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Southern African leaders discuss industrialization strategy
April 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

By FARAI MUTSAKA* [caption id="attachment_17837" align="alignleft" width="300"]Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, right, hands over a ceremonial key to SADC Excecutive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax during the official opening of the Southern African Development Community(SADC) Heads of State and Government Extraordinary Summit on Industrialisation in Harare, Wednesday, April, 29, 2015. The summit was called by heads of state in an effort to craft a strategy for industrialisation in the region through value addition and beneficiation of abundant natural resources in Africa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi) Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, right, hands over a ceremonial key to SADC Excecutive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax during the official opening of the Southern African Development Community(SADC) Heads of State and Government Extraordinary Summit on Industrialisation in Harare, Wednesday, April, 29, 2015. The summit was called by heads of state in an effort to craft a strategy for industrialisation in the region through value addition and beneficiation of abundant natural resources in Africa. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)[/caption] HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Southern African leaders met in the Zimbabwean capital Harare on Wednesday to discuss how to maximize profits from their countries’ natural resources.

Heads of state of the 15 countries that make up the Southern African Development Community came together, marking the official opening of the summit that began on Monday when cabinet ministers gathered.

In meetings before the summit, officials presented a strategy to achieve economic growth by exploiting mineral resources through industrialization.

“The potential benefits we stand to reap are immense,” said Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in a 15-minute opening speech.

About 70 percent of southern Africa’s population lives in poverty, Mugabe said. Most southern African countries are rich in minerals such as gold and diamonds, while Angola is the second largest oil producer in sub-Sahara Africa, behind Nigeria. The majority of these resources are exported in their raw form, Mugabe said.

Officially named the Regional Strategy and Roadmap for Industrialization, the plan to modernize southern Africa is meant encourage economic growth until 2063. Analysts say the plot is ambitious because of the wealth gaps and policy differences between countries.

South African President Jacob Zuma, whose country has the largest economy in the group, recently blamed the political and economic conditions in nearby nations for the influx of immigrants into his country.

The recent spate of attacks on foreigners in South Africa was not on the official agenda for discussion, but Mugabe did comment on efforts to return Zimbabwean immigrants during a press conference. He said the Zimbabwean government sent free buses to repatriate citizens during the attacks, but only about 800 chose to leave South Africa.

“We, the neighbors, must do what we can to prevent more people into South Africa and get those in South Africa to get back home,” he said, adding that industrialization would make southern African nations “equally attractive.” *Source AP/Yahoo]]>

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WHO launches African Vaccination Week in Zambia
April 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

042315_1248_wholaunches1Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa launches the African Vaccination Week (AVW) in Lusaka, Zambia under the theme “Vaccination, a gift for life”. This event marks the commencement of week-long immunization activities from 24 to 30 April across all 47 countries in the WHO African Region. Immunization is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions but many children and adults still do not have access to many life-saving vaccines. It is estimated that about three million children under the age of five years die each year in the African Region and a significant number of these deaths could be prevented by receiving immunizations. The AVW is designed to strengthen public awareness and demand for immunization by communities, improve access for high-risk populations and hard-to-reach areas in the Region and advocate for mobilization of resources for immunization. It also provides an opportunity to increase demand and utilization for other lifesaving interventions particularly those targeting women and children under five. In remarks delivered on her behalf by Dr Jacob Mufunda, WHO Representative to Zambia at the AVW commemoration, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti noted that vaccination is a gift that protects people of all ages against life-threatening diseases and underscored the urgent need for multisectoral collaboration to adopt locally-tailored approaches to maximize accessibility and utilization of immunization services. “Countries and stakeholders must raise the awareness of vaccine-preventable diseases, address barriers to vaccination, and make substantial and sustained additional investments to strengthen health systems and achieve universal immunization coverage by 2020″, said Dr Moeti. All countries in the African Region were urged to make efforts to reach all children during this AVW with special emphasis on children of vaccine-hesitant parents, geographically hard-to-reach areas and conflict zones. Dr Moeti applauded most families and parents for participating in country specific immunization schedules and prioritizing the overall health and wellbeing of their children, but increased awareness of the benefits of immunization is still needed at the community level, during this week and beyond. Diarrhoeal diseases and pneumonia are two of the most common causes of death in African children. WHO recommends the use of rotavirus and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) as an important measure to reduce deaths due to severe rotavirus-associated diarrhoea and pneumonia. Zambia introduced the rotavirus vaccine and PCV in 2013 in the framework of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD). Measles, polio, whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, meningitis, yellow fever, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, pneumonia and cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus are also preventable diseases through vaccination. It is therefore important for parents to present their infants and children including adolescents for all routine vaccinations as scheduled. The WHO Regional Office for Africa will continue to work with governments and stakeholders to strengthen health systems in order to attain universal immunization coverage and protect everyone’s fundamental human right to health. *APO]]>

