Sunday, 1 December 2019

Jailing Of Homosexuals Sparks Zambia-US Diplomatic Row

By Paul Shalala
Chataba and Sambo talking to their lawyer Daniel Libati
last year. -Picture courtesy of The Punch newspaper

A diplomatic row has broken out between Zambia and the United States after two Zambian men were recently sentenced to 15 years each for practicing homosexuality.

The two men, 39 year old Japhet Chataba and 31 year old Steven Sambo, are the first Zambians to ever be convicted and subsequently sentenced for practicing homosexuality.

On 25 August 2017, a video of the two men dragging each other at a lodge in the central Zambian town of Kapiri Mposhi went viral on social media, sparking huge debate about homosexuality in this deeply conservative Southern African country.

In the video, Chataba was seen dragging Sambo back into the lodge where they allegedly had more sex.

The video formed part of the prosecution evidence during trial which was handled by Kapiri Mposhi Resident Magistrate Ackson Mumba who later convicted the two on August 3, 2018 and committed them to the Kabwe High Court for sentencing.

And last week, the High Court sent the two men to jail for 15 years, the minimum sentence people charged with “unnatural acts” can receive.  

This sentence resulted in a strongly worded statement by the United States Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote who brought in various issues to the debate.

“I was personally horrified to read yesterday about the sentencing of two men, who had a consensual relationship, which hurt absolutely no one, to 15 YEARS imprisonment for “crimes against the order of nature. Meanwhile, government officials can steal millions of public dollars without prosecution, political cadres can beat innocent citizens for expressing their opinions with no consequences, or poachers/traffickers can kill numerous elephants, barbarically chainsaw and sell their tusks, and face a maximum of only five years imprisonment in Zambia,” said Ambassador Foote.

The American envoy added: “Decisions like this oppressive sentencing do untold damage to Zambia’s international reputation by demonstrating that human rights in Zambia is not a universal guarantee. They perpetuate persecution against disenfranchised groups and minorities, such as people from other tribes or political affiliations, albinos, the disabled, our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) brothers and sisters, and anyone who is deemed “different.”

This statement led to a sharp reaction from Zambia’s chief diplomat.

“The Government of the Republic of Zambia takes great exception to the remarks made by the Ambassador on the decision by the High Court as well as his comparison of the homosexuality case to other cases of alleged thefts by government officials, political violence and poaching. The Ambassador may wish to note that all cases that are brought before the courts of law are adjudicated based on the available evidence.  It is extremely unfair and highly misleading to suggest that such cases are never brought before the courts of law,” said Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Malanji.

Malanji added that Zambia is a signatory to major international and regional treaties protecting human rights and has several well-established institutions to promote and protect human rights. 
The sentence made it to the front pages of daily newspapers

At a press briefing in Lusaka, the Foreign Affairs Minister disclosed that he phoned the American envoy to express Zambia’s disappointment with his reaction to a matter he considers domestic.

And in a post sentence interview with foreign media, Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu said the Southern African country will not be bullied into adopting what he termed “foreign practices.”

“We cannot allow homosexuality in Zambia. We cannot be forced to allow men to marry men because even animals do not do so,” said President Lungu in an interview with British news channel Sky News a few days ago.

And one of Zambia’s prominent diplomats Emmanuel Mwamba says Ambassador Foote’s statement is in contrast with US President Donald Trump’s policy push that revises pro-LGBTQ rights and protection aggressively promoted by his predecessor Barack Obama.

Mwamba, a journalist who is currently serving as Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union, says President Trump promotes pro-family policies.

“The Trump administration has withdrawn special privileges fronted as "rights" granted to the LGBTQ community by the Obama administration in; healthcare, employment, housing, education, commerce, the military, and prisons. President Trump also issued an Executive Order to create obstacles for people seeking to enter the U.S. on the basis of LGBTQ alleged discrimination or harassment from conservative countries that ban or do not recognize these LGBTQ rights. The administration has also cut spending to the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for programs related to abortions and LGBTQ,” wrote Ambassador Mwamba in his opinion piece published by Mwebantu, an online news outlet.

Chataba and Sambo's  case has brought the issue of homosexuality back to the limelight.

Various interest groups, including churches have commented on the matter.

Because of the sensitivity of the matter, a few LGBTQ organisations operating in Zambia have not commented openly on the sentence for fear of the law.

In the past, about two cases involving homosexuality had been dismissed by the courts of law.

Coincidentally, the two cases were both held in Kapiri Mposhi, the same town where the recent case was tried too.

