Thursday, 20th February, 2020

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Thursday, 20th February, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform you that the Ministry of Health, through the Zambia National Public Health Institute, will hold a half day orientation workshop for all hon. Members of Parliament on the subject of public health security and imminent disease outbreaks in the country. The orientation workshop will take place on Monday, 24th February, 2020 in the amphitheatre, Parliament Buildings starting at 0830 hours. Hon. Members are therefore, requested to attend this very important meeting.


Thank you.








The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Katambo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to render a ministerial statement on the distribution of agricultural inputs for the 2019/2020 Agriculture Season and the payments to agro-dealers.


Mr Speaker, before I proceed with the statement, allow me to join my hon. Colleagues in congratulating Hon. Fube, the newly elected Member of Parliament for Chilubi Parliamentary Constituency for his resounding victory.


Sir, it is important that I update the House and the country at large on the distribution of agricultural inputs for the 2019/2020 Agriculture Season and also, the payments to agro-dealers.


Mr Speaker, allow me to reiterate the Patriotic Front (PF) Government’s continued commitment to supporting the farmers through the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). We acknowledge that the smallholder farmers are the backbone of this country’s agriculture sector and ultimately, the national food security. The support under FISP therefore, enables farmers to have access to affordable agricultural inputs and in turn, guarantee household and national food security.


Mr Speaker, I wish to remind the hon. Members that in the 2019/2020 Agriculture Season, FISP was implemented using two approaches namely, the direct input supply and the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) modalities. We targeted one million farmers in the 2019/2020 Agriculture Season. Of the one million, 382,455 farmers were under the e-Voucher mechanism in forty-two districts while the remainder were on the direct input supply mechanism.


Sir, I am happy to report that all the targeted farmers managed to redeem their inputs for the 2019/2020 Agriculture Season for both the e-Voucher and the direct input supply modalities. In addition, for the 2019/2020 Agriculture Season, we delivered inputs to the districts before the onset of the rainy season. Such is a commitment from the PF Government under the leadership of His Excellency the President of the President of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu to support our farmers. As a result of this early distribution of inputs and the good rains received to date, the crop in most parts of the country is looking very good. Despite some successes in implementing FISP, the programme still faced some challenges. These challenges particularly, affected the e-Voucher modality. Some agro-dealers redeemed the farmers’ vouchers but did not issue them with all the redeemed inputs. I wish to state that the ministry is addressing these reports of agro-dealers who did not issue inputs to farmers. Where such reports are verified, the erring agro-dealers will face legal action and the ministry will reverse all such transactions to allow the farmers to collect inputs from alternative agro-dealers.


Mr Speaker, there have been several questions on the Floor of this House regarding payments to agro-dealers. Allow me to give an update on the efforts we are making to ensure that agro-dealers are paid. At the end of 2019, the total invoices amounted to K1.9 billion. So far, we have paid out over K1.1 billion. We are currently owing about K781 million.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I would like to assure the hon. Members of this House and the agro-dealers that we are doing everything possible to dismantle the arrears to the agro-dealers and that we are cognisant of the challenges being faced by agro-dealers. I, therefore, appeal to the agro-dealers to remain patient as we dismantle these arrears.


Sir, I further wish to encourage the hon. Members of the House to engage district authorities within which their constituencies fall and raise issues surrounding the programme. We realise that some problems can be addressed more effectively and efficiently by our district offices and the district administration.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


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


Mr Fungulwe (Lufwanyama): Mr Speaker, some farmers in Lufwanyama were affected during the 2019/2020 Farming Season in that they never received the farming inputs. The reason was that farming inputs went missing in the warehouse. Is the hon. Minister aware that the farming inputs were missing in the warehouse? Does he know how far the investigations into this matter have gone?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, if that was the case in Lufwanyama, I am sure it was reported to the police. So, the investigative wings will be able to give a detailed report, and once verified, the ministry will be able to look into these issues. It will also look into other areas where we face challenges such as inputs either being stolen, going missing or being swiped on behalf of the farmers by agro dealers. These are fraudulent activities and so, the investigative wings will help the Ministry of Agriculture and see how best it can address this challenge.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs Chinyama (Kafue): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that the Government is doing everything possible to pay agro dealers who are owed by the Government. What exactly is the Government doing and when are these payments likely to be made? I ask because in Kafue we have agro dealers that have been waiting for more than two seasons now to receive their due.


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture will continue paying agro dealers as funds are available. Like I said in the statement, we have, so far, paid K1.2 billion out of the invoices which amounted to K1.9 billion. So, we are remaining with about K781 million over which we are engaging the Ministry of Finance. This afternoon, I was with the hon. Minister of Finance and engaged him on how best he can give us the funding so that we can be able to dismantle the debt that we owe various agro dealers countrywide. So, once funds are made available to the ministry, we will be able to dismantle the debt.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the Southern, Western, parts of Central and parts of Lusaka provinces that are on the e-Voucher system have experienced extreme difficulties pertaining to agro dealers accessing agro inputs.


Mr Speaker, in most instances, the price of fertiliser and seed escalated to the extent that the farmers in those areas could not afford to buy four bags of fertiliser or a bag of seed. Having stated that, what measures is the hon. Minister going to put in place to ensure that areas under the e-Voucher system are not disadvantaged in this Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) taking into account the fact that those other areas that are not under FISP were able to access eight bags of fertiliser and seed to the detriment of other FISP beneficiaries.


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, let me indicate that the Government has no predetermined prices on the commodities or the inputs under the e-Voucher. There are quite a number of modalities that make rise maybe to the price of bag of urea or D compound. The programme needs upfront funding so that our farmers are not inconvenient when there are accessing inputs.


Sir, our experts in the Ministry of Agriculture recommended these provinces as mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition which are Southern, Western, parts of Central and part of Lusaka to use the e-Voucher modality. The reason was that, with the effects of climate change the adverse effects of weather these provinces were the ones that were adversely affected by drought, prolonged dry spells and extremely temperatures which resulted into wilting of many of our crops.  This is why the e-Voucher modality was recommended in these regions. However, taking into account is concern that prices vary, rather that they are not receiving the same input as in the direct input supply, like I indicated that the Government has no predetermined price on these commodities.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has clearly indicated that the Government owed the agro dealers about K1.9 billion and that so far, it has paid K1.1 billion. Before the end of 2019 the Government owed agro dealers from the previous farming season an amount less than K500 million. I would like to find out why it has not given preference to the agro dealers who were owed money from the previous farming seasons, as a way of clearing the debt after having paid the amount mentioned.  I am aware that in Mumbwa, there are still some agro farmers who are owed money from the past two farming seasons. What was the Government’s approach in dismantling this debt?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the K781 million is what we owe agro dealers for the three concurrent seasons. For the 2019/2020 Farming Season, we did request the Ministry of Finance to allow us return the deposit of K400 so that it could be upfront funding for agro dealers.  That is why the picture is as has been painted by the hon. Member for Mumbwa. It may appear like we have paid those that we have contracted or registered. Sir, we were allowed to return the K400 unlike in the last two farming seasons where we were waiting for funding from the Ministry of Finance. So, this debt obligation to the agro dealers is for the three concurrent seasons. However, for this year, we were able to pay the agro dealers with the upfront funding that we were allowed to return by the Ministry of Finance.


 I thank you, Sir.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, allow me to pass my condolence to the Kaimaima family of Chief Musokotwane of Kazungula District, after the demise of their daughter who was shot by a stray bullet a day or two ago in Livingstone. I mourn with them, and may the Lord be with them.


Mr Speaker, my question to the hon. Minister of Agriculture is based on the fact that agro dealers in Kazungula, in particular, Kalomo and surrounding areas have stopped giving fertilisers to those who have not yet redeemed their Electronic Vouchers (e-Vouchers), and they are many. They have been calling me from Kazungula to find out what is going to happen because they have not redeemed their e-Vouchers because the agro dealers have closed.


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, I am aware that some agro dealers are refusing to release inputs to farmers after farmers have redeemed their electronic- Vouchers (e-Vouchers). So, the ministry is engaging Smart Zambia Institute (SZI) to cancel all those invoices from such agro dealers. Then, farmers will be issued the authority to collect or redeem their inputs from other agro dealers once the verifications are done in Kazungula, Kalomo or any other area which was using the e-Voucher modality. Further, legal action will be taken against such agro dealers.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kamondo (Mufumbwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister may be aware that many farmers in Mufumbwe were swindled by unscrupulous agro dealers. As a result, many farmers have lost their crops because they have not been able to apply fertiliser. The crops of the few who had the chance to be given fertiliser under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) are doing very well. Is the Government considering increasing the number of beneficiaries in Mufumbwe, knowing very well that it is one of the districts in Zambia which has not been affected by climate change and farmers there are ready to farm?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, it is quite unfortunate that our beloved farmers were swindled out of inputs and could not redeem their vouchers. The budget for FISP is passed in this House. We are reviewing this programme so that we can know which areas have a huge number of people engaging in farming activities and if there is a need to increase the number of beneficiaries. So far, according to the budget, we have only been allowed to have one million beneficiaries under this programme. You yourselves, hon. Members, passed the FISP budget that was allocated. We will take that matter into consideration as we review the programme.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I followed the timely statement by the hon. Minister and I thank him for it. He indicated that the direct model for supplying inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) has worked so well that by October, most farmers had received their inputs. I agree with this because Kaputa received the inputs in very good time. However, those who were to receive the inputs using the electronic-Voucher (e-Voucher) model started accessing inputs somewhere in December and beginning of January and this disadvantaged them. We all know that the e-Voucher System is the future of agriculture as it will save this country huge sums of money because the private sector will be engaged and will be in the forefront to supply inputs. What is the ministry doing to ensure that the e-Voucher System is promoted more than the direct supply modality so that this Government can save huge sums of money from FISP?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the e-Voucher System is supposed to be rolled out throughout the country, but we have not done so because of challenges that we have identified. That is why we have used two modalities, the e-Voucher and the direct input supply. Of course, the picture is that under the direct input supply modality, farmers get inputs when they are supposed to collect them. However, under the e-Voucher modality, we are facing many challenges like agro dealers being engaging in dishonest activities such as swiping the cards on behalf of farmers. That is why our extension staff in the farmer training centres are educating the beneficiaries on the does and don’ts like not sharing the Personal Identification Number (PIN) with agro dealers. They should only use the PIN when they want to swipe and collect inputs.


Sir, the e-Voucher system has also created some formal employment for many of our youths who have been employed by agro dealers. The e-Voucher modality is a good modality. Like I indicated when answering the Leader of the Opposition in the House, these recommendations were not made on political lines. We use this modality in areas that had adverse effects from climate change. The e-Voucher is the best tool to service our farmers in these areas as it gives them a wide range of choice of inputs so that they can pan their farming activities.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwiinga (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, how long will the process of reversal take, considering that most agro dealers have stopped redeeming the cards and the farming season is coming to an end?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the ministry has sent internal auditors to verify the fraudulent activities that have taken place where we have faced challenges. Once the areas are verified and qualified, we will be able to service our farmers on time.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, the people of Kanchibiya would like to thank the hon. Minister for the good work that the ministry is doing in supporting the agro business in Kanchibiya. However, there are critical stakeholders, the agro dealers, who have been engaging in fraudulent activities. Is the ministry considering setting up a special purpose vehicle to investigate these fraudulent activities so that the money and inputs that are meant to reach our people reach them in time? Is it considering coming up with measures to act as deterrents so that agro dealers can cease these illegal activities that they conduct? Year by year, we continue to assure our people that we will deal with the agro dealers. Are we going to deal with them so that they learn a lesson?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture has created a special purpose vehicle to address this. It has sent internal auditors to verify these cases. All these cases are being documented and legal action will be taken against these agro dealers. Let me emphasise that these agro leaders will be blacklisted from taking part in this programme.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, I am sure that the hon. Minister is aware that Kalabo has a challenge of poverty and it was compounded by the lack of rains in the last farming season. So, placing Kalabo under the e-Voucher System was not bad. However, the agro dealers failed to provide farmers with that they needed. That was the problem. What preventive or curative measures has the ministry put in place to safeguard the rural farmers in remote, isolated areas where there is poverty, who are not accessing inputs because agro dealers are claiming that they have not been paid by the Government?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, these agro dealers have shown proof that they have capacity to service the beneficiaries in those areas, Kalabo being such an area. The agro dealers know the does and don’ts, and they indicated that they have the capacity to serve those areas. The District Agricultural Coordinators (DACOs) in those areas have verified that they have inputs but not enough inputs to service all the beneficiaries within Kalabo District. We are looking into these issues. In the end, we need to register enough agro-dealers against the number of beneficiaries so that the inputs with the agro dealers are enough to cater for the beneficiaries. Agro dealers should show that they have enough capacity to supply the inputs in order for them to qualify to be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture.


Mr Speaker, it is quite sad that beneficiaries from the constituencies of many hon. Members are being affected by fraudulent agro dealers. They are depriving the true beneficiaries of the inputs. It is important that we work together as hon. Members to help our beneficiaries report these fraudulent agro dealers to the law enforcement agencies so that they are prosecuted. The ministry should only deal with agro dealers who are genuine and have the capacity to supply inputs.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, the other players in the distribution of farming inputs like the Camp Agricultural Committee (CAC) chairmen and District Agricultural Coordinators (DACOs) are at the forefront of defrauding poor farmers. I get calls every now and then informing me that instead of getting ten packs, a farmer has received only two packs. I think the hon. Minister is aware about this because I have called him on several occasions about this when I was in my constituency. What is the ministry doing to stop this rot?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, I engaged the hon. Member on this matter when he said that certain beneficiaries did not receive the inputs because the leaderships of the co-operatives or the CAC leaders are getting the inputs on behalf of beneficiaries. This is a criminal activity. If Katambo is supposed to receive a certain number of inputs allocated, he is supposed to receive what is due to him. In the farmer training centres across the country, farmers are being told what their packages are supposed to contain. If they do not receive the correct package, they have to report to the police. The law enforcement agencies will then get the inputs from those who have taken from the beneficiaries. These CAC or co-operative leaders who deprive members are supposed to be reported to the police. The Government sends inputs according to what a beneficiary is supposed to receive.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, the people of Chikwa, Chifunda and Tembwe are looking forward to the ministry increasing the number of beneficiaries, particularly the beneficiaries from flood-prone areas. The idea of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and the Electronic-Voucher (e-Voucher) System was to encourage diversification. Unfortunately, I have seen that in rural areas, most agro dealers just deal in seed and fertiliser. What measures is the Government putting in place to ensure that there is diversification in areas under the direct input supply system? People should be able to choose from a variety of agriculture inputs.


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, like I indicated, the experts recommended these two modalities for different regions according to the weather patterns. Of course, the agenda of the PF Government is to encourage diversification through the Ministry of Agriculture. Farmers are supposed to grow or engage into various agricultural activities.


Mr Speaker, like I said, increasing the number of beneficiaries is dependent on the resource envelope. We are reviewing the FISP programme and we will look into the number of beneficiaries. If possible, we could increase the number of beneficiaries if the Ministry of Finance has the funding and this House approves the funding. That is when the issue of increasing the number of beneficiaries will arise.


