UPND disintegrates

‘THE centre cannot hold, and things are falling apart’ is typically what is transpiring in Zambia’s largest opposition political party, the UPND.

It has become apparent that the once formidable opposition party appears to be fast losing its cohesion in the aftermath of the general elections and subsequent failed election petition.

The unfolding events that have characterized the party in the recent days point to a very gloomy picture ahead for the party.

The rate at which senior party officials are ditching the party can only suggest that something has seriously gone amiss.

It started with the UPND party deputy spokesperson, Edwin Lifwekelo, immediately it became clear that the party had lost the August general elections and that petitioning the re-election of President Edgar Lungu was a sheer a waste of time.

In quick succession, UPND presidential spokesperson, Edward Mumbi and vice-president for politics, Dr Canisius Banda resigned on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

What has gone wrong? Who is the cause of this dissipation? What is wrong with a party member calling for introspection, let alone for a national convention?

We reiterate what we have said before. The problems that the UPND is currently facing are expected. They are self-created.

Objectively speaking, the party leader is under siege by a clique of individuals with ulterior motives. The indigenous UPND party members know this and the sooner they do something about it the better.

The clique of individuals who joined the party on the pretext of offering support to the party have greatly contributed to what is currently happening to UPND.

Of course, there was nothing wrong with rendering their support particularly that the UPND struggled to shed off the tribal tag it had been associated with, but this has not worked as planned.

The individuals who joined the party ranks brought more harm than good to the party.

When we talked about the disgruntled cartel which had left the Patriotic Front (PF) after losing to President Lungu in the 2015 presidential election and sought refuge in the UPND to help in denting the good image of the party, our observation was dismissed with contempt, we were insulted and threatened with closure should the UPND have formed government after the August general elections.

Now the writing is on the wall that the majority of the top party leadership is not happy with the manner in which the party has been managed.

When the UPND vice-president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba spewed invectives on innocent individuals for merely expressing divergent views, the party failed to condemn such bad conduct.

We stated it and say it again. It is this idiosyncrasy that has painted the party black and that is why some party members who do not agree with what is going on have opted to leave.

As a party, the UPND was not originally known for violence in the manner and degree that the country witnessed during the campaign period leading to last month’s polls.

Similarly, it is the same characters who have hijacked the party who imported and instigated unparalled violent behaviour among the party cadres.

The UPND, we believe has not only become autocratic but also dictatorial, hence every party member, regardless of position, who chooses to exercise their democratic and constitutional rights is victimised to the extent of their lives being threatened.

What has happened to the vice-president for politics, Dr Canisius Banda has opened a Pandora’s Box. Many who are discontented with the status quo are surely going to follow suit.

The clandestine manoeuvres to stamp out whoever puts across some progressive ideas to align the party to democratic values and practices will steadily erode the party’s popularity.

Holding of intra-party elections is systematic with democracy the world over and is, in fact, in line with our Republican Constitution.

The UPND top leadership has clothed itself with an arrogance in which few individuals think themselves to be higher in status than others, in other words gods to be worshipped.

Today’s letters to the editor

HH can win if he adds another name

 

Editor,

UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema for him to win any presidential election in this country he should think of adding one more name to the HH. Let him look behind and see that all six past presidents have had more than three names. They are Kenneth David Kaunda, Jacob Titus Frederick Chiluba, Patrick Levy Mwanawasa, Rupiah Bwezani Banda, Michael Chilufya Sata and now President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. Food for thought HH and your supporters.

Chola.C

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Summer dress code for ladies

Editor,

What a good and wise counsel by mini bus drivers on the dress code for womenfolk. Yes, women have to dress decently. This is what we must hear in church pulpits and not watered down theology by the so-called celebrity pastors and prophets. They must be ashamed of themselves that people we least expect can give Godly advice to our sisters while we preach money and miracles that cannot take anyone to heaven.

Ernest Chazya

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Let’s co-exist as one people

Editor,

Let’s co-exist as one people and not silence each other in order to win political mileage. I have seen and heard on public fora some people being called satanists and questioning their integrity. Let’s be very impartial, tolerant and co-exist. Otherwise I am seeing an old story of what was happening in the yester years where whoever was deemed an enemy would disappear. Awe bane, we should avoid intimidation.

