Thursday, 30 September 2010

194 CONGOLESE RELOCATED TO MEHEBA

By The Globe Reporter
THE Congolese refugees relocated to Meheba Refugee Settlement in Solwezi, North Western Province have been asked to be self-reliant instead of depending on hand-outs.
Meheba Refugee Officer, Joseph Musonda, who is under the Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs, told the 194 Congolese refugees relocated from Mwange and Kala refugee camps last Monday that life in Meheba would be different from Mwange and Kala camps where they received food assistance through-out their stay and the education system was based on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
"We welcome you in Meheba, but you should know that life will be slightly different in that your children will have to pursue Government of Zambia education curriculum, unlike at Kala and Mwange where you had the DRC educational system.  And you are expected, with time, to be self reliant, especially through farming. We know you used to receive food rations in the other two camps through-out your about ten years stay." he said. "Here after initial help, you have to be self-reliant."
Musonda reminded the refugees that the relocation of Congolese refugees was not an end in itself, but the Zambian government was still committed to ensure that the relocated Congolese refugees would at some stage decide to repatriate to the DRC, as the most preferred durable solution.
"It’s not long ago when the Commissioner for refugees led a very high powered delegation from the DRC and encouraged their countrymen and women to consider repatriation. Therefore, the relocation of our brothers and sisters is not an end in itself but the Government's position is that they too, eventually consider repatriation as the most desirable durable solution," said Musonda.
Musonda said the relocated refugees were integrating very well in Meheba, with those who arrived much earlier having already started constructing their houses.
UNHCR Programme Officer in Solwezi, Robert Taban, said the relocated Congolese refugees had undergone some orientation to start their new life in Meheba.
He said as of 27 September, a total of 1, 555 Congolese refugees had been relocated from Mwange and Kala. He said there were no refugees in Mwange and that Meheba would continue to receive the refugees who opt not to repatriate to DRC.
"The refugee population is very hard working, especially in trading and some farming. Each refugee family relocated has received a tent, plot for farming and some farming implements," Taban said. "We are encouraging the Congolese refugees to seriously get into farming because of the farming potential of Meheba."
He further explained that the relocated refugees would receive food rations for one year, thereafter fend for themselves.
UNHCR will continue to pursue the three durable solutions of voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement.
Meheba hosts 15, 942 refugees of different nationalities, with the majority being from Angola followed by those from DRC. Others are Somalis, Rwandans and Ugandans.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

ELECTORAL CODE OF CONDUCT WORKSHOP ATTRACTS HIGH LEVEL PARTICIPATION

About 26 registered political parties, eight civil society organisations and five church mother bodies have confirmed participation at a four-days Electoral Code of Conduct (ECC) Review Workshop to take place in Livingstone, Southern Province.
Top on the agenda of the workshop is revision of the ECC and adopt it on October 7, 2010 after which a communiqué will be issued.
The workshop has also attracted seven media houses and five media associations, House of Chiefs, Zambia Centre Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) the National Conflict Management Committee. Other participants include University of Zambia Lecturers Dr. Alex Ngoma and Mr Eustace Nkandu and Zambia Police Senior Commissioner, Auxensio Daka.
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Public Relations Manager Cris Akufuna said this in a Press Statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka today.
Mr. Akufuna said the workshop will be officially opened by ECZ Chairperson Justice Florence Mumba while the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has sponsored it.  UNDP also manages the Electoral Cycle Project.
Mr. Akufuna said former Chief Justice Matthews Ngulube is expected to give a keynote speech that will critically analyse the 2006 ECC.
He disclosed that a Commissioner and former Vice Chairperson from Electoral Commission of Malawi and Kenya are also expected to share their countries’ experiences on the ECC respectively.
He said Mr. Justus Okoko, a Conflict Prevention and Recovery Specialist from the UNDP Regional Centre for Eastern and Southern Africa will also share his international experiences and lessons learned on the enforcement of the ECC.
ZANIS

