Wednesday, August 01, 2018

(COINTELEGRAPH) Overstock Subsidiary Partners With Zambian Gov’t on Blockchain Land Registry

COMMENT - Watch out with these 'title deeds', because the bank ends up owning the land. They know most startups go bust, so they are in it for the land. - MrK

(COINTELEGRAPH) Overstock Subsidiary Partners With Zambian Gov’t on Blockchain Land Registry
By William Suberg

Zambia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the blockchain land registry subsidiary of American retail giant Overstock, the company revealed in a press release July 31.

Under the agreement, Overstock’s Medici Land Governance (MLG) will work with the Zambian government on overhauling land ownership, allowing rural landowners to legitimize their estates and gain access to the financial world.

“Without formal ownership, individuals struggle to obtain access to credit and public services, while governments are limited in their ability to collect taxes, enforce property rights, and plan for economic expansion and innovation,” the release explains, continuing:
“Using blockchain and other technologies, Medici Land Governance […] will create systems to collect and easily secure property ownership information.”

Discussing the Medici venture, the subsidiary’s CEO Dr. Ali El Husseini called its partnership with Zambia “momentous.”
“[The partnership] has the potential to be a real, sustainable game-changer in reducing poverty and supporting economic development on a large scale,” he added.

Blockchain land projects have been underway across the world for several years, the technology offering a promising solution to fragmented paper records and unverifiable claims.

This week, the world’s fourth-largest bank by assets, Agricultural Bank of China, confirmed it had issued a blockchain-based loan backed by land.

Overstock continues to make multiple inroads across blockchain and cryptocurrency-related spheres, despite warnings earlier this year that its share price was suffering and its future could involve upheaval.

The company currently has fourteen ventures in its Medici Blockchain accelerator, to which MLG is the most recent addition.


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Friday, July 27, 2018

(THE MAST ONLINE) Govt has continued to offer farmers slavery maize price, says Mtayachalo

COMMENT - Why does underpaying African farmers for their products sound so familiar? "Last week FRA pegged the maize floor price at K65".

(THE MAST ONLINE) Govt has continued to offer farmers slavery maize price, says Mtayachalo
By Christopher Miti
on July 27, 2018

YOTAM Mtayachalo says the 2018 maize floor price set by the Food Reserve Agency will dampen the morale of the farming community in the country. And Mtayachalo has suggested that government, through FRA, should help small scale farmers sell maize to the international market.

Last week FRA pegged the maize floor price at K65 but this was met with mixed feelings prompting President Edgar Lungu to order a review of the price, describing the current one as not a very fair price. But Mtayachalo, who is FDD national chairperson for labour, stated that the 2018 maize floor price was a mockery.

“The floor price of maize announced by the government through FRA is a mockery to our hard working farmers as the K65 per 50kg bag of maize price offered to farmers for the 2018 marketing season is not commensurate with the prevailing high cost of production in light of high cost of fertilisers, seeds and other auxiliary farming inputs. Further, the general cost of doing business in the country has been escalating at a very alarming rate and as such the agriculture sector has not equally been spared. Therefore, the price of maize will dampen the morale among the farming community and may further discourage them from growing the staple food because government has continued to offer them a slavery floor price which is mostly driven by political motives,” he stated.

Mtayachalo accused successive governments of having manipulated the maize floor price for political reasons.

“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to tell that all successive governments have manipulated the price of maize for political reasons by deliberately offering maize farmers poor prices for their commodity for the sole purpose of providing cheaper mealie-meal on the market, notably for the urban communities at the expense of poor farmers, hence small scale farmers have failed to graduate into higher income brackets since independence because of lack of adequate working capital and mechanisation, job creation and poverty eradication remains a pipe dream,” he stated.
 “It must also be realised that farmers have not equally been spared from the high cost of living in the country, and as such the government which claims to be pro-poor should have taken into account such factors before announcing the floor price of maize in order to motivate the farmers to grow more food for local consumption and export.”

Mtayachalo stated that the floor price might hinder farmers from diversifying.

“Furthermore, the continued poor price of maize offered to farmers may hinder the country from achieving the much preached diversification agenda from mining to agriculture if the government continues to pay lip service to the growth of the agriculture sector. Moreover, about 40 per cent of Zambians are actively engaged in agricultural economic activities. It is therefore important that the government must design deliberate policies in order to trigger growth in the sector if we have to significantly reduce or eliminate poverty which continues to ravage our vulnerable population, especially in rural areas,” he stated.

Mtayachalo also appealed to government to help farmers sell their maize on the international market.

He appealed to the government to consider coming up with a deliberate policy which would see the FRA entering into an agreement with small and medium scale maize farmers for the agency to sell the commodity on their behalf on the lucrative international market, while a certain quantity could be bought at the local price for strategic food reserves.

“I strongly believe that such a move would result into farmers getting real value for their money and stop depending on subsidised farming inputs as they will have the financial capacity to buy their own instead of perpetually depending on the farmer input support programme, which is proving to be a bottomless pit,” stated Mtayachalo.

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(LUSAKATIMES) Lungu does not deserve credit over his maize price review as he created it – JalilaBy Ben Mbangu in Choma on July 24, 2018

COMMENT - The government wants cheap maize, and they don't want to pay for it. They could easily set the cost just below market prices. And give the maize away, turn it into finished goods (bourbon) and make money left right and center. If the government needs to make money at all, because they actually print their own currency. All they have to is keep a reasonable balance between the goods produced and the amount of currency (nowadays: credit) that is around. - MrK

(THE MAST ONLINE) Lungu does not deserve credit over his maize price review as he created it – Jalila
By Ben Mbangu in Choma
on July 24, 2018

CHOMA based human rights activist Bright Jalila says politicising the marketing of crops like maize is greatly affecting the agricultural sector. Jalila said it was cheap politics for President Edgar Lungu to turn around and direct the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to review the marketing price when he was the major problem to the country.

In an interview, Jalila said there was no difference between government and the FRA, because they are one.
“It’s cheap politics for President Edgar Lungu to turn around and direct the Food Reserve Agency to review the marketing price when he is the major problem to the country himself. He creates a problem himself then comes back through a back door and say review this price so that people think he has a good heart for farmers,” he said.

Jalila said the President’s statement did not deserve any credit because it was just mere politicking that had no bearing on the lives of people. He said politicians had impoverished farmers by continually dictating floor price for crops.
Jalila said if farming had to be a meaningful business that transformed people’s lives and the economy, then those involved in it must not lean on government which was controlled by politicians that have no heart for the poor.

Jalila said the system of over politicizing crops like maize was greatly affecting the agricultural sector in the country.
He said government through the FRA had become a monster that only held farmers to ransom. Jalila urged farmers come up with initiatives that could enable them stand on their own without depending on the political direction to favour them.

He said cooperatives that farmers were using to access inputs from government could be used as marketing platforms for their products than waiting upon government to completely finish them off.

Jalila said the PF had completely divorced itself from the path of poverty reduction through the promotion of agriculture owing to its stance to politicise the marketing price of crops. He said soon Zambia would plunge into untold economic crisis if President Lungu continued to play politics especially on maize marketing because farmers might stop producing for business purposes.

Jalila said once farmers considered maize a non-cash crop, that had potential to create food shortages in the country.

And Chief Cooma reminded FRA that its very survival depended on the same farmers the agency was killing through low prices. He said the FRA’s realignment to politics of shifting goal posts every now and then, following politicians in determining marketing price for cash crops had potential to destroy farming in the country.

Cooma proposed K85 per 50kg bag of maize as ideal if poverty was to be addressed in rural areas.

He welcomed President Edgar Lungu’s directive to the FRA to review its earlier announced floor price for maize pegged at K65 per 50kg bag, Cooma said the directive was welcome because it was not good for government to be the one putting the last nail on its people’s lives.

“If poverty levels continue being allowed to increase through failure to protect the available simple means of people making money such as agriculture, then Zambia will be as good as a dead nation. Poor people rely on agriculture and why should government destroy the market? What type of a country is Zambia going to be?” Cooma asked.

He said the cost of living for small-scale farmers was hard and would only change if measures were put in place to safeguard the market of their produce.

The chief said small-scale farmers were at the receiving end because they had no connections for market outside country as briefcase buyers did.

He urged FRA not to involve itself in politics because it would destroy the agricultural sector.

“The other major problem is that FRA here [Southern Province] only buys white maize and farmers who plant other crops like beans have nowhere to sell their products. It is our plea that FRA should start buying other crops as well,” said Cooma.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

(LUSAKA TIMES) Glencore, Majority Owners of Mopani Mines, Subpoenaed by US Justice Department, Shares Tumble

COMMENT - Glencore indicted in US. - MrK

(LUSAKA TIMES) Glencore, Majority Owners of Mopani Mines, Subpoenaed by US Justice Department, Shares Tumble
July 3, 2018191,443 views

Glencore, the majority owners of Mopani Mines has been ordered to hand over documents and records to US regulators related to its operations in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela dating as far back as 2007, sending its shares tumbling 12 per cent.

The Swiss-based mining and trading group led by billionaire Ivan Glasenberg said on Tuesday that it had received a subpoena from the US Department of Justice to produce documents with respect to compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and US money laundering statutes. The records related to the company’s activities in Nigeria, Venezuela and the DRC.

“Glencore is reviewing the subpoena and will provide further information in due course as appropriate,” the company said.

Glencore is the world’s biggest commodities trader, shifting millions of tonnes of metals, minerals and oil across the globe.

The company prides itself on operating in jurisdictions where many of its rivals fear to tread such as the DRC, Africa’s biggest copper producer and home to significant deposits of cobalt.

Traders noted that the DoJ subpoena comes just weeks after Glencore settled a dispute with Dan Gertler, its former business partner in the DRC.

Glencore said it would pay Mr Gertler in Euros so as to not fall foul of US sanctions, which were placed on the Israeli billionaire last year for his “opaque and corrupt mining deals” in the DRC.

At the time Glencore said it did not believe it was necessary to apply for a licence from the US government to pay Mr Gertler because no US person or the US financial system would be involved in the transactions.

