Wednesday, September 16, 2015

(LUSAKATIMES) Zambia’s Inconsistent mining taxation policy is costing us

COMMENT - Of course it is the absence of the profits from the Windfall Tax, combined with debt from the Eurobonds, that is costing the nation. The corruption starts at the top, right from the IMF/World Bank and their conditionalities like Privatisation down. No governments with the backbone to stand up against them, or the imagination to get together with SADC and the AU and make common cause to sidestep this system.

(LUSAKATIMES) Zambia’s Inconsistent mining taxation policy is costing us
September 16, 2015

File:NCHANGA Mine rescure Team B Captain Jonathan Kolala inspects air underground during the Zambia
Mine Rescure Association competetion at Namundwe Mine

The mining industry is a sore topic for many Zambians; a source of pride and pain depending on where you seat on the fence. Copper is the nation’s main export and the mines are the largest formal employer after the civil service. Those employed in the mining sector are among the most well paid workers in the country. Mining activities have contributed to the growth of mining towns on the Copperbelt, Solwezi being the most recent development.

However, Zambia is still struggling to capture tangible benefits from this mineral wealth endowment for the wider population. Despite being the second largest copper producer in Africa, copper is still exported in its raw form, and the general feeling among the population is that most of the profits are expropriated. In september 2014, Zambia experienced a lot of turmoil in the mining sector, with both Glencore and Barrick Gold threatening to stop operations if differences between the companies and the government were not resolved by January 2015.The major cause of this standoff was a lack of transparency on revenues and profits from the mining companies and a lack of consistent and effective mining taxation policy from the government. This standoff is back, and taxation policy is still a key issue of contention.

Every change of government has seen an adjustment for better or worse, with the claim of serving the countries best interests.

To try and capture benefits for the local economy from copper, the Zambian government has had many changes the mining taxation policy. Every change of government has seen an adjustment for better or worse, with the claim of serving the countries best interests.

Windfall Tax

One of the best changes enacted to the tax regime was during Levy Mwanawasa’s government, which saw mineral royalties increase from 0.6% to 3%, corporate tax from 25% to 30% and a 5 cent windfall tax per pound on any copper sold above a designated market price. However, the windfall tax was over turned by Rupiah Banda’s government due to pressure from mining companies to scrape the new reforms. They claimed that the tax was creating an ‘unattractive’ business environment for the country, despite favourable copper prices on the international market at the time. The mining companies succeeded by using contractual obligations and the financial crisis. On the other hand, the government conceded to this pressure arguing that Zambia was the only country in the region that had a windfall tax at the time. The government did not see this as an opportunity to be a leader in effecting a positive trend for regional mining taxation.

Mineral Royalties

In 2012, Michael Sata’s government again made changes to the tax system with mineral royalties increased from 3% to 6%. However, the windfall tax was not reintroduced. While the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) admits that tax revenues in the country have increased considerably since Mwanawasa’s government, they have made it clear that it is hard to pin this growth on tax regime changes as copper prices and production have also increased consistently during the same period. Further, the Zambia Revenue Authorities (ZRA) has also improved its tax monitoring and administration capacity.


In September 2014, the impasse between mining companies and the government involved two main issues, both closely related to taxation. Firstly, the mining companies were claiming a $600m refund on VAT from the government, and secondly, the government had more than tripled the mineral royalty tax beginning January 2015 from 6% to 20%, a move that the companies found highly unacceptable. According to VAT Rule 18, companies can claim VAT on inputs for exported goods produced in the country. However, companies find it very hard to claim these tax refunds due to the administrative requirements of the act. This led to the suspension of operations by Glencore at the beginning October 2014 based on unclaimed VAT refunds. Currently, Mopani is threatening to lay off 4 000 workers and is citing non VAT refunds as one of the key reasons for this.

ZRA requires that companies produce a number of documents in order to claim VAT refunds; a shipment certificate provided by the ZRA, a certificate provided by the customs authority in the importing country, invoices for the goods exported, proof of payment into the exporter’s bank account in Zambia and such other documentary evidence “as the authorized officer may reasonably require”. While companies complain that the administrative requirements are too much, this is documentation that is readily available to them as they carry out their transactions. Therefore, the lack of transparency among mining companies has also contributed to delayed payments of VAT refunds from government.

Zambians are not very clear about how much revenues we should be earning from the mining sector Currently Zambians are not very clear about how much revenues we should be earning from the mining sector. These documents required when claiming VAT refunds can provide this information, and help combat the high suspicions of tax evasion in the mining sector.

Mining companies must not be allowed to dictate policy terms for the country. On the other hand, government needs to develop a consistent, effective and sustainable taxation policy. While government cannot solely be blamed for the electricity deficit, the depreciating kwacha and the fall in commodity prices, they take full blame when it comes to inconsistencies in taxation policy. The lack of a long-term outlook when setting mining taxation negatively impacts on investor confidence in the sector, and reduces the value of the countries copper.

With regards VAT refunds, government needs to keep strict documentation requirements and not give the mining companies tax breaks that are too generous. On mineral royalties, government needs to be realistic about how much distortion they impose on production incentives. The highest mineral royalty tax imposed globally on copper mining is 15%. Of course Zambia can set its own tax rate, but there is a need to assess the performance of mining companies in the country to develop a mining policy that actually works and will be sustainable over the long term.

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Sunday, September 06, 2015

Edith Nawakwi On The Kwacha, Minister Chikwanda And The PF

COMMENT - The problem is deeper than incompetence or a failure to listen. It goes right to the corruption that flows from the World Bank and IMF system like a tsunami. The former Finance Minister Caleb Fundanga's MEMFI institute now works with the World Bank, IMF, Bank of International Settlements, and the National Treasury of South Africa. He is presently located in Zimbabwe, a country he disparaged for it's economic policies.

See: (LUSAKATIMES) Fundanga opposed to suggestions to adopt the US dollar as national currency
September 4, 2015

The simple fact is this: as long as the mines are in private hands, the politicians will be bought off by the De Beers/IMF/World Bank cartel.

(THE POST ZM) Government officials now have kwacha diarrhoea - Nawakwi
By Mukosha Funga |
Updated: 06 Sep,2015 ,07:00:18

GOVERNMENT officials now have diarrhoea over the fast depreciating kwacha because of failure to heed to advice early on, says FDD leader Edith Nawakwi. And Nawakwi has charged that Zambia has a sleeping government. Meanwhile, Nawakwi has warned that Zambians will sit on the runway to prevent President Edgar Lungu from landing if he misuses public funds for party functions while in New York.

Nawakwi has over the last four years been calling for the dismissal of finance minister Alexander Chikwanda, saying he is ‘incompetent’. On March 18, Nawakwi attributed the continued depreciation of the kwacha to lack of economic understanding by President Lungu and his ministers and warned that the local currency would one day reach K15 to a dollar.

But government officials dismissed her statement as mere politicking.

However, six months on, the kwacha has breached the K10 psychological barrier,
trading at an average rate of K9.90 and K10.05 for buying and selling on Friday.

In an interview yesterday, Nawakwi said the kwacha has depreciated rapidly because of the government’s failure to listen to advice.

“When I said the dollar will reach K15, they were telling me that I was sick. Now I want to know who has diarrhea. Is it me or them? They were saying ‘Nawakwi is sick, she is politicking’; now let them talk. Instead of discussing the problem, they are playing golf. We told them [that] this Minister of Finance is going to take this country to the knife edge bridge. I haven’t even closed my mouth, where is the Minister of Finance? Where is he hiding?” she asked.

“They have been accusing me of politicking, so now I will start politicking. When I am advising them professionally, they don’t want to listen, someone is snoring and sleeping. Mwebantu ba mu Zambia, twapapata fumeni mubebe aba bantu ati beme bambe ukwenda! (You people of Zambia, I plead with you to come out and tell these people to stand up and start walking).”

Nawakwi said it as said that Zambia had a sleeping government.

“The kwacha has gone over K10 and the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance are sleeping. When a currency has slid this much, normally, speculators tend to go in and purchase the kwacha by bringing in dollars, praying that in the next one week, it can change and they can make profits. This is the best time that anyone who has dollars would have wanted to bring the dollars into the banking system. Those who have dollars in the mattresses, in the market, this is the best time because they can see that from one dollar, they will get more than K10 because we have a sleeping government,” she said.

“They are just snoring and not thinking about what is going on. They are still maintaining this archaic law which we put up in the 1980s which said that because there was a shortage of dollars - in fact this was a Katele (Kalumba) law - that there should be a restriction on how much dollars you can take out and how much dollars you can deposit. That was the reason for that. There was a shortage of dollars, there was no money, now this man has gone and borrowed Eurobonds which we can’t even see. Can they stop sleeping and take out the blankets from their heads and start to think! Stop playing golf! This is not time for golfing, sleeping and fundraising. This is the time for serious economic reflection.”

Nawakwi said not even diverting the US$120 million of borrowed money into the market could save the kwacha.

“I am asking [Bank of Zambia Governor] Dr Denny Kalyalya to lift this administrative hindrance where there is a restriction on deposit of dollars because that’s the only way we can mop up the dollars which are in mattresses and help the kwacha. It is not just by him releasing the few [dollars] which the minister borrowed a couple of months ago,” she said.

“I want them to answer me. I want those people who were saying ‘Nawakwi shut up’ to start talking now. I am urging them to open their mouths now. Talk baba, talk! Talk time yaoneka, talk! What is happening to the kwacha? We told them, even if it is a global phenomenon, it can be mitigated if you don’t have a deficit, the one that they have. This phenomenon of the sliding kwacha is being accelerated by the excessive expenditure, over borrowing and lack of alternative sources of income.”