IDASA CALLS FOR ACCESS TO INFORMATION

On International Right to Know Day yesterday (28 September) African democracy institute Idasa called on countries that have taken bold steps of enacting access to information laws, such as Uganda, Angola and South Africa, to not regress into secrecy, but further strengthen implementation of these laws.
Idasa’s call to defend our access to information, made on International Right to Know Day, comes in the context of the controversial recently amended Protection of Information Bill which threatens to narrow media access to government held information. This poses a threat against what is arguable the most progressive Right to Know legislation in Southern Africa.
Idasa warns that the only Southern African country, apart from South Africa, with advanced freedom of information legislation is Zambia, with a bill currently in the form of draft legislation.
In southern Africa six SADC countries have expressly guaranteed the right to information within their constitutional framework, namely; South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, the DRC, Tanzania, and Madagascar. Another eight other SADC countries have only protected this right within the context of the broader right of freedom of expression which normally includes the right to “seek, receive and impart information”. These countries are Botswana, Lesotho, Angola, Zambia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Swaziland.
The Zambian bill, a product of a healthy and successful partnership between the government and civil society, was first tabled before parliament in 2002. It was unceremoniously withdrawn by the government during its second reading, but six years later, in early 2008, was reintroduced by the late Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa, and it is now reaching resolution.
“Hence, it is evidently still early days in the enactment of Freedom of Information laws on the African continent,” Idasa’s Yolanda Taylor of the Right To Know, Right to Education project said.
“Freedom of Information advocates have a formidable task ahead of them, which is nothing short of changing the culture from that of secrecy to that of openness. “
Idasa believes access to information is an important tool for promoting accountability and transparency in public service delivery and should be rigorously championed. There is a need for activists and advocates to remain forever vigilant.
Campaign groups and lobbyists must continue to learn from the examples on law advocacy that have come from South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, and Kenya. Generally, civil society and progressive governments on the continent should be encouraged to make Freedom of Information part of the discourse in consolidating of democracy and promoting socio-economic justice.
South Africa passed the Promotion of Access to Information Act on February 2nd 2000. This progressive and potentially trend-setting move intended: “To give effect to the constitutional right of access to any information held by the State and any information that is held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.” Importantly then, the right of access encompasses privately held information.
Freedom of information law does not necessarily just cover governmental bodies. The private sector is required to give ordinary citizens access to information. It follows that the current Freedom of Information Bill must include private sector accountability. Broad-based transparent governance requires as much.
A lot has happened since the last Right to Know Day here in South Africa. The recently amended Protection of Information Bill is one such controversial piece of legislation that is currently before parliament. The media has been at the forefront of opposing this law as they argue that information is the sole right of the media. The point, however, should surely be that Freedom of Information is a human right that all citizens must enjoy. Moreover, freedom of information must be closely linked to civic participation – and not just limited to freedom of expression.
Rather than expand the scope of freedom of information, the Bill has recently been amended to narrow media access to government held information. Although still in draft phase, the South African government now seeks to classify certain information that is in their possession as “confidential” and “secret,” and therefore not for the media and public to see. There seems, from government, to be no recognition that when access to information is widely practiced it leads to building community-based capacity for participation in democratic processes.
“When communities engage in their Right to Know it becomes easier to hold the government accountable. This results in a more transparent public service which is good for democracy. Wider public participation can also aid in dealing with development challenges on the continent; governance practice is enhanced when citizens are sensitized about their rights. The example of South Africa on adding “secrecy” is not good for continental best practice,” said Ms Taylor.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

MISA RELEASES 2010 REPORT ON MOST OPEN, SECRETIVE

The 2010 Report on the Most Open and Secretive Government institutions in Zambia released by MISA Zambia has revealed that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services is the most secretive Government institution for having an outdated website and failure to respond to written requests.
The Report revealed that none of the Government and public institutions in the country qualified to be awarded the most open.
It also pointed out  that out of the Government line ministries; which include
Ministry of Education, Transport and Communication, Finance and National
Planning, Information and Broadcasting Services (MIBS) and Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ as a public institution) surveyed non of them qualifies to be the most open.
Launching the Report in Lusaka today, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Interim Chairperson Fanwell Tembo said the research conducted indicates that the Ministry of Education could have been the most open institution for the year 2010 if it had not failed to provide functional website which he described was the major criteria for the research.
Mr. Tembo disclosed that Ministry of Education was closer to openness and responded to the citizen’s request for information despite not having a functional website.
He named the Ministry of Communications and Transport, Ministry of Finance and National Planning, and ECZ for the well resourced websites which he said were bent on providing the public with necessary and useful information.
He noted that had the three institutions provided information to those who may not have access to ICTs through proactive disclosure and responded to written requests, they would have been among the most open.
ECZ scooped this year’s newly added award called e-Governance Award, which was for institutions utilising Information Communication Technology (ICTs) for the better provision of information to the public.
But Chief Government Spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha has described the Report by MISA as inaccurate and biased.
Lieutenant General Shikapwasha said MISA was being insincere by choosing to overlook the many positive developments, policies and legislatives set by Government maintaining that Government had continued to undertake and enhance public access to information.
Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha said in a statement released to ZANIS today that it was clear from the tone of the report that MISA’s primary aim was malice and ill will against Government.
Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha, who is also Information and Broadcasting Services Minister noted that information was the primary product of any media organisation adding that the multiplicity of media houses was therefore an indication that information was not only available but also accessible with Government being a principal source.
He said efforts and measures taken by Government in information provision confirm its unwavering commitment to facilitating the growth of the media and information sector in the country for a well informed populace.
He said Government appreciated the important role information played in national development and that it would continue working and investing in the media industry to ensure an informed and enlightened society.
ZANIS

CROATIAN JOURNALISTS UNDER SIEGE AFTER PUBLISHING ARTICLES ON 'MEAT AFFAIR'

