Wednesday 30 November 2016

Zambia Targets 5,000 Green Jobs By 2018

Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale (right) at the launch
By Paul Shalala

Zambia, with the help of cooperating partners, is targeting to create 5,000 green and descent jobs in the construction sector for its growing young population by the year 2018.

With unemployment levels high in the country, the government, through the Ministry of Local Government, is working on strategies which will create opportunities for young people to get employment.

Under the four years multilateral funded Zambia Green Jobs Programme, the southern African country hopes to also improve the quality of a further 2,000 jobs in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

According to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme's annual impact report for 2015, 2,660 green jobs have so far been created in the two years the programme has been running.

"At the time of the evaluation, the programme had supported the creation of 2,660 new green and descent jobs in micro, small and medium enterprises mainly in the North Western, Copperbelt and Southern Provinces," reads the report in part.

The report further reveals that the 2,660 does not include 3,600 casual jobs created through temporary and part time jobs.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Trade Center (ITC) and providing technical assistance to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme while the government of Finland is funding the project.

ILO is the leading agency on the project.

And Zambia Green Jobs Programme Chief Technical Advisor Tapera Muzira says the programme has partnered with many institutions to create descent jobs.

Tapera Muzira giving a speech
"We have partnered with many industries to create descent jobs...... We are also involved in the Environmental Impact Assesment..... Our aim is to create green growth and sustainable development," said Mr Muzira when he read a speech on behalf of ILO Country Director Alexio Musindo at the Zambia Institute of Planners' annual general meeting in Kitwe last week.

He reiterated the programme's desire to create the 5,000 green jobs by 2018 saying most of them will be created in the construction sector.

"The construction sector offers great potential for inclusive green growth and job creation."

Meanwhile, Local Government and Housing Minister Vincent Mwale says the threats of climate change are real and the world must act now to avert a catastrophe.

Speaking when he launched a book called Sustainable Housing Guidelines on Wednesday last week, Mr Mwale identified the construction sector as one industry which is key in fighting climate change.

"The construction sector is one of the emitters. We need to find responsible strategies which will help us fight climate change and create green jobs."

 At the same event, Zambia Institute of Planners President Cooper Chibomba warned that the nation can lose what it has achived if it does not act fast.

"If we do not act now, we can lose what we have achieved. As planners, we want to develop plans that will bring development to all in the country," said Mr Chibomba.

Since the Zambia Green Jobs Programme commenced in 2013, a total of $11,837,752 has been invested into the program which is expected to end in 2018.

The project is being implemented in five of Zambia's 10 provinces.

These are North Western, Copperbelt, Central, Lusaka and Eastern Provinces.

A number of companies, both local and international, have come on board and partnered with the Zambia Green Jobs Programme to create green jobs and employ green housing techniques..

For example, Kalumbila Town Development Corporation is building 10,000 housing units in the newly created Kalumbila District in the North Western Province.

The corporation, in partnership with VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, has constructed two demo green houses in Kalumbila and Lumwana.

With an investment of $100 million for the construction of the 10,000 houses under its 'Kalumbila Town Green Homes' project, the cooperation hopes to to construct houses which will present a bright and sustainable future with decent jobs.

Other major investors who have joined in the green jobs strategy include Lafarge Zambia and Barrick Lumwana.

 According to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme's 2015 annual impact report, 2.5 million people were reached last year in messages about green building principles through the media.

These messages are aimed at changing public perception about green technologies.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Mandela Fellows’ Anti-GBV Campaign Enters Southern Province

By Paul Shalala in Pemba
The Mandela Washington Fellows before the marchpast

Disturbed by the increasing number of media reports showing wives killings their husbands in Zambia, 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows in Zambia have launched the #MWFAgainstGBV campaign to raise awareness about the gender based violence.

Since the idea was shared among the 43 Zambian fellows in early September, the group raised money and made arrangements to launch the campaign in Pemba, a rural district in Zambia’s Southern Province where Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases are alarming.

