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Monday, 11 December 2017

News just in!

·      *   Zambia steps up border surveillance with DR Congo as civil strife escalates.

Details coming

Friday, 8 December 2017

Zambia: ‘dead stuck on top global copper producers’ ……though multinationals remain optimistic despite cascading landscape, inconsistent policies

Steven Dean is the KCM management team leader in Zambia
Dec. 8 (Zambia Informer) -----Zambia, Africa’s second producer of the red metal, maybe stuck on seventh among continent’s top producers in the last three years, amid uncertainties on policies and security of tenure on investment, but, multinationals in the local industry are optimistic of a bright future and are willing to re-capitalise projects, it has been learnt.

Zambia, is lying seventh on the top-10 globally reputed copper producers, a slot lower than its northern neighbor, Democratic Republic of Congo, inspite of the turmoil buffeting the 40 million populated state, which has “vomited” over 50,000 nationals (refugees), seeking asylum, since it has embroiled or recurring in civil strife in the aftermath of independence from Belgium in 1960.

According to data, DR Congo 'sits pretty' on 910,000 tons mined last year from the 1.02 million  mined a year earlier on account of Glencore’s  partial suspension of production at its Katanga operation.

The country’s chamber of industry remains optimistic and forecasts to mine over 1.5 million tons  of  the metal in 2018, spurred by the reopening of Katanga project  in the second half of the year.

Zambia, once a power house on the continent and one time rated fourth leading global producer of the country’s most precious natural resources is lying low at seventh place, having mined a paltry 740,000 tons.

Much touted Chile remains top of things and last year mined 5.5 million tons despite various calamities including earth quakes, heavy rains and strikes last production year.

However, Zambia’s production was bolstered from a “grave” ninth to seventh place in 2016 after recording an increase in copper production of roughly 28,000 MT relative to 2015, from First Quantum Minerals-run operations in north western Zambia.

The Toronto listed miner had  announced plans to modernize and invest over $1 billion in a new smelter copper smelter and copper mine in the country earlier. The miner, through its Kansanshi operations has recently seen a 15-percent cut to its power supply as First Quantum and other miners like Glencore were embroiled into a dispute with the Zambian government over recent price hikes for power.

This was coupled with the ban of trucks between the hours 9.p.m and 5.a.m, including those carrying copper or mining relates products on fears of increasing the road carnage by the Zambian authorities.
This ultimately cost among other mining houses, First Quantum-a staggering US$4 million daily for lack of haulage of copper related products to smelters and other operational destinations.

This, will however,  not be reimbursed by the Government, despite the misjudgment and a cost incurred in the past four months on a fledgling economy after lifting the ban which was sought and imposed unilaterally under Statutory Instrument 76 of 2016 and only lifted a few days ago.

Mopani Copper Mines, a unit of Swiss-based and global leading commodity trader and owners-Glencore International AG and Vedanta Resources, the London Listed miner, with operations dotted in various parts of the globe have to date invested over US$600 million in their projects dotted on the copper mining region of Zambia, over 400 kilometers north of the capital, Lusaka.

Mopani, data shows has invested over US$4 billion in Zambia with over US$325 million in refurbishing shafts and other operations in Mufulira and Nkana-a measure of elongating the mines’ lifeline to over 30 years, copper being a wasting asset.

However, Vedanta Resources-the miner owned by Indian-born businessman, Anil Agrawal  and operating in Zambia as Konkola Copper Mines has risen to the occasion and seeks to set up additional operations-a new copper smelter, cobalt refinery and other infrastructure under a $1 billion investment it put aside since last year, a senior mining official is cited as saying.

In March  this year, Vedanta, the parent company  stated its pledge to rake in a staggering $1 billion into Zambia following a meeting between its chairperson Argawal and Zambia’s leader, Edgar Lungu.

Plans are underway by Zambia’s leading miner to construct the new copper producing and processing facilities  at Nchanga and Konkola in addition to a training academy  to assist in de-watering the Konkola mine.