Vienna, 27 September 2010 - The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI) is alarmed at recent threats posed to journalists Sergej Trajkovic and Tomislav Kukec, who work for the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List.
According to information received by SEEMO, as of 28 August 2010 Trajkovic and Kukec began publishing a series of articles, after a thorough investigation using various sources, describing alleged irregularities in the Croatian meat industry (note: referred to as the "meat affair"), such as the selling of long-expired meat on the Croatian consumer market - something that threatens the health of citizens.
The articles have triggered angry reactions, including from meat processing companies and the Croatian government, all attacking the journalists and attempting to prevent them from publishing such critical articles - which they claim are based on false allegations.
SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic stated: "SEEMO would like to emphasize that the work of investigative journalists is a part of every democratic society and is especially important for a country applying for European Union membership."
He added: "It is therefore alarming that critical articles like this should cause such reaction, including from certain individuals working for the Croatian authorities and trying to prevent journalists from doing their work properly. By threatening investigative journalists one is violating the laws on freedom of expression."

Monday, 27 September 2010

ZAMBIA IS A TOURISM HUB – RB

President Rupiah Banda
By The Globe Reporter
President Rupiah Banda has described Zambia as tourism hub.
And Zambia’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Sheila Siwela has told American tourist professionals that Zambia’s tourism sector has been steadily growing fast as the second most important economic segment after agriculture.
In a statement, released by State House Special Assistant for Press and Public relation Dickson Jere, to mark the United Nations World Tourism Day, President Banda called for Zambia to become a leading tourist hub for Southern Africa.
 “We Zambians love to welcome visitors to our beautiful country from across Africa and the wider world. Tourism is vitally important for Zambia’s economy, bringing jobs and economic prosperity and helping us to protect our environment,” President Banda said.  “I am passionate about the need for us to build solid relationships with other countries and leaders, and so encourage them to come and see for themselves what Zambia has to offer.  We Zambians are a friendly people and showing visitors the sites and experiences of Zambia is a great pleasure for us all; we are rightly proud of our beautiful country.”
Flagging off the Zambia 2010 Travel Show at the Zambia Embassy in Washington DC, Ambassador Siwela said tourism contributed around four percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to the “AfricanMecca Inc.” the latest arrival statistics based on 2007 stands at 805,059 visitors from 690,000 in 2006, representing an increase of about 15-28 per cent in the number of visitors to Zambia.

Ambassador Siwela said the US was Zambia’s second tourist market after Europe.
 Ambassador Siwela  revealed that in 2009, the North American market recorded around 40,000 arrivals and appealed to the US and Canadian travel professionals  to partner with Zambian private sector tour operators in selling Zambia to the American public.
“We aim to more than double this number for the coming years and can only achieve this target with you as our partners,” she said.
The travel show is designed to promote travel to Zambia and to educate travel professionals about the country’s wide range of travel options and services.
During the workshops, travel professionals will have the opportunity to meet with Zambian suppliers and companies that offer products and services in Zambia and learn about the latest tourism developments.
The seven-day road that started in Washington DC will move to New York where 100 travel professionals are expected to attend while other cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto in Canada are expected to attract about 180 travel professionals.
Zambia Tourism Board Acting Chief Executive Officer, Stein Liyanda said the road shows were timely given the placing of tourism as second on the economic development agenda of the country.
“This event not only serves in keeping the US tour professionals up to date with the latest developments taking place in our country, it is also intended to attract tourists and holiday makers in big numbers,” he said.
Zambia Tourism Board Acting CEO, Mr. Stein Liyanda (l)
and Ambassador Mrs. Sheila Siwela at the Flag off
ceremony at the Zambia Embassy in Washington DC
Liyanda said he was excited with tourism projects such as the Northern Circuit in Northern and Luapula provinces, noting that the two provinces were endowed with an array of tourist attractions that are of national, regional and international significance.
He said the US $400 million Kasaba Bay Tourism Resort Development project (KBTRDP) comprises Nsumbu and Lusenga National parks, the Lumangwe and Kabwelume water falls and the towns of Kaputa, Mbala and Mpulungu.
He was optimistic that once the project was completed, it would be the most preferred destination in Africa as it is strategically located to receive tourists from East Africa and Great Lakes region.
He said the program would include upgrades of airport facilities, roads, telecommunication, electricity, accommodation, water and shopping malls.
Liyanda named the Greater Livingstone and the Kafue National Park whose infrastructure would improve tourism as some of the tourism attraction that could lure new investors.
Livingstone based Zambezi Shuttles managing director Rachel Lungu Ward, who is part of the delegation,  said the Road show offers an opportunity for her to network with American travel professionals as well as to raise awareness of Zambia’s emerging tourism sector.

