Councils told not to divert funds for capital projects

Councils in Eastern Province have been advised against diverting funds meant for capital projects.

Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu observes that some councils in the province have been using resources meant for capital projects to hold workshops and pay allowances to participants.

The Minister said this when he officiated at the Provincial Coordinating Committee for the Dissemination of the Seventh National Development Plan 7NDP in Chipata.

Mr Zulu has urged councils to ensure money meant for specific projects are correctly used.

And the Minister has urged councils to take a leading role in the implementation process of the 7NDP especially as the province embarks on the concept of decentralization.

The Minister further stressed the importance of the dissemination exercise saying it is the only way stakeholders will familiarize themselves with the plan and ensure its effective implementation.

He noted that the only way to develop as a country is if the plan is implemented in an integrated manner.

And Permanent Secretary for Monitoring and Evaluation under the Ministry of National Development Planning, Auxilia Ponga says the dissemination exercise is intended to make citizens aware of its contents to enhance their effective participation and support.

The provincial dissemination programme has already been held in Northern, Southern, Lusaka, Copperbelt, Muchinga, North Western and Central provinces.

The programme is today being held in Western, Luapula and Eastern Provinces before it is concluded.

The 7NDP plan which was launched in June this year will run up to 2021.

Police investigate fraud at British Council

Police in Lusaka have opened investigations into alleged fraud at the British Council on one of the UK AID funded projects.

Police Spokesperson Esther Katongo has confirmed that police have launched investigations into the Zambia Accountability Project ZAP.

Ms. Katongo has told Breeze News that this follows a report that was made last week on Thursday to the Zambia Police Anti-Fraud Unit.

She says that the fraud is said to have occurred between 1 January 2016 to 1st September 2017.

Ms. Katongo further says that revelations follow an internal investigation carried out by the British Council.

Surety backs out after being detained

A surety has applied to withdraw from representing an accused person after officers from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, detained him for five days, following a court’s move to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of an accused person.

Sam Nyirenda was a surety for Solomon Sakala, who is charged with a wild life offence.

Sakala was found in possession of elephant bones.

When the matter came for return of bench warrant on Friday, Nyirenda told the court that he was surprised that he was apprehended because the person he signed bail for was not appearing before the court.

He said he was informed that the case against the accused ended because he paid money.

And Resident Magistrate Mwala said if is disheartening to learn that he was in custody.

He said according to the law, a bench warrant is issued against the accused, saying the accused is the one who is supposed to be in police custody and not a surety.

Magistrate Mwala said the court sympathizes with him, stating that if he wishes, he can pursue the matter.

The Magistrate said the police bond for the accused will not be extended until the other surety is brought before the court.

The matter has been adjourned to tomorrow for commencement of trial.

Traders in Chadiza increase cement prices

Traders in Chadiza district have increased the price of cement from 68 Kwacha to 90 Kwacha.

A check by Breeze News also revealed that there is a shortage of the commodity with only two shops having the commodity.

The commodity which was selling between 68 and 70 Kwacha is now selling at between 87 and 90 Kwacha.

According to some residents spoken to by Breeze News, the 22 Kwacha increase on the 50 kilogramme bag is unjustifiable.

John Phiri said that the increase in the price will greatly affect the building projects many people have embarked on in the district.

He said that traders have taken advantage of the shortage of cement in the district to increase the price.

Mr. Phiri explained that people selling building blocks have already increased the price of blocks following the increase in the price of cement.

Mr. Phiri has called on the suppliers and traders to consider reducing the price of cement from 90 Kwacha to a reasonable price.

Eastern Province in need of 2 million condoms

Two million condoms are required to meet the current demand for condoms in Eastern Province. 

Provincial HIV and AIDS Coordination Adviser Emmanuel Chama say the two million will meet the demand in non-health facilities that have been reporting a shortage for three months now.

Mr Chama noted that Chipata, Mambwe and Chadiza districts are the worst hit with the shortage of the sexual protective wear. 

And Mr Chama has noted that the shortage of condoms in the region is a plus for stakeholders involved in the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS as it means that people in the region are using the material to prevent the spread of HIV and other STIs.

He noted that the region has been recording a reduction in the HIV prevalence saying this could be attributed to consistent condom use. 

Mr Chama stressed the need to enhance procurement of condoms, and called on other stakeholders to intervene and help procure more condoms to meet the demand for the commodity. 

Meanwhile, Mr Chama has called for enhanced sensitization efforts in fighting stigma in the region.

Mr Chama observed that people who stigmatize and discriminate against those with HIV are ignorant about the transmission and treatment of HIV.

He stated that with adequate knowledge people will not discriminate but encourage one another to get tested in order to take the next necessary step to prevent the transmission of HIV.

