ICTS KEY TO TRACKING ELECTION PROMISES   

By SANDRA MACHIMA

ENHANCING citizen engagement through creation of Information Communication Technology (ICT) platforms is key to monitoring, assess and evaluating service delivery, ActionAid representative Jeston Lunda has said.

Mr Lunda said ActionAid Zambia had started working on a project dubbed Campaign Tracker whose objective was to provide a platform for Zambians to monitor, assess and hold duty bearers accountable.

“This project is to provide a platform for Zambians to monitor, assess and evaluate fulfilment of election promises made by the PF during the 2016 election campaign and see what has been implemented for the benefit of the people,” he said.

Mr Lunda was speaking during the launch of the campaign tracker website for ActionAid Zambia in Lusaka yesterday. He said the project was targeting various stakeholders including the civil society organisations, political parties, the media and the community, among others.

Mr Lunda said the PF was the main stakeholder as it was in power and working on various projects they had put in place for the development of the country.

“We are engaging leaders at different levels because even the opposition party MPs and councillors are part of the governance and are working for the people,” he said.

He said the ruling PF was cooperating well in supporting the aim of the project, adding it was the duty of every Zambian to ensure duty bearers were put to task to deliver to the expectation of the people. And Campaign Tracker programmes officer Mwila Musonda has urged the Zambian people to work together and foster the growth of citizens’ participation in social and political processes.

She said among the targeted promises were those that have not been fulfilled,  broken, fulfilled, not yet started and compromised or initiated but abandoned.

ENFORCE LAW AGAINST HATE SPEECH, COPS TOLD

By CHITE MTONGA

LAW enforcement agencies have been weak in enforcing the laws that bar individuals from using hate speech and language bordering on tribalism, despite the action being a criminal offence under the penal code, says Lusaka lawyer Hobday Kabwe.

The comment follows recent remarks by President Lungu that there was need for unity in the country and Zambians should avoid making tribal remarks and hate speech as they were a challenge to the country’s peace.

And Mr Kabwe said the expression of tribalism and hate speech which had recently become rampant in the country was illegal despite police failing to enforce the law.

He said chapter 7 of the Penal Code clause 70, bars any person from uttering any words or publishing any writing expressing or showing hatred, ridicule or contempt for any person or group of persons wholly or mainly because of his or their race, tribe, place of origin or colour.

He said any person who is guilty of the offence is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years

“Enforcement of this law has been quite poor, even though the act itself is quite common in Zambia, I can tell you that I have never come across a case in point during my practice,” Mr Kabwe said.

Mr Kabwe challenged police to up their game as there was an increase in cases of hatred and tribalism.

Meanwhile Zambia Direct Democracy (ZDDM) president Edwin Sakala said his party had previously written to the Inspector General of police over the inefficiencies in enforcing the law.

He said despite the calls by the opposition political party, tribalism and hate speech was tolerated by police especially on social media.

Mr Sakala said tribalism and hate speech was unlawful and unacceptable especially in a Christian nation like Zambia.

He said the challenge the Zambian political playing field had was that the political parties had similar manifestos and some people chose to be separated by tribe.

Mr Sakala said the current crop of politicians had elements that thrived on using derogatory language and hate speech.

“We are a Christian country and such laws that border on morality should be taken seriously, we do not need the Head of State to remind us,

“Some politicians are out in the open propagating hatred but no action is taken and these people are dividing the country and the division is contributing to our stagnation in developing,” he said.

WITHDRAW INSURANCE BILL – ZCTU

By CHITE MTONGA

THE Zambia Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) has demanded the immediate withdrawal of the National Health Insurance Bill.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka, ZCTU president Nkole Chishimba said the bill should be withdrawn from Parliament because only the Ministry of Labour and Social security had the mandate of managing social protection systems with specialised institutions.

He said the Congress demanded the withdrawal of the bill so that it could be re allocated to the Ministry of Labour which was mandated to dealt with social protection issues.

“This matter needs to be subjected to vigorous consultations with stakeholders through the tripartite consultative labour council involving the Ministry of Labour, employers and workers,” Mr Nkole said.

He said it was regrettable that the Ministry of Health took the matter to Parliament without consulting major stakeholders, especially workers and employers.

Mr Nkole said ZCTU would like to see an elaborate national health insurance scheme which conformed to specific international standards as guided by International Labour organisation (ILO) recommendations 202 which provided guidance on how countries could implement social protection schemes.

