Wednesday, 30th September, 2020

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Wednesday, 30th September, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






                                                                     MINISTERIAL STATEMENT


                                                           2020/2021 RAINY SEASON FORECAST


The Minister of Transport and Communication (Mr Kafwaya): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to issue a ministerial statement on the 2020/2021 Rainy Season Forecast. I feel duty-bound to give this statement, as weather and climate conditions affect all sectors of the economy across the country.


Sir, over time, we have observed that climate change has a severe impact on many socio-economic sectors of our country and the same could be said for the future. Therefore, the importance of weather information for decision-making across relevant sectors is critical. More importantly, it is essential to make reasonably accurate weather and climate forecasts in a timely manner.


Mr Speaker, accordingly, the Government, under the able leadership of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has continued to equip the Zambia Meteorological Department (ZMD). This is being done through the procurement and installation of modern automatic data collection equipment to aid the process of weather forecasting. I would like to register my appreciation and that of the Government for the invaluable contribution from co-operating partners in providing equipment and funding for the success of this programme.


Sir, I wish to remind this august House that when the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into power in 2011, there were only thirty-nine manual weather stations across the country. Therefore, I am glad to state that we have added over 110 automatic weather stations. Further, we are in the process of procuring 140 additional automatic weather stations under the Transforming Landscapes for Resilience and Development (TRALARD), and Strengthening Climate Change Resilience (SCRALA) in Agro-ecological Regions I and II projects. It is a two in one project. In addition, we have enhanced the capacity for weather and climate modeling through modern technological infrastructure.


Mr Speaker, the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) outlines our aspirations to enhance economic diversification, job creation, poverty and vulnerability reduction as well as the reduction in developmental inequalities. In this regard, weather and climate information is fundamental to ensuring that, we, as a people, realise these aspirations by the timely sharing of information on weather and climate. The use of weather and climate information is a basis for building resilience in sectors and communities as well as adapting to climate variability and climate change. Moreover, weather and climate information is key to the mitigation and fight against agricultural pests and diseases as well as managing water resources and the environment.


Sir, before I proceed with the 2020/2021 Rainy Season Forecast, allow me to offer a brief reflective view of the actual results of weather during the 2019/2020 Rainy Season.


Mr Speaker, you will recall that the negative effects of climate variability and climate change were clear across the country. Many areas experienced extreme weather conditions ranging from prolonged dry spells in December 2019, and part of January 2020, especially in the Southern Province and the Western Province. In contrast, floods were experienced in many areas of the country between January and March 2020 with record breaking seasonal rainfall in excess of 2,000 mm in Misamfu, Mpulungu and Samfya districts in the Northern Province and Luapula Province.


Sir, further, dry conditions were witnessed in some parts of the southern half of the country during the 2019/2020 Rainy Season. This resulted in reduced agricultural production. Moreover, the floods, which were experienced in the northern and eastern parts of the country, led to the loss of lives, livelihoods and disruption in service delivery due to damaged road infrastructure such as the Lumezi Bridge and the Samfya/Mansa Road, among many others.


Mr Speaker, let me now give the forecast for the 2020/2021 Rainy Season. Generally, a large part of Zambia is likely to receive normal to above normal rainfall. However, prolonged dry spells are likely to occur in some parts of the North-Western Province, Muchinga Province, Luapula Province and the Northern Province. For the period of October, November and December 2020, much of Zambia will have a high chance of receiving normal to above normal rainfall except for some parts of Chavuma, Zambezi, Kabompo, Manyinga, Mwinilunga, Ikeleng’i, Limulunga, Mongu and Kasama districts, which are likely to receive normal to below normal rainfall.


Sir, during the months of November, December and January, most parts of the country have a likelihood of receiving normal to above normal rainfall. However, Ikeleng’i, Mwinilunga, Kabompo, Senanga, Kabwe, Kapiri Mposhi, Serenje, Chitambo, Lavushi Manda, Mambwe, Petauke, Sinda, Katete, Kasenengwa and surrounding areas have a high chance of receiving normal to below normal rainfall. For December, January and February, much of Zambia has a high chance of receiving normal to above normal rainfall apart from Kasama, Mungwi, Chama, Lundazi, Chasefu, Petauke and Kalabo districts and, indeed, surrounding areas.


Mr Speaker, in the last part of the rainy season of January, February and March 2021, most parts of Zambia will have a high chance of receiving normal to above normal rainfall. However, parts of Muchinga Province and the Northern Province as well as Mansa, Ndola, Kabompo, Senanga, Livingstone and surrounding areas are likely to receive normal to below normal rainfall.


Sir, I wish to emphasise that every season has diverse implications across all sectors. During the 2020/2021 Rainy Season, the country is likely to experience the following:


  1. dry spells across the country, especially in Luapula Province, Muchinga Province and the Northern Province, including the northern districts of the Eastern Province; and
  2. increased chance of floods and flash floods in flood-prone areas.


Mr Speaker, the 2020/2021 Rainy Season is likely to be fully established by the end of November 2020, although the rains may start earlier in some areas. Areas like the Northern Province, Luapula Province, Copperbelt Province, North-Western Province and parts of the Western Province may experience thunderstorms and showers by October. In this regard, I advise farmers and the public at large to safeguard their harvested crops properly to avoid damage. It is also important to note that dry spells occur in the middle of the rainy season and in certain circumstances, lead to crop loss. Therefore, I urge our farmers and other stakeholders to regularly follow my ministry’s regular meteorological forecasts and updates which will be broadcast on most radio and television stations. They are also welcome to get in touch with the ministry in order to access weather information.


Sir, similarly, let me state that there are important aspects that come with the rainy season that affect our daily lives and activities. In this regard, I wish to encourage sectors and communities to undertake sensitisation programmes in good sanitation and hygiene practices and clearing of drainage systems well in advance to avoid water pools that may serve as breeding grounds for germs. Likewise, there is a need for institutions to stock relief materials, medicines and pesticides that may be required during the course of the season. To protect our environment and contribute to mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and variability, I wish to encourage the public to plant trees. Trees are a natural measure to improving rainfall performance and reduce impacts of extreme weather conditions such as floods and droughts.


Mr Speaker, my ministry will continue giving updates to the nation on the actual and expected weather conditions during the 2020/2021 Rainy Season through community radio stations, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), including other communication platforms.


Sir, as the adage goes, “forewarned is to be forearmed”. Therefore, I encourage all sectors and communities to incorporate the 2020/2021 Rainy Season Forecast information in their plans and decision-making processes by getting meteorological updates on a regular basis.


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 of Transport and Communication.


I would like to advise the House that there are two ways in which you can indicate if you wish speak or intervene, namely by Electronic Chamber (e-Chamber) application or alternatively, the Zoom Video Communications (Zoom) system.


Hon. Members, it appears that there are no points of clarification. That being the case, we move on. I am advised that there are a few hon. Members who have indicated their intention to ask questions, and we shall start with the hon. Member for Chisamba.


Ms Kasanda (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister –


Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I have noted that for the last two days, we have been having challenges with the Electronic Chamber (e-Chamber) system and we cannot access the proceedings using the system.


Mr Speaker, I just want your advice on this particular matter. Why would we, as hon. Members who are in this House, be advised to use Zoom when the local system which we have been using is still functioning? Why can those of us who are in the Chamber not use the system which we are used to if the other systems are not functioning?


Sir, I am failing to log in because of what is happening, and so, I need your guidance on this matter.


Mr Speaker: I reserve my ruling.


