Wednesday, 7th April, 2021

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Wednesday, 7th April, 2021


The House met at 1400 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the chair]











The Minister of Health (Dr Chanda): Mr Speaker, may I start by thanking you for according me this opportunity to address this august House and the nation on the update of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the acquisition of vaccines for COVID-19 in the country.


Mr Speaker, the Government, under the able leadership of His Excellency, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the President of the Republic of Zambia, is resolved to ensuring that universal health coverage is attained in which its people have access to quality health services without suffering financial hardships. This will be attained through health systems strengthening with primary health care approach as the bedrock spanning promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care services.


Mr Speaker, one of the key areas of focus is enhancing public health security, as this enables us to prevent and mitigate various emerging and re-emerging public health threats and emergencies in our country.


Mr Speaker, the Government has prioritised public health security and, through this House, enacted the Zambia National Public Health Act No. 19 of 2020 whose objects include, among others, the protection of Zambians from public health threats and emergencies such as Polio, Measles, Cholera, Typhoid, Ebola and now COVID-19 to mention but a few.


Mr Speaker, the COVID-19 pandemic has, no doubt, devastated the socio-economic activities globally, regionally and in our country, Zambia. The Government, under the leadership of His Excellency, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the President of the Republic of Zambia, continues to support evidence based high impact interventions to prevent and mitigate the disruptive and catastrophic effects of COVID-19.


Mr Speaker, the COVID-19 pandemic is continually changing its presentation and, recently, we have noted an escalation of cases with many countries in America, Europe, Asia and some African countries experiencing a third wave. This is, indeed, a clear indication that the pandemic is still with us and the third wave is probable and even imminent in a country like Zambia.


Mr Speaker, the House may wish to note that Zambia experienced the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic between May and August 2020 and the second wave from December 2020 to date. The epidemiology of COVID-19 keeps evolving and we are just coming out of the second wave of the pandemic. We remain threatened by a third wave with the upcoming cold season.


Mr Speaker, Zambia has made significant progress in controlling the second wave with a peak of over 1,796 cases in January 2021 to an average of less than 200 in the last two weeks. In this period of the second wave, we recorded a significant twenty-four deaths on one of the days. However, we now note a reduction to an average of one death daily in the last two weeks and zero deaths today. We also note the significant reduction in the number of hospitalisations in the same period from over 500 to only seventy-six (76), currently, with a number of our wards being closed off.


Mr Speaker, it is slightly over one year since we recorded the first two cases of COVID-19 in the country. The disease has become complex and dynamic in its presentation and management. Although we note a significant reduction in the number of cases, the severity of cases remains a concern. An average 70 per cent of our patients who are in our health care facilities are on oxygen therapy with up to 15 per cent critically ill. The number of admissions has reduced, but we are still seeing critically ill patients requiring scaled clinical management.


Mr Speaker, the global epidemiology indicates a continued rise in the number of cases and mortalities. The highest burden of COVID-19 cases globally is from Asia, which is accounting for 42 per cent, with India recording a new record of over 115,000 cases in the last twenty-four hours. South America has contributed 25 per cent of the global cases and Europe 20 per cent in the same period. North Africa and East Africa continue to contribute the highest proportion of cases in Africa. A cumulative of 133,050,039 COVID-19 cases, including 2,886,728 deaths and 107,300,824 recoveries, have been reported globally in the last twenty-four hours, as of 0800 7th April this morning. In Africa, the cumulative number of cases is 4,324,965 cases, including 114,610 deaths and 3,875,884 recoveries.


Today, Zambia has recorded 315 new cases out of 7,261 tests conducted, representing a 4 per cent positivity rate. Worthy to note is that the positivity rate has been consistently below 5 per cent in the past two weeks, which is indicative of reduced community transmission. This has brought the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 89,386. The new cases are broken down by province are as follows:


Province                      No. of Cases

Eastern                         115

North-Western                92

Lusaka                             42

Copperbelt                        21

Northern                            19

Luapula                             10

Central                                08

Muchinga                            05

Western                               03

Southern                              00


The Southern Province had no positive cases out of the 570 persons tested within the last twenty-four hours.


Mr Speaker, I am delighted to report that we have not recorded any COVID-19 associated deaths in the last twenty-four hours. The cumulative COVID-19 related deaths still stand at 1,224 classified as 683 COVID-19 deaths and 540 COVID-19 associated deaths. Among those hospitalised or in home isolation for COVID-19 management, seventy-one have been discharged from six provinces as follows:

Province                                        No. of Discharged Cases

​Lusaka                                            47

Copperbelt                                       11

Eastern                                             06

Central                                               04

North-Western                                   02

Southern                                            01


Sir, cumulatively, the recoveries now stand at 85,409. We, currently, have 2,753 active cases of which 2,677 or 97 per cent are under community management and seventy-six or 3 per cent are admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those admitted, fifty-six or 74 per cent are on oxygen therapy and ten are in critical condition.


Mr Speaker, the Government continues to use a multi-sectoral approach to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 National Multi-sectoral Contingency and Response Plan outlines the various strategies being employed for preventing and mitigating the pandemic. As a living document, the plan is reviewed and revised regularly depending on current and prevailing evidence as well as the trajectory of the pandemic.


Sir, the Ministry of Health is now using a nine-pronged approach to control and prevent the outbreak from spreading further. This is after the inclusion of the COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy. The strategies include:


  1. surveillance and case finding;
  2. case management;
  3. infection prevention and control;
  4. risk communication and community engagement;
  5. laboratory diagnosis;
  6. logistics and supply chain management;
  7. appropriate, competent and adequate workforce;
  8. routine essential health services; and
  9. COVID-19 vaccination.


Mr Speaker, recently, globally, including on the African continent, countries have adopted vaccination as an additional strategy to preventing and controlling COVID-19. The available scientific evidence shows overwhelmingly that vaccine deployment is key in bringing the pandemic under control. Countries like Israel and the United Kingdom(UK) that have made huge progress in their vaccine roll-out have already posted significant reduction in COVID-19 transmission, severe illness, hospitalisation and death.


Sir, following wide technical consultations and recommendations made to the Government by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance, on 24th March, 2021, the Cabinet unanimously approved and adopted the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme as an additional pillar of our COVID-19 Response Strategy for Zambia. The vaccines will be administered cautiously and in a phased manner and on a pilot and voluntary basis. Let me repeat that the COVID-19 vaccines will be administered cautiously and in a phased manner and on a pilot and voluntary basis. In short, there will be no mandatory vaccination.


Sir, while all eligible adults over the age of eighteen years qualify to be vaccinated, the prioritised groups to get the vaccines first will be as follows:


  1. healthcare workers, as these are essential in sustaining the COVID-19 response;
  2. the police;
  3. security;
  4. teachers;
  5. traditional leaders;
  6. clergy; and
  7. Immigration Officers, as these are essential to maintaining core societal functions.


Madam Speaker, others include marketeers, traders, including bus and truck drivers involved in cross border business in view of the environment they work in. Those older than sixty-five years old, including those with chronic illnesses will also be prioritised as they are at greatest risk of severe illness and death.


Mr Speaker, following Cabinet guidance, Zambia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme will be conducted under four pillars.


Pillar I


Mr Speaker, Zambia will access vaccines under the COVAX mechanism which will include AstraZeneca and, subsequently, the Johnson and Johnson Vaccine for, at least, 20 per cent of the eligible population which is 3,676,791 adults of the 46 per cent, which is 8,438,118 eligible population aged above eighteen years.


Sir, the vaccines where scheduled to be in the country by April 2021. However, as I said earlier, India, which has been mandated to produce the vaccines under the COVAX, through the Serum Institute of India Facility, is undergoing a heightened COVID-19 outbreak. In this regard, the date of expectation of the vaccines under the COVAX mechanism in the country has been moved to May 2021 in collaboration with the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).


Pillar II


Mr Speaker, the Government will accept free donations of vaccines from donors and co-operating partners, that is, other Governments and co-operating partners, willing to support Zambia’s vaccination programme which will be subjected to the certification and approval by the Ministry of Health through the Zambia Medicines and Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) to ensure that only vaccines that are safe, efficacious and authorised are permitted on the Zambian market. I should mention that both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 are free. The Government will not spend any money.


Pillar III


Sir, the private sector will also be allowed to participate in the vaccination programme. This will be done with the approval of the Ministry of Health through ZAMRA.


Pillar IV


Mr Speaker, the Government will further source COVID-19 vaccines through the basket of vaccines which include a number of them like Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, Sinovac and Sputinik and others authorised by the WHO to cover the remaining eligible population.


Mr Speaker, the uncertainty in some circles of the public surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines is well noted. In this regard, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and other stakeholders will continue to engage various stakeholders and the community and provide key insights on the COVID-19 vaccine programme using various channels of communication and at various levels. We are hopeful that with the vaccine deployment, we can attain herd immunity, which means protecting the majority of our people from getting infection and thus control the pandemic.


Mr Speaker, we have continued to follow up on other global concerns and decisions on the different COVID-19 vaccines facilities available. A trending concern surrounds the vaccine AstraZeneca which has been topical on global news. There is an investigation to the fact that eighteen people out of the 20 million vaccinated with AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom developed severe conditions due to the clotting of their blood.


Sir, the WHO and the European Medicines Agency have indicated that blood clotting events occur frequently amongst the global population with a condition known as venous thromboembolism, being the third most common cardiovascular disease even before the COVID-19 occurrence and vaccinations with AstraZeneca. The WHO maintains that the benefits of AstraZeneca far outweigh any risks and recommends the continued use of the vaccine. Coronavirus itself is actually known to be a thrombolytic virus and causes clotting. We have also managed many clotting cases in our Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in Zambia even before we deploy vaccines.


