Wednesday, 19th February, 2020

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Wednesday, 19th February, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]











The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to apprise this august House, and through it, the nation, on the coronavirus outbreak.


Sir, the Government of the Republic of Zambia, under the leadership of His Excellency, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is transforming the health sector and repositioning it to attain universal health coverage. Integral to this process is a fundamental component of a health system model that we are pursuing, which is called global health with the dichotomy of health security and health diplomacy.


Mr Speaker, health security focuses on protecting the public from all public health hazards. To this effect, in its transformational agenda, the Zambian Government has created the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) as a disease intelligence arm to enhance preparedness and response to any public health hazards. Given this background, the Government has put interventions to protect the public, through the ZNPHI, and its multi-sectoral approach from contracting the novel coronavirus. The interventions apply to citizens both at home and abroad.


Sir, on 31st December, 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus termed the 2019 novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2. This followed a cluster of unusual pneumonia cases reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Due to the rapid and wide geographic spread of the virus outside China, aided by the ease of air transport, on 30th January, 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak a global health emergency.


Mr Speaker, as of 19th February, 2020, the virus had affected more than thirty countries with a total of 74,637 confirmed cases including 2,006 deaths recorded globally. On a positive note though, 14,387 have fully recovered. China alone has reported about 99 per cent of the confirmed cases and deaths. Africa has recorded and confirmed one case in Egypt, and several African countries have investigated suspected cases which have so far tested negative for COVID-19, which is the name that has been given to the novel coronavirus.


Sir, Zambia has not recorded any case of the COVID-19. However, our disease intelligence unit, the ZNPHI, has to date investigated sixteen alerts involving individuals who travelled from China. Laboratory investigations on the respiratory samples from those individuals have all tested negative for the coronavirus. Our surveillance system is active, alert and responding in a timely manner to all threats.


Mr Speaker, the virus affects the respiratory system and infected patients present typically flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, pneumonia ensues with complications that include kidney failure and death, particularly in those with compromised immunity or pre-existing medical conditions. Currently, the infection has no treatment or vaccine, but early supportive therapy is effective. The transmission of the infection can be effectively prevented by observing good hygiene including covering coughs and sneezes with a handkerchief or tissue, regular hand washing with soap and clean water, use of alcohol based sanitisers and maintaining a distance of at least 1 m from symptomatic individuals.


Mr Speaker, at country level, the Ministry of Health, through the ZNPHI, has put in place the following measures:


  1. active surveillance at all points of entry and health facilities, including screening of all international travellers with a particular focus on those with a history of contact with persons from areas with confirmed cases. Contact details of those from high risk countries are systematically recorded to aid follow up efforts;
  2. the National Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (NHEOC) at the ZNPHI is on high alert, and monitoring the situation as the outbreak evolves, and the public shall be kept apprised;
  3. several strategic and technical meetings with multiple stakeholders, including Government ministries and agencies, co-operating partners and civil society continue to be convened to review our preparedness and response efforts, and to mobilise resources. The meetings are at various levels including:
  4. at the Central Government level, where the Secretary to the Cabinet holds meetings fortnightly with all Permanent Secretaries;
  5. epidemic preparedness prevention and management committee meetings; and
  6. technical committee meetings co-ordinated by the ZNPHI.
  7. a contingency plan has been developed. This sets out the basis for co-ordination and resource mobilisation;
  8. infection prevention measures are being strengthened at all points of entry and in health care facilities, with procurement of additional supplies of the best of protective equipment such as gloves, masks, aprons, disinfectants and hygiene supplies;
  9. isolation facilities to manage suspected cases have been identified in all districts. For Lusaka, this includes Tubalange Mini Hospital, and should cases swell, the new wing of the Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital could be used. Further, the Government is in the process of completing the isolation facility in Mwembezhi that has been under construction in readiness for any infectious diseases such as Ebola, and this is due to be complete within the next few weeks;
  10. the country has enhanced its diagnostic capacity for the COVID-19 at the Virology Laboratory at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and the University of Zambia (UNZA) School of Medicine, and reagents are currently available in the country for testing;
  11. rapid response teams of health workers at points of entry and other staff have been trained in early detection response and management of potential cases of the COVID-19. This training involves various stakeholders and is continuously taking place;
  12. community engagement has been enhanced. Risk communication is going on through community radio stations, television and other media outlets; and
  13. a call centre has been established in collaboration with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) for the public to obtain information or report alerts related to the coronavirus. Numbers that can be used to alert the authorities have been displayed in various parts. For the sake the House, the three numbers are 0974493553, 0964638726 or 0953898941.


Sir, Zambia is privileged to host the regional collaborating Centre of the Africa Disease Control (Africa CDC) Secretariat. Therefore, at continental level, the Africa CDC Secretariat is working through Zambia to co-ordinate the regional response. We are providing regular updates and technical support to member states. Currently, hon. Ministers from the region are convened in Zambia to discuss a common approach to the coronavirus and an emergency meeting has been summoned in Addis Ababa over the weekend for all hon. Ministers of Health in Africa to strategise on a sustained response.


Mr Speaker, assessment of national laboratory capacities is ongoing, mobilising of supplies, designation of regional reference laboratories and co-ordinating targeted specialised training, among others, is taking place. The Africa CDC also holds virtual meetings to update member states on the evolving outbreak.


Sir, regarding students and other Zambian nationals who are in China, the Zambian Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Zambian Embassy in Beijing, and China continues to provide support. Let me be quick to emphasise that so far, no case has been reported amongst Zambians abroad, including within China. All Zambian students have been accounted for and are safe. The Zambian Government is providing them with food, masks and other logistics and these efforts are also being supplemented by Chinese authorities. Let me assure all parents and the public that the Government is very concerned about the students’ welfare and is doing everything possible in conjunction with its colleagues in China to safeguard their wellbeing.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I appeal to all hon. Members of this House to join in our national efforts by sensitising their constituents, including distributing health promotion materials, sharing the call centre numbers and encouraging everyone to adhere to personal hygiene practices. I also urge the public to avoid unnecessary travel to areas that have recorded confirmed cases. Those who must travel should refer to travel advisories issued by the Ministry of Health. To further empower hon. Members of Parliament with information and materials on this subject, I will seek the indulgence of the hon. Mr Speaker to have a workshop with our technical teams.


Sir, the Ministry of Health remains on high alert and is actively engaging all stakeholders to prepare adequately, prevent, detect and respond quickly to the threat of the COVID-19. This is part of the Public Health Security Framework that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government under President Lungu has embarked on in its transformational agenda in pursuit of universal health coverage.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


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


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, bearing in mind that last month in January, the Chinese celebrated their festival season, do we have any epicentre where those coming back to Zambia are being quarantined so that it can be ascertained whether all of them are free of the coronavirus?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, like I alluded in my statement, surveillance has been heightened at ports of entry, and what this essentially means is that everybody coming into the country is being screened. People may not notice the overhead thermal scanners as they go through the airport but they pick out prodromal symptoms such as high temperature, and should anyone be found with a temperature above a certain threshold, he/she will be isolated from the queue. A thorough history will be taken on such a person and he/she will be examined for further signs. If that person meets the criteria, he/she may be isolated at any of the isolation facilities that I referred to. We have an isolation facility at Tubalange Mini Hospital, and should the cases go beyond the threshold at Tubalange Mini Hospital, more people will be kept at the new wing of the Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital.


Sir, the ministry is also doing what is called self-quarantine for those who may not have symptoms yet are coming from places where confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded. Self-quarantine simply means that a person is restricted to his/her home and monitored for a period of fourteen days. Thereafter, he/she is re-examined, and if he/she has no symptoms, he/she is reintegrated into society. So, all the international travellers coming back from China or from places that have reported cases of the coronavirus are being thoroughly screened, and should there be a need, they will either be self-quarantined or quarantined in designated isolation facilities and will be monitored appropriately.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Samakayi (Mwinilunga): Mr Speaker, how many Zambian students are in Wuhan, and is the Government providing any food to them because the information I have is that they are finding it difficult to secure food stuffs for themselves? Further, are there any plans to evacuate our students in China to Zambia, like many countries have done?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, we have more than 4,000 students in China. In Wuhan City, we have less than 300 students, and the Government is working together with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and our Chinese counterparts, through our embassy in Beijing, to protect the welfare of the students. However, none of our students in China has been reported ill or associated with cases of the coronavirus disease. Their welfare is being monitored closely and where food supplies are required, we are working together with our counterparts to ensure that our children in China are well looked after.


Sir, there is no immediate plan to evacuate the students for the simple reason that in conjunction with our colleagues in China, we have assessed that there is no such indication as we try to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 to Zambia. So, there is no such urgency of an action to evacuate them. They are safe where they are, and are being looked after through our embassy in China and our colleagues from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Should the epidemic evolve to require that such an action is taken, the public shall be apprised that such an action will be taken, but so far, there is no indication.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, has it been scientifically proven that the African blood is resistant to the coronavirus?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, that is novel science and we do not have that evidence. Every citizen is prone to the coronavirus should he/she come into contact with someone who is symptomatic. There is no genetic or scientific evidence that shows that we have resistance to the coronavirus. We probably may have to liaise with our colleagues in intangible sciences to see where someone is coming from.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kamondo (Mufumbwe): Mr Speaker, what measures has the Government put in place to prevent the coronavirus, especially in border areas? The hon. Minister might be aware that most of our border areas are very porous and some of them do not even have medical facilities.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, surveillance for disease intelligence has been heightened in all border areas. Yes, there may be screening equipment at ports of entry, but we have also sensitised all our people, particularly those living along the border areas, to ensure that they are alert when they are engaging with people who are crossing in. So, where there are no formal crossing points, but our people interact with people coming in, we have sensitised the public on the symptoms and how to react to this. However, I want to emphasise that all people coming in the country need to go through the formal entry points, where surveillance activities are taking place and where we are able to do formal screening and be able to isolate them should they be symptomatic, and will afford them an opportunity for treatment should they need it. So, I encourage all the people interacting with people coming in to ensure that they pass through formal checkpoints, where we have advanced surveillance activities. The assurance is that not only are community radio programmes on surveillance of the coronavirus being aired in border towns, but rapid response and surveillance teams have been trained along the border areas to ensure that we protect the public.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, I have been keenly following the events regarding the coronavirus, and what I have learnt so far is that it has an incubation or monitoring period of fourteen days, if I am not mistaken and I stand to be corrected. However, when those from areas like Wuhan or other places in China and are infected arrive in any country, they are quarantined. Whether they have symptoms or not, they are quarantined for fourteen days. If I heard the hon. Minister correctly, he said that once a person arrives, he/she is self-quarantined. However, I am a family man, and I interact with my family. So, I want to understand how that self-quarantine is being done. Further, what safety measures are there for my family? I want to know how it is being done because if I am going to go home where my family is, I will definitely be in contact with them. How is it done and how safe is it?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I can see that the hon. Member is very passionate about this. Did he come from China recently?




Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, every international traveler on return is screened. If he is symptomatic, he is not isolated. However, if he is symptomatic, and has a history of having traveled to a place with confirmed cases, we do what we call self-quarantine. A person will be quarantined within his/her own space and that space is within his/her home, and there are a number of people who we have been treated like that. It is for the benefit of everyone to ensure that those people with a history of traveling to places where there are confirmed cases of the coronavirus are monitored for fourteen days before they are allowed free reintegration into society. So, the measures we have put in place are that should a person have such a history, we attach him/her to a surveillance team that will ensure that he/she is restricted in his/her own space. That person will be checked for symptoms within fourteen days, and if after fourteen days he/she does not have any symptoms, then, he/she is fine. However, it must be emphasised that if a person is symptomatic, firstly, we know that he/she is not transmitting and, secondly, we will only observe that person if he/she has a history of having traveled to a place where there are confirmed cases of the coronavirus. However, it is only when that person has symptoms that we will put him/her in a designated isolation unit. The capacity to observe that person is adherent to self-quarantine and is being taken very seriously, and we are working as a multi-sectoral team.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kintu (Solwezi East): Mr Speaker, information on social media is indicating that, in fact, even symptomatic people are able to transmit the coronavirus. What is the incubation period for the coronavirus so that people can know how to quarantine themselves?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, the ability to transmit the virus when a person is symptomatic is insignificant and there is evidence to show that transmission is airborne through droplet inhalation. There was a talk about transmission from a symptomatic patient, but the evidence so far adduced is not statistically significant. The incubation period is within fourteen days.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the well detailed statement on the coronavirus. I am aware that the World Health Organisation (WHO), an offshoot of the United Nations (UN), has been distributing materials and assisting a number of countries to help detect the coronavirus. Is the hon. Minister in a position to inform the nation whether we are recipients of any kind of assistance and what would be its monetary value?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, like I alluded to in the statement, resource mobilisation is critical in mounting a multi-sectoral response. So, our partners have come on board. The American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is supporting Zambia in capacity building and has provided some protective personal equipment. The Chinese Centre for Disease Control has also come on board and the World Bank is working with us on a sustainable basis to create infrastructure for public health security and to ensure that preparedness is enhanced. In terms of the actual funds released, we have not received actual resources, but we have received support through the World Health Organisation (WHO) in terms of capacity building and materials, for instance, used for testing. I must place on record our appreciation to all the co-operating partners, namely, the American and Chinese Governments, and the WHO, who are working with us very closely on this subject.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I know that there are quite a lot of measures that the Government has put in place regarding the coronavirus. However, most of the Zambian traders who do business go to China. Is there a measure to restrict them from travelling or anything of that sort to try and discourage those who would like to go to China at the moment?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, travel advisories have been issued by the ZNPHI and it is important that non-essential travel is postponed. However, should travel be necessary or inevitable, it would be prudent to consult with the ZNPHI, so that appropriate advice is given. So, travel advisories are available online and there are common mobile numbers that people can call, so that we can advise them on essential travel, but non-essential travel should be considered for postponement.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has outlined a number of measures that have been put in place in preparation for a possible outbreak of the coronavirus. Could the hon. Minister inform this House as to how much his colleagues have put at his disposal in the Treasury to support all the various plans and preparations that he has indicated.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for thinking in money terms because it is extremely important in health systems’ strengthening. However, let me assure him that Parliament has appropriated resources for public health securities. So, there are resources that are available for routine public health security activities. However, in situations of this nature, where we need to enhance preparedness, there are resources that are released just to push the process. So far, we have received adequate support from the Ministry of Finance, through the release of what is already appropriated in the Budget. Further, we are engaging at the multi-sectoral level and coming up with a budget that will soon be funded in terms of a sustained response, should we have an outbreak. However, in terms of the initial response, what is appropriated in the Budget is adequate and that has been released.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Lihefu (Manyinga): Mr Speaker, is there any case of the coronavirus that has been reported in African countries?


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


Mr Mutale (Chitambo): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the satisfying answers he is providing. The hon. Minister has spoken about surveillance systems at all entry points. Could he just break that down so that the people in Chitambo can know what he means by surveillance systems. What measures has the Government put at entry points, so that I can go and tell them what exactly he means?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Chitambo for the sincere question. When I talk of health security and surveillance, I am basically referring to a set of interventions that we execute in the community to detect early signs or symptoms of a possible outbreak of a public health hazard. So, surveillance activities involve getting reports of any suspected cases from any member of the community and reporting them to a trained officer. If that officer gets into contact with such a reported suspect, the activity to draw samples and report back constitutes part of the surveillance activities. Critically, when I talk of surveillance at ports of entry, all the activities that are involved in detecting signs and symptoms from travellers constitute surveillance activities. Broadly speaking, surveillance refers to activities that take place to adduce evidence of a possible suspect of a condition of public health concern. So, it involves the detection of signs and symptoms. At ports of entry, there are thermo scanners that check the temperature and individuals who check for symptoms and take travel history, so that they can ascertain the possibility of contact with people who may have had the coronavirus, and all that constitutes surveillance.


Mr Speaker, the long and short of it is that these are activities that are conducted at the community level and various ports of entry or contact with travellers that enable the officers to check for symptoms and signs or evidence of a possibility of a case of a particular public health condition, and that is the reason surveillance is routine. We have routine surveillance for measles, polio and many notable diseases. So, the surveillance I am talking about in this case involves taking the temperature of people coming into the country and screening them for symptoms. Further, we are taking their travel history, examining them and taking samples of those who are symptomatic, and all those are surveillance activities.


Sir, the sixteen alerts in Zambia were informed by surveillance. When someone is suspected to have the virus, samples are drawn and taken for laboratory valuation and results are gotten, and all this is part of surveillance. Why that question is extremely important is that as we hear of alerts, we are not reporting cases. We are actually reporting a surveillance activity and it is important that the media reports appropriately about surveillance activities, other than reporting that cases of the coronavirus have been reported, when we are actually doing routine surveillance.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, in case of an outbreak of the coronavirus, what mechanisms has the Government put in place so that this disease does not spread to the entire country?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Bweengwa, ask your question again.


Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, in case of an outbreak of the coronavirus in this country, what mechanisms has the Government put in place so that the disease does not spread to the entire country?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that very good question. I should say that the response to that question, and as I alluded to in the ministerial statement, is that the initial thrust is to prevent any new cases by screening everybody who comes in the country so that those who may be symptomatic are treated to prevent the disease from getting into society. However, should we have any case where a person is symptomatic and is found to be positive for the coronavirus, we have adequate isolation facilities. We will carry out the symptomatic therapeutic processes that have been outlined and will quarantine the patient to ensure that he/she does not come in contact with the rest of the community. Our isolation facilities are designed to prevent infection. The isolation facility has patient flow charts so that the patients do not cross contaminate, and as they move within the isolation facility, they do not move towards less effected places. So, we have well designed isolation facilities where we will put any person suspected to be infected to ensure that whatever the outcome, whether recovery or death, is confined within those isolation facilities. As a country, we are ready. We have trained rapid responders and specialists, and we have isolation facilities, protective equipment and appropriate transport modalities for cases from ports of entry. So, we have put in place adequate measures to ensure that the initial response is sustained.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, has the hon. Minister given a checklist of prodromal symptoms to local radio stations and rural areas? Further, is the coronavirus disease waterborne or airborne?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, the disease is transmitted through air droplets. The health promotion measures we have put in place involve the publication of flyers, and various messages are being disseminated on various media platforms and languages. Messages are currently being aired on community radio stations, and flyers are being distributed to various parts of the country, which are bringing out key messages of the corona virus. People will be receiving messages on their phones, if they have not yet received them, on the importance of infection prevention at personal level to ensure that personal hygiene is enhanced. As we know, personal hygiene, simply through hand washing, will protect one from getting the virus. When one is coughing and sneezing, and covers his/her nose, as he/she does that, that protects the next person from getting what he/she is sneezing out. I want to emphasise that personal hygiene is critical to infection prevention. However, health promotion messages are being done in all languages and broadcasted at all community radio stations.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last interventions from the hon. Member for Nalikwanda, the hon. Member for Sioma, the hon. Member for Chilanga, the hon. Member for Zambezi East and the hon. Member for Chembe.


Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, in response to Hon. Ng’onga’s question, the hon. Minister was very cautious because of the diplomatic implications of the coronavirus. However, given the magnitude of this epidemic, does he not think it is important for the country to take measures to temporally stop our people from going to China, as a preventative measure?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, Zambia is party to international health regulations of 2005, which do not restrict trade and travel during outbreaks unless so indicated through a technical lens. So, there is no absolute indication to put an absolute ban. However, the advice that non-essential travel should be avoided should suffice.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Mr Speaker, I have been watching television, and I saw medical staff in other countries wearing protective clothing. The hon. Minister has emphasised the point on hygiene, yet here at Parliament, there is no hand sanitiser at the entrance. It is the same at shopping malls and the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), and there is nothing to show that people are ready to prevent this disease. What measures has the ministry put in place to ensure that health institutions have funds to at least buy small things like protective clothing, gloves and hand sanitiser and can still run without necessarily asking for help from the Ministry of Health? Further, are the grants coming on time?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, infection prevention is mandatory at all levels in our health institutions. Therefore, if one goes to a health facility, he/she will find infection prevention activities. So, hand washing, especially in times of outbreaks of this nature, or infection prevention through the use of hand sanitisers, is something that is done in our institutions. So, we have processes that promote infection prevention in our various institutions.


Sir, as to whether grants are coming on time, we have received the first grant of the year and we are confident that we will receive the second one because we are still within the month of February. So, in terms of the state of readiness in our facilities, it is very good. Our staff have been sensitised, and measures to promote hand washing in public places have been enhanced. We are sensitising the public and we have seen a number of public institutions respond by putting hand washing facilities at the entrance. Putting hand washing facilities or sanitisers at strategic points in our public places is critical in times of this nature. It is important to do that all the time, but it is extremely important to do that at a time like this, when we are calling for enhanced infection prevention, and the appeal to Parliament has been well-heed by the appropriate authorities.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mrs Phiri (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, first and foremost, I congratulate Hon. Fube for winning the just ended Chilubi Constituency by-election with a landslide victory. Congratulations, Patriotic Front (PF).


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Phiri: Mr Speaker, the epicentre of the coronavirus is in Tubalange area of Chilanga. Has the medical staff undergone sufficient training to handle this contagious disease considering that over 3,000 people in China are already infected with the coronavirus?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, first of all, we do not have an epicentre for the outbreak because we do not have the outbreak in the country. However, the isolation facility is at Tubalange Mini Hospital in Chilanga. At an isolation facility, measures are put to ensure infection prevention and symptomatic therapeutic processes are undertaken adequately. The staff who we place at the facility are not routine staff, but are rapid responders trained in a peculiar way and are from the ZNPHI or the broader Infectious Diseases Unit. So, these are experts and they train local staff but the overall leadership is from the ZNPHI and the Infectious Diseases Unit. The people of Tubalange are safe and the isolation facility is only being used as a possible area for quarantine, and the staff there is drawn from places that deal with infectious diseases of that virulence and are specifically trained as rapid responders for the coronavirus. However, 99 per cent of the global figure is affected, and 77,248 people in China are infected. Out of the 2,006 cases that have resulted into mortality, 99.9 per cent are from within China.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, by now, the hon. Minister of Health must have put in place an epidemic preparedness committee, which committee I believe should be sitting to consider the outbreak of the coronavirus which is traced from the Republic of China. However, this House and the nation at large would like to know how often the epidemic preparedness committee sits to focus on the coronavirus outbreak to aid in updating the nation regularly about this disease. Further, how many times will we be updated so that the many questions being raised by citizens, including hon. Members in this House, can reduce?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, the Public Health Act provides for the national epidemic preparedness committee and it is chaired by the Minister of Health. The national epidemic preparedness committee brings on board multiple stakeholders, ministries and partners to look at epidemic preparedness, and should there be an outbreak, epidemic response. So, we meet routinely or not less than once quarterly. However, in the event of an outbreak or a threat, we have emergency meetings. For instance, we recently held a national epidemic preparedness committee meeting, which I personally chaired. All the actions that the hon. Members are seeing today are informed by that meeting, and all the partners and ministries undertook whatever roles they were assigned.


Sir, even at a higher level, there is a co-ordinating committee under the Office of the Vice-President and the Central Government co-ordination committee at the level of the Permanent Secretary chaired by the Secretary to the Cabinet meets fortnightly. The epidemic preparedness committee also meets and the interventions that are agreed upon in that meeting are executed by all stakeholders. Feedback on what has been done and not done by various ministries is given every two weeks by the Secretary to the Cabinet, through the co-ordination at Cabinet Office. So, the public is informed regularly through alerts. In disease intelligence, we keep the public informed as the outbreak evolves, and what we are now doing is part of keeping the public informed.


Mr Speaker, in the past, I have issued statements through the media just to brace the nation and the Director of the ZNPHI, Professor Mukonka, has been featured on television, and we have had experts on various programmes to discuss the coronavirus. So, the public is engaged through various media platforms. Let me assure the hon. Members that the epidemic preparedness committee meets regularly. There was an emergency meeting about the coronavirus which I chaired and all the activities they are seeing today are informed by the agreements that were made at that meeting. At the ZNPHI itself, this is routine, and every week, there are meetings with key stakeholders. Zambia being the collaborating centre, there are virtual meetings or eco-platform meetings that are held at regional level to discuss a common approach in the region. If there is any information that is required to be disseminated to the public, we have a very robust public information system and that information is released as such.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Kopulande (Chembe): Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to also congratulate Hon. Fube for his resounding success in the just ended by-election in Chilubi.


