, and that is why, working with the Ministry of Communication and Transport, we are telling Zambians to be careful with what they read online. For some people, what is online is gospel truth. So, they want to bring it to this House. As citizens, we have to be careful and avoid being misled. That is why we are providing for laws to help us bring to book those who mislead the citizens. It might be about a simple thing today but, next time, it may be on a very important thing. This is a challenge nationwide. As we can see, even internationally, many governments face the challenge of dealing with fake news and propaganda. As citizens with truthful information, we all have to be aware that, sometimes, when people are posturing with passion, trying to make us feel or believe that they are telling the truth, they could, in fact, be trying to mislead the country.


Sir, the ZNBC case is a classic example of a situation in which even hon. Members of Parliament, who should know the law, are in the forefront of telling the citizens that the ZNBC has been sold. We have to call out those people who like to posture in this House because they are practising bad politics. The citizens should see them for who they are, that is, just people who like to posture, not decent politicians.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, we have a lot of work to do. So, if the hon. Minister’s statement is clear, we should move on to our next business. Our time is precious. If you ask a question that does not suggest a lack of clarity in the statement, it will be an exercise in futility because I will not be party to that exercise.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, my question regards the content being provided by TopStar, which is supposed to be a transmitter, not a content provider. Does the hon. Minister not think it is disadvantaging the local content providers in this country?


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the purpose of my statement today was purely to provide clarity on the issue of the merger. However, the CCPC issued a very clear statement on Friday, last week, on how this issue should be handled. It gave conditional authorisation to TopStar to address the issue of being a content provider as well as a signal distributor. As a result of that statement, all parties have been called together so that they can iron out the issues with the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).


The Government’s investment in digital television is not meant to crowd out the private sector. This Government is transparent and it has provided channels like the CCPC. That is why the stakeholders went to the CCPC to complain and the CCPC provided guidance to all the stakeholders on how they should operate in this industry.


I thank you, Sir


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that the US$273 million that the Government borrowed from the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China will be repaid by TopStar, the special purpose vehicle (SPV). How much money did StartTimes of China put into the SPV for it to have a 60 per cent stake in the SPV?


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, when the people of Zambia, through the ZNBC, were looking to migrate from analogue to digital transmission, they looked for a partner that had expertise in this technology, and StarTimes was identified. StarTimes got the 60 per cent stake for the services it was going to provide, which included setting up almost fifty-five of the sixty-three or sixty-five towers required for us to cover the whole country, refurbishing the studios in Lusaka and the Copperbelt, building and equipping six more studios, and training staff. That is what StarTimes brings to the table. It is the migration of technology from analogue to digital transmission. For the record, this arrangement is not unique to Zambia, as it is happening worldwide. The deadline for migration was 2015, but we and many African countries are behind. We used this initiative to accelerate the migration process. The Government had initially only committed itself to implementing the project on the line of rail. However, Zambians are not only found on the line of rail, as some are in Kaputa, Dundumwezi and everywhere else, and all are entitled to watching good television. The way we could quickly pay for the technology was through the ZNBC partnering with StarTimes in TopStar so that the SPV holds the loan while the Government guarantees it.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Mwashingwele (Katuba): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has spoken about the 60 per cent/40 per cent shareholding. She also said that StarTimes brought in its money. What did the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) put on the table to deserve the 40 per cent stake?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, confine your answer to the 40 per cent. Explain how the 40 per cent has come about.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, by law, the ZNBC is the signal distributor in this country. So, no broadcasting can happen without the signal distributor. That is the leverage with which the ZNBC went into the SPV. That is what it brought to the table. StarTimes’ interest to provide a platform for broadcasting in the country through TopStar could not be realised without the ZNBC’s participation.


I thank you, Sir.


Princess Kucheka (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, my understanding is that in order for the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) to get the loan from China, it had to merge with StarTimes, which is a Chinese company. Hon. Minister, how many Chinese and Zambian nationals have been employed by TopStar as a result of the merger?


Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister issued a statement on a very specific topic. What I expect is that all your questions will be centred on the statement. The arrangement between the two companies can attract 101 questions, but what we are doing, procedurally, is seeking clarifications on the statement. What I am seeing now is that we are moving away from the statement and getting into anything related to the arrangement. Some even want us to look at the balance sheet.


Mrs M. Phiri: Naba balembela.


Mr Speaker: I am sure there are accountants here who know what it takes to prepare a balance sheet.


Mr Lubinda: Forgive them, Sir!


Mr Speaker: At the same time, I am struggling to not shut out relevant questions because of this trend. This matter is important to the people of Zambia, but you need to be pertinent in your questions and restrict yourselves to the statement.


Mr Kafwaya (Lunte): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to ask the hon. Minister a supplementary question.


Mr Speaker: ‘Clarification’, by the way, not a supplementary question.


Mr Kafwaya: Thank you, Sir, for your guidance. Let me get clarification.


I thank the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting for her statement. I think that it has cleared a number of issues. Her statement is about the merger of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) with StarTimes and TopStar. This issue has not come alone. The first issue was about ZNBC being sold. Now, there the a merger, and all the people of Zambia know that ZNBC was established by an Act of Parliament. Therefore, any modification, as the hon. Minister rightly to put it, has to be authorised by this House. Why does the hon. Minister think that despite that knowledge, there is insistence, particularly on social media, that the ZNBC has merged with StarTimes?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chifubu, please, ask your question.




Mr Speaker: Order!


Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Mr Speaker, I need clarification from the hon. Minister.


Sir, the hon. Minister said that a US273 million loan was acquired to create TopStar in Zambia. How much of the loan is sitting as a liability on the ZNBC balance sheet? I ask because the 40 per cent stake ZNBC holds means it equally has 40 per cent liability, which translates into about US$109 million. The liability for StarTimes should be about US$164 million. Can the hon. Minister clarify this shareholding and the extent of the borrowing?


Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister has already expressly answered that question.


Hon. Member for Kanchibiya, you may ask your question.




Hon. Member: Naibipa.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, I thank you. I also thank the hon. Minister for making this very important clarification to the House, especially given the misinformation that has been disseminated in the media by some minority political party.


Mr Speaker, the joint venture has brought a lot of excitement because the underpenetrated areas like Kanchibiya will be able to receive the signal. Despite this joint venture, however, the signal is still poor in Kanchibiya. What is the hon. Minister doing about that? What other strategies does she have to ensure that our people will be able to receive a good signal?


Mr Speaker: It is now time for Questions for Oral Answer.




Hon. Member: Hear, hear!






78. Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Local Government:


(a)        whether the Government has any plans to rehabilitate township roads in Kalabo District;


(b)        if so, when the plans will be implemented; and


(c)        what the time frame for the completion of the project is.


The Minister of Local Government (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, the Government has a plan to rehabilitate township roads in Kalabo District.


Sir, the implementation of the plan …




Mr Speaker: Order!


Mr Mwale: … is in a phased approach, with priority given to projects that are nearing completion and those in the provincial centres. So, like with other plans in the same category, this one will only be implemented in 2020, subject to the availability of funds.


Sir, the time frame of the project will only be known once the contract is signed.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, –


Mr Jamba: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Jamba: Sir, I apologise to the hon. Member on the Floor for disturbing his debate.


Sir, I have followed the deliberations very closely, and there was a point I needed clarified by the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting. Being a humble and patient Member of Parliament, I waited for my turn. If other hon. Members were asking irrelevant questions –


Hon. UPND Members: Just say the PF.


Mr Jamba: No!




Mr Jamba: I am saying that if other hon. Members were asking irrelevant questions, it does not mean that even we who were yet to ask would have asked irrelevant questions. Everyone of us has the right to ask a question. Why have you, Mr Speaker, curtailed my right to ask a question? Is it because I am an irrelevant or unimportant Member of Parliament?


I seek your serious ruling, Mr Speaker.




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, you are not the only one who has been prevented from asking a question. There are many others.




Mr Chabi: He has spoken on our behalf.


Mr Speaker: Let us have order!


Mind you, this is a privilege. That is why you enjoy what are called “privileges”, and the privileges you enjoy are administered by Presiding Officers who have discretion in these matters.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: For instance, if 160 of you want to ask questions, we will not allow it because time cannot permit us, anyway. This meeting has a life span. It has to end on a certain date, and that has fiscal implications. For example, the proceedings must be concluded and the Budget approved before the end of the year. If you ask irrelevant questions, the risk you take is that the Presiding Officers cannot discern who will ask the next irrelevant question because there is no way of doing that.




Mr Speaker: So, I have to use my discretion to prevent ten other potentially irrelevant questions.


I allowed people to ask questions and guided that they avoided asking irrelevant question but, despite that, hon. Members persisted in asking irrelevant questions. That said, I should not even admit this point of order, anyway, because you cannot raise one on me.




Mr Speaker: Your point of order is misplaced. I have just used the opportunity to explain my position. In any case, we are moving on.


I think the hon. Minister had answered. Hon. Member for Kalabo Central, you may ask your follow-up question.


Hon. Member: This is not fair.


Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has answered, and I am sure that he is aware of how many times the upgrade and renovation of the roads in question have been rescheduled.


Sir, the first time the ministry planned to upgrade the roads was in 2017, and the contractor was Barlow World.  I am sure that the hon. Minister is aware of that. Again, we see a rescheduling to 2020.


Mr Speaker: What is your question?


Mr Miyutu: Why is the rehabilitation of township roads in rural constituencies and districts rescheduled while for those in urban areas, it is not?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, it is true that a contractor was selected to work on those roads. However, the contract was not signed even though procurement processes had been initiated because money to support the contract was not secured. Since time has passed, we have to start everything all over again. We cannot rely on the estimates that were made in 2013. That is why I am saying that the possibility of working on the roads will be high in 2020. That is when we have put the roads on our plans.


In fact, Mr Speaker, I can let me inform the House that the Road Development Agency (RDA) and the ministry are in talks and, very soon, we will hold a meeting with hon. Members of Parliament here, at Parliament Buildings, in which we will show them the schedule of the roads that will be worked on, possibly up to 2021.


Sir, we have put off everything to 2020 because we think, by then, we will have finished all the old projects. So, we will be in a position to focus on this project.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, when that Government was talking about township roads, it was very clear in the minds of the citizens of Zambia that there was a schedule, a projection and a plan. However, today, the hon. Minister is using the word “maybe” and bringing in the RDA. Is he sure that his Government was sure of the pronouncement it made without putting plans in place so that they are reflected in Budgets year in and year out?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I think it is a reality that too many projects were started and there was not enough money to support all of them. That is why we are saying that we are going to implement all the projects in a phased approach. So, we will concentrate on projects at or above 80 per cent, and I have said this for ‒ I do not know how many times in this House. When we are done with the projects that are at or above 80 per cent, then, we will get to the projects at another threshold below that until we get to the point where we can initiate new projects.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, each time the hon. Minister is asked a question on the construction of township roads, he has negative answers. I believe this is one of the responsibilities of the councils that are enshrined in the law. However, when the council was given the responsibility ‒ there was a time motorists were paying taxes to the councils, and it was possible for the councils to execute the responsibility. Does the hon. Minister have intentions of making motorists pay road tax to the local authorities so that, in turn, the local authorities can provide this service?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, there are some functions that have been devolved by the Central Government to local authorities, and only those functions should be discharged by the local authorities. The functions that have to be discharged by the Central Government will remain with the Central Government.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has talked about the Government’s phased approach to project implementation and how projects will depend on the availability of resources. Are there any plans or measures apart from those the hon. Minister has mentioned, such as looking at other methods of making roads? For example, the hon. Minister may remember that there are some roads that are being paved. Are we not in a position to benefit from the paving of roads the Government has embarked on in other places?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, paving was seen as an alternative to building bituminous roads. However, it also requires that the Treasury releases funds to the RDA or whoever will pave the roads. So, it is a question of the availability of resources, whichever method we employ in uplifting the standard of roads in Kalabo.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.




79. Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


(a)        why the construction of the Milenge Police Post has stalled;


(b)        when the construction works will resume; and


(c)        what the total cost of the project is.


The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, the construction of Milenge Police Post and the associated three staff houses had stalled, but it has resumed. The contractor is back on site working. I understand that this question was asked before the contractor moved back on site.


Mr Speaker, the Government paid the contractor K1,116,504.50 on 30th August, 2018, as the outstanding amount on the interim payment certificate. The police post is at window level while the three staff houses are at ring beam level.


Sir, the cost of the project is K3.7 million.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his timely intervention. I can confirm that the workers have moved on site. However, the hon. Minister knows that when people go to Milenge, they always want to stop working. Given his intervention, do we have the assurance that the project will be implemented to completion?


Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, I can confirm that there are some projects that we have targeted to complete before we embark on others that we have lined up. For Milenge, we want to quickly complete the police post and the three staff houses. I can also confirm that we have assured the contractor of our commitment to honouring the interim payment certificate so that the works do not stall again.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, in light of the question by the hon. Member for Milenge, who does not ask irrelevant questions in this House, and the reason the hon. Minister has given us for the stalling of the project, being a member of the Public Accounts Committee, I know that a number of projects under the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development stall after contracts are signed, thereby making the Government pay much more than the original contract amount. Is the hon. Minister is a position to tell this House why that is the case?


Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, I will restrict my response to Milenge because I have already sought your permission to issue statements to clarify a number of issues. As to the case of Milenge, yes, we delayed in honouring the interim payment certificate. So, the contractor could not proceed with the works because he could not source the materials.


Mr Speaker, when we took over the Government in 2011, we found over 2,000 projects, and there is no way all of them could have been completed at the same time. So, we decided to complete those that were at a certain level and, then, move on to others. Some projects in Milenge qualified to be in the first phase, and we hope, all things being equal, to complete them very soon so that we can embark on other infrastructure because Milenge has lagged behind in terms of district infrastructure.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that the Government plans to complete a number of police posts that are at the same level as Milenge Police Post. Is he in a position to share the list with us, the hon. Members of Parliament? Maybe, Chama is on the list because there is no proper police station in the district.


Mr Speaker: What is your question? I did not follow you.


Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister in a position to share with us the list of police posts that are likely to be attended to like Milenge Police Post?


Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, I indicated that I will issue a statement in this House once authority is granted so that the people of Zambia, through their representatives, can know where we are in terms of implementation of projects. I am avoiding discussing projects other than those in Milenge. However, in the statement I will issue, I will definitely share the information concerning projects in other areas. Hon. Members of Parliament will, then, know when projects in their areas will be implemented if they are not among those that we will implement.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.








Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Kaputa should have moved this Motion but, by prior arrangement, it will be moved by the hon. Member for Chifunabuli.


Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources on the National Assembly approval of the proposal to ratify the Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on Wednesday, 17th October, 2018.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Mecha: Sir, pursuant to Article 63(e) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 and Section 5(1) of the Ratification of International Agreements Act No. 34 of 2016, your Committee was mandated to receive submissions and make recommendations to the House on the proposal to approve the ratification of the Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Mr Speaker, from the outset, let me inform this august House that all the stakeholders who appeared before your Committee recommended that the National Assembly approves the proposal to ratify the Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Sir, as the House may be aware, Zambia is party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), whose main objective is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Zambia is also party to the Kyoto Protocol to the convention, which shares this objective and commits industrialised countries to legally binding targets for reducing their greenhouse emissions within a set period.


Mr Speaker, in recognition of the limitation of the UNFCCC in fostering compliance with global emissions reduction obligations, parties adopted the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The first commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol was from 2008 to 2012. In order to ensure continuity of the Kyoto Protocol, parties to the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol adopted the Doha Amendments in 2012, which established the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. The Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol seeks to extend the commitment period from 2013 to 2020. Based on the current number of parties to the Kyoto Protocol, which is 192, the amendments will enter into force on the ninetieth day after the depositary receives 144 instruments of acceptance. As of 3rd October, 2018, 117 countries had accepted to ratify the amendments.


Sir, your Committee learnt that there are thirty-eight parties listed in Annex B of the Doha Amendments that have quantified emissions limitation or reduction targets for the second commitment period. Ratification by these parties alone will not be sufficient for the entry into force of the amendments. Therefore, acceptance of the Doha Amendments by parties not included in the annex expresses their continuing commitment and support to the implementation of the protocol.


Mr Speaker, climate change is a cross-cutting challenge that affects all sectors and transcends international boundaries. The Doha Amendments are considered important to the maintenance of the global commitment to mitigating climate change before the coming into effect of the Paris Agreement in 2020. Enhanced emissions reductions through these amendments will improve national environmental status and reduce the impact of climate change.


Sir, as a party to both the convention and the Kyoto Protocol, it is imperative that Zambia ratifies the Doha Amendment, which will build on the two instruments in the quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The ratification of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol will ensure smooth implementation of the protocol’s flexible mechanisms, such as the clean development mechanism, joint implementation and carbon trade. In this regard, there is a need to sensitise communities on the benefits that will accrue to them, through these mechanisms, from the ratification of this amendment.


Mr Speaker, it is worth noting that developing countries like Zambia have no mandatory mitigation obligations on targets under the Kyoto Protocol. Additionally, the only financial cost implication for Zambia under the Doha Amendment will be in the form of annual subscription fees, which are very minimal. However, in the long term, domestication of this amendment will have to be undertaken through the enactment of climate change legislation.


Sir, in light of the foregoing, your Committee recommends that the House approves the proposal to ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, as Zambia needs to be part of the global response to climate change to safeguard its economy and environment.


Mr Speaker, finally, allow me to thank the stakeholders who made submissions to your Committee, and the members of your Committee for their co-operation and dedication to duty during its deliberations. Further, your Committee wishes to put on record its debt to you, and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the guidance given to it during the deliberations.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


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


Dr Imakando: Now, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources on the Proposal to Ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on Wednesday, 17th October, 2018.


Mr Speaker, the Kyoto Protocol, also known as the Kyoto Accord, is an international treaty that extends the 1992 UNFCCC to commit industrialised countries to reducing greenhouse gas emissions based on the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring due to human activities that produce carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases.


Mr Speaker, scientific evidence and figures show that there is global warming as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, and that action must be taken to reduce the emissions before serious calamities hit the earth. Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialised countries agreed to reduce their greenhouse emissions by an average of 5.2 per cent by 2012 based on the 1990 levels. The protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. The second commitment period began on 1st January, 2013, and will end in 2020.


Sir, the Kyoto Protocol is significant because unlike previous negotiations on climate change, which only suggested that governments of industrialised countries voluntarily reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, it contains concrete mandatory aims for countries that sign it.


Sir, the protocol is based on the principle of common, but differentiated responsibilities and acknowledges that individual countries have different capabilities in combating climate change, owing to differences in economic development. It, therefore, puts the obligation to reduce current emissions on developed countries on the basis that they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


Mr Speaker, the changes in global or regional climate patterns have been attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels, which include coal, diesel, petrol and jet fuels. Due to the increased use of these fuels, the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been increasing alarmingly. As a result, the world’s average surface temperature has increased by around 0.6 degrees Celsius over the last 100 years.


Mr Speaker, the changing climate patterns have already had significant impacts on our planet. The melting of Arctic ice caps, changes in rainfall patterns, increase in the frequency of droughts, heat waves, stronger storms, floods and wildfires are some of the dangerous effects of climate change. Further, scientists claim that climate change enhances the spread of pests and vectors that cause life-threatening diseases like dengue fever, malaria and Lyme disease. They also predict that some life forms will become extinct due to climate change. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is, therefore, meant to minimise the impact of climate change.


Mr Speaker, by ratifying the Doha Amendment, Zambia will join the international community in supporting positive actions on climate change, and will enhance the country’s image internationally. The country will also become eligible to access international funds towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This will facilitate the implementation of climate change activities in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) under Pillar Two. More importantly, Zambia will continue to participate in the carbon market, which is regulated by the Kyoto Protocol and helps industrialised countries to meet their emission targets. It is important to emphasise that the carbon market has the potential to create jobs and generate foreign exchange.


Mr Speaker, the ratification of the amendment does not put any compliance obligations on Zambia, as compliance requirements are targeted at industrialised countries whose commitments will be secured by ratifying the amendment. However, for the amendment to be in force, it requires acceptance of 144 countries out of the 192. As we heard earlier, only 117 had accepted to ratify the amendment as of 3rd October, 2018. Therefore, I urge that Zambia be among the countries that ratify the amendment. We must be on the right side of history. Otherwise, posterity will judge us harshly. It is in our interest to ensure that intergenerational equity is maintained.


Mr Speaker, let me conclude by urging this august House to approve the Committee’s report, which expressly supports the ratification of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol so that the second commitment period can take effect.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, I know that my colleagues at the Backbench are missing me because I have now moved to the Frontbench.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, just debate.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: We are not debating your migration or change of seats.


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, thank you. Peace be with you.


Mr Speaker, allow me to say that the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change must be ratified by Zambia. We are aware, as a country, that there are far-reaching benefits for ratifying such a protocol. I know that Zambia is not yet an industrialised country, as might be expected of most of the parties to the protocol.


Sir, when the signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed that the Kyoto Protocol be ratified, it was very clear that the aim was to reduce carbon emissions to levels that would make the earth very safe. I also think that the main reason was to make the emissions lower, as global warming levels had been escalating.


Mr Speaker, unfortunately, the biggest polluters, who are known, namely the Americas, Canada, Russia and China, are members of the Kyoto Protocol, but they have not ratified it. This sends a very bad signal to Third-World Countries like Zambia. I know that Zambia has committed itself to this initiative because we have a carbon tax for motor vehicles. The aim of that is to contribute to the global effort to reduce global warming.


Mr Speaker, allow me to very briefly highlight a few points for the benefit of my people in Kabwe Central, and my brothers from Chipili and Chimwemwe, who may not know the importance of such a subject. 


Sir, the entry into force of the protocol was in 1997. However, it took a longer period, up to 2005, for the world to accept the reduction in emissions suggested in the protocol. Of the 192 countries that accepted to be parties to the protocol, only about thirty-six have ratified it. The number of State parties required to ratify the protocol is 144, meaning that we are still far below the required number. So, it appears that the industrialised countries are not interested in reducing the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and greenhouse gas emissions.


Mr Speaker, as you might be aware, the biggest contributors to pollution are countries that have industries that produce different kinds of products, such as oil and petroleum, countries that have many aeroplanes and those countries that are involved in the manufacturing and processing of minerals. As Zambia, we are ready to contribute to reducing global warming and the levels of CFCs.


Mr Speaker, there are disadvantages the have been noted by proponents of the protocol. For example, the protocol leaves it to State members like Zambia, the USA and China to decide what their levels of emissions reduction will be. The weakness is that there is no one to see which country is following the protocol and which one is not. However, people agree that the reduction should be about 5 per cent per year. Meanwhile, global warming levels have continued to rise, and we have seen glaciers melt in countries that had not seen the sun before. Even here, in Zambia, sometimes, it is hotter in June than in October. I believe this is making the earth very unsafe for us to live on. In fact, some people believe that if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, within 100 years, we may experience mutations or start suffering more from different diseases like cancer and others that are not known.


Mr Speaker, the other weakness of the protocol is that the bigger economies, such as America, China, India and Russia, have refused to ratify the protocol, as I said earlier. The United Nations (UN) must do more to persuade these giants to fight global warming by obligating them, if they refuse to reduce the emissions, to start paying billions of dollars annually to poor countries so that we can benefit from their negativity. I believe this will change the course of things. They cannot propose a law and, then, refuse to obey it.


Mr Speaker, lastly, Canada, which is one of the most industrialised countries like China, withdrew from the protocol in 2012. The failure by big countries to ratify this protocol and commit themselves to a time frame for reducing emissions leaves it poor countries like Zambia to take the mantle and ratify the protocol. However, the question that comes to mind is: What happens, then? Zambia will ratify this protocol, but what will happen at the global scale? Poor countries will continue suffering because the economy of this world is run by the major industrialised countries that make huge profits from manufacturing, but have failed to ratify the protocol.


Mr Speaker, lastly ‒ I already said “lastly” but, as my brother from Bwana Mkubwa knows, learned people say “lastly” three times. 




Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I wonder why –


Mr Speaker: Then, ‘last’ loses its meaning.




Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I wonder why my brothers in the United Party for National Development (UPND) have been quiet.




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kabwe Central, are you done with your debate?


Mr Ngulube: I am actually winding up by saying that my fellow Backbenchers should have been in the forefront pushing the Government to ratify this protocol, but they have been quite, and I wonder why. Maybe, they are waiting for a time when they will ‒


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kabwe Central, you have stopped debating the topic under discussion. You are now debating your colleagues.


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, my last point is that I know that this kind of debate is a very technical one, as you may see from the people who have indicated to debate.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (Ms Kapata): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Report of the Committee on Agriculture, Land and Natural Resources on the Proposal to Ratify the Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. I also thank your Committee for its hard work in collecting the views of various witnesses and preparing this report for the House. In addition, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabwe Central Constituency, ...


Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!


Ms Kapata: ... and the other hon. Members who have debated or listened attentively for supporting this noble and non-controversial cause. Issues of climate change are real and visible wherever we go.


Mr Speaker, I have taken note of the submissions, and I assure this august House that my ministry and the entire Government is committed to addressing the challenge of climate change and ensuring that the development gains we have made are not compromised.


Sir, as climate change is a global challenge, addressing it effectively requires that we co-operate with the global community to ensure that our domestic efforts are not undermined by a lack of actions to address the challenges by other countries. Ratifying the Doha Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol is important because it will ensure that industrialised countries honour their commitments under the protocol. It is also important to emphasise that the ratification has no cost or emission reduction implication for Zambia, as it is intended for industrialised countries. However, as a party to the protocol, our ratification of the amendment contributes to the number of parties required to make the amendment come into force. On the other hand, once the amendment is in force, Zambia will benefit by participating in a robust carbon market, which could create jobs and generate foreign exchange in the country.


