December 2007


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one-zambia-one-nation.jpgThere are times when duty calls and you know you just have to attend to it.

That’s exactly what it was for us here at the Zambian Chronicle.  We looked at what was available out there in terms of correct dissemination of information about the Zambian Enterprise. 

We were disappointed to find that a lot of avenues that started as repertoires of knowledge, think tank resources were overtaken by special interest thus subduing the actual interests of the Enterprise. 

A cadre phenomenon we later came to call bwembwarism had taken over in many cases spamming sites with myriads of unverifiable misinformation. Data integrity was compromised in many cases and lies, innuendos and gossip where taken at face value as gospel. 

And the Zambian Chronicle was born. Here we pride ourselves as real patriots first because Zambia is greater than any single one of us. Secondly we are the “Gold Standard” of a Zambian interactive site and will forever remain that way. 

In light of the above we are only interested in credible sources of information and we cite all our sources if originality of content does not comes from us, we screen all comments posted on our site and have since deleted almost a thousand spam comments so far. 

We would rather have a few reasonable verifiable pundits than the whole world of bad ones out there. No other site carries the veracity of content, video clips, entertainments modules, and interactive comments like we do. 

We started in 2007 and yet we have won the “blog of the minute” twice with WordPress, the Wall classy-daddy-3.gifStreet Journal Online have cited Zambian Chronicle’s content three times this year and so have many other world renowned sites.  

Our time is now … this has been a great year for us and we know 2008 is going to be even greater; so we wish you all many blessings, we wish you all prosperity and may all your dreams come true – Happy New Year Zambia … thanks a trillion.

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.        

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NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) — Kenya’s incumbent president Mwai Kibaki has been re-elected, beating his rival by a margin of only 230,000 votes among almost 9 million cast, the electoral commission announced Sunday.

art.kenya.sunday.afp.gi.jpg Opposition supporters march at the entrance to the Mathare slum in Nairobi on Sunday.

Kibaki narrowly defeated Raila Odinga, of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, winning 4,584,721 votes compared with 4,352,993 for Odinga, the chairman of the electoral commission, Samuel Kivuitu, said in an address broadcast by the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation.

The television station later showed footage of Kibaki being sworn-in at a ceremony at the presidential palace.

The closest fought election in the country’s history threatened to descend into chaos after supporters of Odinga earlier disrupted a press conference where the electoral commission was expected to announce the results.

Kivuitu was escorted out of the room after shouts broke out from supporters of Odinga who accused the government of election fraud. He was taken under armed guard to his private offices where he announced the result in an address later broadcast on state television.

Following the swearing-in, Kibaki insisted the elections were “free and fair” and called upon opposition parties to set aside their differences and to “let us all work together to build consensus.”

Odinga’s party earlier had accused the government of “doctoring” the results.

Amid chaotic scenes, Odinga claimed the official counts from 48 out of a total 210 constituencies were flawed, saying that around 300,000 votes were in dispute.

He also introduced an official from the commission who said he witnessed vote-rigging by staff going on at the commission’s headquarters.

The official said he had been asked to sign off returns from polling stations from Kenya’s eastern coastal region that he claimed had been deliberately altered by commission staff.

Odinga said earlier that if the president was announced winner “it will do the biggest injustice to the people of this country.”

“The consequences are too grave to consider,” he said at a press briefing.

The election has been plagued by violence as some supporters of Odinga went on the rampage angry at the delay in announcing a result.

CNN staff witnessed gangs looting and then burning several stores.

According to Associated Press reports, at least 14 people have been killed in election-related violence since Thursday’s voting in Kenya. Nine died Sunday in the Mathare shantytown, AP reported.

Protesters waving machetes were shouting “Kibaki must go!” as buses and shops burned in Mathare, AP reported.

Kibaki’s slim margin of victory is a marked difference from his win five years ago, in a landslide election. He had run on promises to fight corruption.

Since, he has seen his authority erode amid a number of high-profile corruption scandals in his government.

He faced a serious challenge from Odinga, a flamboyant politician who hails from the minority Luo tribe and has won support from rural and urban voters after promising to share the wealth among all the people.

A peaceful election and a smooth transition of power were seen as crucial for Kenya, a stable country in an otherwise-volatile region.

The international community expressed concern at the tide of rioting and looting that had accompanied the election.

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In a joint statement released Sunday, British Foreign Minister David Miliband and International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander called on the leaders of the two main parties to “act responsibly,” and called for an end to the violence.