Sir, in his answer to an earlier question, the hon. Minister of Health indicated that people in border areas are being sensitised regarding the spread of the coronavirus disease. Furthermore, in answer to the hon. Member for Zambezi East, the hon. Minister indicated that there has been a lot of mass media communication regarding this disease. Coming back to the border areas, Chembe is a border area and it does not receive any signal from the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) or any other television station. Considering that Chembe is a border area and is especially close to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), does the Government have plans to provide mass communication infrastructure such as radio stations in all border areas to ensure that the people in those areas are prepared and know how to identify and respond to a medical threat such as the one we have now?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Chembe’s concern is noted. However, information dissemination is not only through radio or television. We have surveillance officers and health promotion officers in every district and these engage community leaders such as the church leadership or various congregate settings. So, we are able to disseminate information even when we do not have any signal, and that mechanism exists. The Ministry of Health is highly decentralised and is found in every corner of the country.


Sir, the attempt to get a Government assurance on radio communication would require an indaba between me and the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting, which we can do outside. However, let me assure the hon. Member that messages on health promotion are being disseminated to the people of Chembe through other mechanisms that I alluded to. This being the last question, let me take this opportunity to appeal to hon. Members of Parliament to ensure that these messages reach their constituents and they participate in the distribution of effective Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials. With enhanced infection prevention, disease surveillance and disease intelligence, we can all keep Zambia safe.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, before I proceed to render the ministerial statement, allow me to join my hon. Colleagues to welcome and congratulate our new Member of Parliament, Hon. Mulenga Fube, who will now be representing our beloved people of Chilubi Constituency. I also congratulate the three councillors who won by-elections in the Western Province and those who won in the Southern Province.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: Sir, let me once again thank you for according me this opportunity to render a ministerial statement on the security situation in the country. It is, indeed, regrettable that the Zambia Police Service has continued to record cases of violent attacks against citizens in some parts of the country. These attacks were first recorded in Chingola District, on the Copperbelt Province, and have since spread to other parts of the country.


Mr Speaker, allow me to brief the House and the nation at large on the criminal activities recorded in the recent past. On 29th August, 2019, a family of six was attacked by unknown criminals who were armed with machetes. The four children aged between twelve and four sustained serious injuries while their mother, aged twenty-nine, was allegedly murdered by unknown persons at her residence. She was raped and had deep cuts on her head. It appears that the attackers gained entry by breaking the bedroom wall and dragged the victim into the sitting room. However, three suspects have been arrested and are appearing in the courts of law.


Sir, another case was recorded in Chingola on 15th December, 2019. A male person aged nine sustained multiple injuries after he was attacked by criminals who used metal bars and the death of the minor sparked riots in the city. Five suspects have since been arrested in connection with the murder of the nine year old boy and are appearing in the courts of law. Further, in the same month of December, a male person was injured and he sustained deep cuts on the forehead.


Mr Speaker, arising from these incidents, suspects connected to the murder of the young male were arrested and charged and are equally appearing before the courts of law. The House may wish to know that the model of operation in all these criminal attacks was similar. The attackers targeted incomplete houses and did not steal anything after committing these heinous crimes. Further, the attackers used windows to enter and exit the victims’ houses.


Sir, as a result of the attacks on innocent citizens, Chingola District experienced a spate of riots in the townships. Members of the public resorted to instant mob justice on suspects whom they perceived to be behind the killings. However, the Zambia Police Service managed to contain the situation and apprehended 158 suspects and charged them with riotous behaviour. The House may also wish to note that alarming statements have been issued, particularly on social media, that the reported incidents were linked to ritual killing. I wish to state that the term ‘ritual killing’ means slaying a human being to appease deity. In short, certain body parts of victims of ritual killings are found missing for suspected ritual use. From the investigations so far, the police cannot confirm that the attacks are linked to ritual killings.


Mr Speaker, it has been observed that after the physical attacks on the people, the criminals devised a different mode of operation. They now started spraying poisonous chemical substances to make the victims unconscious. Several gassing incidents have been recorded in various parts of the country. The affected areas include Copperbelt Province, Central Province, the Eastern Province, the Northern Province, the North-Western Province, and now Lusaka Province.


Sir, on 13th February, 2020, gassing incidents were recorded in Lusaka and sporadic riots were experienced in Kanyama, Chawama, John Howard, Chaisa and Matero townships. Then there was a regrettable occasion where people took the law into their own hands and in the process, three unidentified males were killed.


Mr Speaker, different types of poisonous chemical substances have been found at different crime scenes. These poisonous chemical substances have been subjected to laboratory examinations and the results have been shared with law enforcement agencies. Due to the fact that these matters will be subjected to the court process, the results have not been shared with the general public. The Government takes public safety as a major priority and sharing the results would definitely compromise the court process.


Sir, furthermore, the House may wish to know that on the Copperbelt, 370 houses were suspected to have been gassed from 22nd January to 14th February, 2020, in which 1,198 individuals were affected. One person who responded to the distress call from a neighbour died from suspected gassing, whilst the rest received medical attention and have since been discharged from various hospitals and health centres. In the North-Western Province, thirty houses were suspected to have been gassed with poisonous chemical substances and 162 victims were affected. Sixteen suspects have since been arrested, charged and are yet to appear before the courts of law.


Mr Speaker, Lusaka Province and the Northern Province have also recorded some incidents of suspected gassing similar to those on the Copperbelt Province, Central Province and the North-Western Province, as investigations have shown. However, much of the information in circulation, especially on social media, is not factual and cannot be backed by medical evidence. These false alarms have created insecurity leading to riots and instant mob justice.


Sir, between 15th and 16th February, 2020, eleven cases of suspected gassing were confirmed in Chazanga and Matero townships, while thirty-five were found to be false alarms in which four innocent people were killed. A mob damaged a private motor vehicle and one person has since been arrested for the murder of an innocent citizen accused of being a suspected ritual killer and fifty people were arrested for idle and disorderly conduct. Those people were found with offensive weapons and were moving around communities under the pretext of patrolling, but ended up harassing innocent people.


Mr Speaker, furthermore, on 17th February, 2020, the Zambia Police Service received a report of a suspected gassing incident that occurred at Arthur Wina School in Lusaka District. A couple of children were taken to Chilenje Health Referral Hospital for screening and observation. The results at the hospital reviewed that most of the children, except one who had signs of asthma, were found to be okay.


Sir, as a result of the riots, police infrastructure and properties were destroyed by mobs. Some of the properties damaged include Ndeke and Luangwa Police Posts in Kitwe, Chipwalu/Mumbwa Road and Kanyama West Police Posts. Kanyama Police Station, which is under construction, was affected as a result of the damages in Lusaka and a Toyota Land Cruiser for the Chilenje Police Station was equally damaged. In the Western Province, Kakaindu and Kazomba Police Posts were destroyed.


Mr Speaker, at the MTN Zambia headquarters, there was a report of attempted gassing, but investigations reviewed that some people wanted to burn the building starting from the finance department with a view to destroy financial records to cover a fraud case. Two five litre containers of petrol were found on the scene. Three suspects, among them, a security guard and two MTN employees, were arrested and are appearing before the courts of law.


Sir, the Government has put a number of measures in place in order to contain the situation and not to allow a situation of disorderly to escalate. To address the widespread terror and fear that has engulfed the country, the Government has undertaken a number of measures aimed at restoring security and public order in the country. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Security Services, His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has since directed the Zambia Army to compliment and supplement the Zambia Police Service in patrolling and policing all the residential areas in the affected areas.


Mr Speaker, more officers have been deployed in the affected areas to stem the criminality and lawlessness that has of late been the order of the day. The defence forces and security officers have also enhanced foot and motorised operations to ensure that no case of instant mob justice occurs. Further, law enforcement officers are protecting the victims and ensuring that the perpetrators are rounded up and made to face the law. The Zambia Police Service has enhanced collaboration with local authorities to ensure that by-laws designed to enhance security are enforced such as the closure of bars and other public facilities. The Zambia Police Service has also enhanced collaboration with community leaders and members through the Community Crime Prevention Unit (CPPU).


Sir, allow me to take this opportunity to respond to the point of order raised by Hon. Cornelius Mweetwa, the Member for Choma Central Constituency, relating to public order and safety, the past by-election in Chilubi Constituency as well as the incidents in Mongu and Gwembe districts.


Sir, I wish to inform the House and the public that public order and safety before, during and after the by-elections was relatively calm. However, the Zambia Police Service recorded twelve cases of political violence in which some cadres from both the ruling party and the Opposition were involved. Eight suspects were arrested and are appearing before the courts of law. It should be noted that opposition political party leaders were not chased from the campaigns in Chilubi by the Zambia Police Service …


Hon. UPND Members: Ah! Question!


Mr Kampyongo: … as some sections of the media reported, but were merely advised to stick to their agreed programmes and schedules.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: I know that losing is bitter.


Mr Speaker, regarding the arrest of the hon. Member for Mongu Central Constituency, Dr Mwilola Imakando, for malicious damage to property contrary to Section 335 of Cap 87 of the Laws of Zambia, it is alleged that on 3rd February, 2020, during the campaign period for Kaande Ward Local Government by-election, Hon. Imakando while acting together with other unknown persons, attacked the Patriotic Front (PF) campaign team and damaged property. Hon. Imakando is currently out on police bond.


Sir, with respect to the incident in Gwembe District, on 30th January, 2020, between 0100 hours and 0300 hours, a truck carrying relief mealie meal for the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) got stuck at Koma Bridge about 6 km from Sinafala. Within a short time, a Toyota Land Cruiser V8, whose number plate was covered with a cloth, and was carrying people suspected to be United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres in the company of the hon. Member of Parliament for Gwembe Constituency, Ms Attractor Malungo Chisangano, arrived on the scene. They beat up the driver and looted the mealie meal. The driver was accused of taking the mealie meal to a PF camp for campaign purposes. After a report was made, police officers rushed to the scene and found many people looting the mealie meal. They tried to stop the looting of the mealie meal but they were overstretched. Investigations have since revealed that a Land Cruiser V8 belonging to a known parliamentarian was seen loaded with bags of mealie meal on top of ...


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: ... its carrier and a Mitsubishi Canter registration number BAF 5374 was used by suspected UPND cadres. Four people have since been arrested for theft and are appearing before the court in Monze District. The parliamentarian suspect has since left the area and investigations on this matter are very active and ongoing.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to seriously warn the perpetrators of these vices that crime does not pay, and the long arm of the law will catch up with them. I also wish to caution members of the public to desist from making false alarms, especially on social media, and to stop taking the law into their own hands. We should allow the police to deal with these matters professionally. We know that gassing people in their homes, schools or business premises is aimed at causing fear and panic on the general populous, and that it is being orchestrated by people who are determined to disrupt the peace, law and order that the country has enjoyed for many years. Should the situation continue, the Government will not hesitate to consider declaring these activities as terrorism activities. I appeal to all hon. Members of the House that these are not political matters. They are security matters and we are all affected in one way or another. It is important that collectively, we provide leadership because we represent the people and they are the ones being affected every day.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


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


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, the country has lost a number of citizens. Could the Government consider bringing independent investigators, for example, Scotland Yard or the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), to come and beef up the investigations and establish the cause of this gassing in this nation?


Mr Kampyongo: Sir, when I was giving the statistics and sequence of events, I stated the number of suspects who have been rounded up, and the Government has the capacity to investigate.


Hon. UPND Members: Question!


Mr Kampyongo: You are able to say ‘question’ because you are safe.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Minister, resume your seat. We have just started dealing with this statement and we have a long way to go. You know the traditions of the House. People saying ‘question’ is a practice that is accepted. So, if you are going to engage those who are saying ‘question’, we will not make progress. This expression is used by hon. Members on the left and the right as a tradition of the House, but if that will distract you, I am afraid we will not make progress.


This is a rather difficult and sensitive subject in itself. I do not expect it to be transacted with ease; it is not possible. It is emotive. As leaders, we have to deal with it nonetheless because that is our responsibility. I am sure people are listening outside there and want to see how we are going to deal with this problem. So, hon. Members on both sides of the House need to show leadership. This is a security problem and we need to show leadership on this.


