Category Archives: News

PRESIDENT DID NOT LAND AT KENNETH KAUNDA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AT 22:05HRS OF FRIDAY 04.07.2014

20140706_093318It is now very worrisome that clear lies have started propping up on the arrival of President Sata from Israel. The Post reported that the President arrived aboard the Challenger jet at 22:05hrs at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport at 22:05hrs. This is a blatant lie   and I am here to be challenged on this one. The President did not land at KKIA at that time or at least between 20:00hrs and 00:00hrs because I was there watching the runaway closely to see my president back.

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I believe in telling the TRUTH not lies. I do not fear to tell it as it is. With such lies it is now imperative that Government comes out clean and prove that the President is in the Country and he is well. Let him come out and assure us that he is here (in the Country) and leading us a Nation.

We have a right to know of his whereabout and his status when so much speculations have ensued.

Further After he should get ride of the Minister of Information for not doing his job properly. He has done nothing to dispel these speculations of his whereabout and health. Mostly these speculations have exacerbated by the failure of Government to answer promptly and convincingly on the questions that citizens have been asking. 

I love the President, like many Zambians that voted for him, so we need to know about him and of him. We have the right to demand for it.

Exercising of Power is When You Are There And Not When You Leave – Paul Kagame

By Henry Mukasa

Posted Friday, July 4 2014 at 01:00

IN SUMMARY

Priority. Mr Kagame says personalising succession other than institutions devalues the debate on the future of democracy in Rwanda and Africa.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has declined to say whether he will retire when his second elective term in office ends in 2017, saying personalising succession other than institutions devalues the debate on the future of democracy in Rwanda and Africa.

“The exercising of power seen as governance process, seen as tokens given by individual, is about what you do when you are there rather than leaving the scene,” Mr Kagame said. “It’s like when I go, I am likely to be rewarded for that, than for what I have done when I am there. Rights and processes should not be zeroed to an individual,” he added.

The Rwandan leader was addressing a pan African Youth conference in Kigali as part of the activities to commemorate the 20th anniversary for the Rwanda liberation.

Mr Kagame was responding, during an interactive session, to a question put to him by a youth from Uganda, Mr Victor Ochieng, whether he would be the African leader to emulate global icon Nelson Mandela and hand over power without difficulty. Mr Ochieng also wondered why elderly African leaders were afraid of the youth taking over from them.

The president asked the youth from 44 countries that the pre-occupation of Africans should be on creation of situations, systems and institutions where things happen and not a decision of one individual.

Mr Kagame dismissed the notion that there was a divide between the youth and the old in the body-politic of Africa. “It shouldn’t sound ‘it’s the young versus the old.’ If we don’t unite and there is a seamless relationship, then there is a problem”.

Earlier, Mr Kagame said democracy did not have a scientific formula applicable to all nations. He said each country must come up with a mechanism that works best for its citizens “even with trial and error.”

“This is what builds democracy and sustains peace. But if we lack in confidence, we will always fall back in the mountain, again and again,” he said as the youth applauded.

Mr Kagame said it was time for African countries to shake off the yoke of low expectations attached to Africans and their governments by the so called developed nations.

Citing Kigali, he said some Western and African visitors are usually surprised by the lawfulness, cleanliness and orderliness of the capital, Kigali, run down by genocide only 20 years ago.

He said the low expectations of the Africans had been exhibited even at the World Cup where all the four nations from the continent were eliminated.

“I watch the World Cup in my free time. But I feel like punching the screen. You have these African players… as individuals they are the best but as a team….,” he said, without completing a statement. “I wish I was their coach.”

hmukasa@ug.nationmedia.com

Zambian Newspaper Headlines 04.07.2014

 

Zambian Newspaper Headlines 03.07.2014

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Zambia’s Newspaper Headlines 02.07.2014

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Zambia’s Newspaper Headlines 01.07.2014

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Zambian’s Newspaper Headlines 30.06.2014

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EUROBONDS HAVE BEEN SELLING LIKE HOT CAKES IN AFRICA

Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta  proudly addressed media to announce the successful insurance of $2 billion Eurobonds. Kenyatta commended the team that worked of the  flotation of the Eurobonds which is now in the Kenya’s central back.

