8.2 million Kwacha water debt for Eastern Water causes problems

Eastern Water and Sewerage Company is owed about 8.2 million Kwacha in unpaid water bills by customers in Eastern Province.

Managing Director, Lyton Kanowa says that more than 60 per cent of the owed amount is by clients in Chipata district.

Mr. Kanowa says that this has seriously affected operations of the company to an extent, where it is struggling to pay electricity bills, resulting in ZESCO disconnecting supply to its offices.

Speaking during a radio programme on Breeze FM this morning, Mr. Kanowa also stated that accumulated effects of climate change, which have affected the rainfall pattern in the last two years, have affected operations at Lutembwe Dam Two.

He says that apart from Lutembwe Dam 2 being silted, the plant should have stopped spilling in September but it stopped spilling four months ago due to low water levels.

And the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has committed itself to facilitate the expansion of Dam Two water treatment plant.

Mr. Kanowa says that a consultant is currently on the ground to do a detailed study and design of the replica plant and prepare tender documents.

He says that the company hopes to advertise for the construction of the replica plant at Lutembwe Dam two water treatment plant by October.

Meanwhile government owes Eastern Water and Sewerage Company about 4.2 million kwacha in unpaid water bills.

Eastern Water and Sewerage Company Director Lytone Kanowa confirmed in an interview with journalists this morning.

Mr. Kanowa says half of the debt that the government owes is coming from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

He says that although government promised to pay the debt, the response has not been good adding that this money is needed for other operations.

The director says his office has continued pursuing the matter through the office of the permanent secretary and Ministry of Local Government and Housing in Lusaka so that the debt is cleared.

EFAZ denies failing to perform

Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia EFAZ has dismissed statements that it has failed to adequately represent farmers in Eastern Province.

Chairperson Franklin Mwale has told Breeze News that the association has always done its best to ensure that the interests of farmers are protected.

Mr. Mwale explained that EFAZ should not be blamed for the dwindling tobacco industry in Eastern Province because it is a global problem.

He explained that the global Anti-Smoking Campaign has adversely affected the sector because international tobacco companies have reduced their operations.

Mr. Mwale says that during a stakeholders meeting held last week in Lusaka, TBZ, Tobacco Board of Zambia indicated that there was currently over supply of burley tobacco on the international market but shortage of flue cured tobacco.

He advised farmers to register with TBZ, stating that this is the only way that farmers will be assisted with market and information on what type of crop to grow.

IBA commended for lifting Itezhi tezhi radio license

MISA Zambia has commended IBA, the Independent Broadcasting Authority for lifting the suspension of the license for Itezhi Tezhi Radio station following several appeals from various stakeholders including MISA.

Chairperson Hellen Mwale says that the decision to lift the suspension is timely because the punishment meted out to the three broadcast stations was unfair.

In a statement availed to Breeze News, Ms Mwale notes that the three stations were neither charged nor given an opportunity to appear before the authority prior to the decision.

She says that the authority must live up to its mandate of  promoting a pluralistic broadcasting industry in Zambia through fair, transparent and effective regulation as provided for in the IBA amendment act of 2010.

Ms Mwale has demanded that the power of the IBA to regulate public broadcasters such as ZNBC be restored as this will truly level the playing field and allow for uniform and not selective enforcement of standards.

Misa Zambia has reiterated the call for all media institutions and practitioners to stand united and remain professional in their conduct as this is the only way for the media fraternity to forge ahead.

And Ms Mwale says that MISA is closely monitoring the legal suit brought by Muvi Television and Komboni Radio

Government to assess finanacial base of councils

The Ministry of Local Government and Housing is to embark on an exercise of establishing the financial base of councils in Eastern Province.

Provincial Local Government Officer, Alex Bwalya has confirmed to Breeze News in an interview.

Mr. Bwalya says the exercise will also involve getting information on when these councils last received CDF, Constituency Development Fund, projects being executed and what challenges are being faced.

He says that government is aware that most local authorities have poor sources of revenue, which has created financial challenges.

And Mr. Bwalya says that councils have not been stopped from paying salaries to Division four workers using local resources.

He says that councils are expected to fill up the gap in meeting salary bills if the grants, which they receive from government, are not enough.

 

EFAZ leadership accused of failing to perform

Prominent tobacco farmer Chishala Chilufya has called for a complete change of leadership at EFAZ, Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia.

Speaking during a live radio programme on Breeze FM, Mr. Chilufya charged that EFAZ is not operating the way it is supposed to operate in representing the interests of farmers.