Nawakwi said the argument that what was happening to the kwacha was a global phenomenon could not hold as the depreciation of other currencies was not as bad.

“Don’t tell me that because my neighbour is walking naked, I should also walk naked. That is wrong thinking! Because Tanzania has the same problem but they are not as hard hit as we are in this country. I wish I could be given a chance to talk to this Cabinet because it appears that the whole Cabinet is asleep,” she charged.

Nawakwi said the current massive load-shedding was worsening the economic situation.

“These people shock me; they are telling us we had a drought, isn’t this the same government which was telling us that we could not take ballot papers because of the heavy rains and the results could not come on time? They had to airlift the ballot boxes. Even the Minister of Agriculture said we have a bumper harvest because we had good rains. Now all of a sudden, in six months, they want to tell us there was a drought?” she wondered.

“How can you tell me, a Zambian who comes from Luapula, that we have a drought in this country? Does Egypt have dams? Does it have rainfall? In Egypt, does the Nile have waterfalls like we have here? The Nile is shared by so many states, fighting for the little water. Have you ever seen in Egypt where they cannot pick ballot boxes because there is too much rainfall? The answer is a simple no. They have a desert, one river and they have more power than this country where we have too much water.”

Nawakwi said the country lacked leaders with functioning brains.

“Ukutuka Lesa tuleke. Lesa alitulambula, alitupela fyonse efyo tufwayika. Efyo ta twakwata fye ni abantu abakwete ama tompwe ayaleshinguluka bwino muma office abo twapele inchito ati bane twafwilisheni. Pantu apa nafishupa. Ifilechitika lelo, Kwacha epo yafika, ninshi malilo, elo wingalaya namukutamfya aka bola wemukulu ne chinkonto, takwaba iyo (We should stop insulting God. God has blessed us with everything we need. What we lack are people with functioning brains in public offices who we have empowered to govern on our behalf. Because things are dire, what is happening today, how the kwacha has depreciated, amounts to a funeral. Is this the time a grown man should go and have the pleasure of playing golf, it is unacceptable),” she said.

Nawakwi also wondered why President Lungu could spend so much public money on campaigns but fail to pay the debt owed to the University of Zambia.

“There are 105 districts in this country; I am shocked that when we have no medicine, we have no books, the university can’t be paid but the President can buy 150 Land Cruisers purportedly for DCs when in fact, he is positioning district commissioners to be shadow MPs. He is sending them to start campaigning on public expenditure. You know, this kind of looting, I don’t understand it. This problem at the University of Zambia, we owe University of Zambia as a country K320 million. Now in dollar terms today, it is just $32 million. I am ordering minister Chikwanda to release $32 million dollars at the current rate of K10 to a dollar because that will resolve the problem at UNZA. That money doesn’t even have value to those who are owed,” she said.

Meanwhile, Nawakwi warned that Zambians would sit on the runway to prevent President Lungu from landing if he misuses public funds for party functions while in New York, where he will attend the UN General Assembly.

“We are seeing adverts that there will be a ‘Meet the President’ dinner in New York. Is it a PF trip? Or is it a government of the Republic of Zambia trip? How is he going to get to New York? Is he using an ox-cart or what? If it is a PF trip, I don’t want the policemen from Zambia to go with him. I don’t want the security team to go with him. Let him use PF security and use a chartered plane paid for by Patriotic Front. Honestly, if he goes on government expense, tell him he will have consequences which will be too dire to even contemplate,” she said.

“There will be no runway to land here. We are going to sit on the runway, he has to find his own runway. They should say that this is a private trip which he is paying for from his pocket since he has so much money now. But if he is going to New York just for fundraising for his political party, I don’t think I am going to accept it.”

Nawakwi said Zambians were the PF’s opposition in the 2016 elections.

“Anyway, he (President Lungu) has made our work very easy because in this country, this government of Patriotic Front doesn’t even need opposition. The people themselves are the opposition. They are feeling the heat, the people are angry; just walk into any shop, the problem is that this President can’t even go where we go. I am just walking downtown here in Cairo Road and he can come to Cairo Road and listen...he doesn’t even want to go on Cairo Road because he has created the dirtiest city in Southern Africa, but he is breathing fresh air there [at State House], playing golf,” said Nawakwi.
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Thursday, September 03, 2015

(LUSAKATIMES) Current Economic Challenges facing Zambia are not unusual-Chikwanda

COMMENT - This is how they're softening up the economy for HIPC II. They should be in jail for fraud. And then there are the eurobonds, and the SI89 tax rebate to the mines. External factors - only if the Minister is talking about the IMF/World Bank. Fluctuation in copper prices can be protected against. However this is a government that is trying to paper over state mishandling of resources and corruption, with Eurobond debt loans. This is onerous debt and must not be repaid. Without massive legal and government reform, especially financially, Eurobonds are just more sources for corruption. - MrK

(LUSAKATIMES) Current Economic Challenges facing Zambia are not unusual-Chikwanda
September 3, 2015

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda says the current economic challenges facing Zambia are not unusual. Mr Chikwanda said this is not the first time that Zambia is undergoing economic challenges caused purely by external forces. Mr Chikwanda said the dip in the economy is a normal cycle in any economic which should not be over dramatised.

He said the slowdown in the Chinese economy is mainly responsible for the weakening of the Kwacha as copper receipts have drastically reduced.

The Finance Minister was speaking in Lusaka on Thursday when he delivered a key note address at the 2015 Zambia Finance and Investment Conference organised by Euromoney Conferences at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel.

Mr Chikwanda said although some people want to portray a picture as if the government is solely to blame for the current economic woes, every genuine economist knew that there will come a time when the Chinese economy will begin to slowdown.

“Surely nobody expected China to continue growing at the same level, there was going to be a time when they would finish constructing their roads, office buildings and any other infrastructure and reduce their appetite for our copper and maybe that time has now come,” Mr Chikwanda said.

He said the Zambian economy is resilient enough to withstand the current economic storm.

Mr Chikwanda said government has taken a raft of measures to stabilise the macroeconomic environment which is necessary for sustainable growth.

He said government is focused on reducing the budget deficit to manageable levels as a free of freeing up capital for private sector lending.

“We are going to rein in on public expenditure this year and going forward as a way of managing our cash flow position, but most of these measures have to be taken before cabinet first, i normally do not like to pre-empt these tins before we debate them as cabinet but we are formulating something,” he said.

On the foreign exchange position, Mr Chikwanda said the Kwacha depreciation has been compounded by the speculators who are trying to cash in on the situation.

“The Bank of Zambia has been carrying out open market operations which have somewhat helped but they can only do so much and their activities have been restricted because of dwindling foreign exchange reserves, we are probably sitting around two and half months of import cover which is not a desirable situation.”

Related News:

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Monday, August 31, 2015

(SF Bay View) South Sudan: African Union commission says oil resources must benefit the people for lasting peace

COMMENT - The problem is the private ownership of the oil companies and the biggest banks, who are now so powerful that they can tell governments what to do. The entire breakup of Sudan was to benefit the neocolonial elite that owns these corporations. There has to be international agreement with real consequences for violation of the law, that puts the ownership of natural resources permanently into the hands of the people of the country collectively, so they cannot be sold for cents on the dollar by a neoliberal politician looking for a bribe, by a finance minister who is eyeing a job at the World Bank, IMF or similar institutions, and by transnational corporations which will even overthrow governments to get a better deal, and have. Public resources must permanently, right to the point of sale, rest in the hands of the people of country. Which would also eliminate 99% of all 'wars' on the continent.

(SF Bay View) South Sudan: African Union commission says oil resources must benefit the people for lasting peace
August 30, 2015
by Ann Garrison

KPFA Weekend News broadcast Aug. 22, 2015
Audio Player

Professor Horace Campbell says the recommendations of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, which include using the country’s oil wealth to benefit its people, must be implemented if there is to be any hope of lasting peace.
South Sudan children, web

KPFA Evening News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: The warring parties in South Sudan’s 20-month civil war signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier this week. The civil war which began in December of 2013 has cost more lives than anyone can precisely estimate now and uprooted over 2 million South Sudanese people.

However, seven previous ceasefire agreements have already failed. Dr. Horace Campbell is a Syracuse University Professor of African American Studies who spoke with KPFA’s Ann Garrison.

South Sudan mapKPFA/Ann Garrison: When President Obama sat down to talk about bringing peace to South Sudan with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Ugandan President Yoweri Museven, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour and … Nkosazana …

Horace Campbell: Dlamini-Zuma.

KPFA: OK, thank you. … chairwoman of the African Union, you said, on Democracy Now, that everyone at the table, except Mrs. Zuma, was compromised. Can you elaborate on what you meant by that?

Horace Campbell: What I meant by that is that the looting of South Sudan has gone on since independence, in the past four years. When the economy of South Sudan was part of the Sudan, the oil revenues were about $50-100 billion per year.

The reporting we have from South Sudan is that the economy is now based on $5 billion. That $5 billion from the oil – and 90 percent of the economy is based on petroleum resources – is not being used in South Sudan for the health, welfare, water supply and education of the people.

It is being looted in collaboration with the regional leaders of Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and members of the Sudanese elite. Ethiopia is heavily invested in hotels, Uganda in food, Kenya in banking and telecommunications.

And so the situation in South Sudan is one where the leaders have no accountability to the people of the South Sudan and they have money and property in Uganda, in Nairobi and in Addis Ababa. And the resources for the South Sudan should be used for the people of South Sudan so that they can have a better quality of life.
The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan says that oil resources must benefit the people.

The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan says that oil resources must benefit the people.

