A document demanding that the Barotse Agreement be reinstated in the draft constitution has sparked huge debate at the on-going national convention in Lusaka.
The document signed by a Mr. Bernard Silumesii, states that any refusal by the delegates to incorporate the Barotse Agreement in the draft constitution will mean that Zambians are asking people from Barotse land not to be part of Zambia.
The document has further stated that since the delegates have agreed that Zambia should remain a unitary state, then it should accommodate the Barotse Agreement.
Breeze FM Staffer, Isaac Ngoma reports that the document, whose copies were circulated among delegates, put a temporary halt to business at the convention.
And contributing to the debate, former vice president, Brigadier General Godfrey Muyanda has advised against putting demands in the document to a vote because it can create further problems.
General Muyanda says issues surrounding the Barotse Agreement should be addressed by government outside the draft constitution.
By News time, Chairperson of the National Constitution Conference Professor, Muyunda Mwanalushi ruled that the matter be deferred to a later time after thematic groups finish making their submissions.
Meanwhile delegates at the national convention have numinously upheld the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation in the draft constitution.
The upholding of the declaration is however, with amendments to paragraph two of the preamble, where they have replaced ‘but upholding’ with ‘while upholding’.
The delegates have also resolved that freedom fighters be recognised in the preamble of the draft constitution.
And in support of the motion, former MMD, Movement for Multi-Party Democracy national secretary, Katele Kalumba said that it was important because some freedom fighters have died without seeing any incentives.
And former republican vice president, Brigadier General Godfrey Muyanda said that there is need to enshrine the recognition of freedom fighters in the preamble but that the benefits be left to government policy.
Some people in Msanga Ward in Chipata Central Constituency have accused area councillor, Alick Banda of failing to perform.
The residents say that Mr. Banda rarely tours the ward to get a clear understanding of problems that people are facing.
Bernard Banda and Godfrey Zulu told Breeze News that the area faces a lot of problems, such as lack of safe drinking water and poor road network.
But Mr. Banda dismissed the complaints, saying that he has been holding developmental meetings with people.
He however, acknowledged that the ward is facing a number of challenges.
Mr. Banda attributed the slow pace of implementing developmental projects in the area to the delays in the releasing of CDF, Constituency Development Fund.
He explained that the new CDF regulations under PF, the Patriotic Front government have lengthened the process.
The councillor has therefore, appealed to government to find ways in which money for CDF can be released on time.
The campaign on the fight against early marriages in Zambia has been lunched.
First lady, Dr. Christine Kaseba who launched the campaign yesterday in Chipata, advised parents and traditional leaders to take a leading step for the trend to be reduced.
Dr. Kaseba says that traditional leaders, who have influence on people, can assist in stopping early marriages by banning some customs that contribute to the vice.
Dr. Kaseba says that cases of early marriages if left unattended to can deprive a child’s education as well as jeopardise a girl child’s health adding that most young girls have complications when giving birth.
She has appealed to government to increase access to education by constructing more schools in rural areas, stating that children who have dropped out of school due to early marriages should be allowed to go back to school.
And speaking during the same occasion, Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people says that traditional leaders will work together with government and other stakeholders in supporting the fight against early marriages.
He says that government should come up with a bill that will enable Chiefs to have more powers to stop people from practicing some negative traditional beliefs.
The paramount chief revealed that there is a scholarship in his chiefdom that allows school drop outs get back to school.
And Chief Ntambu of the Lunda people of Mwinilunga district appealed to government to spread the sensitisation program on the fight against early marriages to other parts of the country.
Movement for Multiparty Democracy, MMD president, Nevers Mumba says that the PF, Patriotic Front government is harassing leaders of the opposition parties in an effort to dismantle the MMD.
Dr. Mumba who likened the PF acts to a biblical story, said that “the weep the shepherd and the sheep will scatter“ strategy is meant to destroy the MMD and other opposition parties in order to go back to the one party state, where President Michael Sata will be the only one to speak.
He however, said that such efforts by the PF will not work out, as the MMD will continue to talk about things that are not being done in the right way by government.
The MMD leader said this when he met part leaders and members in Chipata.
And Dr. Mumba says that MMD councillors have now become the major target by PF, after failing to buy Members of Parliament.
He explained that the PF is now trying to establish itself in Eastern Province and other parts of the country by buying off councillors to join the party.
Dr. Mumba who described councillors as “an endangered species” cautioned MMD councillors in Chipata district to be on the lookout and avoid causing unnecessary by-elections.
Meanwhile, MMD provincial chairperson, Alexander Miti says that the devil should work on all those who have left the party to join the PF.
Mr. Miti says that such people are selfish and ungrateful to the party, which helped some of them in their lives.
He however, said that the party in the province has remained strong.
And Chipata district chairperson, Sinoya Mwale pointed out that the people, who have left MMD to join the PF, are rejects of the party that did not even have clear positions as to where they belong.
He said that all genuine MMD members have remained loyal to the party.
And Mr. Mwale says that the MMD in Chipata district will not stop talking about problems such as hunger that people are facing.
He also called on Dr. Mumba not to be discouraged from talking about people’s problems because of the continued arrests and harassment from the PF.
