Showing posts with label Operation Young Vote. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Operation Young Vote. Show all posts

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Triple V Campaign Launched To Discourage Apathy In 2016 Polls

By Paul Shalala

B Flow performing at a Triple V event in Kabwe
A consortium of Zambian civil society organisations has launched the Triple V Campaign to encourage young men and women to turn up in huge numbers and cast their votes during the 2016 general elections.

Triple V is a short form for My Vote, My Voice, My Victory.

The campaign, which is being spearheaded by the Zambia National Women's Lobby, Operation Young Vote, Anti-Voter Apathy Project and the Young Women in Action, will see a series of countrywide public events such as road shows and meetings to encourage more people to vote.

This campaign comes at a time when Zambia has seen some of its lowest voter turn out in parliamentary by-elections held this year.
Macky 2 sensitising the public in Chipata

The donor funded campaign has so far held public meetings in Chipata and Kabwe.

On the official launch of the campaign in Chipata on 5th September, local rapper Macky 2 mesmerised the crowds with music which was punctuated by messages of encouragement for young people to vote.

 "Never take everything for granted. Appreciate every opportunity that you have in life. We are here to educate you on how to involve yourselves in the governance of the country. On 14th September you should register to become a voter. You should always remember that voting is your right and vote for whoever you want. Voting is a secret," said Macky 2.

Macky 2 was later joined on stage by popular comedian Bikiloni who charmed the crowds with his mouth watering jokes.

Bikiloni in action in Chipata
In his trademark Nyanja jokes, Bikiloni occasionally picked members of the crowd and asked them questions while hammering home the message.

And on 3rd October, the Triple V Campaign shifted to Kabwe where Comet Grounds in Africa's second largest slum Makululu was brough to a standstill.

Fresh from a three months stint as a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow in the US, B Flow sensitised the public on the need for them to register as voters and turn up in huge numbers to elect their new MPs, Councillors and President next year.

B Flow, whose real name is Brian Bwembya, is a musician who focuses on social issues such as Gender Based Violence and gender equality through his #Music4Change project which US President Barack Obama even acknowledged during his Town Hall with the 2015 Mandela Fellows a month ago.

B Flow charming the crowd in Kabwe
The Triple V Campaign has enlisted a number of famous comedians, musicians and personalities to attract more people to their countrywide meetings as they sensitise the public on the need to avoid apathy in 2016.

The campaign will in the coming months hold similar sensitisations in Kitwe, Choma and Mongu before the end of this year.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia is currently registering new voters and replacing voters cards for those who lost or damaged their previous cards.

The exercise, which commenced on 14 September, is expected to end on 11 November but it will continue at District Councils countrywide until end of March 2016.

Zambia is next year scheduled to hold a general election where Members of Parliament, Councillors and a President will be elected.

Friday, 31 October 2014

THE MICHAEL SATA I KNEW: From A Reporter’s Perspective

Michael Sata, Paul Shalala and Justine Kawisha in Senanga, May 2011
By Paul Shalala

I first came to learn of Michael Sata from his several mentions on ZNBC radio when i was growing up in Nangoma area of Mumbwa District in central Zambia during the 1990s.

In those typical Mumbwa-Mumbwa days, radio was more prominent in the villages as it was the most reliable source of news because newspapers, the internet and TVs were a luxury.

I never knew what position Mr Sata held in the Frederick Chiluba-led government at the time but i only knew his name through his many news items on state media.

My first opportunity to see Mr Sata was somewhere between 1993 and 1994 when President Chiluba came to my village to tour the Catholic-run Nangoma Mission Hospital.

It was my second time to see the presidency in my village and it was some how strange as it wasn’t election time.

Earlier in 1990, President Kenneth Kaunda became the first head of state to visit my village.

While on his road trip to Mongu, Dr. Kaunda made a stop-over at Lubanze village and spent a few minutes at Kasalu Basic School where i was doing Grade 1.

My father Mr. Namasiku Kamuti Shalala, who was the school headmaster, received the head of state as we the pupils did the usual chisokone salute while lined up along the Lusaka-Mongu road.

Fast forward to 1993-1994, Dr. Chiluba came with dozens of vehicles and my fellow villagers were excited to have found something to entertain themselves with for a while.

