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Friday, January 30, 2015

President Lungu Delivers Maiden Speech At African Union Summit


President Lungu during his inauguration on Sunday
Zambia's President Edgar Lungu today delivered his maiden speech at the African Union Summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Below is the verbatim of his address:

 Your Excellency, Chairperson
In the interest of time, May I simply say “All Protocols Observed”

I wish, from the outset, Chairperson, to express through you, the deepest gratitude of the Zambian people for the overwhelming support that we received during the trying period following the death of our late dear President, His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata.

Mr Chairperson,
You, our fraternal African Brothers and Sisters further supported us during the transition period as the democratic credentials and governance institutions were put to test. I am pleased to inform this august House that the just ended presidential by-election in my country, in what was a hotly contested race, has once again demonstrated the collective resolve of the Zambian people to ensure that Democracy and Good Governance are firmly entrenched in our governance system.

In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity, Mr. Chairperson, to thank SADC, COMESA and indeed the African Union for sending Election Monitoring and Observation Missions to Zambia. The elections were declared as transparent, peaceful, free, fair and credible. Zambia continues, therefore, to be privileged to have demonstrated that it is possible to have peaceful changes of Government, even for that matter, from one political party to another.

Mr Chairperson,
Allow me, at this juncture, to reaffirm Zambia’s commitment to the ideals of the African Union and also my Government’s readiness to continue to be fully engaged in the activities of our continental body. I wish to further state that Zambia will seek to enhance her presence at the continental level and beyond, by making her voice heard and actively participating in the programmes of the Union.
On the subject of Agenda 2063, Mr Chairperson, my Government firmly believes that this is an important blueprint for the future of our continent and should be fully supported, as a vehicle for Africa’s development. We need to ensure that the spirit and resolve contained in this carefully crafted document is fully incorporated into the Post 2015 Development Agenda process and other global developmental efforts.
It is in the same vein that as a continent, Africa should prioritise her strategic economic partnerships in order to ensure that they speak to the African Agenda and that our interests are safeguarded.

Mr Chairperson,
My Government also intends to be more actively engaged in peace-building and conflict-resolution initiatives on the continent, and particularly within SADC and the Great Lakes region.
Furthermore, the Ebola virus has clearly demonstrated the need for our close collaboration in addressing such emerging threats to our social and economic security. While the pandemic may now be showing signs of decline, the continent should continue to remain alert and my Government will render support to the various commendable efforts already being made.
I also wish to express Zambia’s concern with the increasing occurrences of ruthless attacks and violent tendencies of terrorist groups as well as the militarisation of extreme faith-based organisations, which is manifesting itself on the continent of Africa. This matter requires our urgent and concerted efforts.

Mr Chairperson,
Regarding the reform of the United Nations, I wish to reassure this Assembly that Zambia will, through her membership of the Committee of Ten, continue to play her part in ensuring that the process is accelerated. To this effect, I wish to inform this august house that Zambia will be hosting the next meeting of the C10.

Mr Chairperson,
In ending my remarks, it would be remiss of me if I did not mention that my government wholly welcomes our theme for 2015. As measure of our long-standing commitment to the importance of women to development and their role in leadership, I wish to confirm to this august House that, in accordance with the Beijing Platform, immediately following my assumption of office, I appointed a female Vice-President, Her Honour Mrs. Inonge Mutukwa Wina, M.P., the first in the history of my country!
Lastly I wish to reassure you, my Colleagues that Zambia can be counted on to support the activities and programmes of our continental body in fulfilment of Agenda 2063.

May God Truly Bless Africa.
Shukran!   
Merci Beaucoup!                  
Muito Obrigado!          
I Thank You!     

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Profile Of Edgar Chagwa Lungu: Zambia's 6th President


President Lungu taking oath of office
By Kasuba Mulenga

His humble beginnings from House No. 4001 in Kitwe’s Chimwemwe township are perhaps what have shaped his belief that humility with firmness and decisiveness can take anyone anywhere. 


