Saturday, April 07, 2007
By David Masango
Date: 05 Apr 2007
Pretoria - South Africa's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs has reiterated the country's stance of constructive dialogue between the parties concerned, as the only solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Mr Pahad acknowledged progress already being made to get the government, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and other relevant parties to engage in talks.
President Thabo Mbeki has been mandated by Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders to facilitate dialogue between the government and opposition in Zimbabwe. The decision was taken at a meeting of the SADC Double Troika and an Extraordinary SADC Summit in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania in late March. A meeting was convened Wednesday, between a South African delegation and the two secretary-generals of the MDC who are in the country.
"The two secretary-generals will produce a discussion document on the MDC's position, on the basis President Mbeki will engage the Zimbabwean government on the recommendations from the MDC. "President Mbeki will have to work out his own roadmap on how he wishes to fulfill his mandate to create the climate conducive for the two parties to meet to deal with the issues raised by the factions of the MDC," Deputy Minister Pahad said.
Mr Mbeki would also report back to the SADC Troika on the progress. In addition to Mr Mbeki's efforts, the SADC leaders mandated the executive secretary to undertake a study of the situation in Zimbabwe and propose measures on how the region could assist the country with its economic recovery.
They also encouraged diplomatic contacts that would assist with the resolution of the conflict. "The summit reiterated the appeal to Britain to honour its compensation obligations with regards to land reform made at the Lancaster House and called for the lifting of all forms of sanctions against Zimbabwe," said Mr Pahad. The deputy minister noted the meeting of the ruling Zanu-PF Central Committee last week, which he said took important decisions.
These include that:
* President Robert Mugabe will be its presidential candidate for the 2008 presidential elections;
* Parliamentary elections will be held concurrently with the presidential election and that there is no need for a constitutional amendment as the current constitution allows the President is to bring parliamentary elections forward; and that
* The Presidential term will be reduced from six to five years and this will necessitate a constitutional amendment.
Mr Pahad explained that following decisions by the Zanu-PF Central Committee, the SADC and the international community had to intensify efforts to ensure that the necessary climate and conditions were created to ensure free and fair elections. "To ensure that the necessary climate is created, all Zimbabweans must act with restraint and within the rule of law. "Decisive action must be taken against those that are carrying out sabotage activities and Zimbabweans must continue to respect the independence and integrity of the justice system," he emphasised.
The deputy minister stressed that South Africa would not support any regime change in Zimbabwe as a means of resolving the political and economic crisis there. - BuaNews
Apr 6, 2007, 16:39 GMT
Johannesburg - South African President Thabo Mbeki on Friday defended the controversial land reform policies of neighbouring Zimbabwe as necessary measures to correct the effects of colonialism, reports said.
The government of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in following the 2001 reform removed thousands of white farmers from farmland in his country in an often chaotic fashion. The action is considered one of the triggers of the collapse of the economy of the once prosperous country.
Mbeki, who has been appointed the point man of the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Zimbabwe, said further that it was urgent that new black African farmers in Zimbabwe be provided with agricultural supplies.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
April 07, 2007
The US government is sponsoring critics of the Zimbabwe government and is funding activities aimed at "discrediting" positions taken by the Zimbabwe government under President Mugabe. (US reveals its efforts to topple Mugabe regime) No one should believe that these activities are only of a nonviolent nature. The US is definitely funding Terrorism in Zimbabwe.
The US bureaucracy is so convoluted that the government doesn't even know what is there. So much of their dirty work has a paper trail and willingness to go through that mess would provide much proof to what they have been doing all along. Under the dubious banner of "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy" The U.S. Record 2003-2004, 2004 - 2005, 2005 - 2006 and the latest report for 2006, released on April 5th 2007, are just a sampling of the records showing the length of time the US government has been funding opposition activities in Zimbabwe.
Of those being financed and otherwise supported by the US and UK alliance, as far back as 2000, the MDC opposition leader, Tsvangirai, publicly said, "What we would like to tell Mugabe is please go peacefully. If you don't want to go peacefully, we will remove you violently."(Opposition warning to Mugabe) I am reminding people of this because the opposition is using violence in Zimbabwe as promised.
Now that the US has admitted to sponsoring critics, most of the critics of Mugabe in and out of Zimbabwe are suspect. The US government ratted them out similar to how they inadvertently sold out their own undercover CIA agent. These paid critics were duped and discredited by the admissions of the US government.
ZANU PF facilities have been bombed and persons on both sides of the political divide have been assaulted or killed. However, it seems premeditated that, according to the mainstream media, whenever anyone considered sympathetic to the opposition gets injured, the media sensationalizes it and automatically implies that the Zimbabwe government is somehow directly involved. That is all part of the discrediting campaign aimed at painting the Zimbabwe government as murderous thugs to contrast with the mainstream media's portrait of a prayerful and peaceful opposition being victimized for their activities.
