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Lawyer opposes ECZ interpretation on independent candidates affiliated to political parties

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LAWYER Dickson Jere says he opposed the interpretation by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) that independent candidates should not be affiliated to any political party of their choice.

ECZ has reminded all independent candidates for the forthcoming general election that they should not be affiliated to any political party.

But Mr Jere says being independent does not stop one from supporting any presidential candidate of choice or political party.

“The law merely require one not to be member of political party. You do not need to belong to political party in order to support a political party! So, independent parliamentary candidate can choose to support UPND councillor but also PF Presidential candidate at same time! Independent candidate is a freelancer,” he said

ECZ corporate affairs manager Patricia Luhanga said this is in line with the legal requirements, should stipulates that all independent candidates should relinquished political party membership “at least two months immediately before the date of the election.”

“To this end, independent candidates should desist from using campaign materials for political parties or in any way identify themselves with any political party,” she said

Ms Luhanga said the commission will not hesitate to take appropriate action including disqualification of erring candidates.

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We will handle debt swap successfully, says Mubanga Mwiko

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PUBLIC Service Micro Finance Company (PSMFC) Chief Executive Officer Mubanga Mwiko has assured the nation that his institution will successfully handle the debt swap exercise for civil servants owing various financial services.

Mr. Mwiko said his firm had experience in the exercise as it would be the third time to execute loan book transfers.

He said this when Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Emmanuel Mwamba paid a courtesy call on him in Lusaka.

Mr. Mwiko said the company was currently giving out 5 year term loans at five percent interest rate.

He said introduced building materials loans operationalized this year which has been welcomed greatly by the Public Service Workers as it assisted in enabling them complete their various structures such as houses.

And Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Emmanuel Mwamba said he was happy to note that the institution had grown exponentially in the eight years of it’s existence from the time the PF Government created it in 2013.

Mr. Mwamba was further delighted to note that public servants below the Vice President to the lowest ranking were being serviced with duty free motor vehicles payable in five years.

He congratulated the bank for introducing short term cash solutions for public servants that would pay back within six months for challenges such as school fees, funerals and other emergencies.

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U.S. Embassy Announces Arrival of Additional COVID Vaccines

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THE United States Embassy in Lusaka has announced the arrival of an additional 151,200 doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine donated by the United States Government as part of its global efforts to fight the coronavirus.

The United States has now donated over 300,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson to Zambia over the last week as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to share the U.S. vaccine supply with the world.

The vaccines were made available through the African Union COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility and are part of the U.S. pledge to provide at least 25 million of 80 million doses globally with Africa.

The U.S. government coordinated closely with the African Union and Africa Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on the country allocations.

And speaking about the impact of this donation, USAID Mission Director Sheryl Stumbras encouraged all Zambians to get vaccinated, focusing on the rigorous testing the vaccine underwent and its strong safety record “Getting vaccinated saves lives.

“That is why the United States has pledged $4 billion to COVAX to accelerate equitable global access to vaccines. The United States is working to ensure countries are prepared to safely and effectively distribute these vaccines,”Stumbras said

Stumbras said vaccines are an essential tool in reducing the impact of COVID-19.

“The Government of the Republic of Zambia has released new guidelines this month that recommend vaccination for expectant and breastfeeding mothers, and the elderly.

These are the same recommendations we give in the United States.  Globally, pregnant women are more likely to get severely ill if they get COVID-19,,” Stumbras said

Stumbras further said the United States remains committed to supporting the Ministry of Health in sharing essential information on COVID-19 prevention and vaccine eligibility.

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Kwacha appreciation is real says renowned banker, Charity Lumpa

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Renowned banker and business executive, Charity Lumpa says the strengthening of the Kwacha is due to foreign exchange (FOREX) inflows into the economy and has dismissed assertions that the appreciation of the local currency is artificial.

Speaking during the fourth Patriotic Front (PF) Virtual Rally at Mulungushi International Conference Centre yesterday, Ms Lumpa, who is also former Ecobank chief executive officer, said there is now adequate supply of FOREX in the economy as a result of mining companies paying Mineral Royalty Tax in dollars.

“In the past, there was no adequate supply of dollars. Last year this time, there was US$60 million in supply, this year there is over 600 million in supply so how can the kwacha not strengthen?” Ms Lumpa asked.

She also explained that last week, the Bank of Zambia (BOZ) Bond Auction was oversubscribed by 500 percent, which meant that money was pumped into the economy.

“The Government bonds that foreigners want to buy will be bought at 30 percent interest, things are beginning to happen in this country,” Ms Lumpa said.

On bank interest rates, Ms Lumpa said it was unfortunate that some opposition leaders were promising to reduce interest rates without considering the job losses that may occur as a result of such action.

“When someone just comes up and say they will reduce bank interest rates, two things will happen, the banks will close down because they will not be able to pay their workers and unemployed will increase.

“A lot is involved in interest rates. Banks have overheads, operational costs and lending risks because some people default on loan repayments. These factors cause bank interest rate to be high,” Ms Lumpa said.

She added that the issue of interest rates is important but should be handled with due care because jobs are dependent on it.

“If you may recall 10 years ago, interest rates were between 30 to 35 percent but now they currently stand at between 25 to 26 percent. This shows that the country has made progress,” Ms Lumpa said.

She expressed confidence that the interest rates will drop further to enable Zambians to have access to affordable loans.

On the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package, Ms Lumpa said Zambia is almost completing negotiations with the IMF on the US$50 million bailout package.

She said this coupled with positive sentiments expressed over Zambia’s qualification for the US$650 Special Drawing Rights (SDR), the demand and supply paradigm would shift On the impact of COVID-19 on business, Ms Lumpa urged the business community to take COVID-19 “as being our glass half full” from a commerce point of view.

“Government wants to industrialise Zambia so we should enhance manufacturing, we should increase value addition to stop exporting jobs and instead start creating jobs here in Zambia. The opportunity is here, it is now, it is with us and the Government policies of the PF are there supporting industrialisation,” Ms Lumpa said.

She urged Zambians to vote for President Lungu because he is living up to his conviction of developing the nation without leaving anyone behind.

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Foxdale Forest – Phase 2 Selling

ZAMBIA: COVID-19 STATS

30 Jul 2021, 7:35 AM (GMT)

Zambia Stats

195,096 Total Cases
3,376 Deaths
186,211 Recovered

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