A stint as a trained military officer at what was then called Miltez in Kabwe has conceivably further molded his unpretentiousness up to the time of entering the political arena.
And it is possibly the rare mix of law and military discipline that nippily set the man in Edgar Chagwa Lungu on a political path that has now seen him elected Zambia’s sixth President in a poll contested by 10 other politicians.
According to ‘Meet Edgar C. Lungu’, a publication by Inzy Media, those who knew him in his university days as a tall easy going bloke say he was always out for action and innovation, including thinking outside the box.
This probably explains why the lawyer in Mr Lungu, while at Miltez, underwent grueling physical and mental training with such personalities as Zambia’s Deputy Ambassador to the United States Joe Chilaizya and other distinguished military officers who are now generals in the Zambia Army.

WHO IS EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU?
An officer, lawyer, gentleman and politician who was born on November 11, 1956 at Ndola Central Hospital on the Copperbelt, he is married to Esther with whom he has six children.
Mr Lungu did his high school at Mukuba Secondary School before enrolling at the University of Zambia where he studied law and graduated as one of the best law students on October 17, 1981.
He went to the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) and in 1983 bagged his legal practicing certificate at the first crack.
It is worthwhile to state that Mr Lungu only completed his ZIALE course in 1983 because he had some work stints as a lawyer at the Ministry of Justice, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) and Barclays Bank Zambia Limited, among others, before he eventually obtained a law practicing certificate.
Many lawyers have to sit for a law practice certificate examination a dozen times before they get the certificate because it is not a walk-over assessment.
Mr Lungu is an accomplished lawyer who worked for Andre Masiye and Company in Lusaka before he felt that the court room was not big enough to change people’s lives.
He briefly joined the United Party for National Development  and later bid farewell and went to the then little known PF. In 2001, he stood as Chawama member of Parliament but lost. He remained in the PF Central Committee and in 2011, contested the Chawama seat and won, this time around.
It is Mr Lungu whom late President Michael Sata in some recorded ‘Let the People Talk’ dialogues on Radio Phoenix was often quoted as saying, “thank you to one of my lawyers, Edgar Lungu, and all well-wishers…”
And maybe there is a natural dynamic that often links lawyers to politics that gelled Mr Lungu to the current career path just as studies in other parts of the world show regarding the relationship between lawyers and politicians.
Studies show that in many democracies like Zambia, it is often lawyers who inundate the political platform. This is largely due to the fact that the law deals with the same sort of interrogations and predicaments as politics constantly does.
Lawyers like Mr Lungu often have to deal with what makes a ‘just society’; the balance between liberty and security.
Another study linking lawyers like President Lungu to power says legal practitioners make natural leaders because of their “obsession process and a tendency to see things hugely in none partisan terms- ‘us or them’ and ‘guilty or not guilty’- but nonetheless always in the spirit of loyalty to a cause that is rare in other professions.
It is perhaps the lawyer in Mr Lungu that saw him stop a sizzling soccer political ordeal when the Football Association of Zambia chided the TP Mazembe trio of Rainford Kalaba, Nathan Sinkala and Stopila Sunzu last year an immigration row that seemingly went out of hand.
The players’ passports had apparently been withheld by the Immigration Department because they had left the country without immigration clearance.
But as Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Lungu ordered the release of the players’ travel documents.
“Just a couple of months ago, these boys united the country and put Zambia on the world map as a great footballing nation. Yet today, someone wants to treat them like criminals…I don’t think it’s right. Give them back their passports, these boys are heroes,” Mr Lungu directed.
As a man with a heart for the helpless, Mr Lungu assisted 30 families of the April 1993 Gabon air disaster victims to recover K16 million (then K16 billion) as compensation from government for the loss of their loved ones.
The case dragged in court for about 11 years until Mr Lungu and fellow lawyer Sakwiba Sikota used their own resources to represent the bereaved families so that they could be compensated.
One-time profiler of President Lungu, Mr Anthony Mukwita, the former Zambia Daily Mail managing director, described the Head of State as “a man of deep rooted intellect, justice and above all sense of loyalty to friends and family.”
He said Zambians backed the right candidate in the January 20 presidential election.

