Wednesday, June 25, 2014

(STICKY) (VOICES OF AFRICA) Organic farm in Benin looks to set example for Africa
Posted on: June 24, 2014
Posted in: Business, Lifestyle
Comments: 1 Comment

With his pilgrim’s staff and panama hat, Father Godfrey Nzamujo nips up and down the paths of Songhai, the organic farm he created nearly 30 years ago to fight poverty and rural migration in Africa.

The small farm covered barely a hectare when it was set up in Porto Novo in 1985 but has since become a pilot project for the rest of the continent badly in need of new ideas to maximise yields.

The centre in Benin’s capital now stretches over 24 hectares and employs an army of workers and apprentices, who toil from sunrise to sunset growing fruit, vegetables and rice, as well as rearing fish, pigs, poultry.

“Nothing is wasted, everything is transformed” according to Nzamujo’s principle, with even chicken droppings turned into the bio-gas that powers the centre’s kitchens.

Father Godfrey Nzamujo, director of the organic farm Centre Songhai. (Pic: AFP)

Songhai in tiny Benin has big plans for Africa. It already has similar operations in Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone and wants to set up shop in 13 more west and central African countries.

Nzamujo’s raison d’etre is how to help Africans increase yields through simple techniques, without using pesticides or fertilizers, and while cutting production costs and protecting the environment.

The Nigeria-born priest, who was raised in California on the US west coast, said he was shocked by the appalling images of famine in Africa on television at the start of the 1980s.

He then left to discover the continent to see how he could put to good use his university training in agronomics, economics and information technology and fight against poverty on his own terms.

How it began

After visiting a number of countries, he ended up in Benin where the country’s then-Marxist government gave him a small plot.

“It was abandoned land, killed by chemical fertiliser and conventional agricultural practices. It didn’t work,” he told AFP.

“There were seven of us. We dug wells and watered with our own hands. And during the main dry season, this grey surface became green,” he recalled with a smile.

Nzamujo’s secret is in imitating nature, encouraging “good bacteria” present in the soil to maximise production without having to rely on chemicals.

Yields at Songhai speak for themselves: the farm produces seven tonnes of rice per hectare three times a year, up from one tonne per hectare once a year at the beginning of the project.

“Songhai is facing up to the triple challenge of Africa today: poverty, environment and youth employment,” said Nzamujo proudly.

The cleric’s system centres on local production and distribution, creating economic activity to tackle poverty head on.

At Songhai, jam simmers in large pots while chickens are roasted and soya oil, rice and fruit juice are packaged for sale in the centre’s shop or served at its restaurant.

Discarded parts of agricultural machinery are reused to create ingenious contraptions and used water is filtered using water hyacinths.

A man wheels coconuts in a wheelbarrow at the Centre Songhai. (Pic: AFP)

The centre also has an internet point and even a bank so that local people can avoid going into the city centre.

Youth employment is encouraged and some 400 farm apprentices – selected by competition – are trained every year. The 18-month course is entirely free.

Apprentices, interns

Paul Okou is one of them. The 25-year-old from Parakou, northern Benin, would like to follow his parents into farming but is hoping to work in a more profitable way.

“My parents use traditional, archaic methods while at Songhai we learn the modern way, albeit makeshift,” he said.

“What we used to do in two days now we do in two hours.”

The apprentices are sent into villages where they apply what they have learned. Once in charge of a farm, they join the Songhai network and are checked regularly.

Songhai also welcomes interns who are paying for their own training.

They include Abua Eucharia Nchinor, a Nigerian in his 30s, and Kemajou Nathanael, a 39-year-old former salesman from Cameroon, who both want to open an organic farm in their respective countries.

According to Nzamujo, Songhai is not a cure-all for Africa’s problems but tackles their root causes.

“Imagine if all the young people who hang around big cities did their training here and we equip them. … Imagine the productivity of Africa today.” he said.

Cecile de Comarmond for AFP

One Response to “Organic farm in Benin looks to set example for Africa”

1.
Nkgephu Martins Langa #

I am a pro-organic farmer from South Africa, i will like to communicate withFather Godfrey Nzamujo , please provide me with his website or email address.

Best regards,

Martin
June 25, 2014 at 2:32 pm Reply


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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

(STICKY) (HERALD ZW) EU sanctions suit: Britain in no show
June 17, 2014
Takunda Maodza and Fidelis Munyoro—

COMMENT - Upon close examination, the economic (in this case the EU's) sanctions fall apart. It was the British government under Tony Blair and Claire Short, which reneged on it's obligation to fund the Willing Buyer, Willing Seller land reform program (See the link to Swan's article, "The Spark", from November 1997, years before the Fast Track land reform program.


" I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers. "

And...

" Again, I am told there were discussions in 1989 and 1996 to explore the possibility of further assistance. However that is all in the past. "

- MrK

BRITAIN failed to make its representation in the hearing of a case in which Zimbabwe is suing the European Union for the imposition of illegal economic sanctions when the matter opened in the General Court of the European Union last Tuesday in Luxembourg.

The case, which was not against Britain but the EU, was heard by three judges from Sweden, Bulgaria and Greece in an open court last week and it lasted the entire day.

Zimbabwe did not cite Britain in the lawsuit but the United Kingdom begged the court to be included when it successfully applied for an intervener in 2012 claiming it had a personal interest in the case.

Zimbabwe’s legal team led by David Vaughan and Maya Lester of Brick Court Chambers in London argued that, “it is only the Security Council of the United Nations that have the lawful power to impose sanctions on a member country while the rest of the member countries’ obligation was supportive only.”

The lawyers said since independence, Zimbabwe has never been the subject of any such sanctions.

“In fact there were attempts by the United Kingdom to present a draft resolution to the Security Council in 2008 “targeting” 14 persons in the Government of Zimbabwe. The resolution was not passed because the test was not satisfied, that is Zimbabwe’s conduct needed to amount to a threat to international peace and security to attract UN sanctions,” the lawyers said.

The UN Security Council refused to impose sanctions or even condemn the Government of Zimbabwe.

“There is, therefore, no legal basis upon which the EU can continue to target persons and entities associated with the Government of Zimbabwe and or Zanu-PF,” the lawyers argued.

The oral hearing remains open for a period of two weeks to allow for the filing of further documents by all parties and in the case of the United Kingdom, to allow it to make its oral submissions, if any.

A hearing would be handed down in the course of the year.
Instructing attorneys are Michael O’ Kane of Peters and Peters Solicitors from UK, Jacob Mutevedzi of Mutamangira and Associates, and Gerald Mlotshwa of Titan Law Chambers, both of Zimbabwe.

Legal experts yesterday described Britain’s no show as ample evidence that the erstwhile coloniser had no justifiable legal explanation for the ruinous embargo that has bogged down the economy costing the country over US$42billion in lost revenue since the turn of the millennium.

Britain advocated the imposition of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe after the Zanu-PF Government successfully embarked on the fast-track land reform programme in 2000 to correct historical land ownership imbalances in the wake of the British Labour government’s refusal to honour its colonial obligations.

A Zimbabwean delegation led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, comprising Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana and the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndhlukula, attended the hearing.

In a statement, the Zimbabwean delegation said: “The United Kingdom, which had intervened at its own initiative in the case, did not, however, attend the hearing. The reason for the United Kingdom’s absence is yet to be known.”

Zimbabwe’s lawsuit seeks to nullify the illegal sanctions imposed on 112 persons and 11 corporate entities associated with the Government and Zanu-PF.

Legal expert Mr Joseph Mandizha said the attitude of the British government in filing the intervener application, shallow and ill advised as it was, vindicates the position that Zimbabwe has always been communicating to the international community that the sanctions the sanctions were a bilateral issue.

“Harare’s position, which is on record, has always been that the real fact of the matter was that sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were a consequence of a bilateral dispute between it and its former colonial power and that it was profoundly unfortunate that the rest of Europe was allowing wool to be pulled over its eyes by the British government through the sanctions dispute,” he said.

“It must, therefore, be very embarrassing to the EU that Britain has disingenuously conducted itself in a manner that lends credence to Zimbabwe’s position. It is incumbent upon our Government, however, not to celebrate this court victory and allow the matter to be, but rather to continue to demonstrate to the rest of Europe that it is willing and able to engage with or without the British government.”

Another lawyer Mr Terence Hussein said the failure by Britain to appear in court was a deliberate ploy to delay proceedings.

“Britain is either using delaying tactics to avoid the finalisation of the matter or they are afraid to come to court to justify their case in a court of law,” said Mr Hussein.

He said it was clear that the sanctions were unlawful and motivated by spite.

“Britain should do the honorable thing and show leadership within the EU by conceding that the sanctions had no basis and convince its allies to unconditionally drop them,” said Mr Hussein.

Advocate Fred Gijima concurred adding that the UK’s application was malicious and frivolous, and meant to frustrate the proceedings initiated by Zimbabwe.

“It clear that they are bent on maintaining the sanctions through the back door and did not want to come out on to the play ground and defend their decision in court of law,” said Adv Gijima.

“It is also clear that they have no reason at all whether, legally, socially, economically or politically to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe and encourage the EU to do likewise. They should simply do the honorable thing and concede that the sanctions be removed unconditionally.”

Constitutional lawyer, Professor Lovemore Madhuku said by failing to appear for the hearing Britain was liable to pay “wastage costs”.
Zimbabwe wants the sanctions declared illegal on the grounds that there was no proper legal basis for imposing sanctions on the individuals and companies associated with Government and Zanu-PF.

