Zambia Association of Obstetricians and Gynaegologists (ZAGO) (A Medical Association) Secretary General, Dr. Ameck Kamanga yesterday said that definition of ‘life begins at conception” should be removed from the draft constitution of Zambia as it was controversial. He called for an amendment to article 28 of the draft constitution emphasis that from a medical perspective ‘conception’ is a term that has no clear definition. He stated that while some interest groups working to restrict women’s reproductive health services define conception as beginning at fertilization, determining the moment of fertilization has no widely accepted biological or medical maker.

He stated that  if Article 28 is passed as it is in the current draft constitution will cause confusion to the practice of medicine especially in relation to reproductive and maternal health. It could lead to restrictions on women’s reproductive health services including emergency treatment and some methods of contraception.

Dr. Kamanga retaliated…

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Homosexuality: It’s time to accept reality

I write this to generate awareness. Below are rebuttals to a few arguments against legalizing homosexuality in Zambia.

What is homosexuality?
Homosexuality is not a sin or immoral by any way. Homosexuals are just people attracted to members of the same-sex. To you, homosexuality may appear odd, but to them, it is completely natural.

An often debated topic is the cause of homosexuality. Is it a choice? Is it genetic? In reality, there is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.
But this discussion is irrelevant and futile. Before being a homosexual, he is a human and thus enjoys a certain set of human rights. The sexual orientation of a human is private and is of no concern to the government, religious leaders or anyone else. Whether a person is heterosexual or homosexual is a private affair and his alone irrespective of the cause for his homo/heterosexuality. The sex lives of ‘consenting adults’ should not be a public matter to discuss upon. I must specially emphasize on ‘consenting adults’.
Frequently people offer arguments which highlight that legalising homosexuality would force us to legalise paedophilia and rape. It’s easy to spot the gaping hole in their argument. Paedophilia is not an act between consenting adults. Neither is rape. But till 2009,homosexuals were considered as criminals. At par with a rapist or a thief.
As a human, a person has all the right to participate in any kind of sexual activity they want, as long as the act is between consenting adults and is done within the sanctity of their bedroom. You may not be homosexual, you may even dislike homosexuality, but to rob a human off his rights is a crime. You do not need to be homosexual, you need to live and let live. A man having sex with a man or a woman having sex with a woman does not infringe upon any of your human rights. Neither does it cause you discomfort nor does it hamper your day to day activities. It does not stop you from leading a comfortable life. It does not cause immorality or social unrest. Legalising homosexuality does nothing other than provide certain humans with the rights they rightfully deserve.

The standard line of homophobic defence is ‘Homosexuality is unnatural’. The meaning of the word has been abused throughout our schooling. Nature, automatically brings up an image of plants in our minds.
But we must not confuse the word nature with environment. Natural is everything that exists in this world without human intervention. That includes planets, starts, supernova explosions, avalanches, earthquakes, migratory pattern of birds etc. Calling homosexuality unnatural just shows how misinformed people are. Homosexuality is very much present in nature. A 1999 review by researcher Bruce Bagemihl shows that homosexual behaviour has been observed in close to 1,500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them. Many species of animals display homosexual behaviour.[3] About 10% of rams (males) refuse to mate with ewes (females) but do readily mate with other rams.
What does a person mean when he declares homosexuality is unnatural? Isn’t artificial fertilization unnatural? Aren’t Caesarean births unnatural? Isn’t ALL form of surgery unnatural in its true meaning? Natural, something that occurs without human intervention. That would rob us off a million other things that wild animals do not do. Clothing, monogamy, spectacles, bio-engineered food, to name just a few.

It is rare to have a debate about homosexuality without a homophobic religious fundamentalist exclaiming ‘GOD HATES HOMOS!’ or ‘Homosexuality is a sin!’. It’s really hard to talk about this without offending any particular religion and I’ll try my best not to do so. Religious nut jobs usually hate homosexuals JUST because it says so in their holy book. No other reason whatsoever. I’ll provide an analogy which I think is apt:
A: Homosexuality is a sin.
B: Why?
A: Because my priest says so.
B: Why?
A: Because it’s written in our holy book.
B: Why?
A: Because God said so.
B: Why?
A: Because god hates homosexuality.
B: Why?
A: I don’t know! He just does!
However, what I’ve come to understand is that people would rather follow a 2000 year old book and the morality of its time rather than grant equal rights to everybody. Most religious fundamentalists are also pick and choose parts of their holy texts against homosexuals. Such cherry picking is just hypocrisy. As if these people know what God really meant and what he did not. That would be claiming to know more than god. Verses about slavery, sexism, rape laws, caste system, polygamy are often ignored by such people. Homosexuality is probably the ONLY topic on which all major religions have a common stand. And that too, unfortunately for this world, on the morally wrong side.
Homosexuality is not a sin. The LGBT community deserves equal rights. Consenting adults have the right to participate in sexual acts in privacy. Whether they have homosexual inclinations is not a Public matter but a private affair one.

