Sunday, September 14, 2014

Zambia's Female MPs Now Reach 20 After Recent By-Elections



Victoria Kalima
By Paul Shalala

The number of female Members of Parliament in Zambia's National Assembly has now hit 20 following the election of three women during by-elections held last week.

On Thursday, three female MPs Victoria Kalima (Kasenengwa), Christabel Ngimbu (Zambezi West) and Margaret Miti (Vubwi) where elected following tightly contested for polls.
Margaret Miti
The by-elections where a trendsetter as more than 4 females where adopted to contest the 5 seats.

Despite this huge achievement in the promotion of women participation in decision making, the number of male MPs is still higher than that of females.

Of the 158 MPs (both elected and nominated), Zambia has more than 125 male MPs.
Others elected where male MPs who included Dawson Kafwaya (Solwezi Central) and  and Davies Chisopa (Mkushi South).
Christabel Ngimbu

The elections retired Dr. Eustarkio Kazonga who represented the people of Vubwi for several years and was a Deputy and Cabinet Minister in the MMD.

Another old timer  who was retired in the by-elections was Charles Kakoma who was in his second term in Zambezi West.

Below are statements from the women's movement congratulating the electorates for electing the female MPs:





PRESS STATEMENT
ZNWL ELATED AT THE ELECTION OF THREE WOMEN AS MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

For Immediate Release                                                                  12 September 2014 
The Zambia National Women’s Lobby is elated at the election of Ms. Victoria Kalima (MMD), Ms. Margaret Miti (PF) and Ms. Christabel Ngimbu (PF) as Members of Parliament for Kasenengwa, Vubwi and Zambezi -West respectively, in the recent by elections. The number of women in Parliament has now increased from 17 to 20 and the percentage of women in Parliament now stands at 12.6% from 10.7%. We appeal to the PF Government to appoint the newly elected women MPs into Cabinet to further increase the number of women in decision making positions.
The election of the three honourable members of parliament is testimony of the progress made towards society’s acceptance of women as equal partner in development.
We commend their political parties for having afforded the three women an opportunity to serve the nation at a high level and further extend our gratitude to the people of these three constituencies for choosing women to represent their interests.
We urge the three members of parliament to work hard and diligently serve the people who have placed their hopes and aspirations in their hands.
We urge political parties to continue adopting women so that they have a chance of serving at national decision making positions to bring about gender equality which is a conduit for national development.
ZNWL remains committed to enhancing the participation of women in leadership at various levels and will continue to advocate and lobby for improved recognition of women as equal partners in development.

BEAUTY KATEBE (MS)    
ZAMBIA NATIONAL WOMEN’S LOBBY BOARD CHAIRPERSON







PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
12th September 2012

NGOCC CONGRATULATES NEWLY ELECTED FEMALE PARLIAMENTARIANS

The Non Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) congratulates the three newly elected female Members of Parliament, who were elected during the last round of by -elections held on 11 September 2014.

As a movement, we are glad that voters in the three constituencies have elected women to preside over the constituencies.

Three out of the five winners in the by-elections held in North Western, central and eastern provinces are women, namely Ms. Christabel Ngimbu (Zambezi West), Ms. Margret Miti (Vubwi), and Ms. Victoria Kalima (Kasenengwa).

NGOCC has been deeply concerned with the low number of women in decision-making positions especially in Parliament and Cabinet. It is totally unacceptable that 50 years after independence, only four (4) women are Cabinet Ministers and 20 are Members of Parliament.

Hence we wish to congratulate all the political parties that adopted women as candidates. We hope that they will continue to adopt more women as their candidates especially as the country prepares for the 2016 Presidential, Parliamentary, and Local Government elections.

The election of the three in the last by - elections is a further demonstration of the growing confidence the Zambian people have in the leadership of women.