The sanctions were based on reports from faceless dubious websites and internationally discredited NGOs.

Zimbabwe also argues that in imposing the sanctions the EU failed to give adequate or sufficient reasons for targeting the said individuals and entities.

It failed to provide particulars or evidence to the affected persons and entities to allow them to comment on the case against them.

The EU infringed, without justification or proportion, the applicants’ fundamental rights including their right to protection of their property, business, reputation and private and family life.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

(STICKY) (HERALD ZW) President calls for new world order
June 14, 2014
Mabasa Sasa in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

President Mugabe has called for the Group of 77+China to be at the forefront of creating a global order that represents the interests and aspirations of downtrodden people and oppose domination by Western powers. The President said this soon after landing in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, yesterday where he will attend today’s 50th anniversary Commemorative Summit of the G77+China, which runs today and tomorrow.

President Mugabe is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and other senior Government officials.

On arrival, President Mugabe inspected a guard of honour and was then treated to two displays of Bolivian cultural dance and music.

Thereafter, he addressed scores of people who had gathered to welcome him to the South American country, saying Zimbabwe would join the rest of the G77+China in fighting oppression and advancing developing countries’ interests.

“We should come together economically, come together politically, come together socially to form a really, really active and operational Group of 77 that will stand firm and can be relied on to protect our interests and aspirations,” President Mugabe said.

The G77 was established in 1964 and is the largest inter-governmental organisation of developing countries operating within the United Nations system.

Founded by 77 countries, its membership has grown to 133 covering Africa, Asia and Latin America, but retains its original name and continues to pursue development of South-South co-operation and co-ordination of mutually beneficial positions at the UN.

On Wednesday, Xinhua reported the host President Evo Morales saying Bolivia could afford to host the summit because it was “financially solvent thanks to the nationalisation of the energy sector”.

Leaders and their representatives are expected to discuss issues such as unemployment, poverty, climate change and food security.

A matter most participants are looking forward to is presentation by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro of evidence of a United States-backed plot to assassinate him.

“We are going to show the evidence of assassination plots, implicating opposition leaders and US officials,” President Maduro has said.

Venezuela has experienced widespread destabilisation since the death of the iconic President Hugo Chavez last year, with opposition groups reportedly getting financial, technical and moral support from Washington to overthrow President Maduro’s government and undo pro-poor policies implemented over the past 15 years.

The choice of Bolivia to host the commemorative summit could not have been more inspired.

President Morales is Bolivia’s first democratically-elected leader from the indigenous population.

Morales’ administration has busied itself with poverty eradication, nationalisation and economic empowerment and eroding the influence of the United States and big Western corporations in the local economy and body politic.

President Morales has exacted more taxes from the hydrocarbons sector, has instituted agrarian reforms and boosted literacy.

Expectations are that he will be re-elected by a landslide in polls later this year.

Bolivia itself is named after Simón Bolívar, who died in 1830 and is considered one of the most influential politicians in Latin America’s history.

Bolívar was a soldier and politician who was instrumental in ending Spain’s colonisation of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, playing a central role in the creation of a union called Gran Colombia, which he led from 1819 to his death.

The politics and economics of self-reliance and South-South co-operation are central to the ideology of the G77+China.

At their last meeting at the UN headquarters in the United States in 2013, foreign affairs ministers of the G77+China resolved, among other things, to maintain focus on poverty eradication and food security of their peoples.

“Ministers stressed that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development . . .

“Ministers further stressed that, in order to enable governments of developing countries to effectively eradicate poverty, developing countries must ensure national ownership of their own development agenda, which entails preserving their own policy space backed by a strong political commitment to reduce poverty in line with their national priorities and circumstances.”

They also called for strengthening of the UN system and reform of multilateral lending institutions and the international financial architecture to make them more democratic, and debt restructuring.

“The ministers firmly rejected the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures, including unilateral sanctions against developing countries, and reiterated the urgent need to eliminate them immediately,” their declaration read.

“They emphasised that such actions not only undermine the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and international law, but also severely threaten the freedom of trade and investment.

‘‘They, therefore, called on the international community neither to recognise these measures nor apply them.”

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

(STICKY) (NEWZIMBABWE) Tobacco exceeds targets, sales near $600m
10/06/2014 00:00:00
by The Source

ZIMBABWE’S tobacco output for the 2014 season on Monday reached 185 million kilogrammes, surpassing the season target by 5 million kg, latest figures show.

The sector continues to recover as resettled small-scale farmers find their feet, but output is still shy of the all-time high of 236 million kg achieved in 2000 before the onset of land reforms. Output plunged to a record low of 48 million in 2008.

Tobacco is a major foreign currency earner for Zimbabwe. Last year, the country sold 167 million kg of tobacco.

Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) statistics show that by Monday, day 74 of auctions, 185 million kg had gone under the hammer, up from 140 million kg sold during the same period last year. The selling season normally spans 90 days.

Revenues amounting to $587 million have been generated compared to $520 million in 2013. Total sales amounted to $577 million last year.

The price, at which the leaf has been sold since opening of floors in February, has declined 14 percent to average $3.17 per kg from last year’s $3.70.

The government has said a jump in production was anticipated following a 29 percent increase to 91,278 in the number of farmers involved in the production of the crop this season, with 90,000 hectares put under the crop.

Zimbabwe has three tobacco auction floors while six contractors have also been licensed to buy the crop this season.

Major exports markets for Zimbabwean tobacco include China, Belgium, Philippines, United Kingdom and Spain.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

(GLOBALRESEARCH) Terrorism with a “Human Face”: Rebranding the Public Image of Syria’s Al Qaeda Brigades
By Phil Greaves
Global Research, January 07, 2014

SYRIA: Testimonies from Homs Reveal Identity of Terrorists and Mercenaries involved in Atrocities

Western corporate media, its Oil and Gas counterparts (GCC), and the various acolytes and paid-propagandists in the “tailored analysis” industry, are once again attempting to bolster and rebrand the public image of the fundamentalist rebels in Syria.

In the space of a week, two new formations of armed rebels mysteriously appeared across the mass-media lexicon and declared war on the dominant extremists through the usual “activist” social media accounts. The new brigades have virtually no historical record in the conflict, and appear to be largely a creation of the impotent exile opposition and its western sponsors. An abundance of reports relay stories of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) simply abandoning their posts and being turned over by this supposedly “moderate” new force.

Yet, in reality, the most predominant militia in Syria – those of a Salafi-Wahhabi fundamentalist bent, who now fight under the umbrella of the Islamic Front (IF), and are led by Hassan Abboud of Ahrar al-Sham, and Zahran Alloush of Liwa al-Islam – have made a concerted effort to avoid sowing discord between themselves and the overt Al Qaeda affiliates of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (JaN).

The new narrative emerging draws heavily from the Sahwa (Awakening) in Iraq, in which Sunni tribes from the western province of Anbar took up arms against, and eventually defeated, the Al Qaeda insurgency that followed the US invasion and occupation of that country. Western and Gulf media are now attempting to reinvigorate the rebels’ public image by concocting a portrayal of brave “moderates” taking on the extremists within ISIS. Yet contrary to the Syria-Sahwa narrative, the vast majority of opposition forces, as much as one can generalise, have in fact been shown to share far more in common with their extremist equivalents than they have differences, particularly in regards to their reciprocal – and sectarian-laden – religiopolitical ideologies.

According to Western and Gulf propagandists, Jabhat al-Nusra ostensibly represent the “homegrown” Syrian Al Qaeda branch. Whereas in actual fact, the claim is entirely false; JaN’s militia hold a distinct foreign contingent and many of its commanders have also been found to be of foreign descent – particularly Iraqi. Jabhat al-Nusra, therefore, should be correctly viewed as a semi-Syrian militia at most, built and sustained by ISIS and its former incarnation: the Islamic State of Iraq, (ISI) also formerly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

The ideologically aligned Salafi-Jihadists of Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra, and more recently ISIS, have formed the spearhead of the insurgency throughout the entire Syrian crisis, leading offensives against Syrian army installations, whilst also having enough manpower, funds & materiel to attack, encamp and militarily fortify civilian areas across the country. Most notably in Raqqah, which has become a virtual Al Qaeda statelet under the control of either Jabhat al-Nusra or ISIS.

Examples of the dominant role fundamentalists have played in the insurgency are abundant, during an interview with TIME magazine, Ahrar al-Sham fighters – who, as we have seen through a plethora of evidence, are inextricably linked to Jabhat al-Nusra – freely admit they were planning a violent insurgency in Syria well before any peaceful protests occurred in 2011, and that recruits with underlying sectarian agendas made efforts to sanitize and mask their true Jihadist cause during the earlier phases of the conflict in order to win over the Syrian population. Whats more, a recent report in the National relayed much the same admissions from supposed “FSA” rebels operating in the south of Syria around Dar’aa.

The rebels interviewed admitted that

“They [JaN] offer their services and cooperate with us, they are better armed than we are, they have suicide bombers and know how to make car bombs,” rebel sources went on to say that “the FSA and Al Nusra join together for operations but they have an agreement to let the FSA lead for public reasons, because they don’t want to frighten Jordan or the West,”.

