Farmers in Ngongwe area in Chipata are in a state of panic, following heavy rains yesterday.
Zone Five Chairperson in Ngongwe Camp Agricultural Committee, CAC, John Lungu, says that farmers are in a dilemma, because they have no farming inputs especially seed.
Mr. Lungu, says that farmers are worried that delays in planting seed may affect the yields.
He says that farmers are unable to buy inputs on their own because most of them have not yet received their money after selling maize to FRA, the Food Reserve Agency.
Last week, Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo, explained that the delay in the distribution of inputs was caused by the absence of seed.
He however explained that the province has now received the seed and is hopeful that all farmers would have received their inputs by the end of November.
Chiefs in Katete district have lamentably complained of the continued failure by Katete District Council to utilise the land offered to them by traditional leaders.
Speaking on behalf of other Chiefs, during a stakeholder’s consultative meeting on land policy, Chief Mbango’mbe said chiefs in the district have resolved not to offer any more land to the local authority until they fully utilise the land they were given years back.
The Chief said Katete District has enough land for development but is disappointed with the manner the district council has been handling the matter.
He cited portions of land given to government as land marked for a district hospital, LDF Land Development Fund plots, university of mathematics, and bus station among others.
He added that chiefs will soon begin repossessing any land that was offered to government but has remained idle for many years.
The Chiefs later submitted that they will in future consider giving their land on lease and not title as this will enable them check on how development is unfolding in their respective chiefdom.
Meanwhile Katete District Council Community Development Officer who represented the District Planning Officer Mabvuto Phiri said the local council was not the planning authority but was responsible for recommending land development approval to the Eastern Province Planning Authority.
Mr. Phiri said the delay in development on some portions of land like the LDF plots was as a result of the Ministry of Lands failure to produce all the 268 offer letters as the council only received 120.
He however accepted that the plots given under the LDF was un-serviced as the local council could only manage to put up a few roads.
The local authority in Lundazi district is in the
process of repossessing a three hectare land belonging to Lundazi Hotel whose managing director is Dr George Chabwela.
ZANIS reports that Lundazi District Council Planner Davison Kamuli says the council wrote to the owner informing him that they will start the process of repossessing the land as he was not developing it and he wrote back that the building at the said land was at roof level.
Mr Kamuli says that it was the duty of the council to recommend for the repossession of land to the Ministry of Lands if the owner is not developing it.
He says that the council will not sit idle and see people who got land sometime back failing to develop it.
And Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says that government will not interfere with the legal aspect of repossession by the council.
Mr Kasolo says that it was clear in the law that once a person acquires land he/she has eighteen months to develop it failure to which land can be repossessed.
He said the council should engage Dr Chabwela to ensure that the land is repossessed legally and not with selfish motives.
Some teachers from Jubeva College of Education, who were left out in the just ended teacher recruitment exercise have presented a petition to provincial administration, citing a lot of anomalies on the list that was published recently.
The teachers observed that out of over 300 teachers, who graduated from the college in two different intakes, less than 30 were picked.
The teachers said that on the list of names of teachers which was published, there are names of teachers, who were employed, when their year of training completion indicates 2015.
They wondered where the employed teachers got the results, because at the time of submitting application in August, it meant they had not even written their final examinations in their various colleges.
The teachers said that the Ministry of Education should have employed those, who hold primary teaching certificates because their chances of being recruited are getting slimmer.
They said that this is because government has a policy where lowest qualification for teachers should be a diploma.
They requested that in case of any replacement, they should be given priority.
A check by Breeze News on the list of the successful teachers found that 23 names were indicating as having completed training in 2015 while 18 had no record on when they completed training.
Meanwhile Youth Forum has called for investigations into how the teacher recruitment exercise was conducted.
Provincial Youth Forum Chairperson Mathews Phiri has told Breeze News that Provincial Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo and ACC, the Anti-Corruption Commission should fully establish how some candidates, who were not eligible got the jobs.
Mr. Phiri charged that anomalies in the recruitment exercise are a clear indication that the jobs were not offered on merit.
He says that there is no way a person who has just finished a certificate course in 2015 could be found on the list of those selected to take up jobs as teachers, leaving long standing certificate holders.
