The Zambian government has been accused of embracing poverty as the debate over a windfall tax on the mining industry heats up.
Civil society organisations warn that unless Zambia addresses its high poverty levels, the strides the country already made in achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) may be reversed.
There are growing fears that increasing numbers of women candidates and voters may not participate in the 2011 general elections because of an upsurge in election-related violence.
James Banda, 27, is an unemployed youth although he occasionally is hired to act as a bus conductor at Lusaka’s Kulima Tower Bus Station. He may not have a permanent job, but it is easy to find him. Anyone looking for him just has to go to the bus station and ask. Everyone knows who he is. Banda, or ‘ba-Jay’ as people call him, is a young man who commands a lot of respect from his friends – he is a thug for hire.
With women having achieved little in terms of representation in decision-making positions in Zambia, a national women’s lobby group is hoping to change this in the 2011 general elections.
Despite the adoption almost a decade ago of a national gender policy that aims to ensure fair participation of men and women in the development process, most of the Zambian government’s policies still remain gender blind, say civil society and women's rights associations.
Cellular phones have quickly become a popular and effective means of communication in Zambia, but their use has been concentrated in urban areas. Government and NGOs are now trying to extend these services to rural people.
The impending privatisation of the Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel) is being opposed by civil society organisations and opposition political parties, who accuse the government of lacking transparency in selling one of the last remaining state-utility firms.
Chief justice Ernest Sakala has been accused of colluding with the president’s administration to protect high-profile people accused of corruption. But the Law Association of Zambia has rejected the charges as unfair.
Chansa Kabwela faced a five-year jail sentence when she sent photographs of a woman giving birth, without medical assistance while in the country’s largest hospital, to government officials.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is once again under fire from opposition political parties and some civil society organisations, which accuse it of bias in favour of the ruling party during elections.
When journalists were beaten by political supporters for covering the president’s return trip from abroad, and cabinet ministers and police officers looked on without stopping it, it seemed to be the last straw in the victimisation of the media. But it was not.
Pressure is mounting for a new constitution that is inclusive of all citizens' views as the ongoing delays by the body granted to draft it still continues.
The recent change of the budget cycle to allow government to effectively spend money to develop the country is not good enough unless those in charge of the money are made accountable, say civil society.
The acquittal of former President Frederick Chiluba on charges of theft after a seven-year long landmark case, and the refusal by the Zambian government to appeal, has put government and civil society on a collision course.