He said there was need for the NHI to be part of the larger social protection package and therefore there was need for the scheme to be regulated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security which handles matters of social protection.

Mr Nkole said it was surprising that the NHI bill was placed under the Ministry of Health.

He said the NHI bill was in fact part of the social protection bill which was currently undergoing consultations but it was surprising that the bill was removed from the social protection bill and taken straight to Parliament.

Mr Nkole said the issue paper which was produced in 2013 by government at a huge cost made recommendations on how best the country could implement a comprehensive social protection system and the removal of the NHI bill from the overall package had puzzled the ZCTU as it was a clear indication that the recommendations of the issue paper were ignored.

“We are disappointed with these developments and it is also sad to note that some of our affiliates are issuing contradictory positions to the congress,” he said.

ZAMBIA WON’T IMPORT GMO, SAYS VEEP

By MUKOSELA KASALWE

GOVERNMENT will not import or allow any Genetically Modified foods (GMOs) as the country is food secure following bumper harvests recorded.

Vice President Inonge Wina informed the House yesterday, that Government had no plans to import GMO foods in Zambia following consecutive bumper harvests the country had been recording.

She said this in response to a question by Mpongwe MP Rashfold Bulaya who wanted to find out if government would import GMO foods because of unfavourable climatic conditions which would result in low yields of maize and other foods.

“As Government we have no intentions of importing GMO foods seeing that the country has been recording bumper harvests,” she said.

And Ms Wina has reaffirmed Government’s resolve to uphold its pronouncements on development projects such as the construction of mathematics and science colleges in Katete, Nalolo and Kabompo.

She said this during the Vice President’s question time in response to a question from Kabompo MP Ambrose Lufuma who wanted to find out if government was diverting from its development pronouncements.

Ms Wina said government was renegotiating for a loan with Arab Banks and she expressed hope that foundation works would start this year in the three districts.

Meanwhile, the Vice President said the DMMU was carrying out a countrywide assessment of how many bridges have been washed away and roofs blown off.

She said in response to a question from Mafinga MP Jacob Siwale who sought governments intervention in his constituency following natural calamities.

Ms Wina said it was Government’s responsibility to take care of its people in need when faced with such natural calamities.

The Vice President inonge wina has assured parliament that government is putting in place robust measures to ensure that agricultural inputs this farming season are promptly delivered to farmers.

Mrs Wina said Government did not want to see the reoccurrence of the last farming season where inputs were delivered late. She said this in response to a question posed by Kaputa lawmaker Maxus Ng’onga who wanted to find out how prepared Government was for the 2018/2019 farming season.

“As Government we are putting necessary measures in place to see to it that the delay in the delivery of farming inputs does not repeat,” she said.

Ms Wina said Government was sourcing for resources so that inputs could be delivered early. And the Vice President has applauded the e-voucher system as a success.

Ms Wina said out of the targeted 1000 000 farmers, over 700 farmers benefited.

She explained that this could be attributed to the fact that it was the first time the system was put to the test hence the few hurdles.

MARCOPOLO TILES INVESTS MORE

By SIMON MUNTEMBA

A CHINESE parastatal, Marcopolo Tiles Company Limited which was recently commissioned by President Edgar Lungu has further injected $30 million into phase two of the
construction project of ceramic tiles in Lusaka West.

The companys Group Finance Manager, Mr Vincent Muinda disclosed that the second phase of the construction project where the polished porcelain tiles are produced is expected to be completed by May 2018, adding that over 600 direct jobs for the locals will be created.

“We have again invested $30 million for the second phase two construction project which is expected to be completed by May 2018, and by 1st November 2018 production would have started where full polished glazed tiles, marble, wall and all form of high quality ceramic tiles will be produced,” Mr Muinda said.

Mr Muinda told journalists at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that the company had decided to invest more into Marcopolo tile manufacturing business to provide employment and reduce the cost of tiles in Zambia and the entire Southern region.

Mr Muinda stated that the production capacity of ceramic tiles at full gear would be 15, 000 square meters per day translating into over 3,800 boxes x 4 pieces of tiles

UPND CASTIGATED OVER KABILA VISIT CRITICISM

By AARON CHIYANZO

UPND leadership must stop trivialising Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila’s visit to Zambia for cheap political expediency because it is in the interest of peace and stability in the region to host the President, former UPND deputy spokesperson, Edwin Lifwekelo has said.