The thematic working group on civil and political rights of part 5 of the draft constitution has unanimously risen the marriage age from 18 to 21.
Breeze FM Staffer, Isaac Ngoma says that the group has risen the age under the justification that girls should be allowed to stay in school for a considerable period of time.
The delegates in the working group also agreed to amend article 38, clause 4 on Freedom of the Media so that “state media” be replaced with “public media” to avoid abuse of public media.
Meanwhile Information and Broadcasting Permanent Secretary, Amos Malupenga has advised the delegates to assist in raising the level of public debate on the media.
Mr. Malupenga has expressed concern that the issues that were being discussed in the media were of low quality because people left this to those that had less to offer.
He was speaking as a delegate at the end of the committee discussions on the civil and political rights.
The thematic working groups conclude their sittings today and submit their resolutions to the plenary session of the national convention, which will run up to Wednesday next week.
Lundazi is the first district in the province to have a ZEMA, Zambia Environmental Management Agency certified dumpsite.
This came to light during the first quarter of the provincial epidemic meeting, which was chaired by the Permanent Secretary for Eastern Province, Bert Mushala.
Lundazi district was further awarded with a certificate for being the cleanest district in the province.
Mr Mushala urged other districts to emulate the good works of Lundazi district and intensify their efforts.
Meanwhile, Provincial Medical Officer, Dr Kennedy Malama says all districts had shown a reduction in malaria incidences, but urged people not to relax as the situation could easily change overnight.
He says that non communicable diseases were causing more deaths than communicable diseases.
Dr. Malama further asked for support in the distribution and advocating for proper use of ITNs, Insecticide Treated Misquote Nets.
The Movement for Multi-Party Democracy MMD has declared political battle against district commissioners across the country.
And the former ruling party has warned that the country risks going into political chaos in 2016, if the PF, Patriotic Front government does not allow the ECZ, Electoral Commission of Zambia to operate independently.
MMD President, Dr. Nevers Mumba says that the party has uncovered a scam, where district commissioners are being used to bribe MMD councillors so that they abandon the former ruling party.
He was speaking this morning during a live radio programme dubbed “Political Hour” on Breeze FM.
And Dr. Mumba says that MMD does not have any problem with ECZ but is against government’s interference in the operations of the electoral body.
The MMD President charged that the ruling party, which is currently very excited about being in power, has formulated a system to rig all by-elections.
He, however, explained that although the MMD has decided not to contest the forth coming Kapiri Mposhi and Lukulu West by-elections, it will next week on Tuesday engage the ECZ on its concerns.
Meanwhile Dr. Mumba says that the MMD is not an enemy of the ruling party but has the duty to hold government accountable.
He charged that the PF government has not fulfilled any of the 90 days campaign promises it made in the run up to the 2011 general elections.
But in an immediate reaction, Government has dismissed the allegation that district commissioners are involved in buying MMD councillors.
Information and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Mwansa Kapeya says District Commissioners are pure civil servants who should not be dragged into political madness by Dr. Mumba.
The Ministry of Health has closed Petauke Boarding Secondary School due to poor sanitation.
Petauke District Environmental Health Technician, Lameck Banda who disclosed the development to Breeze News says that school was closed yesterday.
The learning institution is not having toilets because they are full while the school dormitories do not have glass panes and need to be renovated.
Mr. Banda says that the school will not open until further notice.
Eastern Province has continued to be at risk from various forms of disease epidemics.
This came to light during the first quarter of the Provincial Epidemic meeting being held in Chipata.
Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Bert Mushala says that the epidemics include, measles, cholera, polio, meningitis, rabies, anthrax and other diarrhoea diseases.
Mr. Mushala says that by last month, the province had recorded a total of 84 measles cases, 557 bloody diarrhoea and 121 dog bite cases.
He added that malaria, HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis have continued posing a huge threat and that every day, new challenges are emerging on how to prevent and control diseases.
Mr. Mushala urged all stake holders to step up efforts and ensure that the trend does not continue stating that that there is serious need for proactive and not reactive action to prevent these disease epidemics.
He says that government is the process of introducing a measles second dose which will be given to children at 18 months of age.
Mr. Mushala says trainings for health workers on the new vaccine will soon be conducted and that government has also introduced a vaccine to prevent pneumonia in children.
Mr. Mushala also says that lack of approved dump sites in the province requires urgent attention.
Movement for Multi- Party Democracy MMD, President Nevers Mumba says his arrests do not have any impact on him as he has the power of God in all that he does.
Dr. Mumba says he will not stop to speak on wrong things for fear of being detained because PF Patriotic Front government will not shut his mouth even in jail.
Dr. Mumba was speaking when he met party members in Chadiza district.
He explained that he took long to start the country tour because the PF, has been disturbing him and the party by detaining him in everything that he does.
Dr. Mumba advised MMD members to be strong even if their members are being persecuted because they are fighting for the second independence as everyone who speaks suffers an arrest.
He says that he initiated a new hope tour in Eastern Province to restructure the party from the ward up to province level.
The MMD President also says he wanted to prepare the party for the general elections in 2016 to get back the power from PF.