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Zambian government

By CHISHALA MUSONDA and CECILIA NAYAME

A CHINESE contractor, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group (AFECC), has appealed to Government to urgently construct access roads to the sports arena currently being built in Ndola before works are completed.

AFECC vice-president Cheng Ju reiterated his appeal in Ndola on February 15 that Government needs to construct the two access routes to the giant sports structure as his organisation is almost done with the construction works on the project.

Speaking through an interpreter at the construction site, Chen said 80 percent of the works have been completed and the infrastructure could be handed to Government before the scheduled date in October as stipulated in the contract.

“Our appeal to Government is to speed up works on the construction of access roads which are beyond the perimeter of the stadium construction site as this is not in the contract that we signed.

“Access roads to be constructed by the Zambian government have not yet been done,” he said.

The government has to build two roads – one on the eastern side of the infrastructure and another on the north, parallel to the Ndola-Kitwe dual carriageway for easy access to and from the stadium once it is complete.

Construction works of the roads have not begun although access routes are shown on the artistic impression plan of this mega structure.

Chen said AFECC was well ahead of schedule on the construction but some works have stalled because of the prevailing rainy conditions.

But workers are still working on the eastern wing canopy.

He stated that some major works should resume in May when the rainy season is over but the company is on schedule to complete working on the infrastructure by September.

Chen said during President Banda’s visit to the stadium, the head of State urged the contractor to complete the works in good time for the nation to be able to host international matches for the Chipolopolo.

The President said Government was considering inviting one African football powerhouse for the inauguration ceremony of the sports arena.

Following the presidential request, Chen said the handover could be before September.

“We are doing our best during this rainy season and have adjusted our working programme and the working times,” he said.

The key feature of the stadium resuming works in May is the mounting of the 40,100 spectators seats which Cheng said will be fitted systematically from one section to another.

The fuel price hike announced by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) on 11 February 2011 of 12% will certainly increase the cost of living for many Zambians, especially the poor who are already struggling to meet basic needs, says Geoffrey Chongo Programme Manager of Economic Equity and Development of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR). It is also likely to reverse some of the macroeconomic gains that the country has achieved over the past few years, and make the economic targets for 2011 difficult to achieve.

The fuel price increase has come soon after inflation was announced to have taken an upward trend from 7.9% in December 2010 to 9% in January 2011. The increased cost of fuel will further heighten inflationary pressure. The cost of production is bound to go up forcing producers to increase the price of their final goods and services thereby eroding people’s purchasing power.  Salaries for the majority Zambians are already not meaningful because of high tax rate (PAYE) and low tax free threshold and therefore any price increase in basic needs that may result from fuel price increase will impact on households negatively. The cost of living in Lusaka for a family of six as reflected in the basic needs basket (BNB) for January 2011 of K3, 019, 000 is beyond the reach of many people. Mr. Chongo adds that the burden of fuel price increase will therefore ultimately be borne by consumers; especially the poor who have little or no savings at all to fall back on.

At the macroeconomic level, the fuel price increase is likely to adversely affect trade balance. Cost of production will increase as fuel is a major factor of production. This will translate into higher prices of final goods and services, thereby making our locally produced goods uncompetitive on the international market. Export volumes especially that of non traditional products might therefore decline. Domestic trade activities might also reduce as transportation costs increase to reflect increased cost of fuel.

Fuel price increase is also likely to increase the cost of borrowing from banks as banks factor in possible increase of inflation in their cost of lending. This will increase the cost of doing business and adversely affect the level of investment and ultimately economic growth. Although lending interest rates have shown a downward trend in the recent past, they still remain high and prohibitive especially to small businesses. “Certainly, this is no recipe for a broad based economic growth that seeks equitable participation in the economic affairs of the country that JCTR calls for”, says Mr. Chongo. To ensure a broad based economic growth, Zambia needs to maintain low lending interest rate that allows easy access to capital by all and fuel price increase at this time does not guarantee this process.