During the interview rebels further elaborate on the efforts made to boost the public image of the western-backed imaginary moderates saying that “operations that were really carried out by Al Nusra are publicly presented by the FSA as their own,” and that supposed moderate FSA fighters “say that Al Nusra fighters are really from the FSA to enable them to move more easily across borders,”. The reports bolster earlier analyses that contradict the dominant narrative, often dismissed as “conspiracy theory”, which indicated such actions were being undertaken, and that the armed groups responsible for the initial violence in March-April 2011 were indeed religious fundamentalists, not the secular “freedom fighters” endlessly lionized by the lackeys of western governments and media.

Such candid rebel admissions once again expose the falsehoods that liberal opportunists rely on when blindly repeating the Imperialist narrative of a peaceful protest movement simply morphing into an Al Qaeda-led insurgency. In reality, the generally small and legitimate protests calling for reform were used as a fig leaf by Syria’s various internal and external enemies to hide the extremist-led militant insurgency they were orchestrating and colluding with.

As evidenced in numerous interviews and statements from Abboud and Alloush, the Islamic Front is not by any stretch of the imagination a “moderate” force opposed to JaN, ISIS, or Al Qaeda ideology in general (unless one utilises the doublespeak of the US State Department when describing their “moderate” Wahhabi-Salafi monarchical clients in the Gulf). Ahrar al-Sham, Liwa a-Islam and other various proto-Salafi militia operating under the umbrella of the Islamic Front have repeatedly fought alongside Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS, and taken part in offensives that have targeted towns and villages on the specific criteria of the sect of the civilian inhabitants. The massacres committed upon the civilian residents of Latakia provide just one recent example of such sectarian barbarity – committed not only by the extreme elements, but with the full cooperation and participation of supposed moderate “FSA” militia. A more recent example of the Islamic Front cooperating with its Al Qaeda-affiliates came in December, when the IF took part in the attack and ensuing massacre of civilians in the workers district of Adra, Damascus – another rebel war-crime almost totally omitted from western media, regardless of the fact the BBC’s chief foreign correspondent was a mere 20 miles away while the massacres were occurring.

When framed in the correct context, it becomes clear that the vast majority of rebels in Syria are in fact ideologically allied to the very Al Qaeda affiliates the media is trying to portray them as opposed to. A recent communique from the political head of the IF, and leader of Ahrar al-Sham, Hassan Abboud, was disingenuously portrayed as a Islamic Front “warning” to ISIS. Opposition-friendly media outlets and analysts are in effect conflating the Islamic Front with imaginary “moderates” and in turn attempting to portray them as ideological opponents to their more extreme Al Qaeda counterparts. This narrative is turning reality on its head, as Abboud’s recent statement is actually a “warning” against discord with ISIS. Abboud encourages the Syrian population to treat the Muhajirin (foreign jihadists busy murdering Syrians) “kindly”, and further encourages ISIS to emulate the “more healthy” manner of their supposed “home-grown” incarnation Jabhat al-Nusra. Accordingly, one can safely conclude that Abboud, Ahrar al-Sham, Liwa al-Islam, and the various Salafi militia operating under the umbrella of the Islamic Front – the largest militant force of the opposition – have close to zero ideological disparity with ISIS or JaN.

Even if what seem to be inflated reports of discord and infighting between the Islamic Front and the supremacist ideologues in ISIS were to result in a considerable loss for the latter, it would simply be replaced at the top of the fundamentalist food-chain by the next militia willing to impose its barbarity and coercion in the most effective way. This is ultimately the inherent nature of fundamentalist militant insurgencies, they are designed, indoctrinated, equipped, and funded to impose upon states and peoples through murder, coercion and fear, not through the appeal of a popular political doctrine and the mass support of the people. The simple facts that the insurgency as a whole is under no central hierarchy, and holds little to-no support inside Syria and is therefore susceptible to becoming reliant and subordinate to its foreign patrons, are clear indications that it will not be cohesive, regardless of the varying shades of fundamentalism the dominant groups have attempted to enforce.

The historical record of Western-GCC-backed insurgencies in the Arab and Muslim world provides copious amounts of evidence to show that invariably the United States and its Saudi partners have always utilised, fomented, and sponsored reactionary forces to meet geopolitical ends, particularly when subverting or attacking nationalist governments that refuse to abide by the Anglo-American capitalist order – with disastrous consequences for the countries in which the fundamentalist proxies are set upon.

One needs only to glance at the very recent history of Libya to negate the establishment falsehood that if the Syrian government had been overthrown quickly the fundamentalists would not have gained in strength. Again, this is turning the historical record on its head, as the joint NATO-Al Qaeda war on Libya has once again shown; the swift overthrow of a state’s government and leadership inevitably results in reactionary fundamentalists taking advantage of the power vacuum left behind. The US-Saudi-backed insurgency in Afghanistan during the 1980?s, which fought against the Soviet-backed Communist government, provides perhaps the definitive example of the type of proxies the United States and Saudi Arabia choose to employ to destroy target states. As with Syria and Libya, the original “Afghan Arab” insurgency – which helped to create and empower Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, Hekmatyar, the Haqqani network and a host of other fundamentalist militancy – was wrought with infighting, extremism, warlordism, and reaction, this trend has continued in virtually every state the US and its GCC partners have targeted for “liberation” via jihadist proxies.

Perpetual infighting evidenced throughout the Syrian insurgency is in fact a result of the long-standing fragmentation of the various opposition forces, their varying degrees of fundamentalism, and the battle to win influence, arms, and funds through foreign donors and exploitation.

The evidence-free narratives of supposed existential disparity between what actually represent ideological allies, the patterns of ever-changing nomenclature and rebel rebranding, and the efforts to scapegoat the most overtly extreme elements for the systematic crimes of the opposition as a whole, are nothing more than public relations exercises, designed to whitewash the massive crimes of the “rebels”, whilst extricating the Western Elite and their GCC partners from the criminal act of sponsoring extremists for geopolitical ends.

Phil Greaves is a UK based writer on UK/US Foreign Policy, with a focus on the Arab World, post WWII. http://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/

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Why is MMD opposing Sata's indeco idea?
By Editor
Wed 08 Jan. 2014, 14:00 CAT

The MMD leadership is questioning the rationale behind the re-introduction of the industrial development corporation. It is not difficult to understand their problem. The MMD in government blindly pursued neoliberal policies which have not brought any meaningful development to the country for the two decades they were in power. What meaningful benefits have their capitalist policies brought to the poor of this country?

Let us not be carried away with labels and ideological prejudices and objectively face the challenges before us. We are living in a very different world. This is the first thing we need to understand.

Furthermore, the world we live in today is globalised, really globalised. It is a world dominated by the ideology, the standards and the principles of neoliberal globalisation.

The leadership of MMD should realise that when we speak of "the economy" or "an economic system", we are speaking of policies and plans which control the wealth and resources of a country, about how resources are distributed between people, and about how the means of production - such as land, factories and technology - are owned and controlled. It is sometimes suggested that economic laws, like the basic laws of nature, are beyond human control; that we can no more influence them than we can defy gravity or stop the motion of planets.

Therefore, it is argued, the existence of poverty and unemployment, and the inequitable distribution of wealth, are the result of inescapable economic laws, and must be accepted as such. When suffering and even death flow from these "inevitable facts of economic life", that is simply unfortunate, it is said, just as it is unfortunate when suffering and death result from a natural disaster. Although we sympathise with the victims of an earthquake or a flood, we do not consider such natural occurrences unjust or immoral. In the same way, the argument continues, we should not regard an economic system as unjust or immoral, though we regret the suffering that may be part of such a system. Some people will be poor and some rich, inevitably and unavoidably, just as some will be the victims of earthquakes and floods, and some will not.

This argument must be rejected because it fails to take into account the fact that economic consequences come about as a result of human agency. At the heart of every economic system lie human needs, human abilities and human decisions, and it is the choices which we make in addressing those needs, sharing those abilities, and making those decisions, that determine the justice or injustice of an economic system. The more powerful our economic position, the greater our freedom of choice, with the poor and the marginalised having very little effective choice in their economic decision making. There is thus a moral quality about an economy, a quality which has its roots in the morally correct or incorrect choices by people; and it is the moral quality of the economy that enables us to make judgements about whether or not it is a just economy.

We are not surprised that President Michael Sata's decision to re-introduce a developmental state through the industrial development corporation is being opposed by a political party that for two decades presided over the plunder and abuse of our people and their resources. Michael's approach to economic management from the viewpoint of the poor and suffering, his condemnation of their suffering and his unambiguous call for bold and profound changes in the political and social structures that perpetuate that suffering, was destined, from the beginning, to generate opposition and conflict from other sectors of our society that seek to maintain the status quo or even to increase their share of economic and political power. It is time we converted both our hearts and our institutions to respond to the cause of the poor by searching for effective strategies to transform the structures that are the root causes of their suffering.

It is important to emphasise right from the beginning that we do not think this opposition to Michael's industrial development corporation is going to end in some form of reconciliation in the foreseeable future. When one identifies with the interests of the poor, one will undoubtedly come into conflict with the interests of other sectors of society and their allies. It is therefore important in these initiatives of Michael to emphasise the virtue of fortitude - the refusal to abandon the poor in their sufferings. And these same poor - by what they give and what they ask - should inspire Michael and his comrades with that fortitude, the strength to remain steadfast in whatever they do.

