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.”
President Hakainde Hichilema preaches peace at the UN General Assembly
PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has called on world leaders to work towards global peace and international cooperation.
In his first maiden speech at the United Nations, President Hichilema said although leaps and bounds have been made, in the area of peace, security and stability, there remain pockets of conflict in many regions of the world where guns have not been silenced.
“I am drawn to the prophetic inscription on the wall of the United Nations plaza, and I quote …they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more… Isaiah 2 verse 4-5 end of quote,” he said.
President Hichilema said challenges of extremism and international terrorism, cybercrime, asymmetric warfare proliferation of non-conventional weapons and organised crime should be stopped.
“As an international community, we need to continue to work together to address the root causes of these global threats through various national, regional and global mechanisms,” he said.
He said the foundation to sustainable economic growth and development is peace and stability adding that without peace and harmony, development cannot be attained.
The Head of State said Zambia will, therefore, continue to support national, regional and international initiatives aimed at promoting peace and security.
“In this vein, Zambia reaffirms its commitment to play an active role in the SADC mission in Mozambique aimed at restoring peace to the Cabo Delgado province. In addition, Zambia remains committed to the cause of the Lusaka master roadmap to silence the guns in Africa, an initiative being implemented by all African Union (AU) member states to promote peace and security, which has since been endorsed for extension for a 10-year period from 2021 to 2030,” he said.
President Hichilema called for continued support of the United Nations in silencing the guns in Africa and other continental initiatives.
He however expressed concern with the slow pace of negotiations on the United Nations Security Council reform which have continued without making much progress.
“Zambia, in this regard, wishes to reiterate the African common position, the “ezulwini consensus”, that calls for a more representative and democratic United Nations Security Council, in which Africa, like all other world regions, will be fairly represented,” he said.
President Hakainde Hichilema makes his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly
PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has delivered his maiden speech at the United Nations assuring the international community his government’s commitment to restore macro-economic stability and put the country back on economic recovery.
In his first address to the UN General Assembly, President Hichilema said the new administration in Zambia is cognisant that a conducive governance environment is a precursor for the country’s political stability, security, economic growth and sustainable development.
He said his administration will work towards strengthening of oversight and governance institutions and ensure the independence and autonomy of the three arms of government, particularly the legislature and judiciary.
President Hichilema said the fight against corruption will be at the centre of our transformation agenda and this shall be executed with zero-tolerance.
“We shall also promote free media and an active civil society as they are critical in upholding checks and balances, human rights, liberties and freedoms.
President Hichilema said to sustain the growth, Zambia will dedicate efforts to guarantee a stable and predictable environment that will attract and protect local, regional and foreign direct investment as well as enhance local participation in the economy.
He further said to complement the efforts, Zambia has embarked on an ambitious economic and social transformation agenda with a view to creating equitable opportunities and poverty reduction for the Zambian people, especially the youth and women.
“In order to achieve this goal, our administration shall design and implement interventions aimed at inducing enhanced productivity in agriculture, mining, energy, financial services, tourism, technology, health and education as well as support the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises,” President Hichilema said.
Meanwhile, President Hichilema said Zambia is committed to realising tangible growth and sustainable development.
He called for closer cooperation and support for capacity to adopt better, safer, climate change sensitive and modern methods of increased production and productivity.
President Hichilema said his administration established, the ministry of green economy and environment, to address issues of climate among other important issues concerning environmental sustainability.
Have some patience, as Faith, asks for more time from police
FAITH Musonda today availed herself to Police at Lusaka Division Police Headquaters in the company of her lawyers Makebi Zulu and Jonas Zimba.
Police spokesperson Esther Katongo however, said Ms Musonda’s lawyers have requested for more time, hence she will appear on Thursday this week.
“In the spirit of justice, police granted their request,” she said.
Last week in police in Lusaka recovered K65, 330, 000 suspected to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained from a house in Lusaka’s new Kasama area.
Mrs Katongo said the money was recovered in an operation conducted 17th September, 2021 after a tip off from members of the public.
She says during the search, police discovered 30 bags containing Zambian Kwacha notes.
(Picture by Chusa Sichone/TIMES OF ZAMBIA)