We therefore feel the government should have subsidised the cost of fuel by reducing or removing some of the many fuel taxes. This would have enabled the Government to preserve the social and economic gains that Zambia has recorded and maintain the economic growth path the economy is on. JCTR has noted that in 2010 alone, the Zambian government increased fuel prices twice within a period of four months; 15% in January and 13% in May before the uniform pricing mechanism was introduced in September 2010 which effectively increased fuel prices in certain areas. Another fuel price increase so early in 2011 is therefore excessive. It will increase the cost of doing business, make our goods and services uncompetitive on the international market, hinder economic growth and ultimately erode people’s purchasing power and exacerbate poverty. Government should therefore find a sustainable solution to frequent fuel price increases in the country./Press Release

For more information, contact the Economic Equity and Development Programme, EDD at the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, P.O. Box 37774, Lusaka, Zambia; Tel: 260-211-290410; Fax: 260-211-290759; Email: jctr@jesuits.org.zm, Website: www.jctr.org.zm

Former Defence Minister George Mpombo has observed that the increase in the fuel prices is a set back to the growth of the economy.

Mr. Mpombo says that the all the economic gains that the country has been recording will be affected in a negative way.

He wonders how the Zambian government will continue preaching about the measures to grow the economy when the cost of living is growing.

He says that good policies that were initiated by the late Levy Mwanawasa will be adversely affected by the current regime.

He added that policies that are initiated by the late president have been bearing fruits, and that it is a pity that the Rupiah Banda administration wants to wipe them out

The Zambian government has taken possession of Finance of Zambia Limited with immediate effect.

Bank Of Zambia governor Caleb Fundanga announced this afternoon that the Bank of Zambia, with the full approval of its Board of Directors and based on the inspection findings at Finance Bank Zambia Limited (FBZL), has taken possession of the Finance Bank of Zambia Limited (FBZL).

Dr. Fundanga says that the Bank of Zambia’s possession of Finance Bank Zambia Limited is in accordance with its powers as contained in Section 81. (2)(a) of the Banking and Financial Services Act (BFSA) Chapter 387 of the Laws of Zambia.

He says that the grounds for taking possession are, furthermore, in line with Section 81. (1) (c) (i) and (ii) of the BFSA.

Dr. Fundanga says that the supervisory action has been taken following the findings from the inspections by the Bank of Zambia conducted on Finance Bank Zambia Limited (FZBL) between October 2009 and October 2010, where a number of serious breaches of the Banking and Financial Services Act (BFSA) were observed.

He says that the measure was done in order to protect the interests of depositors and other creditors of the bank, and to ensure the stability of the banking sector in Zambia as a whole.

He has clarified that the decision was decided upon in order to protect the Finance bank Zambia
Limited from further damage which has been created by shareholders, directors and senior
management, who have failed in their duties to comply with the law, good governance and management practices.

The governor further says that the central Bank believs that had this situation not been averted, the viability of Finance bank would have been compromised and would have put at risk the interests of various stakeholders such as employees of the bank, depositors and other creditors of the bank.

The Government of the Republic of Zambia has guaranteed all genuine deposits in and other genuine liabilities of Finance Bank Zambia Limited. This guarantee will ensure that
there is stability in the banking sector and that there will be no disruptions to Finance Bank Zambia Limited%u2019s commercial and personal banking services.

Bank of Zambia has further appointed Mr. Leonard Haynes, as interim CEO, with immediate
effect.

By KASUBA MULENGA

VETERAN politician Sikota Wina has cautioned the people of Western Province not to be cheated by some politicians promising that they will review the Barotseland Agreement if they assume power.

Sikota Wina

Mr Wina said at a media briefing at his Mimosa farm house in Lusaka on Friday that such politicians are merely attempting to hoodwink the people of Western Province because there is no mention of secession or provision for separate development in the agreement.
He said it is unfortunate that most of the people who talk about the agreement have never even read it in its entirety to understand the meaning of its content.
“Those championing the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement have no case. I have studied the entire document and I don’t think this country is prepared to start a fresh debate to review it,” he said.