Mr Speaker, as stated in the report of your Committee, the Doha Amendment covers emissions reduction for the period 2013 to 2020, before measures agreed under the Paris Agreement take effect in 2020. This is critical in the overall global mitigation effort to keep the rise in the global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above the temperature levels of the pre-industrialisation period around 1850.


Sir, once again, I thank you, your Committee and the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabwe Central Constituency, who supported the proposal. I also thank all the hon. Members who have supported the proposal silently. I assure this august House that my ministry and the entire Government remains committed to addressing the challenge of climate change and that it will do so in collaboration with the international community.


Mr Speaker, I request the House to support the ratification of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mecha: Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Mongu Central for the able manner in which he acquitted himself in supporting the Motion. Allow me to also thank my younger brother and former neighbour, Hon. Tutwa Ngulube, ...


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, just address him by his official designation.


Mr Mecha: ... the Member of Parliament for Kabwe Central Constituency, and the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources. Lastly, I thank all the hon. Members for ably debating this Motion in conspicuous silence.


Sir, I thank you.


Question put and agreed to.









VOTE 06 – (Civil Service Commission Office of the President – K11,785,787).


(Consideration resumed)


Dr Kopulande (Chembe): Madam Chairperson, when the House adjourned on Tuesday, I was emphasising the need for unity and national purpose in the way we handle our national affairs.


Madam Chairperson, I believe that it will not do for us, especially in this House, to start thinking in tribal terms because cannibalising this country into little tribal enclaves will not deliver the overall development needed by our people. If we continue on that path, what will happen to this country is that na ushalimo akabamo, meaning that no one will be left out. When the results of the cannibalisation of our country come out, everyone will be affected. Indeed, we had a sample of that in Namwala after the 2016 Elections. We must avoid that path and lead our people as a united force, especially from this House. It is important that we allow, at every point, a Government that is elected to deliver on the mandate given to it by the people. For that reason, we must be a united force that will allow the Civil Service to act within its rules. Talking about rules, when I joined the Civil Service in 1991, twenty-seven years ago, we were taught what were called the General Orders, which are now called the Civil Service Regulations. In the General Orders, there were levels of discipline. However, today, the standards in the Civil Service have fallen. The Civil Service Commission (CSC) must up its game to ensure that civil servants adhere to the Civil Service Regulations.


Madam Chairperson, today, when senior civil servants, even at the level of Permanent Secretary (PS), debate disciplinary issues, they do not even refer to any Civil Service Regulation, and that has affected service delivery in the Civil Service, which is the instrument that the elected President and political party use to deliver on its promises to the people. Therefore, we need to do something about the situation. In this regard, I was thinking that we should, probably, talk nicely to Hon. Davies Chama, the Minister of Defence, about the possibility of our taking some erring civil servants to Gen. Nathan Mulenga at the Zambia National Services (ZNS) so that he can instil a bit of discipline and patriotism in them and in the rest of the citizenry.


I thank you, Madam.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


The Chairperson: Mr Shabula, you may take the Floor.


Evg. Shabula (Itezhi-tezhi): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on the Civil Service.


Madam, the Civil Service is a very important wing of the Government. It is not only important in this country, but is found in all governments.


The Chairperson: Order, hon. Member!


I hope I have addressed you properly. I am just being informed that you are a Reverend. I was not aware of that. You are ‘Reverend Shabula’.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!




Evg. Shabula: Madam, thank you very much.


I was saying that all governments, whether in Europe, Asia or the islands, have a civil service. They may use different terms, but it is still the service. Without it, the Government cannot deliver services to the people and people cannot get any services. Therefore, the Civil Service is very important.


Madam Chairperson, to me, the Budget of the Civil Service is very small. The money that has been allocated is too little to cover the necessary activities. The question is: How are we running our Civil Service? In my opinion, we are not doing the right thing in running the Civil Service. For example, when it comes to the workers, the Government is first in abrogating the laws it has put in place. So, the Civil Service is not motivated because workers are not taken care of. No wonder the laissez-faire attitude they portray. There is nothing for them to look forward to having at the end of the day.


Madam, the workers in the Civil Service are not properly handled or cared for. I will give the example of the way people are transferred from one place to another on disciplinary grounds which, in most cases, are mere fabrications. In this nation, few people are enjoying in the Civil Service while the majority are suffering because they cannot get into it. According to Part XIII of the Constitution of Zambia, Article 173(1)(j):


         “The guiding values and principles of the public service include the following –


(j)       adequate and equal opportunities for appointments, training and advancement of members of both genders and members of all ethnic groups.”


Madam, let me also quote Article 173(3)(a) and (b):


“A public officer shall not be –


(a)      victimised or discriminated against for having performed functions in good faith in accordance with this Constitution of other law; or


(b)      removed from office, reduced in rank or otherwise punish without just cause and due process.”


Madam Chairperson, we, the people on your left, would like you to know that our members in various places of this country and those who are not our members, but are merely suspected of being our members, have been punished by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on trumped-up charges. They have been transferred to other places in abrogation of the law I cited. Many of those who have been transferred have been looked at like law-breakers. In most cases, they have not even been given the opportunity to exculpate themselves before being transferred. For example, in the Ministry of General Education, many teachers have been transferred on account of being suspected of being sympathisers of the Opposition while, on the other hand, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government uses the District Commissioners (DCs), who are civil servants, to distribute election campaign materials. Some DCs have been found wearing political party regalia and driving cars without number plates. That is against the law, but they have not been transferred. For example, in my constituency, the DC is everywhere campaigning on behalf of this PF Party, yet he has not been disciplined. It is not only in my constituency, but in all districts that the DCs are used ‒


The Chairperson: Order, hon. Reverend!




Mrs M. Phiri: Amen!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.





Evg. Shabula: Madam Chairperson, before business was suspended, I was about to talk about employment in the Civil Service.


Madam, employment in the Civil Service is for a few people in this country. Certain regions are excluded from appointments and recruitment. I want to tell this august House that some of our parents suffered for the Independence of Zambia. We are not like many of those who go for Independence celebrations and say that their parents shed blood for the Independence of this country. They just say those things. Their parents did not shed any blood. My grandfather sold five animals in order to contribute to the attainment of the Independence of this country. There are people I know whose parents sold their animals for Hon. Jean Kapata and Hon. Lubinda to be Ministers.




Ms Kapata: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson!


The Chairperson: Hon. Member –




Evg. Shabula: It is because of our parents who suffered that she is an hon. Minister today.


Ms Kapata: I am a Minister because my party won the elections, my friend!


The Chairperson: Hon. Rev. Shabula, and the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, resume your seats, please.


Every one of us, including the hon. Reverend on the Floor, is here because of some people who sacrificed for us to be here.




The Chairperson: Hon. Member for Itezhi-tezhi, refrain from mentioning people’s names and focus on the topic.


Continue with your debate.


Evg. Shabula: Thank you, Madam, for the guidance. However, it is true that our parents sold animals.


Madam Chairperson, I still remember the names of the two animals that my grandparents sold. One was Befly while the other was Shimalimbika. The two bulls were sold so that President Kaunda could have the money to go to London. That was a contribution towards the £800 that was needed. The grandfathers to Hon. Mubukwanu and Hon. Lubinda failed to even contribute an igwala but, today, their grandsons are hon. Ministers.




Evg. Shabula: The issue here is that we made personal sacrifices. If you go to my village, the people there will confirm what I am saying. Some other people I know who sacrificed are the grandparents to Hon. Gary Nkombo, Hon. Hamukale, the hon. Member for Bweengwa and Hon. Lubezhi. They did that in order for many of these brothers and sisters of mine to be here.


The Chairperson: Alright, hon. Reverend, you have belaboured that point. Let us move on.


Evg. Shabula: Today, we are being sneezed on, yet we are supposed to be the ones seated on the right and those on the right are supposed to be where we are.




Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Evg. Shabula: Yes, we are supposed to be there. Actually, those who are on the right should not even have been in this House. They should have been outside.




Evg. Shabula: What I am trying to say is that –


Mr Lubinda entered the assembly Chamber.


Evg. Shabula: I have seen Hon. Lubinda. It is good that our grandparents did what they did so he can be here.


Madam, we want a Civil Service that will provide a service to the people of Zambia without looking at their colour, tribe or similar factors. That is the point. Everyone should enjoy in this country, not only a few people like Hon. Lubinda. That is what we want to see.


Mr Lubinda: On point of order, Madam Chairperson.




The Chairperson: Resume your seat, hon. Minister.


Mr Lubinda resumed his seat.


Evg. Shabula: Madam, in my hands are some annual reports. This is a House of facts, not rumours. This report (waving a document) shows that the board members and the management team of the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) are all from one tribe.


Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!


Ms Chalikosa: They have the qualifications!


Evg. Shabula: There is evidence. The Ministry of Home Affairs Annual Report shows that starting from the hon. Minister going down to here (indicating a part of a document), the positions are held by people from one tribe.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Evg. Shabula: This is the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Annual Report (waving a document). The hon. Minister and all the people down to here belong to one tribe.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


The Chairperson: Order, hon. Reverend!


Resume your seat.


Evg. Shabula resumed his seat.


The Chairperson: That kind of debate will obviously attract a reaction.




Hon. UPND Member: You want evidence?


The Chairperson: As you know, there is no way you can know that every member of staff in those ministries you are talking about is from one region. You looked at the names, I suppose, and concluded that the individuals are from particular areas. However, I do not think that helps to unite this nation. We should not take that route in our debates as hon. Members of Parliament. Generally, the point was made yesterday. So, I do not see why you are taking that route again. You have debated generally on that point. So, please, move on to the next issue. Further, let us focus on the Budget and things that unite us, not those that divide us.


Continue with your debate.


Evg. Shabula: Thank you, Madam Chairperson. However, I want to say that it is important for this House to have what is called cross pollination of ideas. Otherwise, our system will be stunted. In other words, the people who are supposed to be helped in running this nation will run their race without any help. What I am saying here are facts. Maybe, we do not want facts anymore. We have been told that this House wants facts, and I have brought out facts here. I do not know what more I need to do.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Evg. Shabula: Madam Chairperson, all I can say, if the facts I mentioned are not accepted, is that President Kaunda introduced the “One Zambia, One Nation” motto, but we have moved away from it and it has just become a watch word, not a motto. A watch word is a word you use carelessly in order to achieve something. Therefore, when we say “One Zambia, One Nation” at the moment, it has no meaning at all. How I wish President Kaunda can, one day, hold a meeting with us to bring us together and help us understand that there is only one Zambia and that we are one. I wish that could be introduced here. At the moment, the Civil Service is divided. How I wish that somebody on the other side could take notes and accept this criticism or whatever it is. Those who have done psychology know that it does not matter what package counsel comes in. Whether it is packaged in sparkling swaddling paper or in some material in which it will sweat, it is up to our colleagues to take it or leave it. The most important thing is that we have advised them.


Madam, we thank our colleagues and entreat them to take care of God’s people. The people are not theirs.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


Mr Kampyongo: Question!


The Chairperson: Before Hon. Simbao debates, I see that the list of hon. Members indicating is now growing. We have to make progress. Yesterday, a number of hon. Members debated this Vote.


Hon. Member: On Tuesday.


The Chairperson: Yes, on Tuesday, not yesterday. Yesterday was a holiday.


I will allow Hon. Simbao and Hon. Bwalya because the right side has not debated much. Before business was suspended, Hon. Banda was not there. Hon. Mweetwa will debate if he is here. So, I will allow those three names.


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Madam I am grateful for the opportunity to briefly debate this Vote.


I want to start by saying the Civil Service Commission (CSC) is made up of professional people whom the appointing authority believes will find the right people from all over Zambia to work in the Civil Service. I think that these are people who would not want to become irrelevant by being considered biased. I also think that they know their job and how transparent it is. It is easy to identify any elements of bias in their work. I believe that these are people who want to do what is good for the country and come up with an efficient Government. As such, they have to look for people everywhere. We must understand that this country is made up of provinces, and people work in all the provinces. Further, I believe that the commission cannot just get people from one province and fill up the entire country. It is not possible. So, it has to balance where it looks for people to work. As such, these people should not be called all sorts of names that relate to perceived bias. It is not fair, and I think that makes their job very difficult.


Madam Chairperson, if we all have to benefit from the work of the commission, we must believe that when they make any appointment, it is because they have looked across the board and found that person the most deserving of the appointment. It is a pity that we want to politicise very neutral bodies. That is very dangerous. If this is the route we want to take, it will be very difficult for us to come out of it because it will continue this way for a long time even when the allegations are not true. It is also a pity that the people in this House are the ones championing this kind of approach because many people who listen to us trust that when we speak, we represent them, yet it could be that we are just propagating personal intuitions that are really wrecking the country.