KPFA: This is what I’ve noticed from the very beginning. When I first started reporting on this in December 2013, I tried to figure out what was going on and I spoke to Mabior Garang de Mabior, the son of John Garang, and he said that the conflict had turned attention to the suffering of South Sudanese, but that they had been suffering like refugees before the conflict, because the oil revenues were not reaching them.

Horace Campbell: And it will not reach them now, because the institutions in the South Sudan are not organized for the well-being of the people. South Sudan is run by the military; it is run by international NGOs and a Parliament that does not have real power.

And that is why I am in agreement with the recommendations of the African Union, which recommended a transitional period with three distinctive features:

a high level oversight panel to guide the period of transition,
a transitional government that excludes those politically accountable for the crisis, and
a transitional government that addresses the questions of justice in different forms.

And one of the key areas they spoke about in terms of justice in different forms was that oversight of the resources from the African Development Bank, so that the infrastructure, the health and the well-being of the people of South Sudan is taken care of.

KPFA: That was Syracuse University Professor Horace Campbell, the author of many books and articles on Africa, most recently “Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity.”

With regard to the international NGOs running South Sudan in a way that deprives the South Sudanese people, Campbell cited, in particular, the ENOUGH Project to “End Mass Atrocities and Crimes Against Humanity” founded by security state professional John Prendergast and USAID chair nominee Gayle Smith.

In Berkeley, for Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.

Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, Counterpunch and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening News, KPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

(GUARDIAN UK) Blair urges Labour not to wrap itself in a Jeremy Corbyn comfort blanket

COMMENT - The real elitist face of New Labour, the face of The City.

(GUARDIAN UK) Blair urges Labour not to wrap itself in a Jeremy Corbyn comfort blanket
Patrick Wintour and Frances Perraudin
Wednesday 22 July 2015 12.11 BST
Last modified on Wednesday 12 August 2015 18.55 BST

Former party leader and prime minister says there is no logic in party moving back to tax-and-spend policies of 1980s

Tony Blair has issued his most impassioned appeal for Labour not to repeat the mistakes of the 1980s by adopting a traditional leftist platform, saying the party could suffer four successive election defeats if it does so.

In his first intervention in the Labour leadership election, the former prime minister said a shift to the left after the party’s crushing general election defeat would be to treat voters as if they were stupid.

Blair urged Labour members not to wrap themselves in a Jeremy Corbyn comfort blanket, saying that people whose heart was with the leftwing candidate should “get a transplant”.

He added: “We lost in 2010 because we stepped somewhat from that modernising platform. We lost in 2015 with an election out of the playback from the 1980s, from the period of Star Trek, when we stepped even further away from it and lost even worse. I don’t understand the logic of stepping entirely away from it.”

His comments, to the centre-left Progress thinktank, came as the first public opinion poll in the Labour leadership contest suggested Corbyn was on course for a shock victory. Polls of political party electorates are known to be hard to gather a reliable sample size.

Blair described the veteran backbencher as the “Tory preference” and said the party could not regain power if it was simply a “platform for protest” against cuts.

Corbyn dismissed claims that he would split the party and hit back at Blair’s suggestion that he was the Tory preference.

“I would have thought he could manage something more serious than those very silly remarks,” he said. “Surely we should be talking about the situation facing Britain today, the situation facing many of the poorest people in this country today, and maybe think if our policies are relevant.”

He added Blair had a problem until the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war is published. Corbyn believes the war was illegal.

In a keynote speech setting out his economic policy, Corbyn said austerity was a “political choice not an economic necessity”. He said he wanted to see quantitive easing – a form of printing money to create bonds to fund infrastructure projects. He also called or a return to progressive taxation and a clampdown on business tax evasion.

Blair warned the party could not win on an “old- fashioned leftist platform”. He compared the situation Labour found itself in following its 7 May election defeat with the position it faced in the 1980s, when the party swung to the left under Michael Foot, paving the way for 18 years of Conservative rule.

“After the 1979 election the Labour party persuaded itself of something absolutely extraordinary,” Blair said. “Jim Callaghan had been prime minister and the Labour party was put out of power by Margaret Thatcher and the Labour party persuaded itself that the reason why the country had voted for Margaret Thatcher was because they wanted a really leftwing Labour party.

“This is what I call the theory that the electorate is stupid, that somehow they haven’t noticed that Margaret Thatcher was somewhat to the right of Jim Callaghan.”

Blair said he would not be endorsing any candidate in the race as he had not done so in 2010. He also said he doubted if his endorsement would help.

Tony Blair leaves the Institute of Chartered Accountants in the City of London, where he spoke at a Progress event about the Labour leadership contest.

A poll by YouGov for The Times found Corbyn was the first preference for 43% of party supporters – way ahead of bookies’ favourite Andy Burnham on 26%. The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, was on 20% and Liz Kendall on 11%.

The poll said that when Kendall and Cooper were eliminated and their second preferences redistributed under the preferential vote system, Corbyn would beat Burnham by 53% to 47% in the final round.

Corbyn’s success led Margaret Beckett, one of the senior MPs that put Corbyn on the ballot paper, to admit she had made a mistake.

“I was concerned that people would feel that they had been deprived of the opportunity for that point of view to be aired,” she said. “I am beginning to wish that I hadn’t.”

The shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, warned that Labour could be reduced to a “pressure group” that would not have “broad reach into all parts of the United Kingdom”.

Lord Hattersley, the former Labour deputy leader, dismissed the poll as a 24-hour sensation and said Corbyn had no chance of winning the leadership.

John McTernan, a former special adviser to Blair in Downing Street, said those Labour MPs who had “lent” their nominations to Corbyn to broaden the debate, had behaved like “morons”.

Blair also called for the party to take up a tougher stance combating Scottish nationalism. “You have to take the ideology of nationalism head on,” he said. “Nationalism is not a phenomenon when they talk about a new politics, it is the oldest politics in the world. It is the politics of the first caveman council where the caveman came out from the council where there had been difficult decisions and pointed with his club across the forest and said: ‘There, over there. they are the problem.’ It’s blame someone else. However you dress it up it is a reactionary political philosophy.”

He added: “I personally don’t think we will win by saying we are more Scottish or by engaging in this ridiculous thing where a lot of power in Brussels is fine but power in London is absolutely terrible.”

He continued: “The SNP have achieved this remarkable feat, they are a government that is allowed to behave like an opposition.”

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bernie Sanders vs The Soros Funded Clinton Enabling Activist Industry

This is a response to the #BLM controversy, before it was removed from one of their activists, Imani Gandy's site:

This isn't about Hillary and that you are here angrily sputtering about Clinton, and George Soros, says a lot about your "progressive values." You care more about Black votes than Black lives. Well good like trying to get Sanders elected without Black voters.
Is that the deal, alienating Bernie Sanders from Black Voters?

As usual, you have your opinion ready made, and KNOW NOTHING about me. If you want to know about me, read my blog. And learn something about Africa, and the newstories behind the headlines. I have been blogging about Southern Africa, economics, for more than 8 years now. And you label me a 'white progressive' before you even know my name or have read anything I wrote?

Are you saying that this is how you blundered into the Bernie Sanders rally, knowing nothing about Bernie Sanders, his track record on Civil Rights, or his voting record? Please tell me that's not so.

You'd rather believe some absurd conspiracies about BLM being Clinton shills that believe that these Black women are sincere in their protesting the deaths of Black people in our community.
I'll leave the invention of the term 'Conspiracy Theory' by the CIA alone for now. It is not a 'conspiracy theory' to point out that the leadership of BLM is part of the leadership of the NDWA, and that the NDWA took part in the Clinton Global Initiative America 2015. And lo and behold, you don't go after Hillary Clinton. Hillary gets to meet behind closed doors, without any photo ops. What a coincidence. What exactly was discussed with the Clintons? (And no, that's not a 'conspiracy theory', that is a question.)

Now to call that 'a conspiracy theory', how about calling it 'a hint'? 'A clue'?

Black people are demanding respect for our humanity and all you can retort with his "Sanders is your best friend?"

As a good friend of mine pointed out, we're talking about life and death matters and all you can talk about is political rivalries as if that is all that matters.

Clearly, you have no clue, as to who Bernie Sanders IS.

Bernie Sanders is going to be the best President since FDR, in fact he is going to better than FDR, if he gets a Congress he can work with and does something about the Supreme Court.

He might even become as good as HUEY LONG, who I'm sure you have never heard of either.

It is because of Huey Long, that FDR only even considered many of the programs that eventually built the American middle class. The fact that African Americans were specifically excluded from those programs in the South doesn't change that. It is a disgrace that must never be repeated. However, I trust Bernie Sanders more than any politician not to make such a deal in the future.

Well it doesn't. Trickle-down justice will not work this time. And Sanders cannot win without us. Clinton cannot win without us.
Oh yes they can.

And you talk about Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton as if they are the same.

They are not. Clinton is a Republican in disguise. She was a Goldwater Republican in the 1960s. Bernie Sanders calls himself a Democratic Socialist. He marched with Martin Luther King. If you can't tell the difference, it is time to hit the books again (which is a good thing and a hint, not a putdown - I hit the books every day, I love knowledge and information and the information age).

You don't get to tell Black voters that Sanders is our best friend. That's just not how this works. But continue angrily spewing nonsense if it makes you feel better.

Here are some threads I wrote on the realpolitik of politics, 'trade', and America's empire in Africa, and the role of the Clintons in it.

Rape In The Eastern DRC

Bill Clinton was kept informed about what happened in Rwanda on a daily basis.

F*** The EU - Neocons And The Neonazi Ukrainian Coup

Hillary Clinton's subordinate Victoria Nuland's handiwork in the Ukraine. She put nazis (Svoboda) in government in Europe for the first time since WWII (of course Spain and Portugal remained fascist until the 1970s).