And Mr Wina said he and his wife, Princess Nakatindi, decided to call for a press conference to clear the misunderstanding over the Barotseland Agreement which may threaten national security and retard development if left unchecked.
Mr Wina said Government shall ensure that in the discharge of its financial responsibility, Barotseland is treated fairly and equitably in relation to other sections of the country.

“Now it can be noted that in the entire document, there is the continuous reference to Barotseland as an integral part of the Republic of Zambia. There is no mention of secession or provision for separate development,” he said.

Mr Wina said equitable sharing of the national cake has always created divisions even in developed countries but that although Western Province is badly hit by lack of investment, it still receives a fair share of national resources as evidenced by President Banda’s recent commissioning of the multi-billion dollar Mongu-Kalabo and Senanga-Sesheke roads.

He wondered why some disgruntled politicians have continued attacking President Banda when he is working hard to take development to Western Province, just like any other part of the country.
Mr Wina said there is no doubt that Patriotic Front president Michael Sata appointed Inonge Wina as his national chairperson in an attempt to ride on the popularity of the Wina name in Western Province.

“This should not hoodwink the Lozi people. As the eldest living son of the late Ngambela Wina (former Prime Minister of Barotseland), I will not allow my father’s name to be abused politically and for dubious purposes,” he said.

And Princess Nakatindi appealed to all peace-loving Zambians not to judge political leaders by their tribes but by the quality of leadership they are offering to the country.
“Are they a unifying factor or are they out there just for the sake of power only? Next year, this country is headed for emotional but sober judgement of our leaders,” she said.

She said when President Mwanawasa died, President Banda led the country through a peaceful transition.
Princess Nakatindi said when he became President, Mr Banda embarked on an ambitious infrastructure development programme countrywide.
“That is your man for the leadership of this country during these trying times when even developed countries such as Britain, America and Greece are faced with serious recessions and job losses,” she said.

The Barotseland Agreement was signed on May 8, 1964 in London between then Northern Rhodesia Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda and Sir Wina Lewanika III, the Litunga of Barotseland and the British Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs, Duncan Sandys.
“Whereas it is the wish of the Government of Northern Rhodesia and of the Litunga of Barotseland, his council and the chiefs and people of Barotseland that Northern Rhodesia should proceed to independence as one country and that all its people should be one nation.

“And having regard to the fact that all treaties and other agreements subsisting, Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom and the Litunga of Barotseland will terminate when Northern Rhodesia becomes an independent sovereign republic and Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom will thereupon cease to have any responsibility for the Government of Northern Rhodesia and of the Litunga of Barotseland to enter into arrangements concerning the position of Barotseland as part of the Republic of Zambia, to take the place of the treaties and other agreements hitherto subsisting between the Queen and the Litunga of Barotseland,” part of the preamble of the agreement reads.

Mr Wina said the treaties provided that the Lozi King Lewanika had been granted protectorate status by Britain through the Lochner Concession of June 1890, in return for giving Cecil Rhodes’ BSAC monopoly over mining and commercial rights in his territory.
He said this monopoly could have been earning BSAC fat royalties up to 1986.

Mr Wina said as Zambia’s independence approached, UNIP, under Dr Kaunda, refused to be troubled by the treaties which were said to cover over 200,000 square miles of territory, extending up to present day Copperbelt Province.
He said the Zambian constitution of 1964 had a strong Bill of Rights which provided protection of private ownership and no clause could be changed, except by national referendum which provided for a two-thirds majority of votes cast.

“In the view of the UNIP leadership at the time, we regarded this clause in the constitution as having been enshrined in the constitution to safeguard the mineral royalties the BSA Company had obtained from King Lewanika through the 1890 treaties which could remain in effect until 1986,” he said.

Mr Wina said shortly after independence, a referendum was held on June 17, 1969 which cleared the matter by granting the powers to change the constitution through Parliament.
He said this development helped to resolve the issue of mineral royalties and closed the chapter over BSAC, accompanied by the withdrawal of the Litunga’s rights to grant processing licenses and mining leases.
And Mr Wina said the Zambian constitution included provisions relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals, the judiciary and the public service.