The fellows first launched the hashtag #MWFAgainstGBV on social media ahead of the launch.

On 25th November, five fellows travelled to Pemba District which is about 300 kilometers south of the capital Lusaka, to launch the campaign together with civil society, government officials and activists.

Mandela Washington Fellows leading the procession
The launch coincided with the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence which commenced that day and will end on 10th December 2016..

The day started with the Mndela Fellows paying a courtesy call on the district Commissioner to explain their mission in the district.

After that, it was time for a marchpast across the central business district of Pemba.

Pemba District Commissioner Reginald Mugoba flagged off the marchpast.

2016 Mandela Washington Fellows Paul Shalala, Mwanga Simwanda, Nang’amba Chintu, Abigail Nedziwe and Vwanganji Bowa led the hundreds of marchers along the three kilometre route from the District Administration offices to Pemba market where hundreds of marketers and residents were waiting.
Part of the crowd during the launch

Majorettes from Pemba Primary School provided entertainment as the procession made its way along the T2 main highway to the market.

At the market, various traditional groups provided entertainment for the hundreds of people who showed up at the event.

One touching sketch by a women’s group depicted a woman who poisoned her husband in order for her to inherit his wealth.

In another sketch performed by students from Pemba Secondary School, an alcoholic father was seen abusing his wife and children everytime he returns from drinking sprees.

Mr Mugoba speaking as Egala Kabesha holds a placard
The event was almost disrupted by heavy rains but the crowds defied the weather and remained attentive despite being soaked.

And in his speech, the District Commissioner thanked the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows for choosing his district to launch the #MWFAgainstGBV campaign.

“Your decision to launch the campaign in my district is welcome. Allow me to thank President Barack Obama for coming up with the Mandela Washington Fellowship which has seen our own youths doing great things upon return from the USA,” said Mr Mugoba, who was dressed in a Mandela Washington Fellowship t-shirt.

The fellows appeared on a live program on Byta FM
And speaking on behalf of other fellows, 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow Mwanga Simwanda said the team chose Pemba because of the increasing cases of GBV.

“We chose Pemba District not because of the hardworking 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow Nang’amba Chintu who is based here, but because of the 223 gender based violence cases you recorded last year. These are figures which are moving. We need to fight this problem together,” said Ms Simwanda.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Police Service in the district has recorded an increase in GBV cases this year.

Fellows taking a selfie at Pemba market
“From January to November this year, we have recorded 226 cases of GBV. Most of them involve defilement, wife battery and family neglect,” disclosed Inspector Henry Bwalya, who is the Coordinator for the Victim Support Unit at Pemba Police Station.

At the event, two people were honoured by the District Commissioner for joining the fight against GBV.

Egala Kabesha, a housewife, was honoured for defying the community and reporting her husband to the Police for beating her repeatedly.

Her case is currently before the courts of law.

Another person honoured was Inspector Mwangala, a Police officer who was a perpetrator of gender based violence but is now a Pastor in one of the local churches where he preaches against GBV.

After a radio program at Byta FM in Choma
After successfully launching the #MWFAgainstGBV in Pemba, the fellows left for neighbouring Choma District for a radio program.

Paul, Mwanga and Vwanganji were featured live on Byta FM to discuss the campaign and the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

The program, which was very interactive, was moderated by Mathew Simonje who himself is interested in applying for the fellowship next year.

Through the program, Mr Simonje, who is also the station's manager in charge of Marketing, was able to get tips which he hopes will help him apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship when it opens for applications next year.

The fellows at Falls FM in Livingstone
The following day, the trio also featured on another live program on Falls FM, a radio station in Livingstone, a city which hosts the world famous Victoria Falls.

On this program, the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows discussed various issues surrounding gender based violence ranging from tradition, the law, early marriages and alcohol.

