Zambia’s government and its banks insist the country’s new taxpayer identification numbers aren’t used to collect additional taxes. But the public’s suspicions about this ID requirement have driven many locals to favor digital transactions, now a booming business.
A new initiative in Zambia aims to connect the police with the public by providing direct phone lines to local police stations. But the phone numbers do little good when callers from unplanned settlements report crimes in progress – and police can’t find their homes.
Zambian banks demand substantial collateral and charge high interest rates for loans, so local women are increasingly turning to informal lending cooperatives, called village banking, for loans large and small. The groups operate on trust, but the high volume of money outside the formal banking sector comes with risks.
Nongovernmental organizations and civil-society groups in Zambia are backing a move to eliminate the possibility of bail for those accused of sex offenses against children. The groups say that bail allows alleged abusers to intimidate their accusers into not showing up in court, to traumatize the children further and to commit more crimes, although those accused of such crimes criticize the practices of police and slow-moving courts in such cases, as well.
Zambia last executed someone in 1997, and neighboring countries have long outlawed capital punishment. Even as courts continue to condemn convicts to death row, many organizations are asking Zambians: Isn’t it time to abolish the death penalty?