United Touring Company managing director Charity Chewe said the Zambian private sector’s participation at this year’s road show would boost numbers of American travelers to Zambia.
She said the fact that statistics of numbers of tourists from North America who visit Zambia were steadily growing, there was need for aggressive marketing of tourism.
“Basically, I have been able to explain where Zambia is located , its proximity with neighboring countries vis-a-vis  the Victoria Falls and how they can package their tours from America to Zambia first before extending their holiday elsewhere,” she said.
Other members of the delegation include Zambia Tourist Board members Martin Simwaka and Matongo Matamwandi and Zambia Tourist Board Acting Marketing Manager Donald Pelekamoyo
 Zambia’s most famous tourist attraction is Victoria Falls, in Livingstone, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The country has some of Africa’s best wildlife parks, including Lower Zambezi National Park, offering a huge variety of game and bird life. Zambia is also world renowned for its fishing, as anglers from all over the world come to visit the Zambezi River and Lake Kariba.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

LIONS URGED TO BE PRO-ACTIVE

The Lions Club District 413 has urged its members to be proactive and remain steadfast in improving the living standards of people in various communities.
First Vice District Governor Christine Kasonde says the “Lions” have a great responsibility of encouraging peace and promote international understanding in the society.
Speaking when she officially opened a one day workshop for region 3 and 4 Lion Kasonde noted that this is why there is need for members to be leaders in the provision of humanitarian services for the benefit of poor communities.
She said the re-occurrence of floods especially in Lusaka is an area that the Lions should offer their services and assist the affected who are in most cases vulnerable.
Lion Kasonde said that Lion club members have a role to play to ensure the safety of people through supplementing government’s efforts in finding a lasting solution to such challenges.
She noted that members can also work as individuals or as a group and bring change to the less privileged people in the communities were they operate from.
She further challenged members to identify projects and get involved in community activities that give them an opportunity to broaden their horizon and fulfill their goals of making life better for others.
ZANIS

PEACE CORPS URGED TO DESIST FROM ENGAGING IN ZAMBIAN POLITICS


The US Government has urged Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) working in Zambia desist from engaging themselves in politics of the country ahead of the 2011 tripartite elections.
United States Ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella says the Volunteers should refrain from being partisan but respect the Zambian laws when the country goes to the polls next year.
Mr. Storella noted that Volunteerism is about promoting a better understanding of the people in communities noting that the Zambian government is in support of the services of the PCVs.
Mr. Storella said this in Lusaka last Friday when he swore-in 52 PCVs from America who will be deployed to 22 districts across Zambia in six provinces.
Mr. Storella disclosed that his government will continue to support Zambia’s development agendas such as spending US$1.5 million (more than K7 billion) towards boosting the registration of voters exercise and another US$4.5 million (approximately K22 billion) to run for two-years from 2010 to 2012 in strengthening public institutions like the National Registration Office which is 'allegedly' marred with corruption.
He also outlined the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President's Malaria Initiative as avenues for dialoging with the Zambian government.
He said over 1,000 PCVs have been working in Zambian communities since 1994 in exploring innovative ways in creating opportunities aimed at poverty alleviation initiatives in the rural communities.
Mr. Storella told the 52 PCVs who will partner with the Zambian Government in the Ministries of Agriculture; Livestock and Fisheries and Health to promote world peace and friendship in communities to pursue HIV/AIDS prevention, promote food security as well as empowering women and children in the rural areas which he noted was key to national development.
The US Envoy warned the PCVs against under-playing President John F. Kennedy's values when he founded Peace Corps Services to Africa in 1961.
The Volunteers who under-went a 9-week training in Chongwe district will undertake fish farmers, teachers and health workers in remote areas of Zambia from Lundazi in Eastern to Mwinilunga in the North-western provinces respectively.
And Health Minister Kapembwa Simbao says the Zambian government appreciates the efforts of the PCVs.
In a speech on his behalf by Health Director of Technical Support Services Dr. Elizabeth Chizema, Hon. Simbao said the Volunteers would help address the quality of life for the people in rural areas.
He thanked the PCvs for coming to Zambia and hopped that they would transfer skills to their Zambian counterparts during their two-year period of service and expressed confidence that they leave the country with new skills.
"You have a lot to teach them but remember the Volunteer has come with a lot of knowledge, motivation and energy to work in order to accomplish your community needs in a sustainable manner and I’m confident that they would leave the country with new skills as well," the Minister said.
And Peace Corps Country Director for Zambia Mr. Thomas Kennedy expressed confidence that the 52 PCVs would work professionally and dedication to duty as they embark on their 'tour of duty'.
Mr. Kennedy urged the Volunteers to embrace the people they would find in the communities they will live in, noting that volunteerism calls for learning, being patient and exchanging cultural backgrounds.
ZANIS