THE RISE OF MR LUNGU
It is common knowledge that Mr Lungu started off at the back of the line in September 2011 after President Sata made history by unseating a serving government.
Within a year under what some analysts have called the fastest rise in office, Mr Sata appointed Mr Lungu as minister of Home Affairs, at a seemingly crucial time when the PF was experiencing intra-party spats.
In less than a year, President Sata again made Mr Lungu minister of Defence, in charge of the armed forces, protecting the territorial sovereignty of the country.
Despite these tasks, Mr Lungu continued his daily routine of going home from the office and later retreating to his constituency, Chawama, where he did everything ranging from settling marital disputes to personal differences among constituents when he was not spearheading construction of road projects, health posts or police post.
One day, a few days before Christmas, a journalist called Mr Lungu and asked him to describe the year 2013 politically.
“A day in a politician’s life is too long…I cannot completely sum up 2013 today before the year ends because we don’t just know, as politicians, what happens the next day.”
When making this statement, Mr Lungu had no slightest idea that he would be minister of defence the following day.
“It is a remarkable honour for me. I feel humbled by the magnitude of the responsibility bestowed upon me to serve the people of Zambia…I am equal to the task,” he said in accepting President Sata’s appointment.
In what seemed the quest to test his leadership potentials, President Sata asked Mr Lungu to stand in for him while he would be away in China to meet that country’s new leader Xi Jinping, a feat that was made repeatedly in a clear show of confidence in Mr Lungu.
Later, Mr Lungu was given additional responsibilities when he became minister of Justice and PF secretary general on top of his defence ministerial position.
Perhaps, it was this weighty load of tasks piled on him which made the general PF membership, and particularly Members of the Central Committee, to believe he could be heir to President Sata when news of the demise of Mr Sata in a London hospital reached government on October 28, 2014.
As is normally the case in political circles, just like in homes, intra PF tiffs took centre stage in the run-up-to the election of the ruling party leader, and eventually candidate in the January 20 presidential poll.
But at the end of the day, the die was cast, and Mr Lungu contested the race for presidency of the country in which he emerged victor.
“Fifty-eight years ago, I was born Edgar Chagwa Lungu at Ndola Central Hospital and grew up in Kitwe’s Chimwemwe township.
“As I stand before you today, as the sixth President of the Great Republic of Zambia, I am overwhelmed with gratitude, and I feel greatly humbled that you have decided to make me your servant – you are my masters, I am your servant,” Mr Lungu said in his inaugural speech amid deafening ovations by the people at the momentous ceremony held at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka last Sunday.
President Lungu during the campaigns
In an apparent show of commitment to delivering service to the people, Mr Lungu has already started working, and has so far appointed some members of his Cabinet and State House staff.
Perhaps what is most intriguing about the happenings since he assumed office is the selection of former minister of Gender and Child Development Inonge Wina as the first ever Zambia’s female Vice-President.
This action has earned President Lungu continued approbations from the breadth and length of the country.

This story was originally published by the Zambia Daily Mail on 29 January, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Background Of Inonge Wina: Zambia's First Female Vice President

