U-23 AFCON: Nigeria Bounce Back To Beat Zambia

The Nigerian team celebrate one of their goals against Zambia in Cairo on November 12, 2019. Photo: Twitter- @thenff

 

 

Reigning champions, Nigeria returned to contention for a place in the semi-finals of the third Africa U-23 Cup of Nations after coming from a goal down to beat Zambia 3-1 in Cairo on Tuesday.

With a quarter of an hour gone, it appeared to be going away for the defending champions as they sat pointlessly and at the bottom of Group B.

Goals from three former U-17 World Cup winners, however, shot Nigeria to second in the group and with a good chance of toppling leaders South Africa when both teams clash at the same Al-Salam Stadium on Friday evening.

Zambia, who drew 0-0 with South Africa in a southern African derby on an opening day, were given a morale-boosting shot when Patson Daka, who also features for the country’s senior team, Chipolopolo, scored in the 11th minute to increase the worries of Nigerians.

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But Orji Okwonkwo levelled for the Olympic Eagles five minutes later, and then Kelechi Nwakali, captain of the Nigeria U-17 team that won the FIFA World Cup in Chile four years ago, with Okwonkwo also a major act, slammed in a superb free kick in the 65th minute to put Nigeria ahead for the first time in the tournament.

Germany-based forward Taiwo Awoniyi, who also won the U-17 World Cup in 2013 and who arrived in Egypt only on Sunday night, made it three on the stroke of 90 minutes to make Nigerians breathe easier.

South Africa, 1-0 winners over Cote d’Ivoire in the group’s earlier match, top the pool with four points (following their 0-0 opening day result with Zambia), and will contend with the inspired Nigerians on Friday.

Cote d’Ivoire, on three points like Nigeria but with less number of goals, will also battle Zambia, with only one point on Friday.

Victory against South Africa will steer Nigeria into the semi-finals and closer to a ticket to the Men’s football tournament of next year’s Olympics.

The top three teams at the tournament will qualify to represent Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Xenophobia: Zambian Students Storm South Africa Embassy, Destroy Properties

Zambia’s university students burn the sign outside the South African Embassy in Lusaka on September 4, 2019, during a demonstration to protest against xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in the Rainbow Nation. SALIM DAWOOD / AFP

 

Angered by the recent xenophobic attacks, some Zambian students on Wednesday took to the South African Embassy in Lusaka, the country’s capital.

The visibly-angry students of the Rainbow nation defied huge police presence and approached the embassy to achieve their aim.

Despite being addressed by the Zambian general Police inspector Kakoma Kanganja and his police team, the citizens seems not to be pleased with his remark.

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The action comes shortly after Zambia has cancelled an international friendly football match which was slated for Lusaka next weekend against South Africa.

“This is because of the security concerns, you never know what can happen,” Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) secretary-general Adrian Kashala, told AFP. “We want to be sure of the security of (the) visiting team”.

The attacks on foreign stores began a day after South African truckers started a nationwide strike on Sunday to protest against the employment of foreign drivers. They blocked roads and torched foreign-driven vehicles mainly in the southwestern KwaZulu-Natal province.

See photos from the protest below:

Zambia Cancel International Friendly With South Africa

 

Zambia have cancelled an international friendly football match which was slated for Lusaka next weekend against South Africa.

The cancellation follows a renewed violence against foreigners in the country which has left at least five killed and 189 others arrested.

“This is because of the security concerns, you never know what can happen,” Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) secretary-general Adrian Kashala, told AFP. “We want to be sure of the security of (the) visiting team”.

The attacks on foreign stores began a day after South African truckers started a nationwide strike on Sunday to protest against the employment of foreign drivers. They blocked roads and torched foreign-driven vehicles mainly in the southwestern KwaZulu-Natal province.

Although South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has vowed to clamp down on the perpetrators of the attacks after the African Union, Nigeria and Zambia condemned the attacks.

In a video address broadcast on Twitter, Ramaphosa said attacks on businesses run by “foreign nationals is something totally unacceptable, something that we cannot allow to happen in South Africa.”

“I want it to stop immediately,” said Ramaphosa, adding that the violence had “no justification.”

