Monday, 31 May 2010
STATEMENT BY CHANGE LIFE ZAMBIA TO MARK THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE ORGANISATION AND PROMULGATION OF THE THEME FOR 2010 NAMELY “THE CHANGE WE WANT”
We believe that our country requires radical change to usher in upright, patriotic, innovative, pragmatic and selfless leaders that should accelerate development and steer our country to the kind of prosperity that offers a better life for all Zambians especially vulnerable citizens. Against this background, we reiterate the importance of mobilizing people to transform Zambia’s social, economic and political landscape for improved living standards for all.
UNVEILING THE 2010 THEME
We wish to inform the public that the theme for 2009 namely “Change or Die, Zambia” has transformed into a new theme for 2010 namely “The Change We Want”. We are very happy to observe that the theme for 2009 has achieved its objective of raising awareness on the vital need for change. It is now clear that many Zambians appreciate the inevitability of positive change for Zambia to reverse its serious situation of regression and hopelessness. Moreover, poor people in our compounds and villages also know that the only solution to their suffering is change.
For the next one year under the new theme “The Change We Want”, CLZ will implement programmes and activities to facilitate the drawing up of a People’s Manifesto (PM). This will be a document that will outline some cardinal and priority changes that the government to be formed after 2011 should implement to move the country forward. We shall lobby voters to demand adoption of the PM as a condition for them to vote for any party or candidate that will take part in the 2011 general elections.
NEED FOR A PROACTIVE ELECTORATE
CLZ desires to see a proactive citizenly that should not wait for politicians to state what they would do if voted into office but a situation where the people would demand desired changes in exchange for their vote. We believe that time has come for Zambians to demand critical changes as a condition for any political party to get their valued vote.
NEED FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
For many years now our people have been denied a genuine and happy national election victory party where supporters of the losing party or candidate would share a drink and make merry with those of the winning party or candidate. Instead we have sporadic violence after elections and the reason is that majority of our people believe that elections are rigged in favour of the ruling party.
Against this background, CLZ demands affirmative action by government and other stakeholders to ensure free and fair elections in 2011. We believe that failure to implement drastic measures to guarantee free and fair elections will be a great danger to our peace and stability.
Hence, we repeat our condemnation of electoral violence and other forms of politically motivated violence. Moreover, we add our voice to that of various organisations and eminent citizens calling for action to stop electoral violence.
Therefore, we are scandalized and shocked to note that the MMD party has concerned itself more with the loss of the Mufumbwe seat to UPND/PF pact than with the loss of blood and life that happened in Mufumbwe.
We call upon our members and sympathizers to continue praying for justice in our country conscious of the reality that peace and development are fruits of justice. We also urge them to pray for national leaders committed to establishing a just society where all live in harmony as brothers and sisters.
Fr Frank Bwalya
Thursday, 20 May 2010
MARSHAL PLAN FOR WESTERN AND LUAPULA PROVINCE
MARSHAL PLAN FOR WESTERN AND LUAPULA PROVINCES
The United Liberal Party (ULP) is calling on government to develop a Marshall Plan to help accelarate development in Western and Luapula provinces. The Marshall Plan we are proposing is similar to the “Marshall Plan” for Europe, announced 60 years ago by US Secretary of State George C. Marshall on June 5, 1947, which set Europe on a path of economic development and ultimately led to the formation of the European Union. Our “Marshall Plan” should be called the “Zambia for All Plan”.
Western and Luapula Provinces have consistently emerged as the poorest provinces in most surveys conducted by the Central Statistics Office with the incidence of poverty remaining between 75 and 84 percent of the total population. This is not to say that other provinces should be excluded from the development agenda of the country. We are simply calling on government to put Western and Luapula Provinces as priority areas in the development process in order of agriculture, health, education and directing investment from the Foreign Direct Investment projects.
The ULP feel that in order to get greater equity within the country it is necessary to pay extra attention to the two least developed provinces in the country. The aim of any government should be to ensure that no province or region is left behind in development. The statistics we have show that the two provinces which are lagging behind in terms of development in Zambia are Western and Luapula Provinces.