It also claimed it has discussed the royalty payments, which it stopped paying in December, with the appropriate authorities in US and Switzerland, where the company has its headquarters.

However, the move unnerved investors and analysts who said the deal would test Washington’s resolve over sanctioned individuals. On the same day Glencore announced its deal with Mr Gertler, the US Treasury department placed sanctions on 14 companies with ties to the Israeli businessman, including the vehicle that will receive the royalty payments from Glencore.

The DoJ subpoena is the latest in a string of problems to hit Glencore this year.

In addition to its legal fight with Mr Gertler, it also agreed to write off $5.6bn of debt in a joint venture with Gecamines, the DRC’s state mining, to end another legal dispute.

The company could also face a bribery probe by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office over its ties to Mr Gertler.

Global Witness, a campaign group, said: “Holding Glencore accountable is a huge step in global accountability more generally. It would set a precedent for companies all over the world who, in many cases, are able to act with impunity in regards to the world’s mineral wealth.”

In early trading on Tuesday, Glencore shares were down 12 per cent to 303p, wiping more than £5bn off its market capitalisation, which now stands at £45bn.
“There is not enough detail in the release to understand exactly what the investigation holds, however with the subpoena covering multiple countries, this would indicate that there is a relatively thorough investigation at hand,” said Tyler Broda, analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

“The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act appears at first investigation to provide subject to sanctions, fines and penalties up to $25m or twice the gain or loss caused by the violation and imprisonment for up to 5 years per occurrence,” added Mr Broda.


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Monday, June 25, 2018

COMMENT - This confirms Glencore/Rothschild's (through Tony Hayward (Glencore non-executive Chair) and his and Nathaniel Philip Rothschild's Vallares) business links with Dany Gertler, who helped the Libyan government of Col. Ghadaffi buy Zamtel through LAP Green and Dany Gertler's RP Capital Partners.


(GLOBAL WITNESS) WHAT PRICE WILL GLENCORE PAY FOR ITS MURKY DEALS IN DR CONGO?
Margot Mollat du Jourdin
Blog / 22 Jun 2018

Last week, mining giant Glencore settled two legal disputes threatening its assets in Democratic Republic of Congo, agreeing to pay hundreds of millions to opaque Congolese state-owned company Gécamines and sanctioned Israeli businessman Dan Gertler. These agreements raise fears that the company is willing to take significant risks and pay any price to safeguard its lucrative copper and cobalt mines in Congo.

The explosive news that Glencore would bypass US sanctions by paying Gertler in euros rather than dollars made headlines across the business press last week. It is hard to see this latest move as anything but a desperate and risky attempt by the Swiss commodities giant to extricate itself from of a mess of its own making.

Since 2012, Global Witness has warned about the risks of partnering with Gertler, a close friend of Congo’s embattled President Joseph Kabila. Yet for years Glencore defended its decade-long partnership with Gertler, ignoring repeated red flags and questions about the commercial justifications for some of their deals. Global Witness has called into question how the commodities trader enriched Gertler and protected his interests in mining deals.

Both Gertler and Glencore have consistently denied any wrongdoing in their business deals in Congo. Despite this, in early 2017 Glencore finally sought to distance itself from Gertler by buying him out of their partnerships in a billion dollar deal. But the relationship didn’t end there; Gertler is still entitled to receive contractual payments called royalties from both of Glencore’s projects in Congo. These are worth around €110m per year from 2019/20 and will continue for the lifetime of the mines.

In December the US Department of Treasury sanctioned Gertler and several of his companies following “hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals” in Congo. This compelled Glencore to halt royalty payments to Gertler, who immediately sued Glencore in London and Hong Kong courts for nearly $3 billion in damages for non-payment of royalties. It must have then become clear to Glencore how difficult it would be to disentangle itself from its Gertler deals.

After a couple of months of out of court talks, Glencore decided to risk the wrath of US authorities and resume paying the royalties, but in euros rather than dollars. The settlement means that Glencore will pump millions of euros into the pockets of an individual accused by the US of bribery and of “acting as a middleman for mining assets” on behalf of Kabila.

The news comes just months before controversial elections in Congo and rumours that Kabila, president since his father’s assassination in 2001, could ignore a constitutional clause that forbids him to stand for a third term. Kabila and his loyalists were accused of manipulating elections in 2006 and 2011; indeed, Congo has not had a peaceful transition of power since independence in 1960. Now, more than ever, Glencore should not be lining the pockets of Kabila’s billionaire friend, as there is a clear risk that money going to Gertler could be used in turn to affect the course of upcoming elections.

This royalties agreement came just days after another less-reported settlement with Congo’s state-owned mining company Gécamines, which had accused Glencore of piling excessive levels of debt on its Congolese subsidiary KCC. Gécamines, which owns 25% of KCC, threatened to dissolve the subsidiary until Glencore found a resolution.

As part of the agreement, Glencore has paid $150m to Gécamines for the “settlement of historical commercial disputes”; so far neither Glencore nor Gécamines has explained the underlying basis for this figure of $150m. This lack of clarity raises real concern that the payment may be no more than an over the table inducement to bring a quick end to the dispute.

Civil society organisations, including Global Witness, have repeatedly exposed Gécamines’ financial mismanagement and alleged corruption within the company. In light of Gécamines’ chequered recent history, it is vital that payments to the company have a legitimate basis and are used transparently. As long as Gécamines’ financial management remains shrouded in secrecy there is a significant risk that the $150m payment may not be used to develop Congo’s mining assets for the benefit of the Congolese people, as it should be.

Albert Yuma, the CEO of Gécamines, recently announced that the state miner plans to review its joint venture contracts with its partners. The Carter Center has extensively reported on how Gécamines signed or re-evaluated scores of contracts in the years preceding previous elections in 2006 and 2011, when conditions were ripe for revenue diversion. Given the context, Glencore should have taken into account the risk that major one-off payments to Gécamines could be diverted for political purposes.

Glencore’s agreements with both Gertler and Gécamines have resolved extremely serious disputes that could have seen Glencore lose its valuable investments in Congo’s copper and cobalt sectors. Glencore is desperate to hold onto these mining projects, and it’s not hard to see why. Cobalt is booming. Congo is the world’s largest supplier of the mineral, which is a vital ingredient in rechargeable batteries, and cobalt’s price has skyrocketed as the electric cars industry has emerged over recent years.

But that does not give companies carte blanche to make whatever payments necessary, to whomsoever necessary, in order to safeguard their investments. Companies profiting from minerals in Congo, like Glencore, must commit to supporting clean and transparent supply chains and take responsibility for any corruption risks involved in the deals they make. We cannot expect the full burden of this to fall on producing countries; all companies in the cobalt industry must take responsibility.

Moreover, Glencore cannot be allowed to get around important US anti-corruption measures and continue to pay Gertler massive royalty fees; unless the US responds by enforcing its sanctions, this sends a dangerous message that huge companies can act with impunity to protect their business interests.


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Saturday, June 23, 2018

(HERALD ZW) MDC gets roll, demands voters’ photos

COMMENT - The MDC wants to know where you live. They don't sound like they like democracy any more than their rhodesian predecessors did. - MrK

(HERALD ZW) MDC gets roll, demands voters’ photos
Felex Share Senior Reporter

MDC Alliance on Tuesday said it had received a copy of the voters’ roll for the July 30 harmonised elections, but immediately demanded photographs of all registered voters to conduct an audit through door-to-door visits. In a bid to cast aspersions on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and undermine the credibility of the polls, MDC-T faction leader Mr Nelson Chamisa, who leads a coalition of seven fringe political parties, insisted the voters’ roll was not final.

MDC-T national deputy treasurer Mr Charlton Hwende said they wanted a voters’ roll with pictures, a request described by observers as an intimidation tactic.

ZEC yesterday said the voters’ roll contained adequate information.
Photographs, ZEC commissioner Dr Qhubani Moyo said, would be used by the electoral body on election day for identification purposes.

“The voters’ roll that we compiled does contain photographs of everyone registered,” he said.
“We are going to use those photographs for identification purposes as the commission during voting day. All stakeholders interested in the voters’ roll have been given a voters’ roll that carries adequate information of the voter in terms of their name, age, ID number and also where they are registered.



Can you imagine what it entails to download a file that has images of 5,6 million Zimbabweans for everyone who wants to go through it? We are convinced as a commission that all stakeholders desirous of the voters’ roll do have adequate information.”

Dr Moyo added: “There has been a number of issues being raised by a lot of people saying when we were registering you made a commitment that our details are going to be purely for election purposes and for us now to be giving every stakeholder those pictures creates problems of confidence amongst citizens who would not have registered had they known their pictures would be given to anyone.”

ZEC availed a final voters’ roll last Friday, which contains over 5,6 million registered voters.
Mr Chamisa, who is under fire from alliance partners after he grabbed parliamentary and council seats reserved for them, said the voters’ roll was not final.

“We’ve now established that the voters’ roll ZEC is issuing is not the final roll,” he tweet- ed.
“Those who ‘registered’ during inspection are yet to be added. ZEC claims it will add them later. So ZEC has given us a voters’ roll it knows is not final. Our response is coming, it will be red.”



In his intimidating tweet, Mr Hwende said: “@ZECzim a final voters’ roll without the pictures of the registered voters is unacceptable. We want the final voters’ role with the pictures so that we can do a physical audit through door to door visits.”
Observers yesterday said the frivolous demands being given by the Chamisa-led coalition showed the party was running scared ahead of the elections.

Senior legal counsel Mr Tendai Toto said: “These are methods and tactics of the rightwing brothers and sisters to scuttle the impending elections.

“The demands interfere with voters’ rights to free choice. The exercise of voters’ roll audit can be used by anybody to intimidate the electorate, campaign for or against, and unnecessarily interfere with people’s privacy.

“How will political parties execute the voters’ roll audit if they interfere with voters’ rights as forestated? It is unfortunate that some of these demands are made without due regard to citizens’ rights.

“Before and after the polls it is possible that harassment, bullying, victimisation and compulsive voting can happen especially when image identities are disclosed and publicised.

