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Saturday, 21 October 2017

ActiomAid steps up Governance awareness …….’Don‘t wait until when elections are due’

File photo|: Ziba launched the AGA initiative
Oct. 22 (Zambia Informer) ----- The African Governance Architecture (AGA),  a three-year programme and a brainchild of ActionAid,  intended to bolster good governance with full participation of the citizenry, especially among the youths, has taken off in earnest in Zambia with political parties meeting to redefine their roles.

The one week meeting which attracted almost all the country’s political landscape that met in Lusaka during a tax and decentralization training workshop which also embraced presentations on Decentralisation as well as Government Resource Planning Systems (GRPS) learnt that some political groups do not exist in tandem with the people they seek to govern because of artificial or governance induced barriers.

Dubbed: “Tax and Decentralization” Training Workshop the indaba adduced information that some of the existing political groups have not absorbed their involvement with the electorate while others needed more  information on how they could seek recognition with the people they seek to give them mandate to rule as Governments in waiting.

A presentation by ActionAid Governance Officer, Geoffrey Sizala on Decentralisation in Zambia and how the Government seeks to ‘devolve power’ to the people and allow them to determine their course of destiny with the leadership merely superintending, it was learnt there were information lapses on the need for co-existence between the governments in waiting and the people they seek to govern.

Many opposition parties, either exist in isolation awaiting the campaign period ahead of the scheduled elections while others are yet to understand the essence of decentralization in a democratic system and what the benefits of both the would be rulers and the governed are.

While amended constitution of 2016 places greater emphasis for Zambia to decentralize its operations, placing various structures and responsibilities of the local people to enable them play an active role in the running of the country as enshrined under Article 147/48, it emerged that there is urgent need to orient  most political parties so that they continuously co-exist with the people before, during and after elections during which time a bond is created.

“You the governments inn waiting, should not wait to be reminded what is the constitution, you need to be well versed with the law so that you take the front role in educating the people in your own communities,” Sizala said.

“You needed to be with the very people in their hard times so that they recognize your presence and you also must appreciate some of the challenges they go through and that makes it easier for you to understand each other, let’s not meet the people only during the time of campaigning,”

Sizala called for increased inclusion of various political players in the democratization of political groups, especially championing the 50-50 gender parity noting that Zambia, like many African countries has imbalances in leadership representations at decision making levels yet both sexes are capable of performing well, but one is marginalized for various reasons.

“Political parties need to be inclusive in decision making especially the 50-50 gender parity so that you embrace every member and never leave anyone behind if we are to ensure there is effective administration of our people in our political parties.”

During deliberations, it was learnt that many of the political parties’ lack of proper organization and co-ordination stems from lack of creativity in matters that affect their communities including failure to participate and understand the desires of the people either at Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Ward Development Committees (WDCs) and District Development Committees (DDCC), which are all people centered and meant to better the lives of those government or would be governed.

“We are the vision carriers….we are the leaders and all our success in political parties will be determined by the amount of information we share with the people so that they understand what they want from us and what we need from them should they vote us into power.” Sizala added.

However, various political party representatives noted that although the decentralisation policy may have come into place, there had been a lot of secrecy in the manner those in power carry out their work.

Often times, the opposition players are either sidelined or are not informed of what is happening in various communities, as a yardstick for the rulers to win political mileage.

The political parties pledged to continue playing an active role in various governance related matters as well as fully grasp the constitution and all its contents as preparedness to take over government.

They realized, according to some of the resolutions that often times, the opposition are shunning at election time because the electorate often mingle and mix with those in leadership with an exclusion of opposition leaders.

Other participants supported the development where councils should be independent of political party inclination and instead be free from political affiliation to allow them embrace all the people in the communities they serve.

On 6 Oct. ActionAid launched a three year 2017-2021 blueprint which seeks to redress some of the governance shortcomings with recognition for active participation in governance by the youths.


ActionAid,  the global civil rights and poverty eradication campaigner under the programme seeks to impart wider awareness on civic matters and enhance participation in the governance of the country especially among the youths.



Launching the  European Union funded AGA project, minister of Justice Given Lubinda commended ActionAid for seeking to entrench people’s participation in the governance of the country.



