Tuesday, 21st July, 2020

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Tuesday, 21st July, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


 [MR SPEAKER in the Chair]











Mr Speaker: I wish to acquaint the House with a fact which is already in the public domain that the House lost two of its Members, namely:


Hon. Mwenya Munkonge, Member of Parliament for Lukashya


Hon. Rogers Mwewa, Member of Parliament for Mwansabombwe


The late hon. Members passed away on Saturday 18th July, 2020, both at Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital, here in Lusaka.


Hon. Members, you may wish to know that I have already conveyed, on your behalf, the condolences of the House to the respective bereaved families. May I now, therefore, request the House to rise and observe a minute of silence in honour of the memory of the late hon. Members.


Hon. Members of Parliament stood in silence for one minute.

Mr Speaker: May their souls rest in eternal peace.








The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, let me begin by expressing my sincere condolences to you, the House, the families of the bereaved and the country on the demise of Hon. Mwewa and Hon. Munkonge. May their souls rest in peace.


Sir, I thank you for this opportunity to update the House on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic that has impacted negatively on the socio-economic status of most countries globally, including Zambia.


Mr Speaker, the COVID-19 outbreak in Zambia is escalating with geographical spread affecting forty-four districts as of 20th July, 2020. A significant extension has been noted in high-density areas. Zambia now has a confirmed generalised COVID-19 outbreak that is being fuelled by radical local person-to-person transmission that has reached a precarious stage affecting all parts of the country. We continue to see an exponential rise in the proportion of positive cases from all tests done with an average increase of 129 new cases in the last ten days. Further, we have observed an increase in the proportion of patients who are presenting to our facilities with severe disease.


Sir, at the beginning of the outbreak, only 2 per cent of the cases we were receiving had severe disease, yet, currently, 40 per cent of the COVID-19 admissions are severely ill. Collectively, we need to prevent any further re-infections and, indeed, stop this morbidity and mortality.


Mr Speaker, there is yet another angle, which is a sharp rise in the proportion of Brought-in-Dead (BiD) cases testing positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Ninety-seven of the total 128 deaths that we have recorded attributable or associated with COVID-19 have been BiD. Of the 128 cumulative deaths, thirty-one are COVID-19 deaths while ninety-seven are COVID-19 associated deaths. For the avoidance of doubt, COVID-19 associated deaths are those in which the virus was detected, but is not the primary cause of death while COVID-19 deaths are those where the virus and its complications are the cause of death.


Sir, in the last 24 hours, we have recorded sixty new COVID-19 cases out of the 369 tests that we conducted. This represents a positivity of 16 per cent. Looking at the geographical distribution, twenty-one were from Kalumbila, eleven from Lusaka, and six were from Mufulira. These thirty-eight are contacts to known cases. For those from the health facility based screening, eleven were from Lusaka, four from Kitwe and one from Sesheke. Under the routine community screening Lusaka, six were picked.


Mr Speaker, eight people have been discharged from the Levy Mwanawasa COVID-19 Treatment Centre and eight from the Copperbelt COVID-19 Treatment facility. In terms of the patients we have in admission, eighteen patients are on oxygen support and two are in very critical condition. One is a known hypertensive patient and the other has no known comorbidity, but has severe pneumonia, which is a very common presentation in cases of COVID-19. The rest of the patients are in stable condition. This brings the accumulative number of COVID-19 cases we have recorded in the country to 3,386, including the 128 deaths and 1,628 recoveries.


Sir, a glimpse at a global picture brings out 14,858,918 COVID-19 cases with 613,341 deaths. Recoveries stand at 8,911,270 and this is as at 0700 hours this morning. In Africa, closer to home, we have recorded 740,026 cases with 15,465 deaths. Three hundred and ninety-two thousand three hundred and seventy-seven have recovered. It is a source of concern that the pace at which cases are being recorded in Africa is increasing on a daily basis.


 Mr Speaker, in Zambia, the increase in the number of cases and severity of disease is attributable to the cold weather compounded by the laxity in compliance to public health and social measures. It is also possible that the virus may have mutated and our scientists are still adducing scientific evidence to ascertain this.


Sir, allow me to refer to the President’s Address to the nation a month ago where His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, warned that with the cold weather that was expected, we anticipated an increase in cases. He also further warned that premature relaxation of restrictions as seen in other jurisdictions resulted in resurgence. Therefore, what we see today is what was forewarned in the speech by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. The cold weather has been associated with an exponential rise in cases. Further, the complacence in adherence to public health measures has seen the community spread and trench.


 Mr Speaker, as the burden of disease increases, there is an increased demand on health services and this is compromising routine health service provision. In its agenda for universal health coverage, the Government embraces measures to support resilience in self-systems to ensure that as we handle public health security, there is continuity in other services. For this reason, the Government continues to focus on malaria, tuberculosis (TB), Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and other non-communicable diseases.


 Sir, with the increasing burden of COVID-19 and laxity in adherence to public health and social measures among the public, we are facing additional challenges and these include the following:


  1. the weaknesses in the enforcement of public health and social measures is being aggravated by inadequate public enforcement officers because the geographical widespread of the COVID-19 requires enhanced enforcement of public health and social measures. The community is urged to comply rather than to rely on enforcement officers; and
  2. public premises such as markets, trading places, bus stations, public transport as well as public gatherings of various congregate settings such as churches, funerals, weddings, and drinking places continuously project a lack of compliance to the stipulated measures.


Mr Speaker, with the increased numbers, we also note a strain on the financial and material resources required for the control of COVID-19. We also see a strain on the human capital that is required to support promotive, preventive and creative measures required in the COVID-19 response.


Sir, commodity security, erratic access to supplies aggravated by the global supply chain crunch also means that there is difficulty in accessing common reagents and consumables such as such as personal protective equipment (PPEs), swabs, disinfectors, drugs or ventilation tools and logistics for laboratories, hospitals and fieldwork.


Mr Speaker, we are working closely with the global supply chain partners and our co-operating partners to ensure that we improve the supply chain for all these key commodities to support the execution of the multi-sectoral COVID-19 response plan. We want to assure the nation that adequate logistics are available for the current state of the epidemic. We will continue working with our co-operating partners to ensure that we stockpile commodities for any future escalation.


Mr Speaker, the modelling we have implemented out in conjunction with our partners has shown that figures would skyrocket if the poor compliance to public health and social measures continue. We project that with the current laxity we see, we may be recording up to 20,000 health facility admissions and we may reach 900 to 1,000 deaths per day. It may be so if we do not change the way do things as a community. It is, therefore, cardinal that we escalate the implementation of high-impact interventions if we are to progressively or comprehensively fight COVID-19 and avert further infections and deaths.


Sir, to stem the outbreak timeously, we need to ramp up our multi-sectoral approach with our communities being the anchor of the COVID-19 response. As we fight COVID-19, we need to inculcate and practice individual, family, and community responsibility in the spirit of ubuntu.


Sir, as hon. Members of Parliament, we need to lead by example in this fight. The National Assembly sits at the apex of political leadership and it is anticipated that its actions will advocate for improved community practices that would avert the crisis I warned of earlier.


Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Ministry of Health, issued Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 21, 22 and 62 to provide guidance to the response and these are still in force. It is, therefore, our expectation that our people will adhere to these provisions so that we defeat COVID-19 sooner than later.


Sir, the call to the nation and hon. Members of Parliament is to ensure that we work together, as stakeholders, to leverage resources for our communities to effectively respond to the outbreak. Therefore, I call for unwavering support to the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), beginning with masks, in all public places, including public transport, physical distancing, hygiene and other public heath social measures.                          