Madam Chairperson, you reap what you sow. So, if we start sowing politics in the Civil Service, politics is what everyone will reap from it. We must believe that the people we put in bodies like this commission are neutral. Otherwise, we will not succeed because they are the people we have to work with. We will not get people from outside the country. The people who are appointed to such positions do not have to be us for us to be sure that there is effectiveness and neutrality. There are other people who can do the job, and we must give them the leverage to do their work properly.


Madam Chairperson, when we politicise bodies like this commission, we are just digging our own graves because the people in them will stay there for quite a long time and carry the tag of being biased and political throughout their careers and those who will come after them will carry the same tag. That is the problem. Who will not label them like that? So, let us move away from these things. Let us, please, help the commission because it has a very difficult job. I believe there are 16 million Zambians now, and we are still trying to generate more jobs for them. This means that not every Zambian who is able to work can find a job. The job of the commission is not as simple as we take it to be. So, let us support it. If it makes a mistake, we must point out the mistake clearly without politicising it.


Madam Chairperson, when we say bad things about the commission, we also frustrate the civil servants because they start thinking that their appointment will depend on political or tribal considerations. They will not put in their best because they will always have such thoughts on their mind. They will also start having problems relating with people who are not of their tribe. How will they handle people who will never give them credit for anything they do because they are perceived as having been appointed on a tribal basis? Obviously, their relevance is reduced.


Madam, I beg us to find a way of supporting the civil servants in another way because they are very important in the running of the Government. I would liken them to the trunk of a tree because they are embedded in the running of the Government. The rest of us may be flowers or something else. So, we should ensure that civil servants learn their job properly so that they properly serve everyone, whether in the Opposition, the Ruling Party or outside politics. If we make them feel frustrated by the way we think they have been appointed or recruited, it puts them in a very bad position. So, they cannot stand strong. It is important that we support the civil servants so that, in turn, they can support the Government because the Government needs their support to operate. However, the only way we can strengthen the Civil Service is by strengthening the bodies that appoint the civil servants. We cannot isolate the appointing body from the appointees.


Madam, here is a problem: When Simbao is fired or retired, there will be allegations of tribalism simply because there is no one in the commission whose name starts with ‘Si-’. The truth is that some people have to be retired or fired.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Simbao: So, we need to seriously consider what is happening. If there is a problem ‒ and they say there is no smoke without fire ‒ surely, even if the commission was as bad as claimed by some people, it would not fire somebody simply because he is a Simbao? There will have to be some evidence that leads to me. For example, it is clear that civil servants are not supposed to be actively involved in politics. They can vote for the person of their choice. However, it is a problem for them to be actively involved in politics.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Simbao: Any Government wants very committed people in the Civil Service so that it can deliver on its programmes.


Mr Mwamba: Hear, hear!


Mr Simbao: When I say “Government”, I mean the Executive. For civil servants to be able to deliver on the programmes of the Executive, they must be very closely aligned with the Government of the day. Otherwise, the Government will definitely find it very difficult to deliver on its programmes.


Hon. UPND Members: Ah!


Mr Simbao: Yes. It is as simple as that.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Simbao: Madam, I must say that the Civil Service is getting close to being what it should be, that is, a service that can work with the Government of the day. I am saying so because ‒ Sorry, I have not declared interest ‒ I have worked in the Government, and I know how difficult it can be for a Government to have to work with people who do not want to work with it.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Simbao: So, every Government wants people who can work with it regardless of where they come from. Even in this Government, we have seen people from all over the country working in it because they want to work with the Government of the day. Those who do not want have left. So, let us leave the commission alone to do its work.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: Very mature debate.


Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate the Civil Service Commission (CSC).


The commission, Madam, is basically the vehicle used by the party in Government to deliver on the promises stipulated in the party’s manifesto. It is, therefore, encouraged that public servants read any ruling party’s manifesto so that they are in tune with what the ruling party wants to do for the people. In this regard, I want to adopt Hon. Simbao’s sentiments on the politicisation of the Civil Service as my own.


Mr Mwamba: Hear, hear!


Mr Chabi: Then, sit down!


Mr Bwalya: It is important that we do not politicise the Public Service.


Madam Chairperson, today, I think I need to give credit to Hon. Evg. Shabula for categorically accepting on the Floor of this House that the United Party for National Development (UPND) has members in the Public Service.


Mr Kampyongo laughed.


Mr Bwalya: He was very clear on that. However, it is common knowledge that civil servants must not belong to political parties because they are supposed to be non-partisan in order for them to perform as civil servants. So, I thank Hon. Evg. Shabula for vindicating the Patriotic Front (PF) in this House.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Bwalya: We have been saying that some people have been asked to leave the Public Service because of belonging to a political party called the UPND.


Madam Chairperson, it is sad that we are on a trajectory where we want to use tribe as a tag. One of these days, I may propose that we make the noun ‘tribe’ unparliamentary.


Hon. UPND Members: Ah!


Mr Bwalya: Perhaps, then, we will leave it alone and start speaking as Zambians, and consider Zambia as our tribe. The word has been used several times, and the people are getting jittery about where we, as elected leaders, are taking this country.


Madam Chairperson, the Public Service is an aid for delivering the services needed by Zambians. It is the Civil Service that is given the mandate to implement the various measures we are deliberating on. So, let us allow it to perform professionally and efficiently. It is very sad that we are championing the politicisation of the Civil Service.


Madam Chairperson, we all deserve to be where we are because we were elected by the people. It does not matter who sold animals and how many animals were sold. What about those who protested naked during the colonial days or spent hours, days or months in prison because of fighting for independence? Can their sacrifice be quantified in monetary terms? I do not think it is possible. I do not think we need to go into that line of debate because many people sacrificed during the struggle for independence. Some did it by simply shouting and making the white man run away. So, once again, we need to refrain from that kind of debate. We just celebrated Independence yesterday, and I think that the call to everyone who was in attendance was that we are “One Zambia, One Nation”. We are a unitary State and must work as one.


Madam Chairperson, Hon. Dr Kopulande raised a very important issue, and I want to adopt part of his debate. However, I want to add that in the most developed democracies in the world, such as the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK) and other colleagues of ours who have been on the path of democracy for many years, there are certain categories of jobs that are attached to the political term. I think this is an issue we should explore. In the USA, when there is a change in the Presidency, there is a corresponding change in almost 200 positions because they are properly crafted to implement the aspirations of the political party in power. We should also define the positions that should change hands when there is a change in the Presidency. All those in top jobs must know that their jobs and wellbeing depend on the continued stay of a particular political party in power. This is a progressive suggestion that we should all embrace. Instead of talking about tribalism and ethnicity, we should look at people who will add value.


Madam Chairperson, this House should urge the commission to ensure that civil servants become as effective and efficient as possible. It should also allocate enough money to enable the commission to monitor the performance of civil servants. That is what I expect us, here, to do instead of dividing the country on tribal lines. I do not think we want to be on the wrong side of history by being remembered as the Parliament that propagated tribal and ethnic divisions in the country. So, it is important that we be proactive and intensify disciplinary actions against those who fail to perform and earn money without working for it. It is true that you can walk into the office of a public servant, but only find a jacket hanging on a chair and, for two hours, the person will be nowhere to be seen. Those are the issues the commission should address. A public servant who is expected to report for work at 0800 hours must be in the office at that time providing a service to the people who elected us. As hon. Members of Parliament, I expect us to ensure this is done because the people who elected all of us to this House want roads, clinics and schools. The only way we can deliver quality education, health care, good roads and a good communication network is by having dedicated public servants.


Madam Chairperson, I appeal to the commission that the time has come for it to propagate a change of mindset and attitude towards work in public servants. We are struggling to create jobs, but the public servants are not able to take care of the jobs already created, and that is taking a toll on the National Treasury. The commission needs to ensure that whoever is employed adds value to his/her job and protects it. Thereafter, we can focus on creating jobs. So, even as we approve this budget, my appeal to the commission is that it stops that person who leaves the office at 1500 hours to go home and do his/her personal business at the expense of the taxpayers. If the culprits cannot stop their behaviour, let us flush them out because there are many Zambians who have no jobs and are ready to take over those positions.


Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!


Mr Bwalya: We should insist that is done, and this should be our word to the commission.


Madam, the commission employs on behalf of the President. All civil servants must know that they serve in the name of the President. Therefore, we should not allow some people to use public offices to politick or fundraise for a political party, and the authority to stop that is vested in the commission.


Madam Chairperson, it is my prayer and hope that we will move away from debates that divide the country. Especially, let us remove the tag of ethnicity and tribe so that we can see ourselves as Zambians. During the first observance of the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation at the Lusaka Showgrounds, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu said we should see ourselves as Zambians before segregating ourselves into tribal, religious and political groups. We are Zambians first, and we should remain that way because we can only live in Zambia, the beautiful country that God gave us. God has stopped creating land, and the only land He has given us is in Zambia.


Madam, I urge the commission to pull up its socks and ensure that civil servants do what they are expected to do, including working anywhere within the boundaries of Zambia, which they signed up for when joining the Civil Service. So, there is no need for people to cry foul when a civil servant is transferred to another place to go and render a service. That is normal and how it is supposed to be. When my brother is transferred to another place, I should not cry foul because another person will be transferred to another place. So, as Zambians, we need to accept to work anywhere and be accepted anywhere.


Thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Madam Chairperson, thank you for giving the people of Choma Central Constituency and the United Party for National Development (UPND) an opportunity to add their voice to the debate on the Motion.


From the outset, I would like to ground my very short submission this afternoon in the provisions of the Republican Constitution, particularly Article 2, which provides that:


“Every person has the right and duty to ‒


          "(a)     defend this Constitution; and


          "(b)   resist or prevent a person from overthrowing, suspending or illegally abrogating this Constitution.”


This mandate is not only for us, the hon. Members of Parliament, but also all the citizens of this country. We must resist the abrogation of the Constitution by any person. 


Mr Sing’ombe: Yes!


Mr Mweetwa: Madam Chairperson, Article 259(2) of the Constitution provides that:


“A person empowered to make a nomination or appointment to a public office shall, where possible, ensure that the nomination or appointment reflects the regional diversity of the people of Zambia.”


‘Shall’ is a mandatory term that leaves no room for discretion.


Madam, Article 2 empowers everyone of us, as citizens, to defend the Constitution, including Article 259(2), which requires a person empowered to make public appointments to take into account the representation of regional diversity. So, those who do not understand why we raise issues of regional representation in recruitments, appointments and promotions, must understand that we do it to defend the Constitution. We are not here to talk about tribalism, but about the provisions of the Constitution and the mandate to defend them.


Hon. UPND Members: Yes!


Mr Mweetwa: So, when we see regional diversity being ignored in appointments, you see us come to the defence of the Constitution by talking about the issue. Unfortunately, in the minds of our colleagues, that triggers a tribal perception of what is talked about. Let us elevate the debate to the level of the laws we have ourselves made.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: We are not here to talk about things that do not exist, but to defend the Constitution, which precludes ignoring regional diversity. I hope it is clear to all those who thought they were making a point …




Mr Mweetwa: … when they were, in fact, talking about things that were not in tandem with the Constitution.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: Madam Chairperson, some people have told this House that the Civil Service should be aligned with the Ruling Party and that it should sing the Ruling Party’s song. They have also said that those who are perceived to be anti-Ruling Party are involved in active politics. That is what I heard. Well, it is understood that this Parliament, but the courts in Zambia have already defined what being in active politics means. It means occupying a party position like Spokesperson or Deputy Spokesperson for the UPND like I am. Anybody out there who is sympathetic to the idea of the UPND forming Government in 2021 because of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government’s failure to run the affairs of this country is not taking part in active politics.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: Madam, a sympathiser is not an active member. Therefore, let us not reduce governance to a circus. Those who are in the Executive must be the first to understand what the Constitution provides on various issues. Therefore, they should know how to govern in accordance with the law. They should not come here and debate against the Constitution because that makes a big mockery of this House to citizens who are knowledgeable about the Constitution.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: Anybody has the right to sympathise with the UPND’s aspirations to form Government in 2021 and redeem the economy of this country. In 2011, there were civil servants who sympathised with the PF before it got into power. I am very clear in my mind that without the majority of civil servants sympathising with what the PF stood for then, the party would not have formed Government.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: Therefore, why should the PF turn around today and say that civil servants should not hold a political opinion? Those civil servants just have a political opinion. They do not hold any party positions, and the Government should leave Zambians to enjoy their fundamental civil liberties. It should not become the dictatorship that we once stood up to fight against. Our colleagues on your right should understand politics and the fact that all civil servants have a political preference. That is why they do not all vote for one political party. Having a political preference is an inherent right over which the Government has no power. Therefore, it should not recruit people into the Civil Service based on their political opinion. That is shallow-mindedness.




Mr Mweetwa: Such thinking is below the calibre of leadership that Zambians deserve fifty-four years after Independence.


