Thursday 29 October 2015

The History Behind The Name John Chinena Market

First Lady Esther Lungu buying green paper at John Chinena
By Paul Shalala

What is in a name?
Perhaps, that is a good question to pose around an area along the Great North Road in Chibombo District.

Of course, the famed William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, tells us that a name is nothing because it does not change anything.
But this is one area with a somewhat offensive sounding name.

It has a name which NOT everyone is comfortable to say publicly.
“We know this area as John, John Chinena…… We feel shy to pronounce it but there’s nothing we can do,” said Juliet, a marketeer at John Chinena market.

And the name of this area in many languages is connected to private parts.
Even senior government officials would rather use an English word to describe it.

“We need to diversify the economy in Central Province…… At JOHN SOMETHING we can build an agro processing plant to help farmers preserve their goods, put value addition and boost their businesses,” said Edwidge Mutale, Central Province Permanent Secretary.
John Chinena is a market on either side of the Great North Road in both Chibombo and Chisamba districts.

This area is famous for its vegetables supplied throughout the year.
Motorists on this high way usually stop over to buy maize, water melons, tomatoes and other farm products.

But where did the name John Chinena come from?
The story starts from a local bar where an old man in the 1980s used to play a local game called nsolo and would shout “Ndakulya Chinena” every time he beats his opponents.

 Victor Chinena is a grandson to the man who was nicknamed John Chinena and now explains the history behind the name.
“My grandfather was born in 1924 and he died in 1994. He was good in nsolo. Every time he wins a game he would shout ‘Ndakulya Chinena.’ People ended up giving him the nickname John Chinena,” said Victor, whose details on his National Registration Card are Victor John Chinena.

On allegations that the name sterms from the old man’s insatiable appetite for sex, Victor confirms it.
“My grandfather had 10 girlfriends who gave him 10 children. He really loved women despite his advanced age.”

The popularity of the name John Chinena in the past 30 years has grown to an extent where the name has even been adopted by a village.
North of the market is a village called John Chinena were a relative of Victor is the headman.

John Chinena is also the area where a Post Bus coach was involved in a road accident in which over 70 people died in February 2013.
The area is famous for road accident and government is in the process of constructing a trauma center at the nearby Liteta District Hospital to treat hundreds of passengers who are caught up in accidents annually.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

HIV+ Priest Using Social Media To Encourage Positive Living

By Paul Shalala
Reverend Stuart Bweupe

 A 47 year old Anglican Priest, who is living with HIV has taken to social media to encourage positive living and discourage fellow clergymen from stopping HIV positive congregants from taking Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ARV) drugs.

Reverend Stuart Bweupe, the priest in charge at Kabwe North Parish, has been posting Facebook and WhatsApp messages asking people to accept their status and live peaceful lives.

He has lived with the HIV virus for eight years and says he has survived because of ARVs.

Reverend Bweupe says it is wrong for any man of God to stop people from taking the life saving drugs because they prolong life.

Meanwhile, the clergyman, who was deserted by his wife in 2007 when he was found to be HIV positive, says he has suffered stigma even from within his church which resulted in him being stopped from presiding over mass.
A screenshot of his Facebook posts

In conservative Zambia, it is uncommon for a man of God to publicly declare their HIV status.

 He is probably the only Zambian Anglican Priest to openly declare his HIV positive status.

For Reverend Bweupe, it is a mission he aims to win.

And his mission is to make his experiences become lessons for others.

"While presiding over mass on a Sunday in 2007, I suffered a stroke in front of the church and the incident is what led to me knowing my HIV status," said Reverend Bweupe.

Despite being a man of God, his own church and congregants distanced themselves from him.

"After I was found to be HIV positive, I suffered stigma. My own church stopped me from presiding over mass. It was painful. People were talking and laughing at me."
Reverend Bweupe on his wedding day on Saturday

He did not just suffer stigma at church, even his own wife of 12 years deserted him in 2007 soon after he was found to be HIV positive.

According to Anglican rules, a clergyman cannot remarry in a given period of time.

But after waiting for authority for eight years, Reverend Bweupe has been granted the right to remarry.