Ever since the land reclamation exercise in Zimbabwe, several so-called democratic and human rights groups have appeared on the scene. They all claim to be promoting freedom and independent journalism ad nauseam. They basically give the same anti-Mugabe diatribe repetitively. Many of them are paid activists on the payroll of White Settlers, the US, Britain or George Soros' Human Rights organizations.
There is a pattern to this and if one studies the US efforts to change governments in various countries one would obseve it. While the US has been in the regime change business longer, along with their main accomplice, the British, their protégé George Soros seems more than eager to fill any voids in their plans for world domination.
The US solicits other countries to join in applying sanctions to a country along with systematically attacking the targeted government in order to scare away potential and established investors. The US generously funds a multitude of newly-created fake social organizations and media, including websites, that claim to be promoting democracy and freedom. These organizations are meant to entice others to revolt against the government. Their activities are designed to construct hardships on the ordinary people in order to force them to revolt. All these 'Velvet Revolutions' were carried out in a similar fashion. They are all pro-western capitalist revolutions.
How exactly does one perpetrate a velvet revolution anyway? The seven-step strategy used against Milosevic provides an instructive blueprint:
Step 1: Form a Shadow Government
(Finance from the US and other organizations to form alternative government)
Step 2: Control the Air Waves and Internet
(US/UK bankrolled opposition media)
Step 3: Bleed the State Dry
(Economic sanctions and civil unrest)
Step 4: Sow Unrest
(Blame every new catastrophe on Mugabe)
Step 5: Provoke an Election Crisis
(Engage in ballot-stuffing and blame Mugabe for vote-rigging)
Step 6: Take the Streets
(Give lip-service to a Gandhi-esque code of non-violence but use fists, boots, guns and Molotov cocktails)
Step 7: Outlast Your Opponent
(Use aggressive tactics in an attempt to convince Mugabe that a long and bloody struggle lies ahead. Rather than risk civil war or US intervention, Mugabe should step down)
Adapted from Part 1: Velvet Revolution, USA By Richard Poe
These are the same tactics being used in Zimbabwe. The US and Europe hope to gain the support of surrounding African nations in their regime changing exercise.
The South African Development Community (SADC), which is made up of 14 member states, called for the lifting of all forms of sanctions against Zimbabwe, but the US and Britain refused to lift the sanctions. African nations called on Britain to honour their agreement to finance the land reformation exercise, but Britain said no.
White nations believe they must have their way. It does not matter how non-Whites want to address their issues, Whites intend to impose their will on the world.
The South African Development Community and the African Union certified Zimbabwe's elections in 2005 as "free and fair" but, the US and Europe insist they were not. They did not have observers on the ground. To them, African observers cannot determine "free and fair" without White, Western overseers.
"Free and fair" to these Whites is determined by whose interests are being served and can only be determined by White nations.
It is all about attempts to maintain White supremacy and the Western racist, capitalist agenda.
The US remains close allies with undemocratic governments like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. These countries are doing the US's bidding so they have no problem with them, but the US is in Africa financing and conducting terrorist activities, and trying to overthrow governments with the dishonest claim of promoting democracy.
The Zimbabwe government has every right to be firm with opposing groups that are using violence to destabilize the country. They are right to firmly resist efforts by foreign governments to illegally and undemocratically change the government. Participation by Zimbabwe nationals is treason.
What the opposition in Zimbabwe is getting away with would never be tolerated in Western countries.
The US and Britain were never about promoting democracy and they are not the originators of a democratic concept of governance. Most indigenous people had democratic systems that worked worthier to the farce of democracy that exists in the West.
It would be a good idea to promote democracy in the US; they are yet to discover its true meaning and function.
Visit: Zimbabwe Watch
Saturday April 07, 2007 [04:00]
As for many sectors in Zambia, an objective view on the country’s health status presents a picture of hopelessness. And as we commemorate World Health Day, which falls today, there are still numerous problems that remain unresolved or unattended to in our healthcare system.
First, the disease burden in the country remains gigantic. At the moment, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are not relenting and they are taking a huge toll on the population. Malaria is still the largest single killer disease in Zambia. The rate of HIV infection in the country is still high at 16 per cent and many of those who need treatment are yet to access it.
Even as this is the case, we have continued to observe that the level of resources devoted to health care has been grossly inadequate to deal with the HIV/AIDS epidemic effectively. We also know that social stigmas surrounding AIDS keep many people from turning to the public health system for testing and treatment.