I further call for enhanced risk communication and engagement of our people in communities to facilitate social behavioural change which, so far, has been a challenge. Let us promote health seeking behaviour amongst members of the public and let us avoid having people present themselves late to our facilities or coming in as BiDs.


Mr Speaker, allow me to focus on my colleagues in Parliament, the hon. Members of Parliament. In anticipation of the opening of Parliament, the Ministry of Health worked with the management at the National Assembly to set up screening and testing facilities at the Parliament Clinic. Further, the management at the National Assembly put in place measures to ensure that there is physical distancing and sanitisation of all who are entering its premises.


Sir, these measures were adequate. However, I have noted with dismay that for the whole period that we have been in session, out of the 167 hon. Members of Parliament, only six tested voluntarily for COVID-19 at the clinic despite having a dedicated team at the Parliament Clinic. This is not acceptable. The importance of testing cannot be overemphasised. Testing will give us an opportunity to detect the cases early and link them to proper case management and thereby avoid negative outcomes. This is the surest way of preventing further spread because those who are positive are then isolated and will not spread the infection.


Mr Speaker, testing is a key intervention. Whether one is a member of the community or an hon. Member of Parliament, it is important that he/she knows what the signs and symptoms are and that at every opportunity to test, he/she does so. Therefore, I urge the leadership or hon. Members of Parliament to respond to the call to test and advocate for this high impact intervention in the fight against COVID-19. Opting to test will ensure that we are quickly isolated if we are positive, and contact tracing and management of the cases is done so that there is no negative outcome.


Sir, despite the small statistics I have just referred to, the Government, through the Ministry of Health and working with the management at the National Assembly, is giving an opportunity to all hon. Members of Parliament to get tested. We will set up increased COVID-19 testing points for all hon. Members of Parliament and National Assembly staff tomorrow Wednesday, 22nd July, 2020, starting at 0700 hours.


We will carry out the testing exercise the whole morning and part of the afternoon and all the results will be released by close of business on Thursday, 23rd July, 2020. This is important to avoid hon. Members of Parliament infecting their family members or friends when they go back to their constituencies and falling ill and then having us make interventions when it is late. I, therefore, urge all hon. Members of Parliament to take advantage of this grand opportunity to know their COVID-19 status before travelling back to their constituencies. We need to lead by example. We sit at the apex of political leadership and, therefore, our advocacy for public health is key to change behaviours at community level. We can be the advocates for disruption of the transmission of COVID-19. We can avert deaths by promoting early detection of cases and we can catalyse adherence to public health and social measures by our people. We should be united and there should be collective responsibility to ensure that we all play our designated roles in the fight against COVID -19.


Mr Speaker, I further urge hon. Members of Parliament to provide the much-needed leadership at constituency level and engage various stakeholders, gatekeepers and opinion formers in their communities. These include religious, political and civil leaders so that we can create a social movement in our fight against COVID-19. As we lead by example by adhering to public health and social measures and responding to public health interventions that will save our lives, we will see behavioural change at community level and disrupt the radical community spread we are seeing today, and the projections that are being made, through epidemiological modelling, will not come to pass.


Mr Speaker, let me reiterate the public health measures that we have been talking about consistently and that His Excellency President Lungu referred to in his address to the nation a month ago.


Wearing masks in public is life saving and it saves two purposes. The source will not transmit and the possible victim will not contract the virus. Wear a mask. Our public health officers will be strict as they visit public premises. We urge everyone who manages shops, hypermarkets and superintends in work places to ensure that everybody who enters their jurisdiction wears a mask. Let us observe constant and consistent hygiene in our various places. Washing hands and ensuring that we mask up will protect everyone.


Sir, public gatherings must be avoided. I would like to thank the Standing Orders Committee, the House Business Committee and you, Sir, for recommending the adjournment of Parliament as a way to show that public gatherings should be minimised to avoid or disrupt the spread. This should be emulated by all. Funerals, parties, kitchen parties, and weddings have been associated with the many deaths that we have seen in the recent past. When we conduct our mortality surveillance, we see a situation where many people who have fallen ill have a history of travel or participation in gatherings of that nature. We, therefore, urge all to avoid public gatherings unless they are certified in accordance with the Public Health Act.


Observing the coughing etiquette is important, and ensuring that we cover our mouth and nose as we cough is lifesaving. Increasing levels of surveillance at community level is critical. Let us report anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, cough and difficulty in breathing to the health authorities.


Mr Speaker, as I end my statement, allow me to thank His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the President of the Republic of Zambia, for his fortitude and unprecedented stewardship in enhancing the health security of our country. Once again, I wish to thank you, Mr Speaker, the House Business Committee and the Standing Orders Committee for the commitment and objective input to the COVID-19 response at Parliament Buildings and, most importantly, for recommending the adjournment of Parliament.


Sir, this is a message to all that we should safeguard and prioritise the health of our workers and everybody in our jurisdictions. Those who can work virtually should do so, and those who are essential in our businesses should work where public health conditions are enhanced. In solidarity, we will conquer COVID-19. Unity of purpose, solidarity and ensuring that we all focus on health for all and support the legacy agenda for universal health coverage that the Government is pursing will lead to conquer COVID-19.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


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


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Health talked about the precautions and measures the public should take in order to protect itself. However, it is very difficult to achieve that in areas like Chienge. We need support from the Government. What other measures is the Government implementing to help rural constituencies like Chienge, where we live as a community and believe in humanism? It is very difficult to control people in such an area because we do not have many health workers and police officers. So, how will the Government help rural constituencies so that the measures put in place are adhered to?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, the measures I mentioned apply countrywide. Messaging through posters, community radio stations and community meetings is taking place countrywide. Currently, all the provinces have held meetings with the royal establishments and, through them, village headmen and various stakeholders are being engaged to disseminate information on COVID-19. With the various co-operating partners that have supported the fight against COVID-19, masks and disinfectants have been secured. These have been distributed to various parts of the country through provincial health offices. We will continue stockpiling these commodities to support even the remotest areas. We support the remote parts of the country preferentially for the reason the hon. Member of Parliament has given. So, as we distribute what we have, we prioritise areas like Chienge.


Sir, it is important to note that the response plan that focuses on surveillance at all ports of entry is actually very aggressive in places like Chienge because of the porous borders. Community surveillance has also been enhanced through more human resource for health. So, we add more human capital in places of that nature to support surveillance at ports of entry and to ensure that community surveillance is enhanced. What one sees as we work with our co-operating partners in mobilising PPE culminates finally in a distribution schedule with priority given to areas such as Chienge. So, we will not leave anyone behind, and we will make sure that everybody has access to the preventive measures and, critically so, to the messaging that is required to prevent COVID-19.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs Jere (Lumezi): Mr Speaker, the general complaint that we have been getting from the grassroots is that when people get tested, the results take too long to be released. The hon. Minister has just talked about the few hon. Members of Parliament who were, at least, bold enough to get tested. However, yesterday, one of them complained to me that the results are not yet out, yet they had their tests conducted, maybe, three or four days ago. What stringent measures is the Government going to put in place to ensure that when a person gets tested, the results come out within twenty-four hours so that we do not encourage the further spread of the disease through contact with the people who may be asymptomatic?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I hope the hon. Member of Parliament is not trying to put up a defence for six out of 167 hon. Members of Parliament testing for COVID-19.