Kapiri Mposhi is a transit town in central Zambia which is located at an intersection of both rail and road junctions heading north to Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and south to Lusaka and other places in the south of the country.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Ritual Killers Target Albinos' Body Parts in Zambia

By Paul Shalala
A poster the Albinism Foundation of Zambia
is circulating against killing of albinos
Parents of children born with albinism across Zambia are now employing extra security for their children following a number of cases in which albinos have been killed or brutally attacked by ritual killers.
Some Zambian fortune seekers believe that using albino body parts can make one rich.
This myth has led to many albinos being killed or their body parts being chopped off.
In the latest case, a seven year old female albino in the mining town of Kitwe lost her left arm and hair after three assailants broke into her family house.
Dorothy Mulenga, who is a Grade One pupil at Mutupa Primary School, was sleeping with her sister and parents on Tuesday night when the three men stormed their house in rural Kitwe and snatched her in the dead of the night.
“The three men were armed with machetes, they broke the window, jumped into our house and grabbed my daughter. They threw her outside and ran with her towards the bush,” said Joseph Mulenga, the 27 year father who watched the attack as it unfolded.
Mulenga says as he and his wife pursued the attackers, they sliced off her left arm and dropped her 100 meters away from the house.
“They ran away with my daughter’s arm. Am worried about our safety. They may come back and kill me so that they can get her. We are asking our government to guarantee our safety.”
Police said the motive of the attack was not known.
“The couple decided to shout for help and after realizing that the neighbours would come, the criminals immediately chopped off the left arm of the girl just slightly above the elbow using a machete and took away the piece to unknown destination,” said Police Commissioner Charity Katanga who presides over the Copperbelt region where the attack happened.
The house where three criminals abducted Dorothy Mulenga
A visit to the family house by this blogger revealed a trail of blood from the house to a nearby bush where the girl had been dumped by her attackers.
Four days after the attack, no one has been arrested.
But this case has brought a lot of good will from civic leaders, human rights activists and other well-wishers who have donated money and material things to support Dorothy and her family.
Dorothy spent three days in the Intensive Care Unit of the Kitwe Teaching Hospital and she was only moved to a general ward on Friday.
Due to worries about ritual killers striking again, the juvenile is being guarded while in hospital and access to her is strictly supervised.
Another recent case of an attack on an albino happened on 31 October when a 39 year old man was murdered in the eastern Zambian town of Nyimba in a night attack by ritual killers.
The attackers used a knife to cut his throat but before they could get any body parts, villagers pursued the attackers who were at the time dragging the albino to a nearby bush.
The attackers scampered in all directions upon seeing the villagers in pursuit.
“The deceased was attacked while he was sleeping in his grass thatched house and in the process his throat was completely cut and was stabbed twice on the left side of the chest’” said Zambia Police Service Spokesperson Esther Katongo.
After intense investigations, Police arrested four people, who included a married couple who are believed to be the masterminds of the murder.
They have all been charged with murder and are scheduled to appear in court in the coming week.
This case has brought anxiety in eastern Zambia especially among the albino community.
Chief Ndake of the Nsenga speaking people of Nyimba has immediately summoned all his Headmen in the area to sensitise them against the myth that albino body parts are a lucky charm.
In an interview with the Zambia News and Information Services which has been shared widely to all media house in Zambia, the traditional leader expressed shock that such a gruesome murder happened in his chiefdom.
And a clergyman in the region has called for citizens to protect all albinos from ritual killers.
“They (albinos) just have a deficiency of scientific attribute that makes them look the way they look but in terms of humanity, they are as good as anyone else and they should be left alone to do whatever they want,” said Bishop William Mchombo of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia.
And in northern Zambia, a 73 year old albino had her fingers cut off and a tooth removed by unknown people on 25 July this year.
Three suspects were arrested in this matter, who included a grandchild of the victim.
The three are still appearing in court while the victim was relocated from her village for her own safety.
Over the years, the Albinism Foundation of Zambia (AFZ) has been supporting and relocating many albinos who are attacked or those who do not feel safe.
John Chiti
The organization says most of these attacks are carried out by ritual killers and people who sale albino body parts to buyers both locally and abroad.
“Most of the cases where albinos are being attacked are happening in rural areas because there is lack of security. We note that these cases are increasing because there is trafficking of body parts from one country to the other,” said AFZ Executive Director John Chiti, who is a prominent Zambian musician.
He goes on to explain that in Chama, a town which borders Malawi, a young girl was attacked last year and one of her hands was chopped off.
Mr Chiti says with the help of the Police, the hand was recovered in Malawi and this proves that trafficking in albino body parts is an international activity.
“We are asking the Police to do their job and ensure that people attacking albinos are brought to book. To the families of albinos, please stay safe, take care of the children because our lives are in danger due to these ritual killers who are after us,” he added.
And a young parent who has two children living with albinism in the mining town of Kalulushi says he has started taking precautions for his children.
“I have two children who are albinos and we are worried now. Should we be guarding them everytime? When they are going to school, should we escort them? This is very worrying. Our children are now a target and for me, am now guarding them throughout,” said the parent who sought anonymity.
For years, albinos were living freely in Zambia and there was even a common adage that “Albinos do not die, they just disappear.”
However, now they are being killed or attacked for being what they are.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Curbing The Zambian Economic Leakage