The miner, one of the wettest in the world, draws out over 500 cubic litres of water underground daily-making it one of the major operational costs. But the miner says it remains undaunted.

"We are firmly behind KCM’s medium-term target of raising total annual finished copper production to 400,000 tons per annum," Chief Executive Kuldip Kaura is cited as saying according to a statement issued by the company.

KCM had earlier forecast its  investment would create 7,000 jobs, which has now jumped to almost double-estimated at 12,000 jobs.

KCM envisages a prolonged lifespan and stay in Zambia and sees production being sustained for another 50 years with full copper output.

According to data, KCM, Zambia’s leader in copper and cobalt production with over US$1 billion investment in its deep shaft, had  produced 180,000 tons of finished copper in the financial year ended March 31. This is higher than 182,000 tons it mined the previous year, its recent report adds.

ActionAID ‘detests GBV’ ….Seeks Gender mainstreaming, provision of responsive public services be accorded centre stage

Either you love your partner or you don't.....GBV is a threat to human life
Dec. 7 (Zambia Informer)------“You should respect someone you love and you can only batter someone who you detest despite being life partners or merely co-habituating,  because in whatever form,  she or he remains your partner irrespective of time frame,”

These are the summed up views of Renowned Nigerian playwright, poet, theater critique, academician and scholar, Bode Sowande, the author of a widely or globally reputed book: “A Sanctus for women”

Like Sowande, many schools of thought have questioned the logic behind wife or husband battering, commonly referred to as Gender Based Violence, which is seemingly and undauntedly, becoming a norm among various coupled in Zambia, Africa and the rest of the globe.

Synopsis of the global data on GBV shows among other facts that:  on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States and other developed countries.

During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men, one in three women and one in four  men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

Other findings state; one in every four and one in every seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, one in every seven women and one in every 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.

Incidentally, intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime, women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner with 19 percent of domestic violence involves a weapon.

There are however, consequential developments with domestic victimization being correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.

It remains a known fact, among other findings that a paltry 34 percent of the people who are injured by intimate partners, not only in Zambia but globally, receive medical care for their injuries, for fear of losing marriages-mostly womenfolk.

Victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8.0 million days of paid work each year while the cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $8.3 billion per year. It is estimated that  between 21-60 percent  of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.

According to data, 142 women were murdered in their workplace by their abuser with 78 percent of women being killed in the workplace in recent years. 

Apparently, women abused by their intimate partners are more vulnerable to contracting HIV or other STI’s due to forced intercourse or prolonged exposure to stress while studies suggest that there is a relationship between intimate partner violence and depression and suicidal behavior, according to available data.

However, ActionAid,  a leading global Human and Civil Rights Campaigner,  a non-profit making organization, with a primary aim of working  against inequality, poverty and injustice worldwide, believes the problem of GBV should not be allowed to permeate society and form part of the norms.

The  charity, established in 1972, a brainchild of United Kingdom-businessman,  Cecil Jackson-Cole- as a child sponsorship organization, seeking to endeavor  to  help communities (originally called Action in Distress), with work biased towards education,  health, sanitation and agricultural projects to improve living conditions for children and their families,  among others, argues to the contrary.

It instead calls for stringent measures including all governments worldwide,   Zambia included,  to do more  and will assist curb GBV,  sooner than later because of its side effects on humanity especially the women, who are usually victims.

ActionAid Zambia, in its solidarity message towards the commemoration of the global: “16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence” underway in various parts of the world and in the countryside by various players, under the theme: “Leaving No one Behind, end Gender Based Violence Now”,  urges the local leadership to devise provisions of gender responsive public services which should be allowed to take centre stage at all levels of implementation.

“In doing so, there is need to ensure that public services are adequately funded, universal accessible and gender responsive, including services that prevent and respond to violence against women, such as rape, crisis centres, shelters, legal aid, day care, education, health, public transport, housing and street lighting” Kenneth Lumaya, the Acting Country Director for Zambia says.