When a system ceases to promote the common good and favours special interests, we must not only denounce its injustice but also break with the evil system. We must be prepared to work with another system that is more just, fair and humane and more suited to the needs of the day.
If what Michael is suggesting to do is socialism, and if what Dr Kaunda and UNIP did was socialism, then all persons of goodwill cannot but go along with this; they cannot help but rejoice over the appearance of another social system that is more just, fair and humane.

It is surprising that the same people, the same political party, that declared this country a Christian nation favour greed and oppose policies that are more just, fair and humane. Tomorrow's Christians must follow the lead of Michael and KK, retracing the Christian roots that lie behind the moral values of solidarity and fraternity.

Christians must show that authentic socialism is Christianity lived to the full, in basic equality and with a fair distribution of goods.

Instead of opposing it, we must learn to accept joyfully a form of societal life that is better adapted to our times and more in tune with the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, we will prevent people from equating God and religion with those things that oppress the workers and the poor: that is capitalism and imperialism. These inhuman systems have spawned other systems that proposed to free peoples, but ended up oppressing them.

We must always side with those who seek to build a more equitable and fraternal society among the family of God's children. We should therefore, with pride and joy, greet the new initiatives Michael is coming up with, which do not honour money accumulated in the hands of a few.

It is primarily up to the poor to effect their own betterment. They must regain confidence in themselves. They must educate themselves and overcome illiteracy. They must work zealously to fashion their own destiny. They must open their ears to those who can awaken and shape the conscious awareness of the masses and, in particular, listen to progressive politicians like Michael and the apostle of our independence struggle, KK.

Changes must be made to the way we manage our economy; present conditions must be improved.

The people are hungering for truth and justice, and those who are entrusted with the task of teaching and educating them should do so with enthusiasm. Certain erroneous viewpoints must be wiped away without delay.

We cannot claim to love God without loving our fellow humans. If some try to monopolise for themselves what others need, then it is the duty of public authority to carry out the distribution that was not made willingly.

In like manner, we cannot allow rich foreigners to come and exploit our impoverished peoples under the pretext of developing commerce and industry; nor can we allow rich nationals to exploit their own nation. These things incite the exasperating strains of excessive nationalism, which is hostile to meaningful co-operation and collaboration.

It is high time that the poor, supported and guided by their legitimate government, defended their right to live. When God appeared to Moses, it was said to him: "I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt, I have heard their appeal to be free of their slave drivers… I mean to deliver them" (Exodus 3:7). Jesus took all humanity upon himself to lead it to eternal life. And the earthly foreshadowing of this is social justice, the first form of brotherly love. When Jesus freed humankind from death through resurrection, he brought all human liberation movements to their fullness in eternity.

We should direct all our efforts to work together toward the construction of a society in which all persons will find their place, and in which they will enjoy political, economic, cultural and religious equality and liberty.

The present situation in our country, as in many countries on our continent, calls for some radical change.

Every human being of goodwill should be committed to changing a social order that is cruelly unjust. To refuse such commitment would be to make oneself an accomplice of injustice. If we do not commit ourselves to changing a system that prevents most persons from achieving personal fulfilment, then we are not helping our people to live out their vocation and attain union with God.

The poverty situation, we feel, is a product of unjust socioeconomic structures. Faced with this situation, we have no choice but to support the changes that will help better the living standards of our people. We do realise full well that we are the product of a society that has taught us to look coldly on the impoverished plight of our brothers and sisters. Our actions must be inspired by real love, not by the standards of a society that tends to maintain the present situation.

Our organisations must somehow get close to the poor, because only close experience will teach us the great magnitude of the problems that afflict the majority of our people. We must therefore reform the structures of our organisations so that such contact really takes place.

We ought to sharpen the awareness of our duty of solidarity with the poor, to which charity leads us. This solidarity means that we make ours their problems and their struggles, that we know how to speak with them. This has to be concretised in criticism of injustice and oppression, in the struggle against the intolerable situation that a poor person often has to tolerate, in the willingness to dialogue with the groups responsible for that situation in order to make them understand their obligations.

We should openly express our desire to be very close always to those who work for and struggle with the poor in order that they always feel our encouragement and know that we will not listen to parties interested in distorting their work.

What has been said before and the experience lived by our people lead us to reject neoliberal policies that were imposed on our people by the successive MMD governments; we reject capitalism, in its economic expression as well as in its ideological basis, which favours individualism, profit, and the exploitation of humanity by humanity. We should therefore aim toward the creation of a qualitatively different society. By this, we understand a society wherein the willingness of justice, of solidarity and equality reigns, one that will respond to generous aspirations and the search for a more just society and where values which will guarantee the integral development of our people will be realised.

In order that this kind of society be developed, it is necessary that the education of all people include the social and communal meaning of human life, in the total context which includes culture, economics, politics and the whole society.

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Constitution making hijacked by individuals to undermine the will of the people - Sata
By Joseph Mwenda and Kombe Mataka
Wed 08 Jan. 2014, 16:00 CAT

THE constitution-making process has been hijacked by individuals with an objective to embarrass, humiliate and politically undermine the sovereign will of the people, President Michael Sata.

In a statement released by his special assistant for Press and Public Relations George Chellah, President Sata said it would be highly reckless and irresponsible to hastily release the constitution only to satisfy an ill-intended political scheme.

"The country already has a functional Constitution and the state will not be pushed into fast and reckless conclusions by individuals with dubious agendas," he said.

President Sata said the government remained dedicated to the constitution making process.

"The recent biased political maneuvers surrounding the process confirm the ill-intentions of the persons at the helm of this misplaced crusade. Right from the start, this government has been dedicated to the process, no wonder the committee handling the matter was left without any interference. But it's clear that the well intended process has been hijacked to embarrass, humiliate and politically undermine the will and interest of the majority of Zambians," he said.

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Support indeco, Chitala advises Zambians
By Allan Mulenga
Wed 08 Jan. 2014, 14:01 CAT

DR Mbita Chitala has urged Zambians to support the re-introduction of the industrial development corporation, saying that all countries have advanced on the basis of revamping parastatals.

Commenting on MMD acting president Michael Kaingu's statement that establishing indeco would take the country backwards, Dr Chitala said the government intervenes in the market to safeguard the public good.

"There are two views in academia; the first view, which is correct, is that when there is a market failure, the state always intervenes and put up a company or project to ensure that public good is implemented. For instance in our case, the problem of the Railway Systems of Zambia, it required the government coming in and intervening and providing a public good on which all other sectors of the economy will enjoy," he said.

"The Railway Systems of Zambia was completely collapsing but now it has been revitalised. So, in the area of industry and commerce, I think we should learn from what has happened in other countries such as South Korea, which has advanced on the basis of parastatals."

Dr Chitala urged the government to manage indeco professionally.

"From the point of theory, there is nothing wrong in the government getting involved in the management of parastatals whenever there is a market failure. The challenge on the state establishing indeco is the challenge that all countries have, that there must be professionalism for the sake of national development," he said.

"The state should only come in where there is market failure; where the market cannot efficiently and equitably operate. The same way I have said about Zambia Railways, where there is so much money required to revamp it and it is only the state that can do that."

Dr Chitala, however, said Zambians were afraid that the establishment of indeco would breed nepotism, and bad governance, as was the case in most parastatals during the days of the one-party state, may be coming back.

On Kaingu's assertions that Dr Kenneth Kaunda was influencing President Michael Sata to make certain policies, Dr Chitala said there was no need to discard all policies UNIP formulated.

"The bottom of this matter is that what UNIP did was not all bad. Certain policies of UNIP were good, of which our politicians must be magnanimous enough and learn from. They may have managed the parastatals badly, but there was professionalism in the manner they were handled," said Dr Chitala.

On Friday, Kaingu, at a press briefing, urged Zambians to reject the re-inrtoduction of indeco, saying it would take the country backwards.

"We are wondering, what is this government trying to do? What ideologies is this government following? Is it socialism? Is it capitalism? Does it want to prioritise the mines again? Does it want to enter the private sector and get shares? Does it want to nationalise again? These are the questions that everybody is asking. What is this indeco about? Tomorrow it will be Zimco, then Mindeco," said Kaingu.

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Magande advises PF to consult on governance
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Wed 08 Jan. 2014, 14:01 CAT

ZAMBIA should start preparing incoming governments thoroughly in view of the experience the country has had with PF's first two years in office, says Ng'andu Magande.

Magande, Zambia's longest-serving finance minister, said most of the mistakes the PF had made in its first two years in office were as a result of not understanding how the government systems operate. Magande said it was very clear the PF made key decisions without understanding how the country operates.

"This is a party which has never been in power and if they said 'we are going to take one or two years to study the situation', people would still have understood that 'these people have never been in government, so, let them understand what goes on in government'," Magande said in an interview.

"But what happens is that here we don't have an American system where you find the incoming government starts learning by going to the offices. Here you just end up in place and you don't even know where you stand."

Magande urged the PF to work closely with civil servants to ensure they fully understand the civil service and general government operations before they plunge the country into serious governance issues.
Magande observed that the first two years of the PF had been characterised by ad hoc and not well-thought through arrangements.

He said key economic decisions such as the removal of consumer subsidies on maize and fuel had not benefitted the intended sections of the Zambian society.

"Today, who is buying maize at K80 per 25 kilogramme? It is the ordinary people in Chilubi and Kalingalinga…the same poor people they said they wanted to protect," said Magande.

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Sichinga tells millers to act responsibly on prices
By Stuart Lisulo
Wed 08 Jan. 2014, 14:00 CAT

THE stalemate between the Millers Association of Zambia and the government over the rising price of mealie-meal looks set to continue.