The fellows wrapped up their tour of Southern Province with an interview at ZNBC Livingstone offices where they explained to the country’s national broadcaster their mission in the province.

In 2017, the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows hope to extend the #MWFAgainstGBV to all provinces with the help of some funding.

At present, the fellows are running the campaign using their own resources.

Sunday 27 November 2016

How Chinese Phones Are Improving People’s Lives In Zambia

A mobile money transaction
By Paul Shalala 

Jane Malembeka is a 73 year old grandmother of Chief Malembeka’s area in the rural part of Zambia’s Copperbelt Province.

For over 50 years now, she has been practising peasant farming on a small holding which is not even on title.

She lives in an area were land is vested in the hands of the traditional leader and it can be taken away from her anytime the chief decides otherwise.

However, Mrs Malembeka is one of the many Zambians who are loyal to the traditional establishment and she has never had problems over her ownership of land she inherited from her father.

In Masaiti District, there are no banks or financial institutions were the old lady can borrow money to pay for her agricultural activities or buy food for the many orphans and grand children she keeps in her house.

She has no businesses which can earn her income on a weekly or monthly basis.

Her only hope for survival is her children who are all based in Zambia’s capital Lusaka.

An MTN Mobile Money stand
At the end of each month, she receives money through mobile money transfer.

Thanks to her cheap Chinese phone which she bought at K500 ($50) from a local shop, she now makes transactions on the phone.

Once each of her three children – a lady and two men, send her money, she walks three kilometres to a kantemba (grass thatched shop) where she presents the Short Message Services (SMSs) and withdraws her money.

“These mobile transactions have really saved some of us who live in rural areas. We have no banks or other companies which can lend us money. Look, am from withdrawing K2,000 ($200) which my children have sent me, all because of this small mobile phone. Things are better now,” said Mrs Malembeka, with smiles on her face.

Mrs Malembeka is just one of millions of Zambians in the rural areas who benefit from the benefits that digital technology has brought to the nation since mobile phones were introduced over a decade ago.

According to the Bank of Zambia, about three million Zambians use mobile money transactions using phones.

The central bank says the largest players in the sector are Airtel Money, MTN Money, Zoona and SwiftCash.

A Zoona stand
Zoona, which has the most widespread network of mobile money shops in all of Zambia’s 10 provinces, boasts of handling 200,000 transactions on a monthly basis.

“At present, Zoona’s MSE customers process in excess of 200,000 transactions valued at USD 15 million per month,” reads a statement on the company’s website.

For those who live in urban areas, the cheap Chinese phones are also of great help.

Using these locally sold phones, Zambians are now able to pay for their utility bills, make bank transactions and even buy mobile phone airtime.

“These days I no longer go to the bank to transfer money to mum at the village or pay for DSTV. All I do is go to my phone and make the transaction,” said Mulotwa Sichalwe, an engineer of Kitwe District.

To others, phones have brought them relief in their educational endeavours.

16 year old John Tonga is a Grade 12 pupil in rural Lufwanyama District.

With lack of well stocked libraries in the area, John relies on the internet for research.

“I use my phone to study especially history and sciences. I find a wide range of information on the internet for my assignments. When writing essays, I easily find resources online which broaden my understanding of history,” said John, while holding his C8 phone.
Swift Cash is run by ZamPost

Chinese phones have really penetrated the Zambian market due to their low cost of maintenance and cheap prices.

Despite their irritatingly loud ringing tones, these phones have increased the penetration of mobile phones in rural communities.

According to recent statistics by the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority, about 10 million Zambians have access to mobile phones.

This is out of the country’s estimated total population of 15 million.

The increase in phones has also come with the increase in news delivery and news consumption.

People who were previously isolated from the rest of the nation due to lack of phone, radio or TV signals are now up to date with the latest news.

Just at the click of a button, people in the rural part of the country are now able to watch live TV on their Huawei or Tecno phones.

These two Chinese phone brands offer TV services which have become popular especially among young phone owners.