On Saturday, the clergyman married Edith a Kabwe-based teacher at a colourful ceremony in the former mining town.

As he studies for his Honours Degree in Theology at Saint Johns University in Kitwe, Reverend Bweupe looks focused on helping other people overcome stigma in society.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Zambia Targets To Reduce Green House Emissions By 47%

By Paul Shalala
The Barotse Flood Plains in western Zambia

Zambia intends to spend US$50 billion to reduce green house emissions by 47% in the next 15 years.

According to the country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, Zambia intends to raise US$35bn from external sources and the remainder from domestic sources.

An INDC is a primary means for governments to communicate internationally the steps they will take to address climate change in their respective countries under the forthcoming Paris Conference.

In the past four months, Zambia has been holding provincial meetings for technocrats to craft INDC proposals which culminated into the final document which has since been submitted to the UNFCCC.

Zambia is a party to the UNFCCC Convention and upon submission of its INDC, became the 105th country in the world to forward its document to the UNFCCC Secretariat. 

According to Ministry of Lands Public Relations Officer Diniwe Zulu, Zambia’s INDC presents mitigation and adaptation efforts based on the national circumstances and desire to become a high middle income and prosperous nation by 2030.

“The successful implementation of Zambia’s INDC will result in an estimated emission reduction of 47percent against the 2010 base line," said Zulu.

"In Mitigating the impact of climate change, Zambia intends to reduce its Carbon dioxide emissions by implementing three programs driven by the country’s climate response strategy and supported by national development policies including energy, forest ,agriculture, water, town and country planning, sanitation and transport.”
Zambia already suffers from the effects of climate change.

Currently, the country is suffering an unprecedented levels of loadshedding owing to reduced water levels in the Kariba Dam which has been blamed on reduce rain fall in the last rain season.

In various parts of the country, reduced rain, floods and soil erosion are common sites.

Thursday 15 October 2015

NDI, FODEP Partner To Monitor Voter Registration Exercise

A registration officer issuing out a voters' card

By Paul Shalala

The Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) and the United States-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) have partnered on a US$50, 000 project to monitor the on-going mobile issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs) and voters cards.

The two institution announced the development in Lusaka a day ago and this collaboration is not the first of its kind in the promotion of good governance in Zambia.

According to the draft strategy of the project dubbed "Go Out to Register," the campaign seeks to contribute to the increase of voter registration in 28 selected districts from nine of Zambia's 10 provinces.

Southern is the only province which will not be covered in the project.

The project will also try to promote the participation of key stakeholders to help increase turn out of eligible voters.

"Voter registration is vital to the public’s interest in establishing a government based on the people’s will and also vital to those who seek to gain public office as it is a key element for screening ineligible people out of the voting process and for identifying and credentialing eligible individuals so that they may have the opportunity to vote," said MacDonald Chipenzi, FODEP Executive Director during a press briefing.

He added: "it delights me to launch this very important projects aimed at contributing to a deepening democratization in Zambia through increased popular participation of citizens in the electoral process by contributing to the attainment of the registration of 1.7 million voters by 7th July 2016."
MacDonald Chipenzi

This project will be implemented in Lusaka, Rufunsa, Luangwa, Chiawa, Chinsali, Nakonde, Shiwangandu,  Senanga, Sesheke, Kazungula, Kasama, Mpulungu, Mbala, Luwingu, Kafulafuta, Ndola, Kitwe, Chililabombwe, Mufulira, Kapiri Mposhi Chisamba, Chibombo, Mansa, Mwense, Lubwe and Chembe districts.

And FODEP Civic Education Chairperson Clement Zulu has expressed concern that the third and fourth phases of the voter registration exercise will be held in the rain season which can affect turn out. 

"FODEP is cognisant of the fact that much of the 1.7million targeted new voters account for youths between the age of 17 and 35 years. To this end, FODEP will engage with schools and establish school chapters at which schools would compete with each other in a manner that sends messages to encourage young people to register. FODEP will also appreciate theatre and creative art to get its message across. A total of 480 volunteers will be empowered with voter education facilitation skills in 29 districts of the 7 provinces." said Mr Zulu.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) launched the voter registration exercise on 14th September, 2015 targeting to register 1.7 million new voters across the country by March, 2016.

