Thursday 27 February 2014

Shakafuswa Makes Triumphant Entry Into Parliament

By Paul Shalala in Katuba

After a three year absence from parliament, Jonas Shakafuswa is back at Manda Hill.

Following his loss to the late MMD area member of parliament Dr Patrick Chikusu in 2011, Mr Shakafuswa stayed out of parliament as a UPND member.

But at around 10:15hrs yesterday, Katuba parliamentary by-election Returning Officer Mutambi Mwanamwalye declared him duly elected Katuba member of parliament.

This followed Mr Shakafuswa's perfomance in Tuesday's Katuba by-election in which he beat 6 other candidates and emmerged victorious with 4, 787 votes.

After being declared victorious, Mr Shakafuswa said he was happy to have the privilege to represent Katuba in parliament again.

He said he was ready to work with 'useless MPs' and push development further.

As parliament resumed its usual sittings yesterday at 14:30hrs, Mr Shakfuswa majestically walked into parliament and took oath before the Speaker.

Mr Shakafuswa also took part in the protest by MPs inside parliament after Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba issued a ministerial statement on the constitution making process.

Earlier, there was confusion at the totalling center when a Zambia Airforce helicopter which went to the last remaining results from three remaining polling stations took long.

UPND members led by Kalomo Central member of parliament Request Muntanga, who was also UPND Katuba campaign manager, exchanged words with Electoral Commission of Zambia officers as to why the helicopter was delaying to bring the results.

At 06:00hrs on Wednesday, the helicopter took off from Moomba Catholic Parish Hall (which was the totalling center) and flew to Mboshya, Namayani and kananzhiba which are not accessible by road.

After a 2 hour long wait, the camouflaged military helicopter appeared from the sky and delivered the results at the totalling center much to the excitement of the jubilating UPND cadres.

Results for the losing candidates include PF candidate Moses Chilando who got 2, 747 votes followed by MMD's Cecil Holmes who got 734 votes.

NAREP candidate Joseph Mushalika polled 566 votes, Alliance for a Better Zambia candidate Patricia Mwashingwele polled 393 votes and UNIP candidate Friday Malawo got 124 votes.

National Revolution Party candidate Shakespeare Mwakamui trailed them all with a paltry 23 votes.

His party President Cozmo Mumba has since announced that he will petition the Katuba election results because his party sympathisers did not show up at polling stations due to intimidation.

Mr Mumba, who last month threatened to resign if his candidate loses in Katuba, says he will update the nation on his resignation on Saturday.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Violence Characterises Katuba By-Election

By Paul Shalala in Katuba

Voting in the Katuba parliamentary by-election in Chibombo District, Central Province this morning started with an impressive turn out of voters.

Long queues of voters were formed at various polling stations along the Lusaka-Kabwe road.

Voters started queuing up outside polling stations as early as 05:30hrs this morning.

Even old people could be seen walking slowly to their respective polling stations to cast their ballots.

But as the day progressed, the number of people on the queues kept reducing.

At Muwanjuni Polling Station, which is the largest Poling Station in Katuba, three long queues of voters were formed by 06:00hrs when Presiding Officer Edward Phiri declared voting open.

Muwanjuni has 2, 085 registered voters and it is one of the areas in Katuba where major political parties spent most of their time campaigning.

At Shifwankula Polling Station, over a hundred voters had already cast their ballots by 09:00hrs this morning as dozens more were still lining up outside the Polling Station to vote.

By 08:50hours this morning, 92 people had already voted at Kayosha Polling Station which has 900 registered voters.

Some of the seven candidates vying for the Katuba by-election this morning voted in their respective polling stations.

National Revolution Party candidate Shakespeare Mwakamui cast his ballot at Kayosha Polling Station in the company of his campaign manager.

Alliance for a Better Zambia candidate Patricia Mwashingwele also went to Kayosha Polling Station to vote but she was turned away as she did not carry her voters card.

After half an hour of waiting, journalists called Ms Mwashingwele to find out if she would come back and vote but she said she could not find the card.

MMD candidate Cecil Holmes was not eligible to vote in Katuba as he is a registered voter in the neighbouring Chisamba Constituency where he once served as area member of parliament.

UPND candidate Jonas Shakafuswa voted at Northpark Polling Station near Kabangwe Police Station.

After voting, Mr Shakafuswa was briefed that Northern Province Minister Freedom Sikazwe had harassed her daughter Louise.

According to Louise, the Minister accused her of dishing out money to voters and he immediately searched her and found no money on her. 

Mr Shakafuswa later drove to Kabangwe Police Post with her daughter where the issue was reported to the Police.

Both at the Polling Station and at the Police Post, Mr Shakafuswa showered insults on Mr Sikazwe.

But Patriotic Front Deputy Secretary General Bridget Atanga said UPND cadres are the ones who harassed Mr Sikazwe at Northpark Polling Station.

