More than six pupils sent home for using phones at school

More than six pupils at Katete Girls Secondary School have been given transfers after being implicated in an issue concerning possession and use of a phone while in school.

The move has however, sparked complaints from parents of the affected pupils, who have accused school management of being unfair.

One of the parents, Due Phiri told Breeze News, that some of the affected pupils were innocent and should not have been punished harshly.

Mr. Phiri accused the administration of being insensitive as they also chased the pupils from school without giving them money to travel back to their homes.

He has appealed to government to intervene in the matter, stating that the hash disciplinary action will destroy the future of the pupils, who should have been given a lesser punishment since 6 of the affected pupils are in grade 12.

But Katete Girls Secondary School Head teacher, Titus Mbewe says that rules over the use of phones while at school are clear that any pupil who possesses or uses a phone will be given a forced transfer.

Mr. Mbewe says that all parents, who have pupils at the school, are well aware of these rules because they even signed agreements with the school administration.

He however, denied the complaint that the school administration bundled the affected pupils in a school mini-bus and dumped them at the bus station without giving them transport money to go back home.

Meanwhile the District Education Board Secretary’s office in Katete says it is not aware of the matter but will investigate to establish the truth.

Chief Kathumba gets tough on early marriages

Chief Kathumba of the Chewa People in Katete District has warned his people against marrying off girl children.

Speaking to ZANIS in Katete, Chief Kathumba says that it is worrying to note that child marriages have continued in the country despite several measures by government and its partners to end the practice.

He explained that after attending a Workshop hosted for Chiefs in Kitwe on Ending Child Marriages in February this year, he has vowed not to allow any person to marry off their children.

The Chief pointed out that in order to achieve this, he has established committees in all schools, which will validate and spearhead the program.

He added that from now onwards, any person who wants to marry or get married should present enough evidence of their age like a birth certificate to show that they were above the age of twenty.

Chief Kathumba explained that headmen will no longer be in charge of validating marriages as the committee will sit and advise on the intention presented to them.

He warned that in order to bring the practice to an end any person found acting to the contrary will be reported to the police and ensure that the courts of law puts out firm punishment on the perpetrator.

He further warned his subjects that any headman or woman found encouraging the practice will be stripped off their title.

In less than one month Chief Kathumba has managed to take back to school about 39 children, who fell impregnated or stopped school.


Not too late to collect inputs

The Ministry of Agriculture says that it is not too late for farmers to start getting inputs under the e-voucher system.

Chipata District Agriculture Coordinator, Michael Ngulube says that maize is not the only crop that farmers can use for the inputs.

Mr. Ngulube says that farmers can use the inputs to grow other crops including maize using irrigation farming.

He stated that government has been encouraging diversification so that farmers do not restrict themselves to growing maize.

Mr. Ngulube was speaking to Breeze News when reacting to concerns that the rain season is nearing the end and that there is no need to collect the inputs.

He explained that the e-voucher cards are still valid to farmers that would want to use the inputs to grow vegetables.


People advised against buying fuel from unlicensed dealers

The Energy Regulation Board ERB has advised people against buying fuel from unlicensed dealers.

ERB Director for Consumer and Public Affairs Agnes Phiri says that this is because it becomes difficult to follow up a complaint as illegal traders have no fixed abode.

Speaking during a live radio programme on Breeze FM, Ms. Phiri also advised motorists to be alert when fuelling up their vehicles at Service Stations to avoid being swindled.

And speaking during the same programme, ERB Engineer for Electricity Boyd Chilembo advised people against engaging untrained electricians to wire their houses, because such houses have ended up being gutted by fire due to poor workmanship.

Mr. Chilembo further explained that it is difficult for ERB to follow up such cases because untrained electricians are not licensed to carry out the works.

Meanwhile Mr. Chilembo and Mrs. Phiri will on Saturday witness the launching of a 48 kilo watts standalone solar power plant in Lundazi by National Technology Business Centre

Meanwhile the ERB, Energy Regulation Board has announced that there will be no adjustment of fuel prices.

In a statement availed to Breeze News, the board says that this is in line with the Cost-Plus Model that is currently used to set fuel prices.

The board says that the decision is also in line with the policy guidance at the last price adjustment that fuel prices shall be reviewed after every 60 days.

The statement states that the marginal price increase for the current consignment that would have been made is lower than 2.5 per cent, which is the minimum threshold for adjusting prices under the Cost-Plus Model.

It further states that although there is an indication that if the wholesale and pump prices are retained at current levels, there would be marginal losses, a price adjustment can only be implemented if the wholesale prices rose or reduced by more than 2.5 per cent.

Teachers unhappy with government’s delay to effect responsibility allowances.

The Zambia National Union of Teachers ZNUT in Chipata is disappointed with the failure by the Ministry of Education to effect responsibility allowances to the deserving teachers in the district.

District Chairperson, Isaac Ngoma says that most teachers were expectant that they would receive this allowance this month but indications are that this has not been done.

Mr. Ngoma says that the teachers in the district therefore, demand an explanation from the Ministry considering the fact that they have not been paid this allowance from the month of January.

He also says that ZNUT demands that the Ministry explains to the affected teachers the practical steps government will take to ensure that this allowance is paid.

Mr. Ngoma says that ZNUT finds it difficult to understand why this should be a problem every year.