Inonge Mutukwa Wina (born April 2, 1941) is a Zambian politician who has become 13th Vice President of Zambia since 1964. She is the first female to hold the position making her the highest ranking female in the history of Zambia.
Education
Wina attended primary school in Senanga, at the Barotse National School (now Kambule Secondary School) in Mongu. She eventually completed her high school education at Santa Monica High School in Los Angeles, California.
She obtained a diploma in social works at Santa Monica City College. She also read for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Zambia when it was first opened.
Community service
Wina's passion for community work dates back to the early 1970s when she gave free service to women's movements as a volunteer. She has served on a number of boards of Non Governmental Organisations and as president of the Young Women's Christian Association, where she was instrumental in promoting women's human rights agenda, resulting in the Zambian government's establishment of the Victim Support Unit under the Zambia Police Service.
In 1996, she was elected National Chairperson of the NGO Coordinating Council of Zambia (NGOCC). In 2000, Wina led the women's movement in the Red Ribbon Campaign in defence of the Zambian Constitution.
Wina also served as director on a number of boards in the public sector; this included Refuge Services Zambia, Zambia Council of Social Services, University Teaching Hospital, and the University of Zambia Council.
Political career
In 2001 Wina was elected as Member of Parliament of Nalolo Constituency as a candidate of the United Party for National Development. She was elected chairperson of a number of portfolio committees, including the Committee on Human Rights Gender and Governance, and Women Parliamentary Caucus.
In the 2006 presidential and general elections, Wina re-contested her Nalolo seat as a candidate of the United Liberal Party. She lost the election and petitioned the results in the High Court; the case was ruled in her favour but later overturned by the Supreme Court.
In the 2011 general elections, Wina again contested the Nalolo seat, this time under the Patriotic Front ticket, and won. Wina was included in President Michael Sata's initial 18-member cabinet as Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs. On March 8, 2014, Sata, during the commemoration of International Women's Day, upgraded the gender cabinet division into a full ministry and subsequently appointed Wina as Minister of Gender.
On January 26, 2015, newly elected President Edgar Lungu appointed Wina as Vice President of Zambia.
Personal life
She was married to Arthur Wina, a freedom fighter, former minister and academic who died on 3 September 1995.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Zambia's New President Edgar Lungu Re-appoints Most Ministers

President Lungu congratulates Ms Wina
By Paul Shalala in Ndola

Zambia's new President Edgar Lungu has reappointed most of the Cabinet Ministers he served with in the late President Michael Sata's Cabinet.

Mr Lungu, who was sworn in on Sunday after winning the hotly contested 20 January Presidential poll, dissolved the previous Cabinet and swore in a new one on Monday.

Prominent among the appointments is Nalolo Member of Parliament Inonge Wina who he swore in as Vice President, a development which has been widely welcomed by stakeholders.

Ms Wina replaces Dr Guy Scott who deputised the late Sata since 2011.

She becomes the first ever female Vice President in Zambia.

Others re-appointed to Cabinet are Justice Minister Dr. Ngosa Simbyakula who served as Home Affairs Minister, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda who retained his position and Harry Kalaba who has also retained his Foreign Affairs portfolio.

Others appointed are Dr Joseph Kasonde who has retained his Health Ministerial post while Chipili Member of Parliament Davies Mwila was sworn in as Home Affairs Minister.

President Lungu swears in Mr Chanda
He also swore in Solwezi Central UPND MP Dawson Kafwaya as North Western Province Minister and announced the appointment of Mongu Central MP Nathaniel Mubukwanu as Southern Province Minister to take over from Daniel Munkombwe who campaigned for UPND President Hakainde Hichilema during last week's presidential election.

President Lungu announced that he will announce the remaining ministerial appointees when he returns from the African Union Summit in Ethiopia in a few days time.

Other non-ministerial appointees the head of state swore in were his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, Special Assistant for Political Affairs Kaizar Zulu and State House Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Chilubanama.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Zambia's Opposition Leader Hichilema Disputes Election Results

Hakainde Hichilema
 By Paul Shalala

Opposition UPND Presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema has rejected the outcome of the 20 January, 2015 presidential election, calling it a sham.

Mr Hichilema, who took part in the polls for the fourth consecutive time, has accused the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) of having announced false results.

Speaking at a press briefing this morning, Mr Hichilema said his main challenger PF's Edgar Lungu would be declared winner but he will be an illegitimate president.

An hour after Mr Hichilema spoke, ECZ Chairperson Ireen Mambilima released the latest presidential results from 141 constituencies which show that Mr Lungu had polled 789,848 votes (47.9%) and Mr Hichilema was at 776,832 votes (47.1%).

Results of the remaining nine constituencies are expected to be announced tonight at 18:00hrs and the winning candidate will be inaugurated tomorrow at the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka.