Mr. Phiri says it is saddening to note that only 42 candidates were selected in Chipata district and a bigger number from other provinces.
Ministry of Lands Chief Planner John Phiri has asked Katete District Council to ask government for more funds and service land apportioned for development.
Speaking during a stakeholder’s consultative meeting on land policy yesterday, Mr. Phiri said government is clear on land and has directed all councils to only offer land for development once the plots are fully serviced.
Mr. Phiri wondered why it has taken Katete District Council a long time to complete servicing the plots under the Land Development Fund LDF in the district.
He advised that the council should invite the Ministry of Lands to go and evaluate how much work has been done on plot servicing and further ask for funds to complete the project.
An Environmental Impact Assessment EIA report by a Chinese company on the proposed large scale mining in Petauke District has been rejected.
Zambia Environmental Management Agency ZEMA Public Relations Officer, Ireen Phiri has confirmed to Breeze News.
Ms. Phiri says that ZEMA’s assessment and feedback from the hearing revealed that the EIA report did not have adequate information on key project activities.
Ms. Phiri says that Sinozoncha has since been requested to address the gaps and re-submit the EIA report to ZEMA.
Sinozoncha Resources Mining Company intends to set up a large scale mine in Sandwe Chiefdom of Petauke district.
A public hearing for the said project was held in September, 2015 in Sandwe area.
The Energy Regulation Board ERB has raided six illegal fuel sites in the light industrial area of Lusaka and recovered over 140 drums of fuel.
Three tankers were also impounded, while about 37 suspects were rounded up with undisclosed amounts of money.
In a statement to Breeze News, ERB Public Relations Manager, Kwali Mfuni says that the board worked with DEC, the Drug Enforcement Commission and the Zambia Police in carrying out the operation.
Ms. Mfuni says that ERB carried out the operation following tips from members of the public and Oil Marketing Companies, following widespread illegal fuel vending activities and tanker drivers allegedly supplying fuel uplifted from the Lusaka fuel depot to illegal fuel vendors.
She says that the raids in Lusaka were conducted on Wednesday.
Ms. Mfune says that the joint exercise is schedule to be extended to other parts of the country to act against illegal fuel vending vices.
She says that fuel vending is a threat to public safety and deprives government of revenue.
Ms. Mfune has encouraged members of the public to report illegal fuel vending activities and sites to ERB, DEC of the Zambia Police.
The extended tobacco marketing season in Eastern, Central and Southern Provinces is about to close.
Tobacco Board of Zambia TBZ Chief Executive Officer, Samson Muyembe has confirmed to Breeze News in an interview.
Mr. Muyembe says that TBZ has managed to mop up almost all the tobacco from independent growers, which was stuck due to lack of market.
He says that TBZ will be able to establish the total quantity of the tobacco bought from independent growers after close the exercise.
And Mr. Muyembe says that TBZ has not faced any challenges with farmers over buying prices as the exercise has gone smoothly.
TBZ had projected to buy 480,000 metric tonnes of the cash crop from independent growers in the region.
Movement for Multiparty Democracy, MMD president, Nevers Mumba, says that his party has not been shaken by defections of some of its leaders to PF, the Patriotic Front Party.
Dr. Mumba says that the MMD in Eastern Province remains very strong, as all party structures are still intact despite the defections.
He explained that his party will not involve itself in what he described as cheap politics that the PF is trying to play.
Dr. Mumba explained that the party’s national deputy secretary is currently in the province working with the provincial leadership on party mobilization.
He says that a visit to six districts has so far revealed that all MMD members and leaders are still working hard for the party.
Dr. Mumba said that acting provincial chairperson; Jacob Mwanza handled the fake defections well.
Shortage of testing kits for HIV has hit Lundazi district.
This came to light when men who accompanied their wives for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission PMTCT counselling session were turned back without undergoing HIV testing at Lundazi Urban Clinic.
Some of the men confirmed that they had been turned back without testing for HIV because of lack of testing kits.
And Lundazi District Community Medical Officer David Zulu confirmed the shortage.
Dr. Zulu indicated that the district has had no HIV testing kits for the past two weeks.
He however, explained that a new consignment of testing kits was already in the province in Chipata and that soon the district will receive the kits.