Hon. Kasanda was inaudible.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chisamba, I will come back to you later.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, from a crop production point of view, is this year’s forecast better than last year’s or is the hon. Minister able to give an indication?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, this year’s forecast is better in the southern half of our country than it was last year, and the opposite is true for the northern half of our country.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Mr Speaker, I hope I am audible. The forecast usually comes through the House and very little is done about packaging the information in the languages used in our respective constituencies. Has there been any effort by the ministry to ensure that this message does not just end in this House, but also goes to the people it is mostly intended for? This is especially for us who come from farming and rural areas at which this information is aimed at in order to ensure that people have this information tailored into the language they are familiar with.


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) is viewed across the country. Further, community radio stations are spread across the country. My bringing of this ministerial statement to the House is aimed at giving an opportunity to my hon. Colleagues to take the message to their constituencies. Therefore, I think that the Government’s effort of trying to share this information is immeasurable. This is because we are using every available platform to ensure that we take the message across the country.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, my question is similar to the one asked by the hon. Member of Parliament for Keembe. My constituency is in a rural area where it is very difficult to access the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) signal. The hon. Minister has talked about community radio stations, which are spread across the country, as tools for the dissemination of information. However, he has not indicated how the Government is going to sponsor these programmes through community radio stations or commercial stations that we have in Chienge, for instance. How is that going to be done because our people need to access this information? I would like the hon. Minister to also clarify that.


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I have already been sponsored by the Government to share this information. Obviously, my hon. Colleagues are also sponsored by the Government to share information in their respective constituencies. It is my hope that this information will not end with people like me, but that it will be shared with councillors so that the entire Government system is involved in disseminating the information across the country.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chisamba, are you able to come on board now?


Ms Kasanda: Mr Speaker, in the event that the country experiences dry spells, what measures are being put in place by the Government to come to the aid of such areas since the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) is usually very selective and political?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I did not get the question.


Ms Kasanda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that some parts of the country may experience dry spells. Therefore, my question is: What measures are being put in place by the Government to make sure that it comes to the aid of the people in these places?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, planning for agriculture should be based on information. This is why as a ministry, we have promised to be updating the nation regularly. We have also encouraged members of the public to come to our ministry to get information which will help stakeholders to plan their agricultural activities accordingly. Clearly, that is a significant measure that we are putting in place. Indeed, this information will be made available, as I said, through community radio stations, the ZNBC and many other communication platforms.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the statement. He clearly stated that we are coming from a situation whereby we had thirty-six manual weather stations across the country and we are now at 110 automatic weather stations. I just want to appreciate this development. However, what is the distribution of the 110 automatic weather stations across the country per province?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. Colleague for appreciating what the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is doing in migrating our weather forecasting from the manual to the automatic system. I said that we are now at over 110 additional automatic weather stations and we are in the process of procuring 140 more automatic weather stations. However, I do not have the distribution, at the moment, but this is information that I am capable of sharing with my hon. Colleague.


I thank you, Mr Speaker


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, considering that the agriculture input distribution last year in the Central Province was done according to the rain or weather pattern, I would like to find out how much of this information he has given us has been utilised in the distribution of inputs throughout the country, considering that the northern part of the country will receive less rainfall than the southern part. Are we going to have a situation whereby we will have the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) system in the north while we will have the conventional Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) in the south so that the farmers in the north can have the privilege to get a variety of inputs that they will be able to utilise?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I want to appreciate my hon. Colleague for that follow-up question. Indeed, weather information should be used in decision management, and I was equivocal in that respect in my statement. The Ministry of Agriculture is one of the stakeholders that should benefit from the information that we give. Decisions on how the inputs under the FISP should be distributed are arrived at in the Ministry of Agriculture which is completely out of my jurisdiction. As such, I am unable to state how this information has affected or is going to affect the distribution of inputs under FISP.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, I would like to join the hon. Minister in appreciating Hon. Miyanda for acknowledging the successes made by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. The hon. Minister has highlighted that before the PF Government came into power, there were thirty-six weather stations and that there are now over a hundred. Before, we used to hear of variances. Sometimes, we would be told how the weather would be like and then we would be able to get the alternative. With the introduction of digital weather stations, what is the experience now?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, it is abundantly clear that the PF Government has made progress in making life easier for people by providing information that helps. The example I will give of how the automatic weather stations have helped is how accurate our forecast was last year. Make reference to last year and you will see how accurate our forecast was. So, it is abundantly clear that this pro-poor focus on people on behalf the Zambians is bearing fruit.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kundoti (Luena): Mr Speaker, my question to the hon. Minister is relatively opposite to the recent one which he has just answered. Sometimes, the predictability of meteorological weather forecasting, especially the forecast to do with rains, goes amiss. You will find that instead of having probably an abundance of rain, you end up having little rains in areas which are predicated to receive abundant rainfall. In cases where farmers have probably followed the weather forecast and they end up losing their seed, does the Government consider compensating them with seed to replant, especially for village farmers who may not have money to replace their seed?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I sincerely thank my hon. Colleague, the Member of Parliament for Luena, for that follow-up question. Indeed, predictions can sometimes go amiss. This is why our language is that of the likelihood of something happening. However, the safeguard is that we have promised to give regular updates, meaning that where changes do occur, we will be able to offer alternative information that speaks to the reality of the time.


Sir, with regard to compensating farmers, I would not be responsible for distributing that seed. Therefore, it follows that I may not be the right person to compensate our farmers. We may not be the right ministry to think of compensation. However, I do know of the activities of the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) in the assistance of people who suffer the consequences of nature and all these things. In this particular case, the Ministry of Agriculture will be best suited to offer a response.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, my question has been overtaken by the hon. Minister’s response.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last question from the hon. Member for Kalabo Central.


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, during the previous season, we used to receive updates on our phones on the changes in the weather patterns. Is the hon. Minister of Transport and Communications assuring us that the ministry will be able to reach us in our rural areas through our phones?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, the short message service (SMS) is an alternative means of circulating this information. In my ministerial statement, I indicated that the ZNBC, community radio stations and other forms of communication will be used. Of course, the SMS is part of those alternative methods.


Mr Speaker, recently, I was in Kalabo with the hon. Member who just posed this supplementary question. We launched a telecommunication tower in his constituency which is one of the seven that have been erected in that district. Therefore, because of that investment, the people of Kalabo will be able to receive information via the SMS as well as through the internet. So, yes, we will be able to exploit that Government investment to circulate this data via alternative methods.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.








39.  Mr Chabi (Chipili) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. when the construction of the following infrastructure in Chipili District will be completed:


  1. district administration block;
  2. civic centre; and
  3. post office; and

      b,what has caused the delay in completing the projects.


The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, the construction of the district administration block in Chipili District is at 76 per cent completion and the project is expected to be completed by December 2020, subject to the availability of funds.


Mr Speaker, the construction of the civic centre in Chipili District is at 38 per cent completion and the project is expected to be completed by December 2020, subject to the availability of funds.  


Sir, the construction of a post office in Chipili District has reached 90 per cent completion and works are expected to be completed in December 2020, again, subject to the availability of funds. The delay in completion of the projects has been due to financial constraints.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Chabi: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister just mentioned that the delay has been because of financial constraints. However, he knows, as well as I do, that these projects were awarded in 2012, eight years ago. At which point during the eight years did the financial problem occur? 


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the financial constraints occurred soon after the project started because we launched too many projects ...


