Thomas Birch Freeman(1809-1890)- A Role Model

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After the end of the slave trade, the freed slaves left Freetown for Badagry, Lagos and Abeokuta.

The freed slaves, who had been converted to Christianity, met at Abeokuta and reached a consensus that there was the need for missionaries to come down to Nigeria to convert the people.

To achieve this purpose, they wrote a letter to the mission in Freetown , requesting for a missionary. In response to their letter, the mission sent Thomas Birch Freeman, a Methodist to Nigeria.

Birch Freeman was born in England in 1809 to a black Father and a white Mother. In 1837, he arrived West Africa alongside his wife. Not long after his arrival, his wife passed on to glory.

Before coming down to Nigeria, he had established Churches and schools in the then Gold Coast(now Ghana). In 1840, Birch Freeman returned to England and came back with a new wife, who also died shortly after his arrival.

He established a mission in Badagry and converted a lot of people.

Soon afterwards, Birch Freeman moved to Abeokuta and was received by Oba Sodeke and the first Christian service in Abeokuta came up in the palace of Oba Sodeke.

He had to travel to England when he experienced shortage of funds. On returning in 1854, Birch Freeman married an African, who bore him two boys and two girls.

Three years later, he resigned from missionary work to become ”a Civil Commandant at Accra. In 1890, Birch Freeman died at Anamabu, Ghana.

Federal Government And Its Political Appointees Should Cut Their Salaries By 50% as Oyo Has done-Eze(Dr) Anozie

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The Federal Government, Senators, Federal lawmakers and other political office holders have been called upon to review their salaries downward by 50 per cent, as the Oyo state Government has done to its political appointees.

This call was made by the Eze Ndigbo of Ibadan and Oyo state, Eze (Dr) Alex Anozie in a Press Release he personally signed.

”It was good, the wise decision of Oyo state Government, to cut the salaries of Political Office holders by 50 per cent, that is a very big sacrifice coming from the affected officials. I congratulate them for agreeing to make such sacrifice which is in the interest of the state and Nigeria. I am calling on the Federal Government and the Senators, including the Legislators to do the  same, as the Oyo state  Government has done”.

”Let it flow down from the President, to the Senators and Legislators, even the past Presidents and other past political office holders, who are still receiving some monthly salaries or allowances to be slashed by 50 per cent.  By so doing they would be demonstrating practical sacrifice, that would make their fellow suffering Nigerians know that they are also contributing towards salvaging our economy, which is down”, Eze(Dr) Anozie asserted.

Eze(Dr) Anozie, who is also Vice President, Association of Ezeigbos in Diaspora(South) urged Nigerians to be united towards salvaging the  country, saying ”Federal  Government should also intensify  efforts towards looted money recovery.  It is most unfortunate that those  who have been in authority, whom we Nigerians entrusted our wealth and the management of the country into their hands since independence, were the ones stealing the country dry”.

”It is very shameful. It has been from a bad government to a worse government, from the worse government to the worst government. May God help this country, Nigeria, which the world was looking forward to becoming one of the most wealthy and developed countries in the world, the country is now been mocked all over the world”, he concluded.

Boy 19 Arraigned for Purchasing Abortion Drugs for Teenager

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A 19 year old boy has been arraigned before an Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria Magistrate court  for purchasing  abortion drugs  for a 14 year old girl.

According to the Police  Prosecutor, Sgt. Olusegun Kokoye, the accused, Olamilekan Yusuf, 19,  committed the offense on 27 October, 2016,  at  Turner Eradiri Street, in Ajegunle area of Lagos.

Earlier, when the plea of the accused was taken he pleaded not guilty, this prompted the  Magistrate, Mr M.A Etti,  to admit  the accused to bail in the sum of N100,000 with one surety in like sum.

Kokoye had told the court that the accused had slept with the girl, who is his neighbour on several occasions, adding, ” When the accused discovered that his girl friend was pregnant, he convinced her to take abortion drugs, since they were not both ready to cater for a child now”.

“The young girl started having severe stomach pains after taking the abortion drugs and she was also bleeding. The parents of the 14-year-old girl discovered that their daughter was acting strange and was also in so much pain, they decided to take her to the hospital for medical attention”.

“The girl later confessed to her parents that Yusuf, who was responsible for the pregnancy, gave her drugs to terminate it. The case was reported to the police and the accused was immediately arrested,’’ Kokoye told the court”, he told the court.

The Police prosecutor stated that the offense contravened provisions of Section 145 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

Free Maria Chin, Abolish SOSMA!

