Saturday 24 December 2022

Zambia Abolishes Death Penalty And Defamation Of The President

President Hichilema signs the law as his 
 Legal Advisor Christopher Mundia looks on
By Paul Shalala

Zambia has abolished the Death Penalty and Defamation of the President, two colonial era pieces of legislation which have been on the cards for repealing for several decades.

The death penalty is a capital punishment which is imposed on all those convicted of some of the gravest of offences in the country.

Anyone who is convicted for murder, treason and aggravated robbery is sent to a maximum security prison and wait to be hanged.

For Defamation of the President, this archaic law became more prominent under former President Edgar Lungu and current President Hakainde Hichilema.

Dozens of people who criticized the President found themselves on the other side of the law.

The law has been used by those in authority to reign in on critical voices and sort out dissent.

In both administrations, opposition leaders usually found themselves in Police stations and courts, answering to charges of insulting the President.

During the campaigns ahead of the 2021 general elections, President Hichilema, then the leading opposition figure, promised to repeal the two pieces of legislation.

After being elected President, Mr. Hichilema stuck to his guns, repeating his promise to abolish the Death Penalty in May and September 2022.

And on 23 December, 2022, President Hichilema signed the Penal Code Amendment Bill Number 25 of 2022 which abolishes the two controversial laws.

President Hichilema said this on his Facebook page upon signing the laws:

“Please be informed that this afternoon, we assented to the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill number 25 of 2022, abolishing the imposition of the death penalty in the Republic of Zambia, and the offence of Criminal Defamation of the President. Fellow Zambians, during our campaigns for the Presidency, we promised to amend all laws that inhibit the growth of democracy and good governance, impede human rights and basic freedoms. Today we have delivered.”

Reaction to this decision has been uniform across the country.

Politicians, activists and ordinary citizens have weighed in on the matter.

Fred M'membe

“The abolition of defamation of the President laws and criminal defamation in general has been long overdue. We therefore highly welcome the abolition of defamation of the President laws. It was an offence for any person who, with intent to bring the President into hatred, ridicule or contempt, published any defamatory or insulting statements,” said Fred M’membe, President of the Socialist Party in Zambia.

Mr. M’membe, a former Editor-In-Chief for the now defunct Post Newspapers, says the past years have seen a growing global movement towards decriminalising defamation and Zambia has not been left behind.

The opposition leader says the Death Penalty and the Defamation of the President had to go.

“These laws were clearly unconstitutional and fell foul of international standards on freedom of expression. To be more meaningful, the repeal of defamation laws needs to be immediately accompanied by the removal of the public order Act.”

Another opposition leader Harry Kalaba, who leads the Citizens First political party, says the two laws were archaic.

“We expected this and we appreciate that it has finally been done. This is a law that should never have been there in the first place. A fair playing field is a key ingredient of democracy. We thank the international community and all stakeholders for keeping tabs and ensuring that a draconian law is repealed,” said Mr. Kalaba.

The former Foreign Affairs Minister in the previous administration says there was need for wider consultation before the abolishment of the Death Penalty.

“We believe in issue-based politics and that’s why we would rather focus on the issue of death Penalty that we think should have sought wider consultation before abolishing it. There are those who have lost their loved ones to criminal activities who feel the Death Penalty is a better option while those related to the people on death row will think otherwise and therefore in our view this issue should have attracted wider consultation,” he added.

On the international scene, Amnesty International welcomed the news that Zambia had joined other countries in abolishing the Death Penalty.

In March this year, Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard visited President Hichilema at State House and issued the following statement on human rights in Zambia.

“Under former President Edgar Lungu’s administration, authorities weaponized the law to criminalize peaceful dissent, charging critics with a wide range of offences including criminal defamation, incitement of public disorder and sedition. For example, on 9 March 2020, police arrested a 15-year-old boy in Kapiri Mposhi, and charged him with three counts of criminal libel after he allegedly criticized President Lungu on Facebook. Authorities must repeal the repressive legislation, especially the Public Order Act, and the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act that have been used to suppress human rights, including freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression.”

With the abolishing of the Death Penalty, Amnesty International has reacted.

Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa said: “Amnesty International welcomes the announcement by President Hichilema that the death penalty has been abolished in Zambia. This is a good and progressive move that shows the country’s commitment to protecting the right to life.”

Harry Kalaba

Mr. Chagutah commended President Hichilema for quashing the offence of criminal defamation of the president which he said muzzled free speech and unjustifiably limited freedom of expression in the country.