While a lot has been said about the need to improve maternal health care, in line with the fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG), it is reported that Zambia’s maternal mortality ratio at the moment is 728 per 100,000 live births.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) resident representative in Zambia, Deji Poopola, is on record saying that Zambia’s maternal mortality rate ratio of 728 per 100,000 live births is among the highest in the region.
It is not a debatable question that Zambia needs a functioning public health system if we are to start getting healthcare services and medicines to the sick. Today the ratio of doctor-to-patient remains at undesirable levels.
There is also significant loss and pilferage of drugs or medicines since our storage and distribution systems are almost nonexistent or are poorly managed where they are present. In fact, the World Bank estimates that for every US$100 spent by African governments on drugs, only US$12 worth of medicine reaches patients. There is just too much corruption in the procurement and management of drugs in the country and there is evidence to this fact.
Another factor that should not be ignored in the provision of healthcare services is that of infrastructure. We should realise that we need to put up adequate infrastructure such as roads, transportation, electricity and clean water supply if we are to operate an effective healthcare system.
At the moment, most of the country’s health facilities are located in urban areas, far away from rural populations which are the most needy. Most of the health centres are not even accessible to large numbers of the population via public transportation due to poor infrastructure.
In rural areas, impassable roads and weak transportation systems continue to block patients, as well as health providers and medicines from reaching far-flung health facilities. Many rural areas do not have access to ambulances and we have seen people resorting to all forms of transportation which leave them at great risk as they cannot get to health centres in good time.
But we know that fundamental economic, social and political issues that our country faces have contributed to impeding access to healthcare services and medicines. To address the situation in the health sector, there is need for the government to start assigning a lot of priority to it. We need to start seeing a lot of political will from those in government if some of the problems faced in the health sector have to be dealt with. Although we cannot deny that the government has been making efforts to improve this sector, there is still a lot more work to be done.
We need to start promoting the justice of good health policies and adequate medicines accessible by all our people regardless of status. We do not have to emphasise the fact that there can be no future development without healthy citizens. We cannot claim to uphold the sanctity of life if there is no provision for minimum health care offered equitably to all our people.
As we commemorate this year’s World Health Day, let us remember that good health is important because it is a state of physical and mental wellbeing which is necessary for each one of us to live a meaningful, pleasant and productive life. There is actually evidence that good health is also an integral part of thriving modern societies and a cornerstone of well performing economies.
With a sickly population, economic development remains a pipedream. We need to seriously start tackling important challenges within the health sector to ensure that good health is guaranteed for the population. And that can only be achieved if we realise that this responsibility is for all, not just for those within the health sector.
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Saturday April 07, 2007 [04:00]
UNICEF country representative Lotta Sylwander has said there is need to bring health care down to the communities in order to reduce the high maternal mortality rate. And first lady Maureen Mwanawasa said there was still a lot of room for improvement in the health care system in Zambia.
Commenting on the 'World Health day, ' under the theme 'International health security', which falls today, Sylwander said the maternal mortality rate in Zambia was staggering and appalling. She said it was one of the highest in the world and did not need to be that high. "This is country with both human and other resources and UNICEF, for one, are working very hard on trying to lower the number of maternal deaths, child deaths or infants deaths and there are quite simple methods that can be used in heath care facilities in meeting the needs of mothers and children," she said.
Sylwander said UNICEF was working very closely with the Ministry of Health. "What I think we need to do is to bring health care down to the communities and the knowledge of what should be done around child birth and around the first few months of a child's life both with the mother and the child and I am sure the figures will drop quite dramatically once that knowledge is brought down to community level," she said.
She also said Zambia was not making much progress on the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on maternal mortality.
"In terms of health, we are not making progress quite rapidly but we are definitely making progress on the MDG on education and it's quite possible that Zambia will meet the MDG on education," she said. "It was a known fact that Zambia is very far away from meeting the MDGs on health and unfortunately this includes the HIV/AIDS goal."
Sylwander said the main problem with HIV/AIDS was change of behaviour.
She said information was getting out to people but they were not internalising it. "People are not using the information that they have. As a children's organisation, we work a lot on preventing mother-to-child transmission and that is also fairly easily done. We work also with promoting exclusive breast feeding which also prevents mother-to-child transfer," said Sylwander.
And Maureen said Zambia was trying under the circumstances but there was still a lot of room for improvement. "Next week on the 10th, there will be a very big continental conference in South Africa to which we as Organisation of African First Ladies Against AIDS OAFLA has been invited. The summit will be trying to come up with a health policy for the continent so it is being prepared by the African Union. So you see that even at continental level, these are challenges of our African leaders," she said.
