Showing posts with label African Union. Show all posts
Showing posts with label African Union. Show all posts

Sunday, 11 September 2016

African Youths Call For Non-Discrimination Of Homosexuals

The youths who attended the African Union Consultation
By Paul Shalala in Windhoek, Namibia

Youths from across Southern Africa have called for the respect of minorities in society such as homosexuals, saying they deserve respect because they are also human beings.

According to recommendations made at the just ended two day African Union Regional Youth Consultation on Human Rights with focus on Youths and Women, the youths called for the respect of all people’s rights irrespective of their economic status, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.

“As a group, we feel that society must recognise the existence of minorities such as homosexuals. We also need a common goal on how these people can be fully integrated into society,” said Roopanand Mahadew from Mauritius, who read the resolutions from the group on Inclusion, Diversity and Popular Participation which discussed various issues and made recommendations to the African Union.

Roopanand Mahadew speaking at the meeting
The group also recommended that there was need for massive advocacy on the issue of sexual minorities to avoid the continued stigma and hate against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community.

“We need advocacy and education for the judiciary. Imagine if we have an LGBT person taken to court and the magistrate has no idea of homosexuals. He or she can discriminate against the suspect and not give fair justice, he added”

The youths called on the civil society to champion a campaign to raise awareness of sexual minorities so that they can also enjoy their rights.

20 youths from all southern African countries met in Windhoek on Thursday and Friday to come up with recommendations for the African Union 10 Year Human Rights Strategy which would feed into the Agenda 2063, an ambitious road map to Africa’s development which the continental body is pushing.

In other groups, youths recommended that there was need for improved environmental governance in Africa to protect people from environmental disasters and effects of climate change.

The youths also recommended that AU member countries must promote the establishment of Youth Think Tanks to champion the interests of young people.
Some of the youths who attended the meeting 

They further said there was need for the African Union to establish a Youth Division at its Addis Ababa headquarters so that issues pertaining to young people are ably handled by a specialised office.

“There is need for affirmative action on gender equality. Member states should also harmonise the disparities between customary and statutory laws so that women can be protected,” said Nsovo Mayimele, a youth from South Africa who read the resolutions from the group which discussed Women’s Rights.

Under Project 2016, the African Union is holding four regional consultations for youths in Southern, Eastern, Western and Northern Africa before it can consolidate its 10 Year Human Rights Strategy.

According to the objectives set by the continental body, the consultations are expected to help in the establishing of learning platforms and networks as an ongoing knowledge sharing and peer mentoring platform for promoting human rights in Africa. 

Monday, 15 August 2016

President Lungu Wins Zambia's Tightly Contested Election

By Paul Shalala
President Edgar Lungu has been re-elected to a full five year term after beating his closest rival Hakainde Hichilema of the UPND by 100,530 votes.
This year’s presidential election was held under the majoritarian system which needed a winning presidential candidate to get above fifty percent of the votes.
According to Zambia's elections body, the incumbent won by 50.03% thereby avoiding a run off.
This electoral system was part of several reforms made to the electoral process following the enactment of the amended constitution in January this year.
President Lungu, who was first elected last year to complete his predecessor Michael Sata’s five year term, managed to beat off a strong challenge by Mr Hichilema who he also beat last year by 27,000 votes.
In this year’s final tally announced by Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Chairperson Esau Chulu this afternoon, the 60 year old head of state polled 1,860,877 while the 54 year old opposition leader got 1,760,347 votes.
Mr Lungu, who sold himself as a deliverer of development and a candidate who will promote unity and prosperity, took command of the vote from the early stages of the count and ended the the four day tallying process as the victor.
The Thursday poll was contested by nine candidates, seven of whom polled meagre votes which were even lower than the total number of rejected votes countrywide.
Thousands of Zambians in towns across the country have comes out on the streets to celebrate the victory.
Dressed in their green and white party regalia, the PF supporters walked to their respective towns' central business districts and danced to party songs.
Those riding in vehicles honked throughout as they played loud music through public address systems mounted on top of their vehicles.
In Lusaka, hundreds of supporters marched to State House where President Lungu addressed them.
The President-elect told them that he was surprised at what he termed as tribal voting in some parts of the country.
He added that ruling party members should forget about the differences they have with their opposition colleagues and work to unite the nation.
Meanwhile, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan has congratulated Zambians on the conduct of the just ended elections.
“I congratulate the citizens of Zambia for their impressive voter turnout on 11 August and for the peaceful and orderly election day, made possible by the diligent work of the election officials, party agents and monitors. In this tense and competitive climate it is essential that the security forces respect the constitution and remain impartial and professional in the discharge of their duties," said Mr Anan in a statement.
President Lungu addressing his supporters at State House
And in a joint press briefing held on Friday to issue their interim statements, international election observers described Thursday’s general elections as free and fair despite some cases of political violence recorded during the campaigns.
Some of the international observers who monitored the polls where SADC, African Union, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, the Commonwealth, the Carter Center and the European Union.
Yesterday, the opposition UPND briefly withdrew from the National Election Results Center in Lusaka and stopped verifying the election results citing lack of cooperation from the ECZ.