Sir, we have been streamlining the processes for testing and result processing, including validation to ensure that we speed up the dissemination of the results and this is a matter that is being looked into. Initially, it had to do with the number of gadgets that we had, and so, there were sample referrals. Samples were being referred from various parts of the country to more central places. However, riding on improved capacity to test using GeneXpert, Cobas 6800 and the Polymerase Reaction (PCR) Machines that are countrywide, we are able to test in all the provinces. So, the pace at which we conduct our tests will increase.


Mr Speaker, as the Government, we are working with our partners to leverage resources to buy more testing reagents and increase the number of testing points. We envisage placing community testing points in high density areas and, through that, we will also establish channels to ensure that the results come out soon after testing. However, what has been set up for hon. Members of Parliament is very straight forward. When one tests today, we fast track the samples through one of the facilities at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), and we do not expect the results not to come out within forty-eight hours.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, sometime in April this year, the Ministry of Health issued a statement that it had protective materials against the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), such as gloves, sanitisers, among others, and the hon. Minister said these items would be given to hon. Members of Parliament to take to their constituencies. Midway, some hon. Members went to the ministry, but they were told that there was nothing. However, in between, some hon. Members of Parliament were criticised as not being responsive by not collecting prottective materials to take to their constituencies. Could the hon. Minister clarify, once and for all, whether the ministry has protective materials to give to hon. Members of Parliament, as they disperse, to take to their constituencies?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, hon. Members of Parliament are important and they form the interface between the Ministry of Health and their constituents. So, whenever we have an opportunity to distribute PPE, we want to work with stakeholders such as hon. Members of Parliament. We wanted what we got from our co-operating partners, the business world, well-wishers together with the procurements we made to reach the community the fastest way possible. That is the reason I said hon. Members who were getting back to their constituencies should engage us so that whatever was available was passed on to the community through them. That was dependant on what we received. So, there was no particular procurement or allocation per constituency to match the need. It was only informed by what was available or collected. We shared everything that we received. This was to ensure that whatever was donated benefitted the common person.


Mr Speaker, the position today is that whatever support we get from anywhere is taken to the community and hon. Members of Parliament are important in interfacing with the community. We, therefore, continue calling upon hon. Members of Parliament to keep in touch with the Ministry of Health for any possible support to their communities. However, they should also be innovative and engage our co-operating partners, business houses and other stakeholders in leveraging support for the constituents.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, in many parts of the country, there are by-elections that are taking place. In the North-Western Province, there are about fifteen and in Kasempa, to be specific, there are two by-elections. I am aware that there have been executive instructions about the numbers that are expected in terms of crowds at events. However, in a place where there is a by-election, there will be hundreds and thousands of people. Has the hon. Minister put in place a standard operating procedure for crowd management as well as a mechanism to ensure that in places where there are by-elections, there are testing places? I am saying so because that is an opportunity that will also create awareness amongst those who participate in the by-elections. We know that there will be issues that will arise after these by-elections in terms of the numbers that will come up.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I will repeat what I said the other day. Public gatherings will only be allowed if they are held in compliance with public health measures. As stipulated in the Public Health Act and Statutory Instruments (SIs), failure to adhere to those measures will culminate in cancellation or disruption of such public gatherings. So, a gathering, be it political, religious or traditional, if it is not compliant to the measures stipulated in the legal provisions, will not be permitted. Our public health officers or authorised officers are on hand to provide guidance on how meetings should be held. If these are not complied with, the meetings will not be held. If they are held, law enforcement officers shall move in. The measures have been circulated. Physical distancing, hand washing facilities, reduced time of congregating and masking up during those meetings are some of the issues that we have spoken about. Improved ventilation in places where these meetings are taking place is one of the measures that we have continuously published. We want to urge all the people who are dealing with congregate settings to adhere to stipulated measures. Those who own public premises, by reservation of the owners, should not allow any one in their premises without masks.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last three interventions from the hon. Member for Mkaika, the hon. Member for Luena and we will close with the hon. Member for Manyinga.


Mr P. Phiri (Mkaika): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that hon. Members of Parliament have to take mandatory tests. Since the results delay to come out, how long will hon. Members of Parliament wait for those results before they can leave for their various constituencies?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister of Health, the hon. Member might not have followed your statement.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Mkaika for that question. For avoidance of doubt and just for those who did not get me clearly, the tests shall be conducted beginning 0700 hours tomorrow. The test results shall be availed to all who shall test by close of business on Thursday, 23rd July, 2020. This is the reason why we are beginning at 0700 hours on Wednesday, 22nd July, 2020. We, therefore, appeal to all hon. Members of Parliament and staff members to come before the afternoon so that we can use the afternoon for processing and have the results ready the following day. We urge all hon. Members of Parliament to take the test. If an hon. Member does not take a test, he or she will just be an agent of infection to his or her family, constituents or, indeed, any other member of the community. It would actually be irresponsible of him or her not to take the test. This is why we are saying that we should show leadership by testing. We should then encourage the common person to test.


Mr Speaker, testing is a game changer. Even as we talk about cautions easing of restrictions, the key metric that we look at are new cases. We look at whether the new cases are going up or coming down in terms of deaths, among other variables. So, hon. Members of Parliament should take the lead and take the test. The marquees are here already. Apart from the Parliament Clinic, there will now be multiple other points at a specific area here at Parliament. We will be able to test quickly. It takes only minutes, if not seconds, to take the swab and then, the following day, the people who will test will have the results. So, hon. Members should be assured that the results will be out the following day, that is, before Thursday close of business.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kundoti (Luena): Mr Speaker, my questing is in line with the question that was asked by Hon. Tambatamba for Kasempa Parliamentary Constituency and it has to do with the by-elections that are currently going on. The hon. Minister of Health said that masking as well as taking precautions such as washing hands should be strictly adhered to. I am just from my constituency where there are two by-elections, in Limulunga as well as Sitoya, a remote area. My observation is that there is no adherence to what the hon. Minister has said. People are gathering without masking, whatsoever. This is because they do not have the materials to use. What measures is the ministry taking to ensure that as these campaigns are going on, there is adherence to the measures that the hon. Minister has put in place such as the availability of masks, especially to the people who are in the remote areas of this country?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, community engagement, through effective risk communication is key in the response. We have printed messages and posters in all the seven languages and these are distributed to various parts of the provinces. We are running radio programmes at community radio stations in the various languages in the different provinces. This is meant to heighten awareness.


We urge all hon. Members to work with key stakeholders to ensure that we all access masks. A mask need not to be a disposable one, but it can be one made of cloth and one made of cloth is actually reusable.


Sir, people have used initiatives to make masks. Likewise various institutions have come up with initiatives to make masks. The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) have supported schools and various communities. I have seen hon. Members who have supported various communities. The Ministry of Health with the support from its partners have also supported various communities in markets.


 The most important point is ensuring that people understand the importance of using masks. I am urging hon. Members to join the bandwagon of health promoters, the communicators, who will push for positive behavioural change so that people appreciate the importance of putting on masks.


Mr Speaker, two months of putting on masks by everyone in the country, would make a major dent on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). COVID-19 would be on its way out, if everybody would mask up for two months. So, this high impact intervention should actually unite us. Together, we can come up with an aggressive mask up campaign and you will see that those epidemiological models will not come to pass.