There is need for the country to begin to formulate policies that will accelerate the country’s attainment of the SADC Gender protocol of 50 – 50 representation for both men and women by 2015.


for/NGOCC


Engwase B. Mwale
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Friday, September 12, 2014

Over 20,000 Teachers Using Social Media To Improve Service Delivery

By Paul Shalala
Posing with teachers after an interview

Over 20,000 teachers from all provinces of Zambia are using social media to enhance their teaching skills, learn best practices from each other and interact with colleagues from various areas.

Under the umbrella of the Zambia Teachers Forum, the teachers now run the Zambia Teachers Forum Facebook group with 19,000 members and a fan page with over 1,000 fans.

The Zambia Teachers Forum, also runs two WhatsApp groups with over two hundred members and a LinkedIn profile.

Zambia Teachers Forum Executive Director Richard Malunga says these social platforms have been created to help teachers share experiences, learn about new developments in the sector and pass on announcements.



"Social media has been helpful to our teachers. Those who seek swappings from districts eaisly find their partners here. We also provide a platform for teacher interaction," said Malunga who also serves as the Chief Admin for the Zambia Teachers Forum Facebook group.


Trainee teachers who are using these social platforms says they have received alot of mentorship from veteran teachers.

"I have learnt alot from Facebook. Teachers who have been in the system for a longtime usually help us on how to confront situations in the classroom," said Lawrence Kandondo, a trainee teacher at Northmead Secondary School in Lusaka.

With the membership of the Zambia Teachers Forum being spread across the country, teachers in rural areas are part of this revolution.

"I have benefited alot from career development and professional exchanges. This platform has helped us alot to interact and sharpen our teaching skills," said Penelope Kandutu, a teacher at Nampundwe Secondary School in Shibuyunji District.

"I have seen people benefiting from scholarships whose adverts where posted on our Facebook page. I have also seen the people uniting and interacting with others from far flung areas," said Pumulo Mungoma, a teacher at Kasaka Secondary School in Kafue District.


To further increase the use of Information and Communication Technology among teachers countrywide, the Zambia Teachers Forum has parnered with a local organisation Knowledge Gates to help teachers acquire computers to help them stay online.

So far, in over 1,000 schools countrywide, teachers have been helped to stay online and they receive latest information at their fingertips.

Knowledge Gates has so far supplied 3,000 computers to teachers who are now able to stay online and research for their classwork.

Met Office Warns Of Flash Floods In Zambia

By Paul Shalala
Flash floods

The Meteorological Department has disclosed that the northern parts of the country are expected to continue experiencing sporadic showery activities this month.

Meteorological Department Director Jacob Nkomoki says from October to December, the whole country is expected to receive normal rainfall.

"The northern districts of Zambia along with Eastern Province and parts of Muchinga Province will receive normal rains while the rest of the country will receive normal to above normal rain," said Nkomoki in a press statement.

He adds that from January to March, the country is expected to have normal to above normal rainfall.

Mr Nkomoki has further revealed that in the 2014 to 2015 rain season, the country may experience flash floods and a weak El-Nino signal.

Monday, September 8, 2014

K85 Million Mpika Fuel Storage Depot Commissioned

Part of the Mpika Fuel Storage Depot -Picture by Paul Shalala
By Paul Shalala in Mpika

The Mpika Fuel Storage Depot which has been constructed at the cost of K85 million is now fully operational.

The facility, whose construction started in March 2011, has the capacity of 6.5 million liters for petroleum products.

Government constructed the facility with funding from its strategic fuel reserve funds.


"The commissioning of the Mpika Fuel Storage Depot is a confirmation that the removal of subsidies is bearing fruit in Zambia," said Lands Minister Mwansa Kapeya who commissioned the facility on Friday last week at a ceremony attended by 5 local chiefs and scores of Mpika residents.


Mr Kapeya, who is also Mpika Central Member of Parliament, said the commissioning of the fuel depot in Muchinga Province will help reduce the cost of fuel in the area.



"This facility is expected to supply fuel to Luapula, Muchinga and Northern Provinces at a cheaper price," he added said.

At tfull capacity, the Mpika Fuel Storage Depot is expected to be dispatching atleast 40 trucks full of petroleum products on a daily basis.