Government told to protect albinos

An organisation representing people with disabilities has called on government to put in place measures to protect albinos.

Centre for Disability Right Advocate say that there is need to ensure that people with albinism in the country are protected from attacks.

This follows a recent incident in Chama district where unknown people attacked and chopped off the hand of a 19 year old albino girl.

The Director for Centre for Disability Right Advocate Chibale Lungu says that the development is worrying because it comes a few weeks after another albino was attacked in Lundazi District.

Mr. Lungu says that people involved in these gruesome acts need to be stopped before they start going to areas where there is a large population of albinos.

He says that his organization wants government to move quickly to protect people with albinism because they are also human beings with a right to life.

Mambwe records increase in chicken pox

The Ministry of Health in Mambwe district has recorded an increase in cases of Chicken Pox from 80 to 349 in the third quarter.

Mambwe District Acting Public Health Officer Moses Sakala says the district has also recorded an increase in the number of diarrhoea cases from 136 to 219 in the same quarter.

Mr Sakala observes that the increase in the number of patients with chicken pox is attributed to the challenges being faced by the department to isolate patients from other members of the community.

He notes that many people do not pay particular attention to such cases such that even school going children who have the infection are allowed to attend class by the school administration as opposed to staying home.

Mr Sakala has expressed sadness over the ignorance of some community members to come forward and receive the relevant vaccination against chicken pox, even after receiving the necessary sensitization.

And Mr Sakala disclosed that diarrhoea samples have been sent to the laboratory in order to ascertain the cause of the sudden rise in diarrhoea cases in the district.

PF Petauke district boss suspended

The Patriotic Front PF Party in Eastern Province has suspended Petauke District Chairperson Sandford Mwanza for disloyalty and treacherous conduct.

The party has instead appointed vice provincial chairperson Godwin Phiri to act as district chairperson for Petauke district.

This is according to a statement released to Breeze News signed by Provincial Secretary Joseph Kolosa.

Mr. Kolosa says Mr. Phiri will continue acting until the case involving Mr. Mwanza is concluded.

He says the action has been taken after consultation from PF secretary general Davies Mwila.

Mr. Kolosa has urged PF members in the province to remain loyal to the ruling party and conduct themselves in a manner that will bring patriotism in the party.

And when contacted for a comment, suspended PF Petauke District Chairperson Sandford Mwanza says he cannot react to his suspension, because he has not yet received the suspension letter.

He told Breeze News that he needs to see the charges that are in the letter, for him to comment over the matter.

Mr. Mwanza added that he was verbally informed that he has been suspended from the party.

UPND advises government against creation of new districts

Government has been advised to discontinue the exercise of creating new districts.

United Party for National Development UPND says the exercise should be suspended because most projects in new districts created by late President Michael Sata have stalled.

Provincial Spokesperson Victor Mbuzi told Breeze News that government seems not to have resources to complete all the projects in the new districts.

Mr. Mbuzi says that new districts like Sinda and Vubwi still have a number of things that are lucking and wondered why government would want to create more new districts.

He says that the UPND would like to advise government to demarcate constituencies, which are vast so that they start to receive more resources for development.

Mr. Mbuzi states that if constituencies like Chasefu, Chipangali, Kasenengwa, Msanzala and Lumezi are demarcated they will receive more allocation of CDF, Constituency Development Fund.

He has argued that an area does not need to be created a district to receive development but the commitment of area representatives like MPs and councillors towards development.

Mr. Mbuzi further says that areas, which can be turned into districts, are already known, like Chiparamba, Msoro and Feni.

Unknown people chop off hand for albino in Chama

A 19 -year- old female albino of Chief Chikwa’s chiefdom in Chama District has had her right hand chopped off by unknown people.

Narrating her ordeal to ZANIS from Chama District Hospital yesterday, Miriam Kumwenda of Buyoyo Village said she got attacked last Saturday night.

Miriam said while asleep she heard a knock at the door and when she inquired who was knocking, a man who identified himself as a Mr. Nkhowani asked her to open.

She added that she ignored the knock but later her alleged attacker forced himself inside, closed her mouth with a cloth to avoid her screaming and later carried her into the bush.

Miriam said while in the bush other unknown persons appeared and started beating her up.

She added that the assailants then started cutting her left arm when one of them told his friends that it is the right hand that was needed and her left arm intact.

Miriam explained that they then started cutting the right hand and it was at this pointed when she was hit behind her head with an unknown object and lost consciousness.

She said the attackers thinking she had died left her, after which she regained her conscious adding that it was at this point that she started crying.

Miriam said her parents found her and later rushed her to a nearby health centre for medical attention while the attack was reported to police.

Police Commissioner Godwin Phiri could not be reached for a comment by broadcast time.