Showing posts with label MMD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MMD. Show all posts

Friday, 16 September 2016

Calls Increase For Chambeshi Township To Be Declared District

Entrance to Chambishi Mine
By Paul Shalala in Chambishi

It is an area with all the necessary economic activity.

The mines are here and so are a number of tertiary industries that depend on mining.

It has two major mining companies and a smelter, all employing hundreds of workers.

This aside, Chambishi is also a multi facility economic zone which has seen millions of dollars being pumped in by the Chinese.

Going by seize and population, Chambishi has all the markings of a district.

The area has a population of over 51,000 and even has a sub-boma.

But it has always had to play second fiddle to Kalulushi.
Chambishi Mine

For years, this area with all its economic promise has been an annex of Kalulushi District.

No wonder people here want this industrious Township to stand on its own as a district.

“We have been crying for a district since 1991. President Frederick Chiluba almost gave us in 1991. The following presidents didn’t. Last year when President Lungu came to campaign, he promised that this year he will do it, we are waiting positively,” said Elvis Mwansa, a Chambeshi resident and historian.

The fight for a district status has been a silent one here.

In 1996, the then ruling party MMD decided to create district party structures in Chambishi separate from Kalulushi as a way of realising the district status.

20 years down the line, that status has not been met and almost all political parties have district structures in Chambishi.

Ernest Mwakaya has been involved in the push for a district in the area.

While a party official in MMD in 1996, he remembers how the area was almost upgraded.

“Some years back, President Chiluba called for a meeting over Chambishi. He was locked up in a meeting with officials for 45 minutes. We all agreed to be a district. But that never came to pass. Today we are hoping President Lungu will help us,” said Mr Mwakaya who is now the ruling party’s Chambishi District Chairman.   
Chambishi Copper Smelter

Even civic leaders in the area know how anxious people are in the area for a district.

“We are waiting for our district. We have big mines here, milling plants, roads, a smelter and all the features of a district,” said Febby Mulenga, the newly re-elected Councillor for Lulamba ward.

ACM Limited, a local company has invested US$3 million to set up a milling plant which is expected to create 200 direct jobs for Chambishi residents.

According to the owners, the facility will have the capacity to produce five hundred bags of Millie meal per hour.

Indeed, Chambishi deserves to be a district though most people’s worry is that if its detached, Kalulushi will suffer economically as it only relies on Chibuluma mine. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Zambia Adopts New Electoral Rules, Sets Elections On 11 August

By Paul Shalala
President Lungu assenting to the Constitution Bill

Zambia has today adopted a new set of electoral laws that has set a new date for the forthcoming general elections and introduced what has been described as 'progressive clauses.'

This afternoon, Zambian President Edgar Lungu assented to the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill of 2015 which has come with several laws that had been eluding the Zambian people for decades.

Since the 1990s, Zambians had been submitting to countless Constitution Review Commissions to amend the electoral laws which date back to the colonial days.

Some of the laws Zambians have been seeking to be done away with include the first-past-the-post-takes-all electoral system and the appointment of a republican Vice President by the head of state.

Despite draft constitutions and reports being produced and circulated, successive governments have not been acting on the recommendations, rendering the whole constitution making process dead for years.

The signing ceremony was held this afternoon at the Chinese made National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, a site where the Zambian head of state was inaugurated as the country's sixth President 12 months ago after winning a tightly contested poll following the demise of Michael Sata.

"There comes a time when people's cries on an issue must come to an end....... As leaders, we have to listen to the voice of the people..... When i was being sworn in as President last year, i promise to give you a new constitution and here it is," said President Lungu.

He also reiterated his desire to have the rest of the draft constitution be passed through a referendum that he has tied to the next general elections set for later this year.

When the bill was tabled before parliament at the end of 2015, the ruling Patriotic Front allied itself with the opposition MMD to gunner the much needed votes to pass the bill which was opposed by the opposition UPND, FDD and ADD.