Compared to other provinces Western and Luapula Provinces are least developed in terms of education, agriculture, health infrastructure, road infrastructure and Direct Foreign Investment which is channeled to the province. There is a need for Government to increase funding in these areas so that Western and Luapula Provinces can catch-up with the rest of the country in terms of development.
In surveys conducted by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on the access to basic amenities such as safe drinking water Western Province has the lowest percentage per household. For example Western province has the lowest proportion of households with access to electricity which stands at 3.5 percent. Yet electricity is one of the major sources of energy that can help accelerate development in the country.
The proportion of households without a toilet facility is highest in Western Province at 53.4 percent, followed by 33.2 percent in Southern Province and 21.5 percent in Eastern Province. Lusaka Province has the largest proportion of households with access to safe water (96 percent) while Northern Province and Western Province have some of the lowest proportions of households with access to safe water in the country. Luapula Province has some of the highest deficiencies in nutrition among children resulting in stunting levels well above the national average of 54.2 percent. Luapula Province also has levels of poverty above 75% of the population.
The “Zambia for All Plan should deliberately target groups that represent medium and low-income groups who are in the category of subsistence living. The targeted groups should not be less than 50 000 households, representing the rural population. The “Zambia for All Plan” for Western and Luapula Provinces should also aim at reaching directly to at least 15 000 farming families in each Province including those living below the subsistence level.
Funds should also be provided in the “Zambia for All Plan” to target female-headed households which have been on the increase as a result of high HIV/AIDS infection. Investment in health should also target women and girls because they are the most vulnerable in terms of HIV/AIDS infection. The poorest provinces in Zambia deserve all the necessary efforts from government to reduce the high levels of poverty. Government should include the “Zambia for All Plan” for Western and Luapula Provinces in the “6th National Development Plan” for the country.
ULP challenges all the other political parties to publicly declare their commitment to having the least developed provinces being given special attention which will bring them to simillar levels of development with other provinces.
Sakwiba Sikota SC
United Liberal Party (ULP)
May 17, 2010
Thursday, 13 May 2010
THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA
For Immediate Release
PRESIDENT BANDA CONDEMNS TRIBAL POLITICS
LUSAKA, May 13, 2010 – His Excellency, Mr. Rupiah Banda, President of the Republic of Zambia, on Thursday condemned the emerging culture of tribal politics saying tribalism is a cancer that will destroy the country if condoned.
The President said it was disheartening to see politicians sink so low as to be debating tribal politics in this modern era at the expense of developmental issues. The President said it was not possible for him to appoint a cabinet of 73 people in order to have all the tribes in Zambia to be represented in cabinet. He said cabinet ministers are appointed on merit regardless of tribe, race, sex and creed as per Zambian constitution.
President Banda said he felt vindicated by comments attributed to Paramount Chief Mpezeni that he has not appointed a Ngoni in his cabinet. President Banda, who is Chewa/Ngoni by tribe, said the comments by Paramount Chief Mpezeni showed that he was not a tribalist because he has not appointed a single cabinet minister from his own tribe.
The President said the media should also avoid giving prominence to tribal remarks as they have the potential of sparking hatred and violence as witnessed in a number of countries. The President appealed to his Cabinet Ministers and ruling party officials to avoid getting involved in tribal politics.
President Banda also challenged the media to do a thorough scrutiny at State House and see whether it was true insinuations by some politicians that he has appointed his tribesmen in key positions in his office. He said almost all provinces are represented at State House at very senior level.
SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT
PRESS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
Monday, 10 May 2010
ULP PRESIDENT SAKWIBA SIKOTA ON THE NEED FOR GOVERNMENT TO PLAY GREATER ROLE IN MAIZE PRODUCTION AND MARKETING
MILLERS NEED TO COLLABORATE WITH STAKEHOLDERS
The United Liberal Party (ULP) is calling on government to play a greater role in the production and marketing of maize in order to help stabilize the liberalized market system in the milling industry. Government needs to introduce legislation that will stop deliberate market distortions and to protect consumers of maize-meal.
We are not calling for the reintroduction of price controls but legislation that will compel millers to declare stocks of maize in their shades on a monthly basis. Compelling millers to declare maize stocks will help the Ministry of Agriculture to get the correct picture in terms of the availability of maize in the country and adequately prepare for any back-up supplies that may be required.