Maureen said Zambia compared to other African countries had the best health systems but the challenge was manpower and equipment. She said she was hoping that as the economy improved, the budget for the health sector could increase. "Of course the issue of maternal deaths is still a problem but it is a problem where solutions have been found and as soon as implementation can start the better. In a small way as MMCI, we have been trying to bring strategic partners on board," she said.
Maureen said Zambia on the continent had done very well in dealing with the HIV/AIDS because of the political will from leaders. "The fact that we are human beings, the challenges of low condom use will follow us but we are not relaxing because some people are not changing their lifestyles but we believe we can save others," she said. Maureen hoped research going on to find a cure for AIDS could be speeded up.
By George Chellah
Saturday April 07, 2007 [04:00]
IRATE motorists on Thursday evening clobbered former commerce deputy minister Geoffrey Samukonga when he attempted to bolt after failing to pay a K100,000 fuel bill at Chelstone BP filling station before the police arrested and detained him at Benny Mwiinga police post.
Narrating the incident, Musa Phiri, a fuel attendant explained that Samukonga who was driving a gold Mercedes Benz registration number ABA 2003 arrived at the filling station around 19:10 hours.
"He told us to put in fuel for K100,000 but after putting the fuel I went to him to collect money. That's when he told me that he didn't have money and requested if he could be allowed to go and come back later," Phiri said.
"But we told him that he needed to leave a surety of at least a cell phone or a spare wheel for his car. He was undecided that's when I called my fellow attendants so that we can come up with a solution."
He explained that at that point, Samukonga decided to drive off.
"He started driving off, that's when my friend Peter threw himself into the Benz through the window because we just couldn't let him go without paying. What could we have told our boss if he had gone?" Phiri asked. "But he continued driving and we only saw Peter's legs dangling though the window of his vehicle. He later stopped because my friend managed to get inside the car."
Another fuel attendant, Dason Musukuma narrated that he pulled the keys from Samukonga's vehicle.
"Just after he stopped the vehicle and Peter was already inside I rushed there and grabbed the keys from the ignition. That's how I came back," he said.
He narrated that by this time, a number of clients and onlookers had surrounded the vehicle.
"That's when he came out and started boasting and insulting everyone around. He started saying that, 'I am a former minister so what can you tell me?' He even became violent," Musukuma explained. "So other customers became upset and begun slapping him. They were telling him that, 'you are stupid you have delayed us and you are insulting us'. Some people were even telling him that 'if you are a former minister you should know how to behave'.
"They also started telling him that 'how can you fail to pay a K100,000 whilst driving such a vehicle'. Others where also saying that 'you are foolish you have eaten our money'. After beating him, he started crying complaining that 'how could you do this to me'."
Musukuma said Samukonga was later picked up by police officers from Chelstone police station.
"They came here during the same confusion and picked him together with my workmate Peter," he said.
Samukonga was found resting on the bonnet of his Benz when The Post arrived at Chelstone police station around 20:00 hours.
He was later whisked into one of the offices at the police station amidst protests from him.
"They have beaten me! And you are just looking at me? Can you go and arrest those people!" shouted Samukonga.
Whilst in the office with the officer in-charge Petronella Kasonde, Samukonga was advised by Kasonde to behave properly in public.
"You made a mistake Mr. Samukonga. You are a grown up person and a respectable person for that matter. You should know how to behave. Assist this boy to earn a living.
You didn't pay, it was somebody else who paid for you," Kasonde said. "There were some reporters there and don't be surprised if you find yourself in the newspapers."
But Samukonga chipped in and began threatening Kasonde that he had already spoken to the Inspector General of police over the matter.
"You have communicated to the IG yourself. Fine, I am going to tell the IG that you wanted to run away. I will even put you in custody if you continue making noise here," Kasonde warned. "I will put you in custody, this is a clear case."
Samukonga responded: "And I will sue you if you put me in custody."
Kasonde urged Samukonga to be sympathetic with the fuel attendant.
"You made a mistake Mr. Samukonga, just admit. Please assist this boy protect his job. It's very bad."
"I am sorry madam," Samukonga replied.
But when asked for his statement, Samukonga changed and began shouting at the police officers.
"What have I done? Don't abuse your authority, which we have given you people. I was a member of parliament and we enacted the laws to give you that authority you are now abusing," Samukonga charged. "I am a millionaire myself. Can I fail to pay K100,000? I drive the most expensive vehicle in the world and in Zambia and it's parked outside you have seen it. Can I fail to pay for fuel?"
This prompted Kasonde to say: "Millionaire wakuti wakangiwa kulipila K100 pin (which millionaire are you when you have failed to pay a K100,000?)."