The U.S. State Department congratulated the people of Kenya for “largely peaceful and orderly voting,” but repeated the calls for calm while the count occurred. 

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LUSAKA (AFP) — Zambia’s international reserves hit over a billion dollars this year, the highest figure in the country’s history, the central bank governor announced on Saturday.
Caleb Fundanga said Zambia had recorded 1.1 billion dollars in foreign reserves up from 706 million dollars that the country accumulated in 2006.

“Zambia has continued to record favourable external sector performance resulting in an accumulation of gross international reserves of 1.1 billion in December 2007,” Fundanga said in a statement.

“This is the highest the country has ever accumulated,” he added.

He said Zambia’s economy is expected to grow by 6.2 percent in 2008, while the country’s inflation will remain at the single-digit level.

“The overriding objective of monetary policy in 2008 is to consolidate the gains made in establishing price stability by achieving a third consecutive year of single-digit inflation,” Fundanga said.

Zambia’s inflation rate stands at 8.9 percent.

He said the country will face major challenges next year due to the projected rise in prices of petroleum products at the international market and the higher electricity tariffs in the southern African region.

Copyright © 2007 AFP

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By Joseph J. Schatz The Associated Press

LUSAKA, Zambia: Resurgent global interest in nuclear power has made Zambia, a country better known for its vast copper reserves, into a hotbed of uranium exploration.

The search for uranium in Zambia is part of a larger wave of uranium exploration and mining across mineral-rich Southern Africa that is raising hopes of new jobs and tax revenue, but also sparking debate over safety and security.

Many countries are looking for cleaner and less-costly alternatives to oil and coal power, and uranium prices are high after a decades-long slump.African Energy Resources, an Australian-owned mining outfit, is drilling on the southern border with Zimbabwe.

Equinox, a Canadian-owned company, said in November that there was high-grade uranium in the Lumwana open pit copper mine in northwestern Zambia; it hopes to begin stockpiling it next year.

Zambia’s government is now completing new regulations to cover the mining, processing and export of uranium products, said Maxwell Mwale, Zambia’s deputy minister of mines and mineral development for large scale mining projects.“We are assured of a market in the sense that demand for nuclear power is increasing,” Mwale said.

“Now there are these global warming concerns and issues of reducing carbon emissions, so nuclear power is attractive.” Mwale added, “We had to put in place regulations that conformed to International Atomic Energy Agency standards.

Elsewhere in Africa, exploration is ramping up across the border in Botswana. Namibia’s uranium exporting industry has seen a revival, with a $112 million expansion of the long-running Rossing open mine and the opening of a new mine in 2006 by Paladin Energy in Australia.African Energy Resources has poured $8 million into its exploration project with Albidon Mining in southern Zambia over the past three years.

The exploration is the “biggest push on uranium exploration since the late ’70s,” said Alasdair Cooke, executive chairman of African Energy. With the global energy market coming under so much pressure from new economies, “uranium has become part of the mix.

Faced with domestic energy shortages, the government of South Africa released a draft nuclear energy policy in August pledging a rebirth in the country’s uranium mining, processing and enrichment industries, and the construction of new nuclear reactors over the next decade.

The region’s economic powerhouse, South Africa gave up its nuclear weapons program following the end of apartheid in the 1990s, but still has two nuclear reactors that produce 6 percent of the country’s power.

The scramble for uranium marks a stark turnaround after an industry slump brought on by the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl that made nuclear power a dirty phrase, and by the end of the nuclear arms race of the Cold War.

Concerns over climate change and pollution created by coal, along with high oil prices, have sent uranium prices from less than $10 a pound at the start of the decade to a current price of $88 a pound.

Many countries, including the United States, are planning to build new nuclear reactors, and China is looking to imported uranium for the many nuclear reactors it will use to help propel its rapid economic growth.Mining companies are looking to countries across Africa.

In Western Africa is a leading uranium supplier and produced 3,434 metric tons in 2006.In Southern Africa, the search focuses on the uranium-enriched crust of what geologists call the Karoo Basin.

Namibia and South Africa are believed to hold 6 percent and 7 percent, respectively, of the world’s recoverable uranium resources, trailing only Australia, Kazakhstan, Canada and the United States, according to the World Nuclear Association, a nuclear power industry advocacy group.Up-to-date estimates of Zambia’s potential are hard to pin down.

Here, long-standing uranium exploration started by Italian and Japanese investors ground to a halt in the 1980s.

“With the price increase we’ve seen in the last couple of years, the uranium resource is now quite economical” to mine, said Harry Michael, chief operating officer of Equinox Minerals, an Australian and Canadian venture that is running Lumwana Mine, along Zambia’s border with Congo.