Mr Speaker, the Government will ensure that there is compliance and all regulatory requirements for vaccine acquisition and use are followed. Once identification of the candidate vaccine is done, ZAMRA will use one of the existing collaborative registration pathways, including WHO prequalification, stringent regulatory authorities or Zazibona Joint Assessment Procedure to expedite the regulatory approval of vaccines.


Mr Speaker, further, ZAMRA will heighten its pharmacovigilance and surveillance activities to ensure adequate monitoring of the safety and efficacy of any vaccines. In addition, an independent body of health experts that regularly advises the Government on all matters of vaccinations in the country, the Zambia Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (ZITAG), will have input in all the relevant processes.


Sir, his Excellency the President has guided that the COVID-19 vaccination programme must be administered in a transparent and accountable manner and the Zambian people’s lives have to be secured and no harm through any fake vaccines will be allowed.


Sir, one of the major pre-requisites of the COVAX facility is that all participating countries are required to sign indemnification and liability agreements with the manufacturers of the vaccines. A separate indemnity agreement will have to be signed with each manufacturer from which doses are allocated. The Ministry of Health has sought guidance from the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General on the matter and the processes have been concluded.


Mr Speaker, the vaccine alone will not be adequate to control the pandemic. It is emphasised that we continue adhering to the prescribed public health measures coined in the five golden rules, which are as follows:


  1. mask up correctly and consistently;
  2. maintain physical distance;
  3. wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer;
  4. avoid crowded places if possible, particularly, super spreader events or stay at home; and
  5. seek medical attention early if you are symptomatic.


Mr Speaker, we must maintain adherence to all the above facets of the public health guidance until such a time when the majority of the population has been vaccinated.


Mr Speaker, it is worrying that a number of patients present late to the health care facilities and a few others are leaving the hospitals against medical advice and returning to the facilities shortly thereafter in even worse condition. Regrettably, the outcome among such patients is poor with others being fatal.


Mr Speaker, we seek the intervention of hon. Members of this august House to continue urging members of their communities to seek medical care early and once admitted, to follow the guidance given by the health care workers.


Mr Speaker, I further urge all hon. Members of this House to promote the COVID-19 vaccine programme so that we and, indeed, the Zambian people can be protected from the devastating effects of COVID-19 especially during an election year like this one.


Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Health using a multi-sectoral approach at various levels continues to ensure that our learning institutions, that is, schools, colleges, universities and other congregate settings comply with public health guidelines. Screening and testing all those eligible is ongoing in line with the prescribed guidelines. The House may wish to note that learning institutions that will fail to comply with the prescribed health guidelines will be recommended for closure until they meet the prescribed standards.


Mr Speaker, I wish to conclude by reiterating that the Government of the Republic of Zambia under the able leadership of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, remains committed to saving lives, livelihoods and the economy. As I end my statement, allow me to thank His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu for his resilience and exceptional stewardship in enhancing the health security of our country. I also wish to thank you, Mr Speaker and the National Assembly Management, for the commitment and objective input to the COVID-19 response at Parliament Buildings.


Mr Speaker, lastly but not less importantly, allow me to thank the multi-sectoral response teams and supporting co-operating partners that have put in a lot of effort in the fight against COVID-19. COVID-19 cannot be fought by the Government alone. We all have roles to play in the fight against COVID-19, and together, we can defeat it.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


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


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, under Pillar IV, the hon. Minister mentioned that the Government will source for the vaccine. I would like to find out how the funding methodology will be like.


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, I mentioned that under Pillar IV, the COVID-19 vaccine Cabinet memo was actually co-sponsored by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Health is in charge of the health part while the Ministry of Finance is responsible for resource mobilisation.


Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance is actually working on various ways of mobilising resources the same way the Government works to find money for the people that may not be covered under the other pillars that I talked about. I said that in Zambia, we have 46 per cent of the population that is eligible and 20 per cent will be covered under the COVAX mechanism and a significant number may be covered under the second pillar, which is free vaccines from donors. However, the remainder falls under the pillar which involves the private sector. However, it will be the usual resource mobilisation by the Ministry of Finance.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, in the past, when worldwide vaccinations were carried out, later on, maybe decades later, there were stories that filtered through indicating that Africans were used as guinea pigs in some of those vaccines that were administered in Africa. They were given variants of the vaccines that had extra elements in them, which the providers use for research to see what happens when Africans are given those drugs.


Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister of Health assure us that Zambians using these vaccines that are coming through to Zambia are not going to be used as guinea pigs by those who are providing them for free, as was the case in the past.


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of any case in Zambia where people were used as guinea pigs. It probably could have applied in other countries with the history of racism. However, let me just assure the nation and the House that currently, globally, we only have thirteen vaccines that have met international standards.


Mr Speaker, before a vaccine is administered on anyone, it undergoes a lot of processes. One, it is a development, but the development of a vaccine is not enough. It also has to undergo clinical trials involving hundreds of thousands of participants. When a vaccine is undergoing a clinical trial, it has to meet a number of key criteria that have to be used. It is not only one country that has to certify that particular vaccine; the World Health Organisation(WHO) is part of it, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the Unites States of America (USA), the European Medicines Agency, the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). In fact, Zambia hosts the regional office of the Africa CDC. So, we are all involved in the processes and any vaccine that has to be used on people after clinical trials has to meet the criterion of efficacy; does it work? That is because we do not want to give a vaccine that does not work, hence the need for efficaciousness. That is why the thirteen vaccines that are in use now all have an efficacious of 80 per cent plus and some of them up to 95 per cent or so.


Mr Speaker, the second criterion that has to be met is the issue of safety. Is the vaccine safe? That is why we have to take these vaccines through a lot of clinical trials so that people will report what is called Severe Adverse Events (SAEs). For example, if 200,000 people were given this vaccine, what were the most common complaints? That is why some of the drugs and vaccines may be able to be stopped just on the report of what is called SAEs when they are just right in the clinical trials.


Thirdly, a vaccine that we have to bring into Zambia has to be proven to have been used elsewhere. That is why His Excellency the President had guided to take a cautious approach so that we observe what is happening in other places. I should mention that, currently, in Africa, there are thirty- five countries which are already vaccinating its people. So, those who were asking why we are slow must know that we are not slow, but being cautious to make sure that any decision that we make is informed by science.


Mr Speaker, therefore, I want to assure the people that there is no guinea pig issue happening as all vaccines are verified. We are all working together as international people in terms of health. In fact, those countries in the West have been much more devastated. They have the money to develop the vaccines but we all work together as one global community. Therefore, the vaccines that we will bring into Zambia will be safe, efficacious and will meet the cold chain requirements for all other vaccination programmes that we have in Zambia.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, the network was tripping and so, I am not sure if the hon. Minister covered this particular aspect in his statement. I would like him to confirm when this vaccine will arrive in the country, when the roll out programme of the vaccination will start and in which provinces or whether the vaccinations will start simultaneously in all the ten provinces of Zambia.


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Mufulira may have had tripping internet connectivity when I said that the vaccinations will be conducted under four pillars. Let me start with the COVAX mechanism, which is under WHO, GAVI and others. This is a global mechanism meant to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for developing and poor countries. The Serum Institute of India is the one mandated to manufacture vaccines under the COVAX, which is AstraZeneca and the Johnson and Johnson.


Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, at the moment, India is contributing almost 42 per cent of all global COVID-19 cases, and like any other country, India is prioritising its local population. Just over the past twenty-four hours, India reported 115,000 new cases of COVID-19. In short, what I said is that instead of the vaccines under COVAX arriving in April, May is the next date. However, we may get them much earlier than that when talks with the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the WHO are concluded. However, that does not apply to the other pillars. For example, if a country today, wants to donate to Zambia, a vaccine which is safe, efficacious and meets our cold chain requirements, that vaccine can come in anytime as long as it is approved by the Ministry of Health and ZAMRA.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for that wonderful statement. He has stated that India and Brazil, in particular, are recording the highest number of infections. I know Brazil is recording the highest number of deaths within twenty-four hours. What measures has our working Government put in place to ensure that people travelling to and from these countries are screened before they start interacting with our citizens?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, the measures are the same ones that we keep announcing every day. We have enhanced surveillance at all our points of entry, whether land boarders or airports. No one can come into the country today minus a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. That PCR test has to be, at least, forty-eight hours old, not anything more. The only way we will know whether you are positive or negative is once you do a PCR test. That said, this is applying globally. If you go to some countries like the United Kingdom, measures are more strict. If you were to arrive in the United Kingdom today, you would have to be quarantined in a hotel at your own cost because they are trying to prevent the so-called variants from going into that country. To her credit, the United Kingdom has done very well in terms of vaccinating the eligible adult population. So, for us, it is the PCR testing at all boarder entry points.


Mr Speaker, that said, I would also like to mention that very soon, as the global vaccine programme rolls out in the world, it will be more like what happened with the yellow fever, when we could not travel without a yellow fever card. In terms of global travel, it will be mandatory for many countries to require that you have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or passport for you to travel because every country is protecting the health of its citizens. So, I should assure the hon. Member for Chama and the people of Zambia that the measures that we have are adequate at all our points of entry.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Musonda (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, in Pillar I, the hon. Minister rightly told us that the nominated manufacturer of the vaccines to be supplied is India, and that, currently, India is undergoing heavy Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) infections. Now, in the event that India continues to undergo that heavy strain, is the World Bank planning on having other nominated suppliers who could supply this vaccine before the scheduled date?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, the selection of the Serum Institute of India to manufacture the vaccine under the COVAX mechanism was a decision taken by key stakeholders involved in the COVAX. Stakeholders such as the WHO, AB, GAVI and a lot more other countries, like the UK and USA who are now major contributors to the COVAX mechanism. So, they signed that agreement with the Serum Institute of India. However, like I said, the COVAX is a growing basket. It will not remain static. Even when we talk about 20 per cent of the eligible population, it may be much more than that, there may be more other manufactures. At the moment, there is a huge discussion happening in the world on patent rights concerning the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines. Yesterday, I was in a meeting where the World Trade Organisation (WTO) President, Madam Ngonzi Iweala, talked about the huge fight to make sure that patent rights are waived so that we can have COVID-19 vaccines made in many countries, but we are not yet there.