And in his speech, President Lungu acknowledged the role the MMD parliamentarians played.

"The MMD gives me hope with its civic roles it played in the house," he said as MMD President Nevers Mumba who was seated in the VIP section of the stadium nodded his head.

Among the electoral reforms the new law has brought is the 50 plus one majoritarian election of a president and the Vice President Running mate clause.

The new laws have set second Thursday of August every after five years as the election date.

This means that this year, Zambians will vote for their new President, Members of Parliament and Councillors on 11th August.

In the old constitution, Zambia's Presidents had the power to set an election date which stakeholders had complained that it was being used to disadvantage the opposition.

Further, the law has also adopted dual citizenship, a concept that scores of Zambians have been crying for, especially those in the diaspora.

To the delight of many, the requirement for all presidential candidates to have both their parents being born in Zambia has been scrapped off.

This is a law that was passed in the 1990s which many say was targeted at Zambia's founding father Dr. Kenneth Kaunda from participating in elections after he lost the 1991 democratic elections.

Despite this milestone for good governance campaigners, several civil society organisations and opposition political parties were opposed to the adoption of these progressive laws through parliament.

Operating under a loose consortium calling itself the Grand Coalition on The Enactment of a People Driven Constitution, non-governmental organisations even picketed parliament to block the bill last year.

On 23rd October 2014 when the final draft constitution was released, government announced it will adopt the contentious closes through Parliament and later subject the whole document to a national referendum.

But the Grand Coalition opposed the move opting for a referendum to adopt the whole document before the general elections.

Even after the bill was passed by law makers, the Grand Coalition even called on President Lungu not to assent to it.

With the enactment of these laws, the bigger job of enacting the whole constitution still lies ahead.

Zambia Parliament in session
The Bill of Rights, whose review triggers a referendum, is yet to be put on the ballot and as promised by President Lungu, will be voted together with candidates for President, Members of Parliament and Councillors on 11th August.

In May 2015, Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula announced that government had appointed Commissioners of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as members of the Referendum Commission.

This means that the ECZ will conduct the 2016 General Elections simultaneously with the referendum on the constitution.

According to the Referendum Act, all Zambians in possession of the green National Registration Card are eligible to vote in the referendum which is usually conducted in a YES or NO fashion.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Edgar Lungu Outlines His Policy Directions For The Patriotic Front

Edgar Lungu dressing one of the defectors
By Paul Shalala

Newly appointed Patriotic Front Secretary General Edgar Lungu yesterday held his first interactive meeting with party officials where he outlined his policy direction for the ruling party.

Mr Lungu took over from Wynter kabimba who was dismissed as PF secretary General and Justice Minister in August after a long period of factionalism in the ruling party.

Th meeting, which was held at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, was attended by various Lusaka and Copperbelt-based PF structures.

In his wide ranging speech, Mr Lungu called for unity and peace in the ruling party as it seeks to regain power in two years time.

"Lets love one another. Lets end violence. We are all Sata's children. We can only win elections if we work together. I want to work with all of you. I dont have special people i will work with, its all of you i need," said Mr Lungu who also serves as Defence and Justice Minister.

The PF Secretary General also announced that the ruling party will soon embark on a countrywide party mobilisation exercise which will include primary elections.

Mr Lungu said all branch, ward and constituency committees will go through elections to allow party members elect their own leaders in preparation for the 2016 general elections.

"We want you to have leaders you have elected for yourselves. We know that through this democratic exercise, the bad elements in the party will be eliminated and rejected by you people," he added.

Later, Mr Lungu received 10 defecting councillors from the opposition ADD, MMD and UPND who are currently serving in District Councils in North Western and Western Provinces.

The defecting councillors said they had decided to join the ruling party to take development to their wards.

According to electoral regulations, voters in wards where their serving councillors have defected from their parties to another, will have to elect a new councillor within 90 days.