Hon. Minister, you may continue.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, well-guided. In my response, I stipulated the measures that the Government has put in place. Further, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, who is the President, has called upon other security wings to supplement the efforts of the Zambia Police Service in order to contain the disorderly and riotous behaviour that we have seen in certain sections of the country. However, like I said, the suspects are being arrested, and we have a justice system in this country which requires that suspects be treated as innocent until they go through the processes of the court. So, at this point, we do not see any need of involving external support. The collaboration between the security wings that we have internally is enough to manage the situation at hand.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Mr Speaker, this is a serious national issue that threatens our security. I am disheartened to see that the issue of mealie-meal and those who were attacking people from the United Party for National Development (UPND) were quoted, but the hon. Minister did not say any name of people belonging to the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, although he knows that by-elections involve different parties. This is the discriminatory policing that is allowing criminality in this country and it is sickening. The hon. Minister needs to respond with impartiality so that the criminals can be identified.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Keembe, what is your question?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Kasune: Mr Speaker, why is the hon. Minister allowing discriminatory policing in this country and allowing criminals to get away with it? I need an answer.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Keembe, I was giving guidance on being emotive a minute ago. Surely, how can the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in all fairness be accused of allowing this?




Mr Speaker: Order!


When you say ‘allowing criminality,’ that is an aspersion. Can you withdraw that.


Ms Kasune: Mr Speaker, I withdraw that but I meant ‘discriminatory policing’, which is different from what you said. Why is it that the UPND is always quoted as doing things when the PF and its cadres is not quoted in his statement? That was my question.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I urge my dear colleagues to avoid being emotional when asking questions on points of clarification. I mentioned names in the statement when responding to a point of order which was specifically raised regarding the by-elections. That point of order specified the names of the hon. Members of Parliament, who I equally cited in my ministerial statement. I stated that there were some instances of political violence which involved members of the ruling party and the Opposition. So, I find it a challenge as to whether the hon. Member of Parliament was following me when I was issuing the ministerial statement. Let us avoid being emotional because I state facts as they are, in as much as we are not a public relations ministry.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Chikote (Luampa): Mr Speaker, this situation started in Chingola, and it has spread all over our nation. Why is it taking the Government so long to bring the situation to normal? Yesterday, we saw the First Lady crying, meaning that she has seen that the Government has failed to do something about this saddening situation in our country, especially in rural areas where officers do not even have transport, and parents have started withdrawing their children from schools. Why is the Government taking so long to quench this situation? Is it that it has failed?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the passion that the hon. Member is expressing is a starting point. If he is that passionate, he should help us to educate our people because most of the cases are out of suspicions. I stated that suspects have been apprehended where we found credible cases. However, we must understand that we have a judicial system. We cannot arrest people and judge them there and then. I explained that the Copperbelt has relatively returned to normal and what we have to deal with are speculations and falsehoods. As a representative of the people, the hon. Member has a responsibility to sensitise people so that they appreciate the sanctity and value of life. It is not worth killing another human being over suspicions that we cannot prove. If we lived that way, it would be like living in a jungle. So, we have a judicial system and suspects are taken to law enforcement institutions. I stated the number of cases that have been found to be falsehoods, and I do not think we can classify that as failure. I said that we should have a collective responsibility in addressing and sensitising members of the public on this matter. We are all part of the Government. The hon. Member of Parliament has to partner with us in the Government so we can sensitise members of the public to respect the law. So, let us not seem to be rejoicing and –


Hon. Opposition Members: Who is rejoicing?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, when I say these falsehoods –




Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, resume your seat. Let us have some order!


I have a very long list in front of me. I, therefore, urge the hon. Minister of Home Affairs to respond specifically to the questions in order for us to make rapid progress. The question was plain: Why has it taken long for the Government to bring the situation to normal? Supply an answer and we move on. You can indicate the progress made and if there are any difficulties, you can outline them and, then, we move on. I believe you have already answered the question, unless you want to stress anything.


Mr Kampyongo indicated dissent.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Mr Speaker, we have heard a lot of conflicting statements regarding this issue from hon. Ministers and the police. Is the hon. Minister not considering bringing in other stakeholders such as the Church and even other political parties to try and resolve this issue?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I am not sure about the conflicting statements the hon. Member is referring to, but regarding the other part of his question on whether we will consider bringing in other stakeholders, we all belong to one country, which is Zambia. The Government is willing to work and partner with all the stakeholders who think they can find solutions to this situation. This is the beginning. The President of the Republic is willing to even engage churches because we reach out to the people through them in order to get the people to appreciate the value of life. Zambians are not known to kill suspected criminals in cold blood. So, we are willing to engage everyone, including hon. Members of this august House, to find a solution regarding this matter, and to especially sensitise our citizens to appreciate the rule of law.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, indeed, this is a national issue. It has affected our people and they are living in fear because their safety is not guaranteed. Bearing in mind that some Patriotic Front (PF) officials confessed that they have information which may assist the police to arrest those killing our people and sending criminals to spray homes with teargas, would the hon. Minister consider summoning them, so that in the spirit of love, the perpetrators can be arrested?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, my simple response to the hon. Member’s question is that, yes, the police are willing to receive information from any member of the public.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, in his statement, the hon. Minister indicated several incidents where mob instant justice took place. How many people lost their lives through instant mob justice?


Mr Speaker: That is if the information is readily available.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, indeed, we recorded loss of life. On the Copperbelt, four cases were recorded, and in Lusaka, three cases were confirmed. However, there are other statistics that I have not captured, but I can always make the information available.


Sir, let me take advantage of Hon. Mwamba’s question to emphasise on falsehoods. Without being malicious, I would like to cite one example of an issue that we dealt with yesterday, which involved a dear senior hon. Member of this august House, the Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central, whose child escaped a mob in Shimabala. This was an incident where a member of a household was telling members of the community about a gassing incident and she pointed to a direction where those suspected to be gassing homes could have headed to. Unfortunately, Hon. Nkombo’s daughter was coming from the same direction around 0530 hours and when the people saw the motor vehicle, they charged towards it having suspected that it was the people suspected to be spraying gas. The young lady reacted quickly and made a u-turn, and it was only the vehicle’s rear window that was shattered. So, that is why I am saying that these are not matters to politicise because imagine if that young lady lost her life. That is why I was happy yesterday as we discussed this matter because the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central indicated that he would like to address these matters with the United Party for National Development (UPND) hierarchy, so that we could get into some engagement and find solutions to this issue. So, that is why I am emphasising that we all have a responsibility. You may not be affected today, but you could be a victim tomorrow.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nakacinda (Nominated): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has repeatedly referred to falsehoods and propaganda and that they could also be responsible for the negative reaction from our citizens. However, the hon. Minister referred to a matter in Chilubi, where the nation was fed with information that the Opposition was chased from Chilubi during campaigns, but he seemed to be suggesting that they were actually advised otherwise in relation to programming. Could the hon. Minister clarify what really happened in Chilubi in that regard.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, the hon. Minister was very clear, and the only thing your question is trying to do is to get him to repeat what he said.


Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, one politically exposed person, who is also the former hon. Minister of Defence, is quoted saying he knows the people who are behind these gassings. Has he volunteered that information, and if he has, is it one of the reasons that has lead to some of the arrests in the country? If he has not volunteered any information, does that not amount to spreading falsehoods and innuendos meant to set one citizen against the other? I believe he has an obligation to report to the police if he has that information.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, in as much I do not micromanage the work of the police with regard to investigations, I am sure that the police formally get to invite anyone who publicly volunteers information. If, indeed, the statement was made publicly in a manner that the hon. Member said, then, that politically exposed individual will be summoned as and when the police will deem it fit. Just like any other citizen who publicly declares that he/she has information, the police interrogate such a person and hear how much credible information may be put on the table.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kapalasa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, on behalf of the people of Katuba, I would like to say that we are very ashamed to have an hon. Minister who is failing to come to terms with reality.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Katuba, withdraw that.


Mr Kapalasa: I withdraw, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Resume your seat.


The hon. Minister of Home Affairs has rendered a statement, after I directed him to do so, so that he can explain the security situation in the nation. He has given the information to the nation and to the House in particular. You now have the opportunity to clarify the statement that the hon. Minister has issued but the sense I am getting is that you want to use this as a political contest to cast aspersions, and to denigrate and embarrass each other. That is not the spirit in which I have allowed you to ask a question. You either have a point you seek to clarify or give way to others who may have issues to raise, which will assist us to deal with this problem.


Mr Kapalasa: Mr Speaker, as the hon. Minister is aware, people are being killed like chickens. What is he doing about this because the men in uniform are also being slaughtered so it looks like they are also involved? What is the hon. Minister doing about these deaths?




Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister has explained what he has done so far up to a point where some prosecutions have commenced.


Mr Kangombe (Sesheke): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the ministerial statement that he has rendered to this House. One gentleman, a senior citizen for that matter, came out in the open that he has known the people who are behind the killing and gassing of people for the past five years. This senior citizen has been reported to the police for concealing information for the past five years, information that could have helped the hon. Minister’s office in particular as well as the Government to avoid the killings and gassing that the country is currently experiencing. What is the ministry doing to ensure that this man is called, sooner than later, to help with investigations, and to curb violence and the gassing that is taking place?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I just wonder how this matter has generated a lot of interest. I stated that I do not want to take up the work of the Zambia Police Service. If an individual makes an indication publicly or, indeed, privately that he/she may have information, there is a formal way of getting to engage such an individual. I have already responded to this question and this is the third time I am doing so. So, if the hon. Member is interested, as a citizen, he can go to a police station and can ask the police if they have summoned the individual who publicly indicated that he has the information. He has the right to do that and the police will give him the response. So, he is very free to do that. Like I said, the doors of the police are wide open and they accept information from any source.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwiinga (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, why has Mr GBM (Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba) not been picked despite him having been reported?


Mr Speaker: I think the hon. Minister has explained his position.


Mr Kamondo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has told the House that many people have actually been killed because of mob justice. However, I did not hear him at any point mention the number of people who could have been killed because of stray bullets or maybe at the hands of the police. How many people could have been killed by the police?


Mr Speaker: I have not followed your question in relation to the statement given by the hon. Minister.


Mr Kamondo: Mr Speaker, in relation to the statement given by the hon. Minister, the gassing issue has actually brought confusion. Last week, there was a gassing incident that took place within Lusaka, where it was reported that a pupil had been killed by the police. The hon. Minister has told us the number of people who were killed because of mob justice. However, how many people could have fallen in the hands of the police and died?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I may not have the statistics, but I can confirm that when the police were trying to restore order during the riots that erupted in Chawama, and especially in Kanyama, where people were extremely unruly, some people were disabled in the process, and I do not have the statistics right now. We further had a regrettable incident in Chazanga area and we have requested the police to do an investigation and to interact with the family of the child who was hit by a stray bullet. I can confirm that that happened in Chazanga and the police are following up that matter actively.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mubika (Shangombo): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs has just confirmed that the gasses or chemicals that the perpetrators of these barbaric acts are alleging using make people sleep, so that they can have the freedom to do whatever they want. We have commissioners of police, such as the Commissioner of Police for the Copperbelt Province and the Deputy Investigator-General. Yesterday, the Commissioner of Police for the Northern Province was on Prime Television and he said that there are no chemicals that are being used for such activities, and a seventeen year old girl from Mporokoso Day Secondary School is in detention in Kasama for giving false alarms. What are we supposed to believe? Are the perpetrators using chemicals that make people sleep or should we believe what the commissioners of police are telling us?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, when I was issuing the statement, I referred to substances that have been subjected to laboratory tests to ascertain what type of substances they are and how poisonous they are, and I said that these substances could form part of the exhibits that will be tendered in the courts of law. However, the issue of falsehoods that the hon. Member has spoken about is a different matter. The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr Bonny Kapeso and I were on the Copperbelt, and we were with the Commissioner of Police for Copperbelt. I do not remember any point where she said that there are no chemicals. However, we can only talk about those chemicals after they have been analysed by laboratory experts.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Lihefu: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for increasing the number of security officers in our different constituencies. However, is the hon. Minister aware that the security officers who were sent to areas such as Mufumbwe, Manyinga, Kabompo, Chavuma and Zambezi are beating citizens, which has led to looting shops, instead of protecting them from the criminals who have been gassing people? If he is aware, what measures is the ministry putting in place to control the situation?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member of Parliament for Manyinga for that question. I am surprised that today, he has turned around in that manner, when he was crying for police reinforcement. The House will recall that last week, he posed a question to me, and I discussed with him, and this was after people in his area decided to mete out instant mob justice on two individuals who had travelled from Chingola to his area, and the only crime they committed was to mention that they had travelled from Chingola. However, he is aware that we sent police officers to restore order in the area. I can vouch for my officers that they cannot stoop so low to loot because they went to Manyinga to restore order. The hon. Member was gracious enough to bring information to my attention for us to deploy officers to go and restore order in Manyinga. So, I do not see how the police who went to restore order in Manyinga could loot. They did their work well, and I am sure he can attest to the fact that Manyinga is relatively calm, so is Mufumbwe. So, I can defend my officers and they cannot stoop that low to engage in lawlessness.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister already indicated in his statement that this is a national issue, which requires all of us to be level-headed so that we can find solutions. Are there resources that could be made available to hon. Members so that we get to our constituencies at the earliest possible time? For example, people in Kaputa have been talking about gassing for the last two days, but some people who reside 150 km away from Kaputa are sleeping outside after they heard about what is happening in Kaputa from their friends. Are there any resources that could be made available to enable some of us quickly go to our areas to explain issues to the people?




Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I risk straying into your jurisdiction as to how hon. Members can be capacitated to go to their constituencies to see how they can help to sensitise the people and calm them down. This is a difficult one, but I think it is something that I can discuss with the Leader of Government Business. However, given the resources we may have, I know that as hon. Members, we can effectively communicate with our people even when we are away from the constituencies. So, my plea is that collectively, as hon. Members and representatives of the people, we should try and calm the people to avoid them acting on false alarms. People need to be conscious and security starts with communities. In being conscious, they can do so many things, and that is why we have community policing. Wanting to know an individual whom you suspect is not part of the community can be done in so many civilised ways, and that is what we should encourage our people to do, rather than them taking the law into their own hands. At the end of the day, the people taking the law into their own hands will be arrested and prosecuted. However, we have a number of cases that the police have followed up regarding the people who meted out instant mob justice on innocent people who lost their lives.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Siwanzi (Nakonde): Mr Speaker, the gassing incidents appear to be co-ordinated attacks against innocent citizens of this country, as they are happening in different parts of the country. In his statement, the hon. Minister indicated that some suspects were arrested in relation to gassing. What is coming out of those investigations? Are these suspects acting in their personal capacity or working under someone’s instructions? Further, are they someone’s agents and is there any lead on the person co-ordinating those attacks?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member for Nakonde for that concern. Indeed, the police have been interrogating a couple of suspects. Like I said in my statement, there are those who could be linked to the murders I alluded to and those who could be linked to the suspected gassing activities. As Minister of Home Affairs, I cannot go into details and start zeroing-in on those sponsoring those activities because these matters will have to go to the courts of law, and that is where they will be determined. If there are other people linked to these matters, the police are following the leads on the criminals and they will take action as they are led to some of the people who could be connected to these matters. That is how far I can go.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for this important statement on the security of the country. By the way, the alleged gassers have also reached Kalabo, and I was told that there is rioting. My question is on political violence. The hon. Minister talked about violence related to gassing and political violence. There is a feeling around the country that security in the country is disintegrating into chaos partly because of political violence. The feeling is that the police are not doing enough to curb political violence, especially when it is related to those in the ruling party. The day before yesterday, thugs raided a hotel. Since there is a feeling that the police are not doing enough, would the hon. Minister accept or consider recommending to the President that a commission of inquiry be set up where members of the public can freely go and make submissions about what they have experienced and seen on political violence because if we do not do something, violence is likely to spin out of control?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, by now, the hon. Member must know that there is a report that was done by Lishimba, a senior man of the Bench, and it has been handed over to the President. However, we all have the responsibility to deal with this matter, and it is not just the police’s responsibility alone. The stakeholders in the political sphere are not the police; It is we the hon. Members who are stakeholders. So, before we start blaming the police, we should start engaging ourselves because we should be part of the solution. We are all stakeholders, so, let us not apportion blame, and what is important is to accept that there is this challenge that we need to deal with squarely as stakeholders. Then we can sit and discuss honestly and sincerely so that the police can be given an environment in which they can enforce the Public Order Act without being seen to be biased.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for only the first part of his statement.


Sir, it is a terrible day for the people of Mwinilunga for we have just lost someone through mob justice because of gassing. So, the hon. Minister can add one person who was killed in Mwinilunga last night to the figures, and another family was gassed last night in Chief Chibwika’s area, where the hon. Minister was a week ago.


Mr Speaker, I followed the hon. Minister quite clearly and patiently, and I found out that the measures he outlined are only dealing with riots and mob justice. They are meant to arrest mob justice and riots, but they fall short on arresting the core issue we are dealing with, which is the gassing scheme. Where does the hon. Minister get the confidence that the police will arrest this scourge when measures that have been put in place do not relate to the core issue of gassing and they do not want to hire an organisation of international repute to help with investigations?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member for the follow up question and the information he has brought out from his constituency, and I will certainly make a follow up to ensure that appropriate action is taken.


Sir, if the hon. Member listened when I was rendering the ministerial statement, I spelt out the measures meant to restore order and ensure that people observe the rule of law. Ordinary individuals should not punish any suspected offender, and it is well known that everybody should appreciate the principle of one being innocent until proven guilty. I also went further to give the number of suspects who have been arrested. The hon. Member must understand that for the police to do thorough investigations to deal with those who are suspected to be engaging in gassing, they need to have a conducive environment. They cannot do both at the same time. When there are people being riotous and demanding for suspects so that they can met out instant justice, the police cannot perform their duties thoroughly. So, we must first restore order and then the investigations will continue, and that is how other suspects have been found. It is important that the hon. Member understands how the justice system operates, and that will help the people. He will then be instrumental in making people appreciate that suspects must be given a chance to be heard through the court process. The hon. Member is aware that in Mwinilunga, for example, there are suspects who were found with strange substances, and it is the same in Ikeleng’i. All those things are being found because the police have intensified their investigations. However, what cannot happen at the same time is this lawlessness. Instead of the police focusing on zeroing-in on the culprits, they also have to start running battles with those who are being riotous. So, that is why I am saying that let us make concerted efforts. The hon. Member can appeal to the people of Mwinilunga to allow the police to do their work so that those they suspect can be taken to the courts of law, and that is the co-operation that we need.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the statement he has made, through this House, to the nation. I also thank him for the statement he has made indicating that he is available for dialogue with the Opposition and any other interested member of the public to resolve issues of violence and any other criminal activities in the country.


Sir, is the Government now committed to immediately having a dialogue process to resolve the issues affecting the nation so that we return to normalcy in this country? What is currently happening in the country is unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue. Is the hon. Minister immediately available for dialogue because we are available? Are we able to immediately engage each other over these issues?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Leader of the Opposition for that question. Earlier in my responses, I indicated that the Government and His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia are open to engagement. Stakeholders like the Church and traditional leaders, whose villages are equally affected, are very important, and I commend one paramount chief, His Royal Highness Paramount Chief Nkhosi Yama Nkhosi, who has called for a meeting to engage his traditional leadership to discuss these matters. So, I can reaffirm that our doors, as the Government, are open to engagement. The hon. Leader of the Opposition said they are ready, but I do not want to ask how committed they are. However, we are ready for engagement. Like I said, we need to provide leadership collectively as legislators and people’s representatives, because we are all affected in one way or another. Yes, I can reaffirm that His Excellency the President is open to engagement and structured engagements will be the way to go. After all, we only have one Zambia. Zambia is not for the PF only. We are all stakeholders in this beloved nation.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Chibanda: Mr Speaker, there have been claims and innuendoes peddled by leaders of some political groupings that the Government is behind the gassing which is currently going on in the country for them to change goal posts. What is your comment on such careless statements being peddled by these politicians?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I would like to appreciate the hon. Member of Parliament for Mufulira for that question. It is regrettable if people want to take the route of apportioning blame. As Home Affairs Minister, I would not want to stoop so low as to start talking about those who want to apportion blame without verified information, which is why I am saying as responsible leaders of this country, no one would want to thrive in wanting to take over a nation where chaos is the order of the day. There is no Government which thrives to see people living in fear. Therefore, that is why we are putting up a lot of efforts. The President has put up drastic measures to bring these matters to a close because he wants to lead a peaceful nation regardless of our divergent views. Like I said, we have only one country. Therefore, I do not want people to start apportioning blame. The police are doing their work and are focusing on the criminal activities as they occur without looking at the suspects' political affiliation.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Mr Speaker, in part two of the statement, the hon. Minister adequately dealt with the issue of electoral violence and measures that are being taken. However, in line with the question by the hon. Leader of the Opposition, the hon. Minister said that the Government stands ready for any engagement. However, he did not spell out or talk about the issue of hate and tribalism which have rocked the country. What bearing do these two have and how are you dealing with these vices?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I would like to appreciate the question by the Member of Parliament for Milenge. In acknowledging his question, I would like to say that yes, as leaders, we need to find a way because where there is hate speech, violence culminates because hate speech is intended to stir emotions and normally hate speech is negativity. Therefore, it is easy to generate violence as a result of hate speech. It is the same thing with tribalism.  This generation must not entertain or tolerate tribalism because it is not relevant to this generation. I would like to cite a few examples. If you look at the first family, or if you have seen certain official portraits of His Excellency, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, he was captured with a young boy who we normally refer to as ba Zambia. His name is Lishomwa and that is his grandchild. This shows you that this issue of tribalism is irrelevant to this generation. When you go to Her Honour the Vice President’s home, you will hear names such as Mulenga and other different names.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: It only shows you that there is one Zambia one Nation at family level. When you go to the Deputy Speaker’s home, you will find nephews with names from the Southern Province mixed with –


Even at Dr Chilufya’s home and my home, you will find the same situation of mixed names. I am saying this so that I show how irrelevant tribalism has become. Our forefathers like the Nkumbulas and Mundias of this world did a lot to try and make this nation come together without looking at ethnic inclination. That is what we should build on; we do not need to make political expediency out of negativity such as tribalism.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: As leaders, we must make sure that our children are not made to start thinking about what tribe they are or start asking which province their parents come from. That should not be the route. We have reverted to the motto of one Zambia one Nation and that is how it should be. I should feel proud to sit next to Her Honour the Vice President without thinking of where she comes from. Moreover, the President has demonstrated that he can work with any one in governing this nation without looking at their tribe. Therefore, I agree with the hon. Member that these are issues that sometimes can divide the nation without people realising it. It is very important that we collectively start condemning these things with sincerity and honesty.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central) Mr Speaker, normally if you are married and your wife dies in a mysterious manner, the husband is always the first suspect until cleared. When you have a situation like the one we have now, we are meeting a lot of people who are insinuating that the Government could be involved in the gassing that is going on. I am not saying it is involved. Is it not wise to bring in independent investigators, because if you continue investigating your own when you are also a suspect, people will say your investigation is biased? It would be ideal to bring in an independent investigating team so that even the Government can clear itself.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the follow-up question from the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalomo. Dear colleagues, we need to be progressive. Let us not be retrogressive as leaders. We have institutions of Government in this country which constitute the State. I have made it very clear and I have given statistics and talked about how our justice system is structured. Therefore, to start thinking that solutions can come from outside is not only strange, but retrogressive. We must have confidence in our own institutions. Those are not institutions for the PF Government. We inherited them as part of Government, and all future Governments will find these institutions. Therefore, it is important that we are progressive in terms of the way we look at these matters. Let us not be petty and avoid apportioning blame. It will not help us. I have been avoiding apportioning blame on any stakeholder because I know that Zambia is bigger than one stakeholder.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, we have been at it for a long time. We have the opportunity to seek clarification on the statement, but I get the sense that we now want to debate. We have had very few questions aimed at seeking clarification on what the hon. Minister said, and we want to express our opinions, view points, feelings, suspicions and the like. The statement was very short, and in my opinion, clear. It revealed that investigations are underway and that some progress has been made and dockets have possibly been opened. However, details of those dockets cannot be divulged because the evidence is yet to be presented and adjudicated upon by the courts of law. That is what the hon. Minister said and what he came for. Of course, like everybody else, he expressed concern about this state of affairs. However, everybody now wants to express an opinion and is not seeking clarification on anything. So, we are moving on.








160. Mr Chishala (Roan) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:


(a)        whether the Government has any plans to give the Luanshya Copper Mines dumpsite to the youths in Luanshya; and


(b)        if so, what measures the Government will take to ensure that only the youths from Luanshya District have access to the dumpsite.


The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Musukwa): Mr Speaker, the Government has been consulting Luanshya Copper Mines with the aim of creating a platform where part of the dumpsite could be utilised for youth empowerment without compromising the operations of the mine, which also depends on the dumpsite as a critical source of its material.


Sir, the Government’s role is to ensure legal exploitation of mineral resources in various parts of the country, including Luanshya. Once the consultations are finalised, the Government structures in Luanshya will guide on the beneficiation.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Chishala: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that we have illegal miners –


Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very important point of order hinging on national interest and I would like to ask you to take judicial notice that we have a problem in the country which has arisen out of what has been going on, vis-à-vis the programme that is being undertaken by the Ministry of Health.