Mr Speaker, as of now, I cannot answer on behalf of the countries that are running the COVAX mechanism and the contract that they have with India. However, the assurance is that even as India is having that situation, a number of countries have continued receiving vaccines. Iran received some just a few days ago and I think one of the countries in Africa, I think Namibia, also received some. Even us, we will be making an announcement very soon. We have a meeting with UNICEF this afternoon where we will get indications when the allocation for Zambia should be in the country, but the working date is May 2021, like I said.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr S. Banda (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that there are four pillars against which interventions will be provided. Is he able to provide statistics in terms of the number of beneficiaries in Pillar I? If so, what will be the modalities of identifying the beneficiaries?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, all the thirteen vaccines I talked about that are being used in the world today are only given to people above the age of eighteen. Zambia’s estimated population as we stand today is 18.3 million. The proportion Zambia’s population that is eighteen years and above is 46 per cent of the population, which is 8.4 million people. So, this is a very young population because the majority of the population is below eighteen years. Out of that 8.4 million people, the COVAX facility will cover 20 per cent, which is 3.6 million people. So, the COVAX facility will cover 3.6 million people, representing 20 per cent, then, the rest of the 26 per cent are the ones covered under Pillars II, III and IV.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, to everything, especially something like the pandemic that we are facing, which is going to run with us for quite some time, we should be thinking about how we are going to invest in immunisation drugs which we can use on our population if need be. Are we already encouraging any of our local investors or local herbalists to begin thinking about manufacturing vaccines for Zambia in the long-term, in case this runs with us for a long time?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, even before we talk about the National Health Security Strategy, the vision of the PF encourages local manufactures. The National Industrialisation Policy encourages manufacturing. In the health sector, one thing that the Government is encouraging is the pharmaceutical industry to manufacture our own drugs, vaccines and our own medical supplies. However, as I said, it is easier to manufacture a drug like paracetamol than to manufacture a vaccine for a novel disease, which is costing billions of dollars. COVID is a novel disease costing a lot of money. That is why as we speak today, there is no country in Africa that is able to manufacture vaccines because there are patent rights issues that I talked about.


Mr Speaker, however, the answer is that we are trying to encourage foreign pharmaceutical companies to come and invest in Zambia not only for a COVID-19 vaccine, but also for all other vaccines, essential drugs and medical supplies. In fact, over a week ago or so, I toured Yash Life Sciences, after the Shimabala Toll Gate, which is one of the huge local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. They are manufacturing a lot, but only utilising about 15 per cent of their capacity. That is what we are trying to encourage. Who are the foreign players who can come and partner with us? So, that is a huge part of our policy even as we engage with our co-operating partners.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Kopulande (Chembe): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister, please, make a categorical clarification on this matter. Is the vaccination of citizens in the Republic of Zambia going to be compulsory or voluntary? If it will be voluntary, are there any sanctions or segregations that shall be applied against those that may not take the vaccine?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Member for Cheembe for that question. I think I already mentioned in my statement the approach of the Government to the COVID-19 vaccination process and, indeed, to any other vaccination process. The approach is as follows:


  1. cautious;
  2. in a phased-up manner;
  3. on pilot basis; and
  4. on voluntary basis.


Sir, I said it very clearly that there will be no mandatory vaccination. So, no one will be held at gunpoint until he/she is vaccinated. However, as health experts, it is our wish that all eligible people get vaccinated to achieve what I called herd immunity. If we do not get herd immunity and we only have a very few people vaccinated, we will not overcome COVID-19.


Mr Speaker, further, apart from caring for your health, you are also part of the global community. Therefore, if you are not vaccinated, wherever you want to go, whether you want to visit Europe or Asia, you will be required to have been vaccinated because other countries are also trying to prevent people taking-in various variants of COVID-19.


Mr Speaker, in short, there will be no mandatory vaccination. It will all be voluntary. However, because we know that there are a lot of myths and conspiracy theories around vaccines, what we are doing is for the ministry to come up with a communication strategy, working with our colleagues at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and other stakeholders, including our traditional leaders, the clergy, civil society organisations, the media and everyone else to dispel those myths.


Mr Speaker, just like I said, it is everyone’s fight to dispel those myths. This has always happened. Whenever you have a new vaccine anywhere, and not only in Zambia, people have always come up with a conspiracy theory. Others say the COVID-19 vaccine is a mark of the beast associated with the biblical number 666 and others say it is this and that. However, I want to assure Zambians that the decisions that we make at the Ministry of Health are informed by science and empirical evidence.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Mr Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Minister for that statement. On the internet, there is a news item under the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) news website headed ‘COVID-19: Seven UK blood clot deaths after AstraZeneca vaccine’ by Mr James Gallagher. It says seven people have died from unusual blood clots after getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the United Kingdom (UK) and the medicines regulator has confirmed to the BBC. The report says, in total, thirty people out of the 18 million vaccinated by 24th March, 2021, had these blood clots.


My question is this: Are these vaccines that they are coming up with being made for the blood type of black people or white people? If these blood clots are now being registered, how safe can we say the Zambian people are?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Member for Senga Hil,l who is a former hon. Minister of Health, for that question. I want to say we are dealing with a novel disease. In Zambia, COVID-19 has only been with us for one year, from March 2020 to now, April 2021. If you look at the UK where that article is coming from, out of 20 million people vaccinated, there are reports of only seven cases of blood clotting. I do not know in terms of percentage what seven out of 20 million is. People can do the math.


Mr Speaker, what I am saying, however, is that the UK has a medical regulatory authority, which is in charge of regulating all medicines and vaccines in that country. The AstraZeneca vaccine is actually called the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The UK is a major player with regard to this vaccine and almost everyone vaccinated in the UK got the AstraZeneca vaccine, including the British Prime Minister, who announced it publicly.


What we are saying, therefore, which I think I said in my statement, is that science is not perfect. Before COVID-19 came, there were blood clotting issues. Blood clotting issues are not new, as though they have just popped up on the earth. I talked about deep vein thrombosis. There are people who are already pre-disposed. Others are on medications that will pre-dispose them.


Mr Speaker, I also said that COVID-19 itself is a thrombolytic virus. Even here in Zambia, we can share information on how many blood clotting cases we have had in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In the ICU here in Zambia, we have had to do what we call plasmapheresis and give heparin and various anticoagulants just to treat the blood clotting cases. I think the blood clotting cases that we may have had, even before the vaccines came, may be quite a number because of Covid-19 and not because of the COVID-19 vaccines. So, it is not because of the vaccines. I want to assure the hon. Member for Senga Hill that all the discussions that we are having and the measures that we are taking are informed by science.


Sir, I should also say that if you remember, just about two weeks ago, European countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine when these reports came up. These countries included Germany, France, Italy and others, but when the European Medicines Agency (EMA) cleared the vaccine, they restarted using it.


Mr Speaker, I know the discussion now in Europe is that the AstraZeneca vaccine be given to people above the age of sixty-five years old. So, that is what they are doing. No country has stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine, except that, maybe, Germany and a few countries have gone for that model of giving it to people above sixty-five years while in a country like the UK, which is actually manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, it is being given to everyone.


By the way, there is nothing like this vaccine is made for this race or the other. I said thirty-five countries in Africa are already giving out various vaccines. Malawi, next door, has given out almost 200,000 doses of this same AstraZeneca vaccine we are talking about. Yesterday, the Permanent Secretary of Health in Malawi was in touch with us. We wanted to find out what the major side effects have been since our friends started giving the AstraZeneca vaccine in Malawi. What we were told is that it is just the usual pain at the injection point and a slight headache. These are usual effects that you get with any other vaccine.


Mr Speaker, all other African countries, including Ghana, which was the first country in Africa to give out the AstraZeneca vaccine under the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility, have not reported any clotting issues. So, that said, we have enhanced pharmacovigilance and monitoring. For anything that happens, we are in control. We are monitoring and shall advise as necessary, but the safety of the Zambian people will come first.


Sir, before I conclude, let me say that even a few weeks ago, there were clinical trials on the AstraZeneca vaccine in the USA, which concluded that this vaccine is very effective. It is safe and it is being used. So, there is no country today, currently, that has stopped the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. A few countries like Germany and Canada have only modified to giving it to people above the age of sixty-five years.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: This is a very topical and vital issue, but at some point, I need to bring it to a close. I will have the following who have indicated on the Zoom platform, and at the end of this list, will move on to other business: the hon. Member for Serenje, the hon. Member for Lukulu East, the hon. Member for Chasefu, the hon. Member for Solwezi East, the hon. Member for Keembe, the hon. Member for Chilanga and I am going to close with the hon. Member for Livingstone, in that order.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister very much for that update on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country. I want to find out what interventions the Government has put in place to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the less privileged people, particularly that there are more vulnerable because the economy now has actually been affected to such an extent that the common man is basically surviving on nothing. So, what are the safety measures that the Government intends to put in place to provide for the less privileged people in terms of feeding and so on and so forth?


Mr Speaker: Reluctantly, I will ask the hon. Minister to respond.