At Lumwana, uranium deposits mingle with copper, and will be mined as part of the same process.Uranium mining could create valuable jobs in mining, transportation and other sectors in a country where about 20 percent of the work force is formally employed, Mwale, the deputy minister in Zambia, said.

Other than more developed South Africa, most nations in the region will remain, for the moment, suppliers of uranium rather than users of it. How much those countries will benefit from their exports will be a crucial question for policy makers.

The issue is sure get attention in Zambia, where the government has been promising for more than a year to increase taxes on foreign copper mining companies that secured minuscule tax rates early in the decade when copper prices were low, and are now reaping huge profits.

Even though nuclear power is seen by many as the environmentally friendly energy source of the future, industry officials still face opposition from some environmental groups and other skeptics.Just east of Zambia, in Malawi, the government’s grant of a uranium mining license to Paladin sparked complaints from the Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation.

The Malawian government has a 15 percent stake in the project.While the group acknowledged that the almost $200 million mining project could create jobs and profits, in a recent press statement it questioned its effect on the environment and whether “the economic benefits to Malawi through the introduction of uranium mining operations outweigh the social concerns and hazards associated with them.

Experts in the industry say that while radon gas emitted by uranium presents some radiation risks, modern technology makes them negligible to workers and the public.

Radiation exposure is low in open cut mining, and can be further lessened by enforcing strict hygiene regulations on miners using uranium oxide concentrate, according to the World Nuclear Association.In an underground mine, modern ventilation systems are needed to keep miners safe, the association said.

In some regions, the increased demand for uranium has prompted security concerns, especially amid reports of illegal uranium mining across the border in Congo – the same area that produced some of the uranium used in the atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

Counterterrorism experts worry about extremists getting radiation materials through a black market for nuclear components that operates despite attempts to tighten security. Growth in mining and processing could make security even more crucial.Mwale, of the Zambia mining ministry, said that Zambia was being cautious.

“We are very particular, as a country, that there will be no lapses at any stage of the handling of the uranium product,” he said.

Source: International Herald Tribune  

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By Shapi Shacinda

LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia plans to raise electricity tariffs for its copper and cobalt mines after the southern Africa nation increased domestic power charges by 27 percent, officials said on Thursday.

Hanson Sindowe, chairman of the Copperbelt Energy Company (CEC), the sole distributor of power to Zambia’s vast copper and cobalt mines, said tariff rise negotiations were almost concluded with various foreign mining firms.

“We are currently negotiating with the mines and we are almost there,” Sindowe told Reuters.

He declined to say how much the tariffs would rise.

Officials say that plans to raise power tariffs were aimed at making state power utility Zesco economically viable and to ensure Zambia reaped greater benefits from profits foreign mining firms were reaping from higher global metals prices.

CEC purchases power from Zesco and distributes it to the mines.

Industry analysts say the copper and cobalt mines pay lower rates compared with most industries after they negotiated lower tariffs at the time Zambia was privatizing its copper mines in a bid to keep them running, after decades of under capitalisation caused some mines to be on the brink of closure.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Board proposed that Zambia should raise electricity tariffs in its end of year review of the country’s economic performance.

The IMF said raising tariffs would enhance the development of the energy sector.

Zambia agreed with the IMF and the World Bank in the early 2000s to reduce state participation in the state-run power utility Zesco in order for the country to continue to receive financing from multilateral institutions.

“They (IMF board) emphasized the importance of raising electricity tariffs to levels consistent with full cost recovery, and of strengthening the corporate governance and efficiency of the public utility,” the IMF said in a statement.

The state Energy Regulation Board (ERB) said separately that it had allowed Zesco to raise power tariffs for domestic users by 26.8 percent and by 1.3 percent for other industrial users, state media reported on Thursday.

“The ERB would approve a further increment in residential tariffs by 16.6 percent and 11.9 in 2009 and 2010,” respectively, the state Zambia Daily Mail quoted ERB chairman Sikota Wina as saying.

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PAKISTAN'S BHUTTO ASSASSINATED // Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto attends rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Dec. 27, 2007 (© Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images)RAWALPINDI, Pakistan – Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally.

The death of the charismatic former prime minister threw the campaign for the Jan. 8 election into chaos and created fears of mass protests and an eruption of violence across the volatile south Asian nation, which has nuclear weapons and a support base for Muslim extremists.

Pakistani troops were put on “red alert” across the country as President Pervez Musharraf blamed terrorists for Bhutto’s death and said he would redouble his efforts to fight them.

