Showing posts with label Patriotic Front. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patriotic Front. 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

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

2016 Manifestos: What PF And UPND Are Bringing To The Table

Zambia holds general elections every 5 years
By Paul Shalala
They launched their campaigns and unveiled their manifestos for the next years.
The ‘big boys’ President Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema had a field day on Saturday as they pulled record crowds to show their popularity.
Social media was abuzz with photos of ‘mammoth’ rallies, over crowded venues and thousands of cheering supporters on the streets.
What went viral on social media were these images of supporters.
The real message was however missing from the conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and everywhere else.
People were not talking about the manifestos that were unveiled.
Being the two major players in this year’s elections, the PF and UPND are of interest to the 6, 710, 455 registered voters.
Due to their bulky nature, these manifestos may be too long for the man on the street to read and digest.
But this blogger has summarised and analysed them.
Below is a short summary of the major issues in the two respective manifestos.
President Lungu at the launch of the PF manifesto
PF MANIFESTO 2016 – 2021

During the launch of the campaign at the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka, President Lungu said the PF manifesto will ensure it continues with the developmental projects started in 2011.

President Lungu, who prides himself with a number of developmental projects done under his administration and that of the late President Michael Sata within the past five years, is running a campaign anchored on development where PF members are challenging the opposition to ‘Sontapo’ (Point) at what they have done for the nation.
Below are some of the summarised excepts from the PF manifesto as adapted from the launch speech:
HEALTH: We shall embark on making Zambia a Medical Hub. Instead of referring patients abroad, we shall transform selected Health facilities into Centres of Excellency where Zambian can access specialised services.
We will venture into a new era of the growing medicinal plants such as Itembusha and its associated Industries.
EDUCATION: On Education, Children will be equipped with the necessary skills by ensuring that there are enough Books, Teachers, Desks and Computers.

Learning Institutions will be fitted with State of the Art equipment and technology.
AGRICULTURE: We shall diversify the Agriculture and expand the livestock Sectors to ensure food security and make Zambia the bread basket in the region
Part of the PF supporters at Heroes National Stadium
ENERGY: With the PF government's massive invested in the energy sector, loadshedding is shortly become a thing of the past.
We shall complete and expand the projects we have started in Solar, Coal and Hydro
INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT: The Patriotic Front will continue with the infrastructure development as we are the only ones who can finish them because we have the experience and the tested capacity to deliver.
We shall empower Councils countrywide to build low-cost Houses in order to improve the living stands of our people and upgrade the Townships. Once re-elected, we will complete the remaining road projects