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African nations close ranks against South Africa after week of horror xenophobic attacks, criticism gets very loud
April 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

633x356SOUTH Africa is facing a backlash from an increasing number of African nations after mobs repeatedly attacked foreigners and looted their stores, prompting its presidency to warn that the country’s interests could come under threat if the upheaval was not arrested. At least five people have died in clashes in the eastern port city of Durban, Johannesburg and other towns since last week, while more than 1,400 have fled their homes. In a sign of how deep-rooted the problem may be, a solidarity march against xenophobia in Durban on Thursday was interrupted by mobs insisting foreign nationals must leave. Some poor South Africans see Zimbabweans, Malawians, Somalis, Ethiopians, Malawians and Pakistanis as competitors for jobs and business opportunities in a country with a 24% unemployment rate. One fifth of the population of 54 million survive on less than 335 rand ($28) a month. South Africa’s cabinet warned on Friday that companies operating in the rest of Africa may be targeted, just as Johannesburg-based Sasol Ltd. announced it’s repatriating South African employees working on projects in Mozambique for their own safety. The blowback also came from unexpected quarters: award winning South African kwaito group Big Nuz cancelled their show set for Friday in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, saying they feared violence from locals. The violence is embarrassing for the ruling African National Congress, whose members sought refuge in countries on the continent before white-minority rule ended in 1994. The South African government on Friday met with ambassadors and diplomats from several African countries to reassure them of the safety of their nationals and keep relations onside. Sparked condemnation The violence of the past week has sparked condemnation from governments from Ghana to Malawi, protests in Nigeria and Zimbabwe and calls from major continental groups such as the African Union for South Africa to act decisively to stem the attacks. “If this was happening here in Zimbabwe, the calls for immediate action would be like a cacophony,” Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said in a phone interview from Harare on Thursday. South Africa has to act “to save the lives and livelihoods of their fellow African brothers and sisters from Zimbabwe and elsewhere on the continent. They must act immediately against any form of racism or xenophobia.” Malawi hired buses to repatriate its citizens caught up in the violence, “I would have wished the government of South Africa would have done more,” Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa said by phone from Blantyre, the capital, on Thursday. “We are concerned, we are disappointed. We want to take our people back home until the situation normalises.” The Economic Community of Western African States, a 16- nation regional group, said in a statement on Friday that it was regrettable that “the very people, whose nations sacrificed to help South Africans fight, repel and defeat apartheid, will today be considered aliens and hacked to death in such barbaric manners.” Patrick Gaspard, the US ambassador to South Africa, the United Nations and the African Union, a 53-nation continental grouping, also issued statements on Thursday condemning the attacks. “Whatever the challenges we may be facing, no circumstances justify attacks on people, whether foreigners or locals,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairwoman of the AU Commission and a South African citizen. “It is unacceptable.” Formal complaint China made a formal complaint with South Africa’s government about attacks directed against its nationals, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei. [caption id="attachment_17614" align="alignright" width="300"]African Union heads of state in a past group photo. The bloc has condemned the attacks African Union heads of state in a past group photo. The bloc has condemned the attacks[/caption] The Malawi and Somali governments have set in motion plans to repatriate their nationals. The Zambian, Ugandan, Kenyan and Botswana governments also said they were closely monitoring the situation and would pull out their nationals if necessary, while Namibian ruling SWAPO party youth activists said they would organise a protest march in Windhoek. Reactions from African Union host Ethiopia, which was set to receive the bodies of three of its nationals killed in attacks in South Africa, have been among the most intense, as several Ethiopians sought to remind South Africa of the role the country played in its struggle against apartheid. Africa’s biggest economy Nigeria, which also has several of its nationals in South Africa and has had a number of diplomatic spats with Pretoria despite being a major trade partner, on Friday added its voice to the pushback. “The Federal Government… calls on the government of South Africa to live up to its responsibilities and take all necessary steps to stop the on-going xenophobic attacks and put in place policies and structures to prevent a reoccurrence,” the ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. This came after some Nigerian lawmakers on Thursday pushed for laws to frustrate South African businesses. A vote to sever diplomatic ties was however defeated. Repatriate nationals An estimated 20,000 Nigerians live in South Africa, and Abuja said it would repatriate its nationals if the situation deteriorated. So far nationals from Ghana, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania have been reported killed, although Tanzanian envoy Elibahati Ngoyai said there was no official confirmation his compatriots had died in xenophobic attacks. Jeff Radebe, a minister in the South African presidency, warned that the attacks would have far-reaching consequences for the nation’s economy and its relations with Africa and the rest of the world. “South African companies who are running successful businesses in the continent who help to contribute to our revenue and sustaining our economy may suffer the similar fate,” he told reporters in Pretoria, the capital. “South Africa is not a violent country and therefore a few individuals cannot be allowed to hold the whole country to ransom.” In an increasingly globalised world, South African businesses have cause to be concerned about a possible continental backlash. Many have branched north, with telecoms giant MTN, carrier South African Airways, retail giants Shoprite and Woolworths and pay TV giant Multichoice among the most visible. FDI flows MTN for example derives the bulk of its profits from Nigeria. The country’s banks and insurers such as Standard Bank, Absa, First Rand, Sanlam and Liberty Life are also highly active in countries to the north. “Here in Zimbabwe we support South African businesses, which sell goods and conduct trade. The South African people can’t have their cake and eat it,” Zimbabwe opposition MP Jessie Majome said on Wednesday, as he delivered a cross-partisan petition to the South African embassy in Harare. In 2012, South African invested in more new Foreign Direct Investments in Africa than any other country with its 75 projects—the most— valued at $1.4 billion making up 12% of total FDI into Africa. Only China, India, the US, UK and Canada invested more by value. Most investments by South African firms have been in services and consumer products, while resources also showed up on the radar. With close to 50,000 jobs created in these cross-border links, neither of the two parties can afford soured relations. *Source Mgafrica  ]]>