A Shoprite advertisement
Apart from live streaming, phone owners can now download phone apps such WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and be part of the global conversation.

They can also read about the latest global news and trends on their mobile phones and compete with their counterparts in the urban areas.

All in all, Chinese phones have made the rural part of Zambia interconnected with the rest of the nation and the world.

People who missed out of many things are now more knowledgeable thanks to digital technology.

This has made rural Zambia become an integral part of the rest of the country.

For example, farmers like Mrs Malembeka are now able to follow the price changes of products such as maize (corn), cotton and sunflower using an SMS system which the Zambia National Farmers Union uses to update their members countrywide.

In this way, the old lady cannot send her products to the market when the price has dropped and she will continue monitoring her mobile phone until when she receives an SMS showing that the price has risen and she can now make a bit of money.

Chinese phones have come to stay and as long as the income gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen in Zambia, these phones will continue helping the rural poor.

Thursday 24 November 2016

How The City Of Ndola Got Its Name

A view of the Ndola Central Business District
By Paul Shalala in Ndola

Ndola is the second largest city in Zambia.

It is a sprawling metropolis which hosts some of the country’s most important industries.

Indeni, Zambia’s only oil refinery and a number of cement plants are within Ndola.

The city is only second to Lusaka in terms of high-rise buildings.

It is NOT only a major transit hub on the Copperbelt, but also the administrative centre for the province.

Ndola is also a terminus for travelers from the Democratic Republic of Congo and for onward traffic to the southern part of the country.

In Ndola, residents fondly call themselves ba ZimaNdola.

JK, one of Zambia’s most celebrated musicians even sung in one of his songs describing how he grew up in the town and calling its residents ba ZimaNdola.

But what does the name Ndola mean?

“All I know about Ndola is that it’s a name. I came here over 10 years ago but I don’t know what it means,” said Chanda, a cleaner.
Part of Kafubu river in Ndola's Twapia area

Most residents do not know where the name Ndola comes from.

Others even create false stories about it.

“Ndola is a name of a woman who used to live here. I heard this story from a friend,” said John Chileshe, a minibus driver who operates on the Itawa route.

To get to the bottom of the origin of the name Ndola, we need to dig into history.

The Copperbelt Province, where Ndola is located,  was originally inhabited by the Lamba speaking people.

Where Ndola is located, the first inhabitants were the Lambas who were led by Senior Chief Chiwala the first who reigned in the 17th century.

The traditional leader is believed to have migrated with his people from present day Tanzania and settled in the area where Rekays is.

Senior Chief Chiwala
According to the current Senior Chief Chiwala, who is the eighth person to hold the throne, Ndola was named after a stream called Ka Ndola which originally starts from the Kaloko Hills and flows through present day Mine Masala, Kabushi and drains its water into the Kafubu River.

The traditional leader says when his fore fathers were alive, the stream was a life line for the people and it was a revenue earner.

But a check at the site has reveled that houses have been built across the stream, gardens have been set up and the stream has almost disappeared.

“It is a pity that this stream has dried up due to human habitation. When our ancestors first settled here, the Ka Ndola stream provided them with fish and animals which feed in water,” said Senior Chief Chiwala as he took this blogger on a tour of the former stream.

Only a few portions of the Ka Ndola stream have remained.

Children find pleasure in the little flowing water remaining and they also catch crabs which they take home to eat.

“We usually catch these crabs and take them home for food. They are nutritious,” said Mulenga, an 11 year old boy from Kabushi who was found swinning.

Meanwhile, Senior Chief Chiwala says a number of residential areas such as Itawa, Kansenshi and Minsundu have historical significance to Lamba culture.
A street in Ndola a hundred years ago

“What you call Kanshenshi today comes from a Lamba word called akansenji which means beavers. We used to have beavers along the Ka Ndola stream. The residential area Itawa comes from the word Itabwa, that’s the name for us the Lambas under Senior Chief Chiwala.”