This means there will be local government by-elections in the 10 wards in Mwinilunga and Mongu Districts in the coming months.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

FODEP Says Lack Of Continuous Voter Registration Causing Apathy

MacDonald Chipenzi

Dear Colleagues,

Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) monitored the just ended parliamentary by-elections in the five (5) constituencies by placing both stationed and roving monitors in selected polling stations.  FODEP is happy to present to you its observations and analysis of the just ended by-elections.

From the onset, FODEP would like to congratulate the ruling PF, UPND and MMD for scooping three (3) and one apiece respectively out of the five parliament by-elections held on 11th September 2014 and the peaceful, disciplined environment in which the elections were held. We hope the winners will celebrate responsibly while the losers prepare for themselves for 2016.  We want to further commend all political parties, their supporters and all stakeholders in the electoral process for ensuring that the just ended by-elections proceeded on well, peacefully and orderly.

The management and administration of the electoral process by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) also deserves commendation. We will be failing in our duty too if we do not recognize and appreciate the efforts Zambia Police Force put in maintaining law and order throughout the election process. To all, we say well done and further encourage them to continue cherishing peaceful means of conflict resolution in future elections.

FODEP however, bemoans the high levels of voter apathy that characterized the by-elections. To illustrate this, Zambezi West with 10,206 voters only 4924 voters cast their votes representing 48.2% the highest turn out in this round of by-elections. Kasenengwa with 41, 795 had 15,141 voters voting representing 36.2% turnout. Vubwi with 18,084 registered voters had only about 6,693 voters casting their votes representing 37.0% while Solwezi Central with 52,900 voters only had about 10,403 casting their votes representing 19.67% turnout. Mkushi South in Luano District with 12,793 had only about 4,738 voters casting their vote representing 37.04%. As illustrated above, all the constituencies failed to score 50% voter turnout.

This is a trend that we need to contain before it undermines the 2016 tripartite elections. Lack or limited voter education, distances to the polling stations, disconnect between the elected and electors, poor service delivery e.g. government’s failure to purchase maize through Food Reserve Agency (FRA), fear of precedents of violence and intimidation and un-updated voters’ register were cited as reasons for poor voter turnout in some constituencies.

Nonetheless, the results from the five constituencies show very interesting electoral and political trends. The victories and losses scored were as a result of various variables ranging from political party and candidates’ strengths and popularities respectively to urban-rural divide and desire to be close the party in power. More importantly though about these by-elections is the fact that they have “given birth” to three (3) women parliamentarians, increasing the percentage of women in the House. They have sent a strong signal that women can compete and win even competitive electoral contests and defeat their menfolk.

FODEP further noted the regional voting pattern which was conspicuously reflected out of these five by-elections. For instance, UPND was either second to the ruling party or first in areas where it is traditionally strong so is the MMD while PF has performed well in areas where it is also traditionally strong and took advantage of the incumbency in other areas to dilute and usurp opposition strength in their strongholds. 

FODEP’s analysis shows that Solwezi Central and Kasenengwa constituencies both located in an urban set-up were won by the opposition while Mkushi South, Vubwi and Zambezi West which are rural constituencies were scooped by the ruling party. This entails that the rural vote is favoring the party in power while the urban vote which helped the current party assume power is steadily being eroded. 

Another interesting aspect is that the election results were in favour of the ruling party in both constituencies where new districts have been declared such as Vubwi and Mkushi South (Luano District). In Luano District under Mkushi South Constituency voters could also been showing appreciation to the government for killing the Miloni Brothers who terrorized them for years. In Zambezi West, the overstaying of the losing candidate for the UPND could have caused despondence among voters who opted for a change.

