Monday 23 February 2015

Change Of Sitting Arrangement As Parliament Opens Tomorrow

By Paul Shalala

Inonge Wina
The Second Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly opens in Lusaka tomorrow with a lot of visible changes in terms of numbers and sitting arrangement following nullification of seats, a presidential election and the selection of a new Cabinet from within the house. 

The house opens shortly after the January 20 Presidential Election which saw then Chawama Member of Parliament Edgar Lungu take on the mantle to lead the nation until the next scheduled General Elections somewhere in 2016.

As the house opens, the house will have a new leader in the name of Inonge Wina, Zambia’s first ever female Republican Vice President.

As leader of Government Business in the house, Mrs Wina, who is also Nalolo Member of Parliament, will be on the receiving end of the 30 minutes Vice President’s Question Time every Friday morning as opposition MPs and ruling party backbenchers ask her questions of national interest.

Mrs Wina, who in the last meeting of Parliament sat on on the front row near the alley way as Gender Minister, will now move closer to the Speaker on the right and sit in between the Ministers of Justice and Finance to lead government affairs in the house.

Dr. Guy Scott
With the dissolution of the Michael Sata-appointed Cabinet and the swearing in of the new one, MPs who are now serving in Cabinet will change seats to occupy their new statuses in the house while those who have maintained their Cabinet portfolios will remain in their usual seats.

Significant among the new entrants to the Speaker’s right on the front seats are Chipili MP Davies Mwila who will move from the backbench to the front bench and seat to the left side of the Vice President.

Kabwata MP Given Lubinda will also move from the backbench to sit on the Speaker’s left side front row to occupy his seat as Agriculture Minister.

Zambezi West MP Christabel Ngimbu, who is just five months old in the house, will leave her seat at the backbench and move to the Speaker’s right handside and occupy her front row seat as Lands Minister.

Vincent Mwale
Opposition MMD lawmakers Vincent Mwale of Chipangali and Dr. Michael Kaingu of Mwandi will cross the floor from the Speaker’s left to the right to occupy their front row seats as they are now serving as Sports Minister and Education Minister respectively. 

Nominated MP Margaret Mwanakatwe, who is now Commerce Minister, will also join the right side of the Speaker and she will seat with her Cabinet colleagues.

Another nominated MP Mulenga Sata will seat in the middle seats of the Speaker’s right following his appointment as State House Deputy Minister.

Missing in the Cabinet seats will be Lusaka Central MP Dr. Guy Scott, Bwana Mkubwa MP Emmanuel Chenda, Mpika Central MP Mwansa Kapeya and Nchanga MP Wylbur Simusa who lost their cabinet portfolio.

The quartet will now seat at the backbench since they are now ordinary MPs.

In the middle seats of the Speaker’s right will be new entrants. This is the row that seats Deputy Ministers.

Some of the new entrants are Lupososhi MP Bwalya Chungu (Office of the Vice President Deputy Minister) and Kaputa MP Maxas Ngonga (Agriculture Deputy Minister).

Lukashya MP Elfreda Kansembe (Labour Deputy Minister) and Pambashe MP Ronald Chitotela (Sports Deputy Minister) also make a return to the middle seats after they were dismissed by late President Sata in 2014 as Home Affairs Deputy Minister and Labour Deputy Minister respectively.

UPND Solwezi Central MP Dawson Kafwaya and PF Mkushi South MP will also leave the backbench to seat on the Provincial Ministers seats following their swearing in this month.
Dawson Kafwaya

These two men were elected MPs last year on 11 September during parliamentary by-elections and they are serving as ministers for the first time.

Mufumbwe MP Steven Masumba is expected to make a come back in the house following his pardon by then Acting President Dr. Guy Scott.

Mr Masumba was jailed by the Lusaka Magistrates Court for forging a Diploma but he walked out of the Lusaka Central Prison (Chimbokaila) after Dr. Scott used the prerogative of mercy to release Mr Masumba together with People’s Democratic Party President George Mpombo in December 2014.

