Thursday, 11th July, 2019

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Thursday, 11th July, 2019


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












The Minister of Higher Education (Prof Luo): Mr Speaker, let me take this very rare opportunity to render a ministerial statement on the closure of the Copperbelt University (CBU). I shall endeavor to inform this House why the CBU was closed and what has protracted the reopening of the University.


Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, it is very important that I give a brief background and the sequence of events that occurred with regard to this matter. This is intended to refresh the memories of this august House and the nation at large, in case people have forgotten.


Mr Speaker, the university was to conduct early sessional examinations from 1st April to 5th April, 2019. There was a group of students who had failed their continuous assessments and demanded that despite their failing, they be allowed to sit for the sessional examinations. Let me repeat that there was a group of students that failed the continuous assessments, but demanded that they be allowed to write their examinations. This is against the university senate regulations that stipulate that a student had to have obtained, at least, a 50 per cent pass in their continuous assessment before they could write examinations. 


Mr Speaker, from the outset, let me inform this august House that in the week preceding the riots, the CBU management had engaged the student leadership and informed it that the decision relating to continuous assessment and examinations was the preserve of the senate where students are represented and are party to. As such, any decision to address the demand could only be reversed and e considered by the senate. The students were further informed that this provision is a standard procedure for all universities all over the world, and reversing it would compromise the quality of education and lower the status of the university.


Mr Speaker, further, the Vice-Chancellor had met students’ leaders prior to the protests to explain the importance of writing exams and following university regulations. This was after receiving information that the students had called for a class boycott and put in place a Black Monday protest where they would all dress in black. The students actually attempted to sit for examinations after discussions with the Vice-Chancellor, but upon being informed of the outcome of the discussions with the university management, they blocked the entry to examination rooms. After some commotion, the students’ leadership called for a meeting in the multi-purpose hall where the bulk of the examinations were taking place, thereby disrupting the whole examination set-up.  Soon afterwards, they gathered at the monk square where they later decided to trek to the Jambo Drive Campus and a riot ensued after a confrontation with the Zambia Police who had already gathered by the main gate. The students rioted and damaged the cafeteria and looted all the supplies that were in the cafeteria and the nearby shop.


Mr Speaker, it should be noted that the procedure for holding meetings was not followed. Therefore, the students gathered illegally. Following this riot, the students demanded for a meeting with the Copperbelt University Vice-Chancellor and also called me in my capacity as Minister of Higher Education for a meeting. I agreed to meet the students on Wednesday 5th April, 2019, as I was working then on the Copperbelt. Following their meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, the students agreed to proceed to write examinations unconditionally. They dropped the class boycott idea and the first examinations took place the following morning which was on Monday 1st April, 2019.


However, in the afternoon, the students called for a boycott and started blocking the entrance to the examination hall. They also continued with violent protests. Since His Excellency the President of this Republic, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, was on duty in Kitwe on Tuesday 2nd April, 2019, the students representatives requested for a meeting with him. During this meeting, the student representatives apologised for their riotous behaviour which led to the damage of the cafeteria and looting of cafeteria provisions. They assured His Excellency the President of this Republic, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, that this kind of behaviour would not repeat itself.


Mr Speaker, since these students had a scheduled appointment with me the following day, 3rd April, 2019, His Excellency the President referred them to me for further discussions. The student leaders assured him that their concerns would be resolved by a round table meeting. Despite the assurances to the Head of State, His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, on 3rd April, 2019, the students escalated the riots resulting in extensive damage to the school infrastructure and innocent people’s property. They broke into the Office of the Dean of Mines, the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, the Council Office, the Academic Office and lecture rooms of the School of Built Environment and that of the Mines and Mineral Sciences.


Mr Speaker, during that period, I was at Sherbourne Hotel waiting for the students since we had scheduled an appointment. So, instead of coming for the appointment, they chose to go and damage more property. The next plan these students had was to go and burn the multi-purpose facility, which was being used for examinations and meetings. This riot, which occurred on Wednesday 3rd April, 2019, where the students extensively damaged property, was very unfortunate because we had an agreed meeting at Sherbourne Hotel.


Sir, I sat and waited for the students from 1900 hours to 2100 hours only to receive a phone call informing me that the students had rioted and damaged school property. I asked the police to keep vigil so that no further damage was caused to property. On 4th April, 2019, in the company of senior management staff, security wings and senior staff from the Ministry of Higher Education, I visited the university, to assess the situation on campus. During my visit, the students continued to exhibit unruly behaviour and shouted that they wanted the university closed. I also had an opportunity to see the extensive damage that had been caused to the university property. As I had earlier indicated, the lecture theatres of the School of Built Environment and the School of Mines and Mineral Sciences, the office of the Dean of Mines, the Vice-Chancellor’s office, the Counsel Office and the Academic Office were extensively damaged. Following the visit to the university, I held consultations with our security wing which advised that should the university continue to be open, both the public and private infrastructure would be at risk. We were also told that it would lead to a possible loss of lives. This left the Government with no option, but to close down the university on 5th April, 2019 to ensure the safety of innocent lives and property. Consequently, I announced the closure of the CBU.


Mr Speaker, let me remind this august House that when a similar riot happened at the University of Zambia (UNZA), we lost a life. Those who were there, were not blamed for that loss of life, but the Government, and I in particular. It is clear that apart from the invisible hand, the riots are exacerbated by a lack of adequate security in our public institutions, in this case, the CBU campus. This is evident in the porous nature of the campus grounds, student hostels, lecture theatres and several other places at the university. It has been noted by my ministry that during the riot, these places are accessible to both students and outsiders, and this poses a danger to everybody, including the property on campus. While on campus, I saw children run for their lives to go and hide in the nearby bushes as the unruly students ran amok chanting “Close the University” slogans. Unfortunately, since the university is so accessible to outside elements who could also be contributing to the riots, I feared for the lives of these young children.


Mr Speaker, in order to avert the unfortunate circumstance that happened at UNZA, where we lost an innocent soul, on the advice of the security wings, the ministry saw it fit to close this institution until such a time that the security situation at the campus was improved and the damaged property was replaced and a conducive learning environment ensured.


Mr Speaker, in this regard, the Ministry of Higher Education has been working closely with the university management to ensure that the damaged property and infrastructure is repaired and security measures are put in place before re-opening the university.


Mr Speaker, I wish to report that considerable progress has been recorded. To this effect, I will, in due course, announce the date for re-opening the university. For the sake of the lies that are being peddled on social media, let me repeat that considerable progress has been recorded, and I will announce the date for re-opening the CBU in due course. However, as a prerequisite to opening the CBU, the Ministry of Higher Education is working at enhancing security in a phased approach.


So far, we have identified the following as the measures as that need to be taken:


  1. installation of the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) covering the areas within and the outside perimeter of the campus;


  1. creation of a perimeter fence with restriction access points in and out of the university;


  1. introduction of access cards for students and staff to control access to facilities such as the university campus, libraries and hostels.


Mr Speaker, so far, extensive work such as the following has been undertaken:


  1. repairing and strengthening of the perimeter wall fence;


  1. initial works for the provision of electronic access control at the three main gates;


  1. clustering of student residence to provide palisade fencing and electronic unity for hostel entry for hostels;


  1. clustering of learning spaces such as the administration block, library and the multi-purpose facility for similar access control (electronic); and


  1. improved lighting within the university.


Mr Speaker, further, a due diligence study involving our security wings has been completed and at the moment, reputable companies that can implement these security measures have been identified and a short list has been prepared. A call for proposals will be done. The cost of implementing this project has already been determined.


Mr Speaker, in this regard, we have engaged our colleagues at the Ministry of Finance to make these resources available and an initial K10 million has been approved for disbursement. Once these security measures have been implemented at the CBU, we shall embark on similar security measures at UNZA and eventually roll out the same to all public universities and other institutions of higher learning.


Mr Speaker, as a deterrent for students, and to mitigate the costs of repairing the damaged property, the university has been allowed to surcharge all students upon return to the university. The university has gone further to institute disciplinary measures against students that were found to have been responsible for the unrest. Further, student counselling and other welfare programmes will be instituted upon the return of the students.


Mr Speaker, as a nation, we are concerned that despite the Government, parents and guardians sparing no effort or expense in ensuring that students are in school, they continue to exhibit irresponsible tendencies that result in university closures.


Sir, I believe that no amount of anger should ever drive students to riot and damage private property and university infrastructure that the nation sacrifices for by foregoing other social amenities. The Government shall not spare any student, member of staff or member of the public involved in instigating riotous behaviour in our institutions of higher learning.


Mr Speaker, having said so, I wish to assure this august House and the nation at large that it is not the Government’s intention and desire to close any institution of higher learning considering the high premium that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has placed on education. This is evidenced by the continued huge development and investment in terms of development of infrastructure, purchase of equipment, curriculum reviews and training and recruitment of students and staff.


Mr Speaker, let me also ask parents to spend time with their children and counsel them about the importance of focusing on education while in university or any institution of higher learning and not engaging in politics.


Mr Speaker, “education is the great equaliser between rich and poor”, the privileged and the under privileged, and the tall and the short. This is one area where we should all come together and ensure that we take politics out of our university.


Sir, let me conclude by saying to the nation that politics must stay out of education. It is one topic that should bring us, who are in the Opposition or in Government, together and protect the education sector of our country.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


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


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, from the time that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into power in 2011, we have witnessed a lot of closures of universities, which have affected the education sector. We have also witness the PF’s failure to finance education in this country.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has not indicated what measures are being put in place to ensure that one of the major causes of the closures of the universities in this country is addressed, vis-à-vis the failure by the Government to adequately finance university education in the country. What measures are being put in place?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question. I was very clear in my statement. I said that the closure of the CBU was as a result of students who still wanted to write examinations despite having failed. I did not talk about not giving adequate finances to the CBU. I think that there must be a distinction.


Mr Speaker, I just want to remind the hon. Member who asked the question that I used to teach at the University of Zambia (UNZA) ...


Mr Mwiinga: So what?


Prof. Luo: ... and because it has become fashionable for students to riot because of not being paid their allowances, – We need to bring back the issue of allowances. In fact, the measure that we have taken, which no student will complain about, is that they will be paid their money every month. So, the issue of allowances and finances does not even come into the closure of the CBU. It had to do with students. They have now found another reason for rioting. So, must they riot if they have failed examinations? I think that we must speak about these issues. As I said, we are going to destroy education in this country if we want to talk about issues that are not even relevant.


Mr Speaker, with regard to financing universities, I would like to say what I have said before, and these are things that people can even compare. Some of the people asking have had opportunities to go and visit and study in other institutions. Financing for university education is done in several ways. Governments give grants, and the Government of the Republic of Zambia, has, overtime, been giving grants to the universities. The second way in which universities are financed is by the very critical mass that finds itself in the universities through research, consultancies and innovation.


Mr Speaker, we, the people in the education sector, together with my hon. Colleague, the hon. Minister of General Education, have put in place a programme to transform the sector and re-engineer the leadership in education so that we all do our part and there is no blame game. We, as a Government, will do our part and our colleagues in management in universities will do theirs.


Sir, I will come to this august House to give the details of how we are to proceed with our transformation agenda that will include three pillars, namely Promotion of Quality Education, Alternative Financing for Education and Education for Social Economic Development.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for bringing this long-awaited statement that we wanted to table in the form of a Motion, but was high-jacked as she, instead, came up with a ministerial statement.




Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Kabompo –


Mr Lufuma: I am sorry, Sir.


Mr Speaker: No, I am speaking. You cannot speak whilst I am speaking. Can you withdraw that statement? You know what happened. Your hon. Member failed to come. There was no high-jacking. We gave him the opportunity. That is an unnecessary insinuation. Please, withdraw the statement as we proceed.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your counsel. The statement is duly withdrawn.


Mr Speaker, closures of public universities have become more of a norm than an exception, and this is worrying the citizenry of this country because it is a cost to the Government and the tax payers. I am glad the hon. Minister mentioned that adequate security measures have been put in place to mitigate further riots or demonstrations by students.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister keeps insisting that there is an invisible hand behind the riots and demonstrations at the two university campuses in the country. Are the security measures that have been put in place adequate to identify the invisible hand and ensure that it is brought to book and the riots are stopped?


Prof Luo: Mr Speaker, at one point, I talked about the issues of squatting at the university and, obviously, when you have people who are not known by management living in the university premises, this could be a problem. I also mentioned that because of the porous nature of the university, many people traverse the university and attend different meetings.


Mr Speaker, with the installation of CCTV, we will be able to see who is traversing the universities and know if they are not part of the university fraternity. These measures are adequate in that for anyone to access the university, they need to have a card. Further, we will do biometrics of all the students and staff and, sooner than later, the invisible hand will find it very difficult to enter our institutions.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the timely statement to the nation ...


Mr Livune: Question!


Dr Chibanda: ... and for the clearly stipulated future security measures intended to deter any bad behaviour of the students. The hon. Minister has indicated that all the students will be surcharged. Unfortunately, this will affect the innocent students. Is the hon. Minister in a position to tell us how much the surcharge will be? She also stated that disciplinary measures will be taken, and so, the surcharge may be one of the disciplinary measures. Is the university considering expelling the ring leaders as part of the disciplinary measures to be undertaken?


 Prof Luo: Mr. Speaker, I am not in a position to talk about the surcharge. That will be a   management issue. When the university management decides on the charge, they will obviously inform us, and if it is exaggerated, we will give them guidance. In terms of disciplinary measures, I thank God that technology now helps. The six students that were seen organising riots, blocking students from writing examinations and entering the multi-purpose hall to flush out students have been expelled. The four students who connived with them have been suspended. The expelled and suspended students have appealed to management against their expulsion and suspension. They have written to management to ask for forgiveness, but management has stood firm and informed them that the decision to expel and suspend them still stands. The students have since written a letter of appeal to my office, and I will look at their cases on a case-by-case basis and see whether there are any that have been given a heavy charge or those that may be innocent. The surcharge is all part of the disciplinary action, expulsion and suspension.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, does the hon. Minister not think that the indefinite closures of universities are the reason our institutions of high learning are ranked poorly both globally and continentally? This is in view of the fact that the learners are disturbed.


Prof Luo: Mr Speaker, the reasons for poor ranking of universities are many. Similarly, the ranking processes are different. I think one of the rankings that we know, which we are dealing with, is the structure of our education. We need to be in tandem with the international world of also introducing ‘A’ levels in our institutions. If our universities use the first year as ‘A’ levels, the students should exit with some qualifications after one year.


Mr Speaker, regarding the issue of riots, I have said in this august House before that all of us here should come together and deal with the invisible hand. It is this invisible hand that causes the continued closures of the universities. We need to work together and ensure that all the people who are involved with education in our institutions of higher learning are counselled, including our children.


Mr Speaker, let me take this opportunity to inform this House that there is an association of parents and guardians that has just been formed. We have advised them to work with institutions, as opposed to the ministry so that when students are misbehaving, they are in our career centres to work the students. That way, they will know why they are at the university. They will also know that getting a handout of a few thousands of kwacha can destroy their entire life. Furthermore, they will also know that the working life is very short. It is very important that they graduate from our institutions quickly so that they get into the working life and contribute to the development of our nation.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I would like to know if an assessment regarding the damage to the school infrastructure has been made. If so, could the hon. Minister inform the nation, through this House, what the cost for repairing the damaged infrastructure is.


Prof Luo: Mr Speaker, the assessment has been made because the CBU management has even managed to replace the infrastructure that was damaged. Unfortunately, since it is a management issue, I did not think I should come here with the figures. However, I am quite ready to get management to give me the amount in the assessment report, and then I can share that with you.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to know the maximum number of days that a university would close without running a risk of losing an entire academic year. Could the hon. Minister indicate to us if the Copperbelt University (CBU) is also facing this risk?