UPND lawyer and Monze Central MP-elect Jack Mwiimbu told the media that the party had presented several complaints to the elections body but none of them had been acted on.
But the party later rescinded its decision and attended the verification of the remaining results until today.
And in an interview with Muvi Television, Mr Hichilema has disclosed that the opposition party will challenge the election results in the recently operationalised Constitution Court.

PRESIDENT LUNGU'S PROFILE
Below is a profile of President Lungu written by Kasuba Mulenga and published by the Zambia Daily Mail on 29 January 2015:
His humble beginnings from House No. 4001 in Kitwe’s Chimwemwe township are perhaps what have shaped his belief that humility with firmness and decisiveness can take anyone anywhere. 

A stint as a trained military officer at what was then called Miltez in Kabwe has conceivably further molded his unpretentiousness up to the time of entering the political arena.

And it is possibly the rare mix of law and military discipline that nippily set the man in Edgar Chagwa Lungu on a political path that has now seen him elected Zambia’s sixth President in a poll contested by 10 other politicians.

According to ‘Meet Edgar C. Lungu’, a publication by Inzy Media, those who knew him in his university days as a tall easy going bloke say he was always out for action and innovation, including thinking outside the box.

This probably explains why the lawyer in Mr Lungu, while at Miltez, underwent grueling physical and mental training with such personalities as Zambia’s Deputy Ambassador to the United States Joe Chilaizya and other distinguished military officers who are now generals in the Zambia Army.

WHO IS EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU?
An officer, lawyer, gentleman and politician who was born on November 11, 1956 at Ndola Central Hospital on the Copperbelt, he is married to Esther with whom he has six children.
President Lungu at his inauguration in January 2015

Mr Lungu did his high school at Mukuba Secondary School before enrolling at the University of Zambia where he studied law and graduated as one of the best law students on October 17, 1981.

He went to the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) and in 1983 bagged his legal practicing certificate at the first crack.

It is worthwhile to state that Mr Lungu only completed his ZIALE course in 1983 because he had some work stints as a lawyer at the Ministry of Justice, Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) and Barclays Bank Zambia Limited, among others, before he eventually obtained a law practicing certificate.

Many lawyers have to sit for a law practice certificate examination a dozen times before they get the certificate because it is not a walk-over assessment.

Mr Lungu is an accomplished lawyer who worked for Andre Masiye and Company in Lusaka before he felt that the court room was not big enough to change people’s lives.

He briefly joined the United Party for National Development  and later bid farewell and went to the then little known PF. In 2001, he stood as Chawama member of Parliament but lost. 

He remained in the PF Central Committee and in 2011, contested the Chawama seat and won, this time around.