But agriculture minister Robert Sichinga insists the millers should act responsibly to help reduce mealie-meal prices, which have reached unprecedented levels, selling at over K70.00 per 25kg breakfast bag in selected outlets in Lusaka.

Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) president Allan Sakala said in interview on Friday that the millers were still waiting for the government to respond to calls for an urgent meeting to seek clarity on the actual price of maize to be sold following the government's hike to K1,700.00 per tonne through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

The hike in the price has caused consternation among the millers, who insist they are only able to comply with the government's
directive to sell breakfast and roller meal at K65.00 and K45.00 per 25kg bag, respectively, if maize is sold to millers at K1,600.00 per
tonne.

"We are still waiting for government to react because this is a national issue; once they have reacted, we will take our next course of action. The ball is in their government's court," Sakala said.
He said since the price of maize was very high, it was virtually impossible to adhere to the prices directed by the government.

"The only problem is that the maize itself is expensive; we are landing maize into the mill at about K1,900.00, something like that. And FRA has not yet started offloading [the maize - they are still working out the modalities of how we are going to get the maize. As long as the maize prices remain high, I do not see how we can address that situation unless the agriculture ministry comes up with
conducive prices which we can digest; then we will be able to resolve the issue of mealiemeal prices," he said.

But Sichinga in a separate interview said: "We have offloaded maize onto the market.

As government, we have done our part; when you talk about liberalisation and private sector participation, we expect the private sector to act responsibly."

He said there was no need for any consultative meetings between the government and stakeholders because last month's meeting "sufficiently resolved" the issue of mealiemeal prices. "There are no plans on the part of government to hold another consultative meeting.

All of them had the opportunity to say what they wanted to say and participate and all the issues were concluded, not just with the millers, but grain traders and ZNFU," Sichinga said.

He reiterated that the onus was on the millers to help reduce the prices of the mealie-meal.

"They are supposed to show good faith and confirm that some of their millers have received additional maize; the price at the moment they are supposed to determine; the price is not being fixed by government - it is supposed to be as a result of supply and
demand, and we expect that they will act responsibly.

The truth of the matter is that they are not prepared to lower the prices because they want to make super profits, and Mr Sakala knows that," Sichinga said.

He further said consumers should be questioning the millers and not the government on the ever-rising prices of mealie-meal as government had already done its part.

Sichinga also explained that since the removal of subsidies on fuel and maize early last year, the price of maize sold by FRA could not go any further than the K1,700.00 per tone limit.

"When we removed subsides, it means we cannot sell maize at a price lower than is being dictated by FRA - they have to break even.

The price at which we are selling is, in fact, much more modest because FRA buys its stocks in areas where the private sector do not go, so it is a much more extensive assignment for them to bring those stocks to the market," said Sichinga.

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PF will have it rough in EP by-elections, says Nyangu
By Kombe Mataka
Wed 08 Jan. 2014, 14:00 CAT

MMD deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu says PF should forget about winning even a single seat in Eastern Province from the by-elections that will be held this year.

And Nyangu has disclosed that MMD organs in Kasama have approached the party leadership to consider convincing PF Kasama member of parliament Geoffrey Mwamba to resign from PF and rejoin MMD.

In an interview, Nyangu said Eastern Province was a stronghold for MMD and that the party's aim was to defend all its seats that it lost through Supreme Court nullifications.

Nyangu said the PF was aware that MMD was its only political threat currently among the opposition political parties.

"Eastern Province is a very big factor. Every vote counts. This is why the PF have ensured that they have more seats belonging to Eastern Province nullified. But I can assure you that without the component of MMD in PF, they will have it rough (in Eastern Province). They are losing ground in Eastern Province just as they are doing in Northern Province," Nyangu claimed.

Nyangu accused the PF wants to attain a status of a party with a two-third majority in Parliament.

"...but can you have two-third majority without Eastern Province and pockets in North Western Province? They will not even do so in Southern Province, they should forget about it because you need 106 seats for you to control Parliament and to run government the way you want to," Nyangu said.

"We are also aware that they want Milanzi and Chipangali, but I tell you that they will not win even one seat when by-elections are held because people there are upset, especially with government's poor agriculture policies. Even in North Western, they won't make it. If these (agriculture policies) were okay the PF would have had an easy ride."

Nyangu said the MMD was eager to participate in all the by-elections.

"We just have to participate and the vice-president (Michael Kaingu) is right to say we will sit and discuss the way forward so that we mobilise funds and put it in by-elections. That is what they want. So, we are just waiting to convene a full national executive council to endorse what we feel should be done, but organs are on the ground," he said.

Nyangu said MMD functionaries and members were agitated by the loss of seats through Supreme Court nullifications.

"MMD by nature is a party that is everywhere. It has got structures throughout the country. We are a former ruling party by the way; that is why the PF wanted to deregister us, but when they failed, they intensified on nullification of seats so that they weaken us to the bone. That is why if they would get rid of MMD, there would be no competition because they know other political parties are just in pockets elsewhere, they are not a national party. United Party for National Development (UPND) can claim to be national, but if you look at the demography, you find that it's just a claim. We would wish them to be national. Let them try hard, that is why they are trying to be everywhere," Nyangu said.

The Supreme Court recently nullified MMD's Kasenengwa, Malambo, Petauke and Vubwi parliamentary seats on grounds of corruption and electoral malpractices, while Chipangali and Malinzi seats are still before the courts.

And Nyangu said the party organs in Kasama have approached the party on the need to convince Mwamba to resign from PF and join MMD.

"The organs there (Kasama) are saying 'it is easier because we already have structures'. MMD has more structures in Kasama, but if Mr Mwamba had to join MMD, it would be easier for us to campaign because Mr Mwamba knows the structures of MMD, each time there are elections, it has been between PF and MMD, so it would be easy to realign those structures and get the seat easily. Obviously he would be a factor in MMD. You know GBM is household name in Kasama politics; so, it would be easy to win the seat," said Nyangu.

Mwamba upon resigning his ministerial position as defence minister told his supporters in kasama that until he is told to leave the Patriotic Front, he would stick to the ruling party.


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PF will have it rough in EP by-elections, says Nyangu
By Kombe Mataka
Wed 08 Jan. 2014, 14:00 CAT

MMD deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu says PF should forget about winning even a single seat in Eastern Province from the by-elections that will be held this year.

And Nyangu has disclosed that MMD organs in Kasama have approached the party leadership to consider convincing PF Kasama member of parliament Geoffrey Mwamba to resign from PF and rejoin MMD.

In an interview, Nyangu said Eastern Province was a stronghold for MMD and that the party's aim was to defend all its seats that it lost through Supreme Court nullifications.

Nyangu said the PF was aware that MMD was its only political threat currently among the opposition political parties.

"Eastern Province is a very big factor. Every vote counts. This is why the PF have ensured that they have more seats belonging to Eastern Province nullified. But I can assure you that without the component of MMD in PF, they will have it rough (in Eastern Province). They are losing ground in Eastern Province just as they are doing in Northern Province," Nyangu claimed.

Nyangu accused the PF wants to attain a status of a party with a two-third majority in Parliament.

"...but can you have two-third majority without Eastern Province and pockets in North Western Province? They will not even do so in Southern Province, they should forget about it because you need 106 seats for you to control Parliament and to run government the way you want to," Nyangu said.

"We are also aware that they want Milanzi and Chipangali, but I tell you that they will not win even one seat when by-elections are held because people there are upset, especially with government's poor agriculture policies. Even in North Western, they won't make it. If these (agriculture policies) were okay the PF would have had an easy ride."

Nyangu said the MMD was eager to participate in all the by-elections.

"We just have to participate and the vice-president (Michael Kaingu) is right to say we will sit and discuss the way forward so that we mobilise funds and put it in by-elections. That is what they want. So, we are just waiting to convene a full national executive council to endorse what we feel should be done, but organs are on the ground," he said.

Nyangu said MMD functionaries and members were agitated by the loss of seats through Supreme Court nullifications.

"MMD by nature is a party that is everywhere. It has got structures throughout the country. We are a former ruling party by the way; that is why the PF wanted to deregister us, but when they failed, they intensified on nullification of seats so that they weaken us to the bone. That is why if they would get rid of MMD, there would be no competition because they know other political parties are just in pockets elsewhere, they are not a national party. United Party for National Development (UPND) can claim to be national, but if you look at the demography, you find that it's just a claim. We would wish them to be national. Let them try hard, that is why they are trying to be everywhere," Nyangu said.

The Supreme Court recently nullified MMD's Kasenengwa, Malambo, Petauke and Vubwi parliamentary seats on grounds of corruption and electoral malpractices, while Chipangali and Malinzi seats are still before the courts.

And Nyangu said the party organs in Kasama have approached the party on the need to convince Mwamba to resign from PF and join MMD.

"The organs there (Kasama) are saying 'it is easier because we already have structures'. MMD has more structures in Kasama, but if Mr Mwamba had to join MMD, it would be easier for us to campaign because Mr Mwamba knows the structures of MMD, each time there are elections, it has been between PF and MMD, so it would be easy to realign those structures and get the seat easily. Obviously he would be a factor in MMD. You know GBM is household name in Kasama politics; so, it would be easy to win the seat," said Nyangu.