It is an undeniable fact that the electoral results show that PF is making inroads in opposition strongholds as evidenced in Vubwi, Kasenengwa, Solwezi, Mkushi and Zambezi West constituencies partly because some of the constituencies have been associated with the ruling parties for some time except that 2011 elections put them on the other side of the coin. The ruling party religious used development projects as a campaign bait such as road construction, communications towers, agriculture marketing, etc. The indiscriminate used of government facilities, resources and the dangling of development projects to constituencies where elections too place by the government ministers who flooded the constituencies with a lot of promises and pledges undermined the freeness and fairness of the vote.

Regardless, the final analysis and cumulatively indicate that the opposition has lost majority in parliament which will now strengthen the “tyranny of the majority syndrome” and the “arrogance of numbers by the ruling party in the House. Resultantly, however, the MMD, which has becoming a political and electoral fishing pond for both PF and UPND, has suffered the greatest loss because all the seats save for one, contested belonged to it but only retained one. The UPND despite grabbing a seat from MMD i.e. Solwezi Central, has lost its own seat to the ruling party -Zambezi West. Therefore, Zambia is back to the pre-2001 elections where parliament was one party dominated. This situation will undermine democratic accountability in Zambia due to its weakened oversight role. The situation may also have a negative implication on the constitution making process as government may arrogantly opt for a constitutional amendment now that it has increased its numbers in parliament.

Further implication of the electoral results is that Zambia’s “electoral weather” is not static but unpredictable and defeats political parties’ argument that their popularity in 2011 remains strong throughout a 5-year electoral cycle in areas they won elections.  As can be observed some political parties are losing grip of their constituencies at very alarming rate while others are gaining ground 3 years since 2011. There is need for serious reflection and packaging of their messages or indeed relooking at the popularity and caliber of the candidates being adopted. Zambians political system should not be blind to the dangers of allowing weakened opposition in parliamentary as it will undermine parliamentary democracy and accountability.

Finally, FODEP is happy with the manner the Commission transparently managed the just ended election process. However, though the legal framework mandates the Commission to announce the results within 48hrs, it is worrying that, in the midst of high levels of apathy, electoral results are taking long to be released like in situation of high voter turn-out. It is for this reason that FODEP supports the introduction of the electronic result transmission system with the hope that it will resolve the issue of result delayed release of elections results and appeals to all stakeholders to embrace the system.

In conclusion, the just ended parliamentary elections were transparent. However, there is need to continue working towards improving the level playing field on media coverage, use of government resources and unaccounted for time by ministers who spend much of their time in the campaigns rather than serving the citizens. Their presence in numbers has exploited the process to their advantage. To this end, FODEP calls for an urgent need for electoral reforms ahead of the 2016 tripartite elections.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Analysis Of Soon To Open 4th Session Of The 11th National Assembly

Moses Muteteka
By Paul Shalala

The first meeting of the fourth session of the 11th National Assembly  opens in Lusaka on Friday this week.

As per tradition, President Michael Sata is expected to open it and give policy direction to the nation for the year 2015.

This session's first meeting is expected to run from September to around December and is commonly refered to as the Budget session because of the presentation of the 2015 National Budget which will be done in October.

Wynter Kabimba
For those pushing for a new constitution, all eyes and ears will be focused on Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda to find out how much money will be allocated towards the constitution making process.
Stephen Masumba

Major changes are expected to be noted on the floor of the house as the house opens in a ceremonious manner.

Chawama member of Parliament Edgar Lungu, who was recently appointed Justice Minister after the dismissal of his predecessor Wynter Kabimba, is expected to sit on the Vice President Dr. Guy Scott's right hand side.

Alexander Chikwanda
This is because in the Cabinet Flow Chart, a Defence Minister, a position Mr Lungu also holds, is junior to that of Justice Minister and Mr Lungu may move from the left hand side of Dr Scott where he sat in the last session to the right hand side.

6 new members of parliament will be sworn in following their victories in by-elections held in the past two months.
Edgar Lungu

The new MPs are Victoria Kalima of Kasenengwa, Christabel Ngimbu of Zambezi West, Margaret Miti of Vubwi, Davies Chisopa of Mkushi South, Dawson Kafwaya of Solwezi Central and Liambai Lingweshi of Mangango Constituency.