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwale: … and encountered a number of unforeseen challenges like drought and power shortages. We had to abruptly budget for the importation of power. There were just so many challenges that put so much pressure on the Treasury because it had to find money to deal with emergencies. That caused the financial constraints that led to the delay in the completion of many projects, including these ones.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, I would like to appreciate the Patriotic Front (PF) Government for the introduction of new districts, from which the people of Kanchibiya and Lavushimanda have benefited. Mpika District was large in size. It was the size of the Netherlands. However, the Chipili case is similar to what is obtaining in Kanchibiya and Lavushimanda, which is an initiative of the hard-working PF Government to bring services closer to the people. Could the hon. Minister be able to come to the House at some point and let us know when the district offices, the post offices and the police stations will be built in Kanchibiya and the new districts?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance has given my ministry Treasury authority to procure for eleven new districts which were created and had not been allowed to construct infrastructure, a package that comes with new districts. This is now being done and, as I speak to you, my ministry is procuring works for all the eleven new districts, which include Kanchibiya and all the other new districts in Muchinga.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, the question is: Are you in a position to come to the House and narrate your programme of action in due course?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I thought what I said was adequate. However, if there is any further information about what we are procuring, at the moment, that I need to narrate here, I am more than ready to come to the House to present a ministerial statement if the Hon. Mr Speaker avails me the time.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr A. C. Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned the stages at which these projects are. However, you will agree with me that the contracts have by now expired. In the event that the contracts have expired, and they are going to have to be renewed, obviously, there will be variations in the costs of the contracts, and they will be upwards. For certain projects, as the hon. Minister waits for the Ministry of Finance, does he have a fully-fledged engineering and buildings department? Is the hon. Minister telling the nation that his own ministry cannot complete some of these projects? Like I said, these contracts have already expired. Now, this particular challenge that is in Chipili, which we have learnt is also in Kanchibiya, is also here in Chilanga. Will his ministry not look at other new ways of completing these projects? He has to bear in mind that despite the promise to consider projects at 80 per cent completion, which has been the song for the last two years, there is a project that is at 90 per cent completion and is still incomplete in Chipili District.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, there are so many issues that Hon. A. C. Mumba has raised. However, the main issue is that most of these contracts should have expired by now and what the ministry is doing to renew them.


Mr Speaker, this has been an on-going process. In fact, some of these projects started in 2011, soon after the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power. We realised that we needed to decentralise, and, therefore, created new districts. Contractors were engaged, but some works have not been completed. Nine or eight years down the line, we still have the same contractors on sites because there has been an on-going process to renew contracts once they expire. At the same time, where there has been a need to revise rates, we have done so, as we have been renewing contracts.


Sir, I know that even now, we are having a challenge in that the exchange rate has hit many contractors that are on sites and they are presenting their cases to the ministry to ensure that adjustments are made. Formulas that help to resolve these situations between us, the employer, and the contractors are available. These are on-going routine issues that we encounter in project management. As we construct roads, these issues are well taken care of. We do not have a situation where contractors are on site while their contracts have expired. Before contracts expire, presentations are always made to the ministry and processes to have them renewed are always undertaken because we know we are the ones who have not done our part by not paying the contractors. So, we always renew contracts to give the contractors more time. 


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Kantanshi would like to find out whether there is a possibility of the Government completing these contracts. Is that tenable?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, not in this case. It is tenable in other cases, but not in relation to district infrastructure. Most of the projects are above 80 per cent completion. Very few are below 80 per cent. We are almost there. So, we think we can manage with the contractors that we have. Like I said last time, in other cases, such as in contracts for the construction of secondary schools, we are considering the possibility of the Government completing these contracts.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Chabi: Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to confirm to this House and the nation at large that eight years of delay in the completion of projects that were contracted in 2012 has led to their becoming more expensive for the Government because the cost of building materials has gone up. For example, at the time of signing the contracts, a bag of cement cost only K35, but today, the price has almost tripled and is at K120. Can the hon. Minister confirm to the nation that the Government is paying a lot of money for these projects because of the delay which has made them to become more expensive?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chipili, is that not a rhetorical question? Does the hon. Minister want to respond?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I responded that there are mechanisms that see to it that there are price adjustments as we implement these projects. It is normal in project management that these mechanisms are in place and contractors are not at loss in any way.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Mr Speaker, the issue of the new districts that were created by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is a classic example of its failure to complete whatever it starts. From 2008 to 2012, Chipili District Council had employees. So, where are these officers now operating from? Are they operating under trees or in tents, in some cases?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, firstly, let me dispel the assertion that nothing is completed under the PF. I want to tell you that we have completed the Kazungula Bridge. It is at 100 per cent completion.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwale: More than US$200 million has been spent on that bridge. We have also completed the Mongu/Kalabo Road. I can go on and on. So many projects are being implemented and completed under this Government and that is for everyone to see. Hospitals and schools have been completed.


Mr Speaker, to answer his question, officers in Chipili are accommodated in various buildings available in Chipili. I know that Chipili may not have very good housing, so some officers commute from Mansa. The officers are all working and there is no office that is lacking in any way. We want the officers to be in a better environment and in better offices. That is why we are in a hurry to complete all these structures. For now, they are all well accommodated in various buildings available in Chipili and Mansa.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kundoti (Luena): Mr Speaker, has there ever been some financial planning for the construction of houses and office blocks in the newly created districts? There is a saying that anyone who wants to embark on building a house must plan and understand how much it will cost and set aside money. Otherwise, if the building stalls along the way, people will laugh at him/her. So, has there ever been some financial planning towards the cost of these projects? If there has been any financial planning, why are we seeing these projects, like the one in Chipili, stalling? This is happening not only in Chipili, but also almost nationwide, including in Limulunga. The construction of our new district offices and houses has stalled. If ever there was financial planning and money set aside for these projects, why have they stalled? If not, where is the ministry going to get the money?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you are repeating yourselves. That question has already been asked.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, there has been a plan, definitely. The Government presents a Budget to the House every year, which is a financial plan of what it intends to achieve in a particular year. In fact, we do have a Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) which gives us room to plan for three years.


Mr Speaker, we have had many unplanned events that have happened in this country that have affected our plans. We never expected to lose a Head of State and have a national funeral, which then led to an unplanned election. We ended up having two elections in two years, that is, in 2015 and 2016. We also had a drought, which affected our power production and we had to import power at a huge cost. In the last seven years, this country has seen so many unplanned events that have cost us a lot of money. Now, we have the latest issue of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).


Hon. PF Members: Na ba makanta.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, so many things have happened to this country in the last eight years that really affected our plans. That is why we find ourselves in this situation. All things being equal, we should have completed these structures a long time ago and been looking at starting new ones this time around. However, even though we have had this situation, we have seen ourselves achieving a number of things. We have scored a number of successes in as much as we also have issues that we are still dealing with. Not all has been lost. This Government has done its best, and that is why people keep having confidence in it.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, in the hon. Minister’s response to a question raised by one of the hon. Members, he indicated that the process has taken eight years and thus far, the Government has not been able to raise the resources required to complete the projects in Chipili. In the eight years that the Government has embarked on these projects, has it not had some kind of gantt chart which could be used to determine progress made, year after year, so that we know what is really remaining to be done?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the Government is tracking progress on all the structures that it is putting up. Four weeks ago, K32 million was disbursed to contractors on these projects. Two months before that, K28 million was given out for the same projects. There is a lot of progress and improvement on most of these projects that we have in the districts. Twelve months ago, some were at 70 per cent completion and are now at 95 per cent and those that were at 30 per cent are at 60 per cent completion.


Sir, I have given December 2020 as the deadline for the completion of these projects because I am very hopeful that the progress that we are making will see us through. By December, we should have most of these projects handed over to people for use. So, we have been tracking progress year by year and it has been very significant. Very soon, everything will be completed.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last three questions from the hon. Member for Manyinga, followed by the hon. Member for Keembe and lastly will be the hon. Member for Milenge.