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We, the undersigned civil society organizations, strongly condemn the detention of the chairperson of Bersih 2.0, Maria Chin Abdullah, on 18 November 2016 for 28 days under the new Internal Security Act (ISA) – the draconian Security Offence (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

We reiterate that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression of the people are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. The Bersih 5 rally had been very peaceful and conducted without any untoward incidents despite repeated violence and provocation from the red shirts before the rally. The act of the police in arresting leaders of civil society movements and opposition parties before they could exercise their constitutional rights is not only mala-fide, but also a blatant abuse of powers in violation of the Federal Constitution.

We are further outraged with the use of the draconian SOSMA against Maria Chin Adullah. When SOSMA was legislated in 2012 to replace the infamous ISA which was abolished after widespread opposition from the people, the government assured the public that the new legislation that gave extensive powers to the police would only be used against terrorists and that “no person shall be arrested and detained for his or her political beliefs and activities.” Those members of parliament that ignored the criticism of the civil society and passed the law should now be held accountable.

Clearly, Maria Chin Abdullah is no terrorist. The use of SOSMA against Maria Chin Abdullah to stop her from leading the Bersih 5 rally, and previously against Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang to stop them from lodging complaints of corruption in 1MDB overseas, have proven that when such a powerful legislation is given to the government, it will not hesitate to use it to cover-up the abuse of powers and corruption in the government.

We reiterate our concerns that the prolonged 28 days of detention under the SOSMA with limited access to legal representation and family is a blatant violation of international human rights laws. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that no one should be subject to arbitrary arrest and detention and that anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to be released.

The 28 days of prolonged detention without judicial oversights such as disallowing the detainees to have access to lawyers and family members will only facilitate the practice of torture, either mental or physical or both.

We condemn the use of a secret detention place by the police in detaining Maria Chin. The use of secret detention center is totally unacceptable in a civilized society. All detention centers must be made public and subject to public scrutiny to ensure that they are operated in accordance to the law and the rights of the detainees.

We are therefore extremely concerned with the mental and physical wellbeing of Maria Chin Abdullah who is being held in solitary confinement in a cell with no windows and where the lights are kept on for 24 hours. Such detention environment is inhumane and constitutes a form of torture under international human rights laws.

We demand the release of Maria Chin Abdullah immediately and unconditionally.

We demand that Maria Chin Abdullah have unlimited access to lawyers and her family members whilst she is still under detention

We demand that the authorities preserve and ensure the mental and physical wellbeing of Maria Chin Abdullah while in detention and that she is accorded prompt medical treatment when required.

We call on the National Human Rights Commission to visit Maria Chin Abdullah regularly at the secret detention place to ensure her rights and wellbeing.

We call upon the Inspector General of Police to be more professional and transparent to uphold the law and demand the government to abolish the draconian SOSMA.

 

Endorsers:

  1. Akademi Belia
  2. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  3. Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)
  4. Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)
  5. Article 19, London, United Kingdom
  6. Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
  7. Baramkini
  8. Bersih Sibu
  9. Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
  10. The Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4)
  11. Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM)
  12. ENGAGE
  13. G25
  14. Greenfriends Sabah
  15. Institut Kajian Dasar (IKD)
  16. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
  17. Japan Graduates Association,Malaysia (JAGAM)
  18. Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)
  19. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
  20. Jawatankuasa Bertindak Kuala Lumpur Tak Nak Insinerator
  21. Jihad for Justice
  22. Johor Yellow Flame (JYF)
  23. Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
  24. Kuen Cheng Alumni Association
  25. Kumpulan Aktivis Mahasiswa Independen (KAMI)
  26. LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
  27. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
  28. Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS)
  29. Malaysian Indians Transformation Action Team (MITRA)
  30. Malaysian Network of Engaged Buddhists
  31. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility (MPSR)
  32. Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
  33. Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN)
  34. Mama Bersih
  35. Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
  36. National Indian Rights Action Team (NIAT)
  37. Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)
  38. One Race – Human Race
  39. Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)
  40. Partners of Community Organizations in Sabah (PACOS Trust)
  41. Pemuda Sosialis
  42. People Welfare And Rights Organisation (POWER)
  43. Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)
  44. Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
  45. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Bahagian Utara
  46. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor
  47. Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia(LiuHua)
  48. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
  49. Persatuan Masyarakat Sel dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
  50. Persatuan Meditasi Prajna Kuala Lumpur & Selangor
  51. Persatuan Penganut Buddha Bodhi Kuala Lumpur (PPBBKL)
  52. Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (RAPAT)
  53. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS)
  54. Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM)
  55. Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kebajikan Dan Persekitaran Positif Malaysia (SEED)
  56. Projek Dialog
  57. Pusat KOMAS
  58. Raub Ban Cyanide Action Committee (BCAC)
  59. Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group (SAWO)
  60. Sahabat Rakyat
  61. Sarawak Access (SACCESS)
  62. Save Open Space, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
  63. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
  64. The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (PROHAM)
  65. Student Progressive Front USM
  66. Student Progressive Front UUM
  67. Sunflower Electoral Education Movement (SEED)
  68. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  69. SUARAM Malaysia
  70. Tenaganita
  71. Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
  72. Tindak Malaysia (TM)
  73. USM Tionghua Language Society
  74. We Are Malaysians
  75. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
  76. Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)
  77. Women Development Organisation of Malaysia PJ branch
  78. Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
  79. Vajrayana Buddhist Council of Malaysia
  80. Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia (YBAM)   Source : Article 19