Mr Speaker, on encouraging diversification, our extension staff disseminate information on smart or good agricultural practices in areas experiencing floods and drought. Flood resistant crops are being recommended in flood-prone areas. Some crops are resistant to floods and these are being recommended to farmers. In areas faced with prolonged drought or dry spells, the ministry is encouraging farmers to plant drought resistant varieties. This is one way we are using to educate and disseminate information to our farmers so that they engage in smart agriculture, and the Diversification Agenda is taken into account.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister in a position to abolish or suspend the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System in the four provinces mentioned by the hon. Member for Monze Central because this system has failed? What professional advice has he received on this matter? We all want to benefit from the direct input supply system.


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, facts are facts. In the areas experiencing droughts, prolonged dry spells or extreme temperatures resulting into wilting of crops, we are using the e-Voucher modality so that farmers can choose a wide range of inputs. I said this when I answered the question from the hon. Member for Chama South on the issue of diversification. We cannot abolish the e-Voucher System. When we are convinced by the Metrological Department that rains in these areas will be alright, then we will look into it as we review the programme if it is possible to offer the direct input supply modality. We cannot abolish the e-Voucher system.


Mr Speaker, this is not political. In the Southern, Western and parts of Lusaka and Central provinces, it is perceived that this modality is a deliberate political move to disadvantage the farmers in these areas. However, this is the recommendation from experts. The hon. Member for Bweengwa will bear witness to the fact that his region has experienced droughts. What do we do if our farmers have to be given the inputs? This is the modality that best suits these areas. What will it benefit the Government to help these small scale farmers by giving them fertiliser and seed when there is no rain? These are pastoralist communities and therefore, they can get chemicals for their livestock or horticulture activities if they are growing vegetables and other things. This is being done out of good will and commitment to showing love and service to the small scale farmers in these regions. So, this is non-political, it is the modality that has been recommended for these areas because of the nature of the climate in these regions.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, I have a concern in my constituency. Many nascent agro dealers have found themselves with warrants of distress because of the delayed payments. How is the ministry going to help these agro dealers who are very small business people? The ministry has to absolve these warrants of distress because the agro dealers never planned for the costs of warrants of distress.


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the system needs upfront funding. That is why we are reviewing the whole process. When the Ministry of Finance gives us funds upfront, we will not have all these issues with agro dealers. Like I said, we requested to retain the K400 contributions by the farmers for this 2019/2020 Farming Season. That is why other agro dealers performed very well. However, others engaged in fraudulent activities because they thought the Ministry of Agriculture owes them money for the 2018/2019 Farming Season. So, they could not issue the inputs to the farmers.


Mr Speaker, for FISP to effectively and efficiently service the beneficiaries, the e-Voucher needs upfront funding for the number of beneficiaries in those areas recommended to use the e-Voucher modality.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that statement. However, has it occurred to the hon. Minister that by insisting to use the Electronic-Voucher (e-Voucher) system which does not work, the Government is killing agriculture in our areas and promoting agriculture in its strongholds, and yet all of us as Zambians paid for fertiliser –


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Mr Speaker: Are you through?


Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, I am not through. I was just waiting for Hon. Ngulube to finish what he was saying. However, I want to find out whether, as a matter of fact, the hon. Minister is not worried that since 2016, the e-Voucher is not working well in our areas, but in our hon. Colleagues’ areas it has done very well simply because they are taking fertilisers and seeds there. Why is the Government insisting that we must use the e-Voucher system when as a matter of fact it is failing to fund it?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, I belaboured the point that this issue is not political. The Government, under the leadership of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, cannot kill agriculture. We are there to service our small scale farmers. The hon. Member would also agree with me that Nkeyema was hit with adverse effects of weather. That is why we are using the e-Voucher modality in the area. It is not that we want to kill agriculture. However, it is the agro-dealers who are not honest. They are fraudulently swiping inputs on behalf of the beneficiaries. As the area Member of Parliament, he should take the lead in knowing the number of beneficiaries in Nkeyema. They are his voters and he should find time to be with them and find out what is going on, so that the true beneficiaries receive the inputs from a particular agro-dealer.


Sir, we give the number of agro-dealers who register with the Ministry of Agriculture in each district. Therefore, if one agro-dealer has no input, let the hon. Member help his beneficiaries to go to another agro-dealer who has the capacity or input to service the farmers. This is open to any agro-dealer. Therefore, those agro-dealers who do not have inputs, let farmers not go to them, but go to those that have.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament should have this data himself to help us to work together with the Government and him as the hon. Member of Parliament in order for us to service the farmers and ensure that these agro-dealers do not deprive the true beneficiaries. Therefore, it is a good modality in these areas. Like I have said, we are reviewing the programme and we will see what will best suit where and when.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Chisopa (Mkushi South): Mr Speaker, in the 2018/2019 Farming Season, we experienced a drought and the effects were low maize production and high mealie meal prices. In the current 2019/2020 season, we expect to have a bumper harvest. This is due to good rains and early delivery of farming inputs through the Electronic-Voucher (e-Voucher) system. Now, what is the hon. Minister’s prediction in terms of the mealie meal prices which have been highly politicised?


Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Mkushi South has moved away from the subject at hand.


Mr Mutale (Chitambo) Mr Speaker, I have received complaints from four to five farmers who received some fertiliser. They applied it, but there was no change to the crops in their maize field. It appears like the fertilisers they are getting are of substandard. What measures has the ministry put in place to ensure that the agro-dealers are supplying farmers with fertiliser of acceptable standards?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, in governance, we have wings like the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) that check these commodities to verify that the products they inspect are genuine. However, we experienced incidences whereby others would grind blue or yellow chalk and then smear it on seeds which are not certified and then give the farmers. As a result, they experienced low yields. Therefore, even with this fertiliser, it is possible that human as we are, others would also just want to criminalise the whole thing by issuing fake fertiliser.


However, in such instances, farmers should be able to go to these agro-dealers who issued them fake inputs and verify and prove it. Then punitive measures will be taken by law enforcement agencies to prove if the other products that the agro-dealer is stacking in his or her shop are not genuine. On the other hand, ZABS could also report so that it verifies if these products are fake products.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, there are reports to the effect that no regular elections are conducted in the Community Agriculture Committees (CACs) and co-operatives and that the Ministry of Agriculture in the preceding two years had given out bonus fertiliser to the farmers, which fertiliser has not trickled down to the beneficiaries. Therefore, how does the hon. Minister hope to resolve these issues?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, there are guidelines and regulations to the term of office of these agriculture committees in all our districts or co-operatives in our localities. Therefore, hon. Members should also engage the leadership and look at the guidelines as to when they can hold elections to replace the old leadership and replace them with new leaders. It is better to look at those guidelines and what they stipulate, if it is a two or three year term, so that fresh elections are conducted.


Furthermore, it is only when there is proof that is only when you can take action. So, if they help us with proof, we will be able to swing into action. If it is our extension staff or District Agriculture Coordinating Officers (DACOs), they will be brought to book and the human resources administration within the Ministry of Agriculture will take action against erring officers in the ministry.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, many stakeholders agree that the Electronic-Voucher (e-Voucher) system is a very good programme, but it is undermined by inadequate funding and late release of funds. The hon. Minister has shared with us that the Government is reviewing this programme. Would the hon. Minister agree that actually, it is just the issue of upfront funding and if the upfront funding is not done, this programme will fail and there will be no need to pursue it? Would he agree that the bottom line is underfunding and delay in the release of funds?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the review process has already began and involves various Government departments such as the Ministry of National Development and Planning, Ministry of Commerce, trade and Industry, Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare and  Ministry of Finance, just to mention a few.


Sir, there are quite a number of challenges in reviewing FISP. Key objectives include sealing of loopholes and proposed measures for sustainability of this programme. This is a comprehensive exercise that will be done in phases to reduce disruptions in its implementation. Therefore, I indicated that we are engaging the Ministry of Finance. Going forward in 2020 and 2021, our hon. Colleagues are supposed to give us the budget allocation for the programme, so that we do not inconvenience the farmers because the issue is that for the programme to effectively or efficiently service the beneficiaries, it is supposed to be locked with upfront funding.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, I am not sure if you have answered the question. According to the hon. Member for Mongu Central, the question is that in the absence of advance funding and for avoidance of late payment, the whole programme is bound to fail. Is that your correct position? That is what he wants you to confirm, one way or the other.


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


Sir, like I said, the programme needs upfront funding. Of course, when there is late delivery of inputs or late funding to the programme, we face these challenges. In reviewing the programme, the first recommendation is that it is supposed to be funded so that we do not inconvenience the beneficiaries. Of course, it is one challenge that if we do not receive the funding on time, we also inconvenience the farmers because farming is about time. So, we are engaging the Ministry of Finance and the Treasury so that the programme is funded upfront for it to effectively service the beneficiaries.


 I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Chikote (Luampa): Mr Speaker, my concern is about the farmers who contributed their part, but they never realised any farming inputs. What is the Government doing about such challenges?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, once verification is carried out that Katambo contributed K400, but has not received farming inputs, for instance, remedial measures are carried out. It is all about verification and proof that such a person contributed, but he/she has not been given, received or swiped any inputs. Like I said, the internal audit in the ministry is carrying out due diligence on a case by case basis to see how best we can service our farmers. So, for those who contributed, but have not received the inputs, the Ministry of Agriculture will take responsibility and service the farmers.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


 Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, my concern is over the introduction of the Electronic-Voucher (e-Voucher) system in about three provinces and part of the Central Province. So, in total, there are almost four provinces. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how he would rate the success of the e-Voucher system, which was piloted by the Ministry of Agriculture in the four provinces. How does he rate the e-Voucher system’s success in percentage terms?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, based on the reports we have gotten from the provinces where the ministry has implemented the e-Voucher system, the programme has been very good because 70 to 89 per cent of the beneficiaries have received the farming inputs. It is in the grey areas where we have found that other farmers had their inputs fraudulently gotten. So, like I said, these issues are handled case by case. Therefore, the programme has efficiently worked very well in regions like the Southern Province, the Western Province and part of Lusaka Province and Central Province. It is only those issues where we find criminal activities and the farmers who did not contribute the K400. So, those are the issues because every person would mushroom to take advantage of the situation, but we need verification and proof that we could be able to service the farmers. However, according to the report I have, the programme has effectively worked in the e-Voucher modality in the four regions or provinces in our country.


 Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker:  I will take the last interventions as follows: Hon. Members for Mwembezhi, Mitete, Mkaika, Chifunabuli, Bangweulu and the last will be the hon. Member for Chisamba.


Mr Jamba (Mwembezhi): Mr Speaker, the agro-dealers in Mwembezhi are saying that the Government is the culprit because it has not paid them for over three years and that –


Mr Speaker: Order!


The hon. Member for Mwembezhi will substitute the word ‘culprit’ for a suitable one.


Mr Jamba: Mr Speaker, the agro-dealers in Mwembezhi are saying the Government has not paid them for over three years and that even when they want to distribute or give inputs to the farmers, they do not have that capacity. They are also saying that instead of helping the agro-dealers, the Government is paying Export Trading Group (ETG), a foreign owned company in good time whilst the local agro-dealers have been waiting for three years. How true is that ETG is being favoured in preference to our local dealers in Mwembezhi?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the Export Trading Group (ETG) is servicing the beneficiaries under the e-Voucher and direct input supply modality. Like I said, I have with me here, a countrywide distribution of the inputs, agro-dealers, payments to the agro-dealers, balances and all for the three consecutive seasons from 2017, 2018 to 2019, including 2020 and we owe them K781,000. So, according to the Department of Finance at the Ministry of Agriculture, there is proof of how payments to several agro-dealers are being made.


Sir, it has taken us three years to dismantle the arrears amounting to K781,000 owed to the agro-dealers. So, the proof is there. There is nothing like we are trying to favour who is who. There have also been accusations that the ministry staff have companies or agro-dealerships and so, they are paying themselves. That is not true because the ministry has a payment sheet for all the agro-dealers who were registered under the ministry. So, unless the hon. Member has the proof, he can come through tomorrow after the adjournment of Parliament so that he can sit with the directorate under finance and prove his allegations for this particular  agro-dealer.


 I thank you, Mr Speaker.


 Mr Mutelo (Mitete): Mr Speaker, this is the second time the hon. Minister is saying that what has happened in the 2019/2020 Farming Season may be perceived as political, when it is not. He also said that the programme is being reviewed. Going forward, and as far as the 2020/2021 Farming season is concerned, I would like to find out how accurate the direct input supply and Electronic-Voucher (e-Voucher) systems are. I ask this because people in the Western Province want the direct input supply model since the e-Voucher system has failed. So, bearing the political connotation in mind, which system is the Government going to use in the 2020/2021 Farming Season?




Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the review process will determine which system will be employed. If the Western Province has to be recommended under the direct input supply model, the process will reveal because there are some technicalities that are factored in. To us who are not experts, we would go with what we deem fit.  However, we will depend on the recommendations by the experts. However, seeing that we have climate issues at play and farmers need to be serviced under the direct input supply model, we will look into it, if there will be a need. This will be done during the reviewing of the programme for the Western Province.


 I thank you, Mr Speaker.      


Mr Phiri (Mkaika) Mr Speaker, my concern is that the beneficiaries of these farming inputs are the same every year. When is the Government going to wean these farmers off so that other farmers may also benefit from these farming inputs?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, we will wean them off in 2021.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli) Mr Speaker, the e-Voucher System is one of the most effective mechanisms for creating jobs by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. Listening to the statement by the hon. Minister of Agriculture, it is very clear that the Government owes the agro dealers for inputs supplied in the past three years, and the implication of this is obvious. To what extent have the delayed payments to agro dealers affected the drive for job creation?


Mr Speaker: I am slow to allow that question because it introduces a totally different dimension, which is unrelated to the statement.


Ms Kasanda (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, Chisamba is one of the food baskets of this country and it has had very good rains in the past. It still has good rains now. In his response, the hon. Minister mentioned that this issue regarding farmers’ inputs is not politically motivated. All the farmers should benefit from the supply of inputs. Does the hon. Minister have any immediate plans to put farmers who are on the e-Voucher model, including the farmers in Chisamba, on the direct input supply model? May he elaborate more on that one?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the FISP review process will look into all these issues and challenges that the hon. Members are raising such as considering putting farmers in Chisamba District under the direct input supply modality. The experts will make all these recommendations  can only be made by the experts. The hon. Member should also attend meetings with the farmers when they are being educated on these issues in the farmer training centres. There are quite a number of them in Chisamba. She can stand firm with the farmers in her area and recommend that the area needs the direct input supply modality and if information from the Meteorological Department on the rain pattern in the area is okay, we will be able to look into that.








162.  Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. whether the Government is aware that the temporary bridge on the Lusaka/Mongu Road at the Kafue River is worn out and is on the verge of collapse, thereby posing a great danger to the travelling public;
  2. if so, what urgent measures are being taken to avert loss of life; and
  3. when the reconstruction of the Kafue Hook Bridge will be completed.


The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, contrary to the assertion that the temporary bridge on the Lusaka/Mongu Road at Kafue River is worn out and is on the verge of collapse, the said temporary bridge is not worn out, and, therefore, not on the verge of collapsing. Consequently, the bridge does not pose any danger to the travelling public.


Sir, the contractor engaged to construct the Kafue Hook Bridge has been undertaking maintenance works to keep the temporary bridge safe. The rehabilitation of the Kafue Hook Bridge is scheduled to be completed on 26th June, 2020 if we keep receiving funding from the Ministry of Finance.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the bridge we are talking about is a temporary bridge. I do not even know the word to use because for me, the word “temporary” is not the right word. That bridge was constructed to allow the contractor who was engaged to renovate the Kafue Hook Bridge to do the work. So, the steel bridge was built. When was the last day that the engineers from the Road Development Agency (RDA) visited the site and proved that the bridge is still viable? For how long will it be viable?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the RDA has consultants engaged to look after the affairs of both the temporary bridge and the Kafue Hook Bridge under construction on its behalf. The consultants check the strength and integrity of the temporary bridge and they have a routine check for the temporary bridge. The consultants are advising the contractor to work on the temporary bridge each time they come across some defects or signs that show that the bridge is developing some defects.


