By NATION REPORTER
ORUM for Democracy and Development (FDD) president, Edith Nawakwi who has recently been discharged from the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), says she is ready to face the police and be transported to Choma to answer charges on the abduction of the Hatembo family prior to the 2021 elections.
Ms Nawakwi said she is not intimidated by the continuous police harassment and plans to arrest her.
On two occasions, police officers stormed UTH where she was admitted in a bid to arrest her while she was being treated.
Ms Nawakwi in an interview said that the police wanted to transport her to Choma where they wanted her to answer to charges concerning the case involving the abduction of the Hatembo family.
She said that the police were working under strict orders to have her locked up under any circumstances.
Ms Nawakwi, who has since been discharged from the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), said police and other law enforcement agencies should follow procedure and shortcuts if there were any issues that they needed to investigate.
“I’m not understanding what is going on here but what I can say is that I am ready as long as the correct procedure is followed,” Ms Nawakwi said.
Ms Nawakwi said the President had wrong advisors who were misleading him and that this would be his downfall if he was not careful.
She said that she did not understand why police were so anxious to lock her up that they did not even want her to fully recover.
The water transport system in Zambia
By MUBANGA LUCHEMBE
AMBIA is endowed with large water bodies, accounting for about 40 percent of fresh inland water in Southern Africa.
Maritime and inland water transport is an important sub-sector for the country’s development, especially in areas where other modes of transport are not available.
In many of these areas, such as the Zambezi, Mweru and Bangweulu plains, people are highly dependent on waterways for transport to support their socio-economic activities.
Inland water transport also facilitates growth in trade, tourism and in the delivery of social services such as education and healthcare.
Yet, oddly, the country doesn’t have a coherent maritime strategy underpinned by a related national strategy to safeguard its inland maritime interests.
This omission was underscored again recently by the latest Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) calamity resulting into the capsizing of the super boat on Lake Bangweulu which left about 14 church members dead by drowning.
This is the second incident of deaths by drowning of SDA members in two successive years, leading people calling for independent investigations.
Last year in January, six SDA church members drowned in Lake Kariba in Siavonga.
With just a few days after the Bangweulu marine tragedy, whilst Vice President Mutale Nalumango was receiving a donation of K150, 000 from NATSAVE to assist families on Chilubi Island whose loved ones perished in the tragedy, she disclosed that a boat with fish-traders onboard capsized on the Luangwa River, seven persons lost their lives.
To avert marine-related accidents, the Vice President warned maritime transporters not to overload their vessels.
This got knowledgeable observers of the country’s maritime and inland water transport landscape thinking.
Perhaps Ms Nalumango, as the leader of government business in parliament, was so preoccupied with grappling with the deep-grief caused by the Bangweulu and Luangwa marine tragedies that before she received the donation from NATSAVE, she forgot to keep herself abreast with the 2020 parliamentary report’s findings, including the observations and recommendations duly-articulated by the then-parliamentary Committee on Transport, Works and Supply of the National Assembly on the current state of the subsector of the inland water transport system in Zambia.
A three-step process would put Zambia’s maritime safety house in order. The first would be to create a well-designed government-led process that includes a high-office body and core stakeholders. This would lead directly into the second step – the mapping of the country’s national maritime interests. The third step would be creation of an integrated national maritime strategy.
As a priority, Government needs to make sound efforts to build institutional capacity within the units and departments mandated by law to oversee the inland water transport subsector.
This can be achieved in the short-term by sourcing the human resources and expertise to manage the subsector. It is recommended that a multi-sectoral approach be adopted to ensure low adverse environmental impact whilst maximising on trade and commerce.
The Parliamentary Committee strongly recommended that the government, through the Ministry of Transport and Logistics, should ensure that insurance of boats was made compulsory in the revised legislation.
Additionally, all boats should be certified worthy-watercrafts fit for utilisation, and be tax compliant before they can be allowed to operate, similar to the requirement by the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) in the road transport subsector.
There is need to review the existing legislation to better reflect the current state of the subsector and also the government’s policies and objectives.
A dedicated statutory body housed within the RTSA headquarters in Road Safety House along Dedan Kimathi Road in Lusaka would be optimal with a clear mandate separate from that of the Zambia Police marine unit.
Such an approach is better suited for purposes of record-keeping, monitoring and evaluation. Whilst there has been considerable development of the road networks in Zambia, it was recommended that this be undertaken in tandem with other transportation modes to enhance linkages across the overall transport sector.
Due to the considerable cost of rehabilitating waterways and canals and upgrading the infrastructure of harbours and ports and procurement of patrol vessels, it was recommended that Government engaged the private sector in respect of the development of the inland water transport system.
Due to the high returns that the potential trade can yield, there is opportunity to engage in Public Private Partnerships in terms of types of water transport based on ownership and utilization as the private sector has played a very minimal role in the development of the inland water transport system.
That being said, growth in tourism has brought an increase in commercial vessels along ports and harbours that are in proximity with national parks and other major attractions.
These vessels are meant to transport or ferry tourists and not provide access to neighbouring harbours and ports for the local inhabitants. Tour operators and service providers contend that the tourism industry could benefit greatly from improved waterways and canals.
But for the visibly-neglected subsector, the question remains: what would the Government bring to the inland maritime table?
As a game-changing national strategy, it is imperative that transformation of the current Department of Maritime and Inland Waterways into a RTSA-lookalike ought to be done urgently.
Subsequently, the newly-transformed statutory body’s mandate would include: to effectively implement policy on marine transport, waterway management and waterway safety; to effectively and efficiently register marine vessels in line with the inland waterway act; to timely issue licenses and permits in accordance with the Inland Waterway Act.
Additional functions, among others, would include: to conduct effective waterway safety education; to coordinate waterway safety programmes effectively; to approve and monitor the effectiveness of waterway safety programmes done by anybody, person or institution; to effectively formulate and conduct programmes to promote waterway safety in conjunction with stakeholders; to make contributions towards the cost-of-programmes for promoting waterway safety undertaken by other authorities or bodies and approve safety activities undertaken by other authorities or bodies.
So then, as a concerned nation, are Zambians asking their Government for the impossible?