Mr Lifwekelo said that there was nothing wrong with President Edgar Lungu hosting his counterpart, President Kabila because the invitation was well intended.

He pointed out that being the deputy chair of the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, President Lungu had a duty to engage leaders to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Mr Lifwekelo reiterated that following the increasing number of refugees in the country from Congo, it was imperative for President Lungu to engage President Kabila.

Mr Lifwekelo wondered who else President Lungu’s critics were expecting himto hand over the infighting in Congo DR if not President Kabila.

“So the UPND wanted President Lungu to invite the rebels? It is Kabila who is the Head of State of that country until when we will be told that there is another President. So it is President Kabila, President Lungu was supposed to talk,” he said.

Mr Lifwekelo said that the political challenges Congo DR faced required political solutions, adding that President Lungu played an important role as a peace maker.

He reiterated that Zambia, like other countries had a responsibility to find a lasting solution to the Congo war that had seen a number of refugees trekking to Zambia in search of peace.

“This has resulted in a number of people facing economic challenges especially at Kasumbalesa border post. It is for this reason that we find comments referring to President Kabila as former President retrogressive, against international norms and highly unfortunate.

“ The current DRC President is Joseph Kabila until a time the Congolese people replace him,” said Mr Lifwekelo.

VEEP DEFENDS LUNGU BRANDED BOOKS DISTRIBUTION

By KALOBWE BWALYA and PRINCE CHIBAWAH

THERE is nothing wrong with the distribution of books bearing the portrait of President Edgar Lungu, Vice President Inonge Wina has told Parliament.

And Ms Wina said it is high time Zambians trusted that the Government printing department will have the capacity to print the 2021 ballot papers.

Responding to questions during the Vice President’s question time, Mrs Wina said President Lungu’s portrait is displayed in public offices and so there is nothing wrong with books to have his picture.

Mrs Wina said it beats her understanding why a Member of Parliament could complain about books meant for vulnerable pupils just because they have a portrait of the Head of state.

Mrs Wina said the books will continuously be distributed in Government schools bearing portraits of President Lungu and there was nothing wrong.

The Vice President was responding to a question by UPND Katuba Member of Parliament Patricia Mwashingwele who wanted to know if Central Province permanent secretary Chanda Kabwe was in order to distribute books bearing President Lungu’s portrait to pupils in Katuba. “President Lungu is the President of the Patriotic Front and he is also the President of the Republic of Zambia. His portrait hangs in our offices and everywhere and you don’t complain,” Ms Wina said.

She was responding to a question by UPND Senanga Central MP Mukumbuta Mulowa  who wanted to know what other electoral reforms will be instituted to grow democracy in view of the fact that the 2021 ballot papers will be printed locally.

And the Patriotiuc Front (PF) says the decision by Government to print locally, ballot papers for the 2021 general elections is timely and very progressive for it will result in revenue savings and creation of jobs.

PF deputy media director, Antonio Mwanza.says the savings would be injected in the productive sector of the economy to enhance social mobility of the people of Zambia.

“Jobs for young people who will be created in the printing department, procurement, security and supply of various sundries required to print ballot papers; even IT specialists will be employed to provide the match needed designs and security features,” Mr Mwanza said.

He explained that the ballot papers for the last elections were printed at a collosal sum of  $3.8 million.

He said this figure did not include other costs such as transport and security. “This staggering amount could have gone a long way in uplifting the social and economic conditions of hundreds of thousands of people if it was injected in the productive sector of the economy. This money is enough to sort out the accommodation crisis at UNZA and CBU.”

STRIKE OUT  HH, GBM APPEAL – STATE

By CHINTU MALAMBO

THE State wants the Constitutional Court to rule that UPND leader, Hakainde Hichilema and his vice, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba’s appeal against the single judge ruling was filed out of time.

Principal State Advocate, Frederick Imasiku, yesterday filed an affidavit in support of notice of motion to raise a preliminary issue for an order to strike out the appeal for irregularities.

He indicated that the appeal by the opposition leaders was filed out of time and was not appropriately before the court.

Mr Imasiku indicated that on October 14, 2016, the Constitutional Court delivered its ruling, denying to grant the opposition leaders leave to appeal.