But Samukonga also answered: "You are very rude. If you are clever let's end this thing amicably because if you push your luck too far you will have yourselves to blame, I am telling you. I will sue you big time and all your tuma benefits will come to me in terms of legal costs. You will find it very hard to defend this in court."
However, Samukonga eventually gave his statement at about 21:00 hours.
In his statement Samukonga stated: "I have committed no offence because I have paid for the fuel. I have been beaten and assaulted and they have stolen my computer phone and I am the first complainant in this matter."
Samukonga was still at Chelstone police station as late as 22:00 hours before the officer in-charge ordered this reporter to leave the premises.
"You people what you are doing is bad. How do you hide there listening to what we are discussing in the office? Did you get permission from me to do that? I am the officer in-charge here you leave now," Kasonde ordered the reporter.
"Everything has finished, so you leave now."
But police source revealed that Samukonga was formally charged and arrested around midnight.
"He was charged with an offence of obtaining pecuniary advantage... just because he was somebody he thought he could use that. So he was charged with the above offence because the police felt he was taking advantage of that previous status as deputy minister," the source disclosed. "He was even detained at Benny Mwiinga police post close to midnight."
Samukonga was released around 09:00 hours on Friday.
And police spokesperson Bonny Kapeso who could neither deny nor confirm the matter, said he needed to contact Lusaka division commanding officer Wazakaza Ng'uni over the matter.
"I am sure if he failed to pay for fuel they (police) sorted it out by just telling him to pay. Surely you can't get fuel for free at the station, they sell and people pay," Kapeso said. "If they got him probably they were just protecting him from further harassment and beatings from the public. But I will find out from Mr. Ng'uni."
Lubinda challenges Mwaanga to give satisfactory explanation
By Noel Sichalwe
Saturday April 07, 2007 [04:00]
KABWATA Patriotic Front (PF) member of parliament Given Lubinda has challenged information minister Vernon Mwaanga to give a satisfactory explanation of the contradictory statement to the DRC media last week.
Lubinda was commenting on information minister Vernon Mwaanga's statement that his remarks in the DRC that the Zambian government owes Katanga Province governor Moses Katumbi US$7 million for the maize he supplied a few years ago were distorted.
Mwaanga claimed in Parliament on Wednesday that his statement could have been
distorted when being translated from English to French or vice versa.
He even produced a transcript of the questions the press asked him and the answers he gave in English.
However, Lubinda said Mwaanga should explain how he got hold of a transcript of the interview, particularly a translated version given his argument that the Post story became incorrect based on the translation.
He said many people have been interviewed before and never had access to transcripts after the interview and wondered how it was possible for Mwaanga to get one in a foreign country.
Lubinda said in the transcript for the interview, there was no mention of whether or not he met with Katumbi.
He said Mwaanga who has vast experience in diplomatic issues should have known that as a special envoy, he was not supposed to address the press on any issue.
"How come in this matter, VJ went against diplomatic ethics?" Lubinda asked.
Lubinda said Mwaanga had read the story in the morning but waited until 15:30 hours when a point of order was raised in Parliament to make an explanation.
"He has been known to be very reactive to issues against the state and government," he said. "He controls the government media, why didn't VJ immediately he read the story go to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation to disclaim the story? Had no one raised a point of order, how could he have used the transcript? There is more than meets the eye. These are matters where the Drug Enforcement Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission should take particular interest."
Lubinda said this was a serious matter that threatened the physical and economic security of the country.
He said Mwaanga might have been lucky that the issue came when Parliament was going on recess but that he should be ready to make further explanations when the House resumes.
He said this could be a well-orchestrated agenda to discredit The Post story and that some people might be trying to use the story on the current debate of media ethics.
By Chief Bright Nalubamba
Friday April 06, 2007 [04:00]
I have visited many Royal Chiefdoms throughout the country in my capacity as Chairman of the Royal Foundation of Zambia. The impression I have about their efforts and initiatives in the governance and development process completely differs from yours. I do not know when you last visited your village to share development and governance ideas with your chief.
There are quite a number of chiefdom structures I visited throughout the country that are doing a commendable job in governance and development process. If they have not done as much as you expect, it’s not totally their fault. It is lack of government appreciation and support to these noble efforts.
The government needs to take radical steps, through workshops and seminars designed to sharpen chiefdom structures as instruments for good governance and development in rural societies.
Unfortunately, the government has left these structures below the district level to fend for themselves. This explains a dire need for an effective decentralised system that will provide needed ability and positive attitude to these chiefdom structures in order for these structures to perform well and deliver.