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Powering Zambia’s rapidly growing capital city
April 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, is regarded as the second fastest growing city in Africa

 

150330auZambia Electricity Supply Commission (ZESCO) has awarded Aurecon  a contract to provide engineering, design and construction supervision services for the USD200 million World Bank funded Lusaka Transmission and Distribution Rehabilitation Project.

Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, is regarded as the second fastest growing city in Africa. Its electricity demand has grown at 6% per annum over the previous 10 years, with demand now outstripping the installed capacity of the power system supplying the city.

“We are excited to work with ZESCO to increase the capacity and improve the reliability of Lusaka’s electricity transmission and distribution system for the community,” Aurecon project leader Anton Harmse said.

“The creation of this transmission and distribution infrastructure will ensure the long-term sustainable operation of the network,” Harmse said.

Using experience gained on projects previously executed for ZESCO and the World Bank, the Aurecon project team will look at identifying remedial or preventative measures that can be actioned to optimise the benefits of the system upgrades.

“The large number of sub-projects and the sequential implementation of the various components of the project will require significant effort during the project planning and scheduling stages,” Harmse added.

The project is expected to be completed in 2019.

Aurecon  provides engineering, management and specialist technical services for government and private sector clients globally. With an office network extending across 26 countries, Aurecon has been involved in projects in more than 80 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and the Americas and employs around 7 500 people across 11 industry groups including: Construction, Data &Telecommunications; Defence; Energy; Government; Manufacturing; Oil & Gas; Property; Resources; Transport; Water.

*APO

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Fastjet raises USD 75 million for expansion
April 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

indexFastjet, Africa’s low cost airline, is pleased to announce that, following the launch of a proposed placing yesterday, 1 April 2015, it has successfully placed 5,000,000,000 new ordinary shares (the Placing Shares) at a price of 1 pence per share (on a pre-consolidation basis) (the Placing Price) to new and existing institutional shareholders, other investors and fastjet management (the Placing). The Placing, raised gross proceeds of GBP 50 million (approximately USD 75 million) (the Placing Proceeds). Net proceeds from the Placing will be deployed in two key areas – expansion working capital and the launch and growth of operations in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. fastjet will use funds raised in excess of that needed for its working capital requirements to commence an aircraft acquisition programme of used Airbus A319 aircraft. Ed Winter, Chief Executive Officer of fastjet, said: “I am delighted with the success of our Placing and with the positive reaction of investors. While our low cost airline model is already well established and highly regarded in Tanzania, this fundraising is a transformative step towards achieving fastjet’s goal of building Africa’s most successful pan-continental low-cost airline. “We will now be able to significantly expand our fleet and customer base, grow our operations organically, add new international routes and expand the fastjet model in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In doing so, we look forward to bringing our safe, reliable, low cost flights to up to 210 million potential customers, 20% of Africa’s population, and to creating a new market for aviation. “We have also announced a proposed share consolidation which we expect to be a positive development for investors, reducing share price volatility. To allow me to fully focus on the growth of the business, I am pleased to say that Clive Carver has taken over as interim non-executive Chairman.” The fastjet fleet is expected to grow using a mix of aircraft ownership models and by the end of 2018, it is anticipated that approximately one a third of the fleet will be leased, a third equity financed, and a further third debt financed. index.jpg1 fastjet believes that a range of benefits will accrue from bringing purchased aircraft into the fleet, specifically balance sheet enhancement, cash flow reduction and the deferral of maintenance deposits. fastjet will also use the proceeds of yesterday’s placing to expand its existing operations and expects to further increase the frequency of flights on all its current routes, linking domestic destinations with routes such as Mwanza to Kilimanjaro, and add more international destinations such as Nairobi, Lilongwe, Mombasa and Lubumbashi to the Tanzanian network. A further opportunity includes the operation of 5th freedom flights through Entebbe, where Air Uganda has ceased operations and left a void in air connectivity. Ed Winter added: “In the past two years, we have established very strong foundations in Africa and demonstrated we can manage our way through challenging regulatory restrictions, operate to a high standard of reliability and operational performance, build an award-winning and relevant brand, establish and grow effective distribution channels and trade profitably.”    ]]>