SKK

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There’s too much injustice in Zambia

Editor,

Hakainde Hichilema should teach them a lesson because there is too much injustice in Zambia and people easily move on like nothing happened. If HH stops court processes, this will repeat itself even in 2021 and years to come. Enough is enough. What HH is doing is right so that they start fearing committing some of these crimes. Why vote if results are always manipulated.

Danny Mwansa

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What is this fuss all about?

 

Editor,

Youths have a ministry, agriculture has a ministry, education has a ministry, mines have a ministry, health has a ministry, justice has a ministry and so on and so forth. And to have a ministry representing one of our sacred aspects of human life, we are busy fussing around? What a shame!

Benjamini Nkhoma

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Well spoken, Mike Mulongoti

Editor,

Well said, Mr Mike Mulongoti, on the performance  and conduct of opposition political parties in Zambia.Unfortunately, both the ruling party and the opposition parties seem not to understand how multipartism should work because the opposition always oppose everything and ruling party always take every criticism as opposition.

Jordan Mudenda

 

 

 

Nurses recruitment corruption shocking

Editor,

It’s a shame that there is corruption in the recruitment of nurses by Government.  This simply means that only those with money can get the nursing jobs. This is serious. As concerned nurse please can someone bring sanity to this recruitment exercise. If all the trained nurses are supposed to be employed by Government why not do it in the old style of the Kaunda era, where you just go to the ministry, find your name and the province you have been posted to, then you start the process from there.

Concerned Nurse 

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A test on democracy

Dear Editor

ZAMBIA has passed through one of its most difficult times in its election history. The just ended elections were a test in many ways.

I tested the strength of our growth of democracy and whether we passed that test. You are the judge. The test that the last election presented was a test on our oneness as a country.

Our motto is One Zambia One Nation was coined to bring unity in the country of diverse tribal divide and regionalism.

Clear for everyone even a little child or a day dreamer can see that we are more divided now more than ever before.

We can choose to sugar-coat it or hide our heads in the sand but the truth is daunting to us all. Left alone we have ingredients for serious trouble and tribal strife and tribal hatred but alas, God forbid, for mother Zambia.

Something must be done and done fast before the problem escalates. There must be a deliberate move to bring about national reconciliation.

As a political science student the election and its outcome did not call for a government of national unity.

We did not reach those levels but we need serious national reconciliation. We must all work towards true oneness as a country. Many are hurting and meaningful development is not possible in a place where people are hurting.

Our politics has divided us more than our tribal divide. One man said Africans are not good for democracy because of our way of life. I tend to think it is because of our traditions.

We come from kingship background which I do not have problems with; chance and time were to take us there.

Democracy is foreign to Africa yet it’s one practice that brings about consensus in national matters. Africa is comfortable with its traditions of ‘father has spoken in a home so it is law’.

Zambia needs to formulate a policy that will enable this reconciliation whether incrementally or otherwise.

As a student of political science and a political analyst who is involved in governance issues of this country I can tell that leaders in this country do not appreciate our tribal strengths which, if enhanced, can help us blend our oneness to the benefit of this country.

We must start with legislation. Our democracy will in the end not look accommodating or inclusive of its practice in this country if something is not done. Our patriotism is changing position. We are no longer patriotic to the nation like in the days of our forefathers but to a party, a person or tribal divide and identity.

I wish I could talk about what tribalism really is even in the light of scripture but will leave it to the next article.

My advice now is certain steps and policy direction must be taken to avert great troubles in the future.

I am not a leader who loves to sound messages of doom.

We need to sit down as a country and undo certain things that have been done to change the course of this nation.

I will be glad and willing to participate in such endeavours at every level as long as they are directed in reconciliation or coming up with ways and steps that can foster that peaceful approach.

Peace is a very fragile thing but it overcomes. I want to get to the eyes of those in authority both in opposition and ruling that we need to act now.

Rev Gibson Nyirenda / Political analyst

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HH should take advice

Dear  Editor,

The leaders of ZDDM may be “Zamfooters” but the fact is that many people have benefited from our initiative from 1988 to the time we left your camp to launch a signature collecting exercise for former president Rupiah Bwezani Banda -RB – to come back to active politics which subsequently landed us into supporting President Edgar Changwa Lungu.

