By CHARITY MOONGA –
THE Government has released K400 million out of the outstanding K685 million to pay farmers countrywide.
Meanwhile, Parliament yesterday adjourned sine die after sitting for 43 days.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister Wylbur Simuusa said in a ministerial statement yesterday that the money would be used to pay farmers in Muchinga, Southern, Central, Eastern and Northern provinces.
He appealed to banks to ensure the farmers were paid as quickly as possible. The treasury was sourcing for the remaining balance of K285 million to ensure all farmers were paid.
The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) had been authorised to offload 650,000 tonnes of maize on the domestic and export markets between November 2014 and April 2015.
On the issue of rice, all farmers who supplied the commodity had since been cleared and the total cost was K1, 673, 220.
To date, FRA has signed contracts with local and export market players to sell 192,150 tonnes and that quantity is expected to raise a total of K48.1 million and US$38.6 million, respectively.
The Government is also working to ensure increased secure storage to avoid wastage of the purchased commodities and, to this end, 27 slabs have been upgraded in various districts.
Ten provincial grain silos, with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes each are also in place.
Opposition MPs took Mr Simuusa to task over the continued delays in paying the farmers.
Luena ADD MP Gertrude Imenda asked whether the Government would export the surplus maize considering the looming drought.
Mr Simuusa said the Government was concerned about the rainfall pattern and would review the manner in which it would deal with the excess crop.
Earlier in a point of order, Mazabuka Central UPND MP Gary Nkombo questioned the decision by the PF Cabinet to remove acting President Guy Scott from that position without following procedure as laid down in the Constitution.
But Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini referred Mr Nkombo to the courts of law as he had no jurisdiction over that matter.
Moving the motion to adjourn Parliament yesterday, Transport Minister Yamfwa Mukanga paid tribute to the late Republican President Michael Sata.
Mr Nkombo called for an end to violence as Zambia goes to the polls next month.
Law-enforcement agencies should act above board and abhor violence.
By XAVIER MANCHISHI –
UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has said his government will continue with the developmental projects that are underway.
Mr Hichilema said his government would, however, ensure that all infrastructure development contracts were awarded in a transparent manner to ensure that local contractors benefitted more.
“Infrastructure will continue to be an integral part of the government agenda. The change we would like to make is to ensure that contracts are awarded in a more transparent manner which guarantees quality and value for money for the Zambian people,” he said.
Despite being a Monday and a working day, rallies in Mansa, Samfya and Chilubi attracted large crowds. Mr Hichilema also held a rally in Luwingu where he cominserated with the farmers who had not been paid.
The UPND leader was accompanied by former Finance Minister Katele Kalumba and former Luapula Province Minister Besa Chimbaka, Lubansenshi Member of Parliament Patrick Mucheleka, Lunte MP FelixMutati, former First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa, former Lukanshya MP Bernard Mpundu.
The opposition leader promised raise the living standards of people countrywide and that in 2015 Zambians have an opportunity join together and move Zambia forward.
He preached unity and peace with a committed to forming a representative and open government while also pledging to tackle issues currently faced by many citizens in the country including the high cost of living, unemployment, and overdue government payments.
“I love my country. It is my country. It is your country. It is our country. It is one Zambia. It is one nation. It is one people,” hesaid.
Mr Hichilema talked about the potential of Luapula province and its capacity to feed the whole country, as it was endowed with massive water bodies such as lakes and rivers and had good soils foragriculture.
He also spoke about the need to channel investment into areas likeLuapula province to unlock this potential.
Mr Hichilema and his entourage described the delayed payment of farmers who sold their maize to the Food Reserve Agency as unacceptable.
He is today expected to return to Lusaka where he is scheduled to hold public rallies in Rufunsa, Chongwe, Chilanga, Kafue and also visit various Market visits in Lusaka next week.
By BRIAN HATYOKA and ANDREW PHIRI –
ZAMBIA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) has said the introduction of e-times is a step in the right direction as it is a key platform for the business community to promptly access news and advertisements to enhance growth of their businesses.
Times Printpak Zambia has introduced an electronic version of the full Times of Zambia and Sunday Times of Zambia newspapers complete with editorial and advertorial content, and can be accessed cheaply through electronic gadgets from any point with Internet access.
