Showing posts with label Brian Hapunda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brian Hapunda. Show all posts

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Young Farmers Series: Brian Hapunda Shares His Secrets

Brian Hapunda checking one of the harvested tomatoes
By Paul Shalala

In the first of a number of articles showcasing young, educated and successful Zambian youths who have ventured into farming, i profile Brian Hapunda, a young politician who has made it big in farming.

Brian is a lawyer by profession, a former students union leader at the University of Zambia and is currently a member of the ruling Patriotic Front's Media and Publicity Committee.

He previously served as PF Political Secretary for Southern Province during the late President Michael Sata's three year presidency and PF Media Director in 2015.

In this article, he puts aside politics and talks farming.

Farming as a Hobby

Brian says as he was growing up, he always wanted to venture into farming and he always told himself that one day he will  be a big farmer.

To realise that dream, four years ago, Brian embarked on his dream by utilising some traditional farm land, growing cash crops such as tomatoes and maize alongside goats.

"I always had the passion of growing food firstly to feed myself and later others and am happy through God and consistency coupled with an ever supporting wife who has become my farming partner, we are now living our dream. What seemed to be an impossible journey four to five years ago has now turned into a success farming story that I and my wife have taken seriously as an income venture for the family," he says.

He says through the farming business, he has created jobs, mostly for youths who work at the farm.

Below is a verbatim of Brian's story as posted on his Facebook page:

Brian with his wife Mwela in the field
Challenges in Farming for us

Like every business venture, we faced some challenges in our farming challenges and at some point I thought of giving up. I remember one of my Farming mentors and friend Dr Tamara Kaunda on a tour of our Farm said, "Patience & Consistency is what defines a farmer" as she encouraged me to continue growing our farming Business.

Farming too needs some stable capital injection on top of Land acquisition which in my view is the biggest challenge. We had to begin our activities on Traditional Farm land. We had no big monies but through prioritising & personal sacrifices, we were able to get started with our Tomato Farming.

Tomato Farming is a serious Cash crop venture but it is labour intensive aswel requires modern effective Irrigation System. All these entail saving resources and channeling it towards this goal. This was not easy and we achieved it over a very long period of time!

Time

Farming requires Time and Patience. There is no "Remote Control" Farming. If one takes up serious Farming as an income Venture then you can not afford to be doing Remote Control Farming. You just have to create time for Farm work and fund yourself at the Farm/Fields doing Farm work.

Being a busy person myself as a Community Worker  (Politician) I had to balance up my time with Farming especially in the initial stages of our Farming actives.

Spending time at the Farm working with my Farm Labourers and monitoring works there helped me build a strong working relationship with my Team and also learn practicle Farming skills from them.

My spending time at the Farm also helped reduce Pilferage (stealing) by some untrustworthy Workers.

Brian interacting with one of his farm workers
Through my consistency time spending at the Farm,  I can now firmly we have set up "Systems" there to enhance our Farming activities/Works which is very vital in any business venture.

Stigma and Discouragements

I remember telling some friends of mine my intention  to take up Farming as a fulltime active and what their responses were. I must say out of 10, 2 would encourage me positively to persue Farming as an Income venture whilst majority of them would simply tell me off that, "why would I want to take up Farming as though i was an Old Man?"

Others would tell me that "Brian why would you want to put your Education to waste after having been to School?"

Worst still, I would get this stigma when I walk into a Social meeting with my friends & they would say, "there goes the Farmer" in a teasing way ofcourse!  Most of my friends/People were used to me as a  Communinity Worker (Politician if you like) and not as a Farmer!

The Stigma and Discouragements I got from certain People then almost made me give up my Farming  Dream and question myself if I was doing the right thing but I would tell myself again that I am going to do this not to please People but to discover my other Talent in Life that I can leave on.

I am glad that through Perseverance and Commitment, I have Discovered my other Talent in my Life which is Farming.

Government's Pronouncements to Diversify the Economy to Agriculture Anchored from Mining Anchored Economy

Planting tomato
I am pleased that the Government has come up with a Policy to begin to shift our Copper (Mining) based Economy to Agriculture based Economy as a way of growing the Economy bigger. This Pronouncement & Policy comes with quite alot of Positive favouritism to the Farming Community such as Subsidised Farming Inputs etc which Farmers can take advantage of.

However, through my Farming experience the Government needs to come up with a deliberate support mechanism to support Young People in Zambia wishing to venture into Farming and take up Farming as an Income Generating activity for themselves.

65% of Zambia's adult Population is made up of Young People below the age of 35 years. This means that Young People are Productive base of our Nation & if most Young People are encouraged to venture into Farming, it will make Zambia Food Secure & yet another Food Basket for our Region.

The Government must also ensure that Local Farmers are protected against foreign Farming outputs such as fresh vegetables, Fruits, Tomatoes, Potatoes etc for this kills Local Small Scale Cash Crop Farmers who have to compete with Multi International Farmers!