And Action Aid Zambia Country Director, Naluca  Nganga Ziba said the launch is aimed at mobilising civil society support for the implementation of  the African Governance Architecture (AGA),  a mechanism for enhancing dialogue between stakeholders that are mandated to promote good governance and democracy in Africa.

The project has been embraced in seven countries including Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania, in which ActionAid operates, is a yardstick for entrenching the desires and aspirations international bodies including the African Union shared values.

The AGA is structured around a normative framework that is set up by the AU shared values. To this effect, it is based on objectives and principles that have been defined in various AU shared values that member states have signed and ratified such as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).

It is Action Aid’s fervent hope that Zambia indeed other governments that have signed treaties of such nature-bordering on good governance as espoused under the AGA principles will seek to domesticate the charter for it to attain its relevance.

“√ĄctionAid Zambia is of the view that Its time Zambia completely domesticated this charter to ensure constructive promotion of good governance and democracy” she stated.



Refugee update: DR Congo asylum seekers hit 5,267......……..As President Lungu lobbies for humanitarian assistance

File Photo: DR Congo refugees receiving their ration at Kenani camp.UNHCR
Oct. 22 (Zambia Informer) -------The heightening turmoil in Democratic Republic of Congo has poured out a staggering 5,627 asylum seekers into Zambia as President Edgar Lungu reiterates calls  a helping hand to the international community for refugee assistance.

Meanwhile plans are underway by President Lungu to undertake an on the spot check of  DR Congo nationals camped at Kenani transit camp in Nchelenge in North Eastern Zambia as the warring parties continue with their civil strife that has ravaged Africa’s fifth largest state since independence from Belgium in 1960.

And Zambia says it has heightened surveillance and screening of refugees entering Zambia in recent months to ascertain and isolate dissidents and afflicted with various ailments including tuberculosis, Ebola and cholera which has claimed over 560 people in DR Congo with 1.5 million displaced.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugess (UNHCR) says a staggering 5,627 had entered Zambia since last month and had been relocated to the transit camp in Nchelenge, with 60 percent being children, many of those unaccompanied as the number threatens to rise close to 10,000 if no solution in the turmoil buffeting DR Congo is resolved.
“So far our records show that we have received about 5, 627 refugees from DR Congo, with 60 percent of these being children, some of them unaccompanied,” Kelvin Shimo, the agency spokesperson said by phone from Nchelenge.
“We still have a number of challenges including amenities because the numbers continue increasing every time……we are receiving average 50-150 refugees per day.”
And Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya told local media that concerns have been raised over the increased inflow of refugees into the country, hence Zambia’s stance to activate surveillance to ascertain the people entering the country in search of sanctuary.
Dr. Chilufya is concerned and notes that some arrivals had been detected with various ailments including TB, while reiterating the country’s concerns of some people entering the country with cases of Ebola and cholera that have ravaged that country in recent months especially in Goma.
President Lungu has repeatedly voiced his concern over the plight of the refugees trekking into Zambia in search of sanctuary. During the United Nations assembly, President Lungu appealed for international assistance to meet the needs of the refugees, victims of the ongoing civil strife in that country, a matter he has reiterated should be redressed soon.
Plans are underway by President Lungu to undertake an on the spot check later this week on the asylum seekers and understand the gravity of their plight. He was speaking in the aftermath of the just ended Great Lakes summit in Congo Brazzaville at which he was among  eight Heads of State who among other issues, discussed peace and security in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC.
Zambia is obliged to host refugees as part of the obligation under the United Nations Convention on Refugees of  1970.
According to foreign affairs minister, Harry Kalaba, it is imperative that President Lungu learns about the intricacies of the instability and electoral challenges in the DRC because of the high number of refugees crossing into Zambia.
Zambia cannot ignore the instability in that country as it was part of the region. Zambia is concerned that the instability in the Great Lakes is impacting negatively on Zambia.
Eyebrows, have, however, been raised with the increasing number of refugees at the camp with some players praying that some of the refugees be relocated from Kenani Transit Centre to Meheba camp in North-Western Zambia, near the border with Angola for fear that the overcrowding could breed outbreaks of contagious diseases given the few amenities, including water, health related and shelter.

Luapula Permanent Secretary Buleti Nsemukila noted that the increasing numbers were of great concern as regards public health hence the need for various players to join hands and assist the displaced DR Congo nationals.