He said all the provisions were meant to have full force and effect in Barotseland and the Zambian Government would accord recognition of the Litunga under customary law of Barotseland.

“The Litunga of Barotseland, acting after consultation with his council, shall be principal local authority for Government and administration of Barotseland,” he said, interpreting the agreement.
Mr Wina said under this arrangement, the Litunga was empowered to enact laws for Barotseland in relation to the Litungaship, Barotse Native Authority (Likuta ze Inyani), Barotse native traditional courts, traditional land and customary matters relating to Barotseland.

“Over land, the Litunga shall have the powers hitherto enjoyed by them in respect of land matters under customary law and practice and Barotse native courts jurisdiction over land matters governed by customary law of Barotseland and powers of the Saa-Sikalao Kuta,” he said.

On financial responsibilities, Mr Wina said Government shall have the same general responsibility of providing financial support to Barotseland administration as it does to other parts of the country.

By ELIAS MBAO

Zambia spent about $14 million to prosecute its former president Frederick Chiluba on corruption charges at the London High Court, a government minister told Parliament on Friday.

London High Court judge Peter Smith in May 2007 found Mr Chiluba and seven of his associates guilty of stealing $46 million in public funds and ordered them to repay $58 million to the Zambian government, failure to which their assets would be seized.

However, a Lusaka high court judge in August this year rejected the registration of the London court judgment, sparking a national outcry.

Answering questions in parliament, justice deputy minister Todd Chilembo said the government incurred about at least $13, 833, 719 in the London Court case against Mr Chiluba, according to available records.

He proceeded to give a breakdown with the legal foreign fees at $11.5 million and the rest paying travel and other costs of the attorney general and support staff.

“Most of the travels were undertaken by the Taskforce on Corruption staff and a state advocate and most of the costs were incurred by the Task Force and were met by donor funds. In addition, the Attorney General appointed lawyers in London who did the day-to-day work,” said Mr Chilembo.

Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) parliamentarian Watson Lumba had asked the justice minister to explain how much money the government had spent to prosecute Mr Chiluba in London and the benefit the country acquired from the case.

Mr Chilembo said that some assets had been recovered because of the London High Court prosecution.
“The benefit (of the case) to the country is that the judgment allows for execution on any properties or assets belonging to any of the defendants abroad,” said Mr Chilembo.

The Lusaka high court’s refusal to register the London ruling against Mr Chiluba – Zambia’s president between 1991 and 2001 – and his associates, raised controversy after the government declined to appeal to the Supreme Court to press for the former president and others to refund the country.

FTJ’s lawyer has been suspended for three years after unwittingly helping to launder £4.5 million stolen from the Zambian government.

Frederick Chiluba faced a six-year trial. Photograph: Juda Ngwenya/Reuters

Mayfair-based Mohamed Iqbal Meer, 70, sent £125,000 to a Swiss outfitter who made suits and shoes for former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba, a tribunal heard.

Meer also paid £50,000 for the education of Mr Chiluba’s children in Gstaad from money which had come from the government of the impoverished
African nation, while £256,000 was sent to Mr Chiluba’s wife’s bank in New York, it was claimed.

Meer, who acted for Mr Mandela when he was serving 27 years in Robben Island jail, also supplied Mr Chiluba, 67, with bundles of cash when he visited London and helped to build up a property portfolio in Brussels for the former Zambian leader.

David Barton, representing the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority, said Meer had done “immense damage” to the reputation of the profession by failing to question the transfer of the cash between 1995 and 2002. Meer said: “I was naive and very foolish.”

Mr Chiluba was acquitted in a Zambian court last year of embezzling £306,000 during his 10-year presidency, after a judge ruled that the funds could not be traced to government money. In 2007 he lost a civil court case in London that found he plundered about £30 million from state coffers.