Mr Lihefu (Manyinga): Mr Speaker, Chipili is like many other constituencies, as my hon. Colleagues have stated. Manyinga is a newly created district and during the President’s Address on 11th September, 2020, he said that infrastructure development has been delivered countrywide. However, Manyinga has still been left behind like Chipili. Can the hon. Minister confirm that these infrastructure developments that the President said have been delivered countrywide are only delivered in urban areas like Lusaka Province and the Copperbelt Province? I say so because the workers in Manyinga are still operating from the old infrastructure which is in a bad state.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the President is right that this Government has delivered quality infrastructure throughout the country. Infrastructure is not just an administration block, post office or civic centre in Manyinga. Infrastructure includes bridges that we are working on throughout the country and there are so many of them. I think my brother can agree with me that we are working on some bridges and roads in Manyinga. Infrastructure includes secondary schools, the universities that we are seeing in this country, primary schools and the 360 rural health centres throughout the country that are under construction. There are so many things that relate to infrastructure and it is not just about a post office or an administration block.


So, the President is right and, I think, Zambians are saying this everyday and everyone agrees with us that the PF Government has delivered quality infrastructure to this country. We will continue doing so as long as we are in power and that is why people still want us to be in power.


Mr Speaker, we will complete the infrastructure in Manyinga, just like we will complete infrastructure in Chipili. In fact, in the last disbursement that we made, we released some money to Manyinga for one of the structures to be completed. Like in Chipili, trust me, very soon, this will be a thing of the past. If there is any government you can trust on the delivery of infrastructure, that of the PF is such a one and very soon, this will be a thing of the past.


I thank you, Sir.




Ms Kasune (Keembe): Mr Speaker, using the Chipili situation, I want to know the criteria being used to assess progress on these projects. Is there a timeframe within which the unfinished projects in the different districts are to be completed so that none of us should come here all the time to tag along one’s question about various projects? Could that information be availed to us if the ministry has it so that the people in the new districts can know when their projects are coming up for completion or when they will be funded, instead of us always having this back and forth conversation? The people on the ground, who are the beneficiaries, would have some kind of assurance and plan around the development of these districts. This goes beyond those who will be working from these structures, but also the development that they may bring to the local people.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the criteria we have now is to complete the projects that are at 80 per cent completion. We are focusing on the completion of such buildings and it does not matter where they are in the country as long as they are at 80 per cent completion so that we can begin to utilise them. So, we do not embark on everything at the same pace because it takes us long to complete the projects. However, we want to ensure that projects that are above 80 per cent completion are quickly be completed and handed over and, then, we move to the rest. From the last disbursement, we are actually getting there because some of the projects are almost 100 per cent completed and some are at 98 per cent completion. Therefore, we are beginning to go down to those below 80 per cent completion. That is the criterion we have.


Nonetheless, if the hon. Member wishes to get the whole matrix of district infrastructure in terms of where we are and when we are likely to complete these projects, we have this information and we can avail it to her at her convenience. We can avail all the information that we have for all the districts, but the criterion is to focus on projects that are at 80 per cent complete and above.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Mr Speaker, I am mindful that the question is on Chipili. So I will not talk about the Kasanka/Milenge Road, which has not even been worked on, yet the hon. Minister is boasting about infrastructure that has been delivered throughout the country. I got back from Milenge yesterday. The road is in an extremely bad state.


Sir, the hon. Minister almost gave hope to the people of Chipili when he mentioned that this infrastructure will be completed by December, but then again attached the condition of the dependence on the availability of money. For us in the accountancy world, funds are about debit and credit or in and out. So, the statement he made amounts to zero or nothing. It dilutes and then kills hope. Can the hon. Minister state to the people of Chipili what tangible action is being taken between tomorrow, for example, which is 1st October, 2020, to December 2020 to mobilise resources specifically to complete the structures in Chipili?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, we have agreed with the Ministry of Finance that it will give us some finances on a regular basis to complete these structures. That is why four weeks ago, K32 million was disbursed and a month or two before K28 million was released. We have agreed on something that entails that monies will be coming to our ministry almost every month. So, my promise was based on the arrangement we have with the Ministry of Finance. That is why at the end of my response, I said that the projects would be completed subject to the availability of funds which the Ministry of Finance is mobilising.


Mr Speaker, there is nothing else except that I am promising based on the agreement we have with the Ministry of Finance. That is the step we have taken, but is it not cast in concrete as well because the Ministry of Finance has to find that money. When that money is made available to us, then, we should complete the projects by December 2020.


I thank you, Sir.









Ms Kabanshi (Luapula): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the presidential appointments of Mrs Emily Joy Sikazwe to serve as vice-chairperson, and Major-General Vincent Mbaulu Mukanda (Rtd) and Mrs Ndiyoi Muliwana Mutiti to serve as members of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Ms Kabanshi Mr Speaker, the appointments of Mrs Emily Joy Sikazwe to serve as vice-chairperson, and Major-General Vincent Mbaulu Mukanda (Rtd) and Mrs Ndiyoi Muliwana Mutiti to serve as members of the ECZ is made pursuant to Article 240 of the Constitution of Zambia, Cap. 1 of the Laws of Zambia and Section 5 of the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act No. 25 of 2016.


Sir, in scrutinising the appointments, the Committee noted that the ECZ plays an important role in Zambia’s democratic dispensation with the key mandate of organising and conducting elections in Zambia. In view of this, the Committee resolved that only competent persons with unquestionable integrity, diligence, eminence, and sound character should be appointed as members of the ECZ.


Further, the Committee notes that Article 259 of the Constitution of Zambia requires the person making the appointment to a public office to, where possible, ensure, among others, 50 per cent representation of each gender, representation of the youth, and persons with disabilities. The Committee would like to commend the appointing authority for complying with Article 259 in so far as gender is concerned.

Mr Speaker, the Committee also observes that the appointments of the nominees speak to Article 173 of the Constitution of Zambia which promotes equal opportunities for appointments of members of both genders. The Committee would, in this regard, like to commend the appointing authority for appointing a female vice-chairperson considering that the chairperson is male. The Committee, however, urges the appointing authority to consider the youth and persons with disabilities in future appointments.


Sir, allow me now to briefly outline the findings of the Committee on each of the nominees.


Mr Speaker, on the first nominee, Mrs Emily Joy Sikazwe, the Committee notes that during the course of her long career as an academician and gender activist, she has contributed immensely in advocating for gender matters, democracy and good governance. The Committee further notes that since her appointment as member of the ECZ, she has made remarkable contributions in advocating for the participation of women in the electoral process and the fulfilment of the constitutional mandate of the ECZ.


Sir, the second nominee is Major-General Vincent Mbaulu Mukanda (Rtd). The Committee observes that he is an accomplished military person with thirty-seven years of service to the country, having joined the Zambia Army in 1975 and retired as Deputy Army Commander and chief of staff in 2011. The Committee also observes that his vast knowledge and experience in conflict management at international and national levels will assist the ECZ in discharging its mandate, particularly relating to the settlement of minor electoral disputes in line with Article 229, Section 2(d) of the Constitution of Zambia.


Mr Speaker, the third nominee is Mrs Ndiyoi Muliwana Mutiti. The Committee observes that she has vast experience in the public sector having worked as a chief archivist, chief immigration officer and Permanent Secretary before being transferred into the Diplomatic Service. The Committee also observes that she has vast knowledge and experience in records management systems, governance, and public administration, which will contribute positively to the attainment of the mandate of the ECZ.


Sir, the Committee, after due and thorough consideration, analysis and evaluation of the written and oral submissions presented to it by witnesses and nominees, is of the view that all the nominees are suitably qualified and possess the requisite competences to serve as vice-chairperson and members of the ECZ.


