Government raises only K200,000 from forestry products

Government raised about two hundred thousand kwacha from issuing licenses for forestry products in Eastern Province last year.

Eastern Province Minister, Makebi Zulu, however, says the money is not enough and there is need to increase the value of forestry products for the benefit of the province.

Mr. Zulu was speaking when he featured on a programme dubbed, Government Forum on the national broadcaster last evening.

Mr. Zulu says government wants to ensure that there is full realization from wood products in the province, by adding value locally.

Mr. Zulu says government has made tremendous progress towards the curbing of illegal marketing, selling and harvesting of the Mukula and timber trees and will not allow any export of round wood.

And Mr. Zulu says government has moved from talking about the potential that the province has in creating an enabling environment, to full realization of the potential.

He mentioned that government will ensure that there is investment in the mining of Gold in Vubwi and Petauke and Limestone in Nyimba district, so that the resources can add to the national revenue.

The minister says the construction of the railway line from Chipata to Central Province will attract more investment to the province especially in the mining sector.

Meanwhile, Mr. Zulu says most developmental projects that had stalled two years ago due to financial challenges, have resumed and contractors are on sites to finish the works.

He mentioned some of the construction works as the         Chipata-Vubwi and Chipata-Chadiza roads and the               Sinda-Petauke stretch of the Great East Road, whose works have resumed.

Mr. Zulu also mentioned construction works for district hospitals that are progressing well in the province.

He added that ZNS, the Zambia National Service will construct 36 rural roads in the province to make most rural areas accessible especially by small scale farmers.

Government to get to the bottom of GBV

Government says it is working hard to ensure that GBV, Gender Based Violence is curbed in the country.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Howard Sikwela, says government is working on finding out the cause of GBV so that it can immediately be stopped because it demeans the dignity of people.

Mr. Sikwela says most of the GBV cases are psychological problems by perpetrators.

He was speaking when a delegation from Ministry of Health, Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Justice, Gender and World Vision paid a courtesy call on Eastern Province Assistant Secretary, Loyd Tembo, at Provincial Administration this morning.

The delegation is in Chipata to inspect the three one stop centers in Chipata, Katete and Nyimba districts.

And World Vision Chief Party, Annie Zulu Banda says the organization has been working with the four ministries to end GBV in the country since 2012.

Mrs. Banda says the stop GBV program which was funded by USAID will come to an end next year and asked government to find ways of continuing the program because the vice is still escalating.

And Eastern Province Assistant Secretary, Loyd Tembo says government will continue working on ending GBV even when cooperating partners withdraw their support.

He thanked World Vision for spearheading the program by working with the four ministries.


PS Chanda Kasolo tells off PF cadres

Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo has dismissed allegations from the PF, Patriotic Front Party that his administration is not working with the ruling party.

Reacting to the PF provincial leadership, which has called for his removal from office, Mr. Kasolo said that he will not be intimidated by cadres because he is a civil servant and not a politician.

Speaking to Breeze News, Mr. Kasolo also said that PF cadres do not have an absolute right to government contracts.

He explained that the provincial tender board committee will award contracts based on merit whether the construction company bidding for the contract is owned by someone from the ruling party or opposition political party.

Mr. Kasolo explained that the provincial tender board committee is guided by ZPPA, Zambia Public Procurement Authority guidelines when awarding contracts.

The permanent secretary stated that as a public officer, he has an obligation to work for Zambians and not politicians asking him to give them contracts and jobs for their relatives.

He denied ever assisting UPND sympathisers, who own construction companies, contracts and pushing for their quick payment.

Yesterday the PF held a press briefing, where Provincial Secretary, Joseph Kolosa demanded for Mr. Kasolo, deputy permanent secretary, Patrick Mwanawasa and Chipata District Commissioner, Kalunga Zulu to be dismissed for failing to work with the PF and assisting to enrich UPND members through awarding them contracts.

Government distributes a tractor and six tillers to farmers.

Gender and Child Development Minister, Victoria Kalima has distributed one tractor and six tillers to farmers in four chiefdoms in Eastern Province.

The farm implements are being given to farmers through their traditional leaders.

Ms Kalima handed over a tractor to Chief Msoro in Mambwe district and tillers to Senior Chief Nsefu in Mambwe, Senior Chief Kalindawalo and Chief Mwanjabanthu in Petauke district.

Ms. Kalîma says the aim of the Advance Program is to increase productivity in agriculture.

She was speaking yesterday when she handed over the equipment to farmer cooperatives, who gathered at palaces for Chief Msoro and Senior Chief Nsefu in Mambwe district.

Ms. Kalima says government is targeting to distribute 288 farm equipment to all chiefdoms in the country.

The minister, who is also Kasenengwa Member of Parliament, says plans are underway to distribute crop processing equipment for value addition.

Chipata City Council starts connecting traffic lights

The local authority in Chipata District has started connecting the traffic lights to ZESCO, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation line.

Chipata City Council Director of Engineering, Costen Mvula says a cable that was vandalised on the Umodzi Highway was connected over the weakened, and that testing of the traffic signals was done.

Mr. Mvula says that all the traffic lights on the three junctions, Church, Parirenyatwa and Nasser roads are being connected to ZESCO lines.

He says the traffic lights will be operationalized soon once connections are concluded.