“With the abolition, Zambia became the 25th country in sub-Saharan Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. Zambia’s decision to ban the death penalty should serve as an example to countries in the region that still use the death penalty and compel them to take immediate steps to end this cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment and protect the right to life,” he added.

Mr. Chagutah encouraged the Zambian government to accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

Since January 1997, no Zambian citizen has been executed as successive Presidents have been declining to sign the execution orders for those sentenced to death.

This is on the basis of Zambia having been declared a Christian Nation early in the 1990s by President Frederick Chiluba and since then, no Zambian President wants to preside over an execution.

In the last 25 years since the hang man executed the last prisoner at the Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison in Kabwe, lobbying for the abolishment of the death penalty has been loud.

Both local and international non-governmental organisations have voiced out on the matter, encouraging Zambia to join an international group of countries which have done away with the law.

As at December 2021, Zambia had 257 death row inmates who were being held at the condemned section of the Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison.

The inmates, who wear white uniforms, live in small cells which are isolated from lifers and other convicts within the prison.

Over the years, successive Presidents having been using their Prerogative of Mercy to commute death sentences into life sentences on days such as African Freedom Day (Africa Day) and Independence Day (October 25) to reduce on congestion in the Condemned Section at Mukobeko.

According to UN records, 170 countries have so far abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium on the death penalty or have suspended executions for 10 years.

Of these, 24 countries are in Africa and they include states like Liberia, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea.

Zambia now becomes the 25th country in Africa to abolish the Death Penalty.

Friday 16 December 2022

Brief Profile Of Newly Elected ZCTU President Blake Mulala And Secretary General Joy Beene

Joy Beene (left), Joseph Chewe (middle)
and Blake Mulala (right)
By Paul Shalala

Congratulations to Mr. Blake Mulala and Mr. Joy Beene who have been elected President and Secretary General respectively, for the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

ZCTU is the mother body of the labour movement in Zambia, it is also the voice for the workers.

As President and Secretary General, these two will be the face of the labour movement and their job will be to fight for the workers' rights and privileges.


Mr. Blake Mulala is the President of the Grain and Meat Workers Union of Zambia.

This is a union which was formed and registered in 2006 to represent workers in the Grain and Meat industry on industrial and labour related maters.

I know most people may not know this union because it is not very vocal like BETUZ, SESTUZ, CSAWUZ and others but it's there.

Mr. Mulala, who is 52 years old, started his unionism at Twikatane Farm Products in Barlastone Park near Eden University in Lusaka. 

He used to advocate for better working conditions for his fellow employees despite there being no union at the farm.

His fellow workers nicknamed him Workers Spokesperson.

Mr. Mulala served as Dispatch Supervisor at Twikatane Farm Products from 1995 to 1998.

The following year, he joined Zambeef Products PLC were he works up to today.

As a Unionist, he served in various positions having started as a Shop Steward, Branch Chairman, Vice President and subsquently voted to the position of President of the Grain and Meat Workers Union of Zambia in 2013.

Mr. Mulala was born and grew up in Kalabo District in Western Province.

He did his Primary School at Mutala in Kalabo and proceeded to Kalabo Secondary School and later to the prestigious Kambule Boys Secondary School in Mongu.

Mr. Mulala holds a Diploma in Business Administration and Management from the Institute of Commercial Management in the United Kingdom.

His election as ZCTU President yesterday was not his first attempt.

In 2014, he contested as ZCTU President and he lost by a paltry 20 votes to Nkole Chishimba, who was President for the Mine Workers Union of Zambia..

In 2018, he again gathered courage and stood for the same position.

This time, the government machinery moved in as Mr. Mulala was a fierce and vocal critic of the I'll fated Bill 10.

Mr. Mulala was disqualified by the Labour Commissioner and he didn't contest the elections at the ZCTU Quadrannual Conference which gave Mr. Nkole Chishimba a second term as President.

Four years later, the man they disqualified is the new ZCTU President.



Joy Beene is a 48 year old medical practitioner who is employed by the Ndola Teaching Hospital on the Copperbelt.

He holds a Diploma in Biomedical Science from Evelyn Hone College and a Bachelor of Public Administration (with merit) from the prestigious University of Zambia.

Mr. Beene with his supporters
He started his unionism at the hospital were he served as Ndola Branch Chairman for the Civil Servants Union of Zambia (CSUZ).

In 2004 he enrolled at Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka were he went to study Biomedical Science.