“If any political parties or interested parties, stakeholders wish to conduct voters’ roll audit (if they have any such mandate) they must consult the database of their respective registered supporters and conduct the audits.”



Political analyst Mr Tafadzwa Mugwadi weighed in: “They are now resorting to desperate spanner-throwing shenanigans to discredit a credible electoral process, which even their member, Eddie Cross, lauded as the best since colonisation.

“Chamisa and crew have been on the forefront demanding a voters’ roll from ZEC and now that that they have it, they are cornered and are running out of a political message.”
Mr Cross this week said this year’s elections would be the best in 54 years.



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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

(MODERN GHANA) Historical Meeting Between The Kingdom Of Ashanti And The Accompong Maroons In Jamaica

(MODERN GHANA) Historical Meeting Between The Kingdom Of Ashanti And The Accompong Maroons In Jamaica
Diaspora News | 2 May 2016 09:13 CET
By Accompong Maroons

Maroon delegation from left to right: Timothy McPherson, Toni-Ann Williams, Cassandra Wall, Col. Ferron Williams, Opal Dickson-Clarke, Novadean Newsome, Julette Osbourne

Colonel Ferron Williams returned back to the island this weekend with a delegation of Accompong Maroons whom he had led to the Kingdom of Ashanti, Ghana, for a historical meeting with the Asantehene.

Maroon delegation from left to right: Timothy McPherson, Toni-Ann Williams, Cassandra Wall, Col. Ferron Williams, Opal Dickson-Clarke, Novadean Newsome, Julette Osbourne

The Maroon delegation was invited as the Asantehene’s guests of honour during the Akwasidae Festival, which is the Kingdom’s most important celebration. The King of Ashanti, Otumfou Osei Tutu II, described the meeting as being a very important “spiritual re-unification” particularly because the Maroons in Accompong trace their ancestry back to the Akan and Ashanti people. “These are my people, they have come back home,” he said when introducing the delegation.

In addition to meeting with the King, the Maroon delegation was also welcomed by President John Mahama. Colonel Ferron Williams has described the trip as a major milestone in African and Caribbean relations, highlighting the important role that traditional leaders can and must play in achieving an African Renaissance.

Accompong’s Colonel Ferron Williams (left) meeting Ghana’s President John Mahama

During the three-day official visit, the Accompong Maroon delegation enjoyed several sites, among which was a tour of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park & Mausoleum as well as the Cape Coast Slave Castle.

In addition to the cultural re-unification between the Accompong Maroons and the Kingdom of Ashanti, the visit also ventured into the economic sphere. Accompong’s Minister of Finance, Timothy Elisha McPherson Jr., signed a trade agreement with the Kingdom of Ashanti that would establish a new era of pan-African cooperation on various fronts, particularly in the area of climate change mitigation and renewable energy finance. Minister McPherson said, “Accompong’s climate change initiative has become the driving force behind all of our current activities.

We created the Central Solar Reserve Bank of Accompong as a unique and modern institution to facilitate renewable energy finance, and now through this trade agreement we will be granted access to our ancestral land of Ghana as well as the whole ECOWAS region. So this is truly a great step for Accompong both on the economic and cultural front”.

Colonel Ferron Williams described the trade agreement as a landmark event not only for the Accompong Maroons but for the whole Diaspora. He said, “we are oldest sovereign Africans in the Western hemisphere, and it is very appropriate that this agreement be established with us. We do this in honour of our ancestors who fought for our freedom.”

Established in 1738-9 through its peace treaty with the British, the Accompong Maroons are the only Maroons in Jamaica who still have full sovereignty. The community is committed to a transformation from a cultural historic relic into an economic force within the pan-African Renaissance.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

(GUARDIAN UK) Maasai herders driven off land to make way for luxury safaris, report says

COMMENT - This is what happens when there are no limits on what politicians can 'sell' from under the feed of the people of the country under neoliberalism/globalisation.

(GUARDIAN UK) Maasai herders driven off land to make way for luxury safaris, report says
Tanzanian government accused of putting indigenous people at risk in order to grant foreign tourists access to Serengeti wildlife

Jonathan Watts Global environment correspondent
Thu 10 May 2018 11.00 BST Last modified on Thu 10 May 2018 11.02 BST

The Tanzanian government is putting foreign safari companies ahead of Maasai herding communities as environmental tensions grow on the fringes of the Serengeti national park, according to a new investigation.

Hundreds of homes have been burned and tens of thousands of people driven from ancestral land in Loliondo in the Ngorongoro district in recent years to benefit high-end tourists and a Middle Eastern royal family, says the report by the California-based thinktank the Oakland Institute.

Although carried out in the name of conservation, these measures enable wealthy foreigners to watch or hunt lions, zebra, wildebeest, giraffes and other wildlife, while the authorities exclude local people and their cattle from watering holes and arable land, the institute says.

The report, released on Thursday highlights the famine and fear caused by biodiversity loss, climate change, inequality and discrimination towards indigenous groups.

Losing the Serengeti: The Maasai Land that was to Run Forever uses previously unpublished correspondence, official documents, court testimonies and first-person testimony to examine the impact of two firms: Thomson Safaris based in the United States, and Otterlo Business Corporation based in the United Arab Emirates.

It says Thomson’s sister company, Tanzania Conservation Limited, is in a court battle with three Maasai villages over the ownership of 12,617 acres (5,106 hectares) of land in Loliondo which the company uses for safaris.

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One Maasai quoted in the report said Thomson had built a camp in the middle of their village, blocking access. “Imagine, a stranger comes and constructs a big building in the centre of your home,” reads the testimony. “Our livestock cannot go to the waterhole – there is no other route for the villagers or their livestock.”

The report says villagers have been driven off, assaulted or arrested by local police, park rangers or security guards.

The restricted access to land has made the Maasai more vulnerable to famine during drought years, the report says, noting appeals that locals have made for the government to change policies because of growing numbers of malnourished children.

A Maasai villager contacted by the Guardian said access remained blocked and that uniformed agents had beaten, threatened or tied-up and driven off pastoralists, as recently as December.

Thomson strongly denies these accusations. It says Tanzania Conservation Limited employs 100% Maasai staff, allows cattle on the property to access seasonal water, and works with local communities and the government to conserve the savannah, improve access to water and formulate a sustainable grazing policy.

The company blames past conflicts on NGO activists who they say stirred up villagers and led to staff being assaulted by young warriors armed with clubs, spears, knives and poison arrows.

“These interventions have been played out to attract attention, provide stories, and to disrupt the working relationship between company and communities on the ground,” Rick Thomson, a director of Tanzania Conservation, wrote in an email to the Guardian. “In these events the endangered staff have a protocol of disengaging any way they can to avoid escalation, and reporting to the authorities any situation where any people and property, are physically threatened. These situations have been rare and no such events have occurred for the last four years.”

He said the company was not connected to government evictions of illegal residents in the national park, which is reserved for wildlife.

The report also claims Maasai have been driven off land as a result of government ties with Otterlo Business Corporation, which organises hunting trips for the royal family of the United Arab Emirates and their guests who fly into a custom-built landing strip in Loliondo.

Since Otterlo was first granted 400,000 hectares of land for hunting, the government has mounted successive eviction operations.

The company has warned the area needs greater ecological protection because herds are increasing while water sources are drying up due to climate change.

Despite past government promises that the Maasai would never be evicted from their land, the report notes Serengeti national park rangers burned 114 bomas (traditional homes) in 2015 and another 185 in August of last year. Along with other demolitions, local media report more than 20,000 Maasai were left homeless.

Maasai protests, an international outcry and domestic allegations of corruption have forced a reconsideration of this policy. In November 2017, the tourism minister revoked the hunting licence of Otterlo, suspended the state director of wildlife, and ordered investigations into the links between foreign firms and former officials.

But the authorities appear divided. Locals told the Guardian this week that Otterlo continues to operate safari tours in Loliondo to the detriment of villagers.

A tourist takes pictures of Maasai villagers.
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A tourist takes pictures of Maasai villagers. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
Lawyers representing the Maasai communities in a court claim over the land said the policies of the government were tilted towards foreign tour companies.

“The evictions are not justified because more and more land is being taken away from the villages without due process or compensation even though they have legal titles,” said lawyer Rashid S Rashid. “The policies of the government are based mainly on the arguments advanced by Thomson and Otterlo because they have more political influence than the villagers.”

The report’s authors say the problem dates back to the era of British rule. From then onwards, Maasai have been steadily dispossessed of land on the Serengeti. They urge the government to take urgent action to alleviate the risk of famine, establish a new model of land titling and an independent inquiry into disputes over ownership.

“Without access to grazing lands and watering holes, and without the ability to grow food for their communities, the Maasai are at risk of a new 21st-century period of emutai (eradication),” said Anuradha Mittal, the director of the Oakland Institute. “But it does not have to be this way. Unlike the emutai of the 19th century, the hardships and abuses currently faced by the Maasai can be halted.”

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Sunday, April 01, 2018

(THE MAST ONLINE ZM) M’membe is SP’s 2021 presidential candidate

“It’s either socialism or death and we are choosing socialism. Zambia has become completely capitalistic, the ruling elite is a mere conveyor belt of capitalism, and these conveyor belts receive kick-backs from the capitalists. No change should be expected from today’s elite, we must actually stop them. We must stop the ruling elite from ruining our country and that is our mandate and that is why we are here. We shall never surrender until victory becomes possible,” said Dr Musumali.

(THE MAST ONLINE ZM) M’membe is SP’s 2021 presidential candidate
By Tobias Phiri
on March 31, 2018

THE Socialist Party has announced that former Post Newspapers editor-in-chief Fred M’membe is their presidential candidate for the 2021 general elections.

Speaking during the launch of the party in Lusaka, Socialist Party deputy general secretary Dr Cosmas Musumali said the majority of Zambians were in desperate poverty, which he said his party was resolved to end once voted into office in 2021.

He pledged that his party would transform the country once ushered into office.