Saturday, 25 September 2010

WOMEN AND THEIR FICKLE FRIENDSHIPS

PHOTO | AFP
Watching two female friends fall apart is a study in theatre; it’s spectacular, dramatic, frosty and the end normally screeches with an astounding finality.
The reasons for these dramatic break-ups are usually just as amusing; someone bad-mouthed the other, someone made a pass at the other’s man, someone refused to invite the other for her party, someone didn’t show up for the other’s party, someone was not there for the other when they were going through a rough patch.
Women’s friendships remind me of a house of cards; even though they might look well put together, they still remain very sensitive, wobbly because when that moment finally comes when they have to part, it’s flattened all-out such that you would never imagine there ever was anything there.
After the break-up, new allegiances are forged, camps are set up and the worse bit is that they drag their men down this abyss with a clear message “If you are not with me, you are with the enemy.” The “enemy” here ( just so you know) was someone who a week earlier, she was joined at the hip with.
Only when the problem is finally sorted out (after egos are stroked and prides are swallowed) are the men are given a new pass to engage the other party and her friends.
Suffice it to say, the whole rigmarole is not only too much work for the men but very juvenile and time-consuming, to say the least.
Male friendships are different. Men don’t have “best friends”. Men don’t sulk when someone doesn’t hear from another in weeks. We don’t do sleep-overs unless it’s because one couldn’t drive because they were too drunk.
There is never too much emotion invested in male friendships, because they are largely founded on practicality.
I once attended a funeral fundraiser for a good friend who had lost his child and there I met some of his friends who I hadn’t met earlier and I could immediately tell that we all served different purposes in this friend’s life.
During introductions, everyone stood up, gave his name and said how he was “related” to the bereaved. In attendance were colleagues, friends from the past, former colleagues, his neighbours and friends he does business with.
At one point, this guy stood up, grinned and after saying his name remarked, “And I’m his weekend friend.” We all laughed. I could tell that a few women found that puzzling. But as men, it makes sense to define our friendships, it makes sense to draw boundaries as to where we fall in the pecking order of friendship.
We are all labelled carefully and boxed in different categories. And this system works magic because it checks our expectations of each other, something women’s relationships lack (boundaries) and that’s why for women when it really hits the fan, it’s largely because someone had unrealistic expectations from someone else.
Having said that, every man has a friend his woman can’t stand. This is the guy who is supposedly a “bad influence.” This is the guy who drinks too much and is - by that virtue, irresponsible, or a pathetic philanderer or has no “focus” in life.
The list is always lengthy and decorative. The mention of this man’s name in your woman’s presence always elicits a turned nose, a twisted face or a disgusted look on her face.
But women need to understand that these guys make the cut because of their uniqueness, because they are different from us and that makes us naturally drawn to their traits - not necessarily to emulate them.
To assume that we are a direct product of our friends is to imply that we are can’t think for ourselves. Unfortunately girlfriends/wives can’t understand this principle of male friendship because they find it a threat to their dominance.
The greatest futility is for a woman to try to understand ale friendships, to try and dissect it and pass judgment on it in the hope of changing it. It’s a hopeless and futile exercise. Our repertoire of friends can’t be all proper and preppy.
We can’t have all our friends being civilised, focused, and hardworking and church-going. The boredom can be fatal.
All our friends can’t own combs; some will have to sport dreadlocks, and some will be bald.
We need the oddball, the one who spices our lives with his free spirit and the devil-may-care attitude. It’s a reminder of who we are. It’s the spice of life.
 www.nation.co.ke

SHORTAGE OF HEALTH STAFF HAS DETERRED HEALTH SERVICE DELIVERY - SIMBAO

Hon. Kapembwa  Simbao
Health Minister Kapembwa  Simbao says government acknowledges the health staff shortages in most  health  facilities  across the country which he  said  has negatively impacted  on the health  care delivery.
Mr. Simbao  said it  is important  that large  numbers  of health  workers  are trained and graduated  in order to meet  the increased  demand  of health care   workers.
The Minister  said this  in Lusaka today  in a speech read on his behalf by  health Permanent secretary  Dr Peter Mwaba at the 27th  graduation  ceremony of Chainama college of health sciences  where  531 students  graduated  in various sciences  courses.
Mr. Simbao said government recognizes the critical role that the college plays in producing health workers for the country.
He said the  college  has a long  history of  producing  frontline  and middle  level  health workers  in the country.
He disclosed that his ministry  has plans  to improve  infrastructure  at the  institution  in order  to scale up  intakes  so as  to produce  more  health workers to meet  the current  demand.
And Mr. Simbao has urged the grandaunts to uphold high professional ethics if they were to serve the communities better.  
He  prodded  them  to be good  ambassadors  of the Ministry of Health  and perform  to the best  of their  abilities .
He cautioned them against engaging in bad vices saying his ministry will not accept any bad behavior such as not reporting for work on time, rudeness, drunkenness and absenteeism. This should also be a remainder to already existing staffs in the service.
And speaking at the same function UNZA vice chancellor Simukanga bemoaned the little progress that has been made on infrastructure development at the college   due to limited funds.
Prof. Simukanga  said with  the current  policy  of scaling up  the intakes  and  the  introduction  of  parallel  programmes alongside  new programmes , there  is  increased  pressure and demand  for infrastructure .
He said  there is  an urgent need  for government  through the ministry of health to address  the issue  as a matter  of priority  by providing  more  funds  for infrastructure  development projects .
Prof   Simukanga further  urged the  ministry  to  provide  funds for the rehabilitation of  classrooms  and other  college infrastructure  as the  buildings require  a facelift.
ZANIS