With the unionism blood in him, he attempted to contest as President for the Evelyn Hone College Students Union (EHCOSU) in 2005 but he lost.

The following year, he didn't give up, he attempted again and he won with a landslide.

Joy Beene led the union as President for a year and we used to call him "Mature PG (President General)."

In that same year, I had been elected Publicity Secretary for the Evelyn Hone College Students Electoral Commission.

So we handled the elections which ushered him in office, I remember my comrade Lumpa Mubanga was the Commission Chairman.

In 2007, I was elected Electoral Commission Chairman, a position I held until I left the college at the end of the year.

Back to Joy Beene, after he left college in 2006, he went back to the Copperbelt were he continued serving as Ndola Branch Chairman for CSUZ.

In 2010, Mr. Beene made history as he was elected General Secretary for the Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ), which had just been rebranded from CSUZ.

He made history because his election was unprecedented, he jumped the Provincial structure and went straight to the National Secretariat in Lusaka.

He held that position for eight years until 2018 when he was elected Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance at the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions.

This is the position Mr. Beene held until yesterday when ZCTU members elected him ZCTU Secretary General at the Quadrennial Conference in Livingstone.

At the international level, Mr. Beene is the Deputy President for the SADC Region for the International Trade Union.

He was elected in that role in November 2022.

He is a spiritual man, a family man and a committed Seventh-Day Adventist.

When he was at Evelyn Hone College, he served as Vice Youth Leader at Evelyn Hone SDA Company in 2005 and the following year he was elected as our Youth Sponsor.

This is the Joy Beene I know from at a personal level.

Thursday 8 December 2022

Omari Muwowo: A Zambian Police Officer Who Fights Piracy

By Paul Shalala

Omari Muwowo

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Omari Muwowo is an officer you can joke with, play with and work with.

He was recently promoted to DCP and am so proud of him because his work speaks for himself.

He is a user friendly officer who I have known since the year 2010.

When I worked for MUVI Television between 2010 and 2012, Mr. Muwowo and his colleagues at the Intellectual Property Unit of the Zambia Police Service did a great job in fighting piracy in the country.

My colleagues Brian Mwale, Mwape Kumwenda, Mabvuto Phiri and many others who worked at MUVI TV remember this man and how we worked with him on piracy stories.

In those days, they operated from a poorly made container at Force Headquarters in Lusaka but their work was countrywide.

I remember covering them on operations in Lusaka, Kabwe and Kapiri Mposhi were they pounced on people pirating music and selling to unsuspecting travelers.

Mr. Muwowo was an integral part of the team.

To us journalists, he was and is still 'Constable' Omari Muwowo because he considers himself the lowest ranked Police officer, despite rising through the ranks over the past decade or so.

Even his Facebook page is called Constable Omari Muwowo.

Below is a short summary of how this great Police officer has risen through the ranks due to his patriotism, selflessness and dedication to work.

Mr. Muwowo is a graduate of the School of Public Order Maintenance in Kitwe which is popularly known as Kamfinsa, he was trained at the Mobile Unit.

Upon passing out, he was transferred to Lusaka Central Police Station where he worked briefly before he was transferred to Research and Planning Unit at Police headquarters.

It was at Force Headquarters where he exhibited his intelligence and Police dynamics.

As a Constable by rank, he did a project proposal in Sweden which led to the introduction of  the Intellectual Property Unit of the Zambia Police Service.

According to my research, what existed in the Police then was an ad-hoc Anti-Piracy Crack Squad.

Mr. Muwowo spearheaded Intellectual property initiatives and enforcement mechanisms which made him a renowned Intellectual property trainer in Africa and Europe.

He became the only one and the first African to be part of the training faculty in Stockholm, Sweden.

During his days under Intellectual Property Unit were I first met him at that container at Force Headquarters, sanity was brought in the Zambian markets.

Most of the fake products were confiscated to the point where he was nicknamed The Sweeper by traders at Lusaka Town Center were they usually sold pirated CDs and DVDs.

I remember those days, the Intellectual Property Unit of the Police used to work with an organization called Cycorps which was headed by a Mr Kingsley Nkonde.

Mr Nkonde was also another passionate person when it comes to fighting piracy.

I lost touch with him but if anyone can reach him, he can tell you how they fought piracy those days.

If am not mistaken, Brian Mwale and Mwape Kumwenda won Media Awards in Anti-Piracy those days, courtesy of the stories we did with the Zambia Police Intellectual Property Unit and Cycorps.

Back to Mr Muwowo, from Constable, he rose to the rank of Sub Inspector, Skipping the the rank of Sergeant.