Attracted by the prevailing low interest rates, cash-strapped African countries, including Zambia, looking to borrow money on international private markets are increasingly turning to Eurobonds as the instrument of choice.

In 2006, Seychelles became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa, other than South Africa, to issue bonds.

A year later Ghana followed, raising $750 million in Eurobonds. Since then they have been joined by Gabon, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Namibia and Zambia.

In September 2012, Zambia made a splash on the international private market, launching a 10-year bond at $750 million.

The issue was oversubscribed by $11 million and became a model for other African nations. Rwanda followed suit in 2013 with a $400 million Eurobond issued on the Irish Stock Exchange.

Zambia went back in April 2014 to issue a $1 billion Eurobond to finance its budget deficit. It intends to spend over $600 million on developing power, road and rail infrastructure.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest economy, Nigeria, first entered the markets in 2011 with a 10-year Eurobond. “We look to come [to the market] regularly, every two years,” Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the Financial Times.

In 2012, African countries raised about $8.1 billion from issuing bonds, says Moody’s, a global credit rating agency. In total, more than 20% of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have sold Eurobonds, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

For certain governments in sub-Saharan Africa, Eurobonds are a means of diversifying sources of investment finance and moving away from traditional foreign aid.

Not only do these bonds allow such governments to raise money for development projects when domestic resources are wanting, they also help reduce budgetary deficits in an environment in which donors are not willing to increase their overseas development assistance.

Corporate entities in sub-Saharan Africa, like Guaranty Trust Bank in Nigeria and Vodafone Ghana, have also successfully issued Eurobonds.

Global investors have been eager to purchase these bonds for higher yields amid low returns in mature markets. It is a sign of the investors’ endorsement of the region’s buoyant economic prospects, observes Mthuli Ncube, chief economist and vice-president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The developed world has been rocked by a series of economic and financial crises while Africa has displayed steady growth over recent years, averaging about 5% per annum. Analysts believe the incentive for investors is solely the prospect of higher gains.

Eurobonds have also given African countries an opportunity to integrate into global financial markets. Up until recently, according to the AfDB, access was limited for African countries apart from Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia, which entered the markets in the 1990s.

In addition, bond issuances come with fewer strings attached than money from multilateral institutions. Governments also have more control over where they channel the money.

Other reasons behind the recent surge in borrowing by African countries, according to the IMF, are changes in the institutional environment, such as more flexibility for low-income countries with access to non-concessional borrowing, reduced debt burdens, large borrowing needs and historically low borrowing costs. But there are serious challenges to Africa’s future in international markets, analysts warn.

Buyers of African bonds raise concerns about the countries’ vulnerability to commodity prices, political instability, fiscal irresponsibility, lack of reliable statistics and transparency, and poor histories of debt management. Therefore, sovereign bonds issued by resource-rich African countries are deemed risky assets by some investors.

Recent speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve bond-buying programme would end in 2014, along with rising U.S. treasury yields, sparked a sell-off in emerging markets, Angus Downie, the head of economic research at Ecobank, a pan-African bank, told Business Daily of Kenya.

“Investors will want higher yields,” he says. Since the beginning of 2014, the Federal Reserve has started cutting back on its bond-buying programme, leading to speculation that this might spark an increase in interest rates. Higher interest rates raise the cost of servicing the national debt.

In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal showed Nigeria’s Eurobond trading at a yield of 6.375%, up from 4% in late April, because of waning investor interest, adding that Rwanda is now trading north of 8%.

Zambia’s bolds were sold at a yield of 5.625 percent and carried a coupon of 5.375 percent.  The total order book was $11.9 billion.

This is not only the largest order book for sub-Saharan Africa, but also at 5.375 percent the lowest coupon, meaning the most favourable price.

The yield fell to 5.2 percent, bringing it close to Ghana’s 2017 Eurobond, currently yielding 4.8 percent, and analysts said it could decline further.

Zambia and Ghana are rated B+ by Fitch. However, Zambia has a B+ rating from Standard and Poor’s, compared to B for the west African gold, cocoa and oil producer.

