Lumezi MP accused of neglecting Chikomeni area

People of Chikomeni area in Lundazi district have accused Lumezi Member of Parliament Pilila Jere of not developing the area.

Luka Mwale, one of the residents says Kamimba ward has lagged behind in development and that Mrs. Jere does not visit the area whenever she visits her constituency.

Mr. Mwale told Breeze FM News that Mrs. Jere should have a keen interest to visit communities and hear their challenges.

He mentioned shortage of health workers at Chikomeni health post and deplorable state of roads as some of the challenges facing people in the area.

Meanwhile, Lumezi Member of Parliament Pilila Jere told Breeze FM News that she was last in her constituency in January this year to check on some of the developmental projects.

Mrs. Jere says when she visited the area, her focus was to check on crossing points, where bridges are expected to be constructed.

She says she will be visiting her constituency next week to look at some of challenges people are facing.

Illegal settlers at Chipata forest given hope

Chipata Central Member of Parliament, Moses Mawere, has announced that government it will de-gazette Chipata local forest reserve for settlement.

Today the settlers in the forest reserve chanted joyful songs as Mr. Mawere, who is also Minister of Youth, Sports and Child Development made the announcement when he was addressing them.

Mr. Mawere assured the residents not to panic as the land will be de-gazetted.

Mr. Mawere said despite him not being around since the issues of having the settlers evicted from the forest reserve started, he has been fighting for the de-gazetting of the area on behalf of residents, to the higher authorities.

He noted that it is, however, important for people, who have settled in the area to acknowledge the fact that the area is indeed a forest reserve and not a settlement area.

Mr. Mawere said the rapid growth of the district has come with demand for land, which led to people ending up encroaching on such areas.

He however, summoned the area chairpersons to a meeting to be held at provincial administration on Monday next week, to convey the message to the provincial minister that the land shall be de-gazetted.

Government to remove bad eggs in Ministry of Agriculture

Government has instructed that the performance of all agriculture extension officers in Eastern Province be reviewed.

The Provincial Administration has therefore, asked the Provincial Agriculture Coordinator to instruct all District Agriculture Coordinators to carry out the review.

Speaking during a press briefing in Chipata, Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo, says government has discovered that some of the enemies of the E-Voucher system are the extension workers, who were employed to help the system work, but are instead sabotaging it.

He says extension officers that were benefiting from the old system are discouraging farmers from registering for the E-Voucher system.

Mr. Kasolo notes that this is being done so that government can be forced to revert to the old system, where there were loopholes for officers to create ghost farmers.

Mr. Kasolo says that the E-Voucher system faced a lot of challenges in the 2017/2018 farming season, but emphasized that government is determined to correct the situation.

He says one of the solutions is to replace all the non performing extension workers with others that will perform their duties properly.

Mr. Kasolo says he expects all District Agriculture Coordinators to present reports of their findings after the performance review, fourteen days from the day he issued the instruction.

Police release Evelyn Hone students but charge three

Police say that they have released all students from Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka who were arrested for riotous behaviour.

Police Spokesperson Esther Mwata Katongo says that the 333 students were released after paying Admission of guilty fine.

She however, says that three students, Emmanuel Kalangwa, who is student union President, Muuma Angel and Daliso Sichivula, the academic secretary have been charged for proposing violence.

The offence is contrary to section 91 of the penal code Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.

Ms. Katongo says that the trio was released on police bond.

The students on Thursday this week run amok pulling down wall fences separating the leaning institution from NIPA, National Institute of Public Administration and Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies.

The students rioted in protest over the alleged irregularities in the results of their TEVETA November-December 2017 examinations.

TBZ puts a hold on companies running floors

Tobacco Board of Zambia TBZ says that no tobacco company will be allowed to run floors during this marketing season.

TBZ Chief Executive Officer James Kasongo told Breeze FM News, that TBZ will personally run the floors to ensure that farmers are not exploited.

Mr. Kasongo further says that previously, some tobacco companies were involved in weighing of tobacco, classifying and arbitration, which is not supposed to be the case.

And Mr. Kasongo says that only two floors will operate in Eastern Province this marketing season, which opens on April 3rd.

He says that Chipata Main Floor and Kavulamungu floor have been cleared to operate while Mugubudu floor will not open because of poor hygiene.

Mr. Kasongo further says that JTI might start buying tobacco early following the company’s request to start buying the produce this week but TBZ will make a final decision this morning after JTI avails its buying prices.

And Mr. Kasongo says that the reduction in tobacco buying floors will create challenges to farmers who will have to move long distances in transporting their crop.