 "In its full capacity, this depot will be able to receive 30 trucks full of stock and we will be able to dispatch 40 trucks full of petroleum products on a daily basis," said Davison Thawete, TAZAMA Managing Director.

The Mpika Fuel Storage Depot becomes the second such facility to be commissioned after the Lusaka Depot was commissioned in August 2013.

Under phase one of the constructiuon of provincial fuel depots, government is also constructing such facilities in Mongu and Solwezi where works have already commenced.

In the next two years, construction works under phase two of the provincial fuel depots will also commence in Choma, Kapiri Mposhi, Chipata, Kasama and Mansa.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

PF To Embark On Countrywide Mobilisation

Brian Hapunda (right) and Edgar Lungu (in a hat)
By Paul Shalala

Newly appointed Patriotic Front Media and Publicity Director Brian Hapunda has disclosed that the ruling party will embark on a massive party mobilisation exercise soon after the September 11th parliamentary by-elections.

Mr Hapunda has the mobilisation exercise will be spearheaded by PF Secretary General Edgar Lungu to consolidate party structures countrywide.



"This mobilisation exercise will be conducted to consolidate our strength at the grassroots and esnure we win the 2016 General Elections," said Hapunda.

The former PF Southern Province Political Secretary has also dismissed recent media reports that the ruling party is corrupt and tribal.

Mr Hapunda says PF has members of parliament in all the 10 provinces which shows that its a party with a national character.

Mr Hapunda was last week appointed as PF Media and Publicity Director following the resignation of his predecessor Chanda Mfula, which came a day after President Michael Sata dismissed Wynter Kabimba as PF Secretary General and Justice Minister.

In the wake of the dismissal, President Sata appointed Mr Lungu as PF Secretary General and Justice Minister
.


UPND To Picket Parliament Over 'Rebel' MPs

Greyford Monde
Richwell Siamunene
By Paul Shalala

The opposition UPND has notified the Zambia Police Service that its youths from Kabwata Constituency will picket parliament on 19th September to protest against two of its lawmakers who are serving as Deputy Ministers in the Patriotic Front-led government.

UPND Kabwata Constituency Information and Publicity Secretary Edmond Lifwekelo says the protest is against Itezhi-Tezhi MP Greyford Monde and his Sinazongwe counterpart Richwell Siamunene.

"Thee two Honourable MPs must know that they are in parliament because of the UPND and they must not insult HH who adopted them to contest elections in 2011," he said.

Mr Lifwekelo says youths from Kabwata want to protest against the two lawmakers' recent utterances against party president Hakainde Hichilema.

In his letter to the Police Lusaka Division Headquarters, Mr Lifwekelo assured that the protest will be peacefully. 

Mr Monde is serving as Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Minister while Mr Siamunene is Western Province Minister.

The two MPs have already been expelled by the UPND but they have challenged their expulsion in court.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Climate Change Response: A Priority Or Option for Zambia?



By Lubasi Wachata 

The 21st century has witnessed the emergence of climate change as one of the world’s greatest developmental challenges. Reliable assessment reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have alerted nations to the inescapable impacts of climate change in the near term and raised the need to respond to climate change impacts through adaptation and mitigation efforts. In Zambia, evidence of climate change impacts can be noted particularly in land-based activities. The Zambia Meteorological Department analyzed climate variability in the last four decades and established that there has been an increase in frequency of extreme events such as floods and droughts, and increases in temperature both cool and warm seasons particularly in the valleys. 

Delayed onset of the rainfall and earlier cessation, resulting in shorter rainy seasons with more intense rainfall has also been noted. The most serious of these have been the 1991/92 droughts and 2006/07 floods in which the latter affected over 1 million people in 41 districts across the country. Though not as severe as the 1991/92 drought, the 2004/05 drought also caused irreversible damage to crops in two thirds of the country and forced Zambia to import food. On the other hand, the 2009/10 floods affected 238,254 people about 39,709 households.