“With this launch, we are declaring our total commitment and undivided attention to transforming Zambia along socialist lines in 2021. For the time being, to spearhead this process, I will serve as the party’s general secretary. And then we have Comrade Fred M’membe who will serve as deputy general secretary. Comrade Fred M’membe is also suggested as our presidential candidate for the 2021 elections,” Dr Musumali said.

“2021 comrades, you are getting state power. We commit and dedicate ourselves to solidarity with oppressed people wherever they may be, including beyond our artificial boundaries.”

Dr Musumali said the formation of the Socialist Party was based on the cries of the people from around the country.

“The party was finally registered on 16th October 2017 [and] we have since embarked on a campaign to recruit members to set up structures in all corners of our country and the birth of our party is a direct response to very strong and clear calls from the people across the boundaries of Zambia to chart a call out of capitalism. You will see a dramatic change in the Zambian politics starting from today, we will not compromise in terms of our principles…change must come,” Dr Musumali said.

“The majority of Zambians today are destitute, poverty has increased and the living conditions of Zambians are very desperate. The system that we have blindly glorified so much has never been and shall never ever be a system that will emancipate the poor from want. Capitalism is inherently a corrupt system that strives on greed and exploitation of the masses to benefit a few.”

He stated that the current government was corrupt and no change should be expected from them and they must be stopped before they destroy the country.

“It’s either socialism or death and we are choosing socialism. Zambia has become completely capitalistic, the ruling elite is a mere conveyor belt of capitalism, and these conveyor belts receive kick-backs from the capitalists. No change should be expected from today’s elite, we must actually stop them. We must stop the ruling elite from ruining our country and that is our mandate and that is why we are here. We shall never surrender until victory becomes possible,” said Dr Musumali.

And addressing Socialist Party members who turned up in numbers for the event also attended by Cuban Ambassador to Zambia Nelson Pages, Dr M’membe said the only hope for the Zambians was socialism because capitalism was only taking turns while changing shape exploiting the people.

“They say chameleon achinja fye colour but inkanda imo ine; a chameleon changes colour but the skin remains the same. That is how all exploitative systems are, that is how capitalist exploitation is. As long as capitalist exploitation is not totally uprooted, eradicated it, will just change form and all its evils will remain \ intact,” Dr M’membe said.

He recalled how over 120 years ago, Mpezeni’s son, Nsingu, the commander of the Ngoni forces, was assassinated for resisting capitalist takeover by Cecil John Rhodes.

“In December 1897, the British forces stationed at Kota Kota in Malawi attacked the Ngoni people for refusing to hand over their land so that Cecil Rhodes’ companies could prospect for and mine gold in the area…Capitalism kills, steals, subjugates and humiliates. It killed Nsingu and his 10,000 young Ngoni fighters, it stole their cattle and imprisoned and humiliated Mpezeni in order to exploit, subjugate, colonise them,” stated Dr M’membe.


“Many things seem to have changed since then, but the fundamentals, the key things remain intact – our people are still being killed, robbed of their land and minerals, neocolonised by capitalism, its enterprises and states…It is a struggle we have to continue in honour of commander Nsingu and his fighters; it is a struggle we have to wage for the future generations of this nation and indeed for our own liberation from today’s capitalist exploitation, subjugation and humiliation. Just as Nsingu and his comrades chose to die from Maxim-guns and Seven-pounders than to live under capitalist exploitation, subjugation and humiliation, we today commit ourselves to a struggle without respite against capitalism and for establishment of a more just, fair and humane society in our homeland. It is socialism and only socialism that can truly free our people, Nsingu’s people and homeland and all humanity from capitalist exploitation, subjugation and humiliation.”

Dr M’membe has been playing a background role in the political arena until last week when the Socialist Party announced his active involvement in their party and the subsequent announcement of his intentions to run for presidential office in 2021.


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“It’s either socialism or death and we are choosing socialism. Zambia has become completely capitalistic, the ruling elite is a mere conveyor belt of capitalism, and these conveyor belts receive kick-backs from the capitalists. No change should be expected from today’s elite, we must actually stop them. We must stop the ruling elite from ruining our country and that is our mandate and that is why we are here. We shall never surrender until victory becomes possible,” said Dr Musumali.



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Friday, March 09, 2018

(FIN24 SA) Michael Bloomberg tells SA: Inaction on inequality could lead to uprising

COMMENT - Land has to be redistributed to get the South African economy going in a way that is meaningful to the people who live in it. - MrK

(FIN24 SA) Michael Bloomberg tells SA: Inaction on inequality could lead to uprising
Mar 08 2018 10:56 Carin Smith

The 8 billionaires who own the same wealth as 3.6bn people

Cape Town - "Income inequality is a problem. If you don’t do something about it, they will set up the guillotines. Marie Antoinette's life did not end well."

That's what Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and regarded as one of the richest people in the world, told a Cape Town audience on Wednesday during an an event with the theme "The Future of South Africa", hosted by Bloomberg LP.

"People take money from the rich and give it to poor for selfish reasons. We don’t want them to set up guillotines, but people want jobs. It is about self-esteem," he said.

Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York, said the three biggest things people worry about in the world at the moment are climate change, then a possible nuclear war and then technology replacing jobs, according to Michael Bloomberg.

"How do you create jobs in a world where it is easy to automate jobs which are easy to train people for? The future is scary and people worry that something will be automated and take their jobs."

READ: The 8 billionaires who own the same wealth as 3.6bn people
Growing employment

Investec Group CEO Stephen Koseff said during a panel discussion at the event that one "can get frightened when listening to Julius Malema talking to 80 000 people in a stadium".

He said it is very important for business to help uplift communities so people can get to the point of looking after themselves. This would reduce social grants.

"Growing the employment base is critical. Reducing poverty is key," said Koseff. Yet, he pointed out that there will always be some form of inequality as one will always have some people doing better than others.

Richard Brasher, CEO of Pick n Pay, said during the panel discussion at the event that, "if the youth has the will, industry can give them skills. They must, however, know that they need to work hard and be disciplined and then they need an opportunity.

READ: Youth vulnerable as unemployment stays at highest rate since 2003
Multiple approach

Magda Wierzycka, CEO at Sygnia asset management, said during the panel discussion that there must be a multiple approach to SA's economic growth.

"Business and government need to come to the party. Don’t rely on the international community. For instance, a lot of money can be deployed in infrastructure programmes," she said.

"Make a law, for instance that 5% of pension fund investments must be in infrastructure. That should accellerate deploying money already in the country into projects that create jobs. I think with the new optimism in the country people will be more willing to do this."

She said a sound process and system are needed and the confidence that money invested will not be wasted or stolen.

She would also like to see SA give tax breaks to lure international technology firms to come here.

"Make it easy to import skills to the country. These skilled people can be used to train our own youth," she said.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

(THE MAST ZM) Haabazoka calls for repossession of mines

COMMENT - On a small note of disagreement, I don't agree with prof. Haabazoka about economic targets if that means 5 year plans, and I don't think PAYE is a great idea, however those are just two prescriptions that I think there are more modern variations to. It is unacceptable that the mines, for instance through the illegal practice of transfer pricing, declare a loss year in and year out, or that dividends are not paid to ZCCM-IH, which today is a holding company with a very conflicted board of directors. They also neglect to collect dividends from the mines. I completely agree that the mines should be state owned. And there should be cheap credit for small businesses, farmers, consumers - official lending rates are prohibitive and have been for decades.

1. CopperCoin

How about a local crypto currency backed by copper?

https://www.themastonline.com/2018/02/23/iran-russia-consider-own-cryptocurrencies-after-venezuela-success/

2. Drought proofing farmland

Which can probably be promoted under the banner of combating the effects of climate change. The army probably has enough equipment to train recruits, a skill that can carry over into civilian life. And prevent the yearly flooding by storing water in the soil.

https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/2016/11/27/brad-lancaster-with-warren-brush-co-water-for-every-farm-earthworks-for-resiliency-in-an-era-of-drought-april-5-8-2017-hyder-az/

Brad Lancaster learned a lot from the Zimbabwean dry land water pioneer Mr. Zepheniah Phiri Maseko.
https://permaculturenews.org/2016/07/28/evolutions-mr-phiris-water-harvesting-plantation-1995-2016/

There are a lot of things that can be done in agriculture, manufacturing and education.

3. Manufacturing from locally grown agricultural products

How to make a HQ handmade Cigar
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohVnoo2DC0g
Notice the prices
https://www.jrcigars.com/

Turning maize surpluses into storeable and exportable distillates, which would also help create a permanent market for maize surpluses for local farmers:

How to
http://www.whiskeyprof.com/basic-distilling/
Bourbon sells for $4,000 to $15,000 per barrel
https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnmccarthy12/2017/04/04/how-to-buy-a-barrel-of-bourbon/2/#7f985b681bfb

4. Horticulture

There are crops that can be grown besides maize and that have a very high return or are labour intensive.
https://modernfarmer.com/2017/07/5-valuable-crops-can-grow-us-grow/

If a market for small to medium sized farms is created, there has to be technology developed to meet their needs, rather than technology for giant corporations. The universities can be of help here. For example:

Quick Cut Greens Harvester (Official)
Farmer’s Friend
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPIfw5_WoLU

5. Redistribute land

" The Northern Rhodesia (Native Trust Land) Orders-in-Council of 1947 created Trust Land as a result of pressure from the white settlers who demanded security on the land they occupied. Trust Land constituted about 58%. This was actually an extension of crown or state land to 64% while the reserve land for the local people was reduced to 36%. "
http://maravi.blogspot.com/2017/12/land-reform-in-zambia.html

6. Universal Basic Income

This is how you really stimulate the economy:
https://twitter.com/MrK00001/status/827872456035663872

There has to be a serious discussion about the end of 'jobs' which is universal, including in mining, a relentles tide caused by automation and innovation. People still need incomes, even without jobs. There has to be a concerted effort to eliminate poverty.

7. Democracy

The government has to do what the people want it to do. No more capture by the IMF, or corporations. Major decisions have to be put to a referendum - taking on debt, negotiating trade deals, going to war, etc. This is the only way to prevent rogue governments. It should be illegal for NGO's to take money from for instance Freedom House or the Open Society Foundations.