The traditional leader went on to reveal several other unknown stories about other aspects of Ndola city.

But as the Ka Ndola stream keeps disappearing due to increase in population and human habitation, authorities need to quickly protect it and help preserve the city’s history.

The stream (or the few portions remaining) deserves to be declared a national heritage site as it holds the history of Zambia’s second largest city. 

Wednesday 23 November 2016

"Not Mozambique, Not Zimbabwe: Female Miners Moan Stateless Babies Born In No-Man's Land"

A young man in Chimanimani, Mozambique
By Ray Mwareya in Maputo, Mozambique

"Dozens of women give birth in this mountain, more get miscarriages, too much dirty soil and messy food. Nearest clinic is 70km away, west in Zimbabwe, over 7 river crossings. In Mozambique, east, they refuse to offer birth certificate to babies born in this gold forest,” says Maud, 39, weighing a metal dish to sift mud for alluvial gold ore.

Why, Mozambique, just 40 km away, east, refuse birth legalization services to the babies? “Musanditeera mountain forest is not their legal territory, they say,” explains Maud.  

“In Zimbabwe, they repeat the same, push us back to Mozambique. Our children, born in this mountain, are grounded, stateless. Not Mozambique, not Zimbabwe.”

Female artisanal gold diggers, who labour in the ore rich but lawless “Musanditeera” Mountain border range that belongs neither to Mozambique nor Zimbabwe – live the indignity of raising stateless forest babies who are shunned in both Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

For a start, “Musanditeera” officially called Chimanimani Mountain Range is a notoriously violent, no man´s land –laced with some of Southern Africa´s most lucrative gold deposits and possibly precious emerald. This 100 km stretch of granite, sitting 1200 meters above sea level, is supposed to be part of the vast land border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

In reality, the territory belongs to no one though Mozambique´s paramilitary forces impose order, extort bribes and act as cartels selling mineral pits.

The name “Musanditeera” means “don’t follow” me, a lingo coined to fit the mountain´s chilling deaths, drownings and murders accounts.

Hundreds of entrepreneurial rural women from Zimbabwe, garnished by hunger and a dying economy began to troop to “Musanditeera” bush when rumors of lavish gold deposits surfaced in 2008, and drew dealers from afar as Lebanon.

According to Mr. Wellington Takavarasha, chairperson of Zimbabwe Artisinal and Small Scale Mining, approximately 500 000 artisanal miners are dotted acroass Zimbabwe. Of these, 153 000 are female and children who provide dirty water to those who pound mineral ore.

And stateless babies were born

In this no man´s land gold pits, laws don’t exist. Extortion, forced sex and pneumonia began to savage female artisanal diggers and children who squat and did no mining sometimes up to a year.

“We soon realized, to eat or get a chance to mine we had to become sex concubines of powerful male diggers,” says Maud, who gave birth to a baby boy in Musanditeera Forest in 2013.

The Zimbabwe Centre for Natural Resource Governance confirms, “Women and children cannot own the gold claims. Men own the output because they provide the labour and protection.”

“This strips of dignity, but most women in the mountains have no choice,” Maud adds.

“We exchange sex for access to richer gold pits. If we harvest, say, 20 grams of gold ore a week, the men diggers who sleep with us for protection, snatch 14 grams as ransom fee. Most of us fall pregnant this way.”

Babies horror:

And their babies faces the harshest dilemmas.

First “Musanditeera” mountain range has garnishing temperatures that can plummet to -3 degrees Celsius, water streams poisoned by gold cleaning mercury, no school, nor clinic or road, expect 70km away west in Zimbabwe or 40km east in the republic of Mozambique.

“Horrible place to give birth and bring up a child,” says Maud, wiping a speckle of sweat in a rocky cave where she refines wet gold ore on a heated spoon. Her baby boy scrambles up her back.