Prof Luo: Mr Speaker, I do not think there is any written rule on how long the university can be closed. In fact, although there are all these innuendos of closures of the university, I think under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, we have actually done very well.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Hon Opposition Member: Question!


Prof Luo: Sir, let me remind you of an indefinite closure that happened in the previous Governments, when UNZA was closed for over a year, in case you have forgotten or you do not have institutional memory. So, we have done very well because we have not been closing our institutions at will. So, there is no period – at this particular time, I will not open the CBU until security measures are put in place.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I say this because I do not take pleasure in seeing our children rioting every so often. We need to get to the bottom of this problem. We need to know the culprits that are involved and get them punished.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, there are so many universities in this country, but the hon. Minister has not counselled the parents of students who go to other universities. It is only the parents of students who go to the universities under the hon. Minister’s charge whom she has counselled on the need to educate their children to appreciate the value of education. Is the hon. Minister implying that these parents of students who go to universities where they have closures are irresponsible? Is that the hon. Minister’s position?


Mr Syakalima: Answer now!


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament may wish to know that the hon. Minister of Higher Education is responsible for all universities, colleges and trades schools in this country, regardless of whether they are private, under the charge of the church or public. So, when I speak, I do so for every single institution. The policies that we put in place are for all the institutions.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, the question is whether or not the parents of the students in the universities that have been subjected to closure are, for want of a better expression, irresponsible?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, in answering that question, I would like to, once again, read my statement. In my statement, I said, “Let me also ask parents to spend time with their children and counsel them about the importance of focusing on education.” I did not talk about public universities. I talked about parents. So, it would be very difficult for me to talk about irresponsibility. I am talking to all parents, including those of us that are seated in this august House.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, let me start by saying that writing examinations, failure to write examinations or having a dispute over examinations is something that has been there before, but what is new in the universities now, is the lack of adequate funding. For example, at the time the hon. Minister was closing this university, there was a report which indicated that more than 500 students from the Copperbelt University (CBU) had been sent home because the Government could no longer give them bursaries.


So, is the hon. Minister not at risk of picking out the superficial and partial issues causing problems at the CBU and focusing her solutions on that when, in actual fact, the real problems facing these universities is that the Government is unable to fund them? Even if you put up all these security apparatus, if you do not fund the university, those cameras will just be smashed in one week when the students come back. Is she not focusing on the wrong things?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, before I respond, let me just give a preamble. This country is being destroyed by social media …


Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: … where anybody writes an opinion and anybody can tell any lies he/she wants and people say it is correct. I remember reading, on social media, the statement that has been made by the hon. Member of Parliament for Liuwa.


Mr Speaker, applying for a bursary does not mean it has been so granted. That is why we use the word ‘application’. We do not say we are inviting people to come and get a bursary. We say we are inviting applications. If we have a budget, which was actually appropriated by this House, that will enable us to give 2,000 student bursaries and 7,000 students apply, where would I get that money to pay for 7,000 bursaries when we are appropriated money for bursaries for 2,000 students? That is my first answer.


Mr Speaker, the second answer is that being given an acceptance letter to study at the CBU, UNZA or Mulungushi University does not mean one is a student. I think all of us here have received acceptance letters before, but because you cannot fund that acceptance letter, you are not a student.


Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I have said to managements of universities that they better find a mechanism of only keeping students in their institutions that are registered. So, you cannot come here and say 500 students were sent home because you are not a student until you are registered. If you are one of the people that are just squatting in the rooms, you are not a student. A student is that one who has been accepted and registered by the university. It appears there are people on social media that want to create excitement in the nation. Somebody would just post on the News Diggers website or go to Prime Television and start sending innuendos.


Mr Speaker, as leaders here, we must make sure that we are factual in what we do. We must take responsibility because in this august House, we appropriated funds for bursaries of 2,000 students for the CBU and 2,000 students for UNZA. It has been like that for a long time. Why do we want to change it now? I am looking forward to appropriating money for 10,000 students and I would be quite happy to pay for everybody. However, I am limited by what we do as legislators in this august House.


Mr Speaker, let me again talk about funding to universities. If, as leaders of this country, we are going to continue talking about things that we know because we want to politick, that will not help us. All universities in the world, including the ones in Zambia, have many funding models. There is no university that just depends on Government funding. Universities depend on different models of funding. If you have smart students, they will also participate in the funding. That is if they are able to write good bankable proposals that attract money. The lecturers themselves are part of the funding model, through their research activities. That is why when innovators are part of the university fraternity, they are referred to as the crème de la crème because of their levels of intelligence.


Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: This is because they are able to put in place innovations that they sell to an industry, which starts paying back to that particular university.


Mr Speaker, can we depart from this debate and help our institutions to stand and let the people that work in those institutions stand tall because that is where we want to take our universities.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, it appears that public institutions like universities are highly politicised. What measures is the Government taking to depoliticise these institutions?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, that is why I am looking for the invisible hand. This is why I am saying can we all come together and rally behind education. In any country, there are two areas where everybody must converge and these are education and health. Once I find the invisible hand, it will be in trouble.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Chabi: Ah!


Mr Mwiinga (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, from 5th April, 2019 to-date, it is quite a long time. Obviously, the academic calendar of students has been disturbed. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister when the Patriotic Front (PF) Government will re-open the Copperbelt University (CBU).


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I was very explicit in my statement. I said I will not re-open the CBU until the security measures are in place. I want to bring sanity to the CBU and all the universities in the country at large. However, what baffles me most is that those of us who are asking questions here, are very well travelled. We have been to universities and we know that to access a university in most countries, it is next to impossible if you do not have an invitation. Some universities even have people employed specifically to receive visitors at the entrance. The visitor is received with a pass, and the pass allows you to go in there. This is what is coming so that the invisible hand can just sit and do that which it is supposed to do and stop messing about in our universities.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister of Higher Education, the words ‘messing about’ are not part of our vocabulary.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, the invisible hand should stop jumping around our universities.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs Chinyama (Kafue): Mr Speaker, last week, on three occasions, I tried to raise a point of order, which would have been on this matter. I wanted to know why the Government was quiet concerning this issue. So, today, I must commend our hon. Colleagues on your right for coming up with this statement.


Mr Livune: Question!


Mrs Chinyama: Of course, this is after being prompted by that Motion which fell off yesterday –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, you do not have to go with that kind of preface.


Mrs Chinyama: Mr Speaker, I am building up on the question from my hon. Colleague here, concerning the hon. Minister not giving an idea when the university should open. I am a little disappointed because I expect any serious Government to have a work plan and be able to tell us when certain things will be done. Has this Government considered the opportunity cost of keeping this university closed? It sounds to me as though the Government is focusing on dealing with this invisible hand at the expense of dealing with the real issues that are facing our universities. Has this Government considered the opportunity cost in this regard?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I think that it is wrong to put words in people’s mouths. If the hon. Member of Parliament was here at the beginning of the ministerial statement, she would not have made that kind of comment. In terms of our not having a work plan, I think I was very explicit on the activities that we shall undertake to restore order at the university. So, the hon. Member of Parliament should have listened very attentively. I also want to tell her that she will not run my office and she will wait –


Hon. Opposition Members: Question!


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Minister, resume your seat.




Mr Speaker: Order! Let us have order!


Hon. Minister, your colleagues on your left are performing a representative function. I would like to believe that for the time being, nobody wants to cross the Floor and assume offices which are already occupied. Let us answer her question, which is simply on the opportunity cost. This is the problem when we preface our questions with unnecessary comments, some of them totally inaccurate. You provoke this kind of situation. These are supposed to be straightforward issues to transact. This question was a very short one in its sense; what is the opportunity cost? Full stop! However, we want to lace it with comments and drag people into responding to those comments. If they are negative, the response will be negative. I am sure we can avoid this.


Hon. Minister, you may continue.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, the only thing that I would like to say on this particular issue is that if we had to analyse the cost of the repeated repairs to infrastructure, damage to private property and repeated stay away from education due to the many closures that the universities have had since establishment, I think we would see that the amount of money that has been spent is colossal. We also realise that we could have avoided that by closing the universities and putting up security measures which will be a deterrent to further misbehaviour by the students. Therefore, I think that the Government is on track. I am very confident that after we have put security measures in place and move to UNZA and many other universities, we will be saving a lot of money that is going to waste.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Mr Speaker, I also would like to commend the hon. Minister for coming up with measures that will avert riots at the institutions of learning. One of the factors that the hon. Minister brought out is that students failed their continuous assessments. In other words, they achieved marks below the 50 per cent threshold. Could the hon. Minister share with us why this situation at the institution is like that. Why are students recording less than 50 per cent of their continuous assessments?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, this is why we, as the Government, held a summit to interrogate and such problems in our institutions. The outcome of the summit was very interesting in that we are going to spend less focus on examinations. We will now increase the pass mark for continuous assessments from 50 per cent to 60 per cent. The measure will be on problem solving, critical thinking and practical exercises because our students play from the day they are admitted. They play and are all over the place. When they get their allowances, they go and drink and then when we say: “Let us look at your CAs”, we find that they have not passed.


Mr Speaker, I expected this to be the focus of discussion this afternoon. Now, we want to be very strict about this issue. At the moment, universities and colleges are being run this way, but we will change the system so that only 40 per cent will be for the examinations and the rest will be for continuous assessment. When students who have failed the continuous assessments come back to the CBU, but want to write the examinations, I wonder what they will do without the 60 per cent for the continuous assessment. We want to ensure that when our students leave as graduates, they are not a pool of schooled individuals, but a pool of educated individuals who are able to think outside the box. We look forward to their crushing the boxes they have now and building new boxes. When they get into the bigger world, they should be the think tanks of this country and advise us who are leading the country.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, the problem of public university closures has been with us for some time now. Does the Government not think that it would be a good idea to come up with a commission of inquiry which can probe the issues at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Copperbelt University (CBU) considering the problems there are numerous? The Government does not seem to be in charge of the problems at these universities. Why can the Government not come up with an independent commission of inquiry so that the truth can come out?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, some people may mean well by proposing a commission of inquiry. However, I am just wondering how this can be done because when one goes out to carry out research or an inquiry, they need to meet people who are objective or who can give objective information. I am aware that some of the people I depend on had a meeting somewhere in a named institution. I am just wondering what kind of information they would give if they were part of the ones giving out information.


Mr Speaker, we need to introspect and check whether we are genuine and mean well. If I had a different opportunity to talk about the issues affecting our institutions of higher learning, I would not even restrict myself to the closure of the CBU. If I showed hon. Members a list of what is going on at these universities, they would be shocked. As far as the Ministry of Higher Education is concerned, we know even those who go at night to meet named Opposition leaders.


So, let us be very careful with some of the things we are proposing. I would like to invite all hon. Members to join hands and save the education of this country. We need to save the education of this country whether one is in the Opposition or in the Government because all of us here are who we are because of education. Those of us who have had an opportunity to focus on education want our children to be educated as well. We are all looking forward to having better universities and colleges so that our children can be part of the group of men and women who will be identified as the critical mass of this country.


Mr Speaker, again, I would like to reiterate the importance of stopping to politicise education. Any hon. Member who is playing around in our education institutions should, please, stop it. Let us make sure that we build a better Zambia and a better tomorrow.


Sir, the countries which are doing well are those that have invested in education, science, technology and innovation. That is the direction I would like our education sector to take. Let us stop spoiling the future of our children, especially the underprivileged who have no opportunity to go and study abroad.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: We have been at this subject for over an hour now. We have two reports to consider and, therefore, I will take the last interventions from the hon. Members indicated on the screen. For avoidance of doubt, I will mention the hon. Members. These are the hon. Member for Kantanshi, the hon. Member for Chasefu, the hon. Member for Msanzala, the hon. Member for Manyinga, the hon. Member for Mwembezhi, the hon. Member for Lufwanyama and the hon. Member for Katombola.


Mr Livune: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Any hon member whose name will be shown thereafter will be engaging in an exercise in futility.




Mr A. C. Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the elaborate statement. It was educative and gave me an opportunity to acquire more information about the issue. Many parents for the CBU students have been coming to my office looking for information.


Sir, the hon. Minister mentioned that the Ministry of Finance is going to give the Ministry of Higher Education K10 million. I can imagine that this variation created by the Minster of Higher Education is going to deprive other ministries resources to carry out their activities. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether her ministry is considering insuring the university infrastructure. This way, in future, the Government does not have to have the same challenges of bearing the cost of repairing damage to caused to infrastructure, as she explained to the House and the national at large.


Mr Speaker: Before the hon. Minister’s response, I would like to note that her responses have been quite abundant, and so, she has addressed the key responses. So, I hope that moving forward, we can have abbreviated responses.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, insurance is obviously one of the important ways to go, considering the amount of money that has been spent in the past to repair the damaged properties. That is one of the considerations we are making. 


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, the Copperbelt University (CBU) and the University of Zambia (UNZA) are the highest learning institutions in our country. They are the crème de la crème and should, therefore, be leading examples to other learning institutions in this country. The riotous behaviour exhibited by the students should be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians, including everybody in this House.


Sir, the hon. Minister knows the difficulties parents go through to take their children to universities because they are already cash-strained. In her speech, the hon. Minister said that the ringleaders or instigators of the riot, including some who were part of the riot, have been identified. Since these students have been identified, would it not be better to pass the cost to these specific students who were involved in riotous behaviour as opposed to spreading it to every student because some students were innocent? Why can the Government not pass the cost to the ones who have been identified as the perpetrators of that riotous behaviour?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, when one looks at a problem such as this, he/she must appreciate that even hiding information is a crime. So, the so-called innocent students know when the planning of the riot is happening and who is involved. Therefore, we would abate this if they came forward and revealed to management the names of the initiators of the riot. This will serve as a deterrent so that in future, those who will know about such information can inform management about the looming problem so that it can be prevented. Speaking for UNZA, we could have prevented the loss of life which occurred there.


Mr Speaker, some of us have been analysing and interrogating the issues going on in our country with regard to the UNZA and CBU students. Some of these students may never be employed because employers are complaining about some students who have graduated from UNZA and the CBU. Parents spend a lot of money to educate their children, but then afterwards, their children cannot get employed. So, it is in our interest to clean up these universities and ensure this behaviour comes to an end. When it is examination time, students should be available to write examinations. They should also do whatever activities on which assessments are made and take the practical examinations they are given so that we build confidence in the employers in the nation. This is because they also see that the Government is doing something about it.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Higher Education mentioned the fact that security measures have been put in place to ensure that mob psychology is removed. What is the Government doing to ensure that parents and guardians are involved when the students are suspended or sent home? There should be a social contract drawn between the university and those who look after the students. Even hyenas have relatives. We should ensure that when students are sent home, their parents or guardians are involved.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, we are doing exactly what the hon. Member has said. Apart from creating an association of parents, which I mentioned, we have indicated to the Dean of Students that the parents of the expelled students must be brought to the table so that they understand what their children are doing. I spoke to a mother of one student, and this particular parent lives in Muchinga. I asked her where her son lived because he remained on the Copperbelt. I asked her who was paying rentals for the boarding house where her son, who does not work, is living. This is an important question. It is very important that parents participate in what we are talking about. If I have a child in school, and the school closes, but I do not send him any pocket money and so he goes to live in a boarding house, I should be worried. Any parent should be worried and should go and look for their child and take them home. The problem is that parents have relegated the education of their children to the Government. Let us all come to the table as parents, communities and participate in the education of our children. We are going to establish career centres, and one of the functions of these centres will be to bring parents into the equation and talk to them about the education of their children.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Lihefu (Manyinga): Mr Speaker, I regret the behaviour of the students at the University of Zambia (UNZA). The agenda of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is not to leave anyone behind. Does the hon. Minister not think that the long closure of the Copperbelt University (CBU) is disadvantaging the students, hence they are being left behind?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member listened to my answer, he will recall that earlier, I said that when I last went to the university, the students ran amok and asked me to close the university. I simply gave them the pleasure. They wanted me to close it and I closed it.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Jamba (Mwembezhi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Higher Education indicated that there was an invisible hand in the riots at the university. This reminds me of a story of “Mfwiti mfwiti, mfwiti, kuno mfwiti” –


Mr Speaker: What are you referring to, hon. Member, because I am lost.