Missing from the house will be Daniel Munkombwe who lost his nomination as MP after President Lungu revoked it for supporting UPND President Hakainde Hichilema during this year’s presidential election.

Chisamba MP Moses Muteteka will also be missing from the house as he is still waiting for the courts to rule on his appeal to a jail sentence following his guilty verdict in a motor vehicle case.

For obvious reasons, there wont be an MP from Chawama as the incumbent is now the head of state.

Kapembwa Simbao
Following the adjournment of parliamentary sittings in December last year, two parliamentary seats have been nullified and these are Masaiti which was held by MMD’s Michael Katambo and Senga Hill which was held by MMD’s Kapembwa Simbao.

The two seats will remain vacant when parliament opens tomorrow just.

Other seats which will not be occupied tomorrow in the house are Malambo, Mulobezi and Petauke Central which are still awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on whether the previous MPs whose election was nullified can recontest the seats.

Monday 16 February 2015

President Edgar Lungu Appoints Deputy Ministers

President Edgar Lungu
By Paul Shalala

President Edgar Lungu has announced a full list of Deputy Minister to complete the deployment of Members of Parliament to the remaining ministerial posts.
Over a week ago, President Lungu appointed and swore in Cabinet Ministers.
Below is the full list of the Deputy Ministers as posted by the State House Facebook page:

1. Office of the President 
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Mulenga Sata, MP

2. Office of the Vice President
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Stephen Kampyongo, MP
2) Deputy Minister - Hon. Bwalya Chungu, MP

3. Ministry of Justice
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Keith Mukata, MP
Mulenga Sata

4. Ministry of Defence
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Christopher Mulenga

5. Ministry of Finance
1) Deputy Minister - Vacant

6. Ministry of Home Affairs
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Col. Panji Kaunda, MP
2) Deputy Minister - Hon. Col.Gerry Chanda, MP

7. Ministry of Health
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, MP

8. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Rayford Mbulu, MP
Richard Musukwa

9. Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Monde Greyford, MP
2) Deputy Minister - Hon. Maxus Ng’onga

10. Ministry of Youth and Sport
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Ronald Chitotela, MP

11. Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Miles Sampa, MP

12. Ministry of Mines, Energy & Water Development
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Richard Musukwa, MP
2) Deputy Minister - Hon. Charles Zulu, MP

13. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Forrie Tembo, MP

Greyford Monde
14. Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. David Mabumba, MP

15. Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Davis Mwango, MP
2) Deputy Minister - Hon. Suzan B. Kawandami MP

16. Ministry of Local Government and Housing
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Nicholas Banda, MP
2) Deputy Minister - Hon. Danny Chingembu, MP

17. Ministry of Tourism and Arts
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Patrick Ngoma, MP
2) Deputy Minister - Hon. Esther Banda, MP

Miles Sampa
18. Ministry of Labour and Social Security
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Alfreda Kansembe, MP

19. Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Obvious Chisala, MP
2) Deputy Minister - Hon. Josephine Limata, MP

20. Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Dr. Mutaba Mwali, MP
2) Deputy Minister - Hon. Richwell Siamunene, MP

21. Ministry of Gender and Child Development
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. Dorothy Kazunga, MP
2) Deputy Minister - Hon. Col. Joseph Lungu, MP

22. Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs
1) Deputy Minister - Hon. John Kufuna, MP

Friday 6 February 2015

President Lungu Heads To Zimbabwe For Courtesy Call On Mugabe

By Paul Shalala in Johannesburg, South Africa
President Lungu and his Deputy Inonge Wina

President Edgar Lungu is this morning expected to leave for Zimbabwe to pay a courtesy call on that country's President Robert Mugabe.

According to a statement issued by President Lungu's Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, the Zambian leader is on a one day visit to meet Mr Mugabe who doubles as African Union and SADC Chairperson.