Below is the speech Mr Hichilema read at the press briefing:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

24 January 2015

Edgar Lungu steals election

A stolen election does not reflect the will of the people and is not going to deliver.

As you know we've yet to hear the final few constituencies announced by the Electoral Commission of Zambia, however it is with deep regret that we now already know the predetermined result.

They intend to announce victory for PF candidate, Edgar Lungu,

The United Party for National Development will always respect the views of the people we seek to serve, and our party is built upon upholding our country's key democratic values and transparency.

However, what we have seen unfold over the last few days could not have been further away from the democratic process we aspire to uphold and the results announced do not reflect accurately the voting numbers that occurred on the 20 th January 2015.

This has not been a level playing field from the start. We have experienced widespread violence against our supporters and party members throughout the campaign as well as deep irregularities in the counting process.

We know that democracy lies not only in the voting, but in the counting.

We have been open and engaged with the ECZ regarding our concerns at every possible point through official channels. However, despite this, there are many aspects of the election process and results that have continued to be highly irregular and fallen far short of the democratic process Zambians aspire for.

Whilst we want to reinforce the personal high-esteem in which we, the UPND, hold the Chairperson and the commissioners of the ECZ, there are some known individuals within the ECZ who have acted with utter impunity, corruption and total disregard for a democratic process by manipulating the election results.

Let me provide you with a few examples of how the process fell short of the standards expected:

Yesterday, the ECZ, realising there had been some discrepancies in the numbers announced so far, allowed members of the UPND and PF to be present for verification at the ECZ for all 150 constituencies. Yet, despite recognising discrepancies, the commission has only provided 32 out of the 150 constituencies for verification promising to provide the balance later. The constituencies involved had many serious irregularities involving the accuracy of the numbers. This is a glaring deliberate omission.

Following our meeting yesterday we were also assured by the ECZ that we were going to be provided with the full details for each of the constituencies counted, and yet right now we are still waiting for these despite being guaranteed yesterday.

Problems have also arisen from the delays in the provision of full results breakdowns for each constituency from the ECZ to the various parties, even three days after some of the results have been announced. In addition, biased and selective release of results, incorrect displays of figures suggesting that the candidate from PF was leading throughout during television reports and on the ECZ website itself have added to the confusion and undermined our confidence at several points. This was happening while people were still voting in other areas just to create an impression that Patriotic Front was winning the election even when it was clear that the race was still very tight.

The ECZ has always been very clear about restricting access to the ballot receiving rooms. There was supposed to be strong controls in place to maintain this and no technology equipment is allowed in, and yet we know unauthorized people were allowed in these rooms with smart phones. ECZ knew about this. Where is the vote protection consistency and reliability here?

Our own vote protection efforts at polling stations where voting was extended beyond 20 th Jan 2015 to monitor ourselves were severely hampered at last minute and without apparent due reason despite prior granting of permissions for our helicopters to fly, these flight permissions were revoked. ZAF continued to delay in granting clearance with no clear reason as to why. This has understandably raised suspicion and concern when the Minister of Defence is himself a candidate in the election.

Our outstanding concerns, in the context of this election has left us deeply alarmed that the wrong result has been arrived at, which does not reflect the will of our people.

Over the last eight weeks of the campaign we have been all over our country listening to the views and concerns of our people. We made a promise to them that we would give everything we have to serve them, and we will uphold that.

On behalf of the UPND I need to thank my supporters across the country for their efforts throughout the campaign. Your support, energy and dedication has been truly astounding and we thank you. we have been truly humbled by your support.

We wish to thank our alliance partners including members of parliament for your support. We wish to thank all the Zambian citizens from all walks of life who have come out in support for us. Regardless of the outcome of this election I have no doubt that this momentum for the UPND will continue to grow.

As we know, this election was brought upon us in unfortunate circumstances following the death of our late President. We have been putting plans into place for the 2016 general election and those plans remain.