It further urges Zambia’s leadership to implement progressive taxation policies to assist finance public services and remove all tax, labour and environmental incentives for corporations that weaken its ability to respect protect and fulfil women’s rights, including their rights to live free of violence.

Government, through its line ministry-Justice acknowledges some of the shortcomings in stifling GBV and according to acting permanent secretary, Doreen Chilobya calls for the full participation of both men and women in curbing the vice while every citizen should chow concern over the escalating bad practice that has been perpetuated not only in Zambia but beyond.

“Acts of Gender Based Violence whether in a home or community instill fear and insecurity in persons, especially women and children,” Chilobya said in Lusaka on December 7 during a public discussion with the local community in Matero township, one of the densely populated settlements in the Zambian capital.

While the vice affects victims in various aspects, Zambia is not sitting with arms folded. It is formulating or has formulated laws that seek to put a stop to the increase in GBV including enacting the Anti-GBV Act of 2011, Establishing and operationalisation of the Victim Support Unit and strengthening Gender Institutional mechanism through creation of district and provincial gender focal persons.

Additionally, Zambia has devised a deliberate policy to allow girls or teen mothers, falling victim to pregnancy or otherwise to be allowed to re-enter institutions of learning while there are provisions for social safety nets through the ministry of community development and social services.

However, some schools of thought  believe prevention is the best remedy to GBV to  ending  violence against women and girls or indeed preventing  it from happening in the first place through addressing its root and structural causes.

Prevention should start early in life, by educating and working with young boys and girls promoting respectful relationships and gender equality. Zambia is implementing Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) for both in and out – of school adolescents and youth.

“This is a great opportunity to build the foundation for positive values among our children. However, no matter what we say, our children will notice and emulate what we do – these norms and values must begin at home.” A recent research by experts in Zambia shows.

Working with men and boys helps accelerate progress in preventing and ending violence against women and girls. They can begin to challenge the deeply-rooted inequalities and social norms that perpetuate men’s control and power over women and reinforce tolerance for violence against women and girls.

Awareness-raising and community mobilisation and dialogue including through media and social media, is another important component of an effective prevention strategy.

 Communication and conflict resolution – Let us empower girls and women, educate our girls and boys on communication, conflict resolution and tolerance for diversity, to stand up for social justice. Let us help families, and strengthen communities to communicate openly.

And  Faith-Based Organisations including Churches, should take an active role as they have a paramount responsibility in the prevention of all forms of violence, the research adds.

Women deserve to live in peace and dignity ……..’Cases of sexual and other forms of violence have continued to rise’

Husband beating his wife as neighbours enjoy the ordeal.pix:i.ytimg.com
By Mary Otieno and Felix Victor Phiri


IN ZAMBIA, the problem of violence not only against women and children, but men and boys, is worrisome and no longer an isolated problem, but a widespread, harrowing, tragic and daily affair that can no longer be ignored as it touches and impacts every Zambian in one way or the other.

One only has to pick a daily newspaper to witness the violence that is occurring in our homes, schools and communities.

Evidence indicates that women and girls are at greater risk and are generally less able to avoid or escape abuse. 

However, boys and men may also face sexual assault and other forms of violence as we have seen in the recent newspaper reports in Zambia. Forty-three percent of women aged 15-49 have experienced physical violence, while 17 percent in the same age group have experienced sexual violence (ZDHS 2013/14).

It is often believed that the incidence of violence is higher among the poor, those residing in rural areas, less educated and unemployed. But the DHS survey found no significant difference among these variables with regard to women’s experience of both domestic and sexual violence.

Policy environment, magnitude and type of sexual and gender-based violence
The enactment of many laws and policies seeking to enhance enjoyment of rights by women such as the Penal Code Amendment Act of 2005, Anti-GBV Act, No.1 of 2011, Gender Equity and Equality Act No. 22 of 2015, 2014 Gender Policy, and stiffer penalties for perpetrators of sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) has contributed to a stronger legal and policy framework.