Friday, 24 September 2010

MINISTRY OF LANDS REVOKES LAND ADMINISTRATION FROM LCC

Parliament yesterday heard that the Ministry of lands has revoked the land administration agency from Lusaka city council because the council was ignoring the laid down procedures as provided under the land circular No.1 of 1985.
Gladys Lundwe
Lands Minster Gladys Lundwe said section (7) of Land circular No. of 1985 gives reserved powers to the minister responsible for Land to suspend the agency of any council that is not following procedures.
She told the House that she used her powers under this section to revoke the agency of the Lusaka city council.
She was responding to a question raised by Kanyama Member of Parliament Colonel Gerry Chanda, who wanted to know when Ministry of Lands will restore the land administration agency to the city council, and what reasons led to the revocation of the agency.
Ms Lundwe said the illegal land allocation was one of the reasons and the action taken by her ministry is within its legal mandate to revoke the agency of the council.
She, however, told the House that her ministry was not privy to the details of the individuals involved in the scam as the ministry's interest was in the process and not individuals.
This was in response to a question raised by Kanyama MP Gerry Chanda who wanted to know if illegal land allocation was one of the reasons, whether council officials were involved in the land scam and whether action was taken against the culprits.
Ms Lundwe noted that the agency would be restricted upon the ministry.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

LATE DR MWALE, AN OASIS OF PEACE - MULAMULA

Vice President George Kunda today led thousands of mourners in paying their last respect to the late Special Envoy to the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and former Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Siteke Mwale.
Vice President George Kunda
Among the mourners that attended the church procession held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka today were First Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda, second republican president Dr.  Frederick Chiluba, veteran politicians Vernon Mwaanga, renowned but former soccer commentator Dennis Liwewe and former Southern Province Daniel Munkombwe.
Others were, former republican Vice President Enock Kavindele, diplomats accredited to Zambia, and ICGLR Executive Secretary Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, among others.
Speaking during the funeral procession held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross , ICGLR Executive Secretary Ambassador Liberata Mulamula described the late Dr. Mwale as an oasis of peace, mentor, source of inspiration with vast experience and tremendous skills who significantly contributed immensely to the region.
Ambassador Mulamula said the region and the African continent as a whole will greatly miss the leadership skills of Dr. Mwale.
The diplomat from neighbouring Tanzania and First Executive Secretary of the ICGLR said the 11-member States region mourns with the Zambian government and urged the bereaved family to look to God for guidance.
The Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region is based in Bujumbura , Burundi .
Liberata Mulamula
Amb. Mulamula, a career diplomat, who also worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tanzania , said the region is saddened to loss a such a Great Son of Africa.
And Zambia National Co-ordinator on Mechanisms on the ICGLR Representative Joseph Chilengi described Dr. Mwale as a peace maker and builder.
Mr. Chilengi further described Dr. Mwale as a seasoned public servant with modest leadership who worked tireless in the interest of not only country but the region as a whole.
He said Dr. Mwale embraced all without discrimination and his qualities should be admired for those of us still living.
Late Dr Mwale’s son, Fisho , described his father a nationalists who fought for the sovereignty of this country.
Mr Mwale , also a former mayor of Lusaka,  said his late father was open and willing to work with everyone. He said Dr Mwale’s death was devastating to the family, nation and the region as a whole.
Meanwhile, several mourners described the death of Dr. Mwale as shocking and devastating. Among them was Former Foreign Affairs Minister Mundia Sikatana who told ZANIS that Dr. Mwale as a gallant warrior whose efforts to peace building should be emulated.
Mr. Sikatana said he enjoyed working with Dr. Mwale because he was a hard worker and this is the reason why Government appointed him at international forums like the GLR to represent this country.
Christian Council of Zambia General Secretary CCZ-GS Susan Matale said Dr. Mwale was very passionate about peace.
Reverend Matale said Dr. Mwale was a cheerful person when he worked with him during the peace making process.
“I interacted with Dr. Mwale at some quarters when l worked with him and I discovered that he was cheerful and had a strong passion for peace,” she said.   
Dr. Mwale died on September 19 at the University Teaching Hospital after an illness. Ambassador Dr Siteke Mwale, 81, succumbed to cancer in Lusaka in the early hours of Sunday September 19. He had an illustrious career in the civil service spanning nearly 60 years, one of the longest in the history of Zambia .
Dr. Mwale who once served as Zambia ’s Minister of Foreign Affairs was accorded a state funeral the His Excellence President Rupiah Banda.
He was also instrumental in getting Zambia to host the regional centre for democracy and good governance, a major project of the GLR.
He was a strong believer in diplomacy and peace. In his career as a diplomat, he had been part of several peace processes and until his death, he clang to his belief in peace. He wouldn’t have swapped it for anything.
Dr Mwale started his public service career as a senior social welfare officer in Ndola in 1948. He went on to obtain a diploma in Social Sciences in London and Northern Rhodesia from 1954 to 1959.
He graduated at Temple University in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania where he obtained a B.A in Sociology and Economics between 1960 and 1963.
From the same university, he also obtained an LL.D in International Relations, Advocacy and Negotiations.
He also obtained a Masters Degree in Sociology and Social Research from the University of California at Los Angeles between 1963 and 1965.
His sound education background prepared him for the various eminent positions he held in his lifetime, including the prestigious position of Foreign Affairs Minister between 1976 and 1979.
He served as Ambassador to the USA , also accredited to Brazil , Argentina and Peru between 1974 and 1976.
Dr Mwale was Ambassador to Ivory Coast and was simultaneously accredited to The Gambia, Ghana , Guinea , Liberia , Senegal , Sierra Leone and Mauritania between 1970 and 1974.
At the time of his death, Dr Mwale had been running his own consultancy firm, SGM Associates, which he founded in 1991.
He was also a life member of various international and local organizations, including the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Atlanta-based Martin Luther King Jr. Centre for non-violent social change.
In January this year, Dr. Mwale was appointed an eminent person of the African Peer Review Mechanism. Dr. Mwale was also Vice-President of African Concern – Southern Africa , a charitable non-partisan organization on Prevention of Conflicts, Wars and Political Instabilities.
The late envoy is a recipient of several citations, awards and decorations at home and abroad because of his out-standing achievements of public life.
 Dr. Mwale , 81 is survived by a wife Daisy, four children and several grand children.
First republican president Kenneth Kaunda, veteran politician Grey Zulu, Senior Chief Nzamane, former Lusaka Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and his wife, Maria Sung, Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Liberata Mulamula, opposition All Congress Party leader Ken Ngondo, Defense Chiefs were also present at the burial.
Finance Minister Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane who represented government was also among top government leaders present. Other included Mines Minister Maxwell Mwale and Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Fashion Phiri.
Paramount Chief Mpezeni sent his representative, Chief Munuka while scores of patriotic Zambians were at hand to witness Dr. Mwale’s burial at the Leopards Hill Memorial Park Cemetery
ZANIS


