Headlines 23 March 2012

Sata sneaks out of the country

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has left for India on a private visit, Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Labour Fackson Shamenda has confirmed.

Shamenda who could not give details of the visit said the President who had only returned from Botswana two days ago will be in that country for ‘a few days’.

He said Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda would act as President while President Sata is away.

The President is accompanied by First Lady Christine Kaseba and special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah.

But Vice-President Dr Guy Scott today told parliament that the head of state would use the trip to undergo medical examinations.

Scott said although the President had traveled to India on a scheduled private visit, he would also use the opportunity for a medical checkup.

There are speculations in some media reports suggesting that the president needed emergency kidney transplant, but government denies such unconfirmed rumors.

Exclusively written for Zambia reports

Nevers Mumba questions the secrecy of Sata’s trip

MMD presidential Aspirant Nevers Mumba has questioned the secrecy surrounding president Michael Sata’s trip to India.

Mumba wondered why the Zambian government is seemingly secretive on the head of state’s visit to Asia.

He says it is important that the movements of the president are kept as open as possible to avoid speculation.

Dr Mumba says protocol demands that the people of Zambia who elected the president into office are told where the president is going days before his travel.

He says since the president uses tax payers money for all his expenses, his movements are supposed to made public.

And Dr. Mumba has warned that the PF Government will leave power faster than it came if it ignores the concerns of the Zambian people.

Source: Qfm Radio

Rupiah Banda, Henry Banda, Hire Legal Team

The former President Rupiah Banda and his son, Henry Banda, have appointed an international legal team to take action in response to measures taken by the current Zambian government.

“There are issues of serious concern currently occurring in the Zambian political context that have been framed as legal charges. When political competition is replaced by false accusations and innuendo, it impacts not only Zambia but the world,” said Robert Amsterdam, one of the lawyers acting for the Bandas, adding that “we intend to explore every legal instrument available to assist our clients in asserting their rights under international and Zambian law.”

Source: Zambia Daily Mail

Opposition quiz Scott on State House rehabilitation

VICE-President Guy Scott failed to give categorical answers in Parliament on why finance minister Alexander Chikwanda did not declare interest when his company was single sourced to carry out rehabilitation works at State House.

Opposition members of parliament had earlier raised queries on the matter, prompting Speaker Patrick Matibini to direct the government to issue a comprehensive statement.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Vice-President Scott said correct tender procedures were followed and five companies were awarded contracts to undertake the rehabilitation of works at State House.

Source: The Post Newspaper

Fitch’s comment shocks Sakeni

HOME affairs minister Kennedy Sakeni says he is shocked that International rating agency Fitch can comment on a matter that is active in the courts of law.

Reacting to the organisation’s observation that the possible deregistration of the opposition MMD could increase its concerns over the Zambian government’s policy direction and governance quality, Sakeni said not even himself could comment on a matter that was before court.

“This matter is before the courts of law, and how Fitch comes in to comment, I don’t even understand. This country, we respect the courts and if matters are before the courts we don’t expect anybody to make any comment,” said Sakeni in an interview in Lusaka yesterday.

“And I wouldn’t go any further than that; I leave it to the courts to actually preside on the matter. We’ll accept whatever the court will rule.”

Fitch Ratings which recently lowered Zambia’s economic outlook citing concerns over the direction of the country’s economic policy said additional strain could be placed on Zambia’s (‘B+/Negative/’B’) government finances and its relatively strong governance undermined if the Registrar of Societies’ decision to deregister the country’s largest opposition party is not overturned by the courts.

On March 14, the Registrar of Societies announced that MMD would cease to operate as a political party due to the alleged non-payment of dues over the past 20 years.

Source: The Post Newspaper

Barotse Royal Establishment urges peace

THE Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) has called on all churches in Western Province to pray for peace ahead of the forthcoming Barotse National Council (BNC).

The Royal establishment has also said that they want the council to be as transparent as possible.

BRE spokesperson and Ngambela, Clement Sinyinda said in a telephone interview from Mongu yesterday that the royal establishment had invited both local and international media to cover the proceedings of the council in the interest of transparency.

He said the BRE had asked all the churches to dedicate this coming weekend to pray for the council.

He revealed that the royal establishment had also invited diplomats accredited to Zambia from the embassies of the United Kingdom, America, Germany and Botswana to attend the council.

He said the traditional leadership in the province had also invited the United Nations representative in Zambia to attend the meeting.

Source: Times of Zambia

MMD loses Lukulu seat

WITHIN a space of a week, the MMD yesterday suffered yet another setback when Lusaka High Court Judge Emelia Sunkutu nullified the party’s Lukulu West parliamentary seat after declaring that the election of Misheck Mutelo was not conducted in a free and fair manner.

Losing Patriotic front (PF) candidate Eileen Imbwae had asked the court to declare the election of Mr Mutelo null and void citing bribery and other malpractice as the reason of his victory.

Ms Justice Sunkutu noted when passing judgement that Mr Mutelo’s election was marred with bribery and publication of false information alleging that Ms Imbwae was a thief who could not represent the people of the constituency.

Source: Times of Zambia

UPND vice-president quits

United Party for National Development (UPND) vice president Richard Kapita has abandoned his party position in preference for his businesses.

According to sources, Mr. Kapita has decided to concentrate on his business.

Mr. Kapita is said to have written a letter to party president Hakainde Hichilema asking him to allow him to take an indefinite leave.

Mr. Kapita is said to have taken advantage of the boom in the mining activities in north western

UPND lost its first vice-president Francis Simenda who was appointed Zambia’s ambassador to Ethiopia by President Michael Sata shortly after the general elections.

Source: Qfm Radio

State ponders reinstating ex-Zamtel workers

GOVERNMENT says it is ready to facilitate dialogue between Zamtel management and the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to have some of the workers retrenched prior to the sale of the company to LapGreen of Libya reinstated.

Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Labour Fackson Shamenda said ZCTU should find time to engage the union at Zamtel and come up with the most organised way to help some of the former workers to get their jobs back.

Speaking when he visited the ZCTU headquarters in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Shamenda said there is need to sit down with union officials who represented former Zamtel employees during the separation process and chart the way forward for the former employees.

The minister, however, said that not all retrenched workers will be reinstated because the action might disrupt the established structure at the telecommunications company.

Source: Zambia Daily Mail 

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