Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Omnia Fertilizer Zambia Limited  has  reopened its fertilizer  depot in Choma  which was closed two weeks  ago .
Choma District Agriculture Coordinating  Officer(DACO)  George  Samihamba confirmed  the development to  ZANIS  in Choma today.
Mr.  Samihamba said operations  at the  Omnia  depot  which was closed  a fortnight ago due  to outstanding issues  with government  has resumed.
“ Farmers  are now accessing  the commodity  under the  Fertilizer Support  Input Program(FSIP) as farming activities in the district get underway, “ the DACO said .
He advised  all the  affected  farmers  to take  advantage of  the re-opening  of the depot  to get  their  fertilizer.
This development has cheered most of the affected farmers have openly expressed happiness at  government ‘s quick  intervention.
Farmers  last week  had stormed  the District Commissioner ‘ s office  demanding  to know  the reason  why  Omnia  had closed its depot  in the district.
 The visibly annoyed farmers  had  complained  they failed to understand  the move behind  the  closure  of Omnia  depot  in the district  when  the fertilizer belonged to them. 
They had also complained that  it was disheartening  to learn that Omnia  company  tasked by government  to supply  fertilizer in district had decided to withhold  the entire  28,795 fertilizer  bags  allocated to the district  when  they  needed  it most.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


FILE - Sudanese President Omer Hassan al Bashir
arrives at the promulgation of Kenya’s New Constitution
at the Uhuru Park grounds on August 27, 2010 in Nairobi (AFP)
The Sudanese government on Monday night took the surprise step of asking the Kenyan ambassador in Khartoum to leave the country after a High Court judge in Nairobi ordered the government to arrest president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) based in The Hague since 2009 on ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide he allegedly masterminded in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.
African nations rallied behind Bashir and the African Union (AU) issued several resolutions directing its members not to cooperate with the court in apprehending the Sudanese leader.
Kenya, an ICC state party, allowed Bashir in August 2010 to visit drawing strong rebuke from Western nations and rights groups. It also angered the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) headed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga which shares the coalition government with arty National Unity (PNU) led by president Mwai Kibaki.
In November 2010 the Kenyan High Court received a request from the local chapter of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) seeking to compel the government to execute the arrest warrant against Bashir should he visit again.
The court today dismissed the government’s argument that the ICJ has no standing to make such a request.
“I am satisfied that the applicant (ICJ-Kenya) has locus standi [the right to appear before a court] to seek the orders because Kenya is obligated to arrest him being a member state to the Rome Statute,” Judge Nicholas Ombija said in his ruling.
"The matter raised by the applicant and the orders sought are justifiable.... The application is thus tenable in law. I grant the orders sought and direct the minister of internal security to arrest President Bashir should be set foot in Kenya in future," Judge Nicholas Ombija said in his ruling.
Kenyan media on Tuesday quoted the foreign minister Moses Wetangula as being critical of the ruling, describing it as a "judgment in error" that "clearly shows the insensitivity of the court to international relations".
It is not clear if the Kenyan government intends to appeal today’s decision.
The ICJ has applauded the ruling and warned that President Kibaki and Attorney General would be in contempt of the Kenyan Courts and the Rome Statute if they did not comply.
"If the government does not execute this court warrant, it will not only be failing in its obligations as set out in the Rome Statute but also putting unnecessary and undue strain on the already bruised human rights records of the country after post-election violence serious crimes," said ICJ Deputy and Programmes Director Mwaura Nderi.
Sudan initially sought to downplay the court’s decision saying it will not affect its bilateral ties with Kenya and that it was more related to internal politics on dealing with the ICC.
"The bilateral ties are deeply-rooted and are governed by the charter of the African Union. We are waiting for the outcome of the contacts between Khartoum and Nairobi," Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson Al-Obaid Marawih said at a news conference on Monday.
The foreign ministry in Khartoum also said that the court’s decision is closely linked to successes achieved by Bashir in visiting other countries including state parties like Kenya.
The statement went on to say that the ICC prosecutor has failed to convince the member states in the Rome Statute of arresting Bashir and other figures wanted by the court including those in relation to the Libya situation.
In separate statements to the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper Marawih cleared the Kenyan government from responsibility for the court’s decision.
“It is difficult to say that the decision [is coming] from the state, but a court’s decision, and the prosecutor is not the executive, but the call was from the Kenyan branch of a European organization” Marawih said.
He added that a group of activists previously tried to persuade the Kenyan government and pressure it to adopt a political decision, and when they failed they sought a judicial ruling.
But in a matter of hours Khartoum decided to take a tougher stance.
“The Sudanese government has ordered the Kenyan ambassador to leave the country within 72 hours” Marawih told Agence France Presse (AFP).
“They have also ordered the Sudanese ambassador to leave Kenya and return to Khartoum,” he added.
An opposition leader in Sudan suggested to Sudan Tribune that Bashir may have personally ordered the expulsion.
“Now Bashir is in charge, he reacts and doesn’t think and nobody can dare to talk him off, especially when it comes to himself and the ICC,” said the opposition figure who asked not to be named.