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Sunday, August 02, 2015

(MRK) Mahatir Mohamad Expresses Doubts About MH-17 Investigation, Ukrainian Gvt Innocence

The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahatir Mohamad, isn't buying the 'Russia did it' scenario.

(YOUTUBE) Interview

Mahathir bin Mohamad: I cannot understand why the Malaysian government did not ask for the black box or the wreckage found in the Ukraine. It is quite unusual. The involvement of Malaysia is limited. They never send a team to take pictures there or investigate. The local media, the mainstream media is very much under the control of the government. Almost immediately after the plane was put down, America accused Russia. And then applied sanctions against Russia. We don't accept news like that.

Q: So you don't accept accusations against Russia?

Mahathir bin Mohamad: No, I don't think even the government accept. We are very neutral, because there is no real evidence. One of the suspects of shooting down the aircraft could be Ukraine. Because they were fighting, and we don't know who actually fired the missile. If it was a missile.

Q: Do you think this investigation is carried out objectively?

Mahathir bin Mohamad: I don't think so, I don't think so.

If it was a missile, means if it wasn't a Ukrainian airforce SU-25 or SU-27.

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(GUARDIAN UK) Zambian villagers take mining giant Vedanta to court in UK over toxic leaks

(GUARDIAN UK) Zambian villagers take mining giant Vedanta to court in UK over toxic leaks
Fears of environmental catastrophe as report finds ‘constant contamination’ of streams around copper mine while locals report health problems and failed crops
Shimulala village borehole

Saturday 1 August 2015 22.35 BST
Last modified on Sunday 2 August 2015 00.30 BST

A London-listed mining giant has been polluting the drinking water of villages in Zambia and threatening a wider health disaster, the Observer has found.

Leaked documents and a confidential internal report commissioned from Canadian pollution control experts show that Vedanta Resources’ giant mine in Zambia’s Copperbelt region has been spilling sulphuric acid and other toxic chemicals into rivers, streams and underground aquifers used for drinking water near the mining town of Chingola.

‘I drank the water and ate the fish. We all did. The acid has damaged me permanently’
Read more

The result, say people in four villages living near the giant 12 sq mile mine owned by Vedanta subsidiary KCM, is stomach pains and illnesses, devastated crops, loss of earnings and permanent injuries. The claims of villagers living near one of the largest copper mines in Africa are backed by a leaked letter from a KCM doctor stating that water collected for testing from Shimulala village in 2011 was unfit for human consumption. “The water is acidic and the copper and iron levels exceed permitted levels,” the doctor wrote. “The impurities … can cause cancer in the bloodstream and unhealthy conditions in internal organs. The people in that village should be advised to stop using the same water.”

London law firm Leigh Day has issued proceedings in the high court in London on behalf of 1,800 people who claim to have been affected by the company’s pollution. “The case could take three years to resolve,” said Leigh Day senior partner Martyn Day, recently returned from Zambia, where lawyers and paralegals have been taking witness statements from people living near the rivers and the company’s operations.
Lawyers Leigh Day: troublemakers who are a thorn in the side of multinationals
Read more

A Vedanta spokesman said: “All Vedanta’s operating subsidiaries take the health of their employees, the wellbeing of surrounding communities and the environment very seriously. Our subsidiaries are committed to ensuring they operate in a safe and sustainable way.”

But a scientist who worked for more than 15 years with KCM said there has been little maintenance of critical equipment since Vedanta bought the mine, despite production of some 10,000 tonnes of copper and 300 tonnes of cobalt a year. He accused Vedanta of releasing more acid than it has authority for. “There have been heavy spillages and massive leakages. Acid has been leaking all over the place. The pollution control pond is handling too much material. No effort has been made to correct this scenario. Only one of four [waste] pipelines is running – the rest are in disrepair.

“Degraded equipment, leaking pumps, pipes, thickeners and settling ponds have [resulted in] excessive spillages. Water overflowing into the Mushushima river and subsequently the Kafue river poses a possible environmental catastrophe downstream,” he said.

“The company has very good plans on paper that have not materialised on the ground for the last 10 years. It is absolutely clear that there is a massive problem. Because the river Kafue feeds into the Zambezi river, which provides drinking water for much of Zambia, the pollution could affect hundreds of thousands of people downstream, he said. “A disaster is very likely. It has the potential of affecting people hundreds of miles away. Water supplies could be damaged and aquatic life would die.”

A leaked report by the Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin, which in 2010 was employed to advise Vedanta/ KCM on how to control continuing pollution, says that solids, dissolved copper and acids are being spilled. It refers to “constant contamination” of streams, and says the main pollution control dam is often full to capacity. It adds that reservoirs overflow and there are leakages from pipes and a lack of spare parts. The engineers’ report calls for 17 major and minor actions to stop the spillage of polluted water into the environment.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

(HAITIAN TIMES) The Haiti-Greece Connection

Under the Radar
The Haiti-Greece Connection
July 29, 2015
By Max A. Joseph

Debt is an instrument of control and other insidious motives that have been in use since ancient times. Its potency painfully felt when the debtor becomes insolvent.

European Union member and bankrupt Greece may be thousands of miles away from United Nations-occupied and destitute Haiti, but the distance doesn’t preclude these two countries from experiencing similar issues inherent to the brutal nature of the global order.

Under a narrative that exculpates perpetrators and vilifies victims, these two countries are portrayed as unsuitable to their neighborhood and, by extension, unworthy of sympathy from their more affluent and powerful neighbors. Succeeding generations of Greeks, like their Haitians counterpart, will have to deal with the nasty consequences associated with being an insolvent nation. It certainly does not help that the institutions equally responsible for the Greek debt crisis – Europe Central Bank, the giant international banks and the IMF– are the ones formulating the solution.

Let’s start with Greece, a country of 10 million inhabitants and a national debt of $380 billion. As a member of the world’s largest economic bloc, the country certainly possesses many advantages that may be appealing to lenders. However, were these “advantages” sufficient enough to warrant such vote of confidence in its ability to repay this massive debt? Absolutely not; despite a highly-educated workforce, Greece is essentially a developing economy that relies mostly on tourism and agricultural exports.

It will never be able to pay off this enormous debt.

Because the global economy is interwoven, the Greek debt crisis remains a threat to global prosperity seeing that it could usher a domino effect, engulfing other heavily indebted and much larger EU economies. That being said, shouldn’t the international lenders shoulder part of the blame and absorb some of the losses that come with Greece’s inability to fulfill its contractual obligations?

In a normal situation that would be the reasonable thing to do but in the arcane world of international finance, such mundane solution is anathema because portion of the debt are essentially investments made by states and private pension funds on behalf of retirees. Though most of the debt is nominally owed to EU governments and banks, their true ownership might be retirees from Cleveland, Ohio; Marseille, France, Manchester, England, or Munich, Germany. These retirees no doubt will not be asked to take smaller retirement checks because of bad decisions by mutual or hedge funds and banks or the Greeks’ inability to pay.

Predictably Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, was fighting a losing battle despite the popular support expressed in the July 5 referendum in which almost 62 percent of his countrymen convincingly rejected the burdensome conditions of the EU lenders and the IMF. As recently as the beginning of the twentieth century, Greece would have been invaded and occupied by national armies seeking to collect on behalf of their respective banks. Fortunately for the Greeks, that primal approach to collecting debts has been in hibernation, meaning not completely abandoned, under the 1944 Bretton Woods Accords, which created the ultimate mechanism (IMF and World Bank) for a collective and more effective control of international finance by the western powers.

Likewise Haiti, a perennial outcast in the international arena and current holder of the unenviable title of “poorest country in the western hemisphere,” was not so lucky. Its path to poverty — perpetual political turmoil and insolvency, though wholly different than that of Greece– is consistent with the characteristics of international relations. July 28 marked the hundredth anniversary of Haiti’s first occupation by U.S. Marines on behalf of U.S. corporations, which lasted nineteen years (1915-34.)

Whereas Greece’s monstrous debt originated with bad decisions by that country’s leaders and greedy international lenders, that of 1915 Haiti in contrast was the end result of bullying and robbery by France.

To sum it up, the sacrifices made by the more than one hundred thousand slaves that perished during Haiti’s war of independence (1791-1803) were nullified when France, with the backing of England, Germany, Spain and the U.S. navies, imposed a huge indemnity on the young republic in exchange for a formal recognition of its self-liberation. Apparently NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) informally existed prior to its founding in 1949.

Adding insult to injury, Haiti was forced to borrow the money from French banks at an exorbitant rate, which inevitably bankrupted the country. The National City Bank of New York, aka Citibank, would later acquire the deed to that loan from under the U.S. occupation whose premise (the Monroe Doctrine) could not tolerate the presence of a European competitor.

When a comprehensive account of the April 1825 naval blockade of Haiti and subsequent U.S. occupation of that country on July 28, 1915 is finally written, preferably by non-western historians, these two episodes will rank among the most severe punishments ever meted out on a defenseless little nation by predatory powers.

Ever since ancient Greece was yanked from the Ottoman Empire by the British and resurrected in 1830, it has been unable to find it’s footing in a neighborhood infested with predatory powers. Haiti, which came into existence in the course of a hard fought struggle against slavery and colonialism, has been in a corresponding situation since its inception in 1804. Until small countries like Greece and Haiti find a way to extricate themselves from the grid, they can expect more of the same.

About Latest Posts

Max A. Joseph Jr.
Max A. Joseph Jr. is a small business owner and consultant who writes about politics.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

(BUSINESS INSIDER) Uganda's farmers battle palm oil Goliaths for land

COMMENT - Globalisation and land theft. This is the IMF's version of land reform, land title reform instead of land redistribution. Land title reform strenghtens the ownership of land in the hands of transnational corporations, and the banks that own their debt.