Madam Chairperson, as regards the Civil Service Commission (CSC), one of the challenges we have noted as the UPND is that there is a lack of constitutionalism and respect for the rule of law in the way certain categories of civil servants operate. For instance, it is trite that Permanent Secretaries (PSs) are heads of ministries as civil servants. As such, the District Commissioners (DCs) are also civil servants. However, if we went to Mangango right now, we would find the DCs campaigning for the PF. When we had a by-election in Itezhi-tezhi, who went to campaign for the PF? It was the PSs, people who are supposed to run the Civil Service from a neutral perspective. That is what is wrong with the PF Administration.


Ms Kapata: Question!


Mr Mweetwa: Madam Chairperson, the UPND has a big problem with the way the PF has gone about administering the Civil Service. The concept of meritocracy has been thrown out of the window by the Ruling Party when it comes to recruitment, placement, promotion and even appeals by civil servants. Nowadays, you have to know somebody in the PF Administration for you to be recruited, favourably placed or promoted in the Public Service. What a shame. For one not to be fired, one needs to be seen to be aligned to the Ruling Party. The Civil Service must be aligned to the Constitution or laws of the land, not to a political party and its whims. Political parties come and go. Similarly, the PF is going in 2021. That is my opinion and, I think, the opinion of many Zambians.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Mr Mweetwa: Therefore, civil servants cannot be asked to align themselves with the PF. Otherwise, what will happen in 2021 when the UPND takes over?


Ms Kapata: We have heard that before.


Mr Mweetwa: Does the PF want us to fire all the civil servants who will be perceived as being aligned to it? That should not be the case. Let us not admire things that we cannot uphold. We admire American democracy and the leadership of President Barrack Obama. Here is what he did: When he became President, he maintained the Secretary of Defence, who was a Republican. Can the PF do such a thing?


Hon. UPND Members: No!


Mr Mweetwa: I think we need to move forward to really start cherishing ourselves as a growing democracy. For instance, in the placement of civil servants, they are haphazardly thrown here and there without matching their skills sets to job requirements. This is one problem we keep encountering in the Public Accounts Committee. We come across many decision-makers who were ignorant of what they were supposed to do because the PF employs its cadres in the Civil Service.


Madam Chairperson, we learnt even in primary school history that Zambia’s economic downfall was partly caused by politicisation of the Civil Service. However, our colleagues on your right still want to take us back to that time and fully politicise the Civil Service. They are acting as if they do not live in Zambia. They can enjoy what they are enjoying alone as politicians, and continue abusing the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) scheme and other public resources, but they should let the Civil Service be professional.


Madam Chairperson, if the UPND is given the opportunity to get into office, meritocracy will be reintroduced, not this kind of administration in which you have to know someone to get a job. Students are graduating, and they want jobs. However, unless they know someone in the PF, they cannot get jobs. What type of Government is this? The people on your right want to go around singing and dancing about being a listening Government. What do they listen to? Is this what was meant by “Dununa Reverse”, the song they were singing and dancing to? Now, look where they have taken the country.




Mr Mweetwa: Madam Chairperson, we have also seen selective retirements in the national interest, and we know that the law provides for it. However, that provision must be applied judiciously because a law does not materialise itself into application. It is given breath and life by reasonable human application. Unfortunately, the PF has been using that piece of law unreasonably to disadvantage certain categories of people. It has misconstrued the law as one that must be used against pro-Opposition public workers. There is nothing wrong with being pro-Opposition, the same way many civil servants were pro-PF before 2011.


Madam, somebody has been saying that we should consider ourselves Zambians before we consider ourselves anything else. If we are Zambians first, why should a doctor, for instance, be fired just because somebody thinks that doctor supports the UPND? Why punish many citizens by retiring such a service provider because of the political preference of the leaders who are already in Government? The fact is that once one goes in, the only other place to go is out. There are no two ways about it.


Mr Muchima: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: So, what is the PF’s problem? It should just serve the people because those on your right are going to leave that place whether they like it or not. Stronger people once occupied those positions and thought they would be there longer than it turned out. They are now out of office. So, our colleagues are also on their way out, and it is important that they create harmony between them and the rest of the citizens.


Ms Kapata: We are not going anywhere!




Mr Mweetwa: Madam, while in Lundazi, President Edgar Lungu said that he had heard the complaints about the selective retirement of people in the national interest, and promised to take action. What action did he take? The moment he came back, sixty-seven officers at State House and sixty-four doctors were retired. Further, in the first quarter of this year, forty to fifty directors in various ministries were called by the Secretary to Cabinet and told to go home as they had been chosen to go and study for Master of Science (MSc) or Master of Arts (MA) degree studies. However, that was a way of retiring them.


Madam Chairperson, where are our colleagues taking this country? When they sit in their privacy, do they think about the victimisation to which they are subjecting the people and assume their victims’ shoes? What if this was done to them or their children? Why should a thirty-two or thirty-three-year-old doctor be retired in the national interest just because someone has reported that he or she belongs to the UPND? Is this the leadership that the PF promised to provide to this country in 2011? I think our colleagues across need to reflect on their actions. They still have two years to do that so that when they are out, at least, the citizens will appreciate the time they spent in office.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Madam Chairperson, I have noted that most contributions on this Motion from the hon. Members on your left have basically dwelt on two issues, namely ethnicity and tribalism in the Civil Service.


Hon. Government Members: Shame!


The Vice-President: I find it a challenge to respond to debates based on tribal sentiments, ...


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: ... especially when discussing our Public Service, because this entity is the Government’s tool for delivering services to our people. It has really rattled me to hear an hon. Member of Parliament on the Floor of this House admit that members of his party are being discriminated against in the Civil Service, for I was not aware that there are United Party for National Development (UPND) members in the Civil Service. I thought there were only sympathisers of the UPND, the Patriotic Front (PF) and other political parties in the Civil Service. However, the admission by an hon. Member that there are actually card-carrying members of political parties in the Civil Service is frightening because such infiltration will undermine the integrity of the Public Service. 




Hon. Government Members: Shame!


The Vice-President: Madam Chairperson, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) is very transparent in the appointment and promotion of civil servants in the sense that it conducts interviews for all promotional positions, and dismissals are subjected to scrutiny by the Disciplinary Committee of the commission. On transfers, the House may wish to note that according to the Terms and Conditions of Service for the Public Service, an officer can be transferred to any station where his or her services are required. On the issue of discipline in the Public Service, the House may also note that the commission, in conjunction with stakeholders like the Public Service Management Division (PSMD), has continued to conduct sensitisation programmes on the Disciplinary Code for the Public Service and on the Code of Ethics. The sensitisation is continuous to ensure that civil servants adhere to the regulations.


Madam Chairperson, the PF Administration will not tire of stating that it believes in taking development to every part of this country without leaving anyone behind. Tribal talk, as we know, has the potential to start a civil war, and this has been said several times in this House. Our people listen to us as we debate and express certain sentiments. As leaders of this country, we should lead by example. The utterances we make are detrimental to the welfare of this country and the people who live in it. The PF Government will not allow the propagation of tribal sentiments.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Lubezhi laughed.


The Vice-President: Yes, hon. Member, you are laughing. I am telling you that the PF will not allow tribal talk for long.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Lubinda: She thinks this is a marketplace.


The Vice-President: We shall encourage the people of Zambia to be proactive in rebuking tribalism in all corners of this country. We want to see development in our country, and there can be no development if we, the leaders, are at loggerheads all the time. Our followers take a cue from our conduct and fight one another on the streets when they hear us talk about matters that divide them.


Madam Chairperson, there are pertinent issues that touch on the running of the Civil Service that I expected the hon. Members to highlight. However, most debates dwelt on matters that are meant to divide us. For example, I expected the hon. Members to talk about the National School of Government, which will focus on skills and human capital development without being tribal. This will ensure that services are delivered to the people, and the training, as civil servants are posted throughout the country, will be based on merit, not tribe.


Madam, it is not possible to discriminate against a person based on his or her name because somebody might be born in the Eastern Province to parents who come from Kabompo. Somebody might be called Muleya Mulenga. So, where do you place that person? Really, under these circumstances, tribe does not matter anymore in Zambia. There is no family in this country where you will not find a mixed marriage. If there are Zambians who are in a position to preserve their ethnicity by marrying from their tribe only, they are lucky or very unfortunate because Zambia is now a mixed grill. Our children do not understand tribalism because they are multicultural. My grandchildren do not know tribe. We cannot even talk about it.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Hon. Member: Wamvwa?


The Vice-President: So, the motto of “One Zambia, One Nation” should echo in this House, and we should take it the outside and live by it.


I thank you, Madam.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Vote 06/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.


VOTE 05 – (Electoral Commission of Zambia – K131,369,992).


The Vice-President: Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to present the 2019 Budget for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).


Madam, the ECZ is an autonomous constitutional body established under Article 229 of the Constitution of Zambia. Since its establishment, the commission has delivered five general elections, in 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016. It has also delivered two Presidential by-elections, in 2008 and 2015, the 2016 Referendum, and several National Assembly and local government by-elections.


Madam Chairperson, Article 229 of the Constitution mandates the commission to carry out the following functions:


  1. implement the electoral process;


  1. conduct elections and referenda;


  1. register voters;


  1. settle minor electoral disputes as prescribed;


  1. regulate the conduct of voters and candidates;


  1. accredit observers and election agents as prescribed;


  1. delimit electoral boundaries; and


  1. perform such other functions as prescribed.


Further, the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016 empowers the commission to perform the following functions, among others:


  1. to make regulations providing for the registration of voters and for the manner of conducting elections;


  1. to constitute conflict management committees and appoint conflict management officers for purposes of resolving minor electoral disputes;


  1. to administer and enforce the Electoral Process Act and the Electoral Code of Conduct;


  1. to undertake voter education in order to sensitise stakeholders on the electoral process in a systematic manner that provides information to targeted audiences; and


  1. to accredit local monitors and international observers.


Madam Chairperson, the vision of the ECZ is:


“To be a model electoral management body that meets the aspirations of the Zambian people.”


The commission’s vision is anchored on Pillar Four of the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), which calls for the creation of a conducive environment for a diversified and inclusive economy.


Madam Chairperson, the commission believes that to be a model electoral management body, it needs to continue providing quality electoral services and ensuring the inclusion of women, youths, persons with disabilities and other marginalised segments of society. The commission’s mission is:


“To effectively manage the electoral process to deliver credible elections.”


The mission statement expresses the fundamental purpose for the commission’s existence, provides the framework within which it operates, and contributes to the attainment of the commission’s vision and enhancement of democratic governance in the country.


Overview of 2018 Operations


Madam, in 2018, the commission conducted several elections for newly-created districts and by-elections. In this vein, it has, to date, conducted the following elections:


  1. two parliamentary by-elections;


  1. thirty three local government by-elections;


  1. two mayoral by-elections; and


  1. six council chairperson elections.


Madam Speaker, in the process of conducting the mentioned elections and by-elections, as part of its mandate, the commission carried out voter education and, through the Conflict Management Committees, handled disputes as and when they arose. It is also the intention of the commission to commence the delimitation of electoral boundaries as provided for in the Constitution. This information is very important for hon. Members of Parliament. The delimitation exercise is a critical pre-requisite to voter registration, which the commission hopes to commence once the exercise is finalised. The exercise is expected to be concluded in 2019.


Budget Estimates for 2019


Madam Chairperson, the ECZ’s Budget estimates for 2019 are based on four strategic focus areas of elections management, corporate image and communications, stakeholder engagement and public outreach, and institutional capacity.


Elections Management


The commission believes that to be a model electoral management body, it will need to continue providing quality electoral services, and ensuring the inclusion of women, the youth, persons with disabilities and other marginalised segments of society in the electoral process.


Corporate Image and Communications


This will entail enhancing the visibility of the commission and reaching out to the public through various channels of communication. Voter education and public outreach will be integral parts of the commission’s communication strategy.


Stakeholder Engagement and Public Outreach


The commission believes that delivering credible elections requires a well versed group of stakeholders who include citizens of the country, political parties, Government institutions, civil society organisations (CSOs), traditional leaders and faith based organisations (FBOs). This entails a focus on stakeholder engagement and public outreach programmes that will include voter education campaigns.


Institutional Capacity


The commission attaches importance to the development of the capacity of its staff and the setting up of structures and systems necessary to the achievement of its core mandate.


Madam Chairperson, the budgeted estimates before the House will enable the ECZ to implement the programmes necessary to achieve the foregoing strategic objectives.


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.





The Vice-President: Madam Chairperson, when business was suspended, I was about to mention that the programmes outlined in these estimates resonate with the commission’s strategic focus. The programmes include the following:


  1. delimitation of electoral boundaries;


  1. intensification of targeted stakeholder engagement to enhance stakeholder  confidence with particular focus on the grassroots, communities and areas with high levels of voter apathy;


  1. enhancement of corporate image building efforts through various initiatives, including the innovative use of digital transformation;


  1. putting the commission on multiple platforms to conduct publicity and voter education activities, and ensuring that the commission collaborates with other institutions to reach out to various communities so as to leverage on resources;


  1. review of electoral laws, such as the Electoral Process Act and the Electoral Commission Act, in order to harmonise them with the amended Constitution and streamline the procedures of the electoral process with a view to increasing the efficiency of the commission;


  1. conduct elections and by-elections that are expected to arise following the delimitation of electoral boundaries and creation of new districts. This is in addition to other causes of by-elections as prescribed under the law; and


  1. intensification of targeted voter education activities with particular focus on schools.


