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).

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Zambia’s Self Declared Satanist Speaks Out Against Christianity

By Paul Shalala

Alex Chisulu
People have called him a mad man, a witch, all sorts of names but he calls himself a good man.
Renting a small house in Kitwe’s bustling Bulangililo neighbourhood is 46 year old Alex Mwamba Kazhimbala Chisulu, a controversial Satanist who has left a community divided over his religious views.
The walls inside his house are decorated with Satanic symbols which he proudly explained during an interview.

He is actually a former Catholic Priest who controversially converted to a religion which most Zambians hold with fear and suspicion: Satanism.
For years, he has confused his neighbours, annoyed his landlord and created tension in the area were he lives.
Since he is an open Satanist, people around him have linked all their misfortunes to him.
“Even witchcraft, sicknesses and other misfortunes are blamed on me, but am a clean man, I have never touched or slapped anyone, am clean,” he said in an exclusive interview.
To understand why Chisulu is such a divisive figure, it is important to get back to the bottom of the matter and trace his history.
Chisulu was born in 1972 in the northern Zambian town of Solwezi, a mineral rich town which has been millions of investments by multi-national conglomerates in the recent past.
He is a highly educated man who earns his living by conducting tuitions to adults in his house.
People who drive expensive cars come in the evening, park their vehicles and sit down to learn from a man who does not shy away from being identified as a follower of Satan.
Inside his house is a black board and a box of chalk which he uses for his tuition sessions.

Chisulu says he entered the Saint Augustine Major Catholic Seminary in Kabwe to study for priesthood and spent three years there.
“While at the seminary, I discovered that am a very critical person, I ask too many questions. Here I was studying Philosophy and it gave me room to question many things and understand man. I graduated with a Diploma.”
He boasts that even lecturers knew him as an inquisitive person who questioned everything.
Between 1997 and 2002, Chisulu enrolled at Saint Dominic's Major Seminary in Lusaka were he studied for his Bachelor in Theology, a course which he says was difficult because he was not allowed to question church doctrines.
Some of the Satanic symbols 
in his house
He says despite being critical about the course, he completed and graduated.
“I was later ordained as a Priest in Solwezi and sent to Manyinga, an area which was part of Kabompo District but is now a new district.
“In Manyinga I felt too much opposition because I ran a lot of businesses like chicken rearing, livestock and I was even building the first ever filling station in the area. The 2-3 years I spent there were difficult,” he added.
Chisulu alleges that one day his Bishop showed up at his house in a Land Cruiser and delivered a letter of transfer and gave him a few minutes to pack his belongs and leave for Solwezi.
He was then taken to Saint Kizito in Solwezi were he became an assistant to another Priest.
He said the move annoyed him and he immediately applied for leave of absence.
That is how his priesthood ended.

Enter Satanism
Having left the ministry, Chisulu decided to relocate to the Copperbelt to start a new life.
“I first rented a house in Kwacha township before I moved to Bulangililo were am currently living. Its here were I met this woman who I married but it didn’t last, because of my religion (Satanism) she accused me of all sorts of things and left,” said Chisulu.
I then got a job at Brightway School were I started teaching to earn a living.
He says on July 6, 2016 he experienced something strange which made him shake and felt weak.
“I used to meditate in the morning before class, but on this day I had a strange feeling. I felt a crack on my head, I felt a flash light, my limbs were jerking and I couldn’t teach.”
He says he left school and went home and to date he still feels the jerks.
Chisulu says that experience was his awakening and transformation into a Satanist.
He says he felt something like a snake which went through his spine and came out through the head and since then, his eyes are open and he now knows what is right and what is wrong.
“I practice a religion called Orionism. Satan is the Emperor of the Orion hence I discovered this religion to be Orionism,” he said.
Chisulu says he decided to become a Satanist after much research on the role of religion in life.

His Views On Christianity and Islam
After much research, Chisulu says the theology taught in Christianity and Islam is fake and it is full of violence.
He gives examples mostly from the Old Testament were God killed enemies of the children of Israel or his followers who sacrificed their children to God as examples of violence allegedly promoted by the Bible.
“I got to learn that Christianity is fake, it’s a hoax, its wicked, very evil and its same with Islam which promotes Jihad or Holy War which kills people. The only true religion I came ti understand is Satanism. Satan means the truth according to an ancient Hindi script.”
Chisulu goes on to talk about Genesis 2:17 were the Bible talks about the Garden of Eden and how God instructed Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge.
He trashes the Biblical account saying there were lies in God’s instructions and the serpent (He calls it Satan) told them the truth).
“That whole scenario was fake. When I researched, I found out that there was no tree. That so-called tree is actually a man’s spine because it is the center of the body. Jehovah (He calls God as Jehovah) was scared of Adam knowing the truth that is how he lied to him. Most people in Christianity are lost, they were cheated.”
He claims that Christianity and Islam are just a program designed to destroy humanity and that Jesus is a fictitious character.
He wonders why Christians celebrate the death of Jesus instead of resurrection.
He describes it as glorifying violence instead of embracing life.
“What is the purpose of a dead man on the cross to us? Christians are lost, they are cheated, they are confused,” he said.
He goes on to cite many Bible verses were children of God killed their enemies and says violence was promoted in the Bible.
Chisulu claims Christianity has been a threat to world peace and in Zambia since the declaration of the county as a Christian Nation in December 1991, divorces have shot up, deaths have skyrocketed, evil has increased.
He says the only religion which can cleanse the works is Satanism.
Orionism And His Role
Chisulu acknowledges that Satan lost the battle to God but he claims he will have a come back soon.
“Satan is on his way back to victory because he is the truth. If I was given chance on a Television program, I can help people think properly and convert them to Satanism, people are lost.”
He says Christians go to church and make noise and achieve nothing because they are misled.
When asked why he lives in poverty when it is believed that Satanists get a lot of money upon being initiated, Chisulu said Satanism is an awakening and not a business.
“If you join Satanism thinking you will make money then you are in a wrong place. When you are a Satanist, you gain a third eye and the sixth sense. You will be enlightened and be able to see things other people cant see,” said Chisulu.