According to data, Nchelenge and Chienge districts are vulnerable to outbreaks of diseases like cholera, especially now that the rainy season is about to start. Additionally,  Nchelenge is densely populated,  and if there is an outbreak of any disease,  it may greatly affect the community.

There is also a risk that the hospitality the asylum seekers have been enjoying may wane and gradually turn hostile. It is feared, the local people may start regarding their brothers and sisters from the neighbouring country as people who are just taking up their precious space.

Meheba camp in North- Western Province is well positioned to handle all complications which may not be easily handled at the transit centre in Nchelenge. It is envisioned that the international community will soon heed President Lungu’s call for help.

 It is hoped  that the international community is not fatigued with helping asylum seekers from DR Congo where political instability is still rife. Beyond helping the refugees to move from Chienge and Nchelenge, they may also need support as they settle at Meheba.

The UN refugee agency envisions that the intervention of the international community,  could help resolve conflicts and help restore peace in the 40 million populated DR  Congo as it will permanently solve the situation affecting that country’s citizens who are seeking asylum in neighboring countries, Burundi, Uganda, among others.



Friday, 20 October 2017

Apologies once again (Pictures for illustration)!

Dear Esteemed readers, we apologise once again for want of good graphic pictures on our editorials. 
We are working round the clock to rectify the problem.
Sincerely Yours.


ditor

Thursday, 19 October 2017

News Just In! ------Congo Brazzaville Great Lakes Region Summit, any hope for restoration of peace in DR Congo?

·         Amnesty International looks to the prompt and ultimate resolution of the some of the conflicts afflicting Africa, chiefly that in the DR Congo which has displaced over 5,000 people into Zambia because of the turmoil.
·         Though not putting all hopes in the ultimate resolution of the DR Congo conflict, the human rights campaigner, Amnesty International hopes SADC will put its foot down and stop the atrocities and human right abuses in the Central African State, while  branding the summit, a  “mere sham” which might not convince President Jopseph Kabila to step aside and “giove peace a chance” in the 40-million-diamond, copper and other mineral rich country riddled by civil strife since attaining independence from colonial masters, Belgium in 1960.
LOOK OUT FOR THE STORY

Editor

‘We are Sorry--Loss of Picture graphics’

We deeply regret to inform our esteemed readers that we are experiencing an intermittent disruption of pictures on our editorial content for reasons beyond our control.

We might not be precise, but one of the reasons for this interruption could be because of our quest to redesign the blog into a fully fledged website, that will arouse the eyes of the discerning readers that have supported us all these years-starting 2014 when we launched this “unbiased”  news forum.

Our prayer is that you as our esteemed readers, who have helped us clock 150,000 page views will understand our plea over the lack of pictorial illustrations you are used to alongside the stories we carry.

Management is relentlessly working around the clock 24/7 to correct the anomaly in due course and without further delay.  We value your support and we shall never temper with this unwavering support you, our esteemed readers have continued to render.

The Zambia Informer, will remain diligent, as your favorite watchdog, fourth estate and continue to bring your reliable and non biased news that seeks and will always champion democracy,  with no inclination to please any masters other than “yourselves”.

‘We are who we are because of what you make us to be who we are’

Quote from Athol Fugad-Author of the famous and much performed play: “The Exodus”

Editor/Publisher

TopStar targets 2 mln subscribers next year ……..'As digital migration leader in Zambia launches new ‘Double Dedede’ Combo decoder'

Oct. 19 (Zambia Informer)-----TopStar Communications  Company Ltd., a  joint venture between Zambia and China and leader in digital migration in the Southern African state, has continued maximizing on its market niche, with  focus  to expand to 2 million television subscribers by next year end.

 

TopStar Communications,  Ltd., has continued breaking into the Zambian market, focusing to provide a variety of decoders - direct to home (DTH) or digital terrestrial transmission (DTT).


Market expansion projections show, the company seeks to hit in excess of 1.250 million by March and further increase the market base rate to 2 million by 2018 year end, as demand  for its product in various parts of the countryside, remains unmatched.

 

Presently commanding demand in excess of 600,000 decoders availed to discerning consumers countrywide, the company   has remained on its marketing marathon of its brands in its quest to allow more Zambian viewers to access TopStar bouquets.