Mwamba upon resigning his ministerial position as defence minister told his supporters in kasama that until he is told to leave the Patriotic Front, he would stick to the ruling party.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Bob’s lawyers pursue ex-PM over fees
07/01/2014 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

LAWYERS who represented President Robert Mugabe in case filed by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai have threatened to seize the ex-premier property unless he stumps up legal fees amounting to $8,000.

FG Gijima and Associates represented Mugabe in an Electoral Court petition relating to the general elections held on July 31 last year.

The MDC-T leader wanted Mugabe, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Registrar-General to release election material and information relating the Presidential vote management and results, which he was challenging at the Constitutional Court.

The application was however dismissed with costs by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu. Now Mugabe’s lawyers want the former prime minister to pay legal costs and taxing fees amounting to US$8 903,94.

“Unless we receive payment by close of business on 22 (November 2013) instant, we shall take out a writ and execute on your client’s property without further notice to yourselves,” Fred Gijima wrote in a letter to Tsvangirai’s lawyers.

Tsvangirai’s lawyers however told Gijima to hold his horses saying their client had appealed Justice Chinembiri Bhunu ruling at the Supreme Court.

“We have appealed against the judgment and we have to wait for the outcome of the appeal,” said Alec Muchadehama of Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni.

“What happens if we win the appeal with costs? We have to wait for outcome of the appeal and I understand the matter will be heard on January 23 this year.”

The elections were won by Mugabe and his Zanu PF party but Tsvangirai refused to concede, alleging fraud.
The MDC-T leader however failed with a challenge against the Presidential election results at the Constitutional Court.


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(NEWZIMBABWE) Sanctions: Righteousness or racist repertoire?
07/01/2014 00:00:00
by Bernard Bwoni

COMMENT - The reason why the MDC/US/UK governments have to claim high and low that a) there are no economic sanctions and/or b) there are sanctions, but they are not 'economic', just 'targeted' 'personal' sanctions, is that unlike the ANC, the MDC is not a popular movement. The ANC never had to hide or run away from the fact they wanted sanctions against Apartheid South Africa. The MDC is not a liberation movement, they work for De Beers. - MrK

THERE has been an intentional and dishonest narrative that Zimbabwe was under “targeted sanctions” and “travel bans” which target President Mugabe and his “cronies” and these distortions have deliberately misled the world over the plight of this nation. The existence of economic sanctions has been casually brushed off while the architects of the sanctions have not been sincere or morally upright to the suffering that befell the general populace in Zimbabwe. The unbearable hardships were blamed solely on the land reform programme and it seems convenient to justify such ruinous sanctions and disguise the real intention behind why they were inflicted in the first place.

The economic impact of the sanctions on the Zimbabwean economy must never be understated. They have been devastating to the most vulnerable groups in society who have had to bear the full brunt of it and have seen their livelihoods reduced to absolute destitution. There have been comparative arguments of the sanctions placed on Rhodesia and the Zimbabwe economic sanctions and what emerges is a racist repertoire which is inextricably imbedded and blended with a long term neoliberal grand master-plan. Sanctions do not discriminate between the elite or the general population and they are used as an economic warfare against target governments. The purpose of economic sanctions is to coerce the intended victim into submission through deliberate sabotage of the economy hence the term economic sanctions.

The sanctions against Rhodesia created social and political integration due to the fact that the Ian Smith regime was given more than enough time to prepare for them. On the other hand for Zimbabwe, the sanctions created socio-economic and political upheaval and disintegration because the country was slapped with instant economic sanctions which saw the economic meltdown, the strengthening of spurious opposition politics and the privation and distress caused by the hard-hitting effects of the sanctions. Unlike Zimbabwe, Rhodesia had a very strong historical and birthright identification with those who were imposing the sanctions and had ideological allies who had a vested interest in ensuring that the regime stayed intact and hence they did not approve the sanctions. Rhodesian sanctions were at most symbolic whereas those against Zimbabwe were full-blown economic sanctions imposed indiscriminately and abruptly with the resultant immediate economic collapse that followed.

The nature of the sanctions against Rhodesia highlights a protective approach to imposing the sanctions in that the Smith regime was given enough warning of the impending threat, ample time to prepare and harness collective national spirit. Johan Galtung wrote an article in 1966(On the Effects of International Economic Sanctions: With Examples from the Case of Rhodesia) hypothesising the likely impact of the sanctions long before they were imposed. The Rhodesians were warned and prepped for well in advance and in and around the towns and cities Galtung pointed out that there were even jokes like “there will be no sanctions against drinks” - ridiculing the sanctions way before they came into effect.

Zimbabwe on the other hand was not threatened with sanctions; they were imposed with very little if any warning at all. It is disingenuous that the architects of these hardship-inducing sanctions claim that Mugabe and his “cronies” blame the sanctions as a way of diverting attention from the country’s politics and internal mismanagement yet they could so easily lift the sanctions completely and see if the mismanagement prevails in a sanctions-free economic environment and uplift the lives of those they falsely claim to be championing for by imposition of these sanctions.

Again the sanctions against Rhodesia did not work because some countries such as South Africa, Portugal, Israel and some Arab nations propped up the Smith regime. Rhodesia also found ways of circumventing the sanctions as imports and exports were smuggled through South Africa. The Zimbabwe sanctions on the other hand were devastating to the economy. Hufbauer and Schott, 1990 (Economic Sanctions Reconsidered: History and Current Policy) calculate that the annual cost of economic sanctions to Rhodesia was just $130 million per year. In a study titled ‘Economic Sanctions’ prepared for the Harvard Centre for International Affairs, Robin Renwick, head of the Rhodesian department of the British Foreign Office, reported that between 1965 and 1974 Rhodesia's real output increased 6 percent per year; the value of exports more than doubled between 1968 and 1974 and continued to rise afterward, although much more slowly.

On the other hand the sanctions against Zimbabwe have cost the country in excess of $42 billion since 2001 which translates to a staggering $3.5 billion annually! The negative publicity Zimbabwe and its leadership received meant a very negative national image which attracted high-risk premium on alternative sources of offshore lines of credit and had a detrimental effect on tourism which is significant to national GDP (Taking back the economy: Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment). The interruption of trade and constraints on manufacturing and general activities saw GDP almost halving from US$7.49 billion in 2000 to US$4 billion in 2010.

Sanctions against Rhodesia were devised and implemented in a manner to publicly appear to punish yet privately there was a collective kindredship to preserve and protect. At most the sanctions were a symbolic gesture to appear to condemn the racist Ian Smith regime so as to pacify the international community. On the other hand sanctions against Zimbabwe were specifically designed to hurt without due care and attention to the suffering of the ordinary poor people. Rhodesia was placed under sanctions but safeguarded from the privation synonymous with sanctions while Zimbabwe was deliberately exposed to hardship.

The Zimbabwe government’s incessant cries over the devastating effects of these merciless sanctions were drowned in the devious world of media duplicity and the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe was relegated to the entertainment sections of media sources. Some lives are more important than others, the nature of the world Africa finds itself at the bottom end of.

Bernard Bwoni can be contacted on bernardbwoni.blogspot.com

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(NEWZIMBABWE, NEWS24) Blair quits as advisor to Malawi leader
06/01/2014 00:00:00
by News24

FORMER British prime minister Tony Blair has reportedly quit as an adviser to Malawi’s president Joyce Banda, amid a corruption scandal rocking the southern African country. UK media reported that Blair and his team had been working in Banda’s office, advising her on how to run the country.

According to the reports, Banda’s spokesperson admitted that the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) was calling it quits, but maintained the development was not linked to the corruption scandal.

The British government froze aid payments to Malawi in November in response to the multi-million pound corruption which involved dozens of officials.

The move by Britain was likely to have a catastrophic effect on Malawi’s ability to provide basic services.
The European Union and Norway have also withdrawn their support for Malawi.

Banda has in the past been quoted as saying she would not cry over the freezing of aid, although she understood the need for British politicians and taxpayers to have confidence in her government.

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(GLOBALRESEARCH) Fast and Furious UK-Style: Britain’s Gun-running to East Africa, Somali Pirates
By Patrick Henningsen
Global Research, January 06, 2014
21st Century Wire

In the US, we’re used to seeing the alphabet soup agencies involved in trafficking arms, and as long as the government are doing it, no one in government seems to mind too much.

For Washington DC, state-sanctioned gun-running has developed into a nice, not-so-little cottage industry, with arms flooding into the hands of criminal drug cartels in Mexico being well-documented through Eric Holder’s ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal.

Add to this the recent CIA admission of overseas gun-running into the hands of quasi-terrorist outfits in Syria, and you can see how government-controlled gun-running operations are key to maintaining instability and a criminal climate in regions all around the world.

By contrast, in Britain, business enterprises like international gun-running are mere whispers in the halls of Westminster, and remain well-hidden behind the walls of London’s infamous city state – the financial Square Mile. A new report this week (see full article below), accuses the British Government of having been caught in their own ‘Fast and Furious’ episode – this time shipping some 44,000 guns to East Africa – in the last 15 months alone. That’s just the tip of the global iceberg. Does this also explain how all of those lovely weapons made it into the hands of rebel fighters in Libya and Syria?

In order for this river of arms to keep flowing, it’s important that a government maintain little or no oversight regarding state-sanctioned weapons trafficking. The UK’s House of Commons Arms Export Controls Committee has now admitted that the government’s Business Department, which ‘approves’ these massive weapons exports, “did not thoroughly assess where the weapons were going”. Dear, oh dear.