His Eviction Over Satanism
Last week, Chisulu was given notice by his landlord to vacate his rented house because his neighbours were not comfortable with his presence.
On Saturday as ZNBC reporter Wamundila Chilinda was interviewing him at his house, hundreds of Bulangililo residents gathered in no time.
They started stoning his house, smashing the windows.

Bulangililo residents who gathered to stone Mr. Chisulu
Things could have been worse but heavily armed officers from Riverside Police Station arrived on site within minutes and rescued him.
He was whisked away to an unknown lodge were he has spent the last five nights.
His belongings, a handful of chairs and clothes, are still stuck in his house as he is scared of  being lynched by his neighbours.
A good Samaritan has been paying for his room at a lodge and even bought him some clothes so that he can be changing.
Despite all this, Chisulu still believes Satanism has the real truth and other religions are fake.
“My god Satan has brought me here so that people can come to know the truth, he said.”
He was recently spotted at a popular bar, sipping some cold ones while looking unworried.
In a Christian nation like Zambia, it is not known how far Chisulu will go in practicing Satanism openly.
A number of prominent foreign preachers and South African artist Zodwa Wabantu were denied entry in the country due to what the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Values calls “Unchristian” beliefs and acts.
By the way, Chisulu says he is now studying for his Master in Business Administration at Cavendish University and he is more normal than people accusing him to be mad.
“When you look at me, do I look mad? Tell me, am I mad?” said Chisulu as he smiled.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Criminal Gangs Spring Back To Life In Kitwe

By Paul Shalala
Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu addressing residents
of Miseshi last week -Picture by Time Photograpy

Exactly 22 days before the Kitwe High Court rules on the fate of the 18 Tokota Gang members, two other previously unknown gangs have sprung up in Kitwe.

The Unruly and Sokota Gangs have established themselves in the western half of Zambia’s second largest city, terrorizing residents especially at night.

According to some residents, the gangs are involved in a number of burglaries and petty thefts.

At a meeting held recently to sort out the security lapse in the area, residents complained that the local Community Crime Prevention Unit (CCPU), which are a creation of the Zambia Police Service, are not helping.

“We want a neighbourhood watch group comprised energetic people, not these old men in CCPU,” said one resident.

The residents also wondered why Police officers are no longer present at night to conduct patrols in the badly affected areas of Mindolo, Miseshi and D Section.

The meeting later resolved to form two neighbourhood watch groups to be spearheaded by youth leaders Bernard Mwila and Michael Katoma.

The neighbourhood watch communities have been formed under the slogan "The Security of my community is my responsibility."

Despite members of the public knowing the gang members terrorizing their community, they are scared to report them to the Police.

“The sad part is that the members of the community in Miseshi actually know who these criminals are but are scared to disclose their identities. So the challenge I give them is that they should never cry foul if they don't do the noble duty of furnishing information to the security wings,” said Binwell Mpundu, Kitwe District Commissioner.

Mr. Mpundu, who is the head of government in Kitwe and is in charge of all state security agencies in the district, went on to give advise to the community.

“I just want to warn parents who are habouring these criminals that they risk being prosecuted for aiding, abetting or otherwise shielding these criminals or else they have a task to transform their children into responsible citizens before the law visits them.”
Bernard Mwila (in red), one of the Youths to lead the local
neighbourhood watch groups

Last year, fear gripped almost all neighbourhoods in Kitwe as various criminal gangs terrorised this major mining town, raping, beating and stealing from people especially at night.

The gangs such as the Tokota Boys, Sons Of the Devil (SOD), The 100s, (0 Niggas, 70 Niggas, Mbwambwambwa and many others disappeared when the Zambia Police Service launched a vicious crackdown in May 2018.

Dozens of gang members were arrested, prosecuted and a number of them jailed for their criminal activities.

Some of them such the 18 Tokota Boys are awaiting judgement in the High Court next month.