Due to his hard work, he later became Inspector and Chief Inspector, the rank he only enjoyed for only one month and he was again promoted to the rank of Assistant Superintendent.

This scenario of frequent promotions just shows you how hard working and disciplined the man is.

In no time, he became a Superintendent, one of those ranks we call Ba Unga Unga.

Three years ago, he was promoted to the rank of Senior Superintendent and transferred to the Zambia Police Professional Standards and Integrity Committee.

Under his watch, there was a reduction in Police unethical conduct and corruption.

Almost every Zambian had his mobile number to report any officers who misbehaved, that is how ‘Constable’ Omari Muwowo works, he has an open door policy.

Other attributes I forgot to mention are that Mr. Muwowo is a disciplinarian, an honest and frank man who sensitises people through radio, Television and his Facebook page were he write articles to enlighten the public.

In short, wherever he goes, he revamps and makes an impact.

A few years ago, he was transferred to Western Province as Chief of Operations where he worked for 1 year 6 months.

Last year upon change of government, Mr. Muwowo was promoted as Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police and transferred to Police headquarters under the Operations Department.

Two months ago, another promotion came, he was given the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police, skipping one rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police.

He was appointed Director Operations, this means he is the man who attends to riots, emergencies, Policing of public events, manning gatherings and crowd management.

In short, Mr. Muwowo has excelled because he hates people who counterfeit products, people who are corrupt, Police officers who are unprofessional and unethical and he also hates laziness.

That is what I know about ‘Constable’ Muwowo, the DCP in the Zambia Police Service.

He is my friend and I celebrate his recent promotion.

Monday 14 November 2022

Zambian Student Dies While Fighting In the Russia-Ukraine War

By Paul Shalala 
Mr. Kakubo -Picture courtesy of
his Facebook page

A 23 year old Zambian student studying Nuclear Engineering in Russia has died in Ukraine while fighting on the war front. 

Lemekhani Nyirenda was a student at Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. 

Two years ago, Mr. Nyirenda was convicted for drug possession and sentenced to 9 years and six months in jail. 

According to records from the Zambian Embassy in Moscow, he was serving his sentence at Tyer Medium Security Prison on the outskirts of Moscow. 

While studying at the Russian university, Mr. Nyirenda found a part time job at a courier company and it is reported that one day as he was delivering goods, he was stopped and searched by the Russian Police. 

He was allegedly found with drugs, a crime which led him to serve two out of his 9 years jail term before he met his fate in Ukraine. 

At a press briefing held in Lusaka, Zambia’s Foreign Affairs and International Corporation Minister Stanely Kakubo broke the news of the student’s demise. 

“The Ministry is saddened to inform the nation that, on 9th November, 2022, it was notified of the demise of Mr. Nyirenda, at the battlefront of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Through the Embassy of the Republic of Zambia in Moscow, the Ministry immediately proceeded to verify this information where it was established that Mr. Nyirenda indeed passed away on 22nd September, 2022, in Ukraine,” said Mr. Kakubo. 

Circumstances of his recruitment and travel to Ukraine are still unclear. 

In recent months, with Russia facing huge resistance and loses on the battlefront in Ukraine, social media stories of prisoners in Russia being recruited to fight in Ukraine surfaced. 

The Zambian government is now asking for answers on how its citizen found himself on the battlefront. 

“The Zambian government has requested the Russian authorities to urgently provide information on the circumstances under which a Zambian citizen, serving a prison sentence in Moscow, could have been recruited to fight in Ukraine and subsequently lose his life,” said Mr. Kakubo. 

Following his death, Mr. Nyirenda’s remains have now been moved to the Russian city of Rostov awaiting repatriation to Zambia. 

Mr. Kakubo has visited the family of the deceased to update them on the developments. 

But when reached for a comment by this blogger, Mr. Nyirenda’s family refused to comment, citing privacy. 

Zambia has 711 students studying in Russia, 555 of whom are on government sponsorship while the remainder are on self sponsorship. 

The deceased was on government sponsorship. Zambia has thousands of Russian trained professionals in fields such as medicine, engineering and mathematics. 

Russia was one of the first countries to recognize Zambia’s independence in 1964 and maintains a cultural center in Lusaka. 

On an annual basis, Zambian students get government scholarships to study in Russia.

Sunday 16 October 2022

Zambia Starts Process To Abolish Death Penalty

By Paul Shalala 
Mr Haimbe with a UN official -Picture by HRC

Zambia has started the process to abolish the death penalty following decades of failure to implement it.