It is Mr Lungu whom late President Michael Sata in some recorded ‘Let the People Talk’ dialogues on Radio Phoenix was often quoted as saying, “thank you to one of my lawyers, Edgar Lungu, and all well-wishers…”

And maybe there is a natural dynamic that often links lawyers to politics that gelled Mr Lungu to the current career path just as studies in other parts of the world show regarding the relationship between lawyers and politicians.

Studies show that in many democracies like Zambia, it is often lawyers who inundate the political platform. 

This is largely due to the fact that the law deals with the same sort of interrogations and predicaments as politics constantly does.

Lawyers like Mr Lungu often have to deal with what makes a ‘just society’; the balance between liberty and security.

Another study linking lawyers like President Lungu to power says legal practitioners make natural leaders because of their “obsession process and a tendency to see things hugely in none partisan terms- ‘us or them’ and ‘guilty or not guilty’- but nonetheless always in the spirit of loyalty to a cause that is rare in other professions.

It is perhaps the lawyer in Mr Lungu that saw him stop a sizzling soccer political ordeal when the Football Association of Zambia chided the TP Mazembe trio of Rainford Kalaba, Nathan Sinkala and Stopila Sunzu last year an immigration row that seemingly went out of hand.

The players’ passports had apparently been withheld by the Immigration Department because they had left the country without immigration clearance.

But as Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Lungu ordered the release of the players’ travel documents.

“Just a couple of months ago, these boys united the country and put Zambia on the world map as a great footballing nation. Yet today, someone wants to treat them like criminals…I don’t think it’s right. Give them back their passports, these boys are heroes,” Mr Lungu directed.

As a man with a heart for the helpless, Mr Lungu assisted 30 families of the April 1993 Gabon air disaster victims to recover K16 million (then K16 billion) as compensation from government for the loss of their loved ones.
President Lungu inspecting a guard of honour

The case dragged in court for about 11 years until Mr Lungu and fellow lawyer Sakwiba Sikota used their own resources to represent the bereaved families so that they could be compensated.

One-time profiler of President Lungu, Mr Anthony Mukwita, the former Zambia Daily Mail managing director, described the Head of State as “a man of deep rooted intellect, justice and above all sense of loyalty to friends and family.”

He said Zambians backed the right candidate in the January 20 presidential election.

THE RISE OF MR LUNGU
It is common knowledge that Mr Lungu started off at the back of the line in September 2011 after President Sata made history by unseating a serving government.

Within a year under what some analysts have called the fastest rise in office, Mr Sata appointed Mr Lungu as minister of Home Affairs, at a seemingly crucial time when the PF was experiencing intra-party spats.

In less than a year, President Sata again made Mr Lungu minister of Defence, in charge of the armed forces, protecting the territorial sovereignty of the country.

Despite these tasks, Mr Lungu continued his daily routine of going home from the office and later retreating to his constituency, Chawama, where he did everything ranging from settling marital disputes to personal differences among constituents when he was not spearheading construction of road projects, health posts or police post.

One day, a few days before Christmas, a journalist called Mr Lungu and asked him to describe the year 2013 politically.

“A day in a politician’s life is too long…I cannot completely sum up 2013 today before the year ends because we don’t just know, as politicians, what happens the next day.”

When making this statement, Mr Lungu had no slightest idea that he would be minister of defence the following day.

“It is a remarkable honour for me. I feel humbled by the magnitude of the responsibility bestowed upon me to serve the people of Zambia…I am equal to the task,” he said in accepting President Sata’s appointment.

In what seemed the quest to test his leadership potentials, President Sata asked Mr Lungu to stand in for him while he would be away in China to meet that country’s new leader Xi Jinping, a feat that was made repeatedly in a clear show of confidence in Mr Lungu.

Later, Mr Lungu was given additional responsibilities when he became minister of Justice and PF secretary general on top of his defence ministerial position.

Perhaps, it was this weighty load of tasks piled on him which made the general PF membership, and particularly Members of the Central Committee, to believe he could be heir to President Sata when news of the demise of Mr Sata in a London hospital reached government on October 28, 2014.