Mr Speaker, I know this because I personally went to check the bridge. I was given a schedule that the consultant has of checking the bridge. It is true that at some point, the nuts were loosening because of the traffic. However, RDA has made it a must to tighten the nuts after every two or three days. The temporary bridge is strong enough to withstand the traffic pressure as we are waiting for the Kafue Hook Bridge to be completed. The consultant and the contractor are always dealing with issues imaging from the temporary bridge.


Mr Speaker, I cannot tell when last the people from RDA went there. However, we have a consultant who is looking after the interest of the RDA and is being paid by it to take care of the interest of the Government.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Chikote (Luampa): Mr Speaker, ...


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, my point of order is compelling. Last week, parts of the Eastern Province were disconnected because there was a bridge that was swept away on the Great East Road between Chipata and Lundazi and Kacholola. 


Sir, the internet has now become a way of life. The whole of the Southern Province has had no internet connectivity since morning, and banks are not transacting any business in terms of transfers. No information is being shared, and the hon. Minister of Transport and Communication is quiet. Is he in order not to come to this House to update us on whether there is a problem with all the networks, namely Zamtel, MTN and Airtel, in order to avoid any amount of speculation?


Sir, I seek your ruling.


Mr Speaker: My ruling is simple. Submit a question and I will give it to the hon. Minister of Transport and Communication to respond.


Mr Chikote: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Minister could look inside the hearts of the people of the Western Province, he would see that we are not happy about that bridge. That bridge has been there for some time. I have been following the hon. Minister’s responses on certain urgent needs regarding these bridges. The hon. Minister knows very well that our bridge, the Kafue Hook Bridge, lies on a very important road which connects to the Western Province. When we posed a question on this issue, the same Government told us that the contractor had left the site for the Christmas break, and that was in 2018. This is 2020 and to date, the Government is making us use the temporary bridge which was not meant to be permanent. Why is the Government taking so long to rehabilitate that bridge so that the people of the Western Province can be happy and have an equal share of this national cake?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I understand the passion and the anger –




Mr Speaker: Order!


You may continue, hon. Minister.


Mr Mwale: I understand the passion and anger. I used that bridge a few weeks ago when I went to the Western Province. When you pass there, you always get a feeling that it can give up at any time. I got that same feeling, but the truth of the matter is that engineers assessed that bridge and they know it can stand until we get the new bridge.


Sir, it is true that the bridge has been on the cards for a long time, but we have shown commitment to complete it. In December, we paid the contractor K10 million to get back on the site. We agreed with the contractor that he must resume the works so that once he moves forward, we can give them a bit more money and keep doing it until we meet the deadline, which is June. The contractor is not on the site to continue the works even though we paid them K10 million simply because it is rainy season. He requested –


Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!


Mr Mwale: I am talking about what is happening now. The contractor requested that we give him up to the end of the rainy season as he could not work because there is too much water to enable him to carry out his work properly. He made this request like other contractors have done. The contractor has the K10 million that we paid him in December, and I am sure that as soon as the rains are over, he will get back on site. Even before that happens, we want to make another payment. If by next week, the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) has some money from the toll gates, we could make further payments to the contractor so that he accumulates resources and as soon as the rains are over, he can get back on site and work on that bridge. I agree that the project is long overdue, and we want to complete it by June.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Mr Speaker, indeed, this bridge has taken too long to be completed. However, we have evidence that this Government has worked on certain bridges which did not take so long such as the Kalabo Bridge and the Sioma Bridge. We, the people of the Western Province are wondering why this particular bridge has taken long. We just want confirmation from the hon. Minister that it will be completed soon because in his statement, the hon. Minister said that will be done “if funds will continue flowing”. However, has he engaged the hon. Minister of Finance regarding funds to complete this bridge? I know that the Patriotic Front (PF) is good at infrastructure development.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Hon. Opposition Members: Question!


Mr Speaker: There is no question there. There is nothing to respond to, hon. Minister.


Mr Mutelo (Mitete): Mr Speaker, mwendi abalati fela ma Lozi.


Mr Speaker: What was the language you were using?


Mr Mutelo: Sir, the hon. Minister just flew to –




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mitete, you used a word which I did not follow. I do not know what language you were using.


Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister recently went to the Kafue Hook Bridge with the contractor  –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Mitete, what was the first word you used?


Mr Mutelo: The vernacular one? Mwendi abalati fela ma Lozi. It means, maybe, they just hate the Lozi people.


Hon. Government Members: Ah!


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mitete, save us the time. I am sure you know what the official language is. Save us the time. You are causing unnecessary controversy and a waste of time. You know you are supposed to use English. You may continue.


Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister just went there with the contractor, and came to this House and assured us that the contractor would be on site before the adjournment of this House, yet today, he is telling a different story. Why?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I do not understand what the hon. Member means by saying that I am telling a different story. It is true that I went to the Kafue Hook Bridge to see for myself and check whether or not the other bridge is not safe. I wanted to see for myself and also get the story from the engineers on the ground. As soon as we did that, as Government, we released K10 million to the contractor, China Henan International Corporation to make sure it resumes works. After receiving the money, the contractor came back to us, and we have this money. It will be used on the works, except we have to wait until the rains are gone. This is because whatever works will done during the rainy season will not change the situation. Therefore, we cannot force the contractor to go back on site and do the work when it is raining. We are even more committed to giving the contractor more money even before the rainy season ends so that as soon as he gets back on site, he can double his efforts so that we can have the other bridge completed and open to traffic by June. So, I am not changing the story. As Government, we are committed to ensuring that the bridge becomes operational, and this we will do.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, we have engineers working in the Eastern Province in the rainy season as well as around the world who are taking advantage of adverse weather patterns to ensure that the work is done ...


Mr Lubinda: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Lubinda: Thank you, Sir. I rise on a very serious point of order and I would like to apologise to the hon. Member …


Dr Malama: Correct!




Mr Lubinda: Sir, I have only recovered from a minor shock and I seek your ruling. The hon. Member of Parliament for Mitete, said in vernacular that: “mwendi abalati fela ma Lozi”, meaning, probably, they just do not like Lozis in reference to the Government. I, therefore, seek your ruling whether that statement in itself is not an expression of hate speech and an expression of one who would like to foment tribalism in this Parliament. Is he in order to make such statements to remain on the record of Parliament? Sir, I seek your ruling on this very serious matter, particularly at the time when all of us, well meaning Zambians and Members of Parliament, are working very hard at stopping the growth of this tendency of tribalism in our country.


Sir, I seek your ruling.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!




Mr Speaker: Order!


In view of the linguistics involved in the point of order, and for me to reflect and consult on the linguistics that were employed and gather the import, I reserve my ruling.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, let me rephrase my question. Did the contractor indicate, in the original work plan, that he would not be working during this rainy season or did he indicate that he would be at work on this bridge so that it is finished in good time?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, it has been a norm for contractors to suspend works during the rainy season. This is so because contractors do not want to do shoddy works, especially now that it is raining heavily. The Government can force contractors to go back on site now and they can easily do so. However, the Government would not wish to do that because the quality of works would be at risk. Almost all projects all over the country are suspended giving space to the rains and just making sure that when contractors get back on site, proper works are done that will satisfy the Government and give us value for money. So, it is a norm that works are suspended during the rainy season.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, it would appear that Zambia is an exception when it comes to working during the rainy season. In other countries, it rains throughout the year. Why is it that whenever it rains in Zambia, projects are suspended? When such a scenario obtains in other countries, people continue working even when it is raining.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, that is a genuine concern, and perhaps that could be looked at and see what can be done in the construction industry. I remember my predecessor, Hon. Chitotela, had a discussion with the National Council for Construction (NCC) to look at possibilities of allowing contractors to work during the rainy season and still ensure quality works are delivered. So, going forward, that is something we need to look.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that repair works on the Kafue Hook Bridge will come to an end in June, 2020. He has also indicated that there will be no work done during the rainy season. Assuming that the rainy season ends in March or April this year, would the hon. Minister please confirm that the remaining works on the Kafue Hook Bridge can be done in about four to three months?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, because the Government wants to make sure that quality works are done, if there will be little time and on an assumption that the rainy season ends by March or so, then a revision can be done. However, if the rainy season exceeds, it means that the completion date may have to be revised, which would be perfectly normal.


Sir, what is being done now is to keep paying the contractor so that the problem should not be finances, but the schedule of works. I believe by next week the Government should be able to release a bit more money. There is an indication that the National Roads Fund Agency (NRFA) may have some money. The Government will keep committing itself financially and make sure that once the contractor is back on site, efforts will be doubled and complete the project by the required date.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, that temporary bridge is a disaster in waiting and I feel that the people of the Western Province are not being treated fairly by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. What is the lifespan of the temporary bridge on the Lusaka/Mongu Road across the Kafue River? 


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the temporary bridge had a lifespan tied to the time that it should have taken to build the permanent bridge. However, with constant maintenance, checking and reinforcing it each time signs of failure are seen, the lifespan has extended. The reason I personally went to check the bridge was to be assured by both the contractor and the consultant that lives of people were not being put at risk by allowing traffic to flow through the bridge. I have been assured by the people maintaining the temporary bridge that they are attending to it. In fact, some of the money we pay the contractor and consultant is used to ensure that the temporary bridge is perfect and that it does not pose any danger to the travelling public.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr A. C. Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I want to draw the attention of the hon. Minister to part (c) of the question that has to do with the completion of the bridge, as well as the fact that he has also talked about the possibility of the extension of completion if works are not completed by June, 2020. Now, the Government has been trying to cut down unnecessary debt and the hon. Minister will agree with me that infrastructure projects have choked our financial position as a country.


Sir, what would be the anticipated cost of the bridge in the event that the completion period is extended? The hon. Minister knows that in infrastructure contracts in Zambia, there is nothing that is free of charge. I can assure him that the K10 million he referred to must have gone to interest charges and stand alone time on the life of this contract. So, what is the ministry planning to do?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the Government does not anticipate that the extended time is going to attract extra costs. An agreement was made with the contractor over the K10 million which was paid that it should go towards current works. The Government owes the contractor some money. However, we have agreed with the contractor that whatever money is going to be paid now should go towards current works because the Government is under pressure to complete that project. The Government wants to make sure that the bridge opens up to traffic. So, there is a standing agreement with the contractor. Therefore, the delay will not attract any extra charges and everything will still fall within the K147 million, which is the charge that should be paid for all works.


I thank you, Sir.


Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just indicated that K147 million is the total cost of repair works on this bridge. How much has been paid so far and what is the outstanding amount?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I could come back with a response to that question. I actually did not, for some reason, get information on how much we have paid. However, I know that from the time I went there, the outstanding payment was about K66 million that we owed the contractor out of the K147 million and that was for the works that had been done. I could still verify and pass on this information, with your indulgence, Sir.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last three interventions from the hon. Members for Kafue, Mumbwa and Nkeyema.


Mrs Chinyama (Kafue): Mr Speaker, I also want to empathise with the people of the Western Province because I have heard them talk about this bridge for a long time. The hon. Minister said that every two to three days, the engineer has to go to fasten the bolts and nuts. Does he not think that this is a disaster in waiting considering that the lifespan of this bridge has already expired, from what he told the House?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, those are precautionary measures just to make sure we do not create room for any problems to emerge. So, we are not tightening bolts and nuts because there is a problem. We are doing it just to make sure that a problem does not start and that they are in the position they should always be. That is the case.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, arising from the question by the hon. Member for Nalikwanda, I want to find out the following: Of the outstanding payments for the works that have been done so far, is the ministry able to liquidate all the debts before the contractor moves on site next time?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, we may not liquidate the debt, but we have an agreement with the contractors that whatever we pay them goes to current works. They could finish the entire project and we remain owing them some money. So, whatever we pay, they invest in current works and not take it to the debt. That is the agreement we have with them.


I thank you, Mr Speaker. 


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, I do not know whether the hon. Minister is in a position to share with us the original intentions of how long the project was supposed to have taken, especially as regards to the temporary bridge he is talking about.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the bridge should have been completed in 2017. The rehabilitation commenced on 19th October, 2015 with the completion date of February, 2017. So, this is when the project should have been done. We have gone over by two to three years.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




163. Ms Mulyata (Rufunsa) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. whether the Government is aware that Mwateshi Bridge on Mwateshi River in Chief Shikabeta’s area in Rufunsa Parliamentary Constituency has been submerged due to heavy rains, thereby making it difficult for people from either side to cross the river; and
  2. if so, what urgent measures are being taken to address the problem.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the Government is aware of the situation at Mwateshi Bridge on the Mwateshi River in Rufunsa Constituency as a result of the washing away of the embankments on the approaches to the bridge. However, I wish to state that the bridge itself has not been submerged.


Sir, the Government has engaged Messrs Welton Construction to construct a temporary crossing point across the Mwateshi River as an interim intervention to enable people from either side to cross the river. As a permanent solution, the Road Development Agency (RDA) intends to undertake permanent repair works on the embankments as soon as all the preparatory works and funding have been addressed.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Mulyata: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that in the same area, we have got two other bridges that need maintenance as soon as possible because the same calamity will befall the people there?


Mr Speaker: Are you able to mention those bridges, hon. Member for Rufunsa?


Mrs Mulyata: Mr Speaker, there is one called the Zebra Bridge and the other one which is near Shikabeta area.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, since this question is related to Mwateshi Bridge, I would, with your indulgence, urge the hon. Member of Parliament to get more details on the other bridges so that as we attend to this, we could include those as well. I specifically came with the response on this particular bridge which was asked about. However, we are concerned with the other ones and we could attend to them.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Very well.


Mrs Chinyama: Mr Speaker, this being a new year, I just wanted to hear from the hon. Minister whether the ministry has come up with a programme for installing bridges in various places where this particular bridge could benefit from. I am saying so because in the previous meeting, we were told about Acrow bridges that were meant for other places.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, this year, we have had too much rain and so many bridges have been washed away. We have instructed RDA to go around the country, working with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) and other line ministries such as the Ministry of Works and Supply to make sure that we check which bridges need to be worked on and come up with a schedule. After that, we should be appealing to the hon. Minister of Finance to help us find funding for those works.


Sir, with regard to the Acrow bridges, we are looking for money to begin to install them. Bit by bit, we will be able to install them as the money comes in. Currently, we have 131 Acrow bridges in the country that should be installed once the money is available.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




164. Mr Phiri (Mkaika) asked the Minister of Agriculture:


  1. why farming inputs involving more than 2,000 farmers under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for the 2019/2020 planting season in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency have not been delivered to-date;
  2. what the cause of the delay is; and
  3. what urgent measures the Government is taking to distribute the inputs before the end of the rainy season.


