Italian Ambassador to Zambia Fillippo Scammacca Del Murgo says that Italy has a lot to offer Zambia as the country moves to lessen its economic dependence on copper.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Eastern Province Deputy Permanent Secretary, Patrick Mwanawasa, Dr. Del Murgo says that he had been visiting different Italian families who have settled near the border to Malawi who were investing in different economic activities.
He says some of the Italian investors who are in the province are growing macadamia nuts on an eight hundred hectare land that will be exported and will help in lessening the country’s dependence on copper.
The Italian ambassador says that his office has in the recent past been holding a lot of meetings with Italian investors who want to invest in the country’s agriculture industry.
He says Italy does not have a lot of natural resource and therefore, has had to depend on agriculture.
The ambassador says the Italians are willing to share the knowledge they have about agriculture with the people of Eastern province and Zambia as a whole.
And speaking during the same occasion, Deputy Permanent Secretary Patrick Mwanawasa says that Eastern Province is an agriculture oriented province and any investment in the sector is welcome.
He says that the province recently started growing wheat, which will need value addition.
Mr. Mwanawasa explained that since Italy produces a lot of wheat products, the province would be a perfect place for Italian investors to come to.
The Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, MMD in Eastern Province says government should learn lessons from the 2017/2018 FISP, Farmer Input Support Program, which has seen a lot of farmers not acquiring inputs in time.
Provincial MMD Spokesperson Zefeniya Kaleya says a number of cooperatives in many districts such as Mambwe have not yet accessed farming inputs, a situation he described as worrying.
Mr. Kaleya told Breeze News that government should prioritize the agriculture sector, apart from mining and tourism.
He says this is because the country can get the most needed revenue through food products, stating that this can only be achieved if farmers produce more food.
Mr. Kaleya says government should not wait for the rain season, to start the distribution of farming inputs to farmers.
He hopes that government will expedite the process of activating electronic voucher cards for the affected farmers, in order for them to acquire inputs as soon as possible.
Slightly over 14,000 farmers have redeemed their inputs under the e-voucher system in Chipata district.
District Marketing Development Officer, Michael Zulu says that this is from 45,417 farmers that have so far received their e-voucher cards.
Speaking during a live radio programme on Breeze FM this morning, Mr. Zulu further revealed that 43,759 farmers have deposited their money in the accounts.
He says that the money deposited translates to about 17.5 million Kwacha with about 38,450 farmers receiving their codes to access the inputs.
Mr. Zulu says that the Ministry of Agriculture is on track in dealing with the farmers although there is delay by banks to release the codes.
And speaking during the same programme, Chipata District Farmers Association Coordinator, Virgil Malambo observed that government did not adequately prepare for the e-voucher system.
He says that government should have used a gradual system to roll out the e-voucher to avoid the current challenges, which farmers are experiencing.
Mr. Malambo further indicated that dishonesty among some cooperative leaders was inconveniencing the farmers with some having not received Urea fertilizer to date.
Government says that the province is performing well in its fight against Cholera.
Eastern Province Minister, Makebi Zulu, says as of today the province has recorded seventeen cases.
He explained that fifteen have been treated and discharged, while one person is still receiving treatment in Lundazi district.
Mr. Zulu says so far, only one death has been recorded.
He says the quarantine center in Chipata district has one unconfirmed case.
The minister says people in the province are at risk of being affected by the epidemic, as the region lies between Lusaka and Malawi, both with a significant number of Cholera cases.
Mr. Zulu says that it is therefore important that Environmental Health Inspectors continue screening people passing through all the main bus stations in the province.
He also says it is important that shallow wells in the province are buried, to prevent people from drinking water that might be contaminated.
Mr. Zulu added that sensitization about how to prevent the spread of cholera, should continue in order for people to have the right information needed in the fight against the disease.
Residents of Kamwala Compound in Chadiza district have been warned against selling opaque and illicit beer to avoid cholera outbreak.
Chadiza Central Ward Councilor Richard Mbewe says that those selling opaque and illicit beer can only do so after meeting health standards of bars and taverns.
Mr. Mbewe says that Kamwala is one of the compounds in the district which has so many beer selling points but has no toilets.
He says that the sanitary conditions in these beer selling points are bad and exposes people to health dangers like cholera.
Mr. Mbewe indicated that those found selling beer without a certificate of authority from the Council will be prosecuted.
He advised those trading in opaque beer to construct clean toilets and ensure that they apply for a trading certificate at the council.
He further advised residents in the compound to observe high levels of hygiene by ensuring that each house has a clean toilet.
The civic leader was speaking to Breeze News after he toured Kamwala compound in a door to door cholera sensitization campaign with officers from the council and Ministry of Health.
The Chipata Magistrate Court yesterday referred a mathematics lecturer at Chipata Trades Training Institute, who was convicted on three counts of indecent assault on males, to the High Court for sentencing.