Since January 1997, no Zambian citizen has been executed as successive Presidents have been declining to sign the execution orders for those condemned to death by the courts of law. 

This is on the basis of Zambia having been declared a Christian Nation early in the 1990s by President Frederick Chiluba and since then, no Zambian President wants to preside over an execution. 

In the last 25 years since the hang man executed a prisoner at the Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison in Kabwe, lobbying for the abolishment of the death penalty has been loud. 

Both local and international non-governmental organisations have voiced out on the matter, encouraging Zambia to join an international group of countries which have done away with the law. 

According to Zambian laws, a person can only be sentenced to death if they are convicted of any of the three capital offences: treason, murder and aggravated robbery. 

In May this year, President Hakainde Hichilema announced that government would start the process to abolish the death penalty. 

President Hichilema repeated the promise last month when officially opening the Second Session of the 13th National Assembly. 

Since then, the Ministry of Justice has moved quickly and started the process to repeal laws which border on the death penalty. 

During the commemoration of the World Day Against the Death Penalty on October 10, Justice Minister Mulambo Haimbe announced that the process to abolish the death penalty is now in full gear.

“The government through my Ministry has already commenced the process of amending the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. Part of the review relates to amending provisions relating to mandatory death penalty for anyone convicted of treason, murder and aggravated robbery,” said Mr Haimbe. 

He further revealed that Cabinet had already endorsed the review process and what is remaining now are consultations before the law can be amended, leading to the abolishment of the death penalty. 

“Our commitment to abolishing the death penalty is anchored on our conviction towards protecting the sanctity of human life and should never be taken as trivilising the suffering that victims of capital offences endure,” he added. 

For those who were there at the Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison when the last execution was conducted 25 years ago, news of the abolishment of the death penalty excite them. 

“On that day, the whole prison was quiet. The Officer-In-Charge slaughtered a cow to cheer us up but that didn’t work, we were all sad,” said Godfrey Malembeka, who now campaigns for the welfare of prisoners and ex-prisoners. 

Upon being released from prison, Dr. Malembeka formed Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRISCCA), a non profit which he uses as a platform to campaign against the death penalty. 

But the most vocal of all against the death penalty is the church mother bodies. 

Zambia has three such bodies and one of them has not hidden its opposition to the piece of legislation. 

“The death penalty violates the rights to life and protection against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Additionally, the mandatory death sentence for capital offences violates the fundamental right to equal protection of the law as enshrined under Article 18 of the Constitution,” said Father Emmanuel Chikoya, Secretary General of the Council of Churches in Zambia, a body which represents protestant churches in Zambia. 

Fr. Chikoya, who also sits as a Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission of Zambia, says the death penalty and torture are similar as they are both cruel and inhuman. 

The United Nations campaigns for the abolishment of the death penalty. 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has in the past been quoted as saying 'the death penalty has no place in the 21st century.' 

Since independnce in 1964, Zambia has signed and ratified many international protocols. 

For example, in 1998, Zambia ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. 

However, the country has not yet domesticated this convention and security forces still torture suspects and in some cases, suspects die in custody under interrogation. 

The United Nations now wants Zambia to expedite the process of abolishing the death penalty. 

“The review of Zambia’s Penal Code and Criminal procedure Code offer the opportunity to make tangible progress to leave the death penalty behind. Abolition in law also entails amendments to defence acts and military codes and constitutional reforms to remove capital provisions if any and explicitly prohibit the death penalty,” said Beatrice Mutali, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zambia. 

The European Union, which is supporting the Zambian government is constitutional reforms, is pledging funding to abolish the death penalty. 

“The European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany are contributing almost 26 million euros to a project called EnACT. It stands for Enabling Access to justice, Civil society participation and Transparency in the areas of the rule of law, human rights and accountability,” disclosed Bruno Hanses, the Deputy Head of Mission at the EU Delegation to Zambia. 

Under this project, the EU will help Zambia in evidence based legal reforms which include the abolishing of the death penalty and review of the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure code. 

As at December 2021, Zambia had 257 death row inmates who were being held at the condemned section of the Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison. 

The inmates, who wear white uniforms, live in small cells which are isolated from lifers and other convicts within the prison. 

Over the years, successive Presidents having been using their Prerogative of Mercy to commute death sentences into life sentences on days such as African Freedom Day (Africa Day) and Independence Day to reduce on congestion in the Condemned Section. 