On the flip side, these bonds have not been the saving grace that African countries thought they would be. In an article entitled “First Borrow,” Amadou Sy, deputy division chief of the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department, points to some recent sovereign defaults in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Seychelles defaulted on a $230 million Eurobond in 2008, after a sharp plunge in tourism revenues and years of excessive government spending.

Côte d’Ivoire missed a $29 million interest payment after its 2011 election disputes forced it to default on a bond issued in 2010. Ghana and Gabon are struggling to find money for a $750 million and $1 billion bond, respectively, on 10-year Eurobonds that will reach maturity in 2017.

But this has not deterred African countries from issuing bonds, although they are borrowing at high interest rates.

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics and Columbia University professor, questions in a blog for the Guardian this new trend for “private sector borrowing” by developing countries. The sovereign Eurobonds carry significantly higher borrowing costs than concessional debt, Stiglitz notes.

He worries about “excessive borrowing” over the long term, which benefits only the banks because they “take their fees up front.” African countries, Stiglitz believes, should have in place a “comprehensive debt-management structure”; they should also invest wisely and refrain from borrowing further in order to repay their debts.

Whether the “rash of borrowing by sub-Saharan African governments is sustainable over the medium-to-long term is open to question,” echoes IMF’s Sy.

If the low-interest-rate environment changes, it could reduce investors’ appetite for the bonds and “economic growth may not continue, making it harder for countries to service their loans,” he adds.

INSIDE THE PRESIDENCY- Trials and Tribulations of a Zambian Spin-Doctor (Reviewed by Emmanuel Mwamba)

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NSIDE THE PRESIDENCY- Trials and Tribulations of a Zambian Spin-Doctor

Author- Dickson Jere,

Publishers: Nsemia

Pages: 237

Price: K200

A Book Review by Emmanuel Mwamba

How could a President that had only reigned for three years lose elections?

How could a President and his ruling party that had conducted one of the most expensive party campaigns the country had ever witnessed?

How could a party, with over 100 party vehicles countrywide, 5000 bicycles, T-shirts, Caps and other items such as sweets, light bulbs emblazoned in party colours, suffer such a poor showing?

How could a President that had dedicated over 5 weeks to a nationwide campaign, conducted over 60 rallies and public meetings, graced by the country’s top musicians and comedians, and reached nearly every corner of the country get that easily beaten at the polls?

How could a President that enjoying a favourable buoyance in the economy, suitable agriculture policies and basking in good diplomatic and international glory, lose an election that was easily for the taking?

How could a President that had bothered to hire a British communications strategy firm, Bell Portinger, reputed to offer political strategists and has experience in helping certain African countries win elections, still fall flat and fail to secure a win?

I had hoped to get answers and insights into one of Zambia’s shortest presidency when I got myself a copy of Dickson Jere’s new book, INSIDE THE PRESIDENCY, Trials and Tribulations of a Zambia Spin-Doctor.

Unfortunately I didn’t.

In this book, Dickson Jere has written about his experience as Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations to the President and has attempted to give an insight into the presidency using Rupiah Banda’s three year term at State House (2008 to 2011).

There is an attempt to make the Book suitable for an international audience by the manner it was structured.

As this is recent history, Dickson attempts to deflate anticipated criticism regarding the accuracy and authenticity of the details he discloses in the book, that might arise from his colleagues or other players, by insisting that this is “his version of events” and those that might have different opinions about the matters “can write their own versions too”.

However a matter of serious concern to a reader would be to see how the author has circumvented the requirements of his role as a civil servant especially that he had sworn to the oath of secrecy and to the oath of allegiance.

These two cardinal oaths bind a civil servant him to remain silent, maintain secrecy and never to disclose details and workings of his office.

My fear has also been confirmed by President Rupiah Banda. In the book, his boss, who called him a few days in his job told him that;

“I have just realized I have not welcomed you properly, whatever we are going to do together here, it is for the State. No one should know (about it), not even my children”. (Pg. 27)

It remains to be seen if Dickson circumvented these issues enough to still allow the book to be detailed and interesting.

The book is autobiographical in nature and his account of events at State House take some form of a memoir.

The monotony of text in the 237paged book is broken by a glossary of nice pictures of the author with his colleagues and sometimes with his boss.

