Open ZambiaOrganization in Lusaka, Zambia
MATERNAL MORTALITY RATES ON THE RISE DUE TO GROWING NUMBER OF EXPECTANT MOTHERS REFUSING TO SEE MALE DOCTORS
Expectant mothers in central Zambia are said to be refusing to have their babies delivered by a male nurse. Concerns are now growing that the women will take matters into their own hands leading to a seriously increased risk of maternal mortality.
Daily Nation newspaper has reported that the mothers at Kalwa Health Centre feel uncomfortable with their babies being del...ivered by a person of the opposite sex. Some mothers said they considered it a taboo and against traditional practice for their babies to be delivered by a male nurse and not a female one.
Health officials have urged the government to immediately address the issue before mothers resort to delivering their babies from home, a practice which can lead to birthing complications and a high risk of infection.
Health minister, Dr Chitalu Chilufya is currently in Geneva, Switzerland, attending a conference.
PILATO RELEASED ON BAIL
Pilato has today been granted bail after being arrested last Wednesday as he returned from South Africa, where he had been living in self-imposed exile.
He was arrested in September 2017 for taking part in a protest against the government’s purchase of 42 fire engines for about $1m (£740,000) each. He fled to South Africa while on bail....
A warrant for his arrest was issued in February after he failed to appear in court on what human rights group Amnesty International called "trumped up" charges related to the protest.
Despite telling the court last Thursday that he escaped to South Africa for fear of his life, his attempt to get bail failed and he had been in police cells since.
EUI REPORT SUGGESTS OPPOSITION ALLIANCE WILL BE 'GAME-CHANGER' IN 2021
The latest Economist Intelligence Unit report on Zambia has predicted that the media reports about high level corruption in the PF will damage the party ahead of the 2021 elections.
But the EIU has retained its forecast of a victory for President Edgar Lungu in 2021 if he is allowed to stand -given strong incumbency powers....
The EUI however warns that this forecast does carry risks; for example, an opposition alliance would be a game-changer.
On its Election Watch, the EIU said assuming Mr Lungu is deemed eligible to stand again, his control over the party machinery and the support of most of the Central Committee, as well as a tightening grip on the media and state institutions, should see him secure the PF nomination - some would argue undemocratically.
The report continued;
“But this will come at a cost; there is deep-seated public concern about corruption—for good reason—and ministers that have left office so far have chosen to expose malpractice on their way out. Citing graft is a means by which ambitious politicians leaving government can begin afresh, in opposition, with a powerful campaigning message at their disposal. As the PF shake-up continues there will probably be similar allegations, and the associated bad press would be damaging for the PF,” it forecasts.
“The same applies to an impeachment motion against Mr Lungu for gross mismanagement currently being brought forward by the United Party for National Development (UPND), Zambia’s largest opposition party; the motion is destined to fail, but will be an embarrassment to the president. Standing to gain from all this is the UPND, the National Democratic Congress—founded by an ex PF minister expelled by Mr Lungu in mid2017—which is already making inroads into the ruling party’s Copperbelt heartland on an anti-corruption platform, and potentially the newer Socialist Party.”
The report also touched on any leadership battles within the PF, concluding; although open rivals for the party’s presidential nomination are still likely to be purged, the process will be erratic and will leave the government unstable and policy implementation unpredictable.
ZAMBIA U-20 HOST RWANDA AT NKOLOMA
The Zambia Under-20 will aim to finish off the junior wasps of Rwanda when the two sides meet in the Niger 2019 Africa Cup of Nations second round, second leg encounter at Nkoloma Stadium today (Saturday).
Zambia carries a 2-0 cushion from the first leg that was played in Kigali last week but will have to play to their full strength with the buzz around the U20 very loud among Zambian fans....
Assistant coach Charles Bwale has been psyching his charges ahead of the encounter with top marksman Francisco Mwepu who netted a brace in the first leg expected to lead the attack alongside Wigan Athletic product Mwiya Malumo.
Malumo has been making a strong case in challenging for a starting berth after having made a cameo appearance in the dying minutes of the first leg.
Bwale will still have to make a decision on who gets a nod on Zesco United’s Lameck Banda and Nchanga Rangers’ hot prospect Martin Njobvu.
Skipper Prince Mumba will be part of a triumvirate in midfield that will have Thomas Zulu and Muma Mumba as the other pillars.
The backline will have the telepathic pair of Kingsley Hakwiya and Christopher Katongo with Justin Mwanza and Benson Kolala completing the set that pits Prince Bwalya in goal.
The Rwandese will be banking on their decent home away record that helped them dump Kenya in the last round with skipper Prince Buregeya key to their cause.
Winner over two legs will qualify to the third and final round where they will meet either Sudan or Burundi to book a ticket to Niger.
Zambia are the defending champions after having won the trophy on home soil in 2017 with the template for junior teams proving a success so far.
Kickoff for the match is at 15:00 hours with tickets selling at the venue (Nkoloma Stadium).
Open wing tickets are fetching a K20 charge while VIP entry is at K100.
Pay television channel Superport will beam the match live.
