INFORMATION Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga says there is need for further preparations and monitoring of the COVID-19 situation in the country before schools reopen.
This is contrary to the statement by General Education Permanent Secretary Dr. Jobbick Kalumba who stated that schools will reopen on Thursday July 8, 2021.
In a statement, Malupenga said President Edgar Lungu through the secretary to cabinet directed heightened interventions to prevent Covid19 in the country.
“On Wednesday, 16th June 2021, His Excellency the President Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, through the Secretary to the Cabinet Dr. Simon K. Miti, directed a number of heightened interventions to further prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the country.His Excellency the President stated, among other things, that Government was cognizant of the negative impact COVID -19 has added to the education sector. However, he reiterated that as a country we needed to put the lives of our leaners, teachers and other staff in our schools at the core of our decisions,” Malupenga recalled.
“Arising from the above, pre, primary and secondary schools were then closed for 21 days with effect from Thursday 17th June 2021 subject to review, inspection and certification of the schools, depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic would evolve. As for universities, colleges and other higher learning institutions, subject to the above conditions, they were directed to conduct only online classes for one month effective 17th June 2021. It was further directed that two weeks from 17th June 2021, joint inspections were to be conducted by the ministries of health, general and higher education in conjunction with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit to inform further decision making. His Excellency the President also directed school authorities to use the closure period as an opportunity to conduct inspection, preventive, monitoring and maintenance activities.”
He stated that the position has been reviewed and the situation is still been monitored.
“This position has since been reviewed and the preliminary assessment conducted on the readiness of the schools and higher learning institutions to re-open after 21 days of closure indicate that there is need for further preparations and monitoring of the COVID-19 situation in the country. While Government is resolved to keeping our learners in schools as we continue responding to COVID-19, we have to strike the delicate balance between saving lives and allowing learning to continue.”
“The COVID-19 situation in the country has seen a generalized person-to-person transmission of the infection with an average positivity rate of 24%, increased admissions to hospitals and deaths of which leaners and staff remain at risk. To this effect, a detailed assessment of schools, universities, colleges and other higher learning institutions countrywide will be jointly conducted by the ministries of health, general and higher education together with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit from 8th to 15thJuly 2021 to further ascertain their readiness to re-open and resume normal operations. A decision will then be made on the way forward, subject to the evolution of the COVID-19 situation in the country,” he said.
Malupenga said this statement supersedes any earlier statement.
“This will be done on a case-by-case basis in order to encourage those schools and institutions of higher learning who maybe lagging behind in terms of implementing the COVID-19 five golden rules to improve or risk indefinite closure. Therefore, this calls for diligence and aggressiveness from the school authorities in implementing these golden rules because the schools that will fall short of this standard will remain closed while the compliant ones may re-open and normalize operations.”
“Consequently, sanctions from higher authorities will follow those charged with the responsibility to man these institutions that may fail to meet the benchmark for re-opening. The preliminary assessment revealed that some institutions are doing more in observing the five COVID-19 golden rules while the majority have taken a laissez-faire attitude. Responsible officers will be held accountable. It will no longer be business as usual. This fight against COVID-19 calls for extra-ordinary input from all of us if we are to defeat it,” he said.
Malupenga said for now pre, primary and secondary schools remain closed.
“Until then, pre, primary and secondary schools will remain closed while institutions of higher learning will continue to offer only online classes. All these measures will be subject to review depending on how the pandemic evolves.This statement supersedes any other statement on this matter.”
‘Imbwili’ jailed for hate speech
OPPOSITION Patriotic Front (PF) member of the Central Committee and former Roan Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili has been handed a five-month prison sentence for hate speech by Kasama Magistrate’s Court.
In this case, Kambwili, 54, of house number 9, Wisteria Avenue, Luanshya was charged with the offence of expressing hatred and ridicule of the persons based on tribe and place of origin.
Kasama Resident Magistrate Samson Mumba found Kambwili after the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubts.
And in mitigation, Kambwili who spoke through his lawyer told court that he was a first offender, a family man and a person who previously served the nation as a cabinet minister.
He also urged the court to take into consideration his health.
In sentencing Kambwili, Magistrate Mumba said he took into account the mitigation.
He however said he sentenced Kambwili to five months imprisonment to deter would be offenders.
Meanwhile, after judgement was passed, Kambwili’s lawyer Kaizara Tembo told journalists his client will appeal against the verdict.
“Currently we are making efforts to lodge in an application for bail pending appeal,” he said.
Kambwili has since been transported to Milima Correctional Facility in Kasama.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 30th November, 2023)
Journalist Thomas Allan Zyambo arrested on charges of seditious practices, police say
A JOURNALIST has been arrested for alleged offence of seditious practices.
Thomas Allan Zyambo 50 of plot number 25311 of Mosi-O-Tunya road in Woodlands has been arrested and charged with the offence of Seditious Practices Contrary to Section 57 (1) (c) as read with section 60 (1) (e) of the Penal Code Act Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
According to police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga the offence is alleged to have been committed on October 18, 2023 in Lusaka through a Facebook page known as Zambian Whistle blower.
He said jointly and while acting with others unknown, Mr Zyambo allegedly published an article with seditious intentions with a view to raise discontent or dissaffection among the people of Zambia.
“The accused is detained in custody. Police are waiting for the accused to meet the Police bond conditions for him to be released,” he said.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 30th November, 2023)
Legal scholars condemn consent judgments as potential sources of fraud and corruption
TWO academicians, Professor Muna Ndulo of Cornell University and Dr O’Brien Kaaba from the University of Zambia, have raised serious concerns regarding recently entered consent judgments, describing them as potential avenues for fraud and corruption.
Professor Ndulo and Dr Kaaba have questioned the legitimacy of the settlements, pointing to either a lack of sound legal justification or awards with significantly inflated legal costs.
They are dismayed at the apparent inaction of oversight institutions, particularly the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which they believe should play a pivotal role in safeguarding public resources.
In their joint statement, the have scholars cited specific cases, such as that of Kaizar Zulu, where they argue that there was no moral or legal basis for the state to compensate individuals injured in his private capacity.
“For example, in the case of Kaizar Zulu, it is clear he was not acting on behalf of the state and there is no moral or legal justification whatsoever for the state to compensate those he injured in his private capacity,” the two stated.
Professor Ndulo and Dr Kaaba have called an immediate halt to certain consent judgments, suggesting that certain cases may be pursued for personal gain, constituting corruption within the State Chambers.
“We are also concerned that in some cases the lawyers representing concerned individuals and those in State Chambers have previously had personal connections, raising questions about conflict of interest and the credibility of the negotiations and the protection of public interest in these settlements.”
They called on President Hichilema to critically assess his legal team, urging the dismissal of individuals involved in what they perceive as questionable dealings.
(Mwebantu, Thursday, 30th November, 2023)