(BUSINESS INSIDER) Uganda's farmers battle palm oil Goliaths for land
Amy Fallon, AFP
Jul. 25, 2015, 2:10 AM 826

Even before the bulldozers arrived life was tough for John Muyiisa, scratching a living from a rented farm on Lake Victoria's Kalangala island© AFP Isaac KasamaniEven before the bulldozers arrived life was tough for John Muyiisa, scratching a living from a rented farm on Lake Victoria's Kalangala island

Now he has almost nothing and is seeking compensation in Ugandan courts from the palm oil plantations he blames for seizing the land and destroying his livelihood.

As land grabs by local firms linked to multinationals drive small-holder farmers out of business, a rights group behind a February bid for compensation by 100 farmers says rights violations and environmental degradation are also at stake.

Muylisa, a 53-year old father of nine, had leased a 17 hectare (40 acre) plot farming coffee, bananas, cassava and potatoes on Kalangala island. But in 2011 that land was taken and cleared for a palm oil estate.

"It's like I'm starting all over again now," Muyiisa said, adding he once could earn over 1,400 dollars a year (1,300 euros) but is now struggling to survive.

"With that land, some of my children even completed university, but now I've taken some out of school, some of my daughters are doing housework to earn money."

It is a story repeated elsewhere in Africa, where large internationally-backed companies are snapping up agricultural land, and activists claim their actions deprive local farmers of basic needs.

But Muyiisa did not legally own the land he farms -- the title deeds are held by the local Sempa family.

Horatius Sempa said the 14 farmers were "illegal squatters," but acknowledged some had received payments of between $35 and $200 while others had been allowed to continue farming smaller parcels of land. Muyiisa was left with three hectares (7.5 acres).

The palm oil project is being carried out by Oil Palm Uganda, a subsidiary of local food producer Bidco Uganda. Bidco in turn is a joint venture between global palm oil giant Wilmar International -- backed by several European banks and financiers -- and other international partners.

It is also supported by the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which offers government loans at subsidised interest rates to set up plantations.

- 'Total robbery' -

Campaigners say the Kalangala case highlights a growing conflict over land rights and ownership in Africa between those who hold the legal deeds and the generations of smallholders who occupy and invest in farmland, potentially earning themselves squatters' rights to remain.

"It is happening in Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania," said environmental campaigner David Kureeba from Friends of the Earth in Uganda, which is supporting the farmers' legal challenge.

"Expansion of palm oil will lead to food insecurity, human rights violations, environmental degradation and climate change," he argued.

Friends of the Earth this month called for Wilmar to immediately halt its palm oil development plans in Nigeria, which they describe as a "key frontier country" for palm oil expansion leading to "conflict".

Muyiisa, one of over 100 farmers in Uganda who lost their farms, are hoping the court will order the land to be handed back, along with "fair compensation" for damages.

They claim they were kicked off the land without warning and the compensation they got was derisory.

Muyiisa's mother-in-law, Magdalena Nakamya, a 64-year-old widow with eight children, depended on a three-hectare (seven acre) plot growing cassava and potatoes, earning over 250 dollars (180 euros) a month.

"Then they came and measured up, and the next I heard there was digging," said Nakamya, describing the day the bulldozers arrived. "Now I'm making very little money."

Kalangala island in the vast freshwater Lake Victoria appears idyllic, but Bidco -- which launched the ambitious Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL) development in 2004, and by the end of 2012 had been given 7,700 hectares of land (17 acres) by the government -- says it was once at the bottom of the pile for economic development.

The food producer dismisses claims it has caused harm, saying the palm oil farm has instead boosted development on the island.

Bidco boasts Kalangala now is among the top 10 developed districts in the east African country, after "working harmoniously and closely with the community" on the joint public-private partnership.

Wilmar said in a statement that the court had ordered mediation, pointing out the company had played no role in buying the land.

"We are disappointed that our efforts to engage with the stakeholders concerned, that is the alleged affected communities and NGO involved, were not reciprocated," the company said.

But for Muyiisa, the case is clear.

"In the end some were scared and took anything offered," said Muyiisa, claiming some farmers were paid as little as $16, others just $33. "It wasn't much. Some were offered really poor money and refused it because they thought 'this is total robbery'."

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Al-Qaeda Sues Zambian Government, Goldman Sachs

COMMENT - No one apparently anticipated this, however by selling assets owned by the Zambian state to the Libyan state under the guise of Privatisation, because the private sector can run businesses sooo much better than the state can, the Libyan state ended up in the hands of islamist coup plotters. And now the Zambian government has to honor agreements made with the illegal and atrocious government of Libya, or what's left of Libya? Privatisation = Corruption. You cannot get rid of corruption, without ending these intransparant trade deals and eurobond loans.

(ZAMBIAN POST, FT) Libya firm sues Zambia over Lap GreenN assets By Financial Times | Updated: 28 Jul,2015 ,08:22:25 | 699 Views

The Libyan Investment Authority has launched legal action against four African states, including Zambia, alleging that they took advantage of Libya’s political turmoil to nationalise assets belonging to the $66bn sovereign wealth fund.

Hassan Bouhadi, the LIA’s chairman who was appointed by the internationally recognised Tobruk government in October, said the legal action related to technology assets in Rwanda, Zambia, Chad and Niger.

“There are some individuals every day that are trying to apply false claims against the assets of the LIA and we have a few incidents where some countries have nationalised some of our assets,” Bouhadi alleged.

The $66bn fund was created in 2006 by Colonel Muammer Gaddafi to invest the proceeds of Libya’s vast oil wealth, but since 2011, its assets have been frozen under international law.

In 2014, it launched two separate lawsuits against Goldman Sachs and Société Générale in London’s High Court over controversial trades.

Both banks deny any wrongdoing.

Bouhadi, a former GE and Bechtel executive, who grew up in Libya but was educated at London’s University College, said the LIA was “determined” to “regain what was squandered from the Libyan people”.

He also hopes that the lawsuits may “shed some light into some practices” within the wider banking industry.

However, the success of its high stakes litigation was thrown into serious doubt this year because of the rival factions in Libya’s bitter civil war.

Four years after the fall of Muammer Gaddafi, the country has two rival governments battling for control and is split between Islamists in Tripoli with the internationally recognised government based in Tobruk.

Each government has appointed officials at state agencies including the National Oil Corporation and the LIA itself. Bouhadi was appointed by the Tobruk government, but Tripoli-based Abdulmagid Breish also claims to be LIA chairman - which Bouhadi’s team fiercely dispute.

Breish says he was appointed as chairman of the LIA in June 2013 when the country had one government, but agreed to step aside a year later when a political isolation law was passed prohibiting Gaddafi-era officials from taking part in politics. He appealed on the grounds that the isolation law did not apply to him, and in April was reinstated by the Libyan Court of Appeal.

That month Libya’s deepening political turmoil led to the disbanding of the LIA’s litigation committee, and its longstanding law firm Enyo which had been working on the lawsuits against Goldman Sachs and SocGen, stepped down.

The confusion surrounding the LIA led one High Court judge to declare that the litigation was in a “state of chaos”. Even Mr Justice Flaux, the High Court judge, noted drily that there is “what might be colloquially described as a dog’s breakfast on the claimant’s side of the fence” and “no doubt that suits the defendants extremely well”.

Now, the litigation is firmly back on track after the lawyers of both Bouhadi and Breish jointly asked the High Court this month to appoint BDO, the professional services firm, as a receiver and litigation manager by the High Court. In future, BDO will handle the litigation, with Enyo acting as lawyers.

“These are assets of the Libyan people and we are entrusted with safeguarding these assets. It’s not a wish. It’s a duty that we need to continue,” says Mr Bouhadi.

His resolve is shared by Breish, who says the receiver’s appointment was the “best option” available. “We reached a point where the two pieces of litigation were hanging in limbo and at great risk,” Breish said.

Yet whoever is in charge at the LIA is not able to touch the assets directly until the sanctions are lifted. In 2012, the LIA had the opportunity to unfreeze the assets but decided against it until there was a more stable political process.

However, Bouhadi would like to apply to the UN and EU to be allowed to manage more efficiently the cash generated from dividends and matured bonds.

When sanctions are lifted, Bouhadi wants the LIA to play a greater role in liberalising the Libyan economy and in helping business start-ups. Another objective is to demystify the LIA for ordinary Libyans who, Bouhadi says, viewed the wealth fund as opaque and “a mystery” during the Gaddafi era.

He says: “The Libyan people are all the time asking: ‘What is it? What is it for the Libyans? What is the LIA doing for the Libyans? What are the tangible benefits for the Libyans?’”.

But the LIA knows that if it is successful in clawing back more than $2bn from Goldman Sachs and SocGen and through other lawsuits, ordinary Libyans should not need to ask that question for much longer.
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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Zambia’s future bleak due to incessant govt borrowing

COMMENT - There would be no debt at all if the government simply collected stiff Windfall Taxes from the mines. The debt is doubling, the currency is under pressure instead of increasing because of all the value flowing into the Zambian economy out of the mining sector. Who is the lunatic now, Finance Minister Chikwanda?

Zambia’s future bleak due to incessant govt borrowing - Haabazoka By Misheck Wangwe and Stuart Lisulo | Updated: 26 Jul,2015 ,11:22:25

THE future of Zambia is bleak looking at the incessant borrowing being made by the PF government, says Copperbelt-based economist Dr Lubinda Haabazoka.

The Zambian government on Thursday issued a US$1.25 billion Eurobond, the highest ever, to be repaid in 10 years.

The facility, which was over-subscribed by US$500 million, is the third that Zambia has issued under the PF regime, at 9.37 per cent interest annually.