Madam Chairperson, these programmes are in conformity with the commission’s strategic focus and mandate, as provided for by the Laws of Zambia.


I, therefore, seek the support of the House in approving the commission’s budget.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Madam Chairperson, I thank Her Honour the Vice-President for the policy statement on the very vital institution, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).


Madam, I am finding it difficult to give blanket support to this Vote because of the current situation in the country. I invite you and the rest of the House to look at a matter over which I will sound like a broken record, namely the regional representativeness of the people in the commission. Just check on the regional extraction of the commissioners and you will know what I am talking about. However, let not that be the issue. Let the issue be the matter Her Honour the Vice-President raised.


Madam Chairperson, Her Honour the Vice-President indicated to the House that in this fiscal year, there were thirty-three local government by-elections, which is unprecedented. The commission was kept extremely busy because of what one would call greed. Of course, the two mayoral and council chairperson elections were occasioned by the unfortunate circumstance of death. However, the rest of the activities of the ECZ, in my view, could have been avoided had it not been for the insatiable appetite of the Patriotic Front (PF) to prove that it has enough money to buy people and get them to resign at will, thereby keeping the whole country busy for nothing.


Hon. Members: Imagine!


Mr Nkombo: Just to get a ward seat, the PF has kept the whole country busy. This is a country, which has just come out of the 2016 General Election, an election that since Independence, took the country on the nearest approach to social disorder. It was the worst election we have ever held, even going by the results. If I remember the results correctly, the current President got 1,860,877 votes while Mr Hakainde Hichilema got 1,760,347, making a difference of only 100,000. However, that is not where my issue is. My point is that such an election, which was so close to call and mishandled by the ECZ, in my view again, should be the last the commission will mishandle. Otherwise, the commission will set this country on fire one day.


Hon. Government Members: Aah!


Mr Nkombo: Madam, I am giving free advice. If the ECZ continues to mishandle elections of this magnitude, it will set this country on fire one day. However, we do not want that to happen.


Hon. Government Members: Question!




Mr Nkombo: We simply do not want that to happen.


 Madam, the facts speak for themselves, and I want those who are making the loudest noise to know today because they probably do not read the statistics. The current President is in State House on account of only 13,000 votes, which was the threshold of the 50 Per Cent Plus One requirement.




Mr Nkombo: Madam, the hecklers should understand that when you are halfway up, you are also halfway down and the one who is halfway down is also halfway up.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Therefore, there is a need to have mutual respect. That is where I am driving my point. We have learnt from these experiences that there is a need to have mutual respect and utmost civility for one another. I am speaking to colleagues who, I think, must understand that they are in the Executive on account of 13,000 votes, which were a quarter of the votes I got in Mazabuka Central Constituency.




Mr Nkombo: This is a fact, and I know that sometimes the truth hurts. So, I will not even respond to the hecklers. I will just drive the point that 13,000 votes are what allowed His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Lungu, to be sworn in. Go and check the facts.


Madam, if my colleagues now realise that – I see from the silence that I have, maybe, pierced the bubble in those who were making noise. Please, just have respect for us. In return, we will also respect you.


Madam, since the 2016 Election, we have passed two budgets for the ECZ. However, some of us know, for instance, that the donor community, led by the European Union (EU), has offered about €7 million from the money that remained from the 2016 General Election to assist this country to undertake electoral reforms. The initiative will diminish the chances of the recurrence of the shenanigans that result from our weak laws and the non-application of the Electoral Process Act, which the Vice-President spoke about here. We are talking about pursuing a route that will give us a truly autonomous electoral body.


Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!


Mr Livune: Oh, my God!


Mr Nkombo: Madam, I heard Her Honour the Vice-President call this body that can declare mumble-jumbled figures, retract them and, then, declare someone a winner on account of 13,000 votes, autonomous and independent. This is what I am talking about. No wonder in Lusaka, for instance, it is a fact that in most constituencies, the primary source document that authenticates the results from the point of source, which at that time was called Gen 12, but is now called Gen 20, was not referred to. Over and above the trouble we ran into as a country – and there was so much self-restraint to keep this country from going down the drain – you also saw an avalanche of petitions that were successful. That is a fact. In Lusaka, this applies to Munali and Lusaka Central and, in Central Province, it applies to Itezhi-tezhi. There are many other examples, but I will give only these. The reason there were so many petitions is that we collectively failed to observe the Electoral Process Act, which is administered by the ECZ. It is that simple.


Madam, it is said that a small match stick can torch a whole forest. Going forward, I just want to appeal to the PF to accept that it is party to the failure of the commission. It has gone about buying councillors and creating unnecessary by-elections. An hon. Member of Parliament even died trying to secure a council seat because he was rushing to get election materials. Meanwhile, the PF went and employed the District Commissioners (DCs) to distribute relief food in Mangango during the on-going election campaigns. Why not take that relief food to Mazabuka where it is equally needed? That is why I am saying it is party to the failure of the ECZ.


Madam, let me quote the great man Theodore Roosevelt. For those who are hearing his name for the first time, Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the great nation, the United States of America (USA), ...




Mr Nkombo: .... who described patriotism in a profound way. I will quote him so that those who think that patriotism is being patronised by a Head of State may understand that is not the case. The truth is that patriotism is to one’s country. Roosevelt’s message, to me, is to the ECZ. The great man says:


“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth ‒ whether about the president or anyone else ‒”.


Madam Chairperson, the truth here is that we have been asking our friends not to take the ECZ into busy non-productive by-elections and to stop buying councillors. As I am speaking, I have evidence of our aspiring councillor somewhere being abducted by the PF and being taken across into Angola soon after filing in election papers.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Nkombo: It is true. I am speaking from experience.




The Chairperson: Order on both sides of the House!


Hon. Nkombo, do you have anything to substantiate that statement?


Hon. Opposition Members: The MP!


The Chairperson: No?


Mr Nkombo: Madam, only one person can speak at a time.


They abducted this man (pointing at Hon. Mubika). Stand up so that they see you.


Mr Mubika rose.




The Chairperson: No. No one is standing up. Please, resume your seat, hon. Member for Shangombo.


Mr Mubika resumed his seat.




The Chairperson: Let us have order in the House!


Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, unless you can substantiate –


Mr Nkombo: I withdraw that so that we can move on. However, if you want evidence, it can be given by the gentleman. Also, it is a fact that in Kasenengwa, our candidate was threatened and his old parents chastised by the PF in Chipata. As a result, he decided to go into hiding, resulting in our not having a candidate. That I can prove. I think it is a strategy, but it is a very poor tactic.


Madam Chairperson, a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. The desperation of those in the PF to remain in Government is written all over their faces like on the billboards of those dununa reverse things they were doing. They have failed to run the country, and this is a fact. They also have over-borrowed –


The Chairperson: Are you still debating the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ)?


Mr Nkombo: Yes. The EU has offered us money to undertake electoral reforms in order to sharpen the ECZ so that there are no shenanigans, fights or bloodshed, going into the next elections. The EU wants the election to come out clean. That is what I am talking about. However, our colleagues are sitting on that offer because they are the ones running the Government. The EU told us soon after the 2016 Elections that there was €7 million to fund the enactment of an electoral law that is not only going to be good for the country, but will also protect the citizens. Our colleagues are the ones who are supposed to kick-start the process. Maybe, they are waiting for Mr Hakainde Hichilema to go to the EU and ask it to start the process. However, that is not possible. We are here busy trying to approve a small budget for the ECZ while our colleagues are sitting on money that can help us to get things right.


Madam Chairperson, I appeal to Her Honour the Vice-President to realise that the sentiments we keep relaying to PF are the true feelings of the people we represent and that it is wise to take heed of what people say. As it has been said, what goes around comes back around.


Finally, Madam, I wish the President can stop being the one who appoints the Commissioners of the ECZ. For the commission to be truly independent, political parties must sponsor people to sit on it. For instance, the PF, the UPND and the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) could each appoint a man or woman to sit on the commission. Obviously, the nominees would be presented here for ratification. Allowing all the appointments to be made by the President is the reason 13,000 votes made Mr Edgar Lungu President. For it to be totally independent –


Mr Kampyongo: Question!


Mr Nkombo: Madam, there was the case of Lundazi where more votes than the total number of people who voted were announced. What do you call that? My friends keep saying “Question!”. Maybe, they like the word. It is fine. The point is that for the Presidency to be protected, the President should not be the one appointing the referee. It becomes easier that way. I remember in the other election, the two hon. Ministers seated next to each other there went and pressured the former Director to declare someone victorious there and then, and the poor lady had no choice, but to do what she was told.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


The Chairperson: I will balance this debate this way: I will alternate among the three sides in giving the Floor. I am now going to ask Hon. Mecha to take the Floor.


Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): I thank you, Madam Chairperson. My debate is going to be very short and focused.


Madam, I have looked at the Yellow Book seen one peculiar thing in it that ties in with the policy statement issued by Her Honour the Vice-President.


Madam Chairperson, this Vote has only one Sub-Head, which is Headquarters. This means that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is fully centralised. Even its activities are highly centralised, yet the problems we are facing are at the polling station, ward, constituency and district levels. This raises a number of questions on how effectively the ECZ can deal with the problems at the grassroots.


Madam Chairperson, I want this House to understand one simple example of what is happening in Chifunabuli at the polling station level. There are serious problems with the way the polling stations have been located. There are polling stations that are supposed to be in one ward, but are actually in other wards. So, one has to by-pass two or three polling stations in one ward to get to a polling station in another ward, and that is very confusing even for an hon. Member of Parliament. These are specific challenges that the ECZ has the capacity to overcome. It is now more than two years, but the problems have not been resolved. I do not know whether the commission is waiting for electoral reforms, but these are simple things.


Madam Chairperson, if you seriously critique the Budget for the ECZ, there is only one important activity, namely Voter Registration, and its allocation is only K75,000. I wonder. The ECZ is committed to ensuring that there is continuous voter registration. However, what can one realistically achieve in a year on K75,000 budget? This is a very serious problem. The reason I have brought this up is that going by past experiences, we want to do things at the last minute during an election year when it is too late to fix the problems. These budgets are supposed to be progressive with respect to providing for continuous voter registration. This is where the ECZ is actually supposed to work collaboratively with the Ministry of Home Affairs through the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship so that we synchronise the systems for national registration card (NRC) issuance and voter registration. At the moment, there is no mobile issuance of NRCs in the outskirts of Chifunabuli because we have not synchronised these processes. We had serious problems registering voters in the constituency because the majority of the youths were left out of the mobile issuance of NRCs. These are serious issues that we must address under the ECZ.


Madam Chairperson, the other issue that attracted my attention is voter education, which has been allocated KI91,000 in the Budget. Again, what can one realistically achieve with that amount? This is also supposed to be a continuous education campaign. Maybe, we need to break this down to what constitutes continuous voter education.


Madam Chairperson, we need to have sufficient materials translated into the many languages that are broadcast on radio so that it is very easy for a common Zambian to understand the messages packaged therein. Dissemination is an important ingredient to voter education. So, when I look at this small amount, I ask myself what can realistically be achieved with it.


Madam Chairperson, I suggest that it is high time Zambia decentralised the activities of the ECZ in order to streamline operations. Currently, I think that the commission is overburdened at the Headquarters. No wonder it has depended on the councils although the councils have never performed to expectations. There are many wrong things happening at various levels, but councils are not communicating them effectively. So, I think that the budget should have addressed these serious issues on the ground.


Madam Chairperson, with those few remarks, I would like to support the budget and encourage the ECZ to identify activities that will have the highest impact on its operations.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


The Chairperson: I must commend you, Hon. Mecha, for saving us time.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Madam Chairperson, I thank you. Before I begin to interrogate the policy statement issued by the Deputy President, …


Hon. PF Member: Vice-President.


Mr Michelo: … let me thank the 2021 in-coming Republican President, Mr Hakainde Hichilema.




Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, protect me before I protect myself.




The Chairperson: Order on my right!


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, let me delve into the policy statement for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).


Madam Chairperson, despite receiving a huge amount of money from the taxpayers, almost annually, the ECZ has continued to perform below par. Regrettably and without any grain of doubt, the current electoral process, beginning from the issuance of national registration cards (NRCs), continuous voter registration, voting, vote counting and totalling, and announcement of results, has failed the people of Zambia.


Mr Mulenga: Where?


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, the ECZ has mismanaged elections and continued to lamentably fail to meet the minimum standards necessary for an election to be deemed free, fair and credible.


Madam Chairperson, under the current ECZ management, as evidenced by the recent experiences, especially in 2015 and 2016, things have not being handled well. Like my brother from Mazabuka Central has already stated, the Gen. 12 Forms were missing in Lusaka. I remember the drama that ensued in Lundazi and Kalulushi and, in fact, the entire country.