The book is written in a fast-paced manner to mimic a thriller or a suspense. With this spirit it does manage to captivate the reader.

However, the staccato and brevity manner the book has been written almost assuming the structure of a news story, has not been helpful as an opportunity to give intimate details is lost. The author appears keen to make his points quickly and sometimes shrewdly.

This is because the subject(s) Dickson is dealing with is serious and, as an insider coming out with such a book, he should have granted the reader the very rare insights that the book is touting to give.

And a drawback that you immediately encounter is the poor grammar, hanging sentences and numerous basic mistakes that litter the book.

The mistakes are also extended to figures that are cited wrongly.
For example, on page 11, he states that Banda won the 2008 Elections beating Michael Sata of the PF with 58,000 votes. But the official ECZ results states that Banda won with 35,209.

(Rupiah Bwezani Banda 718,359 (40.09%) and Michael Chilufya Sata 683,150 (38.13%).

The author also repeats a similar mistake with figures on page 197 when he records that the official results1, 150450 (43%) for Michael Sata and 961,796 (36%) for Rupiah Banda.

But the official results were 1,170, 966 (42.2%) for Michael Sata and 987,866 (35.6%) for Rupiah Banda and President Sata won with over 183,000 votes instead of the author’s record of 159000.

And his reference to the First Lady as Thandiwe Chilongo (pg. 11) is clearly unacceptable as she is Thandiwe Banda and the author’s absolute use of her maiden name without justification catches a reader by surprise.

The author also seems fascinated by aircrafts and his attempt to give detailed technical description of the type of crafts he was aboard on, is usually wrong and un-researched.

Yet the book is said to have been edited by Charles Phebih-Agyekum of Ontario Canada (Nsemia Inc. Publishers), and local hands from veteran journalist, Arthur Simuchoba are said to have had many hours with draft chapters. Others were Obert Simwanza and Soche Zulu.

But Dickson should be credited with taking time to write this book, because he joins a rare group of Zambians that at-least, bother to document history and write books.

We are not a writing people!

And Dickson does provide some promised insights. For example, he narrates how President Rupiah Banda attempted to live as much an ordinary life as possible, despite the security strictures that come with a presidential office.

He for example regularly enjoyed frequent meals at Chinese restaurants or would go for private lunch to a friend’s house or even ordered take-aways!

Or how he allowed them (his fellow aides) to enjoy their drinks “as long as they had done their work”.

Or how he would break protocol and greet ordinary people, workers at hotels or had an impromptu meal with a group of tourists.

Or how he would refuse to read a speech that he had not seen in advance.

But of great interest is how Dickson details his personal contributions to certain reforms (in his office) and strides that his boss made to the country.

He recounts how he revamped a dated presidential press office and ensured that he had able assistants recruited in senior journalists, Charles kachikoti and Kennedy Limwanya.

He also credits himself with opening up the presidency and presidential trips to the private press beyond the traditional public media.

The author also recounts how he reduced bulky and over 200 page presidential address speeches that come from Cabinet Office for official functions such as the opening of Parliament, to text that was less technical, less bureaucratic and routine and speeches that communicated a simple message.

The Book also reveals other momentous events in the life of Banda’s presidency such as political scandals, ministers resignations, workers strike and a Banda presidency that was attempting to settle and craft a legacy for itself.

The Book also paints a picture of a President that heeded to his aides advice and warnings, enjoyed a warm and close relationship. In return Banda seemed to have given his aides adequate protection and a sense of security to enable them do their jobs.

And of particular interest is how Dickson fought pitched battles with the President, his aides, with the “system’’ and a regular chiding and sometimes wrath from party officials.

On June 10, 2009, President Banda was among leaders that attended and addressed the World Economic Forum in Capetown South Africa.

During this period there was a nationwide strike by health workers. 
Then President Banda fell ill. His knee problem worsened and required urgent surgery.

Dickson, fearing a leakage to the press about the President’s hospitalization persuaded his boss that a brief statement be issued about his admission in hospital.

Banda was against it retorting, “Who doesn’t get sick?” His colleagues also reminded him of the President’s right to privacy and confidentiality on matters of health and also feared of the political implications especially that there was a nationwide strike by health workers demanding better pay and conditions of service.