Mr Speaker, in view of this, the Committee recommends that this august House ratifies the presidential appointment of Mrs Emily Joy Sikazwe to serve as vice-chairperson and Major-General Vincent Mbaulu Mukanda (Rtd) and Mrs Ndiyoi Muliwana Mutiti to serve as members of the ECZ.


Sir, finally, the members of the Committee wish to place on record their gratitude to you for appointing them to serve on this select Committee. The Committee is also thankful for the services and advice rendered to it by the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly during its deliberations.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


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


Mr Muchima: Now, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker, I thank you most sincerely for according me this opportunity to second this Motion. I also extend my gratitude to the mover for ably moving the Motion. The mover has ably covered most of the notable points upon which the Committee supports the ratification of Mrs Emily Joy Sikazwe to serve as vice-chairperson and Major-General Vincent Mbaulu Mukanda (Rtd) and Mrs Ndiyoi Muliwana Mutiti to serve as members of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).


Sir, in seconding the Motion, I wish to reiterate the Committee’s observation that all the three nominees are duly qualified and possess the necessary competences to serve as vice- chairperson and members of the ECZ. The Committee notes that this ratification is important as it promotes equal opportunities for the appointment of members of both genders as required by the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia.


Mr Speaker, I wish to highlight the Committee’s observation that it is a constitutional requirement that a person making appointments must ensure among others the representation of the youths and persons with disabilities. The Committee thus recommends that in future, nominees should be drawn from among the youths and persons with disabilities as there is a need of their representation among the members of the ECZ.


Sir, as I conclude, allow me to extend my gratitude to the Chairperson of the Committee for the impartial and just manner in which she presided over the meetings and preparations of the Committee. I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to all members of the Committee for their objectivity, professionalism and unity of purpose during its deliberations. With those few remarks, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, times for nominations are really great moments for the country to tap talent from all over the country. This is an opportunity where in any Government, a leader chooses people from all over the country to tap the talent that could really solve Zambia’s problems.


Sir, quite often, the scenario I have seen in the Patriotic Front (PF) is that the selection of people to do certain duties, which are very noble for the country, will normally be restricted to one or two provinces and that does not give the country the opportunity to get the best men and women to serve it diligently.


Mr Speaker, I hope these people who have been chosen to go to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) will really bring in something because it is a troubled institution. It is troubled to a level whereby sometimes when they come to define excellence from what happens, we feel embarrassed. For example, the ECZ stated that the elections in Mwansabombwe and Lukashya were excellent yet they were marred with violence and that kind of stuff. So, I hope these individuals who have been selected will stand for the country and the truth.


Sir, Zambia is desperately in need of men and women who can serve it diligently without fear or favour. Even when they have been appointed, I want to remind them that their allegiance should not be to an individual who also takes part in an election. No! Their allegiance should be to the country. As a country, we are tired of men and women who are openly biased and support what is wrong. We want men and women who can defend the country, stand for the truth and stand by the rules that are set.


Mr Speaker, what we are now seeing is that the ECZ has been dictating what must be done without engaging all the stakeholders. It has been reduced to an institution that has become a property of somebody else and not the whole country, and this is bringing a very uncomfortable silence in the country. So, I hope these individuals who have been appointed will do what the country expects them to do. The money that these individuals will be paid will come from all the Zambians who pay tax and not from an individual or one party. So, these individuals should really fill in the gap that has been missing in the ECZ. They should involve all the stakeholders.


Sir, holding elections is the oasis and the heart of democracy in any institution. It has a spillover effect, can bring chaos and very good results to the country. Further, it can make the economy better and can also destroy the country. However, I hope the individuals who have been appointed will come in with fresh knowledge and the vigor to serve the country diligently and professionally.

Mr Speaker, with those few words, I commend the Committee for doing what it did. Above all, I insist that those who nominate these people should nominate them from across the country. All the Zambians are able to see; we cannot be having people nominated from only one or two provinces all the time. I think we can tap talent from all over the country so that we see how the problems that we have can be sorted by such individuals.


Sir, I thank you for allowing me to say a few words.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the appointing authority for the careful selection of the nominees in that as observed by your Committee, firstly, there has been a good attempt at gender equity. We have seen two women nominees against three men, which is good. Secondly, there has also been a good attempt at regional balancing, at least for those who are particular about ethnic balancing. The nominees are from the Western Province, the North-Western Province and the Northern Province. So, having three nominees from three provinces is fair enough. Thirdly, all the nominees are eminent citizens of Zambia. They are quite resourceful, and as a country, we stand to benefit from them. Fourthly, all the nominees meet the constitutional and statutory requirements, which is good. In view of that, we expect the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to benefit immensely from the two nominees who are joining it, and the one being promoted.


Mr Speaker, I am particularly happy with the inclusion of one retired military person, the Major-General, at the ECZ. At least, the people of Chimwemwe Parliamentary Constituency are comforted this time around. Unlike what we were seeing in the past, we are not likely to see mayhem being caused at the ECZ where some political party cadres or leaders who were not happy with one or two decisions by the commission decided to invade it. With this inclusion, we are comforted that such people will now have their heads sorted out and some sense will be pumped into them by the nominee who has a military background.


Mr Speaker, last but not the least, I would like to give general advice to the nominees who are joining the ECZ. Firstly, they should strive to maintain the clean record that our country has in terms of the electoral process. At least, since Independence, we have not seen ‘tippex’ elections being conducted in Zambia, and that must be maintained.


Mr Speaker, secondly, the people of Chimwemwe expect the nominees to stay away from battles involving politically exposed people. We do not want the nominees to join battles that they may not understand. We do not want to see situations whereby the ECZ drags a politically exposed person to court, but when asked why it is in court, it fails to answer. So, political battles must be left to politically exposed people.


Mr Speaker, thirdly, we expect the nominees to work hand in hand with their colleagues to ensure that they secure adequate funding for the institution. We expect them to get adequate funding so that they can fund seminars where they should educate candidates and political party leaders on the importance of conceding defeat, whenever they find themselves on the losing side of political contests. Further, we expect the ECZ to conduct seminars to educate candidates and political party leaders on the importance of using civil language at political party rallies or even during door to door campaign meetings. When leaders do not understand some phrases, idioms or terms in local languages that they may not be familiar with, they should consult the local people so that they do not find themselves being accused of insulting people of a particular area.


Mr Speaker, lastly, when the ECZ gets funding from the Ministry of Finance, it should educate political parties and their candidates that the huge attendance at political party rallies does not always translate into the votes cast for a candidate or political party. So, people must balance their investment into Facebook or WhatsApp campaigns, opinion polls and door to door campaigns when delivering their messages.


Mr Speaker, with those few remarks, the people of Chimwemwe fully support the nominees.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak and I should indicate that I was part of the Committee. The selection of the nominees represents the goodwill His Excellency the President has for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the electoral process in this country.


Mr Speaker, you will note that high quality citizens have been nominated to serve on the ECZ. The nominee for the vice-chairperson position has vast experience with women organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). She is, indeed, a very experienced commissioner and one of the longest to serve on the commission. Therefore, one notes that she has a lot of experience to share in providing leadership.


Mr Speaker, one of the nominees is a Major-General. You will note that a lot has been reported particularly regarding violence during election periods, and with the Major-General coming through, things will change. The nominee is a lecturer in the graduate programme in peace and conflict studies at the Copperbelt University, apart from having served as Deputy Army Commander. Therefore, having served as Deputy Army Commander, he brings on board rich experience to the ECZ and will provide leadership in the management of the electoral process in the country.