- MrK

Haabazoka calls for repossession of mines
By Chambwa Moonga on February 21, 2018

ECONOMIST Lubinda Haabazoka says Zambia’s mines ought to be under government ownership because the current model of private ownership is a failure.

And Dr Haabazoka, who is a University of Zambia (UNZA) lecturer, has noted that the current trend where Zambians are being over-taxed by authorities will not culminate into development for the country.

Speaking on The Assignment programme on Muvi TV on Sunday night, Dr Haabazoka inferred that mines under the current ownership model were not substantively contributing to Zambia’s economy.

“What we need to do [is that] the current model of mines being under private ownership is a failure. I don’t know how much taxes the mines are paying but when you look at ZCCM (Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines) in 1991, it made net profits of US$191 million. When you look at the mines from 1998 to today, all the taxes put together that they have paid are less than US$191 million! They (mine owners) are always saying ‘we are making losses’. So, they have failed. We need to get the mines under ZCCM again,”

Dr Haabazoka noted.

“Foreign investors can come and build malls, they can come and build factories – build motor vehicle manufacturing plants, we are not against that. But they should not run the mines! The mines should be under government. I’m a capitalist but also I’m for a mixed economy and I borrow from Russia… Look at our mines! Cobalt, I think, is selling over $40,000 per tonne. But where is that money going to? You cannot be running a shop for 15 years and continue making losses.”

He recalled that under ZCCM ownership, mines did more in terms of corporate social responsibility.

“When my father was a mine captain…my father just went up to equivalent of Grade seven. Our grandfathers and fathers took over the mines when the former president Kaunda was in charge. We didn’t have educated people but ZCCM built schools, roads, clinics and all the infrastructure that was on the Copperbelt,” Dr Haabazoka said. 
“FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) for Zambia, for example, contributes huge amounts of foreign exchange inflows but unfortunately there are very few countries that have developed using FDIs. A foreigner cannot come and develop your country – they can bring in new technologies.”

And Dr Haabazoka pointed out that Zambia seemed not to know where it was going.

“You need to have targets which you need to reach and those targets are beyond single digit inflation, stable exchange rate. Those [targets] are basically that of revolutionalising the way you do things; major success stories of economic development, the South Korean example, the Japanese example, Singapore, even the Rwandan experience – those are things that basically you can see going on where everyone in the nation has put their hands together and are moving the country forward,” he said.

“At the moment, we don’t know what we want to achieve; do we want just to merely stabilise macro-economic indicators? Do we want to continue accumulating debt? Are we infrastructural wise? Where is our youth policy? Where are we going? What is happening to our manufacturing industry? What of our mineral wealth? How is economic development happening?”

Haabazoka added that from independence, Zambia’s government knew that it wanted massive investments and that it created its own manufacturing industry as well as enhancing infrastructural development.

“[But] from 1991 we lost it until 2001 when we stabilised the damage that was caused…by the huge debt that we had. Mwanawasa’s period was much more of a stabilising period, trying to get rid of the debt. In my opinion, now we should have that economic development that is aimed at trying to reduce…. We have gone back; from stabilising and reducing our debt to US$600 million, we started accumulating it after 2011 and now we are in massive debt. Now, we are supposed to start doing what we were doing from 2001 – stabilise issues so that in the future we start growing,” Dr Haabazoka said.

“As a country, we are hugely divided; the country basically is divided into red and green – tribal divisions! Everything that happens in the country people see it through political lenses, through surnames of individuals – there is a lot of disunity. People might disagree with me but basically that is what is obtaining.”

He also regretted that Zambians only spoke of economic diversification when copper prices were below $4,000 per tonne.

“When you look at economic diversification per se, you need both government and citizens to actively participate in it. First of all, you have to say what it is that we are dependent on. You are going to choose the mining industry. [But] can we use the mining industry to diversify our economy? Yes, we can!” Dr Haabazoka said.

He also observed that Zambians had fallen in love with money.
“I don’t know where that has come from. When you call a Zambian to come and do something, they are going to charge…. Some people even charge $500 per hour just to come and help solve the drainage…,” Dr Haabazoka observed.

Meanwhile, Dr Haabazoka noted that what was currently obtaining in the country’s economy could not propel Zambia to development.

“We cannot develop an economy on high taxes. There is no country in the world that has taxed its way into development. The current regime can change things, there is still time. They can actually do it within one or two years. But they have to do the following;
give a breather to citizens. There is no way you can be charging toll fees at K20 per motor vehicle. In a K20, a person on the street can buy pamela (rationed mealie-meal pack), eggs and make lunch for their family. Give a breather [because] there is no way you can tax your way into development,”
said Dr Haabazoka.

“The current Minister of Finance should bring back the Pay As You Earn to 35 per cent. Actually, 28 per cent is the best rate or most optimal tax for the current situation. You are going to see increased economy growth in the future. Those days if on a Saturday you went into a hardware shop, it will be packed. But nowadays you are just a few of you and it’s not because people don’t want to build; there is no disposable income [and] this is not politics. I’m just saying what is on the ground!”

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

(BLF) Western Cape says voetsek Johann Rupert, we are coming for our land!

COMMENT -

BLF Western Cape says voetsek Johann Rupert, we are coming for our land!
POSTED ON FEBRUARY 13, 2018 BY BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST
BLF Western Cape says voetsek Johann Rupert, we are coming for our land!

Black First Land First Western Cape (BLF-WC) is not phased by Johann Rupert’s tantrums. Rupert continues to use courts to interdict BLF from the land that his family stole from the black majority. The vexatious interdicts are meant to intimidate and dissuade BLF from exercising its mission, which is to expropriate land from the likes of Rupert who continues to hoard our land and farms, while we, the landless black masses, continue to be landless, starved and hungry.

The land thief, Rupert, is clearly shaken by BLF as proponents of radical economic transformation, in particular, our strong belief in land return without compensation.

Today, 13 February 2018, the Western Cape High Court – Court Room 16, heard the matters which include 10 farms which the land thieves wish to interdict black landless masses from. The matter will return to the High Court on 27 February 2018.

Included in the list of farms are:

Hanneli Rupert’s LA Motte, which was recently set on fire. Hanneli Rupert is Johann Rupert’s daughter.

Denneguer, which BLF visited last year.

Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons. We know that Rothschild is the evil white family which former Finace Minister, the sellout Trevor Manuel, represents and works for.

The High Court refused to lift the interdicts against BLF. We accept this but we say the interdict is only for BLF members but other landless black people are free to occupy the farms.

These interdicts and court appearances are very expensive and as poor black people, we do not have the means to oppose them all. We will consult and make a decision on the best way to advance the struggle for land prior to the next court date.

Land thieves are using the courts to illegally remove President Zuma and they are also using the courts to stop black people from reclaiming the land which was stolen.

Like President Zuma, we are constitutional delinquents, and we are not afraid of these courts which seek to maintain our landlessness!

Land or Death!

ISSUED BY THE PROVINCIAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST WESTERN CAPE (BLF-WC PCC)

13 February 2018

Contact Details

Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com

Ncedisa Mpemnyama
(BLF-WC Chairperson)
Cell: +27 73 110 0334

Feziwe Sigqumo
(BLF-WC Secretary General)
Cell: +27 84 953 3374

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(THE PATRIOT ZW) The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe (1890-2010)…economic sanctions depreciate Zim dollar

COMMENT - On how ZDERA and other sanctions were intended to devalue the Zimbabwe Dollar, which is another routine demand made by the IMF/WB of every country in the world. The Zimbabwe Dollar was destroyed by a credit freeze - financial manipulation by the Rothschild controlled IMF/WB. - MrK

(THE PATRIOT ZW) The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe (1890-2010)…economic sanctions depreciate Zim dollar
By The Patriot Reporter - February 8, 20180108
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By the year 2003, inflation had risen to 500 percent, peaking to hyperinflation figures by 2007, with prices rising more than 50 percent every month, writes Dr Felix Muchemwa in his book The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe (1890-2010) that The Patriot is serialising

BY July 19 2002, the Zimbabwe dollar had depreciated by more than 160 percent against the US dollar on the parallel market, and inflation stood at 144,2 percent (Zimbabwe Independent, Nov 15 2002, p.B1).

By the end of 2003, it was well over 500 percent.

Meanwhile, it was widely known in financial circles that the Minister of Finance, Dr Simba Makoni, had made it clear to the Cabinet that the Zimbabwe dollar was highly over-valued and that Zimbabwe should normalise its extremely tense relationship with international financial institutions, in particular, with the IMF, in order to get emergency balance of payment support for the local economy.

Together with the Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Tsumba, Makoni had, in mid-July 2002, proceeded to highly recommend the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar to the Zimbabwe Cabinet Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, chaired by President Robert Mugabe. (Fingaz, July 4-10 2002, p.1)

On the other hand, the Zimbabwe Cabinet, in particular its chairman, Cde Mugabe, was too well aware that the IMF had, from 1999 to 2002, imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe due to the Land Reform Programme and was also insisting on the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar as a condition for the disbursement of the balance of payment support. (Fingaz, October 30 2002, p.6)

Most Cabinet members were also equally aware that Zimbabwe was under financial and economic sanctions intended to depreciate the Zim dollar, the very point underlined by ZDERA Sections 4 (C) (i) and (ii) and 4 (D) (i) and (ii) whose objective was a total reversal and disbandment of Zimbabwe’s compulsory Land Acquisition and Land Reform Programme. (ZDERA, December 21 2001)

The Zimbabwean Cabinet, in particular its chairman, could therefore not understand how a Finance Minister and a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, with full copies of the ZDERA sanctions documents on their desks could ever recommend the devaluation of the Zim dollar, which in any case was already being devalued almost every second by ZDERA (2001).

It was, therefore, not surprising that when President Mugabe opened the third session of the Fifth Parliament of Zimbabwe in August 2002, he used extremely strong words against the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

He said: “Devaluation (of the Zim dollar) is dead” and he went on further to say that those who advocated devaluation ‘were saboteurs and enemies of the state’. (Zimind, August 9 2002, p.16)

President Mugabe proceeded to form a new ‘War Cabinet’, and Dr Makoni was not included.

