Marike Construction Company blames government for delayed construction works of Chikando High Secondary School.

Works of constructing Chikando High Secondary School by Marike Construction Company have stalled for close to eight months.
Marike Construction Company Engineer, Sunga Mweshi says that the works stalled because government has not paid 10 per cent advance payment.
Mr. Mweshi told Luengeni Member of parliament, Charles Zulu when he visited the construction site that government only paid 1.3 billion Kwacha unrebased, which does not meet the ten per cent payment.
Mr. Mweshi says the company had started building the school using its own money but stopped after the funds ran out.
And when Mr. Zulu asked how the Chinese are managing to finish the contracts in time, Mr. Mweshi said that the foreign companies use their own money as they are assisted by the Bank of China.
Mr. Mweshi however, assured Mr. Zulu who is also energy deputy minister that the 13.8 billion Kwacha project, which started in February 2011, will be completed by the end of this year.
Meanwhile villagers in Luengeni Constituency are not happy that the construction works for the only secondary school in the area have stalled.
Josphat Thole told Breeze News that there is high demand for a secondary school in the area due to the increasing number of pupils in basic schools.

The Anti-Voter Apathy Project says that there is lack of political will to fight abuse of public funds.

The Anti-Voter Apathy Project AVAP in Eastern Province says the Auditor General’s report over misappropriation of public funds in public institutions is a challenging task for the Patriotic Front government.
Eastern Province, AVAP Coordinator, Maumba Ngoma says that there is need for government to show political will by fighting the abuse of public resources.
Mr. Ngoma says reports from the Auditors General office of abuse of funds by civil servants are not new but lack political will to stop them.
And Mr. Ngoma says that Civil Society Organisations have been calling for Freedom of Information bill and Anti-Corruption Commission Act to be passed, so that journalists can have freedom to access information from government institutions on financial matters.
He further says that if journalists can access financial information from government departments, many civil servants will have fear to abuse the money.

A grade eleven pupil and a peasant farmer arrested in Lundazi district for drug trafficking

The Drug Enforcement Commission DEC has arrested a grade eleven pupil and a peasant farmer in Lundazi district for drug trafficking.
DEC Public Relations Officer, Samuel Silomba confirmed the arrest of Yolum Zimba 19, a grade eleven pupil of Lunda Day Secondary School and Richard Zimba, 48, a peasant farmer.
Mr. Silomba says Yolamu Zimba of Chaniche village in Chief Mpikamalaza’s area was found with 8.11 kilograms of dagga in a polymer bag during DEC operations.
He further explained that Richard Zimba of Matala village in Chief Zimwanda’s area was arrested by DEC for cultivating suspected cannabis in his maize field weighing about 7.31 kilograms.
He says the two who have been charged with trafficking in psychotropic substances will appear in court soon.

A one year old baby killed by a crocodile after attacking its mother in Chadiza district

A one year old baby is reported to have been killed after his mother was attacked by a crocodile in Kandabwako stream in Chadiza district
The child fell from the mother’s back into the stream as she struggled to climb a tree in an effort to escape from the jaws of a crocodile that left her with serious injuries.
Rachael Banda aged 30 of Chikomba village in Chief M’lolo’s area was attacked on Tuesday between 14 and 15 hours when she went to wash from the stream.
According to Rachael’s sister, Catherine of Chikoloka village in Chief M’lolo area, her sister was washing in the stream when the reptile caught one of her legs and dragged her into the water.
The woman tried to climb a nearby tree as the crocodile held on to one of her legs and in the process the baby who was wrapped at her back fell into the stream and the crocodile left her and dragged the baby and went away.
The woman was later assisted by her parents who rushed her to Chadiza Boma clinic where she is currently admitted nursing serious injuries.
Breeze FM Staffer, Paul Phiri reports that Rachael sustained a broken leg and arm and deep multiple injuries.
Efforts to get a comment from Chadiza District Medical Officer, Dr. Swazi Fundafunda failed by news time as he was busy attending to other patients.

Workers from China- Africa Cotton Company in Chipata protest over unpaid allowances.

Workers from China- Africa Cotton Company in Chipata Wednesday morning walked more than 4 kilometres to the provincial administration to air their grievances over unpaid allowances.
The workers who demanded to seek audience with Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Bert Mushala say that they have not been given their gratuity, transport allowance and leave term allowances after working for the company for close to a year.
The workers say that they had already lodged there complaint with the former Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Mwamba in December last year adding that Mr. Mwamba had assigned the senior Labour Officer, Kabuba Mufana to resolve the matter.
They wondered why the matter has taken too long to be resolved.
And Eastern Province Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary, Zachariah Luhanga says that government is still following up on the matter.
Mr. Luhanga says that he is aware that the matter has taken quite some time to be resolved.
He says that this is because there were some documents that were not presented to government.