The price to subscribe for e-times, which is accessed daily around 22:00 hours before hardcopies are distributed, is currently K1 per copy up to January 31, 2015 from the normal price of K2 for the digital version and K3 for a hard copy.
ZACCI vice-president for southern region Chabuka Kawesha said the digital newspaper was an incredible undertaking and a positive step in the right direction, especially in this modern era.
Mr Kawesha was speaking in Livingstone at Limbo Lodge on Sunday afternoon during a public discussion on the e-times and technology usage in the media and business organisations.
The public discussion, which attracted more than 50 participants, mainly from the Livingstone business community, was jointly hosted by Times Printpak Zambia and Livingstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
“This is a job well-done. Your payment mode and subscription is quite amazing. Congratulations and kindly convey our happiness to the Board and Management of Times Printpak Zambia for this amazing e-times innovation,” Dr Kawesha said.
“Globally, we have had an iron age as well as an industrial age and now we have information age. There is no other person who can explain well the information age rather than the renowned media organization known as Times of Zambia.”
Dr Kawesha said, however, urged Times Printpak to enhance the accessibility of the e-times product by partnering with retail outlets as well as the hospitality industry and Internet service providers, among others.
“There are people who don’t have electronic gadgets such as cell phones, laptops or Ipads and hence you need to partner with supermarkets, hotels, lodges and Internet cafes so that people can go to these entities at any time to access any copy of your newspapers,” Dr Kawesha said.
“You should make this facility more accessible to all citizens. For example, I should be able to walk to supermarkets and tell them to give me any edition of Times newspaper and they should be able to give me at a minimal cost.”
Dr Kawesha urged Times Printpak Zambia to engage all chambers of Commerce across Zambia and pledged ZACCI’s support to the product.
“Our other appeal to Times is that you should increase your pages on Business News like what international newspapers are doing. Currently, you only have one page for Business News and yet there are a lot of things happening in the business world,” Dr Kawesha said.
Times Printpak Zambia sales and marketing manager Mark Nyasulu said his company was undergoing a critical shift in organisational structure by introducing innovative products which were in line with global developments.
Mr Nyasulu called for continued partnership with the chambers of commerce in Zambia.
“We have realised the importance of partnering with the Chamber of Commerce in Livingstone and across Zambia and hence we will be going across the country to roll out the e-times product. The whole idea is to allow the business community to interact with us meaningfully,” Mr Nyasulu said.
LCCI president Miles Daka said members of his chamber would utilise the e-times product, which was in line with innovations in the global market.
“We were approached by Times Printpak Zambia over the e-times product and we are excited to be part of this programme as information and communication technologies (ICTs) are important to any business.
Livingstone Tourism Association (LTA) vice-chairperson Thomas Banda said e-times was important as many modern tourists were searching for destinations to visit through online platforms.
In his presentation to participants, Times Printpak Zambia assistant sales and marketing manager Timothy Kaputo said e-times is cheaper and convenient.
By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
THE Supreme Court has directed the Lusaka High Court to hear inter-parte an application by three Patriotic Front (PF) members who are asking the court to add them as respondents.
Matero Member of Parliament Miles Sampa, his Kasama Central counterpart Geoffrey Mwamba and former High Commissioner to Nigeria Selemani Phangula Banda had appealed to the Supreme Court to intervene after the High Court declined to add them as respondents to the case they are challenging the election of Edgar Lungu as PF president.
PF national chairperson, Inonge Wina sued former PF secretary general Bridget Atanga asking Judge Mungeni Mulenga to quash all decisions made at the second PF general conference that saw the election of Mr Sampa as PF president.
The legal suit resulted in a consent order which was entered between Ms Wina and newly-appointed PF secretary general Davies Chama declaring Mr Lungu as duly elected PF president and candidate for the January 20, 2015 presidential election.
But a full panel of Supreme Court judges comprising Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda, Gregory Phiri, Munyinda Wanki, Evans Hamaundu, Elizabeth Muyovwe, Albert Wood and Rhoda Kaoma yesterday sent back the application to Ms Justice Mulenga to hear the parties and decide whether to add the trio as respondents.