However, the efficacy of these laws and policies is yet to be felt by most women. Consequently, cases of sexual and other forms of violence have continued to rise.

Despite the stiff penalties, incidents of defilement are still alarmingly high, with national data from Zambia Police Service totaling 2,363 by the end of 2016. For example, even though defilement carries a mandatory sentence of 15 years, if the offender is found guilty, it is still one of the most common types of violence.

Indications are that this year the number of reported cases of defilement is likely to be higher than the figure of 2,363 that was recorded in 2016. During the same year, the Police Service recorded over 18,000 cases of GBV, compared to over 14,000 in 2013.

The average age of defiled victims is between 11 and 15 years, but there have been reports of children still in their infancy being defiled, in most cases by their close relatives.

This clearly shows that GBV cases are increasing with the majority of victims being women and children. Now, whether or not the increase could be attributed to heightened awareness, and hence increased reporting, you will agree that these numbers are significant and only the tip of the ice berg, given the fact that many GBV cases go unreported.

Our grandmothers have not been spared either. When they should be living in peace after contributing so much to society, they have become victims of violence. Worse still, a new trend of violence has emerged known as grannicides, where the elderly on suspicion of practising witchcraft are killed.

The Times of Zambia dated August 21, 2017, reported several killings of elderly people suspected of witchcraft in Muchinga Province. Grandmothers are neither spared from rape by young men who could be their grandchildren. To put it plainly, this is unacceptable.

The question is, what will be the tipping point before we can all say enough is enough? Evidence shows that gender-based violence undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence.

Victims of violence can suffer negative sexual and reproductive health consequences, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, obstetric fistula, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and in worst cases even death.

Impact of sexual and other forms of violence on development
There is a direct link between violence and sustainable development. Violence against women prevents an economy from attaining its full potential. This results in lower economic growth and a reduced standard of living. Violence, therefore, has a significant negative influence on gross national product well-being.

Studies of the prevalence of violence against women worldwide indicate that violence is costly.
Costs can be found in the following major categories: Justice, health, social services, education, business costs, personal or household costs and intangibles. Every recognisable effect of violence has a cost, whether it is direct or indirect (Tanis Day, PhD; Katherine McKenna, PhD; Audra Bowls).

An example of a direct cost is money spent on a taxi fare to a hospital and salaries for staff in a one-stop centre and shelter. An example of an indirect tangible cost is lower earnings and profits resulting from reduced productivity.

There are also direct costs that cannot be quantified monetarily, for example, pain and suffering, and the emotional loss of a loved one through a violent death. Finally, there are also indirect intangible costs such as the negative psychological effects on children who witness violence which cannot be estimated numerically. 

These costs can be borne by individuals, including victims, perpetrators, or other individuals affected by violence; businesses; governments at all levels; and by society in general.

A Paradox: Violence and peace co-existence?
How can a country be perceived as peaceful and yet experience extreme violence among its people? This is indeed a paradox that needs to be investigated. Zambia is known as a haven and oasis of peace that is unrivalled by many neighbouring countries and indeed the world over. The violence?

As citizens, we make it a point of pride to be able to say that our nation is and will remain an oasis of peace in the region. And as citizens, we can’t afford to be complacent about the well-being and rights of our most vulnerable population – women and children.

We need to stand up and do what we can – EVERYTHING we can – to reverse this alarming trend. Nationally, there’s a consensus that Zambia can and must reverse this epidemic of violence within a generation, and in our respective institutions and capacities, we should be at least that ambitious.

And we already have the knowledge, the tools and the capacity to do it. While we can’t turn the tide on this epidemic overnight, we do know what works – violence is not an incurable disease.

What are some of the solutions?
Primary prevention of violence has received much less attention overall than the health and justice sector interventions. Despite the devastating effect violence has on women, children, families and society at large, efforts have mainly focused on responses and services for survivors.