Mr Jamba: Mr Speaker, I am referring to suspicion.


Mr Speaker: Why not just use the word “suspicion” then?


Mr Jamba: Mr Speaker, I will use it.


Sir, the hon. Minister indicated that those who hide information are as good as those who commit crimes. My good hon. Minister of Higher Education said that there was an invisible hand, which was visible to her, which caused the riot. Why can she not disclose that invisible hand to the State so that it can take punitive measures even if it means cutting off that hand? Where is the invisible hand that is only visible to her?


Mr Speaker: I do not know what we understand by the word “invisible”?


Prof Luo: Mr Speaker, according to the English dictionary, it means I have not seen this hand. When I see the hand, I will definitely report it to the security agencies and they will deal with it decisively.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Fungulwe (Lufwanyama): Mr Speaker, in answering the question from the Leader of the Opposition, the hon. Minister indicated that the reason for the riots at the Copperbelt University (CBU) was the failure by some students to pass their examinations. This was the reason, and not underfunding by the Government. In the recent past, there was a riot at the University of Zambia (UNZA), which resulted in the shooting to death of a student. The scenario at the CBU was caused by the students’ failure to pass examinations. Was it the same scenario at UNZA which led to riots? 


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, in this House, we are supposed to be factual. I do not remember saying that the riot at the CBU took place because the students failed to pass examinations. I also do not remember saying that there was a student who was shot at UNZA. I want to inform the hon. Member that the reason for the riot at the CBU was as a result of students wanting to write examinations even if they failed their continuous assessments.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I have difficulties thanking the hon. Minister of Higher Education because she is failing – 


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Katombola, you have not been invited to pass gratitude. Just ask a question. That is all.


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, a wrong prescription can kill a patient. Other than focusing on the students, has the hon. Minister tried to focus on the management of the Copperbelt University (CBU)? There have been incidents at the institution where people in management have been at each other’s throats. The Vice-Chancellor, lecturers and students can also be looked at. What is the situation concerning the management at the CBU?   


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, the discussion is why the CBU was closed. In this case, any management that would allow a student that has failed their CA, as stipulated by senates all over the world, would not be saved.


Secondly, when we talk about lecturers and the management being at each other’s throats, this reminds me of an interview where the so-called representative of the people he is talking about went to Prime TV. During the interview, he decided to twist what was said concerning Mulungushi University doing well because it was able to produce honey as one innovation of bringing money into the university, apart from the fact that it also sells beef. He also twisted the issue of the praise for the CBU for signing a US$4 million contract with the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) using their specialist information and communication technology (ICT). This too is another way of bringing money into the institution. Instead of admitting that the management was innovative, the representative decided to twist the facts and said that in the interview, it was said that the CBU was the one that was producing honey and selling animals while Mulungushi University was the one that had signed the ICT contract.


Mr Speaker, one of the hallmarks of leadership is honesty.


I thank you, Sir.








452. Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. when the tarring of the Samfya/Lubwe/Kasaba Road in Chifunabuli Parliamentary Constituency will be completed;


  1. whether the project is on schedule;


  1. if not, what has caused the delay in completing the project;


  1. what measures are being taken to expedite the works; and


  1. whether the initial time frame for the completion of the project has been revised.


The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Kafwaya) (on behalf of the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Chitotela)): Mr Speaker, –


Mr Nkombo and Mr Lufuma rose.


Mr Speaker: Order!


The hon. Minister is on the Floor.


Continue, hon. Minister.


Mr Nkombo and Mr Lufuma resumed their seats.


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, the upgrading to bituminous standard of the 113 km Samfya/Lubwe/Kasaba Road will be completed by 30th January, 2020. The project is on schedule as the completion date has been revised to January 2020. Completion of the project as per the initial date of completion was affected by the delay in honouring of Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) due to financial constraints.


Sir, in order to expedite the works, the Government has put in place interventions that will ensure that there is timely payment of interim certificates to the project.


Mr Speaker, the initial time frame for the completion of the project has been revised from the initial completion date of 30th January, 2018 to 20th January, 2020.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, what is the total cost of the works on the Samfya/Lubwe/Kasaba Road?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, the total contract sum for the project is K577,265,999, Valued-Added Tax (VAT) inclusive.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has given 20th January, 2020 as the new completion date for the Samfya/Lubwe/Kasaba Road. However, we are also aware that around December, most of these road construction works are suspended because of fear of heavy rains. I would like to know whether this time around, his ministry has changed or this new date will change again.


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, dates for completion of projects are revised when it becomes clear that the date existing on the contract is not achievable. In this case, as things stand, we think that the January 2020 date is achievable. This date can only be revised if we draw closer and think that there is a need for revision. However, for now, we are happy with this date.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mecha: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for responding positively to my question. The hon. Minister indicated that the Government has put in place measures to ensure that the works on the Chifunabuli Road, which starts from Musaila to Kasaba are completed by 20th January, 2020. Would the hon. Minister be kind enough to the people of Chifunabuli to indicate those specific measures that have been put in place?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, the project was rescheduled because of delays in the payment of interim certificates. The measure that the Government has put in place is to ensure that these certificates are paid promptly so that there is no inconvenience on the part of the contractor to enable him to finish the works within schedule.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, this is a very important road. This road, which can be said to be economical, stretches from Samfya to Luwingu. Is the contractor on site and if he is, how much work has been done?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I can confirm to my hon. Colleague that the contractor BSBK Limited is on site and he has, so far, carried out 47.6 per cent of the work required for the contract to be completed.


I thank you, Sir.




453.  Mr Mutaba (Mwandi) asked the Minister of Transport and Communication:


  1. when the construction of communication towers in Mwandi Parliamentary Constituency will commence;


  1.  how many towers are earmarked for construction in 2019; and


  1. in which areas the towers will be situated.


The Minister of Transport and Communication (Dr Mushimba): Mr Speaker, the Government plans to commence the construction of communication towers in Mwandi Parliamentary Constituency at the end of the third quarter of 2019.


Sir, two towers are earmarked for construction in Mwandi. The two sites chosen are Mushukula and New Mwandi.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mutaba: Mr Speaker, the tower that the hon. Minister has mentioned is earmarked to be erected in Mushukula and was supposed to be erected in 2017. This is according to the strategic plan and report that was released to the hon. Members of Parliament in 2016. What has happened since 2017?


Dr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, certainly, the plans were that we work on some of the sites earlier than now, but as you are aware, the variables of these projects are dynamic. There are many other things that come into play such as funding and accessibility to some sites. Basically, there are many parameters that cause works on some sites to be delayed. I would like to assure the hon. Member that we are going to work on these two sites before the end of this year so that there is coverage in those areas and we serve the people of Mwandi Constituency better.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, the last time we had an engagement over these towers, we agreed that the hon. Minister would circulate a detailed list to hon. Members so that questions such as the one from the hon. Member for Mwandi do not arise. People would have known when and how many towers are allocated to each constituency. Is the hon. Minister now in a position to circulate that schedule for the towers for the whole country?


Dr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, indeed, there was a commitment to update the House regularly. I remember signing documents to submit to Parliament in that regard. If hon. Members have not received those updates in their respective pigeonholes, we can consider redoing it. However, there is a standing instruction from Mr Speaker that I speak to this matter regularly in every Meeting. I am, therefore, hoping that before we close this Meeting, an update on these towers can be given to the House.


Mr Speaker, like I said last time, we plan to finish this project before the end of the year. This puts us almost a year ahead of schedule and we are very happy with that progress.


I thank you, Sir.




454.  Mr Nyirenda (Lundazi) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to rehabilitate the following bridges in Lundazi Parliamentary Constituency:


  1.  Ndonda;
  2.  Kapichila;
  3.  Muthu Wanjobvu; and


  1. if so, when the plans will be implemented.


Mr Kafwaya (on behalf of Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to rehabilitate the bridges in Lundazi Parliamentary Constituency on the following crossing points:


  1. Ndonda
  2. Kapichila; and
  3. Muthu Wanjobvu.


Sir, the Ndonda crossing point is important as it connects Lundazi’s Central Business District (CBD) to Kapichila and Chief Mwase’s area. Kapichila and Muthu Wanjobvu crossing points are also important for providing an all-weather access for the people in the area.


Mr Speaker, these plans will be implemented once funds have been made available.


I thank you, Sir.








Mr Kamondo (Mufumbwe): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Government Assurances for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 20th June, 2019.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Mr Miti (Feira): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Kamondo: Mr Speaker, the Committee was guided in its duties by its terms of reference as set out in the Standing Orders. During the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, the Committee considered forty-nine new assurances and 116 outstanding assurances.


Mr Speaker, the Committee’s observations and recommendations on the various assurances which were considered are documented in the Committee’s report. As hon. Members have had an opportunity to read the Committee’s report, I will merely highlight a few of the assurances.


Sir, on Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014, the then hon. Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education, made an assurance that the construction of King Lewanika University in the Western Province would commence in January 2015, and that the contractor by the name of Datong Construction Limited had been identified. He further stated that the project was estimated to cost K160 million and that it was to be constructed within a period of three years.


Mr Speaker, it has been over four years from the time the assurance was made on the Floor of the House. In May 2019, the Committee undertook an on-the-spot check of the project. It was disappointing to find that there were only fifteen houses plastered and roofed, but with no fixtures. This is worrisome because those houses have been standing there since 2015, and may end up being vandalised as the site is unsecured.


Mr Speaker, your Committee expressed deep concern over the inordinate delay it has taken for the Government to complete the project, which translates into additional costs arising from the increase in material costs and possible vandalism which will call for repairs to the structure. In this vein, the Committee strongly urges the Government to secure funds to complete projects which have been started, especially those that are 80 per cent and above complete.


Mr Speaker, allow me now to draw the attention of the House to another assurance which your Committee dealt with under the Ministry of Health. On 12th July, 2018, the hon. Minister of Health made an assurance on the Floor of the House that Chalokwa Health Post was going to be constructed by Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) of India. This was to be under the project to construct 650 health posts. He further stated that the delay in completing the project was due to the suspension of works by the contractor in 2017. This was  as a result of inadequate funding. He, however, also stated that the Indian Government had approved the refinancing of the project and that works were going to resume by June 2018.


Sir, during your Committee’s long meetings, the Ministry of Health submitted that the contractor re-mobilised in August 2018 to complete works under this lot. The works covered the Southern Province, Western Province and Lusaka Province. In accordance with the contractor’s implementation programme, works were expected to commence in Siavonga District, which included Chalokwa Health Post, in February 2019.


Sir, in May 2019, your Committee undertook an on-the-spot check of the construction of Chalokwa Health Post. It was found that the prefabricated concrete walls that were delivered to the area for the construction of the health post had been damaged and that the 200 bags of cement had caked due to lapse of time. The works on site had not commenced due to financial constraints.


Mr Speaker, your Committee was saddened to find that materials that were sent to the area for construction of the health post four years ago had gone to waste due to passage of time as this is an additional cost to the Government. In this regard, your Committee strongly urges the Government to ensure that once building materials are taken to a construction site, to avoid such losses, corresponding funds to complete the works are also made available.


Sir, lastly, allow me to comment on an assurance under the Ministry of Defence made on Friday, 7th December, 2012, by the then His Honour the Vice-President. He said that the project to reopen Mulungushi Textiles was underway and that there were negotiations with the Ministry of Defence, which owned about 34 per cent of the shares. He further stated that the textile factory was expected to be opened, not as a dairy or piggery farm, within the following year.


Sir, during its meetings, your Committee learned that Mulungushi Textiles had been under care and maintenance since 2007. The plant and machinery support equipment as well as installations were old, hence the need to repair and replace them. Therefore, reopening the company would require a substantial capital investment, and the Government was working with the major shareholder on the modalities of refinancing the project at 34 per cent to 66 per cent threshold. Your Committee further learned that plans were underway to have the ginnery behind the textile reopened as a cotton processing industry and the cotton seeds used for cooking oil production. Your Committee expressed disappointment at the inordinately long time it had taken the Government to reopen the textile factory following the assurance.


Mr Speaker, in this regard, as a way of demonstrating its commitment to reopen Mulungushi Textiles, the Ministry of Defence, in March 2019, sponsored a trip to Kabwe for your Committee to check on the condition of the plant. This visit gave the Ministry of Defence an opportunity to walk your Committee through what the ministry had planned to do for the plant to be operational. Your Committee was pleased with the zeal shown to have the company reopened despite most of the machinery at the factory being obsolete.


Sir, your Committee found that much work needed to be undertaken for the factory to become operational. It was impressed that the ministry was working hard to have the factory reopened. Your Committee is optimistic that the factory will be reopened once all modalities and financial resources have been finalised, given the commitment shown by the ministry. Your Committee urges the Government to ensure that the financing agreement, which was expected to help revamp Mulungushi Textiles, is expedited.


Sir, your Committee further emphasises the need for the Government not to undertake too many projects at once, but to be measured in selecting projects. Your Committee further reiterates that once projects are started, they should be financed and completed within the agreed contract time to avoid accumulation of stalled and abandoned projects.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I wish to thank the Clerk and her staff for their unwavering support to your Committee in its undertakings during this session. Last but not least, I wish to pay tribute to all the Permanent Secretaries (PSs) and their officers who made both oral and written submissions to your Committee during this session.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


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


Mr Miti: Now, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker, allow me to thank Hon. Elliot Kamondo, Member of Parliament for Mufumbwe Constituency and Chairperson of the Report of the Committee on Government Assurances for the able manner in which he has moved this Motion.


Mr Speaker, from the outset, may I appeal to all hon. Members in this august House to support your report because the assurances contained therein affect all of us. They affect all the constituencies across the country, without exception.


Sir, in seconding this Motion, I will premise my debate on two fundamental areas. The first one is the Government’s inability to mobilise adequate funds in order to actualise the assurances contained in your report. The second one is the Government’s failure to supervise these projects adequately. The Report of the Committee on Government Assurances has indicated that the Government is somehow failing to mobilise enough financial resources to actualise the projects that it commits to on the Floor of this House.


Mr Speaker, seeing that hon. Members have already gone through this report, I will only cite a few projects. In Lumezi Constituency, there is a project to do with the rehabilitation of houses for wildlife police officers. This project has stalled. The construction of a police post in Milenge Constituency has also stalled.


Mr Speaker, many projects have stalled. In order to avoid being exposed as having failed to mobilise enough resources, the Government has coined a policy of “prioritising projects that are 80 per cent and above complete”. However, the Government has failed to fund such projects. For example, provincial laboratories in Mongu and Choma that are above 80 per cent complete are still abandoned as there are no funds to complete them. The laboratory in Choma requires only K100,000 for it to be operational, but to date, no funds have been released.