He says the council has faced a number of challenges because some cables were vandalised, a situation he described as worrying.

Government formulating a marriage act to curb early marriages.

The Ministry of Gender and Child Development says it is in the process of formulating a marriage act.

Gender Minister, Victoria Kalima, says the formation of the marriage act will help clarify who a child is and will reduce cases of early marriages.

Speaking during a live program on Breeze FM, Ms. Kalima explained that in some instances, a person is taken to be a child when she is below the age of 16, while the constitution describes a child as anyone below the age of 18.

Ms. Kalima, who is also Kasenengwa Member of Parliament, says her ministry will ensure that a girl child is protected from all forms of violence.

She says government is also looking at ways of criminalising child marriage.

Ms. Kalima says parents and guardians, who are perpetrators of the vice, will be prosecuted.

She further indicated that government is contemplating banning some initiation ceremonies, which are contributing to high cases of early marriages.

Sinda Day Secondary School to start operating in 2018

The thirty-eight million Kwacha Sinda Day Secondary school will be operational in January next year.

Eastern Province Education Officer Allan Lingambe says he is confident that though the infrastructure at the learning institution is not yet fully complete, it will be ready to be operationalized by January.

He says that all the 27 staff houses and ten classrooms have already been done and that the only works such as electric fittings and paintings are yet to be done.

Dr. Lingambe also notes that the assembly hall, the sick bay and part of the administration block have not yet been completed.

He states that the contractor Zhong Mei Construction Company is currently carrying out some finishing works on the project.

Dr. Lingambe said the school is already gazetted and 25 teachers and elven general workers have already been employed but have been temporarily re-deployed to other schools waiting for the school to be ready.

He observes that the school whose works started in 2010 has delayed to be completed due to delayed payments by Government.


Government to get support to rehabilitate theatre in Petauke

Government will receive financial support for the rehabilitation of the theatre, at Petauke district hospital which is currently in a deplorable state.

Eastern Province Medical Director Abel Kabalo says JHPIEGO and SIDA, the Swedish International Development Authority, have declared interest to support the rehabilitation of the theatre.

He says that the hospital requires a total of 400, 000 Kwacha for full rehabilitation and that the two partners will only support the rehabilitation of the theatre.

He stated that the Bill of Quantity, BOQ is being done and that a contractor is soon expected to move on site.

And Dr. Kabalo, says that there is need to rehabilitate other infrastructure, such as the wards and dental department, to ensure that the health facility continues to operate as a hospital.

Dr. Kabalo noted that Petauke hospital, has been experiencing operational problems due to the dilapidated state of the infrastructure, which was constructed in the 1960s.

And Petauke Medical Superintendent Ireen Chanda, explained that the roof of the facility is on the verge of collapsing, with some leakages on a number of water pipes.

Dr. Chanda stated the hospital, which has been in existence for over 50 years without major infrastructure renovation and replenishing, needs immediate attention.



Twelve farmers nabbed for cultivation of over two tonnes of cannabis.

The Drug Enforcement Commission, DEC has arrested twelve small scale farmers of Mambwe District for unlawful cultivation of fresh cannabis plants weighing over two tonnes.

In a press statement this morning, DEC says the farmers were arrested in separate incidences.

In Simukonda Village, Moses Phiri, 23, Mambwe Phiri, 42, and John Banda, 42, were arrested for unlawful cultivation of fresh cannabis plants weighing 1.07 tonnes.

Others arrested and jointly charged are Robson Banda, 42, and Falesi Mbewe, 35, for unlawful cultivation of fresh cannabis plants weighing 395 kilograms.

Lameck Banda, 42, and his wife Eletina Jere, 36, have been arrested for unlawful cultivation of fresh cannabis plants weighing 392 kilograms.

Kelvin Jere, 34, and Eliness Banda, 35, have also been arrested for unlawful cultivation of fresh cannabis plants weighing 375 kilograms.

Also arrested is Able Banda, 46 and Godwin Phiri, 65, for unlawful cultivation of fresh cannabis plants weighing 150 and 110 kilograms of cannabis respectively.

The commission has also arrested a number of people in Western and Lusaka Provinces. All suspects will appear in court soon.

Government clarifies that routine HIV testing is not mandatory.

The Ministry of Health has clarified that no health care giver has the right to initiate HIV testing without consent from patients.

Provincial, ART, Anti-Retroviral Therapy technical officer, Michael Muzombo, says that patients must give consent, even when the testing is done through health giver initiated testing.

Mr. Muzombo says that testing a patient without his or her knowledge is against health regulations and patients have the right to report to authorities.

This was during a live debate on Breeze FM.

And PACA, Provincial Aids Coordination Advisor Emmanuel Chama encouraged people to go for HIV testing.

He said this is the only way people will know their status and get information on how to live a healthy life, whether positive or negative.

And representing the Church, Pastor Chris Mulunda encouraged people not to view with negativity, the testing which is initiated by health care givers.

Pastor Chris said that it is important for patients to allow health care givers to do their work and carry out tests deemed necessary.

He said this is the only way health care givers will know exactly what is wrong with patients and administer the right drug.

During the debate, people also raised issues on the rise in the number of traditional healers that are busy telling people that they can cure many diseases including HIV/AIDS.

Others also said something needs to be done on churches and religious leaders that discourage people from taking drugs and seeking health care services.