A shortage of baby food products has hit Mansa district in Luapula Province for the second time leaving several babies whose mothers can not breast feed for various medical reasons on the verge of starvation.
The shortage of baby products comes after a team of Health workers from the Ministry of Health in Mansa directed Shoprite management to remove the baby products from their shelves.
However, Government rescinded its decision and considered complaints raised by the people in Luapula Province hence suspending the exercise.
Today, Shoprite received fresh directives from Health officials to remove all baby products from the shelves as the Ministry of health was yet to call a stakeholders meeting to discuss the issue.
A Check by ZANIS this morning found Shoprite workers removing the baby products from the shelves.
In a telephone interview with ZANIS, Shoprite Zambia Deputy General Manager Charles Bota expressed disappointment at the move by Health officials accusing them of discriminating against his shop when other outlets were equally still selling the products.
Mr.Bota said it was saddening that such an action could be taken even when it was mentioned in Parliament that the chain store be given time to sell the products.
When contacted, District Environmental Health Technologist Davies Silwamba declined to comment and referred all queries to the Provincial Medical Officer who was reportedly out of the province.
Two weeks ago, a team of  Ministry of Health officials in the district swung into action and confiscated several baby food products from Shoprite Mansa in a bid to promote breastfeeding in the country.  

Monday, 28 November 2011


Luapula Province Minister Davis Mwila has taken to task a Human Resource Development Officer at Kabunda  Stage Two Rural Health Post in Mwense over deteriorating sanitary condition at the institution
Robert Siwale was at pains to answer to the Minister who asked him why the sanitary condition at the institution had not changed even after he was advised to ensure that that the situation improved, during the Minister’s tour of the institution last time.
ZANIS reports that Mr Mwila wondered why the institution has failed to maintain good sanitary condition when it receives monthly grants from the Government.
He said the Ministry of health is allocated more funds than any other ministry in the country and therefore there should be no excuse for failure to improve standards at the institution.
The Minister said Government will ensure that all institutions in the country are up to the standard before ensuring enough medication. 
The Provincial Minister made the remarks recently when he toured Mwense  

Friday, 25 November 2011


The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir dismissed speculations about a possible ‘Arab Spring’ in his country suggesting it is a far-fetched scenario.
“Those who are waiting for the Arab Spring to come will be waiting for a while,” Bashir told the first day of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) general conference.
He stressed that the Arab Spring in Sudan already took place through his bloodless coup which he led in 1989 against the democratically elected government of al-Sadiq al-Mahdi.
Bashir also revealed that the new cabinet will be formed in the coming days with what he said is wide participation from political forces.
The Sudanese leader said that the dialogue with political parties over the prior period will form a seed for crafting the new constitution.
But Bashir mocked those who talk about worsening economic political  situation saying that they are the same ones riding luxurious cars, eating the best food and are safe in their homes.
He also vowed to crush the rebellions staged by the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
On the economic side, Bashir said that his party is working on combating poverty, curtailing government spending and addressing economic conditions resulting from the separation of the south and loss of the vast oil reserves as a result.
The NCP general conference will discuss amendments to the party’s statute which are expected to generate a lot of debate.
Mustafa Osman Ismail, NCP foreign relations officer, was quoted by Sudan official news agency (SUNA) as saying that changes will include percentages of representation at the General Conference or the Shura, or at the state level.
He said that the purpose of this is reducing the rates of selection and increasing rates of the sectors that come through conferences. He added that the proposed changes reduce selection rates from 10% to 5% and elevation across sectors from 20% to 15%.
There will also be increases to participation rate of youths and women in party structures, Ismail said.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