Mr Speaker, Ambassador Mutiti has a lot of experience. As we heard, she worked in the Department of Immigration at the Ministry of Home Affairs and before that, she was a chief archivist. For twenty-eight years, she served in the Public Service very well, and ended up as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs. She too brings on board rich experience to the ECZ from both her local and international experience. I also note that she served as our Ambassador in Zimbabwe and Australia. So, she brings on board not only a regional context, but also international context to the provision of leadership at the ECZ.


Mr Speaker, as the appointments of the commissioners get ratified, I urge them that the task before them is mammoth because from its founding, Zambia has been a very peaceful nation. Therefore, some people who may want to make political space a place for violence should not be allowed to do that. Therefore, I urge the ECZ to work closely with law enforcement agents and other stakeholders to create a very meaningful space for everyone to participate in the electoral process, especially women, the disabled and, indeed, all those who feel they are able to contribute meaningfully to the political leadership of our country or to support those who stand for election. A lot is expected from the ECZ and we are grateful that it has continued to distinguish itself.


Mr Speaker, we, therefore, urge the three Commissioners and, indeed, the entire ECZ to work very closely with the young men and women there to ensure that they work as expected. In this time of the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19), we expect that they will be able to follow, very closely, practices and procedures as prescribed by the Government through the Ministry of Health in particular, so that the people who will be going to vote are protected.


Mr Speaker, I suffered from the COVID-19 and I can say that it is a very bad disease. Therefore, I would not want to see anyone getting sick of it.


Sir, may I take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to speak on this very important subject.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I want to state that I am not going to comment on the qualifications of the individuals who have been appointed to serve as commissioners on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). There is a saying which states that the taste of the pudding is in the eating. I am aware that on several occasions, we have been applauding a number of individuals who have been appointed to serve on various portfolios of the Government of Zambia, who have only come to disappoint us. So, I am not going to comment on whether the individuals are capable or incapable to serve the ECZ.


Mr Speaker, however, I am going to comment on the institution that they are going to serve. The ECZ is a failed institution that has failed to manage elections in this country.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, it is in public domain that despite the powers that have been endowed on the ECZ, it has failed to manage elections in this country and I will demonstrate what I mean.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, we are aware that there is a code of conduct for all players in the electoral process in this country which is supposed to be managed by the ECZ in collaboration with the Zambia Police Service. Alas, whenever we have elections in this country and in particular by-elections, we have noted with concern as members of the public and players in the political arena the failures of the ECZ. We have noted that the ECZ has failed to ensure that the players in the political arena are given the latitude to campaign freely in the elections. Despite the numerous complaints that have been given to the ECZ, it has proved to be toothless.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Leader of the Opposition, give me a minute. You indicated in your preface that you will not comment on the qualifications, and of course, you are at liberty ...


Mr Ngulube: You were lying!


Mr Speaker: … not to do so. It was your choice and it was in order. However, we are dealing with a specific Motion here. The Motion is for ratification. I am concerned, if your debate will be exclusively devoted to appraising the performance of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) because our business this afternoon is the ratification of nominees. That is the focus, but if we are going to seize this opportunity, instead, to review the operations and functions of the ECZ, independent of the Motion before us, then we will not be attending to the Motion. Please, proceed.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I have taken note of your guidance and instead of talking about the issues I wanted to raise, I will now talk about the individuals as you have guided.


Sir, the individuals will not work in a vacuum. These individuals will be guided by the procedures and the laws that are obtaining at the ECZ. If the individuals find an institution that is impotent, the individuals will also be impotent.


Mr Mwale: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I was saying that currently, one of the commissioners whose appointment we are we are trying to ratify as vice-chairperson has been a commissioner and she was in Lukashya during the recent by-elections where hate speech and tribal issues were very prominent.


Hon. Government Members: Insults!




Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, –


Mr Speaker: Give me a minute. I want to put some order here. Hon. Members on the right, there is no need for running commentaries. I have already received a very long list from the right of individuals who would like to debate. I am sure when that time comes, you will speak. I do not think you elected to speak whilst seated. At least, there was no footnote that you will speak while seated.




Mr Speaker: So, let him debate in silence and then you respond. Continue hon. Member.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I was saying that the nominee for the vice-chairperson of the Commission was the one who was responsible for running the affairs of the ECZ in Lukashya. I did mention that in Lukashya, hate speech and violence were very prominent and there was no comment whatsoever, from the ECZ to ensure that the elections were free and fair. We hope that as she was superintending over the elections in Lukashya, she learnt a lesson to ensure that in future, she will be above board by ensuring that we are going to have free and fair elections in this country since she is already a commissioner.


Mr Speaker, I do recall that when we had elections in Chilubi, the police had to order the Opposition leaders to leave Chilubi, which is contrary to the law. There is no regulation whatsoever, under the ECZ that when the President is in a particular area, other candidates cannot campaign. The ECZ was quiet and this vice-chairperson, whose appointment we are trying to ratify today, was already a commissioner and she was very loud in her silence in not condemning what had transpired in Chilubi. We have had so many instances of violence in this country and she has been quiet. We are aware that even leaders in this House, hon. Members of this Parliament were making hate speeches in various constituencies where they were campaigning and the ECZ did not take action. We hope that the lessons she is learning now pertaining to what transpired will make her a better commissioner in future. We should not allow impunity to reign in this country when we have commissioners who are supposed to be umpires in the political dispensation of this country.


Mr Speaker, in its report, your Committee did make a comment pertaining to the roles of the commissioners. According to the report, these commissioners were being requested to be impartial when dealing with matters of elections in this country. As we are discussing this Motion today, there is a crisis pertaining to the registration of voters. The members of the public are crying and wondering why the ECZ is discarding the current voters’ register when there is no law which empowers it to do that. The law requires the ECZ to continuously register voters. That is what the law says. However, without consulting the stakeholders, the ECZ, with impunity, has gone ahead to discard the voters’ register.


Sir, the hon. Member for Kanchibiya has talked about the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19).  Under the circumstances we are in, it is not possible for the ECZ to register 9 million voters in thirty days. Why should the ECZ not go back to the drawing board to consult the stakeholders? The major stakeholders are political parties. The political parties are stating that we should continue using the current voters’ register. All we need to do is upgrade it. Otherwise, we are going to disenfranchise many people. It is, therefore, my appeal that those whose appointments are being considered for ratification must listen to what the people of Zambia are saying over the voters’ register.


 I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kundoti was inaudible.


The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, thank you so much for affording me an opportunity to make some comments on the Motion ably moved by the Chairperson of the Select Committee and seconded by Hon. Muchima. The Motion is seeking to ratify the appointment of Mrs Emily Joy Sikazwe to serve as Vice-Chairperson for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and also Mrs Ndiyoi Muliwana Mutiti and Major-General Vincent Mbaulu Mukanda (Rtd) to serve as members of the commission.


Sir, I want to first of all, to commend the appointing authority for striking a balance in terms of gender and identifying these eminent citizens to be part of this very important institution. Speaking of Mrs Emily Sikazwe, who is one of the current commissioners of the ECZ, apart from her vast experience in civil society matters, she is a solid lady with an impeccable record. She has the character we need this time around, to deputise the chairperson. The ECZ is an institution which needs people with strong characters because the nature of us politicians is that when the situation does not suit us, we point fingers, like a losing team, at the referee when you are supposed to be polishing your skills. The referee is there to ensure a level playing field. So, we are encouraging Mrs Emily Sikazwe to continue with her strong character to help the chairperson in providing leadership in that very important institution.


 Sir, Mrs Ndiyoi Mutiti, is a seasoned civil servant who equally has vast experience and we expect her to be equal to the task. The Former Deputy Army Commander, since he comes with experience in conflict resolution and also from the security cluster, we are glad that he will bring some elements of security that are required to the ECZ.