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, I think the hon. Member for Serenje is talking about the other impact of COVID-19. It is not only a health issue, but has had an adverse impact socially and economically. That is why, in the spirit of a One Government policy, we have taken a multi-sectoral approach. The Ministry of Health cannot fight COVID-19 alone. This is why the Government, under Her Honour the Vice-President’s Office, where the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) falls, has a lot of programmes to mitigate the impact of this pandemic. This is because the people who are most vulnerable are the poorest, like he said.


Sir, today, we are commemorating the World Health Day and those are the issues that we are talking about, which include equity of health services. So, the poor and most vulnerable will always be the most affected, but the Government has many social programmes to mitigate the situation. We have the DMMU, empowerment programmes under the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and others because we have to protect livelihoods. As we save lives, we also have to protect livelihoods.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to pose a question. As we are aware, we anticipate a third wave in the cold season, which is just knocking. This is the information which has been given to us by the ministry responsible for health. Unfortunately, this is the time when campaigns will also be at their height, coincidentally. This means that the most vulnerable will be the politician who has a penchant for interacting with crowds and, understandably so, as he/she lobbies for votes.


Sir, our colleagues and friends in Zimbabwe, in their vaccination programme, first started with front line staff, meaning the health workers, immigration officers and members of the security forces. Among these health workers, they also included parliamentarians and staff of Parliament because of the reasons that I have highlighted.


Sir, is the hon. Minister thinking of also including this group among its first priorities for the reasons that I have highlighted?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, I actually expected that question to have been the first one, where the politicians and hon. Members of Parliament are on the priority list. Well, everyone is catered for. Like I said, if you look at the priority list, everyone is catered for. We cannot categorically say “politicians” because they too belong to different professions. For instance, the hon. Member of Parliament for Lukulu East is a medical doctor, a frontline health worker. However, we know that politicians are also exposed just like media personnel. I remember some media personnel asking the Head of State whether they were going to be considered among the first because they interact with people.


Mr Speaker, this is an election year and that is why we are working very closely with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to make sure that we provide guidance. However, that said, I think the prioritisation mostly applies to the 20 per cent as regards the COVAX mechanism. We have all the other pillars that will carter for all the 8.4 million adults. Therefore, hon. Members are free to interact with the Ministry of Health.


Mr Speaker, I am also aware that less than a month ago, Malawi vaccinated all its Members of Parliament in one day. So, a number of countries have done that, but Parliamentarians, including Parliament should interact with us. Nothing is cast in stone. We do not want to hear of politicians dying during the campaign period. We want to protect their lives and the lives of the people that are found with them. Our appeal also is that public health guidelines be adhered to whenever we are interacting with the public.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, my question has been overtaken.


Mr Speaker: Very well.


Mr Kintu (Solwezi East): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about the Zambia Medicine Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) in Zambia, which takes care of drugs or anything medical that is brought into this country. Previously, with ZAMRA in place, we experienced a situation where expired drugs were sent out to public institutions. What assurance is the hon. Minister going to give us with regard to ZAMRA’s capacity that the vaccines that the Government is going to import into this country will not be expired or will not be picked up from the streets of India?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister of Health on picking up drugs from the streets of India?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, I just want to assure the hon. Member that His Excellency the President has guided that the COVID-19 vaccine programme will be done transparently and in a very accountable manner. That is why the route of Cabinet was chosen and thereafter, to come and inform this august House and, through it the nation so that everyone is on board. There will be no vaccines arriving at night or secretly. The day vaccines arrive at the airport, everyone is free to come there. I have personally invited the media, which is the fourth estate in a democracy, to be there.


Sir, our assurance is transparency and accountability and the fact that every decision we are making is informed by science. There is no vaccine that will just pop up in Zambia. Yes, we are aware of some cases in some countries were there were reports of fake vaccines. We should know that this does not only apply to COVID-19 vaccines, but to the whole of the pharmaceutical industry in the world. The black market is always there in every industry, but what matters is that you have enhanced pharmacovigilance, your systems in place, you are transparent and accountable. That way, you can give that assurance for safety and efficacy. So, there will be no junk vaccines or fake vaccines coming in.


Mr Speaker, furthermore, talking about what happened previously, the Ministry of Health has taken a lot of corrective measures. As we talk, I am sure the hon. Member knows that the ZAMRA Board and the Zambia Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMSA) Board are not in place. There are a lot of fundamental changes that are happening not only in terms of human personnel, but also in terms of systems that are in place.


Mr Speaker, with that said, I invite the hon. Member to be part of the key stakeholders in ensuring that, together, we assure Zambians of the safety and efficacy of these vaccines.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Mr Speaker, as regards the sensitisation of our people, the hon. Minister is aware that sensitising people even just on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID- 19) has been a challenge to this day, especially in our rural areas, which makes my heart bleed knowing that much of our population also resides there. What different mechanism has the ministry put in place to ensure that our people are well sensitised apart from the usual standard of radio and television, maybe, even in local languages? We saw a video were children were running away from class when they thought someone had gone to vaccinate them. How do we ensure that we attain that herd immunity which will be dependent on many of our people getting the vaccine?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for Keembe for that question. I think, in Zambia, the challenge probably has not been sensitisation. It has been that of behavioural change. Of course, in rural areas, we may have sensitisation challenges, but what we have noticed is that almost everyone in urban areas is aware of what COVID-19 is. There are messages everyday on our media platforms. However, that does not automatically translate into behavioural change. For example, we can say, “wear a face mask correctly and consistently,” but someone will wear a face mask on the chin, on the neck or not at all. So, that requires behavioural change. How do you ensure that the messaging of sensitisation translates into behavioural change? That is why the ministry has developed a very comprehensive communication strategy which is not only to undertaken by the Ministry of Health, but also all stakeholders.


Mr Speaker, I have personally engaged with traditional leaders, the clergy, civil society organisations and many other people. This change has to start from the household where we are. If we cannot get those messages across to the people in the house to change, we will not translate it to a neighbourhood, a township, a city or a country. So, this affects everyone. I said that the Ministry of Health or the Government alone cannot fight this.


Mr Speaker, I am also happy to note that many of our co-operating partners are coming on board to support the communication strategy because without the correct information, a lot of these conspiracy theories can win the day. This is not unique to Zambia, but it is also actually common in many countries, including very developed countries where vaccines were made available, but people could not take them because of conspiracy theories. So, this is the cornerstone for the success of the programme, the communications strategy, and hon. Members of Parliament are actually very key players in this issue with the constituents that they represent.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs L. Phiri (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the statement. Is the vaccine Zambia is receiving marked “For Southern African Development Community (SADC) Countries Only”, or “For African Countries Only” or it has no mark at all? Please, clarify.


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, there is no such mark for vaccines. I said that for all vaccines under the COVAX mechanism, it is the Indian Serum Institute making them. So, the only label you will see, whether you are using the vaccine in Africa, Asia, South America or in Europe will be Serum Institute of India whether in New Delhi or any other place there. There is no specific vaccine labeled for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) or Africa. That applies to all vaccines. Vaccines are vaccines. So, there is no such label.


Mr Speaker, I just want to assure our people in Zambia and hon. Members that these matters that we are discussing are not discussed in isolation. We discuss them at a global, regional, continental and country levels. Those kinds of things are just not there. The truth of the matter is that we are all getting the same vaccines. The same AstraZeneca that is India, Brazil, Turkey, South America is the same one that is in the thirty-five countries in Africa.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. minister for the statement. The hon. Minister stated that we would expect to see side effects from those who will be vaccinated. How long will these symptoms or side effects last?


Dr Chanda: Mr Speaker, in medicine, we say every drug or vaccine has a side effect. That is the way life works. However, what matters is not the side effects, but the adversity or the severity. That is why I talked about the SAEs. For example, we are all acquainted with the under five programme or under five clinic or immunisation programme. We already have twelve vaccines that we are giving in Zambia, whether it is the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, the vaccine against Tuberculosis (TB), the bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), which is given to a child at birth. We also give many other vaccines for hepatitis, polio, measles, rubella and so on. When you take a child for vaccination, you will notice what we say in my language that umwana umubili naukaba, the body’s temperature is a bit high, and so, paracetamol will be administered to normalise the temperature. Those are mild symptoms. That happens with a lot of those vaccines. Those are not adverse, and so, one cannot say they will last for so many days because they are mild in nature. For other people, they will have nothing because these are clinically proven. So, we should not be worried about adverse events because these certified vaccines have actually undergone a lot of clinical trials to rule out any severe adverse events.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.








159. Mr Kasandwe (Bangweulu) asked the Vice-President:


  1. whether the Government is aware that part of the Kapata Road between Bulongwa and Chisanka in Bangweulu Parliamentary Constituency has been submerged by floods, making movement of people and goods impossible; and
  2. if so, what urgent measures are being taken to restore connectivity between the two places.


The Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Mrs Mwansa): Mr Speaker, the Government is aware of the submerged part of the Kapata Road between Bulongwa and Chisanka in Bangweulu and that the submerged part of the road is about 300 m in length.


Sir, to mitigate the situation, the Government, through the Road Development Agency (RDA), has been on site to assess the situation and commence works. At present, the technical team is waiting for the water to subside before the works can commence. The expected works will cover the entire stretch of the road from Samfya to Twiingi and branch off to Mpanta area. This will be executed as a project once the rains have subsided.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.







Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights, National Guidance, Gender Matters and Governance for the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on Friday, 26th March, 2021.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Mr S. Banda (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, in accordance with its terms of reference, your Committee reviewed the operations of the Lands Tribunal and considered the Action-Taken-Report on its Report for the Fourth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly.


Sir, since the hon. Members of this august House have had the opportunity to read your Committee’s report, I will only highlight a few salient issues encountered by your Committee.


