3 January 2013

Zambia: Southern Province Seeks to Curb Gender-Based Violence Cases in 2013

AT THE the end of every year, many organisations usually come together to formulate resolutions for the following year.

The New Year resolutions are normally made after assessing the performance and challenges of the previous year.

Southern Province, which currently has 13 districts including the newly-created districts, is one such region which has so far made resolutions for 2013.

The resolutions were made and adopted at Choma's Mahogany Bush Lodge during the Southern Province Development Coordinating Committee (PDCC) meeting held from December 27 to 28, 2012.

District commissioners, town clerks, council secretaries, planners, representatives of parastatals and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as provincial and district heads of Government departments in Southern Province attended the meeting which was chaired by Permanent Secretary Chileshe Mulenga.

One of the main resolutions for 2013 would be to intensify efforts of mitigating cases of gender-based violence (GBV) and other sexual related offences in Southern province. In this regard, delegates resolved that the police should establish a specific secretariat where cases of GBV would be reported in the province.

Further, the Provincial Planning Unit (PPU) and the District Planning Officers (DPOs) offices would be used as focal points for GBV cases.

In 2012 alone, Southern Province recorded more than 500 cases of GBV and only less than 200 were taken to court while the complainants withdrew the remaining cases because the perpetuators were mostly bread-winners.

Dr Mulenga noted that Southern Province was one of the provinces in Zambia which had a high rate of GBV and other sexual abuse offences and hence the main priority in 2013 would be to fight the roots of GBV and other sexual offences.

"Our main priority for 2013 in the province will be to fight the roots of GBV and other sexual offences.

We will work with the police, civil society and other stakeholders to fight GBV. We will make a coalition and we want everyone in the province to support this cause," he said.

Dr Mulenga noted that if girls were given a chance to live peacefully, they could perform well and hence GBV and sexual offences should be discouraged.

During the meeting, delegates also resolved that another dam should be constructed in Choma to mitigate the problem of erratic water supply arising from increased demand for the commodity in the new provincial capital.

Choma, which has lately attracted more people due to its recent status of the provincial capital, has a sole dam called Muzuma as the only source of water for the district and the town has been facing erratic water supply.

This is why delegates resolved that a new dam should be located about two kilometres from the current Muzuma Dam to boost water supply in the district.

It was noted that the demand for water in Choma had gone up while more people were expected to settle in the district because it was the provincial capital.

Delegates also called for the formation of a task force on protection of dams and management of water in Choma and Namwala districts.

They noted that there was destruction of protected forests and streams in Namwala and Choma, respectively.

On the other hand, delegates resolved that tendering of contracts, especially those related to the hosting of the August 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly should be hastened.

They noted that there is a general delay of procurement procedures as well as in the implementation of major projects in the Province.

In response, Dr Mulenga assured delegates that all procurement processes, especially those related to the co-hosting of the August 2013 UNWTO conference would start in ernest in the month January this year.

The meeting also tasked Dr Mulenga to follow up the issue of lack of land for the construction of a new Stadium in Livingstone.

In March 2012, President Michael Sata directed the Ministry of Youth and Sports to construct a modern stadium in Livingstone but land has not yet been identified for this purpose.

According to Southern Province sports coordinator Kennedy Mubanga, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has already allocated K3 billion for the construction of an ultramodern stadium in Livingstone.

The funds, which are reflected in the yellow book, would be used for clearing of the site and security issues among others.

"There are issues surrounding land involving the Departments of Forestry and Land as well as Livingstone City Council and we are asking the Permanent Secretary to intervene because we are very much behind.

Our colleagues in Mongu were given a similar directive last month and they already have identified land for the stadium. Southern Province was given the directive in March 2012 and we are still struggling to secure land," Mr Mubanga said.

In response, Dr Mulenga said his office was already looking at the issue of securing land for the new stadium actively.

He expressed hope that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources would soon de-gazette part of the Dambwa Forestry Reserve to provide land for the stadium.

On the other hand, Dr Mulenga was also tasked to help source for funds for the purchase of heavy equipment such as tipper tracks and graders for Livingstone City Council and other councils in the province.

It was generally noted that most councils in the province did not have appropriate equipment to work on their solid waste management and other development projects.

Of the three new districts created in Southern Province, only Chikankata has a council currently while Pemba and Zimba are still awaiting the creation of councils by Local Government and Housing Minister Emerine Kabanshi.

Dr Mulenga was also tasked to follow up on the funding and construction of Kazungula Border Post police station under the UNWTO programme.

This was after delegates noted that there was poor police infrastructure existing in Kazungula District especially at the Border Post.

Dr Mulenga was also asked to engage the National Steering Committee on the possibility of including Siavonga in the UNWTO programmes.

Despite being one of the entry points to Zambia, Siavonga is not appearing on the UNWTO programmes.

Delegates resolved that Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) should priotitise issues of sensitisation and education to enlighten people on issues on wildlife and the environment.

It was noted that enforcing the law on wildlife and the environment was very expensive in the absence of education and sensitisation campaigns.

The meeting also observed that there was lack of information on district tourism attraction sites in the province. In this regard, District Commissioners were asked to re-submit tourism attraction sites from their respective districts.

The meeting also noted that Sinazongwe district had not collected relief maize since 2011 and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit was tasked to make a follow-up.

It was also resolved that the province should enhance adequate Anti-retroviral Treatment (ART) programmes in prisons in all the districts.

Councils and District Commissioners resolved to harmonise their working relationship as their current working relationship was very poor.

Further, delegates resolved that the Youth Development Fund should be evenly allocated to all districts on population ratio while the Ministry responsible should disseminate the information on the availability of the funds in time.

On December 21 last year, Youth and Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili handed over cheques to 14 successful Youth Development Fund applications in Southern Province ranging from K10 million to K50 million each.

Out of 13 districts in Southern Province, beneficiaries of the Youth Development Fund for 2012 only came from about four districts.

On agriculture, the sub-committee recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture should ensure that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) pay farmers early enough and also ensure to start the distribution of farming inputs as early as September.

In his closing remarks at the PDCC meeting, Dr Mulenga urged civil servants in Southern Province to be disciplined and deliver developmental projects which the Government had lined up for this year.

"It is my hope that we will deliver in 2013 and those who are not willing to be part of the winning team have no place in the province and I will help them to leave.

The challenge of development is a serious challenge. I am asking for discipline and commitment from ever one," he said.

He urged District Commissioners, town clerks, council secretaries, council chairpersons and head of departments to be focused and avoid being undisciplined.

"We won't condone any corruption. We will also focus on promoting social economic development of the province.

In this case, we will look at agriculture, livestock development, tourism, mining and manufacturing sectors among others," he said.

Dr Mulenga said the province would mainstream environment sustainability because the area was one of the deforested provinces in Zambia.

He said the other priority in 2013 and beyond would be to continue the fight against HIV AIDS and continue with prevention efforts.

There is need for stakeholders in Southern Province to implement the various resolutions to promote development in the Province.

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