Eastern to benefit from 26.5 million US dollars electricity credit

The World Bank has approved 26.5 million International Development Association, IDA credit, to increase electricity access in 36 rural areas in nine provinces of Zambia.

Eastern Province is among those to benefit.

Other provinces are Central, Copperbelt, Luapula, Muchinga, Northern, Southern and Western.

The Electricity Service Access Project will provide connections to the national grid for about 22,000 low-income households and about 1,000 Medium Scale Entrepreneurs MSEs in the selected rural areas.

World Bank Country Manager for Zambia, Ina Ruthenberg, says the majority of the beneficiaries will receive electricity services for the first time.

She says access to electricity in rural areas is important, because it helps replace consumption of paraffin, diesel, dry cell batteries, and alternative fuels such as firewood that contributes to deforestation.

And World Bank Senior Energy Specialist, Joseph Kapika, says the project supports the government’s priority of increasing electricity access in rural areas.

He says this is aligned with two of the strategies that relate to energy in the recently launched Seventh National Development Plan for 2017 to 2021, which are “Promotion of renewable and alternative energy” and “Improved access to Rural and Peri-Urban areas”.

Sixty-eight students graduate from Sambizga College of Education

Sixty-eight students from Sambizga College of Education in Chipata have today graduated with Primary Education Diplomas, at the institutions 2nd graduation ceremony.

Addressing the new graduates, University of Zambia, UNZA Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Austin Cheyeka, says the students have an opportunity to upgrade their qualifications at the University of Zambia.

Professor Cheyeka says this is because the primary diplomas they have obtained are underwritten by UNZA.

He says this is because Sambizga is working in collaboration with UNZA.

Professor Cheyeka urged the graduates to be dedicated to their teaching profession and always be present during their work, once deployed in the teaching service.

He advised the graduates to refrain from vices that can lead them to contract HIV.

Meanwhile, Sambizga College of Education principal, Francis Zimba, says the 30 male and 38 female students, who graduated today, are fully baked with quality education and ready to serve as teachers.

Speaking earlier at the ceremony, Mr. Zimba says the college has grown from the time it started operating in 2013, as it now offers secondary school teaching diploma.

Mr. Zimba appealed to government to consider giving bursaries to students in private colleges, because they also face similar challenges as those in public institutions.

He also urged government to consider recruiting the graduates in the teaching service.

The principal says the college will continue supplementing government’s efforts of providing quality education to its students in the province, which only has one public college of education.

And Eastern Province Education Officer, Allan Lingambe, urged the graduates to apply for employment to the ministry, so that they can be considered in the deployment of teachers next month.

Dr. Lingambe appealed to the college to continue focusing on issues of quality to uphold the integrity of education, especially that the institution is accredited to UNZA.


Four stray lions kill six head of cattle

Four stray lions have killed six head of cattle within two days in Chief Chinunda’s area in Chipata district.

The development has instilled fear in villagers, whose movements have now been restricted to within their homes.

Speaking to Breeze News, Headman Mphasala, Elijah Nkhoma says that the lions killed two animals on Wednesday and four animals yesterday.

The headman made a desperate appeal to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, to send officers to put down the vicious wild animals.

And a resident of the area, Kumandakuitana Tonga says that the villagers have the capacity to kill the animals if help delays.

Mr. Tonga stated that the villagers do not want to take action, because they respect laws that deal with killing of wild animals especially those in national parks.

And efforts to get a comment from Department of National Parks and Wildlife Acting Area Warden, Webster Katele, failed by news time.



Poor infrastracture at Chipata Show ground worries stakeholders

As the gates to this year’s 41st Eastern Province Agricultural and Commercial Show open to the public today, concern has been raised about the poor state of infrastructure at the show ground.

Chipata District Farmers Association CDFA and Kapata Ward Councilor Naphtali Banda ,say the show ground does not show seriousness.

CDFA Coordinator, Virgil Malambo told Breeze News that the show ground has now been turned into a residential area ,with poor infrastructure and without proper sanitation.

Mr. Malambo stated that if Eastern Province is to showcase what it is offering to the world, the provincial agricultural and commercial Show ,should be held from an area which shows seriousness.

And Kapata Ward Councilor, Naphtali Banda stated that the current state of infrastructure at the show ground, cannot attract foreign exhibitors.

Mr. Banda stated that he is not surprised that all along, only local exhibitors have been participating in the show.

He pointed out the need for the show society, Ministry of Agriculture and Chipata City Council, to find another place where such an important event can be held from, especially that Chipata is now a City.

Thieves steal K100,000 and gold from Chipata businessman

Unknown people have broken into a house of a Zambian of Asian origin and got away with 100,000 Kwacha cash and a piece of gold valued at 50 thousand Kwacha in Chipata district.

Eastern Province Police Commissioner, Alex Chilufya, has confirmed the burglary and theft case to Breeze News.

Mr. Chilufya says the incident happened yesterday between 13 and 14 hours in Bombay Township at the house of Matadar Zakir.

Mr. Chilufya says unknown people broke a bugler bar of the living room window at Mr. Zakir’s house and got cash money and a piece of Gold.