Have you in the last 20 years heard of any workshops on leadership, project cycle or strategic planning for traditional leaders? Don’t we deserve these and many other knowledge and information workshops to prepare us for good performance and delivery?
I am convinced that given proper direction and support, our chiefdom structures you so much doubt and condemn can do a lot to bring about change because that is where you find the most important development resource – the people.
Are you sure editor, you have not seen traditional leaders in this age and time who have spent 80 per cent of their time living and sleeping with their subjects in villages with no thought of personal comfort just to share governance and development ideas? Then your knowledge of rural areas is not thorough.
For all these efforts, traditional leaders (save the MPs) do not deserve consideration for duty-free vehicles to facilitate their regular visits to the villagers.
They should be condemned to walking through the villages; and be condemned to dilapidated so-called palaces. What a negative way to look at the plight of traditional leaders. You do not call this an insult to the traditional leaders. I refuse to share that view with you.
Lastly, even when I totally disagree with you on this editorial, I totally love you because unlike half-cooked politicians, you have profound love for critics because you consider them a great source of inspiration.
But, don’t criticise us from a distance, come closer to the efforts of traditional leaders. I invite you to NAMUCHI – July Congress to be held in Mbeza-Namwala for you to criticise or commend us better. Traditional leaders are trying but they lack support from the government.
Effects of corruption
By M.W. Mbiritengerenji
Saturday April 07, 2007 [04:00]
Corruption reduces domestic and foreign investments, lowers tax revenue, and by skewing the composition of public expenditure away from social services that are important to the poor, worsens income distribution and diverts resources from poverty reduction. Misgovernance and corruption have increased the fragility of financial sectors.
Corruption may also reduce tax revenue because it compromises the government’s ability to collect taxes, and tariffs, although the net effect depends on how the nominal tax rate and other regulatory burdens were chosen by corruption-prone officials.
It is an established fact that where corruption prevails, the poor face higher taxes and receive lower levels of social services; infrastructure investments are biased against projects that aid the poor; and the ability to escape poverty using small-scale entrepreneurial means is impaired.
Contributing factors: Political rights (democratic elections, a legislature, and opposition parties) and civil liberties (free and independent media, freedom of assembly, and freedom of speech) are relatively correlated with corruption. With the correlations somewhat stronger for civil liberties.
Policy distortions and controls, state ownership, excessive regulation of business, arbitrary application of regulations, heavy trade restrictions, protectionist and anti-competition measures are associated with high incidence of corruption. So is monopolisation within economies.
Civil service, professionalism, as manifested in training, hiring and promoting systems, is negatively associated with corruption.
The evidence on civil service pay is more ambiguous; the less robust relationship suggests that salary alone is not the answer in the fight against corruption. Salary corrections need to be combined with meritocratic recruitment and promotion and the creation of a professional cadre of civil servants.
Income per capita and education, holding other factors constant, are negatively correlated with corruption.
Responses to corruption- What kind of anticorruption programme is likely to have the greatest impact?
We know the elements of such a programme: an independent judiciary, rule of law, good institutional and public sector management, strong political and civil liberties, oversight and involvement by civil society, deregulation, tax and budgetary reforms, financial and procurement reforms.
It is a known fact that civil liberties, participation and institutional capacity are important for protection against corruption and for the achievement of broadly based development.
Lack of employment
By Fr Derrick M Muwina
Saturday April 07, 2007 [04:00]
My thoughts on the issues involved in the debate on retirement are these; first most of us are of the impression that politicians such as ministers are civil servants.
As a result, we get disturbed when we see personalities who have been in leadership in all three governments and republics and wonder why they have not retired.
That is an issue on its own and it must not be mixed with retirement of civil servants.
Second, we are mixing the lack of employment with retiring people early as the solution. Anthropologists will agree that humans often find a "scapegoat" to problems. The main issue is lack of employment which our government is hugely responsible for.
How come we talk about "brain drain" when we have plenty unemployed graduates? We claim to have a free market or liberalised economy when even the highly industrialised countries control their economies more than we do.
Third we seem to think that once someone is out of employment we have solved the problem, some young person will jump in and all will be well. No wonder we have been committing such an injustice to our parents. One of the huge expenditures of highly industrialised countries goes to the maintenance of retired citizens.
Retired citizens by right must first of all receive a good pension, not the miserable peanuts we pay people in Zambia, have access to medical services, good pension allowances, reduced fares on buses and such other services.
In Zambia we seem totally ignorant of such issues and so when we advocate early retirement, we think we will solve a problem.
No, we would not have solved a problem but thrown out energetic people with experience and consequently put the burden on the younger working people. If a woman or man was to retire at forty five and let us say theoretically they have children, how old are the children going to be?
At most the oldest will be twenty and the youngest maybe ten.