We may belong to the Patriotic Front camp but the fact is that we feel hurt when you (HH) continue to drift from one court to another when the PF can also build a very solid case against your party.

We believe that many Zambians are tired of hearing about court cases and we support them, hence our appeal that you stop diverting national attention from real issues of national interest.

We have no wish to engage your party on anything but may be forced to take you on because we have enough data to prove that the sweeping result in the Southern, Western and North-Western province were actually engineered.

If the PF is not keen to probe the big scandal behind the results from the three provinces and to establish what really happened, ZDDM may be forced to follow up this case which has really bred mistrust in the nation.

We are aware that even people from areas like Dundumwezi are still in shock because they don’t understand where the 33,000 votes came from in that game park.

ZDDM will want the nation to know the truth and to prove that the  results in the three provinces were doctored and that the vote was not tribal.

We trust that you will take our advice so that the nation can move on instead of “chasing the wind”. Lastly we would like mention that we are not happy with the kind of politics in the country.  It’s like we are taking our freedom for granted and failing to realize that it’s easier to destroy than to build.

The people championing antagonistic agendas don’t realize that the chaos they are breeding will not spare them as well.

It’s a pity that many people in the nation don’t know that Zambia is one of the best countries to live in and it will be sad to destroy this peace and harmony because once lost it can never be recovered.

We must think of the innocent blood of children and women which can be lost if we continue to compromise the future of our nation with the primitive politics of antagonism and violence at work.

Yours Sincerely

 Edwin Sakala

ZDDM President.

Seven nabbed for stealing Grade Nine exam papers

POLICE on the Copperbelt have apprehended and detained seven suspects in Chingola district in connection with the theft of 2016 Grade nine examination papers which were in transit to North-Western Province.

Copperbelt Provincial police chief Charity Katanga confirmed the development in a telephone interview, disclosing that eleven examination sachet kits and four Grade nine examination papers had since been recovered.

Mrs.Katanga said among those in police custody were pupils from Chabanyama,Chiwempala and Sunrise Secondary Schools in Chingola. Mrs. Katanga said that investigations in the matter are ongoing.

Criminals broke into the containerised truck that was ferrying examination papers for the November 2016 Grade 9 examination to Solwezi while in motion at Mushishima area in Chingola.

However Basic Education Teachers Union of Zambia (BETUZ) Copperbelt provincial secretary Christopher Simukonda has warned teachers against engaging in examination malpractices.

In a statement released to Daily Nation in Ndola, Mr.Simukonda said the union would not represent any teacher found involved in examination malpractices.

He said teachers should be role models and play their role in national development.

“As a union we want to state that involvement of teachers in examinations malpractices can only tarnish the image of the teaching profession and erode the confidence that people have in the education system. The union has huge task of making positive contribution to the development of the education sector,” he said.

Mr. Simukonda also urged parents to encourage pupils to study hard so that they supplement the efforts of teachers.

He also cautioned female pupils not to fall prey to male teachers who demand for sex in exchange for leaked examination papers.

Canisius bids farewell to UPND

OPPOSITION United Party for National Development (UPND) has continued suffering from resignations with the latest being that of its vice-president for political affairs Canisius Banda.

Dr. Banda, in a solemn but poetic tone, said in his resignation letter that there was evil in the UPND, that the party had become ‘‘unattractive, desecrated, blemished and invaded by wolves’’ and had hence become a toxic political organisation.

“Farewell, my friend. Farewell. It is time to say goodbye. I sincerely wish you well, pilgrim,” read Dr. Banda’s resignation letter addressed to Mr Hakainde Hichilema.

Yesterday, Dr. Banda officially announced his resignation from the UPND as vice-president for politics and also immediately ceased to be a member of the party. On Tuesday, Mr Hichilema’s presidential spokesperson Edward Mumbi resigned, the second senior official to quit the opposition political party following its defeat by the Patriotic Front (PF) in the last general elections.

The first to resign from the UPND was the party’s deputy spokesperson  Edwin Lifwekelo who left earlier this month.

In a letter addressed to Mr Hichilema, Dr. Banda recited a King Solomon biblical poem of seasons, saying, the season for him to move on had come because the environment in the UPND had become toxic.

Dr. Banda said there were evil-laden creatures in the UPND only hell-bent at devouring him.