Yes, it is true that Homosexual couples cannot bear children but that is no reason to deny homosexuals the right to marry each other. The sole purpose of marriage is not to produce children. With that logic, you would also want to bar infertile and impotent citizens from marrying and are deeming the marriages of childless couples a waste There are many ways in which homosexuals can start a family. Such couples can use artificial fertilization and a surrogate mother. They can adopt children too. Not only does that HELP our society by countering the population explosion, it would also provide countless innocent children, homes. A place where they would be loved and cared for much more than when they were in an orphanage.

It would be equally illogical to say that a child needs both a mother and father for proper upbringing. That would be insulting all the single parents in the world including the widows, widowers, victims etc.
Marriage is an institution. It is a legal contract between two individuals. It grants a person certain rights over his/her spouse e.g. Inheritance, joint-banking, medical insurance, next-of-kin status for emergency decisions to name a few. The fruitfulness of a marriage does not depend on an offspring.

Homosexuality exists and will continue to do so. It is not western culture. Nor is it new age.
Saying “Homosexuality is a western thing” is in fact being a racist. Throughout African history, homosexuality was accepted in some tribes. Lesbians were even believed to possess mystical powers, and in South Africa they acted as traditional healers.
Colonialists are often accused of bringing homosexuality to Africa. Yet they never get attributed with a likelier anthropological truth: introducing penal codes to the continent that outlaw gay sex.
It is actually European missionaries who demonized homosexuality. Politicians also have found gay-bashing a useful way to deflect criticism from unpopular policies. If homosexuality offends Christians so much, is it so difficult to legalise same sex marriage under the Marriages Act of 1994?

Spreading of STDs is a myth which is used as propaganda against homosexuality. Homosexuality doesn’t make you any more vulnerable to HIV or other STDs than a heterosexual. It is a fact that HIV is more common in homosexuals than heterosexuals. But to interpret that as ‘Homosexuality causes HIV’ is being unreasonable and stupid. It would be the equivalent of saying ‘As many terrorists are Muslims, all Muslims are terrorists’. That would be quite shocking and would result in social outcry.
There is a difference in being a homosexual and supporting equal rights for homosexuality. You may not engage in homosexual acts, but to deny the ones that do, of equal rights, is a crime against humanity. Legalising Homosexuality will not infringe upon your life to live peacefully and comfortably. It will not result in innocent men being raped by men. It will not lead to an outburst of public gay sex parties. Homosexuals will not force your children to turn gay. Legalising it will not lead to unrest in the nation. All it would do, is let homosexuals enjoy equal rights and live peacefully. It would allow them to start their own family without being persecuted for doing so. You will live your lives peacefully and so will they. Something they, as citizens are equally entitled to. Love is not calculated. Love is not planned. Love does not take race/creed/religion/sex into consideration. Love is blind. Let us all live, and let live.

Help create awareness and prevent persecution of minorities due to misinformation by sharing this post.

3. Levay, Simon (2011). Gay, Straight, and The Reason Why The Science of Sexual Orientation. Cambridge, Massachusetts:Oxford University Press. pp. 70–71
4. Bruce Bagemihl, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, St. Martin’s Press,1999; ISBN 0312192398

The VLC Media Player and its Powers

VLC is a free fully customizable and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols. Download the latest version.

Don’t just use it for playing movies and songs, it has more to it. Below are among other things it can do.