He says that more than 500 farmers in Muchinga province have grown tobacco and will have to transport their produce to Lusaka or Chipata.

Illegal settlers at Chipata Forest given hope

Illegal settlers facing eviction at Chipata Forest Reserve chanted joyful songs yesterday after being promised that President Edgar Lungu will resolve their matter today.

This was during a meeting with the squatters, which was chaired by PF Provincial Secretary Joseph Kolosa, who was accompanied by other party officials.

Mr. Kolosa said that President Lungu would be meeting local government minister Vincent Mwale, Eastern Province Minister Makebi Zulu, PF Provincial Chairperson Andrew Lubusha and Minister of Lands Jean Kapata at 14 hours today to resolve the matter.

Mr. Kolosa said that affected people should not worry over eviction letters issued to them by the Forest Department because the area will be degazzeted by President Lungu.

Mr. Kolosa charged that the only person who has authority to evict them from the forest reserve is President Lungu.

He told the squatters to start celebrating in advance because President Lungu will listen to their cry just like he listened to the Jerabos in Kitwe district.

And speaking earlier, East Rise Chairperson Andrew Biemba who, acknowledged being an illegal settler, appealed to President Lungu to degazzete the area.

Bishop Biemba said this is because vulnerable people have spent all their resources in putting up structures in the area.

He said that the area, which has over 7,000 people, cannot be a forest reserve because it is about one and half kilometers away from the central business center.

Expired food products confiscted from Choppies Chipata

A combined team of council and health inspectors have confiscated expired and unlabeled food products from Choppies Supermarket in Chipata.

Chipata City Council Public Relations Manager, Kameko Manda has confirmed to Breeze News.

Ms. Manda says that the food products were confiscated during the time, the health inspectors were conducting inspections on banned processed meat products from South Africa that are contaminated with Listeria bacteria.

She says that the council immediately obtained a court order to destroy all the expired and unlabeled food products that were confiscated from Choppies Supermarket.

Meanwhile Ms. Banda says during yesterday’s joint inspection process by the council and Ministry of health, it was discovered that most chain stores had already removed the banned products.

She further says that tests that were conducted on other South African meat products found that they were not contaminated.

A spot check by Breeze News this morning found that most chain stores have removed all South African imported meat and vegetable products while others have not.

And in response, Ms. Manda said the directive was not to remove all South African products but those that are from a manufacturing company which products had contaminated with Listeria bacteria.

Yesterday Provincial Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo advised people to avoid all South African imported meat and vegetable products until investigations are concluded.

Water supply problem looming

Eastern Water and Sewerage Company says that there is a possibility that not enough ground water will be collected during this year’s rainy season.

Company Managing Director Lytone Kanowa says that this means water supply during the dry season might be affected.

Speaking in an interview with Breeze News, Mr. Kanowa says that the company does not rely on runoff water but rather on ground water recharge.

He says when the ground is saturated with water; the rest of the water becomes river flow during the rainy season which is what is used by the company as their source of water.

Mr. Kanowa says that this year’s rainy season has been interrupted by long dry spells in parts of the province.

He says that districts that are mostly affected by little river flow during the dry season are Chipata and Lundazi.

The managing director however, says that the company will continue monitoring river flow in all districts so that people in affected areas are warned about the looming water shortage three months beforehand.

Police investigate officers harassing journalists

Police in Chipata have instituted Investigations into the harassment of a journalist by police officers during this year’s Nc’wala traditional ceremony.

Eastern Province Police Commissioner Luckson Sakala confirmed receiving a complaint lodged by Chipata Press Club demanding for an apology over the harassment of a journalist on February 24.

Mr. Sakala said his office has involved members of the public who were present when the incident happened.

He said that so far, it has been discovered that the journalist in question was not from Chipata district, but from Lusaka.

Mr. Sakala noted that the officer involved is still unknown, because there were other officers who came from Lusaka for security reinforcement.

2018 International Women’s Day to be special

Women organizations in Chipata district are currently doing various activities ahead of the International Women’s Day slated for tomorrow.

Provincial Gender and Child Development Coordinator Ariel Tembo says this year’s International Women’s Day will be unique because women will be showcasing what they are doing in their respective institutions.

Mr. Tembo says government is trying to shift the issue of matching, to showcasing what women are implementing.

He says this means that the match past will not take place tomorrow.

He says the wish of government is that every woman participates in such activities because the International Women’s Day is dedicated to them.

Mr. Tembo says this year’s theme, “Time is now, rural and urban activist, transforming women’s lives” is timely because more women are now engaged in programs that empower them in both rural and urban areas.