The UPND Manifesto 2016 – 2021
On Saturday, Mr Hichilema unveiled the party’s new manifesto which is anchored on economic revival.
HH at the UPND manifesto launch in Kitwe
This was at a rally held at Kitwe’s Freedom Park grounds.
This manifesto puts Mr Hichilema at the center of the 10 points and describes him as a ‘fixer’ who will use his economics profession to resuscitate the Zambian economy.
Below is the verbatim of all the Ten Points Plan as posted on the UPND website:
Point One: We plan to start with job creation and employment. From the first day in office, our Government will help Zambian companies to create jobs, by ensuring we start manufacturing most of the things we import. Isn’t it an embarrassment that we are importing toothpicks? Are you telling me we can fail to make toothpicks? We will promote investment, trade and economic growth, diversifying the economy and investing in under-developed sectors with huge potential for job and wealth creation such as tourism.
Point Two: We will be an attack on poverty and inequality, with a strong focus on youth and women. On day one we will start addressing youth and women empowerment. The women folk present here today, can’t you sow uniforms. So why can’t Government give you contracts to supply uniforms in Government schools? Youths are found making furniture at Nakadoli market. Why is Government importing furniture for their offices and not buying furniture from Nakadoli market? This is what we mean by empowering women and the youth when you give us a vote.
Point Three: We will be investing in our people through education. There is no nation in this world that has advanced without a population that has the right skills. The youths that will be making chairs and desks for Government schools will need education before they get skills to start making desks. Our women who will be supplying uniforms to Government schools need education first before they can learn knitting and tailoring. This is why we are saying education for all is a must. The waste we shall save from ending corruption in procurement of Government goods and services, by-elections and other areas will be invested in education. Now listen carefully here. In Zambia building a road costs 2 million dollars per kilometer, while in South Africa its 400,000 dollars. This means the money we pay for one kilometer, you can do 5 kilometers in South Africa. Why are our roads expensive? It’s because of corruption.
Point Four: The PF has failed to run the power sector resulting in load-shedding, limited and unreliable access and high costs of production. How are businesses supposed to operate under such conditions? Our plan is very simple, we are discussing with the private sector to build power stations from renewables. What do I mean colleagues? Zesco is broke that they cannot build new power stations, we will talk to our friends in the private sector to build power stations, and the power produced will be sold to ZESCO, that is how we will end load shedding.
Part of the UPND supporters at the launch
Point Five: We will improve competitiveness so that our local businesses can grow and create jobs, and new ones can start up. We will tackle areas such as heavy regulation, the high costs of transport and trade, access to finance and power supply.
Point Six: We will focus on aggressively cutting Government waste. We are not going to have 71 ministers in our Government the way our friends did. We are going to reduce on the number of ministers and review their conditions of service. A minister gets 800 liters of fuel per month, that is about 500,000 kwacha for the entire cabinet. By the end of the 5 years of PF we will have spent over 29 billion old currency on fuel for ministers. This does not include the free phones, cars, housing and many other things we provide to them. We cannot continue making a few people rich at the expense of 14 million Zambians.
Point Seven: We will develop our agriculture sector. Our job once you put us in power is to reduce the price of mealie meal. How will we do this? We will increase farmer support in both input provision and reduce the unit cost of production. In this country a farmer produces about 40 bags of maize per hectare when it is possible to produce 100 bags with the same inputs. What farmers need is a robust extension service system so that they can produce more by improving their management of fields. Once this happens then the price of a 50kg bag of maize will come down and with it mealie meal. We will also help farmers diversify their crop to produce other foods and grow produce for neighbouring countries.
Point Eight: We will end the flip-flops and policy inconsistencies that are costing people jobs. In this place over 10,000 miners and their affiliates lost employment. And the PF Government looked on as our people were losing jobs. From the time the PF took over they have changed mining tax policy three times, scaring investors away. What we are doing immediately you give us the instruments of power is to instill confidence in the economy. As a responsible Government we will rather lose a bit of mineral royalty than see you lose your wages and your livelihood.
Point Nine: Building a healthy nation, cannot be compromised on. Colleagues, people are going to hospitals that have no medicines and doctors. We have a shortage of over 13,000 nurses and yet we have thousands of young people looking for jobs – another PF miscalculation. Meanwhile, the high maternal mortality rate remains a stain on the conscience of our nation. Immediately we take office we are reforming procurement of medicines in hospitals. The money we will save from a reduced cabinet and corruption will be used to hire nurses, doctors and buy medicines. We have already spoken to people that are willing to come and set up mini water plants in places like Chamboli so that you people can have access to piped water.
Point Ten: Good Governance. Zambians under PF are living in fear. If you say something against the Government or the President, then you are threatened with arrest. Police are being misused by the PF. People have to apply for permits to have church meetings. We are taking over Government to ensure that Zambians can enjoy their rights. We will immediately repeal the Public Order Act. We are also going to embark on reforming the Anti Corruption Commission and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to make them independent bodies to pursue corrupt elements. There will be no sacred cows in a UPND-led Government. We need to fight corruption to the bitter end, it has made us poor and I am telling you now, anyone who is corrupt will face the law. Corruption is a cancer that needs to be aggressively tackled.
Summary

With the above manifestos, Zambians can now start analysing the two parties based on what they are bringing to the table.
Of course without disadvantaging the other ‘third parties’ who are yet to unveil their manifestos, this blogger will endeavour to analyse and summarise each and every party manifesto as and when they are released by the respective parties.

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.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

China’s Policy in Zambia May Not Be Affected By Sata’s Death



By Paul Shalala
Late Sata with Chinese envoy Zhou Yuxian

Since attaining its independence from Great Britain in 1964, Zambia has always relied on China on major infrastructure development projects which are now dotted across the country.

This ‘look east’ policy has made the relations between the Asian giant and the southern African country best of friends in the past five decades.

Two huge sports stadiums, dozens of roads, dozens of hospitals and school infrastructure dotted around the country have been constructed by various Chinese firms over the past decades.

All the first four presidents of Zambia had a good relation with China but the rise of the then opposition Patriotic Front (PF) posed a great challenge with the possibility of it running the country one day.

During his 10 years as a opposition PF President, the late Michael Sata campaigned heavily against the Chinese investment in Zambia.

Mr Sata’s popularity in urban areas and in the mineral-rich Copperbelt province became a thorn in the eyes of successive MMD administrations.

The firebrand opposition leader who was nicknamed ‘King Cobra’ because of his outspokenness, campaigned against alleged Chinese mistreatment of workers, human rights abuses and cheap Chinese labour which he saw as a hindrance to the empowerment of local Zambians.

In his campaign messages, Mr Sata even promised to recognize Taiwan at the expense of China if he was elected Zambia’s president.

However, when he was eventually elected Zambia’s fifth republican president in 2011, Mr Sata softened his anger on China.

Within a week of being inaugurated as head of state in September 2011, the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia was the first foreign envoy to visit him at State House to hold one-on-one talks.

In his three year reign, Mr Sata reduced his criticism of China as they became his partner in developing Zambia.

He eventually went on a 15 day state visit to China and during his reign, the Chinese invested heavily in sectors such as construction, agriculture, manufacturing and education.

And with the death of Mr Sata in October 2014, many observers have wondered whether China’s policy towards Zambia will change or not.

But from the look of things, the Chinese are here to stay.