In Chiluba’s entourage, i saw this well built man who stood so close to the eloquent head of state and he was quiet and attentive to whatever the president was saying, nodding his heard from side to side as Dr. Chiluba spoke.

And when i looked closer, it was the King Cobra himself, Michael Sata, the man who would one day rule Zambia for three years and a month.

After that event in Nangoma, ten years passed and i never saw the King Cobra again until 2006.

In that year, i covered one of his rallies in Mandevu area of Lusaka during the campaigns which preceded the 2006 general elections.

At the time, i was a student reporter at the college-run Hone FM radio.

In 2006, Mr Sata was a firebrand opposition leader who spat venom on the Levy Mwanawasa-led New Deal government which he did not spare with every opportunity he had to address the people of Zambia.

The following year, i did my industrial attachments for three months at the Zambia Daily Mail.

During my time at the Longolongo road-based broadsheet, i covered a press briefing by Operation Young Vote President Guess Nyirenda who issued a statement on Mr Sata and i was forced to get a reaction from the Cobra.

With fear in my body, i peacefully picked up the phone and rung Mr Sata who answered me politely and even gave a reaction without hesitation.
From then on, i kept calling him for stories for the rest of his years in the opposition.
After college, i spent two years at the New Vision Newspaper where i covered Mr Sata several times.

Being a newspaper, we used to get stories from the Cobra on the phone without really bothering to interview him face to face.

When phoning him, i would go like: “Mr President, this is Paul Shalala from the New Vision Newspaper, am asking for a phone interview with you sir………..”

Then he would answer: “Go ahead Mr New Vision with your questions……………….”

It was always a great experience to speak to him on phone.

When i worked at Muvi Television from 2010 to 2012, i had several close encounters and one on one interviews with the Cobra that still reminds me of a man who gave stories to reporters as and when they needed them.

In May 2011, my employer then, Muvi Television assigned me to cover Mr Sata when he traveled to Western Province to hold rallies in Mongu and Senanga.

We traveled with the Cobra’s advance party, arrived in Mongu on a Friday evening and slept.

The Cobra landed the following morning on a chartered aircraft and in his usual populist style, he wore the traditional Lozi siziba which charmed hundreds of Mongu residents who welcomed him at the airport.
President Sata upon arrival at Mongu Airport

Mr Sata straight away went to the Blue Gums Ground where he addressed a huge rally and tore down the Rupiah Banda-led MMD administration which he accused of having killed innocent people during the January 14, 2011 Mongu riots.

As a proponent of populist politics, the Cobra read people’s mood and spoke only what they wanted to hear.

I filed my story the same day and it aired on MUVI TV’s 18:30 main news.

The following morning on Sunday, while Mr. Sata was attending mass at a Catholic church in the neighbouring town of Senanga, i sat a seat behind him in the church and listened attentively and watched how Catholics conduct their services.

As mass went on, i just saw the Cobra extend his hand to me and he gave me a folded paper which i quickly read and made me smile for a few minutes.

On that paper, the opposition leader wrote: “Thank you very much Mr MUVI TV. People in Lusaka have told me that the story you sent on yesterday’s rally in Mongu was aired on MUVI TV. Good job.”

At first, i was shocked that the venomous Cobra could write a personal note to me.

To this day, i regret having lost that paper. I wish i had kept it as a souvenir for my children and their children to read in future.

After the church service, Mr Sata went to a lodge to rest as he waited for his public rally in the riverside town of Senanga that afternoon.

As was his habit, the Cobra started reading newspapers to update himself with what was going on around the world.

With my colleague Justine Kawisha who was then working at Radio Mazabuka, we saw Mr Sata’s free time as a photo opportunity.

We approached him and asked to take pictures with him and the Cobra shockingly agreed.

We stood behind him and asked someone to take photos.

That person (i cant remember the name) took three photos which to this day are the only photos i have with Mr. Sata (Check photo above).

When the time for the rally came, we went to a ground where Mr Sata addressed the people of Senanga who came in their hundreds.

It was at that Senanga rally that Mr Sata issued the famous 90 days promise to produce a new constitution and restore the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

My TV report for Mr Sata’s rallies in Mongu and Senanga which aired on MUVI TV contained that story and you can watch it on this Youtube link:

In September 2011 when presidential candidates while filing their nominations at the Supreme Court ahead of the 20 September general elections, Muvi TV assigned me to cover all the candidates and i spent the whole week camped at the venue.