The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Katambo): Mr Speaker, all inputs that were contracted for Katete District in the Eastern Province for all the 26,869 beneficiary farmers have been delivered as per contract as follows:


Name of Farming Input                   Metric Tonnes


D Compound fertiliser                     4,569.55


Urea fertiliser                                   4,030.35


Maize seed                                          286.69


Sir, therefore, all the inputs allocated to Katete District have been delivered to the district.  However, some farmers have not received fertiliser in Katete District due to the misallocation of different input packs by the office of the District Agricultural Co-ordinating Officer (DACO). Immediately this report was received, the district office was tasked to provide the exact quantity of fertiliser that was needed and 250 metric tonnes of fertiliser was delivered as requested.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Phiri: Mr Speaker, since the hon. Minister said that it is the District Agricultural Co-ordinating Officer’s (DACO) office which messed up things, what is he going to do then given that the farmers have already paid their K400 contribution to the Government and they need fertiliser for their farms?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the ministry sent internal auditors to find the final numbers and provide information on the required qualities of fertilisers. I indicated in my response that 250 metric tonnes was required and was dispatched to Katete. This translated to 51,000 extra bags taken to Katete District.


Sir, on the misallocations by the DACO, I have been engaging the hon. Member on this matter. The ministry sent the national co-ordinator for the programme and our internal auditors to verify the 2,000 farmers who have been affected because of misallocation. Once the verification exercise is done, we will be able to attend to these farmers. Let me indicate that once the verification is done, if the Katete District DACO is found wanting, we are going to charge him.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, there is an insurance component with respect to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). In instances where farmers are in a situation such as the one obtaining with respect to the question on the Floor, what happens to that insurance component?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the insurance component is only when the satellite data gives the report or the information on the extent of the fields that have been affected. The insurance component is not utilised on farmers who have contributed the K400 but have not received inputs, like is the case in Mkaika. It is only going to be applied on the extent of damage according to the satellite data for those beneficiaries who have been affected. That is where the K100 component goes to. It goes to sorting out the weather index insurance.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, the agriculture sector is very important as it supports the livelihood of 56 per cent of our people. The mismanagement of this sector is worrying. I know that the ministry has sent internal auditors. Is the ministry intending to appoint forensic auditors to critically analyse the operations at the DACO’s office so that the mismanagement is dealt with?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, I agree with Hon. Dr Malama, Member for Parliament for Kanchibiya Constituency, that forensic audits should be done. We are currently undertaking an audit in Katete and the hon. Member can rest assured that the appropriate action will be taken after the completion of this audit.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Phiri: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister able to give the time frame as to when his ministry will send the auditors? Farmers are waiting, and the rainy season is coming to an end. The farmers are expectant and they are waiting for fertiliser from the Government. Could he give a time frame so that farmers can calm down?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, this is an independent audit which needs right information. Once the right information reaches the ministry, we will attend to those farmers. Like I indicated, 250 metric tonnes were sent as an extra package to Katete District. We will attend to the famers once the independent audit report is availed to the ministry. The national coordinator just came back yesterday.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr W. Banda (Milanzi): Mr Speaker, my worry is on the yields for the farmers in Katete. I know that the yields will be affected because of the late supply of fertiliser. What measures have been put in place to ensure that farmers are helped in terms of food security in the next season?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, I do agree that the yields will be affected because the farmers have been inconvenienced because of this misallocation. We are looking into this issue and we will issue this inputs. Of course, these inputs will more or less be a carryover because farming is about time, and you will agree with me that we are almost in the middle of farming season. We will issue the inputs to farmers once the verification is done and the independent audit report is done. I apologise to the affected farmers. However, action will be taken.


I thank you, Sir.




165. Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central) asked the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock:


  1. what the total number of districts affected by the Foot and Mouth Disease is;
  2. what urgent measures the Government is taking to contain the disease;
  3. whether the Government is aware that the ban on the movement of livestock from the affected regions has impoverished livestock farmers in affected areas; and
  4. if so, when the ban will be lifted.


The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, the country experienced an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in October 2017 in Mbala District of the Northern Province. Since then, thirty-one districts in eight provinces have been affected. These are: the Northern, Central, the Southern, Lusaka, Copperbelt, the Eastern, the North-Western and the Western Provinces. Currently, active cases are being reported only in ten districts. These are:


  1. Choma and Chikankata Districts in the Southern Province;
  2. Chibombo, Kabwe, Kapiri Mposhi and Ngabwe Districts in the Central Province;
  3. Chongwe and Lusaka Districts in Lusaka Province;
  4. Kasempa District in the North-Western Province; and
  5. Nalolo District in the Western Province.


Mr Speaker, the urgent measures the Government has put in place to contain the disease are:


  1. livestock movement restrictions from the infected areas;
  2. mass vaccination. Since the outbreak of the disease, the Government has procured 1,400,000 doses to vaccinate cattle against foot and mouth disease in the affected areas. A total of 700,000 cattle have been vaccinated twice in the affected areas;
  3. sensitisation and awareness of farmers and the general public; and
  4. surveillance to determine the extent of spread of disease.


Sir, the Government is aware of the effects of the foot and mouth disease outbreak and control measures have been put in place on livestock farmers. These control measures are necessary as they limit the further spread and impact of the disease on the livestock industry. Further, to mitigate the impact of the disease and the control measures on the affected districts, the Government has allowed the local slaughter and movement of animals from non-affected areas within the districts.


Mr Speaker, the Government has also planned to have three rounds of vaccinations after which the FMD disease situation and control measures will be reviewed.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, with your greatest indulgence, since I have an opportunity to ask two questions, can I ask them seriatim?


Mr Speaker: I will allow you one at a time.


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, I am much obliged.


Mr Speaker: It may even operate for your benefit.




Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just indicated to this House that it the position of the Government that livestock be allowed to move within the districts. Is she aware that on 16th February, the provincial veterinary officer issued a circular to all districts indicating that people can move livestock to Siavonga where there is an abattoir and feed lot, and that people are required to be escorted by veterinary officers and these officers should be paid K700 daily subsistence allowance (DSA) and K100 for transport? This means that if a person is taking any animal worth K2,000, K800 will be used to pay for this service. This is disadvantaging the farmers. Is the hon. Minister aware of this arrangement? Is the Government going to allow this to continue?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I was in the Southern Province myself, and this information was given to me. I even did an interview on radio to say that this was an illegality and that it should not continue. Therefore, if there is a circular like that, it is indiscipline of the highest order and my office will deal with it.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Nanjuwa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated a huge sum of money that the Government spent on vaccines against foot and mouth disease. I want to find out if the Government has any plans to allow these vaccines to be accessed by individual farmers so that individual farmers can vaccinate their animals other than waiting for the Government to come in?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, that suggestion has been brought to our attention. We have had some discussion with some providers of livestock products. Let me take advantage of this question to highlight particular things. I have said this to certain people, but I will repeat for the benefit of the nation. When something happens to animals, they die and we eat them. We do not understand that animals require to be protected just like human life is protected. The difference is that when a human being dies, there is a funeral and people converge to cry. When an animal dies, we eat it.




Prof. Lou: We do not understand that even animals have funerals and they also cry. They do not want to be sick and die. The difference is that we human beings talk, while animals do not. I love being the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock because I am dealing with those who do not talk. Therefore, the Ministry of Health is actually a sister ministry to the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. One of the things that we are doing is to protect animals. The Dangerous Drugs Act actually talks about the fact that a person cannot give any medicines to animals things except those prescribed by a veterinary surgeon. So, the same way we protect vaccines for human beings is the same way we protect the vaccines for animals. Currently, my ministry is developing an Animal Health Policy. I am sure all of us remember that when there was a cholera outbreak, we restricted our behaviour. Since there is foot and mouth disease, we are also restricting the movement of animals so that we protect the health of these animals. Further, we intend to use the products of this ministry to create wealth for our people. The only way we shall create wealth is if we protect the animals.


Sir, the programme for vaccination of animals will be equivalent to the programme of vaccination for human beings. The animals will be protected and we will make sure that whatever vaccine is given out to them is checked so that we do not give out substandard vaccines. The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock will be on top of things and look after the vaccination programme. I know that people want their animals vaccinated. I will be discussing with all the farmers, especially the big farmers, to create a health fund for animals.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, I like the illustration given by the hon. Minister that human beings talk while animals do not. Her ministry is very different from the Ministry of Health. When a human being is sick, he/she goes to a health centre or hospital, but when an animal is sick, the veterinary officer moves from the office to where the animal is. What is the hon. Minister doing to ensure that veterinary camps are funded? Right now, animals are restricted in terms of movement and veterinary officers are unable to follow the animals where they are to check whether the foot and mouth disease is reducing or increasing.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I am sure I was very clear that we are developing an Animal Health Policy, which will take into consideration all the issues that affect animals. This morning, I was saying that the Ministry of Health has clinics, while my ministry does not have many clinics. These are some of the issues that we are addressing. I know that the hon. Member knows the animal business better than I do since he has been in it for a long time. He knows that animals are a source of money. Since I have been at Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, I have been telling my children that when you eat an egg, you eat several chickens. So, please, keep these eggs so that we can have chickens. This is the way we should be looking at the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, given that these drugs are controlled, as the hon. Minister explained, has she prioritised the districts that are currently impacted by foot and mouth disease including Kasempa, regarding the vaccination programme?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, we have all just come back from recess. I am sure that the hon. Member of Parliament saw many activities in Kasempa because that is where our officers are vaccinating animals right now. There are about ten districts where foot and mouth disease is active, and Kasempa is one of them. We are there to make sure that it does not spread. Vaccines have to be given within a particular period so maybe the officers have finished giving the animals the first dose. They will be going back to give the second dose and in six months, they will give them the third dose.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister in a position to share with me today whether the ban can be relaxed in districts like Monze, where my constituency sits, so that people can transact animals within the district or the province? Is it possible for the hon. Minister to do that?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I did say that we still have areas where foot and mouth disease is still active and they are ten. So, for the hon. Member of Parliament for Bweengwa’s information, I am not in a position to lift the ban using the authority vested in me by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu for transaction of animals within Monze, until such a time I am satisfied with the eradicating of the foot and mouth disease or it being brought to a minimum.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is aware, and I am aware that there are actually seven serotypes of foot and mouth disease across the world. Therefore, of the 1.4 million vaccines that the ministry imported to vaccinate these animals, is there a universal vaccine for all the seven serotypes of the foot and mouth disease?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, foot and mouth disease has been with us for several years now and we have two serotypes. There is stereotype one and two. If you recall, when I lifted the ban for the Eastern Province, it was because we had eradicated, through vaccinations, serotype one and two that was found in the province.


Sir, the serotype we are dealing with and the 1.4 million doses I am talking about are for serotype O, and this is the first time Zambia is being affected by serotype O. It came through Mbala, where people have a type of market trade called Munaga. When they do not sale, then the people carry those animals and then it comes to Chisamba. One of the farmers went there and found a farmer selling animals at K1,000 and he bought and took them to Choma and Mbabala. So, it started spreading.


Mr Speaker, at the moment, the serotype of the disease in Nalolo has not yet been identified. We are able to show that it is not serotype one, two or O. My staff will continue analysing, and I will make an announcement if it is a different serotype.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister able to tell the House how many animals have died from foot and mouth disease from 2017 to 2019?


Mr Speaker: Is that information readily available, hon. Minister?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I do not have information on how many animals have died, but what I would like to share is that foot and mouth disease is not lethal as compared to other types of infections like anthrax or Contagious Bovine Pleural Pneumonia (CBPP). The recoded number of deaths, if any, would be very few. I can come back to this House with the number, if any.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, how is foot and mouth disease affecting Zambia’s export of meat products, particularly to the European market?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, like I said, if, for example, your animals have foot and mouth disease, you can actually slaughter these animals, and that is what we are encouraging. We have not looked at the impact that it is having, but speaking from the information from the Zambia Beef Company (Zambeef), which is one of the leading exporters of beef in this country, the company is quiet happy and it has not been affected. We can go and do a quick surveillance and see if there is any effect and what the percentage is. When I spoke to Zambeef, it said that the disease has not affected its business.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last four interventions from hon. Members for Mongu Central, Choma Central, Kafue and Namwala.


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, food and month disease affects sheep, goats, pigs and cattle. In this particular case, the outbreak was in cattle. Is it possible to allow stock movement for sheep and goats when the infection is only in cattle to reduce on the challenges farmers are facing?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, this is something that we will need to review. Otherwise, I will not give a positive or negative comment at the moment.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that there are eighteen districts where the foot and mouth disease is still prevalent. I would like to find out how the Government intends to address or arrest this situation. This is because on the ground, the Government is not undertaking any vaccinations, specifically in Choma, so that animals which are not sick are prevented from getting the infection. What is happening is treatment of the animals, and normally when the farmers engage the veterinarian officers, they either do not have transport to come or there is no medicine. In this situation, how does the Government hope to arrest the spread of the foot and mouth disease, which is undermining the economy of Choma or the Southern Province and the Western Province?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, information is power. I would like to share with the hon. Member that the vaccines come from Botswana. The system that has been set up is that as the vaccines arrive at the Kazungula Border, they are being distributed to every district. The vaccinations have been taking place countrywide. I do not know which Choma the hon. Member is referring to, but if it is the Choma that I know, vaccinations have been taking place and I can show him the data.


Mr Speaker, secondly, the Western Province has had a different problem of CBPP. The interventions are very different and the province also had anthrax. So, the interventions are also different. It is only recently, in the last few weeks, that a report was done for Nalolo. We are investigating and it has shown that it is not serotype one, two or O. So, when we want to talk, we should confine ourselves to the issue at hand and not bring in other provinces, so that it looks different that we are not talking about one province.


Mr Speaker, we have data to show how the vaccinations have been taking place. As at now, like I said to the hon. Member for Kasempa, we have activities of vaccinations taking place in Choma and Chikankata Districts in the Southern Province. They are also taking place in Chibombo, Kabwe, Kapiri Mposhi and Ngabwe Districts in the Central Province. We have vaccinations taking place in Chongwe and Lusaka in the Lusaka Province, as well as in Kasempa in the North-Western Province. As soon as we are sure of the stereotype of the disease in Nalolo, in addition to vaccinating for stereotype O, we will make sure that we vaccinate for whatever stereotype we will find. For prevention, we are already carrying out vaccinations in Nalolo.


Mr Speaker, like I said, we are working on an animal health policy because we want to start preventing these diseases –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Prof Luo: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I had just concluded responding to a follow up question.


Mrs Chinyama: Mr Speaker, I know that my cousins from the Western Province could have been spared from foot and mouth disease this time around. However, since time immemorial, they have been consuming animals suffering from this disease. Is there any effect of this disease on human beings, although they have gotten away with it in the past?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I think the hon. Member of Parliament did not hear me well. I said what has been the problem in the Western Province is CBPP. The other one has been anthrax and not the foot and mouth disease. I did say that this is the first case that has been reported and we are trying to find out what the serotype is. As a bonus answer, I think we have not had any cases of any effect on human life for those who have eaten carcasses with foot and mouth disease. However, it is an important question for research, and my research team will obviously be following up some of these things.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that there were 1.4 million doses of vaccines for this disease. Namwala, which is one of the richest districts in terms of livestock, has never received any vaccines. Where are these doses?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I did mention the thirty-one districts that have been affected by foot and mouth disease. In the Southern Province, the districts affected by foot and mouth disease are Monze, Mazabuka, Pemba, Gwembe, Namwala, Choma, Chikankata and Sinazongwe, and vaccinations have been taking place in these districts. If the hon. Member of Parliament has an interest, we will make available to her which places have been vaccinated in Namwala. However, this question reminds me of why it is important for hon. Members of Parliament to visit their constituencies. Therefore, if you have not been in one part of the constituency, those people in that part of theconstituency would be saying the hon. Member of Parliament is not seen.


I thank you, Sir.