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Obama plans first presidential trip to Kenya, father’s homeland
March 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

 

Washington (AFP) – Barack Obama will make a long-awaited return to Kenya this July, visiting his father’s homeland for the first time since becoming US president, the White House announced Monday.

 During the much-delayed visit, Obama will attend a summit to encourage entrepreneurship and meet the country’s controversial leader Uhuru Kenyatta.

 

Barack Obama will in July make a first presidential trip to Kenya (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

Barack Obama will in July make a first presidential trip to Kenya (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

Obama’s late father was from a small village near the shores of Lake Victoria. He met Obama’s white American mother in Hawaii, where they had a son before divorcing.

America’s first black president has visited sub-Saharan Africa four times since taking office in 2009, but political scandal has blocked a presidential visit to his ancestral home.

For much of Obama’s time in power, Kenya’s president Kenyatta had been under investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Kenyatta was indicted on five counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in 2007-08 post-election violence that killed an estimated 1,200 people.

The 53-year-old son of Kenya’s founding father protested his innocence until the case was dropped in December.

Prosecutors complained that they had been undermined by a lack of cooperation by the Kenyan government, as well as the bribing or intimidation of witnesses.

A White House official told AFP that Obama and Kenyatta would meet during the visit.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the United States regularly raises “concerns with the Kenyan government about restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“The president’s trip will create another opportunity for dialogue with the government and civil society on these issues.”

Kenyatta had attended a US-Africa summit in Washington in 2014 but did not hold a bilateral meeting with Obama.

Kenya is seen as a front in the fight against global terror, following a series of deadly attacks that have been claimed by Somalia-based jihadist group al-Shebab.

Many Western governments have since warned tourists against visiting Kenya’s stunning coastline, which draws in hordes of visitors and much-needed tourism revenue.

– Forefathers and ancestry –

The White House hopes that a visit will also do more to cement ties between the United States and the African continent, which has received billions in Chinese investment in recent decades.

“Just as President (John) Kennedy’s historic visit to Ireland in 1963 celebrated the connections between Irish-Americans and their forefathers, President Obama’s trip will honor the strong historical ties between the United States and Kenya – and all of Africa,” White House advisors said in a blog.

Millions of Americans trace their ancestry to the African continent, and more than 100,000 Americans live in or visit Kenya each year, they said.

Obama had visited Kenya multiple times before entering politics and in 2006 as a US senator, when he visited his father’s home village Nyang’oma-Kogelo and took a very public HIV test.

Barack Obama greets his grandmother Sarah Obama at her rural home in Siaya near Kisumu in Kenya, on August 26, 2006 (AFP Photo/Simon Maina)

Barack Obama greets his grandmother Sarah Obama at her rural home in Siaya near Kisumu in Kenya, on August 26, 2006 (AFP Photo/Simon Maina)

The president’s heritage has spurred domestic controversy, with some hardline political foes claiming he was not born in the United States and so was ineligible to become president.

Obama allies say this is thinly veiled racism and the president has often made light of the controversy.

“If I did not love America, I wouldn’t have moved here from Kenya,” he recently joked.

Some Republicans accused Obama of trying to stir up controversy.

“I personally think he’s just inciting some chatter on an issue that should have been a dead issue a long time ago,” John Sununu, who served as White House chief of staff for president George H. W. Bush, told Fox News.

On the July visit, Obama is expected to take part in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which is being held in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time.

“Hosting the GES is an opportunity for Kenya to showcase its economic progress,” said the White House official.

“Kenya maintains enormous potential for economic growth, thanks to the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the Kenyan people.”

