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Zambians denounce government corruption in rare demonstration

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Around 100 demonstrators protested Friday in front of the Zambian Parliament in Lusaka against corruption in the government, as the Minister of Finance presented her 2019 draft budget to MPs.

The protest was organised by a consortium of non-governmental organizations and had the rare approval of Zambia’s authorities.

“We are protesting because of the way the public money is being spent in Zambia and endless corruption, scandals that we hear, the unsustainable debt that the country now owes and importantly because all this means that our poor and our vulnerable are having to live much much worse life than they could,” said Laura Miti, the protest organizer.



As demonstrators marched, Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe presented a budget of €6 billion in the wake of international aid cuts.

The United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland and Ireland have suspended their assistance to Zambia after over $4m meant for a social assistance programme for the country’s poor was stolen.

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Since his re-election in 2016, president Edgar Lungu and his government have been regularly accused of corruption and authoritarian drift by their political opponents.

In June 2018, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), Zambia’s anti-corruption watchdog released a report that found some cabinet members and presidential aides had siphoned billions of Zambian kwacha from government coffers through money laundering.

In September of 2017, several activists were arrested and charged with ‘disobeying lawful orders’ after they staged a protest outside Zambia’s parliament to highlight the abuse of public funds, particularly the procurement of 42 fire trucks by the state for an alleged cost of $42m.

In August of 2017, Zambia dropped treason charges against opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema. Hichilema, leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND) and five others had been arrested in April and charged with treason after his convoy failed to make way for President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade.

Human rights campaigners had slammed the charges as political persecution.

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Motherland News

Families Identify Church Collapse Victims in Anguish

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Tears and anguish characterized the atmosphere as the grieving families of 13 worshipers killed in a church collapse arrived at the Richards Bay mortuary to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

The worshipers died when a wall collapsed at the Pentecostal Holiness Church near Empangeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal last Thursday night.

The KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department co-ordinated with various departments including health, home affairs and the police, to assist in speeding up the body identification process.

Six worshippers were from Ulundi, four from eSikhawini and three from Maqwakazi in uMlalazi.

Describing the collapse, Phumelele Simelane from eSikhawini said worshippers had just had their evening meal and were preparing to sleep when the wall caved in.

Simelane was with her 6-year-old son, who is recovering in hospital. She said she came to the mortuary to support congregants whose relatives died.

The Mthembu family, who lost grandmother Thembi Mthabela, 54, and Andiswa Mthembu, 10, in the tragedy were overcome with grief.

“Thembi loved going to church and she always took Andiswa with her. Andiswa was doing Grade 3 at Nyathini Primary School. As a family, we are very traumatised and it is hard for us,” said a relative, who did not wanted to be named.

Buhle Mzila, whose sister Samke, 33, died, said the family had lost a breadwinner.

Samke, who worked at the Ulundi Municipality, was with her 9-year-old daughter during the incident.

Buhle said her niece, who was in hospital, was in a state of shock about her mother’s death.

“Samke loved the church, she always made sure she attended every service. She played a big role in terms of assisting the family. We are still going to feel her absence,” said Buhle.

A sobbing Mbongeni Langa said his mother had died in a “place she loved”.

The memorial service will be held tomorrow

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Motherland News

CAF Sidelines Nigerian Centre Referees for 2019 AFCON

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Out of the Twenty-seven centre referees penciled down for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, countries like Burundi, Mali, Zambia and Sudan are represented on the list, but no Nigerian referee was selected for the big occasions.

However, only one assistant referee from Nigeria named Baba Adel was listed among the twenty-nine assistant referees selected by the African Football Governing Body.

The competition will be held from 21 June to 19 July 2019, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017.

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