Eventually Dickson won the battle and a brief but terse statement was issued disclosing the president’s hospitalization and treatment.

Another incident where he strongly persuaded his President was when former Prime Minister of Thailand and exiled business tycoon, Thaksin Shinawatra visited Zambia and was cleared to see the President.

Dickson objected to the former Prime Minister meeting Banda fearing a press backlash as Shinawatra was facing criminal charges back home.
Banda listened to Dickson’s concern and later heeded to the warnings. He did not meet the former Prime Minister.

But its not all battles he won. Banda’s regular foreign trips that made him absent from Zambia for extended periods was a source of concern and constant debate among the aides.

A fixed image of Banda was formed and he appeared to visit Zambia than live there, let alone be its president.

Dickson continually expressed concern about President Banda’s spot interviews at the airport that were poorly conducted and didn’t provide details or focus for his boss.

In many instances, the interviews left disaster in their wake long after Banda had left the country.

His attempt to curtail those spot interviews failed despite numerous agreements with his boss.

Due to mounting criticism and long absence from the country, Dickson arranged an independent sit-down interview between his boss and veteran broadcaster, Frank Mutubila.

All preparations were made and a makeshift studio decorated with backdrops and flower arrangements were made.

With all set except the presence of his boss, Dickson went the President from home only to be informed that his organized interview was cancelled on the advice of others!

He also narrates other difficulties he encountered in executing his job that was clearly wider than the portfolio prescribed. He also disclosed other battles he frequently fought with ministers, party officials, his colleagues and “job seekers”.

There are other tit-bits and revelations such as when the newly elect President, Michael Sata called him and invited him to go to his home and was offered a job.

Some of the accusations against Jere were so public that one would hope that he would use the opportunity to shed more light and clarify without necessarily defending himself.

Other than the allegations of the alleged missing Gold, a matter he was implicated and forced to appear before the Police with his lawyer, which he has provided credible and adequate explanations, the other matters are just mentioned.

In the Book, he has taken time to recount some attacks and allegations against him, especially, the period towards the end of the presidency when his capacity to do his job was called to question; and his alleged public misconduct and misdeeds that came to public attention.

Without doubt, this matter was so important that the author has actually dedicated a chapter he has called “Hatchet Man” (Pg.89).

In one event, following the continued dwindling of political fortunes, the party held a retreat at Andrews Motel and among other things demanded for Dickson’s dismissal.

The Party regarded him as a stumbling block to their leader and further Dickson was accused of creating a gulf between State House and the Party.

He got a surprising support from The Post; a private Daily had previously called him “an empty head” in one of its editorial and had accorded plenty of space constantly attacking his boss.

He narrates how many viewed him as “hatched man” for Banda, how he was called ‘’resident evil” or simply a “bad boy”.

He discloses that numerous intelligence reports reached Banda alleging that he was immature for the job, spent a lot of time in bars smoking Cuban Cigars and committed acts of “infidelity”.

At one point, his boss reprimanded him after receiving a report that he and Banda’s eldest son, James were drunk and were dishing out money at Portico, a famous upmarket Italian Bar and Restaurant.

“This is getting out of hand” his boss is reported to have said in exasperation. Apparently he regularly advised his aides ‘’to stay away from public drinking places”.

The author terms these intelligence Reports as “Fake”.

In these circumstances where the author has spent his entire time narrating the science of statecraft and its workings, it becomes surprising that he would dare term such reports as “fake intelligence reports”.

The reader expects the author to demonstrate or justify how fake such reports were.

Does the intelligence produce fake reports to the President? If they do, a serious matter then arises questioning the institution’s standing, professionalism and relevance to the Presidency and the nation.

But to his relief, the author also narrates how he received protection and wise counsel from Banda regularly.

He cites various examples. But of interest was the case when he ordered the release and evacuation to hospital of his erstwhile friend, Xavier Chungu (Former intelligence Chief) from Lusaka Central Prison to UTH to seek emergence medical treatment.

He was in hot soup. He had no such mandate, power or discretion to have used State House to order the release and transfer of a remandee or prisoner.