*Source AFP/Yahoo

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Obama plans first presidential trip to Kenya, father's homeland
March 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

 

Washington (AFP) – Barack Obama will make a long-awaited return to Kenya this July, visiting his father’s homeland for the first time since becoming US president, the White House announced Monday.

 During the much-delayed visit, Obama will attend a summit to encourage entrepreneurship and meet the country’s controversial leader Uhuru Kenyatta.
  [caption id="attachment_17213" align="alignleft" width="300"]Barack Obama will in July make a first presidential trip to Kenya (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb) Barack Obama will in July make a first presidential trip to Kenya (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)[/caption]

Obama’s late father was from a small village near the shores of Lake Victoria. He met Obama’s white American mother in Hawaii, where they had a son before divorcing.

America’s first black president has visited sub-Saharan Africa four times since taking office in 2009, but political scandal has blocked a presidential visit to his ancestral home.

For much of Obama’s time in power, Kenya’s president Kenyatta had been under investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Kenyatta was indicted on five counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in 2007-08 post-election violence that killed an estimated 1,200 people.

The 53-year-old son of Kenya’s founding father protested his innocence until the case was dropped in December.

Prosecutors complained that they had been undermined by a lack of cooperation by the Kenyan government, as well as the bribing or intimidation of witnesses.

A White House official told AFP that Obama and Kenyatta would meet during the visit.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the United States regularly raises “concerns with the Kenyan government about restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“The president’s trip will create another opportunity for dialogue with the government and civil society on these issues.”

Kenyatta had attended a US-Africa summit in Washington in 2014 but did not hold a bilateral meeting with Obama.

Kenya is seen as a front in the fight against global terror, following a series of deadly attacks that have been claimed by Somalia-based jihadist group al-Shebab.

Many Western governments have since warned tourists against visiting Kenya’s stunning coastline, which draws in hordes of visitors and much-needed tourism revenue.

– Forefathers and ancestry –

The White House hopes that a visit will also do more to cement ties between the United States and the African continent, which has received billions in Chinese investment in recent decades.

“Just as President (John) Kennedy’s historic visit to Ireland in 1963 celebrated the connections between Irish-Americans and their forefathers, President Obama’s trip will honor the strong historical ties between the United States and Kenya – and all of Africa,” White House advisors said in a blog.

Millions of Americans trace their ancestry to the African continent, and more than 100,000 Americans live in or visit Kenya each year, they said.

Obama had visited Kenya multiple times before entering politics and in 2006 as a US senator, when he visited his father’s home village Nyang’oma-Kogelo and took a very public HIV test.

[caption id="attachment_17214" align="alignright" width="292"]Barack Obama greets his grandmother Sarah Obama at her rural home in Siaya near Kisumu in Kenya, on August 26, 2006 (AFP Photo/Simon Maina) Barack Obama greets his grandmother Sarah Obama at her rural home in Siaya near Kisumu in Kenya, on August 26, 2006 (AFP Photo/Simon Maina)[/caption]

The president’s heritage has spurred domestic controversy, with some hardline political foes claiming he was not born in the United States and so was ineligible to become president.

Obama allies say this is thinly veiled racism and the president has often made light of the controversy.

“If I did not love America, I wouldn’t have moved here from Kenya,” he recently joked.

Some Republicans accused Obama of trying to stir up controversy.

“I personally think he’s just inciting some chatter on an issue that should have been a dead issue a long time ago,” John Sununu, who served as White House chief of staff for president George H. W. Bush, told Fox News.

On the July visit, Obama is expected to take part in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which is being held in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time.

“Hosting the GES is an opportunity for Kenya to showcase its economic progress,” said the White House official.

“Kenya maintains enormous potential for economic growth, thanks to the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the Kenyan people.”

*Source AFP/Yahoo
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“The democratization process in Zambia has reached a point of no return”
February 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

