Zambians have been urged to pray for the leadership of the country to achieve prosperity.
Speaking during a church service at Trinity Pentecostal Church in Chipata today, First Lady Esther Lungu also thanked Zambians for the support they have shown the first family since coming into power and urged the nation to continue being prayerful.
Mrs. Lungu urged people not to despise small beginnings, saying that she and President Lungu did not expect to come this far.
And the first lady has further bemoaned the lack of love for orphans in the country, stating that it is leading to so many street kids.
She commended Trinity Church for the Outreach programmes being carried out and urged all Zambians to develop a habit of supporting the less privileged in society.
The first lady is in the Eastern province to familiarize herself with challenges facing the vulnerable and carry out an assessment of their basic needs.
And Trinity Pentecostal Church Bishop, Boyd Makukula, says that President Lungu is in State House through God’s divine plans.
The bishop called on all Zambians to support the first family.
With market for their tobacco uncertain, some independent tobacco growers in Eastern Province are now trying their luck in Lusaka.
Most farmers are reportedly ignoring calls not to take their tobacco outside the province.
Eastern Fodya Association of Zambia, EFAZ chairperson, Franklin Mwale, has confirmed that out of desperation, some farmers have resorted to taking their crop to floors in Lusaka.
Mr. Mwale says that up to now, independent tobacco growers are still not sure when they will sell the crop, as the association is still waiting for feedback from government on its negotiations with companies.
He explained that tobacco companies have maintained their stance that they will only start buying tobacco from independent growers after buying their sponsored crop.
Mr. Mwale has appealed to tobacco farmers to remain calm and not take their tobacco to Lusaka, saying this is affecting negotiations between EFAZ, government and buying companies.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mwale has encouraged companies that are offering good prices to farmers to continue, but called for improved payment system.
People staying at the controversial land of Wachepa in Chipata have started constructing houses.
Headwoman Wachepa, Elizabeth Chirwa told Breeze News that the people cannot continue living in worn out tents where they have stayed for the past four years.
Mrs. Chirwa has maintained that no one will shift from the area, despite government having secured a new place for the villagers at M’duli in Chief Mnukwa’s area.
The headwoman says that she has not been visited by any government official since last year.
She says that government has also stopped giving relief food to the villagers, but that that does not bother them because they have harvested enough maize for consumption.
The Wachepa land wrangle in Chief Kapatamoyo’s area started way back in 2011 when the villagers had their houses demolished by the bailiffs, following a court order, which ruled that the land belonged to Kabalika Nkhwengwe.
Since then government promised to purchase the land for the villagers but later decided to resettle the squatters in Chief Mnukwa’s area where it bought land.
Government is engaging a group of companies from the United Kingdom to put up an international airport in Eastern Province.
Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says that the companies are expected to inject 150 million pounds in the project.
He explained that he would be going round to check on the existence of an airstrip in Petauke District to determine if it could be an alternative for the construction of a big international airport.
Mr. Kasolo explained that the same group of companies had shown interest to improve airports in Mansa and Samfya districts and an airstrip in Kawambwa district.
Meanwhile Mr. Kasolo has disclosed that South African developers are expected in the country in two weeks’ time to check on David Kaunda Stadium.
He says that the developers are looking at possibilities of constructing a hotel as well as improving sports facilities at the stadium and sports complex, which house basketball and tennis courts.
The permanent secretary explained that government is willing to work with these investors because they want the sports facilities to run as a business in the region.
And Mr. Kasolo says that Chipata needs a bigger shopping mall to meet international standards.
First Lady Esther Lungu has called for scaling up of women empowerment programmes in the country.
Mrs Lungu says women are the backbone of families and need to be equipped to manage families and household economies.
Speaking when she addressed government and party officials in Chipata, the First Lady says she is committed to ensuring that women in the country excel so that they can contribute to national economic development.
And the First Lady later called on Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people at Feni Palace where she held private talks.
Mrs Lungu also toured Mwami Adventist Hospital where she commended health workers for striving to provide health care services to people under difficult circumstances.