In a reference for the tribunal, Mr Mandela called Meer “scrupulously honest”. But the lawyer was found guilty of compromising the independence or integrity of a solicitor, permitting money to pass through his client account when there was no underlying transaction and failing to properly investigate the source of money which could have been the proceeds of criminal conduct.

His firm Meer, Care and Desai was originally found liable for the theft at the High Court. In 2008 the Appeal Court cleared his name, ruling he had been “foolish” rather than dishonest./THISISLONDON

By ROBINSON KUNDA
IF you throw a stone in Chipata, the likelihood is that it will land on a bicycle. That is how much the cycling craze has engulfed the district.

Bicycles are used for mobility, for business (taxi), as and just for recreation.
Chipata is the administrative capital of Eastern Province, popularly known as Kum’mawa (East) in Chewa. It is one of the fastest growing districts in Zambia.
Chipata is located about 567 kilometres from the capital city, Lusaka and is surrounded by hills hence the name Chipata which means gateway. It covers an area of 2,616 square kilometres.

Indeed Chipata is a gateway because apart from acting as a conduit to the South Luangwa National Park, Chipata is also a vital link to Malawi, a country that shares a lot in common with Zambia.
Chipata (formerly Fort Jameson) has always been an important trading post. Chipata is the home town of President Rupiah Banda who is a well known farmer in the area.
President Banda’s Chasimpa farm is one of the major contributors to maize production in the district.
Chipata is surrounded by Katete, Chadiza, Mambwe and Lundazi districts and shares an international boundary with Malawi at Mchinji.

Geographical features and climate
The predominant topographic features of Chipata are the high plateau and rugged hills, at an average elevation of 1,500m above sea level.
The general climate of Chipata is warm tropical savannah with three distinct seasons; cold and dry which extends from April to mid August; hot and dry from August to mid November and the rainy season from November to mid April.

Tribes
There are two main tribes in Chipata, the Ngonis and Chewas and therefore, the major languages spoken in the district are English, Ngoni, Chewa and Nyanja. The Ngonis trace their roots from the Zulu in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa and it is believed that when they crossed the Zambezi River in November 1835, scores of Ngoni women, children and elders drowned while others were eaten by crocodiles.
One of the highlights of Chipata is the Nc’wala ceremony held to celebrate the first harvest of the year.

The ceremony has turned out to be the most important tourist attraction in the district.
The Chewa people trace their roots from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were led out of the Congo by their King, Kalonga whose name is derived from the Chichewa word Kulonga, which means to install or to enthrone.

Population
At the last census in 2000, Chipata had a population of 367,539 people, of which 50 percent were below the age of 15. The district has a growth rate of 3.5 per cent, meaning the population of Chipata is expected to double by 2018. The rural population is high despite increasing urbanisation.

Chipata Municipal Council director of planning Naomi Sakala says the implication of the rising population is that there is need to improve the delivery of basic services such as education and health.
Ms Sakala says the council, in collaboration with the government have embarked on a vigorous campaign to improve basic facilities in the district to cater for the rapidly growing population.

Economy
The economy of Chipata is agro-based with maize, cotton and tobacco being the major cash crops, most of which are intended for the export market.
The most popular crop is maize and Chipata is the second highest producer of maize, with the highest being Lundazi.

Acting District Agriculture Coordinator (DACO) Robbie Musendo says Chipata produced 2, 800,000 x50 Kg bags of maize during the 2009/2010 farming season.
Mr Musendo says most of the people grow maize because apart from promoting food security, it also provides income for families.
Bicycle culture
Bicycles provide transport for crops to be taken to the market. They are also highly regarded among the Ngonis and Chewas and owning one is a good enough status symbol.

It is therefore, not strange to find dozens of bicycles lining up by the road, waiting for clients.
The economy of Chipata is growing rapidly. Industrial development is ticking and economic opportunities such as the opening of a railway line to Beira, commissioned by President Banda recently.
Chipata Municipal Council director of administration Peter Nguluwe says the opening of the Chipata – Mchinji railway is a major economic boost for the district.