Separately, African Union chairperson Moussa Faki condemned the violence “in the strongest terms” but said he was encouraged “by arrests already made by the South African authorities”.

Deputy President David Mabuza condemned all attacks on foreign nationals.

“We are a nation founded on the values of ubuntu (humanity) as espoused by our founding father, President Nelson Mandela… we should always resist the temptation of being overwhelmed by hatred,” he said in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Sporadic violence against foreign-owned stores and enterprises has a long history in South Africa, where many locals blame immigrants for high unemployment.

Zambian President Sacks Finance Minister

 

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has fired Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, a statement from the presidency said Monday, as the economy grows at its slowest rate in 20 years.

Mwanakatwe, 57, was appointed only last year but was removed on Sunday without any reason given and replaced by central bank deputy governor Bwalya Ng’andu.

“I hereby terminate your appointment as minister of finance,” Lungu stated in his letter to Mwanakatwe according to the statement.

Ng’andu was sworn in on Monday, in a move welcomed by international investment markets with Zambia’s Eurobonds rising sharply. The price of its $750 million of securities due in September 2022 rose 5.2 percent on Monday, according to Bloomberg News.

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Zambia has struggled with falling prices of copper, its key export, and disputes with mining companies, with its foreign exchange reserves plunging and debt rising.

Lungu on Monday called for Zambians to “work as a team and stabilise the economy.”

But main opposition party UPND spokesman Charles Kakoma told AFP that Lungu’s government wasted money and a “cosmetic change” of ministers would not improve the economy.

AFP

Court Grants Bail To Zambian Lawmaker Charged With Hate Speech

 

A Zambian court bailed a fierce critic of President Edgar Lungu on Tuesday after he was charged with telling an ethnic Indian that he was stealing local jobs.

Chishimba Kambwili, who is still an MP in the ruling party, will go on trial on April 8 for showing hatred, ridicule or contempt for a person because of their race.

Kambwili allegedly told road worker Rajesh Kumar Verma, an Indian national, that his occupation should be reserved for indigenous Zambians.

A clip purporting to show the incident on February 19 went viral on social media, prompting the government to issue a rebuke.

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“I deny the charge,” Kambwili told magistrate Humphrey Chitalu on Tuesday in a courtroom filled with scores of his supporters and some opposition leaders.

Opposition United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema was among those present.

Kambwili was required to pay bail worth the equivalent of $200 (176 euros).

“We want to save this country from thieves, crooks… we will continue speaking for you people. These jobs are not meant for foreigners but Zambians,” Kambwili said outside court.

“How can you allow a foreigner to get jobs meant for Zambians? Shame on you Lungu.”

Hichilema called on Zambians to protect each other from Lungu who is accused by opponents of using the justice system to stifle critics.

“We must be concerned with each other’s welfare, and let’s unite to kick the brutal regime,” Hichilema said.

If convicted Kambwili faces up to two years imprisonment.

Minister Denies Charges Amid Corruption Trial In Zambia

 

Zambia’s Infrastructure Minister Ronald Chitotela denied corruption charges in court on Tuesday following his arrest a fortnight ago in a rare case of a government official being pursued by investigators.

Chitotela, who was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) along with three others, faces two corruption charges for allegedly concealing ownership of two properties “reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime”.

“I understand the charge and plead not guilty,” Chitotela, 47, told magistrate David Simusamba who ordered he stand trial from March 20.

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His co-accused also pleaded not guilty to the charges, which potentially carry a prison term of up to five years on conviction.

The properties in question are in  Lusaka’s upmarket suburbs of Makeni and Ibex Hill areas.

Hundreds of Chitotela’s supporters chanted outside the court.

AFP

12 Chinese Workers Arrested For Growing Cannabis In Zambia

Zambian anti-drug authorities have arrested 12 Chinese construction workers for allegedly cultivating cannabis without a permit, a top government official said on Thursday.

The group was based in the city of Chipata in Zambia’s Eastern Province where they were building a studio for the state-run Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.

“It’s really regrettable that the 12 (were) arrested for alleged cultivation of cannabis,” the provincial government permanent secretary Chanda Kasolo told AFP.

“The arrest is really regrettable as it will delay the construction works,” said Kasolo.