And their stay is expected to be long term.

The Ministry of Home Affairs recently announced that there were 19, 845 Chinese nationals in Zambia and 11, 267 of them had employment permits.

This is the community Zambia’s new President Edgar Lungu needs to embrace if he is to be seen as a pro-China head of state like his predecessor.

Late Sata with Chinese President Xi Jinping in China
Soon after his election in January 2015, President Lungu received one of his first international congratulatory messages from the Chinese government which pledged to continue on its path of co-existence and bilateral engagements.

China’s continuation on its policy in Zambia was further confirmed when that country’s Vice President Li Yuanchao sent a congratulatory message to Zambia’s new Vice President Inonge Wina who is the first ever female Vice President in the country.

“I learned with great pleasure the news of your assuming the office of the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia and would like to extend to Your Excellency my sincere congratulations,” read part of Mr Li’s message as released to the Zambian media by the Chinese embassy in Lusaka.

Mr Li, who visited Zambia in mid 2014, added: “Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries 50 years ago, the bilateral mutual political trust has been depending constantly. I look forward to working with Your Excellency to bring the friendly cooperation between our two countries to a new high.”

During his state visit to Zambia in mid 2014, Mr Li reiterated his country’s commitment to Zambia’s political dispensation by funding the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) -owned non-governmental organization called National Project for Poverty Reduction (NPPR).

NPPR offers skills training to hundreds of women and youths on an annual basis and its programmes are aimed at empowering ruling PF members with entrepreneurial skills to create their own employment and raise income.

And during the commemoration of the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Goat on 18th February, 2015 in Lusaka, the Chinese embassy showed its first signal that relations between the two countries will not be affected by the death of Sata.

Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming said his country expected to see greater success in Zambia under the leadership of Edgar Lungu.

“Looking into the New Year, our two countries have many things to do together. I believe with our joint efforts, the cooperation in the political, economic and trade, military, education and culture fields will be further strengthened and the all-weather friendship between the two countries will be further deepened,” said Mr Yang.

He also disclosed that Zambia’s trade with China in the first 11 months of 2014 increased by 0.8% to reach a historical height of US$3.5 billion.

With China’s appetite for Africa’s minerals growing, Zambia’s status as a major supplier of copper is expected to continue beyond Sata’s death.

According to official figures released on 19 February, 2015 by the Central Statistical Office (CSO), Zambia’s data agency, China is only second to Switzerland as the major recipient of its copper from 2010 to 2014.

“The top four major buyers of  Zambia’s copper in order of ranking are Switzerland (61.1%), China (25.6%), United Kingdom (2.8%) and South Africa (2.6%) share of total copper export earnings annually,” read the CSO statement.

 China’s investment is all over the sectors of the Zambian economy from health, manufacturing, to education, construction and retail trade.

However, China expert Sombo Chunda says the Chinese have overstretched their limits to start doing simple jobs that Zambians are able to do.
Sombo Chunda

“The Chinese policy towards Zambia will not change with the death of President Sata. However, these people should have been allowed to only do big jobs that Zambians can not do. Not to start selling cobs of maize and chickens in the markets and running farms. That is not good investment,” said Ms Chunda, who is also Country Representative for Diakonia Zambia, a Swedish NGO working on developmental issues in Zambia.

At the Soweto Market in Lusaka, Chinese nationals are usually spotted as early as 04:00hrs selling broiler chickens and fresh maize from their farms but they disappear soon after sunrise.

And ActionAid Zambia Country Director Pamela Chisanga has found the way the Chinese conduct their investments in Zambia a bit worrisome.

“Their long term investment opportunities are good for the nation. However, they believe in getting investment opportunities at all cost. And most of the corruption in now happening with Chinese investors who are easily harassed by political parties because of how they conduct their businesses,” said Ms Chisanga.

Apart from copper, the Chinese have also diversified their imports from Zambia to the forestry sector where they have become a major player.

Several Chinese nationals have been arrested and taken to court for illegally failing and trying to export the banned rosewood which is locally called Mukula.

This tree, which grows in hills, is said to be sought after by the Chinese for its medicinal benefits and its demand has grown to levels where thousands of the tree are illegally cut and taken out of the country without the authorities detecting it.

“Policing the Mukula tree has because a thorn in the eyes of the government because they do not have enough man power and equipment to enforce the law in the forests,” said Chunda.

Pamela Chisanga
According to Zambia’s Forest Act, once someone gets a permit to fell a tree, he is supposed to be accompanied by a forestry officer to monitor the process but due to lack of man power and equipment, the Chinese take advantage of this anomaly and go beyond their legal limits.

And in a sign of their “good” relations, the Chinese and Zambian Presidents held official talks in Beijing to cement their decades old alliance.

On 2nd April 2015, President Lungu returned home in a joyous mood after a two weeks visit to China where his ministers signed various deals with China on infrastructure development and trade.

Zambia’s Commerce Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe announced that US$3.2 billion in investment pledges were secured during President Lungu’s maiden trip to China.