She says, from 2012 when she arrived in the gold forest, she has seen eight women diggers give birth in the caves, under the supervision of woefully untrained midwives.

She points to a roll up of small rocks down a stream valley where male diggers crank shovels to corner a gold ore rich soil.

“Graves. She was my friend, pregnant. Both mother and baby didn’t last beyond two weeks.”

The Zimbabwe 2015 Democratic Health Survey says the country still lags far from its aim of least 326 deaths per every 100 000 live birth though 78% of women in the country have their children delivered by trained medics. Maternal deaths mainly occur between birth and 42 days.

“Child births in this forests are scarier,” adds Maud who has Obstetric Fistula, a medical communication problem between vagina and bladder originating from her painful labour. She and her son are outcasts in the gold pits due to her problematic urine smell.

“Sometimes Mozambique wildlife rangers and paramilitary border forces give us dirty sanitary pads to contain post birth bleeding. They extort two grams of gold ore in for the favour.”

“Then they always pitch up drunk at dusk, rifles on back, mocking our stateless babies.”

Some more youths at the border
Legalization nightmare:

“When Tinotenda, my son was born, I walked west for two days down the mountain till I reached a public clinic in Chimanimani town Zimbabwe to obtain a birth certificate for him,” explains Maud.

“We were sent from pillar to post. Registrar told me my son was born in Mozambique territory, and should be registered there.”

Disgruntled, she turned east, walked 40 km and a hitched a truck for a further 50km to Espungabeira town in the republic of Mozambique.

“At Mozambique birth registration offices, I was almost arrested for being an illegal miner, immigrant. Only the sight of my hungry son drew pity. I was flatly told my baby is Zimbabwean and should turn back west.”

Her colleague, Eliza, 38, an artisanal gold digger too in “Musanditeera” Mountain range shares the pain.

“In February 2014, I delivered my first daughter in this forest too. She is stateless, received a birth certificate nowhere too.”

“I am a sex concubine too to a powerful gold digger who “owns” two other women in this mountain range.”

Eliza reveals why: “you see it is difficult for women to work independently.

Men deliberately go into rich gold pits naked, in under-wear. It´s a brutal mental tactic, to block us female diggers form venturing into lucrative gold ore pits.”

Forest babies health fears:

Eliza on her path regrets that because of her regular scrambling to get into gold pits, she had no adequate time to breast feed her daughter.

“No immunization too.  She once caught pneumonia until Mozambique wildlife rangers sold us pills smuggled from clinics for five grams of gold ore. She has stunted growth now.”

Breast feeding in the first 1000 days of a baby is critical. 

The longer mothers exclusively breast-feed their babies, the less likely their children are to develop behavioural problems, known as conduct disorders, at primary school age, according to a study published in the open-access medical journal, PLOS Medicine in June. 

The study noticed: children of mothers who exclusively breast-fed their babies for the first six months of their lives were about half (56%) as likely to experience conduct disorders unlike those not. About 1 500 children were examined at the Africa Centre for Population Health, in South Africa between 2012 and 2014.

Made aware of this, Eliza points to her daughter who scramble with Maud´s son in the dust to pick ore and strain small rock, passing on to their mothers. The two babies show fatigue among the strain of the sun.

Maud sense early emotional scars, “the children are picking the sadness and pain of our voices.”

“No school, no proper home, no birth certificates. Who knows, our babies may adopt crime and behavior anger if they make it to be teenagers. Babies here see men taking alcohol, smoking leaf drug like Mudzepete, bad language and transactional sex.”

This plight is urgent as gender specialist Isabella Matambanadzo notes. She says governments in Southern Africa must recognize children born out of rape, wedlock and sexual violations vulnerable to statelessness and mental difficulties.

Failing children medicines:

Mental problems fears – this is shared by Kerosi, 36, their colleague. She is an alluvial gold digger too, but says she is “lucky.”

“My four year old son born here in the mountain, was issued with a birth certificate in Manica city, Mozambique. I bribed a registrar clerk with fifteen grams of gold ore.”