“The application by the opposition leaders was filed out of time. “On October 14 2016, the court delivered its ruling refusing to grant leave to the applicants to file its application.

This is in a matter in which the UPND leaders appealed the ruling of the single judge of the Constitutional Court before the full bench, Justice Mungeni Mulenga, who dismissed an application to set aside the originating process for irregularity and want of jurisdiction after the election petition was discontinued by the Supreme Court.

In October 2016, Justice Mulenga said there was multiplicity of actions by the opposition leaders on the swearing in, in the High Court and Supreme Court against the election of President Lungu and his vice Inonge Wina.

Justice Mulenga held that the conduct of the opposition leaders was similar to forum shopping which amounted to abuse of court process and therefore dismissed the matter.

KWAME NKRUMAH IN K900,000 UNRETIRED IMPREST

By MUKOSELA KASALWE

THERE is glaring financial mismanagement at Kwame Nkrumah University in involving K900,000 unretired imprest and failure to account for equipment worth K1 million, Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo has revealed in Parliament.

Prof Luo said added to this mismanagement at the Kabwe-based institution was the tendency by some lecturers to inflate overtime days to colossal sums amounting to K65, 000 within a period of only three weeks.

She said lecturers at the university were claiming for 511 days or more in a year when they had a total of 365 days.

“Mr Speaker, I must say that some of the figures asked by the lecturers were actually believed to be inflated and management asked for them to be authenticated as they were as high as K65, 000 in overtime within a period of three weeks but those within a normal range were paid promptly,” she said.

Prof. Luo warned that all those who would be found wanting would be disciplined and should not blame it on tribalism allegations saying the financial mismanagement at the university was worrisome.

Prof. Luo made the remarks in response to a question for oral answer from Kabwe Central MP Tutwa Ngulube who indicated that Mulungushi University was given responsibility to run Kwame Nkrumah as it lacked the required staff qualification of professors and PHD holders.

And Prof Luo disclosed that the reopening of Kwame Nkrumah had been delayed because lecturers decided to withdraw their labour on grounds of excess workload which resulted in exaggerated overtime figures.

She said the university was supposed to open on January 15, 2018 after a team of inspectors from Kabwe Municipal Council Public Health department conducted inspections on February 8th, 2018 to check on sanitation standards in the wake of the cholera epidemic.

80 % SEXUAL ABUSE CASES INVOLVE CHILDREN

By CHIKUMBI KATEBE

OVER 80 percent recorded cases of sexual abuse involve children, says World Vision Survivor Support Programme Chief of Party, Annie Banda.

Ms Banda said 82 percent of sexual abuse cases under Gender Based Violence (GBV) cited girls as young as 12 years, most of who have become pregnant or infected with HIV.

Ms Banda based her statistics according to the World Vision GBV Survivor Support Programmes report.

She said the programmes have targeted 16 districts across Zambia where women were being offered emergency medical attention for post-rape counselling and treatment.

She said over 65,000 reports have been recorded at the one -stop facilities established at various health facilities in the country since 2012 at a cost of US $16 million.

“Over 65 000 GBV cases have been reported to the one stop survival support centres managed by World Vision in 16 districts, with 10 percent of all these cases being sexual abuse of which 82 percent are children victims.

“This is a clear reflection that many children out there are suffering sexual violence but we all know that a child’s case is reported for on their behalf, and culturally, adults sit on these issues for fear of embarrassing the family,” explained Ms Banda.

Ms Banda made the remarks in Lusaka yesterday during the official launch of a campaign dubbed ‘‘Every Hour Matters’’ whose objective was to sensitise society on the availability of emergency interventions for Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PeP) within 120 hours against HIV and contraception against pregnancy in 72 hours.

Earlier, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Health Administration, Jabin Mulwanda, expressed concern over escalating GBV cases in the country saying they required a multi-sectoral approach.

Dr Mulwanda said with 47 percent of married women suffering GBV, there was need to upscale interventions without which the effects significantly affect their wellbeing.

“Zambia has one of the highest number of GBV intimate partner violence with 47 percent of married women experiencing some form of GBV which range from physical violence, emotional and early child marriage among others.

“GBV affects significantly all aspects of a woman’s health, physout, sexual and emotional wellbeing. It has a great impact on her lifestyle,” said Dr Mulwanda.

He appealed to journalists to help disseminate positive messages to support the programme.