The coming in of the 3 female MPs will push the number of female lawmakers in the house from 17 to 20.

The composition of party numbers in the house will also change as political parties shared seats in recent by-elections.

The ruling party which won 4 of the 6 recent by-elections will
now have 74 elected MPs and 7 nominated MPs bringing the total to 81 MPs in the house.

Davies Chisopa
However, President Sata is yet to choose 1 nominated MP to replace Mr Kabimba whose nomination to parliament is said to have been revoked upon his dismissal as Justice Minister.

Patrick Mucheleka
The former ruling party MMD's numbers have now dropped to 37 MPs after it lost 3 of its seats to PF and UPND.

The UPND has maintained its seats at 32 despite losing Zambezi West which it compensated with Solwezi Central, a seat it snatched from MMD.

The opposition ADD and FDD will maintain their single seats each.

The house will also remain with two independent MPs Patrick Mucheleka of Lubansesnhi and Charles Zulu of Luangeni constituency.

Felix Mutati
The failure by all opposition political parties in the house to reach the 52 minimum threshold, means the house will continue operating without a Leader of the Opposition and parties will rely on their respective Party Whips.

The last Leader of  the Opposition was Felix Mutati (Lunte MP) when MMD had more than 52 MPs a year ago.

Charles Zulu
With pending cases in court, 5 seats will remain vacant as the house opens on Friday.

These include Malambo, Petauke Central and Mulobezi which are pending in the Supreme Court following the nullification of the elections of their previous lawmakers.

Mufumbwe member of parliament Stephen Masumba and his Chisamba counterpart Moses Muteteka will keep staying out of the house following their respective appeals in court over their jail sentences.

The next session of parliament will be interesting as the composition of the house will be totally different from the set up the house initially started with in 2011.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Violence Characterises Katuba By-Election

By Paul Shalala in Katuba

Voting in the Katuba parliamentary by-election in Chibombo District, Central Province this morning started with an impressive turn out of voters.

Long queues of voters were formed at various polling stations along the Lusaka-Kabwe road.

Voters started queuing up outside polling stations as early as 05:30hrs this morning.

Even old people could be seen walking slowly to their respective polling stations to cast their ballots.

But as the day progressed, the number of people on the queues kept reducing.

At Muwanjuni Polling Station, which is the largest Poling Station in Katuba, three long queues of voters were formed by 06:00hrs when Presiding Officer Edward Phiri declared voting open.

Muwanjuni has 2, 085 registered voters and it is one of the areas in Katuba where major political parties spent most of their time campaigning.

At Shifwankula Polling Station, over a hundred voters had already cast their ballots by 09:00hrs this morning as dozens more were still lining up outside the Polling Station to vote.

By 08:50hours this morning, 92 people had already voted at Kayosha Polling Station which has 900 registered voters.

Some of the seven candidates vying for the Katuba by-election this morning voted in their respective polling stations.

National Revolution Party candidate Shakespeare Mwakamui cast his ballot at Kayosha Polling Station in the company of his campaign manager.

Alliance for a Better Zambia candidate Patricia Mwashingwele also went to Kayosha Polling Station to vote but she was turned away as she did not carry her voters card.

After half an hour of waiting, journalists called Ms Mwashingwele to find out if she would come back and vote but she said she could not find the card.

MMD candidate Cecil Holmes was not eligible to vote in Katuba as he is a registered voter in the neighbouring Chisamba Constituency where he once served as area member of parliament.

UPND candidate Jonas Shakafuswa voted at Northpark Polling Station near Kabangwe Police Station.

After voting, Mr Shakafuswa was briefed that Northern Province Minister Freedom Sikazwe had harassed her daughter Louise.