The launch of the (DTH) combo decoder, dubbed: “Double Dedede”, usable with a satellite dish receiver and also able to connect to an antennae remains part of the marketing strategy embarked upon by the digital signal television provider, having flooded the local market, almost all part of the countryside and  allow new and existing viewers to choose either direct to home (DTH) or digital terrestrial transmission (DTT).

The 2-in-1 combo decoder is a game changing product from StarTimes and it was deliberately designed with latest global technology to allow subscribers access digital television and entertainment, regardless of their location.

Cliff Sichone, one of Zambia’s renowned marketers (gurus) and Director Sales at TopStar  Communication Company in Lusaka during the launch of the additional product, Thursday, Oct. 19 quipped:


“TopStar is making sure the best of Zambian TV at the most affordable price will be available to all viewers regardless of their location.

“TopStar is introducing a game changing innovation with the Combo Decoder. The introduction of the combo decoder means that you can now choose to access TopStar channels from either satellite service or using the antennae.”

The new Combo decoder, however, is not only satellite channels but also the TopStar bouquet: “it is beyond Mbwee and now Double Dedede!” However, while the earlier decoder had been slashed to an affordable K99 (US$10.4), the new satellite service product is bigger and better-boasting of over 120 channels with the Full Kit priced at K299 (US$31.4).

Specifications show that the new decoder, dubbed the first of its kind in Africa, is equipped with world’s latest decoder technology to combine features of both digital terrestrial television (DTT) and digital satellite direct to home (DTH) digital television technologies on a single device.

It has three bouquets: NOVA, SMART and SUPER as well as a Chinese and Indian bouquet.
Monthly subscription for Nova is K49, Smart K99 (US$10.4) and Super at K199 (US$21), while the Indian bouquet is priced at K79 (US$8.3).

Subscription to the Super bouquet will also be getting access to the DTT channels absolutely Free. The DTT channels currently have over 17 Zambian TV channels that include ZNBC TV1, TV2, TV3, Parlaiment TV, ABN, BMTV, Camnet TV, CBC, City TV, Diamond TV, Fresh TV, Hope Channel, Life TV, Prime TV, Q TV, TBN and Revelation TV.

TopStar has been selling DTT decoders at a price of K99 but currently DTT signal is available in Chililabombwe, Chingola, Mufulira, Luanshya, Kalulushi, Ndola, Kitwe, Kapiri Mposhi, Mkushi, Kabwe, Lusaka, Kafue, Mumbwa, Mazabuka, Monze, Pemba, Kalomo and Siankobo.

The combo decoder will allow viewers who are not currently covered by DTT signal to access the TopStar platform. The DTH kit must be installed by qualified technicians at an additional cost and TopStar outlets will begin to sell this product in the coming week.

The satellite TV service introduces new channels to the Zambian audience such as World Football in HD, MSNBC, Bloomberg Television, Bollywood Africa, Kiss TV, ST Soul and several East African channels such as NTV, KTN News, Citizen TV, UBC and TBC.

DTH subscribers will be happy to note that IROKO @ and Zee Cinema is available on the SUPER bouquet. These channels come from the StarTimes African bouquet and will open up the Zambian audience to its neighbours.

The Combo Decoder subscribers will enjoy the combined strength of both DTT and DTH. DTT is not affected by weather interference while DTH allows more channels to be carried and is accessible anywhere where there is electricity available.

The satellite service means that viewers can enjoy more news, documentary, religious, Nollywood, Bollywood, Novela, News and Music channels TopStar looks forward to bringing the best of digital TV to its viewers, Sichone added.

Background:

TopStar as the public signal distributor has been actively connecting Zambian districts to digital terrestrial transmission and 51 out of 73 planned transmitter sites across the country have been completed and are operational.

Recently Katete, Lundazi, Chama, Nyimba, Chadiza, Mambwe, Mfuwe, Sinda, Petauke, and Luangwa were connected to TopStar DTT signal. However, the provincial capitals of Choma, Livingstone, Mongu, Solwezi, Kasama and Chipata are still awaiting DTT signal.

The introduction of the DTH Combo Decoder will allow viewers to also benefit from digital migration that has seen more Zambian TV stations being carried. In 2006, over 156 members of ITU in Geneva signed a binding treaty on digital broadcasting migration.

Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation partnered with Africa’s leading digital TV technology provider Startimes Group in 2016 and created the joint venture that has been assigned by the Zambian government as authorized body to help realize the digitalization of Zambia.