He says no arrest has been made and police have instituted investigations into the matter.

Meanwhile, a man of Daniel Village in Chief Kakumbi’s area in Mambwe district has been killed by an elephant.

Mr. Chilufya says the man only identified as Edward, mate his fate as he was seated at his house in the early hours of today, when an elephant approached his house and stamped him to death.

He says the body has been taken to Kakumbi clinic and police have informed the Department of National Parks and Wildlife on the matter, so that the animal can be secured.

Mr. Chilufya says issues of human animal conflict are common in Mambwe district, especially during harvest period, because animals move around looking for space as they feel displaced and people living near the game park become victims.

Veterinary Department alert to any outbreak of bird flu

The Veterinary Department in Eastern Province says that it is always alert to any outbreak of bird flu.

Provincial Veterinary Officer, Arthur Mumbolomena has told Breeze News that this is why the department has not completely relaxed its surveillance in borders.

Dr. Mumbolomena however, says that his office has not received any communication over government’s decision to ban the import of live birds and other poultry products from South Africa.

This follows an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8, commonly known as bird flu, in that country.

The decision came barely a fortnight after a similar ban was imposed on poultry imports from DRC, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and other countries which also recorded an outbreak of the virus.

Fisheries Minister Michael Katambo said that the measure was taken to safeguard Zambia’s poultry industry.

However, Dr. Mumbolomena says that the department hopes that it can receive communication from the ministry headquarters so that they can understand the guidelines on how to treat the ban.

Chipata Council workers down tools

Division four workers at Chipata City Council and contractual workers at Chipata Motel have downed tools for nonpayment of salaries for three months.

Zambia United Local Authority Workers Union, ZULAWU Chipata District Chairperson, Milimo Buumba, confirmed this to Breeze News.

Mr. Buumba stated that the salary wage bill for the workers is about 33,000 Kwacha per month, meaning that the council owes workers at Chipata Motel, about ninety-nine thousand kwacha for three months.

Mr. Buumba says the union had engaged management at Chipata City Council last week on the matter and gave them up to Friday to pay the workers or they would go on strike.

Mr. Buumba says that the union was surprised to note that up to yesterday, the workers were not paid their salaries, a situation that forced them to go on strike.

He vowed that the workers will not go back to work until management pays them their three months salaries.

Chipata City Council Acting Town Clerk, Namenda Kaonga, could not be reached for comment by news time.

UPND says farmers need better representation

The opposition United Party for National Development, UPND has observed that lack of strong representation for farmers is partly contributing to their exploitation.

UPND provincial publicity and information secretary, Victor Mbuzi, also observed that some unions charge a lot of money, a situation, which forces most farmers to opt not to join unions.

He explained that, while unions and organizations that represent government and workers or companies are vibrant, some farmer organizations have not been fully representing the farmers.

Mr. Mbuzi has therefore, called on government to consider announcing this year’s crop floor prices, instead of continuously asking farmers to wait for better prices, which are unknown.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mbuzi says the party in the province is disappointed with the fracas that happened in Lusaka between PF and UPND members during the burial of party members for both parties.

He explained that the two parties, with assistance from churches and non-governmental organizations, must find ways of ending the ongoing violence, before the situation gets out of hand.

Operations at Chipata-M’chinji railway line suspended

Operations of the Chipata-M’chinji railway line have been temporarily stopped, because of renovation works being carried out.

Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo, confirmed this to Breeze News.

Mr. Kasolo says the railway line on the Malawian side has developed a fault and is being renovated.

Mr. Kasolo says authorities from Malawi will communicate when the renovation works are complete so that the train can resume its operations.

He, however, did not mention how long the renovation works are likely to take.

Mr. Kasolo says he is hopeful that the renovation works will be completed soon because the train has to start transporting maize since it is harvest period.

And a check by Breeze News on the railway line on the Zambian side, found that some people have buried the rail trucks with gravel in Dam View area, which is now being used as a road for motor vehicles.

Prices of charcoal hiked in Chipata

As the winter season gets colder, charcoal sellers in Chipata have increased the price for a 50 kilogram bag of the commodity to 100 Kwacha from the previous 75 Kwacha.

Some traders talked to by Breeze News, say this is because of the hike in the permit for trading in charcoal by the Forestry Department and transport expenses.

One of the traders, Catherine Miti, says in March, she was paying 275 Kwacha for a permit for seven days for 20 bags of charcoal, but the Forestry Department now only allows traders to pay the same amount for 10 bags.

Mrs. Miti says some of the smaller bags of charcoal, which were at 50 kwacha, are now being sold at 75 Kwacha.

She explained that charcoal is being ordered at 20 Kwacha per 50 kilogram bag and that transporting the commodity from Mbenjele to Chipata Town cost about 15 Kwacha per bag.

And another charcoal trader, Mike Mwale, says business has been affected because people are unable to afford a bag at the new prices.

Mr. Mwale has asked government to intervene and reduce the trading permit price for charcoal.

And Provincial Forestry Officer, Joyce Munkombwe promised to respond to the increase in permit fee at an appropriate time after consulting the district office.