The exercise is being done in four phases which will run as follows:

A voter displaying his voters' card in Luanshya
  •  First phase started on 14th September 2015 and runs for 14 days until 27th September, 2015.
  • Second Phase started on 29th September, 2015 and ended on 11th October, 2015. 
  • Third phase from 11 October 2015 to 25 October 2015
  • Fourth phase from 26 October to 11 November 2015
 In the first phase of the exercise, the ECZ announced that 301, 103 new voters were registered while thousands more had their lost or damaged voters' cards replaced.

The exercise has however been hampered in some provinces were thousands of potential first time voters can not register as they do not have NRCs.

The mobile issuance of NRCs is also been implemented in phases in the provinces. 

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Triple V Campaign Launched To Discourage Apathy In 2016 Polls

By Paul Shalala

B Flow performing at a Triple V event in Kabwe
A consortium of Zambian civil society organisations has launched the Triple V Campaign to encourage young men and women to turn up in huge numbers and cast their votes during the 2016 general elections.

Triple V is a short form for My Vote, My Voice, My Victory.

The campaign, which is being spearheaded by the Zambia National Women's Lobby, Operation Young Vote, Anti-Voter Apathy Project and the Young Women in Action, will see a series of countrywide public events such as road shows and meetings to encourage more people to vote.

This campaign comes at a time when Zambia has seen some of its lowest voter turn out in parliamentary by-elections held this year.
Macky 2 sensitising the public in Chipata

The donor funded campaign has so far held public meetings in Chipata and Kabwe.

On the official launch of the campaign in Chipata on 5th September, local rapper Macky 2 mesmerised the crowds with music which was punctuated by messages of encouragement for young people to vote.

 "Never take everything for granted. Appreciate every opportunity that you have in life. We are here to educate you on how to involve yourselves in the governance of the country. On 14th September you should register to become a voter. You should always remember that voting is your right and vote for whoever you want. Voting is a secret," said Macky 2.

Macky 2 was later joined on stage by popular comedian Bikiloni who charmed the crowds with his mouth watering jokes.

Bikiloni in action in Chipata
In his trademark Nyanja jokes, Bikiloni occasionally picked members of the crowd and asked them questions while hammering home the message.

And on 3rd October, the Triple V Campaign shifted to Kabwe where Comet Grounds in Africa's second largest slum Makululu was brough to a standstill.

Fresh from a three months stint as a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow in the US, B Flow sensitised the public on the need for them to register as voters and turn up in huge numbers to elect their new MPs, Councillors and President next year.

B Flow, whose real name is Brian Bwembya, is a musician who focuses on social issues such as Gender Based Violence and gender equality through his #Music4Change project which US President Barack Obama even acknowledged during his Town Hall with the 2015 Mandela Fellows a month ago.

B Flow charming the crowd in Kabwe
The Triple V Campaign has enlisted a number of famous comedians, musicians and personalities to attract more people to their countrywide meetings as they sensitise the public on the need to avoid apathy in 2016.

The campaign will in the coming months hold similar sensitisations in Kitwe, Choma and Mongu before the end of this year.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia is currently registering new voters and replacing voters cards for those who lost or damaged their previous cards.

The exercise, which commenced on 14 September, is expected to end on 11 November but it will continue at District Councils countrywide until end of March 2016.

Zambia is next year scheduled to hold a general election where Members of Parliament, Councillors and a President will be elected.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Zambian Pastors Pray For Country's Currency To Regain Value

The Zambian Kwacha
By Paul Shalala

The Pastors Fellowship in the mining town of Kitwe on Wednesday held an inter-denominational prayer session to pray for the Zambia kwacha to regain its strength against manager convertible currencies

In the past 10 days, the value of the kwacha has been fluctuating and it was trading in the range of K11 and K13 to the US dollar.

This has raised concern as traders and businessmen have increased prices for several products and services.

Over 50 Pastors, who converged at Oasis of Love Ministries International in Nkana East, prayed that the kwacha should regain value and bring back normality to the national economy and inspire confidence in Zambians.