What this means is that their children cannot contribute to the support of senior citizens through the paying of Pay As You Earn since they will be in college and requiring financial help from their parents.
The larger the retiree pool the more responsibility there is on the younger working generation.
That is the fear in Germany and most of Europe right now, fewer younger people go to work to support the needs of the senior generations who are more.
But because in Zambia we think a retired parent does not by right deserve medical insurance etc, we are quick to say retire them at forty five.
In fact what is the mean age of most of our graduates? How many years are they going to work even if we retired their parents? We need to think critically people.
Friday, April 06, 2007
By K. Elford
April 06, 2007
The ongoing attempts at demonizing Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe by the U.S. and U.K. mainstream media were getting more and more ridiculous, and suddenly, most likely inadvertently, the U.S. makes the admission of what some, including President Mugabe, have been saying all along: the U.S. is supporting the opposition in Zimbabwe in their quest for regime change.
During the U.S. press briefing announcing the release of its annual report, "Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record - 2006" is the exchange between a reporter and the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barry Lowenkron:
QUESTION: Yeah, can I go to -- I just want to go to Zimbabwe for a second. In this it says that the United States sponsored public events in Zimbabwe that presented economic and social analyses, discrediting the government's excuses for its failed policies. It also says that the United States continued to support the efforts of political opposition, the media, civil society, to create and defend democratic space and to support -- the last bit -- to support persons who criticize the government.
Now, granted, I've just given a cursory reading to the Zimbabwe and other -- the reports on other countries with which the United States has full diplomatic relations. The ones I looked at were Belarus, Syria, Vietnam and Eritrea. There may be more. Cuba, obviously, without full diplomatic relations, doesn't count.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LOWENKRON: Sure.
QUESTION: My question is this: It doesn't appear that this kind of -- that these kind of things, i.e., discrediting the government's excuses for failed policies and support -- overt support for people who are critical of the government, happened, at least is being reported for these other countries. And my question is this: President Mugabe has often talked about how he thinks the West, the United States and Britain in particular, are trying to -- are trying for regime change in Zimbabwe, and this is exactly what this appears to look like, what you've acknowledged doing through your programs in Zimbabwe. And I'm just wondering, is it the United States -- does the United States believe that it's its responsibility to discredit the government's excuses -- the government and to openly support people who criticize the government? And if it is, which is what you're saying, why is Mugabe wrong when he says that you're trying for regime change?
And that is the question that begs for an honest answer along with how can the U.S. possibly deny their intentions of provoking a regime change in Zimbabwe?
With the release of this important information those who still believe the U.S. version of having any good intentions towards the Zimbabwe people would have to be very dishonest about their own intentions. The U.S. has only one goal for Zimbabwe: regime change in order to install a government that would serve the interests of Western governments.
The human rights angle just doesn't make sense. During times of turbulence in the U.S., the U.S. government has responded very similarly to how the Zimbabwe government is responding to the current opposition attempts to destabilize Zimbabwe and the African-declared fairly elected Zimbabwe government.
There have been curfews, National Guard deployments and bans of public demonstrations many times in the U.S. Police response to perceptions of threats have resulted in many people in the U.S. taking a beating, being jailed, maimed and killed by police and military forces.
Can anyone in the U.S. threaten violence against the President and not be jailed? No! An opposition leader in Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai who the U.S. supports, publicly threatened violence against President Mugabe (Opposition warning to Mugabe BBC 2000) and he is still around working with the U.S. and U.K. attempting to undemocratically change the government in Zimbabwe.
It seems when the Zimbabwe government reacts accordingly to restore law and order (rightly so because opposition groups are being supported financially and otherwise with the intention of regime change by the U.S. and U.K.) the U.S. and U.K. are calling for the Zimbabwe government's ouster.
Calling for international condemnation, especially by trying to intimidate other African countries into some kind of remote control submission is an outrage and those doing so are hypocrites.
For those who still want to hang onto their illusions of grandiose and piety from the U.S., that illusion is individual hypocrisy, as when troubles arise in the U.S. or U.K., for instance a couple bombs go off, the whole world is supposed to stop what they are doing as the country goes into overdrive with self-righteous, self-pity while the government starts taking revenge on anyone they can exploit. And all the while U.S. bombs are going off in various countries, killing and maiming innocent people daily.
That very same group supports and turns a blind-eye to the atrocities their own Western governments are committing worldwide. Look at the invasions, murders, detentions without trial and tortures that the U.S. and Britain are committing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Somalia among other countries and we have the nerve to call Mugabe a monster, Hitler (a White guy by the way) or worse because he is setting the example of refusal to bow down to Western pressures to usurp him and his countries sovereignty.