1. Prevention – The best way to end violence against women and girls is to prevent it from happening in the first place by addressing its root and structural causes.

Experts agree that prevention should start early in life, by educating and working with young boys and girls promoting respectful relationships and gender equality. Zambia is implementing Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) for both in and out – of school adolescents and youth.

This is a great opportunity to build the foundation for positive values among our children. However, no matter what we say, our children will notice and emulate what we do – these norms and values must begin at home.

2. Working with men and boys helps accelerate progress in preventing and ending violence against women and girls. They can begin to challenge the deeply-rooted inequalities and social norms that perpetuate men’s control and power over women and reinforce tolerance for violence against women and girls.

3. Awareness-raising and community mobilisation and dialogue including through media and social media, is another important component of an effective prevention strategy.

4. Communication and conflict resolution – Let us empower girls and women, educate our girls and boys on communication, conflict resolution and tolerance for diversity, to stand up for social justice. Let us help families, and strengthen communities to communicate openly.

5. Role of faith-based organisations – Churches have a paramount responsibility in the prevention of all forms of violence.

“Correct reading of Scripture leads people to an understanding of the equal dignity of men and women, and to relationships based on mutuality and love,ʺ whereas misinterpretations of Scripture and church teachings ʺcan contribute to the victims’ self-blame and suffering, and to the abuser’s rationalisations.ʺ

For instance, silence from the pulpit on the topic of domestic abuse can indeed become a roadblock for victims and lend support to their victimisation. (Catholic News Service * Viewpoints * March 2006).

Our church leaders must speak up against these atrocities on our children, daughters, nieces, sisters, aunties, mothers and grandmothers.

These issues overlap and intersect. We cannot do one without the other. In our gender-based violence programmes, or in our school and out-of-school programmes, in our church and community programmes, in our workplaces, we must be on a mission to eliminate violence.

We don’t mean to suggest that these goals are the easiest in the world to achieve, and there are barriers, within families, schools, communities and government, to achieving these goals. It’s going to take a concerted, committed, nation and community-wide effort for us to safeguard peace in our nation. And the investment won’t be insignificant.

But we tend to believe – and we are sure you’ll agree – that no investment in ending this epidemic can ever be too much. Source: Zambia Daily Mail

Dr Mary Otieno is the UNFPA Zambia country representative while Dr Felix Victor Phiri is permanent secretary in the Ministry of Gender.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The breakdown in talks between the Zambian government and IMF ….. Let us not give up. The IMF program is good for Zambia

Kanyama-----The IMF programme is good for Zambia. pix: googleplus

By Chibamba Kanyama

I have received many enquiries from colleagues about what I make of the ‘breakdown’ in talks between the Government and the International Monetary Fund. My views are as follows:

Both parties, the Zambian Government and the IMF want the Program. On the part of the IMF, lending for balance of payments support is one of its three co-mandates.

When Zambia requested for a program this year, the IMF expectedly went into motion, preparing ground for lending to one of its member states; in part to support economic stability and second, to contain spill-over effects.

As things stand, Zambia is at high risk of debt distress and all efforts must be made to bring the risks down, moderate as the target. IMF responds professionally and aggressively to requests for lending for a three-year package that attracts the barest of interest rates (presumed to be below 1 percent).
On the part of Government, the economic fundamentals have been very weak since 2015 and if not fully arrested, the country can slide back to what we just experienced despite a rebound in copper prices, an end to power outages (certainly at huge cost) and an end to election-induced spending.

Both the Minister of Finance Felix Mutati and Bank of Zambia Governor Denny Kalyalya are aware of the potential risks and the best response is to build economic buffers the IMF route. Creditors to Zambia, particularly sovereign bondholders, are fully aware of this risk and that is the reason the ongoing talks are international news.