Mr Speaker, Sikongo Boarding School is also above 80 per cent complete, but it is not yet operational as no funds have been released to complete the school. It is your Committee’s appeal to the Ministry of General Education to ensure that by 2020, Sikongo Boarding School is opened. If all comes to the worst, we appeal to the Ministry of General Education to consider partially opening the school to help the community of Sikongo.


Mr Speaker, coming to supervision, your Committee was saddened to learn that supervision of various projects is inadequate. The district planning and buildings officers are unaware of the projects that are taking place in the districts. Supervision is done centrally either at provincial or ministry level, making it difficult for the district planning and buildings officers to supervise these works adequately. I will cite Mumbwa Trades Training Institute where works are ongoing albeit at a slow pace. Your Committee was disappointed when it visited the institute to see the poor workmanship on the houses that are above 90 per cent complete. Your Committee discovered termite-made anthills on top of the concrete slabs and cracks all over the concrete.


Mr Speaker, shrubs have grown on top of the concrete slabs for the administration offices being constructed in Siavonga District, and there are cracks all over the buildings. This is as a result of poor supervision. The construction site of the post office in Siavonga District is a death trap. Your Committee recommended that it be demolished because the building is deteriorating whilst being constructed. The Government needs to work on these areas so that the Committee can erase the assurances from the reports.


Mr Speaker, when I was debating the 2018 Budget in 2017, I indicated that it was a litmus test for 2021 events. It was my first boarding call for the Government. This time around, I am making the last boarding call for the Government. It has to ensure that the assurances it made on the Floor of this House are actualised, otherwise there will be nothing to point at in 2021.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to encourage hon. Members of Parliament to support this report and debate it because it affects their constituencies.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate the Report of your Committee on Government Assurances. In the first place, I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Committee who is the mover of the Motion. I also thank the seconder for a job well done.


Sir, without much ado, as I would not like to waste a lot of time, I will start with an assurance which is at the heart –




Mr Speaker: Order on the right!


Mr Lufuma: … or at the centre of my heart. It concerns the Ministry of Higher Education. I will start with the university college for mathematics and science in Kabompo. In 2012, the late President, His Excellency Mr Sata, bless his soul, announced that this facility would be constructed at Kabompo. To date, it has been one assurance after another. Every time I go to the site, I find that nothing has been done. I have been told that the designs for the project have been done and that the money was secured from the Kuwait Fund for Development. I do not know what is delaying the commencement of the project. I would like to state that when an assurance comes from the “mouth” of the President, respective ministries must move with speed to act on it.


Mr Speaker, I would also like to talk about the 650 rural health posts which the Chairperson talked about. Your Committee’s report contains a schedule of the implementation of the health posts. The North-Western Province has the least number of health posts constructed from the number it was promised. Out of seventy-nine health posts promised, only nine have been constructed so far. If you do your mathematics, this basically means that since 2012, the Government has only managed to carry out 10 per cent of the work. Since we are talking about the pass mark for universities and schools, if I had to rank this implementation, I would say it is below the pass mark of 60 per cent. So, the Executive should pull up its socks and ensure that assurances that are given to the people of Zambia on the Floor of this House are taken seriously and executed with speed. Kabompo and the North-Western Province in general is waiting for the seventy rural health posts it was promised in 2012 when this project was announced.


Mr Speaker, the delays made by the Executive are basically a cost to these projects. I am aware that this was a US$50 million loan from the Government of India. However, because of the delays, an extra US$18 million has been added to the US$50 million. This has happened because the Government has been reluctant to implement projects, despite money being available in regions like the North-Western Province.


Mr Speaker, tarring township roads is a programme that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has stood by. It was one of the programmes that were instrumental to the PF’s election into office. The PF said it would ensure that township roads were tarred if it came into power. However, the North-Western Province is a sorry sight in this regard. Except maybe in one or two districts, no township roads have been constructed.

In Kabompo, we have been assured of the township roads being tarred several times. These assurances began with the former Vice-President, Dr Guy Scott, followed by the former hon. Minister, Mr Yamfwa Mukanga, and then Hon. Yaluma. These people made promises to the extent of telling me, while I was in the Chamber, that they had already organised a contractor called Datong Construction Limited, who was on site and working on the roads. To date, nothing has been done. Those were the assurances I was given by the Government, yet nothing has come out of them. I urge the Government to stand for what it preaches.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development, not the one acting, but the substantive office holder, who is not here, promised in Kabompo that the township roads would be completed before the next rainy season. The hon. Minister promised the residents of Kabompo on camera and in broad daylight, but nothing has been done to date. This is reminiscent of the PF Government. The PF makes assurances, but they are never fulfilled. So, we ask the PF to stand for what it says because there are repercussions of not doing so. Those repercussions will show two years from now. I urge the PF Government to fulfil its promises.


Mr Speaker, on the issue of roads, we only learn about the Link Zambia 8,000 Km Roads Project in writing and through people in other regions. There is no single road in the North-Western Province that has been constructed under the Link Zambia 8,000 Kilometre Road Project. I am referring to the Katunda/Lukulu/Watopa/Mumbeji Road, which is on page 7 of the Committee’s report.


Mr Speaker, we have been assured so many times of the contractor financing initiative. There are changes every time in terms of designs and the contractor on self-initiative. From 2011 to-date, that is, eight years down the line, these assurances have not been fulfilled. The people of Lukulu, Kaoma and Kabompo can no longer wait. I urge the PF Government to do what it can. The PF was elected to act, not preach.


Mr Speaker, the Government promised that the Kaoma/Kasempa Road, the Mumbwa/Kasempa Road, the Manyinga/Mwinilunga/Jimbe Road, the Jimbe Road and several other roads would be part of the Link Zambia 8,000 Kilometre Road Project, yet none of these roads have been touched. I do not know what we have done to this Government that it should continue omitting us on a lot of projects. Meanwhile, we see roads being constructed in other regions. We cannot even talk about Lusaka, but only wonder why there is so much concentration on the capital city. Someone whispered to me that Lusaka has a lot of people, meaning a huge number of voters. The PF wants a lot of votes in 2021, and this is why it is concentrating on Lusaka. The PF should remember that it said it wanted to ensure that projects are spread out across the country and in all corners of Zambia. I plead with the Government to ensure that this corner, the North-Western Province, is covered.


Mr Speaker, Solwezi, our provincial headquarters, is supposed to have police stations, but the project has stalled since 2011. I do not know what is happening with the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, despite his making many assurances. I remember going there and inspecting the project as the Budget Committee. To-date, the police station is still at the same level.


Mr Speaker, meanwhile, the project in Chelston or the state-of-the-art building in Chinsali, which came later, are already functioning. What has Solwezi done to the hon. Minister? I urge the hon. Minister to stick to the assurances he gave to the people of Solwezi. We have seen the construction of the police housing units. We were also assured of the houses being built in the North-Western Province, yet not a single brick has been laid in the province for these housing units. We are part and parcel of Zambia. We also want those police housing units to be built in the North-Western Province. The police are waiting for the houses to be built.


Mr Speaker, we have been assured of Acrow bridges on the Floor of this House for a long time now. The assurance was made somewhere in 2013. Recently, we were informed that the Acrow bridges had been procured and some are in the country. We do not know when the project is starting, but we have several bridges that were earmarked and assured for Kabompo and the rest of the North-Western Province. We request that the Government does not go back on these assurances. It should expedite the implementation of this project because it hinges on development. We cannot have growth in the agricultural and marketing sectors if there are no bridges –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.




Mr Lufuma: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that on page 11 of your Committee’s report, there is the issue of completion of a secondary school in Kucheka. I am afraid Her Honour the Vice-President is not here, but I think the message will reach her. I remember it was during the campaigns for one of the by-elections in Zambezi West when Her Honour the Vice-President promised that a secondary school would be built in Kucheka. That assurance was made on the Floor of the House. To date, the girls and boys walk long distances all the way to Mize and across the Zambezi River for secondary school education. This is unacceptable, fifty-five years after Independence. The Government should endeavour to ensure that a secondary school at Kucheka is built as assured and promised.


Madam Speaker, on page 58, your Committee’s report states that the Government committed itself to constructing a modern market in Solwezi. I am told, as usual, that due to financial constraints, this was not implemented. These financial constraints always happen when it is a project for the North-Western Province. This project of constructing a modern market has since stalled. In fact, it was not even started. So, something must be done about this modern market. Solwezi is the new Copperbelt of Zambia and it is contributing a substantial amount of money to the Treasury in terms of revenues. I think it needs and deserves better with regard to Government assurances.


Madam Speaker, the other issue I would like to talk about is the construction of chiefs’ palaces. When this programme was first announced by the late President Sata, we were the first on the list and it is here on page 68. It seems my colleagues on the right side of the House have not read this report and I have to refer to pages, among other things. The issue is on page 68. The late President Sata, bless his soul, had placed Chief Kucheka’s palace among those to be worked on first. To date, other palaces that came later have been constructed and completed. The construction of the one at Kucheka, in the west bank, has not even started, and one wonders why. What criteria is the Government using to start projects even after assurances have been given, especially by the President of the Republic of Zambia?


Madam Speaker, finally, I would like to talk about this policy of concentrating on projects that are 80 per cent complete. It has been said that because of financial constraints, only those that are at 80 per cent or above will be attended to first. Only after they are completed will the other projects be completed. What the hon. Members on your right, the Cabinet or Administration should know is that there are areas in this country that are served with a lot of facilities such as the Copperbelt Province and Lusaka. Yes, you will find projects that are at 80 per cent complete. However, there are areas that are underserved, where there are also projects at that completion level.


However, we are talking about areas that are unserved such as Kabompo, Mushindamo and Chipili. These also need attention. There are numerous projects that are 80 per cent complete. Therefore, the Government policy to complete projects at 80 per cent and above means we will wait for eternity. Until then, the Government will not move to unserved areas like Kabompo. We cannot wait for that long. The Government will have to have a better policy other than this 80 per cent for it to concentrate on urban areas. No. That should change.


Madam Speaker, in conclusion, what I have seen is that the Executive gives a lot of assurances. There are 110 assurances, and of those, only ten have been completed. That shows that this PF Government has failed to deliver.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Ah!


Mr Lubinda: Ah! Lufuma!


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Madam Speaker, let me thank the Chairperson of the Committee for a well tabulated report. I equally thank the seconder of the Motion.


Madam Speaker, the report has 138 pages. These pages are almost talking about the same matter. There is just the use of different words such as stopped or stalled, but the idea is the same.


Madam Speaker, regarding your Committee’s report, I would like to talk about Kalabo which is a rural district. This report has mentioned that several projects which were started by the Government in Kalabo have stalled. The Patriotic Front (PF) Government started the Link Zambia 8,000 kilometre Road Project, and one of the roads which was supposed to be worked on in Kalabo under this project is the Kalongola Road. This road would have connected Kalabo to the southern zone of this country, and helped the people of Kalabo move through Nalolo, Sioma and Livingstone easily. However, to date, not even a millimetre has been constructed. The Government knows about the bad terrain in the Western Province which makes it difficult for people to travel whether they are driving or walking. Therefore, the announcement by the Government that it would construct Kalongola Road brought excitement to the people of the Western Province as they thought it would make travel to other places in the province easier.


Madam Speaker, the Government announced its plan to construct the road, and people have been waiting day after day for this, but nothing has been done about it. The question now is: Was the plan meant to fulfil the development agenda to service the far-flung rural areas or not?  During the United National Independence Party (UNIP) era, people used to lay grass, branches and trees on this road and cover them with soil so that four wheel drive vehicles would pass there. Over time, people stopped doing that, and the road has not seen any gravel. The Government came up with the plan to construct this road and we welcomed the plan and eagerly waited for the new road to be constructed. People travelling to Nalolo from Kalabo have to use this road that is in a bad state. The newly created Nalolo District entirely depends on this road for transportation of materials to build infrastructure in Nalolo. I am calling it a road, but I think it is just a passage, not a road.  


Madam Speaker, on page 74, the report has talked about the Mapungu/Kalabo Road, a feeder road which joins Mapungu. The construction of this road was started by the Rural Roads Unit (RRU), and we were all happy about it. The RRU started by making culverts and the culverts are still there. In November 2015, the Government told us that because of the rains, it was unable to construct the road and, to date, the construction of the road has stalled. However, money for this project was released, material procured and works started but then it stalled. I do not know what happened, and no officer from the Government has explained to the people of Mapungu why the construction of the road has stalled. I believe that the money was diverted because it is possible for the Government to divert funds meant for the Western Province to other areas, and this Government has done that so many times before. I am not surprised about this, but the question is: Why does it divert money meant for the Western Province? I am waiting for a time when this Government will divert money to the Western Province. All I hear is money being diverted from the Western Province to other places. Money meant for projects in the Western Province is always diverted to other places. Are we, the people from there, not Zambian? We are Zambians; let the resources that have been earmarked for Kalabo in the Western Province reach the area. These are not my words. They are from the people of the Western Province. The people there are inflamed by such things. If the Government continues diverting our money, it is telling us that we are not important in its eyes. This Government is also for the people of Kalabo in the Western Province, and it is very annoying that it releases money for projects in the province and then, the same Government takes away the money from us.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, since you have belaboured this point, I am going to ask you to substantiate that deviation of money meant for the Western Province. Do you have any proof of that?


Mr Miyutu: Madam Speaker, I remember the closest incident happened last week. On Friday last week, Her Honour the Vice-President of this country, in her own words, not hearsay, using that microphone (pointing at Her Honour the Vice-President’s seat) ...




Mr Miyutu: ... stated clearly, that the money which was meant for the construction of Mongu Stadium with a 20,000 seating capacity was diverted.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Miyutu: I am using the word “diverting” as she herself applied it. Therefore, other monies have been diverted in the same way. She went further and said that “investigations have to be carried out.” So, we are waiting for the report of the investigations on why the money was diverted. Mongu is the provincial headquarters of the Western Province and, therefore, it should be serviced well and people should be able to travel easily to that town. We used to travel to Mongu easily, but this time, it takes about ten to twelve hours to travel to Mongu. The copper which is bringing revenue for this Government is being transported on this road that the Government is not attending to. That road has two major obstacles on it. The Kafue Hook Bridge is becoming a threat to our lives as the works on this bridge have stalled. It is the only bridge and it is temporary. It was not meant to last for a long period of time. I appeal to the Government to attend to this bridge immediately. It knows that is a temporary bridge which is not supposed to be used for a long time.


   Madam Speaker, the Tateyoyo/Katunda Road is about 150 km, and it is in a bad state. The contractor was on site, but he/she demobilised, and I do not know why. This road is supposed to connect other areas in the province to the provincial headquarters of the Western Province. The Government has been giving statement after statement on the Katunda/Lukulu Road. This is all happening in the Western Province.


Madam Speaker, as Hon. Lufuma said, the policy to focus on completing projects that are 80 per cent complete is not good for some of us because it is disadvantaging us considering that we have many projects that were started by the same Government. Suffice to say that all the projects have stalled, but the Government is saying it will only attend to projects that are 80 per cent complete. When is it going to attend to our projects? Construction of the Kalabo/Sikongo Road is still at zero. The contractor was on site and it is now clocking two years, yet nothing is being done. This road is supposed to connect Zambia to Angola. The response we get when we ask about the construction of this road is that money is not available. I think the policy to focus on completing the projects that are 80 per cent complete must be revisited.


Madam Speaker, Sikongo Secondary is the only secondary school in Sikongo, and it is over 95 per cent complete. However, it has not been completed. Similarly, Kalabo trades school is at 99 per cent, but the works have stalled. Therefore, this policy of focusing on projects that are 80 per cent complete is not working in the Western Province. Why is it not working? Why is the Government not applying this policy to complete the projects in the Western Province, yet a number of them are above 80 per cent complete? We, the people from the province, cannot beg; we can only ask. I would like to appeal to the Government to complete all the projects that are over 80 per cent complete, according to its policy. The Government declared this policy, therefore, it should walk the talk.