Mr Livune: Kanyama!


Mr Michelo: The ECZ has failed the people of Zambia because most of the time, it colludes with the ruling parties.


Mr Livune: Hear, hear!


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, in order to correct the challenges in the ECZ, what our country needs to do is fund electoral reforms through this Parliament. The country needs electoral reforms and a truly independent ECZ, not the one that is biased and abused by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government.


Mr Kampyongo: Question!


Mr Michelo: We need an independent ECZ.


Mr Mung’andu: Question!


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, with a truly independent ECZ, Zambians will have an opportunity to conduct the much-desired free, fair and credible elections. Once the ECZ stops colluding with the PF to usher in people it thinks can rule Zambians ‒ I think the time has come to reform the electoral processes.


Mr Chilangwa: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, …


Mr Chilangwa: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Mwiinga: Sit down, iwe.


Mr Chilangwa: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Michelo: … this is very essential not only to the development of our country, …


Mr Chilangwa: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Michelo: … but also to reduce tension ‒


The Chairperson: Take your seat, hon. Minister for Luapula Province. I am not allowing points of order because I want us to make progress. I have a long list of people wanting to debate. Please, take your seat, hon. Minister.


Hon. Member for Bweengwa, continue.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune: Just send him away.


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, thank you for advising people of such character.


The Chairperson: Just debate.




Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, the other thing that I would love to share with the House and the people of Zambia is that it is because of the ECZ, which has continued colluding with the PF and putting –


Mr Chilangwa: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


The Chairperson: Withdraw the word “colluding”.


Mr Chilangwa: That is why I rose. He cannot say that.


Mr Michelo: Working in secrecy with the PF to usher in an illegality in the ECZ.


Madam Chairperson, some people have resigned from the ECZ. We want those people to go back and sort out the mess they have created in this country.


The Chairperson: Withdraw the word “mess”.


Mr Michelo: The problem they have created in this country.


Already, three people have resigned because of what the PF did to this country.


Hon. PF Members: Ah!


Mr Michelo: It is not fair for the people of Zambia. There is no way the PF –


Ms Langa: Who resigned?


Mr Michelo: Mrs Priscilla Isaacs resigned. Where is Mr Cris Akufuna?


The Chairperson: Address the Chair.


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, I was trying to tell this lady from Chilanga.




Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, just like my brother said, come 2021, if the ECZ continues at the rate it has been conducting the business of elections, it will put this country on fire.


Hon. PF Members: Question!




Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, we are very worried.




Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, I think you should protect me from these chaps before I protect myself …




The Chairperson: The Chief Whip will help keep the right side in order. The extreme right is becoming …


Mr Michelo: … because I am capable.


The Chairperson: Order, hon. Member for Bweengwa!


Mr Michelo: Thank you, Madam.


The Chairperson: I am speaking. Take your seat.




Mr Michelo resumed his seat.


Mr Mwale: Look at him.


The Chairperson: The Chief Whip will help keep order on his side of the House.


Mr Livune: But he is absent.


The Chairperson: Hon. Member for Bweengwa, please, continue with your debate.


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, …


Ms Kapata: Kwati alipena.


Mr Michelo: I am very worried because you can see the type of people the PF have put in Government.


Hon. PF Members: Ah!


Mr Michelo: Most of them are carrying babies in their heads.


Hon. UPND Members laughed.


Hon. PF Members: Question!


The Chairperson: Order, hon. Member for Bweengwa!


Take your seat.


The right side of the House is not helping matters. This hon. Member needs my total attention. I need to listen to him.


Mr Mwiinga:  Hear, hear!


The Chairperson: This is because of what he is doing. He is using words that he knows I will ask him to withdraw.


Hon. Member for Bweengwa, I do not know why you always have to get to this point. As I have said before, I want you to debate, but you need to respect other hon. Members of Parliament.


Mr Michelo interjected.




The Chairperson: I am just guiding you, hon. Member.


You need to exhibit a level of responsibility befitting an hon. Member of Parliament.


Mr Chilangwa: Maturity.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


The Chairperson: You must respect other hon. Members of Parliament. Whether you accept it or not, the Frontbench is the Executive of this country. They are the members of the Cabinet.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Chairperson: This is your Government, and you have to accept that because it is a fact. However, you have a role to play, which you are doing right now, and that is exercising the oversight function on behalf of the people who sent you here. Please, use the time you have here constructively, not to insult.


Continue. Let us try one more time.


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, I thank you for protecting me.


Mr Mung’andu: It was guidance, not protection.




Mr Livune: You are ‘starting’ him.


Mr Michelo: You know, let me advise the ECZ that if it continues working with the PF in secrecy during the time of elections, …


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Michelo: … we are not going ‒




Mr Chama: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


The Chairperson: Order!




Mr Michelo: We are not going to have …




The Chairperson: Order in the House!




The Chairperson: Order, hon. Member for Bweengwa!


 Do you have any proof that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is working with the Patriotic Front (PF) in that regard?


Mr Michelo: That is what the general public is saying.




Mr Michelo: It is what everyone is saying.




The Chairperson: Order in the House!


So, hon. Member for Bweengwa, you have no proof. Can you withdraw that statement.


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, I withdraw the fact.


The Chairperson: You may continue.


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, the people in the PF Government have brought misery to this country …


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Michelo: … because the ECZ does not manage elections properly. The people of Zambia are very hungry. They do not have food. Some people are not able to have three meals on a daily basis because of the ECZ.




Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, I do not support the funding of the ECZ because it created the drama at the Constitutional Court. Some people do not even understand what fourteen days are.


The fourteen days, Madam ‒


Mr Chama rose.


Mr Michelo: Can you sit down. What is your problem?


Hon. Government Members: Question!


The Chairperson: Hon. Minister, resume your seat.


Mr Michelo: Some people cannot even read. 


Madam Chairperson, figures speak. The time we took our petition to the Constitutional Court, the fourteen days ‒


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, protect me from these chaps who are cry babies.


The Chairperson: Resume your seat, hon. Member!




The Chairperson: Order, in the House!


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, ‒


The Chairperson: I have not asked you to continue. Resume your seat.




Mr Michelo: Come on, get out! Stupid!




The Chairperson: Order, on the right and the left!


Hon. Member for Bweengwa, …


Mr Michelo: Yes, Madam Chairperson.


The Chairperson: … is it possible for you to put your point across using civil language? You have been here long enough, and I am sure you have seen a number of hon. Members debate without insulting. Can you try.


Continue with your debate.


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, you know, sometimes, it is very difficult to debate when people who are carrying babies in their heads are making noise.


Hon. Government Members: Ah!


The Chairperson: Let me tell you what I will do, hon. Member for Bweengwa, if you continue using the language you are using: I am going to curtail your debate.


You may continue.


Mr Michelo:  Madam Chairperson, let me request the ECZ and the PF, ‘once more again’, ‒


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! “Once more again”!




The Chairperson: Order on my right!


That is not helpful at all.


Continue, hon. Member for Bweengwa.


Mr Michelo: Madam Chairperson, this country is ours. The majority of the people who fought for Independence, the majority of them, to tell you the truth ‒ and this is a fact that you should know, including some of these people whose parents and grandfathers did not even contribute a single ngwee ‒


Hon. Government Members rose.




The Chairperson: Take your seat, hon. Members.


Mr Michelo: We, the people who got the Independence ‒




The Chairperson: Hon. Member for Bweengwa, take your seat.




Mr Michelo (addressing hon. PF Backbenchers): Come on … (Inaudible). What can you tell me? Stupid! Fuck you!




The Chairperson: Order on my right!


Mr Michelo: Who are you? Stupid! Ata!


The Chairperson: Order, hon. Member for Bweengwa! Can the hon. Member for Bweengwa be escorted out of the Assembly Chamber.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Michelo: This is not your country. Come on!




Mr Michelo left the Assembly Chamber.


The Chairperson: Hon. Dr Malama, you may take the Floor.




Hon. Government Members: Hammer!


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me this opportunity.


Madam, I applaud Zambians for having created the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and mandating it to administer elections. Year after year, the ECZ has conducted itself above partisan and regional lines …


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Malama: … in declaring results that have been acclaimed not only by our political party, but also by many other people. As you can see, there are Patriotic Front (PF), United Party for National Development (UPND), Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), Independent …


Hon. PF Members: FDD.


Dr Malama: … and Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) hon. Members in this House. Were this institution biased, there would be neither Independent nor opposition political party hon. Members here.


Mr Chabi: Question!


Dr Malama: Things are the way they are because this institution is credible. Further, regional bodies and the European Union (EU) have acclaimed and protected its integrity. So, I commend it.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Malama: Madam Chairperson, the credibility of our elections is always assured. The ECZ has even transitioned the nation from one political party to another. Were it biased, there is no way a sitting and very powerful President would concede defeat like we have seen in this country. We are privileged to have an institution like the ECZ oversee our electoral process. Therefore, I urge us, the politicians who are very keen on getting into power, to recognise what we have and not demonise what is credible.


Madam, I urge that the ECZ be capacitated to reach even the far-flung areas so that the voice of our people is conveyed and translated into the installation of the leadership that is required at the ward, constituency and national levels. However, cheap talk continues to divide this country, and leaders on both sides should rise above that to help in the healing of our nation. The ECZ is doing that by providing a platform.


Madam Chairperson, I will not take much of the House’s time. I just want to commend the ECZ not because I am a member of the Ruling Party, but because the ECZ is helping democracy to thrive in our country in accordance with the standards set by regional and international bodies.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, Hear!


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Madam Chairperson, I want to support the Budget line for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) with some following observations.


Madam, I have two words on my mind that must be well-founded in the ECZ. The first is ‘autonomous’. The ECZ is both a structure and an institution. So, those who have been mandated with the task of managing it must realise the importance of being autonomous, and execute their duties diligently and equitably.


I have an observation on the number of polling stations or districts, especially in the rural areas. I have always emphasised that people walk very long distances to get to polling stations. The people in the rural areas are not different from those in the urban places. Our flesh and blood is the same. Therefore, why should the people in the rural areas be forgotten?


In the past, we have requested that the number of polling stations to be increased, but our requests have not been answered. We are also human beings like other people, yet we walk very long distances during the rainy season, winter and hot season just to go and vote while you sit in your air-conditioned offices. This is not pleasing at all and at no time will it ever please us. We will only be pleased if you give us more polling stations to make the distances between them equivalent to those that people cover here, in urban areas.


Madam Chairperson, how can people walk 10 km from Ngombe to Lyumba and Ngoma to Imilangu just to get to a polling station? Why should we have such a situation? Fifty-four years after Independence, you still treat other people like that. Even though we live in rural areas, we are also human beings. Feel for us. I know you are human and cannot, therefore, do anything beyond what is humanly possible. However, you have to realise that there are other human beings who cannot all be electoral commissioners. Therefore, you have to serve us.


Mr Miyutu faced where the ECZ officers were seated.


The Chairperson: Hon. Miyutu, why are you looking in that direction?


Mr Miyutu: I am looking at the Chairperson.




Mr Kampyongo: Question!


The Chairperson: The Chairperson is here, not where you are looking.


Mr Miyutu: Yes, Madam Chairperson.


Madam Chairperson, money has been allocated for delimitation of constituency boundaries in the budget for the ECZ. We want the hon. Minister of Finance to ensure that the money reaches the ECZ. We are very serious about this and do not want jokes. We want this money to reach the commission so that the commission is able to reach the rural areas. Let us not just approve thick Budgets like this one (raising up the Yellow Book).


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Miyutu: This is not pleasing at all. We want the K10 million allocated for delimitation of constituency boundaries to be released to the ECZ by the end of December, next year.


This institution has arrears. Our people serviced it by delivering polling materials, but they were not paid. Is that pleasing? I see that K4 million has been allocated to clear arrears, meaning that the commission did not honour its obligation to pay for services and other things.


Madam, the ECZ is talking about voter education. However, that is just on paper. I want practical voter education. People must be educated because it is because of a lack of education that people go to polling stations and do wrong things. As a result, we end up with many spoiled ballots that were bought at a high cost and could have made a difference in the elections in one way or another being thrown in the dustbin. The energy which those human beings used to write was bought. Even the pencils and the energy that the people use to write on the ballot papers are bought, but the ballot papers end up in the rubbish bin because of a lack of voter education.


Madam Chairperson the activities in this budget must be undertaken. We can blame the ECZ for failure to do certain things, but if the hon. Minister of Finance does not release the funds, how can the commission perform? All the activities centre on the release of funds.


Madam Chairperson, let me conclude my contribution by earnestly urging those who are mandated to provide services to the people to not forget the rural areas. If you looked at the statistics from the Central Statistical Office (CSO), you would see that the majority of Zambians live in rural areas, yet their areas receive the least services. My earnest appeal to the ECZ and the hon. Minister of Finance is to serve the people in those areas.


I thank you, Madam.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Simbao: Madam Chairperson, thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate this Vote. I do so with a lot of concern.