But Dr Haabazoka, who is also a senior lecturer of business studies at the Copperbelt University, said looking at the expenditure by allocation, much of the borrowed money might even go to consumption.

“No country in the history of economic development has ever developed on borrowed funds. One might argue that governments issue treasury bonds to develop their economies but the type of borrowing that we have seen is unprecedented. In 2011, Zambia only owed US$1.2 billion in foreign debt and now it owes more than US$7 billion. The rate at which we are acquiring debt is very high,” he said.

Dr Haabazoka said what was more worrying was that the sources of income were narrowing and the country’s economy was being run on borrowed funds.

He said the government could have cut down unnecessary expenditure such as scaling down the size of government and doing away with projects of low priority.

Dr Haabazoka said thinking that borrowed money was the only source of the national budget or running government was a misplaced ideology.

“This year is going to be the worst economically, after 15 years, because of the huge budget deficit due to lack of proper planning on the way government is supposed to be run. Look at the energy crisis! It will cost businesses because Zesco and government have recorded huge losses in terms of missed revenues and opportunities. Look at the fuel sector! There are huge losses; Indeni has shut and businesses that depend on generators to backup their energy sources have huge challenges to operate. Economically, our performance is dismal as a nation,” Dr Haazoka said.

He said the state of the economy was making it extremely difficult to operate smaller businesses.

“My advice to finance minister Alexander Chikwanda is that he must make this loan his final for the next two years. Those working in government must help in coming up with a strategy on how revenue collection could be improved without burdening the already overburdened labour force and formal sector,” Dr Haabazoka said.

He said the proceeds from the Eurobond were not likely to benefit Zambia’s economy owing to the massive externalisation of financial resources in the construction sector among foreign contractors.

“I see a lot of externalisation of resources because most contractors that are going to work on these infrastructure developments are Chinese and other foreign nationals so we are basically borrowing for foreign economic participants,” Dr Haabazoka added.

He also said the government’s intention to address the widening budget deficit, which is projected to soar to around K20 billion from K8.5 billion by accumulating new debt, will actually widen it even further next year.

“In trying to solve a budget deficit by borrowing, we are actually creating a wider deficit for the next year so basically, we are not solving anything! The easiest way to solve a budget deficit is to reduce unnecessary expenditure. You have to prioritise which sectors need money most and which ones can wait for the future,” said Dr Haabazoka.
- See more at:

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

(THE MONITOR, UGANDA) Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs related to Ugandans - DNA

COMMENT - Interesting article on the links between the West's longest running, nearly continuous and therefore most influential civilisation of Ancient Egypt, and the dna and culture of the people of Uganda. Uganda is one of the two origins of the Nile.

(THE MONITOR, UGANDA) Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs related to Ugandans - DNA
An ancient bust of Queen Tiye of ancient Egypt retrieved by archaeologists now at
Altes Museum in Berlin, Germany, shows she was a black African. Courtesy photos
By David Sepuya Kalanzi
Posted Saturday, August 16 2014 at 01:00

In Summary

A DNA test of a group of mummies from the Amarna Egyptian Pharaohs matched the genetic profiles of the population of the Great Lakes region

This year, Ugandans have witnessed the use of DNA tests to settle prominent public cases in the media concerning the paternity of children and of celebrities who have died. What has not been known to many people is the dispute concerning the ethnicity of the ancient Egyptians by scholars in the 20th Century. This dispute has been solved scientifically by the DNA tests conducted on the mummies of the ancient Egyptians in 2012 and 2013.

In December 2012, DNA tests were conducted on the mummies of Pharaoh Rameses III and his son, which proved that they belonged to human Y chromosome group E1b1a. This is the Y chromosome group of Sub Saharan Africans who speak Niger–Congo languages.

The disclosed Y chromosome group of the Pharaoh, at the time of releasing the report, was considered as just one of the details to make the investigation scientifically solid with facts. But its revelation caused a stir equal to the purpose of the original forensic investigation.

Another group of mummies from the Amarna period of Egyptian pharaohs were tested by DNA Tribes, an American Company which specialises in conducting DNA tests, in 2013.

The conclusion of the tests were that the mummies autosomal profiles would be most frequent in the present day populations of the African Great Lakes region and Southern Africa. Subsequent analysis of the autosomal profile of the mummy of Pharaoh Rameses III also concluded that this matched the genetic profiles of the population of the Great Lakes region as well.

It was reported in the DNA Tribe’s digest of February 2013, that the DNA match results of the ancient Egyptian Amarna royal mummies with the present day world regions reflect the population changes in Africa after the time of Rameses III .

One issue which remains unresolved is that of language. The language of ancient Egypt is classified as belonging to the Afro-Asiatic family of languages, which are spoken by people like the Somali and Amhara of Ethiopia, while the genetic profiles of the mummies match those of Niger–Congo language speakers. The most likely explanation is that some of the Niger-Congo speaking people, who were carriers of human Y chromosome E1b1a, moved into ancient Egypt along the Nile from the Sahara region as the region dried up and fused with the Afro-Asiatic speaking people, giving rise to the unique language of ancient Egypt.

However, these speakers of the Niger–Congo language went on to form the ruling class producing pharaohs for Egypt, while retaining the customs which they practised in common with their relatives who had migrated south into the Great Lakes region as the genetic tests have shown.

The writer is a cultural heritage consultant


The strong cultural connection between the ancient Egyptians and the modern people of the Great Lakes region of Africa have long been noted for more than a century now by ethnographers (people who study ethnicity). The following examples illustrate this connection.

Female heirs. The Egyptian pharaohs, like the rulers of the Great Lakes kingdoms of East Africa, ascended to their thrones with their sisters or cousins as co-rulers. In Bunyoro and Tooro kingdoms, the sister was called the Rubuga, but is currently called the Batebe. In Buganda kingdom, she was called the Lubuga, now called Nalinya. In Buganda, this custom from antiquity of having female co-heirs is still practised in all cultural succession events.

Royal drums. Secondly, in all the Great Lakes kingdoms, ceremonies were carried out at certain intervals to welcome the appearance of the new moon. Regalia such as the royal drums and twin objects were brought out on these occasions to pray for the wellbeing of the kingdoms as was done in the courts of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

Bows and arrows. Another custom of the pharaohs in common with the kings of Great Lakes kingdoms were the use of bows and arrows in the coronation ceremonies. The coronation rituals of the pharaohs were repeated in the Sed festivals of the pharaohs, a record of which has been kept by historians. A description of the bow and arrow part of the coronation section reads: “Next, the pharaoh was carried to the chapels of the gods Horus and Seth, where he was handed a bow and arrows with which he shot an arrow in each of the four directions” i.e. East, West, North and South.

In Bunyoro. An identical ceremony was enacted during the coronation of the Omukama of Bunyoro Kingdom. In his book: Abakama Ba Bunyoro Kitara, published in 1947, John William Nyakatura, a historian and a county chief of Bunyoro Kingdom, recorded the following ceremony for the new king: “Then the king was handed bows and arrows. He shot four arrows in all directions- one arrow was shot in the direction where the sun rises (Buganda and Busoga), the second one was shot in the direction where the sun sets, the third one in the southward direction (Nkore and Rwanda), the fourth one was shot in the northward direction (Bukedi and other countries). This action meant every rebel/rival who came from any of these directions would be killed with an arrow.

In Buganda. Buganda Kingdom in precolonial times also had a bow and arrow coronation ceremony as part and parcel of the enthronement rituals of the kings. In fact, the one of Buganda was deadly. A captive would be shot with an arrow by the new Kabaka to indicate that he would be vigorous in protecting his kingdom. The victim would then be killed by the king’s guards thereafter.

Musical instruments. The similarities between ancient Egypt and the Great Lakes also extended to the material culture. Scholars have noted the resemblance of the musical instrument in ancient Egypt and the kingdoms of the Great Lakes, notably the bow- harps and flutes. This fact is mentioned in the display of Ugandan bow harps at the Uganda Museum.

The plank sewn canoes on Lake Victoria used in precolonial times were bound together using vegetative materials and were assembled in a similar way to the boats used by the ancient Egyptians on the Nile. This similarity was noticed by the scholars when British rule was established in East Africa.

Civilisation. In the 19th Century, explorers and anthropologists encountered the Great Lakes kingdoms and noted the unexpected sophistication of the societies in these kingdoms. It was assumed that Egyptian culture had influenced the culture of the Great Lakes region. In the actual fact, the direction of influence was the other way round. The anthropologists were observing a society similar to one out of which the ancient Egyptian civilisation had emerged.


Friday, July 03, 2015

(NEWZIMBABWE, NEWS24 SA) Malema says Mugabe is a blameless, exemplary African leader

(NEWZIMBABWE, NEWS24 SA) Malema says Mugabe is a blameless, exemplary African leader
02/07/2015 00:00:00
by News24

PROBLEMS in Zimbabwe are not caused by its long-serving President Robert Mugabe but by "capital", South Africa's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said on Thursday.

"President Mugabe is the only leader who knows for the real change to come, Africans will have to go through the necessary pain, exactly what Zimbabweans are going through now," he told reporters in Johannesburg when asked about his relationship with Mugabe.

"We don't see what's happening in Zimbabwe as anarchy. We don't blame it on President Mugabe, we blame it on capital... [It is] because they disagree with him politically, they use their economic muscle to punish the people of Zimbabwe."

Malema said Mugabe was the only African leader who continued to stand up against the west and who understood what it meant to be a real African.

He said the EFF might not agree with Mugabe on some issues, but from a broader perspective, the Zimbabwean leader represented the kind of Africa people wanted.