Sir, is the hon. Minister of Health in order to remain quiet considering that the good project that is being funded by the Government of the United States of America (USA) and other stakeholders through the Central Statistical Office (CSO), where they are trying to get statistics pertaining to HIV/AIDS in Zambia, has been misunderstood?


Mr Speaker, members of the public in various localities and parts of Zambia have a misconception that this programme is for collecting blood from them, which blood is being sold. As a result, there has been resistance. In certain cases, members of the public have been taking the law in their own hands. Part of the problem we are now having is that when members of the public see individuals who have been sent by the CSO going in different localities to collect samples, they are made to believe that they are ritual killers.


Sir, is the hon. Minister in order to remain quiet and to allow this situation to degenerate without issuing a statement on the Floor of this House to address the nation on that serious misconception so that all these things are cleared? Once that is done, maybe the problems that we are having will be eased. Is he in order not to quickly come and address the nation on this very serious issue?


Mr Speaker: In order for the hon. Minister of Health to be focused in his response, it is best he responds to specific questions. Assist him by filing those questions so that I take them to him, and he will respond.


Hon. Member for Roan, you may continue.


Mr Chishala: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that some illegal miners have invaded the dumpsite and that lives have been lost? If so, what corrective measures have been taken to avoid loss of life?


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, yes, the ministry is aware of the illegal miners who have invaded the dumpsite and the police have put in place corrective measures to manage the situation so as to avoid loss of life in that area. As hon. Members may be aware, the Government’s role is to ensure that mining operations are undertaken legally. That is why we have been working around the clock to ensure that all illegal mining operations across the country are formalised, so that mining houses follow properly laid down mine plans which are approved by the ministry. So, the Government is discussing with its colleagues at Luanshya Copper Mines to see if they can structure a platform through our leadership and can allow a legal entity to operate, as opposed to illegal mining that is currently taking place, and I hope the hon. Member will help curb that illegality.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Fungulwe (Lufwanyama): Mr Speaker, in his answer, the hon. Minister indicated that the Government is consulting Luanshya Copper Mines. How far have the consultations gone and when will they be concluded?


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, as hon. Members know, we are a Government of laws and we could just invade a tenement which is under the jurisdiction of a mine operation such as Luanshya Copper Mines. Hence, when Her Honour the Vice-President and His Excellency the President directed that our youths across the country need to benefit from the dumpsites, they put a caveat that we should engage various mining houses. This is in order to ensure that we get feedback on how this idea can be exploited and not have two different operations and that mining houses help our youths to create a platform. So, we have made very good and steady progress regarding the consultations, and this will create a win-win situation for both parties. We hope to conclude the consultations at the earliest possible time, so that our youths in Luanshya can be empowered.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, the resources the country is endowed with are for all Zambians. If we were to share these resources geographically, how would the people living in areas where there are no mines benefit from the resources?


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, fortunately, there are resources in Hon. Kabanda’s area such as manganese, and I am sure his constituents can benefit from that resource. Hon. Kabanda is right because the resources are held in trust by His Excellency the President, on behalf of all Zambians, and they cannot be restricted to areas, like the hon. Member of Parliament for Roan indicated. The Government envisages seeing to it that host communities first benefit from the resources, then, others can take over. Let me assure our youths across the country and in particular the people of Roan that the Government will be consistent with the promise it gave, and will create a platform for them to access the dump sites. However, we will not compromise the materials that the mine needs to use.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Chishala: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister clarify the criteria the Government is going to use to identify beneficiaries so that the issue does not seem to be political.


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, on the issue of beneficiaries for the resources belonging to mining houses such as dump sites, the people of Zambia are the beneficiaries. They are not only for people attached to any political persuasion, but for the people of Zambia. In that regard, I expect youth groups across Luanshya to sit down with people such as the District Commissioner (DC), His Worship the Mayor of Luanshya, the hon. Member for Luanshya and the hon. Member for Roan to ensure that they benefit. This resource is for the people of Luanshya and it is non-political.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




161. Ms Chisangano (Gwembe) asked the Minister of Health:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to construct mini hospitals in the following areas in Gwembe Parliamentary Constituency:


  1. Bondo; and


  1. Chipepo; and


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


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, the Government has no immediate plans to construct mini hospitals in Bondo and Chipepo. Therefore, part (b) of the question falls off.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, both Bondo and Chipepo are between 30 km to 40 km from the main hospital, which is in Munyumbwe. Would the hon. Minister not consider reducing the distance that the people of Bondo and Chipepo travel to reach the hospital?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, the health infrastructure that the Government builds in particular jurisdictions is commensurate with the population and not the demand. The population of Bondo and Chipepo is less than 5,000, and it does not meet the criteria for the construction of a mini hospital because it will have suboptimal utilisation. What is required is a much smaller infrastructure at health post level and a creation of a link to a referral system to the next level, should there be a need for a referral. So, the principle reason we may not construct a mini hospital in the area is that it will be underutilised.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Mr Speaker, if I heard the hon. Minister correctly, he said that the population in Chipepo is less than 5,000. Is he sure that is the correct number, considering the vastness of the area? I know that area very well and the population there is quite big. Apart from that, there is a secondary school which has been there for a long time and pupils walk for almost 10 km to reach Chabuboma, which is the nearest clinic in the area.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, it must first be noted that people in the area have health facilities which are not at the level of a mini hospital. Yes, they do not have a hospital, but those facilities are nodes in a framework and are linked to the next level of care through the referral system. So, what I am saying is that the population by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and by our head count is way below the threshold that would require us to build a mini hospital in the area. However, there are facilities in the area to provide health services at the level of care which is commensurate with the population.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Chisangano: Mr Speaker, the Government had actually provided a health post in Chipepo, but all the people there go to a two-roomed clinic. Like one of my colleagues said, when mothers are due for delivery, they have to walk 10 km to reach Chabuboma. So, they are asking for an improved health facility because the health post did not take off, and they rely on a two-roomed clinic. I do not know what the hon. Minister’s plans are in as far as helping the people of Chipepo and Bondo. In addition, there is a maternity at the clinic which can only accommodate one bed. When it comes to the number of beds, there are less than five beds, yet the population is big. What are the hon. Minister’s plans?


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I understand the hon. Member’s passion for the people of Bondo and Chipepo. However, I would like to inform her that in planning for health services for a population of a catchment area, there are variables that we look at. However, that maternity annex has one or two delivery beds and if we measure the number of births that take place there, it does not require a significant upgrade. If we look at the utilisation of services in view of the current data on the health management information system, there is no indication to expand the health facility to mini hospital status. However, populations are never fixed, and as the population of the area grows, we can look at improving the health facilities in Gwembe. Yes, there is room to upgrade the existing clinic to accommodate say a waiting room for mothers or a bigger maternity room. However, the variables do not attract a mini hospital for the current population. My colleagues are saying that the population in the area is big, but it is not adequate. We need to be finite about figures because a village with a population of 3,500 will attract a health post, while one with a population above 5,000 will have a health centre, and a mini hospital will be for a population way above 10,000 to 15,000.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.








The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House places on record its thanks to Her Excellency, Mrs Valentina Matvienko, the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federation Assembly of the Russian Federation, on the occasion of her special address to the House.


Mr Speaker, the House was honoured to host Her Excellency, Mrs Valentina Matvienko, the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, who addressed the House yesterday, Tuesday, 18th February, 2020. The address covered a number of important issues of common interest to both the people of Russia and Zambia.


Mr Speaker, the visit by Mrs Valentina Matvienko is reciprocal to the one undertaken by a Zambian parliamentary delegation in 2018. As hon. Members may be aware, a Zambian delegation headed by Dr Patrick Matibini, SC, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia visited Moscow in April 2018. During that visit, the Rt. hon. Mr Speaker had an opportunity to, among others, address the plenary session of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. This visit and address to this august House, therefore, comes as a product of healthy inter-parliamentary relations that exist between the Parliaments of Russia and Zambia.


Mr Speaker, allow me at this point to make a few observations not only about the special address but the bilateral relations between Russia and Zambia. Zambia and Russia’s bilateral relations date back to the independence era, having established the Russian-Zambian diplomatic relations on 30th October, 1964. Since then, the two countries have enjoyed a cordial relationship that has resulted in mutual benefit to both countries. The relationship was founded on mutual trust and respect for one another.


Mr Speaker, in terms of trade, the co-operation between Zambia and Russia can be traced back to May 1967, when the Intergovernmental Agreement on Economic and Technical Co-operation was signed. The signing of that agreement led to the development of bilateral activities in trade and other economic sectors.


Mr Speaker, the Russian Federation also contributed to lessening Zambia’s debt burden in August 2001, when it wrote off as much as 8 per cent of Zambia’s debt obligations under the credits earlier granted by the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), amounting to US$700 million. This was done pursuant to the Government to Government (G2G) Agreement. Under this agreement, the outstanding balance was supposed to be reimbursed in deferred instalments within the following thirty-three years. However, in 2006, the Russian Federation decided to entirely cancel Zambia’s debt under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. In addition, under the G2G Agreement, Russia has continued to finance a variety of development projects in Zambia aimed at curbing poverty, providing energy, developing healthcare and social security, and increasing accessibility and quality of education.


Mr Speaker, one of the biggest areas of co-operation relates to the energy sector where, in 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a Project Development Agreement were signed regarding the training of Zambian students in nuclear science, and on the construction of a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology in Zambia. The Russian Government has also rendered vast co-operation in the education sector, and for many years, Zambia has benefited from the Russian Government scholarships in the field of science.


Mr Speaker, at parliamentary level, the co-operation can be traced back to the period between 2007 and 2008 when representatives from both Houses of the Russian Federal Assembly visited Zambia on a number of occasions. Those visits were aimed at preparing a fertile ground for the October 2008 meeting in Moscow between Mrs Mutale Nalumango, the then Deputy Speaker of this House, with Mr Alexander Saltanov, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, where the parties held bilateral talks acknowledging the importance of Russian involvement in the settlement of social and economic issues, and resolutions of conflicts in the sub-saharan african region.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, allow me to state that we are very grateful to have received Her Excellency, Mrs Valentina Matvienko, to this august House. Her address to the House raised a number of pertinent issues that relate to the promotion of mutual co-operation between the two countries that the House needs to debate. In addition, the House will have an opportunity to deliberate on issues that do not only affect our work as parliamentarians, but those that are of national and international importance.


Mr Speaker, finally, let me assure Her Excellency, Mrs Valentina Matvienko, the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, of our continued commitment to further develop co-operation between the two countries in various fields and at different levels.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the address by Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.


Mr Speaker, I had the opportunity and honour bestowed on me by you, to be Minister of Honour and I accompanied Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, everywhere she went. I listened to her discussions both with you and His Excellency the President of this Republic.


Mr Speaker, I think Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, came to Zambia at a very opportune time. Those of us who were still very young had an opportunity to know how the liberation struggle was supported at the time the First Republican President and his team fought for the liberation of Zambia and the countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and it was because of the contribution of the then Soviet Union that we saw the liberation of Zambia and many African countries. In fact, many a time, those of us who have no history, since we are not very good at documenting history as a country, take this peace that we are enjoying for granted. We do not realise that many people suffered to bring independence to this country and that some countries actually supported us to bring liberation to Zambia and beyond. So, it was breathtaking and refreshing listening to Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, talk about the history of the liberation struggle of this country.


Mr Speaker, when we visited His Excellency the First Republican President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, it was again very breathtaking, and one thing that was critical for me was being reminded about the role that he and his team played and how selfless they were to liberate not only Zambia but countries around SADC.


Mr Speaker, as I listened to Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko’s Speech, I was also reminded about how Russia contributed to the education of many people in this country, a contribution that has continued up to now, and I happen to be one of the beneficiaries of education in Russia.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, in fact, I went to one of the best universities in the world, the Moscow State University. So, it was very interesting to appreciate, apart from myself, the thousands of Zambians who have benefitted and continue to benefit from the education being offered by Russia. Another good thing is that Russia is prepared to increase the number of scholarships to Zambia so that many more Zambians can take up difficult subjects like science, mathematics and technology.


