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Monday, February 8, 2016

Kafubu Water To Feed, Compensate Luanshya Sewer Victims

By Paul Shalala in Luanshya
Chishimba Kambwili

Chief Government Spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili has directed Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company to immediately provide food and compensate two families of Luanshya's Mpatamatu area whose houses were flooded with sewer on Thursday.

Mr Kambwili, who is also Minister of Information and area Member of Parliament, says it is unacceptable for Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company not to help the affected families who have been spending nights in the cold.

Speaking yesterday when he visited the affected families in Section 27 area of Mpatamatu, The Minister urged the families to write down all their household goods which were destroyed by sewer and submit them to the water utility firm for compensation.

"I want you Kafubu to replace everything that has been destroyed within 14 days. Where you will get the money i dont know. If you don't do that, heads will roll," said Mr Kambwili.

He further said the utility must also give food to the two families as their relish and mealie meal was destroyed by the sewer which flooded their houses.

"These families have no food. Tomorrow i will be in Lusaka but by mid day i should get an update that you have delivered the food to them," he said.

And Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company Director of Engineering Benjamin Mwale told Mr Kambwili that the houses were flooded after the sewer line was blocked by waste.

"With the onset of the rain, waste is collecting in the sewer. Unfortunately, Section 27 is the lowest point and all sewer from Mpatamatu comes here before it goes to the ponds," said Mr Mwale.

The sewer system in Mpatamatu is very old and dilapidated.

Blockages in the system is a common occurence.

However, the Danish Government has provided funding to Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company to upgrade the whole sewer system in Luanshya.

Works on these sewer lines have started and residents here are hopeful that the project will put an end to such unfortunate incidences.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Two Luanshya Families Left Homeless As Sewer Floods Their Houses

By Paul Shalala in Luanshya
Overflowing sewer in Mpatamatu

Two families of Section 27 in Luanshya’s Mpatamatu area are spending nights in the cold and living in fear of diseases following the flooding of their houses by sewer.

On Thursday, sewer from toilets flooded house numbers 275 and 235and destroyed several household goods such as carpets, clothes, mealie meal and food stuffs.

The residents feel they are not safe from waterborne diseases.

The overflowing sewer spread across the whole house destroying everything that was on the floor.

The residents are now worried that their houses are no longer safe as they can contract waterborne diseases any time.

A few hours after the incident, workers from Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company went on the scene and applied lime on the sewer to neutralize it.

"Our officers applied lime on the sewer to neutralise it. We will continue to monitor the situation for any eventualities," said Fales Mwanza, Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company Public Relations Officer.

Those who witnessed the incident were shocked. 

"The sewer which flooded my house was almost knee high. I used a broom to sweep it out of the house and am worried this can bring diseases," said Dickson Kapisha.

Another victim Catherine Chipito had no kind words for the water utility.

"People from Kafubu Water came here and did literally nothing. They only splashed lime outside the house. How about inside? How will we survive with our children? We want them to compensate us," she said.

Government is worried that the dilapidated sewer line which has been serving Mpatamatu area has now started flooding people’s houses.

"We have a very old sewer system in Luanshya. This flooding of houses in Mpatamatu is not the first time. But we are hopeful with the coming of the Danish government funding that the situation will soon improve," said Luanshya District Commissioner Harold Mbaulu.

The houses still have a heavy stench and the occupants can not manage to spend nights inside.

They have removed all their household goods and placed them outside their houses where they are spending their nights.

As the clean up continues, occupants of these houses hope authorities will help disinfect them to ensure their safety.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Outrage As Zambia Hikes Presidential Nomination Fees By 750%

Justice Esau Chulu

By Paul Shalala 

Zambia has increased the nomination fee for the August 11 presidential election by 750% triggering complaints from opposition parties, aspiring candidates and the civil society.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) announced on Thursday that it had increased all nomination fees for this year’s elections during a stakeholders meeting in Lusaka.

ECZ Chairperson Justice Esau Chulu said the increase of the presidential nomination fee from K10,000 (US$1,000) to K75,000 (US$7,500) was a preserve of the electoral body.