Madam Speaker, the Western Province is not good at crop production, but it is good at animal rearing, and the Government knows that. The programme of constructing provincial laboratories for livestock issues was a welcome move because we knew that we were finally going to be served within the province. However, specimens have to be sent from Mongu to Lusaka. How much time is being spent to do this? If the laboratory was constructed, it was going to be a very good thing. Unfortunately, the works for the laboratory have stalled. Is the Government willing to serve the farmers in the Western Province? The answer is no! Why? It is because the Government has not yet completed the laboratory which is over 95 per cent complete. The Government must look at the things I am talking about because the Western Province is in Zambia. Therefore, when it comes up with a policy, it should make sure that the policy covers all places. It should not segregate.


Madam, I am seeing roads being constructed in Lusaka. Is the Government telling me that Nangwenya Road is more economic than the Katunda/Tateyoyo Road? Is it telling the people of the Western Province that the roads they are making – The Government has a lot of money, but it just does not want us.




Mr Miyutu: It is laying bitumen on top of another layer of bitumen.


Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, the House has rules of debate to follow. I have been patiently waiting to hear the hon. Member on the Floor make reference to the report on the Floor. Instead, he has brought in projects that are not part of the report. It is exciting to talk about projects to our listeners, but we have a report with recommendations to which we are supposed to refer. Further, the hon. Member on the Floor is not a new hon. Member of Parliament.


Madam Speaker, is he in order to insinuate these things when he knows that Kalabo District, where he comes from, used to be very difficult to access and that now, the road between Kalabo and Mongu has been completed? Is he in order to ignore what this Government has done for the people of Kalabo in terms of connectivity? The road between Kalabo and Mongu still stands as the most expensive road in this country.


 Hon. UPND Members: Question!


Mr Kampyongo: Is he in order to insinuate, with his fake emotions, that the people of Kalabo are hated by the Government? I seek your serious ruling because that statement borders on hate speech. We must not accept that in this House. Is he in order to continue on that trajectory in terms of his debate?


I seek you serious ruling.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: My ruling is that I will give the hon. Minister of Home Affairs an opportunity to remind the hon. Member how much the Government loves the people of the Western Province. I will allow that at an appropriate time.


 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Miyutu: Madam Speaker, what is happening in Lusaka is shocking the people of the Western Province because the Government has started removing the bitumen layer from a road which is viable when the people of the Western Province have no tarred roads. Is that how it is going to govern us? Is the Government being fair to the people of the Western Province?


Madam, the hon. Member for Nakonde complained that the works on a road in Nakonde have stalled, yet the Government is laying layers of bitumen on top of another bitumen layer on roads in Lusaka. That is not the way it should govern. We want equity. The national cake should reach all destinations, but not just Lusaka. I do not know whether the Government only makes policies for Lusaka. I would like it to tell us so that other places also make their own policies. Mind you, there is only one Government.



Madam, all these numerous issues I have highlighted should be worked on. The Government needs to read these reports because if it does not, it will not know what is happening. So, it should read them from the first page to the last page. If it wants, it can even tally and see how many projects in rural areas have stalled. Every time, the Government has only one answer that “when funds will be available.” How come the Government is able to secure funds for the roads in Lusaka? I want an answer over that issue. Our projects in rural areas have stalled and the Government is telling us that it will only work on the projects such as the Kalabo/Sikongo Road and the Kalabo Trades School when funds will be available, yet new roads are currently being constructed –


Hon. Government Members: Where?


Mr Miyutu: Someone is asking me where. I can take him where the roads are being constructed. There is a new road being constructed within a space of two metres in Lusaka. This situation is not good, especially for us. Let the Government take these constructions to where they are needed. After all, the people of Kalabo Constituency are not looking for bituminous roads. A gravel road would be enough for them. A gravel road is cheaper. So, the Government should give the people of Kalabo Constituency gravel roads and keep the bituminous roads here in Lusaka.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: If all the hon. Members indicating to debate exhaust the twenty minutes allocated to them, we will not be able to conclude the business on the Order Paper today. So, I urge you to be brief in your interventions. You can still make your point in ten minutes.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Madam Speaker, your Committee on Government Assurances has done an extremely good job. The Committee has been very frank in its report by indicating that there are about 116 outstanding assurances and that there are forty-nine new assurances making a total of 165 assurances on which the Government has failed to fulfil lamentably.


Madam Speaker, the Government assurances give confidence. They are like a guarantee. They raise hope and expectations. The Government assurances give hope to the people of Zambia. So, when the Government assurances are broken, the people of Zambia have no need to trust the party in power. When promises are made and broken, the people of Zambia should question the Government. Those in power, including the President, Vice-President and entire Executive make these promises. However, it is common for them to break the promises these days.


Madam Speaker, the Western Province is lagging behind in development. The poverty levels in the Western Province are high. They are, perhaps, above 80 per cent. So, when the Government makes a promise to the people of the Western Province, it raises their hopes.


Madam Speaker, when the President, Vice-President or an hon. Minister rises and assures the people of the Western Province that a university will be built for them and, thereafter, the Government goes ahead and names it King Lewanika University, this raises the hopes of the people. The Government assured the people that something would be done about it because it had named the university with a revered king’s name. This is a king that is held in high respect who, to this day, is still honoured by the people of the Western Province, yet the Government has abandoned the project.


Madam Speaker, I attempted to remind the Executive, in this House, that the premises of King Lewanika University are being swallowed by shrubs and bushes. I found the hon. Minister of Higher Education’s comments in the visitor’s book, indicating that, “It was not good that the site had been abounded and that she would ensure that construction commences.”


Madam Speaker, she even appended her signature. It was in this House where there was laughter when I talked about the fifteen houses that had been abandoned, as it was insinuated that I had not visited my constituency. I was told that I was commenting wrongly because there was great progress on the project. When the hon. Minister of Higher Education, Hon. Prof. Luo, the Committee and I visited, we all found that there was no progress and nothing had changed.


Madam Speaker, I urge the Government to reconsider the manner in which it is treating the project of constructing the King Lewanika University because it may be misunderstood to be a mockery soon. It would be a mockery because the Government promised something and without any serious explanations, abandoned the project. The Western Province has broken promises. For example, the construction of the Sikongo Boarding School has stalled. There is another school in Libonda which has been abandoned. However, there is one good thing that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is doing. It is always showing off projects that are being finished elsewhere on television (TV). We can see completed schools in other provinces while we watch in anticipation that someday, we will get the development we yearn for.


Madam Speaker, education is highly valued. The hon. Minister said that education is the great equaliser. She even went on to say that the short and tall are made equal by education. So, by abandoning our education institutions, is the hon. Minister telling us that we have to remain unequal? Is that what the hon. Minister is telling us?


Madam Speaker, the Government promised the construction of the Lukulu/Watopa Road, but it has been abandoned it. I would like to urge the Government to consider the people of the Western Province and complete these projects. As my hon. Colleague said about livestock rearing in the Western Province, it is our mainstay. The laboratory in Mongu is almost complete, but the Government continues to ignore it.


There is a need for the Government to honour these assurances. Assurances were given on the Floor of this House on the upgrading of township roads in Sesheke, Kaoma and Mongu. There is very little to talk about these projects. The famous answer, which is given by the Government, is that the project will be implemented when funds are made available. It is my understanding that before the hon. Minister brings an assurance to this House, he/she would have done his/her homework. They would have considered the importance of the project. They would have also appraised the project and taken into account the necessary requirements to complete that project.


Madam Speaker, if, indeed, the Government was serious, it would have even considered the risks that would, perhaps, make that project fail. Once they are satisfied that they can handle the risks, they allocate a budget to the project, and it is on the basis of that budget that they give us an assurance. However, it would appear to me that these assurances are based on politics. Perhaps, these assurances find their origin in loose campaigns and after a promise has been made in a campaign to win votes, they come to this House and follow it up with an assurance. Since these are not well-thought-out projects that originate from mere campaigns, the Government abandons them. I, therefore, would like to urge the Government to reconsider its position on these issues.


Madam, as I wind up, I would like to refer to an assurance that was given by the hon. Minister of Finance to the people of Zambia in the Budget Speech. She said:


“Mr Speaker, centralisation of power, particularly in respect of resource control and decision making, has hampered the attainment of equitable national development. In order to address that, the Government will, in 2018, ensure that the finances required for the provision of frontline public services and infrastructure projects at provincial and district levels are de-concentrated to the provincial administration.”


Madam Speaker, your Committee observed that there has been no progress and that it will continue to await progress. It is saddening to note that with all these pronouncements, very little decentralisation has occurred. Even the appointment of junior staff in the provinces and districts is still centralised.


As I conclude, I would like to remind the hon. Members of this Government that when they make their promises, they put their integrity at risk. Very soon, we will begin to consider them like we do the little tale about the hyena. If you repeatedly shout that the hyena has come and people come out to find there is no hyena, the next time you say the hyena has come, the people will ignore you because your integrity has been compromised.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I will allow debate from the following hon. Members appearing on the screen: the hon. Member for Kafue, the hon. Member for Dundumwezi, the hon. Member for Kasempa, the hon. Member for  Keembe and end with the hon. Member for Moomba, and then I will move to the right. Before the hon. Member for Kafue starts her debate, I again urge hon. Members to be brief in their interventions.


Mrs Chinyama (Kafue): Madam Speaker, thank you and I am most obliged. I will be brief in my debate because I picked just one interesting element from the report. This element talks about the Mulungushi Textiles in Kabwe. On page 34 of the report, it reads:


“On Friday 7th December, 2012, His Honour the Vice-President then undertook the following:

‘Mr Speaker, the project to get Mulungushi Textiles working again is underway. ... We are expecting it to be open, again, as a textile factory, and not a dairy or piggery, within the next year’.”


This statement was made in December 2012. An assurance was made that something was going to be done about Mulungushi Textiles within the course of 2013.


Madam, it is now more than six years since this pronouncement was made. I got interested in this because Mulungushi Textiles is an industry that finds itself in the same situation as Kafue Textiles. These are industries which, according to the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) were going to be supported in accordance with the plan to reindustrialise and, in turn, create jobs.


Madam Speaker, if this could not be done for Mulungushi Textiles, I do not know how we are going to attain this particular aspiration which is a key pillar of our national development plan. That is because apart from these two industries, if I may cite the example of Kafue Textiles again, there is the Bata Tannery, for instance. It was very sad to drive through and see this once robust and vibrant industry’s premises overgrown with grass, when we could do a lot to export leather and earn money for ourselves as a country. These industries have remained in that state.


Madam Speaker, you have heard the other assurances made on the Floor of this House concerning the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ), which is a limping industry and the only Government parastatal in Kafue. I am sure hon. Colleagues here have followed the different statements that have come from the Government concerning the NCZ. One moment, you hear the hon. Minister of Finance say the Government is going to inject US$50 million as capital to revive that industry, but the next time you ask, the Vice-President talks about the Government talking to a possible investor to come and take over that industry. These different answers that we get from the Government do not give the people of Kafue hope. I hope that the Government is serious about revitalising that industry in order to support the industrialisation strategy which we all agreed was a key pillar of our national development plan.


Madam, I thought I just needed to say that, given your counsel. However, since we are talking about the Government not fulfilling some of its assurances, I think I should also use this opportunity to state that the biggest cry in Kafue, at the moment, is the 6 km township roads that have been constructed, yet 50 km had been assured in the past. Whatever happened, now, we are talking about 6 km, and the people of Kafue are saying that perhaps, I did not get it right and that the Government meant 60 km or 600 km because what is 6 km of townships roads when they are hearing of other towns getting much more than that?  This has been considered as a mockery. I do not want to sound ungrateful. Asking for this has been a long journey. Now, we have something, but we can still appeal to this Government, which claims to be a listening Government, to listen to the cries of the people of Kafue. I am appealing to the Government not to go back on the assurance that it was going to work on more township roads than the 6 km that it has given us.


Madam Speaker, on a different note, I wanted to acknowledge the development that has taken place in Kafue. It is a pity the hon. Minister of Home Affairs has walked out because I wanted him to hear me say that we do acknowledge the police housing units that have been built. I know when we made a follow-up on this particular matter at the time, he did not give us an indication or any hope that it was going to happen soon.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Kafue, are you done?


Mrs Chinyama: I am done with the conclusion that this particular one happened without an assurance and, therefore, this Government can do much better if it puts its money where its mouth is. That is what I want to urge it to do.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to debate. I also would like to thank the Committee on Government Assurances for doing quite a good work.


Madam Speaker, I will use just a few of your minutes because most of the issues have been highlighted by hon. Members who have already debated. I want to talk about the 650 health posts. My constituency has not seen any health post from 2011 when the late President Michael Chilufya Sata made a promise to this country to construct these health posts. No health posts have been constructed in Kalemu, Nabulangu, Nakalombwe and Mikata. One colleague here indicated that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has only managed to work on ten out of 116 projects. I really do not know about this. Maybe, the PF is in a better position to grade itself.


Madam Speaker, we have a livestock laboratory in Choma that is more than 90 per cent complete. However, this Government has abandoned the project. It is very expensive for the people of the Southern Province to bring samples of livestock diseases to Lusaka or Mazabuka because of the long distance. I thought this laboratory would be completed. For your information, the laboratory in Choma only requires about K100,000 to be completed, and when this happens, people will celebrate. Yet, this Government has not released such an amount of money to complete the laboratory.


Madam Speaker, let me talk about dams. The Government promised to build Siambelele Dam in Mapatizya in 2013. Nothing has been done about this. Concerning the drought that this country is experiencing, I thought this Government would take advantage of the little water available and build dams. Apart from Siambelele Dam in Mapatizya, there is also Kandazovu Dam which the Government promised to work on a long time ago. The Government also promised to work on Mutwe-wa-Muntu Dam and Jongolo Dam, but nothing is being done about those promises.


Madam Speaker, two years ago, the hon. Minister of –


Mr Malanji repeatedly gestured at Mr Sing’ombe.


Mr Sing’ombe: Madam Speaker, that hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs is disturbing me. He is assaulting me.


Mr Malanji: How?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: If you address the Chair, you will not even be able to observe what the hon. Minister is doing.


Mr Malanji: Madam Speaker, he is just excited to see me.


Mr Sing’ombe: Hon. Minister, careful.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: You perhaps missed each other, but I suggest that you join him for a cup of tea later.


Mr Sing’ombe: He is not available in Dundumwezi.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Pardon?


Mr Sing’ombe: We do not value him in Dundumwezi, and so, I do not miss him.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, withdraw that.


Mr Sing’ombe: I withdraw it.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Debate through the Chair.


Mr Malanji: On a point of order, Madam.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Resume your seat, hon. Member for Dundumwezi. I think you invited that.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Malanji: Madam Speaker, the people of Dundumwezi value me a lot. How does the hon. Member of Parliament insinuate that the people of Dundumwezi do not value me? Just two weeks ago, one Chief from Dundumwezi sold me two animals.


Mr Sing’ombe: We have no visas there!




Madam First Deputy Speaker: It appears to me that there is a very special relationship between the two hon. Members. Continue with your debate, hon. Member for Dundumwezi.




Mr Sing’ombe: Madam Speaker, thank you very much. He is actually my very good friend.


Madam, earlier, I indicated that a few months ago, the hon. Minister of Health came to Habulila for a mini-hospital groundbreaking event. The people of Dundumwezi were so surprised that the hon. Minister came to do this when the clinics under the 650 clinics have not been constructed. That is not fair. The Government should stop teasing the people of Zambia and try by all means to live by its word.


