GWEMBE UPND member of parliament Brian Ntundu on Friday told Parliament that he is as fierce as lightning after complaining of perceived intimidation from ruling party MPs.

Debating the general policy statement by Vice-President Guy Scott on the budgetary allocation to the Human Rights Commission (HRC), Ntundu who drifted from debating the head expenditure warned the Executive against intimidation, saying it was wrong to provoke him during the rainy season.

"My colleagues on the other side are trying to intimidate me but I want to tell them that I am as fierce as lightning and during this rainy season, it is the wrong time to provoke me," said Ntundu as his fellow members of parliament burst into laughter.

And contributing to debate on budgetary allocation to the HRC, Senga Hill MMD member of parliament Kapembwa Simbao said the Commission must be turned into a ministry because a lot of people in the country have got issues concerning human rights.

"If anything, I would suggest that the Human Rights Commission must be turned into a ministry because there are a lot of people that have got issues to do with human rights," Simbao said.

And in his general policy statement on the budgetary allocation to his ministry, information and broadcasting minister Kennedy Sakeni said the non-restructuring of the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) in the districts has resulted in inadequate and unqualified human resource.

He said the inadequate and unqualified human resource of Zanis in many districts has had an effect on the general on performance of the ministry.
Sakeni said his ministry has embarked on facilitating the filling of all vacant and frozen positions under Zanis.

And Sakeni said the access to information law would not be done at the expense of national security.

He said as part of media reforms, the Independent Broadcasting Authority would become operational in 2013.

"To this end, K8 billion has been set aside for operations of the IBA. In the meantime, works are in progress at the Mass Media Complex where the secretariat will be based. Discussions are ongoing with cabinet office to finalise the structure of the IBA," he said.

Sakeni said the IBA board would be appointed within the first quarter of 2013 and that this was the same period that the ZNBC board would also be put in place once Parliament had ratified the nominees.

On the 2015 digital migration deadline, Sakeni said the Zambia Public Procurement Agency (ZPPA) has since advertised the tender for the procurement of digital migration equipment in the public media.

Debating Sakeni's policy statement, Choma UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa hoped that the access to information bill would be taken to parliament next year as it was crucial in the fight against corruption.

Mweetwa also wondered why the government was quick to set up provincial television stations when ZNBC had not been improved upon.
He, however, commended the government and ZNBC management for the national broadcaster's coverage of news.

"I want to commend ZNBC management and the PF government for allowing ZNBC to operate freely without interference, because at least there is a difference in the way they are covering news," said Mweetwa.