Social Media and “Fake News” from a free speech perspective

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Recently, Facebook has been blamed for spreading “fake news” and contributing to the election of Donald Trump as the next US president. There have since been calls for Facebook to take action to address the issue and be treated as a media company in this regard. While tech giants hold considerable power over media and civic space, assigning them the mission of sorting out what constitutes “true” information is a dangerous route to take. What’s more, in the complex world we live in, even journalists and other contributors to the news should never be held liable for reporting “fake news” unless they have failed to dedicate reasonable efforts to verify information.

Reactions to the recent US presidential elections or the Brexit referendum are dominated by a sense that facts and rational debate have lost relevance in politics and public discourse. Lies seem to have become the decisive factor in today’s electoral contests. In an effort to preserve whatever is left from the democratic model of society, influential voices have called for a resolute battle to be fought against the viral spread of “fake” stories that infect populations with “dangerous” opinions. However, from the perspective of international law on freedom of expression, the issue of “fake news” must be approached with caution, mindful that prohibition of “fake” or “false” news has often served as an instrument to control the media and restrict editorial freedom.

The real problem with “fake news”

There’s no denying that misinformation exists. Unscrupulous businesses will publish deceitful reports to attract advertising income – to a lesser degree, this is also a preoccupation for certain media outlets that rely on sensationalist headlines. Others might publish lies to influence audiences in the pursuit of other political or economic objectives. In certain circumstances, however, the publication of deceitful information can cause serious harm. It could damage an individual’s reputation, violate their privacy or trigger disastrous collective reactions.

Nonetheless, restrictions on “fake news” are not the appropriate way to deal with these consequences. Existing laws on defamation, legal provisions that protect the right to privacy, and laws on public order that allow police forces to control the possible consequences of public outrage already provide some protection from negative impacts. All of these laws, of course, must respect the requirements of international standards on freedom of expression: in short, they need to be written with clarity to allow individuals to foresee the consequences of their actions, and they must be proportionate to the ill that they seek to counter. Even less restrictive of freedom of expression, the detailed prescriptions of professional ethics and mechanisms of self-regulation such as press councils also serve to encourage media and journalists to publish reliable and accurate information.

By contrast with finely-tailored legislation, any legal prohibition of “fake” news would inevitably create a chilling effect upon the media and anyone that contributes to public debate. Facts are by their nature complex and intricate, to the point that it is truly impossible to avoid slight inaccuracies in reporting. Demanding that journalists only publish reports that are absolutely true would simply be impractical. International case law has indeed recognised that journalists contributing to public debates on topics of general interest have the right to a certain degree of exaggeration or even provocation.

Enacting a legal duty of truth would provide public authorities with a powerful instrument to control journalistic activities: allowing public officials to decide what counts as truth is tantamount to accepting that the forces in power have a right to silence critical voices. Journalists or human rights defenders could be sent to prison on accusations of disseminating untrue statements about alleged wrongdoings by the government. Activists that use purposely misleading information to raise awareness through provocative stunts, such as the Yes Men, or satirical publications, such as The Onion or The New Yorker’s Borowitz Report, would be destined to a similar fate.

Like ‘hate speech’ or ‘terrorism’, the notion of “fake news” is too vague to prevent subjective and arbitrary interpretation. It would not be much reassurance to have private entities like Facebook making these assessments instead of public authorities – not to mention that these businesses may be subject to the influence of non-democratic governments in certain countries where they operate.

Social media and the news

Even if self-regulation and proportionate legislation might be sufficient to deal with cases of false information in the media, isn’t it true that social media platforms create echo chambers that can amplify the noise of fake news to unprecedented volumes? People who use online platforms as their main sources of news are surrounded by stories and rumours disseminated by others who share similar views to them. They lose contact with the vast diversity of opinions and ideas that exist in our complex societies, and they may even lose touch with good old-fashioned, factual reality.