"How do you say a man who has won elections is a tyrant? He has never preceded over any massacre of our people; he continues to lead a party that advocates for very radical economic policies in Zimbabwe."

Malema lambasted those who felt Mugabe had over-stayed his welcome as president and that presidents should only stand for two terms.

It was fine for the rest of Africa to have presidents serve more than two terms, but not in South Africa, he said.

"I don't care if a president in Africa goes for a third term or for the fourth term, but not in South Africa.

"They can do it everywhere else if they want to do it... It won't work here in South Africa. Here it is two terms and go home."

Malema said he believed Africa should be governed by one leader, a leader like Mugabe.

"We want an Africa where trade will happen freely. We want an Africa that will one day have one currency and have one president and one government which will preside over this continent.

"We are one. These borders were imposed on us by colonialism."

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Defections from PF confirm the party is disintegration - Rainbow

COMMENT - A party from Wynter Kabimba. I want to know what they are going to do with the mines. Seriously.

(POST ZAMBIA) Defections from PF confirm the party is disintegration - Rainbow
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe | Updated: 30 Jun,2015 ,09:42:13

DEFECTIONS of PF members to Rainbow confirm the complete disintegration of the ruling party on one hand and the formation of a formidable and vibrant Rainbow Party, says former PF member from Wusakile Constituency Mubanga Mutale.

Mutale on Sunday led 48 defectors from the PF, five from MMD and three from the UPND in joining the Rainbow Party at a function held at Chamboli Catholic Church Hall.

He said the PF had presided over escalation of unemployment levels, external debt borrowing, stagnation of economy, lack of a clear constitution roadmap and the current weak constitution.

“This momentous occasion exemplifies the aspirations and desires by the Copperbelt residents to foster a change of government next year. These witnessed defections confirm the complete disintegration of PF on one hand and the formation of a formidable and vibrant party; the Rainbow Party,” said Mutale.

Receiving the defectors, Rainbow Copperbelt chairperson Allan Mwewa encouraged all members to intensify membership recruitment to ensure victory next year.

“Rainbow’s socialist agenda would eradicate inequalities by equal distribution of wealth as a way of dismantling capitalist class issues. In the annals of Zambian political history, Wusakili township was critical as during the colonial era, it stimulated change through the likes of Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula. We want that spirit to live on,” said Mwewa.

Rainbow national chairperson for youth affairs McDonald Mulongoti urged all members to espouse party fundamental principles and ideologies by candidly reading and understanding party ideals and explaining to the masses during membership recruitment.

Mulongoti appealed to the youth to get national registration cards and voters cards as tools to cause change of government next year.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

(HERALD ZW) Kasukuwere hails organic farming

(HERALD ZW) Kasukuwere hails organic farming | The Herald
Agriculture Reporter

Farmers should embrace Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) to boost agricultural production and overcome poverty, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, has said.

Minister Kasukuwere said this while officiating at the Makoni Organic Farmers Association (MOFA) Equator Initiative Award ceremony held at Chiundu High School in Rusape last Friday.

The association was awarded the UNDP Global Equator Prize for 2014 during a ceremony held in Lincoln Centre in New York in September last year.

The Equator Prize is awarded biennially to recognise and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

Cde Kasukuwere said indigenous people had their peculiar knowledge systems that conserved the environment.

“We had our own traditional values and norms that guided us in preserving natural resources. These should have been documented for use by the future generation.

“If we rely on our IKS, we will never go wrong, we should research and record the indigenous knowledge,” he said.

Cde Kasukuwere said people should learn from the elderly people and follow their ways.

“If we can embrace and scale up initiatives such as organic farming and other sustainable environmental management activities, this will lead to building resilience in vulnerable communities and promote sustainable development,” he said.

He commended the Makoni organic association for using organic methods in crop production as this was healthy and cheaper since the method relied on locally available resources.

“This is a clean way of producing food. Some of the chemicals used in crop production have detrimental effects on human health.

“I urge you to protect the rivers and forests and diversify your operations. You have a reliable water source and you should diversify into fish production to increase income,” he said.

UNDP Resident Representative Mr Bishow Parajuli emphasised MOFA’s contribution to sustainable development through community empowerment and participation, environmental sustainability, gender and health mainstreaming as well as inclusive participation by youth and local communities.

“This is in line with the new UNDP Strategic Plan that stresses the need to find ways of fighting poverty and inequality, deepening inclusion and reducing conflict, without inflicting irreversible damage on environmental systems, including the climate, ” he said.

MOFA chairperson Mrs Tamari Chipanga said the lives of the farmers in the area had greatly improved due to the project of organic farming.

“We rely on natural resources and produce healthy foods for our families. We used to have kitchen gardens but we have increased production and we are now supplying local markets with our produce.

“We have plenty of water but we have a challenge of harnessing it,” she said.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

(IOL SA) Diamond scandal hits De Beers

COMMENT - De Beers and Beny Steinmetz are colluding to steal South African diamonds, through Beny Steinmetz' Ascot Diamonds (Pty) Ltd. This is where the money is going that should be diversifying the South African economy, and eliminate poverty.

Diamond scandal hits De Beers
- Crime & Courts | IOL News
Independent Newspapers Online

Johannesburg - A senior government diamond valuator in Joburg has accused his bosses of blocking his investigation into diamond giant De Beers – and then firing him to shut him up.

Conrad Benn, the country’s first black diamond valuator, has launched an urgent application in the high court in Joburg to challenge the South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator’s decision to suspend him in April last year and fire him last month.

Under section 74 of the Diamond Act, De Beers is exempt from getting permission to sell its diamonds overseas – if it can show that for any of its sales exceeding R5 billion, at least 40 percent of it benefited local companies.

Benn said that instead of a total of 11 local companies benefiting, a single off-shore company received the lion’s share.

He has submitted an affidavit from one of De Beers’ other sight-holders, Israeli businessman Erez Daleyot, that De Beers and the Swiss-based, Israeli-owned Steinmetz Group “are working in collusion with (Levy) Rapoo (the chief executive of the diamond regulator) and stealing from the nation of South Africa”.

Rapoo asked Benn to verify the claim. Benn found in November 2013 that De Beers was not complying with the act.

“Of the 40 percent of the gross value of the production cycle to beneficiaries in South Africa, 35 percent was sold to one customer, being Ascot Diamonds (Pty) Ltd. Ascot Diamonds is part of a group of companies owned by a major worldwide diamond entrepreneur, Beny Steinmetz.

“I analysed the 35 percent sold to Ascot Diamonds and noted that it consisted of purchases of ordinary usual diamonds as well as a substantial portion of what is known as ‘exceptional stones’.

“These can be described as large diamonds of good colour and clarity and are the best of any production cycle. They are the cream of the crop,” Benn said.

He said his findings made him uncomfortable and he had made countless efforts to raise it with the relevant authorities in De Beers.

He said that instead of resolving the matter, De Beers wrote a letter to Rapoo accusing Benn of leaking confidential corporate information to a third party.

The regulator then made an “Anton Piller” application, using information given to it by De Beers, said Benn, allowing local law firm ENS Forensics to search Benn’s house and seize his laptop.

Benn was suspended before facing a disciplinary hearing chaired by advocate GJ Fourie, who, Benn told the court, had been appointed by ENS Forensics. Fourie fired him last month.

In his papers, Benn remains adamant that the motive of the regulator was to “get rid of him” instead of probing allegations of wrongdoing by De Beers.

He was the regulator’s senior manager in the valuation department.

Benn worked for De Beers in Kimberley after matriculating at St Patrick’s College in that city. He worked there until 1998 when he joined the regulator, leaving in 2003 to join a private diamond mining company.

He returned to the regulator in 2008 and was later appointed senior manager.

Benn has asked the high court to stop the disciplinary proceedings until his new counsel had familiarised himself with the allegations.

He is adamant that the process has been launched “because I had uncovered the skewed allocation of exceptional stones. The purpose of getting rid of me is to stifle my investigation,” he said.

The Star

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

BBC delves into Brazilians' roots

BBC delves into Brazilians' roots
By Silvia Salek
BBC Brasil

Neguinho da Beija-Flor's stage-name indicates his skin colour; in Portuguese, Neguinho means Little Black. Montage - Top: Neguinho da Beija Flor, Sandra de Sa, Djavan; Middle: Obina, Milton Nascimento, Ildi Silva; Bottom: Frei David, Seu Jorge, Daiane dos Santos

The BBC project analysed the DNA of nine famous Brazilians

In this year's Rio Carnival competition, he sang a song celebrating Brazil's African roots in a performance that won his samba school the title. But having learned to be proud of his African ancestry, he was shocked to find out that about 67% of his genes are European and only 31% African, according to an estimate based on an analysis of his DNA.

"People will think I'm joking if I tell them this", said the singer, who knew very little about his African ancestors but nothing at all about his European ones.

Neguinho da Beija-Flor was among nine celebrities who were tested for a project, called Afro-Brazilian Roots, by the Brazilian Service of the BBC.

Person swabs saliva, sample sent to lab
DNA sequences compared to gene database
40 different markers on DNA sample analysed to obtain rough percentage of genes' origin
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysed for maternal line
Y chromosome analysed for paternal ancestors

Brazil has more people with black ancestry than any other nation outside Africa, and its mix of Indians, Africans and Europeans gave rise in the past to the claim that the country was a "racial democracy".

But it is also a country where black people remain socially disadvantaged.

The results of the DNA tests surprised many by showing that skin colour does not necessarily reflect the ancestry of a person's genetic make-up.

Sergio Pena, professor of biochemistry at the Federal University of Belo Horizonte, who led the genetic analysis, explained the apparent contradiction.

