THE Government has threatened to de-register churches that do not meet the standards as stipulated by the laws of Zambia.
Chief registrar of societies Kakoma Kanganja said last week that a church was expected to have a registration certificate, records of payment of annual returns and audit books of accounts.
Speaking during the random inspection and tour of some churches in Lusaka, Mr Kanganja said what had prompted the institution to carry out the exercise was the concern by the general public over the mushrooming of unregistered churches in many parts of the country.
Mr Kanganja said the exercise was expected to run for more than one month, during which time the institution would ensure that sanity returned in the communities, with people following the law.
"Looking at most churches that we have toured, it is evident that they are not registered and it is a pity to see people worshiping in such dilapidated structures, putting their lives at risk," he said.
Mr Kanganja toured Faiz Abraar mosque, United Church of Zambia (UCZ), Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) and other churches in Lusaka's Mandevu Township.
And public relations manager Moses Suwali said the exercise was aimed at ensuring that people followed the law.
Mr Suwali said some churches operated under undesirable conditions that put people's lives at risk.
"We know of some churches that are operating under a tent or plastic with no proper ventilation, which is not healthy for the members of the church," he said.
Mr Suwali said he never expected to have problems with the church because as children of God he expected them to follow the law and worship God in truth.
"You expect God to answer you when you are failing to build him a church and worship him in a place that is befitting of his status!" he wondered.
NGO wins Kudos over defilement fight
By JULIUS PHIRI
THE Government has praised the Citizens Forum (CF) and Plan International Zambia for helping to curb defilements which were previously rife in Chadiza District.
Speaking when Citizens Forum executive secretary Simon Kabanda paid a courtesy call on him at his office, Chadiza District Commissioner Paul Phiri said the reduction was as a result of the sensitisation campaigns which the two organisations had started a few years ago through the Child Protection Programme.
Mr Phiri said the Child Protection Programme had also scored successes among them the number of children herding cattle had reduced.
Initiation ceremonies which disadvantaged boys and girls at the expense of the education were at least not as prevalent as they used to be.
"In the past we had a high number of cases ranging from defilements, cattle herding, Gule Wa Mkule for boys and Chinamwali for girls but because of your (Citizens Forum and Plan) coming at least these cases have reduced, which is a positive trend," he said.
Mr Phiri said the Citizens Forum had positively contributed to the welfare of children and the community.
He said it was encouraging the Citizens Forum had contributed to an increase in the enrolment levels in many primary schools because people now understood the importance of education.
And Mr Kabanda, who was accompanied by other officers and journalists, said his organisation was in the area to evaluate the programme which was rolled out in Chadiza District 2011.
He said there was need to collaborate with other stakeholders such as Plan International Zambia to fight against bad vices that were hindering development of the children in communities.
"We are here on a fact-finding or evaluation programme which we started in 2011 with Plan International Zambia," Mr Kabanda said.
"This programme has been so useful to the people such as community leaders, school administrators, heads of Government departments and others working in Chadiza District."
He also commended the Government for embarking on the tarring of Chipata-Chadiza Road which he said was part of the good governance of the Patriotic Front Government.
He said upgrading of the road meant that the people of Chadiza District were receiving a good feedback from the Government.
Mr Kabanda said the road would spur a lot of economic developments in the oldest district in Eastern Province.
"I am particularly happy because the Government has embarked on the tarring of Chipata-Chadiza Road, this will attract a lot of investments from outsiders," Mr Kabanda said.
The team also interacted with the social welfare department, district education board secretary and traditional leaders.
Water blues rock Mongu
By CHUSA SICHONE in Mongu
A CRITICAL water shortage has hit Mongu in Western Province following a power failure in the area.
The water problem was reportedly caused by power failure since November 29 last month.
As at Saturday 10:00 hours, power had not yet been restored.
The problem is believed to have been caused by a fault on the Zesco transformer in the area, resulting in some households and those in the hospitality industry resorting to candles, generators, solar and charcoal.
Some people, mostly women and girls, were seen either walking to or waiting outside the Western Water and Sewerage Company premises to fetch water on Saturday.
A check at the black market revealed an unusually quiet atmosphere.
'Punish Foxdale land scam culprits'
By CHUSA SICHONE
THE Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) and Zambia Alliance of Women (ZAW) have called for the prosecution of people involved in the Foxdale land scam.
ZLA chairperson and ZAW programmes manager Ceasar Katebe said in an interview that the outcry by the more than 300 displaced Foxdale residents was genuine and needed attention.
Mr Katebe said the matter needed to be investigated thoroughly and culprits brought to book.
"On the Foxdale land issue, whoever is found wanting must be punished because the law is very clear," Mr Katebe said.
"For now+, it is our considered view that appropriate action be taken on those found wanting."
Mr Katebe said it had been a growing trend by the elite in society to capitalise on the poor by buying land amass, holding on to it and reselling it at exorbitant prices.
He also said that some foreign investors had been buying huge tracts of land thereby displacing people, especially that Zambia has no compensation and resettlement policy.
Mr Katebe said land ownership in Zambia was two-fold, namely, through statutory and customary, and its administration was difficult without a policy and modern act.
"The issue of land administration is a big challenge in Zambia," he said.
Mr Katebe said the land policy had been in draft form for more than 10 years and the current Land Act of 1995 was archaic, thus it needed to be revisited.
He said it was sad that women were still being discriminated in so far as land ownership is concerned yet they played a key role in national development.
Mr Katebe was, however, happy to note that the Government through the Ministry of Lands "has good intentions in improving land administration systems."
He cited plans to audit land in the country as one of the welcome developments, and was hopeful that such measures would address the anomalies in land administration.