Dr. Banda said his departure would open the floodgates in the UPND as several other senior members had hinted to him that they would also resign.

“Your party has changed, Sir. It is no longer as attractive as before. It has been desecrated. It is now blemished. Wolves are now in your midst. There is malice and ill will in it and now it has become toxic,’’ Dr Banda told Mr Hichilema. “Its environment is no longer conducive for me to work in. If I stayed, this would be detrimental not only to you but to me as well. Thank you for rejecting me. May the demons I know lurk in your midst now and do their diabolical dance,” Dr. Banda said.

Dr. Banda said he was liberated that he had been rejected by the man he loyally and faithfully served, stating that he had given his all to the UPND.

“There is a season for everything, a purpose for everything. The season for me to move has come. My purpose in your environs has now been served. Thank you. I am a pilgrim on a journey. I have to go now. My purpose in your life is now over. I am a pilgrim on a journey. The assignment God gave me to help you has now been accomplished. It is finished,” Dr. Banda said.

He said his prayer for Mr Hichilema was that he finds a worthier person to occupy the portfolio of a vice-president for politics in the UPND.

Asked what was his next port of call, Dr. Banda said he would now be reflecting on who else to help and what else to do.

Chama commends ZAF loyalty, professionalism

DEFENCE minister Davies Chama has commended Zambia Air Force (ZAF) command for being professional and non-partisan in the just ended general elections.

Speaking during a familiarisation tour of ZAF headquarters at City Airport in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Chama said President Edgar Lungu was impressed with the continued loyalty from the ZAF command and its personnel, especially during difficult times such as the transition period.

He said some people were deceived by negative messages from the social media about Government which has cost some civil servants their jobs and made their families suffer.

He said Government shall forever remain committed to work with the air force whose men and women in uniform had defended the sovereignty of the country so that Zambia could be a better country.

“All past Presidents have been committed in transforming the challenges that people and the nation were facing and I am happy that ZAF has been on top of things,” he said. Mr Chama commended ZAF for rendering unwavering support to Government and outstanding in terms of infrastructure development in the country.

And ZAF Commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese said ZAF and the entire command would continue to be loyal to the country and would not become politically partisan, but support the government of the day.

 

2017 Budget will be private sector led, says Mutati

FINANCE Minister Felix Mutati says the 2017 national Budget will be private sector led.

Speaking at a GRZ/private sector consultative meeting in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Mutati said the putting together of previous Budgets had proved a bit more difficult and that what was usually submitted did not even bring out the intended purposes.

Mr Mutati said the Ministry of Finance would soon have a  Budget debate prior to its formulation by inviting the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) to make its submissions and would be advised on what Government would take so that they moved on and became messengers to the nation.

“In about four weeks, my ministry will meet with the chairman of ZACCI as a smaller group so that we deal with all those issues you have listed in a lot more depth and see that the next Budget can be better owned by all of us,’’ he said.

He said Government and the private sectors would formulate a recovery programme that would be ‘‘owned by ourselves for accountability and be responsible for that’’.

“It’s not an IMF programme but only a supportive component, hence the responsibility and accountability remains ours and the IMF was not a bailout,” he said.

Mr Mutati believed that by being open and transparent, it could enable the Government make necessary changes and grow the economy because it would allow concerted efforts from stakeholders.

He said Government would formulate policy reforms that were going to follow transactions and it was going to work with the private sector to generate business and commercial solutions and that the Government was not in the business of dispatching savers that would not grow the economy.

And Commerce Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said micro-economic stability was pivotal and the key driver for the growth of the economy.

Ms Mwanakatwe said once there was micro-economic stability in Zambia, the economy would be competitive, dynamic, self-sustaining and resilient against external shocks so that it becomes less dependent on donor funds.

Meanwhile, National Development Panning Minister Lucky Mulusa said Government was aware of the many challenges the private sector was facing.

And speaking on behalf of ZACCI president Geoffrey Sakulanda, vice-president for industry and manufacturing Professor Pinalo Chifwanakeni noted that the Value Added Tax (VAT) no. 18 has posed a challenge in business operations despite its amendment in 2015.

Tribal cartel ruling UPND-Mumbi

EDWARD Mumbi has revealed that he decided to resign from the UPND because he did not agree with what he termed as a tribal cartel that has colonised and mismanaged Hakainde Hichilema.