“I want to express my resolve and seek the cooperation from the entire nation and we will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out,” he said in a nationally televised speech. He announced three days of mourning for her across the country.

In the United States, President Bush demanded that those responsible be brought to justice, calling them “murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy.”

Bhutto’s supporters erupted in anger and grief after her death, attacking police and burning tires and election campaign posters in several cities. At the hospital where she died, some smashed glass and wailed, chanting slogans against Musharraf.

“At 6:16 p.m. she expired,” said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto’s party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital where she was taken after the attack.

“She has been martyred,” added party official Rehman Malik. Bhutto was 54.

A party security adviser said Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest as she got into her vehicle, then the gunman blew himself up. No group has claimed responsibility.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene of the bombing could see body parts and flesh scattered at the back gate of the park where Bhutto had spoken. He counted about 20 bodies, including police, and could see many other wounded people.

The road outside was stained with blood. People screamed for ambulances. Others gave water to the wounded lying in the street.

The clothing of some of the victims was shredded and people put party flags over their bodies.

Security had been tight, with hundreds of riot police manning security checkpoints with metal detectors around what was Bhutto’s first campaign rally since returning from exile two months ago.

Bhutto had planned an earlier rally in the city, but Musharraf forced her to cancel it, citing security fears. In October, suicide bombers struck a parade celebrating Bhutto’s return, killing more than 140 people in the southern city of Karachi.

Musharraf mulling elections
Parties across the country were stepping up campaigning for the Jan. 8 elections after a Muslim holiday late last week and a holiday on Tuesday for the birthday of Pakistan’s founder and revered first leader, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Musharraf convened an emergency meeting with his senior staff where they were expected to discuss whether to postpone the elections, an official at the Interior Ministry said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

Western allies had hoped the elections will restore stability in a nuclear-armed country vital to their battle against Islamist militancy. The three-way race had pitted Bhutto against the party of another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and a party that backs Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup.

Sharif and Bhutto had talked of an alliance, and Sharif on Thursday spoke to Bhutto supporters outside the hospital, saying: “Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death. Don’t feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers.”

The elections are for provincial parliaments and for a National Assembly from which a prime minister and a government will be drawn. It was not clear if they would still be held on schedule.

In recent weeks, suicide bombers have repeatedly targeted security forces in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital where Musharraf stays and the Pakistan army has its headquarters.

Before the rally, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, Bhutto had met with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the end of his two-day visit here.

“We too believe that it is essential for both of our countries, and indeed the larger Muslim world, to work to protect the interest of Islamic civilization by eliminating extremism and terrorism,” she said after their meeting.

U.S. heavily invested in Pakistan
Bhutto’s return to the country after years in exile and the ability of her party to contest free and fair elections had been a cornerstone of Bush’s policy in Pakistan, where U.S. officials had watched Musharraf’s growing authoritarianism with increasing unease.

Those concerns were compounded by the rising threat from al-Qaida and Taliban extremists, particularly in Pakistan’s largely ungoverned tribal areas bordering Afghanistan despite the fact that Washington had pumped nearly $10 billion in aid into the country since Musharraf became an indispensible counter-terrorism ally after Sept. 11, 2001

Irritated by the situation, Congress last week imposed new restrictions on U.S. assistance to Pakistan, including tying $50 million in military aid to State Department assurances that the country is making “concerted efforts” to prevent terrorists from operating inside its borders.

Under the law, which provides a total of $300 million in aid to Pakistan and was signed by President Bush on Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also must guarantee Pakistan is implementing democratic reforms, including releasing political prisoners and restoring an independent judiciary.

The law also prevents any of the funds can be used for cash transfer assistance to Pakistan, but that stipulation had already been adopted by the administration.

Despite the congressional move, Richard Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs who had been instrumental in engineering the Bhutto-Musharraf reconciliation, said he had little doubt that the administration would get the money.

Bush, in his comments Thursday, expressed his deepest condolences to Bhutto’s family and to the families of others slain in the attack and to all the people of Pakistan.

“We stand with the people of Pakistan in their struggle against the forces of terror and extremism. We urge them to honor Benazir Bhutto’s memory by continuing with the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life,” he said.

Family targeted over the years
Bhutto’s family is no stranger to violence.

Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was Pakistan’s first popularly elected prime mister. He was executed in 1979 after being deposed in a military coup.

Bhutto became the first female prime minister in the Muslim world when she was elected in 1988 at the age of 35. She was deposed in 1990, re-elected in 1993, and ousted again in 1996 amid charges of corruption and mismanagement.