Mr Speaker, I am also very happy that people have realised the vast wealth that this country has. We boast about the land that we have in Zambia, but it is only good when it is exploited. Even the mineral resources that we boast about are only wealth when they are exploited. So, it is very important that we listen when we have discussions and addresses by renowned people like Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, especially when they put offers on the table. It was a shopping list and it was up to us to have listened to her speech attentively and to look at the offers of support. For example, this afternoon, we were talking about the gassings and killings that have happened in this country, and we are being offered training in security matters. So, it is very important for us to listen and to see how we can start developing concept notes and bankable documents that can help us benefit from such offers.


Mr Speaker, as Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, I am happy to say that according to Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko’s Address, Russia is prepared to partner with us so that we can see how we can up the fisheries sector, especially aquaculture, and the livestock sector. As we proceed and try to create wealth for our people, it is important that we partner with countries that are well ahead in these sectors.


Mr Speaker, people complained about load shedding. However, since there is no rain and we depend on hydropower, load shedding will continue. In her address, Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, talked about our partnership in nuclear power. The ultimate goal of the training programmes for our students who are going to study nuclear science is that we shall use it to contribute to the energy, health and agricultural sectors. So, for me, this address came at a very opportune time. If we listened to Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, attentively, what we should do as a country is to take our pens and paper and put down some bankable documents. We can then thank her for the address and can show her the documents in order for us to receive support.


Mr Speaker, I want to conclude by saying that many a time when we get visitors like this, we do not see it as an opportunity. We need to see this as an opportunity that can even turn round some of the economic ills that we may be facing. We have what it takes. We have the wealth and it is waiting to be exploited. Those with resources are not only here to take advantage of our wealth, but they are offering training to our people in Zambia. This will increase our human capital so that we are not dependant and can be independent by having the critical mass and human capital that we require to invest in the different spheres of our economy.


Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for having invited Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. This is the way it should be, and the National Assembly should take advantage of this visit. As leaders of different constituencies who listened to her address, we should go back to our constituencies and see what can be done in the areas of agriculture, energy, education or health. We can then go to relevant Ministers and tell them what we would like to do. That is the way our colleagues operate. In fact, in her address, Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, mentioned that she came with senators from different regions, who have projects at regional level. For us, it is at constituency level, so, how can we leverage from that address and take it down to our constituencies.


Mr Speaker, congratulations and job well done.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Gender (Ms Phiri): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to the speech that Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, gave in this august House.


Mr Speaker, the relationship between Russia and Zambia started way back. From the speech, we heard that a few days after Zambia got her independence, the first country that recognised us as an independent and sovereign country was Russia. Russia’s contribution to Zambia is massive, and the first Zambia Air Force (ZAF) personnel were trained in Russia.


Mr Speaker, I am happy that in her speech, Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, went ahead to try and see how Zambia can bond her relationship with Russia by suggesting that there be a visa requirements waiver for easy movement between Zambia and Russia.


Mr Speaker, I also want to mention one thing that touched my heart. During the speech, Her Honour the Vice-President was one of the women who was recognised by Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko. As the House might be aware, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has recognised women at the highest level of leadership and it is the first and only Government that has a female Vice-President. As Minister of Gender, I thank His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for recognising us women as leaders. I want to mention that women are born leaders. The first person every man met as a friend, teacher or parent, was a woman. Men produce children, but they desert them. However, women stand with their children regardless of the situation they may go through. So, I thank His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for recognising the women.


Hon, Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, the other thing that touched my heart is when Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, extended an invitation to the female leaders in Zambia, to a global conference that will be held in Petersburg, Russia. If a delegation from Zambia goes to that conference, this will add value to our leadership. When we meet at different conferences, we exchange best practices and learn from each other. So, that conference will mean a lot to us, and Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, expects the first lady to be part of it. It is my prayer that if a delegation from Zambia goes to that conference, it will learn best practices, and this will also add value to the leadership in Zambia.


Mr Speaker, talking about the scholarships that were offered to Zambia, education is the only equaliser. I have looked at how Russia has contributed to the agriculture sector. If Zambian students go and study engineering in Russia, things will change. We are currently grappling with the washing away of roads, and without mincing my words, we need help from countries like Russia for us to sort out such problems. My colleague, the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, said that she is a beneficiary of the education from Russia. We can see the results and she is one of the gurus who we depend on. Wherever she goes, she performs well and this is because she is seasoned and was taught by knowledgeable people. She is not just flimsy, but she is a seasoned professor and is one of the best professors. Maybe, this is because of the type of school she went to.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, so, this is what true friends can offer.


Mr Speaker, in thanking Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, I want to say that she mentioned a lot of things in her speech but what touched me the most is when she extended an invitation to female leaders to go to the conference. I pray that we consider attending that conference and take it as serious business. When the time comes, I pray that a Zambian delegation will go to Russia to see what other countries are doing, and we will possibly learn things that we do not know. However, we also have best practices. As the House might be aware, His Excellency the President, Mr Lungu, is a champion in ending child marriages. So, we can also go and show other countries our best practices. Zambia is a continental champion, so, we also have things to teach at the conference, and things that we can show to our friends.


Mr Speaker, with those few words, I thank you for inviting Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, and giving us an opportunity to hear from her.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Works and Supply (Ms Chalikosa): Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to contribute to the Motion to place on record, thanks to the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation’s Address.


Mr Speaker, I was also drawn to the speech delivered by Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, and as female leaders in Zambia, we will respond to her invitation to participate in the Third Eurasian Women’s Forum. To amplify what the hon. Minister of Gender said, I would like to share my experience when I attended the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum, having been given permission to attend it by Her Honour the Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia, Mrs Inonge Mutukwa Wina, when I was Minister in the Office of the Vice-President. One of the issues that was discussed on the platform was the introduction of African women leaders to the fore. We noticed that it is predominantly Eurasian by name but we proposed that it includes the component of African women.


Mr Speaker, I would like to share with the hon. Members the general resolutions which were discussed and these include the reaffirmation and importance of the implementation of provisions in the Charter of the United Nations (UN) on the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women by states as well as the significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and the Programme of Action of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and other international legal instruments. All women from all parts of the world who attended the Eurasian Women’s Forum were in agreement regarding this issue. We also looked at firmly continuing the efforts to achieve equality between men and women as an integral part of the human rights and fundamental freedoms in the interest of mankind. In addition to that, we also called for the creation of an enabling environment for the full and equal participation of women in political, economic and social, and cultural life, including through the adoption of the appropriate national strategies for women.


Mr Speaker, I will pause for a minute, and I would like to emphasise the importance of the international visitors whom we receive. It clearly shows to me that despite all the domestic challenges that we are experiencing, people of high standing such as Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, can still visit Zambia and not feel threatened. So, it is incumbent upon all of us as leaders to paint our country as one that is peaceful and continues to be peaceful rather than one that is ungovernable and is being challenged with all the goings on that are currently going on.


Mr Speaker, I am grateful to you for having invited her –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Minister, you will continue later.


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Ms Chalikosa: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was sharing the few resolutions that the women globally, agreed upon in terms of enhancing their participation in all spheres be it political, economical or academia. I was saying that the fact that Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, came to visit Zambia at a time when we are having domestic challenges shows that Zambia is still an attractive country to come to and people can continue sharing bilateral relationships. However, we should be concentrating on attracting more visitors to our country rather than spending our time gassing and killing each other for no good reason at all.


Mr Speaker, the Eurasian Women’s Forum, to which the female leaders have been invited to, creates a platform similar to that of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is between Zambia and the United States of America (USA) and other African countries. It allows women to display or export their goods that could be organically made as in the case of honey, handcrafts such as the woven fabrics that we make using our Zambian cotton, and any other products that they may have for export to other countries.


Mr Speaker, when we were at the second Eurasian Women’s Forum, we had the opportunity to visit the stands for small scale entrepreneurs where they displayed their smallware as small industrial bases, and were making shoes, garments, cosmetics and traditional medicines, things that are similar to those we make. So, if we were to improve on this exchange, we would have another international platform, which is ready and willing to accept goods from Zambia. So, it is up to us as a country to take advantage of that platform going by what the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock said.


Mr Speaker, we have been given an opportunity to present what we can do as a country and it is up to us to take it. So, I have a report that is available to be shared with the people particularly, the female Parliamentarians in this House. They may read through, and hopefully, we can organise ourselves as the Women Parliamentary Caucus, and can attend the third Eurasian Women’s Forum, as we have been invited by Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko. So, in short, I thank you and I join my colleagues who appreciated the statement issued by Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko. We, as the Government, are ready and willing to engage further and improve on the bilateral relations between Russia and Zambia.


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


Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according the good people of Choma Central Constituency an opportunity for them to add their voice on the Motion, on the Floor of this House, on the occasion of a special visitation by Mrs Valentina Matvienko.


Mr Speaker, since I am debating a Motion for the first time in 2020, allow me to thank God for keeping all your members in good health. From the time we adjourned sine die, we have come back in good accord, and we are here again debating for the nation. In the same vein, allow me to say that, as Zambians, we should continue being prayerful and we should thank God for the good rains.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, we have had good rains than we initially were told and anticipated. I am also mindful that in certain parts of the country, there were floods that damaged infrastructure and crops. Our hearts are with the people in those areas and we hope that the people in regions that are receiving relatively reasonable rains will cater for the rest of the country so that we do not have a hunger situation that we as a people were subjected to last year and presently.


Mr Speaker, with your greatest indulgence, allow me to take advantage of this Motion to indicate my gratitude to the hon. Minister of Home Affairs – since I am the one who raised the point of order that led to the ministerial statement – for the able manner in which he –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Choma Central, one of our rules of debate is relevance. We moved away from that business a long time ago. You cannot start debating that business now. I allowed you to express yourself on other issues of – I will not add further than that. I am sure you are familiar with the rules. Can you get down to business.


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, thank you for your guidance. It is just that I could not avoid expressing my gratitude but I am well guided.


Mr Speaker, allow me to welcome my colleague, the newest member in the House, Hon. Fube, of whom I have had a long interaction with, to this august House. He is my friend and we have known each other for a very long time, even before we knew that we would come to this House, and we did political activism together. I welcome him to this House. It is just that he came on a bad vehicle, a bad party, the Patriotic Front (PF).




Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, let me place on record the thanks of the people of Choma Central Constituency on this very important visitation and address to this august House by Mrs Valentina Matvienko. It was an opportunity for us to have an estimation of how Zambia stands internationally, and it was a reaffirmation that it still enjoys good international status recognition. As a people, we must be happy when we receive such kind of visitors. It resonates well with all well-meaning Zambians that our country is still in the light that it has been held for a very long time.


Mr Speaker, I acknowledge the hon. Minister of Works and Supply’s comment that this visitation actually amplifies the status Zambia has enjoyed as a united and peaceful country, and she said that we should stop gassing each other. I agree with her and whoever is behind this scam of gassing should stop because it has not worked.




Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, in agreeing with her, the next time the hon. Minister of Home Affairs has an opportunity to issue a statement, he should tell the nation the people who have been caught in this issue of gassing. However, last time, the Deputy Inspector-General told us that seventeen people were arrested.


Sir, according to the law –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Choma Central, I know what you are trying to do.




Mr Mweetwa: I am agreeing with what she said. She was not –


Mr Speaker: You are trying to find a way of expressing yourself on that subject. I will not allow you, hon. Member for Choma Central.


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, thank you for the guidance. I will move away from the hon. Minister of Home affairs and I just to reaffirm that I totally agree with the hon. Minister of Works and Supply. As a representative of the people of Choma, I urge the Government to tell us why the people who were arrested are not being taken to court according to the law, which states that they should be taken to court within 48 hours.


Mr Speaker, on page 1 of Her Excellency Mrs Matvienko’s Speech, there was a statement that attracted my attention, where she stated that:


“Sir, last October, Zambia celebrated the 55th anniversary of its independence. Let me remind you that back then, the Soviet Union was the first country to recognise Zambia’s independence. I would like to congratulate you on this history anniversary”.


Mr Speaker, these commendations are apt and they are due to us because we have truly been politically independent for fifty-seven years. Alas, I wonder if she knew that at a time when she is giving us these commendations, Zambia is in a new political struggle for new political freedom.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, this is because the gains of 1964, which she referred to on page 2 of her speech, have since been eroded by bad governance, under this PF Administration.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, the independence which Her Excellency Mrs Matvienko referred to, spoke about Zambia attaining civil and political liberties, and the freedoms that are not just provided but are enshrined and entrenched in the Bill of Rights.


