Prices for cement have continued to reduce in Chipata district.
A check by Breeze News in some shops revealed that the price of the commodity, which had gone up to 95 Kwacha per 50 kilogramme bag is now at 75 Kwacha.
Dealers spoken to attributed the price reduction to a downward price adjustment by wholesalers.
And some of the residents found buying the commodity expressed happiness that different brands of cement were now selling at the same price.
John Mwanza explained that he had to suspend his construction works when the price of cement had hit 95 Kwacha because he could not afford.
Meanwhile a check on the exchange rate found that the United States dollar is now buying at 9 Kwacha 60 Ngwee and selling at 9 Kwacha 87 Ngwee while the Pound is buying at 13 Kwacha 51 Ngwee and selling at 13 Kwacha 78 Ngwee.
The Euro is buying at 11 Kwacha 98 Ngwee and selling at 12 Kwacha 22 Ngwee while the South Africa Rand is buying at 80 Ngwee and selling at 82 Ngwee.
Four families in Makangila ward of Luangeni Constituency are reported to be squatting in other people’s homes after their houses were destroyed by heavy rains a month ago.
Makangila Ward Councilor Daniel Mwanza told Breeze News that the families have become destitute because DMMU, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit has not responded to their plight.
Mr. Mwanza says that the houses for the affected families had their roofs blown off by the heavy rains.
He says that, despite having reported the issue and making follow ups with DMMU to see how the affected families could be assisted, nothing has been done to date.
Mr. Mwanza says that since the incident happened, the affected families have been relying on begging for food, shelter and other necessities from neighbors for them to survive.
The incident, which happened on the 9th of January 2018, also affected two churches whose roofs were blown off while 200 chickens died on the spot after the chicken run collapsed.
And Chipata District Commissioner Kalunga Zulu, denied receiving a report on the matter.
He however, confirmed seeing a letter with a similar issue but that the letter was not addressed to him and it did not indicate where the incident happened.
Mr. Zulu stated that any disaster related issues in the district should be addressed to him, as he is the chairperson for the DMMU committee.
Illegal fishing activities in Chipata district have continued despite a fish ban.
District Fisheries Officer Zacheus Nkunika has confirmed, stating that some fishermen have completely ignored the fish ban, which started in December last year and will end in March.
Mr. Nkunika says that a lot of fish species in the country breed between December and March and that the fish ban is meant to enable the fish to breed without interference from people.
He says that the department has carried out sensitization on the importance of the fish ban and continued to carry out patrols of all the areas where fishing activities usually take place.
Mr. Nkunika however, says that the Fisheries Department has been unable to carry out many patrols, as they do not have adequate funding from the government.
He further says that although the Fisheries Department has made a number of arrests, no one has been convicted as they were all just warned and released.
The district fisheries officer has appealed to people to desist from any illegal fishing activities because it is a crime adding that anyone involved, will be arrested and prosecuted in the courts of law.
Government says that three point two billion United States dollars railway line from Nacala port that will connect Eastern Province to TAZARA is on course.
Speaking in an interview with Breeze News, Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says that the project which is supposed to run for four years is just in its first year, most of which will be used for mobilization.
He says the feasibility study for the railway line has already been done and what is remaining now is for the design to be finished.
Mr. Kasolo says the railway line will pass through the Muchinga Escarpment, which is one of the most unfriendly terrains in the country.
He says once the designs and other things that need to be mobilized are done, construction works of the railway line are expected to move quickly.
The Permanent Secretary says that the railway line will create jobs and help in developing the province and the country as a whole as transportation of goods will also be made easier and cheaper.
The Judiciary says it is worried with the increase in the number of defilement cases reported in Eastern province.
Speaking during official opening of the Chipata High Court yesterday, Lusaka based Judge Mwape Dancewell Bowa says according to the cause list for the High Court Session, defilement has continued to be a greatest problem in communities.
Judge Bowa says defilement attracts a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years imprisonment with hard labour, and an upper limit of up to life imprisonment.
He says that in spite of the stiff punishment, there is no reduction in the crime, stating that it is time for society to ask themselves whether there is need to revisit the law to address the vice.
Judge Bowa says that there is also need for a mechanism of dealing with the victims of the crime, who remain traumatized.
And Judge Bowa says the province has also seen an increase in the number of Gender Based Violence cases.
He says according to statistics, the court dealt with 66 cases in 2015 and that the number increased to 70 in 2016, while in 2017, 78 cases were dealt with by the court.