Madam Chairperson, for a bona fide Zambian, it is difficult to work at the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). We have generated so much hatred for the organisation that the people who work there find it so difficult to mingle with other Zambians because one way or another, they are made to appear as if they were the ones who cause people to win or to lose elections. I wonder if it was the ECZ that made the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) win in 2008 that made the Patriotic Front (PF) win in 2011. When I looked at the 2016 elections, I found that in the Southern Province, the President of the United Party for National Development (UPND) had 527,893 votes while the President of the PF, who is the Republican President, had 42,909. In the Northern Province, the Republican President got 218,938 votes while the UPND President got 63,719 votes. When I look at these figures, I wonder whether the ECZ conducts elections in the whole country or is there are separate electoral commissions for the Southern Province and for the Northern Province.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Simbao: Madam, I am very sure that everyone here truly believes that the results that were announced for the positions they contested were genuine. It is on the basis of those results that we are in this House, and those elections were conducted by the ECZ. Why, then, do some of us want to demonise the commission so much that it becomes hated? I fail to understand that.


Madam, during elections, I can only vote at one polling station and, then, start waiting for the results. I also see how the votes cast are counted and processed at the totalling centre, and I do not see any problem in that whole process. So, when a person from another party wins, I do not doubt that he/she has won because I see the neutrality of the commission. I do not see in it any interest in making one candidate lose and another win. I do not see it that way.


Madam Chairperson, I do not check how the people from the ECZ do things because I trust them. I, therefore, do not understand why we always blame the ECZ for our inefficiencies. This country would be better if we upheld the work of the ECZ and gave it all the support it needs. I say so because at times, the commission has difficulties reaching very remote areas. So, all who can should come together and help it. For instance, where its officers need to cross big water bodies, we can help by quickly providing the means. Further, where we know the commission needs to do things quickly, we can support it. Then, the ECZ would be one of the best bodies in the country.


Madam, today, it is very difficult for someone to work at the ECZ regardless of where one comes from. Everyone is given a blanket negative label, because the commission is one body, because somebody has lost an election. I wonder why when the PF gets more votes than the other parties in the Northern Province, for instance, people think the ECZ has rigged the elections in favour of the PF. I have participated in five by-elections, but there is not a time when I thought the ECZ had anything to do with the outcome. I have won with many votes and with few votes, but there has not been a day when I thought the ECZ had stolen my votes. So, Zambians must trust the bodies that execute very difficult functions for us.


Dr Kambwili: Question!


Hon. Government Member: What are you questioning?


Mr Simbao: Madam Chairperson, the world over, if an opposition party is to win elections, it has to trust the bodies charged with the responsibility of conducting elections. I heard my brother say, maybe, there should be people from different political parties in the ECZ. However, that will not change anything. There will still be a loser and a winner, and the loser will still blame the ECZ. So, the only thing we can do to help this country is genuinely support the commission. I appeal not just to the hon. Members of Parliament in this House, but also to the people outside to allow the commission to do its best to deliver a winner with whom the majority are and who is acceptable to the country. When the MMD lost, it quickly conceded the loss. It did not blame the ECZ because it understood the work of the commission. The ECZ only declares the winner, not the loser.


I thank you, Madam.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Wisdom!


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for according me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the Floor of the House.


Madam, it was only last week on 18th October, 2018, when we commemorated the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation. Today, I was thinking of two institutions that need repentance, namely the Patriotic Front Government and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Jere: It has been two years since we held the elections, but the country is still deeply divided because of the manner in which the 2016 General Elections were handled.


Madam Chairperson, there are …


Mr Mwewa: On a point of order, Madam.


The Chairperson: Order, Hon. Mwewa!


Resume your sit.


Mr Jere: … many functions that Her Honour the Vice-President has highlighted, and I totally agree with her that this is the body entrusted with the responsibility of managing elections in this country. We all know that an election is a process that begins with educating the people on how to vote and register, the voting day, the more critical issue of ascertaining the results and, finally, the announcing of results. However, because numbers do not lie, like we saw, if the hon. Members of this House had bothered to check what transpired, they would have come across the results from Lundazi, a constituency where the number of registered voters was less than 28,000, but the PF candidate was given 28,000 votes. Since the figures could not balance, there was a public outcry that resulted in the commission reducing the results, and the figures balanced.


Madam Chairperson, if you looked at the elections that were held under the first-past-the-post system, the Presidential election results for all the candidates were shown in percentages. However, in the 2016 General Elections, what we saw was just the turnout. The ECZ was very quick in announcing the turnout percentages, but not the percentages for the votes for each candidate. Why was the commission afraid?


Hon. Government Members: Ah!


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Jere: It is because of what the United National Independence Party (UNIP) had stated, that is, that the few votes the party had got in the election were given to some other candidates, hence the figures not balancing.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Jere: Madam Chairperson, because of the manner in which the ECZ has been handling elections in this country, people have lost trust in it. They have also lost hope. We saw what transpired in Lusaka during the mayoral by-election. That was a clear indication of people seeing no need to leave their homes to go and cast their votes even when the date was declared a public holiday. That must worry the ECZ and the PF.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Jere: In our neighbouring countries that are less populated than Zambia, such as Zimbabwe, the turnout was very good. Out of 7 million registered voters, 4 million to 5 million turned out to vote. Here, it is difficult for people to see the need to queue up for hours and vote, yet we all know the importance of doing so. In that vote are wrapped education, health, and water and sanitation. However, because of the way people are brutalised, first of all, during campaigns – To date, some parties have failed to adhere to the ECZ directive that they remove the campaign posters, as they are dirtying our city. When you land in Zambia, the first things that welcome you are the posters, some of which were put up as far back as 2016. Today, we see the mayor’s portrait all over. Instead of taking it upon himself to clean the City of Lusaka, he is now talking about Wi-Fi.


Hon. UPND Member: Hear, hear!


Madam, the issues of funding are very important. If we are to achieve what we want, we need to fund the ECZ adequately and the process of voter registration should be continuous. We should not see vehicles go to register people only in areas that some people consider their strongholds. What we are doing is a disservice to the majority of Zambians who have the right to freely select the Government of their choice.


Madam Chairperson, we were talking about the independence of this organisation. However, we all know what has happened. People are frustrated by the infiltration of the commission by an invisible hand. While the majority of people are looking for jobs, those in the commission are resigning because each time they want to do the right thing in conducting elections, they are forced to do something else. We all know that a referee needs to be unbiased for him to not ignite a fight. In the event that he becomes like Diramba, you will kill everybody because people will rise up and speak out. It is clear that the 2016 General Elections were not free and fair.


Hon. Government Members: Ah!


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Jere: Madam, we have been having by-elections which, to me, are not free and fair because we see a lot of sugar and mealie meal being taken to areas where there are by-elections. Why are we allowing such a thing? The Social Cash Transfer (SCT) money is flowing here and there. Why do we allow these things to be done only when there is an election? Honestly, should we continue duping our people with bags of mealie meal and, then, forgetting about them after elections? We all know what happened in 2015 when there was a by-election in Mulobezi. The Patriotic Front (PF) Government even moved earthmoving equipment there and pretended that it would grade the road from the turn-off to Mulobezi. However, immediately its candidate won the election, it removed the equipment from there and, to date, nothing has been done to the road. People are having difficulties because they take three days to cover a distance of 90 km. Is this a caring Government when it considers people important only when it is time to vote?


Madam Chairperson, it is high time we started voter education. It is very important. At the end of the day, people should see the need to vote for a Government that will be responsible.


Madam Chairperson, with those few words, I thank you.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me this rare opportunity to debate.


Madam, I remember discussing football with some people once and wondering why the Zambia National Football Team always performed poorly whenever it competed against teams from North Africa, such as Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco. One time, journalists asked, and the Egyptians where quick to tell us that they were always able to predict the passing of Zambian players and, hence, were also able to intercept balls. Similarly, dear colleagues, you cannot be so predictable in your direction whenever you stand up.




Mr Mbulakulima: Everytime you stand up, people are able tell that it is rubbish that will come from your mouth.




The Chairperson: Withdraw the word “rubbish”.


Mr Mbulakulima: Fine.


The Chairperson: Withdraw the word.


Mr Mbulakulima: Madam Chairperson, I withdraw it.


Madam, let me tell you –




The Chairperson: He has withdrawn the word.


Mr Mbulakulima: Madam Chairperson, when I mention my qualifications here, I do not mean to brag. I have a Master of Science Degree in Peace, Leadership and Conflict Resolution.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima: So, I have read on and know how conflicts start across the globe. At the rate we are going, Zambia has passed the stage at which we can have a fully-fledged war because of some people. We cannot allow this kind of situation, colleagues. We cannot.


Hon. UPND Member: Who are you to allow?


Mr Mbulakulima: I am a Zambian.




Mr Mbulakulima: We cannot allow that.




The Chairperson: Order!




The Chairperson: Order on my left!


Hon. Members, you are free to mingle but, in so doing, you must be orderly.


Continue, Hon. Mbulakulima.




Mr Mbulakulima: Madam Chairperson, my heart bleeds. If you analyse what we quarrel over, even children will come and laugh at us, I am telling you.


Hon. PF Members: Eh!


Mr Mbulakulima: If some people want to talk of social exclusion or marginalisation, what is in Mporokoso?


Mr Bwalya: Eh! That you can talk about.


Mr Mbulakulima: What is in Kaputa?


Hon. PF Members: Eh!


Mr Mbulakulima: What is in Chienge?


Hon. PF Members: Eh!


Mr Mbulakulima: What is in Milenge?


Hon. PF Members: Eh!


Mr Mbulakulima: What is in Luwingu?


Hon. PF Members: Eh!


Mr Mbulakulima: Is that what you call development when you claim to be excluded? Let us be fair.


Hon. PF Members: Yes!


Hon UPND Members: Question!


Mr Mbulakulima: You cannot ‒




Mr Mwamba: Lekeni yama alande.




Mr Kampyongo: Na afulwa yama lelo.


Mr Mbulakulima: What keeps us going, fellow compatriots, is hope and confidence. That is all.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima: No, ba Zambia, you cannot continue like this.


Madam Chairperson, this Vote is very clear and straightforward. The only problem we have is that we have politicised the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). As my hon. Colleague from  Senga Hill said, …


Mr Simbao: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima: … were the commission incompetent and biased, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) would not have lost the 2011 Elections.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima: All of us know that where we come from, the counting of ballots is done at every polling station.


Mr Bwalya: Yes!


Mr Mwamba: We know.


Mr Mbulakulima: At every polling station, political parties have polling agents. There are also international and local monitors.


Mr Mwamba: The winning of elections is done there.


Mr Mbulakulima: The winning and losing is done from there.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima: So, how does one blame the ECZ for one’s loss? It is the confidence. If you look at the last elections, in terms of registration ‒ you were here. There was only one ‒   can I call it a round ‒ of registration in Luapula Province ...


Mr Simbao: During the rainy season.


Mr Mbulakulima: … during the rainy season. However, we did not take to the streets.


Mr Mwamba: No.


Mr Mbulakulima: We did not cry foul. However, how many extensions, dear colleagues, were made in your provinces?


Hon. PF Members: Eh!


Mr Mbulakulima: There were several, ...



Mr Lusambo: In the Southern Province.


Mr Mbulakulima: … yet you come here and blame the ECZ.


Mr Mwamba: Eh!


Mr Mbulakulima: It is not fair.


Mr Mwamba: Know your history.




Mr Lubinda: Bauze, mwana.


Mr Mbulakulima: Madam, sometimes, I hear people talk about the difference in terms of votes. However, you will recall that President Mwanawasa won by 29 per cent in 2001, but he came out to be one of the best Presidents. In Zimbabwe, there was a difference of only 30,000 to avoid a re-run, but they did not blame the electoral commission. You may say that this is Zambia and that is Zimbabwe but, even in the United States of America (USA), most of you who followed the elections there in 2012 know the margin by which one of the most famous men in the history of that country, Mr Obama, won when he was challenged by Mitt Romney. He won by 51.1 per cent of the popular vote, compared with Romney’s 47.2 per cent. It is said that Obama, as an incumbent, won his re-election with the fewest votes since Franklin Roosevelt in 1944.


Mr Mwamba: Mwaona?


Mr Mbulakulima: That was in the USA, not in a Third World country.


Mr Lubinda: Ba Jack Mwiimbu, mwaumfwa.


Mr Mbulakulima: So, your barometer or argument …


Mr Mubukwanu: Is faulty.


Mr Mbulakulima: …is faulty.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima: Madam Chairperson, my heart bleeds that we can waste so much time arguing about social exclusion, marginalisation and accusations against the ECZ. Yes, the commission needs help, but it needs the help of the Ruling Party as well as the Opposition. We should ask ourselves how we can strengthen the mechanism for having free and fair elections. We should also look at the financing. I think, for me, these are issues –


The Chairperson: Order!


(Debate adjourned)






[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


(Progress reported)




The House adjourned at 1957 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 26th October, 2018.