ZAMBIA RECORDS PROGRESS IN MACRO ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT

Dr. Kalombo Mwansa
Minister of Defence Dr. Kalombo Mwansa has said Zambia has made a lot of progress in improving the macro economic environment leading to sustained economic growth of 6.1 percent for the past five years.
Dr. Mwansa has commended cooperating partners whose support had resulted in the positive economic growth which Zambia has continued to enjoy.
He noted that the debt relief accessed after reaching the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) completion point in 2004 from external partners in various donor support mechanisms amounted to a total of US$ 798.20 million. 
Presenting a national statement to the high-level segment of the United Nations General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Dr Mwansa who is the Special envoy of President Rupiah Banda to the Assembly said with only five years remaining , before the year set for achieving the MDGs, Zambia had stepped back and taken stock of where the country was.
This is contained in a press statement made available to ZANIS by Press Secretary at the Zambian Mission to the United Nations in New York, Moses Walubita.
Dr. Mwansa informed the assembly that the Zambian government had put in place development frameworks such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and the fifth National Development Plan that have been committed to the achievement of the MDGs and have provided for periodic monitoring of these indicators.
The minister explained that the country has invested in growth sectors and in areas that promoted human capital development.
He said other efforts have been made in implementing pro-poor interventions among them increasing farmer input support from 200,000 beneficiaries to over 800,000 farmers in form of fertiliser and seed.
The minister also highlighted some of the challenges that Government was facing in an effort to achieve the MDGs, saying one of them high food prices that were experienced in the last few years which threatened a large number of poor people who could not easily access highly priced foods.
He said the other challenge was climatic variability that continued to be experienced and has had a telling effect on the lives of the majority of people.
He stated that the other concern was the issue of inequality that was emerging in relation to the attainment of the MDGs describing it as a real phenomenon which needed to be addressed if progress was expected by 2015.
The minister informed the assembly that the Zambian government was accelerating rural development as a prime issue on Zambia’s development agenda.
“The government is improving the state of feeder roads thereby enhancing service delivery and access to markets in the rural population. These interventions are backed by addressing human resources deficiencies in rural areas” the minister said.
He pointed out that some of the measures included the recruitment of 1,610 frontline medical personnel improving the work environment for health workers and improving the rural retention scheme and building houses for rural health workers.
He said it was the conviction of Government that these measures will significantly contribute to meeting the MDGs related to the reduction of child mortality, improving maternal mortality, combating HIV and AIDS, Malaria and other major diseases.
The special envoy who is also leading the Zambian delegation to the 65th regular session of the United Nations General Assembly informed the assembly that Government has recruited and deployed over 25,000 teachers between 2005 and 2009 close to 6,000 basic school classrooms have been built between 2008 and 2010 in a bid to achieving universal primary education.
On gender equality, the minister said the Government was implementing regional and international protocols and conventions through appropriate national policies and strategies saying with this, Zambia was likely to meet the MDG 3 on promoting gender equality.
ZANIS