She was however, disturbed when she found scores of pregnant teenagers and teenage mothers at the SDA run hospital.
Mrs Lungu who called for a stop to early marriages said the girls were too young to be married and have children.
And Hospital Administrator Enoch Chitalawa said the hospital has a catchment area of 90, 000 and appealed for increased funding and improved supply of essential drugs.
Meanwhile the first lady visited Luphazi leprosarium where she donated 5,000 Kwacha to women clubs and foodstuffs to 26 vulnerable people and 31 bags of maize seeds donated by MRI.
The First Lady also visited orphaned children at the SOS children’s village where she was reunited with Hilda and Rhoda, the twins she last saw a year ago on a ministers’ spouses’ visit.
Some unscrupulous maize buyers have invaded Nkhanga Ward in Lundazi district buying maize at as low as 30 Kwacha per 50 kilogramme bag.
Nkhanga Ward Councillor, Obote Banda confirmed the development to Breeze News in an interview.
He indicated that the briefcase buyers are taking advantage of the villagers, who are facing economic hardships to reap them off.
Mr. Banda says that there is need for government to quickly announce the floor price for maize as this will help farmers make informed decisions.
He stated that as FRA, the Food Reserve Agency waits for maize moisture content to reach the recommended percentage, it is important that farmers know the buying price.
And Mr. Banda appealed to people in the ward not to sell all their produce due to imminent hunger in the area.
The Immigration Department in Chipata has arrested two Congolese and six Malawians for unlawful entry into the country.
Immigration Public Relations Officer, Namati Nshinka has confirmed the development to Breeze News stating that the suspects were arrested on Thursday.
Mr Namati says the Congolese and Malawi nationals were arrested at a check point jointly mounted by a team of officers under the Ministry of Home Affairs in Chipata.
And Mr. Nshinka says that the Immigration Department in Lundazi on Wednesday removed 11 Malawians from the country.
Mr Nshinka says the suspected Malawians were removed from the country via Lusuntha Border Control.
Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo has warned that he will not tolerate hooliganism from civil servants over May salaries.
Mr. Kasolo says that he will not hesitate to discipline civil servants that want to resort to protests because of government’s alleged delay to pay them May salaries.
Speaking to Breeze News, Mr. Kasolo maintained that according to government guidelines, the last day for paying salaries is the last date of the month.
He says that civil servants should not misinterpret governments’ goodwill to pay salaries early in previous months.
The permanent secretary wondered why civil servants who are supposed to be paid at the end of the month did not complain when government started paying salaries early.
Mr. Kasolo challenged civil servants to concentrate on their work and ensure that people in Eastern Province get a good service.
Yesterday Health Workers Union of Zambia Provincial Chairperson, Ortan Kaluba warned that the workers would resort to industrial action if government did not explain properly why the May salaries had delayed.
United Party for National Development UPND has picked its candidates for the Petauke Central and Malambo parliamentary by-elections.
UPND Provincial Chairperson, Paul Thole says that former MMD Kakumbi Ward Councillor, Peter Phiri will contest the Malambo seat while Allan Zulu, a businessman will contest the Petauke Central seat.
Mr. Thole says that the UPND is satisfied with the selection of the two candidates.
He says that he is convinced that UPND will win the two seats because the opposition political party has already established its presence in Eastern Province when it won the two local government by-elections in Chipata and Lundazi.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia ECZ has set June 30 as the date for the three parliamentary by-elections that include Mulobezi in Western Province.
Delay by government to pay May salaries to civil servants may results into protests in Eastern Province.
Health Workers Union of Zambia Provincial Chairperson, Ortan Kaluba says that the workers will protest if government does not give convincing reasons as to why the salaries have delayed.
Mr. Kaluba told Breeze News this morning that according to law, the contract between workers and an employee is that a worker should be paid within 30 days.
He says that the union does not agree with Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo that the last day for payment of salaries to civil servants in the country is at the end of the month.
Mr. Kaluba explained that 30 days can start at any day of the month because civil servants are paid on the 18th of every month.
He says that the union is worried over the delayed salaries because government has not given any explanation.