166.  Mr Siwanzi (Nakonde) asked the Minister of General Education:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to rename Nakonde Secondary School in Nakonde District as Donald Siwale Secondary School;
  2. if so, when the plans will be implemented; and
  3. whether the Government has any plans to upgrade the school to a technical school.


The Minister of General Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, the Government plans to rename the secondary school as Donald Siwale Secondary School subject to the community making the request.


Sir, the plans in terms of discussion are currently in progress. The Government has no immediate plans to upgrade the school to a technical school.


I thank you, Sir


Mr Siwanzi: Mr Speaker, the proposal by the residents of Nakonde to rename this particular school as Donald Siwale Secondary School is because Donald Siwale happens to be a son of the soil who has done so much being the first African who translated the Bible from English to a local language. Currently, there is a basic school in Mwenzo area called Donald Siwale, although people feel this particular name does not befit a basic school. They probably feel the new secondary school should be named Donald Siwale Secondary school instead. Is the ministry going to accept the idea that this other school probably remains a primary school, so that we shift this big name to this new school which is being built?


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, like I have said, largely, the naming of schools in many instances is driven by the community. Just like the hon. Member has said, Donald Siwale made a huge contribution to our society. This is why as the Ministry of General Education, we do not have any disagreement. However, like I said, the request has to come from the community in writing to the Ministry of General Education for it to consider renaming that school. Even in my engagement with the people of Nakonde on this particular subject matter, I assured them that we do not have a challenge of renaming the new secondary school after Donald Siwale.


I thank you, Sir.










The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, I beg to present a Bill entitled the National Forensic Bill, 2020.The objects of this Bill are to provide for:


  1. regulate the practice of forensic science and forensic pathology and provide for the licensing of forensic service providers;
  2. establish a National Forensic Authority and provide for its functions;
  3. establish the board of the authority and provide for its functions;
  4. establish the Office of the State Forensic Pathologist;
  5. establish the National Forensic Science and Biometrics Department; and
  6. provide for maters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: The Bill stands referred to the Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs. The Committee is required to submit its report on the Bill to the House by Tuesday, 10th March, 2020. Hon. Members who wish to make submissions on the Bill are free to do so within the programme of work of the Committee.








Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Youth, Sport and Child Matters on the petition by the New Generation Time to Stiffen Laws on Child Abuse and Defilement for the Fourth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on Friday, 7th February, 2020.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Mrs Kabanshi (Luapula): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order No. 157(2), the Committee is mandated to consider any matter referred to it by the Speaker or an order of the House. The background to this inquiry is that the New Generation Time (NGT) petitioned the National Assembly expressing concern over the rising cases of child abuse and defilement in Zambia.


Mr Speaker, in considering the petition, the Committee invited various stakeholders to present both oral and written submissions. I am confident that hon. Members have had an opportunity to peruse the report, and I will, therefore, endeavour to highlight only a few pertinent issues raised by the stakeholders.


Sir, with your indulgence, let me briefly highlight some of the salient issues raised by the petitioner. According to the petitioner, a research that was conducted indicated that the criminal justice system in Zambia was letting perpetrators of child abuse and defilement get away with lighter sentences because magistrates and judges were reluctant …




Mr Speaker: Order!


Give me a minute, hon. Member. Conversations are rather loud.


You may continue, hon. Member.



Mr Miyutu: … were reluctant to pass deterrent sentences. This was a matter of concern to the petitioner. The petitioner also stated that the age of sexual consent was sixteen years, meaning that children under the age of sixteen years cannot consent to sex. In this vein, the petitioner argued that the judicial system was required to treat these acts as rape and defilement, which should carry severe sentences rather than reducing them to mere assault. The petitioner believed that the number of defilement cases kept increasing because the punishment is not severe. Further, the petitioner stated that in some cases, parents had resorted to making their defiled children marry the offenders as the law was not effective even to punish parents who made such decisions. In this regard, the petitioner proposed that the following measures be introduced:


  1. no bail for defilers;
  2. no bond for defilers;
  3. castration of defilers; and
  4. fast track courts to prosecute defilers.


Mr Speaker, the Committee agreed that defilement is a serious crime, which should attract punishment commensurate with the seriousness of the offence. However, the Committee does not support the measures proposed by the petitioner, except the proposal to establish fast track courts to deal with the cases of defilement.


Sir, allow me to briefly comment on the petitioner’s proposal to deny bail and bond to suspects in cases of defilement. From the outset, let me state that most of the stakeholders who appeared before the Committee did not approve of this proposal as they were of the view that bond and bail were premised on the constitutional right of presumption of innocence regardless of the charge that an accused was facing. Similarly, international and regional human rights standards were all premised on the presumption of innocence. The Committee also agrees with the view that even the non-bailable offences such as murder should be made bailable as is the practice in other jurisdictions such as South Africa as exemplified in the case of the State Versus Oscar Pistorius. However, the police and the courts should reserve limited powers to deny bail or bond to persons deemed to be a flight risk, persons likely to interfere with witnesses or persons likely to fail to attend court. In view of the foregoing, the Committee recommends that bail and bond be administered by the police and the courts and be administered in accordance with applicable laws.


Mr Speaker, the Committee does not support the use of castration as a punishment for defilers. This is because it will be a violation of international human rights standards, as it constitutes torture and other inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment, which is prohibited in absolute terms even in line with Article 15 of the Constitution of Zambia. The Committee is of the view that castration is an extreme and emotional response, which if allowed, would encourage a culture of violence such as instant justice mobs against suspects in communities.


Sir, in this vein, members of the public should be sensitised that the nation is moving towards reformation of offenders as opposed to punishment or retribution as evidenced by the change in name from the Zambia Prisons Service to the Zambia Correctional Service. Additionally, the Committee recommends that the Government embarks on a vigorous campaign on defilement and child abuse.


Mr Speaker, the Committee notes that all stakeholders agreed with the petitioner’s proposal to establish fast track courts to deal with cases involving sexual offences, including rape and defilement. The speedy disposal of cases involving sexually abused children would help affected children begin the healing process quickly. The Committee is also cognisant of the fact that an accused person is equally entitled to a trial within reasonable time in line with Article 18(1) of the Constitution. Further, the establishment of fast track courts would help actualise this right. In this vein, the Committee recommends that the Government should, as a matter of urgency, establish fast track courts countrywide to expedite the delivery of justice in sexual offences including defilement.


Mr Speaker, the stakeholders also bemoaned the absence of a specific piece of legislation to deal with sexual offences as is the case in Kenya and Nigeria. They were of the view that such a piece of legislation would help focus attention on such cases and facilitate the assignment of dedicated magistrates and judges to deal with sexual offences. Such legislation would further provide for the criminal justice procedure in the fast track court. In this vein, the Committee recommends that as a matter of urgency, an appropriate piece of legislation be put in place to address sexual offences.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, allow me to comment on the assertion by the petitioner that the judicial system in Zambia is letting perpetrators get away with lighter sentences. Stakeholders highlighted that both sentencing courts and appellate courts in Zambia have not only imposed and confirmed stiff sentences against child sex offenders and rapists as prescribed by law, but have also, in some instances, increased the sentences where there were aggravating circumstances. To augment their argument, the stakeholders cited the case of Semmy Lasco Kavinga Versus the People, Appeal No. 51 of 2018. In this case, the appellant, an apostle leading a church, was charged with four counts of offences and was sentenced to 125 years imprisonment with hard labour. He was convicted of raping a woman and attempting to rape and indecently assault her three daughters all in the name of prayer to remove charms that had allegedly been embedded in their bodies.


Mr Speaker, going by the gravity of the offence, the High Court imposed sentences of twenty-five years, three years, and twenty years each for all the four counts respectively. However, on appeal, the court looked at the circumstances involved and enhanced the sentences to forty-five, forty, twenty, and twenty years each, respectively to run consecutively, making a total of 125 years imprisonment with hard labour. This decision was made in November 2019.


Sir, accordingly, the Committee is of the view that the recent decision of the superior courts demonstrates clearly that magistrates and judges are not reluctant to impose deterrent sentences whenever circumstances demand so. Therefore, the Committee is of the view that judges and magistrates do not let perpetrators get away with lighter sentences.


Mr Speaker, finally, the Committee wishes to reiterate its serious concerns over the unacceptably high and rising cases of defilement and child abuse in the country and call upon the Government to implement the corrective and mitigatory measures recommended in this report. The Committee also wishes to place on record, its gratitude to you and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the guidance rendered to it during its deliberations. The Committee further applauds the NGT, the petitioner, for highlighting this issue to the National Assembly and the nation at large, through this petition. We also wish to thank all the stakeholders who tendered both written and oral submissions before the Committee. We remain confident that the recommendations made by the Committee will be attended to expeditiously, so as to curb child abuse and defilement cases in Zambia and ameliorate the handling of such cases.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


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


Ms Kabanshi: Now, Mr Speaker.


Sir, I thank you for according me this opportunity to second the Motion, which was ably moved by the chairperson of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Child Matters, Hon. Chinga Miyutu, to adopt the Report on the Petition by the New Generation Time (NGT) on the Need to Stiffen the Laws on Child Abuse and Defilement. Let me also thank the chairperson for the able manner in which he presided over your Committee’s deliberations.


Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion, let me begin by echoing the sentiments made by the chairperson regarding the proposal to castrate sexual offenders. While acknowledging that sexual offenders should be punished, the Committee is of the view that castrating the offenders is an extreme and emotional way of addressing this problem. The Committee is also aware that there are some states in the United States of America (USA) such as Alabama, California, Florida and so on, that have permitted this form of castration, but it is done under very strict conditions. The procedures allowed in these states are done voluntarily in most cases and are optional in order to speed up the parole process.


Sir, the Committee is aware that there are two types of castration done to offenders. The first type is the medical castration and the other one is the physical and brutal type of castration. The first one is the one that stops the person from reproducing and the second one, which is physical, is where you have the genitalia of a person removed. If we allowed castration of human beings in Zambia, the most likely type to be undertaken is the brutal one. We have all heard the song Vitendeni, which means cut them off.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, if we encourage this type of castration, we are going to encourage violence among the people in the communities. This is because people may resort to taking the law into their own hands by applying instant mob justice on suspicion of alleged sexual offenders having committed crimes causing them to be castrated.


Sir, in this regard, the Committee recommends that citizens should not be encouraged to take the law into their own hands, but that they should be sensitised that the nation is moving away from punishment and retribution and moving towards reformation of the offenders, as exemplified by the change in the name of the institution responsible from the Zambia Prisons Service to the Zambia Correctional Services.


Mr Speaker, the Committee is of the view that there is a need to enact dedicated legislation that deals with sexual offences. This piece of legislation, if enacted will, among other things, provide the use of video links during trials. This will also separate the victims from the assailants and help to improve the quality of evidence brought to the courts of law. It will also help to protect children that are always traumatised after experiencing sexual abuse.


Sir, the Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government expedites the digitalising of the Judiciary so as to, among other things, provide the use of video links when suspects are required to appear before the courts.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let me take this opportunity to thank you for the guidance you rendered to the Committee during its deliberations. The Committee also pays tribute to the petitioner and other stakeholders who appeared before it and tendered both oral and written submissions. Last, but not the least, my gratitude goes to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the invaluable support and services rendered to the Committee during its deliberations.


Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I beg to second the Motion and thank you.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the chairperson of the Committee and the seconder for a very elaborate and succinct report. I would like to begin by stating that I do support the report of the Committee and also add the adages that ‘you reap what you sow’ and also that as ‘a man lives, so shall he die’. If you live by the sword, you must be sure that you may just die by the sword.


Sir, with that said, I start by agreeing with the Committee that, generically, man is deemed innocent until proven guilty. The Committee disagreed with the petitioners whose desire was that no bail should be granted to the accused and that castration should be the punishment. I listened very carefully to the chairperson of the Committee and the report did not say this proposal was for the convicted, but for the accused.


Mr Speaker, the Committee only agreed to the issue of the establishment of a fast track court, which calls for the turning of the wheels of justice timely and also fairly. This is the ingredient which is lacking in our country. It is a calling on the Judiciary that when heinous crimes such as depriving a young girl of her much treasured virginity comes to light, the accused must be brought to book expediently. The courts must do everything possible in trial because criminal law dictates that there should be absolute evidence of committal of a crime. That is why I started by saying that ‘as a man lives, so shall he die’ and ‘you reap what you sow’.


Sir, the fast track court is one element that is missing in our country, especially for cases such as child defilement and rape. These are acts that take away the dignity and stigmatise the victims, probably for the rest of their lives. There is stigma that comes around people who have suffered rape, sometimes at the hands of relatives or people who have a little bit of money because the country is suffering from a situation called poverty. In the midst of poverty, it is highly likely that we shall continue to witness all these things. Why? It is because girl children would like to go to school and they may have grey matter, but their parents cannot avoid taking them to school. What do they resort to do? At a very tender age, they decide to break their hymen in exchange for money.


Mr Speaker, at every stage of the way when girl children give in or submit to the perpetrators, they are the losers because the perpetrator moves on to the next victim. According to the report, it is at this stage that the parents would want the perpetrator to negotiate a marriage settlement with a child because she is underage, underneath the radar of the law. Cases like that have been heard of where parents of children have been found in a compromised state with the perpetrators that since they have already done what they have done, they might as well go into wedlock with the victim.


Sir, as a result of poverty, we have also witnessed situations where people consummate relationships with consenting overtures, for lack of a better term. When things go bad in such relationships, they will go to the police and claim to have been raped. Now, we in this House are the law makers and the buck stops with us. We have to lead by example. What do I mean? We have to support the victims of such vices and never be in the forefront, for instance, to pardon people who have victimised others.


Mr Speaker, the chairperson of the Committee gave an example of a case record in court. I will also give an example of a case record of a Mr Clifford Dimba, popularly known as General Kenene versus the people of this country. Having been convicted of raping a very young girl and was serving a jail term, he got a Presidential pardon. Now, does that not amount to self contradiction that this House should be preaching that as a man lives, so shall he die? If you live by your sword, the same sword should take you out. The undisputable fact is that he is a choir master for the Patriotic Front (PF). Due to singing campaign songs for the PF, he earned himself a Presidential pardon.


Hon Government Members: Question!


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: What about the family of the victim who was raped? Somebody tell me. What impression does that family have of the person who is in charge of the prerogative of mercy who pardons a person who defiled a child? Side by side to that –


Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. The rules of this House are very well known and they clearly state that only people who have an opportunity to defend themselves can be debated. I am so constrained to delve into the details of an individual who has been named on the Floor. Being the person responsible for the Zambia Correctional Service, where offenders are kept, I know the procedures that are followed when pardoning people, but I would not wish to get into that.


Sir, is the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central in order to cite an individual in the manner he has done, without bearing in mind what this individual could be subjected to by society which may not know what transpired and how the case he has talked about was concluded?


Sir, I seek your serious ruling on this matter.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Mazabuka Central referred to or acknowledged some cases that were reported in the report under discussion. In addition, as part of his debate, he went on to highlight another case that touches on the subject under discussion to augment his debate. Of course, beyond this, he has gone on the question of pardon and how that pardon was exercised and so on and so forth. My guidance is this. As much as it is appropriate or permissible to refer to decided and reported cases, when it comes to matters that go beyond the subject of the report, I do not think we should really focus on those issues. We should, instead, focus on cases to the extent to which they are relevant and connected to the report under discussion. That is my guidance. Further, I note the observation from the hon. Minister of Home Affairs that when it comes to either parole or pardon, there are certain parameters that are exercised. I note that you have already indicated your desire to debate, and sooner than later, I will call upon you, more so that you are responsible for this portfolio, to shed more light on how all these matters are treated so that we can have a very holistic debate. So, all said and done, hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, focus on the principles relating to the subject under discussion.