President Edgar Lungu President Edgar Lungu[/caption] Won by Edgar Lungu of the ruling party and contested by some in the opposition, the major take away from the recent elections is that the democratization process in Zambia has reached a point of no return says seasoned journalist Gershom Ndhlovu.The process may not have been perfect but the elections were a step in the right direction says Ndhlovu. In an interview with Pan African Visions, Ndhlovu discusses the elections, factors that facilitated victory for Edgar Lungu, the new government ,challenges ahead and complains from the opposition. How would you describe the recent elections that took place in Zambia and what impact would you say it had on the democratization process in Zambia? As elections go, the constitutional requirement of holding an election within 90 of the death of an incumbent president, in this case, the death of President Sata on October 28, 2014, was fulfilled on January 20, 2015. The biggest handicap of the election was the apathy that characterized the whole process. First and foremost, the election was held at the height of the rain season when most places are difficult to access due to floods and poor road and bridge infrastructure in the hinterland. Secondly, most of the subsistence farmers who rely on rain for their farming, were busy cultivating their land and could not be bothered to go and vote. Even though the election results were tight with only 1.66 per cent separating the top two contenders, the pre-election management such as coverage of participating parties by state-owned media which has wider coverage, favoured the party in power. But since most of the observers declared the elections free and fair, we just have to go by that. There may be weaknesses in the electoral management process, the democratization process in Zambia has reached a point of no return. The point at which the country has reached just expects elections to be held when they are due. The process is not perfect but it is definitely a step in the right direction. What are some of the factors which helped Edgar Lungu and the ruling party to victory? The biggest factor that helped Edgar Lungu and his ruling party to win is obviously the incumbency that they went into the elections with. The late Sata was quite popular and his administration embarked on a massive road and other infrastructure development around the country. People perhaps voted hoping that the PF candidate, in this case Lungu, would continue with what Sata started in 2011. The biasness of coverage by state media in favour of the ruling party could have also contributed to the election of now President Lungu. With the elections now over, may we know priority areas that Zambians expect President Lungu to focus on? The biggest challenge on President Lungu’s hands is poverty reduction through promotion of entrepreneurship among Zambians, job creation and resource redistribution. Unfortunately, in less than a month of Lungu’s presidency, the local currency, the Kwacha has weakened markedly in relation to international currencies of the dollar and the pound. This has the potential to derail infrastructure development started by Sata. Lungu also needs to address corruption that has become rooted in public service. So far, he has not made any landmark statement addressing the issue. From the composition of the new government, is there a sense that the new leadership will take aspirations of Zambians seriously? Apart from a couple of new faces, notably those from the former ruling MMD being given full cabinet portfolios, most of the people who have been appointed into government were part of Sata’s team. So, unless, Lungu wields a stronger hand policy and direction wise, I am afraid there won’t be earth shattering changes in the management of issues affecting the Zambian electorate. A novelty in the new Government was the appointment of a female Vice President, how was this development appraised by Zambians? [caption id="attachment_16602" align="alignright" width="252"]Gershom Ndhlovu Gershom Ndhlovu[/caption] The appointment of a female Vice President in Zambia is long overdue. In fact, the next stop should be for a female president. The appointment of Mrs Inonge Wina was generally applauded by the citizenry. But, of course, cognizance must be taken of her role as PF national charman in the election of Lungu as the party’s candidate at the shambolic party national convention which was marred by all manner of confusion ranging from one faction holding a parallel convention and suspensions and counter-suspensions. Wina sided with Lungu all along. How did Guy Scott fare as transitional leader and what role does he play now that he is out of government? Sadly, Guy Scott’s tenure as transitional leader was overshadowed by the problems in the ruling party some of which I highlight above. But generally, as far as managing state affairs was concerned, he did very well. He wanted transparency in the elections with all participants receiving fair coverage and treatment. However, some of the challenges are deep-rooted. Scott, a founder member of the PF, is still an MP of the metropolitan constituency of Lusaka Central. I am sure he will decide his political future in the lead up to the presidential and parliamentary elections. Not much is known about Edgar Lungu outside of Zambia, what kind of leader is he and why did he insist on keeping the Defence Portfolio? Not much was known about Lungu in Zambia apart from the fact that he had risen from political obscurity in 2011, to acting president in the few months leading to Sata’s death. He was not even among those jostling to take over the mantle even if Sata had lived up to 2016. He came forcefully to the forefront when Sata dismissed his once powerful party national secretary Wynter Kabimba and replaced him with Lungu. It is too soon to know what type of leader he is within the last four weeks. Zambians are just getting to know him day by day. For his maintaining the defence portfolio, it is difficult to say why he arrived at that decision. Speculation is that he wants to keep tight control of the contracts that come with the portfolio with its massive budget allocation. Where opposition leaders who cried foul just been sour losers or there had genuine grievances? It would not be fair to call the losers sour losers. Zambia’s electoral system needs a massive overhaul ranging from the printing of ballot papers currently done outside the country, to the use of the Zambian Airforce in ferrying ballot materials to and from far-flung polling centres.Some grievances may have been frivolous but many others were genuine. Thanks so much for the interview sir You are welcome.]]>

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Zambia's new president names full cabinet
February 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

Patriotic Front presidential candidate Edgar Lungu votes in Lusaka on January 20, 2015 in Lusaka (AFP Photo/Salim Dawood) Patriotic Front presidential candidate Edgar Lungu votes in Lusaka on January 20, 2015 in Lusaka (AFP Photo/Salim Dawood)[/caption] Lusaka (AFP) – Zambian President Edgar Lungu Thursday announced he would keep his position as defence minister when he unveiled his full cabinet following his election last month.