Madam Speaker, I would like to comment on the Monze/Niko Road. That is a very important road to the people of Monze, Namwala and Dundumwezi. For the people of Dundumwezi, this road is a shorter route to the constituency. However, this road has now been made worse because of the heaps of gravel left on it. That road should be constructed as a matter of urgency.


Madam, I do not want to waste much of your time.


I thank you, Madam.


Hon. UPND Member: Hear, hear!


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to add a few words to the debate on the Floor. First and foremost, I would like to thank the Committee for producing a good report.


Madam Speaker, I just want to, again, touch on the Link Zambia 8,000 Kilometre Road Project. When this road project was announced in 2012, it brought a lot of excitement in many parts of the country. This was especially so in outlaying areas, Kasempa included. Kasempa became a district in 1902, and for many years, the people of Kasempa have heard so much about the number of roads to be constructed in their area. We have talked about many roads in this country, including the Kasempa/Mumbwa Road, Kaoma/Kasempa Road, Lufwanyama/Kasempa Road, which used to be Kalulushi/Kasempa Road, Mwinilunga/Manyinga Road and the Bottom Road in the Southern Province. These roads were all supposed to be worked on under the Link Zambia 8,000 Kilometre Road Project, and so, people were excited about this announcement in 2012.


Madam Speaker, recently, Her Honour the Vice-President has repeatedly said that these roads will be constructed soon. Hon. Ministers have also assured the people of Kasempa, for instance, that the roads there will be worked on. For example, when it is rehabilitated, the Kasempa/Kaoma Road, which was called the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Road during the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) days, can become the shortest route for transporting mining products from the North-Western Province. It can reduce the distance by 500 km from the traditional route. Mining companies in the North-Western Province, especially First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQM), is still using that route to courier its products to the nearest point to the international market. The Government, which collects revenue from mining companies, keeps promising to upgrade this road to bituminous standard through the Link Zambia 8,000 Kilometre Road Project. It has not upgraded it. It collects revenue, but ignores the need to improve the road so that it can collect more revenue. This is a matter of grave concern. In other parts of the country, some roads have been upgraded to bituminous standard even when they are not economic. How do you do that?


Madam Speaker, Maako Boarding Secondary School in Kelongwa Ward is located in one of the outlaying areas in Kasempa. This ward is situated about 162 km from Nyoka. The school was supposed to be servicing pupils in Nyoka and all the wards dotted around the Lunga River because the other boarding secondary schools such as Mupinge Secondary School and Kasempa Boys Secondary School are very far. The Government has made assurances about completing the construction of Maako Boarding Secondary School, but the school has not been completed. The Government is saying that its motto is “Not leaving anyone one behind”, yet it makes promises which it does not fulfil.


Madam Speaker, Kasempa was supposed to receive nine of the 650 health posts to be constructed countrywide. I heard only today that this is when a contractor is beginning to construct two of the nine health posts allocated. Again, that is another promise.


Madam Speaker, failure to honour the Government assurances is tantamount to not telling the truth. Why is the Government doing that after declaring Zambia a Christian nation in the Constitution? The Government is not supposed to speak any untruths. How is it that today, we declare Zambia a Christian nation and then, tomorrow, we fail to deliver to the citizens who are living in outlaying areas? How can the Government continue to proclaim that Zambia is a Christian nation like that? Honesty and truthfulness are virtues of honour. People say, “Insoni, ebuntu.”



Ms Tambatamba: Bumvu bo buntu


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Ms Tambatamba: This means that a normal human being should feel ashamed when they do something wrong.


Mr Kampyongo: Is that Kaonde?


Ms Tambatamba: Madam Speaker, I also want to touch on the issue of management of assurances. It appears the Government has developed a culture of making assurances which are not actualised by integrating them in the annual plan or, indeed, the five-year strategic plans. The Government needs to make these assurances based on available funds. A monitoring and management plan should be attached to these assurances to enable the Government to follow up these activities and implement them year by year. We have heard that there are 165 assurances. How can we ensure that all of them are delivered and not dropped?


Madam Speaker, I urge the Ministry of National Development and Planning to consider including these assurances in its monitoring and evaluation plans so that the assurances made can be acted upon. That way, people can begin to enjoy various services. The relationship between the Government and the people is about supply and demand. Citizens demand for things and the Government supplies them. The citizens of this country cannot continue demanding for things without the Government supplying them. At the moment, we have a Personnel Emoluments Bill which is taking about 29 per cent of our Annual Budget. How possible is that?


Madam Speaker, the Government must tell the truth and deliver when it makes assurances to provide certain things for communities. There must be an annual plan to act on assurances. There must also be a monitoring plan to ensure that the Government delivers on the assurances it makes before embarking on new projects.   


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Madam Speaker, my debate will not be long. I just want to adopt what was said by many hon. Members of Parliament. In particular, I adopt what Hon. Chinga Miyutu of Kalabo Central Constituency has said.


Madam Speaker, I think the challenge we have in this country is political paralysis. The Government does not understand that the promises it makes have to be implemented. It seems the people of Zambia are being taken for granted.


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Ms Kasune: Madam Speaker, I am saying so because if the people of Zambia were considered as serious key stakeholders, this Government would fulfil its promises. When you look at the Report on Government Assurances, you will see that many projects which the Government promised to implement have not been implemented. It is important for the Government of the day to realise that the Zambian people are seeing what is happening in this country.


Madam Speaker, there are only two things I want to talk about this evening. One is the issue of the Lusaka/Ndola dual carriageway. That road has been outstanding for so long, and there are many accidents that are happening almost on a monthly basis. Every time we read the newspapers, we are informed of fatal accidents that happen, especially around Chibombo, in particular, the John Chinena area, which is in Keembe Constituency. The accidents do not only occur there, –


Mr Ngulube: John what?




Ms Kasune: Just yesterday, two people died there. This morning, another person was involved in an accident there. This is a problem because this road is an economic road, but it has become a risk to our lives.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Ms Kasune: What is the excitement all about?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I think you mentioned a place, hon. Member.


Ms Kasune: It is a name, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The name of the place you mentioned seems to have attracted the attention of the hon. Members on the right.




Ms Kasune: Madam Speaker, I do not understand why they are attracted to the name John Chinena instead of being concerned about the accidents happening there. This is the issue they should be concerned about.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Kasune: Madam Speaker, I said that people died last night at that place, and this is not the first time an accident has happened there. We have seen accidents involving buses there. So, this is a serious issue. We read about these accidents and then forget about them because we focus on the name of the place. The men, especially on the right, are not considering the accidents. That is wrong.




Ms Kasune: Madam Speaker, I think the Patriotic Front (PF) must construct this dual carriage way. If it does that, it can, one day, look back and say it did something for Zambians. This road is not just for the people of Chisamba, Katuba, Keembe or Kabwe but also all the citizens of this country. These accidents that are happening affect people who come from places such as Chililabombwe, Chingola and Mufulira. In fact, the whole Zambia is affected. A lot of trucks going to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) use that road. Therefore, I know that the Government is making a lot of money on this road.


Madam Speaker, there are many toll gates on this same road. Where is the money which is being paid by motorists going? This money should be used not only to rehabilitate some of our roads that were washed away but also to construct the Lusaka/Ndola dual carriageway because it is an urgent matter. People, including our family members, have died on that road. It does not take a month before I get a call that someone has died in a road accident on this road. I think if the Executive is serious, it needs to ensure that before it leaves office in 2021, it constructs the Lusaka/Ndola dual carriageway so that we do not lose people to road accidents.


Madam Speaker, let me talk about the famous Mumbwa/Landless Corner Road. The works on that road have stalled for years. I heard other hon. Members of Parliament talking about township roads. Yesterday, I went to visit a certain family in Ibex Hill, and discovered that there is a road which is being tarred there. What is that road for? The Government is constructing a road which is leading to nowhere. Of course, I do not want to speculate, but there are people who live there who are part of this Government, and that is why the Government is tarring that road.


Madam, works on the Mumbwa/Landless Corner Road which is supposed to connect Mumbwa and the North-Western Province and decongest Lusaka have stalled for years. If the people on the right think that we, in the Opposition, are merely speculating or politicking, they should go to Keembe and see the Mumbwa/Landless Corner Road. Only a few kilometres of this road were tarred, leaving a stretch of about 46 km still not tarred. The construction of this road should be an example of the works which this Government has done. These are the issues which this Government should bring to this House. I think that at the moment, this Government is just fooling the Zambian people.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to debate. Let me also thank the Committee for a job well done. I will not take long; I will wind up in four or five minutes.


Madam Speaker, I am interested in the conclusion of the report, which is on page 137.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.




Mr Chaatila: Madam Speaker, on  a lighter note, I would like to say that it is interesting to see that the new Chief Whip has forgotten that he is our Chief Whip. He forgot to ensure that there was a quorum before he sat down.


Hon. Government Members: Ah!




Mr Chaatila: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was looking at page 137 of your Committee’s report. It is interesting to see that out of 116 assurances, only twelve have been closed since 2011. If you rate this in percentage terms, it is 10.3 per cent. So, we can safely rate the Patriotic Front (PF) Government’s performance at 10.3 per cent since 2011.


Mr Kafwaya: Question!


Mr Chaatila: Madam, only twelve projects closed out of 116. A teacher will not even rate that performance below average. I do not know what he or she would call it. This is shameful for a Government which says it is serious about actualising its promises. It is not good for any Government to work on twelve projects in eight years. Some of the projects have been abandoned. So, what is this Executive doing? These are serious challenges. The Government made assurances on these projects on the Floor of this House, but it is not fulfilling them.


Madam Speaker, I do not want to use the term “lying” because it is unparliamentary. I do not know what to call it. Can the Government be serious for once?


Madam Speaker, lastly, because I promised not to take long, the report has indicated that the Government should desist from making promises such as what it is doing if it knows that it cannot fulfil them. Can it stop making the promises?


Madam Speaker, in March this year, Her Honour the Vice-President assured us on the Floor of this House that the people of the Southern Province, the Western Province, Lusaka Province and Central Province are not going to die of hunger because the country has enough maize. At the moment, our people are not eating because what the Vice-President promised has not been actualised. There is hunger in Moomba Constituency just like in other constituencies, yet there was an assurance on the Floor of this House that people would not die of hunger. People will soon start dying. Just taking maize to these areas, which was an assurance from the Government, is not being done.




Mr Chaatila: Madam Speaker, someone is asking me what I am doing as Member of Parliament. This shows the level of thinking ...


Mr Livune: Hear, hear!


Mr Chaatila: … of these people. They want an hon. Member of Parliament to buy maize for the people when there is a Government. What is the Government doing?




Mr Chaatila: In 2016, Her Honour the Vice-President went to campaign in Chikankata where I was with my colleague.


Mr Kambita: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiinga indicated assent.


Mr Chaatila: She assured the people of Chikankata that if they voted the PF into Government, it would tar the Chikankata Road. The PF is leaving office in 2021, yet it has not done anything to date.


Madam Speaker, last month, on 28th June, 2019, I raised a question on the Floor of the House on why the Government had banned the movement of maize from this part of the country across the Kafue Bridge so that our people can eat. Her Honour the Vice-President said that this was not true and that the Government was not aware of this. Last week on Saturday, when I was going to my constituency, I found a van with 12 x 50 kg bags of maize. It was impounded from about 0600 hours and I was crossing the Kafue Bridge at 1600 hours. I am happy that the hon.  Minister of Defence is here. This was all because the Zambia National Service (ZNS) said that this maize could not cross because the people moving it did not have documentation.


Madam Speaker, we are talking about just 12 x 50 kg bags of maize for people who are using their initiative to ensure that they have something to eat. Her Honour the Vice-President said that the Government was not aware and did not have such a report. How do you ask for documentation for 12 x 50 kg bags of maize from someone who bought it from a rural area in Mukonchi? Meanwhile, loads of cement, bicycles, mattresses and mealie meal are crossing and no one is asking for documents.


Madam Speaker, it is shameful. When we demand that this Government gets serious for once, can it be serious? It should stop telling us it is doing things which it is not doing. Lusaka is not Zambia. Wherever you go in Lusaka, there are roads being constructed here and there. Who told them that development should only focus on Lusaka?


Mr Malanji pointed at Mr Chaatila.


Mr Chaatila: Hon. Malanji, this is why the hon. Member for Dundumwezi raised the issue. You are pointing fingers at me, when I am not doing that to you. We are serious, Hon. Malanji. Be serious as an hon. Minister.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


You cannot engage the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs in that manner. You cannot even debate him. Debate the Motion and the report which is on the Floor, hon. Member.


Mr Chaatila: Madam Speaker, there are two key issues I referred to in this report. As I close –


Mr Lubinda: Just close.


Mr Mwiinga: Ah, iwe!


Mr Chaatila: Madam Speaker, it is very important that the Government desists from making promises which it cannot actualise. Secondly, can it ensure that these 116 projects it has failed to implement from 2011 to date are closed? The Government should finish the 116 projects that it is failing to finish. I urge it to do this, otherwise the people of Zambia know that currently, it is at 10.3 performance rate out of 100 per cent for eight years. It has failed us.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members of the Executive, there are seven of you indicating to speak. If each one of you takes the allocated twenty minutes to speak, I am afraid, we will not conclude this Motion, but I intend to conclude it.


As hon. Ministers, respond only to the concerns on specific ministerial issues. I am also informed that the hon. Minister in the Office of the Vice-President will give a general response on behalf of the Executive.

We will start with the hon. Minister of Home Affairs. Respond to issues on assurances under your ministry.


The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to just –


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Kampyongo: You will die with questions in your mouth.




Mr Lubinda: He looks like a question mark. Tell him kaili. Tell him.




Prof Luo: Elyo akalafwa, efyo akalanda.


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, your Committee’s report and the contributions from our colleagues who debated have raised a number of issues pertaining to my ministry. The seconder of the Motion cited the rehabilitation of police houses in Lundazi and the police post in Milenge.


Madam Speaker, I would like to make it clear that as the Government, we have a desire to take development to all the corners of the country, if resources permit. I do not believe that we, as a Government, are not being sincere simply because we have embarked on projects that are yet to be completed. Just like in our families, we have a list of things we want done. However, that wish list must be aligned with the available resources. So, when we embark on projects, it is because we generally believe that they will benefit our people.


Madam, we still have the will to ensure the projects we started are completed. We made that decision and we will fulfil it. I think this report should have singled out the projects that are below 80 per cent complete and those above 80 per cent complete. We made this policy very clear, and we would have loved to work on all the projects. Unfortunately, we need to reschedule the implementation of these projects.


Madam Speaker, the rehabilitation of houses in Lundazi is not as a result of failure to mobilise resources. We realised that most police houses across the country were in a deplorable state. We also realised that most of our police officers had no roof over their heads. Therefore, we had to make choices, and so, we decided to start constructing new housing units. This construction is across the country and it is being carried out in phases because it cannot be done at once. The rehabilitation works will be considered at a later stage. For now, we are focusing on putting up new housing units. Unless the hon. Member has not seen anything in that regard, he can say we have failed to mobilise resources.


Madam Speaker, the cry is that everybody wants us to be in their areas, but this is not possible. That is a response to Hon. Lufuma who wants to see houses in the North-Western Province. We will be there in the next phase.


An Hon. Opposition Member interjected.


Mr Kampyongo: Yes, we are making assurances, but you are not going to tie us down just because we made some promises. That is why the Government is there.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Minister, let me guide the House. According to our rules, when an hon. Minister stands on the Floor of this House and makes a promise, that promise is recorded as an assurance.