Instead, his portfolio was taken over by Dr Hebert Murerwa. And, the biggest challenge confronting the ‘War Cabinet’ was ‘inflation’ due to the declining foreign currency inflows and the dwindling gold reserves which would otherwise stabilise the Zimbabwe dollar.

By the year 2003, inflation had risen to 500 percent (Richardson, p.542), peaking to hyperinflationary figures by 2007, with prices rising more than 50 percent every month. (Scoones et al, 2010: p.26)

The trend continued through 2007 and towards the end of 2008, it peaked at 231 000 000 percent. (Chimhowu, 2009)
The hyperinflation wiped out any value of any cash in hand for all levels of workers and any savings deposited in banks.
Cash transactions became more and more difficult, including the purchase of foreign currency.

Products became scarce amidst mushrooming black markets and, barter deals became more common. (Scoones et al, 2010: p.26)
Suprisingly, Zimbabwe’s GDP declined by only 40 percent between 2000 and 2008. (Blacking and Sachikonye, 2008)

In 2008, the UNDP gave a completely deliberate false report when it asserted that:

“Zimbabwe’s inflation is fundamentally caused by excess Government expenditure, financed by the printing of money in an economy with real GDP that has been declining for the last 10 years. Money supply growth has been completely decoupled from economic growth and the inevitable result being continued and accelerating inflation.” (UNDP Report, 2008)

The UNDP Report should have clearly stated that, for 10 years since 1998, Zimbabwe had been under financial sanctions and, therefore, had no source of foreign currency to stabilise its domestic currency, the Zim dollar, which remained the only currency to run the entire Zimbabwean economy without any foreign currency inflows.

The situation was made worse by the American sanctions law, ZDERA of December 21 2001. Foreign imports were hard hit, in particular, fuel, raw materials for industry, drugs for HIV and AIDS, cancer, anaesthetic drugs, medical equipment and even water treatment tablets.
Foreign currency inflows had declined from US$480,3 million in 1999 to US$49,3 million by 2006. Consequently, foreign exchange reserves had declined from US$830 million (three months import cover in 1996) to less than one month import cover by the year 2006.

The attendant foreign exchange shortages severely constrained Zimbabwe’s capacity to meet its foreign payment obligations and finance critical imports such as industrial raw materials, medical drugs and equipment, grain and other food imports in times of drought, as well as fuel and electricity. That way, loan repayment arrears amounting to US$109 million in 1999 had by 2006 increased to US$2,5 billion and to over US$7,5 billion by 2011.

In urban areas, water became scarce.

For the first time in Zimbabwe’s history, Harare had cholera and typhoid outbreaks because water treatment tablets could not be imported since Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) had imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe for its compulsory land acquisition for the resettlement of peasant Africans.

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) had also cut its donor funds to the Ministry of Education and some essential projects like printing of Braille books for the blind or visually challenged had come to a sudden halt in 1999. (Gono, 2007)


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Friday, February 02, 2018

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mujuru attacked after meeting Mugabe

COMMENT - I believe Joice Mujuru's account. I think it is highly telling that all of a sudden the British government doesn't talk abut Gukurahandi anymore, or that certain Ministers are making anti-landreform noises. This is an attack on the people of Zimbabwe by neoliberalism taking over both parties, like they do everywhere else (US, UK, etc.). This is anti-democratic and cheating. This is a hostile act. This is spiking the process to cheat the electorate out of their policies and candidates. This also shows the benefits of having 2 vice presidents.

“Everybody must know that this government is not a people’s government,” she said. “It came by force and if they see people doing things in peace, they are not happy.”

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mujuru attacked after meeting Mugabe

IN what some say could explain the Thursday attack on Joice Mujuru, it has emerged that the former Vice President recently reconnected with ousted former president Robert Mugabe.

Sources told New Zimbabwe that Mujuru reconnected with Mugabe on Tuesday adding that there were prospects that she could come together with fired Zanu PF members to form an alliance ahead of the 2018 elections.

According to the National People's Party leader, she was “called” by Mugabe who told her that it was wrong to fire her in 2014 as he was “misinformed”.

“He called me and I obliged. He was telling me what happened was wrong, he was misinformed,” said Mujuru in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA).

According to the report, Mujuru said she felt vindicated after her “constant denials of plotting to overthrow Mugabe, were ignored by the then president and his wife, Grace, who initiated the calls for her ouster”.

“You know for a start, I told him (Mugabe) that they were not … it wasn’t me…Its people who are after Mugabe who you know are doing all these things. And it has, I’ve, I’ve have been vindicated by what I said to him,” Mujuru said, according to the VOA report.

Then President and VP ... Mugabe and Mujuru

“I forgave him a long time ago, including the, the wife.”

“They (Mugabe, his wife Grace) were tricked, and mind you the same people who are now in control are the very same people who went and tricked Mugabe,” said Mujuru, in apparent reference president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“So, they knew what they wanted to do – they wanted me out of the way first, so that they will be able to get to Mugabe easily,” she said.

According to the VOA, Mujuru said “she was happy to find Mugabe in good spirits”.

“He was very happy, I think he’s resting, he’s doing fine. I was very happy to see him in that mood,” she said.

Mujuru said she didn’t think her former boss was still under house arrest.

“No, not house arrest as such,” she said. “Of course, being a former president he should have people who guard him such as soldiers, they could be soldiers and policemen all included, because that is how he used to move, even when he was still head of state.”

“Now that he is in this predicament, aaah, we were actually laughing, you know, I just said to him, ah, you know what, when you are in this situation people desert (you), and he said yes, even relatives have deserted.”

According to the VOA, Mujuru blames the new government for the Thursday attack which resulted in her and several of her members, seeking treatment at local hospitals adding that she was “not sure who attacked her or with what, but that the attackers included soldiers”.

“Everybody must know that this government is not a people’s government,” she said. “It came by force and if they see people doing things in peace, they are not happy.”

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

(FUTURE AGRICULTURES) At Davos, can Zimbabwe re-engage with the global economy on its own terms?

COMMENT - There no evidence that "an economically naïve ‘Zimbabwe first’ position just does not work in a connected world." This statement needs more clarification. First, no analysis of Zimbabwe can be relevant without starting with the destruction of the Zimbabwe Dollar through ZDERA in 2002. Then, we can talk about what happened in landreform, while and after the currency was destroyed by Bill Frist, and co-sponsors Russ Feingold, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Jesse Helms.

At Davos, can Zimbabwe re-engage with the global economy on its own terms?
Posted on January 23, 2018 by Lesley White - Our blog

As Emmerson Mnangagwa heads for the snowy slopes of Davos, Switzerland to rub shoulders with the global capitalist and political elite at the World Economic Forum, he must not forget the more radical ambitions of his background.

His recent discussion over lunch with Financial Times journalist, Alec Russell, was revealing. Zimbabwe desperately needs finance, and support from western nations, as well as China, Brazil, India and others who stuck with the country in the last years. The Investment Policy Statement and Action Plan released last week makes all the right noises. The charm offensive with the British is in full flow, and the FT interview was part of creating the right mood music.

But there are red lines it seems; and one is land reform, despite the long period of sanctions imposed from 2000 and the antagonism of many western powers to this redistributive move. Mnangagwa’s enthusiasm for getting agriculture, as the core sector in an agrarian economy, moving is clear too – although all seen through the lens of his ‘command agriculture’ experiences. The full transcript of the FT interview is available too – and it offers a glimpse of an unusually relaxed, engaging Mnangagwa.

A reminder that a commitment to a radical transformation of agrarian relations is crucial for Zimbabwe, and that the land reform was only one step, was offered in the first annual Sam Moyo memorial lecture last week. Hosted by the Sam Moyo African Institute of Agrarian Studies, the lecture was delivered by Prabhat Patnaik from JNU, India and introduced by Issa Shivji from Tanzania. The video is available here. It offers a powerful call not to forget ‘peasants’ and poor smallholder farmers in agrarian transitions in the context of globalisation.

Sam Moyo tragically died in a car accident in India in late 2015, but his work and committed yet practical radicalism lives on amongst many young scholars, and in the vibrant agrarian studies summer school held each January in Harare. Mnangagwa and his people should go along next year to learn more about experiences of agrarian transformation globally.

At Davos, the allure of much-needed capital will be strong for Mnangagwa and his ministers. The WEF represents a gathering of the high priests of neoliberal capitalism, all eager for investments and returns. Zimbabwe may soon be seen as a promising investment destination, and needs to prepare for this. Such investments need to be for Zimbabwe’s development, not just servicing global capital. A strong state leadership will be essential, as deals are negotiated.

Some 70 heads of state are expected to attend the Swiss meeting. Mnangagwa may get a chance to meet the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and many others. As revealed by his FT interview, with his predecessor, he definitely approves of female British leaders, including the Queen, so prospects of rejoining the Commonwealth are raised, for whatever benefits that might bring.

Mnangagwa may also bump into some other leaders too. There will also be a scattering of the leading authoritarian populists there, including Trump and Modi, who will be offering perspectives on new nationalist and populist versions of global capitalist relations from the US and India.

But a return to a neoliberal framework for the Zimbabwean economy would be a disaster, as would an attempt to veer towards an isolationist, nationalist populism. We all know how the supplication to the conditionalities of the international finance institutions, through structural adjustment, destroyed state capacity and undermined a diversified economy from the early 1990s. Many of the problems of today derive from this period. This was exacerbated of course by Mugabe’s populism: an economically naïve ‘Zimbabwe first’ position just does not work in a connected world.

Can Mnangagwa steer a different course? Committed to redistribution, economic justice and inclusive development, while encouraging investment from different sources – both east and west – but regulated on Zimbabwe’s terms? It may mean doing less well on the World Bank’s now discredited, ideologically-motivated ‘doing business’ rankings exposed this week, but it may be better for Zimbabwe. He has little room for manoeuvre, and having announced ‘free and fair’, internationally-observed elections for May or June, also not much time to turn things round – but this must be on Zimbabwe’s terms.