Senior Government and security officials summoned him with chief of Staff and expressed serious reservations about his directives.

He also narrates of a sensitive matter where a State House Aide was clearing aeroplanes to land in Zambia or fly over her space. Banda called for a meeting and expressed deep concern. “One of us owned up and apologized” he discloses without any further details.

However, in a case of ZANIS photographer, Emma Nakapizye, who was chased from the presidential delegation in New york, Dickson has gone to great length to explain his innocence on the matter.

Conclusion

At stake is not Rupiah Banda’s presidency or legacy. It’s a narrative by an Aide revealing the challenges and difficulties he encountered doing such a job.

But what is glaringly apparent is the incompetent manner in which his strategists helped or didn’t help Rupiah Banda.

For example, the book reveals that the MMD campaign despite what appears to be well executed party campaign didn’t prepare a parallel voter tabulation system and the party’s polling agents were not given mobile phones to enable the campaign center track poll results countrywide.

So President Banda was at sea, and waited for the trickle of results from the Electoral Commission of Zambia, like everybody else.

This was despite earlier revelations that when Banda was trailing in the 2008 presidential poll, a few ministers urged him to concede defeat. This request by some of his ministers was made in the absence of any other information other than that which is released by ECZ.

He is said to have refused and was proven right when he finally overtook Sata and won.

So why didn’t anyone resolve this anxious issue by doing what modern parties do? Monitor elections yourself through your agents and obtain credible and advance information?

This was probably a sad, troubling and heart-wrenching but unacceptable scenario for an incumbent president.

With all the investment the MMD put in that election as demonstrated above, and with the presence of Dr. Boniface Kawimbe, Dr. Martin Mtonga, Henry Banda and veteran pollster Vernon Mwaanga in the Presidential Campaign Committee, they still failed to plan for this simple but crucial activity in the electoral process.

And one would ask, what was Bell Portinger, the British consultants probably hired at great cots to build and offer political strategy, doing? if they omitted such a critical component in the electoral process?

But the author hints that he knew or suspected there was an impending loss for Banda. Further Banda’s Chief of staff had asked all the aides to clear the tables…. one would guess…. clear telltale signs.

But this pessimism seems not to have been shared with their boss but left him upbeat and hopeful until the last few hours.

And the sobbing at his last press conference probably attests to this.

Further, the author has gone to a great extent to show how patriotic, good, affable, loving, open, accessible, understanding, jovial, driven and determined President Banda was.

This is refreshing and valuable information and the country, especially its voters, would have benefitted from such a glimpse when Banda was President.

Dickson who was in charge of the President’s image and public relations had clearly failed to portray this glowing image he now belatedly reveals in the book.

Further, his last chapter, “My Reflections- What Went Wrong”, gave him an ample opportunity to give a fair analysis of what really went wrong especially with the benefit of hindsight.

But Dickson misses this opportunity. He was such a key official that his role cannot be underplayed when looking at Banda’s legacy neither can his weakness or failures escape blame or mention.

This is demonstrated by a text he received from a Deputy Minister after ECZ announced the official results and declared Sata as the winner of the 2011 polls and a loss for Banda.

“You and Rupiah Banda are going to pay for making MMD lose (the election)’’. (Pg. 204)

In his reflections, he barely scratches the surface by giving various plausible justifications for the loss and constantly throws blame elsewhere.

It was Dickson’s duty to craft a good image for his boss. But the sad and prevalent image of President Rupiah Banda by 2011 was that of an ineffective, corrupt, incompetent, tired, failed and not-youth-friendly leader.

It is expected that the author would have taken time to tackle and explain why his boss suffered such a poor image. Besides, isn’t this the matter that forms the basis of his book as a spin-doctor?

END

Emmanuel Mwamba is a Communications Strategist and has reviewed various books such as Levy Mwanawasa- An Incentive to Posterity (by Amos Malupenga), Business Values of our Time (By Chibamba Kanyama), Warrior Princess, Fighting for Life with Courage and Hope (By Princess Kasune Zulu), Its How We End that Matters, Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela (By Martin Kalungu-Banda) and many others.

Zambian Newspaper Headlines 29.06.2014

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Zambian Newspaper Headlines 28.06.2014

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