You may continue.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I am grateful. This is a very moral issue and an emotive one, as a matter of fact. This is because whether one likes it or not, the victims and the families of these people who have been defiled get traumatised by certain actions that we take. It does not matter who they are and what they say. That is the bottom line.


Mr Speaker, I will cite another example of someone who was charged with the offence of rape and child abuse. This matter was in court and it was read widely by everyone. His name is Andrew Ejimadu and his other name is Seer 1. He was accused of rape and he went through the due processes of court and he secured an acquittal. This is what the chairperson spoke about when he said, “You are presumed innocent until you are proven guilty.”


Mr Speaker, somebody who is acquitted on a similar charge, like the one I cited earlier on, because of the whim and the connection to those who hold power, gets bundled on Ethiopian Airways at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport and flown out or deported. Where is the justice? Somebody should tell me where the justice is. I am not advocating for their erstwhile friend, Mr Seer 1, to come back, I am simply giving a parallel here, that on one hand, one of the music choir masters gets acquitted and then the one who gets acquitted in the court gets deported.


Sir, one of the issues that we are grappling with, surrounding this subject, is culture. There are people who have hidden behind culture because they are Isangomas or witch doctors. Those who have supernatural power have told them that if they go and sleep with a virgin, “sleep” is a decent term, if they rape a virgin, they will be cleansed of the ailment that they may have. You know the story. It is not new to anyone here. People have gone to court and said, “I did this because my Isangoma, my witch doctor, my seer, my supernatural power provider has told me that if I do this, then I will be free from HIV/AIDS.” It is a fact.


Mr Speaker, the Committee has been very explicit on how to deal with these things, and I do agree with it in no uncertain terms, that the matter sits right at the centre of the dispensation of justice in this country. There are many people who are in prison today for heinous crimes such as aggravated robbery and murder. I was one of the victims, so I must declare interest. If you go to jail, like I did under the PF, you will just be told to go home. The self confessed rapists are failing to serve jail terms. Instead, we see them on a daily basis, singing songs for the PF. I want to hear someone say they do not sing. What can one do apart from assuming that it is quid pro quo because that person was told that if he comes out of jail, he should go and sing for the PF?


Sir, what would make me stop thinking like that? I am not in the department of prisons to understand how the parole system works. This is a moral issue, and morality stands on a much higher ground than legality. These legalities are made here in Parliament where we legislate, make laws and change them. We cannot make a moral calling, we cannot make adjustments to it. What is wrong is wrong and what is right is right, no matter what you say. There is room for people to repent.


Sir, there will also be second offenders. In the case in point, this individual whom I have been told not to mention, was pardoned. Next, he beat up a woman and again, he was pardoned because he is a guitarist. Don’t kubeba, wila lilalila.




Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, fairness has to be seen in the manner we dispense justice. I will not translate the word, “Don’t Kubeba” because it is just a song and it means, “Do not tell them.” That is what we see from the people who are governing us today. We are seeing a parallel justice system where depending on who you are, you will receive a different type of treatment. If today, for instance, I became PF, I would be insulated. If I committed a crime, whatever crime it is, the PF Government would find a way to hibernate that crime. That is true about the PF, and I make no apology about that. This issue of defiling children, taking advantage of the poverty situation in our country must be fought by the people on your right and those on the left. It should never matter, whether I am patronised by some influential people in PF or not, if I have committed a crime  –  I said in my opening remarks that you reap what you sow – let me go and serve my term because I have offended society.


Mr Speaker, for as long as we shall continue to deliver reports such as the one we have today, and let them gather dust and say, “Yeah the Chairperson, Hon. Miyutu, and Hon. Kabanshi spoke very well,” posterity is going to judge us harshly when that time comes. Society is hurting as a result of this vice. I am sure we all agree that the petitioners were extreme in their recommendations because they came into conflict with the presumption of innocence until one is proven guilty. What does one do when this vice is showing its ugly head often? We have to hold each other’s hand and find a long lasting solution because prevention is better than cure.


Mr Speaker, jails are full of people who have offended society regarding child defilement. People should ask some of us who have been in prison. Some of them have not been inside the walls of prison. They should ask those of us who have spent day and night inside the prison cells. I had no choice but to fellowship with fellow prisoners. I asked them, “nanga iwe, which means “what about you?” and they would say, “Ah, ine boss, this is what I did.” Nearly half of the cases are associated with sexual assault. We have a noble duty to stitch ourselves back into a seamless cloth in this country and stop politicising everything and anything kuma politics. No! If a member of the Opposition has offended the law, and a member of the Ruling Party has offended the law, they must face the same punitive measure. The Government should not look at my face because the law does not recognise faces. There is so much that can be said, but as I come to the end of my debate, I would like to say that the issue of castration does not solve the problem we are going through.


 Mr Speaker, what may solve the problem is to let the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare put its act in order. We legislated here the matter of establishing safe houses for victims of abuse. I was one of the people who sat in the Committee, which is the heart and soul of any Parliament, that brought a report here that saw the birth of that piece of legislation to build safe houses for victims. However, what are saying today? I think it was my Whip who asked a question to Her Honour the Vice-President regarding how much money we have spent on by-elections. Colossal sums of money have been spent on by-elections. That money could have been used to build safe houses, imwe.


Mr Speaker:  What does the word ‘imwe’ mean?




Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, it means “you people.” Hon. Members, my mother, Her Honour the Vice-President, we would have built many safe houses in every district in order to address this problem. We could have done that. I want to see someone among the people on the right who can say that elections are more of a priority than building safe houses for victims. Any civilised society, poor or rich, should provide for the less privileged. This Government cannot provide for the less privileged but it can provide for by-elections. They are even talking about things that are totally detrimental to society such as ethnic extraction. Those things divide a country that was once united. We forget the core of why we come here, which is to deal with the interests and aspirations of the people who voted for us. Instead, we are the champions of spending money to disparage others based on ethnic extraction instead of building safe houses. That should come to an end. Let us learn to prioritise. Let us hold each other’s hands and address priorities so that posterity can judge us correctly.


Sir, there are too many people who are destitute in this country. Go to Northmead near the Northmead Assembly of God Church and see for yourself. I have said before, and I will continue saying to the hon. Minister of Community Development and Social Welfare that there are youngsters there who are off the wall. They are even making babies. Twelve or thirteen year olds are having babies, yet there is a Government. If there was a serious Government in place, someone would have gone there in a friendly manner to round up these kids and ask them “nanga iwe nindani anakupasa vumo?” Meaning, “Who impregnated you?” Half the time, you will find that these youngsters do not know who impregnated them. We are hatching problems on top of problems. When we retire from this Chamber and go to face the world, what will we say we did for this country in terms of looking out for the next generations?


Hon. UPND Members: Shame!


Mr Nkombo: What will you say?


Mrs Simukoko: You are in the Opposition, you are a leader!


Mr Nkombo: Maybe I should put it in a different manner, “What shall we say?” This is a matter that needs collective responsibility. The girl child must be protected. There is no excuse not to do it. A girl child should not be viewed as a menu but as a future mother of our country.


Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I thank you for the opportunity to let me debate this emotive subject.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to add my word to the Motion moved by Hon. Miyutu, which Motion is to adopt the report of the Committee on Youth, Sport and Child Matters on the Petition by the New Generation Time on the need to stiffen laws on child abuse and defilement.


Sir, the mover of the Motion cited the issues contained in the petition and the recommendations in the report. I totally agree that we need to find a way of dealing with offenders in cases of child abuse, specifically defilement. Speaking on behalf of the Government, I want to say that law enforcement agencies such as the Zambia Police Service and the Judiciary have done quite a lot in protecting the girl child. However, much more needs to be done because defiling a child is basically taking away the life of a child. Some people do this because of the belief that they could be healed of some deadly ailments such as HIV/AIDS.


Mr Speaker, we have capacitated the Victim Support Unit and the Child Protection Unit to manage these cases. When female or male children are abused, these institutions handle the investigations and ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted.


Sir, the issue of meting out the worst form of punishment might not be the solution, but I agree with the hon. Member for Mazabuka that these issues concern morality. We all have a responsibility to teach our people to appreciate and respect a girl child. However, like the hon. Member said, this does not require politicking and seeking political mileage out of topics like these.


Mr Speaker, the mover of the Motion made comparisons with regards to bail conditions that are set for offenders in cases of defilement and murder. While there are some serious similarities in terms of the serious nature of the cases, the Committee and the House should apply their minds to the emotions that go with cases such as murder. Sometimes, it is safer for the offenders to be kept away from society where they committed the offence as they await trial in the courts of law because sending them back there would put them at risk. These are matters that should be reflected upon. So, it would not be ideal to compare these offences with regards to bail in such a fashion.


Sir, I agree with the idea of introducing fast track courts. This is progressive because cases would be expedited. However, fast track courts need a conducive environment. As you know, juveniles can only take a stand and testify in an environment that is conducive for them to express themselves and give evidence.


Mr Speaker, morality plays a role in these cases. Some of the offences are perpetrated by family members such as elderly family members who should be the caretakers of these children. Therefore, we have an obligation to re-establish the family values on how have related and how we are relating to one another this time around. On our part, as the Zambia Police Service, we have continued building capacity –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was talking about what the Government has put in place in order to deal with the perpetrators of these crimes against our female children. I was saying that the Zambia Police Service has continued to capacitate the officers who are handling these matters through in-service training programmes and also making them go to other jurisdictions to learn how best to handle these cases.


Sir, I want to confirm that the advisory committee which looks at petitions of those that seek the Presidential prerogative of mercy has had a moratorium in terms of considering petitions from offenders who are incarcerated for offences of defilement of our young children. This is just to show how much the Government is committed. Indeed, the large number of offenders who are in the correctional service is a sign that the law enforcement officers working together with the Judiciary have been quite effective in dealing with these cases.


Mr Speaker, just this afternoon, I presented a Bill for first reading. This will enhance the way we investigate these cases through forensic science laboratories. In order to address the challenge which has been there to determine the age of victims through civil registration, we have enhanced registration of our citizens starting from birth. We have decentralised the registration of births and issuance of birth certificates. We are already in the eight provinces where we have opened automated offices for birth registration and we are going to ensure that before the end of this year, we cover all the ten provinces.


Sir, what this will do is that the mandate of registering children will be practical because we are coming from an era where we had only one centralised birth registration centre where certificates were issued in Lusaka. If you look at the population of this country, you cannot expect registration to be done effectively and practically when you centralise the exercise. So, working with co-operating partners, we have done quite a lot, and the United Nations (UN) must be commended for coming on board in ensuring that we deal with this challenge. You cannot determine the age by looking at the physical stature of a female child. So, this will help to deal with those challenges where people have been made to go scot-free as a result of not determining the age of the victim.


Mr Speaker, all this is in place, but what is important is to get society to start appreciating, especially those who get to feast on children or relatives who are supposed to feel that they are in safe hands by being with an uncle or relative of any type. These are moral issues that require sombre reflection and not politicking as we heard in the earlier debate of my hon. Colleague.


Sir, I would not want to respond because I know I am performing other portfolio functions. However, we deport undesirable elements who are non-Zambians or foreign nationals who come to this country because it is a requirement that when any foreigner, be it a preacher or, indeed, any other foreigner, who comes in this country must follow the laws of this country. So, whether they are spiritual powers, for us it does not count. So, when we flush someone’s friend who claims to be a preacher and we find that he is just connected to these issues as rightly cited by the hon. Member and extorting money from citizens by using the collar as a preacher, we collaborate very well with the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Guidance and we flush these people out. Those that believe in them when they say, “No, we give power”, you give power to who?


Mr Speaker, it is a danger because we have got individuals who feel by defiling our children they will gain what they call supernatural powers. We have done investigations and when we find these people, we try them and when they are convicted, we kick them out of the country. We deport them from the country because here we have not known some of these cultures that they are trying to import. So, these friends of theirs who think they can protect them when we throw them out of this country, they will not come back to abuse our children under our watch. So, we are very firm. That is a classic example of how firm we are. When they are cited, whether they are preacher men or not, we will go for them, especially these foreigners because these things have not been Zambian. We have not seen some of these things happening being done by own citizens. So, when we throw them out of this country, they want to show the world that they were thrown out for whatever supernatural powers they have. We want to protect our children whose parents get hypnotized to believe some of these preacher men who are just fake prophets and prophets of doom.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Simukoko: Well done!


Mr Kampyongo: Sir, I want to make a clarion call to all Christians that see them for what they are and do not be deceived because you may be hypnotized only to put a young child in danger.


Mr Speaker, like I have said earlier, as the Government, we have done everything possible and we do not look at who is who when we come to deal with perpetrators of abusive cases. We do not look at one’s political affiliation.


Sir, like I said, the Government has put a moratorium as a resolution. The committee that makes recommendations to His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to exercise his prerogative of mercy has said in order for the Government to send a strong signal to would-be offenders, we should not be lenient. So, to come here and portray a picture that the Government has been lenient to people that are aligned to the Patriotic Front (PF) is just mischievous. In the same vein, I would like to protect the names of young musicians who find it prudent to sing songs of solidarity for the PF. To try and put them together and make them look like they are offenders is not fair at all.


Mr Speaker, I thought I should just make that clarification. Otherwise, the recommendations made by your Committee must be applauded. I also support the observations made and please make those petitioners understand that there is more that can be done other than focusing on some of the extreme proposals they made. Again, we have got a principle of saying one is always innocent until proven guilty. That is how our judicial system operates.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the mover of the Motion and the seconder. Let me also add my voice on this issue of defilers. My suggestion is that these defilers are just criminals. They are just in the same category with those who are gassing innocent citizens. They all do not deserve to live in society, but to be put away where they belong. 


Sir, I support the proposal by the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central and Hon. Kampyongo that defilers must be given life imprisonment sentences. There are a number of cases of this nature around the country, but most of the people who commit such crimes are seen moving around the streets. I support calls to castrate perpetrators of this vice. We have to castrate these criminals. Defilement cases should go together with life imprisonment and castration. If you just castrate and let the offender go scot free, he will still have an erection.




Mr Michelo: Yes, the gadget can still work. It is only that it is not that effective. So, offenders have to be castrated. This matter is not only for men, but also for ladies with high libido –




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




Mr Speaker: Order!


You know, this is a House of dignity. I know you would want to be candid and so forth, but you can still make your points in a very civil way. For want of a better expression, you do not have to be crude in your expression yourself. You can refine your points, so that we still maintain the dignity of the House. I know that the nature of the subject itself, compels the House to deal with things that are not normally spoken often and publicly. Nonetheless, you can put it in suitable language.


The hon. Member may continue.


Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance. Anyway, this subject is so attached to science and I was only trying to say things as they are. However, I will try by all means to heed your advice.


Sir, what I am simply saying is that even ladies who are involved in such acts should also be punished heavily. It is very important to also introduce chemical castration so that immediately offenders are put in prison, they are disabled.  Just like men, women must also be disabled while serving their jail sentences because it is not good to allow somebody who has committed such a high level degree of criminality to come into society again. I think society is not interested to see such people again. If you are a parent like me, a Tonga bull who has two daughters, you know what I mean. If I saw my child being defiled, it would be very difficult for me to wait for the castration of the defiler. I would instead just get something and clear that person.




Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, with those few words, I support the two previous speakers who said that defilers do not deserve to be in society. They have to be castrated and also serve life imprisonment sentences.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon Members, I note that there is a great deal of interest in debating this subject. At the same time, we have unfinished business from yesterday, and I would like to especially conclude yesterday’s business as well, this very evening. My appeal, therefore, is that those who are proceeding to debate should try and abbreviate their debates so that I can allow more people to debate. You can take a leaf from the hon. Member for Bweengwa. He has been very brief and to the point.


The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (Ms Kapata): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the Floor. At the same time, I would like to commend the Committee for coming up with this topic, which I think is long overdue. When I was in the Opposition between 2006 and 2011, I did come to Parliament with a Private Member’s Motion on this particular subject. Unfortunately, it was thrown out. So, I am grateful today and hope that this particular report will be adopted by this House.


Sir, the Committee has recommended that castration should be done, but I feel that it is not enough. Being a medical expert, I do not want to go into detail and since we are a Christian nation, I will not go deeper in explaining what castration is. However, a male offender that defiles a child should not only be castrated, but be made dysfunctional …


Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear!


Ms Kapata: … so that in the process, he does not defile another child. This is so because defilement cases take so long to an extent where somebody is bailed out and before he is sentenced, he has already defiled one, two or three children.


Mr Speaker, I also want to caution the parents out there who withdraw cases of defilement. In most cases, people who commit these offences are the people within the household or relatives. Therefore, the families feel ashamed to name the person who has defiled their child. As a result, they would rather keep quiet and make it a family issue. So, any cases of defilement should not be allowed to be withdrawn, whether the person who has committed the offence is a relative or not, so that people can have fear. Indeed, this offence must be made non-bailable. Further, we should stiffen the law on defilement.


Sir, defilement in this country is so rampant to an extent whereby in some instances, it is even the father of the child who defiles the child. This happens because people want to use black medicine through defilement and become rich. Like Hon. Nkombo said, others perform such acts to cleanse themselves of certain diseases which they got at their own accord and want to pass them on to their children.


Mr Speaker, there are also instances where parents of a defiled child accept payments because of poverty. Once a child is defiled by a known person, that particular person will go to the parents of the child and pay money. What they do not know is that when a child is defiled, her life is destroyed. She will not have confidence in herself, she cannot speak in public or even go to class. Eventually, she just withdraws from society. Therefore, there is a need for the Government to come up with safe homes and proper counseling of children who have gone through defilement. This should not only apply to children but all women and boys who are sodomised by men who want to sleep with fellow men.


Mr Speaker, I support the  report and hope every recommendation that has been made by the Committee will be taken on board.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill):  Mr Speaker, I will not be long because most of the issues have been tackled by the hon. Members who have spoken before me. As the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Caucus on Children, I should render my voice and support it because this is something we have been considering very seriously as a caucus. Our desire has been for hon. Members of Parliament to own this fight. It is something that they should talk about wherever they are and when they are holding meetings in their constituencies. This must be one of the items they must talk about very seriously. Unfortunately, in some cases, people who are supposed to be the guardians of children, like chiefs, are mentioned as part of the problem which people in villages face. As a caucus, we want to galvanise hon. Members of Parliament so that they can become champions in this fight so that people out there can see that Parliamentarians are against this vice.


Mr Speaker, some of the problems our children face are as a result of the lack of action by the so-called adults. For example, we have heard of cases where headmasters of certain schools abuse children. When we have tried to follow up the cases, we have discovered that the man who committed the offence was moved from one school to another. When he goes to a different school, he does the same thing. The offenders are moved from one school to another. So, I keep wondering why some people are protected instead of being dealt with immediately. However, people should be found truly guilty, they should not be sentenced merely on accusations.         


Sir, concerning the nature of punishment, of course, as a caucus, we have had to think through many solutions which can be applied. We know that castration is a very bad way of punishing people. This is because some of these people can and do reform. If we go ahead with castration methods like physical castration, it might be slightly too much for somebody who could reform in future. We think that there is another way of castration, which is called chemical castration. The chemical castration lowers the testosterone of the person so that they become inactive.  Later, when some reform is seen in such a person, the chemical castration is stopped and the person gets back to normal. By that time, I am sure he would have understood why he is a misfit in society. We would want to go for that kind of punishment.


Mr Speaker, I feel that in case of school children, they must be truly educated that if anything like that happens, they should go straight ahead and report to the law enforcement officers and not to the relatives of the person who has committed the offence. I have seen that when children report to their family members, the case is sat on and forgotten. Meanwhile, the victim remains suffering. I want the schools, especially primary schools, to take this up, especially because they have under-age children. Children should be educated that if anything like this happens, they should go straight to the police and not to a relative. This might assist us in curbing the big practice of sweeping things under the carpet.


Mr Speaker, like I said, as Chairperson for Parliamentarian Caucus on Children, I wanted us to bring out our voice on this matter.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Northern Province (Mr Bwalya): Mr Speaker, I cherish the opportunity you have given me to contribute to the report of the Committee.


Sir, the issue of child defilement is a moral issue, but it is wrong for us to pin it on poverty. It is something we need to interrogate. We need to deal with the mindset of the people. Yes, there are cultural issues that contribute to this vice. However, what happens in society is that most of the time, we hide these things. We hide the names of the relatives within the families who committee these offences to prevent families from breaking apart. This culture needs to be broken.


Sir, before I go further in my debate, kindly allow me to welcome Hon. Fube as a Valentine’s Day hon. Member of Parliament as he was voted for in the month of February.


Mr Speaker, Zambia has enough laws to deal with issue affecting juveniles. There is a Juveniles Act and the Penal Code. These laws deal with many issues to do with defilement and rape cases. These issues are well-defined and catered for within the Penal Code. It is also true that there is the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act which we enacted as a House in an effort to address this vice. Within these laws that I have mentioned, there is enough legislation which deals with the offender. Therefore, it is not the stiffness of the punishment which will deal with this issue, but the sense of responsibility and sense of belonging to society. This issue also has to do with the mindset of the people.              


Mr Speaker, in the Northern Province where I am privileged to serve as the hon. Minister, we have a programme aimed at sensitising villagers on the dangers of defilement and gender and sexual violence. This programme is funded by the European Union (EU) and is being implemented by World Vision. It is called Natwampane. In Luapula Province, the same programme is being implemented by the Norwegian Church Aid. All these efforts the Government is putting are aimed at dealing with the issue of defilement decisively with the involvement of the community. Communities need to understand the dangers of this particular vice. This programme will run for four years. Within this programme, there is the issue of safe homes that has been referred to here. These are called one stop centres where victims can be helped. The victims must be removed from society where they are being victimised. We also need to deal with the stigma that comes with being defiled or raped. The amount of money that is being pumped into these programmes is aimed at dealing with the issues of defilement.


Sir, we need to change the change the mindset of the people in as far as certain cultural and traditional norms are concerned because that is where the whole issue lays. Unless and until we change some of the cultural norms such as the practice of hiding this vice, it will be very difficult for us to move forward in terms of addressing this issue.


Mr Speaker, let me talk about the issues that the Government is prioritising. The Government is prioritising issues that favour the child but more so, the girl child. The intention of the Government is to advance the wellbeing of the child. The Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare has programmes such as the Girls Education, Women Empowerment and Livelihood (GEWEL) which is aimed at maintaining the girl child in school. It also supports single women by helping them to continue sending the girl child to school. The Patriotic Front (PF) Government is very mindful of the fact that it needs to deal with this issue of defilement.


Mr Speaker, the other issue that needs the attention of this House is the prerogative of mercy which was alluded to by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central. The prerogative of mercy is enshrined in the Constitution. All Constitutional matters are clearly stated and are supposed to the followed. The President has the power to use the prerogative of mercy and he can pardon anyone as long as the criterion is met regardless of who is related to who. We have seen a number of people who have been pardoned. Some of them had cases of corruption and others had cases of murder and they were imprisoned. Others have had their sentences commuted from death to life imprisonment. When Constitutional powers are exercised, it is only right that we respect them because we, as hon. Members of Parliament are the ones who enacted the laws in this country. Therefore, it is only right that we maintain that decorum.


Mr Speaker, priorities are important. The Government does not take pride in spending money on electioneering, as was alluded to by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central. We would like to see a situation where this money that goes to elections is used in other needy areas like development of roads and hospitals. I think that my hon. Colleagues on the left who are talking about priorities will not agree with us on the right if we begin tempering with the tenets of democracy. When the law requires us to hold elections in a particular place and we do not do that, we will be mutilating our own Constitution. If the law says that elections are supposed to be held within ninety days, so be it. The priority was set by ourselves as a country that we will allow the tenets of democracy and freedom of choice to prevail within our country. The Government cannot have a situation where it is told that it is not prioritising issues and that it is only prioritising elections. Elections are stipulated within the confines of the law and the law must be respected.


 Mr Speaker, I agree with the Committee that we cannot go to the extreme by introducing castration, even if it has various levels. Let us help the Government by looking at some of the archaic or out dated traditional values and cultural norms. Together, we can change society and bring some of these crimes to the fore so that the law enforcement agencies can attend to them.


Mr Speaker, the Government has established the fast track courts and all this is being done in an effort to deal with issues of defilement as quickly as possible. Sometimes, evidence is lost along the way because of the process and procedures that take place currently. Doctors have to give credible evidence in court. The fast track courts have been established to deal with traffic offences. Defilement offences and more should be done in fast track courts so that justice can be delivered as quickly as possible. That way, offenders can get punished quickly and those seeking justice can receive it within a record time and in a given environment.


Mr Speaker, the courts in Zambia are not child-friendly. This is another aspect that the Government should deal with. The courts need to be made child-friendly so that they can deal with this issue. When a child is in court, they should have a friendly environment where they can feel free to speak and where their trauma can be reduced as they give evidence.


Mr Speaker, these are some of the things the Government is working on to deal with some of the issues that were raised by the petitioners who were invited to submit to the Committee. I am very happy that the Committee dealt with them decisively and very objectively.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, as I indicated earlier on, this is a very topical issue and it has a lot of interest. If I allow all these who have indicated to speak now, this Motion will not be completed this evening. So, the difficult decision I have to make at this juncture is to invite the hon. Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development to respond.  


The Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development (Mr Mulenga): Mr Speaker, thank you for granting me an opportunity to make an intervention. I take note of the recommendations by the Committee on Youth, Sport and Child Matters on the petition of child abuse and defilement, a Motion moved by Hon. Miyutu.


Sir, the ministry is equally concerned that the cases of child abuse and defilement in the country are on the rise despite stiff punishments that are being meted out on the perpetrators by the courts of law. In addition, the ministry has looked at the four recommendations that the petitioners have made to address the problem of child abuse and defilement and that is; no bail, no police bond, castration and the establishment of fast track courts.


Mr Speaker, allow me to comment on the recommendations by the petitioner. On castration, the ministry is in support of the Committee’s recommendations on page 18, paragraph 9.2 which states as follows:


“... the Committee does not support the use of castration to punish defilers because it will be a violation of the international human rights standards, and constitutes torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment or punishments which are prohibited in absolute terms in line with Article 15 of the Constitution of Zambia.”


Sir, therefore, it would be against our Constitution for us to encourage that approach. Furthermore, my ministry is not in agreement with the recommendation regarding or concerning making defilement non bailable and no police bond as it is likely to violate fundamental human rights, international laws and the Constitution of Zambia. Under our laws, an accused person is innocent until proved guilty. Therefore, according to the law, every accused person has a right to police bond, unless the court of law establishes that the accused person is interfering with a witness or is a flight risk.


Mr Speaker, the ministry supports the establishment of fast track courts to deal with cases of child abuse. Regrettably, the cases involving child abuse take long to be disposed of in the courts of law. To this end, we wish to propose that consideration be given to the cases involving child abuse to be dealt with in the fast track courts dealing with Gender-Based Violence (GBV) where they exist.


Sir, I wish to inform the House that my ministry is not in agreement with the petitioners’ perception that our laws to deal with child abuse and defilement are weak. To this end, it is our view that Zambia has enough laws to protect children against abuse and defilement. For instance, Section 138 of the Penal Code, Cap. 87 of the Laws of Zambia provides for defilement and related offences.


Quote as is in the penal code


Mr Speaker, according to the law, any person who unlawfully has carnal knowledge of any child commits a felony and is liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a period of one year or a term of not less than fourteen years and may be liable to imprisonment for life. Further, any person who attempts to have carnal knowledge of any child commits a felony and is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than fourteen years and not exceeding twenty years and any person who prescribes the defilement of a child as a cure for an ailment commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than fifteen years and may be liable to imprisonment for life. It is, therefore, our considered view that the laws to deal with the offence of defilement and other related sex offences against children are adequate.


Sir, in order to address the problem of child abuse and defilement, there is a need to put in place preventive measures such as:


  1. continuous awareness campaigns on children’s rights so that communities can appreciate the importance of promoting and protecting the rights of children and creating a safe environment for them;
  2. provision of counselling services for those found guilty of defilement to prevent them from committing similar offences upon leaving prison;
  3. provision of counselling services for victims of abuse and defilement for them to overcome the trauma and prevent them from becoming abusers or defilers once they grow up;
  4. implementing measures to address the problem of drug and alcohol abuse by children;
  5. strengthening the enforcement of laws on child abuse and defilement by relevant institutions such as the police and health facilities;
  6. strengthening of community structures to help in the prevention of defilement and other forms of abuse against children;
  7. capacity building on institutions dealing with child abuse and defilement through training and provision of required resources;
  8. involving children in the fight against child abuse and defilement;
  9. increasing access to toll-free line services by children; and
  10. enhancing the co-ordination of juvenile justice administration.


Mr Speaker, I find it regrettable that some bad elements within our society are using children to gas fellow children. This is abuse of our children which should not be condoned at all and perpetrators should face the full wrath of the law. Even some prophets who want to defile children, especially those coming from other countries like Seer 1, should not have a place in this country.


Sir, in conclusion, allow me to reiterate that children are a building block of any nation and the greatness of a nation is measured by how it takes care of its children. The environment in which children grow determines the type of adult citizens they will turn out to be in future.


Mr Speaker, my ministry, working in collaboration with various stakeholders such as the Judiciary, police and social welfare institutions, will continue to undertake sensitisation campaigns and capacity building on children’s rights and protection.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank all the hon. Members who have contributed to the debate on the report by the Committee and also thank the Executive for the emphasis placed on the important of addressing this issue through the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and hon. Minister of Youth, Sports and Child Development. Lastly, I would like to thank all those who had indicated to contribute towards the debate.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Question put and agreed to.








(Debate resumed)


Dr Chanda (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, yesterday before the House adjourned, I was talking about the important diplomatic relationship between Russia and Zambia, which stands at fifty-five years and counting.


Sir, let me quote from page 2 of Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko’s Speech, which states as follows:


“Russia-Zambia relations have constantly been developing in a friendly, mutually respectful and trust-based manner’’.


Mr Speaker, the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Mrs Matvienko, recognises that the relationship between Zambia and Russia is not one of a rider and a horse. It has no superiors and inferiors. It is a relationship of equals, engrained in the recognition of Zambia’s sovereignty and not that of treating Zambian like a colony. This should serve as a lesson to other countries, however big and powerful such countries may be. They need to realise that Zambia is a sovereign state. Even diplomats accredited to Zambia should have diplomatic protocols, while they know that Zambia is a sovereign state, instead of abrogating diplomatic protocols. There have been cases of some diplomats from very powerful countries breaking all diplomatic protocols by engaging in domestic politics. Russia presents a very good example of what a mutually respectable diplomatic relationship should be.