Before then though, we firmly believe that the 2016 elections should be held on the platform of a new constitution and Independent Electoral Commission to prevent a repeat of the shambles we have seen over the last few days.

Until then, I, and all citizens working together, will continue to fight for a better Zambia.

Ultimately, this election has been a sham and does not reflect the will of the majority of Zambians. If Edgar Lungu is sworn in as President he will certainly be an illegitimate president going by what we have discovered at the ECZ. Edgar Lungu truly knows that the results that have been given to him by individuals at the ECZ are not from the citizens who voted. Those individuals, who are less than twenty at ECZ, have to bear the burden of over 14 millions Zambians.

We in the UPND, together with our partners and ordinary citizens, will be watching closely and we will be ready to win another election in 20 months time under a new constitution.

Despite the fact that the election was stolen from us, I urge all our party members and supporters across our country to remain calm and peaceful for the good of Zambia.

I thank you all.

May God Bless the Republic of Zambia. May God bless you all.

Hakainde Hichilema

UPND President

Thursday, January 22, 2015

International Observers Describe Zambia's Presidential Poll Credible

By Paul Shalala
Kgalema Motlanthe

International election observers that have monitored Zambia's presidential election on Tuesday have described the poll as credible.

The 23-member African Union Election Observation Mission says the pre and post election period has been largely peaceful and meeting international election standards.

Former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, who is leading the mission, says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) presided over a well organised poll.

"The African union Election Observer Mission commends election officials for their attention to detail during the counting process," said Mr Motlanthe.

The mission further recommends that Zambia allows independent presidential candidates, allow majoritarian electoral system and extending the period for swearing in the new president to allow electoral disputes to be sorted out.

Mr Motlanthe also called on the ECZ to implement the continuous voter education.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) says the polls were largely peaceful despite reports of violence among political parties.

Former Mauritius President Cassam Uteem, who is head of the EISA Elections Observer Mission to Zambia, says the people of Zambia freely voted and exercised their democratic right on polling day.

He however recommended that Zambia legislates the introduction of the joint election of the President and Vice-President as running mates, introduce the election of the President by absolute majority and expand the period between the announcement of results and the presidential inauguration.

Mr Uteem further recommended that there be separation between the functions of the Returning Officer of the presidential election from those of the Chief Justice to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Sofonea Shale

And the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Non-Governmental Organisations Observer Mission has also declared the 20th January presidential election as free and fair.

Head of the SADC NGO Observers Sofonea Shale says the election was credible.

“We have experienced voter apathy due to the movement of people from one place to another.  We do not expect the number of people who have voted to be more than 40 percent,” Mr Shale said.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rains Pound The Nation As Zambians Vote For New President


A Zambian voter
By Paul Shalala

Over five million registered voters are today casting their ballots to chose a new President following the death of Michael Sata in October 2014 despite heavy rains that have hit the nation.

On the ballot paper are 11 presidential candidates who have campaigned for the top job in the land over the past two months.

According to several commentators, the main battle is between the ruling PF’s Edgar Lungu and opposition UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema who have been trading allegations of incapacity to run the nation amongst themselves.

A check across several areas of Lusaka has shown long queues forming outside polling stations as early voters as voters started queuing up as early as 05:00hrs.

Meanwhile, Acting President Dr. Guy Scott this morning made an impromptu visit to Mr. Price store at Manda Hill Shopping Mall where he found people working and ordered management to close the shop.

Dr. Scott declared polling day an official holiday to allow those in formal employment to vote.

And Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson Irene Mambiliima says the final election results are expected to be announced by Friday this week depending on the weather.

Zambia is at the moment experiencing heavy rains and the Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rains especially in the southern part of the country.

Early this morning, heavy rains were reported in Lusaka, Kafue, Kabwe and several parts of Southern Province.

The commission is this time using the electronic vote announcement system which is expected to be faster than the manual system used in previous polls.

The ECZ is expected to start holding periodic press briefings at the Mulungushi International Conference in Lusaka to announce presidential results as they trickle in from the 150 parliamentary constituencies.