Magistrate Moses Mkumba Phiri referred Aswell Banda to the High Court for sentencing because the magistrate court has no authority.
Magistrate Phiri said that consent in indecent assault between a man and a man is not allowed in Zambia and that it is not a defense.
He said that the court was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the prosecution proved its case against the accused in all the three counts.
In his defence Banda told the court that he feels he was unfairly treated at the learning institution when the matter came up.
He said he was surprised and shocked at the allegation leveled against him.
When asked by his lawyer John Phiri from Legal Aid Board whether he had anything to say over the matter after his testimony, Banda said it was not true that he indecently assaulted the three male students who went to his house for consultations on different occasions.
Earlier Banda confirmed that the three students that he is alleged to have indecently assaulted visited his house on different occasions for consultations regarding the subject he was teaching them.
He said a lot of other students had been visiting him at home for the same purpose since 2013 when he started working at the institute.
The number of Cholera cases in Eastern Province has reduced from 20 yesterday to 16 as of today.
Provincial Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo, says all patients admitted in quarantine hospitals in Chipata have been discharged.
He said this when he updated stakeholders on the Cholera outbreak in the province this morning.
Mr. Kasolo says after conducting samples, four were discovered that they did not have cholera.
He, however, says two suspected cases have been recorded in Vubwi district this morning, stating that the two are believed to have crossed from Malawi.
And Mr. Kasolo disclosed that there is a shortage of choline in the province.
He says the Muslim Association in Chipata has already made contacts with Trade Kings, the main manufacturers of chlorine, to secure enough chlorine for the province.
Mr. Kasolo says this is expected to be done as soon as possible.
Three families of Kaweni village in Chanjowe Ward of Chadiza district have been left homeless after heavy rains destroyed their houses on Sunday.
Chanjowe ward Councilor Acklas Mbewe confirmed the development to Breeze News in Chadiza.
Mr. Mbewe says that among the people is 79 years old Spesha Soko who suffered injuries on the forehead after being hit with a pan brick from the falling wall.
Fifty-eight years old Edward Soko also sustained injuries after the roof of his house was blown off by strong winds on Sunday afternoon.
He says that the duo was admitted at Chanjowe Rural Health center but has been discharged.
Mr. Mbewe says that he has already reported the matter to DMMU, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit to assist the affected families.
He has also appealed to well-wishers to help the families rebuild their houses as they are currently squatting in their relatives’ homes.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa MISA Zambia has strongly condemned the storming by Patriotic Front PF cadres at Feel Free FM Radio in Chipata in an effort to stop a paid for radio programme from airing.
The programme was featuring NDC, National Democratic Front official Samuel Lugomo Phiri on Thursday last week.
MISA Zambia Chairperson Hellen Mwale says MISA Zambia is concerned because these type of attacks show that some of the PF cadres think no one has the right to express their views about politics or national issues in the country except leaders from PF.
In a statement availed to Breeze News, Ms. Mwale says Zambia is constitutionally a multiparty democracy and Zambians regardless of political affiliation have the right to express themselves and have the right to freedom of Association.
She says that NDC members have the right to belong to the NDC and are entitled to express themselves on radio.
Ms. Mwale says the media has the right to feature such citizens as they are disseminating the right to freedom of expression in addition to playing their watchdog role.
Ms. Mwale says that it is a shame that some of these violent and non-democratic PF cadres can today carry out actions to prevent opposition political party politicians from expressing their views on radio stations when their Late founding Leader Michael Sata and many of its leaders can attest to suffering the same fate while in opposition.
She added that the PF leaders, while in opposition had difficulties to feature on various media in Zambia and they therefore pledged to respect both media freedom and freedom of expression in their manifesto.
She has urged PF cadres to desist from the trend as it is against the democratic principles and Law Zambians gave unto themselves through the Constitution.
And Ms. Mwale has urged the police to arrest and charge such cadres as this trend seems to be on the increase.
She states that Feel Free FM is the third station within a space of three months to have suffered from the attacks but to the contrary no cadres so far have been arrested.
She says the organisation is however grateful that Police in Chipata made at effort to go to the station to halt the situation.
The Meteorological Department says the dry spell being experienced in some parts of Eastern Province will continue until Monday next week.
Provincial Meteorological Officer, John Londolo says that this is due to tropical cyclone which is hovering over the Indian Ocean in west coast of Madagascar.
Mr. Londolo says that the cyclone is sucking up the moisture in the atmosphere around Eastern Province except for extreme areas of Lundazi and Chama districts.
Mr. Londolo says that this scenario is expected to continue until January 15, with central and southern parts of the province being the most affected.
He however, says that the lack of rains should not worry farmers as it will not affect the crop because the soil still has enough moisture due to the more than normal rainfall earlier experienced.
And Mr. Londolo says that the department does not expect any part of the province to experience flash floods but will continue to monitor the situation.