One might first observe that the traditional media sphere has in itself always served as an echo chamber, as mainstream media companies routinely focus on the same few stories of the day. One might also note that the digital age has rendered the verification of facts easier than it ever was: manipulation of digital material can be investigated, and the Internet provides the infrastructure for checking sources and facts. Websites like Snopes or Hoaxbuster even specialise in debunking rumours. One must also acknowledge that social media platforms are incredibly efficient enablers of the individual right to freedom of expression.

But as J. Simon recently wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review: ‘Of course, there are many, many benefits to our current media environment. There is more news and information available more easily than at any time in human history. But there are downsides as well. Not only is it impossible to analyse and process the information, but trying to do so produces collective stress. Scientists studying human behaviour artificially create high-stress situations by bombarding their subjects with information. This environment is now replicated in our daily lives.’

Various ideas are being put forward to address social media platforms’ power over the visibility of media content and their influence on public debates. Tech giants are looking into new ways to verify information: relying on third-party organisations to identify “fake news” and refusing to serve advertising revenue to sources of misinformation. Influential media scholars also encourage social media companies to hire editors, not to produce media content, but, in the words of Jeff Jarvis, ‘to bring a sense of public responsibility to their companies and products.’

These proposals are certainly worthy of consideration, but times of uncertainty require caution: any attempt to deal with the influence of social media on the distribution of information and on public debates should be approached as a learning process for all parties involved. As discussed in our previous blog, this learning process is essential for democratic societies. As a collective experience, these initiatives should be open, participatory and transparent. All stakeholders – media companies, journalists, civil society, academia, and social media giants – should collaborate on projects to build a better understanding of how to address the impact of social media giants on civic space, media pluralism and the diversity of content. Discussions must also focus on the development of appropriate remedies, including solutions to flawed algorithmic processes, to help audiences to spot possible misinformation and ensure users’ exposure to a real diversity of opinions and ideas.

As usual, please share this blog on your social networks: you will help ARTICLE 19 contribute to a better understanding of the right to freedom of expression in the 21st century. And if you do share this piece with 10 of your friends, you’ll be delighted how many good things will happen to you (the 7th good thing will come as a surprise).

Source : Article 19

Nigerians Honour Prof. Olagoke At 60

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Nigerians from all walks of life on Sunday converged on the Shafaudeen International Headquarters, Wakajaye, Ibadan, Nigeria, to honour  Professor Sabitu Olagoke on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

The event, which also featured the launch of a book titled  ‘Disability in Voyage of Life” authored by Prof. Olagoke, had as Chief Launcher, Alhaji Olaniyi Dauda Salami, Chairman ODS Global Investments.

Also in attendance were the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, High Chief Lekan Balogun, the Agbaakin Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oloye Lekan Alabi, former Chief Judge of Oyo state, Hon. Justice Badejoko Adeniji, Olgburo of Ogburo, Oba Sadiq Asimiyu Agboluweje, Oyekan ll, among others.

The peak of the event was the conferment of the title ”Ajagun -Nla in  Islam(The Grand Warlord In Islam, Egbeda Local Government and its Environs) on the celebrant by Alhaji Sheik Alamal Yekeen-Olakeu, President General League of Imams-Alfas, Egbeda Local Government.

Uganda: Govt Failure to Generate Business Irks Parliament

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On Thursday, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah adjourned the House way before 6pm, the adjournment time stipulated in the rules, because the order paper had been largely exhausted.

After debate on the proposal to hire postgraduate medical students from Makerere College of Health Sciences to fill the staffing gaps in Mulago hospital and a statement on Cage Fishing on Lake Victoria by local and foreign investors, there was no substantial business to handle.

Another statement on water weed on Lake Kyoga by the Water minister capped what has for all intents and purposes been an unceremonious week at Parliament.

Voiced frustrations

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and her deputy Oulanyah have already voiced frustrations about the dilly-dallying by government to generate enough business to keep the 10th Parliament in busy session.

In September, Ms Kadaga was forced to send the House on recess because government, the principal producer of work, had failed to generate and table business for Parliament to work on.

Ms Kadaga had vowed to name and shame ministers who dodge Parliament proceedings and leave MPs with an empty front bench to respond to inquiries, but she has since adopted a soft stance.

A report that was compiled by the Clerk to Parliament detailing attendance of ministers was submitted to the Speaker, but Ms Kadaga on Tuesday informed the House that she will determine what action to take with the report.