Judge Bowa has commended government and other cooperating partners such as the United Kingdom and the United Nation for putting up a GBV fast truck court, currently under construction in Chipata.
He says the court once completed, will help to quickly deal with GBV cases in the province.
The Civil Service Commission says it will attend to all challenges civil servants face in their respective sectors.
Civil Service Commission Chairperson Dickson Kayula Chasaya says civil servants need to be motivated because they play an important role in communities.
He says that there is need for government to give civil servants the much needed attention they deserve.
Mr. Chasaya says this is why the commission is currently getting submissions from civil servants across the country on what challenges they are facing in different sectors.
He said this when he paid a curtesy call on Provincial Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo this morning.
And Mr. Chasaya says district commissioners and permanent secretaries are free to release information to the media.
Mr. Chasaya has maintained that no civil servant will be allowed to discuss government business on social media.
And Provincial Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says the commission plays an important role in guiding civil servants in the country.
He says the civil servants in the province are therefore, expecting a lot from the commission.
Procurement of materials for CDF, the Constituency Development Fund projects in Luangeni constituency in Chipata district, has reached an advanced stage.
Chipata City Mayor Sinoya Mwale however, says the projects that will delay to be implemented in Luangeni are boreholes because the tendering process is still under way.
He further says that Chipata Central Constituency is likely to delay in the implementation of the CDF projects because it did not receive the funds on time.
He added that the committee spearheading the CDF for Chipata Central sat to discuss the way forward over the implementation of the projects.
Mr. Mwale noted that the whole amount of the CDF allocation for Kasenengwa Constituency has been channeled to the drilling of boreholes in the area.
The mayor has emphasized the need for people spearheading the projects to use the money for the intended purpose.
The judiciary in Eastern Province says congestion has continued to be a challenge in correctional facilities.
Lusaka based Judge Mwape Dancewell Bowa says that according to the jail delivery during the opening of the High Court Session this morning, he has learnt that the existing facilities are inadequate to carter for the number of convicted persons kept in the prisons.
Judge Bowa said this during the ceremonial opening of the Chipata High Court this morning.
And Judge Bowa says the Chipata High Court does not have a resident Judge at the moment on account of lack of infrastructure.
He says the judiciary is aware that a piece of land was secured for the High Court in Chipata, stating that government should therefore, secure funds for the building.
Judge Bowa says the Judiciary in Chipata is lacking court rooms, forcing magistrates to use office chambers.
He says Nyimba district has no resident Magistrate due to lack of a court house, stating that the state of affairs contribute to the delay in the disposal of cases.
And Judge Bowa says the province has only two Legal Aid lawyers, who are not enough to carter for the whole province.
Judge Bowa says this has led to many cases being adjourned due to the advocates’ inability to represent their clients.
Meanwhile, Judge Bowa says government should consider providing transportation to the police and prosecutors.
He says lack of transport directly impacts the overall disposal of criminal matters before the court.
Heavy rains have destroyed a one by three classroom block at Chamaseche Primary School in Chief Madzimawe’s area in Chipata district.
School Chairperson, Henry Banda has confirmed the incident, which happened yesterday between 16 and 17 hours.
Mr. Banda says that the heavy rains reaped off the roof to the classroom block, a situation, which resulted in desks and books being soaked.
He says that learning of pupils from grade one to seven has been suspended because the classroom block is the only classroom at the school.
Mr. Banda has made a passionate appeal to well-wishers to quickly assist the school, which does not have resources to repair the damage and buy new books.
He says that the roofing sheets, which were found about 100 meters away from the school, were completely damaged and cannot be used.
Former Dilika Ward Councilor, Alberto Phiri has denied issuing illegal plots in Dam View area.
Speaking in a walk in interview, Mr. Phiri says that all the illegal plots in Dam View area were issued after he left office in 2016.
He says that he is therefore, shocked that anyone can suggest that he was involved in issuing plots in an area, which was not recommended for residential plots.
Mr. Phiri says that Dilika Ward Councilor, Samuel Phiri is the right person, who can clarify as to how people that built in the area accessed the plots.
He has challenged anyone with proof that he illegally gave out plots to produce it.
And Mr. Phiri expressed concern that the current councilor has not shown interest to understand the projects, which he left being undertaken in the ward.
He says that he has called Mr. Phiri on several occasions so that he can hand over some of the building materials like culverts for road projects, but the councilor has not turned up.
Efforts by Breeze News to have Mr. Samuel Phiri respond to the issues raised by Mr. Alberto Phiri proved futile.