But UPND general secretary Steven Katuka has charged that those who are leaving the UPND after it failed to win the last general elections have ‘‘no social shame and not worth the trust of citizens’’.

Mr Mumbi revealed that Mr Katuka called him yesterday to discuss his resignation and that he informed the UPND secretary general that he could not continue being a member of the opposition party because a clique of tribal individuals had taken control of the party.

He said in an interview yesterday that Mr Katuka agreed with his sentiments that the UPND and Mr Hichilema were being controlled by a known group of individuals who were regionally inclined.

“Mr Katuka called me this morning (yesterday) and we talked for about 20 minutes in which I gave him a bit of my displeasure in the manner the UPND is being governed and he agreed that my concerns were genuine.

‘‘There are many reasons why I have left the UPND and one of them is that I did not agree with the tribal cartel that has mismanaged Mr Hichilema. I warned Mr Katuka that we should not discuss my resignation in the media and the least I expected from him and the UPND is to attack my decision to resign,” Mr Mumbi said.

Mr Mumbi said the UPND had gravely mishandled the suspension of its former vice-president for political affairs Canisius Banda who he said was one of the foremost leaders to have worked hard to cure the stigma that the opposition party was tribal.

He said Mr Katuka had failed to handle his (Mumbi’s) resignation which he said was decent and without malice by resorting to unwarranted attacks.

Giving his first reasons for resigning on Tuesday, Mr Mumbi told the Daily Nation that he was leaving because he wanted to attend to family matters.

But Mr Katuka said while it was understandable that there would always be movements and defections after a political party had lost its bid to form government, politicians should have the social shame in resigning from their political parties immediately after failing to win an election.

Mr Katuka said the UPND members who were resigning from the party were frustrated that the opposition party had yet again failed to form government and could not fathom the idea of remaining in the opposition for the next five years.

“There must be a sense of shame even in politicians because it is politics that run national affairs. People have high expectations in political leaders and if one is going to resign from a political party because it has failed to form government, then  such a leader has no shame and not worthy the trust of citizens.

‘‘However, Mr Mumbi has the right to leave the UPND but my contention is the timing. He was a devoted member of the UPND just days ago and today he has renounced his membership,” Mr Katuka said.

GBM insults Minister

c yesterday targeted Home Affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo in his latest outburst against government officials, accusing him of having stopped Mr Mwamba and UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema from visiting some of their members who are in police custody in Kitwe for various offences, including aggravated robbery.

Mr Mwamba described Mr Kampyongo as being foolish, threatening that he was going to sort him out for allegedly blocking him from visiting UPND members currently in jail.

He said he had found Mr Kampyongo’s conduct to be unacceptable because the two UPND leaders had a constitutional and democratic right to visit anyone who was incarcerated and that they did not have to get authority from anyone.

The UPND vice-president for administration was speaking at the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court soon after the case in which he is accused of proposing violence against President Edgar Lungu was adjourned because Mr Mwamba was unwell.

Mr Mwamba was reacting to what he said was Mr Kampyongo’s text message which he received in which he claimed the minister insulted him by telling him that he (Kampyongo) would blow off Mr Mwamba’s tummy, adding that he would arrest him because he was a minister of Home Affairs.

‘‘This little Kampyongo is abusing his powers but he should realise that power should not be abused because if he decides to take power into his own hands, power will not take him anywhere as he will soon live to regret it,’’ Mr Mwamba has said.

Mr Mwamba said when he tried to call back to find out why the minister had sent him that ‘‘nasty text message’’, Mr Kampyongo allegedly insulted him, a reaction Mr Mwamba said he found ‘‘silly and foolish’’.

‘‘President Edgar Lungu made a mistake to think that by appointing Kampyongo as a minister of Home Affairs he will silence us, he will not succeed,’’ Mr Mwamba said.

Mr Mwamba said this shortly after the court adjourned his trial in a matter in which he is charged with proposing violence when he allegedly said he would go for President Lungu’s throat.

The matter failed to take off after Mr Mwamba’s lawyer Jack Mwiimbu told the court that his client was unwell and he could not stand trial because he had to call him from CFB Hospital where he was seeking medical attention so that he could appear before the court.