By Kasuluba Mashonga

What is leakage?

Borrowing from the Keynesian economic theory, it refers to capital or income that exits a system(economy) as opposed to remaining within it. Wikipedia asserts that leakages are the non-consumption uses of income, including saving, taxes, and imports, yet other scholars simply postulate that leakage occurs when money leaves an economy. In other words, when funds are not used for their initial intended purposes or money is pushed out of a closed cash flow cycle, leakages are created.

If a pipe were to describe the Zambian economy and water being money, then a hole in that pipe causing water to ooze out would be a practical representation of leakage in that, a lot of water would constantly be lost if the pipe were not mended.

Effects of leakage

It is imperative to note that leakage is very common in almost all economies globally not only Zambia and does not necessarily hinge on bad governance. A leakage causes the exiting of money from an economy and results in a gap between the supply and demand chain. In the retail sector for instance, this would mean consumers spending money outside the local market, forcing businesses within such an economy to find other ways of drumming up revenue just so that they may avoid incurring losses and this may prove difficult.

Causes of leakage

There are several reasons that lead to leakage but only a few are going to be discussed. Firstly, capital that leaves an economy or system as opposed to remaining within results into leakage. This happens when proceeds from a Zambian or local investment venture are removed from the economy by investing in say real estate, supermarkets or other foreign projects.

In addition, money spent outside an economy for purposes of tourism, export funds that are not used within the area of their initial production or money spent out of the local market are all deemed to be leaked. This topic is broad, and it is vital to make mention that even funds that are saved for too long result into leakage. This is because if that money has no velocity within the economic system (no movement), there will be a shortage of funds in the country.

Compensation for leakage

In dealing with the problem that is detrimental to many systems such as the Zambian economy, a few suggestions will be provided by this literature based on research. As a depiction from the circular flow model of economic activity, the Zambian government might stimulate its economy through injecting cash into the financial system when leakage affects the flow or circulation of money.

However, injection does not entail borrowing from foreign financial institutions or other countries in the wake of austerity measures(reduction of money spent in the country by the government). That being the case we still cannot completely do away with borrowing. Hence, local financial institutions would be the best sources of extra funds because that money is still going to be kept within the Zambian economic system.

As narrated by one of the Oversees Development Institutes’ articles, they argue to say about 75% of tourism proceeds are taken out of the host nation. This is because international tour operators are paid huge sums of money which they spend in their native countries. For this reason, they propose that tourist destinations should invest in home grown tour operators, thereby keeping money locally.

The other solution to dealing with leakage lies in what USA and the UK do which is paying attention to little denominations of currency. These and other big economies have come up with ways to ensure that Cents and Pennies, respectively are in constant circulation and it has proven to be very beneficial.

These forms of currency are used when people visit rooms of convenience (Toilets), purchasing of refreshments and other foods via vending machines, including the other advantages being that they keep prices low and are depended upon by charity organisations. Zambia should also ensure that smaller denominations of currency such as 5 and 10 Ngwees are ploughed back into circulation. By so doing, this activates the multiplier effect leading to increased money by the central bank, which would then be injected back into the economy in the long run.

CONCLUSION

In a nutshell, it is quite impracticable to eliminate leakage completely but measures can still be taken to reduce it to the lowest possible level, if the measures discussed or even more are taken into consideration.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Zambian Investigative Reporter Dies In Mysterious Circumstances