Mr Speaker, we are very grateful for these choices that the appointing authority made. The nominees are going to this institution at a very interesting time. At times, the hypocrisy of us politicians is surprising. In view of the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19), which my hon. Colleague spoke about, we have changed the ways of doing business. We are embracing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) platforms. I, therefore, do not know why it should be a problem for the ECZ to devise systems that should help citizens at critical times such as this one. If people want information, certainly the institution is there to provide that. We cannot condemn the institution for our own failures as political players. The commission is there to make sure that everyone participates in the processes. I just want to appeal to the commission to ensure that it takes some of the sentiments coming from reckless politicians seriously. Let it bite. As an important institution, it should learn to bite. We cannot allow individuals who cannot even win a ward by-election as councillors to claim rigging which they cannot substantiate.

Mr Speaker, in agreeing with Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, we are saying that we want this institution, working with law enforcement agencies, to be able to flex its muscle. The Zambia Police Service is there to supplement the efforts of the ECZ.


Sir, in conclusion, I support these appointments and I have got no iota of doubt in my mind that these eminent citizens will be equal to task and that they will add value to this very important institution in our country.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Information and Broadcasting (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, I am not going to belabour the operations of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). I want to begin by congratulating the appointing authority for bringing these names to House because we believe that these are competent individuals who are going to add value to the ECZ.


Sir, I just want to very quickly make three points on the appointments at this time for an institution whose confidence some people are bent on eroding. The ECZ is the creation of this House, and we have a responsibility as hon. Members and as politicians to ensure that the confidence of this institution is not eroded. That is what the people of Zambia are looking to us for.


Mr Speaker, next year will not be the first time the ECZ will be holding elections in this country. This country has been having elections for a very long time and yet, at every election, we have seen groups of politicians and political parties, even some misguided Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) leaders continue on an agenda to erode the confidence of the ECZ. I believe that we should all reflect on the fact that this institution was created by us and it will continue to manage elections in this country. 


Mr Speaker, my second point is on online voter registration. The ECZ has responded and refused to remain behind, like every institution in Zambia, for the very points that the Leader of the Opposition in the House raised. This period, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), is for redefining and doing work differently.


Mr Speaker, the ECZ is an institution for the people of Zambia. It has to respond, especially, to the needs of young people, the 6 million Zambians who are thirty-five years and below. It has to find innovative ways to interest young people into coming onto the voters’ register. This is why, just like the Government, through Smart Zambia, and the private sector, the ECZ has gone digital. The Government has invested in Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the whole country with over 90 per cent penetration of the internet, mobile phones, television and radio.


Mr Speaker, young people want to participate in elections. So, if they are going to participate using online platforms, the ECZ will respond as such. We expect that the people being appointed today will continue to provide leadership to do things differently in this institution.


Mr Speaker, allow me to address my last point. Again, I want to thank the appointing authority for capturing the spirit of the Constitution by reflecting the sexes in the country, women and men. He has reflected and captured the spirit of the Constitution that when there is a man, as the head, there should be a woman to deputise. His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Lungu, has led on that agenda and this is why we have Her Honour the Vice-President sitting in this House.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Siliya: This is not a spirit we must ever forget. This country is made up of men and women.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Siliya: When there is a man as the head, we expect a woman to deputise and when there is a woman as the head, we expect a man to deputise.


Sir, we congratulate Ms Emily Sikazwe for being recommended to deputise at the ECZ. In the many elections carried out in this country, there have been times when the women’s agenda has been lost. We want to make sure that women’s issues are captured in elections.


Dr Malama: Correct!


Ms Siliya: I am talking about widows who loose property because their husbands have died; women whose children are displaced because their husbands have died and the many issues that are mundane in elections, like issues of water, hospitals and clinics. We want to make sure that women are at the centre of elections. We, the women of Zambia, are saying that we are putting women at the ECZ because they are going to make sure that the woman’s voice is heard in every issue to do with elections. That is a warning from the women to the men of Zambia.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, from the outset, I must say that I have difficulties with these nominations.


Mr Speaker, many colleagues have only talked about the fact that the nominees are qualified. They have talked about qualification in terms of gender, academic credentials and regional diversity. However, the truth is that there is one qualification that people here have been silent about. The qualification is that of partisanship. It is this partisanship that Hon. Mwiimbu was talking about, whereby if there is an election, the Patriotic Front (PF) can do anything it wants, whether it is giving money openly, as is happening these days ...


Hon. PF Members: No!


Dr Musokotwane: ... or giving mealie meal openly –


Mr Ngulube: On a point of order, Sir.




Mr Speaker: Take your seats both of you.


Let me make it clear that I am not allowing any points of order in this segment. If you want to contest any issue, I will give you an opportunity.


Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Not personally, but as groupings.




Mr Ngulube: I receive, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Liuwa, please continue with your debate.


Dr Musokotwane: So, we are seeing this partisanship when there are elections and when there is the registration of voters.


Mr Speaker, I will tell you that, at the moment, National Registration Cards (NRCs) are being issued in Kalabo on a daily basis. However, the progress that is being made is very slow. Why? It is because on one day, there is no paper and the next day, there is no lamination. You can see that all this is just deliberate inefficiency to disenfranchise the people of the Western Province.


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, for me, I would say that let us come out openly. The truth of the matter is that these commissioners are being appointed on the basis of partisanship. That being the case, I would rather we accept that this is the reality and then do what other countries are doing. In other countries, commissioners are not appointed by one person. The Minister of Home Affairs said that when a team loses, it should not blame the referee. However, in this particular case, the contestant is the one who is choosing referees. How is it expected that a ...


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Musokotwane: ... referee can be neutral when he/she has been appointed by a partisan person? So, the solution to this, as is happening in other countries, is that people just accept that the commission is going to be a partisan one. So, each political party can nominate a number of people to sit on the commission. That way, we can have a commission that is going to be fair because those partisan people sitting together would be able to judge cases, as they arise. For now, I consider the commission to be a partisan affair and, therefore, anyone going into this commission will conduct affairs on a partisan basis.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Prof Luo): Mr Speaker, I want to start by thanking His Excellency the President for appointing Mrs Emily Joy Sikazwe to serve as the Deputy Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Mrs Ndiyoi Mutiti and Major-General Vincent Mukanda (Rtd) as commissioners.


Sir, look at the names that have been presented. Mrs Emily Sikazwe is a woman whose background is that of a scientist. By nature, a scientist interrogates and asks questions and believes in analysis. Therefore, she is going take this strength to the ECZ. Instead of speaking from without and creating stories that are non-existent, she will bring strength to the ECZ. This is a woman who has worked with civil society and has traversed the whole of Zambia. She understands the lives of Zambians, both poor and wealthy. She will bring that strength to the ECZ. There is no way she can make a judgement that can send Zambia into turmoil, which some of us here are trying to suggest. So, she comes with adequate competence and, I think, people must celebrate her.


Sir, Mrs Ndiyoi Mutiti is a seasoned civil servant and has served as a diplomat. So, she brings this experience to the ECZ. Major-General Mukanga (Rtd) brings discipline not only to the commission, but also to the people that are going to participate in elections.


Mr Speaker, why would anybody complain about online voter registration? I know some of us were born before the age of computers and I also know that some of us do not understand the benefits of technology. However, look, Zambia is not an island and will not remain behind simply because some of us do not know how to use technology and do not understand its benefits because we were born before the age of computers, especially so for those who are sitting on my right.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu rose




Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, take your seat.


Prof. Luo: We are going to use technology so that we can capture more people. I am surprised that somebody said that we cannot register 9 million people within a month. In fact, that is what technology enables us to do. It is going to improve the numbers. Those of you who do not celebrate technology, just watch the space.