According to UN records, 170 countries have so far abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium on the death penalty or have suspended executions for 10 years. 

Of these, 24 countries are in Africa and they include states like Liberia, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea. Once Zambia abolishes the death penalty, it will join a global coalition against the death penalty which are now considered as role models.

Just this week, Information and Media Minister Chushi Kasanda said the Friday sitting of Cabinet approved the draft bills which are meant to help abolish the death penalty.

Below is her statement:

"The following were the decisions made by Cabinet, in order to facilitate service delivery to the people of Zambia based on the ruling Party Manifesto and in accordance with the transformation Agenda for Government going forward:

(a)   The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

Cabinet approved, for publication and introduction in Parliament during the current sitting, a Bill entitled “The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022.” The object of this Bill is to amend the Penal Code so as to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment; and repeal the offence of defamation of the President.

The Penal Code Act, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, was enacted in 1930 to establish a code of criminal law and penalties of criminal offences. However, from the time of its enactment, the Penal Code has never been reviewed and it contains archaic provisions including the death penalty and the offence of defamation of the President.

(b)   The Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

Cabinet also approved, for publication and introduction in Parliament during the current sitting, a Bill entitled “The Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill, 2022.”

Like the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, the objectives of the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill are to replace the penalty of death with life imprisonment and repeal the penalty for defamation of the President. The Criminal Procedure Code Act, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia, was enacted in 1933 to facilitate the application of the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, in matters relating to the procedure for criminal cases.

Similarly, from the time of its enactment, the Criminal Procedure Code has never been reviewed and it also contains archaic provisions, including the death penalty and imprisonment for defamation of the President.

Cabinet unanimously agreed that in accordance with the principles of the New Dawn Administration, the enactment of the two Bills will greatly promote the right to life as enshrined in the Constitution, and that further, in amending the two laws, Government will ensure that Zambia conforms to international best practice and standards on the right to life and other freedoms."

Friday 14 October 2022

TechCamp Addis Ababa: An Eye Opener For Africa

The Author at the training
 By Paul Shalala

From 28 September to 3 October 2022, I was privileged to be in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa were the United States government hosted a TechCamp whose aim was to train Ethiopian professionals in media literacy.

A TechCamp is a training opportunity which the US Government uses in various parts of the country to teach locals on various skills they need to use locally.

The three-day training attracted over 60 young Ethiopians who came from various fields: journalists, fact checkers, web developers, doctors, engineers and many other professionals.

TechCamp Addis Ababa was held under the theme “Empowering Ethiopians through media literacy.”

10 of us were selected by the State Department to facilitate the trainings.

The trainers came from Lesotho, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia and the USA.

I have no doubt that my selection to be a trainer was based on the fasct that for 12 years now, i have been running a blog The Zambian Analyst which has won me several media awards. I have also been a successful social media influencer who is followed by thousands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LikedIn and many other online platforms. My participation in the the Mandela Washington Fellowship at Syracuse University in New York in 2016 is just the icing on the cake for my career, am a committed US alumnus and this has brought me closer to the State Department and i take part in its activities worldwide.

The fellowship is a flagship youth program run by the State Department which takes 700 African youths annually to various US universities to sharpen their leadership skills over a period of six weeks.

In Addis Ababa, I was given an opportunity to facilitate sessions on the topic “Utilising the Digital Space to tell stories.”

In one of my trainings

In my sessions, I showed how Ethiopian professionals can use their influence on social media to be role models in fact checking, sharing credible information and promoting a culture of using the digital space to promote unity in the country.

Through the lessons, I also showed the trainees how they can tell stories using picture, videos and text from any mobile phone which has access to the internet.

One interesting aspect which most trainees didn’t expect was monetization of digital storytelling.

I took them in various ways they can use their digital platforms like Facebook and YouTube to make money and earn a living.

Of the 10 of us doing the trainings, two were the most popular, due to their unique topics.

On average, a trainer was allowed to have 5 or so trainees but for Josephine Dorado and Mandolin Kahindi, their sessions attracted over 20 trainees at a time.

Josephine, an American citizen who now lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa, delivered lessons on Empathy Engines: Combating Disinformation through Immersive Experiences (webXR).

The trainers and the organisers
Her practical lessons were always over subscribed and on the final day of the training, she gave out an unscheduled one hour training to the participants.

Mandolin was another most sought after trainer.

The Tanzanian journalist came to Addis Ababa with his mobile video equipment and taught the Ethiopian professionals on the topic Mobile Video Production Skills for Journalists: Producing Innovative and Compelling Videos.

