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Times Reporter

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By Times Reporter

THE second president of the Republic of Zambia Frederick Chiluba, who died on June 18, 2011 and will be put to rest in Lusaka today, represented many things to many people.

The outpouring of grief that has followed his sudden death is indicative of how Dr Chiluba touched the lives of many Zambians and other people beyond the borders.

But the most appropriate description of Zambia’s multi-party politics hero came from President Rupiah Banda during a Church service in Kanyama Township in Lusaka yesterday.

All words put together, Dr Chiluba was simply a great man, and burying him will indeed be painful.
He will go down the annals of history as a greater human rights activist and a dedicated promoter of liberty for the people.

Dr Chiluba was for a long time associated with the fight for workers’ rights when he served as chairman general of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions for 17 years.

He was a firm believer in decent work conditions for all Zambians and at times ran into conflict with the UNIP government.

When he became the president of Zambia, he made landmark decisions that some considered harsh but which have now laid Zambia’s solid foundation for economic and social prosperity.

Dr Chiluba decided to bite the bullet by liberalising the economy and encouraging more private sector participation.

That was at a time when parastatal companies were performing poorly and food shortages were widespread.

Dr Chiluba gave room to freedom of speech and is credited for encouraging more media freedom.
The declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation is another landmark decision associated with the second president.

Dr Chiluba died after an on-and-off battle with a heart condition, and today has been declared a public holiday as Zambia’s gallant leader is being put to rest.

The burial will be broadcast live on ZNBC television and on big screens that will be mounted in all the provincial headquarters.

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By Times Reporter

TRIAL in a case in which Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) has sued The Post Newspaper Limited, Mutembo and Nchima Nchito, and JCN Holdings over a K14 billion loan started yesterday in the Lusaka High Court.

And a witness testified that some sectors of the Government were not comfortable with DBZ‘s involvement with Zambian Airways’ transactions and that by giving out its security, the bank suffered some peculiar losses.

Zambian Airways obtained a loan from DBZ but defaulted in paying back and parties entered into another agreement of consolidating the loan into equity shares.

However, the airline suspended its operations before the transactions were concluded.

Andrew Musukwa, a former DBZ company secretary and now a private practitioner, testified before High Court Judge Albert Wood that even if he was not privy to all the information that resulted in the bank agreeing to convert from debt to equity shares, there were contractual negotiations going on.

“In financial matters equity includes shares or a position and it is this position that JCN Holdings and the Post Newspapers undertook to buy back before the actual shares were acquired by the bank,” he said.

He said even if DBZ did not acquire the shares from Zambian Airways, it had paid for them through the loan that was given to them.

Mr Mutembo Nchito in cross-examination alleged that the Post Newspaper had indicated in a letter to DBZ that it would buy back the shares from the bank at a later stage and that the bank was disadvantaged when it gave out its security because it suffered pecuniary loss.

“The reason why DBZ gave out the security was because it realised that given the state of the company its security was safe and improved its chances of recovering,” he said.

Mr Nchito asked Mr Musukwa why DBZ did not sue the airline when it was part of the procedure but he said he was not aware because he was no longer with the bank as he had left and formed his own law firm.

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By Times Reporter

THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has arrested two police officers in Lusaka for soliciting and receiving a bribe of K32 million from a Zambian of Asian origin.

The two detective inspectors from the Zambia Police Service headquarters were alleged to have received the money as an inducement to discontinue a case involving illegal registration of some motor vehicles.

ACC spokesperson Wezzy Chomba confirmed in Lusaka yesterday the arrest of the two officers whose names were withheld and said they would appear in court soon.

“Yes I can confirm that we have arrested two detective chief inspectors from the police force headquarters for soliciting and receiving a bribe amounting to K32 million.

“The two were arrested on Saturday and Sunday today (yesterday) but the third one has not yet been arrested as we are still investigating,” Mr Chomba said.

He said the case was linked to one involving Armco Securicor but could not give further details on the matter for fear of jeopardising investigations.

Police spokesperson Ndandula Siamana referred all queries to Lusaka Province police chief Malekani Zulu, who also refused to comment on the matter.