According to Louise, the Minister accused her of dishing out money to voters and he immediately searched her and found no money on her. 

Mr Shakafuswa later drove to Kabangwe Police Post with her daughter where the issue was reported to the Police.

Both at the Polling Station and at the Police Post, Mr Shakafuswa showered insults on Mr Sikazwe.

But Patriotic Front Deputy Secretary General Bridget Atanga said UPND cadres are the ones who harassed Mr Sikazwe at Northpark Polling Station.

She alleged that UPND cadres had invaded Mungule road and harassed anyone who was seen to be sympathising with the Patriotic Front.

Meanwhile, two PF cadres who have been allegedly beaten by UPND supporters have surfaced.

The two, Paul Mwamba and Joseph Chama where allegedly beaten in Muchenje ward of Katuba constituency.

Paul has suffered deep cuts on his face, lips and eyes while Joseph has loose teeth and internal injuries.

The cadres told me that they were blocked by UPND cadres on a gravel road and dragged from their vehicle and beaten with stones, sticks and iron bars.

 Meanwhile, Police at Kabangwe Police Post have arrested a man for allegedly assaulting the two Patriotic Front cadres.

Central Province Police Commissioner Standwell Lungu, who is coordinating the security operation in Katuba, says the Police are holding the man to help with investigations into the case.

Mr Lungu says a docket has been opened and the suspect will be charged with unlawful wounding.

The Police Commissioner has also disclosed that a second docket has been opened in the case involving UPND Katuba parliamentary candidate Jonas Shakafuswa's daughter Louise who was allegedly harrased by Northern Province Minister Freedom Sikazwe this morning.

Meanwhile, voting has closed in Katuba constituency at exactly 18:00hrs.

Counting has commenced in all the 32 Polling Stations across Katuba.

Votes from each Polling Station will be sent to the totalling centrer at Moomba Catholic Parish Hall.

Official results and the declaration of the winner is expected tomorrow as some polling stations are not likely to send their results in the night.

This is because some polling stations are not accessible by road as they are only served by helicopters from the Zambia Airforce (ZAF).

ZAF helicopters are expected to bring results from those inaccessible areas tomorrow morning.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Parliamentary Committee Grills Councils Over Financial Irregularities

By Paul Shalala

Fwanyanga Mulikita Committee room at Parliament buildings in Lusaka is a famous venue where controlling officers account for the misuse of public funds.

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) holds regular meetings in this room to question permanent secretaries, witnesses and other government officials on how they spend public funds.

This rooms is usually a quiet place but sometimes its full of humor and laughter.

MMD Chipangali MP Vincent Mwale is the committee’s chairman and he usually talks tough about financial irregularities.

On Wednesday, Blackberries were a big issue here.

Having spent K12, 500 000 on five undelivered black berries for senior council officers, the Serenje District Council was on the defence over the matter.

It was discovered that the council paid an individual and not a company to supply the phones and the purpoted supplier fail sick and never delivered the products.

Members of parliament who included UPND Choma Central MP Cornelius Mweetwa and his MMD Mafinga counterpart Catherine Namugala had too many concerns over the purchase of the Blackberries.

Later that day, it was the turn of Mwinilunga District Council to defend its payment of K746, 000 to a company which did not exist.

The company, Buildtech Contractors was paid in advance to do works at the Civic Center but it has been discovered that the company does not exist and its owners are on the run

The case has since been taken to court.

The matter got more interesting when Solwezi District Council Treasurer Anthony Sinkala revealed that awarding of the contract was influenced by politicians and all officials who handled the matter have since died.

He added that people in Mwinilunga are fearing to act on the matter because who ever tries to deal with it dies.

Since last week, various District Councils are appearing before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee.

Local Government Permanent Secretary Reverend Howard Sikwela is appearing before the committee the whole week.

The Committee is seeking clarification on irregularities raised in the 2010-2011 Auditor General's report on grants.