"President Lungu has delegated his authority to Her Honour Mrs. Inonge Wina, Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia to discharge functions of the office of President from 6th February 2015 till his return from Zimbabwe. The delegation of power is pursuant to Article 39 of the Constitution of Zambia," read the emailed statement.

President Lungu was until this morning on a working holiday in the tourist resort of Mfuwe and he is expected to continue with the holiday upon return from Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the head of state has made the following appointments in the foreign service:

Mr. Humphrey Chibanda: Ambassador-Designate to France (Chief of State Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba: Ambassador-Designate to Malaysia (former Information Permanent Secretary) 

Dr. Solomon Jere: High Commissioner-Designate to Nigeria (former Deputy Inspector-General of Police)

Mrs. Brenda Muntemba-Sichilemba: High Commissioner-Designate to Kenya (former Commissioner of Police)

"The President has emphasised that he was in a hurry to reposition Zambia in international affairs and he therefore expects robust performance from all Zambian envoys serving abroad."

“I expect very high performance from all those serving in the Foreign Service and will not tolerate misconduct and laziness from anyone. We are in hurry to deliver,” read the statement in part.

Thursday 5 February 2015

Zambia's Former President Rupiah Banda To Monitor Nigerian Polls

Rupiah Banda during Kenya's 2013 elections
By Paul Shalala in Johannesburg, South Africa
Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda is next week expected to co-lead an election observation mission for the the United States-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI. 
On 14 February, 68.8 million voters in Africa's largest democracy will be choosing their leaders in the general election. 
The presidential election is pitting incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and former military ruler General Muhamadu Buhari.
"In his invitation letter, NDI senior associate and regional director for Central and West Africa Dr Christopher Fomunyoh said President Banda’s experience will greatly benefit the NDI delegation as Africa’s most populous nation faces the most competitive election since the transition from military to civilian rule in 1999, " read part of the emailed statement to the media.
Mr Banda will co-lead the NDI delegation with former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, former Niger Prime Minister Mahamadu Danda, former Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam and former governor of Colorado Bill Ritter.
The fourth Zambian President has previously led election observation missions to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Sierra Leone under the Carter Center and to Lesotho under the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Catholic Bishops Call On ECZ To Allow Voters Cast Ballots Anywhere

Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu
By Paul Shalala in Johannesburg, South Africa

Catholics Bishops in Zambia have called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia to find ways in which they can allow registered voters to cast their ballots anywhere they are within the country.

In an emailed press statement released today, Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) President Telesphore Mpundu says the ECZ must utilised the latest technology to allow voters exercise their rights.

Archbishop Mpundu says this move will help reduce voter apathy as witnessed in last month's Presidential election.

At the moment, voters can only vote in constituencies where they are registered and this mechanism has affected most people who find themselves outside their constituencies during elections.

He has also called for the ECZ and the Zambia Police to clamp down on violence during elections.

Below is the full statement:

Statement on the 20th January 2015 Presidential Election


On 20th January 2015, Zambians went to the polls to elect 6th Republican President following the demise of President Michael ChilufyaSata, on28th October 2014.May he rest in peace. We, the Catholic Bishops in Zambia, congratulate Mr. Edgar Lunguon his election as Zambia’s Sixth President. We wish God’s rich and abundant blessings in his leadership of the Zambian nation.Wecommend the other ten candidates who participated in the election for exercising their constitutional right to participate in one of our democratic processes.
We also congratulate the Zambian people and its electorate for once again demonstrating their maturing democratic culture and sailing through a very competitive election experience yet emerging true to our cherished national motto of ONE ZAMBIA ONE NATION. We did it in 1991, 1996, 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2015 each time in different circumstances. Wenote that in spite of the usual tension and challenges that characterize our electoral process we have once again successfully pulled through. This is, indeed, a record to be proud of. We pray and hope that now we will move forward together as a nation for the very reason that we hold elections, namely to provide a leadership framework that will improve the quality of life for all Zambians particularly the poor and weak in our society.
In this spirit, we call upon the Republican President and his administration to work towards national reconciliation and building.  He must not only talk but also, and more so, rise to the occasion, transcend partisan politics, act as President for all Zambians by working with all, even, and indeed especially with those who did not vote for him. The presidency and its administration is the fulcrum of our national unity.
We challenge the unsuccessful candidates to continue and heighten their very valuable contribution to the nation building by providing the much needed, effective and constructive checks and balances to those entrusted with the responsibility to govern this nation. At the end of the day it is the Zambia people and nation that will emerge as the winner not one political party. We therefore appeal to all Christians and all citizens to embrace the spirit f forgiveness and reconciliation as an invaluable legacy to bequeath our posterity.


