Headlines 28 March 2012

ZR Comment:  It has now been six days since President Sata flew to India, and still hasn’t addressed the nation.  It is difficult to view the most recent move by the Western Province to endorse secession as related to the president’s ongoing absence, especially the failure of the PF government to uphold its promise to restore the Barotseland Agreement.  One thing is for certain:  when President Sata returns from his vacation-medical-business trip, there is a lot of work to do.

Western Province seperates from Zambia

All the seven districts in Western province have endorsed a breakaway of the region from Zambia.  The districts have submitted their resolutions to the Barotse National Council demanding that Western Province breaks away citing alleged abrogation of the Barotse Agreement of 1964.

The districts that have submitted their resolutions are Mongu, Senanga Sesheke, Kaoma, Kalabo, Lukulu and Shangombo.  The resolutions were presented at the on going Barotse National Council at st Lawrence parish limulunga royal village in Mongu.  Delegates from Sesheke have called for the UN’s intervention in their quest for Barotseland independence.  They have also called for the committee running the affairs of the region before first post independence polls are held.

Source: ZNBC 

Is Zambia Experiencing its Own Yar’Adua Moment?

When power was handed over to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria in 2010, President Umaru Yar’Adua had been silently receiving medical treatment abroad without speaking to the nation for a full three months.  In Zambia, it has only been six days, and while both supporters and opponents pray for President Sata’s safe return, a number of questions have been raised over the level of government secrecy over the trip to India.

Why wasn’t the President’s trip announced till an online publication broke the story? If the visit was a private one, why was Sata accorded a state visit by Indian authorities? Have Indian newspapers been making false reports? If Sata was on holiday or on a private visit, why is he conducting official business on behalf of government by engaging with Indian investors? If indeed he’s on a “continued investment crusade” as suggested by his spokesperson, why did he leave out his commerce minister and other government officials on this trip but instead opted to travel only with his wife and spokesperson? And when is he coming back anyway?

To many Zambians, the health of their President is of concern and if the truth can be told, speculation will end forthwith.

Source: Nigeria Intel

MMD still optimistic over convention

The opposition Movement for Multi-Party Democracry (MMD) has refuted media claims that it intends to do away with the party convention, but instead elect the its leader using the National Executive Committee (NEC). Reacting to the report, MMD Deputy National Secretary Chembe Nyangu dismissed the assertions as pure lies.

Mr Nyangu stated that the party’s NEC has not considered such a route to elect the party’s next president other than the convention.

Earlier reports by QFM suggested that the MMD was said to have abandoned plans for a convention to elect the party’s new leader opting instead to use the National Executive Committee to elect the party President to replace former president Rupiah Banda.

Source: Lusaka Times 

Anti graft body obtains list of corrupt government officials

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) says it is in possession of names of senior officials from the previous government alleged to have taken bribes from the Alstom Company of France over a ZESCO contract.

ACC Director General Rosewin Wandi has however declined to name the officials stating that investigations on the matter are ongoing.

The World Bank has slapped a hefty 9.5 million dollars fine on Alstom Corporation, a major French engineering company and blacklisted two of its subsidiaries, Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz AG (Switzerland), after it admitted to bribing a Senior Zambian

Source: Qfm Radio

Sata pushes on India investment crusade

This is according to a press release made available to the media by Special Assistant to the President George Chellah.

The President said it was the intention of his administration to ensure that Zambia benefited from the US$50 Million Line of Credit for the construction of about 650 rural health posts throughout the country.

President Sata was speaking when he met Lucky Exports Director Mr. Diwakar Mishra and his Deputy General Manager (Business Development) Mr. T.P Singh in Ahmedabad, Gujarat West India, during his continued economic investment promotion crusade.

Source: Lusakatimes

Police seize William Banda’s vehicle

POLICE in Lusaka have seized a motor vehicle belonging to embattled Lusaka Province MMD chairman William Banda which was hidden at his accomplice’s house in Thorn Park.

But Banda has distanced himself from the vehicle which is in police custody.

Sources within the police disclosed that Banda, who is in court facing four counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to members of the public in Chongwe district prior to the general elections, reported the case to police after his confederate refused to give it back to him.

“On Sunday, William Banda went to report a case involving a Toyota Cresta registration number ABX 1408. He told police that he gave the car to his friend, a Mr Eddie Phiri, to keep shortly after the MMD lost the 2011 elections,” sources said.

Source: The Post

Zambia copper investment tops US$5b

Investment in copper mining in Zambia has generated US$5 billion in the past decade, according to the general manager of the country’s Chamber of Mines, Frederick Bantubonse.  This has resulted in gross domestic product (GDP) growth of more than six percent.

“Zambia’s mining industry has recorded significant investments since 2000 due to a steady flow of new investments in the sector and some of the new FDI [foreign direct investment] was in the setting up of new copper processing plants and expansion projects,” Bantubonse said at a recent World bank training programme on “Governance of the Extractive Industries in Zambia”.

Source: The Sourthern Times

Civil society resilient over re-introduction of windfall tax

CIVIL society organisations have vowed to continue pushing for the reintroduction of 25 per cent windfall tax on base metals even if it means being called lunatics.

And the Council of Churches in Zambia has condemned finance minister Alexander Chikwanda for calling those advocating the reintroduction of windfall tax on base metals as lunatics.

Last week, Chikwanda described as lunatics those calling for the 25 per cent windfall tax on base metals.

“We shall never be tired to call on the government to introduce windfall tax,” said Platform for Social Protection Zambia (PSPZ) research and advocacy officer, Phyllis Chikula during a press briefing on Saturday.

Source The Post 

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