She alleged that UPND cadres had invaded Mungule road and harassed anyone who was seen to be sympathising with the Patriotic Front.

Meanwhile, two PF cadres who have been allegedly beaten by UPND supporters have surfaced.

The two, Paul Mwamba and Joseph Chama where allegedly beaten in Muchenje ward of Katuba constituency.

Paul has suffered deep cuts on his face, lips and eyes while Joseph has loose teeth and internal injuries.

The cadres told me that they were blocked by UPND cadres on a gravel road and dragged from their vehicle and beaten with stones, sticks and iron bars.

 Meanwhile, Police at Kabangwe Police Post have arrested a man for allegedly assaulting the two Patriotic Front cadres.

Central Province Police Commissioner Standwell Lungu, who is coordinating the security operation in Katuba, says the Police are holding the man to help with investigations into the case.

Mr Lungu says a docket has been opened and the suspect will be charged with unlawful wounding.

The Police Commissioner has also disclosed that a second docket has been opened in the case involving UPND Katuba parliamentary candidate Jonas Shakafuswa's daughter Louise who was allegedly harrased by Northern Province Minister Freedom Sikazwe this morning.

Meanwhile, voting has closed in Katuba constituency at exactly 18:00hrs.

Counting has commenced in all the 32 Polling Stations across Katuba.

Votes from each Polling Station will be sent to the totalling centrer at Moomba Catholic Parish Hall.

Official results and the declaration of the winner is expected tomorrow as some polling stations are not likely to send their results in the night.

This is because some polling stations are not accessible by road as they are only served by helicopters from the Zambia Airforce (ZAF).

ZAF helicopters are expected to bring results from those inaccessible areas tomorrow morning.

Thursday 13 February 2014

Zambian Invented Cooker Interests AU Chief

By Paul Shalala in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

A recent invention of a Zambian energy efficient cooker has attracted the attention of African Union Commission Deputy Chairman Erastus Mwencha who has praised it for its potential to help the poor.

A Lusaka based company Viatalite Zambia has invented a cooker which can boil beans and other food stuffs without necessarily being placed on fire or on a stove.

The cooker which is called ECOSAC, is made of Chitenge materials made in Zambia which are sown together and can boil beans until its ride.

Mr Mwencha was introduced to the product this morning when he toured exhibition stands where energy efficient products made by African and European companies are being showcased.

The AU chief said he was impressed by the invention saying such efforts should be able to help Africans move out of poverty.

This was on the sidelines of the Second High Level Summit of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership which is taking place at the AfricanUnion Headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

And the inventor of the product John Fay says he hopes to make more of the product and help rural Zambians who have no access to electricity so that they can use the ECOSAC to cook food.

He says the first consignment of the products will hit the Zambian market at the cost of 80 kwacha in a month's time.

Mr FAY says the product has also been piloted in Senegal where it has been heavily embressed.

Vitalite Zambia is registered with the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) whose energy efficient products have since been approved by the Ministry of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

African Union Prioritises Zambia's Energy Projects

By Paul Shalala in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The African Union has prioritised the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya interconnector power project and the Batoka Gorge Power Project in Southern Province as way of reducing poverty in the three respective countries.

The continental body, says it has prioritised this interconnector because it has potential to lift millions of citizens from abject poverty and contribute to economic development.

According to the Africa-European Union Energy Partnership Status Report, the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya interconnector is among the six international power projects in Africa which the Africa Union wants to fund with the help of external partners to increase energy access in Africa.

The report was released this morning by Cross Border Information Chairman Jon Marks who compiled the report over a two year period on behalf of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership Secretariat based in Germany.

This was during the official opening of the Second High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy partnership at the African Union Headquarters.

The Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya interconnector project is under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa -PIDA which is being spearheaded by the African Union, the New Partnership for Africa's Development -NEPAD and the African Development Bank -ADB.
Meanwhile, the report has also revealed that the Batoka Gorge Power project in Southern Province has been put on priority together with the 120 megawatts Itezhi-Tezhi Power project in Central Province which was last year funded by the European Investment Bank to the tune of 50 million Euros through the ADB.

And Director of Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission Aboubakari Moussa says the continental body wants to ensure that the six priority prioritised projects under the PIDA project increase access to energy among African countries.

Speaking at a press briefing on the sidelines of the on-going Second High Level Meeting of the Africa EU Energy partnership in Ethiopia, Mr Moussa said Africa has huge energy potential which needs to be efficiently tapped.

And European Union Deputy Director for Development and Corporation Klaus Rudischhauser has revealed that the EU will this week announce an increase to its money allocated towards increasing access to energy in Africa.

Mr Rudischhauser says since the Africa-EU Energy partnership was formed seven years ago, the European Union has been keen to help Africa increase its distribution of energy to its citizens and contribute to poverty reduction.