1]- Rip DVDs: VLC includes a basic DVD ripper. You probably would never use it when there are better DVD rippers available, but it helps to know that you can in fact, get a decent quality DVD rip with VLC. To rip a movie follow these steps: Go to the Media menu and choose Convert/Save. Click on the Disc tab.
* Here you can adjust the Starting Position and rip only specific titles or chapters.
* Enter file name making sure to end with .MPG, and start ripping.
* Click Save.
2]- Record videos: With the new VLC, you can record videos during playback. The record button is hidden by default. To see it, click on View>Advanced Control. The record button will now appear. Clicking on the button while playing a movie or video will start recording. Clicking again will stop recording.
3]- Play RAR files: Do you know VLC can play videos zipped inside RAR files? They play like normal video files and you can even use the seek bar. If the RAR file is split into several files, no problem. Just load the first part (.part001.rar ) and it will automatically take the rest of the parts and play the whole file.
4]- Play in ASCII mode: VLC media player has an amusing ability, to playback movies in ASCII art. To enable ASCII mode, open VLC media player and click on Tools>Preferences. Open the section “Video” section and under “Output” select “Color ASCII art video output” from the drop down menu. Save it. Now play any video file to enjoy the ASCII art.
5]- Listen to online radio: VLC includes hundreds of Shoutcast radio stations. You just need to enable it through Media>Services Discovery>Shoutcast radio listings. Now, open the Playlist and browse through the stations.
6]- Convert Audio and Video formats: In VLC you can convert video and audio files from one format to another. Several different formats are supported like .MP4, .WMV, .AVI, .OGG, .MP3 etc. To access the converter:
* Go to Media>Convert/Save.
* Load the file you want to convert using the Add button and click Convert.
* Now choose the output format and output file location.
7]- Download YouTube and other online videos: First grab the URL of the YouTube video page. Now click on Media>Open Network stream. Paste the URL and click Play.
Once VLC starts streaming the video, click Tools>Codec Information and at the bottom of the window you will see a Location box. Copy the URL and paste it on your browser’s address bar. The browser will now download the file which you can save it to your hard disk. Alternatively, you can record the video.

SIM card Registration

The proposed registration of prepaid subscriber identity module or SIM card through ECT Act of 2009 and statutory instrument No.65 of 2011 on the Registration of Electronic Communication Apparatus, this move whether good or not, lets find out.
This measure is currently being supported by all the 3 Mobile service providers in Zambia i.e MTN, Zamtel and Airtel.

This isn’t new as most people might think. This bill was enacted back in 2009 when Communications Authority was changing its name to ZICTA but was not just enforced on time till now.

According to ZICTA “the registration of SIM is not necessarily a tool for curbing crime but a way in which mobile phone users will be identified, by registering, mobile users will confirm the numbers which they are using”.

I do understand that SIM card registration won’t be our country’s solution from crimes of mobile theft, organised crime and any other acts of lawlessness, but these are still valid reasons for demanding all mobile users to register their SIM cards.
other reasons I feel this is good are
– service providers will have knowledge of customer age groups and will have products suitable for these particular age groups
– it promote responsibility especially in cases where one borrows the SIM card to his friend or relative
– it will ease the process of SIM card replacement in case of damage or loss because the mobile service provider will already have our details and the mobile user will only need to provide proof of identity
– it will be easy to find out how many SIM cards of the same number are registered with each Mobile service provider
– and also the number of SIM cards of the same mobile service provider a particular mobile user has.

The only disadvantages which are likely to come from this are
– breach of privacy (in cases were a mobile users’ details are obtained illegally from the service provider by an unauthorised individual for malicious intent).
– mobile users will not be allowed to check how many SIM cards they have registered in their name, hence mobile user may punished for they haven’t done.

I support this on grounds that adopting the new system will allow for responsibility and order to occur. Anonymity gives criminals, abusers, scammers, spammers power. It may not abolish crimes, but it will curb misuse and abuse — just as an e-mail address is required to use services on the Internet. There have been many scamming attacks lately and I’ve been a victim of unsolicited SMS.

Zambia: The Christian Nation Debate

Zambia is currently in the process of developing a new constitution and one of the most controversial issues surrounding this process is whether the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation in the preamble should be maintained. In 1991, President Frederick Chiluba declared Zambia a Christian nation and the current constitution was amended to reflect the declaration in 1996. This, by the way, is the same Chiluba who was charged of corruption in a London court after stealing millions of dollars of public funds. [1]

Religion or non-religion should not be imposed on anyone but the Christian nation declaration does exactly this. The draft constitution acknowledges that Zambia is a multi-religious, multicultural and multi-racial society but then contradicts itself by only truly acknowledging the Christian majority.

Another major problem with the Christian nation declaration is that it is not factual. Simply stating something does not make it true. The majority of Zambians are Christian but there are also minority religious groups such as Muslims and Hindus. Atheists and agnostics are virtually unheard of but we do exist. If you want to confuse a Zambian bring up atheism or agnosticism. The thought that there are people who do not believe in God or are unsure about the existence of a deity is difficult to comprehend even for the most liberal of Zambians. Zambia may generally be a tolerant nation but the deeply ingrained religious belief and the hostility towards non-religious people means that most of us are not open about our beliefs, or lack of beliefs. The preamble of the draft constitution states that “We, the people of Zambia, in exercise of our constituent power: Acknowledge the supremacy of God Almighty.” This is yet another lie. I am Zambian but I do not acknowledge the supremacy of God or any gods. Zambia needs a constitution that promotes the rights of women and other marginalised groups in society and one that promotes an equitable and just society. Declaring Zambia a Christian nation and declaring God supreme will not bring this about. These are just empty statements.