This means that Mr Sampa, Mr Mwamba and Mr Phangula would have to make an application to stay the consent judgment which declared Mr Lungu as the sole candidate so that the matter can be re-opened.
Delivering a majority judgment on behalf of other judges yesterday, Mr Justice Hamaundu said Ms Justice Mulenga was wrong to hold that the application by the three was misconceived.
He explained that a person could be joined to the proceedings notwithstanding that there was a consent judgment provided that they satisfied the conditions such as having locus standi, sufficient interest and were aware of the proceedings.
Since Ms Justice Mulenga had before her a detailed affidavit in support of the application to join the three as interveners, it would have been in tune with the administration of justice for her to have waited for the respondents to file instead of her decision which was based on a technicality.
He said it was good practice to at least wait for the inter-parte summons to be served, especially in a case where the application was inter-parte.
It would have been after considering the opposing facts that Ms Justice Mulenga would have proceeded to determine whether or not the three had sufficient interest in the matter.
“For that reason we leave the decision on the arguments relating to knowledge of the proceedings and interest to the lower court,” the bench concluded.
Mr Justice Wood had earlier delivered a dissenting judgment agreeing with the majority judgment but with a view that the Supreme Court had sufficient material to decide whether to join the three.
By CHUSA SICHONE –
TEMPERS flared at Lusaka’s Government Complex in the early hours of yesterday when South African multi-award winning music outfit Mafikizolo failed to perform.
The highly expectant patrons who had paid K250 and K150 respectively to watch Mafikizolo were incensed when the clock ticked into Sunday morning without the South African duo getting on stage.
That was despite several assurances that Theo Kgosingwe and Nhlanhla Nciza were backstage preparing to perform.
The continued delay prompted some patrons, most of whom were drunk, to start hurling insults and booing while others threw bottles and cans on stage to register their displeasure.
At around 01:50 hours on Sunday, other irate people went backstage and vented their anger on two people suspected to be among the organisers whom they roughed up for “swindling” them of their ‘hard-earned’ money and were demanding to be refunded.
The hapless duo escaped further humiliation under unknown circumstances while the South Africans were whisked away by police before the angry mob could pounce on them.
It was in the midst of the turmoil that other angry customers resorted to looting music equipment on stage and other valuables they could lay their hands on.
Some patrons were overheard saying they would only return the items they looted once they were refunded.
It is unclear if Mafikizolo’s equipment was also seized.
By 02:20 hours, most of the patrons started dispersing and the C5 police from nearby Central Police were seen arriving on the scene a few minutes later to ensure law and order was maintained.
Earlier, local artiste Espee famous for the hit song Mistaken identity was booed off the stage as the audience demanded for Mafikizolo at the show which was expected to have started at 20:00 hours.
By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
THE United States of America (USA) has given Zambia about US$1.6 million (K9.6 million) for the January 20, 2015 Presidential elections.
US ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz said the money would go to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for the monitoring of elections.
“The US has a basket fund which gives direct support, some of it will go towards next year’s elections in Zambia,” Mr Schultz said.
Mr Schultz said when he met Zambia’s Acting President Guy Scott at Government House yesterday that Zambia had a tradition of holding free and fair elections.
As such, the international community was looking forward to seeing a repeat of free and fair election in next year’s polls.
He said he was looking forward to seeing Zambia hold free and fair election as had been the case in his country.
Mr Schultz said that the US government would provide both financial and material contribution towards the January 20, 2015 elections.
He said although the US would not deploy American monitors, its embassy in Zambia with the international community would dispatch a team of 20 monitors around the country to observe the elections.
Dr Scott called on Zambians to turn up in numbers and vote for a leader of their choice in the Presidential election.
The Acting President said Zambia is a democratic nation, a reputation that citizens should maintain by voting peacefully.
He urged the electorate to vote wisely and hold candidates accountable for their campaign promises.
“Think carefully on what you are trying to achieve when you vote and by all means go and vote,” Dr Scott said.
He said the long time that had passed without registering voters by the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the moving of voters from places they registered to vote would be some of the factors that would push a low voter turn out next year.
On political violence, Dr Scott said what was currently happening in the country was getting a little bit out of hand but he has happy that the police were working round the clock to put the situation under control.