BAZ WORRIED WITH ATM FRAUDS

Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ) has expressed concern over the increased cases of fraud involving Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards being recorded at most retail banks.
BAZ Chairperson Savior Chibuye said perpetrators of the fraud use a number of sophisticated methods to manipulate the debit system on the card.
Mr. Chibuye said in most cases the Debit cards are duplicated or scanned so that they can be used in other countries.
He has advised people wishing to withdraw money to exercise maximum care so that no one nearby can copy their pin number nor capture their ATM card using a device containing camera.
“To avoid this, we appeal to members of the public wishing to withdraw their money from the Bank to make sure no one sees their Pin Number nor use a camera device such as a phone to record their debit card transaction because mostly those things would be reproduced at a later stage for fraud purposes, “he said.
He further advised those who have a habit of writing their Pin numbers on the ATM cards or those who like putting them in handbags to avoid doing so as it is highly risky.
“If the Handbag is stolen it becomes a problem because in case the handbag is stolen then the pin is gone and whoever might steal it is likely to use it for offensive purposes, “he said.
He said his Association has also discovered that some of the scanned debit cards’ Pin numbers are used outside the country.
He said most banks have tried to fight the vice by restricted transaction of certain numbers outside the country.
BAZ has since issued a notice to members of the public to desist from responding to e-mails that request them to verify their bank debit card details as these messages are usually from fraudsters outside the country.
BAZ says internet frauds are common in most developing countries.
ZANIS

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

RDA SENDS ITS MANAGERS ON FORCED LEAVE

Erasmus Chilundika
By The Globe Reporter
Road Development Agency (RDA) has sent four of its senior managers on forced leave to pave way for investigations into mismanagement of funds as highlighted in the Auditor General’s report.
RDA board chairperson Luambe Mondoloka announced the suspension of chief executive officer and director Erasmus Chilundika, senior manager construction and maintenance Stephen Malubila, senior manager planning and design Daniel Mulonga and manager procurement Charles Mushota.
“The leave, which is with immediate effect, is meant to pave way for investigations into allegations of mismanagement of resources among other things as considered in the Auditor General’s Report covering the period 2005 to 2008,”  read Mondoloka's statement in part. “Other reasons that have been cited for the action include: the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) recommendations regarding the disregard for the 2008 Annual Work Plan resulting in the over commitment to the Zambian Government fiscus of K1 trillion, the non-observance of Acts governing the sector, procurement irregularities and unsubstantiated payments to contractors.” Mondoloka stated that Nason Balashi, who is currently senior manager technical and commercial services, would act as chief executive officer for administrative convenience. “Relevant sub-committees of the RDA Board would start meeting on Tuesday 21st September, 2010 to deliberate issues surrounding this
 development,” disclosed Mondoloka. “The Committees are expected to report back to the main board on 12th October, 2010 with appropriate recommendations.”

The Globe Newspapers unearthed a scam of financial irregularities at RDA after the donors demanded for an audit last year. The Audit report that was conducted and released by the Office of the Auditor General highlighted financial irregularities on both government and donor funded road projects.

RB FAILED TO ADDRESS GOOD GOVERNANCE ISSUES - FODEP

By The Globe Reporter
PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda’s address during opening of the 10th Session of the National Assembly is insufficient and fails short of addressing the core Good Governance, Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has observed.
In as statement released by FODEP secretariat, FODEP stated that President Banda’s address failed short of addressing the electoral reforms and constitution making process.
“His brief talk on the Continuous Voter Registration and the ongoing review of Electoral Code of Conduct was inadequate as it did not give hope on whether or not the country would have sufficiently prepared itself to conduct the 2011 elections under a new and strengthened electoral legal framework,” read the statement in part. “FODEP feels that the President’s address on many sectors of the economy such as agriculture, education, health and mining gave an accurate impression of what is on the ground. However, FODEP expected the President to make the same policy pronouncements on how the government intended to move forward in the implementation and incorporation of electoral related recommendations in the Draft Constitution into the Electoral Act. We expected the President to also state Government’s position on the possibility of the country having a new Constitution.”
FODEP stated that President Banda should have guided the country on the government’s position on funding the Issuance of National Registration Cards and Mobile Voter Registration exercises in view of the many calls from stakeholders and individuals to revisit the two national exercises.
“We further expected the President’s address to have responded to questions like: What is his administration’s priority in the electoral reforms? Is government going to enact a New Constitution before 2011 tripartite elections or is the country going to hold a National Referendum to adopt contentious issues such as the 50% +1 vote? Is the current Electoral Act going to be reviewed and amended in view of some of the positive recommendations in the Draft Constitution?” read the statement.
FODEP called for the quick revision of the current electoral law to empower the Electoral Commission of Zambia administer and conduct the forthcoming elections in an efficient and effective manner.
“This is the only way the President’s call on political parties to maintain peace, law and order ahead of the elections while ensuring stability during the 2011 tripartite elections can be realised,” read the statement. “Without a strong legal backing to the Electoral Commission of Zambia, his call on political parties may not be attainable. “