Millers as handlers of a strategic commodity and a staple for this country need to seriously coordinate their activities with government to avoid the shortage of maize and un-necessary price hikes. Maize as a strategic commodity needs to be jointly handled by all stakeholders including farmers, millers of maize-meal and the government.
Millers should also help to stop the exploitation of small-scale farmers by briefcase buyers who are in most cases are selling the maize to millers of maize-meal. Millers can systematically help stop the abuse of the open market system of marketing maize by buying directly from the small-scale farmers to avoid the middlemen who exploit the farmers.
The poorest in our communities are the hardest hit by the break in the supply chain as a result of lack of proper communication between the millers and the small-scale farmers; the poor spend the highest portion of their income on food and with meagre budgets already overstretched they cannot be expected to keep on absorbing high prices of maize-meal.
Considering the five most widely consumed food types in Zambia, maize meal, white sugar, tea, milk and bread in terms of very poor consumers, maize-meal contributes about 54 percent of energy intake. Reduced consumption of maize meal is likely to affect the daily energy intake among the poorest of our population.
If not handled properly the issue of maize-meal prices can destabilize the relative peace we are enjoying. All past riots have been centred on high prices of food including maize-meal.
Hon. Sakwiba Sikota SC
United Liberal Party (ULP)
May 10, 2010
Monday, 3 May 2010
All Zambians including the state and corporate institutions should be at the forefront of protecting media independence in the country. A free press plays a key role in sustaining and monitoring a healthy democracy, as well as in contributing to greater accountability, good government, and economic development.
Most importantly we should guard against any restrictions on the media that could affect freedom of the press because most often they could indicate an impending assault on other democratic institutions.
All stakeholders including media institutions should stop controlling the viewpoints that should reach citizens and repress independent voices who aim to promote accountability, good governance, and economic development.
The press should also play a role in ensuring freedom of the press is protected by thoroughly investigating issues and providing balanced reporting. While there is no reason that justifies restrictions on media independence, reporting half truths has led to unnecessary assaults on the media.
The legal environment for the media should also be designed in a way that will not allow political pressures that influence reporting, and economic factors that affect access to information to thrive.
Hon. Sakwiba Sikota SC
United Liberal Party (ULP)
May 3, 2010
Saturday, 1 May 2010
TRADE SURPLUS AND LABOUR
Reports that Zambia in March this year recorded a trade surplus amounting to K 752.9 billion resulting from increased exports in metal products is a good development for the economy. Government should take advantage of this and ensure that the increased trade surplus is sustained and diversified so that the larger percentage can also include processing consumer and capital goods.
There is need for government to take measures that will increase the share of processed capital and consumer goods on trade surplus from 6.6 percent of total exports to around 30 percent. What we are proposing is a workable initiative that can benefit the economy and increase employment levels.
For example according to information obtained from the Central Statistics Office the bulk of the trade surplus (75.1 percent) is from copper cathodes and some refined copper. Again copper and other metal ores such as cobalt account for 19.3 percent of the total trade surplus attributed to raw materials.
Similarly if government can support the non-mining industries to increase the volume of their exports by processing consumer and capital goods it could translate into thousands of jobs being created to meet increased demand. Relying on copper for the bulk of our exports is a risky business transaction that urgently requires to be resolved by supporting non-mining industries to produce high quality products for export.
As we celebrate Labour Day, the trade surplus should also be viewed from a broader perspective. It should be viewed not only in monetary terms, but because it also represents one of the ways that we can use to transfer semi-skilled labour to the modern production systems of processing raw materials to finished goods locally. Currently general trade in raw materials and refined metals account for over ninety percent of the trade surplus, this needs to be changed.
Government support to non-mining industries will help the export economy to move from relying on general trade in copper, to providing rapid growth of the processing trade of non metal commodities that can help to sustain the trade surplus for many years and increase demand for skilled labour. The trade surplus should be used to help create job opportunities for the thousands of un-employed University and College graduates around the country.
Government should also encourage the setting up of labour intensive industries to provide employment opportunities for the backlog of unemployed people and also to help broaden the tax base. Farming, Agro Processing, small scale manufacturing and tooling should be among the priority areas that can help create employment.
Hon. Sakwiba Sikota SC
United Liberal Party (ULP)
May 1, 2010