He bemoaned the dwindling tobacco industry in the region, stating that urgent measures need to be taken to prevent the industry from completely collapsing.

And Mr. Chilufya proposed that TBZ, the Tobacco Board of Zambia introduces a Zone system of running the tobacco industry in Eastern Province.

He says that this will ensure that investment for various tobacco companies is protected unlike the current situation where companies operate anywhere in the region.

Mr. Chilufya says that restricting companies to specific areas is what has assisted Malawi to properly regulate its industry.

Meanwhile Mr. Chilufya, who is also MMD national chairperson for agriculture alleged that the delay to swear in President elect Edgar Lungu has affected payment to farmers, who sold tobacco to TBZ.

He says that although there is no leadership vacuum in the country, President Lungu cannot make certain decisions to facilitate quick release of funds to TBZ.

ZANIS driver found in awkward situation

Police in Petauke district have arrested a man and charged him with giving false information to a public officer.

Eastern Province Police Commissioner Alex Chilufya confirmed that Mike Mutemwa a driver at ZANIS offices in Petauke district was arrested yesterday.

Mr. Chilufya says earlier Mutemwa reported to the police that his office vehicle was stolen and the police started investigating the matter when in fact it was not stolen.

He says after investigations it was discovered that Mutemwa abandoned the vehicle in the bush and fled after unknown people started beating him when they allegedly saw him in a compromising situation with his girlfriend.

The vehicle was discovered on Monday in the bush with only a car battery missing.

Mr Chilufya says the police apprehended Mutemwa and he will appear in court soon.

Delays to operationalise completed CDF projects worries villagers

Some people in Mambwe district have expressed concern with delays to deploy officers after projects are completed by the community.

Samson Mbewe of Mphomwa area wonders why some infrastructure, such as police posts and clinics that are built by communities through CDF, Constituency Development Fund stay long before they become fully operational.

He observed that the delay often leads to vandalism.

Mr. Mbewe also says that this, demoralises members of the community, who put in their best in contributing the 25 per cent required in community projects.

He explained that the community completed building a police post and a clinic in 2015 but have remained non-operational for a long time.

Mr. Mbewe notes that sending officers to the police post will assist reduce criminal activities, enhance security in the area and reduce activities such as illegal burning of charcoal.

Constitutional Court sets two dates for presidential petition issues

The Constitutional Court has finally set Friday September 2nd 2016 as date for hearing in the Petition contesting the re-election of President Edgar Lungu of PF, the Patriotic Front Party.

The Court has also set Thursday this week as the date of hearing for the UPND application to have the main petition amended.
The lawyers representing President Edgar Lungu argue that the 14 days in which the Petition should be heard will expire on Friday.

The lawyers are relying upon Article 103 (2) that states that: *The Constitutional Court shall hear an election petition relating to the President -Elect within fourteen days of the filing of the Petition*.

The lawyers are also relying on the Constitutional interpretation as provided for in *Article 269 (d)* which states that weekends are counted if the days of the matter exceeds six days.

The United Party for National Development UPND lawyers, on the other hand are contending that; the 14 days will end next Thursday on 8th September 2016 if weekends are excluded.

The UPND contend that the Court should consider 14 working days instead of 14 ordinary days.

More maize purchase problems for Food Reserve Agency

Challenges that FRA, the Food Reserve Agency is facing in buying maize from farmers in Chipata and Lundazi districts could worsen.

This is because private companies, millers and vendors, who are buying the produce at more than 100 Kwacha for a 50 kilogramme bag, are setting up more buying points in rural parts of the two districts.

Breeze FM Correspondent, Edward Mbulo has visited a number of chiefdoms in Chipata and Lundazi, where farmers have vowed not to sell their crop to FRA because of the low buying price.

Pupils in seven schools to acquire business knowledge

Seven secondary schools in Chipata will benefit from the Junior Achievement Company programme.

This is a programme that will help learners, learn how business operates, acquire life skills and also tips on how to make informed career choices.

This has been done to solve challenges of youth unemployment especially to those who do not prepare for their experience after leaving school.

This came to light this morning during the orientation meeting for the Junior Achievement Company programme sponsored by Citibank Zambia limited in Chipata.

Speaking during the occasion, Senior Education Standards Officer Linah Kamanga says when exposed, learners will be able to make choices in their lives and contribute to national development and wealth creation.

Mrs. Kamanga says the programme will inspire and motivate leaners adding that they will reaffirm their commitment to achieving their career aspiration.

She says that the programme is not only important for local competition but also for Zambia to present the best team at the Africa regional JA Company competition in December this year.