Next week the blog will offer the last of the short series for The Conversation on challenges for land and agriculture in Zimbabwe. The first two on compensation and on land administration are already out. The final one on priorities for agricultural development will be out soon on The Conversation’s platform.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland.

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Chart of the Week #3: Why the World Bank Should Ditch the "Doing Business" Rankings—in One Embarrassing Chart

COMMENT - The World Bank is an ideologically driven organisation, that is heavily influenced by the Rothschild barons.

(CDEV) Chart of the Week #3: Why the World Bank Should Ditch the "Doing Business" Rankings—in One Embarrassing Chart
1/18/18
Justin Sandefur and Divyanshi Wadhwa

Last week the World Bank's Chief Economist, Paul Romer, told the Wall Street Journal the Bank had manipulated its own competitiveness rankings to undermine Chile's socialist government, and hinted Chile might not be alone—then he retracted the claim. Romer's conspiracy theories probably aren't credible, but neither are the Doing Business numbers.
Download the data and replication code here (zip file).

The Doing Business index is one of the World Bank's highest profile publications, ranking countries on the ease of registering property, paying taxes, and clearing other regulatory hurdles. The Bank boasts that countries often design reform programs specifically to improve their rankings, and Rwanda has a whole ministry devoted to that purpose. Clearly, the Doing Business indicators carry some weight.

So when Paul Romer, the World Bank chief economist and a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize, told the Wall Street Journal that he had lost faith in "the integrity" of the process behind the numbers, people took notice (see the New York Times, Bloomberg, Mother Jones, Quartz, etc.).
Chile's peculiar fall and rise and fall again

Romer hinted at a political conspiracy. "I want to make a personal apology to Chile," he said. Questionable methodological changes had caused Chile's ranking to plummet when socialist president Michelle Bachelet was in office, rise again under her conservative successor Sebastián Piñera, then turn around and fall again when Bachelet came back to power in 2010— all due to methodological tinkering and almost no underlying changes in Chile's actual laws or policies.

To illustrate Romer's point, we went back and compared the official rankings published by Doing Business with our own attempt to re-create rankings using a consistent sample of countries and methodology from 2006 through 2018. (First we compiled the older Doing Business rankings from PDFs, as they've been conspicuously expunged from the historical data on the Doing Business website. And then we downloaded the indicator-by-indicator data from Doing Business to create our own fixed-methodology rankings. The full data and code are linked at the bottom of this post.)

Chile's Doing Business Rank

Source: Justin Sandefur and Divyanshi Wadhwa, based on data from www.doingbusiness.org and World Bank “Doing Business” reports, 2006-2018.

The bottom line: Chile's socialists have good reason to distrust the World Bank.
The World Bank’s defense: it wasn't politically motivated, just… a very unreliable index?

Despite what the Chilean numbers show, on Monday the World Bank CEO Kristilina Georgieva sent a letter to Chile's Minister of Finance pushing back. "It is unfortunate that Mr. Paul Romer," she wrote, "has questioned the Doing Business rankings, in particular for Chile. This is not the view of World Bank management."

On Tuesday, Romer posted a "clarification" on his own blog:

In a conversation with a reporter, I made comments about the Doing Business report that gave the impression that I suspected political manipulation or bias. This was not what I meant to say or thought I said. I have not seen any sign of manipulation of the numbers published in Doing Business report or in any other Bank report.

Here is the full response from Augusto Lopez-Claros, who ran the Doing Business initiative until last year.

All of which seems to leave three possibilities: (1) the Wall Street Journal grossly misquoted a senior World Bank official; (2) the World Bank CEO managed to rein in her rogue Chief Economist; or (3) Romer was just wildly speculating while on the phone with a reporter, and never had any direct evidence of political interference. Most people we've spoken to assume the correct answer is the last one.

Also, to be fair to the Doing Business team, if you replicate the graph above for various other countries, in most cases the disparities are not nearly so large (see graphs below).
Conspiracy or not, the numbers still aren't credible

Never mind the accusations of political motivations, the Chilean data alone is damning, showing massive movements in rankings due to changes in methodology, not reality.

1. The goalposts keep moving

A core element of the recent "credibility revolution" in empirical economics is a push for researchers to pre-commit to a methodology, before they look at their data, so that the results can’t influence their methodological choices. That’s the opposite of how Doing Business works. And as our colleagues Vij Ramachandran and Alan Gelb note, the firewall between Bank lending operations and research is too weak in these cases.

Perhaps nobody set out to target Michelle Bachelet deliberately. But that was the result, and it was deemed acceptable. Hypothetically, if the World Bank team had made innocent methodological choices and discovered they launched Chile to #1 in the rankings instead of #57, surely they would have revisited their methods. Did they not revisit any methodological choices on the basis of their impact on the ranking? Of course they did. Were they genuinely blind to the likely effect on countries’ scores when deciding to introduce new measures? Of course they weren’t—even if there was no deliberate plot to penalize anyone in particular.

2. The measures are unreliable

The graph also highlights a number of complaints that have been voiced for years. As an external review noted in 2013, the numbers jump around too much. The aggregate country rankings involve judgements about what makes a "better" business environment, that have little grounding in research or evidence, and the review panel recommended dropping the aggregate rankings altogether. Doing Business "makes far-reaching observations based on data gathered from sources with a relatively narrow perspective," the external review noted. Somewhat damningly, “improvements” in a country's Doing Business score don’t reliably predict any change in responses to the World Bank's own survey of businesses about the ease of doing business.

3. The index starts from an extreme ideological premise

At a more philosophical level, the index measures the costs of government regulation but none of the benefits of those regulations. It's an extreme libertarian stance, out of step with much of the World Bank's other work. Viewed through the lens of Doing Business, corporate taxes are a pure bad, with no consideration of the benefits that come from raising tax revenue. Safety regulations and minimum wages are pure bads because they slow down business, with no consideration of the benefits to workers or customers. On almost all dimensions, a Hobbesian state of nature would get the best possible Doing Business score.

Regarding this latest scandal, it's kind of funny to think the Doing Business project was somehow exposed this week for secretly trying to undermine progressive governments. That ideology was baked into the design of Doing Business from the start. But now is a good time to change course. In response to the latest debacle, World Bank management has announced a new independent review of Doing Business. Hopefully they’ll use this opportunity to develop a more balanced and constructive stance on how developing countries should regulate markets—beyond a simplistic message of cutting red tape and letting the market rule.

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(FOREIGN POLICY) South Africa's Land Reform Crisis

COMMENT - Bernadette Atuahene on land reform in Foreign Policy Magazine, the official publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, founded by John D. Rockefeller Jr.

(FOREIGN POLICY) South Africa's Land Reform Crisis
Eliminating the Legacy of Apartheid
By Bernadette Atuahene

Under colonialism and apartheid, the ruling white minority stole vast amounts of land from black Africans in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Reclaiming this land became an important rallying cry for liberation movements in both countries; but in the years after white minority rule ended, it was extremely difficult for the new regimes to redistribute the land fairly and efficiently. In recent years, as the unaddressed land inequality in Zimbabwe became a pretext for President Robert Mugabe's demagoguery and led to Zimbabwe's demise, many observers have asked: Could South Africa be next?

When Nelson Mandela took power in South Africa in 1994, 87 percent of the country's land was owned by whites, even though they represented less than ten percent of the population. Advised by the World Bank, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) aimed to redistribute 30 percent of the land from whites to blacks in the first five years of the new democracy. By 2010 -- 16 years later -- only eight percent had been reallocated.

In failing to redistribute this land, the ANC has undermined a crucial aspect of the negotiated settlement to end apartheid, otherwise known as the liberation bargain. According to Section 25 of the new South African constitution, promulgated in 1994, existing property owners (who were primarily white) would receive valid legal title to property acquired under prior regimes, despite the potentially dubious circumstances of its acquisition. In exchange, blacks (in South Africa, considered to include people of mixed racial descent and Indians) were promised land reform. But the new government upheld only one side of the liberation bargain: South African whites kept their property, but blacks still have not received theirs. Political apartheid may have ended, but economic apartheid lives on.

THIS LAND IS OUR LAND

South Africa's failure to rectify its land inequality is like a sea of oil waiting for a match. In one of the most impressive public opinion studies ever conducted in the country, in 2009 the political scientist James Gibson surveyed 3,700 South Africans and found that 85 percent of black respondents believed that "most land in South Africa was taken unfairly by white settlers, and they therefore have no right to the land today." Only eight percent of white respondents held the same view. Gibson's most alarming finding was that two of every three of these blacks agreed that "land must be returned to blacks in South Africa, no matter what the consequences are for the current owners and for political stability in the country"; 91 percent of the whites surveyed disagreed.

According to Gibson's data, most blacks, whether they live in rural or urban areas, see the land as stolen and want it back even if redistribution will provoke political unrest. In spite of these findings, not everyone expects instability to actually materialize, because land inequality in South Africa does not affect livelihoods as it did in Zimbabwe. For example, only about three percent of South Africa's GDP is based on agriculture, whereas before the 2000 land grabs in Zimbabwe, agriculture contributed about 20 percent of that country's GDP.

Such optimism overlooks two important considerations, however. First, although agriculture does not contribute significantly to South Africa's GDP, about 35-40 percent of the nation's population resides in rural areas, so access to land is necessary for the survival of many poor families. Second, unlike other complex social issues in South Africa (such as unemployment and inadequate health care), land inequality has roots that are easy for South Africa's majority to understand. The refrain that "whites stole our land and now we deserve to get it back" is a simple yet rhetorically powerful one that resonates among marginalized, poor populations in both rural and urban areas. Theft of land has come to symbolize the more extensive theft of wealth that occurred under colonialism and apartheid. It is possible that one day a charismatic populist leader could use the land issue to rally the vast army of poor and frustrated black citizens from both rural and urban areas to reclaim the stolen wealth, making the focal point all whites and not, as in Zimbabwe, primarily white farmers.

Yet instead of equitably redistributing land, the ANC has underfunded land reform efforts, implemented Section 25 of the constitution in a way that reinforces inequalities between the races, and failed to assist the beneficiaries of the land reform in obtaining the capital and skills necessary to use their newly acquired land productively.