As is normally the case in political circles, just like in homes, intra PF tiffs took centre stage in the run-up-to the election of the ruling party leader, and eventually candidate in the January 20 presidential poll.

But at the end of the day, the die was cast, and Mr Lungu contested the race for presidency of the country in which he emerged victor.
Late President Sata greets his would-be successor

“Fifty-eight years ago, I was born Edgar Chagwa Lungu at Ndola Central Hospital and grew up in Kitwe’s Chimwemwe township.

“As I stand before you today, as the sixth President of the Great Republic of Zambia, I am overwhelmed with gratitude, and I feel greatly humbled that you have decided to make me your servant – you are my masters, I am your servant,” Mr Lungu said in his inaugural speech amid deafening ovations by the people at the momentous ceremony held at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka last Sunday.

In an apparent show of commitment to delivering service to the people, Mr Lungu has already started working, and has so far appointed some members of his Cabinet and State House staff.

Perhaps what is most intriguing about the happenings since he assumed office is the selection of former minister of Gender and Child Development Inonge Wina as the first ever Zambia’s female Vice-President.

This action has earned President Lungu continued approbations from the breadth and length of the country. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Zambia Unveils Its 2016 Election Results Center

Entrance to the Election Results Center -Picture by Mwebantu
By Paul Shalala

With two days before Zambians vote in a general election and a referendum, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has unveiled the Election Results Center which will be based at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka.

The center, which is heavily guarded due to the usual tension that characterises polls, is accessible to all participating political parties, the media and election observers.

After the close of polling on Thursday evening, focus will shift from the polling stations to the Election Results Center where ECZ Chairperson Esau Chulu will be announcing periodic results as they trickle in from the 156 constituencies.

Justice Chulu is expected to be announcing results for the presidential and referendum.
This is because results for the Members of Parliament, Mayor, Council Chairmen and Councillors will be announced in the respective constituencies and districts.

Meanwhile, President Lungu has today met some of the international observers who are in the country to monitor the polls.

According to a statement issued by Presidential Press Aide Amos Chanda, President Lungu met former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan who is leading the African Union Observer Mission, former Mauritian President Cassam Uteem who is leading the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa and former Italian Minister of Integration Cecile Kyenge who is leading the European Union Observer Mission.

Mr Chanda has stated that the three, together with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Envoy on Political Dialogue Ibrahim Gambari met the head of state at State House this morning.

“His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan expressed full confidence that the elections which will be held this Thursday on 11th August, 2016 will be free and fair and that Zambia will maintain its highly reputable brand as a viable democracy. Mr. Jonathan urged all political parties taking part in the elections to accept the outcome,” said Mr Chanda.
An aerial view of the Election Results Center

“The Head of State also held an open and frank conversation with EU observers led by Hon. Kyenge. The President assured EU observers that the opposition were free to campaign anywhere they wanted, and that access to the media was a matter for independent media boards and editorial teams.”

Meanwhile, the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has urged Zambians to turn out enmass and vote for their preferred candidates on Thursday.  

In its pre-election statement, FODEP has urged all stakeholders to accept the results of the election and embrace peace after the results are announced.

The local organisation has deployed 5,090 monitors in 98 of the 156 constituencies to monitor the Thursday polls.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Ex-Tanzania President Kikwete To Lead Commonwealth Observers

Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete
By Paul Shalala
Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has been appointed by the Commonwealth to lead a 17-man team of election observers to Zambia for the country’s August 11 general elections and referendum.
In a press statement, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland hopes that Zambia will conduct an inclusive, peaceful and credible poll to demonstrate the country’s culture of democracy.
She has disclosed that an advance group of Commonwealth observers was deployed in the country on 22 July while the rest of the team is expected to arrive on 4 August. 
“In solidarity with the people of Zambia, the Commonwealth will be present to observe these polls and will continue to work with relevant Zambian institutions towards further strengthening the country’s democracy,” said Ms Scotland.