Using the training itself as an area for filming, Mandolin allowed his trainees to get videos of other trainings and in the end, he helped them produce compelling videos which they shot, edited and produced on their mobile phones.

This made the trainees learn how they could utilize their mobile phones to tell stories from any part of the country.

Like Josephine, Mandolin also presented an unscheduled one hour training on the final day due to the overwhelming demand from the trainees.

Being the first TechCamp for me, I learnt a lot especially that the organisers showed so much respect and interest for us to share what we do in our day to day lives.

Trainers and Trainees at the Friendship Park

It was an opportunity for me to also see how Addis Ababa had grown from the last time I had visited it a couple of years before.

With the ongoing tensions in Ethiopia, TechCamp Addis Ababa gave the professions tools which they can use to verify fake news as well as report credible and accurate news.

In this era where lies spread faster than the truth, the training helped many Ethiopians know where and how to find credible news which they can rely upon.

In the end, TechCamp Addis Ababa showed me that Africa needs more of such trainings to enlighten the citizens and fight disinformation and misinformation.

If possible, more US Embassies across the continent need to apply to the State Department to host TechCamp in their host countries.

This will help impart more skills in local professionals on the continent.

I went to Addis Ababa with many expectations and when I departed Bole International Airport for Zambia, I was sure that all my expectations had been met.

Trainers having dinner at a restaurant
Thanks to the State Department for this awesome opportunity and if granted another opportunity to facilitate at another TechCamp in future, I would definitely jump on the opportunity.

Thanks to Jenny Beth Aloys (JB) and Manuel Pereira Colocci (Manny) from the State Department for organizing this great event.

Thanks too to the guys at Google Development Group (GDG) Ethiopia, Manuel, Bereket and others who made sure our stay in Addis Ababa was as comfortable and as fulfilling as home.

The GDG team made sure the trainers refreshed their minds every evening by taking them to cultural events and traditional restaurants were they could watch local musicians and dancers perform live on stage.The highlight of those nights was Yod Abyssinia, a traditional restaurant were they sale exotic Ethiopian food enjoyed while one is watching cultural perfomances.

In the end, thanks to all the trainees for sparing their time and listening to us as we trained them, it was such an awesome experience.

Sunday 18 September 2022

Travelogue: President Hichilema Strikes Deals For Zambia in Eswatini

By Paul Shalala in Manzini, Swaziland

It is one of the smallest countries in Africa, the last absolute monarch on the continent.

The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly named Swaziland is a landlocked country in Southern Africa.

As Chief Marketing Officer of Zambia, President Hakainde Hichikema was in Eswatini in June this year to make business.

He was in the Kingdom of Eswatini for the first time as Head of State at the invitation of King Mswati III.

From June 3 to 5, 2022 I covered President Hichilema’s state visit to the mountainous kingdom.

Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Chipoka Mulenga and Tourism Minister Rodney Sikunda accompanied the President.

Manzini, the industrial hub of Eswatini was the perfect city for the President’s business trip.

At the Royal Pavilion of the King Mswati III International Airport, President Hichilema was welcomed by Eswatini Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini.

He later inspected a Guard Honor mounted by the Eswatini Defence Forces.

In this deeply conservative country, President Hichikema also enjoyed some cultural performances.

Dancers clad in half naked attires performed different dances much to the amusement of the Zambian delegation.

Later, the President was driven to Lozitha Palace, the official residence for King Mswati III.

Here, he met the monarch who had been waiting for him.

President Hichilema inspected another Guard of Honor.

Later, the two Heads of State went into private talks which lasted hours.

After the talks, they exchanged presents.

President Hichilema used the occasion to inform his host that Zambia is interested in the coal which the Kingdom produces in large quantities.

“I hear your country produces a lot of coal. We need it, we have just signed a deal with the Democratic Republic of Congo to produce electric vehicles. So we need your coal,” said President Hichilema.

In the evening, President Hichilema and King Mswati III held a private welcome dinner.

The following morning, President Hichikema was driven east of the city of Manzini where he toured the Sidvokodvo Dairy Farm which is one of the largest dairy producers in the kingdom.

“We have made many investments and this farm is just one of them, “ said Old Mutual Chief Executive Officer Muzi Bell.

President Hichilema was surprised to learn that Eswatini has a deficit in dairy produce.

He called on exchange visits and collaboration between the two countries.

“Am a big dairy producer myself and I want to encourage the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to work with you and see how you can collaborate,” he added.