By Paul Shalala
Humphrey Nkonde

A 42 year old Zambian investigative reporter who has been writing on sensitive topics has been found dead, 10 days after he went missing.
Humphrey Nkonde, an Assistant Editor at the Catholic-run Mission Press in the northern town of Ndola went missing on 22 September, a day before he was scheduled to fly to Germany for the Global Investigative Journalism Conference.
Nkonde, whose last stories in the Icengelo magazine focused on the escalating mealie meal and fuel prices, was found floating in a lake in the rural district of Masaiti.
Police confirmed picking the body on 26 September and subsequently buried it in Ndola at Kantolomba Cemetery in the absence of his family or employers.
This act by Police has led media bodies to question the speed at which the journalist was buried.
“How did the Police bury without anyone witnessing? Why did the Police claim it was unidentified body when they themselves revealed that he had his passport in his pocket? The Police must answer these questions,” said Clinton Masumba, the Secretary for the Northern Region Media Club.
Other media bodies put the blame on the Police.
“The Police must come out clean on this matter, we want conclusive investigations into the death of our colleague. His death is a big blow to the Ndola Press Club,” said Ndola Press Club President Chishala Musonda.
On October 5, Police officers exhumed Nkonde’s in order for a Pathologist to conduct a postmortem.
The procedure was completed after two hours and the body was reburied.
The Police pathologist, who came from Lusaka, carried samples from the journalist’s body to Lusaka for analysis.
According to Police sources, the results of the postmortem will be released in the coming days.
But Humphrey’s employer is suspicious over his death.
“There are too many versions surrounding Nkonde’s death. The family is insisting that its suicide. For us, we want conclusive investigations before we can believe anything,” said Mission Press Director Fr. Ferena Lambe.
The clergyman, who was close to the late journalist, says Nkonde was fearless.
“He was a courageous journalist who we promoted to Assistant Editor in June this year. He used to write sensitive and political stories. His last story was too sensitive, could it be the reason he is dead today?” asked Fr. Lambe.
Initially, the family objected to a postmortem but management at Mission Press insisted on it being done to find the cause of death.
Family members told the media that a day before he disappeared, he appeared was doing suspicious things like hugging his children and talking to himself.
They claimed he was being led by a demon.
However, in the 10 days Nkonde was missing, non of the family members reported the matter to the Police.
But his employers are not buying that story. 
Nkonde interviewing former President Kaunda
“On the evening of 22 September, he came home to say bye because the following day he was scheduled to fly to Germany for a journalism conference. He was in a good mood, he wasn’t confused as his family is claiming. I even suggested to him that when he is back, we will hold a workshop for Zambian journalists to learn from his investigatory skills,” said Mission Press Human Resources Manager Honorius Chilufya.
His fellow workers at Mission Press are devastated.
“He was a close friend of mine. I knew him decades ago before he joined us at Mission Press. If a reporter can work at the Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail and now Mission Press, it just shows you how hardworking he is,” said Danny Chiyesu a Graphic Artist for Icengelo magazine.
Chiyesu reveals that Nkonde was in the process of writing a book on Zambia’s founding President Kenneth Kaunda and the project had advanced.
He adds that the book was supposed to focus on Dr. Kaunda’s life from his time in State House to his role in society after leaving office.
In November, Nkonde was scheduled to travel to The Netherlands to take a three weeks course in Investigative journalism at the Radio Netherlands Training Center which is located in the Dutch city of Hilversum.
Through out his career, Nkonde practiced investigative journalism and attended various workshops and conferences at home and abroad to perfect his skills.
Apart from his fulltime work at Mission Press, he was also a correspondent for several international publications specialized in aviation and business. 