She said the charges were politically motivated but in 1999 chose to stay in exile rather than face them.

Both of her brothers died in mysterious circumstances and she had said al-Qaida assassins tried to kill her several times in the 1990s.

Intelligence reports have said al-Qaida, the Taliban and Pakistani jihadi groups have sent suicide bombers after her.

In an interview on Oct. 22 with NBC’s TODAY show, Bhutto said returning to Pakistan and politics was worth the risk to her life. “It was no secret to me that I could be attacked,” she said. “I chose to return and put my life on the line to defend a principle I believe in.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Good news from Nakonde

We have a success story to share with you about the Nakonde Area Development Programme (ADP).

.
Construction of classrooms and provision of
school materials has improved students’
education in Nakonde.

An ADP begins with a small group of communities and grows to cover a wider geographic area. As communities begin to reach their goals and are able to fund initiatives on their own, World Vision gradually reduces its financial help by reducing the number of sponsored children in those communities.

The good news is that after many years of hard work, with your help, the Nakonde community where your sponsored child lives is increasing in capacity and will soon be able to continue its development work without World Vision’s direct assistance.

This report lists some of the changes that have happened in Nakonde over the past few years – changes that have made a huge difference to people’s lives, bringing them hope for the future.

A selection of achievements in Nakonde

Health
World Vision’s support has greatly improved the health of people in Nakonde. A clinic and a staff house have been constructed to provide local medical services. Awareness campaigns about malaria and immunisation have helped the community to understand the importance of disease prevention in order to save lives. More than 70 per cent of children are now immunised; a significant increase from a base of 24 per cent.

HIV and AIDS

Through anti-AIDS clubs, children find out
about HIV and AIDS and learn to tell
their friends, here reciting poems
they have written.

The Nakonde community is severely affected by HIV and AIDS, and World Vision has established systems to educate people about preventing the spread of HIV and to care for affected community members. Together with World Vision, they have:

  • Formed anti-AIDS clubs for children and youth
  • Provided study guides and HIV and AIDS literature
  • Trained community-based HIV and AIDS counsellors
  • Established a home-based care programme and trained more than 230 people to support chronically ill people, orphans and vulnerable children
  • Trained teachers to incorporate HIV prevention and values-based life skills into their teaching programmes
  • Assisted households caring for orphaned and vulnerable children to increase their incomes
  • Formed support groups for people living with HIV and AIDS
  • Supported local government to improve the policies of its district HIV and AIDS taskforce

Education

“When we were told World Vision was
going to support the rehabilitation work
at Kantongo Middle Basic School, we
quickly mobilised parents. When people
heard the good news, they pledged their
very best efforts to help ensure the project
succeeded,” said Mr. Mwanji Siwanzi, chair
of Kantongo parent-teacher association.“When I was in grade 7, I dreaded being
selected for grade 8 because the nearest
school that offered upper basic education
was over 7km away from Kantongo. I am
indeed very thankful to World Vision and
all the parents for their hard work in
extending the education offered at
Kantongo,” said Alinani Sichalwe, a
grade 8 pupil at Kantongo.

World Vision helped the Nakonde community to construct and renovate classrooms at Kantongo
Middle Basic School. Because of this work, the Ministry of Education has upgraded the status of the school to an Upper Basic School, allowing it to teach senior high school classes. This makes it much easier for local children to continue their education to higher levels and is really exciting for the community!Food security and conservation
World Vision has trained more than 150 farmers in modern agricultural techniques and on topics such as livestock management, crop management, conservation and agroforestry. These farmers have disseminated information to others in their communities through 21 farmers groups.

Farmers have learned to set up small fish farming operations to provide a ready source of protein and increase household incomes. Farmers have also been trained to grow vegetables and set up fruit orchards to help address malnutrition.

Reforestation of the Nakonde area has been an important activity and farmers have been taught to raise seedlings so they can continue reforesting the area.

During 1998/99 and 2001/02, excess rainfall destroyed crops. World Vision worked with the World Food Programme to distribute food to affected households. In the following years, World Vision trained the community and local government to prepare for disasters.

Leadership development
Community members have learned about leadership, project management, auditing, community mobilisation, entrepreneurship and credit management.

The Nakonde community has established a community-based organisation called Tulemane Development Trust, to continue development activities.

World Vision has trained the community in gender issues and encouraged the participation of women in development activities. This has had an influence on local government gender policy and practice.

Special thanks to World Vision of New Zealand … thanks a trillion

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr. CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.         

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