Even more disturbing than the actual declaration of Zambia as the Christian nation is the fact that draft constitution does not allow criticism of Christianity or anti-Christian practice. Article 35, clause 2, asserts people’s right to “manifest any religion or belief through worship, observance, practice or teaching.” Clause 3 goes on further to say that “this does not extend to anti-Christian teaching or practice.” Christianity (or any other religion) should not be exempt from scrutiny and criticism but this is exactly what this clause calls for. This is an indefensible infringement on the freedom of everyone living under Zambia law.

Even Jesus (if he existed at all) advocated for the separation of Church and state when he said “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (NIV) after being asked whether it was right to pay taxes. This implies a separation of church and state but the Christians of Zambia conveniently ignore this. Separation of church and state is not something that is actively promoted throughout Africa. Recently, the current Zambian president, Michael Sata, stated that he would rule the country based on the Ten Commandments and Catholic doctrine. [2]  Sata has been lauded for this, rather than condemned for using his personal religious beliefs to govern the country. As so much of the Bible, which guides Christians, is incompatible with modern values we should not base any of our laws on Christianity. In order to progress and improve our lives we need to continually scrutinize our values and reject those that do not promote equality and a better life for all. As a former Christian, I rejected the religion once I could no longer ignore the sexism, genocidal religious wars, tolerance of slavery and unjustified homophobia.

When the time comes to accept or reject the draft constitution I will vote against it. That is, no to having the religious beliefs of others thrust upon me and no to having my right to criticise Christianity taken away. When Zambia was first declared a Christian nation, there was an overwhelmingly positive response to this. It is likely that the majority of Zambians will vote in favour of any legislation that gives special standing to Christianity and I will be part of a small minority voting against it. As it stands, non-believers across Africa are despised and scared into silence. Any legal document that singles out a specific religion and declares it more important than others only serves to maintain the current situation for the non-religious in society and for this reason must be rejected. We need laws and policies that are good for all, not just the religious majority.

While this article refers to Zambia specifically, it is relevant for the rest of the African continent as religion prevails over reason throughout. Democratic principles have been adopted throughout the continent but even as this has been done, we still insist on merging them with contradictory elements. Promoting Christianity in the Zambian constitution is just one example of this.

This article was first published by Jo Stephanie on Atheist Alliance International.

Ubuntu 11.04 final

Ubuntu is a fast, secure and easy-to-use operating system used by millions of people around the world. Enjoy the simplicity of Ubuntu’s stylish, intuitive interface. Fast, secure and with thousands of apps to choose from, Ubuntu gives you a clean and streamlined
experience that you can really make your own. And now you can even decide how you want it to look. Simply choose between our new and classic desktop experiences.

Ubuntu works brilliantly with a range of devices. Simply plug in your mp3 player, camera or printer and you’ll be up and running straight away. No installation CDs. No fuss. And it’s compatible with Windows too! So you can open, edit and share Microsoft Office documents stress-free.You can surf in safety with Ubuntu – confident that your files and data will stay protected. A built-in firewall and virus protection come as standard. And if a potential threat appears, we provide automatic updates which you can install in a single click. You get added security with App Armor, which protects your important applications so attackers can’t access your system. And thanks to Firefox and gnome-keyring, Ubuntu helps you keep your private information private. So whether it’s accessing your bank account or sharing sensitive data with friends or colleagues, you’ll have peace of mind when you need it the most. Ubuntu loads quickly on any computer, but it’s super-fast on newer machines. With no unnecessary programs and trial software slowing things down, booting up and opening a browser takes seconds. Unlike other operating systems that leave you staring at the screen, waiting to get online. And Ubuntu won’t grow sluggish over time. It’s fast. And it stays fast. Accessibility is central to the Ubuntu philosophy. We believe that computing is for everyone regardless of nationality, race, gender or disability. Fully translated into 25 languages, Ubuntu also includes essential assistive technologies, which are, of course, completely free. We recommend the Ubuntu classic desktop experience for users with particular accessibility requirements.

How To Speed Up Torrents with Low Seeders

Here’s a ridiculously easy tip to squeeze out as many users as you can on a dead or dying torrent. It’s particularly handy when a torrent stops near the end, and/or the seed count is listed as zero. Having said that, I’ve also noticed that it helps to increase download speeds from healthy torrents, as well.
NOTE: Do not attempt this trick with private torrents – it possibly might get you banned from the tracker. Use this tip with torrents you find at #############

How it works: Simple. Just copy/paste the list of public trackers into your torrent’s tracker list.