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Zambian govt rejects ‘light’ sentence of PF chieftain, Kambwili, appeals for two-year term

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The Zambian Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Gilbert Phiri, has rejected what he described as the light prison sentence of five months given to a stalwart of the Patriotic Front (PF), Chishimba Kambwili.

Kambwili, a former Foreign Affairs Minister, was last week convicted by a Kasama Resident Magistrate, Samson Mumba, after he was found guilty of hate speech against the Tonga people of Southern Province, and committed to the Milima Prison in Kasama District.

While delivering the judgement, Mumba said Kambwili was guilty of the offence of expressing hatred and ridicule for persons because of tribe and place of origin.

The former Minister of Information and Publicity was said to have issued anti-Tonga tribal remarks during the 2021 elections when he featured on a live radio programme.

He was later suspended for a month by the Electoral Commission of Zambia ( ECZ) over the said remarks.

But Phiri has rejected the five months jail term and is insisting that the offence should have carried a maximum of two years sentence.

The DPP, which filed an appeal at the Lusaka High Court, raised two grounds in the notice, arguing that Mumba had “erred in law when he sentenced the convict to a term of five months imprisonment with hard labour for the offence of hate speech which carries maximum sentence of two years.”

Phiri also argued that the trial “erred in law when it misapplied the principals of sentencing in relation to the gravity and nature of the offence committed.”

Metro

Zambian opposition party LM demands sack of Agric Minister

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One of Zambia’s opposition parties, Leadership Movement (LM), has called for the immediate dismissal of the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Mtolo Phiri, over alleged incompetence and for misleading President Hakainde Hichilema.

LM Secretary-General, Jairos Ngoma, who addressed a press conference in Lusaka,
said Phiri had been lying to Hichilema over the status of the agriculture sector in the face of climate change.

Ngoma alleged that the minister lied to the president, claiming that farming inputs had been distributed on time countrywide when no such items had been distributed.

Ngoma stated that farmers had been sharing fertilizer distributed to them in various parts of the country and that the commodity was not distributed on time as promised.

“Mr. President, you are a farmer and people in Eastern Province who have been sharing fertilizer voted for you in numbers knowing that you understand them as you a farmer yourself,” Ngoma stated.

He went on to accuse the United Capital Fertiliser claiming that the company was exporting the commodity to Botswana instead of distributing it to farmers in line with an agreement it had with government.

He said as a result, farmers have resorted to sharing the fertilizer in “medas” across the country because what was meant for them was being sold.

“This company is a subsidiary of China; it’s taking fertiliser to Botswana, 15,000 metric tonnes and later it is taking it to Dar es Salaam,” he alleged.

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Fuel subsidy removal, a blessing to Nigeria, govt insists

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Despite the excruciating hardship and hunger resulting from the unplanned removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu as well as other policies, the Nigerian government says the decision is a blessing to the country as it has started yielding dividends.

Government mouthpiece, the Minister of information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who made the assertion while interacting with journalists in Lagos, said that fuel subsidy removal had started delivering dividends as over $30 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), had been attracted into the country so far.

Idris says though the people are feeling the pangs, the ultimate goal is that the country is reaping the benefits of the “bold reforms” carried out by President Tinubu.

“Because of subsidy removal, Nigeria has attracted over $30billion foreign direct investment in various sectors especially in manufacturing, telecommunications, healthcare, oil and gas among others,” the Minister said.

“These investments are already being realized. From the data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, the Nigerian economy had grown by 3.46 per cent in the third quarter of 2023 against 2.4 in the preceding quarter. It was a better performance that was actually anticipated.

“There is something happening in the economy, it is gradual and it takes time before tangible results are seen by all.

“Only those who know how the financial system works will be able to see some of these things already happening. In January this year, the Nigeria stock exchange all share index recorded 100.000 point mark,” he said.

The Minister however, berated the Nigerian media over what he calls unbalanced reports, and challenging journalists to always balance their reportage with the positive things that the government had done in order not to scare potential investors, noting the various interventions by the federal government to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.

“To begin with, the monies that were given to the sub-nationals increased significantly. Governors that were earning less, finding it difficult to pay salaries now have more money at their disposal as a result of fuel subsidy removal.

“We are aware of the N35,000 that Labour has been clamouring for, the emphasis would be that by October 1, the President said he is going to give N25,000 wage award to every worker pending the new wage being negotiated with labour,” he added.

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