The Sidvokodvo Dairy Farm milks its dairy cattle twice a day and produces 153,000 liters of milk a month.

“Milking is done by our highly mechanized milking system which is handled by highly trained workers. These dairy cows you see here, produce milk for a minimum of 10 years,” said Eswatini Dairy Herd Manager Oscar Ndzimande.

At the farm, President Hichilema was shown how the company takes care of heifers.

The President appreciated the technology and effort the country is making in making livestock production a viable business.

Eswatini Dairy is a collaboration between the Eswatini Public Service Pension Fund, Old Mutual and the Eswatini

On the second day of the state visit, President Hichikema celebrated his 60th  birthday.

The Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church in Eswatini held a special service for the Head of State who is also an ordained Elder and an invested Master Guide in Zambia.

The service was held at the Royal Villas in Manzini.

President HICHILEMA also spoke of how God had guided and protected him as he fought to lead the country.

Three Cabinet Ministers and a Member of Parliament from Eswatini attended the service.

In the afternoon, the President went to the Ludzidzini Royal Residence where he visited the Eswatini Queen Mother Indlovukazi Queen Ntombi Tfwala.

The Queen Mother is a powerful figure in the Kingdom and her posters are hung in all public places alongside that of her son King Mswati III.

President Hichilema was received like a son, he was given various presents by the Queen Mother.

“I give you these crafts made by hand by our women here in Eswatini,” she said.

President Hichilema too gave the Queen Mother a huge Zambian painting depicting the African Amarula tree.

Later that evening, President Hichilema went back to the Zolitha Palace for the highlight of his state visit.

In the presence of King Mswati and himself, Zambia signed two Memoranda of Understanding with Eswatini.

The MoUs in Tourism and Diplomacy were signed by Zambia’s Tourism Minister Rodney Sikumba and the Foreign Affairs Minister of Eswatini Thulisile Dladla.

The MoUs are meant to establish a framework to the advancement of institutional and business cooperation between Zambia and the Kingdom of Eswatini in the tourism sector.

The cooperation between the two countries in the field of Tourism will include among others,

1. Mutual corporation

2. Joint Tourism Marketing

3. Exchange of staff and information

4. Twinning of products

5. Promotion of cultural tourism

6. Tourism training

The two countries will now create a bilateral technical committee on tourism within the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) to ensure implementation of this MoU.

 That same evening, King Mswati III hosted a state banquet for President Hichilema at the Lozitha Palace.

The banquet was spiced up with birthday festivities.

King MSWATI delivered a birthday cake to his visitor.

Like a birthday boy, President Hichilema did nit waste time in blowing the candles, much to the excitement of hundreds of guests who attended the state banquet.

King Mswati used the occasion to wish President Hichilema a happy birthday.

“On behalf of the people of Eswatini, I wish you Your Excellency a Happy Birthday,” said the monarch as he ked his guests into singing birthday songs.

In his speech that night, the Eswatinin monarch also appreciated the role Zambian expatriates are making in the Kingdom.

“We have many Zambians who are doing a good job in this country. We have them in the education sector, in construction and other sectors. Some are even our in-laws, they have married here,” said King Mswati III.

And in his speech, President Hichilema thanked the Eswatini Monarch for having played a positive role in Zambia’s transition after the general elections last year.

“Many Ma-Swati may not know that His Majesty mediated after our elections last year. As a father, he spoke to me and also spoke to my predecessor. He ensured that there was peace during the transition and for that, we the Zambians are very grateful,” said President Hichilema.

The head of state also called on African countries to increase trade amongst themselves.

“We do not need to import beef products from Denmark when we have them readily available in our region. Let African countries trade more amongst themselves. This will ensure we maintain jobs and reduce poverty,” he added.

During the state banquet, seven of the eleven wives of King Mswati III were present.

The night was spiced up with traditional performances.

On the final day, President Hichilema was driven to the Royal Pavillion of the King Mswati III International Airport for departure.

King Mswati escorted him

As per diplomatic etiquette, he inspected a Guard of Honor.

Later, he spent over 10 minutes, appreciating the cultural performances at the airport.

Because of this state visit, Eswatini Air, the national flag carrier announced that it will soon have direct flights into Zambia.

This is expected to raise the tourist arrivals from either countries.

Trade in a number of commodities will now be done directly between the two countries.

President Hichilema flew out of Manzini knowing very well that the trip was a success as he opened up new trade routes for Zambian goods.

During this trip, he was able to strengthen the relations between the two countries.

Pictures courtesy of State House