She added that holding peaceful and successful elections is a high responsibility for the people and institutions of all Commonwealth member states.
“All Zambians including the election management body, political parties and their leaders, the citizenry, civil society, security agencies, the media and voters have a duty and responsibility to ensure a peaceful process and a credible outcome.”

According to the statement, the Commonwealth Observer Group will consider the pre-election environment and election preparations.
On August 11, the team will observe the voting, vote-counting and the results procedure.
The Commonwealth joins other international observers like the African Union, SADC and the European Union who have already deployed their observers.
Zambia has seven million registered voters who will be electing a President, Members of Parliament, Mayors, Council Chairmen and Councillors.
Voters will also be casting ballots in a referendum to amend the Bill of Rights.

Friday, 6 February 2015

President Lungu Heads To Zimbabwe For Courtesy Call On Mugabe

By Paul Shalala in Johannesburg, South Africa
President Lungu and his Deputy Inonge Wina

President Edgar Lungu is this morning expected to leave for Zimbabwe to pay a courtesy call on that country's President Robert Mugabe.

According to a statement issued by President Lungu's Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, the Zambian leader is on a one day visit to meet Mr Mugabe who doubles as African Union and SADC Chairperson.

"President Lungu has delegated his authority to Her Honour Mrs. Inonge Wina, Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia to discharge functions of the office of President from 6th February 2015 till his return from Zimbabwe. The delegation of power is pursuant to Article 39 of the Constitution of Zambia," read the emailed statement.

President Lungu was until this morning on a working holiday in the tourist resort of Mfuwe and he is expected to continue with the holiday upon return from Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, the head of state has made the following appointments in the foreign service:

Mr. Humphrey Chibanda: Ambassador-Designate to France (Chief of State Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba: Ambassador-Designate to Malaysia (former Information Permanent Secretary) 

Dr. Solomon Jere: High Commissioner-Designate to Nigeria (former Deputy Inspector-General of Police)

Mrs. Brenda Muntemba-Sichilemba: High Commissioner-Designate to Kenya (former Commissioner of Police)

"The President has emphasised that he was in a hurry to reposition Zambia in international affairs and he therefore expects robust performance from all Zambian envoys serving abroad."

“I expect very high performance from all those serving in the Foreign Service and will not tolerate misconduct and laziness from anyone. We are in hurry to deliver,” read the statement in part.

Friday, 30 January 2015

President Lungu Delivers Maiden Speech At African Union Summit


President Lungu during his inauguration on Sunday
Zambia's President Edgar Lungu today delivered his maiden speech at the African Union Summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Below is the verbatim of his address:

 Your Excellency, Chairperson
In the interest of time, May I simply say “All Protocols Observed”

I wish, from the outset, Chairperson, to express through you, the deepest gratitude of the Zambian people for the overwhelming support that we received during the trying period following the death of our late dear President, His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata.

Mr Chairperson,
You, our fraternal African Brothers and Sisters further supported us during the transition period as the democratic credentials and governance institutions were put to test. I am pleased to inform this august House that the just ended presidential by-election in my country, in what was a hotly contested race, has once again demonstrated the collective resolve of the Zambian people to ensure that Democracy and Good Governance are firmly entrenched in our governance system.

In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity, Mr. Chairperson, to thank SADC, COMESA and indeed the African Union for sending Election Monitoring and Observation Missions to Zambia. The elections were declared as transparent, peaceful, free, fair and credible. Zambia continues, therefore, to be privileged to have demonstrated that it is possible to have peaceful changes of Government, even for that matter, from one political party to another.

Mr Chairperson,
Allow me, at this juncture, to reaffirm Zambia’s commitment to the ideals of the African Union and also my Government’s readiness to continue to be fully engaged in the activities of our continental body. I wish to further state that Zambia will seek to enhance her presence at the continental level and beyond, by making her voice heard and actively participating in the programmes of the Union.
On the subject of Agenda 2063, Mr Chairperson, my Government firmly believes that this is an important blueprint for the future of our continent and should be fully supported, as a vehicle for Africa’s development. We need to ensure that the spirit and resolve contained in this carefully crafted document is fully incorporated into the Post 2015 Development Agenda process and other global developmental efforts.
It is in the same vein that as a continent, Africa should prioritise her strategic economic partnerships in order to ensure that they speak to the African Agenda and that our interests are safeguarded.