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By Times Reporter

SHOPRITE management has sacked all unionised workers countrywide following a four-day strike that has paralysed operations.

Shoprite deputy general manager Charles Bota told ZNBC News last evening that all the unionised workers had been dismissed for non-compliance to company regulations.

Earlier, National Union of Commercial and Industrial Workers (NUCIW) said the workers’ representatives had reached a compromise with Shoprite management to end the protest over casualisation and a pension scheme.

NUCIW general secretary Feth Paraza said yesterday that management and the union had reached an agreement to end the strike but were yet to sign the agreement by press time.

Labour Minister Austin Liato said he would issue a statement on the matter today.

Shoprite management had issued a memorandum yesterday requesting the workers to report for work failure to which they would be dismissed.

The striking workers have been demanding that Shoprite management releases funds for an earlier pension scheme that full-time employees had been contributing to from the time Shoprite was established in Zambia, up to 2009.

They said their contributions should be given to them before another pension scheme was implemented.

They have also complained about increased casualisation which they claim management has not addressed for a long time.

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By Times Reporter

ZAMBIA Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, Leonard Hikaumba has condemned Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata for championing homosexual rights and described his recent crusade as immoral.

Mr Hikaumba said Mr Sata should show which part of the Zambian statutes provide for the rights of gays and lesbians, and warned him to stop inciting people.

Mr Sata’s sentiments to some journalists from Denmark were exposed on Monday after a recording explicitly captured him as saying there were laws in Zambia that protected the rights of gays and lesbians.

The PF leader was speaking to Danish journalists Lene Winther and Thomas Duus in an exclusive interview at his office.

Mr Hikaumba said the statement was misleading Zambians and could incite young people to practise what Mr Sata was encouraging people to do.

Section 155 of the penal code under chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia prohibits homosexuality while bestiality, which is sex between a human being and an animal, is also prohibited under the same statute.

Mr Hikaumba said Mr Sata, as a leader aspiring to contest the Republican presidency, should refrain from advocating gay rights in Zambia, which was a Christian nation.

Several religious and civil society groups have condemned the statement by Mr Sata while the Committee of Citizens has said it would circulate more compact disks on which the interview was recorded to allow Zambians to listen and judge whether the PF leader was capable of leading Zambia.

And the MMD in Lusaka Province has joined other concerned Zambians in condemning Mr Sata for promoting gay rights.

Provincial chairperson Mary Phiri said during a Press briefing at the provincial office yesterday that it was unfortunate that Mr Sata, who was vying for the highest office in the country, could support homosexuality.

She urged the women of Zambia not to support or vote for such leaders in the general elections this year.

Ms Phiri appealed to investigative wings in Zambia to probe people advocating for homosexuality and ensure they are punished if found wanting.

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By Times Reporter

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda yesterday met Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for consultations ahead of next week’s Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika meeting in Livingstone, whose focus will be regional security.

Special assistant to the president for Press and public relations, Dickson Jere announced the meeting in a statement released in Lusaka yesterday.

Mr Jere said President Banda, who is chairperson of the SADC Troika on politics, defence and security, met with Mr Tsvangirai who arrived in Lusaka together with his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party delegation.

Other members of the SADC Troika on politics, defence and security are South African President Jacob Zuma and his Mozambican counterpart, Armando Guebuza.

Mr Jere said the meeting in Livingstone would be attended by SADC chairperson and Namibian President, Hifikepunye Pohamba.

He said President Banda believed that instability in any part of Africa, particularly neighbouring countries, affected Zambia, hence the need to get involved in helping maintain peace in other countries.

President Banda is also chairperson of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.

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By Times Reporter

TWO Zambian women have been arrested in Pakistan and South Africa for drug trafficking, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) has said.

 

DEC spokesperson, John Nyawali said in a Press statement yesterday that, Christine Musonda Banda, 35, was arrested at Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad after she was found carrying 860 grammes of heroine concealed in her pedicure brushes.

