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Zambia: Opposition FDD calls for creation of agric bank

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Zambian opposition party, the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), has called on the government to re-establish an agricultural bank in the country.

The party’s Information and Publicity Secretary, Caeser Liteta, who made the call in a statement on Wednesday, said it was important that government to set up an agricultural bank to provide financing for farmers to invest in irrigation facilities as a result of the drought being experienced in the country.

Liteta added that government should take stock of affected small scale farmers through the extension officers under the Ministry of Agriculture and ensure that a true reflection of affected small scale farmers was captured and prioritised as beneficiaries of farming inputs during the 2024 – 2025 farming season

“The UPND government must consider re-establishing a farmers’ bank similar to the defunct Lima Bank Limited to provide financing need to invest in irrigation facilities,” Liteta said.

He noted that the effects of climate change had become visible and more pronounced and it was high time President Hakainde Hichilema and his Cabinet considered re-establishing the farmers’ bank to help mitigate effects of climate change in the agricultural sector.

“The current Super El Nino being experienced in the country has devastating effects on the rainfall pattern and going by media reports, we may only have a few days of rainfall in the next five weeks, but sustained rainfall is finished for the 2023 – 2024 farming season, especially for farmers in Lusaka, Central, Eastern and Southern Provinces,” Liteta said.

Liteta stated that the FDD as a party, had taken effects of climate change seriously and, as a policy matter, had developed the soon to be adopted Environmental Strategic Plan that was centred on Agriculture, health and water and sanitation respectively.

“Through the programmes, our party hopes to mitigate effects of climate change in areas of agriculture, associated diseases and challenges in depleting sources of clean water both, rivers and boreholes.”

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‘Reconsider your anti-people policies, they are causing hardship, insecurity in Nigeria’— PDP tells Tinubu

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Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called on President Bola Tinubu to consider what it calls his anti-people policies that are causing hardship and escalating insecurity in the country.

The PDP, which made the call on Thursday during the party’s 98th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held at its National Secretariat in Abuja, also urged the President to urgently convene a special National Security Council (NSC) meeting to “proffer a holistic solution and measures to curb the disturbing insecurity in the country.”

In a Communique issued at the end of meeting and signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, the party said it was worried by the anti-peoples policies of President Tinubu-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.

The former ruling party it was difficult to understand why Tinubu has not reconsidered some of his policies, “which had led to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life with pervading misery and despondency across the country.”

“NEC expresses concern over the ill-implemented policies of the insensitive APC administration, leading to worsening insecurity, harrowing economic hardship, soaring unemployment rate, high cost of food and other necessities of life with pervading misery and despondency across the country,” the communiqué reads.

“NEC expresses serious apprehensions over the spate of acts of terrorism and violence including the escalated cases of mindless killings, mass abduction of innocent Nigerians and marauding of communities in various parts of the country.

“NEC condemns the insensitivity, nonchalance, incompetence and arrogance in failure of the APC administration which continues to conduct itself in a manner that shows that it has no iota of interest or commitment towards the wellbeing of Nigerians,” the PDP added.

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Zambia asks EU to help strengthen its democratic initiatives ahead of 2026 elections

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The Zambian government has called on the European Union (EU) to help in strengthening democratic initiatives in the country as it prepares for general elections in 2026.

Justice Minister, Mulambo Haimbe, who made the request when EU Ambassador to Zambia and COMESA, Karolina Stasiak, handed over the 2021 elections report to him in Lusaka on Wednesday, said the project which came to an end in 2021 contributed greatly to the smooth electoral processes which saw the election of President Hakainde Hichilema into office.

“We are live to the fact that the strengthening democracy in Zambia played a very crucial role in the run up to the 2021 general elections and we want a similar process in the run up to the 2026 general elections,” Haimbe said during the meeting.

Haimbe, who is also the acting Foriegn Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, stated that the Zambian government had projected mid 2025 to close up areas that had been identified in the electoral and legal reforms.

He noted that government had given itself mid 2025 as the timeframe of significant steps in the electoral reforms with some of the steps achieved already, like the passing of the Access to Information law.

“The others we have discussed include some of the low hanging fruits like the amendment to the electoral Act and amendment to the Constitution which we consider at the Executive as non contentious to foster democracy,” Haimbe stated.

The minister also pledged that government would continue to work with various stakeholders like the EU, to further improving the democratic space in the country.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, Stasiak said the report was an independent expert report and not necessarily the views of the EU in Zambia.

“It is an assessment done at expert level comparing to international standards on electoral process and reforms and they have formulated this report also comparing to the recommendations made by the missions in 2021,” she stated.

Stasiak further highlighted that the report noted improvements which had been made in the electoral reforms such as the implementation of the Access to Information law and the removal of the Defamation of the President from the Penal Code.

“Zambia is a very good example, an important example within the region to demonstrate that democracy can go hand in hand with sustainable development,” Stasiak emphasized.

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