Mr Mwiimbu asked the court to adjourn the matter to a later date to allow the accused recover and for other lawyers to return from various areas where they were attending local government petitions.

But the State prosecutor Dennis Manda told the court that it was unfair that the defence were making unnecessary adjournments in a matter that had dragged on for a long time.

Mr Manda stated that from the time the matter was brought before court there had been several adjournments from the defence. He said in the interest of justice he would only allow a short adjournment.

Principal resident Magistrate Jennifer Bwalya said she had noted that the matter had been dragging for a long time and that no progress was made in the matter.

Ms Bwalya also noted that most lawyers were committed with the local government election petitions which were before many courts.

Magistrate Bwalya said in the interest of justice, she would refer the matter back to the Chief Resident Magistrate for re-allocation as she was on transfer to Chipata.

Later, Principal Resident Magistrate Mwaka Mikalile re-allocated the matter before Magistrate Thandose Chabala where Mr Mwamba has since denied the charge.

The matter comes up on November 11 for trial.

How grandpa destroyed my life!           

MOST children have fond childhood memories about their grandfathers but for 15-year-old Nchimunya (not real name) she has a terrible recollection.

Nchimunya only recalls horrific nightmares of frequent sexual abuses by the person who should have been her protector.

It has not been easy for her to come to terms with the fact that she was defiled and impregnated by her own grandfather, who was 78 years old at the time.

Carrying her baby, Nchimunya sorrowfully narrates her journey through the valley of depression.

“My life will never be the same again; every day of my life is like a nightmare, I still can’t believe that the person I looked up to for protection could do this to me. I wish to have a normal life like other children, but I don’t think I will ever get it because the images of my grandfather sleeping with me keep flashing back,” says Nchimumya.

Nchimunya’s parents died while she was very young; now she has neither a brother nor sister. This is how she recounts her story:

‘‘It all began in 2014 when I was 13 years, when my mother died. I had no one else to live with, my father died when I was a baby. I went to live with my grandparents in Kafue district.

‘‘I was so excited because I thought I was in safe hands, as grandparents are known for spoiling their grandchildren with love and would do everything possible to give them a good life and future. But little did I know that the worst was yet to happen.

‘‘Apart from me, my grandparents were also looking after my two male cousins who were also orphaned and younger than I was. At first everything was perfect, we all lived happily as a family and I was doing my 6th grade at a community school then.

‘‘My nightmare started when my grandmother went to visit one of her daughters who had just given birth on the Copperbelt and left us (my cousins and I) in the care of my grandfather.

‘‘Grandmother was away for four months and I was the only girl in the house.

‘‘One fateful night, whilst my cousins were asleep in the sitting room, I was engulfed with fear and shock when I saw my grandfather who had never stepped foot into my bedroom seated next to me on the floor.

‘‘I felt as though I was dreaming, but I realised I was not when I felt his hands undressing me.

‘‘With fear I cried and tried to scream, but he held my mouth and threatened that I will die if I screamed or tell anyone about it because it was tradition that grandfathers have sexual intercourse with their granddaughters.

‘‘Like a demon-possessed beast, he pounced on me every night and when I tried to fight back by pushing him away, my weak body could not sustain the resistance. I was overpowered and he did whatever he wanted to.

‘‘This incestuous sexual abuse went on for some time, it became a routine and we lived like wife and husband during grandmother’s absence.

‘‘I was in pain and deep down my heart I cursed him. Each time he did it I felt more depressed and worthless; I could not believe that my own grandfather could to have sex with me. However, when night fell, I was confronted by the hard reality and I could not do anything but to endure it.

‘‘Two months later, I started noticing some changes in my body. I usually had severe fatigue, fever and sometimes I would even vomit, but I never had an idea of what was happening to me because the whole experience was new to me.

‘‘When grandmother returned, she noticed the changes on my body, too, but it never clicked in her mind that I was pregnant. As days went by, pregnancy symptoms became more visible and being an elderly woman, grandmother realised I was pregnant.

‘‘She was very angry; she beat me up and accused me of sleeping with boys in the village. I tried to open up to her and convince her that grandfather was sleeping with me when she was away, but she could not believe me.

‘‘She called me a witch and warned me not to tell anyone; sometimes she would starve me for some days. I thought she would calm down and help me get justice, but instead she worsened the situation by suggesting I abort the pregnancy.