The latest survey on corruption in southern Africa indicates that 56 per cent of citizens who have been in contact with service providers have paid bribes.
This is according to a survey, by the International Anti-Corruption (NGO), Transparency International which was launched in Maputo yesterday (Tuesday).. The date to launch this survey was chosen to mark the 11th anniversary of the assassination of the country’s foremost investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso, on 22 November 2000.
The survey, entitled “Daily Lives and Corruption”, took a sample of 1,000 people from each of six southern African countries – Mozambique, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. With the exceptions of Zambia and Malawi, the sample is exclusively urban.
The Mozambican News Agency (AIM) reports that in all the countries except Zambia, over half of the sample admitted that they had paid bribes at some stage in the previous year. The figure was highest in Mozambique, with 68 per cent of the sample admitting to paying bribes. In Zambia, the figure was 42 per cent.
In all countries, those surveyed named the police as the most corrupt institution. Those who said they had paid a bribe to the police in the previous 12 months ranged from 64 per cent in DR Congo to 38 per cent in Zambia. For Mozambique the figure was 48 per cent.
More than one in three (35 per cent) of the Mozambicans who had been in contact with the health services reported paying a bribe. This was much higher than anywhere else in the region – even in DR Congo only 22 per cent of those who used the health service reported bribes.
35 per cent of the Mozambican sample who used education services reported paying bribes, and there was the same percentage of bribe payers among those who reported using registry and permit services.
Asked why they had paid the most recent bribe, over 60 per cent of the Mozambican sample said it was in order to speed up procedures. This contrasts strongly with the South African sample  which stands at about 70 per cent of South Africans who said they paid bribes “to avoid problems with the authorities”. The equivalent figure for Mozambique was only 20 per cent.
Relatively few Mozambicans (around 10 per cent) said they had paid the bribe to obtain a service which, in principle, should be free of charge. This figure rose to over 20 per cent in the DRC and to about 30 per cent in Zimbabwe.
Across the region, the public perception is that corruption has worsened in the past three years. Everywhere, over half the sample reported small or large increases in corruption – ranging from 72.3 per cent in the DRC to 53.3 per cent in Malawi.
In Mozambique, 31.8 per cent though there had been a large increase in corruption, and 23.2 per cent thought there had been a minimal increase., 23 per cent felt there had been no change, while 21.1 per cent said there had been a decline in corruption.
Asked how corrupt they considered a range of institutions, the Mozambicans gave a relatively clean bill of health to NGOs, religious bodies, and the media. These were the only institutions that over 50 per cent of the sample considered not at all corrupt or only slightly corrupt.
At the opposite end of the scale were the police and the education system, regarded as “extremely corrupt” by 58.2 and 43.1 per cent of the sample.
There was considerable variation in assessment of government anti-corruption efforts across the region. Thus in Zimbabwe 53.9 per cent said the government’s actions were “somewhat ineffective” or “very ineffective”, while only 24.3 per cent ranked them as very or somewhat effective.
But in Malawi, the government got the thumbs up. 49.7 per cent thought the government’s efforts were effective against 40.2 per cent who said they were ineffective.
The Mozambican sample was divided – 31.1 per cent said the government actions were effective, 40.1 per cent said they were ineffective, and 26.4 per cent ranked them as “neither effective nor ineffective”.
Despite this less than enthusiastic endorsement of government policies, when asked who they most trusted to fight corruption, the interviewees tended to reply that it was government leaders.
The major exception to this was Mozambique, where only 20.2 per cent said they placed most trust in the government – 22.4 per cent said they put their trust in the media to fight corruption. The media has a much better standing in Mozambique than in any of the other five countries.
In Zimbabwe and the DRC, the media is clearly distrusted – only 5.2 per cent of the DRC sample and 5.6 per cent of the Zimbabweans said they would put most trust in the media in the struggle against corruption.
One encouraging finding of the survey is that 76 per cent of the sample agreed with the statement that “ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption”. That figure rose to 83 per cent in Zambia and 82 per cent in Mozambique.
Across the region, 88 per cent of those surveyed said they would support colleagues or friends who fought against corruption, 80 per cent said they could envisage themselves becoming involved in the anti-corruption struggle, and 77 per cent said they would report an incident of corruption.
In Mozambique, these figures rose to 91.2 per cent, 86.1 per cent, and 82.2 per cent. Even if one assumes that a good number of the interviewees were giving the pollsters the answers they assumed they wanted to hear, these high figures look like a firm basis of support for strong actions against corruption.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Mutharika: One Malawi

President Bingu wa Mutharika failed to give a comprehensive answer on the diplomatic stand-off between Malawi and Zambia arising from a 2007 deportation of Zambia’s President Michael Sata when he was opposition leader then.
“I had expected that President Sata would come to attend the Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Summit in Australia where I was ready to meet and greet him. Unfortunately he did not come but sent his vice, Guy Scott. We learnt that being a newly-elected President, His Excellency Sata had more pressing issues to attend to back home,” Mutharika told reporters in the Capital City, Lilongwe
Mutharika could not comment on the deportation of Sata and instead thanked all those that had come to “welcome me and the First Lady”.
PresidentbMutharika said that Malawians are ‘one people’, bemoaning that he has come to learn that some people are not as warm as the country is renowned the world over-‘the Warm Heart of Africa’.
“We’re full of envy; we are jealous with each other. Let’s love one another; let’s be children of one family,” he said, apaprently in reaction to the rumours that made rounds in the country that the President was dead while enjoying his holiday in South-east Asia.
The Head of State accused journalists in the country of concentrating on backbiting and gossiping instead of concentrating on developmental issues.
He called on journalists, particularly the editors to balance ‘gossip with developmental issues’ saying it was unbelievable that people outside the country admire the socio-economic strides Malawi has registered under his leadership when malawian journalists cannot.
Ruling party functionaries booed journalists at the press conference and some intimidated them.