“I will remain minister of defence until further notice,” he said in a statement broadcast live on radio.

Lungu came to power in January after the death of president Michael Sata in October. Zambia’s former president Levy Mwanawasa also remained minister of defence after his election in 2001, before appointing George Mpombo.

Lungu made several more ministerial appointments after naming a partial cabinet in January.

The resulting 22-minister-strong administration has some new faces, including two lawmakers from the opposition Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), but retains many names from Sata’s tenure.

Chishimba Kambwili becomes Information Minister, with the MMD’s Vincent Mwale replacing him as Sports Youth, and Child Development Minister.

His MMD colleague Michael Kaingu is the new Education, Science and Technology Minister, with the ruling party’s John Phiri now shifted to the Local Government and Housing portfolio.

Yamfwa Mukanga would continue as minister of Transport, Works and Communication.

“Like in a football team, I will not hesitate to make substitutions when needs be,” said Lungu.

Still not included in the lineup is former vice president Guy Scott — who was briefly Africa’s only white leader.

As interim president since the death in office of Michael Sata in October, Scott had been the first white leader on the continent since the end of apartheid 20 years ago.

Lungu replaced him as vice president with Inonge Wina, a former gender minister and chairwoman of the ruling Patriotic Front.

Scott, who is of Scottish descent, was prevented by the constitution from standing for the presidency himself as his parents were not born in Zambia.

He is now expected to remain a backbencher.

*Source AFP/Yahoo]]>

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Zambia: Inonge Wina Is Zambia's First Female Vice-President
January 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Peter Adamu [caption id="attachment_15915" align="alignleft" width="285"]Photo: Zambia Reports Opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema cycles along a street in Zambia (file photo). Photo: Zambia Reports
Opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema cycles along a street in Zambia (file photo).[/caption] Republican President Edgar Lungu has appointed Zambia’s first female Vice-President Inonge Wina replacing Lusaka Central MP Guy Scott. It’s the first highest position for an individual from Western Province. Wina was wife of deceased MMD chairman Arthur Wina. She also becomes the first female Vice-President in the history of Zambia. “Inonge Wina is a solid person; stood up for the party when we faced possibility of disintegration and going into oblivion,” Lungu said. President Lungu also cautioned appointees to State House saying they must ensure the president’s wish to be available to the people is fulfilled. “Your job is not to isolate or insulate the President. My stay at State House is short and I won’t hesitate to fire you,” he warned. President Lungu said the rest of the Cabinet will be announced when he returns from an African Union engagement. Below is the partial Cabinet Appointed by Edgar Lungu Partial Cabinet announced on Monday, January 26: 1. President – Edgar Lungu 2. Vice President – Inonge Wina, MP 3. Minister of Justice – Ngosa Simbiakula MP 4. Minister of Finance – Alexander Chikwanda MP

5. Minister of Home Affairs – Davies Mwila, MP 6. Minister of Health – Joseph Kasonde, MP [caption id="attachment_15918" align="alignleft" width="300"]Inonge Wina Inonge Wina[/caption] 7. Minister of Foreign Affairs – Harry Kalaba, MP 8. Minister of Tourism and Arts – Jean Kapata, MP Provincial Ministers 1. Dawson Kafwaya – North Western Province Minister 2. Nathaniel Mubukwanu – Southern Province Minister State House Appointments 1. Permanent Secretary – Emmanuel Chilubanama 2. Amos Chanda – Press and Public Relations 3. Kaizer Zulu – Political Affairs *Source Allafrica/Zambia Reports]]>

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Zambia's new leader drops white vice president
January 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

Zambia's newly elected President Edgar Lungu (L) receives the instruments of power from acting president Guy Scott (R) after being sworn in as Zambia's president, at the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka on January 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/Salim Dawood) Zambia’s newly elected President Edgar Lungu (L) receives the instruments of power from acting president Guy Scott (R) after being sworn in as Zambia’s president, at the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka on January 25, 2015 (AFP Photo/Salim Dawood)[/caption] Lusaka (AFP) – Zambia’s newly-elected President Edgar Lungu dropped vice president Guy Scott — who was briefly Africa’s only white leader — from his administration when he announced his cabinet on Monday

As interim president since the death in office of Michael Sata in October, Scott had been the first white leader on the continent since the end of apartheid 20 years ago.

He was replaced as vice president by Inonge Wina, a former gender minister and chairwoman of the ruling Patriotic Front.