Any indication of breakdown in talks has an immediate impact on the exchange rate. Just recently, the government securities were under subscribed hence (in part) the scarcity in dollar supply.
2. The real problem leading to what we may term ‘breakdown in talks’ is Zambia’s true debt position. IMF has in the past three years (learning from Mozambique and, in part Greece) placed substantial weight on Debt Sustainability Assessment (known as DSA).

I have privately shared with government officials in the past one year to take time to understand how the IMF operates because any mishap in negotiations will trigger reputational problems. IMF is a ‘data’ organisation.

You can lobby, talk and persuade it on a position using qualitative information. They will just look at you. Dealing with IMF requires authentic quantitative information. It appears the data government has provided the IMF is not speaking to the data IMF has about Zambia’s debt profile. IMF wants government to come clean on this issue.

Let me use an analogy to drive the point home (this analogy is grossly misstated but helpful for purposes of this communication): You are planning to marry a king’s daughter;  all  is going well in terms of wedding preparations except for the setting of the date for exchanging rings and vows.

Suddenly, information emerges that the ‘groom’ is seeing someone else, who is already pregnant.
The king’s daughter will not call off the wedding but may ask you to come clean before you proceed with the marriage! Were there loans contracted in 2017 while program negotiations were in place? This appears to be the case.

3. Way forward: Government has done a lot so far to ensure the program succeeds. The level of commitment on the part of the Minister of Finance and his team cannot be under- estimated. Sufficient ground has been made for an IMF program such as subsidy reforms and many more reforms associated with debt contraction underway.

President Edgar Lungu has personally made announcements in support of an IMF program, an assurance that sits well with IMF. However, a few things ought to be done:

a.       Dedicate a fully commitment team of technocrats to skim through the mountains of data and provide that which sits well with IMF expectations. Having chatted with the IMF Zambia team on several occasions over lunch when I served at the Fund, I would urge Mutati to rehire the former permanent secretary Felix Nkulukusa to support the current Permanent Secretary Mukuli Chikuba. 

Nkulukusa is highly respected in the IMF ranks and can fully support the Zambian team as a consultant for speedy and authentic execution of the project. The duo, plus other negotiation team members, cannot fail to deliver.

c. There must be a definite buy-in by the Cabinet. I have raised concerns before that Cabinet does not appear to be in full agreement on an IMF program and that’s why it seems, in the eyes of the investors, the program is pushed by only two people, Mutati and Kalyalya.

d. Communication around the programme should be in simple clear language for all stakeholders. However, given the presumed stalemate, I propose the IMF engagement be withdrawn from the public eye. It is either you disclose the whole truth or you say nothing at all. The latter is the best option as things stand.

e. Let us not give up. The IMF program is good for Zambia. There are no more conditionalities to come following what Government has already done. The benefits will be fiscal discipline, beefing up of reserves, unlocking of budget support from concessional lenders and the closing of the Chapter so that energies of technocrats are redirected elsewhere.

About the Author:
He is a renowned economist, consultant and author of several publications on economic and financial matters in the Sub Saharan Africa and beyond.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Refugees Update: Zambia hits 22,000 asylum seekers ………’As donor fatigue lingers’

The problem of refugees at Kenani camp is frightening as seen here.UNHCR
Dec. 1 (Zambia Informer) -----The plight of refugees in Zambia and its northern Neighbor has heightened with funding from the traditional donors has remained at its lowest ebb-signaling donor fatigue.

A recent donor meeting in Europe appealed to Africa to re-look at their rule of law and desist from fanning conflict that culminates into displacement of people across borders with the meeting hinting the members had more pressing humanitarian demands that funding the plight of refugees, displaced by egoist leadership yearning for prolonged stay in power.

The case in point is that of Democratic Republic of Congo in which incumbent, President Joseph Kabila has remained adamant to vacant office despite the expiry of his two-five-year-terms that ended in December 2016.

South Sudan, the oil-rich and strife torn northern state has remained under siege with stakeholders clamoring or jostling for power, natural and mineral wealth, resulting in the displacement of over 5 million people and over 10 million deaths.