We need to abandon the business as usual attitude. I share the concern of the hon. Member that he found people carrying on business normally. We need to abandon the business as usual attitude because if we do not, we shall see a catastrophe. We should act now and ensure that everyone is sensitised and has a mask. Also, we need to ensure that all corporate stakeholders are brought on board, the corporate social responsibility programmes to health security in this season are aligned and the support of the manufacturing of reusable masks is adequate. Further, if we ensured that people at the work places, in schools and communities have masks, then we would stop COVID-19.


Mr Speaker, like I said earlier on, this is a grave health emergency and it can claim thousands of lives. I repeat that the according to the epidemiological models, without our acting now, will see more than 20,000 health facility admissions and close to a thousand deaths every week. That can be stopped and it can only be stopped by individual and community action. I repeat, let us put on masks, wash our hands and watch that distance.


Sir, funerals are a very significant source of infection. We appreciate those who announce that there is no funeral gathering. We thank them for the solidarity. We appreciate those who are doing it that way because they know what the consequences would be. I said earlier on and I will repeat that when we conduct mortality surveillance, and just extrapolate the activities for the previous two weeks of those we are losing, you would find them at a party dancing.


Mr Speaker, kitchen parties, chilanga mulilos, weddings or big religious gatherings are all associated with the rapid spread of COVID-19. Parliament has shown leadership by making the proposal to adjourn. Let us follow suit by avoiding these public gatherings that do not adhere to public health measures. Even as we put up the best measures of social distancing hand washing facilities, we shall still show up leadership by stopping gatherings of this nature. So, we need to ensure that our people are sensitised and it is time to act and do so now. Let us abandon the business as usual attitude and we will get rid of COVID-19.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lihefu (Manyinga): Mr Speaker, this season I have seen the number of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) cases increasing. As a country, do we have enough COVID-19 test kits?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, we have seen an exponential rise in cases. We have seen a generalised spread of COVID-19. That means we need to adjust the projections of what we need in terms of test kits and drugs. This is why I said earlier in the ministerial statement that the rise in cases, the geological spread and dangerous escalation in cases has put a strain on the logistics.


However, the Government is working together with its partners to ensure that there is a matching response. We are stockpiling test kits and ensuring that these are available. Presently, we are able to conduct tests. We are working with our co-operating partners under the business role to ensure that the supply chain is unchecked and at ease by one settling debts, reserving resources to place more procurement because testing is very important intervention. That is the only way to find new cases, isolate them quickly and put them under care. So, I agree with the hon. Member that we need to find these test kits in adequate numbers so that they are available consistently.


Sir, the projection that we see requires us to get more. What we have, at the amount, is responding to what the state of the epidemic is, but not with what we are projecting. We are working with our working co-operating partners, globally and locally, to make sure that we get more test kits.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Fungulwe Lufwanyama) Mr Speaker, gatherings should not be encouraged. I find that there are some Cabinet Ministers who are busy enticing councillors to resign from their parties. They are encouraging gatherings because that is causing by-elections. What advise can the Minister give the Cabinet Ministers who are enticing councillors to resign?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Lufwanyama, I do not think I will permit the hon. Minister to respond to that question. It is outside his limit of the ministerial statement.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister associating the rise in numbers to the cold temperature. For the avoidance of doubt, I would like him to indicate whether seasons have any scientific basis for this particular disease. For example, in India, June and July are the hottest periods, but the figures that are coming out of India are alarmingly very high. Does temperature have its own scientific basis? We need to know so that we inform our people about it.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, there is evidence that the epidemic worsens in the cold season. We have seen what has happened in other countries. There is a co-relation between low temperatures and the rise in cases. This has a scientific explanation.


Mr Speaker, we should also note, like I have said repeatedly, that this is not the only variable. There is also mutation and the natural progression of the disease. One variable is not what determines the progression of the disease. However, what needs to be known is that there is adequate evidence adduced from analysis of what has happened in many parts of the world that cold temperature is associated with an increase in the number of cases.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, of late, I have seen a number of roadblocks or checkpoints where the Ministry of Health has put officers to test people and check their temperatures. In Mazabuka and Monze, the officers have deserted the checkpoints. I would like the hon. Minister to tell the nation why officers from the Ministry of Health have left all those checkpoints. As a result, people are no longer being tested nor do they have their temperatures checked. Can the hon. Minister share with me and the entire nation why the officers have left these points.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, that is regrettable. As we talk about scaling up the response, you will see more checkpoints being introduced for surveillance checkups. People will be checked for temperatures and people and vehicles will be disinfected.


Mr Speaker, we are retracing the basics. We are going back to the basics. Our community engagement will be up scaled. We will engage the public on a daily basis in various languages and at every opportunity. Those surveillance checks will actually be increased. This is intended to ensure that we enhance our community engagement, our risk communication and public health measures that will help us stop the spread of the pandemic. So, that checkpoint will be re-introduced and probably even more checkpoints shall be put up to enhance the response. This is critical in upscaling the response to COVID-19 which has now reached a very dangerous point.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Last intervention. The hon. Member for Sioma.


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Inaudible


Mr Speaker: I am afraid I have to move on. I cannot get the hon. Member for Sioma.








The Vice-President (Mrs Wina) Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do place on record its deepest regret at the death of Mr Mwenya Munkonge, Member of Parliament for Lukashya Parliamentary Constituency and Mr Rodgers Mwewa, Member of Parliament for Mwansabombwe Parliamentary Constituency, together with its appreciation of their distinguished and patriotic service to this country and the people of Zambia, and that the deepest sympathies and condolences of the National Assembly be conveyed to their respective families.


Mr Speaker, in moving the Motion, I wish to place on record our regret and sorrow and anguish over the demise of the two hon. Members who passed away at the Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka on Saturday, 18th July, 2020.


Sir, allow me to use this very sad moment to say a few things about each one of them. The demise of the two hon. Members is not only a great loss to the Lukashya and Mwansabombwe Parliamentary Constituencies but also to the entire nation.


Sir, Mr Munkonge, MP was born in Kasama District on 16th March, 1968. He attended primary school at Woodlands Primary School in Lusaka between 1974 and 1980. In 1981, he went to Munali Secondary School and moved on to St Paul’s Secondary School in 1982 where he completed his secondary school education. He then proceeded to the University of Zambia where he obtained a Certificate in Accountancy Studies in 1988. Thereafter, he continued his accountancy studies at Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies (ZCAS) where he completed levels one, II and III of the Chartered Institution for Management Accountants (CIMA). Not satisfied with his qualifications, Mr Munkonge then proceeded to the Zambia Insurance Business College where he obtained a Stock Brokers Certificate.


Mr Speaker, as regards his career, the late Mr Munkonge MP, started as an Accounts Clerk at Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO) before moving to Barclays Bank and later to Meridian Bank as an Accounts Assistant. He also worked at Wits Limited after the closure of Meridian Bank Limited and then joined Serve Company Limited as an Accountant before joining the family business at Hilltop Hospital as the Head of Finance. He later opened his own business, Kasama Milling, which he was operating until the time of his death.


Sir, in terms of politics, Mr Munkonge MP’s political career started at a tender age as he first joined the United National Independence Party (UNIP) Youth League in 1984 as an ordinary member. In 1991, following the wind of change, he shifted camp to the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) where he was an ordinary member. He was elected Member of Parliament for Lukashya Parliamentary Constituency in 2016 during the tripartite elections as an Independent Member and served in that position until his untimely death.


Sir, as a parliamentarian, Mr Munkonge, MP, served on the Public Accounts Committee. He was a very humble, sober minded, and objective debater with a lot of knowledge in financial matters and had passion for development of his constituency. His contribution to the Public Accounts Committee and to the House will be greatly missed.