‘‘According to her, I was too young to conceive and that if I did it would bring disgrace to the family.

She only cared about saving herself and the family from shame; she never cared if I died in the process.  She forced me to apply and drink some herbs for days, but they failed to induce the abortion.

‘‘It was at this moment that my grandparents started having fights over my pregnancy and my grandfather could shamelessly admit to my grandmother of having slept with me.

‘‘The pregnancy was kept a secret and I was told I would die if I told anyone about it because it was taboo. I stopped going to school and I was banned from interacting with other children or neighbours in the village.

‘‘Weeks turned into months and I gave birth to a baby boy.

‘‘Upon giving birth, his evil deeds started catching up with him, he started acting weird and a few days later he was found dead in the backyard. He committed suicide after taking some poisonous concoction.

‘‘At this juncture, the beans were spilled; people came to know that my grandfather was the father of my baby. Grandmother blamed me for everything that had happened and accused me of killing grandfather.

‘‘She chased me out of her house; I had nowhere else to go, I slept in the bush for some days and was scared that my baby would die of starvation, because breast milk stopped coming out.

‘‘One of our neighbours in the village noticed that I was sleeping in the bush and secretly took me in. She suggested that I needed counselling and spiritual deliverance, so she took me to a church organisation in Lusaka where I was prayed for.

‘‘Since then, I have been living at the church; my child is now six months old. I wish to resume school soon, my

dream is to finish school and become a police officer so that I can protect children from all forms of abuse.

‘‘I always ask God to help me forget about everything that has happened to me, but it’s not easy. I only hope and pray that one day all the bad memories of my grandfather will be wiped off my mind and I will live a normal life like everyone else.

‘‘My advice to young girls out there is that they should not be scared to report cases of sexual abuse, regardless of who is involved, because it is evil.

The Penal Code (Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia) defines defilement as unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl-child below the age of 16 years. Sadly, defilement is rampant in Zambia.

Recent statistics indicate that 6, 277 girls were defiled between 2010 and 2013. Last year the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) recorded over 1,450 defilement cases.

However, like Nchimunya’s, most cases go unreported as many victims and family members prefer to keep the issue under wraps because of the stigma accompanying it.

The Zambian law clearly states that it is a criminal offence for a man to have carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of 16.  According to the Penal Code, Chapter 87, and Section 138(1), such a person is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life.  Section 138 (2) further states that any person who attempts to have carnal knowledge of any girl under the age of 16 years is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life.

Defilement has both physiological and psychological effects on children which include distress, fear, shame, stigmatisation and discrimination, among others.

Media Network on Childs Rights executive director Henry Kabwe says cultural beliefs had led to the escalating number of children being sexually abused.

Mr. Kabwe observed that despite the stiffer punishment imposed on would-be offenders, cases of defilement had remained alarmingly high.

He called for more sensitisation in communities if the scourge was to be curbed.

“Children deserve their rights and sensitization is the only way. It is beyond human understanding to hear that a mature man defiled a child,” Mr. Kabwe said.

And Child labour ambassador Samson Mutambo concurred with Mr. Kabwe that if communities fully understood the dangers of defilement, they would always report them.

“It is shocking and there is no point of hiding such serious cases. The culprits should be punished; it’s high time we speak against such evil acts and people must report such cases to relevant authorities, and this can be done when people are more sensitized,” Mr. Mutambo said.

An index developed by the African Child Policy Forum on child protection in the African Report on Child Well-being, rates Zambia at 22 out of 52 countries.

 

Namibian driver burnt to death

A Namibian national has been burnt to ashes while the other sustained injuries after two Volvo trucks of unknown registration numbers collided head-on on the Mazabuka-Lusaka road at Nega Nega turn-off.

Police assistant spokesperson Levy Lilanga confirmed the incident yesterday.

Mr. Lilanga said the first truck was being driven by Moses, whose other names and age are not known, who was towing a trailer, while the second Volvo truck was being driven by Willie Swart, aged 22.

He said the accident happened around  07:00 hours when the first driver failed to keep to his near side and went to hit the other truck and  both vehicles caught fire.

Mr. Lilanga said the first driver has run away and a manhunt has been launched for him while the remains of the second driver have been deposited in Mazabuka District Hospital mortuary.