"Only a few genes are responsible for someone's skin colour, which is a very poor indication of ancestry. A white person could have more African genes than a black one or vice-versa, especially in a country like Brazil," he said.

Brazilian actress Ildi Silva. Photo by Fernando Torquato.
Actress Ildi Silva says she is seen as neither black nor white

Soap opera actress Ildi Silva found that matches of the Y chromosome in her family are common in northern Europe, and that 71% of her genes are European and 19% African.

"I knew I had a Dutch ancestor from my mother's side, but I didn't know there was an European link in my paternal line as well," she said.

Genealogist Carlos Barata, co-author of the Dictionary of Brazilian Families, notes that as well as the Portuguese, immigrants from many European nations - including France, Ireland, the Netherlands, England and Germany - sought a new home in Brazil.

"The surnames might have disappeared by today's generation, but genetics can bring their contribution back to light," he said.

Controversial quotas

Musician Seu Jorge found that although 85% of his genes are African, the rest are European, confirmation that he is, as he put it "also the son of the guilty ones" - a descendant of the European slave-owners who had children with their African slaves.

"You need to be black to understand what it is like to get on a bus and see people getting off, afraid of you, or calling the police," he said.

"My daughter, who has a privileged education, came home one day telling us that her colleagues at a ballet class didn't want to hold hands with her. She will have to grow with this pain."

Musician Seu Jorge. Photo by Jose Maria Palmieri
Seu Jorge: Proud of his African heritage

The BBC Brasil series has had an impact in Brazil, where the issue of racial quotas is highly controversial.

About 40 universities in the country have set aside places for black students.

Manolo Florentino, head of the Social History Department at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, said the results "show race is a failed concept in Brazil".

Referring to the university quotas, he added: "Policies that 'racialise' this country, following the example of the US, create hate and tension and will make the situation worse."

But for organisations that defend the quota system, genetics should not be used to attack anti-discrimination policies.

They argue that genetics might prove that all Brazilians are very mixed in terms of their racial ancestry, but it is naive to believe that society will consider all equal.

"I've never seen a policeman asking for a genetic ID before stopping someone. In Brazil, discrimination is based on appearance, not on genes," said David dos Santos, a priest who co-ordinates a scheme to prepare underprivileged Afro-Brazilians to go to university, and who was himself tested for the series.

'Face of the future'

Musician Sandra de Sa said that despite its racial tensions, Brazil could teach the world how different races can integrate.

Footballer Obina
Footballer Obina was not aware of his indigenous roots

She was happy though to find out she was about 93% African.

"I can't believe I'm almost 100% African. I usually jokingly say that I can still feel the chains around my ankles," said the singer.

The ancestry of the nine celebrities revealed other surprises.

Obina, a football player in Flamengo, the biggest team in Brazil, had 25% indigenous genes, the highest percentage in the tests.

His Y chromosome was traced back to the Middle East, possibly an indication of a Jewish ancestor among the many escaping persecution in Portugal and Spain some 500 years ago.

"No-one is pure in Brazil. That's why the country has the face of the future," said Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr, co-ordinator of a similar project in the US.

The mixing of races so evident in Brazil will become more prevalent around the world, Professor Gates believes, with people originating from a sole geographical area becoming increasingly rare.

Two readers of chosen from among more than 2,000 who applied to have their DNA tested will have their results published this month.

Their story will focus on how genetics is revealing black ancestors long excluded from family history because of racism.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

(HERALD ZW) Zim Immigrants: Three million from 1,6 million

I'm the one who dug up this well buried number - buried in Table 3.6 of the 2011 Population Census of South Africa, run by Statistics South Africa - it is on this page and has been for about 3 years, ever since the 2011 Population Census was published in 2012. Why this number was buried in percentages of the population rather than just listed outright - the total number of immigrants in South Africa is kind of important. Having said, it is great that it was picked up, so we can have a fact based discussion about Zimbabwe, not based on charges, denouncements and sloganeering. - MrK

(HERALD ZW) Zim Immigrants: Three million from 1,6 million

When figures simply won’t help

Talking about the Diaspora factor, I had an amazingly honest discussion with one of the leading editors in the country. We touched on many issues, covered many themes, and I found his views disarmingly fair, balanced and penetrating. I could not resist asking: but pal, how come this level of critical thinking is never brought to bear in your column and paper? Well, my friend, when you sit down to write, you are structured by multiple relationships, relationships which end up shaping your pieces.

If I tackle a matter with this level of candour, will I secure access to those vital briefings that equip me as a journalist? Will I? Ahh pal, I protested further, including acknowledging that with a total immigrant population of 1,6 million (courtesy of SA Stats), South Africa cannot have three million Zimbabwean immigrants? That in fact the largest community of migrants is Mozambican? Yes, he cried in response, adding that figure can no longer be revised. It has become a “fact” by usage, one too important to be revised at this late stage in the whole narrative!

We both sipped down our despair, despair that took the colour of that dank British liquid they call tea.

The spiral of compounded lies

When one of the Nkomos stood up and out to remind frenzied protesters that the late Father Zimbabwe was Sotho, not Kalanga, a bitter debate ensued over that monumental disclosure. On the one side was a group that was so grateful the young man had gotten them to know their hero and founder of their nation even better, albeit after so long. Then you had this other side which was decidedly angry.

Why make a correction which has the effect of denying all those opposed to the “regime” a key missile with which to pelt it? I have no doubt in my mind that this same latter group will wonder why South Africa Stats Office published a detail which has the effect of blunting a key weapon against the “regime”.

To oppose is to hurl anything at the establishment, especially lies which must be protected, nurtured and grown to remain durable weaponry.

Presenting reality in proper proportion is a sin; to falsely compound a lie a thousand times is a virtue. It could be about unemployment, migrants, victims of gukurahundi, beneficiaries of land reforms, or simply people’s identities.

That is us: a people who won’t allow unhelpful, inconvenient facts to stand in the way. When facts are coy and reluctant, fictionalise them.


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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

(MnG SA) ANCYL warns of Zim-style land invasions in South Africa

(MnG SA) ANCYL warns of Zim-style land invasions in South Africa
06 Jun 2012 06:07 Nickolaus Bauer

Farm invasions are "inevitable" should white South Africans not voluntarily hand over land to the government, says the ANC Youth League. Deputy youth league president Ronald Lamola. (Gallo)

“If they don’t want to see angry black youths flooding their farms they must come to the party. Whites must volunteer some of the land and mines they own. They can’t only be compelled to do so through legislation,” deputy youth league president Ronald Lamola said on Tuesday, calling for changes to the Constitution to allow the state to appropriate land.

Lamola was speaking at the end of a youth league policy workshop held in preparation for the ANC policy conference later this month.

He drew comparisons with Zimbabwe, referring to the occupation of land there at the turn of the century, when predominantly white-owned farms were forcibly taken by ruling party-backed militias. The largely ungoverned process descended into violence and saw farm owners aggressively removed from their land.

While the league is not explicitly calling for the occupation of privately owned land, Lamola said if changes to the current state of land reform were not made soon, it would be out of the league’s hands if property were to be forcibly taken.

Society is angry
“It looks like it’s becoming inevitable. Society is angry. If it happens, it will be their [white South Africans] fault. They are not coming to the party,” he said.

As part of its calls to change government’s approach to land reform, the league is calling on wholesale changes to the sections of the Constitution governing land reform.

“We must be unapologetic about this. We need to change sections of the Constitution to bring about the change we need,” Lamola said.

Lamola said current land owners should be involved in a skills transfer process so that emerging farmers are mentored by those surrendering land.

He said this will be for the “greater good” of South Africa as their current status can’t be “safely guaranteed”.

“We are not talking about a partnership; the state must be the dominant player in terms of how land is used. But white South Africans must continue to participate, they remain relevant to this process and will continue to do so,” Lamola added.

We want decisive leadership
With drastic land reform in mind, Lamola said the league would be seeking to elect leaders at the ANC’s upcoming elective conference in December, who won’t be “scared to implement unpopular policies”.

“We want decisive leadership, ones that will give us direction and think behind the tribes they come from and beyond their regions, who realise they lead a nation,” he said.

However, Lamola said the league would only be announcing its preferred candidate once the leadership debate is formally opened by the ANC in October.

Section 25 of the Constitution says property may be expropriated subject to compensation as “agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court”.

The compensation should be “equitable, reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected”.

Redistribution targets
The department of land reform and rural development says it is in the process of producing a green paper on land redistribution to tackle the matter of further land expropriation.

There is, however, no indication yet about what the green paper will propose.

In his 2012 budget vote speech, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti indicated government had only achieved just over a quarter of its target to redistribute 30% of South Africa’s agricultural land by 2014.

Nkwinti’s department has also set up a joint task team with the department of public works to work on apparent distortions in prices that government pays for land.

He said farmers are charging government above market value rates, and proposed the establishment of a land-valuer general to deal with the value of land.

As of yet, the ANC has not produced a document that will solely deal with land reform, but said one will be released at the upcoming policy conference.

‘Deep trouble’
However, both ANC and government have agreed that the willing buyer, willing seller principle as enshrined in the Constitution has not worked.

Professor Ben Cousins, the chairperson of poverty, land and agrarian studies at the National Research Foundation, said the land reform process is in “deep trouble” in South Africa.

“We had rather unrealistic ambitions in the early years of our democracy. Quick resolutions to these issues were never going to happen, so we have to be a bit more sensitive to the challenges we face when it comes to land reform,” Cousins told the Mail & Guardian.

Cousins said there is no “quick fix” for the current issues surrounding land reform, be it a change to the Constitution or otherwise.

“To see these matters resolved will take a lot of work. The government has to become a more effective player in the land reform process by buying, negotiating prices and managing the process,” Cousins said.

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