Mr Livune: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: That record is then given to a Committee that is dedicated to look at how the Government is implementing its own assurance to the House. So, this Committee goes round to check whether or not the Government is, indeed, implementing what it assured the House it will do. The Committee then tables the report in the House, as it has done.


So, the Executive has to respond by indicating that yes, indeed, assurances were made and give reasons those assurances were not implemented. Thereafter, you have to assure the House that you are committed to implementing what you assured. So, the responses of hon. Members of the Executive must be based on the assurances which are recorded in the report before us.


With that guidance, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs will continue with his responses.


  Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, thank you for the guidance. I was still saying we had given an assurance to rehabilitate the houses in Lundazi. However, we decided to focus on putting up new houses because we realised that most of our police officers did not have shelter. That project was embarked on sometime back and the construction of the housing units has been completed for many areas now. We will resume the rehabilitation programme at a later stage and make sure that resources are set aside for that purpose.


Madam Speaker, with regard to Milenge Police Station, I would like to say that we welcome the recommendation of the Committee to settle the outstanding certificates in order to expedite the works which were at slab level. I also wish to inform this august House that the Government expedited works by paying the certificates that were outstanding. Progress has, therefore, been recorded as the police station and three staff houses are at roof level. Once the certificates for the new completed works have been submitted and paid, it is anticipated that the roofing and other auxiliary works will follow.


Madam Speaker, your Committee’s report made reference to the North-Western Police Station Administration Block. Indeed, the Committee visited the construction site of the North-Western Administration Block and recommended that the Government should settle the outstanding certificates issued and make funds available for the completion of the project. I wish to inform the House that although this project was under the Ministry of Home Affairs initially, it is now under the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development. We have been liaising with the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development and we have been reliably informed that the project stalled, like I mentioned.


Madam Speaker, we are having discussions with the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development to ensure that those projects that are at 80 per cent and above are completed. We need to find resources to ensure that this project which is meant to improve the operations of the Zambia Police Service in the North-Western Province is completed. So, the assurance still stands.


Madam Speaker, there was an issue about Nakonde Police Station. Regarding this police station, the Committee recommended that the contractor should be paid the outstanding amount for the works he did on the project. I wish to inform this House that the rehabilitation works which were being undertaken at the holding cells have been completed, and the initial certificates were paid, except those of the final works. However, the rehabilitation of other sections will only commence when we secure funds for the remaining works at the police station.


Madam Speaker, I said that as a ministry, our desire is to have improved infrastructure. To that effect, we commenced a number of projects, and some of them have not been cited in the report. I realise that we have one resource envelope. When we are challenged financially, it is important to do the logical thing, and the logical decision which was made, collectively, in Cabinet was to put on hold some of those projects that were below 80 per cent complete. That is not to say that we are backtracking on our commitment of ensuring that we implement the projects cited in the report of providing proper infrastructure for the Zambia Police Service.


Madam Speaker, once we complete the many projects that we are working on, we will strive to ensure that we equally complete the pending works. So, I just would like to allay the fears from my colleagues on your left, who think we are being segregative in the way we are undertaking development in some provinces. When I was under the Office of the Vice-President, I once travelled with my hon. Colleague, the Member of Parliament for Kalabo Central, to his constituency. That is one area I visited frequently because of the hunger situation that was prevailing then, and we wanted to help the people by ensuring that they were provided with food.  I know that my colleague from the Ministry of Works and Supply will talk about road infrastructure. I remember the hon. Member telling me that the people in his constituency would be grateful if the Patriotic Front (PF) Government finished the road project which passes through the plains because other Governments had failed to complete it. He is here. I am not creating this story. I could see he doubted that the PF Government would complete the Mongu/Kalabo Road. I have been waiting for him to come out and say thank you to the PF Government, for once, ...


Hon. Opposition Members: Question!


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: … for fulfilling the dream of the people of the Western Province, especially those in Kalabo and Mongu because now they are able to travel by road between Mongu and Kalabo.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, completing that road was not a small undertaking. I say so because the amount of money that went into that one project could have been expended on many projects.


Madam Speaker, lastly, let me talk about the issue of accidents that the Ministry of Home Affairs deals with, as someone said. I heard someone say that the Government is piling bitumen on top of roads.


Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!


Mrs Simukoko: Oh no!


Mr Kampyongo: We have said that the roads in Lusaka are being expanded to enhance the safety of motorists. Many people in Lusaka, including my colleagues here, drive. If the Government sat back and did not expand the road network, it would take six hours for people to drive to the Central Business District (CBD) in Lusaka. So, we are not piling bitumen on roads, but expanding the road network to enhance the safety of motorists and avoid road mishaps that have been occurring on our roads in the CBD. That does not mean we shall forget about the roads in rural areas. We all come from rural areas. Let us appreciate and give commendation where it is due.


Hon. Opposition Members: Question!




Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, I would like to leave some time for my colleagues to debate. Let me assure the people of Zambia that we mean well and we shall ensure that we continue to deliver the projects to them because that is our desire.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Kafwaya): Madam Speaker, I would like to sincerely thank you for the opportunity to add one line to the debate on the Floor of the House.


Madam Speaker, allow me to begin by recognising the exemplary leadership of His Excellency …


Mr Livune: Question!


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kafwaya: … Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu.


Madam Speaker, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has led this country in a manner that ought to be appreciated. I say so because the development that we have witnessed during his leadership has not been seen in this country before. I think that if we give him just a little more time to lead this country, this country will change forever.


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Kambita: Ama bootlicker aya!


Mr Kafwaya: Madam Speaker, you directed that we debate on issues that pertain to our respective ministries. I realise that the function of rehabilitation and maintenance of public assets seats in the Ministry of Works and Supply, and this function is cross-cutting. We have work in all sectors. We rehabilitate assets across sectors and, therefore, I am in order to talk about the road, aviation, health, and communication sectors, among other sectors.


Madam, let me begin by responding to two issues that were raised by two hon. Colleagues. The hon. Member for Kasempa said, “Insoni, ebuntu.”


Mr Livune: Hear, hear!


Mr Kafwaya: I agree thoroughly with my hon. Colleague that “insoni, ebuntu”. Since I am Bemba, perhaps, I understand this statement a little better. I know that if I stood here and misled the people –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: You have to say that in English.


Mr Kafwaya: Madam Speaker, it means that being able to feel shame means you are human. It means that an honourable person should be ashamed to say dishonourable things.


Ms Tambatamba: Yes!


Mr Kafwaya: You should be ashamed that you are basking in social media reports when you can read better reports. You should be ashamed that you are politicking when you need to be helping with developmental issues.


Mr Mwiinga: How?


Mr Kafwaya: Insoni, ebuntu. So, those people who politick when they are supposed to  help the people of Zambia need to be ashamed. I agree with you, my sister.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mukosa: Balase!


Mr Kafwaya: My hon. Colleague from Moomba recognised the development in Lusaka, and said Zambia is not Lusaka.


Mr Chaatila: Yes!


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kafwaya: I like that, and I agree with him 100 per cent. Zambia is not Lusaka. He said that Zambia is not Lusaka because he has seen roads everywhere in Lusaka …


Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!


Mr Kafwaya: … being expanded. I just want to tell him that in Mporokoso, there is a new road between Kasama and Mporokoso. I would like to tell the hon. Member that hospitals have been built in the Southern Province, the Northern Province and across the rest of the country. Additionally, telecommunication towers have been erected across the country, except in Lusaka. Therefore, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, under the able leadership of Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, recognises that Lusaka is not Zambia. However, while the rest of the country develops, Lusaka, too, must develop. The development in Lusaka should be commensurate with its economic value to the Zambia people. How many people are employed in Lusaka compared to Moomba? How many? What is the contribution of Lusaka to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in comparison with Moomba, for example? Anyway, “insoni ebuntu,” is what one of my colleagues said, and I agree with her.


Hon. Opposition Members: Question!


Mr Kafwaya: Madam Speaker, let me now come to the implications of these construction and rehabilitation projects in terms of Government assurances. The PF is pro-poor. It is pro-poor, it has been pro-poor and it has promised to remain pro-poor. This is why in Lusaka, access to medical care has improved. When you go to Chipata Compound, you will find a hospital, not a clinic, and when you go to Matero, you will find Chingwere Hospital, not a clinic, as it was in the previous Governments. These will be rehabilitated because we are seating in the Ministry of Works and Supply –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Minister, could you please address yourself to the assurances in the report. That will be much more helpful. Please, continue with your debate, but base your debate on the report.


Mr Kafwaya: Madam Speaker, thank you very much. You have guided very well. My promise was to say one line, that I was encouraged by the conversation that emanated from my colleagues. Therefore, I thought it was important to just mention that as the Government, we are going to continue rehabilitating infrastructure so that it remains in a sustainable condition for the Zambian people to continue to benefit from it.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


The Minister of Higher Education (Prof. Luo): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to comment on the issues that were raised, and I will be very specific.


Madam, there were issues raised on King Lewanika University, Kabompo University and Kalabo Trade school. I would like to start by saying that the team in my ministry, headed by me, has been very concerned about what has happened with King Lewanika University. In fact, when I visited King Lewanika University – I want to speak to the comment that was made regarding my remarks in the visitors’ book there. Building a university is not like building a house. Building a university means putting up faculties. This is why I said that what happened was unfortunate. I said that we need to get back to the drawing board, speak to the contractor and ensure that the plan for construction is in line with a construction of a university. What happened is regrettable, but I am sure that after the discussions we have had with the people concerned, they will start constructing the university properly.


Madam Speaker, if you are going to build an institution which focuses on science and technology, one of the most important components is the science laboratory. We have gone back to the drawing board to ensure that the science laboratory is part of that building. I am just surprised that colleagues do not want to engage and ask questions, but instead wait for debate in this House. So, I would like to inform the hon. Member of Parliament for Mongu Central that if he had cared to speak to me, he would have not even belaboured the point that he belaboured here. Furthermore, whatever delays have happened are for the common good.


Madam Speaker, let me come to Kabompo University. There was a contractual issue in that initially, Kabompo University was supposed to be in Kabompo, but at some point, they wanted to move it to Solwezi. We then said that it should be built in Kabompo. That project is on course. We had discussions recently with the Kuwait Fund for Development that is going to fund the construction of Kabompo University. Unfortunately, processes have to be followed. It is not in our interest to delay anything, but the people who give us money sometimes ask particular questions that we have to deal with.


Madam Speaker, I was surprised to hear the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalabo talk about his constituency because as I speak here, desks, shelves and other furniture have been delivered in readiness for the opening of Kalabo Trades School. Colleagues, learn to say thank you. There are three very important words in life. One of them is love, the second one is sorry and the third one is thank you. I hope the hon. Member of Kalabo will say thank you when he is invited to come and speak at the commissioning of the building.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


The Minister of General Education (Mr Mabumba): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to respond to some of the issues that my colleagues have raised from the Report on Government Assurances.


Madam Speaker, one of the things that my colleagues should recognise and thank the Government for is that if there is a country in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region that has invested in education, it is this country. I say this simply because not too long ago, I was in Namibia where I asked some of my colleagues there how many schools were being built in their country. However, none of them could mention any school that was being built. In this country, 200 secondary schools are under construction. This is a very ambitious programme and so, you obviously expect to have some setbacks in terms of its implementation.


Madam Speaker, of the 115 secondary schools that are under construction by the Government, almost sixty-eight of them have been completed. That notwithstanding, I recognise that we have schools like Kasaba, Liyovu and Maako secondary schools. There is also a school in Dr Musokotwane’s constituency and others in Sikongo that have not been completed, as the report has indicated. Our commitment, as the Government, is that we are going to complete these secondary schools. For example, Sikongo Secondary School only needs about K5.4 million to be completed. I would like to assure my hon. Colleagues that once the funds are made available, this project will be completed. I have spoken to the hon. Member for Sikongo on several occasions and assured him that this will be done.


Madam Speaker, for other schools, in an effort to try to support our colleagues, there is one unconventional option that we are dealing with, but I am not going to say it on the Floor of this House. Sometimes, when a contractor is paid K1 million, for example, he will only use K200,000 for that project. It becomes a challenge to complete some projects this way. Therefore, we are trying to restructure the implementation of these projects. We are experimenting on a few schools and once that model works out, we will apply it. We will not shy away from it. Instead of paying the contractor, we will pay the money directly to the province and the province will work with the contractor to buy all the materials that are required for a particular project.


Mr Speaker, we are experimenting with the model on some schools. So, if it will be proven to be successful, we may use that particular process to deal with some of the projects that have stalled. This will be tried on schools like the ones in Nakonde, Liyovu School and another school in Hon. Dr Musokotwane’s constituency as well as Milo in Serenje so as to energise and restructure their implementation.


On behalf of the Government, I would like to assure my hon. Colleagues that we mean very well for their people. Of course, finance allowing, we would have finished these particular projects. However, like I said, we are restructuring the implementation of the school construction programme.


Madam, I listened to one hon. Member of Parliament from the Western Province saying that the Government has forgotten about the people there. It is not true that the Government has forgotten about the people of the Western Province as can be seen from a number of schools that have been completed in the province. For instance, in Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa’s constituency, Mayukwayukwa School and Mulobezi School were both worked on. Therefore, there are a number of schools that have been completed, notwithstanding the other schools that have not been completed.


Our assurance to our colleagues is that we recognise the challenges of not finishing the schools, but we will work on them. This is the reason I am saying that we are restructuring and at the right time, I will come back to this august House to give details of how the implementation of the stalled projects is being restructured. This includes the project in Hon. Zulu’s constituency and Masangano. There are a lot of things going on in the background. However, I do not want to go into the details because we are experimenting. So, at the right time, I will come back to the House and give the details.


Madam, Speaker, I thank you.


The Minister of Defence (Mr Chama): Madam Speaker, I will be quite brief. I just would like to comment on the Report of the Committee on Government Assurances, specifically as spelled out on page 34. The assurance was given by the then Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia on 7th December, 2012. That is roughly about six-and-a-half years ago.


Madam, the assurance was on firm ground because at the time, there was a potential strategic partner from the Republic of Tanzania who was engaged by the Government. Unfortunately, we were disappointed by this partner. Consequently, the contract which was entered into with that particular partner was terminated. Then, at one time, Mulungushi Textiles Limited was transferred to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). However, early this year, His Excellency the President reverted the Mulungushi Textiles to the Ministry of Defence. So far, the ministry has identified a strategic investor from the People’s Republic of China. To that effect, the board has been constituted. Yesterday, 10th July, 2019, the board sat. As I speak, the technical committee has travelled to Kabwe to carry out some technical evaluations.


Madam Speaker, as the House may be aware, the equipment at Mulungushi Textiles is obsolete. Therefore, a lot of monetary investment needs to be pumped into Mulungushi Textiles. Further, most of the equipment, including the spare parts, cannot be found on the open market. So, I would like to make an assurance on an assurance.


Madam, this time around, Mulungushi Textiles Limited will be opened partially. All things being equal, Mulungushi Textiles Limited will be resuscitated. It will be in full production by next year and it will create employment for our people in Kabwe and Zambia in general. When Mulungushi Textiles is back in business, even the Ministry of Defence will stop importing uniforms. It is our hope that the country will start manufacturing military uniforms using our tailoring shops and other tailors within the country.


Madam Speaker, I would like to say that we are on top of things. Although the assurance that was given has taken time, we are turning things around this time to make sure all the industries are resuscitated to make Zambia productive once more.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (Dr Wanchinga): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to some issues raised in the Report of the Committee on Government Assurances.