In spite of its success, the 20th January 2015 presidential election event is a wake-up call to the flaw in the electoral process which, if left unchecked, poses a serious threat to our struggle to embrace constitutionalism at all levels of political organization and activity.

2.1                       Intraparty Democracy

In the run up to the presidential election, the process of selecting candidates particularly within major contending parties was fraught with controversy and conflict which spilledover and affected the lives of citizens who are not even members of those parties. It exposed glaring deficiencies of the political parties’ constitutions, the inability or unwillingness to adhere to constitutional provisions and blatant indiscipline resulting in a circus of litigations. Major political parties must always bear in mind that they are a Government-in-waiting. They therefore must acquit themselves and pass the litmus test in regard to constitutionalism and discipline within their own parties. The electorate will not entrust the instruments of governance to a Political Party that does not make the grade in this regard.  We therefore appeal to political parties to put their own houses in order before aspiring to assume the administration of our country.

2.2                       Campaign Messages

The Zambian people in general and the electorate in particular are tired of enduring but unfulfilled campaign promises. This has led to an almost total loss of confidence in the politicians and the consequential voter apathy. Aspirants to public office must be sincere and make realistic and achievable promises. The electorate on the other hand has the right to make their political leaders accountable for unfulfilled pledges.  This right must find room in our political process to be exercised by the citizenry.

2.3                       Political Violence

Political campaign is a democratic contest and sale of ideas on a political platform of how to propel the nation’s developmental agenda forward. Physical violence is an admission of fear or failure to impress and win the electorate. Prior to the election, we and leaders of other churches, spoke passionately on the need to observe peace before, during and after the election event.  We therefore denounce in the strongest terms the violence witnessed in the campaigns leading to the just ended 2015 presidential election. This violence is bound to tannish our so far respectable national democratic credentials. The law must be made to visit offenders, leaders or members of political parties that ensconce intra or/and inter party violence regardless of who they are because we are all equal before the law. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the police service must be given the necessary legal instruments to deal with offenders.  In this regard the police service must be above board in their non-partisan and professional conduct, thereby engendering and sustaining public confidence in the electoral process.

2.4                       Tribalism

Tribalism is a reality we can ignore at our peril. It cannot be ignored that apart from the very cosmopolitan areas of Lusaka and the Copperbelt, and to a certain extent the provincial capitals, the electorate has, since independence in 1964,naturaliry voted for a candidate they know from their own area or region. It is therefore unfortunate that the just ended presidential election has been perceived by some as tribally polarized with regard to the two front runners of the UPND and PF as if the pattern of voting as radically changed in the rural areas.  The truth of the matter, however, is that there is nothing new to the pattern. In fact there is a clear indication that Zambia is truly one nation and is challenging the traditional voting pattern.
The situation of 72 tribes in Zambia that speak 43 languages is not a curse on the nation but a singular blessing from God. Jesus the Son of God identifies himself with each and all of us, individually and tribally, created in the image and likeness of God. We must thank God for this rich cultural diversity that can only strengthen our nation through mutual appreciation and celebration of one another’sgiftedness. Zambia, fifty (50) years after independence, has so fast ethnically integrated that any politician who tries to pull a tribal card in pursuit of public office or to marginalize a political opponent is hopelessly antiquated. The choice of leaders to public office should be based on merit and not on tribe, race, colour or even political affiliation.

