UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
ZAMBIA NEWS ONLINE/ZAMBIA NEWS ONLINE/ZAMBIA NEWS ONLINE
Edition: #39 14 April 1998
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1.START OF TREASON TRIAL STALLS
Government's pledge to start the treason trial "in a matter of days" has failed to come off, as defence councils of over 70 suspects continue to press for the trial to begin.About a month ago, Home Affairs Minister Dr Peter Machungwa had promised that the trial would start 'in a matter of days' as virtually all investigations had been concluded and the case prepared.
Hope and excitement over the anticipated start of the trial was heightened recently when President Chiluba lifted a State of Emergency that had been imposed immediately the October 28 attempted military take over was crushed by loyal troops.
But now uncertainty over when the trial will actually start has resurfaced. Impatience seems also to be creeping into the judiciary.At the request of defence lawyers, Lusaka Principle Resident Magistrate Gertrude Chawatama recently declined to summon the Director of Public Prosecution to explain why he was delaying in issuing instructions to commit the suspects to the High Court for summary trial.But she also complained that the DPP and his officers were abusing their discretional facilities in delaying the committal.
2.KAUNDA'S HOUSE TURNED INTO PRISON
A house in which opposition party leader Kenneth Kaunda was placed under house arrest, has been turned into a prison.The decision follows the lifting of the State Of Emergency through which the president had powers to place anyone under house arrest.Kaunda, facing charges of misprision (concealment) of treason was placed under house arrest following international pressure against detaining him in a prison.
The turning of the house into a prison has resulted in the replacement of policemen by prison warders with Home Affairs Minister Peter Machungwa stating however that Kaunda's close family members would be allowed easy access to him. Kaunda's wife, Betty, is said to have opted to live with him in the "prison".
3. KAUNDA'S CITIZENSHIP CASE HEATS UP
A case in which the citizenship of former president Kenneth Kaunda is being challenged appears to be drawing to a close but with no clear sign on what the judgement could be.The case, brought by former Legal Affairs Minister, Dr Remmy Mushota and a former Member of Parliament, Patrick Katyoka draw public attention recently when the two submitted that Kaunda be declared stateless.
In a 116-page submission to a High Court, Mushota and Katyoka contend that Kaunda did not apply for Zambian citizenship, as required by law, when he renounced his Malawian citizenship in 1970. Kaunda was born in Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) of Malawian parents and and had been expected to formally apply for Zambian citizenship at independence in 1964.However, he only did this in 1970, on advice from his lawyers.
Mushota and Katyoka demand that the court rules that Kaunda ruled Zambia illegally and that he was stateless but could be granted refugee status. Judge Chalendo Sakala is expected to make a ruling on April 16.
4.WOMEN CABINET MINISTERS STEAL LIME-LIGHT
Newly appointed Finance Minister Edith Nawakwi and new Health Minister Professor Nkandu Luo, have been stealing a fair measure of the political lime-light in recent days since their respective appointments last month.
Nawakwi, the first woman to head the Finance Ministry in Zambia's 33 years of independence, and Professor Luo, the first Zambian woman professor, have both been displaying rare toughness in their conducting of business.
Nawakwi blasted a director of a government pension's board for alleged maltreatment of pensioners while Professor Luo banned the holding of workshops and seminars in her ministry because she contends most of them are useless as resolutions are not implemented.The two have also taken to moving incognito in an effort to get first hand information on how clients in their respective ministries are treated.Their initial findings reveal that some workers under them are impolite and rude.They have reacted by sacking some of these workers.
For Luo however, her entry into the cabinet has not been all rosy. She was recently ordered out of parliament for wearing a short skirt which was considered a contravention of the dress code for Members of Parliament. Members of parliament must wear attire that goes below the knee.Last year, Nawakwi was in similar circumstances ordered to leave parliament for "improperly" dressing in long trousers.
5. MPS VOICE OBJECTION TO APPOINTMENT OF 71 YEAR OLD AS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER
Several Members of Parliament recently voiced their strong opposition to the appointment of a retired politician onto a Human Rights Commission.The MPs, mostly back-benchers from both the ruling party the MMP and opposition parties, argued that it was not right to appoint 71 year old Lewis Changufu onto the commission.
They argued that Zambia had no shortage of young and vibrant people who could fill the position.Some added that there was no point in 'recycling' of old people who had already been pensioned off.One MP said that although Changufu possessed wisdom, his body and health betrayed him.The MP also said that Changufu once held a senior position in the intelligence and security service and that this raised doubts about his ability to handle human rights issues without bias.Changulu's appointment was, however, eventually ratified.
6.MINES SALES FLOP IN PRIVATISATION PROGRAMME
Zambia's final phase in its privatisation programme has hit a major snag following the failure to sell two of Zambia's major mines.Kafue Consortium, which had won approval to buy the Nkana and Nchanga mines, have withdrawn their bid after final negotiations with a privatisation team flopped.
The Kafue Consortium won the bid in 1977 after government went through a protracted process to pick the best buyer of the two mines which account for the highest copper production in the country.
7.HIGHWAY BANDITRY CONTINUES
Highway bandits on a road leading to Zambia's Western Province have continued their attacks on motorists.The bandits who have attacked several vehicles in recent months, claimed yet another victim recently when they shot and killed a truck driver and critically wounded a lorrymate.
The Zambian army is said to have intensified patrols on the notorious stretch of the road that goes through a game park, but the latest murder has renewed fear of travel to the region.The bandits are often clad in military uniform.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network), AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 17:45:01 +0200 Subject: ZAMBIA NEWS ONLINE #39 Message-ID: <email@example.com>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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