The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) said in a statement that the 12 were arrested on Monday and 6.2 kilos of plants uprooted.

Growing, dealing and consumption of cannabis for recreational purposes is illegal in Zambia.

But growing cannabis for medicinal purposes is allowed provided permission is granted by the health ministry.

If convicted, the 12 face a maximum jail sentence of five years.

Anti-Chinese sentiment in Zambia has grown over lucrative contracts awarded to Beijing, especially in the construction sector, and government borrowing from the Asian giant.

AFP

Court Backs Zambia’s President Seeking Re-Election In 2021

Zambia’s President, Edgar Lungu

 

Zambia’s top court ruled Friday that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to run for re-election in 2021 polls after an opposition party argued he would exceed the constitution’s two term limit.

Lungu completed former president Michael Sata’s term after he died in 2015 before winning a full term in his own right in 2016.

“The presidential tenure starting on January 25, 2015 to September 13, 2016 cannot be considered as a full term,” said constitutional court judge Hildah Chibomba.

Lungu announced in January 2017 that he would seek a fresh five-year term in 2021, prompting opposition parties to block him.

The opposition United Party for National Development and the Law Association of Zambia lawyers’ association argued he was ineligible to run, having effectively served across two terms.

Three other opposition parties simply sought the court’s opinion on the matter.

“I hope the debate comes to an end. This is a victory for Lungu, it’s a victory for the (ruling) Patriotic Front and a victory for the people of Zambia,” said the party’s secretary general Davies Mwila who spoke outside court.

Hundreds of Lungu’s supporters celebrated outside the court following its ruling.

In 2017 Lungu warned Zambia’s judges against blocking him from running in the 2021 vote, saying a judicial intervention like that seen in Kenya could plunge the country into chaos.

Kenya was rocked by two months of political drama and acrimony, triggered by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn an election in August 2017 over widespread irregularities.

President Lungu has been accused of piling up foreign debt and cracking down on dissent since winning the contested election in 2016.

Zambia’s opposition has accused Lungu of increasingly authoritarian behaviour as several politicians and activists critical of his regime have faced legal action.

AFP

Police Defend Anti-Graft Protesters In Zambia

 

A senior Zambian police commander defended on Monday the right to protest of six activists on trial for staging a demonstration at parliament over a $42 million firefighting procurement deal.

Hip-hop star Chama Fumba, known as Pilato, led last year’s picket over fire engines costing $1 million (880,000 euros) each, seen as emblematic of corruption fostered by President Edgar Lungu.

“The accused have a constitutional right to demonstrate and they complied with the Public Order Act,” said Lusaka province deputy police commissioner Geoffrey Kunda in evidence to Lusaka magistrates’ court.

Kunda said his office failed to respond to a notice given by the protesters signalling their intention to picket parliament during the finance minister’s budget speech on September 29, 2017.

“I think it could have been an omission on our part. That was an omission and not deliberate,” Kunda said.

He added that an attempt to verbally ban the march may have led to the situation and the arrests of the campaigners.

The six have pleaded not guilty to charges of disobeying a lawful order and insisted they had a right to protest within the grounds of parliament.

Magistrate Mwaka Mikalile ordered that the trial should continue on November 29 and 30.

“Since 2017 we have had scandal after scandal… Can our money stop being stolen?” asked accused activist Laura Miti, speaking outside court.

“As long as we are here and the thieves are not here we will continue to protest.”

Fumba was arrested in May when he returned to Zambia from South Africa, where he had fled after his hit song, “Koswe Mumpoto” (Rat in the Pot), drew angry reactions from supporters of Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party.

The track was widely interpreted as a protest song accusing President Edgar Lungu and his government of being corrupt.

Zambia’s opposition has accused Lungu of increasingly authoritarian behaviour.

AFP

Zambia Refuses Entry To Kenyan Law Professor For ‘Security’ Reasons

A Kenyan law professor and former director of his country’s anti-corruption commission was on Saturday refused entry to Zambia due to “security considerations”, authorities said.

Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, director of the Kenya School of Laws, had been due to deliver a talk on Chinese influence in Africa on Sunday.

On arrival at Kenneth Kaunda International airport in Lusaka, however, he was refused entry before being deported back to Kenya.