There is a strong suggestion in this report that many of these weapons have ended up into the hands of Somalian pirates – and this is where we see the business cycle come full circle…


Is their any relationship between the British government, the destabilisation of East Africa and the City of London’s insurance and trading firms? The connections run deep indeed.

Insurance syndicates raking in profits

Who benefits from Somalian piracy in the Gulf of Aden? According to a study conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), insurance companies have seen a windfall in profits from the Somali pirate attacks, with insurance premiums sharply increasing. The DIW white paper concluded that:

“Many of the relevant players (Somali pirates, local communities, nascent government in pirate regions, international navies, private security and the insurance industry) have no incentive to stop piracy. In fact, there is a relatively stable relationship between these groups, many of whom share a clear business interest in maintaining piracy at its current level.”

Even though Somalian piracy only affects a small percentage of shipping through Somalia’s coastal waters and the Indian Ocean, thus far the overall winner of this regional “crisis” has to be the insurance syndicates providing coverage to the shipping industry. DIW confirmed that, “Of an estimated 30,000 ships transiting the Gulf of Aden in 2009, 116 were attacked, less than one in 250. Moreover, the 25 final ransoms are still only a small fraction of the overall value of the ship, crew and cargo”.

Lloyds insurance moguls saw other opportunities to increase their profits by extending the ‘pirate zone’, even in the face of international opposition. Bloomberg reported in 2011, that “India is lobbying Lloyd’s of London to reverse its expansion of the area judged prone to pirate attacks to cover almost all of the nation’s west coast after insurance costs surged as much as 300-fold this year”.

A clear nexus exists between the City’s business elite, the UK government and the World Bank. Keeping Somalia entrenched in a pit of debt and dependent of “aid” from multi-lateral institutions like the IMF and the World Bank helps fuel the cycle of poverty and lawlessness, which in turn, puts even more money into established City pockets in the form of insurance premiums. Add to this, NATO is overseeing the entire security operation in and around the Gulf of Aden from its new maritime headquarters – in North London. That’s right – nearly everything concerning Somalia and its ‘security crisis’… comes from, or passes through London.

So it’s no surprise then why the British government has bothered to funnel £2.2m into the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime’s ”counter-piracy programme”, to run prisons in Puntland, Somalia and helps fund the reinforcement police and maritime forces which will defend British interests in the region.

Big Money for Major Players

It’s no secret that British mining and energy interests in East Africa – especially in Ethiopia and Somalia, are a top priority for neocolonial market makers, shakers and takers in the City of London. Ethipoian-based British proxy firm SouthWest Energy is one of the major players in the region. According to Hands of Somalia blog, SouthWest’s advisory board include Sir John Bond, chairman of Xstrata, Simon Murray, chairman of Glencore and Lord Malloch-Brown, who served for two years as UK minister of state in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Gordon Brown’s Labour government with responsibility for Africa, Asia and the UN.

Hands off Somalia notes here how insurance rackets and their beneficiaries (opportunists) have already carved up a their niche market:

“On 6 January (2013) the first private British navy for the last 200 years was set up off Somali waters by a group of businessmen to defend western private interests and rake in massive shipping insurance contracts with Lloyds of London.

Simon Murray backs the company behind the venture, Typhon. The firm is composed of ex-Royal Marines, Legionnaires, NATO commanders, and even a former chief of HSBC’s marine and insurance business. Typhon owner Anthony Sharp told the Telegraph “I had the idea for Typhon playing polo one afternoon, thinking about what my next business might be”.

City insurance stalwart Lloyds of London started in business doing marine insurance, underwriting centuries of British empire-building – and have been profiting out of the piracy game for centuries. Other piracy insurance giants based in the City of London. include Willis Group Holdings plc. According to a report by Forbes in 2010, buying the highest insurance package per voyage would, somehow, significantly lower the risk of a piracy attack. If you were one of the hundreds of ships to buy Willis Group’s full ‘Vessel Shield’ package – a bargain at $35K per voyage, then you would have completely avoided being targeted by Somali pirates. What luck. Go figure.

It would be interesting to know if the same City of London insurance and financial firms involved the Gulf of Aden piracy market also have any business interest in arms shipments to East Africa, or the mining and oil businesses. If you dig deep enough, it’s likely that you might find a yes(s) somewhere in this criminal matrix, but who really knows, right?

With Somalia weak and unstable, British and other US and European firms only need wait until the moment is right to jump on Somalia’s natural resource assets. Until then, there’s plenty of money to spread around.

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(GLOBALRESEARCH) JP Morgan Behind Madoff Ponzi Scheme? Pays $2 Billion to Avoid Investigation and Prosecution

By Washington's Blog
Global Research, January 06, 2014
Washington's Blog

Bernie Madoff has said all along that JP Morgan knew about – and knowingly profited from – his Ponzi schemes. So JP Morgan has agreed to pay the government $2 billion to avoid investigation and prosecution. While this may sound like a lot of money, it is spare sofa change for a big bank like JP Morgan. It’s not just the Madoff scheme.

As shown below, the big banks – including JP Morgan – are manipulating virtually every market – both in the financial sector and the real economy – and breaking virtually every law on the books. Here are just some of the recent improprieties by big banks:

* Laundering money for terrorists (the HSBC employee who blew the whistle on the banks’ money laundering for terrorists and drug cartels says that the giant bank is still laundering money, saying: “The public needs to know that money is still being funneled through HSBC to directly buy guns and bullets to kill our soldiers …. Banks financing … terrorists affects every single American.” He also said: “It is disgusting that our banks are STILL financing terror on 9/11 2013“. And see this)

* Financing illegal arms deals, and funding the manufacture of cluster bombs (and see this and this) and other arms which are banned in most of the world

* Handling money for rogue military operations

* Laundering money for drug cartels. See this, this, this, this and this (indeed, drug dealers kept the banking system afloat during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis). A whistleblower said: “America is losing the drug war because our banks are [still] financing the cartels“, and “Banks financing drug cartels … affects every single American“. And see this.)

* Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See this, this and this

* Shaving money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades, stealing collectively billions of dollars from pensions worldwide. Details here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here

* Manipulating aluminum and copper prices

* Manipulating gold prices … on a daily basis

* Charging “storage fees” to store gold bullion … without even buying or storing any gold . And raiding allocated gold accounts

* Committing massive and pervasive fraud both when they initiated mortgage loans and when they foreclosed on them (and see this)

* Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers. See this, this, this, this and this. This would be like selling your car, and collecting money from 10 different buyers for the same car

* Cheating homeowners by gaming laws meant to protect people from unfair foreclosure

* Committing massive fraud in an $800 trillion dollar market which effects everything from mortgages, student loans, small business loans and city financing

* Manipulating the hundred trillion dollar derivatives market

* Engaging in insider trading of the most important financial information

* Pushing investments which they knew were terrible, and then betting against the same investments to make money for themselves. See this, this, this, this and this

* Engaging in unlawful “frontrunning” to manipulate markets. See this, this, this, this, this and this

* Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See this, this and this

* Manipulating corporate bonds through derivatives schemes

* Otherwise manipulating markets. And see this

* Charging veterans unlawful mortgage fees

* Helping the richest to illegally hide assets

* Cooking their books (and see this)

* Bribing and bullying ratings agencies to inflate ratings on their risky investments

* Violently cracking down on peaceful protesters

The executives of the big banks invariably pretend that the hanky-panky was only committed by a couple of low-level rogue employees. But studies show that most of the fraud is committed by management.

Indeed, one of the world’s top fraud experts – professor of law and economics, and former senior S&L regulator Bill Black – says that most financial fraud is “control fraud”, where the people who own the banks are the ones who implement systemic fraud. See this, this and this.

The failure to go after Wall Street executives for criminal fraud is the core cause of our sick economy.

And experts say that all of the government’s excuses for failure to prosecute the individuals at the big Wall Street banks who committed fraud are totally bogus.

The big picture is simple:

* The big banks manipulate every market they touch

* Too much interconnectedness leads to financial instability

* The government has given the banks huge subsidies … which they are using for speculation and other things which don’t help the economy. In other words, propping up the big banks by throwing money at them doesn’t help the economy

* Top economists, financial experts and bankers say that the big banks are too large … and their very size is threatening the economy. They say we need to break up the big banks to stabilize the economy

* The big banks own the D.C. politicians … so Congress and the White House won’t do anything unless the people force change


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(GLOBALRESEARCH) Water Privatization Overlooked as Factor in Egypt’s Revolt
Mubarak's water policies contributed to the Arab Spring Protest movement
By Karen Piper
Global Research, January 06, 2014

Rising water prices forced some Egyptians to draw water from polluted canals. (Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy under a Creative Commons license from flickr.com)

The American media focused mainly on internal corruption and oppression [as causes of the Arab Spring revolution last year]. They did not report on the role of the international superpowers in influencing the Mubarak regime to privatize the country’s public land and water; they did not report, for instance, that since the 1990s the World Bank has argued that privatization enhances “efficiency” and has mandated the policy as a condition for making loans; and that in 2004 this mandate led the Egyptian government to privatize its water utilities, transforming them into corporations which were required to operate at a profit, and which thus began to practice “full cost recovery”— passing along the cost of new infrastructure through rate increases.

