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Lungu addresses the nation

President Lungu delivered his second ‘state of the nation’ address to parliament on 17 March. The speech was devoid of READ MORE...
  • agriculture

No more FRA maize to millers

Government has stopped supplying millers with subsidised maize from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda has told READ MORE...
  • agriculture

FRA to export maize

President Lungu has announced that the mandate of the Food Reserves Agency (FRA) is about to change from buying maize READ MORE...
  • agriculture

Import of vegetables and fruit banned

Government has banned the import of some vegetables (tomatoes, onions, carrots and potatoes) and fruits (mangoes, pineapples, watermelons and lemons). READ MORE...
  • agriculture

No import of maize after all

Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda has stated that Zambia has enough maize in stock, despite President Lungu warning last month READ MORE...
  • agriculture

Tomato pest hits Zambia

A tomato leaf-miner – Tuta absoluta – is allegedly devastating tomato production in Lusaka, Southern, Copperbelt and Northern Provinces. Zambia READ MORE...
  • agriculture

Price control on mealie meal?

President Lungu told people at a political rally in Chipata that government would sign a Statutory Instrument (SI) on 18 READ MORE...
  • agriculture

Mealie meal price to drop?

The tripartite agreement meant to lower the price of mealie meal is looking more likely to reach its goal after READ MORE...
  • agriculture

GBM’s trucks impounded

Government’s maize anti-smuggling security team has in Mkushi impounded “trucks carrying thousands of bags of mealie meal” belonging to Arizona READ MORE...

This Week’s Exchange

Nic Cheeseman, professor of democracy and international development, Birmingham University, UK, stated:

“Until now, Zambia’s progress under multi-party politics has been quietly impressive. Over the last year, though, things have changed. (…) According to the Conference of Catholic Bishops – one of the most influential bodies in the country – Zambia doesn’t deserve to be called a democracy (…) it has become a dictatorship – or getting there. Many Catholic leaders were seen to be sympathetic to the PF, when it won power under Michael Sata in 2011, so what has changed? This is not the first time that a Zambian president has sought to consolidate his authority by manipulating state institutions. Nor is it the first time that opposition leaders have been arrested, or civil society groups intimidated. In the recent past, these moments of high political tension have often been resolved peacefully, (…) but it’s unlikely that Lungu will cede his quest to remain in office. First, key civil society groups such as the trade unions have been weakened by privatisation, informalisation and unemployment. Second, the Constitutional Court, that’s responsible for interpreting the constitution, was handpicked by Lungu. Third, Lungu’s case is more complicated than Chiluba’s. In 2001, the second president had served two full terms in office and wanted one more. Today, Lungu is arguing that he should be allowed to have a third term because his first period in office did not count, as he was just serving out the final year of Sata’s term. All of this means that Lungu is likely to get his way. (…) Opposition protests are inevitable, as is some civil society criticism. If past form is anything to go by, Lungu’s government will respond with threats and intimidation.”

Ruling PF party deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri reacted:

Cheeseman is nothing but an attention-seeking professor, who thinks he can lecture us about democracy. The people of Zambia spoke through the vote, and their wishes must be respected by all, including Cheeseman. Cheeseman creates the impression that there was a letter authored by all Catholic bishops, which labelled Zambia as a dictatorship. For the record, that was an opinion expressed by the archbishop. (…) It is irresponsible for Cheeseman to compare ours with late President Frederick Chiluba’s third-term bid. The view that the current constitution allows President Lungu to seek re-election (…) is before the courts of law. (…) the PF will respect the outcome of the court system. President Lungu’s good governance record remains solid. It was President Lungu’s administration that took the referendum on the proposed Bill of Rights to the people. (…) it was UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema who campaigned against it. It is President Lungu’s administration, which allowed for the 50%+1 clause in the constitution, the running mate clause, and reduction of presidential powers. President Lungu believes in an independent judiciary. (…) Today, Zambia has a Constitutional Court, something that was unheard of in the history of our nation. While the opposition petitioned the Constitutional Court, President Lungu remained calm until the matter expired. We wish to correct the view that human rights of politicians in trouble with the law are being violated. Citizens, who are also politicians, and on trial, have appeared in court within a week of being charged, and (…) for continued trial. The due process of the law is clearly being followed to the letter. Professor Cheeseman‘s daydream, that Zambia is falling from grace because of HH’s arrest, is a lie. Zambia remains a shining example of democracy not only on the African continent but world over.”