Thursday, 3 October 2019

A Look At Zambia's Quest For Alternative Energy

Mr Nkhuwa (middle) at the site
By Kanchele Kanchele
Zambia's over dependence on hydro electricity has in the recent past been a catalyst for the slowed down economic growth and as the effects associated with climate change hits the country, the energy sector suffers immensely.
The first signs that the country needed to find quick solutions to its over dependence on hydro electricity came to the fore in July of 2015. The Kariba Dam, the largest man made water reservoir in the world was hit by low water levels as the country received less than normal rainfall. The Kariba Dam is where the country generates over 80% of its power supply for both industrial and domestic use.
 To manage the crisis, the power utility embarked on power rationing of up 12 hours, a move never seen before in a country with a history of abundance of energy. When the rains were normal in 2016 and the Dam returned its normal water levels, the sense of urgency to find solutions to the crisis seen in yesteryears was somewhat shelved as it became business as usual for those charged with the responsibility to find other energy sources.
Fast forward to 2019, the country is faced with the same crisis and it's back to square one as government officials try to fix the situation by rationing power by 12 or more hours. Unfortunately,  the reduced hydro power generation and the rationing of power provision has led to an unprecedented wanton cutting of trees for charcoal production and hence worsening the climatic change impacts.
Adding to this fact is the ever increasing demand for energy at both domestic and industrial levels. At domestic level, the number of houses connected to the main grid has drastically increased as more and more households get connected including the growing number of small scale businesses such as metal fabrication and barbershops. Just recently, the power utility celebrated the milestone of reaching its 1 millionth customer with a celebratory cocktail party.
In the background of all this, is a company working to be part of the solution to future energy challenges to a country with a growing demand for energy at both industrial and household level. While most of the country's stakeholders view the current situation as a challenge, Kalahari Geo Energy has seen this as an opportunity to stamp its mark on the country's energy sector and has quietly been working on a lasting solution.
The company has gone in an unfamiliar territory with regards the country's energy sector. It has gone into the rare field of Geothermal Energy and has quietly done its homework on the possibilities of having such a rare source of energy in the country, the first of its kind in the southern half of the continent and second only to Kenya in the continent.
Geothermal energy is not only a rare source of energy in the continent but it fits well with the current trends world over of producing environmentally friendly, clean, renewable and eco-friendly energy in order to mitigate the production of greenhouse gases as the world tries to contain climate change.
 Browsing the internet, the quickest way to research shows that Geothermal power plants emit close to zero greenhouse gases in the world's atmosphere and are extremely eco-friendly. Geothermal energy is ranked among some of the most efficient in cooling and heating systems available today. Further Geothermal energy is generally considered environmentally friendly and does not cause significant amounts of pollution. Harnessing geothermal energy does not involve any fuels, which means less cost fluctuations and stable electricity prices.
Zambia's Energy Minister Mr Mathew Nkhuwa became the first Cabinet Minister to visit Bweengwa Geothermal project when he toured the project site in September 2019.
Explaining the project to Mr. Nkhuwa, Kalahari Geo Energy Director Dr Moses Banda said the Bweengwa River Geothermal Resource Area contains compelling evidence of the three key elements required for hosting a hydrothermal system: temperature, permeability and water.
He adds "evidence for minimum reservoir temperatures of 130 Degrees Celsius is provided by both fluid chemistry and already-drilled temperature gradient holes. Permeability is confirmed by the discharge of the hot springs along the regional bounding fault and the associated geologic structures. The reservoir is in fractured basement rocks within or adjacent to the basin-bounding fault. The source of water is local meteoric water that is plentiful."
Further Dr Banda explained that so far the company has reached temperatures of  has reached temperature of 110 degrees Celsius and is hopeful that it will reach the anticipated 130 to 150 degrees Celsius temperatures before the onset of the rains as they break off due to the weather which does not allow them to continue drilling as the area is a mush land.
"We have spent in excess of $7.5 million so far and that amount will increase to $10million by the time we set up a pilot plant. We are projecting that we would be able to set up a pilot power generation plant by next year and that will lead us in to completing the project in 2021."
Asked to state the amount of power which will be produced at the plant, Dr Banda explained that the answer will only be certain when drilling is completed but that he can only give a projection of around 15-90MW.
Geothermal energy generation comes with benefits to areas closer to the power generation plant. In this case Bweengwa in Monze District will greatly benefit from the direct applications which will come with the power generation plant.
Dr Banda told the Minister’s delegation that whilst his company will concentrate on power generation it will endeavor to support other interested parties in the development and usage of the geothermal direct applications and that to that end it has engaged the Zambia Development Agency with a view of establishing an Industrial Park, as an instrument, which could maximize the accrual of benefits to the surrounding communities.
Impressed with the project, Mr Nkhuwa could not wait to ask for a quick completion of the project.
He noted the importance of the project to the country in its quest to reduce the power shortages as well as to the people of Monze who stands to directly benefit from the project’s direct applications which is envisaged to create hundreds of jobs.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

South African Businesses Close As Zambian Students Protest Xenophobia

Students light fires at the South African High Commission
in Lusaka -Picture by Salim Dawood/Getty Images

By Paul Shalala

Dozens of South African businesses which include banks, chain stores, food outlets and a television provider have been temporarily shut down in the Zambian capital Lusaka as thousands of students protest xenophobia taking place in South Africa.

First National Bank (FNB), Shoprite, Multichoice (DStv), Hungry Lion, Barclays, Pick N Pay and several other South African owned companies closed yesterday as placard carrying students went on the streets of Lusaka.

The students, who wore black clothes in solidarity with victims of xenophobia, disrupted lectures at the University of Zambia (UNZA) before going on the streets.

They marched along the Great East Road, a major boulevard in Lusaka and stormed the Manda Hill Shopping Mall were they smashed the Shoprite store which is the largest in the country.

At Hungry Lion, the students walked away with umbrellas and also got away with trolleys from Pick N Pay which they rode on.

In their thousands, the students entered Addis Ababa Drive and walked 15 kilometers to the South African High Commission under the watchful eye of heavily armed riot Police officers.   

