Monday 13 January 2014

Zambia Police Service Warns, Cautions Opposition Leader Over Militia Remark

By Paul Shalala

There was confusion at Woodlands Police station in Lusaka this morning when opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema appeared for interviews.

Mr Hichilema who arrived at 09:53hrs together with his lawyers and senior party officials, failed to enter the Police station.

As the opposition leader made his way inside the Police station, hundreds of UPND cadres broke the Police cordon and tried to go in with their leader.

Police in riot gear dispersed the cadres forcing Mr Hichilema's security team to whisk him away as Police officers beat whoever was near the Police station.

Prime TV reporter Kalan Muchima sustained a cut on his fingers while UPND Chikankata member of parliament Munji Haabenzu was picked up and roughed up by police but was later released.

Mr Habeenzu described his harassment as barbaric and unprofessional.

About two hours after he was whisked away, Mr Hichilema reappeared at Woodlands Police Station at around 11:13hrs and went to the enquiries office.

Initially, Mr Hichilema refused to be ushered into the interviewing room citing security reasons.

After 20 minutes of heated negotiations, Mr Hichilema was ushered into the interviewing room were a warn and caution statement was recorded.

Zambia Police Spokesperson Charity Munganga-Chanda said Police officers had recorded a warn and caution statement from the opposition following his recent statement that the ruling Patriotic Front had sent militias to Kasama to harass opposition ABZ President Fr Frank Bwalya.

Close to an hour after he entered the interview room, Mr Hichilema emerged with his lawyer Sakwiba Sikota who described the whole episode as politically motivated.

Mr Hichillema was hesitant to comment as he issued brief remarks agreeing with his lawyer's sentiments.

Police have released Mr Hichilema without charge as investigations into his matter continue.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

40% Of Itezhi-Tezhi Power Station Completed

By Paul Shalala in Itezhi-Tezhi

Construction of the Itezhi-Tezhi Power Station is said to be moving at an impressive pace.

The US$250 million project is being implemented by the Chinese firm Sino hydro.

The project involves the construction of two generators which are worth 120 mega watts of electricity that will be added to the national grid.

350 Zambians have been employed alongside 100 Chinese who are working at the construction site.

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda was on 18 December, 2013 was in Itezhi-Tezhi District to inspect the works.

Mr Chikwanda was told that 40 percent of the works were already done.

However, Itezhi-Tezhi Power Corporation Technical Manager Kelvin Kamwale expressed concern at the way funding is being disbursed by the four banks funding the project.

But Mr Chikwanda assured Itezhi-Tezhi Power Corporation that all financers have assured him that funding is safe and will be disbursed smoothly.

All equipment for the project are on site and parts of the components for the two generators have already already arrived in the country.

Sino hydro is expected to complete the construction and installation of the two generators by mid 2015.

The hand over of the project is expected to take place in October 2015 when the one hundred and twenty mega watts will be added to the national grid.

Currently, Zambia faces an energy deficit and huge parts of the country face loadshedding.

The addition of the 120 mega watts of electricity once the Itezhi-Tezhi Power project is completed, is expected to ease the country's energy crisis.