A government officer arrested for corrupt practices involving K75,000.

The Anti-Corruption Commission ACC in Chipata has arrested an Executive Officer in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development for corrupt practices involving 75, 000 Kwacha.

Solomon Simfukwe, an Executive Officer aged 32 of Kanjala Area in Chipata District has been charged with three counts of theft by public servant contrary to section 265 as read with section 277 of the Laws of Zambia.

Acting Senior Corporate Affairs Officer, Jonathan Siama has confirmed the arrest of Simfukwe in a statement availed to Breeze News.

Details are that Solomon Simfukwe on unknown dates but between 1st January 2012 and 31st January, 2012 in Chipata District being a public officer namely Executive Officer at the Department of Water Affairs in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development stole three metal containers, properties of the republic of Zambia which came in his possession by virtue of his employment.

Mr. Siame says that Simfukwe has been released on Bond and will appear in court soon.

Cooperative leaders accused of swindling farmers

Farmers have revealed a scam where some cooperative leaders in Chipata are collecting 100 Kwacha from members.

Speaking to Breeze News, the farmers say that the cooperative leaders are collecting the money under the pretext that it is for transport and those refusing to pay are not given inputs.

Simon Tembo from Chipangali Constituency says that the cooperative leaders have also grabbed their e-voucher cards under the pretext that banks need them.

And the decision by Agro Dealers to increase prices of fertilizer is causing confusion as some cooperative leaders seem to be taking advantage of the situation to swindle their colleagues.

Mr. Tembo says that the allocation of fertilizer to each farmer has been reducing from 8 to between 6 and 5, adding that their leaders have now indicated that the bags will reduce further to 4.

But Chipata District Agriculture Coordinator, Michael Ngulube says that banks have no reason to collect e-voucher cards adding that each farmer is supposed to handle his or her own card.

Mr. Ngulube further expressed shock that cooperative leaders are asking for 100 Kwacha because he is not aware of such arrangements.

Shortage of sign language translators in health facilities annoys the disabled

The shortage of sign language translators in health facilities has irked the Network for Persons with Disabilities in Eastern Province.

Provincial vice chairperson, David Lungu, says the absence of sign language translators has also been compromising the privacy of deaf and dumb patients.

He observed that most health facilities in the province do not have sign language translators, which compromises the communication process between the patients and health personnel.

Mr. Lungu observed that several complaints have been lodged on the matter to the Ministry of Health, but nothing has been done.

And acting Provincial Medical Director, Jailos Mulambya, explained that the ministry is implementing a comprehensive health service provision, covering various categories of people including the disabled.

Dr. Mulambya says through the Ministry of Education, efforts are also being made to educate communities to be able to communicate with the deaf and dump.

He, however, says the efforts are not yet at 100 percent, but is confident that through collaboration with the Ministry of Education, health personnel will be oriented on how to communicate with the deaf and dump.

Dr. Mulambya says this is a sign that something is being done to reduce the challenge, but admitted that more needs to be done.

Farmers storm provincial administration over delayed inputs

Some farmers on Monday stormed the provincial administration to air their grievances over how subsidized inputs are being distributed.

The more than 100 farmers, who converged around midday, complained of what they described as unfair system being used to activate the e-voucher cards.

Speaking on behalf of other farmers, Frederick Banda from Chief Chanje’s area complained that farmers, who got e-voucher cards in January were collecting inputs first, instead of those who collected e-voucher cards in December last year.

And Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu assured the farmers that they will collect farming inputs from agro dealers soon.

Mr. Zulu explained that challenges facing the farmers had been communicated to Presidential Affairs Minister Freedom Sikazwe, who assured him that he would follow up the matter with Ministry of Finance.

He disclosed that he was expected to hold a meeting in the afternoon with ZNFU, Zambia National Farmers Union and banks to find out what is causing the delay to give farmers their inputs.

And Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says his office has information that there are certain civil servants who are blocking government effort to distribute inputs to farmers.

Mr. Kasolo says his office is following up the matter adding that those involved will be disciplined.

Chipata among district with high leprosy prevalence in Zambia.

The Ministry of Health has announced that Chipata is one of the districts with high leprosy prevalence in Zambia.

Speaking to Breeze News this morning, Acting Provincial Medical Director, Jairos Mulambya says that this is because the district has large water bodies.

He says everyone is encouraged to take part in the sensitization of leprosy because the actual burden of the disease is beyond the wards.

Dr. Mulambya says that the Provincial Health Office is fully supporting the District Medical Office and community heads as they carry out this year’s leprosy commemoration with a global theme “To live is to help live’’.

And speaking during the launch last night, Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said that the commemoration of Global Leprosy Day is targeted at reducing the global and local leprosy burdens aiming at zero prevalence especially amongst children.