The continued turmoil in DR Congo, in which minerals are seemingly the bone of contention among players including some uncouth ‘super powers’ seeking to fan war has resulted in the increased refugee population across the width and breadth of Africa.

This unabated civil strife among warring parties, whose intents and purposes are to continue with civil unrest among the citizenry has forced Zambia to absorb its share of 12,000 asylum seekers that are entering the country in search of solace amid a crisis of various humanitarian needs at the country’s Kenani  transit camp in Nchelenge in North Eastern Zambia-lying 90 kilometres from the DR Congo border.

This has inadvertently resulted in DR Congo refugees alone totaling 33,000 in Zambia including those that arrived earlier and have opted to remain in the country brandishing the United Nations High Commission for Refugees Convention of 1970 which compelled countries under the signatory to host internally and those displaced from various homesteads in neighbouring countries.

“The number of refugees fleeing militia violence in south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and arriving in Zambia has crossed the 12,000 mark – with more than 8,400 arrivals in the last three months.” UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch, UNHCR country said in a statement, Dec. 1.

Apparently, this has increased the number of minors and women seeking sanctuary in Zambia to some 80 per cent, all driven out by the extreme brutality of rampaging militias.

This comes amid alarming reports of civilians being killed, women being raped, private property looted and houses torched. Most of the refugees are coming from the Haut-Katanga and Tanganyika Provinces of the (DRC).

Despite Kenani camp-the 56-hectare land being filled to brim spurred by the recurring civil strife in DR Congo more continue crossing into Zambia and are housed at the already densely populated camp as gun fire continues echoing in various parts of the DR Congo which has seen no peace since attaining independence from Belgium in 1960.

With Zambia continuing to enjoy peace and compelled by the UNCHR convention on refugee asylum, more people are also entering in other northern and north-western provinces of Zambia.

It is feared, refugees say, more people could be forced to leave the troubled DRC for Zambia, as fighting is intensifying, which has seen about 4.1 million people remain displaced inside that country amid fears of continued outbreaks of various diseases including Ebola, malaria and cholera.

Apparently, despite Zambia lacking resources to meet the needs of the asylum seekers at Kenani Transit Centre, currently hosts over  8,000 refugees-leaving it filled to maximum capacity there is increasing air of donor fatigue to extend resources to meet the desires of the asylum seekers.

Though Zambia, through the local leadership in Luapula, under the leadership of Paramount Chief Mwata Kazembe have made more land available in Nchelenge and Kawamba for permanent settlement of old and new asylum seekers, little or no response has been made towards President Edgar Lungu’s clarion call for help.

“I am appealing to all donors, international community and humanitarian actors to do more and take action to prevent the situation in Nchelenge District turning into a humanitarian crisis” said the President Lungu on 31 Oct when he visited the camp, then with a population of 6,009.

“The needs of refugees and host communities are many. UNHCR and other partners can only continue to provide assistance with the support of the international community”.

The UN Refugee Agency, and its partners are in dire need of resources to develop the new site and for refugees to receive life-saving assistance including food, shelter, water and sanitation and access to health services, though a budget to “warrant a floating basket” among the donor community has not been drawn up pending needs assessments to be undertaken, a timeframe which remains unknown, according to Commissioner for Refugees, Abdon Mawere.

According to UNHCR, the agency is depleted with resources to meet the urgent needs of asylum seekers. Humanitarian activities in the DRC and Zambia are hugely underfunded.  

Of the US$ 236.2 million required to meet the needs of refugees, internally displaced and others in the DRC, only $54.6 million has been received so far. In Zambia, only $13.6 million has been received. In both cases, this is less than a quarter of what is needed, Baloch adds.

 Zambia currently hosts over 65,000 refugees including some 33,000 from the DRC, according to data.

Friday, 1 December 2017

News Just in!----IMF update....

·        IMF says Zambia’s US$1.3 billion deal falls through.

Story coming soon.