Mr Speaker, these tongues of ours can destroy a country. People create perceptions of hate speech, yet they are the orchestrators of hate speech. They say that there is violence, yet they are the orchestrators. The Mapatizya Formula was created by some people here, they are on my right and they know themselves. However, they want to pin it on people who are not violent. I think we need to engage in introspection. Even if they want to get into power, they should watch their language. The people of Zambia are watching. They know that when some people stand up to debate, the story is the same. The debate is about insults and tribalism. People will not listen to them. 


Mr Speaker, I think that it is very important that we support the Motion on the Floor on the appointment of Mrs Emily Joy Sikazwe, as deputy chairperson, because she brings a wealth of experience to the ECZ. Those who know her and have worked with her know that for a fact. Mrs Ndiyoi Muliwana Mutiti brings a wealth of experience to the commission, and so does Major-General Vincent Mbaulu Mukanda (Rtd).


Sir, I think Zambians should learn to celebrate people who are accomplished when they are alive. Do not wait until they die and pretend to be crying at the graveside. I have said that if people do not celebrate me now, I do not want them near my graveside. I will get up and slap Hon. Mwiimbu and then die again.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!


The hon. Minister’s time expired.


Hon. Members, we need to conclude this Motion before we rise. Therefore, I will begin winding down. I will ask the hon. Minister of Justice to debate.


The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, a number of people have spoken before me and have congratulated His Excellency the President for these appointments. As you might be aware, I represented the appointing authority to the Committee.


Sir, let me start by commending your Committee for a job very well done. When I went to represent His Excellency, I sat before a Committee that had very eminent hon. Members of Parliament, some of whom deserve to be mentioned: Among them were Hon. Muchima, Member of Parliament for Ikeleng’i, Hon. Mweetwa, Member of Parliament for Choma Central, and Hon. Mulyata, Member of Parliament for Rufunsa. Those three sat in that Committee and supported the nominations by His Excellency. Therefore, I would like to congratulate the three nominees on meeting the criteria that satisfied, particularly those three hon. Members whose names I have mentioned.


Mr Speaker, some people have raised the issue about youths and people with disabilities being appointed. I want to assure the House that the appointing authority was very aware of the provisions of Articles 173 and 259 with regard to the appointment of youths and disabled people. Had he the choice, he would have done that. Unfortunately, for now, the people he found suitable, and the ones who were accepted by the Committee, are those three candidates. I want to also just reflect upon a few other issues that were raised by those who debated before me, particularly, those who rose first to support the nominees and use this opportunity to debate the institution.

Sir, when I stood up to debate a few days ago, I remarked on my anxiety at some of us in Parliament missing the issues of relevance of time, topic and place. Some matters are meant for Parliament and others are not. Today, the issue on the Floor is the ratification of the appointment of the three candidates.


Mr Speaker, the eighteen years that I have spent in this House have taught me very clearly that if there is a matter that, I think, the nation ought to debate and whose resolution has to be arrived at by Parliament, it ought to be raised as a specific matter. You cannot raise a matter on the running of an institution when you are talking about the ratification of people to run the institution. This is because at the end of this debate, if a vote was to be put, the vote will be on whether we ratify the nominees or not. It will not have anything to do with the composition of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). The composition of the ECZ is provided for in the Constitution at Article 229.


Sir, if there is any hon. Member of Parliament who really wants to prove that he/she knows why he/she is in Parliament and wants to propose a change in the composition of the ECZ, that hon. Member will have to come here and propose an amendment to the Constitution. They have an opportunity to do just that, which we have given to them through the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019. They should use The Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 to discuss these matters. They cannot discuss the Constitution at the time when we are discussing the ratification of nominees to serve as commissioners. That is irrelevance of subject, time and place.


Mr Speaker, to come and use this opportunity when ratifying these three eminently qualified people to talk about the Lukashya By-election just provokes others to remind the whole country that there were people who went to Lukashya to trade insults. Is this the opportunity for us to come and start laying bare those insults? It is not at all. That is not the reason for this Motion.


Sir, I would like to say that if, indeed, people are concerned about regional balancing, like somebody mentioned, the Constitution provides guidelines on that. There are ten regions or provinces in the country and one would ask how the President is supposed to use three positions to cover ten provinces. What kind of magical formula would that be?


Mr Speaker, my hon. Colleague from Chimwemwe already illustrated that His Excellency the President, in appointing the three nominees, looked across the country and picked one person from the North-Western Province and another from the Northern Province. By the way, I have mentioned on the Floor of this House that in Zambia today, simply to use a name and ascribe it to a region is a fallacy. This is because some people carry names that do not mean anything to them. What is in a name after all?


For example, we have someone named Ndiyoi Mutiti. The name sounds like it is from the Western Province and the hon. Member for Chimwemwe said she hails from the Western Province. Yes, the name may come from the Western Province, but for the information of the House and for the satisfaction of the hon. Member of Parliament from Kalomo, Madam Ndiyoi Mutiti was actually socialised in Kalomo. She was born in Kalomo, went to school in Kalomo and if you look at her composition and character, she is a representative of Kalomo. However, today, the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalomo Central is disowning her simply because of her name. What a shame.




Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, those who come to this House and use it in an attempt to fan tribalism must be condemned. We must not use this House to peddle tribalism. We must look at Zambians for whom they are. This is the reason we, in the Patriotic Front (PF), revived the slogan of ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ and we shall continue on that trajectory.




Mr Lubinda: Sir, eighteen years of being a Parliamentarian requires one –


Mr Speaker: I hope the hon. Minister will allow for this Motion to be concluded.

 Mr Lubinda: Thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker, let me end by saying that eighteen years of parliamentarianism must be seen in how a person articulates issues and guides those who come after him/her and not mislead them.


Sir, I heard one hon. Member say that the ECZ is partisan. Indeed, if the ECZ was partisan in Kabwata, was it not partisan in Monze and Liuwa? If Mrs Emily Joy Sikazwe was partisan in Liuwa and Kabwata, she is a very good partisan person. She should continue being partisan by ensuring that the people elect those who they want to govern them without fear and intimidation. As a matter of fact, when we were ratifying the appointment of Mrs Emily Joy Sikazwe for the first time in this House, some people on the left started talking about her nationality. However, she has proven beyond doubt that she is even more patriotic than some people who claim to be more Zambian than others.


Mr Speaker, I would like to end by thanking your Committee for this well-thought-through report and for approving the ratification of the three eminently qualified persons, whom I am sure shall serve this country without reproach.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, let me start by thanking the hon. Minister of Justice, the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs and the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting. I also thank the seconder of the Motion, who seconded it ably and professionally, all the members of your Committee who were very professional, as we deliberated on the Motion, and all the hon. Members of Parliament who have contributed to the debate on the Motion.


Sir, the hon. Ministers and hon. Members who debated this Motion brought up many issues that will be taken note of. The secretariat will take all those issues into consideration.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Question put and agreed to.













Clauses 1, 2, 3 and 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

CLAUSE 5 – (Functions of Commission)


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Madam Chairperson, I beg to move an amendment in Clause 5, on page 9, in line 18 by the deletion of paragraph (I) and the substitution therefor of the following:


  1. in consultation with the Higher Education Authority, co-ordinate food and nutrition training, in national food and nutrition programmes;


Amendment agreed to. Clause amended accordingly.


Clause 5, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.


The Chairperson: Order!






[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


The following Bill was reported to the House as having passed through Committee with amendments:


The Food and Nutrition Bill, 2020




Mr Speaker: Order!


(Debate adjourned)




The House adjourned at 1658 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 1st October, 2020.