JILTED FORMER UPND MEMBER LAUNCHES SAVAGE VERBAL ATTACK
Former UPND party member Edward Mumbi has charged that the party is the most heartless, unremorseful and irrational political party in Zambia that equally lacks morals.
Mr Mumbi went on to warn the people against voting for a party that undermined the plight of women and children....
Mr Mumbi was reacting to the UPND sentiments towards incarcerated Keith Mukata’s family that the party did not have conditions of service compelling it to take care of wives of its former parliamentarians.
Mr Mumbi reiterated that the statement by UPND was careless, irresponsible and proof that the party was heartless.
Mr Mumbi charged that the pronouncement by UPND should be a clear message to women that supporting the party was suicidal and a risk to their own marriages.
Mr Mumbi also challenged UPND leader, Hakainde Hichilema to disassociate himself from the statement issued by his subordinates if he was a true leader.
“If it is true that statement is coming from Charles Kakoma, I challenge HH to disassociate himself from it if he is not the one who sent him,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mumbi said that Mr Hichilema should have known that the adoption of Charmaine Musonda as the UPND candidate for the Chilanga by- election was a double edged sword.
He pointed out that the adoption of Ms Musonda, who was the ex-concubine to Mr Mukata and was with him at the time he shoot dead his guard, Namakambwa Kalilakwenda would hurt the Mukata family and also the family of the deceased. He charged that any reasonable grouping could not have adopted a person who almost destroyed the marriage of one of its senior members.
STATE HOUSE MAINTAINS LUNGU'S NEW MANSION WON'T COST ZAMBIANS A PENNY
State House says the proposed construction of President Edgar Lungu’s mansion in eSwatini will not cost Zambians any single Kwacha, and that the president has not spent a single cent or Zambian ngwee to purchase land in eSwatini much less build a house in the kingdom.
Open Zambia still has considerable doubts over this. State House has yet to give a feasible explanation for Lungu's significant wealth increa...se during his time in office - which cannot be accounted for by his state salary.
Mr Chanda told a media briefing at State House today that the matter involving the land is a private exchange between two heads of state and informed the nation that President Lungu was given a parcel of land as a private gift by the King of eSwatini a less valuable gift compared to the heads of cattle the king also gave to President Lungu.
Countering claims made about the cost Mr Chanda said that figures circulating online are 'fake news' as no construction plan has be formally agreed yet.
DENNY KALYALYA SET TO BECOME ZAMBIA'S SECOND LARGEST SERVING CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR
President Lungu has renewed the contract of Central Bank Governor Denny Kalyalya. The contract renewal will see Dr. Kalyalya, who was first appointed in 2015, oversee the nation’s monetary policy until at least 2023.
The only other governor to serve longer was Caleb Fundanga between 2002 and 2011....
Bloomberg reports that investors will probably welcome the move as Dr. Kalyalya was seen as a steadying hand at the central bank, not afraid to criticise the government’s loose fiscal policies at times. Something the international community is desperate for as rumours of hidden debt continue to rise.
He led the institution through one of the most turbulent economic periods in the country’s history after a power crisis and a collapse in copper prices prompted Zambia’s currency to drop by around 50 percent the year he took over from Michael Gondwe.
Economic growth slowed to 2.9 percent, the lowest this millennium, and inflation raced to more than 20 percent.
Dr. Kalyalya’s monetary policy committee responded by raising the central bank’s key lending rate to 15.5 percent, and held it there until early last year before cutting as inflation slowed to 6.1 by December. Price growth quickened to 7.4 percent in April, the same level as when Kalyalya was first appointed, and the MPC kept its benchmark rate at a four-year low of 9.75 percent this week.
One of Kalyalya’s key challenges will be increasing international reserves, which have dropped to $1.8 billion, the lowest in almost eight years, as the government grapples with increasing costs to service ballooning external debt.
Zambia’s kwacha has depreciated 2.1 percent against the dollar this year, and was at 10.185 by 7:44 a.m. in Lusaka Friday.
SADC WARNS OF IMPENDING CHAOS IN DRC
A Congolese security expert Yav Tshimbind has cautioned the regional SADC community of a potentially serious humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the hope for the country’s election fades.
Tshmbind says in an interview that incumbent President Joseph Kabila, constitutionally barred from seeking another mandate, is not ready to leave office and will do anything to stay on....
As a result, according to Tshmbind, President Kabila has developed various strategies to stay in power which includes disregarding any meaningful road-map agreed with the regional SADC.
“Kabila has no respect for SADC. He’s lying to them that he’ll hold elections this year. He has no such intentions,” Tshmbind says.
The expert states that President Kabila was being economical with the truth by submitting to SADC that everything in Congo was under control.
“He has been telling people that he will appoint Felix Tshisekedi as his Prime Minister.
“Felix has refused because he doesn’t want to be part of an illegal and brutal regime,” he says.
Tshmbind says SADC and the Great Lakes region will have no one but themselves to blame if a fully fledged war breaks out in the DRC.
“Instability, rape, killings, corruption and total chaos are the order of the day and these will only increase if Kabila doesn’t leave office. The international community should intervene,” he cautioned.
The DRC is beset with civil unrest which experts state may degenerate if Pres. Kabila extends his stay beyond December.
