ZR Comment: Welcome to all our new subscribers. Today there is still growing speculation over the meaning of President Sata’s cabinet re-shuffle. Is it to placate Chinese investment, boost the private sector, or simply the signs of an administration yet to find its feet? We welcome your feedback and anonymous tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MMD petitions UN over ‘selective’ prosecution of its leaders
THE MMD have petitioned the United Nations over what they have termed “selective prosecution” of its leaders and non-adherence to rule of law by the Patriotic Front government.
Briefing the press at the party secretariat in Lusaka yesterday, former vice-president George Kunda said senior party officials held a closed-door meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon where they officially complained that leaders of the opposition party were being subjected to untold suffering by the government and law enforcement agencies.
“We were privileged to have the UN Secretary General and we shared our concerns concerning the way our country, Zambia, is being governed by the Patriotic Front. The first five months of Patriotic Front rule have been hell for close members of the party. During this period security agencies have been violating the fundamental rights of citizens and especially the rights of leaders of the party with impunity,” he said.
Kunda said the government was on rampage brutalising MMD members instead of protecting them.
Zambia welcomes China, again
President Michael Sata, has reshuffled his Patriotic Front government to placate Asian and other investors and to streamline economic policy.
Last month, Sata moved the outspoken Minister, Chishimba Kambwili from the ministry of foreign affairs following his braw with Chinese Ambassador Zhou Yuxiao to the ministry of labour.
However, Kambwili did not tone down as minister of labour and the President withdrew the labour portfolio from him ministry to the ministry of Information.
The reshuffle was an attempt by Sata to preserve Chishimba Kambwili, one of his most trustworthy PF party stalwarts. ‘We told him [Kambwili] that he was fighting a losing battle, as the Chinese would have the last laugh,’ a senior government official said.
President Sata’s election campaign focused on pro-poor policies and whipped up anti-Chinese sentiment, but ‘King Cobra’ as he is referred to has since apparently changed his tune and Beijing is reciprocating with generous gestures.
Sources say a delivery is expected this month of 30 ‘donated’ buses and 30 luxury cars, including a limousine for the Zambian government.
Cabinet reshuffles, affecting private sector performance notes Expert
A Lusaka based business consultant has expressed fear that the numerous structural changes in the Government ministries and cabinet reshuffles are most likely to affect the performance of the private sector in the country.
Lawrence Chileshe says most of the business firms in the country have started engaging in talks with the various ministries on matters pertaining to the private sector and that the changes that President Michael Sata has continued to make are most likely to derail the progress made so far.
Mr. Chileshe notes that the rate at which the President keeps making changes to government including through reshuffles is also most likely to result in unnecessary costs.
Mr. Chileshe has questioned whether the PF government has a clear strategy on the re-alignment of the ministries or is doing things haphazardly.
Chipimo implores Sata to have a strong team of advisors
National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Elias Chipimo junior has implored Republican President Michael Sata to put in place a strong team of experts to give guidance on his decisions.
Speaking to journalists during a media briefing at the party secretariat in Lusaka today, Mr. Chipimo said his party was concerned with the President’s errors on various decisions which he said were an indication that he does not consult.
Mr. Chipimo explained that Zambians have higher expectations in the current government and that failure to implement campaign promises will result in people losing confidence in the Patriotic Front administration.
Katele tells MMD to adopt best democratic practices
Former MMD National Secretary Katele Kalumba says the former ruling party should adopt the best democratic practices if it is to regain its place on Zambian political scene.
Dr Kalumba has also advised MMD members to stop the infighting and concentrate on preparing the party for future elections.
He says the infighting will not help bring back the pride the party had when it was in the governing seat.
Dr Kalumba explains to that it was important for the MMD to start planning ahead for the next elections.
MMD suspends Chisamba MP
THE MMD has suspended its national youth chairman and Chisamba member of parliament Moses Muteteka.
But Muteteka says he will not be intimidated by the suspension which he described as a move aimed at blocking him from contesting the party presidency.
According to a letter of suspension dated February 29, 2012 and signed by party national secretary Major Richard Kachingwe, Muteteka is charged with insubordination, misconduct and contravening party regulations among other offences.
“The party is shocked and disturbed at your recent remarks in The Post newspaper publication of February 19, 2012. You may wish to recall that the National Executive Committee (NEC) acquitted you on (similar) charges in November 2011 because you showed a sense of remorse in your exculpatory letter. It would appear you don’t heed to advice and you seem not to be repentant,” the letter read in part.
Major Kachingwe demanded that Muteteka exculpates himself within 10 days.
“You are required to submit an exculpatory statement within 10 days from the date of this letter. In the meantime, you are hereby suspended from the party pending disposal of your case by NEC,” the letter stated.
And in a separate interview, party deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu said Muteteka would not be allowed to attend the April convention until his case was resolved.
However, Muteteka said he was enjoying his right to express himself democratically in accordance with the party constitution.
“I will not be intimidated by those who are afraid of me. I know this is aimed at blocking me from contesting the party presidency but I am not a bootlicker,” he said.
Muteteka said he would take legal action against the suspension.
PF government operating on trial and error, says Bishop Mususu
A Lusaka clergyman says President Michael Sata’s back and forth reshuffles and realignment of government ministries is indicative of a government operating on trial and error basis.
Former Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia executive secretary Bishop Paul Mususu said in an interview yesterday that the repositionings and changes of ministerial positions and structures shows the government was yet to settle down.
Bishop Mususu said the status quo shows the government, which campaigned on the basis of trimming down the size of Cabinet, was not too sure of what it was doing and what it said then.
“We should be doing things that are done and they are kept that way than the trial and error kind of situation,” he said.
Sata visits GBM’s wife Chama at Milpark Hospital in South Africa
President Michael Sata today visited Defence Minister Geofrey Mwamba’s wife, Chama, who is admitted to Milpark Hospital in South Africa.
President Sata who was accompanied by Mr. Mwamba, Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations George Chillah and other Government officials arrived at Listeria Airport aboard the presidential challenger at 10:45hrs.
After an hours’ visit to Mrs. Mwamba, Mr. Sata left the hospital and departed for Lusaka from Lanseria airport at about 13:00 hours.
Indo-Zambia Bank to collect passport, citizenship fees
GOVERNMENT has assigned Indo-Zambia Bank to collect fees from the general public, on behalf of the Passport and Citizenship Office for processing travel and citizenship documents.
Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba says Government is concerned about the high levels of corruption involved in the issuance of travel and citizenship documents and is currently implementing major reforms to enhance collection of non-tax revenue in the country.
Mr Yamba said this in Lusaka yesterday during the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Government and Indo-Zambia Bank for the collection of fees for travel and citizenship documents.