Young People wishing to go into Farming must be assisted to Acquire affordable Farming Land as land is a serious Capital in Agriculture Business.

It's high time that we also have a "Government Farmers Bank" whose role will be to help Identify Farming Talent, Finance Farmers and help them Grow as is the Case in Botswana, Senegal etc.

Words of Encouragement to fellow Young People

Fellow Young People as you turn into the new year 2018, focus on discovering your purpose on Earth, focus on discovering your Productive Talent on Earth and use it to create a Job and an Income for yourself!

Checking one of his tomato fields
You must aim to create multiple income sources for yourself. You must aim to become Financially Independent in 2018!

You must aim to network with People whom you can learn one or two Positives from!

Lastly, no matter how many times you have fallen down to the Ground in your Life you must not stop moving.  Simply get up clean/dust yourself & keep on moving for Patience & Consistency defines a VICTOR!

I am a Living Testimony of how many Times i have fallen to the Ground or made to fall to the Ground & i stood up to continue walking

Merry Christmas & a Prosperous New Year to you all

Saturday, 18 April 2015

How ICTs Help Promote Transparency During Elections In Zambia

TIZ's PVT results for presidential elections
By Paul Shalala in Masaiti

In a democracy like Zambia's, transparency is a critical component to good governance.

In the political arena, campaigns and elections are supposed to be held in the most transparent manner if democracy is to be deemed mature.

But stories of vote buying, rigging, voter intimidation and several other electoral malpractices are common in most African countries.

In Zambia, most times when opposition political parties lose elections (including by-elections), stories of vote rigging are common.

But new technologies may soon prove to be a solution to the issue of transparency and good governance in Africa.

Since 2011, all elections in Zambia have come under scrutiny by the citizens through the use of Information Communications Technologies (ICTs).

With the latest figures showing that there are about 9 million Zambians who have registered their sim cards with the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), the use of these phones to get election updates has increased over the years.

According to ZICTA, 3 million of the 9 million phone owners have access to the internet and most Zambians use them for Facebook and Twitter.

PF's PVT results for Chawama
Through such ICT platforms like the Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT) which the then opposition Patriotic Front (PF) used to monitor and ascertain the results of the 2011 General Elections, the use of ICTs has become an indispensable tool in elections in Zambia.

On September 11, 2014 the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) piloted the electronic transmission of results for the Kasenengwa parliamentary by-election in the Eastern province.

Using mobile phones and computers to collect and transmit results, the ECZ was able to announce final results within 12  hours of the last ballot having been cast.

This use of ICTs to collect election results made the declaration of the winner faster as opposed to the manual system were the ECZ relied on the Zambia Airforce to transport ballot boxes from remote areas to the collation center on Chipata which would have taken more time.

During the 20 January, 2015 presidential election, the civil society also used ICTs to monitor and update the nation on the election results.

For example, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) gathered election results per constituency and posted results on its Facebook page from time to time as seen in the screen shot above.

Millions of Zambia who are on Facebook, stayed glued online to get updates from TIZ, political parties, individuals and other civil society organisations who were posting results from their PVT centers.

And last week during the parliamentary by-elections in Chawama, Masaiti and Senga Hill, various political parties used mobile phones to gather election results from their dozens of polling agents who were spread across the polling stations in the three constituencies.

As can be seen in the screen shots from PF's Miles Sampa (above) and UPND's Honourable Cheche Kalala (right),  political parties compiled their respective election results before the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) announced its official results.

Cheche Kalala of UPND posting PVT results
These were authentic election results pasted outside polling stations after being officially announced by electoral officers at each polling station and sent back to each political party's PVT center in Lusaka by polling agents through Short Message Service (SMS).

Using this PVT system has proved to be so effective and political parties in Zambia even know before the ECZ announces its results as to who has won elections and with how many votes.

These ICT tools have also helped increase the confidence citizens have in the management of elections in the country.

With the citizens participating in verifying these election results using mobile phones and the internet, cases of rigging are now being done away with as voters can now compare results announced at each polling station and the official figures announced by ECZ at the collation centers.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Politicians Reflect On Zambia's Post-Independence Era

By Paul Shalala
The Golden Jubilee logo


As Zambia celebrates its golden jubilee, it can not be denied that politics has been an integral part of its last 50 years.

To gain independence from the British, Zambian freedom fighters grouped together into political entities to free themselves from colonial dominance.

In the first 8 years of the country's independence, multi-party politics flourished but in 1972, the constitution was changed to the one party state until 1991 when the country reverted back to multi-party politics.

In its reflection of the Golden Jubilee, the Foundation for Democratic Process  says Zambia's politics are not yet mature due to a colonial era constitution.

"We need mature politics devoid of violence or intimidation. Our institutions to support democracy are still weak," said macDonald Chipenzi, FODEP Executive Director.