Mr Speaker, your Committee is seriously dismayed by the inadequate budgetary allocation to the Lands Tribunal for 2021. The budgetary allocation of K2 million is not sufficient for the tribunal to operate optimally. As this august House is aware, the tribunal’s jurisdiction was expanded to include, inter alia, inquiring into and making awards or decisions in any dispute relating to land under customary tenure, inquiring into and adjudicating upon any matter affecting the land rights and obligations under the Lands Act, Cap 184 of the Laws of Zambia, of any person or the Government and making orders for the cancellation of certificates of title that it considers to have been erroneously issued or to have been obtained fraudulently or that it otherwise considers necessary to cancel. Therefore, your Committee recommends an increase in the budgetary allocation to the Lands Tribunal to enable it to meet its operational requirements and fully operate as a circuit court in order to provide these services.


Mr Speaker, your Committee is cognisant of the fact that the tribunal is a good dispute resolution tool meant to provide timely and cost-effective delivery of justice to the people of Zambia over land disputes. However, your Committee is concerned that the Lands Tribunal only has presence in Lusaka. This has made it very difficult for clients who reside outside Lusaka to access its services. In this regard, your Committee urges the Government to ensure that the operations of the tribunal are decentralised so as to achieve its intended purpose and objective of adjudicating over land disputes countrywide in a speedy, flexible, efficient and cost-effective manner.


Mr Speaker, your Committee also dealt with the issue of accommodation of the Lands Tribunal. Your Committee is aware that, at the moment, the tribunal is being housed at a Government building provided by the Ministry of Works and Supply. However, your Committee notes, with concern, that since its establishment, the tribunal has been spending a large part of its resources on office accommodation for the secretariat and court room. This has adversely affected its operations, as most of the money has gone to paying rentals at the expense of actual operations. Therefore, your Committee recommends that the piece of land allocated to the tribunal by the Commissioner of Lands be developed quickly to alleviate this problem.


Mr Speaker, your Committee learnt that the Lands Tribunal lacks tribunal rules, as these are still being drafted. This has caused the tribunal to rely on rules promulgated under the Lands (The Lands Tribunal) Rules Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 90 of 1996. This is not ideal as certain aspects of operations of the tribunal have transformed since the enactment of the Lands Tribunal Act No. 39 of 2010. Thus, the rules should be aligned to the aforesaid Act.


Mr Speaker, another finding of your Committee was that despite having been in existence since 1995, there has been little public sensitisation on the existence of the Lands Tribunal as an alternative and fast-track land dispute resolution mechanism. The general populace has not heard about it and does not know how to access its services. There is a need for heightened sensitisation if the Lands Tribunal is to serve its purpose of ensuring that Zambians have a platform for the speedy adjudication of land disputes with a reduced cost of litigation.


Therefore, your Committee recommends that the Executive puts in place a robust information and communication strategy to raise awareness on the tribunal’s mandate. In the view of your Committee, the involvement of all stakeholders will influence the tribunal’s footprint in the dispute resolution over land matters.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I wish to thank you and the Clerk of the National Assembly for the guidance and support services provided to your  Committee during the session. I also thank all the stakeholders for their written and oral submissions.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


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


Mr S. Banda: Now, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the Chairperson for ably moving the Motion to adopt the Committees report. In addition to the concerns already outlined, allow me to underscore that land lies at the heart of social, economical and political life of our country. Furthermore, it is fundamental to our people’s livelihood, food security, income and employment. In fact, land is a seed of possibility given to our nation as a gift from God.


Mr Speaker, Zambia being an ideal investment destination, we have witnessed increased local and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), whose investment thrives on the exploration of land for commercial interest.


Mr Speaker, on the other hand, Zambians have realised the importance of land to improve their livelihood. It is a notorious fact that because of the above facts, disputes are bound to happen. One of the reagents to land disputes is limited land in the urban areas. Therefore, citizen’s local and FDI have opted to expropriate land for commercial interest from customary land.


Mr Speaker, this said, the subject matter institution, the Lands Tribunal adjudicates on a strategic and critical resource not only to commercial interest ,but also to the livelihoods of our people in Zambia. It is for this reason that this particular institution was put in place.


Mr Speaker, the specific objectives were very instructive that we make inferences on the efficiency and effectiveness of this institution. With that said, there are a lot of thematic concerns which were raised, but I will only highlight a few.


Mr Speaker, one of the issues which were raised is that the legal framework was adequate, but there were some gaps which were identified. Furthermore, it was heard that the legal framework is not in place owing to the fact that it is induced from the National Land Policy which is not yet in place.


Mr Speaker, there were also other issues which were raised to do with the Land’s Tribunal not having exclusive jurisdiction over land matters, meaning that people have an option whether to commence action in the High Court or the Lands Tribunal.


Mr Speaker, the other aspect is the issue to deal with the multiplicity of cases, and because of this lack of originality jurisdiction by the Lands Tribunal, people place their cases both in the High Court and local court. This is a waste of resources and duplication of efforts.


Mr Speaker, there are many other issues that were raised. However, the other aspect is to deal with the efficiency of the tribunal in the adjudication over land. The stakeholders submitted that the Land Tribunal registered a decline in its performance and all this is owing to the fact of its capacity.


Mr Speaker, the other issue which was raised has to do with dealing with challenges. These basically are to do with inadequate staff, centralised operations of the tribunal, inadequate funding to the tribunal, poor conditions and lack of accommodation.


Mr Speaker, allow me to summarise the recommendations in a few words. Basically, this has to do with the institutional capacity building of this particular institution. On one leg, the institution of development will provide that those gaps in the law are taken on board to ensure that this particular institution has a unique identity, strong legal base and integrity of its operations. On the other leg, there is also financial development aimed at ensuring that there is increased funding and that local resource mobilisation is provided for and also ensure that this particular institution is able to generate its own revenue.


Mr Speaker, a further recommendation is that the institution also provides for human resource development. The recommendation is anchored on ensuring that the institution is capacitated in the area of institutional capacity development.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the mover and the seconder of this report.


Mr Speaker, I think there is a problem in our country. Many of us have experienced how land is being allocated to people who are outside of the country, in particular, because they have more money than the locals. Unfortunately, the biggest damage is being done in rural areas where people who have lived there for generations are being moved from their areas. Some of these people may have lived there from as far back as before Independence, a situation many of us would describe as gentrification. This is happening, right now, in our country and it is really sad. Listening to the report on the lack of funding to the Lands Tribunal explains why we are in this problem.


When you hear that even the legal frameworks which are supposed to be in place are not and you look at how long this Lands Tribunal has been in existence, it is a sad reality. Zambia needs to wake up. No person can claim to be Zambian enough if he/she does not own land. Not only that, but also land is not only supposed to be for the present generation. It is supposed to be passed on to our children and great grandchildren. As some people have –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Keembe, please, be focused on the subject. The subject is the Lands Tribunal. This is not an occasion to discuss land alienation in general and steer away from the core subject, which is dispute resolution in the context of land administration.


You may proceed.


Ms Kasune: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the counsel. If the Lands Tribunal is not well capacitated, how do we, then, expect people, especially ordinary Zambians, to be defended? That is the background I was trying to lay, but I appreciate your counsel.


Mr Speaker, I think it is important that we see the linkage between the Lands Tribunal and what is happening on the ground. I think it is for this reason that both the mover and the seconder of the Motion referred to the disparities which need to be worked on. If there are no proper grieving mechanisms in place and the Lands Tribunal is only found in Lusaka or in urban areas, where then is justice for the people, especially ordinary people?


Mr Speaker, this is the cry of the people of Zambia, and the people of Keembe in particular. The Lands Tribunal sits at the centre. If they feel they are not heard or that their land is being taken away, the Lands Tribunal is supposed to be the place where ordinary Zambians should go. However, if it does not even have enough transport, staff, housing and resources, how will it serve justice, as it relates to land? 


Mr Speaker, this is an issue that we all should take seriously, particularly the Executive, so that the people of Zambia, whose land is going at a fast pace, may be protected.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to debate this wonderful report by your Committee. Indeed, your Committee has brought up very important issues as regards the operations of the Lands Tribunal.


Mr Speaker, maybe, for the sake of those who are listening to the proceedings of this august House, the Lands Tribunal is one of the alternative justice systems that look at disputes that arise from land, apart from judicial institutions such as the High Court, the magistrate court and the Supreme Court that handle land matters. Due to the complex nature of land issues or land related disputes, the Lands Tribunal was put in place, through an Act of Parliament, to ensure that those who do not agree, particularly on issues related to boundaries and, in some cases, ownership of land, can easily access this service.


Mr Speaker, as regards the budget, we are all aware that His Excellency, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who today has indicated his intention to continue running this country up to 2026 and which we, in the Patriotic Front (PF), have fully endorsed, indicated in one of his speeches to this august House that what we are going through, as a country, economically needs an approach where we achieve more with less. Therefore, the Lands Tribunal is not spared. Nevertheless, we know that the Lands Tribunal circuits or moves around the country depending on the cases brought before it. That is one way in which it is able attend to the many challenges that our people are faced with throughout the country.


Mr Speaker, as Zambians, we need to understand the genesis of the problems that the Lands Tribunal is going through. The genesis is partly our Land Policy. If we check, as a country, we do not have a finalised Land Policy to-date, which should dictate how land is alienated in this country. I know most people are so passionate about the issue of ownership of land, particularly by foreigners. However, this is an issue which must be put in our Land Policy. For example, the easiest conversion of land, which is from traditional land into State land, which protects ordinary citizens has to be taken care of in our Land Policy.


Mr Speaker, therefore, we, as Parliamentarians, are appealing to the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and traditional leaders, because I know where the problem with the Land Policy is. It is the lack of submissions by our traditional leaders who are complaining –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chama South, you have veered off the subject.


Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, I thank you for the guidance.


