Police in Chipata have arrested seven Patriotic Front, PF Ward officials in Chipata Central Constituency for attempting to hold a peaceful demonstration without permit.
The PF members wanted to protest against the suspension of six constituency, district and provincial officials, including provincial chairperson, Lucas Phiri.
Eastern Province Police Commissioner, Grace Chipalira confirmed the arrests to Breeze News.
Mrs. Chipalira says that the ward members were picked by the police on Tuesday.
She says that those detained, include Dilika ward chairperson Landson Mtambo, Msanga ward vice chairperson Timothy Banda, Msanga Ward treasure, Lilian Begea and four others.
Mrs. Chipalira says that the seven have been charged with conduct likely to cause breach to piece and are expected to appear in court today.
The Zambia National Farmers Union, ZNFU in Lundazi district has urged farmers to be vigilant and effect citizen arrests on people who will be found selling farming inputs meant for farmers under FISP, the Farmer Input Support Program.
Lundazi district ZNFU chairperson, White Banda says that people charged with the responsibility of distributing farming inputs must follow laid down guidelines.
Mr. Banda also told Breeze FM correspondent in Lundazi, Mtambwa Nkhoma, that no farmer group should be denied access to farming inputs under FISP, without proper reason.
He said this in the wake of continued confusion in the distribution of farming inputs at Kapongolo Cooperative in Lundazi district, where some farmer groups have been denied access to farming inputs.
Mr. Banda said that the reasons being put forward for denying the groups farming inputs are not valid.
Kapongolo Cooperative chairperson, Benson Zimba explained that the affected groups did not register with CAC, Camp Agricultural Committees in the areas.
He said that the groups also failed to participate in agricultural activities such as agricultural shows as required.
Meanwhile, secretary for Kamilumbe Farmers Group, which is one of the affected, Dominic Luhanga, has appealed to the office of the DACO, District Agricultural Coordinator to intervene in the matter so that farmers receive their inputs.
Government has been urged to start fully funding health institutions that are run by the church.
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia, William Mchombo, says that health institutions that are run by the church receive very little funding from government.
The Bishop said this when newly appointed Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Mwamba paid a courtesy call on him.
Bishop Mchombo also appealed to government to address problems of power outages by ZESCO, the Zambia Electricity Cooperation.
In response, Mr. Mwamba blamed authorities at ZESCO regional office for not announcing and explaining the situation to the people on radio stations.
Mr. Mwamba said that it’s important for the ZESCO regional manager to be informing people through the media whenever there is a problem.
He said that this would help residents to have a full understanding of the problems the power utility company is facing.
Mr. Mwamba, however, explained that the power outages currently being experienced are as a result of low water levels at Kafue and Kariba dams, which is making it difficult to generate enough power.
Hunger has hit some parts of Chief Chitungulu’s area in Lundazi district of Eastern Province.
Lumimba Ward councillor, Alex Banda, told Breeze FM correspondent in Lundazi Mtambwa Nkhoma that people in most parts of the area are now depending on mangos for food.
He attributed the hunger situation in the area to droughts that the area experienced during the last rain season.
Mr. Banda also said that people’s crops were constantly affected by wild animals from Lubambe Game Park.
The councillor mentioned Lubambe, Milungwe, John, Chibeza, Lupangala, and Luliko, as some of the villages that have been worst hit in Nthumbwe area.
And Lundazi district commissioner, Janet Mvula acknowledged receiving reports of hunger in Chief Chitungulu’s area in the valley.
Ms. Mvula explained that she is currently waiting for FRA, the Food Reserve Agency to allocate maize for relief food, which DMMU, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit will deliver to the area.
The district commissioner said that she has already started engaging with some organisations that would assist to transport the maize.
Recently, Ms. Mvula also castigated ZAWA, the Zambia Wildlife Authority for not seriously guarding people from wild animals.
Government has called on churches in Eastern Province to partner with it in fostering development in the region.
Newly appointed provincial permanent secretary, Emmanuel Mwamda, says that churches are better placed to help in matters of development, as they have full understanding of problems faced by the community.
Mr. Mwamba said this when he paid a courtesy call on Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop for Chipata Diocese, Benjamin Phiri.
The permanent secretary also said that government has realised that it can succeed in the fight against corruption, if churches fully participate in the fight.
Mr. Mwamba further called on churches to help in resolving conflicts that arise between out grower companies and farmers, especially in cotton farming.
Mr. Mwamba appealed to churches to help him in ensuring that the out grower scheme becomes more effective.
And Bishop Phiri said that the church is ready to work with government in bringing development in the country.
He also said that government should be consulting the church whenever a priest says something against it.
Bishop Phiri therefore, asked government to quicken the process of returning Father Viature Banyangandora to Zambia.
Some casual workers at Agricultural Science and Technology, AST, on Monday matched to the Provincial Administration in protest of low salaries.