Their arrests brought jubilation in the city but the old days are back as new gangs have taken over territory which other gangs held last year.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Over 200 Old People Gunned Down In Zambia Over Witchcraft

Some of the gunmen arrested in Nakonde
By Paul Shalala

Over 200 elderly people have been gunned down by hired killers in the northern Zambian region of Muchinga in the past three years on allegations of being witches.

A total of 243 elderly people have lost their lives so far, 26 of them in the first four months of this year.

Lawlessness has spread to villages in the area with people hiring gunmen to kill elderly people who are suspected of practicing witchcraft.

Muchinga is a new Province which was created in 2011 and it borders Malawi and Tanzania.

It is a mostly rural region with a few towns dotted along the Great North Road which leads to the strategic border town of  Nakonde on the Zambia-Tanzania border.

The most affected districts are Isoka, Shiwangandu, Lavushimanda, Mafinga, and Nakonde.

According to Muchinga Province Police Commissioner Joel Njase, the killings are being done with the many illegal arms held by civilians.

Mr. Njase says some witch finders are also escalating the situation by pointing at elderly people as suspected witches.

“Police is still building more intelligence information on other suspects but we will act once we conclude our investigations. We also have a number of witch finders appearing (in court) for naming persons to be wizards,” said Mr. Njase in an interview with this blogger.

Most persons hiring the killers are said to be family members and the level of secrecy is too high.

Due to the underdeveloped nature of the area and illiteracy, some people believe that elderly people who either walk naked or talk to themselves are witches.

This is how some family members hire killers to clear their relatives.

“55 died in 2015 and the figures have being increasing reaching 86 in 2017 but reduced to 76 last year. This year so far we have 26 and the figure is expected to reduce further to below 40 by end of 2019,” he added.

Last week, Police in Nakonde mounted a major operation against illegal arms, arresting four suspects and recovering several guns.

All the suspects apprehended were charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and five muzzle Loaders.
Some of the guns confiscated from suspected gunmen

The oldest among the gunmen was 76 while the youngest was 19.

 Six muzzle loaders were recovered and Police suspects the guns have been used in the killings of elderly people on suspicion of practicing witchcraft in Uzinji and Chozi areas.

Authorities in the region are now calling on sensitizations of villagers on old age and what comes with it.

Muchinga Province Permanent Secretary Joyce Nsamba, on a visit to Mafinga District, said government will soon embark on a sensitization programme against the killings.

Ms Nsamba said it is unfortunate that people in rural areas are killing innocent old people, some of whom are not even involved in witchcraft.

Traditional leaders are now worried that their subjects are now living in fear of being targeted by hired gunmen.

However, it is not yet known how much the gunmen are paid to kill a suspected witch.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Mopani Copper Mines Allegedly Polluting The Environment

Officials from Ministry of Mines inspecting the effluent 

By Paul Shalala

It was a struggle to open the huge pipe.

Two men had to help each other to release the effluent from this pipe.

The tailings flow on the ground, through a foot path into a dam.

This dam, which was built by Mopani Copper Mines, a subsidiary of Carlista Investments Corporation which is a joint venture between Glencore and First Quantum Minerals.

This dam also has an opening which later releases the effluent into the nearby bush.

Unfortunately, this tailings dam is illegal according to the Kitwe-based Mine Safety Department, a unit of Zambia's Ministry of Mines which oversees safety issues in the mining industry.

“There is no indication from the Mine Safety Department that this paddock was approved. Mopani Copper Mines did not apply for it to be set up here. This is not good for the environment, there is a nearby stream and am sure it is being polluted,” said Gideon Ndalama, the National Coordinator of the Zambia Mining Environmental Remediation and Improvement Project.
The illegal tailing dam which Mopani Copper Mines made

As this effluent continues to flow into the bush, the fear is that it will contaminate the environment.

Authorities are not happy that Mopani Copper Mines is discharging the waste without notifying relevant authorities.

“This is very bad and dangerous. You cannot be harming the environment like this. I will talk to management, they need to stop this. There could be acid and uranium here being discharded into the environment,” said Paul Chanda, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines.

Mr Chanda, who made an unannounced trip to the Nkana Tailings Complex, was shocked to find workers from Mopani Copper Mines opening one of the pipes to discharge the tailings.

He threatened that Mopani Copper Mines risks being penalized for deliberately harming the environment.

The workers on site could however not talk to this blogger as to why they were discharging the effluent.

Efforts to get a comment from Mopani Copper Mines proved futile as a press query sent to the firm’s Public Relations Unit was not responded two for a week.
Grass drying up in the Nkana Tailings Complex

However, inspectors from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) have visited the area and collected samples to ascertain the contents of the effluent.

ZEMA Corporate Affairs Manager Irene Chipili says the samples have been taken to a laboratory and they will be tested soon.

And a check at the nearby tailings found some trees and grass drying up due to lack of maintenance.

The tailings, whose licenses have been given to private firms, have developed craters and holes, leading to the leakage of red oxide to the environment.

The Ministry of Mines has since asked the license holders to fence off the tailings to stop the leakage of red oxide which is harming the environment.