In his prayer, Pastor Kautemba Phiri called on Zambians to stop speculating about the currency as it has the potential to reduce its value.

Pastor Phiri, who is Senior Pastor at Oasis of Love Ministries International, said as men of God, Pastors will be in the forefront to build confidence for the kwacha.

"We prophecy that the kwacha will regain its strength. We prophecy that the economy of Zambia will soon be back to its glory days. We pray that this nation will continue to prosper," prayed Pastor Phiri.

The Pastors later broke into individual prayers where the building was engulfed in noise as the men of God prayed in tongues.

And Pastor Charles Muzala, has urged government to come in and help the church rid itself of false prophets and pastors.

Pastor Muzala said some unscrupulous men of God are turning the image of the church by performing fake miracles.

"We are tired of these fake Pastors. We are tired of the church being called names. We ask the government to partner with us to get rid of these who are denting the image of God's church," he said.

 He also pledged on behalf of the Kitwe Pastor's Fellowship to spearhead the National Day of Prayer and Fasting on 18 October in Kitwe as declared by President Edgar Lungu.

The day will be marked by prayers and fasting across the country to ask God to intervene in the current economic crisis the southern African country is going through.
Pastor Muzala also announced that the Pastors Fellowship was in the process of erecting huge crosses at the entrance to Kitwe on the Ndola-Kitwe dual carriageway and along the Kitwe-Chingola road.
Chanda Kabwe

Earlier, Kitwe District Chanda Kabwe called on the church to guide the nation in the governance of the nation.

Mr Kabwe said the church should also help in praying for the nation over various challenges it is going through.

"Why should we have fake prophets and suspicious miracles? Why should we have fake Pastors in the church of the Lord? This should come to an end," said Mr Kabwe.

Friday 2 October 2015

Hundreds Of Kitwe Youths May Be Defranchised In 2016 Elections

By Paul Shalala
ECZ Chairperson Esau Chulu being registered as a voter

Hundreds of young people in Kitwe are being turned away by voter registration officers when they show up at registration centers to register as voters.

The youths, who think that the officers are issuing both National Registration Cards (NRCs) and voters cards, may be defranchised next year during the general elections.

The on-going voter registration exercise which started on September 14 and closes on November 11 this year, is capturing new voters and replacing damaged or lost voters cards.
In some areas, this exercise is going hand in hand with the mobile issuance of National Registration Cards.
But on the Copperbelt, the mobile issuance of NRCs is yet to start and hundreds of potential young voters are being turned away at registration centers for not having NRCs.

Government has grouped provinces to receive mobile NRC teams in phases.
In Buchi ward, potential first time voters have been left out.

"Here in Buchi we have a challenge. Young people are eager to vote but they have no NRCs. They have been coming to Buchi Hall thinking they are also giving NRCs but they are being turned away," said Buchi Ward Councillor Bibian Nyeleti who was found at the registration center.

In neighbouring Lubuto ward, the situation is the same.

"There has not been much publicity about voters' cards here. But youths are coming in their hundreds and they are being turned away because they have no NRCs. We are appealing to government to bring the mobile insuance of NRCs here," said Mwila Mutale, Lubuto Ward councillor in an interview.

Godfridah Chulu
And Kitwe Deputy Mayor Godfridah Chulu, who recently toured registration centers in the city, has joined the call for the immediate issuance of mobile NRCs on the Copperbelt.

"The turn out across Kitwe is good but our worry is the young people who have no NRCs. They are eager to vote but they can not register. We appeal to the government to quickly move in and help the youths of Kitwe," said Mrs Chulu, who is also Lubwa Ward Councillor.

On Saturday, Chief Government Spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili said he would liaise with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Electoral Commission of Zambia to find a solution to the delayed issuance of NRCs in some provinces.

The first phase of the voter registration exercise came to an end on Sunday and the following day,  registration officers moved to their next centers.
At each registration center, officers are spending 14 days in the hope of capturing 1. 6 million new voters to bring the total of registered voters in the voters’ register to 6.8 million people.