The workers who were addressed by Provincial Assistant Secretary, Agnes Chinyama, complained that they are working without contract forms, as their employer refused to sign any agreement forms.
They revealed that only employment forms were signed and that all the copies are kept by the employer.
The workers further told Mrs Chinyama that they are working for three companies without any increment in their salaries.
They explained that the company has not followed agreement that workers’ salaries should be raised from 740,000 to 1.2 Million Kwacha.
They also alleged that instead of working for eight hours, they are working for ten hours without getting any allowance.
And Provincial Assistant Secretary, Agnes Chinyama expressed concern and wondered how the workers could be working without signing any contract form.
She asked the workers to give government up to Friday to follow up the matter with the Labour Office.
Mrs Chinyama also explained that she will call for a meeting with the employer.
Efforts to get a comment from AST failed.
Some people in Senior Chief Kalindawalo’s area in Petauke district are feeding on wild roots, following hunger that has hit the area.
Head woman Kamundi, Matildah Banda, told Breeze FM correspondent in Petauke, Mercy Maseko that some people are depending on wild roots locally known as Msepo or Mpama and mangos.
Mrs. Banda expressed fear that some people may die if the roots are not well prepared as they are poisonous.
The traditional leader explained that most households in the area have been affected by hunger due the poor yields during the 2011/2012 farming season.
She said that other villages that have been hit by a shortage of food are Chirwa, Muya, Chimba, Njakula, Mangazi, Kabemba and Kazembe.
And Petauke district commissioner, Elijah Mwale acknowledged that he has received a lot of reports on hunger that has affected many villages in the district.
He said that relief Food will soon be delivered to the area to assist people who have been affected.
Mr. Mwale explained that government through DMMU, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit, has set aside One Hundred metric tonnes 100 metric tons of maize to be distributed in the affected areas.
Government has warned people who are responsible for the distribution of inputs under FISP, the Farmer Input Support Programme in Chipata district that they risk losing their jobs if they do not follow guidelines.
Chipata district Commissioner, Kalunga Zulu, says that the distribution of inputs under FISP should be done in a transparent manner.
He said that this is the only way small scale farmers will fully benefit from the program.
Mr. Kalunga says that those who want to be selling fertilizer, should be ordering from the producers and not selling fertilizer meant for farmers.
He pointed out that people who are not following guidelines in the distribution of the farming inputs are tarnishing the name of government.
Mr. Kalunga said that government will therefore, not hesitate to punish those who will be found wanting.
Meanwhile, Casual workers who abandoned their work last week at Yakub Daya storage sheds for non-payment of salaries will be paid this week.
The situation which disturbed the distribution of inputs as casual workers complained of not getting their salaries for three months, is now under control as NCZ, the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia is expected to release an undisclosed amount of money owed to casual workers in Chipata on Monday.
The House of Chiefs says that President Michael Sata’s continued meetings with chiefs will help him to have an understanding of challenges and experiences that people in rural areas face.
House of Chiefs chairman, Chief Madzimawe, told Breeze News that meeting traditional leaders, is the best way the president will be getting constant briefings on matters affecting rural parts of the country.
Chief Madzimawe who described the move as positive, also explained that chiefs are part and parcel of any government.
He said that it is therefore important that traditional leaders are constantly engaged and consulted on matters of national importance, just as President Sata is doing.
The House of Chiefs chairperson urged chiefs in the country to continue supporting and working with the government of the day, in this case, the PF government in order to enhance development in their areas.
The Movement for Multiparty Democracy, MMD, in Eastern Province, says that the party in the region is not shaken with misunderstandings that are going on at national level.
MMD provincial chairman, Alexander Miti, says that the MMD in Eastern Province has remained united and that party structures have continued working normally.
However, Mr. Miti told Breeze News that the party in the region is waiting for the heavens to quickly resolve the misunderstandings between party President, Nevers Mumba and national secretary, Major Richard Kachingwe.
Mr. Miti emphasised that decisions such as invalidating the election of party president can only be announced after wide consultations.
He wondered how Major Kachingwe could have decided to invalidate the election of Dr. Mumba as party president, as no party leader can make unilateral decisions.
Drama in the MMD started on Saturday, after party national secretary, Major Richard Kachingwe wrote a letter to the national executive committee on his decision as party chief executive, that he had invalidated the election of Dr. Nevers Mumba as party president.
But Dr. Mumba later reacted by announcing that he had expelled Major Kachingwe from the MMD.
Major Kachingwe was also dragged out of his office at the MMD secretariat by some youths.
Later, Major Kachingwe reported the youths to Lusaka Central Police, prompting the Zambia Police to deploy officers at his house to give him 24 hours security protection.
Both Dr. Mumba and Major Kachingwe have also maintained that they will not leave their positions.