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Court refuses to dismiss hate speech charges against UPND Sec-Gen who called Archbishop ‘Lucifer of Zambia’

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The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court on Thursday refused to dismiss an application by the Secretary-General of Zambia’s ruling party, United Party for National Development (UPND), Batuke Imenda, following a charge of hate speech filed against him for allegedly calling the Catholic Archbishop of Lusaka, Alick Banda, “the Lucifer of Zambia”

While rejecting Imenda’s application to dismiss the lawsuit, Magistrate Nsunge Chanda said the case which was filed by opposition leader, Sean Tembo, was properly before the Court in accordance with Section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and as such, could not be struck out.

In the original complaints, Tembo who is the president of the Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), had stated that on May 28, 2023, Imenda, at a press briefing which was also streamed on various online platforms, did call the Archbishop Banda was the “Lucifer of Zambia”.

He contended the said statement by the ruling party’s Secretary-General constituted hate speech against the Archbishop.

“That the conduct of the accused is criminalised under Section 65 of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act no.2 of 2021 of the laws of Zambia,” he had said in the suit.

The UPND Secretary-General could however, not take plea because the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Gilbert Phiri, was yet to give consent to Tembo to prosecute the matter, which forced Magistrate Chanda to adjourn the case to March 4, pending the DPP’s instructions.

In a letter dated January 15, the DPP had refused to grant Tembo permission to privately prosecute the accused.

The letter which was signed by Phiri, said Tembo could not be given the right to conduct a private prosecution because he had not availed any cogent evidence to show that Imenda committed the offence of Hate Speech by means of a Computer System as required by section 65 of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act of the Laws of Zambia.

Tembo had also written back to the DPP on January 22, and enclosed a Flash drive with video evidence to show evidence that Imenda had used a computer system when he committed the alleged offence.

He had also informed the DPP that he had four witnesses ready to testify in court that the accused did utter Hate Speech and used a computer system to do so.

Metro

Hardship: Nigerian govt to resume direct cash transfers to 12m citizens

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Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun, has revealed that the federal government will resume direct transfer of cash to 12 million indigent citizens to cushion the hardship they are currently going through.

The minister, who made the announcement in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in southern Nigeria on Wednesday during a retreat organised by the ministry, said the direct cash transfer would be for the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians.

Edun said, presently, about three million Nigerians were recipients of the programmes but due to the escalating cost of living, the “government anticipates that an additional 12 million households could qualify for these direct payments.”

“The presidential panel on the social investment programmes have prepared to go to Mr. President with an internal recommendation to restart the direct payments to the poorest and the most vulnerable. Everything is being done to ease the pain,” Edun said.

“We know that there’s been about three million beneficiaries now, but given the way the rates have gone, there are probably another 12 million people, households that can benefit from that payment.”

He further noted that the expansion of the direct cash transfer is projected to reach a wider population who are currently struggling with the economic situation and to put more money directly in the hands of those who need it most, allowing them to prioritise their needs and alleviate poverty.

“The decision to inform the President of the Panel’s decision before the final report is completed is to keep the President abreast of developments,” he said.

“The only thing delaying that is not waiting for the end of the report. It is something that the intervention is meant to happen immediately.

“We have experts in technology, the commitment was to make sure that we use technology to ensure that we have a seamless payment, a seamless movement between the registered and the direct beneficiaries, without any manual processes in between. So it’s taking time to automate that process immediately that direct payment will resume.

“The goal is to put food, to put feed into the mill, into the market, in an attempt to drive down the cost of food and make food available. Right now, that is the key priority in terms of the fiscal side, in terms of the government side.

“History has shown, evidence has shown that when you pay someone directly, you put money in their hand. It reduces poverty because they decide where the shoe is pinching most.

“So it is a direct benefit, it has a direct effect on poverty. It alleviates, and there’s a commitment to immediately start that process. So that is, as far as these interventions are concerned and the landscape which we as a team are facing, we have a commitment to help to bring down inflation.

“Growing the economy, creating jobs and lifting millions and millions of Nigerians out of poverty, that’s the ultimate goal of President Bola Tinubu and his economic policies.”

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Zambian govt begs citizens in diaspora to help attract foriegn investment

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The Zambian government has called on its citizens in the diaspora to help in attracting foreign direct investment to the country in the face of the economic challenges the nation is going through.

Chief Government spokesperson, Cornelius Mweetwa, who made the appeal in Addis Ababa during a dinner hosted by Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Rose Sakala, for the Zambian delegation that participated in the 37th African Union (AU) Ordinary Summit for Heads of State and Government, urged the diaspora citizens to portray Zambia’s image positively to the outside world so as to encourage foreign investors to invest in the country.

In a statement issued in Lusaka by the First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambian mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, inutu Mwanza, Mweetwa who is also Zambia’s Minister for Information and Media, said Zambians living abroad are the country’s flag carriers who should ensure that the good image of the country was portrayed at all times.

“It is important for those working abroad to look out for available opportunities and best practices to make Zambia better,” Mweetwa said.

Also speaking, Minister of Education, Douglas Syakailma, who also attended the event, called for hard work among Zambians.

“The AU theme for the year 2024 on Education, provides an opportunity for the government to re-look at aspects of education that require more attention to improve the education system,” he said.

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