Within months of privatization, the price of water doubled in some areas of Cairo, and citizens started to protest. At one demonstration in northern Cairo, in 2005, “angry residents chased bill collectors down the streets.” Those who could not afford the new rates had little choice but to go to the city’s outskirts to collect water from the dirty Nile River canals.

In 2007, protestors in the Nile Delta blocked the main coastal road after the regional water company diverted water from farming and fishing towns to affluent resort communities. “The authorities sent riot police to put down these ‘disturbances,’” wrote Philip Marfleet, a professor at the University of East London, even as “water flowed uninterrupted to the gated communities, and to country clubs and upmarket resorts of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.”

In the next few years such demonstrations only grew in intensity. As activist Abdel Mawla Ismail has noted, “Thirst protests or intifadas, as some people have called them, started to represent a new path for a social movement.” From this path the revolution that consumed the nation in 2011 seems inevitable. People can live in poverty for a long time; they cannot live without water.

Here is Karen Piper’s full essay Revolution of the Thirsty on the Design Observer Group website. Also posted on Global Research

An English professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia, she is now at work on a book about water privatization.

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(THOUGHTLEADER SA) Africa, time to get back to basics
Posted by: Vusi Gumede
Posted on: May 29, 2013

As a point of departure, it is important to acknowledge that we know a lot about the challenges confronting the African continent today. Equally, we know more about the world today. It is in this context that a call for rethinking Africa’s political economy is made.

Such a rethink is timely because the world economy and geopolitical affairs suggest that a different socioeconomic development model is needed. Also, as Africa celebrates 50 years since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), it is fitting to ask and answer the questions pertaining to Africa’s post-independence development.

There are some salient characteristics of Africa — south of the Sahara specifically — that are worth noting. First, socioeconomic development has been largely a function of the repulsive political history of the continent. Walter Rodney, Bade Onimode and Claude Ake are among the scholars who have written extensively about the extent to which the West impoverished Africa. Thandika Mkandawire has, furthermore, demonstrated how the West and its institutions (the Bretton Woods family and the Washington Consensus) slowed socio-economic progress in sub-Saharan Africa. Of course, as Asongazoh Alemazung would argue, there are internal factors that have also constrained progress in Africa.

A philosophy of pan-Africanism and a hope of African renaissance should shape Africa’s approach to development and global affairs. Given glaring tendencies towards neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism, the project of decolonisation and Afrocentricity is ever more critical. This does not mean an anti-West stance. It simply means, as Molefi Asante puts it, that Africans are (to be) fully conscious of their Africanity and always cognisant of the ground they are standing on.

In the recent past, Africa has been performing relatively well economically. After significant setbacks caused by the structural-adjustment programmes of the Bretton Woods institutions, Africa has pulled through. Yet the recent global economic crisis and the ongoing Eurozone crisis are affecting Africa’s economic growth.

The last key issue is that, politically, Africa remains divided. The unity that Nkrumah, Nyerere, Pixley Seme and others pursued is elusive. The external hand of the West, in concert with the majority of Africa’s leaders, is ensuring that the vision of a united Africa remains a dream.

The heterogeneity and diversity of the continent is a challenge that only Africans can address, even though the challenge is in part a creation of the colonialists and continues to benefit the West. To address this challenge, we may have to go back to Afrocentric or pan-Africanist approaches, as articulated in the works of Archie Mafeje, Molefi Asante, Amilcar Cabral, Tiyambe Zeleza, Samir Amin and others. Mahmood Mamdani’s new book, Define and Rule, also offers useful insights.

I argue that the start should be to embrace authentic African approaches to social and economic development, for instance communalism: Africans functioning as a single entity to address pertinent challenges. Indigenous knowledge — a source of Africa’s resilience — could be the basis for the Afrocentricity or pan-Africanism that should be the framework shaping Africa’s affairs.

On a practical level, Africa owes herself a robust developmental paradigm that is authentically and indigenously African. The current economic system has failed the world and constrained Africa’s development. A peculiarly African socioeconomic developmental model is needed. Africa should reject advice from the West and those captured by the West. The West developed through an interventionist economic development approach, as Ha-joon Chang recounts, but the West tells Africa to follow an economic system in which the state is hands-off, a system prone to further impoverishing Africa.

It is clear that Africa needs leaders different from those we currently have (with some exceptions). To embrace Afrocentricity or pan-Africanism or Black Consciousness, as Steve Biko argued, the frame of reference and the point of reference for Africa and Africans must be changed.

Africa and Africans need to go back to their roots, so to speak. This might mean that Africa disengages from the rest of the world temporarily as she gets her house in order. The pre-colonial African economy, disrupted by colonialism and imperialism, was vibrant and served Africans well.

What might a social and economic development model for Africa contain? A major component should be social policy — broadly, vigorous public policies. The second major component is economic policy.

Many African countries do not seem to have visions for their economies. Many African economies have not transformed themselves: economic transformation must mean that the majority takes part in the economy and that all Africans benefit. At the core of this model should be effective social-protection systems, quality education and healthcare.

Africa should reconsider its social pacts in the context of the new (and old) challenges confronting the continent. Without a single vision shared by all of African society and the diaspora, and owned by every member of society, development will remain a pipe dream.

We owe it to ourselves as Africans and to our forefathers and foremothers to make Africa work. To make Africa work better, African cohesion is paramount. The African Union, working with all Africans, must ensure both renaissance and unity. Leadership is critical lest, in Ayi Kwei Armah’s words, we still lament that the “beautiful ones are not yet born”.

As we celebrate and commemorate fifty years of the formation of the OAU, a fundamental question remains: how would the next fifty years, in the context of the AU’s Agenda 2063, look like? Without a different/new socio-economic development model, chances are that Africa will not progress much.

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(THOUGHTLEADER SA) Africa’s Achilles heel: Global capitalism
Posted by: Vusi Gumede
Posted on: January 6, 2014

In 2010, during the 50th anniversary of African political independence, I wrote an article which provocatively proclaimed that developmental states remain a pipedream in Africa. There is no consensus on what has constrained the further advancement of our troubled African continent.

Could it be, fundamentally, institutions as some have argued or leadership as many have propounded or geography as a few have espoused or governance as some contend or policy as some of us have argued? Research suggests that all these factors matter.

However, the fundamental African development challenge, I would argue, has to do with the historical experience of colonialism as well as the global socio-political and economic order. Adebayo Adedeji — a former executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa — talks of the global merchant system as a deliberate design by the global capitalist order to perpetuate a socioeconomic and political system that advances interests of the few at the expense of the many as well as maintains the peripheralisation of the African continent.

Africa, although there have been proud moments, continues to perform poorly in many areas. Take, for instance, human development (index) — a measure that takes into account levels of education and healthcare as well as standard of living — the 2013 Human Development Report indicates that the average human development value for sub-Saharan Africa is 0.475 (which is the lowest of any region, although the pace of improvement is rising). This is against a backdrop of pedestrian economic growth rates, averaging 5% in Africa south of the Sahara.

I have been cautioning against the euphoria characterising Africa’s growth rates — the observed ecstasy is misplaced. There is nothing to celebrate because these growth rates are far below what is needed to guarantee the much-needed inclusive development in Africa.

Similarly, the so-called expanding African middle class in Africa, which is reported to be spurring this newly found economic growth, is a farce. In reality, unfortunately, we are observing an empty or premature middle class as the people so categorised are overburdened by high debt levels. This so-called African middle class is also bereft of the necessary socio-politico and cultural consciousness, with which they can raise people’s ideological awareness and reorganise the socio-economic and political order for positive change.

Africa must pursue its own paradigm for economic and social development. It is imperative for Africa to rethink the policies that are currently being pursued, as many leading African economists have recommended. Samir Amin, for instance, has consistently made a point that an “alternative social project” is paramount for any social change in Africa.

Africa and Africans clearly have an intractable development dilemma. However, we would be scratching the surface with a different/new approach to socio-economic development, by addressing governance and or institutions, addressing policy questions, capacity challenges, leadership questions and so on and so forth. What we need is the complete liberation that John Saul calls for and decoloniality that Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni and others recommend. The harsh reality is that at issue is the need for complete decolonisation and deimperialisation of the global order.

This is not an easy task, but it has to be undertaken. Hopefully the African Union processes towards Agenda 2063 would take up this obvious development challenge. Africa needs a practical programme that responds to the African development challenge. All the factors that constrain the further advancement of the African continent, as enumerated at the beginning, must be tackled head on. Leaders that can address the developmental challenges are urgently needed. Institutions that advance development are desperately required. Policies that respond to the African condition are overdue.

Thabo Mbeki — in an extraordinarily penetrating speech he gave in 1978 in a seminar in Canada — urged that “we must, by liberating ourselves, make our own history”. He argued that “such a process [of making history] by its nature imposes on the activist the necessity to plan and therefore requires the ability to measure cause and effect; the necessity to strike in correct directions and hence the requirement to distinguish between essence and phenomenon … ”.

We — as global human society in general and as Africans in particular — are dealing with an intractable development dilemma that dates back to the 15th century, which began as the primitive accumulation of capital escalating to colonial conquests resulting to imperialism. This is the basis of bourgeois societies that we live in today. In essence, therefore, we are dealing with a class question. For some societies, it is both the class and the race questions.

The solution to the intractable development dilemma we are wrestling with and the African development challenge we must address are far more complex than meets the eye. At the very least, we must make sure that we thoroughly and comprehensively understand the fundamental challenge we are confronted with. Needless to say, this requires higher levels of consciousness.

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