Sir, like I said yesterday, the relationship between Russia and Zambia presents a lot of opportunities for collaboration. On page 1 of her Speech, Mrs Matvienko said the following:


“I would like to reaffirm that for Russia, co-operation with your country is one of our important priorities”.


She recognises that this relationship is very important as far as Russia is concerned. It is not Zambia trying to plead after Russia, but Russia also recognising that relating to Zambia is very important. That is why Her Excellency Madam Matvienko said the first foreign visit she has taken outside Russia this year is to Zambia.


Mr Speaker, that is to your credit because when you visited Russia, you ably represented Parliament and the country at large, and that was reciprocated at both parliamentary and Government levels. That is a testament to how much Zambia is highly respected, contrary to social media propaganda of Zambia not being respected. It is not easy for a country like Russia, which is one of the biggest countries in the world and one of the super powers militarily, to have its Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly to come to this august House. Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko meeting the President of the Republic, our former President and touring our Embassy Park where we have buried our late Presidents as well as visiting Livingstone to look at the country’s tourism potential should be highly commended.


Sir, I was privileged to be part of your delegation when we had bilateral talks with the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and her delegation. One of the issues raised by the Russians was that much as the Russian business community would want to invest in Zambia, it has very little knowledge on the Zambian market structure. That was said by Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko. She also said the Russian investors do not have information about the legal framework in Zambia which can help their businesses to thrive. So, that should save as a challenge to our various ministries, such as the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and other relevant ministries to market Zambia because Russian investors have to know what Zambia offers.


Mr Speaker, Russian investors have to know Zambia’s geographical location and how to get access to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). They have to know that Zambia is now a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) because every business works on the principal of a return on investment. So, if investors come to Zambia from Russia, what will they look at? They do not want uncertainty. So we need to be much more proactive as a country by reaching out to our colleagues. In fact, Her Excellency Mrs Matvienko proposed the establishment of business councils between Zambia and Russia. There is need for a Zambia/Russia business council, where you have exchange visits. Zambian business men and women can go to Russia to look at that economy and its opportunities. Similarly, the Russian investors need to come to Zambia.


Mr Speaker, a very good example for such a purpose is Bwana Mkubwa Constituency. We all know that in the United National Independence Party (UNIP) era, Ndola was an industrial hub or a manufacturing centre for Zambia. That old industrial area is located in my constituency. That is why I am proposing that with the business councils being proposed, it would be important that when invertors come from Russia, they are taken to that old industrial area in Bwana Mkubwa.


Sir, it has been proposed with the Ndola Chamber of Commerce that the old industrial area should be declared a Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) for manufacturing because it is well located. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is just across the border. Zambia is surrounded by eight countries and that would position Zambia very well. So, the challenge of Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko who came to address us needs to be taken seriously.


Mr Speaker, let me conclude by stating that Zambia needs to emulate Russia and one certain key lesson that Zambia needs to learn from Russia is work ethics. Mrs Matvienko quoted a Russian proverb which has stuck with me that: “No matter how long you talk about sweetness, you will not feel any sweetness in your month”. In other words, if you want to eat something sweet, you can talk about sweetness the whole day, but the sweetness will not come automatically. This means there is no sweet without sweat. We have to work. Talk is cheap and action is what matters. Let us emulate out friends in Russia by being more hands-on or action oriented.


Sir, the second thing we need to learn from Russia is the issue of patriotism. Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko mentioned here that during World War II, which the bloodiest war in the history of mankind, Russia paid the ultimate price. Twenty-seven million Russians died in the fight against fascism and nazism, which is almost double the population of Zambia. The Soviet Army was the first to enter Berlin and accessed the chambers where Adolf Hitler, the Germany dictator, was hiding. That is how committed the Russians are to their country. So, instead of us denigrating our country by speaking ill of Zambia, let us learn to be proud of this country. We may have our own domestic challenges, but Zambia comes first. That is something the Russians show very well.


Mr Speaker, the other key issue that we need to learn from the Russians is resilience in the midst of challenges. Those who are students of history will remember that the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. They experimented with the Glasnost and Perestroika political and economic reforms, which were policies taught by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and the country collapsed into so many states. However, Russia has remained resilient and is still the biggest country in the world. It has become a superpower again and economically, it is going on despite the many sanctions imposed on it.


Sir, the lesson is that despite the current challenges that we may face as a country, we can rise above them. We have economic challenges and climate change issues, load-shedding and high mealie meal prices, but we should not despair. Leaders are dealers in hope and not dealers in despair and doom. What hope are we giving to our people in the midst of challenges? Leaders do not whine and cry. It is like parents at home have challenges, and yet the father and mother are crying and then the children will have a funeral. So, Zambians are looking up to us as leaders who are there to provide solutions. Once we provide solutions as leaders, the country will be optimistic. You cannot build a city of gold with men of clay. You need to have that quality as a leader.


Mr Speaker, the last issue I want to talk about is the issue of unity. Even though the Soviet Union collapsed, the Russians remain united. That is why we have a region like Crimea which is part of Ukraine voting to go back to Russia because the people of Crimea are their kith and kin. Russia is a very united country, and that is why it is shaping the Middle East policy. In Zambia, our founding fathers left us with a very important motto of One Zambia, One Nation, but it is very sad that now, it has become very fashionable for politicians to just talk about tribalism carelessly in Zambia. People keep saying, “I am this and that tribe” and which tribe is not really wanted. If politicians are talking like that, what will happen to the rest of the population?


Sir, history has shown that tribalism is mostly promoted by politicians. We do not have tribalism in our neighbourhoods, churches, schools and other institutions. It is only when people want to gain political mileage that they resort to tribe. That is the nature of the medieval man or the caveman. These politicians are behaving like the Stone Age people who are ancient. The only defence they have is tribe. Tribe does not make you superior. It is the content of your character that makes you superior. So, as leaders, let us not play with this tribal talk anyhow. Like I have belaboured, Zambia is too mixed so people should not talk about tribe and all those other things.


Mr Speaker, with those few words, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Again, I have quite a long list. Those I will call upon to debate should please try to abbreviate their speeches so that as many people as possible can debate before we wind up this Motion. We have to wind up this Motion this evening.


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to add my voice to this very important speech. I will simply summarise the speech for the benefit of those who were heckling and not following what was being said.


Mr Speaker, this speech has raised quite a number of important issues. First of all, on page 3, the speech talks about an important area of comprehensive co-operation that has to be constructed between Zambian provinces and Russian regions. As somebody who has visited Russia quite a number of times, I do realise that the Russians are very hardworking. Whichever part of Russia you visit, you will find that the people respect their culture and hard work. You will never hear the Russians say anything bad about their country wherever they go. I think that is one thing you will learn even when you get to Moscow. When they start showing you the history of Russia and the buildings such as the Seven Sisters, you will never hear the Russians divide themselves. Here, people are always guilty and always claim that they are being victimized. They are running from their own shadows. That is why wherever they go, they go and speak ill of the country and then come back to this country and pretend to be loyal men and women. They even want to take over from the Patriotic Front (PF).


Mr Speaker, the second issue that the speech raised was the issue of the Russian Language Centre at the Copperbelt University (CBU). Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko highlighted the fact that this school, which was opened in 2018, has provided an opportunity for Zambian students who want to study in Russia to study by distance learning. She spoke about issues of the Russian languages and culture so that when people get to Russia, they should not get confused or have what is called a cultural shock.


Mr Speaker, I also heard how she praised the co-operation between Zambia and Russia. She also talked about State scholarships with Rosatom which highlighted that the Russian Government is ready to continue supporting our Zambians students so that when they come back to Zambia, they can continue contributing to the country.


Mr Speaker, another important point that the speech gave was the issue of the upcoming events. She invited hon. Members of Parliament to take advantage of the future events such as the 2022 Inter-religious and Inter-ethnic Dialogue that will be taking place in 2022. She also mentioned  …


Mrs Chinyama interjected.


Mr Ngulube: … the women’s forum. I hope the people of Kafue will take advantage of this forum by participating in it through their hon. Member of Parliament. She will benefit from this women’s forum. She should not just be viewing everything the PF Government is doing as negative.


Mr Speaker, she also reminded us of the seventy-five years since the end of the Second World War. When you go to Moscow and other places where the World War was fought; you will see how the Russians have clearly put up big structures that remind them that men should never kill themselves again at such as a large scale. They will also take you to the place where you will see the body of Lenin lying in state, and other places.


Mr Speaker, as I wind down, I want to state a few points to conclude my very short debate as I promised. When she was concluding her Speech, she stated: 


“I learnt a lot from you. I believe only a country and people with high dignity are capable of cherishing its history and paying so much respect to Presidents of their country, and I witnessed it when I visited the memorial of former Presidents. It is only a country of such dignity that can preserve its sovereignty, independence and have its own independent foreign policy”.


Mr Speaker, Her Excellency, Madam Matvienko was very categorical in stating that she was pleased with what she saw. She saw Zambia as a united country, a country of dignity and a country that respects its sitting Head of State and the former Presidents who have gone to be with the Lord. I find it very difficult to understand when I hear people who want to become leaders of this country standing on the mountains and casting aspersions and alleging matters like corruption and other things that they cannot even prove. This speech by Her Excellency Madam Matvienko has shamed and shown them that we must be proud of this country and be patriotic.


Mr Speaker, in terms of tourism, she stated that she would like to see more tourists coming from Russia to Zambia because she has seen that Zambia has huge tourism potential and everything that investors can do. It is now up to us as hon. Members of Parliament to take up her offers. She invited us to take up some of the offers that she made and ensure that the co-operation between Zambia and Russia continues.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, allow me to state that in her concluding remarks, Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko stated as follows:


“Dear colleagues, naturally, Zambia is a country with huge potential and a lot of natural resources, but your biggest treasure is your people who by their hard work and their love of their motherland, make Zambia a prosperous, modern state that looks to the future with confidence.”


Mr Speaker, for those who may not have heard, I want to say that Her Excellency, Madam Matvienko was pleased that Zambia has a huge potential for tourism. It has a lot of natural resources and this is a country that can grow through hard work and reach the next level.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, as I have already said, …




Mr Ngulube: … I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate this wonderful speech. Let us all support the efforts of His Excellency the President, and thank him for all the investment opportunities that he is bringing to this country. His visit to Moscow is now paying off. Those of us who know how hardworking the Russians are can confess that Zambia will not go wrong if it takes up all the offers that Madam Matvienko highlighted.


Mr Speaker, with those few remarks, allow me to say thank you and may God make it easy for all of us in this House. I wish everyone a happy new year.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will allow the hon. Member for Kanchibiya five minutes only.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, in conclusion, …




Mr Speaker: I would welcome that.




Dr Malama: Sir, I would like to remind my fellow Zambians that on meeting His Excellency, the President, Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko said:


“I had a meeting with His Excellency, the President of Zambia, and I am deeply impressed.”


Sir, it reminds me of the time Queen Sheba met King Solomon. It is very important for political parties, including that one on your left, to appreciate what we have.


Mr Speaker, she also remembered a very important meeting that His Excellency the President had in 2018 when he met President Vladimir Putin, which included you, Mr Speaker, which was very important for the economy of this country. Those who criticise the President’s movements can see what the interaction brought in economic, political and humanitarian aid.


Sir, the person visiting Zambia is the Speaker of the Russian Federation. Look at her security personnel and entire entourage and also look at the one for our President.  When our President or Vice-President go outside the country, you hear certain people criticising their trips. Some people forget the economic dividends that come with such visits.


Prof. Luo: She came with three planes.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, I am being reminded that there were three planes and not one, for the Russian Speaker.


Mr Speaker, I would like to urge the Executive to take advantage of this meeting and to ensure that, as proposed by Her Excellency Mrs Matvienko, we look at culture and leverage tourism maximally. She also talked about science and education. So, the ministries of Higher Education and General Education should see how best they can take advantage of the opportunities by the Russian Government to benefit our young people in both the rural and urban areas of Zambia. That way, we will be able to tap from the Russian market. We need to learn how their industry is able to make vehicles and able to conquer the challenges that they are faced with in using high technology.


Sir, realising that we have focused on agriculture, let us see that we increase productivity using this partnership with the Russians. How do they get high yields from the areas where they work? They can assist in the training of extension service delivery or workers. We can also provide produce for the Russian market. We should not over-depend on rains. Kanchibiya receives so much rain, and so it has plenty of water, including floods. I remember Her Honour the Vice-President the other day talking about tapping those waters and channelling them to areas of deficit. We need to turn our challenges into opportunities.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, allow me to welcome Hon. Fube to the House.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: Sir, the people of Chilubi Constituency have demonstrated, without doubt, that the Patriotic Front (PF) is the party of choice.


Mr Speaker, as I wind up debate on the Motion of Thanks to Her Excellency Mrs Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, who addressed the House on Tuesday, 18th February, 2020, allow me to make a few comments.


Sir, in her opening remarks, Her Excellency emphasised that this was her first foreign visit in 2020. This statement did not only demonstrate how important the visit was, but it also shows the level of confidence and the interest that the Russian Government and the international community as a whole have in our country and in particular, the Government of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu.


Mr Speaker, Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko also recognised the fact that the country had enjoyed a long history of co-operation with the Russian Federation and that the Soviet Union was not only the first to recognise Zambia’s independence, but also the first to offer assistance to the new sovereign state in areas of economic development and human resource development in sectors such as agriculture and nuclear energy. She further informed this House that in her meeting with His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, they discussed issues of mutual interest in developing more versatile co-operation between the two countries.


Mr Speaker, Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko indicated that Russia had developed a new level of international co-operation with African states and their regions. To this effect, she extended invitations to our provincial hon. Ministers and urged them to work with the various regions of the Russian Federation on issues of common and mutual interest and to develop political, economic and humanitarian bilateral ties.


Sir, hon. Members also heard for themselves that the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum had showcased and opened opportunities for African countries in areas such as culture and tourism, including science and high tech. She further informed us that during the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum, over ninety commercial contracts worth over US$90 billion were signed. She, therefore, looked forward to seeing Zambia participate in this year’s international economic forum to be held in St. Petersburg in June, 2020.


Mr Speaker, Her Excellency also indicated that Zambia was a country with a lot of economic potential and promising projects capable of giving a huge boost to the economy and that the country held a decent rank in international business ratings. She, therefore, assured us that the Russian Federation was willing to support Zambia in human resource development through an increased number of scholarships and specialised training in high tech and nuclear energy through the Zambia-Russia Centre for Nuclear Energy.


Further, Mrs Matvienko noted that Zambia’s astonishing beauty was mesmerising at first sight and wished that more Russian tourists would visit Zambia and in reciprocation, visits could be made by our people to that country without a visa. This is an issue that should be looked into. She was, therefore, looking forward to a discussion on a visa free regime. More importantly, Her Excellency noted that Zambia’s greatest treasure was its people, who were very hardworking and peace loving.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I wish to state that the pronouncements and praises received from Her Excellency, Mrs Valentina Matvienko did not come as mere rhetoric, but as a result of the hard work, commitment and patriotism of our past and present leadership, which has made tremendous strides to maintain Zambia’s status in the world’s image as a peace loving country. To this effect, we shall not allow selfish and unpatriotic individuals to destabilise and tarnish the positive image and the peace which our forefathers and mothers fought for and which we have enjoyed for a very long time.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, with these remarks, I thank you.


 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


 Question put and agreed to.




The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1951 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 21st February, 2020.