Madam, the report has highlighted nine areas of concern. The assurances range from as far back as 2013 and the latest one is as late as 2018. About five of the assurances were made in 2016 and two in 2017. The main focus of the concerns of the report is on the sinking of boreholes, construction of dams and water schemes in various places.


Madam Speaker, basically, the areas which have been identified are on the boreholes in Mushindamo, the sanitation and water reticulation system in Mitete, the sinking of boreholes in Lumezi, the water scheme in Serenje, the water reticulation system in Chienge, the dams and boreholes in Nyimba and the rehabilitation of Mambululwe and Nangoma Dam. The construction of dams in Mapatizya as well as the improvement of the water reticulation system in Samfya has also been highlighted. These are the areas that have been identified by your Committee’s report.


Madam, in updating the House in terms of the concerns raised on assurances, I will comment on the eight concerns out of the nine areas identified by your Committee. Basically, the projects have stalled for lack of fiscal space. So, once resources are made available, we should be able to continue with the projects because we realise how important it is to provide water and sanitation services to our people. However, as regards the project concerning Samfya, the reasons for its delay was different because the project is being supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB). So, it took a long time for the consultants to complete the review of the designs. However, this was completed in the first quarter of this year. We are hoping that the Samfya Water Reticulation System will be on course very soon.


Madam, in concluding my recommitment to the assurances from my ministry, I would like to just mention that we are doing our best to secure resources for these projects. So, we are hoping that perhaps, towards the end of the year or, maybe, early next year, we will see some movements on many of the projects.


However, as I conclude my recommitment to these assurances by ministry, let me just point out that an impression that the Government is not doing much in the water sector should not be created. The Government is doing quite a lot of work in this sector by providing water and sanitation services to our people. This includes the construction of dams in various parts of the country, sinking of boreholes as well as the developing water schemes. In some cases, we are doing it in partnership with a number of our co-operating partners.


Madam, apart from this, we are also working on other projects that are aimed at improving service delivery in terms of the provision of quality water. For instance, the issues of a lack of access to water because of iron pipes have been a major problem in some areas. So, we are implementing projects to improve water reticulation so that people can have access to clean water. We also know that in certain areas like Chirundu and Chienge the water has high salt content. These are some of the projects we have initiated in an attempt to ensure that we improve people’s access to clean water. Water provision services in places like Kalabo, Chienge and Chirundu which have high salt content have been improved.


Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to update the House on the assurances concerning my ministry vis-à-vis the issues that were raised in the report of your Committee.


 I thank you, Madam.                


The Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Ms Chalikosa): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to respond to the Report of the Committee on Government Assurances. The Patriotic Front (PF) Government has a mandate that will be renewed in 2021.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Chalikosa: The PF Government has indicated intentions to address assurances. However, the House will appreciate that for the projects to be concluded, there must be a balance between income and expenditure. The ambitious infrastructure development currently taking place is bearing fruit and it is changing the face of the country. Much as the Executive is given the mandate to provide social amenities for the citizens, the carelessness of individuals cannot be placed solely on its shoulders. However, with regular monitoring, we can, indeed, overcome certain challenges.


Madam Speaker, generally, hon. Members need to be aware that while they are primarily concerned with projects or assurances in their own constituencies, the Government is concerned with development and projects in the entire country. Therefore, hon. Members should try to remember that projects in their constituencies are competing for resources that come from the same source with projects in other parts of the country.


Madam Speaker, the House is reminded to note that the Government’s assurances are a commitment. This means that the Government will see to it that there is completion in a sustainable way, bearing in mind that it need not be bankrupt in the name of finishing or finalising projects.


Madam Speaker, it must also be noted that projects of any nature are undertaken in phases. Therefore, in a given project, the Government has highlighted the phases in which these projects would be undertaken. This is with regard to the policy on the 80 per cent completion. Further, any given project is subject to external factors that have an impact on the progress of the project of which financing is a major concern.


Madam Speaker, I hasten to state that the people of Zambia are knowledgeable and aware of the commitments that the Government has made. Therefore, the politicisation of projects and service delivery is lamentable because the vulnerability of our people should not be used for political mileage. The commitments made by the Government are not about roads only. The Government is undertaking heavy spending across the board, as indicated by the hon. Ministers who have highlighted some of those projects. In addition to that, the Government is spending heavily on the improvement of human capital for the personnel in health and education, which have a direct impact on our people. While the roads are important, they are not the only signs of development.


Madam Speaker, development of infrastructure is paramount. However, it is competing with the development of human capital through intermittent growth, education and health care. We hope to overcome some of the skills that are required to assist with the completion of these projects. A number of issues have been highlighted and your Committee centred on the lack of monitoring of these projects. Indeed, the Executive agrees that there is a need to place much emphasis on monitoring the projects so that we can see to it that they are completed, as that is the desire of the PF Government.


With these few words, I thank you, Madam.


Mr Kamondo (Mufumbwe): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Members who have debated this Motion and the support that they have given to the Committee. I also would like to thank the hon. Members of the Executive for the comforting words that they have given to the Committee and the people of Zambia.


Madam Speaker, I also would like to thank the National Assembly for the help that it rendered to the Committee during its tours. Three hon. Members were involved in a road accident. The three are Hon. Mulunda, Hon. Ndalamei and Hon. Miyanda. The National Assembly did a very good job and made sure that the hon. Members were evacuated from Siavonga to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH). That is how it is supposed to be. The hon. Members of the Committee were delighted because the National Assembly made their job easier. Lastly, I would like to thank all the hon. Members that debated.


I thank you, Madam.


Question put and agreed to.




Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 13th June, 2019.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda):  Madam Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Mwamba: Madam Speaker, in accordance with its terms of reference as set out in the National Assembly Standing Orders, the Committee considered two topical issues, namely:


  1. the teaching of computer studies in Zambian schools; and


  1. a study of the provision of quality higher education in Zambia.


The Committee also considered the Action Taken Report of its report for the Second Session of the Twelfth National Assembly. In its study, the Committee interacted with several stakeholders who tendered both written and oral submissions before it. The Committee also undertook a local tour.


Madam Speaker, I have no doubt that the hon. Members of the House have taken the time to read the Committee’s report. Allow me, therefore, to only highlight the critical findings of the Committee.  


Madam Speaker, as the House may be aware, computer studies was first introduced as a subject in Zambian schools in 1998. At that time, the subject was optional, and only private schools with the necessary Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure were offering it. It is worth noting that after a curriculum review in 2013 and 2015, computer studies was introduced as a compulsory subject at primary and junior secondary school levels


Madam Speaker, let me now touch on some of the specific challenges as observed by the Committee in the course of its work.


Madam, the Committee is greatly concerned that there is no policy supporting the teaching of computer studies in schools, and this has resulted in fragmentation and non-co-ordination in the teaching of computer studies. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government should immediately finalise the Draft 2007 ICT Policy in Education so that it can provide guidance in the teaching of computer studies in the country.


Madam, the Committee also noted that most schools at both primary and secondary school level lacked qualified teachers in computer studies. This has impacted negatively on the teaching of computer studies. In this vein, the Committee urges the Government to take concrete steps to train the teachers specialised in computer studies. Urgent measures should also be taken to provide in-service training in computer studies for serving teachers.


Madam Speaker, in a similar vein, the Committee is concerned that none of the primary teacher training institutions in the country offer computer studies as a compulsory subject in the first year of their training programmes. This continues to undermine the aspiration of having teachers who are skilled in teaching computer studies. With this in mind, the Committee calls upon the Government to ensure that all primary teacher training institutions in the country include computer studies as a compulsory subject during the initial year of training.


Madam Speaker, the Committee observed with great concern that the teaching of computer studies is not compulsory at all levels of primary and secondary education in Zambia. In this light, the Committee implores the Government to take measures to make the teaching of computer studies compulsory at all levels of education in the country. This should be done in a phased manner to ensure that all necessary facilities are made available.


Madam, on the provision of quality higher education in Zambia, the Committee learned that the increasing demand for higher education in the country motivated the Government to put in place a legal framework that allows the private sector to participate in the provision of higher education. This led to a rapid increase in the number of private universities resulting in the country having sixty private universities by 2017.


Madam Speaker, in order to effectively manage higher education institutions, the Government established the Zambia Education Authority and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) that are mandated, among other things, to accredit academic programmes in both public and private higher education institutions. The purpose of accreditation is to ensure that quality higher education is being provided. Despite this effort, the Committee is concerned that there is an apparent downward trend with regard to the quality of higher education in the country. Despite the above-mentioned concern, the Committee observed with great concern that there are too many regulators in the higher education sub sector. Notable among these are the HEA, the Zambia Qualifications Authority (ZAQA), the Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ). The Committee observed that this is leading to confusion and conflict in the sub sector. The Committee, therefore, urges the Government to consider amalgamating these regulatory agencies into one institution that will be responsible for accrediting learning programmes in all institutions of higher learning.


Madam, another issue of concern is that there are no tax exemptions enjoyed by institutions of higher learning on educational and building materials procured for the purpose of improving education delivery. As a result, the high costs incurred are hindering universities from providing the much-needed facilities for quality education. Consequently, the Committee urges the Government to consider introducing tax exemptions on education and building materials procured by learning institutions. This will help to lower the cost of materials procured by universities which, in turn, will contribute to the delivery of quality education in the country.


Madam Speaker, the Committee is also concerned that the students loan and scholarship scheme being provided to students in public institutions of higher learning does not extend to those in private universities. This is unfair because regardless of which university the students are in, they are all Zambians who need to be supported. The Committee, therefore, implores the Government to consider extending the student loan and scholarship scheme to students in private universities in the country in order to equitably support all students.


Madam, I wish to conclude by thanking you for the guidance provided to the Committee during the session. I also wish to thank all the stakeholders who appeared before the Committee. Last but not least, let me thank the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the support rendered to the Committee.


Madam Speaker, I beg to move.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later?


Prof. Lungwangwa: Now, Madam Speaker.


Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to second the Committee’s Report on Education, Science and Technology.


Madam, I would like to begin by congratulating some of my colleagues here, who have been able to obtain their doctoral degrees. Hon. Dr Banda, the Minister of Tourism and Arts, obtained his doctorate, and Hon. Dr Mushimba, the Minister of Transport and Communication, obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). This is not a mean achievement.


Madam, I would like to congratulate them, and wish them all the best. I also congratulated Hon. Dr Kopulande last year. I hope that they will utilise their PhDs that are degrees which transcend the normal degrees. They teach you how things should be because of the methodology and the research you acquire.


Madam Speaker, in supporting the Motion, I would like to commend the Chairperson of the Committee for the able manner in which he presented the Motion. I also thank the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the excellent facilities and support rendered to the Committee.


Madam Speaker, I will be very brief because a number of issues that are pertinent to the topic under review have been ably presented by the Chairperson of the Committee. In focusing on the report, I will highlight just a few very important issues.


Madam Speaker, first of all, the report has identified the problem of teaching Information Communication Technology (ICT) and computer studies in our school system. This is an area of study which is extremely important for the development of our country. However, the critical problem we have now is the provision of facilities to facilitate the teaching of ICT and computer studies in our schools. The provision of equipment is extremely low, and teachers lack skills in computers and ICT. This is very serious. The report says that so far, the Ministry of General Education has only been able to provide 14,000 computers in primary schools and 20,000 computers in secondary schools, giving a computer to pupil ratio of 1:219 at primary level, and 1:150 at secondary school level. That is a non-starter because there is no way more than 200 learners can meaningfully share a computer and be expected to learn effectively. We have a challenge there.


Madam Speaker, of course, a number of efforts are being made by the ministry and various agencies to support the provision of computers in our schools. However, we must begin to think outside the box if we are to seriously address the problems surrounding the teaching of computers and ICT in our schools. Thinking outside the box entails that as a country, we should begin to establish a computer manufacturing industry and various other ICT equipment which can be used in our schools. We have the environment to achieve this in place. We have the Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs), and so we can invite investors to establish manufacturing industries for computers, iPads and other equipment that can be used in schools.


 Madam Speaker, this can be done because, after all, we have manganese in this country. Luapula and Serenje are rich in manganese which can be used to produce batteries for computers and iPads. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is near Zambia. We can tap into the DRC market to get coltan, which is used in the production of computers and other smart technologies. We have the raw materials in this country, and if we put our heads together, we can come up with industries that can manufacture computers and other learning equipment needed in our education system. It is by so doing that we shall be able to expeditiously ensure that all our children are digitally or technologically ready. This is what other countries on the continent are doing and we should also do it. This is thinking outside the box.


Madam Speaker, in the area of higher education, the mover of the Motion has ably raised the issues, but I think the most important issue here is the need for a Higher Education Policy. The Higher Education Policy is critical because all the issues of the proliferation of private universities, poor quality in private education institutions in particular and many other issues border on the lack of a Higher Education Policy. The policy that we are operating under now is the 1996 Policy which is twenty-three years old. It is definitely outdated in terms of the challenges of the modern times.


Madam Speaker, there is now a need to come up with a Higher Education Policy that can provide a philosophical direction of how institutions of higher education should be. It can also provide the challenges that they should be able to address themselves to in terms of the development of the country. For example, how can institutions of higher education, the universities and colleges, be centres of innovation in terms of their teaching pedagogies, research and various other scholarly activities they undertake in order to contribute to the transformation of the country?


Madam Speaker, the entire higher education system is in dire need of an up-to-date relevant policy direction. Furthermore, there is a need to protect the name ‘university’ in this country. What we heard in our interaction with various stakeholders is that somebody can wake up today and establish a university just because he or she has some space in their backyard. They can even advertise it and get students. That is not how universities are established. If we look at the history of the development of universities, we will see that before an institution becomes a university, it has to go through a process of mentorship in relationship or in partnership with an established university.


After years of mentoring that institution in terms of curriculum development, staff training, research activities and various other aspects, the institution graduates into a university. It is then chartered. This is why we have the term ‘chartered’ and we say an institution was chartered in the year so and so. At that point, that institution is weaned-off and becomes a university in its own right. This is how universities develop.


Madam Speaker, what is happening in our country is, of course, a clamour for making quick money in higher education. This is why you find somebody with a bachelor’s degree teaching at master’s level. That should not happen. What is going on in our country is what can be referred to as the diploma disease. People are getting qualifications which have very little academic substance.


Madam Speaker, we have universities in the markets, by the road side and all over. I think that steps must be taken to immediately close some of these institutions called universities because they are doing a disservice to the country.


Madam Speaker, some of these institutions are already offering master’s and doctorates of philosophy (PhDs) just after a year of operation. Where else does this happen? It does not happen anywhere. This is not right. It is not good for the country and we must put a stop to it. This is the justification for establishing the Higher Education Authority. It is so that it can oversee and control this injustice which is happening in our country. We should protect the name ‘university’. Let us not leave it to careless people who just want to use the name ‘university’ to make money. This is not how universities develop or get established.


Madam Speaker, a number of very important issues have been raised. In supporting the Motion, I think that these issues that I have highlighted are pertinent to the development of our education system and for the good of the country.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members on my extreme right, I am trying very hard to look in your direction so that you can take heed, but it does not seem to be working today. It does not help because if I lose focus of the debate and focus on you, I will miss a lot when I must listen to the hon. Members who are debating.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Madam Speaker, I thank you and I must say that your Committee has given us, not only a very informative report, but one that is an example of a constructive oversight report. I must say well done to the Committee, the mover and seconder of the Motion.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: Madam Speaker, education must empower people. Wherever education institutions are, they must empower the people. What do I mean by empowering? An educated person should be one that has been given authority and power to do something.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


(Debate adjourned)




The House adjourned at 1956 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 12th July, 2019.