Sir, in summary, I would like to state that the Lands Tribunal is a very important institution. However, your report has indicated that funding to the institution is not what it should be. That has been because of so many factors such as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and our current economic situation. These have affected the operations of this tribunal.


Mr Speaker, nevertheless, as a country, let us support the operations of this tribunal. Going forward, we are aware that this working Government is trying to bring resources back to its citizens through so many ways. We are seeing its economic diversification agenda which will bring the much- needed resources for the operations of not only the Lands Tribunal, but many other Government spending agencies.


Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I would like to submit.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last two interventions from the hon. Member for Lukashya and then close with the hon. Member for Kafue.


Mr Chisanga (Lukashya): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to debate this report and support it.


Mr Speaker, from the start, I would like to say that I readily support the adoption of this report by your important Committee. I also agree with the need to increase the budgetary allocation towards the operations of the Lands Tribunal because of the important role that it plays in resolving land disputes.


Mr Speaker, I also support the idea of decentralising the sittings of this important tribunal because it will underscore the quest for a cheaper and quicker resolution of land disputes which have the potential to lead to community chaos if they are not properly managed.


Mr Speaker, land disputes have the ability to be very expensive if they are to be resolved through the court system. The idea of having a decentralised Lands Tribunal is designed to ensure that we reduce the cost of dispute resolutions in so far as land is concerned.


Mr Speaker, I also support the idea that the Lands Tribunal must quickly invest in its own property and construct its own tribunal infrastructure where it will be sitting. This is going to ensure that we help channel Government resources to proper use as it will take away the need to spend huge amounts of money in renting commercial properties.


Mr Speaker, the idea of sensitising the public on the existence of the Lands Tribunal is an equally important part of this report. It is very important because it ensures stakeholders are informed of the existence of the Lands Tribunal as a platform for the settlement of land disputes, especially over land held under customary tenure which are now on the increase. It is a known fact that most of our land in this country is still owned under customary land tenure. Therefore, a Lands Tribunal, which is very well advertised will have the public sensitised of the existence of this important platform for the settlement of land disputes.


Sir, on procedural rules, one need not overemphasise the need for their promulgation. They must be promulgated without any delay because these will help to streamline the procedure of resolving disputes and create a system of uniformity in the manner the disputes are going to be addressed and resolved before the Lands Tribunal.


Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I support the Motion to adopt this important report.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs Chinyama (Kafue): Mr Speaker, I also want to appreciate the report presented by your Committee concerning issues surrounding our Lands Tribunal. I also want to agree with hon. Colleagues who have spoken before me about the importance of this institution and how far it can go in helping us to resolve a lot of land disputes.


Sir, Kafue has been one such area which has had unresolved land issues. You have heard me in my previous debates talk about land disputes in a number of places in Kafue. For example there are land disputes in Kabweza of Kafue. We also have land disputes concerning Mphande Forest as well as in Muchuto area. Everywhere in Kafue, including Magoba, our people are living under fear of displacement because of unresolved issues.


Mr Speaker, it is, therefore, disheartening to learn about the inadequacies of our institution which is supposed to help us resolve all these disputes and conflicts that are arising from our land tenure system.


Sir, I want to disagree with my hon. Colleague who was trying to indicate that the issues of lack of funding have arisen due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. COVID-19 is a very recent phenomenon and yet the challenges of the unresolved issues of land are matters that we have been discussing from the very first day I entered Parliament. Five years have gone by without any solution in sight.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Member, rightly observed that the Land Policy, which should have also helped to guide all matters around land administration, unfortunately, has also taken another five years without coming into place. This is despite the assurances every year from the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources that this very important document was going to be in place.


Sir, it is a pity that, as a country, we do not seem to take this issue of land very seriously. While we are relaxed like that, this very important resource is going away at a very fast rate leaving most of the citizens very vulnerable and with a very bleak future of owning this resource, which is ideally supposed to be God given to them. Instead, as someone pointed out, it is going into the hands of foreigners when it should have been our only heritage as our country.


Mr Speaker, I want to agree with the aspect of decentralising the Lands Tribunal because of its importance that we are referring to. In the long-term, it will take a long time before the tribunal can have its own infrastructure in various places. However, in the short-term, the tribunal could consider being housed in different institutional buildings around the country where it will easily be accessible and can begin to deal with these matters because moving around the country can be very costly also, if it is going to operate along the same lines as the Teaching Service Commission (TSC). That is very difficult to sustain. So, if it can house itself in buildings of some institutions, maybe even in provincial centres before going down to districts, it will go a long way in facilitating access for people to resolve their land disputes.


Sir, I do not want to talk about our local authority here in Kafue which has several land issues that are pending where the tribunal would come in very handy to try and help resolve those matters.


Mr Speaker, once again, I wish to appreciate your Committee’s report and hope that its recommendations will, indeed, be implemented to help us deal with these serious land matters.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (Ms Kapata): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you for according me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights, National Guidance, Gender Matters and Governance on the Review of the Operations of the Lands Tribunal.


Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the Chairperson, who is the mover of the Motion, the Seconder and all the hon. Members of Parliament who have debated. I will comment on a few findings and recommendations that have been made by your Committee.


Sir, first of all, I wish to comment on the issue of insufficient funding to the Lands Tribunal. You may wish to note that the Lands Tribunal is one of the grant aided institutions under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. The ministry ensures that resources released by the Treasury go directly to Government aided institutions. However, my ministry will liaise with the Ministry of Finance in order to ensure more funding is allocated to the Lands Tribunal to ensure that its operational costs are fully met.


Sir, the Lands Tribunal Act No. 39 of 2010 is, currently, undergoing a process of amendment and one of the proposed amendments is to have the chairperson and deputy chairperson engaged on full time basis. I am aware of the increasing volume of matters at the Lands Tribunal and, therefore, allowing key position holders to remain part time is not sustainable. This will ensure that matters are attended to expeditiously and further ensure speedy delivery of judgments. In doing so, I believe the tribunal will become more effective and efficient.


Mr Speaker, the recommendation that the Lands Tribunal members be appointed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is welcome and will be considered as the Lands Tribunal Act is being amended. The other matter that will be addressed by the proposed amendments to the Lands Tribunal Act is the provision relating to appeals from the Lands Tribunal. Section 16 of the Lands Tribunal Act will be amended in order to provide for appeals from the Lands Tribunal to go to the Court of Appeal, in line with Article 131 (1) (c) of the Constitution of Zambia.


Sir, among the matters that will be adequately addressed by the amendments to the Lands Tribunal Act No. 39 of 2010 is the issue of increasing of staffing levels. My ministry is aware of the fact that courts require technical staff such as court reporters, court marshals, interpreters and researchers. Currently, these are outsourced from the High Court.


Mr Speaker, the aforesaid positions shall certainly be created in the tribunal establishment, including the position of deputy registrar, in order to assist the registrar with determining interlocutory applications and the day to day administration operations of the tribunal. This is dependent on adequate funding from the Treasury.


Sir, the Lands Tribunal currently only has offices in Lusaka. However, Section 10(4) of the Lands Tribunal Act No. 39 of 2010 mandates the tribunal to circuit and hear matters in any part of the country. The tribunal does conduct circuit sessions as and when finances allow. My ministry shall ensure that it puts up a robust communication strategy and awareness campaign in order to sensitise members of the public on the functions of the Lands Tribunal.


Mr Speaker, regarding the time limits or how long matters should take in the Lands Tribunal, it should be noted that cases are mainly client driven. This means that the onus is on the clients to ensure that they file and serve the relevant documents as quickly as possible. Clients who have not done that normally request the tribunal adjourn the matter to the next hearing. In some instances, it is the legal representatives who request for the matter to be given another date of hearing because they may be appearing in another court at the same time. In the interest of justice, the tribunal may grant such adjournments. Therefore, it should be noted that how long a case takes to be heard before the tribunal is mainly dependant on the preparedness of the litigants. The same would be said for the cases which are brought –


The hon. Members time expired.


Mr Speaker: I was going to allow you to end graciously but you have elected not to. I will invite the hone Minister of Justice.


The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, the report under consideration covers many other issues besides the Lands Tribunal. Furthermore, I rise to add a few comments on the other aspects besides the topical issue.


Sir, there are issues to do with the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), for example. There are matters to do with the review of the Legal Aid Board, judicial reform in the justice systems, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and the performance of the Public Protector. I am afraid that the mover, the seconder and all the people who debated decided to be silent on these matters. For the sake of the record, I think it is my duty to respond to some of the matters that have been raised. Let me also just comment a little on the topical issue which is the Lands Tribunal.


Mr Speaker, first of all, like the hon. Minister of Lands has indicated, the Government agrees entirely with the recommendations of your Committee. The matter which was recommended by some of the stakeholders, which has not been reflected upon, is that of establishing the Lands Tribunal as a division of the High Court. I would like to put on record that this matter is being actively considered by the Ministry of Justice and we are in discussion with the Ministry of Lands and the Judiciary. As you are all aware, Article 133 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia allows the Judiciary to establish divisions of the High Court. We believe that once that happens, we will avoid the complaint that was raised in the report of duplicity of matters. Some matters starting in the magistrates courts, others in the tribunal, yet others going straight to the High Court and, thereby creating a confusion in the delivery of justice. This also will consider the issue that was raised of giving of exclusive original jurisdiction to the lands division of the High Court in so far as matters of land are concerned.


Mr Speaker, one matter that has not been reflected upon is the relationship between the traditional land dispute systems and the tribunal system. As all of us are well aware, it has been captured in the report that most of the land that is in dispute in Zambia is land that is owned by the traditional leadership, yet in many cases when there is a dispute over land, the traditional authorities are totally left out, such that matters go to court before exhausting the traditional system. This is a matter that has been brought to the attention of Her Ladyship the Chief Justice and one in which the Judiciary is looking into to ensure that we streamline the handling of land disputes. If a piece of land is handed out by a traditional leader, naturally when there is a dispute, the traditional leaders must be involved in resolving that problem. This is something that we think it is important, but as I said, this is work in progress.