As they arrived at the High Commission, the UNZA students were joined by hundreds of students from Evelyn Hone College, a tertiary institution situated in the central business district of Lusaka.

The High Commission was locked and heavily guarded by Police.

Students could not physically deliver their petition to South African diplomats.
Students marching on the streets

This forced the students to burn tyres and deface the sign post for the diplomatic mission.

At some point, Police officers tried to stop the students from lighting the tyres which led to students unleashing missiles on the High Commission.

This led to a cat and mouse fight of teargas verses stones between the students and the Police.

Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo arrived at the mission and arranged transport for the students to be ferried back to the Great East Road Campus where he later calmed them down.

Zambia National Students Association (ZANASU) President Misheck Kakonde said the petition which was not handed over was meant to give the South African government a two day ultimatum to stop the xenophobia.

“We are now fed up with the behavior of South Africans and we may respond with the same amount of force on your businesses and investment in our country Zambia. ……..The South African government is proving to be docile in managing their thugs…..” reads part of the petition.

The petition, which contained 11 demands, claimed that 39 Zambians in South Africa had been injured and some may have even lost their lives.

“If your government does not do anything within two days, your High Commission in Zambia shall be closed for eternity…… No South African businessperson shall bring any products to Zambia…….. First National Bank (FNB) and other South African banks shall not be allowed to operate…..” read some of the demands by the students.

Reaction to the students protest was swift.
Smashed doors at Shoprite Manda Hill Branch

The Zambian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa clarified that only one Zambian by the name of Daniel Lupiya was caught up in the xenophobic attacks.

Mr Lupiya was hacked in the head and was admitted at Gemiston hospital.

The High Commission says it is following up another report of Mr Siachingi Sialubaya, a truck driver, who is reported to have been attacked in KwaZulu Natal.

President Edgar Lungu condemned the violence by the students but warned that xenophobia can affect African unity.

“Criminal gangs engaged in brutalizing innocent people must know that their actions may cause the isolation of South Africa from the rest of the civilized world. The South African government must bring the culprits to book before this xenophobia degenerates into full scale genocide,” said President Lungu.

According to the Zambia Development Agency, South Africa is among Zambia’s top five trading partners.

The country imports a lot from South Africa and Zambia exports a good number of products to that country.

And most of South Africa’s exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo passes through Zambian borders by road.

Three days ago, the Football Association of Zambia cancelled a friendly march with South Africa due to the xenophobic attacks.

The game was supposed to be held in Lusaka but thousands of Zambians took to social media to call for the cancellation of the game.

The following day, the Economics Association of Zambia also pulled out of the World Economic Forum to be held in Cape Town, South Africa.
Closure statement by Multichoice

And two South African rugby teams JHB Bobbies and the Blue Bulls which were supposed to travel to Zambia for the Zambia 7s tournament have also cancelled their trip.

In the capital Lusaka, one of the most popular private radio stations Hot FM has pulled off all South African music from its playlists.

”In light of the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa, Hot FM will cease to play music by South African artists on our airwaves until further notice. Africa is one and until such a time that our South African counterparts embrace ubuntu again, our stand will be with all our African brothers being attacked and terrorized in that country,” reads a statement from the radio station.

The South African High Commission in Zambia is yet to issue a statement following these developments in Zambia.

Across the continent, Nigerian singer and song writer Tiwa Savage and Ugandan comedian Teacher Mpamire have also cancelled their shows scheduled for South Africa.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Somizi Denied Entry Into Zambia Over Homosexuality

