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Zambia to launch voluntary gun surrender exercise next week

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government said on Monday that it will next week launch a program to encourage citizens to voluntarily surrender their guns.

The exercise was meant to support the African Union (AU) Amnesty month, an initiative launched last year for the surrender and collection of weapons as part of efforts towards silencing guns in Africa by the year 2020.

Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo said the government was committed to supporting the initiative for the surrender of illegal weapons as the illicit flow of arms was contributing towards exacerbating insecurity and violence in various parts of Africa.

“We are promoting and organizing initiatives for the voluntary surrender of illicit weapons in civilian possession on conditions of anonymity and immunity from prosecution. We are equally developing appropriate evaluation frameworks for assessing the effectiveness of these initiatives at varying stages of implementation of Africa Amnesty Month,” he said.

He called on the media to play a positive role in publicizing and raising awareness on the observance of the Africa Amnesty Month.



Zambia refutes report of Chinese firms taking over public assets due to debt

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The Zambian Government on Saturday refuted a media report that it was in talks with Chinese companies for the latter to take over public institutions due to debt.

Chief government spokesperson Dora Siliya tweeted a denial of the report that said the government was seeking to sell some public assets, pointing out that some of the China-funded projects had not even been completed.

“Govt’s position is that all stories relating to sale or takeover of public assets such (as) ZNBC (state broadcaster), Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, and ZESCO (power utility) by China are false,” she said on Twitter.

“ZNBC digital migration and KK AIRPORT projects not even complete yet. How then can one refer to loan default in view of grace periods?” she asked.

Last week, the African Confidential fortnightly reported that talks were underway for a Chinese firm to take over Zambia’s power utility due to debt.


Zambian gov’t orders mining firm to liquidate debts to contractors, suppliers

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government on Thursday directed Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), a unit of London-listed Vedanta Resources, to mobilize resources and ensure it liquidates debts owed to suppliers and contractors without further delay.

Richard Musukwa, Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, warned that the government would take punitive action against the mining firm if it fails to comply with the directive.

The government had given the mining firm a one-week directive to liquidate the debts owed to contractors and suppliers who have been complaining for a long time.

Last week, some contractors and suppliers complained that the mining firm has failed to respect the directive to pay the debts and asked the government to intervene.

But the Zambian minister said that he expects the mining firm to come up with a plan on how it was going to pay off the debts, according to state broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.

The government, he said, was closely watching what was happening at the mining firm.

The mining firm has come under spotlight in recent weeks for failure to pay contractors and suppliers. Last week, a firm that supplies electricity to the mines effected a partial power cut to the mining firm due to failure to pay outstanding debts.

Some stakeholders have called on the government to take over operations at the mining firm as it was evident that the owners were facing challenges.

The Zambian government holds a 20.6-percent stake in the mine through its holding company, the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH).


Zambian government  welcomes restoration of electricity to mining firm

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government on Wednesday hailed a move by an electricity firm to restore power to one of the country’s mining firms after disputes over unpaid electricity bills.

Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), a private firm that supplies electricity to the mining sector, partially restricted power supply to Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) over a power purchase debt owed by the mining firm.

But the company restored power on Monday after an agreement was reached for the mining firm to settle the overdue amounts.

Minister of Energy Mathews Nkhuwa said the government was pleased that full power supply had been restored to the mining firm.

He however urged the mining firm to honor its obligations to settled outstanding debts in order to avoid disruptions in supply which had the potential to affect production, according to state broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).



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