Mr Speaker, let me move to a matter that I am directly responsible for, which is the APRM. Your Committee proposed that we consider having a second basic review under the APRM System. I would like to report that Zambia has been ready ever since 2015. As a matter of fact, the late President, Mr Michael Sata, presented the first base report in 2012, and we were already ready for a second review. We have been ready. In 2015, we informed the continental body of the APRM of our preparedness to undergo the second base review. Unfortunately, because of various considerations at the continental level, this has not occurred. We shall present ourselves whenever the continental body is ready to conduct the second base review.


I would like to take advantage of this report to inform the nation and you, Sir, that as a matter of fact, Zambia hosted the continental workshop on targeted reviews in 2019. We brought all countries on the continent into Livingstone to have a workshop on how to conduct targeted reviews and Zambia became the very first country to undergo targeted reviews. We actually had two targeted reviews, and His Excellency the President, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, submitted reports to the APRM Summit which was held on 25th March, 2021.


Sir, the reviews were on tourism and the mining sector and how they impact on the lives of Zambians. I would like to enjoin hon. Members of Parliament to take interest in those reports so they can see what the continental body said about Zambia’s tourism and mining sectors.


Mr Speaker, I would also like to report to you that the constitutive guidelines of the National Governing Councils on the continent were reviewed by the continental body and Zambia has since reviewed hers. As soon as the Cabinet authorises, I shall launch the new guidelines as well as the new membership of the National Governing Council. This was done with the idea of enhancing the visibly of the APRM in Zambia. I know that this is a body that very few people know about. I can imagine that there may even be some hon. Members of Parliament who may not understand exactly how the APRM is supposed to operate. I recall a few a months ago when I presented a report, there were so many questions that were presented. I enjoined hon. Members of Parliament to engage in a bit more research on the APRM because that is a very important governance mechanism for the continent of Africa designed by Africans for Africans. It is a process through which Presidents peer review each other on the governance of the continent.


Sir, in your report, your Committee urged the Executive to begin preparing for the holding of a Referendum on the Amendment of the Bill of Rights. When I read this, I was gripped by surprise and I was hoping that the report would indicate what the following hon. Members of Parliament commented: Hon. Jere, Hon. Shabula, Hon. Sing’ombe, Hon. Nanjuwa and Hon. Bulaya. They are all members of this Committee and they were urging the Executive to start the process of a Referendum to review the Bill of Rights. I would have wanted to see, in the report, whether, indeed, those hon. Colleagues of mine whose names I have mentioned, have changed their positions on the Bill Rights because you may recall that in the run-up to the 2016 General Elections, these hon. Colleagues of mine were amongst those who went round the whole country campaigning against the Referendum. Have they changed their positions? Have they consulted their president and their party to the extent that if we start the process now, they will not, again, unduly frustrate the process? I would like to just inform the nation to please watch the space. President Edgar Chagwa Lungu means well with this matter and knowing that he will come back to Parliament soon after the August 2021 elections, he will come and pronounce his desire to review the Bill of Rights. I hope that these hon. Colleagues of mine in this Committee will be amongst the champions of the Referendum so that it moves smoothly.


Sir, in the little time that I have left, let me just reflect a little on the matters that were raised concerning the operations of the Legal Aid Board. I would like to inform the House that the Legal Aid Act (Amendment) Bill No.1 of 2021 is already before us here in Parliament. So, my hon. Colleagues on this Committee should go through that Bill so that they can assist us in ensuring that we come up with a law that meets their expectations and the expectations of the people who made submissions to your Committee.


Mr Speaker, concerning the offering of pro bono legal services, yes, we at the Ministry of Justice are still waiting to conclude discussions with the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ). However, we are determined to increase the number of practitioners providing legal services to indigents in the country. This is why, in the Legal Aid Act (Amendment) Bill, which I spoke about, we are recognising the provision of legal services by paralegals.


Sir, I also reported earlier in the session about how we have set up legal services units across the country. This is something we are determined to do because we would like to ensure that our citizens have readily available legal services. I have to thank our co-operating partners, particularly the European Union (EU) and German Society for International Co-operation Ltd (GIZ) for the assistance they are rendering to us in setting up these services.


Mr Speaker, there is also another very important matter that was raised by your Committee, and this is to do with the definition of child. They also lamented in their report that because of the collapse of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, we have a definition of a child which is not in harmony between pieces of legislation. I would like to inform you and my hon. Colleagues that the Child Code is reaching its conclusion in the Ministry of Justice. We had all the various meetings. It took a long time because we wanted to consult thoroughly. I can assure the House that all things being equal, we shall present to Parliament the Child Code Bill before the end of this session.


Mr Speaker, let me end by saying that Present Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has taken these matters into account. All the issues that have been raised such as the Lands Tribunal, the Bill of Rights, the Judiciary in access to justice have gripped President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s mind and on Sunday, I am aware that he is going to accept his candidature as President for Zambia for the Patriotic Front (PF) and on that same day, Sunday, 11th April, 2021, he shall present his manifesto. I would like to ask Zambians to pay attention to that manifesto. Read thoroughly because all these matters that I am speaking about are captured in that manifesto, which shall inspire Zambians to give President Edgar Lungu another mandate for him to continue to shepherd this country.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the seconder for ably seconding this Motion. I also thank the following hon. Members who debated the report, the hon. Members for Keembe, Lukashya and Kafue. Further, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources for stating the position of the ministry on issues affecting the Lands Tribunal. I would also like to thank the hon. Minister of Justice for his responses on the Lands Tribunal only.


Sir, the need to increase the budgetary allocation to the Lands Tribunal cannot be over emphasised. We hope and trust that in the 2022 Budget allocation, it shall be increased.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Question put and agreed to.




Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Cabinet Affairs for the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 26th March, 2021.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Mr S. Tembo (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Dr Imakando: Sir, in accordance with its terms of reference, as contained in the Standing Orders, your Committee reviewed the operations of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) in the welfare of teachers in Zambia.


Mr Speaker, pursuant to the above, your Committee interacted with several stakeholders who tendered both written and oral submissions.


Sir, it is my belief that hon. Members have read the report. Therefore, I will only highlight a few salient issues that came to the attention of your Committee during its deliberations.


Mr Speaker, your Committee observed, with concern, that the commission still relies on the outdated Teaching Service Regulations of 1971, which are inconsistent with the provisions of the Service Commissions Act No. 10 of 2016. In light of this, your Committee recommends that the Teaching Service Regulations of 1971 be updated to bring them in tandem with the Service Commissions Act No. 10 of 2016.


Sir, your Committee noted that the Service Commissions Act provides for a principled and value-based decentralised human resource management system for the Public Service. It also makes provision for the composition, additional functions, operations and financial management of the TSC. Your Committee is aware that the commission launched Phase 1 of the formation of District Human Resource Management Committees in Chibombo District of Central Province in June 2018.


Sir, given the composition of the Human Resource Management Committees, your Committee is of the view that matters of appointments, confirmations, promotions, transfers and disciplinary action, if decentralised to district level, be dealt with more fairly than what is currently obtaining. In this regard, your Committee recommends that the rolling out of these committees to other districts be expedited. This will empower the lower levels to process human resource cases in an efficient and effective manner while upholding the principles and values of human resource management in the Public Service.


Mr Speaker, your Committee observed, with concern, that some schools are fully operational but without funding from the Treasury. Your Committee is further concerned that officers appointed to administrative positions in these schools perform duties on higher positions without receiving commensurate salaries. Your Committee finds both these developments totally unacceptable. In this regard, it implores the Government to ensure that appropriate financial resources are earmarked for newly upgraded schools. The new schools must also be gazetted and their establishments approved and funded appropriately without undue delay.


Sir, last but not the least, your Committee observed that the non-payment of settling in allowances to officers who have been transferred and the failure to provide transport logistics by the concerned authorities is a demotivating factor to teachers. Your Committee finds it unacceptable that in many instances, officers are forced to report to their new stations at their own cost, and that they are threatened with disciplinary action if they do not report even though the necessary logistics are not provided for them.


Mr Speaker, in light of this, your Committee recommends that the Ministry of General Education only transfers teachers when funds are available to pay them settling-in allowances and to provide them with transport logistics promptly. Further, going forward, no teacher should be penalised for failure to report at a new station if transport logistics have not been provided.


Mr Speaker, I wish to conclude by thanking you for the guidance provided to your Committee during the session. I also wish to thank all the stakeholders who appeared before your Committee. Gratitude also goes to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the support they rendered to your Committee.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


I thank you, Sir.


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


Mr S. Tembo: Now, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to second the Motion on the Floor of the House. In seconding the Motion, I will briefly comment on a few salient issues in your report.


Mr Speaker, your Committee observed that the provisions of the Service Commissions Act No. 10 of 2016 do not expressly provide for the Teaching Services Commission (TSC) to collaborate with relevant employee representatives, in this case, the teachers’ unions, in reviewing their conditions of service and even remunerations. They do not collaborate. However, this function is being performed by the Ministry of General Education, which has been delegated to carry out some of the human resource functions of the commission and the Public Service Division (PSD).


Mr Speaker, therefore, your Committee, recommends that the Service Commissions Act No. 10 of 2016 provides for some collaboration among relevant stakeholders such as the Public Service Management Division (PSMD), the Ministry of General Education and, more importantly, the teachers’ unions in reviewing the conditions of service and remuneration for teachers through collective bargaining.