When the day for the Cobra’s turn came, there was confusion as hundreds, if not thousands, of Patriotic Front cadres thronged the Supreme Court grounds to see Mr Sata file in his papers.

I remember in my TV report which aired on Muvi TV that evening, i showed a confrontation between PF cadres and Zambia Police Director of Operations Dr. Solomon Jere.

I remember also showing Supreme Court staff peeping through the windows, trying to catch a glimpse of the Cobra who was driven to the Supreme Court in a Toyota GX vehicle and escorted by a huge boat.

My TV report for that day can be watched on this youtube link:

After winning the September 20, 2011 with 43% of the vote, Mr Sata soon became a national asset whose access to reporters became scarce.

I covered him on a number of occasions at State House and during campaign rallies in the numerous parliamentary by-elections Zambia has had since 2011.

On June 2, 2014 while i covered the head of state at State House,  he jokingly said he had not been evacuated abroad for medical attention as was alleged by some sections of the online media.

My story on that State House event can be read on this link which i blogged that same day:

The last time i saw the King Cobra in person was on 19th September, 2014 when he went to Parliament Grounds and opened the first meeting of the fourth session of the eleventh National Assembly.

The head of state in his usual humorous mood, opened the house and punctuated his speech with

On that day, i sat upstairs in the press gallery not knowing that i was seeing Zambia’s fifth republican president for the last time.
I took a selfie at Sata's rally in Msanzala in February 2012

And for sure i never saw the Cobra alive again. I may only see him again in the coffin when his remains return to his beloved country tomorrow.

He died on 28th October, 2014 while receiving medical attention in the British capital London.

When my close friend Boston Chambuluka phoned me from Kafue at around 03:00hrs on 29th October, 2014 to break the bad news of the demise of the President, i remembered the King Cobra who i had a few chats with in the opposition and who later became the head of state thanks to his populist style of politics which easily wooed him votes.

If someone was to ask me to describe the late Zambian President Michael Chilufya Sata in a few words from a reporters’ perspective, i would describe him as a news source who needed no research to give out a news story at any given  time.

What a loss to us the so-called amutola nkani. Our source is gone.... gone forever.

Monday, 15 September 2014

8 NGOs Withdraw High Court Lawsuit Against Govt On NGO Act

By Paul Shalala
Engwase Mwale
Emmerine Kabanshi

Eight Non-Governmental Organisations that sued the Zambian government in the High Court over the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Act of 2009 have withdrawn the lawsuit and opted for dialogue.

The NGOs had sued government following its decision to implement the controversial Act by registering all NGOs countrywide.

Over two hundred NGOs countrywide registered with the Ministry of Community Development but hundreds others defied several ultimatums for deregistration.

Speaking on behalf of the eight NGOs, Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council Executive Director Engwase Mwale said the decision to withdraw the lawsuit is aimed at bringing government to the negotiating table.

"We have decided to withdraw the lawsuit because we want dialogue to prevail over the NGO Act. We had a meeting with the Attorney General where we agreed to go back to the drawing board," said Mwale.

She however says the NGOs reserve the right to take back the lawsuit if dialogue does not yield results.

The eight NGOs that  sued government are FODEP, NGOCC, Operation Young Vote, Zambia Council for Social Development and Action Aid.

Others are Zambia Civic Education Association, Women and Law Development in Africa and the Young African Leaders Initiative.

But Community Development Minister Emmerine Kabanshi says the decision by the eight NGOs to withdraw the lawsuit is a good move.

But she has revealed that government will not stop the registration of NGOs.

"We will not stop registering NGOS. But we are committed to implementing the July 2014 Roadmap on reviewing the NGO Act, she said.

The controversial law was enacted during the reign of the MMD but it was only operationalised by the PF government much to the annoyance of NGOs.

The civil society is against the provisions of the NGO Act which compels them to be registered by government as they see it as regulation by the state.

According to the July 2014 Roadmap for reviewing the NGO Act, an independent consultant is  supposed to be hired to review the act and there after, a national validation stakeholder meeting on the act must be held in October this year.

The document further stipulates that a draft bill must be prepared and tabled in Cabinet before its taken to parliament for amendment in July 2015.