Mr Speaker, the late Mr. Rodgers Mwewa, MP, was born on 4th December, 1971, in Mufulira district on the Copperbelt Province. Following the completion of his primary and secondary education, Mr. Mwewa, MP, proceeded to the University of Helsinki in Finland were he obtained an advanced certificate in Streetism from 1999 to 2000. His desire to work for the community made him enrol at the Wayne State University in the United States of America (USA) from 2002 to 2004 where he obtained an Associate Degree in Social Work. Mr. Rodgers Mwewa, MP, also studied and obtained a certificate in producing and directing plays from Atlanta School of Arts from 2005 to 2006.


Mr Speaker, as regards his career as a social worker, the late Mr. Mwewa, MP, started as a Street Kid’s Co-ordinator at the Zambia Red Cross Society from 1995 to 1996. In 1997, he founded the Fountain of Hope Orphanage in Kamwala township, in Lusaka. The Late Mr. Mwewa, MP, worked at Project Concern International as Deputy Country Representative from 2000 to 2002.


Mr Speaker, in terms of politics, the late Mr. Mwewa, MP, started with the Patriotic Front (PF) in 2010. He was first elected as Member of Parliament for Mwansabombwe Parliamentary Constituency in 2011 and was re-elected in 2016, a position he held until his untimely death. The late Mr. Mwewa, MP, was appointed as Deputy Minister of Agriculture from 2011 to 2016.


Sir, as a Parliamentarian, Mr. Mwewa saved on the Committees on Cabinet Affairs, Media Information and Communication Technologies, and the Committee on Youth, Sport and Child Affairs. The late Mr. Mwewa, MP, was a humble and humorous person with an overflow of love and care for a common person. It is for this reason that he founded the Fountain of Hope Orphanage which houses over 300 street kids.


Sir, in Parliament, Mr. Mwewa, MP, would use every available opportunity to champion the cause of the vulnerable children and the youth.


 Mr Speaker, may the souls of our departed colleagues rest in internal peace.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


The Government Chief Whip (Mr Mundubile): Mr Speaker, thank you so much for according me this opportunity to register and covey my deepest condolences and sympathies to the Munkonge’s family and Mwewa’s family, at the loss of our two colleagues, the hon. Members of Parliament


Mr Speaker, I should state from the outset that the demise of the two hon. Members of Parliament has not only been devastating to Parliament, but to the nation at large. To borrow the words of Her Honour the Vice-President, these two were gallant soldiers and patriotic Zambians that provided patriotic service to this country.


Mr Speaker, during the service that these two hon. Members of Parliament provided to Zambia, they interacted with various people and represented Mother Zambia on various platforms, both local and international. I would like to remember them as patriotic Zambians that served this country with courage and provided leadership not only to the nation but also to their respective constituencies. I remember Hon. Munkonge when I served as hon. Minister for Northern Province, visited my office several times. As a result of that engagement with my office and many other portfolio ministries, he managed to deliver to the people of Lukashya in this short period of time that he served as Member of Parliament.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Munkonge will be remembered by the people of Lukashya for having lobbied for the construction of the Northern University in Lukashya which is the first ever university for the Northern Province. Hon. Munkonge went flat out and managed to lobby for that huge development.


Mr Speaker, at the moment, in Lukashya, an area which was neglected for a very long period of time, has seen construction of roads. There is power introduced in that area. He took communication towers, particularly to the Nchumba area and Musowa area. The people of Lukashya will continue to remember him for the health infrastructure that he has taken to that area. I also would like to remember him as a personal friend. I had met him much earlier before we even came to Parliament. He was a sportsperson. I played basketball with him and he interacted with people and made friends very easily. He was a committed member of the Patriotic Front (PF) at the time it was not desirable for youthful leaders to join the PF. He was one of those that came in the frontline to support our late President, Mr Michael Sata, may his soul rest in peace, and ensured that in 2011 we formed Government.


Mr Speaker, this was a gentleman who was a father to many and our plea to the hon. Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development is to see how the ministry can come on board and ensure that his dream to look after the homeless and fatherless, whom he looked after at his Fountain of Hope Orphanage, are looked after in the manner our hon. Colleague would have loved to look after them.


Sir, our hon. Colleague had rare gifts. I know that we are all leaders and we represent people, but for a person to go beyond his responsibility and look after such a large number of children, who were not his relatives, is a rare attribute.


Mr Speaker, we can only wish the families of these two gallant gentlemen we have lost well and God’s blessings. I am grateful that you have settled for me to go and represent you tomorrow at the sending off of our hon. Colleague, Hon. Mwenya Munkonge, whom we shall put to rest tomorrow. I also would like to appeal to my hon. Colleague, the hon. Minister for Luapula Province, and the rest of the provincial leadership to ensure that our people of Mwansabombwe do not remain orphans. I plead with them to try to be available for our people of Mwansabombwe to comfort them and ensure that they too are looked after well after our hon. Colleague has left.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to also make some remarks on the demise of our hon. Colleagues. I make these remarks, of course, on my own behalf and also on behalf of the hon. Colleagues from the United Party for National Development (UPND) and, indeed, all the other hon. Members of Parliament in general. Many people would have liked to come here to offer their condolences using their own words, but as we all know, our place here has now been infected with the Corona virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). So, we have had to flee and, therefore, there is a need for someone to speak on behalf of others.


Sir, as we gather here, we are paying our last respects to hon. Members who have departed from us. I think it is also important to say that it is not just hon. Members of Parliament that are departed. There are also members of staff who are departed that we should also consider. In the last few days, I believe we have lost four people; two members of staff and two hon. Members of Parliament. The hon. Members of Parliament, as we have heard, are Hon. Munkonge and Hon. Mwewa.


Mr Speaker, we pass our condolences and sympathies to the families at these untimely deaths. It was just the other week when I met Hon. Munkonge outside and he looked perfect. So, it is shocking that a few days later, we have to sit here and mourn him. Indeed, as other hon. Colleagues have said, he was a perfect gentleman who used to sit over there. I do not remember him, since he joined this House, making remarks that were of a personal attack to other hon. Colleagues. I remember him debating on issues. He was an issued-based debater, not one that was prone to attacking other people. So, we shall miss him.


Sir, I think Hon. Mwewa was one on the quiet side who would not say much in the House. On the other hand, however, he did a lot of work, as other hon. Colleagues have said, such as taking children off the streets and giving them hope. The other day when I was looking through social media, I saw these young people that he has been looking after mourning him around a fire. It is very sad and moving and I hope that spirit that was in Hon. Mwewa will be implanted in another person, so that that noble work can continue.


Mr Speaker, there is no denying the fact that these deaths are partly due to COVID-19. I do not think we should repeat the mistakes that we made in the early 1980s and 1990s of denial that such a problem does exist. If we do that, then the two hon. Colleagues that we are mourning here will not be the last. It means that others here in Parliament and outside there are going to follow suit.


So, I am happy that the hon. Minister of Health made a statement here this afternoon. The important point about this whole situation is really leadership. We have seen that countries where the leadership is not responsive have had pandemics. We have also seen that in countries where there is responsive leadership, the situation is under control. So, the issue of leadership is very critical as we mourn our two friends. Leadership is at all levels, whether you are a village headman, an hon. Member of Parliament or someone else.


Mr Speaker, may the souls of our dear hon. Colleagues rest in peace. I thank you.