And Tom Ngenda, an economics lecturer at Cavendish University in Lusaka says political parties have over the past 50 years crafted their party manifestos from their initial socialist inclination to the current economic appeal to voters.

"In the past, political parties used to craft their manifestos in such a way that they wanted to get into office. Now the parties have manifestos that appeal to people to vote for them so that they can bring economic development to Zambia," said Ngenda in an interview at his office.

For the ruling Patriotic Front which has been part of Zambia's history in the past 13 years, Zambian politics has evolved for the better.

"We have alot to celebrate as a nation. We have come a long way politically and it is time the nation got united and celebrated the golden jubilee together," said Edgar Lungu, Secretary general of the Patriotic Front.

But opposition political parties have different views on how politics have impacted the nation since independence.

"There is nothing to celebrate. Fuel prices are high. The cost of living has gone up. Basically, we have nothing to celebrate as a nation because we have no economic independence," said Hakainde Hichilema, President of the opposition UPND.

Mr Hichilema's sentiments are echoed by Zambia Development Conference President Langton Sichone.

"How can we celebrate the so called Golden Jubilee when we still have an old colonial constitution? We have nothing to celebrate in the last 50 years," said Sichone.

The main celebrations for Zambia's Golden Jubilee will be held at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka where various activities will take place.

Both military and civilian performances will spice up the event which has attracted several leaders from around the world.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Female Councillors Call For 50% Adoption Of Women In Elections

Councillors and Gender activists at the conference
By Paul Shalala

80 female Councillors from various active political parties have called for a legal framework that will compel various players in politics to implement a 50-50% representation of both men and women to consolidate democracy.

 In a communique read on Friday by Kawambwa District Council Chairperson Angela Sichone at the just ended national conference for women in politics held at Andrews Motel in Lusaka, the female councillors have argued that if this legal framework is enacted, it will help the nation consolidate its thriving democracy.

Ms Sichone revealed that the female councillors have also called on all active political parties to review their manifestos and provide 50% adoption rate for women parliamentary and local government candidates.

"Gender equity and equality must be enshrined in the national constitution to ensure 50-50 representation of both men and women to ensure the consolidation of democracy in Zambia," said Sichone, who is also a female councillor in in the male dominated Kawambwa District Council of Luapula Province.

The two day conference was organised by the Zambia National Women's Lobby who brought three female Councillors from Finland who shared their experiences of female politics in the Scandinavian country.

And ruling Patriotic Front Director for Media and Publicity Brian Hapunda says the ruling party is ready to adopt the proposal as it views women as partners in development.

"Our commitment to increasing the number of women in decision making positions can be seen from our adoption of women candidates in Vubwi and Zambezi West who won us parliamentary seats earlier this month," said Hapunda.

But the National Democratic Party says the proposal is not workable because political parties adopt candidates on popularity basis and not on gender.

"Political parties adopt parliamentary and local government candidates based on their strength and popularity. We cant adopt candidates just because they are women even when they are unpopular. This proposal cant work," said Edwin Zulu, Secretary General of the National Democratic Party.


Zambia has one of the lowest number of female legislators in the world.

Of the 150 elected members of parliament, only 20 are women and of the total 1,444 Councillors countrywide, only 84 are women.

None of the female councillors is a Mayor and among female MPs, only four are Full Ministers in a Cabinet of 22 Ministers.

The biggest challenge for women to become elected leaders is the low adoption rate of women among political parties.

In 2011, less than 50 women were adopted by various political parties to contest the 150 seats in Parliament.

In the run upto the 2016 general elections, the Zambia National Women's Lobby has started conducting mentoring workshops for female politicians who are aspiring to contest as councillors and members of parliament.

This is in a bid to increase the number of women in District Councils and Parliament in 2016.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

PF To Embark On Countrywide Mobilisation

Brian Hapunda (right) and Edgar Lungu (in a hat)
By Paul Shalala

Newly appointed Patriotic Front Media and Publicity Director Brian Hapunda has disclosed that the ruling party will embark on a massive party mobilisation exercise soon after the September 11th parliamentary by-elections.

Mr Hapunda has the mobilisation exercise will be spearheaded by PF Secretary General Edgar Lungu to consolidate party structures countrywide.



"This mobilisation exercise will be conducted to consolidate our strength at the grassroots and esnure we win the 2016 General Elections," said Hapunda.

The former PF Southern Province Political Secretary has also dismissed recent media reports that the ruling party is corrupt and tribal.

Mr Hapunda says PF has members of parliament in all the 10 provinces which shows that its a party with a national character.

Mr Hapunda was last week appointed as PF Media and Publicity Director following the resignation of his predecessor Chanda Mfula, which came a day after President Michael Sata dismissed Wynter Kabimba as PF Secretary General and Justice Minister.

In the wake of the dismissal, President Sata appointed Mr Lungu as PF Secretary General and Justice Minister
.