“Section 21 and 23 of the Electoral Act number 12 of 2006 refer to the nomination fees that candidates to the office of the President and National assembly are expected to pay. The nomination fees are determined by ECZ,” said Justice Chulu.
Peter Sinkamba

He also announced the adjustment of nomination fees for other elective offices.

“Parliamentary candidates will pay K10,000 (from K5,000), Mayoral candidates will pay K10,000, Council Chairperson candidates will pay K5,000, Councillor for city and municipal K2,000 (from K100) while councillor for rural pays K1,500 (from K50),” he added.

This increase has been condemned by various opposition political parties, civil society activists and people aspiring for various offices.

Green Party President Peter Sinkamba says the increase is ridiculous.

Allan Sakala
“Whilst I can afford to pay for my presidential nomination fees, I find this measure extremely ridiculous because it bars rural populations from participating in governance systems,” said Sinkamba who lost the 2015 Presidential election.

His words were echoed by other interested parties.

Allan Sakala, an aspiring independent candidate for Munali constituency in Lusaka, has even threatened to sue the electoral body.

“Guru (Allan Sakala) will be taking the ECZ to court over the high nomination fees. Politics and leadership can never be the preserve of the rich and the corrupt,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

And reggae artist Maiko Zulu, who is aspiring as an independent candidate for Kabwata constituency in Lusaka, has also complained about the new nomination fees describing them as too high and unrealistic.
Maiko Zulu

“The revised nomination fees for candidates for the 2016 general elections are too high and not reflective of the present economic living conditions of ordinary Zambians. The electoral process seems to now be a preserve for the rich, thereby commercialising participation of leadership,” said Zulu.

But the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP), a civil society organisation, says the hike in nomination fees will result in Zambia having the most expensive ever election this year.

“If these nomination fees are allowed to go unchallenged, it will be a clear promotion of discrimination and marginalisation of the poor in the electoral system and process which will be contrary to the provisions of Article 45 (a) (c) and (d) which tries to ensure that citizens freely exercise their political rights,” said FODEP executive director MacDonald Chipenzi.

“The resultant of such a move will make the 2016 general elections the most expensive elections Zambia has ever seen since independence and will be millionaires’ and educated people’s electoral game,” he added.
According to the ECZ, candidates will have to make a 50% down payment of the nomination fees before filing the nomination papers.

MacDonald Chipenzi
Presidential candidates will file their nominations between May 30 and June 3 while Mayoral candidates and those contesting as Council Chairperson will file their papers on May 30.

Parliamentary candidates will file their nomination on 31 May.

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu is expected to dissolve Parliament in May to pave way for official campaigns whose period the ECZ says will run from May 16 to August 10.

Zambia has over six million registered voters who will be electing a President, 156 Members of Parliament and over 1, 400 Councillors and an unspecified number of Mayors and Council Chairpersons.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Zambian Politicians Panic As Grade 12 Requirement Is Enforced

By Paul Shalala
A photoshoped photo of Mr Mwamba in a graduation gown

It came as surprise to the nation but it wasn’t so to the 158 Members of Parliament (MP) who sit in the Zambian legislature.

Towards the end of 2015, MPs debated and voted for the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill which ushered in a number of new electoral rules that took effect on 5th January, 2016.

One of those regulations is the requirement for all people aspiring to contest as President, Members of Parliament or Councillors to have a Grade 12 certificate.

This certificate is obtained after a pupil sits for examinamtions after studying the senior secondary school curriculum.

For example, Article 70 (4) states that a person is eligible to be elected as an MP if they have obtained a minimum qualification of a Grade 12 certificate or the equivalent.

This new regulation has sent many politicians into panic as they are generally seen not to be well educated.

Recent media reports even indicated that some parliamentarians had even approached the presidency to try and intervene but in the end President Edgar Lungu assented to the bill to make it into law.
Fr. Bwalya's Facebook status

Kasama Central MP Geoffrey Mwamba (above), a former Minister of Defence and now an opposition strongman, is widely believed not to possess the Grade 12 certificate and young people on social media have been mocking him as a result.

Despite technically still being a ruling Patriotic Front (PF) lawmaker, Mr Mwamba, who is popularly known as GBM and is one of the richest businessmen in the country, picked up a position in the opposition UPND as party Vice President, a move which has made him an enemy within his party.