TopStar will now play this major role as the authorized public signal distributor in Zambia to ensure that digital television signal is distributed across the entire country using the highest quality technology of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) as well as Direct to Home (DTH), according to information availed on the company’s website.


Cholera hits over 100 Zambians …….As Lusaka Municipality bans open vending of ‘ready to eat’ foodstuffs

Oct. 19 (Zambia Informer) ------ A staggering 111 people, chiefly in the capital, Lusaka, are suffering from Cholera,  with reports of one death,  as health and municipality authorities call for a ban on the sale of 'ready to eat foodstuffs' with further calls for high levels of hygienic practices among households to avert the spread.

Earlier reports show that the number of affected people in Lusaka and surrounding areas had reached 69, but subsequent information available from the Ministry of Health show that the number has risen to 111, from 48 reported last week.
According to ministry of health permanent secretary,  Dr Kennedy Malama, who is also spokesperson for the health authority in a statement added that that as of 06:00 hrs today (Thursday), the number had skyrocketed to 111.
According to reports,  11 patients are under treatment at Kanyama Level one hospital, located in one of the sprawling and densely populated residential areas of Lusaka while one is being treated at Matero, North of Lusaka as the authorities intensify the chlorination of drinking water and disinfecting all drinking vessels and sources.

“We have heightened provision of liquid chlorine, health promotion and working with stakeholders in improving access to clean and safe drinking water,” added Malama.
And Lusaka Municipality, concerned with the escalating number of cholera cases has imposed a ban on the sale of ready to eat footstuffs by vendors and slapped on ban with immediate effect, a decision that has been met with mixed reactions by vendors.
A spokeswoman for the Lusaka City Council states that the decision has been communicated to street vendors and through their representatives who attended the Cholera sensitization meeting held at Nakatindi Hall in Lusaka last week over the matter.
The meeting, convened by council was aimed at engaging and sensitising vendors on the outbreak of Cholera in some townships of Lusaka and the measures taken stakeholders to prevent it from spreading to other areas.
Among the measures to fight the spread include the ban the sale of ready to eat food stuffs on the streets of Lusaka, although the municipality through the health department needs to step up awareness among vendors, many that argue is the source of livelihood.
The ban, coming into effect immediately remains in force until health authorities declare Lusaka Cholera free. Vendors are therefore advised to comply with the ban as it is aimed at saving people’s lives.
During the ban vendors have been advised to find alternative businesses for then to continue for their families Cholera cases have been recorded unusually early in some parts of Lusaka with one death recorded so far.
The Cholera outbreak can be controlled with cooperation from all stakeholders including vendors and now is the best time to take action before the rains intensify.
The council is also appealing to all Lusaka residents and all those visiting Lusaka to observe basic hygiene practices such as keeping environments clean, washing hands with soap and clean water after using the toilet, boiling and chlorinating water for drinking among others.
Lusaka, is renowned for indiscriminate disposal of waste in most residential areas which has been one of the main causes of the Cholera outbreaks  which is  apart from water pollution. Residents have been advised to keep their surroundings clean to prevent water borne diseases including Cholera.

The municipality plans to soon undertake regular door to door sensitisation on wellness and cleanness. The outbreak of cholera in Lusaka and surrounding areas is the second since 2016 when it affected the capital.
Recently, health minister Dr.  Chitalu  Chilufya placed all 10 provinces on alert against the disease following the cholera outbreak in Lusaka. Chilufya added that the ministry of health is on track in containing further outbreak of the disease in Lusaka.

Health workers are working tirelessly, distributing chlorine and disinfecting toilets in the affected areas. Cholera first broke out in Lusaka on 6 October, mainly affecting Mazyopa, Kabanana, Chipata and SOS village in Lusaka.
Lusaka Central Business District is one of the areas which the Council is targeting because of people that sale various foods including the staple food, Nshima at various stalls. Several selected townships revealed that food vending has continued despite the suspension, a survey shows.

A combined team of council health officials,  police and Ministry of Health have since swung into action swung to ensure adherence to those who seek to defy the  directive.

In 2016, according to data, 230 business premises were inspected and 96 were closed in the anti-cholera surveillance campaign. Schools had accounted for 21 while the rest are food outlets. The authority had targeting food stuffs that tested positive for vibrio cholera content.