 

He said Banda, a resident of Libala Stage one in Lusaka, was arrested by the Anti-Narcotics Force during a routine check-in process as she was about to go to Mozambique on an Emirates Airline flight.

 

She was detained at a prison in Rawalpindi waiting for her case to be concluded.

Mr Nyawali said Banda was believed to have sourced the drugs from Afghanistan.

 

And a 24-year-old woman has been arrested in South Africa for trafficking in 332 grammes of heroin.

 

Mr Nyawali said Catherine Mukala was arrested at Oliver Tambo International Airport on her arrival from Pakistan.

 

He said Mukala had swallowed the heroin as a mode of concealment.

Mr Nyawali said this brings the number of Zambian women arrested abroad for drug trafficking in the last two years to 47 out of which, four have since died in different Asian prisons.

 

He appealed to Zambians to take advantage of this year’s commemoration of the International Women’s Day to denounce the increasing cases of women drug traffickers and reflect on finding solutions to the growing problem.

 

Mr Nyawali also said 59 people were arrested countrywide in the last seven days for trafficking in different quantities of cannabis with a total weight of 1.5 tonnes.

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By Times Reporter

VICE-President George Kunda yesterday presented to Parliament the Republican Constitution Bill number 60 of 2010 that will provide for the printing and publication of the amended Constitution.

Mr Kunda said the Bill, which was presented to the House for the first reading, would provide for savings and transactional provisions of the existing State organs, institutions, administrations, offices, institutions and laws.

He said the Bill would also provide for the savings of succession to assets, rights, liabilities, obligations and legal proceedings, and also to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa has formed a special committee comprising 13 members of Parliament who would look into the Republican Constitution Bill.

Mr Mwanamwambwa urged the committee to conclude and report back to Parliament by March 20, this year.

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By Times Reporter

THE Litunga of the Lozi people of Western Province is ready to engage the Government on issues surrounding the Barotse Agreement, provincial Minister Richard Mwapela has said.

Lozi Flag

Mr Mwapela said in a telephone interview from Mongu yesterday he had met the Litunga who advised the Government and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) should discuss the matter.

He said the Government should constitute a commission of inquiry that should go round the province to collect views from the people and engage the BRE on the 1964 Barotse Agreement.

“I met the Litunga as provincial minister and he advised we should engage the BRE as Government.
“The issue of cessation is out, but Government must constitute a commission of inquiry so that it can go round the province to collect views from the people,” he said.

And Chisamba Member of Parliament (MP) Moses Muteteka has advised his colleagues from Western Province to consult with the Litunga and the BRE in order to resolve the impasse over the Barotse Agreement.
Mr Muteteka said as representatives of the people of Western Province, the MPs should immediately seek audience with the Litunga so that the matter could be resolved.
“Just as a citizen I feel that the MPs from Western Province should immediately seek audience with the Litunga because they are elected representatives of the people of the province,” he said.

Mr Muteteka, who is Local Government and Housing Deputy Minister, said it was unfortunate that Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata was trying to use the agreement to gain political mileage.
He wondered why emotions around the Barotse Agreement were being stirred now, when the matter had long been closed.

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By Times Reporter

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda is today expected in South Africa where the South African President Jacob Zuma has invited him for a three-day State visit.

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda

While in South Africa, the president would hold high-level talks with President Zuma at Union Buildings in Pretoria and thereafter the two leaders would witness the signing of key memoranda of understanding and agreements between Zambia and South Africa in various fields.

This is according to a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday by the president’s special assistant for Press and public relations Dickson Jere.

“President Banda will later address the Zambia – South Africa Business Forum where several Zambian business executives will interact with South African investors. There will also be presentations on business opportunities in Zambia by the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA),” reads the statement in part.

Mr Jere said First Lady Thandiwe, Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande, Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Felix Mutati, Energy and Water Development Minister Kenneth Konga, Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Catherine Namugala, Finance and National Planning Deputy Minister Chileshe Kapwepwe, and parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga would accompany the President Banda to South Africa.

President Banda and his delegation would also attend a State banquet to be hosted by President Zuma in his honour.

The president returns back to Zambia after completing the scheduled business in South Africa.