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, I would like to say a few words from the people of Chienge and also on behalf of the people of Luapula Province. I know the hon. Minister for my province will say something, but I am standing here with a very heavy heart. It has been a few days since I received a call in the early hours of the morning to inform me that Hon. Munkonge had passed away. Initially, it was like I was dreaming. I phoned the cousin who happens to be my close friend and she confirmed and asked me to go to the funeral house. I only realised it was real when I got there.


Sir, it is so painful to see that we are losing people who would have contributed to the peace of this country, who have never been bitter or never taken politics like it is a war. I remember that each time the two hon. Members, whom I called my brothers, Hon. Munkonge and Hon. Mwewa, walked in to come and sit that side, all I could see was humility. They were never bitter even in their debates.


Mr Speaker, Zambia has lost true politicians or what is expected of a true politician. I do not remember Hon. Mwewa inciting anyone or the youths to insult the elderly in this country. He had a heart to build the youths of this nation for future leadership. It is the reason he had that orphanage where he was taking care of the weak in his generation.


Mr Speaker, losing such hon. Members of Parliament in a short period is unbearable for me and the people of the Patriotic Front (PF) because I know that both hon. Members supported the PF, despite Hon. Munkonge being an Independent Member of Parliament.


Sir, as Her Honour the Vice-President said when moving the Motion, these were true patriotic Members of Parliament.  I urge the hon. Members of Parliament that have remained behind to build the nation like our colleagues did when they were serving this country instead of destroying it.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Mwewa was a unifier in Luapula. He would go to my constituency, do works on my behalf and give me the right advice despite my belonging to the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD). I am standing here by the grace of God as I am really broken because this is an hon. Member of Parliament who supported me to get the position that I have of Chairperson for the Advisory Group on Health to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). He is a brother who knew how to uplift others. He never brought anyone down.


Sir, I remember that Hon. Munkonge would tell me that he wanted to teach the youth how to play basketball because he was a basketball player. You can see that these were not selfish Members of Parliament. Therefore, it is painful and disheartening to see that others took to the street to celebrate the death of the hon. Members of Parliament.  We cannot live like animals. We should be human beings. One man’s death affects everyone. We should be like the Jews. When one Jew is injured, all the Jews are injured regardless. I expect all of us to look at ourselves to see what our reaction was when he heard about this information, regardless of political affiliation.


Sir, may God comfort these two families.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nakacinda (Nominated): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to place on record my condolences to families of the departed colleagues. It is a great loss to this House and the nation at large.


Sir, Her Honour the Vice-President, the Chief Government Whip, the Leader of Opposition and the hon. Members who have spoken before me have uttered befitting words for these honourable colleagues that we are mourning.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Munkonge, as it has been said, was a very patriotic Member of Parliament. When I came to this House, he is one of the hon. Members of Parliament that I could tell was a clear thinker and very objective in his debates. He also carried a very unique demeanour of humility. This was not only expressed when he debated but also when you interacted with him  at a personal level. One would be tempted to try and sway him into political discourse, but he had a unique way of balancing the conversation and getting you to look at opportunities that the country has for us to be able to see development.


Sir, a few times, I was privileged to have been sent on one or two assignments. Coming from the Budget Committee whilst he was from the Public Accounts Committee, our interactions were very progressively. We have lost a gallant colleague, hon. Members of Parliament and national leaders at a critical time when Zambia needed their services.


Mr Speaker, maybe, because Hon. Mwewa loved art, he was a bit artistic even in the way he carried himself. At face value, one would be dismissive until one encountered him by interacting closely with him, then one would come to discover that he was a very deep, strong and passionate person. Interacting with Hon. Mwewa helped me appreciate that really, greatness in life is not what one accumulates or the title one holds, but that greatness in life lies in the impact and value one makes in the lives of others.


Sir, here at Parliament, the testimonies are that Hon. Mwewa’s interactions with all of us and, indeed, his in undertaking of his duties as an hon. Member of Parliament, he always expressed a unique attribute of love and passion for a fellow human being. Out there, there are a number of testimonies of people whose lives were on the fast lane to destruction such as street kids. However, today, their testimonies are that as they headed for destruction, one Rodgers Mwewa came through, disrupted that move and now, their lives have been transformed and they are now lawyers and soldiers. Further, many others have testified of the fact that his input in their lives has really transformed their lives.


Sir, like others have said, I can only say that may their souls rest in peace.


The Minister for Luapula Province (Mr Chilangwa): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to share one or two words about our departed colleagues.


Sir, I did not have much interaction with Hon. Munkonge, but I want to put this on record that last year, he came to Umutomboko Ceremony in Luapula Province and I did not know that he was there. More often than not, colleagues would want to be noticed and ask for the best seats, but Hon. Munkonge sat where everybody sat. When he was about to go, he walked over, greeted me and said hon. Minister for Luapula Province, I have been here as well and I have been sitting at the far back, showing his level of humility and what a wonderful human being he was.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Rodgers Mwewa’ death does not only leave a big hole in his family, but he will also be missed by his wonderful wife and kids and the other kids from Fountain of Hope, Rodgers Mwewa was a critical component of Team Luapula.


Mr Speaker, when we planned to do things or planned to go to the battle front in politics, we would always know that we had several generals from Tteam Luapula. Once you gave Hon. Rodgers Mwewa an assignment, it would be undertaken without any excuse. You would call Hon. Rodgers Mwewa in the middle of the night and tell him that we had an assignment in Luapula which had to be undertaken the next day and that we must be on the ground by 0900 hours and Hon. Rodgers Mwewa would say, “I will be there” and, surely, Hon. Rodgers Mwewa would be there.


Mr Speaker, my story with Hon. Rodgers Mwewa goes a long way back when it was not fashionable to be in the Patriotic Front (PF). One day, a gentleman walked to me when I was at my facility in Kabwata and told me that he had been asked to see me because he was interested in becoming a Member of Parliament and that he had been advised to work with me. I asked him if he was a risk taker, but he asked me to give him an assignment and see if he would fail. Hon. Hon. Rodgers joined the PF. From that day, I gave him some assignments. We would go together on very difficult assignments and they would all be accomplished.


Mr Speaker, three weeks ago, I was with him in his constituency, Mwansabombwe, to conduct some general clean-up on some misunderstandings. Hon. Rodgers Mwewa came out of that meeting laughing and very happy that we had reached that level.


Mr Speaker, for Luapula, we have lost a colleague, a comrade, and a brother in arms. Hon. Rodgers was always joking even at the most critical time when everybody was tensed up in meetings. Hon. Rodgers Mwewa would just say something that would just put everybody at ease. Hon. Rodgers Mwewa was always looking for unity of purpose. Wherever there were misunderstandings amongst hon. Members of Parliament in Luapula Province, Hon. Rodgers Mwewa would come to me and ask if we could have a meeting to deal with the issue right away. He would advise me not to skate around the issue and would say it was time for us to meet and resolve issues.


Mr Speaker, that is the gentleman we have lost. Mwansabombwe has lost. Luapula Province has lost. The Mwewa family has lost. The National Assembly of Zambia has, indeed, lost. Hon. Rodgers Mwewa, go well, my brother and friend. May the departed soul of our brother rest in eternal peace.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity in this very sombre moment. I want to acknowledge what the Hon. Kampyongo, Minister of Home Affairs, said about a day such as Saturday that I know shook every household for all hon. Members of Parliament. My daughter saw me walking like a crazy person because I did not know what to do when I heard the second time of the demise of an hon. Member. In the morning, Hon. Munkonge was gone and then, next, it was Hon. Mwewa.