The Chipata-Mchinji rail started in 1982 as a bilateral project between Zambia and Malawi but the Zambian Government abandoned the project 10 years ago due to lack of funds.
The revitalisation of the project in 2006 to the tune of US $10 million, is poised to change the economic face of Chipata and likely to add vigour to the city status crusade being championed by the local authority.

The railway line is expected to create employment in Chipata as the volume of business grows.
“Already, several companies have started applying for land to build offices. This will boost our economy,” he says.
Mr Nguluwe says Chipata is now ready to attain city status because it has met almost all the benchmarks.

“Fore example we needed to have a high population, we were also asked to upgrade infrastructure and the road network. All these things are being done,” Mr. Nguluwe says.

He says the local authority has increased its budget from K6.6 billion last year to K10.129 billion this year, due to increased activities in the area.
If there is any municipal council which might soon attain city status, Chipata is a sure bet. The municipal council has started working on improving infrastructure around the central business district.
Council director of engineering services Andrew Zulu says plans are underway to put up more traffic lights in the business centre because traffic has increased by over 50 percent since 2005.
The council is also upgrading selected township roads and that government is funding some road projects at a cost of K34 billion.

The council has embarked on an ambitious campaign to improve infrastructure and improve service delivery.
Council director of social and economic planning Thoidy Mwale says the municipality is anticipating the economy of the country to match that of some major towns in the next five years.
Settlers
There is a large Indian community in Chipata and their presence is evident in the number of ornate and colourful mosques around this bustling town.
But there is also a presence of Malawians who work mainly in the construction industry.
Social amenities

Chipata boasts of the oldest golf club in the country, established in 1902. It also has a stadium named David Kaunda.
There are several social places in Chipata where people gather to relax after work, including East point and Chez Ntemba.

With Protea Hotel coming up in the area, the sky is the limit.
The district also has a massive weekly market at which all sorts of merchandise are sold. Some traders and buyers come from across the border in Malawi.

Vice president George Kunda has announced the start of the process of enacting the new republican constitution.

He told the media in Lusaka today that:

“Cabinet has decided to publish in the government gazette the constitution of Zambia bill, 2010 and the constitution of Zambia amendment bill, 2010 as required under article 79 of the constitutional of Zambia.

“it is the requirement of article 79 2 A of the constitution that a bill for the alteration of the constitution or the constitution of Zambia Act should be published in the gazette for at least thirty days before the first reading of the bill in the national assembly”.

Mr Kunda explained that the enactment process of the provisions of the NCC draft constitution which do not require a referendum has since begun.

He said the draft bills referred would be available at government printers starting next week Monday 22nd November 2010.

He, however, expressed doubt that the full constitution will be ready before the general elections.

The row over succession wrangles in the late President, Levy Mwanawasa’s family has deepened. This time around, two daughters of the late president, Mirriam and Lona, have called on the Auditor General to review how the one million US dollars alleged to have been sent to Percy military hospital in France to foot medical bills by the Zambian government during the illness of their father was spent.

Miriam

Dr. Mwanawasa died at the same hospital on August 19th 2008.

In a walk-in interview with MUVI TV News, Mirriam and Lona, the step daughters of Maureen Mwanawasa, further disclosed that Lafarge Headquarters which is based in France footed all accommodation expenses for the former first lady.

The duo has also called for the de-registration of the Levy Mwanawasa Foundation saying the foundation is being used by Mrs Mwanawasa to champion her political ambitions.

The late president Levy Mwanawasa’s daughters Lona and Miriam Mwanawasa on Saturday threatened to drag former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa to court over the late President’s assets.

In an interview with MUVI TV News, Lona and Miriam claimed that they have only been given 15 million 20 million Kwacha as benefits from their father’s property and resources.

But on Sunday Maureen Mwanawasa said she is excited to face the late president Levy Mwanawasa’s daughters Lona and Miriam in court over the assets left by the former head of state.

Maureen told Muvi TV News that, being a lawyer herself, she was ready to face the duo in the courts of law./Muvi TV