Mr Speaker, the freedom of assembly, the freedom of association, the freedom of expression and the freedom of speech have been gravely maimed under the current leadership of PF. There was a bizarre incident when the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) organised a discussion forum at Intercontinental Hotel, for lawmakers who are also lawyers to give a perspective of how they understand the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10, and the whole nation witnessed the thugery and hooliganism that the PF has allowed as part and parcel of their governance.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: I have long contended and stated that this hooliganism and political violence will not come to an end until the President of the Republic, who is the Commander-in-Chief, decides so.


Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, thank you very much for reluctantly allowing me to raise this point of order.


Mr Speaker, as I am seated here, I have been trying to follow the debate of the hon. Member on the Floor. The Motion moved by Her Honour the Vice-President is very clear, and we all have copies of the speech that was made by your guest. I know that my dear colleague was not in the House, and I was hoping that he would take time to reflect on the text that has been circulated. He raised a point of order and I expected him to be here when I was responding to questions so he could raise some of the issues that he is now trying to raise.


Mr Speaker, the Head of State is not here to defend himself. Is the hon. Member for Choma Central in order to engage in a cross country debate and make it difficult for us to put head and tail to his debate on a Motion which is very clear? Is he also in order to raise issues which he has interest in, and he is asking about suspects to appear in court when some of them are his clients? Is he in order to bring such matters to this august House?


I seek your serious ruling, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: My ruling is that he is certainly not in order. The Motion at hand is very simple, plain, civil and essentially diplomatic. However, as usual, the way we manage our politics is that we always want to seize an opportunity to bring issues that are extraneous, practice negativity and we are quite steeped or engrained into that culture, and I can sense all that.




Mr Speaker: We cannot see any good. We have to cultivate negative things and nurture them. Of course, I have the liberty to see how far we can go with that kind of debate. If we are not able to move thanks, we can move on to other subjects. This is essentially a diplomatic Motion. I am aware that we have our own internal challenges, and there is no doubt about that. We have those challenges but we should know that this is not the occasion to talk about them. The visitor who came here travelled all the way to engage us, and in return, we are now supposed to respond how we feel about her visit and message. However, we have gone into the backyard or under the carpet, and have started taking out everything under the carpet.


Hon. Member for Choma Central, try and see if you can move a Motion of thanks to Her Excellency as you pointed out at the beginning.


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, as usual, I always oblige to your guidance as I have done for many years, and I will remain your student even here.


Mr Speaker, let me move on, and I am restricting my debate to the speech because it is us who were addressed, so, I am giving a reaction to how I felt. However, when our guest was saying all these things, was she aware that the things she was taking about are actually under threat under this bad Government of the PF? That is the point I am making so that next time when another visitor says such things, they must be commensurate to what is happening on the ground. This far what is engrained in the practice of Zambia’s politics is not what many people who do not live in Zambia think. Our colleagues have damaged our country; they are bad people.


Mr Speaker, in paragraph 2, page 3 of the speech, our special guest said that:


“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, distinguished Members of Parliament, we attach great importance to the development of bilateral ties between Russia and Zambia – and I will proceed to the relevant part – we know that modern Zambia is a country of great opportunities with serious economic resource and human potential with outstanding and hard working people”.


Mr Speaker, is this not true? It is very true. However, what has the Government done to ensure that the opportunity that we currently have in Zambia is turned into reality? If my memory serves me right, I think the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock said that we have to exploit our resource otherwise it may not be; the same way one writer Zimmerman said a resource is not, it becomes, meaning you can have a resource but if you do not have the capacity to turn it into beneficiation, it is as good as if you do not have it. Look at the great potential of the young people in this country who are marooned in slums in Lusaka, Kitwe, Livingstone and many other towns, and we have a Government without any foreseeable programme to retrieve them from the shackles of poverty. There is no opportunity; which she was talking about. The only opportunity they have is to hire them as vehicles of violence.


Prof. Luo: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity. As you know, I rarely rise on points of order.


Mr Speaker, you have guided throughout the debate of the hon. Member for Choma Central, that he has been subjecting us to, that he must be as relevant as possible to the speech and we are placing on record our thanks to Her Excellency’s Speech. Is the hon. Member for Choma Central in order to subject us to his debate, which clearly shows that he is not ready to debate and that is why he is all over the place as if he is dancing chachacha? Is he in order to continue subjecting us to his bad debate without putting any point forward?


I need your serious ruling, Mr Speaker.




Mr Speaker: Order! Let us have order!


I am following the hon. Member for Choma Central’s debate, and he is trying to acknowledge that this country is endowed, and these endowments need to be exploited. Of course, the style and manner of his debate ...


Mr Mweetwa: Is as usual.


Mr Speaker: ... is what might be the issue in your point of order, but I am concerned with the substance. Let me say that let us engage in self criticism where necessary, and let us do so with mutual respect. Let us engage in introspection. At the risk of appearing to contribute to the debate, this country is rich, and this is the point that the visitor made.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: At the end of the day, they want to collaborate with this country so that together, on the left and right, we can fully exploit these resources. That is the bottom line, but we are still struggling with how to relate with one another, especially civilly and without insinuations, and that is the problem. We always want to lace our speech with provocation. Without it, it is insufficient and is inadequate, but as we move on, let us focus on the subject. Quite frankly, as I have already pointed out, if this is a difficult exercise to do, I will free you from the trouble by moving on to another subject so that we can proceed in our characteristic manner.


Hon. Member for Choma Central, do you want to talk about Zambia and its endowment?




Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, thank you very much for your guidance, and I will not belabour the point that I have delivered. It is in appreciation of what our guest said that we are now taking the opportunity to remind ourselves where we actually are because these statements are not made in vain.


Mr Speaker, I was just advancing the point that the great opportunity, which we have in terms of resource endowment and human resource, should be best planned. You will agree with me that many young people have currently resigned to the consignment of poverty. They now think that being poor is part of being a Zambian youth. Some of them are being used to orchestrate political violence during by-elections or are told to go and beat someone who is on radio or television where there is a discussion forum because they have been given some little money or bought Chibuku, and they believe that is part of being a Zambian. That is alien. It is only now that political violence is being seen to be part and parcel of our style of living, where thugs can be sent to go and disrupt a discussion forum at one of Zambia’s international hotels. What message is being sent regarding security in Zambia to international travellers coming to this country? The message is that Zambia is not a safe place. If lawmakers can be attacked at a five star hotel, then, Zambia has become a very dangerous place.


Mr Speaker, last year or the other year, you sent me to Uganda. When I was on my way back, in one of the countries, there was an attack at a shopping mall. Coincidentally, I was on my way to that shopping mall, but I told the driver to make a u-turn, and I immediately went to the airport. I have received three invitations since then, but I have never gone back. This is the danger we are putting our country in when we send a message of insecurity. Political leaders, who are thinking in their right frame of mind, are allowing this to happen. It is un-Zambian! So, all those who are involved must be ashamed because we inherited a peaceful and united country, but we have people who are shameless and want to handover a country of insecurity and disunity to the next generation. What type of leadership is that?


Mr Speaker, on page 3, Her Excellency Mrs Matvienko, who was our Speaker that day, said that:


“Mr Speaker, economic development will be further facilitated by Zambia’s ratification at the African Continental Free-Trade Agreement. It would allow you to use geographical benefits of your country and to take an active part in regional and international integration”.


Mr Speaker, I will not belabour the point that while Zambia is land linked, it is now a regional super market, where the major economic activity one can point at is the construction of shopping malls with very few people buying goods because there is no money in the economy, and that is why we are seeing a number of shops in some places closing up. This is a reminder that the country is geographically and economically well-positioned to take advantage of its location if only our colleagues can translate leadership from enjoyment of power for nothing and use it for economic development and growth.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, let me quickly come to page 5, where our guest speaker spoke about how she fondly remembers the 134th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the 137th Assembly, which were held in Zambia, and I was one of the participants. During the IPU Assembly that Zambia hosted, hon. Members here at Parliament were represented in full but currently, hon. Opposition Members have been kicked out. So, it is just now a PF IPU, and this should send a sense of shame to all those who were skimming like that. You are not good leaders. You are bad leaders.


Mr Speaker, as I wind up, let me now come to page 7, where our guest speaker spoke about the victory of the World War. However, she regretted and lamented that unfortunately, there are currently ethnic and inter-religious conflicts on the African Continent. This reminds me of the campaigns that were in Chilubi, where leaders of certain political parties went and campaigned on tribal lines after fifty-seven of independence. Shame on those who were engaged in such kind of tribal campaigns. Just like my colleague, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs stated earlier, the current generation, if not the majority of Zambians, can only be identified in terms of name say one is Mutinta, which is Tonga, but maybe his mother or father is actually not Tonga or Bemba because our tribe is now Zambia.


Mr Speaker, we also have goons who purport to represent a tribe and consign it and say that we Tongas walk with shame. When did they become the spokesperson for all Tongas? The contest in Chilubi and elsewhere is between the PF and the United Party for National Development (UPND), and not Tongas or Bembas. Do not be shallow in your thinking for cheap political gain so that you continue to get paid at the expense of unity, peace and love. We must all be associated with the progress of this country and that is what we should hand over to the next generation.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chanda (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, I support the Motion moved by Her Honour the Vice-President in view of the momentous occasion we had yesterday. The visit of the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Parliament was a historical occasion although I realised that the smallness of some people’s politics does not match the bigness of the occasion.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, however, before I proceed, I wish to correct one innuendo that was made in this House because I am Vice-Chairperson of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which Russia is a prominent member of. As far I am concerned, we have hon. UPND Members in the executive. I did not know that Hon. Darius Mulunda and Hon. Kucheka are Patriotic Front (PF) members.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Bwana Mkubwa, let us not devote our energies to those issues. You may continue.


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, I had to correct that innuendo because the nation is listening. However, instead of belabouring that, this is one of the occasions where we should remove these partisan lenses and be patriotic for once because we are discussing national issues bigger than political parties.


Mr Speaker, I will not belabour what other people have said about how strong our relationship with Russia or the former Soviet Union is, and how they supported the liberation movement in Africa including Zambia, but I will talk about the opportunities that exist in that partnership because we in the PF believe in opportunities and not negativity. So, one of the key opportunities we have with the Russian Government, through the parliamentary friendship, is education. We are told that Zambia is the highest recipient in Africa of scholarships from the Russian Government, and it is willing to increase the number of scholarships. I urge the Ministry of Higher Education to engage their colleagues in the Russian Government so that more skilled young Zambians can go to Russia to study science and technology, and we already have thirty nuclear scientists studying in Russia.


Mr Speaker, agriculture is the centrepiece of our economic diversification. Like Her Excellency, Mrs Matvienko, the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federation Assembly of the Russian Federation said yesterday, Russia is the number one producer of grains in the world and it has high technology in agriculture. Since agriculture is our centrepiece for economic diversification, we will do well through our able hon. Minister of Agriculture, and the hon. Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, who happens to be my former lecturer and was a student at Moscow State University, if we can engage at that level so that we can boost our economy, and that is what we want to see from that friendship.


Mr Speaker, Russia is a first world country and it is a developed country despite what it has been through, and we stand to benefit from it. Not only do we need high technology in agriculture and livestock and fisheries, but value addition because we know that Russia is the largest country on earth. The biggest country on earth is Russia and it presents a big market for our Zambian produce. We are very grateful that this year, the Ministry of Agriculture distributed farming inputs early and God has given us good rains. So, we will have a bumper harvest and there is a ready market, not only for primary goods but value added goods. So, I urge the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, who is busy taking notes from my speech, to engage his colleagues so that we can add value to our products and can utilise and capitalise on that huge market that Russia presents.


Mr Speaker, Russia plays a very key role in national security, and in fact, global security. Looking at what is happening in the Middle East, Russia has actually stabilised the problems caused by other super powers that I will not mention. Further, Russia has stabilised the situation in Sierra and Iran or across the Middle East.


Mr Speaker, I thank you for the great honour and privilege that you gave me yesterday to be part of your delegation. We heard from Her Excellency Mrs Matvienko’s delegation that any country that does not prepare militarily risks becoming like Iraq and Libya. So, national security is one area that we need to collaborate, and the Zambia Police Service and the military have a lot to benefit from the relationship with Russia. I am very happy that Russia is willing to provide military equipment, training and all sorts of sophistication so that we provide security for the Zambian citizens and protection for their property and that is what Government is all about.


Mr Speaker, the country has a good relationship with Russia. Bigger countries are closing their borders and putting up in visa restrictions, but Russia is actually opening up –


Mr Speaker: Order!


(Debate adjourned)





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 1910 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 20th February, 2020.