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.
Eastern Province has rampant cases of illegally imported seed.
Zambia Seed Trade Association ZASTA Executive Director, Watson Mwale says that this is according to information, which has come out from a seed inspection exercise being carried out in the province.
Dr. Mwale has expressed concern that the illegally imported seed could have a devastating effect on soils, because the source is not known.
He also stated that the situation is worrying because the market of locally produced seed is being adversely affected by the imported seed.
Dr. Mwale also told Breeze News that the problem of fake seed in the country currently stands at about 10 per cent, which is relatively low.
And Chief Seeds Officer at Seed Control and Certification Institute, Nathan Phiri says that government is concerned with illegally imported seed because it has the capacity to affect food security.
Mr. Phiri has advised farmers to avoid buying seed from the streets stating that they should only deal with registered dealers.
Government says that Nyimba district is still facing water problems.
Nyimba district commissioner George Phiri says that the water problem has worsened because the four industrial boreholes, which were drilled have not started working.
Mr. Phiri told Breeze News that the boreholes were drilled about 7 kilometres away from the boma where there is no power.
And Eastern Water and Sewerage Company Public Relations Officer, Nsofwa Kashoki says power will soon be connected to the four boreholes.
He says that about 2.4 kilometres of the excavation works for the pipe have been done and the road to the site is being worked on.
Mr. Kashoki confirmed that the water situation in Nyimba is still bad as only 26 houses at the Boma are being supplied with piped water.
The Food Reserve Agency still owes famers in Nyimba district about 3.9 billion Kwacha.
Nyimba district commissioner, George Phiri confirmed this to Breeze News in an interview.
Mr. Phiri says his office is working with the provincial permanent secretary to ensure that farmers are paid their money as soon as possible.
He said that the district recently received about 1.9 billion kwacha.
The district commissioner however expressed hope that farmers will be paid their money by next week in order to give them time to purchase farming inputs.
The Bank of Zambia BOZ has appealed to the business entities to begin the process of training their employees on how best to manage the various aspects of currency rebasing.
The BOZ has also announced that beginning January 1st 2013, up to June 30, the dual display of prices for goods and services for the current currency and the rebased currency will become mandatory.
BOZ Acting Director for Banking, Currency and Payment Systems Department, Fabian Hara said this during a media briefing on Dual Display of Prices for Goods and Services in Lusaka this morning.
Mr. Hara says that business entities should train their employees on how best to manage the various aspects of currency rebasing including how to make the conversions from old currency to rebased currency.
And Mr. Hara says that effective 1st to 31st December 2012, dual display of prices by merchants and entities will be optional.
He further says that during the transition period, 1st January to 30th June 2013 the dual display of prices for goods and services shall be mandatory and that anyone who fails to abide will face penalties.