Mr Speaker, my sincere condolences to their families, to all hon. Members of Parliament and to the nation at large.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Rodgers Mwewa was a smiley. He was smiling all the moments that I met him and we chatted. I could understand the reason he was able to capture the nation through the service at the Fountain of Hope Orphanage. I met him in the year 2000. Our relationship comes from as far back as that. 


Sir, when I was working for Pact Zambia, providing capacity building services, Hon. Rodgers Mwewa was just forming the organisation. He came to Pact Zambia to seek expertise for running that organisation to carry out a strategic plan. That was the first time I met him.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Rodgers Mwewa had a helping spirit and a father of multitudes at the Fountain of Hope. He had a special position in society in the sense that he was a frontline soldier in providing practical services to those in need and giving hope to the seemingly hopeless. Yet, he could also see that it was important for him to rise from the downstream to the upstream and participate in lawmarking, and ensure that there was a budget that would cater for, amongst others, such services as the ones he was providing. So, Mr Rodgers Mwewa will be remembered for his helping spirit because he gave hope to others. Rodgers, we shall miss you.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Munkonge was my colleague in the Public Accounts Committee. Yes, I do acknowledge all those who have spoken before me that he had a virtue. The humility that was seen in him made him a brother outside our Public Accounts Committee room. I walked and rode together with him. When I did not have a car, he would always give me a lift but, now, he is gone. I know that I will find other brothers who will offer the same lending hand because we are One Zambia, One nation.


Mr Speaker, I knew Hon. Mukonge as a family man who believed in identifying everyone of his family across the nation. Though he came from the north, there were moments when he could talk about his relatives from the North-Western Province, and those born from different tribes in the Western Province. He would fish them out and talk about them. Hhe was such a nationalist.


Mr Speaker, back into the Public Accounts Committee room, what an expert he was. He paid attention to detail. When everybody was hot and fuming at our witnesses before the Committee, Hon. Mukonge was the one who was soft spoken, yet he would hit the nail on its head and provide that expertise oversight for which we had been collected and put together on your behalf, Mr Speaker.


Sir, we have lost such an expert with breadth and depth. He never rushed in making a point, but he made the point. He was cool and resolute.


Mr Speaker, lastly, one thing that I will say is that he meant business when he wanted something to be done.  Against all odds, he would push for an agenda for the good of everybody. No wonder he was able to contest as an Independent Candidate in Lukashya, which is not very easy. I know the people of Lukashya and this Parliament will miss him. The Public Accounts Committee will miss him too.


Mr Speaker, I wish to also mention that even we, as the United Party for National Development (UPND), got on well with Hon. Mukonge.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity given to me, on behalf of the people of Kaputa, to also add a few messages on these untimely deaths of our hon. Members of Parliament, Hon. Rodgers Mwewa, Member of Parliament for Mwasabombwe, in Kazembe District of Luapula Province, and Hon. Mukonge, Member of Parliament for Lukashya, in Kasama District, in the Northern Province.


Mr Speaker, as others have indicated, these were not only gallant soldiers, but men that served this nation with all it takes. We are all saddened at the loss of these colleagues because they were not only friends and colleagues but also leaders in their own way, in this country.


Mr Speaker, allow me to just say a few words about Hon. Rodgers Mwewa, whom I served with in this Parliament for nine years before his demise. We came together in 2011 under the Patriotic Front (PF), and I associated with Hon. Rodgers Mwewa in several other Committees but, more specifically, in caucuses.


We were both members of the International Conservation Caucus on conservation of our natural resources. We moved and got exposed together. One instance that comes to mind is when we went to Liuwa and Hon. Rogers Mwewa, in the midst of everyone of us was full of happiness and smiles. Those of us who went with him to Liuwa to look at what this country has been blessed with would agree with me that amongst that particular team, he was as marvellous as others have actually indicated.


Mr Speaker, from a political front, others have described him as an organiser. I could basically say that Hon. Rogers Mwewa was a perfect person in terms of political organisation. I remember a by-election in Lubansenshi in Luwingu that brought in Hon. Mwamba. Hon. Mwewa was marvellous during that period. He was a person who would be given an assignment and would accomplish it. I remember he was there for almost a month without leaving the constituency. That is how dedicated he was towards party duties.


Sir, Mr Munkonge was a humble and big hearted hon. Member of Parliament. I remember when we were celebrating the centenary of the end of the World War II in the Northern Province in Mbala since it ended there, he opened up his house to all of us hon. Members who had no accommodation. I regarded Hon. Munkonge as my nephew because he had been and still continues to be a best friend to one of my nephews by the name of Chisala. Everywhere we went, be it Livingstone for Committees or elsewhere, Hon. Munkonge was with his best friend, who is my nephew. Therefore, I regarded him as my nephew as well. We related very well almost in all sectors.


Mr Speaker, in this regard, these were not only hon. Members of Parliament who brought peace to the groupings that they were in, but to everybody as well. They have left something that we must emulate, especially in politics as we lead this nation. Nobody wins by either being insolent or by being a fighter. We need peace in this country. Therefore, we need to emulate what our colleagues did. May their souls rest in peace.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Jere (Lumezi): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity on behalf of the people of Lumezi to convey our condolences to the bereaved family, the family of Hon. Munkonge who was my neighbour in this House. I cannot imagine a situation where we will come back to this House and he will not be sitting next to me. 


Mr Speaker, I also wish to convey our condolences to the family of Hon. Rogers Mwewa. Although I never really interacted with him at a close range, he is one person whom I worked with, more especially under the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).


Sir, speaking as an hon. Independent Member of Parliament, just as Hon. Tambatamba mentioned, it is not easy in this country to win an election as an Independent Candidate. Mr Speaker, Hon. Munkonge, like many of us who are hon. Independent Members of Parliament, won an election in Lukashya Parliamentary Constituency. That showed all of us in this country that when people have confidence, love and trust in you, they can still vote for you regardless of whichever ticket you stand on. So, the people had the confidence in him and it is the same confidence that we also displayed to him when he was still with us.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Munkonge was not only a humble person, but he was also a very intelligent man just like others have mentioned. He was a wise man. On a lighter note, although we do not relate wisdom to the people who come from the northern hemisphere of this country, this particular one was a very wise man. Hon. Munkonge was not as, perhaps, many of our colleagues saw him, especially those who related with him at a distance. Those of us who sat next to him knew him much more than others.


Mr Speaker, people saw him as a very serious person, but the man never let a day pass without cracking a joke. He used to make us laugh and I will miss that very much.


Sir, I am surrounded by male Independent hon. Members. I think there are three hon. Members on my right and the other side, there may be four, but among them all, he was different. Hon. Munkonge usually came in the House a little bit late and being his mbuya, his wife in inverted commas, I used to tease him a lot that he was big and should be in the House early so that he took up the space he needed for the rest of us to be comfortable. He would just laugh it out. I will miss that kind of a colleague.


Mr Speaker, I do not know the next person who will come and sit next to me because it takes time to know a person. We were together for the past three years. This year, we had entered into the was the fourth year and I enjoyed his company as my neighbour.


Mr Speaker, he was not only a colleague or a friend to us all but, for me, he was a brother, my ‘hubby’, as mbuya. Sir, I shall miss him a lot for this cousinship relationship that we have and enjoy between the Nyanjas and the Bembas.