He says in 2,000 the government successfully eliminated leprosy prevalence and now few cases are reported about 1-per 10,000 population.

Dr Chitalu says government is working towards promoting social inclusion through addressing all forms of discrimination and stigma.

Mkaika MP wants Great East Road works completed

Mkaika Member of Parliament Peter Phiri has appealed to Conduril, a Portuguese company engaged to tar part of the Great East road, to complete the works on the stretch between Sinda and Mbwindi in Sinda District.

Mr. Phiri says that the detour which the Portuguese Construction Company had created for motor vehicles to be using had become impassable.

He has expressed concern that if the stretch is not quickly worked on, serious accidents are likely to happen on the detour.

And Mr. Phiri has commended the Government for working on the Great East road from Luangwa Bridge to Mwami Border.

Government contracted Mota-Engil and Conduril to work on the Great East Road.

Mota Engil has since completed the tarring works on its part while Conduril is still working to complete the Sinda stretch.

Disabled demand active participation in development

The Network for Persons Living with Disabilities has observed that most of the projects aimed at assisting the disabled fail because the disabled are not involved in planning.

Network Provincial Chairperson, David Lungu, says there has been a trend in Zambia, where authorities plan for projects for the disabled without consulting them.

He noted that the trend has continued for a long time, despite persons with disabilities making themselves available for consultation.

Mr. Lungu says the situation is worse in rural areas, where persons with disabilities are rarely consulted on community matters.

He says the trend is also evident in planning for national development, where persons with disabilities are often left out.

Mr. Lungu explained that persons with disabilities want to fully participate in national and community development.

Villagers in Nsingo Ward have no access to clean water

Villagers in Njalaniko village in Nsingo ward of Luangeni Constituency risk contracting diarrhoea diseases due to the dirty water they are using from Kafela stream.

One of the Indunas, Elias Banda, told Breeze News that the village has over fifty households accessing unclean water from Kafela stream.

Mr. Banda says the villagers rely on water from the stream because the area has no boreholes.

Mr. Banda says the water from Kafela stream is not safe to drink as it is contaminated.

He asked government and well-wishers to assist them drill some boreholes in the area.

And Luangeni Member of Parliament, Charles Zulu, who was in the area, says he is aware of the challenges people face to access safe drinking water.

He promised that boreholes will be drilled to reduce the challenge.

Chipata Council challenged on removal of vendors

Chipata Municipal Council has continued pouncing on illegal street vendors confiscating their merchandise.

A combined team of Zambia Police and Council officers on Friday pounced on women selling vegetables at Great East Mall, who were caught by surprise.

And Caritas Chipata has challenged the local authority on the system it is using to rid the streets of the illegal traders.

Caritas Chipata Coordinator for Justice and Peace John Mthaziko Zulu says that the removal of the vendors should be handled with maximum care and reasonably.

He says that the local authority should be aware that during the time the PF, Patriotic Front Party was in opposition, it promised to find street vendors alternative trading places in markets and empower them with capital.

Mr. Zulu says that it would therefore, be wrong for the council to remove the vendors simply because Chipata is about to be declared a city.

He has emphasised that the vendors should only be removed because the council has created enough trading spaces with government playing its part of empowering them financially and creating employment.

Mr. Zulu has charged that although street vending is illegal, politicians should be made to account for their campaign promises.

Sixty-two people convicted for trafficking in game meat and wildlife products in Chipata

Sixty-two people were convicted last year by the courts of law in Chipata district for trafficking in game meat and wildlife products.

This came to light during a two day round table meeting organised by COMACO, Community Market for Conservation in Chipata.

Presenting a report on behalf of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Chipata Forestry Technician, Adeliya Malenga says the department received 185 intelligent reports from different sources in 2016.

She says out of 185 intelligent reports received by the department, 119 reports were investigated and culprits prosecuted while 104 suspects were charged and arrested for violating the wildlife act and fire arms act of the laws of Zambia.

Ms. Malenga says among the 104 suspects, 100 were male and four were females adding that 42 suspects are yet to be convicted as their cases are still pending in the courts of law.

Ms. Malenga says the reports were ranging from elephant poaching in protected areas, illegal trafficking of ivories and pangolins, illegal manufacturing of homemade firearms and homemade shot guns.

And Ms. Malenga says the Department of National Parks and Wildlife also confiscated 111 kilograms of ivory, 13 kilograms of live pangolins, 4 kilograms of pangolin skins, 15 kilograms of Leopard Skins and one kg of lion skin.

She added that 20 kilograms of hippo teeth, 121 kilograms of hippo meat, 100 kilograms of Impala meat and 57 kilograms of buffalo meat were also confiscated from people last year.

Ms. Malenga appealed to members of the public and co-operating partners to assist curb the vice in order to protect wildlife.