“(The) government through (the) immigration department has denied entry into Zambia of Prof Patrick Lumumba, a Kenyan national, due to security considerations,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Dora Siliya said in a tweet.

Lumumba’s planned talk entitled “Africa in the age of China influence and global geo dynamics” followed growing anger at Beijing’s grip on the economy of the southern African nation.

China is the main investor in Zambia as it is in several other African countries and with its offers of “unconditional” aid, most public tenders are awarded to Chinese bidders.

In Lusaka and across the country, China is busy constructing airports, roads, factories and police stations with the building boom largely funded by Chinese loans.

Zambian public debt is officially around $10.6 billion but suspicions have grown in recent months that the government is hiding its indebtedness — as happened in neighbouring Mozambique, which in 2016 was forced to admit it had kept secret $2 billion of borrowing.

Fearing that Zambia might be in a similar position, the International Monetary Fund at one point delayed talks over a $1.3 billion loan deal.

Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe has insisted that in the first half of 2018 $342 million was paid in interest to creditors, of which 53 percent were commercial sector — and only 30 percent of which were Chinese.

But the country’s main opposition party has put China’s debt dominance at the forefront of its campaign to unseat the government.

AFP

Anger As Zambia Announces Tax On Internet Calls

 

Zambia will tax phone calls made over the internet to protect traditional telecoms companies, the government said Monday, a move activists warned would stifle freedom of expression.

The increased popularity of internet telephony services like Skype, WhatsApp and Viber “threatens the telecommunications industry and jobs in companies such as (operators) Zamtel, Airtel, and MTN,” government spokeswoman Dora Siliya said in a statement.

“Government has therefore introduced a 30 ngwee ($0.03) charge a day tariff on internet phone calls.”

The policy, which has yet to become law, follows Uganda’s recent decision to impose a $0.05 daily levy on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter which was met with protests by opponents.

Siliya said that the fee would be collected by mobile phone operators and internet providers.

While WhatsApp and similar apps offer end-to-end encryption of calls, mobile phone carriers and internet providers can tell from the volume of data that a voice or video call is being made, even if they can’t listen in to the conversation.

The Internet has become important for civil society in Zambia, and activists worry the tax will curtail freedom of expression.

“We have noted that it’s part of the systematic attempt by the state to stifle freedom of expression online. This is an assault to freedom of expression and association,” said Richard Mulonga, head of the online rights group Bloggers of Zambia.

“This tariff does not promote digital inclusion, internet neutrality, and affordability. It is an assault on innovation and entrepreneurship,” he added.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu has been accused of growing authoritarianism as several opposition figures and government critics have faced prosecution in what rights groups characterised as politically-motivated cases.

But communication minister Brian Mushimba said that the levy on internet calls was purely economic.

“We don’t believe in stifling the media, we believe in freedom of expression and this decision is purely an economic decision because we have lost income and so we are saying if Skype, WhatsApp are making money, how about us?”

Human rights activist Brebner Changala said that the fee would unnecessarily burden ordinary Zambians to swell state coffers.

“These people want to continue curtailing our freedoms… we all know they are broke but we ask them to allow us to express ourselves without any charge. Let them leave our freedom,” Changala told AFP.

AFP

FIFA Bans Ex-Zambian Football Chief Bwalya Over Bribery Allegations

FIFA Bans Ex-Zambian Football Chief Bwalya Over Bribery Allegations
File

 

FIFA on Friday suspended the former head of the Zambian football federation and former African footballer of the year, Kalusha Bwalya, for two years over allegedly accepting bribes.

Bwalya, 54, was also fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($100,000, 88,000 euros) in connection with “gifts and other benefits” he took from controversial Qatari businessman Mohammed Bin Hammam, FIFA’s independent ethics committee said in a statement.

Bin Hammam, an extremely wealthy former football executive, has been banned from the sport for life over corruption. He was accused of trying to buy votes when he ran for FIFA’s presidency against Sepp Blatter in 2011.

Bwalya starred for PSV Eindhoven and was named African footballer of the year in 1988. He was elected as chief of the Zambian federation in 2008 and replaced in 2016 by Andrew Kamanga.

FIFA’s ethics watchdog began investigating him in February of 2017.

AFP