NCC spends K1.8bn on microphones
|Delegates to the NCC
during deliberations on Friday - Picture by Thomas
Constitutional Conference (NCC) Secretariat has procured microphones at a
cost of about K1.8 billion when the conference is almost winding up.
NCC secretary Russell Mulele said the procurement of the microphones could not
be cancelled for fear of attracting contractual liabilities.
MMD national chairman Michael Mabenga said by discussing and debating the
compilation of a list of delegates that were fond of loitering outside during
NCC business, the conference will be attracting negative media coverage on
Well-placed sources disclosed that the microphones were brought
about two weeks ago but that they were installed in the conference hall on
Wednesday night prior to the commencement of their usage on Thursday
The sources said instead of coming in original boxes, the
microphones came in wooden boxes that were still placed in one of the storerooms
within Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
They said the
procurement of the black microphones that proved problematic on the first day of
their utilisation was allegedly spearheaded by a group of officers within the
“The microphones were tested over the long weekend but
the installation commenced on Wednesday night,” the source said. “Why have they
bought these microphones when the NCC is almost coming to an end?”
Thursday afternoon when the NCC delegates were debating the report of the Human
Rights Committee, one of the delegates Mwenda Lishebo had problems making a
point using the new microphones, which had been placed on some of the tables in
the conference hall.
At one point two microphones mistakenly came on and
NCC chairman Chifumu Banda was compelled to ask the person behind one of them
whether they wanted to get his attention or the microphone came on
“Do not step on the cables,” Banda was heard telling the
delegates as technicians moved around to work on the failing public address
Banda was heard remarking that the old system, which involved the
usage of strategically positioned cordless microphones, worked much better than
the new system.
Another source confirmed that there was an operational
complication with the microphones because the supplier did not bring the right
card that should have been installed in a computer to program the public
“We installed them on Wednesday night but the supplier brought a
wrong card. So the technicians were forced to make a direct connection,” the
“They have not finished placing microphones in the entire
But Mulele said the procurement process usually takes
long and that this was the case with the procurement of the microphones in
“The process of buying anything takes long. The advert was done
sometime back and we had to follow all those processes including tender,” Mulele
said. “We could not cancel because there was going to be some liability and it
was already a contract.”
Mulele said he could only provide the cost and
supplier of the equipment, which people have said was failing, if he was in the
“I do not have those details at the moment. We are yet to call in
the supplier so that they can go through the system with our technicians,” said
Meanwhile, during the consideration of minutes in the NCC on
Friday morning, Solwezi’s chief Mumena asked Banda whether the list of delegates
who were fond of chatting outside during proceedings in the house had been
compiled as instructed by Banda the previous day.
Banda said the names
had been taken down and that more would be taken down the very day and next
Tuesday to see if there was something systematic about the habit of some of
A delegate, Joseph Mujuda was heckled by other members
when he suggested that the names of the truants should be availed to the members
there and then.
But Banda said the names would be availed at an
appropriate time because they did not want to forewarn the concerned
“A record is being kept. We have a record,” Banda
Another member Daunte Saunders asked that the NCC members that once
in a while went out to smoke should be forgiven but Banda said none of the
people on the list of loiterers were smokers.
“The only difference is
that the group was not smoking,” said Banda.
However, Mabenga said the
matter should not be discussed in such a manner in the presence of members of
the press because it could attract some negative coverage from the
“This matter should not be discussed or debated upon,” said