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Schools are not re-opening on Thursday, 8th July, 2021, says Government

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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.”

Politics

Police plan arrest of KBN TV owner, Kennedy Mambwe, over a leaked audio recording, says Joan Chirwa

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THE Free Press Initiative (FPI) Zambia says it is in receipt of information that police plan to arrest KBN TV owner Kennedy Mambwe over a leaked audio recording published on the private broadcaster’s Facebook page.

On Thursday, January 20,2022, police summoned KBN TV station manager Petty Chanda for questioning over the publishing of an alleged audio recording of phone conversation between State House Aide for Politics Mr Levy Ngoma and Home Affairs PS Mr Josephs Akafumba where they were scheming ways to bar Democratic Party from contesting the Kabwata by-election.

FPI Zambia founder Joan Chirwa says the police’s attempt is to get KBN TV to reveal the source of the recording, is a move that is totally against journalism ethics which demand protection of sources regardless of a situation one faces.

“We would expect police to be concerned more with ensuring abundant press freedom and freedom of expression than wasting taxpayers money on a recording which the government had earlier said was fake.The energy and time being expended on this now authenticates the conversation which they tried to deny,” she said.

Ms Chirwa urged the police to abandon their plans and allow the media to operate unrestrained as promised by President Hakainde Hichilema.

“The promise to ensure promotion of press freedom made by President Hichilema soon after his election last year should be taken as an instruction to all state institutions to not interfere with the operations of the media. Meddling in the operations of the media through police call outs and arrests is counter productive and an affront on press freedom in a democracy. We call on President Hichilema to remind the police and his officials serving in different positions in government to respect the pronouncements he made considering that he himself fully understands the importance of press freedom,” Ms Chirwa said.

She further called on Information and Media minister Ms Chushi Kasanda to choose the side of press freedom that considers the citizens’ right to know more paramount than that of those in power.

She said  public officials are expected to develop thick skin as their actions and deeds will always come under scrutiny by the media and other stakeholders with vested interest.

(Mwebantu, Friday, January 21st, 2022)

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“No, Minister Kasanda! You’ve got it wrong”, Leave the media alone. Laura Miti says

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SOCIAL commentor Laura Miti says instead of condemning the media, Information and Media Minister Chushi Kasanda should tell the nation on whether or not it is true a Presidential advisor gave a named Permanent Secretary orders to interfere in the operations of an opposition political party.

An alleged leaked telephone conversation between two senior government officials has gone viral on social media in which an official is alleged to be ordering a Permanent Secretary to interfere in the operations of a named political party.

The said audio was also aired by a television station,  KBN,  whose news editor was summoned by police.

However, Ms Kasanda said the airing of the said audio is highly unprofessional as it was not verified.

She said the move by KBN Television station to air a private conversation without verifying it authenticity is contrary to media professional ethics and conduct, which demands that a journalist ought to verify any information before publishing it.

But Ms Miti has differed with the Minister stating what Zambians are interested in is knowing whether it is true that a Presidential Advisor called a Permanent Secretary, on the orders of the President, to instruct a public institution to use state power to interfere in the internal politics of an opposition party.

“No, Minister Kasanda! You’ve got it wrong.

What the public is worried about is not that a media house broadcasted an audio that everyone that knows someone, who knows someone, who owns has a basic cellphone, has heard,” Ms Miti said.

She urged the Minister to leave the media but instead concentrate on giving the nation the Acces to Information Legislation.

“A law that would allow media houses to very quickly verify if the HH Administration has already found the poisoned chalice, hidden in State House for each new administration, and is taking gulps from it,” she said.

(Mwebantu, Thursday, January 20th, 2022)

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Government warns KBN and says media freedom is not absolute as it comes with responsibility

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MINISTER of Information and Media, Chushi Kasanda, has warned journalists to guard against falling prey to publishing any information that they collect without verification.

Commenting on KBN Television station which aired a private telephone conversation between two senior government officials, Mrs Kasanda government is concerned with the unprofessional conduct of some media houses in their reporting.

She said the move by KBN Television station to air a private conversation without verifying it authenticity is contrary to media professional ethics and conduct, which demands that a journalist ought to verify any information before publishing it.

“Government is, therefore, concerned that KBN found itself in conflict with the law on a matter that it could have avoided had it followed basic principles of journalism,” she said.

Mrs Kasanda who is also chief government spokesperson said the media profession has adequate guidelines which if observed, can protect journalists from misinforming, misleading and infringing upon other people’s rights.

“It ought to be stressed that, media freedom is not absolute as it comes with responsibility on the part of the media which include verifying information before publishing it, balance, objectivity and accuracy.This is even more crucial now in the wake of social media where people who are not journalists share information, some of which is not true,” she said.

Mrs Kasanda said government is committed to freedom of the media as it is key in the promotion and preservation of democracy.

“This can be demonstrated by Government’s hands-off approach to the media in which it is promoting media self regulation, editorial independence and access to information.With these and other reforms that Government is undertaking, the media is assured of freedom in its role of informing, educating and entertaining the public,” Mrs Kasanda said.

The chief government spokesperson further called on the media to play its part by being responsible and professional in their work.

“I also wish to take this opportunity to advise the media to always seek clarification from designated offices on various national matters.For all Presidential matters, the designated office is that of the Presidential Spokesperson, for all Government issues, the designated office is that of the Chief Government Spokesperson who is also the Minister of Information and Media, and for all party matters the responsible office is that of the Party Spokesperson,” she said.

(Mwebantu, Thursday, January 20th, 2022)

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Foxdale Forest – Phase 2 Selling

ZAMBIA: COVID-19 STATS

21 Jan 2022, 7:42 AM (GMT)

Zambia Stats

300,587 Total Cases
3,885 Deaths
287,646 Recovered

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