President Kabila’s two term constitutional mandate expired in December 2016 but the government has prolonged his stay in office twice without holding elections claiming logistical challenges.
The Congolese are growing impatient with President Kabila’s stay in power and have since January 2017 clashed with security forces in protests over the situation.
INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE - Our Interview With Pilato
Pilato is one of the most well known names in Zambia, his music is loved by millions and he has inspired many Zambians to follow their musical dreams. However his life has not been without struggle, for the past month he has been in hiding in an unknown location after the Patriotic Front threatened his life. His crime? Daring to criticise the government and accusing President Lungu of getting rich through ill gotten means. Altho...
PILATO ARRESTED AGAIN
Popular Zambian musician and activist Fumba Chama - whose anti-corruption song Rat in the Pot got him into trouble - has been arrested after he returned from self-imposed exile in South Africa.
Back in February Pilato told us:...
'I wish we could create an environment that promotes free expressions. It must be understood that the essence of Freedom of Expression is to have people speak out their thoughts and ideas because it is through such an exercise that those in power can have access to the minds of those they govern. Free expression also allows for ideas to move from one mind to the other so any attempt to halt or infringe on this important freedom is a serious assault on national development. I have not gone for good, i will be back.'
'Politicians don't make nations great, its people that do that. I choose to speak out and challenge the government because i know that we deserve better as a people. '
His arrest at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in the capital Lusaka, has been condemned by rights group Amnesty International as a "shocking affront to justice".
“Pilato [as the musician is known to his fans] is not a criminal. He is an activist and artist. He should not spend a single night in jail. He must be released immediately and unconditionally,” it added in a statement.
Chama fled to South Africa in January after receiving death threats over his song, Koswe Mumpoto (Rat in the Pot), which was interpreted as being critical of President Edgar Lungu and his ministers.
PRESIDENT LUNGU'S HOUSE IN SWAZILAND IS NOT A PRIVATE ISSUE
The Royal Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland) says the issue involving President Edgar Lungu’s plans to build a mansion at Nkonyeni is a private matter.
Government Spokesman Percy Simelane was quoted by Times of Swaziland newspaper reluctantly saying that the purchase of land to build a family house for President Lungu is a private issue....
This in fact just wrong. If this were a normal sized house in his home town it may well be, however what the eSwatini spokesperson Percy Simelane seems to ignore is the sheet cost of this project.
As Open Zambia reported yesterday, President Lungu declared a meager K2.5 million, however one year into his Presidency in 2016 he declared K23 million worth of assets. A leap which cannot be accounted for by his 'formal' salary.
This property has cost a huge $3.6 million. Whilst he is in office he is duty bound to explain where this money came from and be fully transparent with the process.
UPND SHUN NATIONAL DIALOGUE SUMMIT
In a statement issued yesterday, the UPND has alleged that the dialogue had been “organised in bad faith” by the PF.
“We wish to inform the nation that the UPND is not participating in the national dialogue summit taking place in Lusaka today. This national dialogue has been organised by the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID). This dialogue process has been organised in bad faith as it is being pushed by the PF government in order ...to circumvent the Commonwealth dialogue talks in Zambia.
The UPND believes that the ZCID has no capacity to lead the dialogue process in Zambia and would not like to be used to legitimise President Edgar Lungu’s agenda of manipulating the constitution, electoral system and politics in this country. What soft spot has the PF government seen in the ZCID for it to insist on using it?” the UPND wondered in a statement issued by party spokesperson Charles Kakoma.
“We would like to warn the PF government that if it insists to go ahead and hold the dialogue talks using the ZCID, its outcomes will not be binding on the UPND and its resolutions will not see the light of day in Parliament. The PF government should remember that they do not have two-thirds majority in Parliament to bulldoze its way.”
He suggested that the Church should instead be left to handle the dialogue process.
“If the PF and its government are seriously opposed to the commonwealth dialogue talks in Zambia, we propose that as a compromise, the Church Mother Bodies should lead the dialogue process in Zambia. The Church has a record of facilitating dialogue and resolving conflicts in Zambia. UPND will be comfortable to dialogue under the auspices of the Church Mother Bodies who are neutral and guided by the will of God,” stated Kakoma.
GIVEN LUBINDA REBUFFS HH'S CONCILIATORY MESSAGES
In a disappointing turn of events Justice Minister Given Lubinda has denied reaching consensus on the proposed dialogue meeting by the UPND when he met its leader Hakainde Hichilema and Vice President Geoffrey Mwamba on Monday.
Images of the men circulated over the weekend, giving many hope that our politicians were for once acting maturely and endeavouring to get along with one another for the benefit of the nation....
However Lubinda quickly put this to bed - reacting to a statement posted by Mr Hichilema on his official Facebook page alleging that the trio reached consensus on the dialogue process that it should be led by the Church, Mr Lubinda said the statement was a total fabrication and a misrepresentation of facts.
Mr Lubinda has since asked Mr Hichilema to correct the record with the same zeal and speed used when posting it on social media.
The Justice Minister also challenged Mr Hichilema to release the entire video footage of the road side meeting since the UPND media crew was recording the conversation.