Scott had sacked Lungu from his position as party general secretary during a power struggle after Sata’s death, but later reinstated him after rioting by supporters.

Scott, who is of Scottish descent, was prevented by the constitution from standing for the presidency himself as his parents were not born in Zambia.

He had told local media that he saw his role as interim president as largely ceremonial and was looking forward to handing over power so that he could enjoy his “gin and tonic”.

Lungu made several other new appointments to the cabinet after winning last week’s election, but retained Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda and Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba.

Ngosa Simbyakula becomes Justice Minister and is replaced as Home Affairs Minister by Davies Mwila.

The new president reiterated his pledge to serve the people of Zambia equally regardless of tribal affiliation.

“I love every part of Zambia and we won’t look at tribe when it comes to development,” he said.

Lungu, the former defence minister, takes over the helm for the remainder of Sata’s term until a general election scheduled for September 2016.

He has promised to focus on building the economy of the continent’s second biggest copper producer, which has been hit by declining prices.

The new president inherits a slowing economy and high poverty levels, with the key mining, tourism and agriculture sectors all struggling.

*Source Yahoo/AFP]]>

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Short-term presidents – The country where each leader stays in office for less time than his predecessor
January 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

Zambian election: Five things you need to know * [caption id="attachment_15702" align="alignleft" width="300"]Kenneth Kaunda, seen here between Guy Scott and Robert Mugabe, has outlasted three of his successors Kenneth Kaunda, seen here between Guy Scott and Robert Mugabe, has outlasted three of his successors[/caption]

A presidential by-election will be held in Zambia on 20 January after former leader Michael Sata died in office last year. Here are five things you need to know about the poll.

1: Medical tests After the recent deaths of two serving presidents, there have been calls for the four presidential candidates – Edgar Lungu, Hakainde Hichilema, Edith Nawakwi and Nevers Mumba, who are all in their 50s – to undergo medical tests to prove they are fit to hold office. The debate was sparked by Chongwe MP Sylvia Masebo, who defected from the governing Patriotic Front (PF) to opposition candidate Mr Hichilema. She accused Mr Lungu of being physically unfit to hold office and challenged him to take medical tests. His spokesman said Mr Lungu was ready to take any tests, any time. It is not known if he has done so. 2: Beyond race? Guy Scott, a white Zambian of Scottish descent, was appointed interim president a day after Mr Sata died. A section of Zambia’s constitution known as the indigenous clause prohibited the 70-year-old from contesting the election, on the grounds that his parents were not born in Zambia. Much was made by the international media about him being mainland Africa’s first white president for 20 years but for many ordinary Zambians, his skin colour didn’t seem to matter. Many said they saw him simply as Zambian. Mr Scott has been a major political player since the 1990s, shifting from party to party until he ended up in the PF, as Mr Sata’s running mate. The two were known to be close friends. His relationship with PF’s presidential candidate, Edgar Lungu, has not been good. A disagreement burst into the open when Mr Scott sacked Mr Lungu as party secretary-general. He was forced to reinstate him shortly afterwards when other party figures objected. 3: Friends with China Mandarin is taught in many government schools in Zambia. This is an indication of China’s deep economic ties to Africa’s copper giant but the relationship has not been without controversy. There are allegations that Chinese mining companies are exploiting locals by paying poor wages. Mr Sata won the 2011 elections partly by campaigning against foreign companies exploiting Zambian workers. When he was in office, the close economic links continued. China’s influence on Zambia was also visible during last year’s jubilee celebrations. A Chinese company was hired to lead the commemorations by teaching Zambians martial arts choreography.
4: Two-year mandate Elections in Zambia are held every five years. So whoever wins these polls will be in office for less than two years, leading up to the general election in 2016. Zambia has a vibrant democracy, with several different parties presenting a strong challenge to the governing party. Elections have been held regularly since the end of one-party rule in 1991. Zambians now expect their leaders to leave office peacefully.
5: After Kaunda Long-time leader Kenneth Kaunda, who left office in 1991, has so far outlasted all but one of his permanent successors. Two presidents died in office, one died after standing down and the fourth, Rupiah Banda, is still alive. Mr Kaunda, born in 1924, is himself still going strong as he approaches his 91st birthday. Another oddity is that each successive Zambian president has served a shorter time in office than his predecessor. Mr Kaunda leads the way with 27 years and nine days. He is followed by Frederick Chiluba (10 years, 61 days), Levy Mwanawasa (six years, 230 days), Mr Banda (three years, 86 days) and Mr Sata (three years, 35 days). Were the winner of this election to then lose the 2016 poll, that trend would continue. *Source BBC]]>

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