According to South African President Jacob Zuma, land reform ranks at the top of the ANC's agenda. In 2009, Zuma said, "During the election campaign, we made it clear that rural development and land reform would be one of our key five priorities." And in an April 2011 speech, he declared, "We are committed to seeing that those communities that were wrongfully evicted during the apartheid era receive just compensation for their loss. Our aim here is to ensure that poverty alleviation goes hand in hand with the return of land."

But Zuma has failed to put his money where his mouth is. In 2010, the Land Restitution Commission, an agency pivotal to the land reform efforts, placed a moratorium on buying land claimed under the restitution program because it had run out of money to honor those sales agreements it had already entered into with landowners. The commission asked the South African Treasury for 5.3 billion rand (approximately $757 million), partly to honor outstanding commitments to landowners, but it was allocated only 1.9 billion rand (about $271 million). This has led several landowners to sue the commission for failing to honor its sales agreements. Even worse, it has sent the message that the ANC is not serious about land reform.

REINFORCING INEQUALITIES

In the process of trying to remedy inequality, the ANC has instead exacerbated it. The apartheid government often took land from black communities without just compensation and transferred it at nominal cost to white farmers. If the ANC decides to return a particular parcel of land to a dispossessed black community while the white farmer to whom the apartheid government sold it is still alive, the state is constitutionally mandated to pay the farmer just compensation, despite the unfair circumstances under which the farmer acquired the land in the first place. Yet blacks do not get just compensation for land previous governments stole from them. The constitution states that South Africans whose property was dispossessed after 1913 as a result of racially discriminatory business practices are entitled "either to restitution of that property or to equitable redress." By 2008, however, 70 percent of the beneficiaries of the land restitution program had received no land at all, only small, symbolic financial awards that bore no relation to the past or current market value of their confiscated property. This is not equitable redress.

For instance, the Land Restitution Commission paid each dispossessed landowner in Paarl, a scenic town in the Western Cape's wine country, 40,000 rand (about $5,700), whereas it paid six current landowners in the same province 14.5 million rand (about $2 million) for about 250 acres of land. From its inception in 1995 through March 2008, the commission spent 7.8 billion rand (about $1.1 billion) to acquire property for land reform, which was paid mostly to white farmers, but only 4.9 billion rand (approximately $700 million) to distribute as financial compensation, which was paid primarily to dispossessed blacks. Such disparities only reinforce apartheid-era inequalities. To be sure, the South African government has a limited budget and many other important priorities, such as health care and education. But if the state cannot afford to give both blacks and whites just compensation, then both blacks and whites should receive only symbolic compensation.

Another problem with the land restitution process is the commission's failure to follow Section 25(3) of the constitution, a provision deftly negotiated by the ANC to ensure land reform is fair for both blacks and whites. This provision requires the state to compensate present landowners based on fair market value but also to reduce the price paid based on several equity-enhancing factors, such as direct state investment and subsidies for acquisition and capital improvements on the property. If, for example, a white farmer acquired land from the apartheid government at a greatly reduced price but then made capital improvements to the land, then when that land is expropriated, the postapartheid state is required to pay the farmer fair market value for the capital improvements but can discount the underlying land because it was not acquired at market price. Yet according to a recent interview given by Thozi Gwanya, former director general of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, when the commission acquires land from willing sellers, it pays the fair market value without discounting the price based on the equity-enhancing factors. Gwanya noted that the commission does not even research the factors to allow it to negotiate a just price.

The problem is compounded further by the fact that when the government does redistribute land, it does not give new landowners the support they need to succeed. Poor black farmers require financial and technical support to access markets, credit, technology, infrastructure, and training. But as research conducted by the Program for Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape has shown, the state routinely fails to give newly resettled communities even the basic irrigation tools and electricity resources they need. The state instead gives large, resource-poor communities land that was formerly used by single farmers for large-scale, capital-intensive commercial agriculture. This is a recipe for disaster.

Providing resettled communities with access to capital, infrastructure, and the training necessary to take over a commercial agricultural enterprise requires a significant investment of state resources. A less costly alternative would be for the state to abandon the idea of redistributing capital-intensive agribusinesses and give communities land for subsistence farming, which can be done without significant government intervention. The dream of seamlessly transferring a thriving citrus farm, for example, from a white farmer to a black community is dead. The state must accept this and begin to look for new solutions.

NO OPPOSITION, NO REFORM

The ANC’s failure to address the needs of its political base by allocating more funding for land reform, giving equitable compensation, and providing support for new landowners strikes many political observers as puzzling. But the government can afford this failure because the short-term political costs of inaction are low. The ANC totally dominates South African politics, so it faces no real competition for its constituents' votes. It controls 66 percent of the National Assembly, eight of the country's nine provinces, and five of the six big-city governments. During the last election, in 2009, there was hope that the Congress of the People (COPE), a party started by breakaway ANC members opposed to Zuma, would provide a viable alternative, but COPE only managed to secure eight percent of the seats in the National Assembly and has since effectively dissolved. There is no one to punish the ANC if it fails to deliver on land reform.

The danger, however, is that over time, leaders within the ANC who advocate radical land reform policies will become increasingly powerful and, for personal or political purposes, will encourage the party to exploit the issue just as Mugabe and his ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front) did in Zimbabwe. In fact, last year, Julius Malema, the controversial yet popular president of the ANC Youth League, visited Zimbabwe and lauded "Comrade Bob" for successfully returning much of that country's farmland to its "rightful owners." Malema said, "In SA we are just starting. Here in Zimbabwe you are already very far. The land question has been addressed. We are very happy that today you can account for more than 300,000 new farmers against the 4,000 who used to dominate agriculture." For the moment, Malema and his like-minded comrades remain at the fringe of the ANC, and the party has no need to rely on manipulative populist tactics. But both things could change.

Moreover, although the ANC may be politically invulnerable now, it is not economically invulnerable; indeed, it relies on capital from white South Africans and foreign investors to maintain economic growth. If the ANC pursues policies that alienate these sources of capital, there could be disastrous economic consequences. This is a lesson the party learned early on. In his book Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC, the South African journalist William Gumede notes that shortly after his release from Robben Island, Mandela attended a private lunch with prominent businesspeople where he said that only nationalization could address the inequalities created by apartheid. Soon thereafter, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's all-gold index plunged, falling by five percent.

Thus, Mandela changed his tune, telling business leaders in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1991, "Let me assure you that the ANC is not an enemy of private enterprise. . . . We are aware that the investor will not invest unless the security of that investment is assured. The rates of economic growth we seek cannot be achieved without important inflows of foreign capital. We are determined to create the necessary climate that the foreign investor will find attractive." The ANC's fear of upsetting markets and alienating its sources of capital explains the disparities in the compensation for property paid to current owners (who are mostly white) and the compensation for dispossessed owners (who are mostly black).

Markets may indeed react adversely if the ANC moves away from its policy of purchasing land at market prices from willing sellers and adopts a more aggressive land reform policy that relies on court-based expropriation consistent with Section 25(3) of the constitution. But proceeding slowly on the grounds that some justice must be sacrificed for the sake of stability risks creating major political turmoil down the road. If nothing is done to correct the fact that whites presently own about 77 percent of the land while constituting less than ten percent of the population, unrest could result. The ANC must realize that aggressive land reform would be far less destabilizing than a violent revolt.

MAKING LAND REFORM WORK

The international community has also been slow to help out, despite the potential explosiveness of the issue. Gwanya, the former director general of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform; Judge Fikile Bam, president of the Land Claims Court; and Blessing Mphela, former chief land claims commissioner, have all agreed that the primary obstacles to achieving the government's land reform objectives are bureaucratic inexperience, ineffective policies, and organizational inefficiency.

The example of the Popela community in the northern Limpopo Province is a case in point. The Popela community is resource poor, and its land rights were progressively eroded under colonialism and apartheid. The community had full rights to use its ancestral land until 1889, when the British expropriated it and gave title to a white settler who forced community members to provide free labor if they wanted to remain there. In 1969, the community was stripped of all its formal rights to use the land. In a landmark decision delivered in June 2007, the South African Constitutional Court ruled that certain community members were entitled to restitution of their land rights. Four years later, however, the Land Restitution Commission, which was charged with implementing the court's decision, has yet to purchase the land as mandated by the court.

According to the official managing the case, there are several reasons for the long delay. One has to do with problems getting land valuations and obtaining various approvals. In addition, because of the commission's failure to spend money allocated for prior projects, it could not get additional money from the national budget for new projects (including the Popela claim), and it is prohibited from transferring monies allocated for old projects to new ones. The net result is that the Popela community has been forced to pay the price for bureaucratic incompetence and rigid regulation.

The international community could help South Africa address these deficiencies. The country's government officials are well aware of the lack of coordination between relevant agencies, ineffective procedures, and inefficient processes that are hampering the land reform program, but they do not know how to solve these problems. They need the help of consultants with experience in evaluating dysfunctional government agencies and providing viable solutions. Senior government officials leading the land reform efforts would also benefit from a well-crafted, donor-funded international exchange program that allowed them to study past land reforms in Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, and several eastern European nations with relevant experiences. Furthermore, those bureaucrats serving as the foot soldiers would benefit from intensive training programs focused on how to most effectively implement existing policies. The international community could fund international experts to develop a series of courses designed to give these bureaucrats the skills they need to succeed. The ANC would undoubtedly welcome these interventions because the assistance would not involve more aggressive policy changes that could cause markets to react adversely; instead, the assistance would ensure that the existing programs were run more efficiently and effectively.

Whatever policies the ANC adopts, the bottom line is that land reform in South Africa must move quicker and more efficiently. Thus far, South African citizens have waited patiently for the ANC to transfer land from whites to blacks to remedy the massive land theft that happened under colonialism and apartheid. But without significant progress, there may come a point when these citizens will tire of waiting and take matters into their own hands. The outside world played a significant role in helping bring about a democratic South Africa; it should once again lend a hand to put the legacy of apartheid to rest at last.


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