Mr Chairperson,
My Government also intends to be more actively engaged in peace-building and conflict-resolution initiatives on the continent, and particularly within SADC and the Great Lakes region.
Furthermore, the Ebola virus has clearly demonstrated the need for our close collaboration in addressing such emerging threats to our social and economic security. While the pandemic may now be showing signs of decline, the continent should continue to remain alert and my Government will render support to the various commendable efforts already being made.
I also wish to express Zambia’s concern with the increasing occurrences of ruthless attacks and violent tendencies of terrorist groups as well as the militarisation of extreme faith-based organisations, which is manifesting itself on the continent of Africa. This matter requires our urgent and concerted efforts.

Mr Chairperson,
Regarding the reform of the United Nations, I wish to reassure this Assembly that Zambia will, through her membership of the Committee of Ten, continue to play her part in ensuring that the process is accelerated. To this effect, I wish to inform this august house that Zambia will be hosting the next meeting of the C10.

Mr Chairperson,
In ending my remarks, it would be remiss of me if I did not mention that my government wholly welcomes our theme for 2015. As measure of our long-standing commitment to the importance of women to development and their role in leadership, I wish to confirm to this august House that, in accordance with the Beijing Platform, immediately following my assumption of office, I appointed a female Vice-President, Her Honour Mrs. Inonge Mutukwa Wina, M.P., the first in the history of my country!
Lastly I wish to reassure you, my Colleagues that Zambia can be counted on to support the activities and programmes of our continental body in fulfilment of Agenda 2063.

May God Truly Bless Africa.
Shukran!   
Merci Beaucoup!                  
Muito Obrigado!          
I Thank You!     

Thursday, 22 January 2015

International Observers Describe Zambia's Presidential Poll Credible

By Paul Shalala
Kgalema Motlanthe

International election observers that have monitored Zambia's presidential election on Tuesday have described the poll as credible.

The 23-member African Union Election Observation Mission says the pre and post election period has been largely peaceful and meeting international election standards.

Former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, who is leading the mission, says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) presided over a well organised poll.

"The African union Election Observer Mission commends election officials for their attention to detail during the counting process," said Mr Motlanthe.

The mission further recommends that Zambia allows independent presidential candidates, allow majoritarian electoral system and extending the period for swearing in the new president to allow electoral disputes to be sorted out.

Mr Motlanthe also called on the ECZ to implement the continuous voter education.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) says the polls were largely peaceful despite reports of violence among political parties.

Former Mauritius President Cassam Uteem, who is head of the EISA Elections Observer Mission to Zambia, says the people of Zambia freely voted and exercised their democratic right on polling day.

He however recommended that Zambia legislates the introduction of the joint election of the President and Vice-President as running mates, introduce the election of the President by absolute majority and expand the period between the announcement of results and the presidential inauguration.

Mr Uteem further recommended that there be separation between the functions of the Returning Officer of the presidential election from those of the Chief Justice to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Sofonea Shale

And the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Non-Governmental Organisations Observer Mission has also declared the 20th January presidential election as free and fair.

Head of the SADC NGO Observers Sofonea Shale says the election was credible.

“We have experienced voter apathy due to the movement of people from one place to another.  We do not expect the number of people who have voted to be more than 40 percent,” Mr Shale said.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Ex-Mauritius President Uteem Leads EISA Poll Observers To Zambia

By Paul Shalala
Former Mauritius President Cassam Uteem


The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) has deployed a 14 member  election observation mission to monitor Zambia's presidential election scheduled for 20 January 2015.

Former Mauritius President Cassam Uteem will lead the mission which is the forth the pan-African organisation has deployed in Zambia since 2006.