Somizi Mhlongo -Photo courtesy of PR Girl Media
By Paul Shalala
Zambia has banned South African artist Somizi Mhlongo from entering the country over his sexuality.
Minister of Religious Affairs and National Values Godfridah Sumaili says Somizi is not welcome in the country because he is openly gay.
Reverend Sumaili says Zambia will not welcome people who she described as having “questionable” characters.
“Every country has laws. Here in Zambia, we have a constitution that guides citizens on morals and its Christian values. We do not condone gayism. It is a crime and inviting such people means we are slowly accepting the vice,” Said Rev. Sumaili as quoted by the state-owned Times of Zambia newspaper.
She was referring to the preamble of the Zambian constitution which describes the country as a “Christian Nation.”
The “Christian Nation” declaration itself was made by Zambia’s second president Frederick Chiluba in December 1992.
Before that, Zambia was a secular state under the 27 year rule of its founding president Kenneth Kaunda.
Somizi has been invited by PR Girl Media, an influential public relations firm run by women which is organising a fashion show to be held in Lusaka in July.
The Idols SA judge was invited to come and show off his fashion at the event which has been dubbed “Lusaka July.”
On 19 June, PR Girl Media announced Somizi’s invitation in a tweet.
“It is not a secret anymore, an invitation has been sent out to fashion icon Somizi to attend the Lusaka July. We are just as anxious as you are for a YES!” reads the tweet from the handle @PRGirlMedia.
The announcement was retweeted seven times and liked 31 times.
Within hours of the tweet being sent out, social media in Zambia was ablaze with a debate on homosexuality.
The Zambian government did not hide its stance on the matter as Rev. Sumaili led others in opposing the invitation.
Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo has also backed the banning of Somizi from the country.
“He recently got engaged to another man. Is that the sort of thing we can allow in this country? No, he isn’t welcome here,” said Kasolo in an interview with the state run Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.
But PR Girl Media has described the banning of Somizi as fake news.
On Friday, the PR agency posted a newspaper cutting in which the Minister of Religious Affairs was quoted banning Somizi and the agency captioned the tweet with the words FAKE NEWS!!!
In an earlier statement issued on Tuesday last week, PR Girl Media urged its followers to wait for an official announcement over the Somizi issue.
“South African celebrity and TV personality Somizi has not yet confirmed to make an appearance at the upcoming Lusaka July event. While we appreciate your engagement and positive response to our social media post made by our team earlier today, we kindly urge you to wait the official announcement from PR Girl Media and Somizi,” read the statement.
But some Zambians are opposed to the decision by government to bar Somizi from the country.
Award-winning Zambian writer Ingrid Nayame says denying Somizi entry into Zambia is against international human rights laws.
“Zambia is a signatory to International Treaties under International Human Rights Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is illegal to refuse entry into the country of anyone based on their race, gender, sexual orientation or religion or HIV status. The right to equality and non-discrimination are core principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and Human Right Treaties,” wrote Nayame on her Facebook page.
She cited the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and one of those protocols that guarantee Somizi’s rights to enter Zambia.
“The right to privacy is the protected freedom under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So what someone does in their bedroom has nothing to do with the State,” she added.
Somizi joins a list of influential artists, politicians and religious leaders from abroad who have been denied entry into Zambia for various reasons.
South Africa’s opposition DA leader Mmusi Maimane was turned away at the airport in May 2017 when he came to offer solidarity to UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema who was in detention.
In the same year, Prophet Ubert Angel of Zimbabwe was denied entry into the country.
A promotional poster for the event Somizi was invited for
And in March 2018, popular South African dancer Zodwa Wabantu was detained at the airport upon arrival in Zambia and sent back on another flight to South Africa after Rev. Sumaili said her dances are “immoral” and “Unchristian.”
Zodwa is popular for dancing without underwear and she reportedly told South African media before departure for Zambia that she would dance without underwear despite opposition from Zambian authorities.
President Lungu created the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Values in September 2016 which is charged with the responsibility of guiding the nation on what are called religious and national values. 