Mr Speaker, your Committee also observed that some teachers have physically moved away from rural schools to urban schools. However, these teachers that have moved away from rural schools have continued to draw salaries from the establishment of the schools in the rural areas where they came from and this has created a very serious mismatch. As a result, there has been failure to fill positions in rural schools because there are already teachers who have been deployed to those schools, but have moved away and are at urban schools. As a result, your Committee is recommending that the Government puts in place measures to ensure that salaries for teachers who are transferred to urban areas are not drawn from their previous establishments in order to avoid the artificial shortages which are created because of teachers that move to urban areas. This has created a serious problem in filing vacant positions.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to thank you for the guidance rendered to your Committee during its deliberations. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the mover of the Motion for ably moving the Motion on the Floor of the House. Lastly, let me extend my gratitude to the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the services it rendered to your Committee during its deliberations.


Mr Speaker, I beg to second.


I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I will allow two interventions from the hon. Member for Nkeyema and close with the hon. Member for Zambezi East.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, I would like to commend your Committee for doing a good job and putting out everything in a simple, but straight forward manner.


Mr Speaker, reading or listening to the presentation of this report, it is really tragic what has happened in our country. We have a commission in place, but it is still using regulations of 1971, yet there is a law of 2016. So, one is bound to ask what the people in offices have been doing for the last four years.


Mr Speaker, your Committee says that some teachers have left rural schools, but are still being paid some money. I presume that is to do with hardship allowance. Who is supposed to correct that anomaly which is causing problems for rural schools because people have migrated from there? It is the Executive. The Executive forms institutions, but does not provide capacity and funding.


Mr Speaker, all the reports which have come here on the Floor have a common theme, the lack of capacity, yet there are people in offices, and the lack of funding. Even on the questions we ask here in the House on when the Government is going to do this or that, the answer every time is, “when funds become available.”


Mr Speaker, based on this report, truly, we are not going anywhere if this Executive is not going to sit down and follow up on issues which are so straightforward. We have the Ministry of Labour and Social Security which is the custodian of workers’ rights, but it expects teachers to move to new places without being facilitated and threatens them when they fail to move. What sort of a country are we running? Those people have got rules that that they are governed by and rights. The ministry and the Government, which is the ultimate employer, cannot step on the rights of employees. If it is doing that, what does it expect people in the private sector to do? Even the people who are not paying teachers to facilitate their movements, would they move if it was them placed in such a position?


Mr Speaker, this is the reason we take very strong exception to hon. Ministers throwing money at markets when people who are working in the Civil Service are not being paid. This is a typical example and you can see how unfair, unfortunate and confused the system is because some of that money they throw around, surely, could facilitate –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Nkeyema, the matter that you are referring to about disbursement of funds or distribution of money, call it what you will, at markets has been a subject of a point of order. Let us distinguish the roles of the actors, private from official, because if we confuse or mix the two, we may have very misleading debates carried on.


I hope you follow my guidance.


Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, it is appreciated.


Mr Speaker: For avoidance of doubt, let me be very clear about this. When those funds are distributed wherever or however, they should not be seen as conterminous with public funds which could be available to fund the activities of these institutions. I have difficulties when you make that kind of nexus. In fact, there is a point of order we are processing to that effect, about mixing these issues.


You may continue.


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


The other issue I would like to raise is the fact that while the Government says it considers education to be important, it does not fund and gazette schools which are opened. So, what is the implication of creating something which you do not facilitate, yet say you consider it to be important? It is an issue of priority, in a sense, because if education was considered a priority, this Government would be spending money on it. The fact that it does not means that it is not as important as it should be.


Mr Speaker, with those few words, I thank you for the opportunity to speak.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane: (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I also congratulate your Committee for the report that it has produced and which has been articulated so well this afternoon by Hon. Dr Imakando. I am also happy that your Committee chose a profession that is so important in national development – the teaching profession. Teachers are the ones who have made all of us who are in Public Service. They are the ones who have made so many people, including executives, in the private sector. They are everything to the nation hence, it was very important that your Committee chose this topic to see how teachers are being served by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC).


Mr Speaker, the issue indicated about teachers being forced to go on transfer without resources such as settling-in allowance, indeed, makes every sad reading, especially considering the fact that those of us who are Members of Parliament representing rural constituencies know that teachers in this country go through hardships. I have teachers in my constituency who have to walk for four days from where they work to the Boma to get paid or to check on matters such as the one that has been reported. They go to say, “I have been transferred, but where is the money?” It takes four days to walk to the nearest Boma and, of course, four days to also walk back.


Mr Speaker, when a teacher receives a letter of transfer that does not come with money, it is, indeed, very painful because just to check whether the money is available takes a four days’ walk to and another four days back. It is very sad. Therefore, I can only join members of this Committee in urging the TSC to ensure that when teachers are on transfer, the money for that purpose be disbursed.


Mr Speaker, some of us have seen teachers finally give up and say, “Look, I have been transferred, but money has not come. If I keep on sitting here, I will be disciplined. So, I will use my own resources to move.’’ The question is: How much money does a teacher get paid, especially with the inflation that we are experiencing in Zambia today? The amount of money that teachers get paid is very little and for them to be taking out money from their pockets for the purpose of doing Government work is very sad.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I hope that the TSC, the Government at large and the Treasury have taken note of this very sad situation and that, in future, teachers will get funded when they are transferred.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will have the last intervention from the hon. Member for Zambezi East.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for according me an opportunity to debate the report of your Committee on (was inaudible)


Mr Speaker, in addressing issues affecting teachers, I have in mind the provisions that are contained in the report where there is a clear mismatch between the regulations that are in use by the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) and the law that put the commission in place. Clearly, it shows that no one really cares and, at the end of the day, we have a situation where the TSC has remained a tool for political use.


Mr Speaker, in Zambezi, we have a situation where teachers have been transferred and I would like to take the debate of Whip for the United Party for National Development (UPND), Hon. Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, as mine in terms of teachers’ plight whereby they are not paid their settling-in allowances. For sure, it is clear here that teachers’ rights are being trampled upon whilst the TSC watches. It is an issue where the TSC stands as an institution that is supposed to provide for the welfare of these teachers. It should be more like a human resource institution that appoints teachers, takes care of their welfare and ensures that they are appropriately remunerated. However, in the absence of the TSC and with outdated regulations, that is not being achieved and these people’s rights are being trampled on.


At the end of the day, we are having a situation where the Government is getting away with trampling on these people’s rights as and when it wants, transferring them in any way it wishes and in a coercive manner because it wields reward and position power in that it can disappoint these people whom it appoints to these positions.


Sir, we have seen situations where once a teacher who is unfairly treated complains, he/she has ended up being retired in national interest and aligned to Opposition political activities without any proof. So, this kind of trend has continued and the teachers’ plight continues being heightened. We need to have a check into this. 


Mr Speaker, today, I stand to speak to that teacher who is disadvantaged by this Government that has not cared for her/his plight. The plight of teachers is dwindling every other day because teachers now do not enjoy the same rights as they did a few years ago. We need to check this one. Otherwise, at the end of the day, the teaching profession has lost its value because the laws that are in place no longer protect its plight. The TSC can just wake up on any day and institute a transfer, including undertaking disciplinary action just by citing one of the teachers of being associated with any Opposition political party and teachers are either transferred or even retired in national interest.


Mr Speaker, this must come to an end and the Cabinet is responsible for making sure that these things are checked. How else can you explain the fact that we have a law in place which is quite current, but then we do not have regulations that are in tandem with the provisions of the law? It simply means that the Government wants to use that institution as a tool for political expediency, which we will not allow. What we are promising the teachers is that they should, please, just vote for the United Party for National Development (UPND) in August 2021 and this kind of behaviour will come to an end.


I thank you, Sir.


The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I will comment on some of the issues raised by your Committee on the teaching service regulations. The Teaching Services Regulations of 1971 were repealed and replaced with Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 104 of 2020 of the Teaching Service Regulations.


Sir, the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) is rolling out committees to districts. The commission, working with the Ministry of General Education, has come up with an orientation programme during which it will train committees in all the 116 districts, beginning this month of April. To be specific, it will be from mid-April to mid-May 2021.


Mr Speaker, on lack of Treasury authority, the Ministry of Finance has granted Treasury authority to employ 1,200 employees for 2021. Subsequently, teachers who have been acting in administrative positions will be appointed to substantively fill these positions from 6th April, to 20th April, 2021.


Sir, on confirmations, the commission has delegated some of its functions to Human Resource Management Committees, hence confirmations will now be done at the lower levels. In addition, instead of the six months confirmation period, the time has been reduced to three months.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I must state that we have taken note of all the recommendations of your Committee and, indeed, this is work in progress as the issues raised by your Committee are currently being scrutinised by the TSC.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the seconder of the Motion, Hon. Tembo, the Member of Parliament for Chadiza, for stressing the challenges faced by teachers and the teaching service. I also want to thank Hon. Kapelwa Mbangweta, the Member of Parliament for Nkeyema, for amplifying the problems faced by the TSC and teachers in general. I am thankful to Hon. Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane for highlighting the importance of the teaching profession, among others. I further want to thank Hon. Kambita, the hon. Member of Parliament for Zambezi East, for explaining the plight of teachers.


Sir, I want to thank Her Honour the Vice-President for accepting our recommendations and, particularly, for letting us know that the Human Resource Management Committees will soon be underway as they are receiving training. We appreciate the information that the Treasury has given authority for the employment of 1,200 teachers. This is, indeed, a great comfort to hear.


Mr Speaker, I want to thank all those who have debated and supported our report. I would like to also urge the whole House to support this Committee’s report.


I thank you, Sir.


Question put and agreed to.




Mrs Wina: Sir, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1656 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 8th April, 2021.