"EISA notes that the by-elections take place in line with the provisions of article 38 of the Zambian Constitution, which grants Zambians the rights to choose another president after the sudden death of President Michael Sata on 28 October 2014. The Institute views the by-election as another crucial step in the democratic consolidation process in Zambia," reads a statement from EISA.

The mission is composed of 14 short term observers drawn from civil society organisations and electoral commissions across the African continent.

The EISA observers will be deployed to five of Zambia’s ten provinces to consult with electoral stakeholders and observe the final phases of the pre-election period.

According to a statement from EISA, the observers will be equipped with computer tablets for the collection and transmission of their findings in real time.

The Mission’s activities will be guided by principles and standards set out in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; the African Union Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa; the Declaration of Principles on International Election Observation and the Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation (PEMMO) as well as the Zambian legal framework governing the elections.

EISA becomes the third international organisation to deploy election monitors in Zambia after SADC and COMESA deployed their respective election teams earlier this week.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Agriculture Liberates Thousands From Poverty, Claims Zambian Government Official

  By Paul Shalala in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Agriculture Deputy Minister Greyford Monde (below) says thousands of women and youths have been liberated from poverty through government's deliberate policy of encouraging people to venture into agriculture.
Mr Monde says through the Farmer Input Support Programme -FISP and the Citizen's Economic Empowerment Commission -CEEC Funds, government has deliberately helped women and youths to be empowered and thereby helping them move out of poverty.

He adds that women and youths are an integral part of government's development agenda and the thousands who have been liberated from poverty have been economically empowered to be self reliant.

The Itezhi-Tezhi Member of Parliament said this when he appeared on a panel discussion at the on-going Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture which is taking place at the African Union Headquarters.

Mr Monde says the Zambian government has also come up with a deliberate policy that encourages college graduates to venture into agriculture at a tender age.

He says entering agriculture when one has retired from employment is not productive as one's energy would have already been lost.

The two day Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture which opened this morning, has attracted ministers from all African countries.

Mr MONDE is representing the Zambia government together with Local Government Deputy Minister Nicholas Mwale.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Spending On Agriculture up 7% After CAADP Launch

By Paul Shalala in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The African Union has disclosed that public spending on agriculture in Africa has risen by over 7% following intensive efforts by the continental body to boost the agricultural sector through initiatives like the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, says the increase in spending is commendable but much more must be done on the continent.

She adds that for transformative growth to be realised through the agriculture sector, the marginalised, vulnerable, women and young people must be taken care of so that no one is left out.

Ms Tumusiime says AU-member states must ensure they tackle all challenges in order for transformative growth to take place on the continent.

She says 2014 being the year for Agriculture and Food Security, more needs to be done to ensure that this sector which employs over 75% of Africa's workers improves livelihoods and transforms lives.

Ms Tumusiime said this during the official opening of the three day senior officials meeting on agriculture, rural development, fisheries and aquaculture at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this morning.

Meanwhile, the meeting has attracted experts, government officials and organisations from across the African continent who are expected to come up with a policy framework and recommendations ahead of the Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture which will take place from first to second May this year.

Senior officials and experts from Zambia's Ministry of Agriculture are also attending the senior officials meeting.

Zambia's Agriculture Deputy Minister Greyford Monde is expected in Addis Ababa on Wednesday to represent Zambia at the joint ministerial conference.

Mr Monde, together with other Ministers of Agriculture from across the continent, are expected to adopt recommendations from the senior officials meeting that are expected to boost agriculture on the continent.

The African Union has declared 2014 as the year for Agriculture and Food Security and several activities have been lined up to press member states to prioritise agriculture.

The theme for the year of agriculture is Transforming Africa's agriculture for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods through harnessing opportunities for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

This year, the continental body is also taking stock of CAADP which was launched in 2003.

40 countries have so far embraced CAADP and signed the compact.

In June this year, the African Union heads of state summit is expected to adopt targets that are aimed at accelerating agriculture on the continent.