He has strongly advised the Ministry that sluggishness in facilitating teachers allowances has potential to demotivate the general work force as they do not feel appreciated for all the hard work and this in turn may have an effect on learner performance

Mr. Ngoma says that this is because instead of the teachers spending more time in class to attend to learners, they will devote more hours making follow ups on such matters.

Responsibility allowance is paid to teachers who are diploma holders but are handling senior secondary school classes or those holding a primary school diploma but teaching in a secondary school

More investors express interest to invest in Chipata

More investors are expressing interest to invest in Chipata following the attainment of city status.

This is according to Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo.

Speaking to Breeze News, Mr. Kasolo says that the investment interest includes hotel and catering, mining and manufacturing.

He says that one of the most interesting things is that those that want to invest are not foreign but local investors, who are Zambians.

Mr. Kasolo says that the provincial administration already managed to convince proprietors of Red Sea, who have opened a depot in Chipata distributing Zambia Breweries products.

He says that furthermore the same company, which runs Grant Palace Hotel in Lusaka, has agreed to build a hotel in Chipata.

Mr. Kasolo says that these investments will supplement those at the industrial park.

Zambia ranked 116 of 155 happiest countries

A survey by the United Nations has ranked Zambia on number 116 out of 155, on the list of the Worlds’ happiest countries.

Malawi is on number 113, Mozambique on 136 while Zimbabwe is on number 138.

In the last ten of the unhappiest countries, is the Central African Republic at number 155, followed by Burundi at 154, Tanzania at 153, Syria at 152 and Rwanda at 151.

The survey asked respondents to rank their happiness on scale of zero to 10 – with 10 representing the best possible life and zero representing their worst possible life.

The measurements in the survey included real gross domestic product per capita, a healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices and freedom from corruption.

Meanwhile the Norwegians displaced three-time winner Denmark to take the title of “world’s happiest country” for the first time.

Denmark dropped to second place this year, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and Sweden which tied for ninth place, according to the latest World Happiness Report.


CSPR calls for immediate financial audit of Public Private Drivers Association Chipata office

The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction CSPR has alleged that the Public Private Drivers Association, a Youth Project is abusing its mandate in the way it is running the project.

CSPR Eastern Province Advocacy and Communications Officer Maxson Nkhoma has also called for immediate financial audit of the Public Private Drivers Association Chipata Office.

Mr. Nkhoma says that CSPR is in receipt of reports of alleged abuse of office and failure to follow laid down Operation procedures as prescribed by the government during the hand over ceremony of the buses.

He says that his organisation is worried that if the association is left to continue operating in the manner it is working, the buses will not last for long as there is no proper accountability channels for monies raised by the buses.

But when contacted for a comment, Public Private Drivers Association Chairperson Joseph Phiri refuted the allegation saying the office is open to scrutiny by anyone.

Mr. Phiri explained that when a bus is loaded at Kapata Bus Station going to Lusaka, an inspector accompanies the bus up to Nyimba where he collects the money from the conductor.

He says the inspector then deposits the money while in Nyimba adding that what the office receives are deposit slips for filing, indicating the amount deposited.

Mr. Phiri says the association is aware that government gave the buses on loan from HIGER Bus Company Limited, which needs to be paid back.

Department of Planning at Chipata City Council banned from handling land matters.

The Department of Planning at Chipata City Council has been banned from handling matters to do with land because of irregularities reported by Chipata residents.

Chipata Mayor, Sinoya Mwale told Breeze News that this is in an effort to bring transparency in the administration of land in Chipata.

Mr. Mwale says his office has received numerous complaints from people wanting to acquire land in Chipata of not being well assisted by authorities in the planning department.

He says the process of acquiring land takes too long to be completed which should not be the case and this has forced him to make changes in the planning department.

Mr. Mwale says the office of the Town clerk will now take up land issuance matters at the council so that members of the public may be saved accordingly.

And Mr. Mwale has appealed to the Land Department at the Provincial Administration to be putting the interest of the people first, when handling land matters so that such complaints do not arise.

Doctor nabbed with fake 84,000 US dollar notes

The Drug Enforcement Commission DEC has arrested a 54 year-old Medical Doctor of Lusaka for being in possession of more than 84, 000 United States dollar counterfeit notes.

Daniel Konga Maswahu, 54, a Medical Doctor of Kabwata Township has been arrested for being in possession of 84, 100 US dollar counterfeit notes in 100 dollar bills.

DEC Spokesperson Theresa Katongo says that the suspect was arrested at a named Shopping Mall in Lusaka.

And the Commission has in various parts of the country arrested six people for unlawful cultivation and trafficking in narcotic and psychotropic substances contrary to the laws of Zambia.

Meanwhile the Commission through its Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit on the Copperbelt has arrested a 48 year-old business woman for receiving stolen property and aiding and abetting contrary to the laws of Zambia.

Particulars of the offence are that Mavis Kapekanshiku a business woman of Johannesburg South Africa on dates unknown but between 1st February, 2017 and 3rd March, 2017 jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown in South Africa hacked into the Zambia Postal Services ZAMPOST Swift Cash Business System and generated transactions amounting to 19, 620 Kwacha.

Whilst in South Africa, Kapekanshiku instructed her niece to collect 9, 950 Kwacha from ZAMPOST Kitwe office where 2, 270 Kwacha was sent to the said suspect in South Africa via Western Union while 6, 876 Kwacha was sent to a Priscilla Asomani in Accra Ghana.

The remaining 9, 670 Kwacha was blocked by ZAMPOST before it could be withdrawn.

All suspects will appear in court soon.