2.5 The Media

The Media is an indispensable and one of the pillars of viable and sustained democratic governance. In their vital role of informing and educating the public they must be scrupulously professional, objective, responsible, ethical and non-partisan. With regard to tribalism they should not exaggerate isolated incidents of tribalism, real or imagined, to funnel tribal tension. Zambians love peace and wish to live in harmony with one another. This is a delicate balance which ought to be nurtured, jealously guarded and protected. We therefore denounce the misuse of the public and social media to destroy instead of building the nation by empowering our people through accurate information rather than through misinformation and irresponsible sensationalism.

2.6           Chiefs, Traditional Leaders and Partisan Politics

We were greatly distressed that some traditional leaders, in spite of repeated calls by the ECZ for traditional leaders to refrain from using their authority to unduly influence the electoral choices of their subjects, openly and brazenly endorsed their preferred candidates. This was in contravention of the electoral code of conduct and the law that forbids traditional leaders to engage in partisan politics, and yet the offending leaders went scotch free. Traditional leaders are guardians of their subjects; they should therefore be proud of and protect the political diversity among their subjects’ constitutional right to vote for a candidate of their choice. Either the existing law is repealed or those found wanting are made to face the law. No one is above the law.

2.7                        Members of the Clergy

We are disconcerted by and severely reprimand those of our priests who gave platform to candidates to speak to their faithful during liturgical services, particularly holy mass, in manner that is indirectly or directly connected with campaigning. We also disparage the behaviour of those of our priests who openly or privately campaigned for their own preferred candidates or parties. Such priests tarnish the image of our church as a non-partisan “Prophetic voice in defense of the poor in order to uplift their lives”   and to work for the common good of all the people (Cf. Pope Francis’ Address to Catholic Bishops of Zambia during their Ad LiminaApostolorum Visit on 17th November 2014). Priests who indulge in partisan politics are in the political arena on their own; they have neither authorization nor backing from their diocesan Bishops. 

2.8                       Low Voter Turnout

The low voter turnout during January 2015 presidential election has been attributed mainly to the timing (in this case determined by the constitution) during the rainy and farming season. However, there are other reasons that contributed to the 34% voter turnout.The main factor to us seems to be voter apathy, the trend of which has been growing since the 1991 general elections. We call upon all stakeholders to identify and address the root cause as a matter of urgency because democracy is a game of numbers without which the legitimacy of the outcome of polls is seriously called into question. One of the ways to address this trend is to review our electoral laws. The pending review of the constitutional and parliamentary laws is an opportunity which should not once again pass us by.

2.9           CONLUSION

The January 2015 Presidential election provides uswith lessons to learn as we prepare for the 2016 tripartite elections:

·       We must expedite the Legal Reforms (Constitution and Statutory Regulation) to enable us to deal with such issues as the date of elections and the costly by elections.
·       The law provides for Continuous Voter Registration and Verification.The Government must provide the ECZ with the necessary and timely funding to undertake this very important task. 
·       More polling stations particularly in the rural areas must be created in order to reduce the distances to polling stations, enable and motivate voters to cast their vote.
·       The Government must financially empower the ECZ to put in place in this age of Internet / Communication and Information Technology, a system to allow voters to cast their ballots from any polling stations given the high mobility of citizens.
·       All political parties participating in the elections must be involved in educating their members on the importance of voting, rule and practices of elections. They also must provide and accredit Monitors at all Polling Stations to ensure transparency thereby reduce if not eliminate all suspicions and unsubstantiated claims of rigging that always mar our elections.This also demands working with the ECZ in witnessing and verifying the ballots as they are cast and counted in the polling stations and transmitted to the ECZ.

Finally,we once againappeal to all Zambians to embrace and promote peace and tranquility in our land; without peace there is no development to talk about in our beloved country. The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Issued on 30th January 2015

Telesphore George Mpundu
Archbishop of Lusaka
ZEC President