Such climate change related problems are expected to continue to manifest in future thereby calling for adaptation and mitigation measures to abate the situation. The National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA-2007) on Climate Change has been developed in an effort to provide reliable and timely data necessary for adaptation measures. In addition, the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS-2010) has also been formulated to support and facilitate a coordinated response to climate change issues. Its key recommendation is the establishment of the National Climate Change and Development Council (NCCDC) to be a new institutional framework for overseeing climate change activities nationally. This led to the formation of the Interim Inter-Ministerial Climate Change Secretariat whose main objective is to facilitate the establishment of the council and strengthen national coordination of all efforts intended to respond to the climate change crisis among others. 

Zambia is making efforts to respond to climate change impacts through adaptation and mitigation interventions. With respect to mitigation, Zambia’s contribution to the regional greenhouse gas emission level is relatively small although emissions from land use change are on an increase due to deforestation and conversion of forests to other land uses. Thus, the country’s primary mitigation interventions lie in halting deforestation. Studies show that Zambia’s forests cover roughly 66 percent (about 49.9 million ha.) of the total landmass of which 9.6 percent are protected forests under the Forest Department. This is an extensive carbon sink with great potential for carbon sequestration. However, there is a problem to climate change mitigation as forests are under threat from deforestation. Studies show that between 1990 and 2000, Zambia had the highest deforestation rate of about 851 000 ha in Southern Africa. This made the country account for almost half the deforestation in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.  

While forests offer a great potential for climate change mitigation, forestry programmes related to climate change get the lowest budgetary share compared to other departments. Available statistics show that between 2007 and 2009, Water Affairs Department received the largest budget share of (ZMK 38.57 billion) followed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives with (ZMK 13.194 billion). The Forestry Department was the least funded at (ZMK 2.56 billion), with its sister department the Environment and Natural Resources receiving (ZMK 2.949 billion) during the same period. There is need for the government to increase its budgetary allocations to the Forestry Department if the country is to fully utilize its great carbon sink potential. 
  
 With respect to adaptation, the Zambian Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience (SPCR) has emerged as a key programme in the planned development assistance to climate change adaptation at both the strategic and local level. The SPCR is funded through the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR). The programme is administered by the World Bank in collaboration with the African Development Bank and other partners. Currently, two pilot projects are being implemented in the Kafue and Barotse sub-basins of the greater Zambezi basin. The program seeks to integrate climate resilience into development strategies and local plans, strengthen institutional collaboration and partnerships among others.

 While all these mitigation and adaptation efforts should be applauded, it is clear that climate change is not a “Priority” on the agenda for political elites in Zambia. The Zambian government does allocate some funds to the various programmes that deal with climate change but indeed more efforts are needed. For example, ZMK 4 000,000 has been allocated to the PPCR in the 2014 budget. Climate change financing currently depends to a large extent on external funding from multilateral and bilateral donors namely the World Bank, UN agencies and the Finnish Government among others. This, however, does not mean that the government has no interest in the issue at all. On the contrary, national political interest in the climate change agenda is apparent on climate change adaptation through disaster risk reduction and disaster management. 

The government established the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit as a permanently established statutory government agency forming part of the Office of the Vice President. The frequent occurrence of natural hazards such as droughts and floods has usually triggered disasters in Zambia. Their striking and explicit nature makes them not only attractive to the media, but also creates a perfect opportunity for local politicians to show their importance. Responding to natural disasters is thus a matter of priority for the political leadership in an effort to secure support from voters.

Until recently, Zambia had lagged behind in addressing climate change issues. However, the picture is gradually improving. Indeed, the government has made several efforts in formulating climate change policies and institutional frameworks. However, addressing climate change challenges will certainly require financing. Most of the impediments to effective national climate change response are rooted in the inadequate budgetary allocations to climate change related interventions by the government.  Left unabated, climate change has the potential to reverse the well-deserved developmental gains the country has achieved over the decades. Thus, the need for climate change to be at the top of the agenda for the political elites in Zambia can never be overemphasized.