PF Chairman for Information Frank Bwalya was one of the first people to mock Mr Mwamba saying the lawmaker actually dropped out before reaching Grade 7.

The Catholic Priest, who practiced journalism before joining fulltime politics a few years ago, took to social media to allege that the Kasama Central lawmaker was actually a Grade 6 drop out.

“…..GBM is infact a Grade six term three drop out at Chifwani Primary School in Kasama,” wrote Fr Bwalya on his Facebook page (see above left).

Potpher Tembo's Facebook status
Fr Bwalya is not the only one who has taken to social media to talk about the alleged little education Mr Mwamba allegedly has.

Several youths on Facebook have been posting a photoshopped photo of Mr Mwamba in a graduation gown with an inscription that he is eligible to run for Parliament later this year when general elections are held on 11th August.

But on 6th January, Mr Mwamba held a press briefing in Lusaka where he mocked the ruling party and confirmed he had a Grade 12 certificate and was ready to re-contest his seat during the general elections.

“I cant wait for the filing of nominations so that I can prove that am qualified beyond the needed Grade 12 certificate. This issue was raised in 2011 but those who thought [former President Michael] Sata had no degree were shocked to learn he had the qualifications,” said Mr Mwamba as his supporters cheered in agreement.

But according to records at the National Assembly of Zambia (Parliament), the Kasama Central lawmaker entered his details for secondary school.

A screenshot of Parliament website
The website (left) confirms that he is a Form V, the older version of Grade 12 which was used in the old school curriculum.

And some ’brave’ politicians also took to social media to confirm that they had the certificates and were ready to contest the forthcoming polls.

The Deputy Mayor of Zambia’s Capital city Lusaka was one of the first people to unveil his education qualifications.

Potpher Tembo, who is a Councillor for Chawama Ward Three, announced to his supporters that he was well above the requirement.

Keli Walubita on his qualifications
“I have a full Grade 12 certificate 1994 intake Nyimba Secondary School 12Y. Am also a holder of qualifications in Journalism, Banking, Counselling, Diplomacy, Leadership and an honourary doctorate in Political Science,” stated Mr Tembo (see above right).

Zambia Redemption Front President Keli Walubita Jr also took disclosed his credentials.

“Am not only a holder of a full Grade 12 certificate attained from Hillcrest National Technical Secondary School but a Chartered Member of the London Institute of Procurement and Supply plus being a trained Security Officer,” wrote Mr Walubita Jr, a son of a former Foreign Affairs Minister who shares the same names (see screenshot on the left).

For common Zambians, this education requirement for aspiring candidates has become a good talking point.

Many are posting jokes about it and making it look like it’s a comedy show.

A Zambian mocking politicians
In the previous law, those aspiring as Councillors and Members of parliament only needed to be literate: able to read and write, for them to contest elections.

Former MMD National Secretary Richard Kachingwe has condemned the law saying uneducated leaders have achieved a lot in other countries better than those perceived to be well educated.

“This is a constitution that has basically barred all our able community leaders such as humble marketeers, bus drivers and basically the majority voters….. We all know that leadership is not necessarily measured by one’s educational qualifications or a number of degrees,” stated Major Kachingwe in a press release.

“A number of our great leaders in the world and even in this country at local and even parliamentary levels have done far greater things and achieved more success than our so-called educated people.”

But this is not the first time the issue of education qualifications has become a topic of debate just before a general election in Zambia.

Another screenshot about politicians
Prior to the 2011 general elections, a similar situation unfolded where the MMD government, through the National Constitution Conference (NCC), pushed a recommendation for a presidential candidate to have a first degree for them to qualify for the highest office in the land.

The NCC was a body made up of MPs, civil society and other interest groups which was reviewing the Zambian constitution to try and adopt a new one.

To some observers, this proposal was aimed at barring then opposition leader Michael Sata who was rumoured not to have a degree.

In the thick of things, Mr Sata disclosed that he had over the years acquired two degrees under distance education.

This prompted the degree clause to fall off during the NCC deliberations.

 Mr Sata later beat the MMD during the elections on 20th September, 2011 and led Zambia for three years until his death in October 2014.