But living in the gold mountain is a drawback on her and son. “I am diagnosed with HIV, sadly my four year old son was born with it.”

Maidei receives a batch of live saving anti-retroviral medicine free from a public clinic in Manica city, on the Mozambique no man´s land side of no man´s land.

A vexing problem has arose in the forest. Maidei´s son is taking the new three-in-one HIV pill recently introduced by the Mozambique health authorities to replace the previous regime of Tenofovir, Lovovidine and Nevirapine.

“The new pills makes him sick here in the mountains. The boy sometimes develops enlarged breasts and gets prolonged penis erections. When I am out in the pits digging gold, he says he feels dizzy.”

“The clinic says it is side effects, called gynecomastia. “Gwejas”bands of male gold diggers – mock him calling him Zika (insult reference to the Zika virus)”

Laboratories a far off from the mountain. “My fear is the boy will refuse to drink his pills.”
Stateless babies in Zimbabwe, where Maud, Eliza and Kerosi originate is a perplexing phenomenon, but one that is growing.

UNHCR regional protection officer Matthias Reuss admits, “in our region, causes of statelessness include societal modernization, shortcomings in civil registration and documentation, disintegration of traditional family bonds, discrimination on the basis of gender, and underfunded public administrations.”

But, Zimbabwe’s former representative in the Southern Africa Development Community Parliamentary Forum on statelessness in the region, Mrs. Monica Mutsvangwa, said lawmakers need clarity on numbers.

“We feel there is need for hard data to be made available by the UNHCR on our country’s state of statelessness so that parliamentarians use it for policy formulation.”

However policy-makers waffle, mining babies born in no man´s lands like those of Maud, Eliza and Kerosi are thrown straight away into underage labour.

As Kerose and Maud conclude, “I know he is underage but we force my son to stay behind in the cave guarding gold ore. Male diggers steal.”

Ps: The women cited in the story have requested to have their names changed in order to guard their safety.

(About the writer: Ray Mwareya is Africa Humanitarian Correspondent for the Global South Development Magazine and 2016 Winner of the UN Correspondents Association Media Prize. )

Tuesday 22 November 2016

10 Zambian Ministers In China For Developmental Tour

The Zambian ministers upon arrival in China last week
By Paul Shalala

Zambia’s 10 Provincial Minister are on a 10 day visit to China to learn how that country has pulled millions of its citizens out of poverty.

According to Zambia's constitution, Provincial Ministers, who are either elected or nominated Members of Parliament, are at the same level with Deputy Ministers and they do not attend Cabinet meetings.

The Ministers, who left for the Asian country over a week ago, are meeting various delegations of Chinese investors, learning how they are boosting that country’s manufacturing sector.

And China’s Assistant Commerce Minister Bingnan Wang told the ministers on Tuesday that trade volumes increased by 18.4% between January and September 2015 pushing the amount of trade between the two countries to $US 2.1 billion

According to Zambia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dorcas chileshe who is travelling with the Ministers, Mr Wang said 570 Chinese companies had invested in Zambia in agriculture,  manufacturing,  mining, ICT and other sectors.

And Zambian delegation leader Nathaniel Mubukwanu expressed appreciation to the Chinese government for having extended an invitation to the Zambian delegation to participate in the 2016 Ministerial workshop.

Mr Mubukwanu, who is also Western Province Minister,  informed the Chinese Minister that the increase in trade volumes in 2015 was as a result  of Zambia 's business reform improvements.

He expressed confidence that the workshop would accord his delegation  a deeper appreciation of how China had accelerated her development over the last 30 years.

Part of the ministers in class in Beijing
Last week, Copperbelt Province Minister Bowman Lusambo shared on social media some of the lessons he and his fellow ministers are learning in China.