 I want you to see how caring this man was as other people as said. Just three weeks ago, he sent me a text message to check that I was not appearing on the list of those that are in attendance in Parliament. This is the time when we were still grappling with the challenges of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Some of us are called British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Born Before Computers. So, he cared enough to remind me of what most people would not have done. That also showed me that he was a caring person. He knew how good neighbourliness was all about.


Mr Speaker, like I said, the man was not only my friend, but he was also a brother and a colleague to all of us in this House. I just want to bid farewell to him that I will miss him as my colleague as well as all those other titles that I have called him. I bid farewell to Hon Munkonge, and may his soul rest in peace.


Sir, I never really interacted with Hon. Mwewa, but under the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) we did interact. I knew him as a joker and from what was said in the eulogy that his brother gave, he was a man of the people, a person who cared for orphans. It was not an easy feat because most of us are not doing that. However, he stood out and this is crystal clear to all of us and for that I also want to wish him to rest in peace. We also want his family to be prayed for just like any other family that has lost relatives in this COVID-19 pandemic.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kalobo (Wusakile): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity. The untimely death of the Hon. Member for Lukashya, Mr Mwenya Munkonge and the Hon. Member for Mwansabombwe, Mr Rogers Mwewa, has cast a dark cloud on Parliament.


Mr Speaker, as we empathise with the families of the late Hon. Munkonge and Hon. Rogers Mwewa, Wusakile Constituency would like to send our deepest sympathy and condolences to the two grieving families.


Mr Speaker, in times like this, we should call on our creator to have mercy on our humanity and let his serving grace heal the land. Mr Speaker, Hon. Munkonge was a very intelligent, humble person who worked very well with hon. Members across the political divide. His death is a loss not only to the family and friends but also to us as Independent Members of Parliament.


Mr Speaker, as Independent Members of Parliament, we had our own voice. We stood together against proposed amendments to the Standing Orders that we should have our own Whip. Mr Rodgers Mwewa was a friendly person who smiled all the time and had a passion for homeless children. Hon. Rodgers Mwewa established the Fountain of Hope at whose construction of the shelter for homeless girls, I had the privilege to be present. I also had another privilege to work with Hon. Rodgers Mwewa as Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Executive Members where he served as Vice-President II. We interacted a lot. We travelled together and I learnt a lot from him. For that, I want to say, go well gallant Parliamentarians. You fought a good fight. You ran a good race. To this end, all men shall come.


May the souls of the two departed hon. Colleagues, rest in eternal peace.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: This debate will be concluded by the hon. Minister of Health.


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, indeed, on Saturday 18th July, 2020, we had a dark cloud hovering over the legislature as two Members of Parliament passed on within a period of twenty-four hours.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Munkonge, if a question was asked, what words would you use to describe him, Mr Speaker? Words such as humility, visionary, witty, humorous and a quiet man, a man of  few words would come out. Hon. Munkonge’s father is a prominent scholar and professor of surgery, a worldly renowned academic, yet, little did he anchor on that reputation. He pursued his own identity and legacy.


Mr Speaker, Mr Munkonge was an ardent advocate for universal health coverage. Lukashya Constituency is vast, yet he engaged successfully with the Ministry of Health to structure a robust expansion programme for infrastructure to create access to health services for the people of Lukashya. As we speak, health posts are under construction and some are complete. Mr Speaker, mini hospitals are under construction and he lobbied successfully for ambulances and human capital. Mr Speaker, we will miss him as a key proponent of universal health coverage. May his soul rest in peace.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Rodgers Mwewa, hon. Member of Parliament for Mwansabombwe Constituency, was a very innovative and aggressive parliamentarian. Mr Speaker, seated home on Sunday afternoon, I was approached by five adolescents, three young men and two young women who shocked me when they said that we were street kids who were brought up under the foundation that Hon. Rodgers Mwewa was running. Now, they are success entrepreneurs and musicians. They came to deliver a special message. Mr Speaker, to me, that was a measure or philanthropy that the man is associated with.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Mwewa worked tirelessly to put Mwansabombwe to where it is today. Mwansabombwe was upgraded to district status. Mwansabombwe has a market in Mbeleshi, a new nursing school and the old school was reopened at Mbeleshi. There is a water system and he supported the citizens there by subsidising their water bills. Mr Speaker, he pushed for the upgrade of education infrastructure by upgrading Salanga and Koni Secondary Schools. Hon. Rodgers Mwewa was a team player. He participated in the Luapula Expo. He worked extremely hard even when he was Minister for Luapula to bring all of us together.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Rodgers Mwewa was not only a friend and, a team player, but he also was also, indeed, a strong personality who was reliable in every assignment given. He used to describe himself as Icehela bakaka, meaning a machine that has been tightly tightened. We have, indeed, lost a hero in him. I shall miss him, may his soul rest in peace.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Motion carried nemine contradicente.






The Vice-President (Mr Wina): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that in accordance with Standing Order 33(1) of the National Assembly of Zambia. Standing Order 2016, and in view of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-2019), the House do now adjourn sine die.


Mr Speaker, Standing Order 33(1) provides that in an emergency, the Leader of Government Business in the House may, at any time, seek leave of the House to adjourn the House with prior permission from the Speaker.


This Meeting of the House commenced on Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020, and as of today, the House will have sat for a total of sixteen days. During this period, the House considered six questions for oral and written answer and twenty-five Motions to adopt parliamentary Committee reports. During the same period, a total of forty-five annual reports from the Government and quasi-government departments and one Action-Taken Report were tabled with five ministerial statements explaining and clarifying Government policies on various issues that were presented to the House.


Sir, as I conclude, allow me to express my gratitude to you, and to Madam First Deputy Speaker and the Hon. Second Deputy Speaker for the efficient and impartial manner in which you presided over the Business of the House. I further wish to commend the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services they continue to render to the House. In the same vein, let me acknowledge with gratitude the important work done by officers in the Office of the Vice-President and the entire Public Service in facilitating the work of the House.


Sir, this is a straightforward Motion, and I request the House to support it.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, thank you, and I will be very brief.


Mr Speaker, in supporting the Motion that has been moved by Her Honour the Vice-President, I would like to state one very cardinal issue that was raised by the hon. Minister of Health, pertaining to the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.


Mr Speaker, the issues that were raised by the hon. Minister of Health are very important and need to be addressed. I have in mind the reports that are coming from various hospitals in the country relating to the Brought-in-Dead (BiD). If you analyse the situation, you will realise that the situation is very gloomy and serious. As I know, the way Zambians treat patients in homesteads, and the way they treat dead bodies, I have no doubt in my mind that this disease is now a pandemic in Zambia. The way we treat dead bodies entails that the virus is now spreading rapidly. I have seen reports that in Kitwe, fifty-one dead bodies were recorded. At the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), almost every day, more than ten deaths are recorded. Yesterday, there were more than thirty at Kanyama Health Centre. The statistics that are coming from the hospitals are very gloomy and serious. If we do not handle this issue with the seriousness it deserves, we are going to lose many people in the next one or two weeks. I urge the Government to take measures to control this disease.


Mr Speaker, I also would like the hon. Minister to provide funding to enable constituencies and other jurisdictions to have facilities to protect our people. We are heading towards a catastrophe. I am just trying to urge the hon. Minister and the Government to take urgent measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic.


I thank you, Sir.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank all the hon. Members of the House for the unanimous support for the Motion on the Floor.


I thank you, Sir.


Question put and agreed to.








The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adjourn sine die.


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned accordingly at 1556 hours on Tuesday, 21st July, 2020, sine die.