Under rule 24(1) the Speaker is obliged to give priority to government business with private members’ business given the first two hours of a sitting on every Thursday. The government can generate business by tabling Bills, motions and resolutions. But government has been largely sleeping on the job.

Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa West), who has been acting Leader of Opposition, this week, on Wednesday asked the Prime Minister, also Leader of Government Business, why he has been offending Rule 27 which touches on the matter of House business.

Rule 27 (Statement of Business by Leader of Government Business) states that for every last sitting day of the week [Thursday], the Leader of Government Business shall make a statement in the House regarding the government business of the succeeding week.

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has not presented any such statement in the 10th Parliament, leaving the Speaker and MPs second-guessing what business will be up for debate in the coming week.

The Prime Minister in response said government would propose amendments on Rule 27 to allow more legroom in the tabling of government business.

This rule was premised on the grounds that with MPs informed a week in advance of the pending business, they would have time to research and prepare before debate.

The Clerk to Parliament has also not been respectful of Rule 28 which provides that a weekly order paper, including relevant documents, shall be made and distributed to every member through his or her pigeon hole and where possible, electronically.

Sub section(2) indicates that where the relevant documents referred to in sub-rule (1) originate from a government department, sector or agency, the responsible minister shall avail to the clerk sufficient copies of the documents for distribution to members.

If these two rules were respected, it could also enrich the quality of debate in the House which Deputy Speaker Oulanyah is on record saying in the previous Parliament that the debate was so poor that he no longer bothered to read the Hansard, Parliament’s official record.

“You look at the quality of debate; look at the level of research. Someone just comes into the chambers and starts debating. I used to read the Hansard but I have stopped reading it. We miss the big picture in our debates,” Mr Oulanyah said in the 9th Parliament.

But as things stand, Kadaga and Oulanyah will have to adopt some radical measures to ensure that government and ministers give Parliament business the urgency and priority it deserves. The Speaker can start with naming and shaming absentee ministers.

Bribery claims

And as House authorities grapple with the issue of failure by government to generate business, Aringa South MP Alioni Odria added another spot of bother by dragging the image of Parliament into disrepute.

MP Odria is battling accusations that he tried to solicit a bribe from an accounting officer in return for protection during an appearance in the dreaded Public Accounts Committee.

In an emotive personal statement, Mr Odria denied ever soliciting a bribe, firing back that the accusations were intended to scare him off his ruthlessly approach in dealing with accounting officers with unreliable accountability.

Odria demanded an inquiry into the accusations to clear his name, a demand that the Speaker promised to rule on.

Accusations of MPs lining their pockets just can’t go away. Before the accusation against Odria came to light, Kilak North MP Anthony Akol had lifted the lid over underhand dealings where he claimed that MPs had been bribed with sugar and money to support the controversial motion by the Nakifuma County MP Robert Ssekitoleko seeking leave to prepare a Constitutional Amendments Bill.

It’s about time Ms Kadaga reined in on such tendencies before it’s too late.

Source : The Monitor(Uganda)

Zambia: Mealie Meal Price Skyrockets – 25 Kg = K100 – Fuel May Go Up to K21 Per Litre

Biting economic conditions are sweeping through Zambia with a bag of 25 kg mealie meal hitting the K100 mark in Lusaka.

A survey of locations selling meali4e meal, a form of powder made out of corn and is Zambia’s staple food, show prices swinging between K90 and K100 in urban areas. Reports also indicate the commodity has broke beyond the K100 mark in remote areas.

There are indication a 25 kg is going for between K150 to K200 in North-Western Province. Meanwhile, the price of fuel may go up a month after it was adjusted. This follows a slight increase of the commodity on the market.

According to available information, a litre of petrol may fetch up to K21 prompting an opposition leader to take proactive action by asking the government to reconsider any price adjustment.

IMPENDING INCREASE IN THE PUMP PRICE OF FUEL AGAIN

I humbly appeal to President Edgar Lungu on behalf of fellow Zambians not to increase the Pump Price of Fuel again. I am reliably informed that a decision to increase fuel to K21 per litre has just been made.

Our economy is headed for a recession and taking any action which increases the cost of production exacerbates the situation. UPP is ready to sit down with the government and provide our humble direction on what we ought to do for the sake of our nation.

UPP is scheduled to hold a major news conference by mid November, 2016. We shall write our first official letter to the President immediately after the conference.

God bless you! God bless Zambia!

Saviour Chishimba

UPP PRESIDENT

Source : Zambia Reports