Sunday, 16 June 2019

My Reflections On MUVI Television’s 16th Birthday

Reporting from Embassy Park in Lusaka during the burial 
for former President Frederick Chiluba in June 2011
By Paul Shalala
It was February 2010 and I was unemployed.
I was doing internship at CUTS International Center in Northmead area of Lusaka just after I had left New Vision Newspaper.
Costa Mwansa was then the General Manager at MUVI TV and 4 years earlier he was my senior at Evelyn Hone College and he knew the political animal in me when it comes to political reporting.
Costa sent me an email asking if I could apply for a job to join MUVI TV.
Without hesitation, I sent in an application and I was called for interviews.
I passed the interviews and on 1 March 2010, I reported for work on the same day with Pennipher Sikainda (now Nyirenda) and Penelope Kapambwe (now Sikazwe).
Because our first names start with P, employees called us the three Ps.
The three of us were very close as we tried to settle down in the newsroom.
The day I reported for work, Costa was chairing the diary meeting and my first news idea was short down.
I had presented an idea on the challenges kids face when going to school due to the floods which were ravaging Lusaka.
Costa offered to groom me and from that time, I learnt how to present ideas for a community TV station.
Even my first narration for a TV report at MUVI TV was a mess, I was actually banned for a month.
After grooming and abit of panel beating, I became an unmistakable voice on MUVI TV's 18:30hrs Main News.
MUVI TV took me all over, locally and abroad.
With then opposition PF leader Michael Sata in
Senanga, Western Province in May 2011
I had the chance to fly abroad for the first time to Istanbul, Turkey to cover the United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries.
Then President Rupiah Banda attended the event and I covered it for MUVI TV, my first international assignment as a journalist and while there, I met my long time BBC mentor Umaru Fofana of Sierra Leone.
Locally, I used to cover President Banda and one time at the Lusaka International Airport (now Kenneth Kaunda International Airport), I asked him a very controversial political question (I can't remember it) and he answered me jokingly: "Iwe mwana bakutuma, sorry ulibe lead story lelo."
I covered Michael Sata in the opposition, travelled with him countrywide and I even covered his promise to restore the Barotseland Agreement at a rally in Senanga, Western Province in May 2011.
His massive rallies both in Mongu and Senanga actually gave me an indication that the man was heading somewhere as in 2008, Sata failed to have sizeable rallies in Mongu, but in 2011 he was a hero in Barotseland.
Hakainde Hichilema was another politician I covered extensively to an extent were to date, he calls me "Lozi Boy."
One rally I remember covering HH was in Choma in 2010 at Kings Ground (I hear that place has been turned into a mall) were he launched the "Real Change Campaign."
Another HH incident I remember vividly was in 2010 during the Chilanga Parliamentary by-election after Ngande Magande was expelled by MMD, Jimboz led by Chris Chalwe and William Banda almost beat him up, he was only saved by Elisha Matambo, Richwell Siamunene and others who whisked him to a classroom at Chilanga Primary School before Police fired teargas to dispess the unruly MMD cadres.
All in all, my job at MUVI TV was to report politics and my contract which I still have at home described me as a Politics Reporter.
With UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema at Chilanga Primary School
during the Chilanga Parliamentary by-election in December 2010
To cement my role, MUVI TV allowed me to travel to Berlin, Germany in September 2011 to study Politics and Governance at the International Institute for Journalism were I spent almost three months with 14 other journalists from Africa and Asia.
We were three Zambians on this training is: Morgan Kasuba a freelancer and Ernest Chanda from The Post Newspapers.
Apart from reporting politics, I think my highlight at MUVI TV was political analysis which i did almost every morning on the Sunrise Breakfast Show with Costa Mwansa and Mabvuto Phiri.
This show was so heated: Costa would always be the moderator and to strike a balance, Mabvuto would always support government and I would be the government critic on the show so that viewers get balanced views on any given topic.
This show made me a star and a villain at the same time.
Because of the show, many people around the country came to know me.
Every morning we would receive text messages concerning topics on discussion and one of the frequent contributors was Manix Kindaba of Solwezi who has since become a very close friend.
Politicians tuned in every morning and we would debate soberly on various issues such as politics, the Constitution making process, by-elections, etc with proper research.
We spent hours researching and when we go live on TV, we would speak with authority like experienced political scientists.
However, that analysis also gave us some enemies as the 2011 general elections drew near.
We started watching our backs because the truth we spoke on TV was hurting others.
When my two year contract was nearing it's end in February 2012, I notified management that I would not seek to renew it because I wanted to move on.
However, it took management two weeks to reply to me, they reluctantly accepted my departure and off I went.
Looking back, I smile at MUVI TV and the great person it created in me in just two years.
The experience I got, the contacts I made in the field and the ropes I went through are what has made me a journalist iam today.
I don't believe in burning bridges I have crossed, I believe in appreciating even the worst situations I have gone through because they make me who Iam today.
Interviewing President Rupiah Banda during the MMD National Convention
at Mulungushi Rock of Authority in Kabwe in April 2011
The sweetest memories I have of my time at MUVI TV was to rush to an incident in one of the compounds and we find other TV stations filming and when we arrive, everyone including those who were being interviewed abandon the interviews and start shouting "MUVI! MUVI! MUVI! MUVI!"
The saddest event was in a place called Nakachenje in Lusaka West were hundreds of MMD cadres ambushed our vehicle as we went to film a land wrangle and they beat up our driver Eddie, Dainess Nyirenda (now Sikamwaya) and Anita Kalwani.
The two ladies were actually threatened with rape and all equipment which included a microphone, tripod stand and camera we're confiscated by the Jimboz, an MMD security wing. (Not sure if this equipment was recovered).
Brian Mwale, Bruce Mwale and myself who had remained in the car survived the beating.
It is again at MUVI TV were I was the only TV reporter to have covered the January 14, 2011 Mongu Riots were an undisclosed number of Barotse activists were gunned down by Police.
All in all, MUVI TV shaped me, it gave me a great platform which I still appreciate to date.
Without MUVI TV, were would I be?
When I die and an obituary is written about me and my journalism career, MUVI TV will feature prominently in that write-up.
Happy 16th Birthday MUVI Television (Which fell yesterday).