No official invitation for opposition political party leaders at this year Nc’wala Ceremony of the Ngoni people.

The United Party for National Development, UPND is unhappy with the decision taken by the Nc’wala Ceremony Organising Committee not to invite opposition political leaders.
UPND Deputy Publicity Secretary, Victor Mbuzi, says it is wrong for Nc’wala Ceremony Organising Committee Secretary, George Zulu to block opposition leaders from attending the traditional ceremony for the Ngoni people.
Mr. Mbuzi says Nc’wala is supposed to be attended by people from all walks of life including the opposition political parties.
He has charged that Mr. Zulu who is also Energy Permanent Secretary is trying to politicise the annual event by ensuring that only government officials attend the ceremony.
But when contacted for comment, Mr. Zulu said that the organising committee has decided not to officially invite opposition political party leaders because they are too many, which might provide a challenge in the sitting arrangement.
He denied allegation that he has politicised the traditional ceremony, stating that everyone is welcome to attend the event including oppositional political party leaders but not as official guests.
Mr. Zulu also reminded those that want to attend the ceremony that political attire will not be allowed.

The number of mealie meal traders ignoring government’s directive to reduce the price of the staple food is increasing.

Mealie meal traders in Mambwe district have joined those that have ignored President, Michael Sata’s directive to reduce the price of the staple food.
This has angered consumers, who have appealed to government to quickly address the matter before people start going without eating.
Mabvuto Maumba from Chief Kakumba’s area told Breeze News that the traders are selling a 25 kilogramme bag of mealie meal at 55 Kwacha, which is five kwacha more than the recommended price.
Mr. Maumba says that he cannot understand how the traders can ignore President Sata’s directive.
And another resident, Mercy Mwenya has wondered why mealie meal traders want to exploit people when millers agreed to reduce the prices of mealie meal.
Last month, President Sata held a meeting with millers at which he convinced them to reduce the prices of mealie meal, which had gone to 80 Kwacha in some parts of the country.

Financial problems have continued to face Cheshire Home in Chipata.

Cheshire Home of the disabled children in Chipata has not been receiving funds from government for close to three years now.
The home which is currently accommodating 28 disabled children attending primary school is also not receiving donor support.
Assistant sister in-charge at the home, Judith Chanda says the home is supposed to receive funds from government once or twice per year, which is not being done.
Sister Chanda says that Cheshire Home has to look for money to feed and accommodate children and take those with complications for medical operations.
And Sister Chanda says that the situation where some parents abandon their children at Cheshire home due to the nature of disability has not stopped.
Sister Chanda says that most parents do not come back to pick up their children when they close school.
She explained that the children are supposed to be taken back to their parents during holidays and after a confirmation by the doctor that they are well.

High cases of defilement worry the judiciary in Eastern Province.

The Chipata High Court Session has officially opened with the Judiciary expressing sadness with the increasing number of defilement cases in the province.
High Court Judge, Flavia Chishimba, says that the criminal cause list of the cases for this February High Court session reveals that sexual offences particularly defilement are prevalent in the province.
Judge Chishimba says that the Magistrate Courts in the region are flooded with sexual offences adding that the statutory minimum sentences imposed by parliament are beyond their sentencing powers.
The judge explained that after convictions, the Magistrate courts have to refer the convicts for possible sentencing to the High Court, which later results into congestion in the prisons as the convicts remain in remand centres pending the transmission of records to the High Court.
She says that the judiciary is however, considering the possible means of enhancing the sentencing powers of the magistrates as a solution to the backlog of cases.
Judge Chishimba says the maximum power of sentencing for magistrates currently stands at 9 years and proposals are in the process to have the powers increased to 15 years.
And Judge Chishimba has bemoaned lack of transport which has hit the judiciary saying this impact negatively on the timely dispensation of justice.
Judge Chishimba called on government to urgently look into the matter as the vehicles used are old with mechanical faults causing frequent breakdowns.

Illegal street vendors trading along Umodzi Highway in Chipata ready to risk their lives.

Illegal street vendors trading along Umodzi Highway near Saturday market in Chipata have vowed not to stop trading from the area.
This is despite warning by the former Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Mwamba that lives of people will be lost in case of a road accident happening on the stretch of the road where vendors trade from.
The illegal vendors say that they do not care whether there will be a serious accident because they are ready to die.
They told Breeze News that they will only move out when the local authority provides them with trading stands in markets.
Meanwhile, some traders in Saturday market have refuted claims that they refuse to allow illegal vendors trade from inside the markets.
The traders say that those trading along the roads have left their stands in markets claiming that there is no business as a lot of people buy from the streets.