“I was elated to learn that Agriculture is a vital industry in China, employing well over 300 million farmers. The country is the number one producer of rice, wheat, potatoes, tomato, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, cotton and oil seed including soyabeans,” said Mr Lusambo in a posting on Facebook.

During the visit to China, the Zambian delegation will visit various companies in and outside the Chinese capital Beijing.

The ministers have since concluded their tour of Beijing and have moved to Shandong province on their continued tour of the Chinese countryside to meet more potential Chinese investors.
Zambia and China have been long standing partners since the southern African country’s independence in 1964.

China built the TAZARA railway which links Zambia to the Tanzanian port of Dar Es Salaam which handles the country’s oil imports.

The Asian giant has also invested millions of dollars in infrastructure projects in sectors such as agriculture, roads, stadiums, schools, mines and health.

Over the past 10 years, China has become a major player in Zambia with its ruling Communist party forging closer ties with each successive government.
On a tour of Beijing Guchuan Food Company

This has included exchange visits by party functionaries to learn various political theories and policy issues in China.

High level Chinese delegations, including the visit by that country’s Vice President in 2014, have been to Zambia to cement the two countries’ relations.

Zambia has also benefited from several concessional loans and currently, Chinese companies are building two modern international airports in the capital Lusaka and in the second city Ndola.

Within Ndola, the Chinese built the 60,000 capacity Levy Mwanawasa stadium which they gave free of charge to the Zambian government a few years ago.

Meanwhile, the number of Chinese nationals living and working in Zambia has increased over the years.

Last year, the Zambian Ministry of Home Affairs disclosed that there were 19, 845 Chinese citizens in the country.                                                 

Monday 21 November 2016

MISA Zambia, Airtel Train Copperbelt Journalists In New Media

Some of the journalists who attended the training
By Paul Shalala

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia Chapter says the increase in people  accessing the internet has come with new problems.

The regional body says the increase in internet usage in the country has led to some people posting unverified news which has put the journalism fraternity in an awkward position.

MISA Zambia Information and Research Officer Kamufisa Manchishi says there is need for journalists to be professional and objective to help bring sanity to online publications.

Speaking during a recent provincial media workshop on New Media and Information and Communications Technology in Kitwe, Mr Manchishi said there was need for journalists to be on top of the game.

“Journalists must be seen to be more professional than people who just post stuff online without verifying. Our job is to provide credible news and information on the internet, not spreading rumours,” he said.

He said this in the wake of recent cases were unverified news of fake deaths of prominent people were circulating online.

To try and equip Copperbelt-based journalists with latest skills in new media and ICTs, MISA Zambia and Airtel Zambia organized a two day workshop where over 30 practicing journalists and some trainees were trained in new media skills.

Yuyo Nachali-Kambikambi addressing the trainees
Airtel Zambia Manager for Corporate communications Yuyo Nachali-Kambikambi said journalists needed to be up to date with the latest trends in the industry.

“Journalists of nowadays need to be quick in delivering news. They also need to be equipped with the latest skills which the internet has brought. This is why Airtel Zambia has partnered with MISA Zambia to ensure that we give you the latest skills in ICTs,” said Ms Nachali-Kambikambi, herself a former journalist.

And Northern Region Media Club Chairperson Misheck Wangwe said the need for new media skills on the Copperbelt was an urgent matter for journalists.

“We are operating in an era where everyone who has access to the internet is now a journalist. It is a difficult time. But the duty is on us professional journalists to bring sanity to the internet,” said Mr Wangwe.

Journalism lecturers Elastus Mambwe and Youngson Ndawana from the University of Zambia ‘s Mass Communication Department tutored the journalists in various courses over the two day period.

Some of the courses tackled were writing for the internet, media ethics, blogging and how to research on the World Wide Web.

With over six million Zambians having access to mobile phones, pressure is now mounting on journalists and media organisations to satisfy the thirst for news on the internet.

This is due to the fact that the number of citizen journalists is increasing and the spread of fake news on the internet is increasing at an alarming rate.