Doesn't anyone out there see how truly sick this all is?
Visit: Zimbabwe Watch
Posted: Friday, April 6, 2007
· State department tells of regime change strategy
· Washington funded opposition activities
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Friday April 6, 2007
The Guardian UK
The US admitted openly for the first time yesterday that it was actively working to undermine Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe. Although officially Washington does not support regime change, a US state department report published yesterday acknowledged that it was supporting opposition politicians in the country and others critical of Mr Mugabe. The state department also admitted sponsoring events aimed at "discrediting" statements made by Mr Mugabe's government.
The report will be seized on by Mr Mugabe, who has repeatedly claimed that the US and Britain are seeking regime change. The comments are contained in the state department's fifth annual Supporting Human Rights and Democracy report. It sets out in detail actions the US government is taking worldwide to promote human rights.
The report has had a troubled history. Three years ago publication had to be hastily delayed when details emerged about US human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. The US, compared with the UK, was initially slow to criticise Mr Mugabe, but has since adopted an increasingly critical stance, most recently at the Human Rights Council in Geneva last month. In an unusual piece of candour, the state department report says: "To encourage greater public debate on restoring good governance in [Zimbabwe], the United States sponsored public events that presented economic and social analyses discrediting the government's excuses for its failed policies. "To further strengthen pro-democracy elements, the US government continued to support the efforts of the political opposition, the media and civil society to create and defend democratic space and to support persons who criticised the government."
While the US and British governments still insist their aim in Zimbabwe is not regime change, they have been encouraging the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangarai, who was beaten up last month. The report says that while Zimbabwe is nominally democratic, the government of Mr Mugabe is "now authoritarian".
At a press conference to launch the document, the assistant secretary of state, Barry Lowenkren, said the US goal was not necessarily regime change but to create a level playing field for all parties. He added that where there was a country with record levels of inflation, denial of basic human rights and other abuses, the US had a duty to speak out so that people in Zimbabwe knew they had support.
Asked whether US efforts to promote human rights worldwide were being undermined by the hundreds of of people being held at Guantánamo, Mr Lowenkren insisted the issue was not raised by non-governmental groups at conferences he attended and participants were more interested in what the US could do to help them in their own countries. He also denied the report was softer on authoritarian governments allied to the US, such as Belarus, than to Zimbabwe.
Mr Lowenkren said $66m was being spent on promotion of democracy and human rights in Iran, about half of which was devoted to broadcasts from outside the country and the rest spent on support for non-governmental exchanges, cultural exchanges such as the visit by the US wrestling team and a Persian internet service. The report is critical of Russia, noting the killing of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
It says: "Political pressure on the judiciary, corruption and selectivity in enforcement of the law, continuing media restrictions and self-censorship, and government pressure on opposition political parties eroded the public accountability of government leaders. "Security forces were involved in additional significant human rights problems."
Visit: Zimbabwe Watch
Posted: Friday, April 6, 2007
EDITOR — Let me take this opportunity to congratulate all the progressive workers of Zimbabwe for ignoring ill-conceived calls for a stayaway called this week by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. The long-suffering workers have long realised that one can not solve anything by staying away from work.
They also now know that the labour body long deviated from its mandate of representing and articulating workers’ interests in pursuit of a political agenda.
Instead of concentrating all their energies towards deliberations in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum to come up with a social contract beneficial to workers, Government and business, ZCTU leaders have half-heartedly applied themselves to the initiative.
It is hard to comprehend why the labour body calls for a stayaway in protest over the same issues the TNF is trying to address.
What is now clear to everyone is that the opposition-inclined ZCTU does not want a successful social contract as it will scupper the MDC's hopes of getting into power on the back of public discontent over prevailing economic hardships.
Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo have not been of any value to the ordinary worker in Zimbabwe, though they may have been of value to the MDC.
The ZCTU leadership, like their colleagues in the MDC, has failed to read the mood of Zimbabweans and continue to call for mass actions, stayaways, and the like that no longer appeal to the public. If these opposition activists masquerading as trade unionists want to be remembered in history as having contributed something meaningful to the welfare of workers, they must go back to the TNF and vigorously pursue a social contract.
Having said that, Government on its part needs to act quickly to address the deteriorating economic conditions that have reduced workers to near destitute status. Urgent steps need to be taken to remove the economic distortions that the West and its opposition lackeys hope to exploit in their quest for illegal regime change.
Visit: Zimbabwe Watch
Posted: Friday, April 6, 2007
By Peter Mavunga
THE British government and Western media campaign against Zimbabwe is notable for its rabid bias; what is said or written has no concern for the truth or balance, that is getting the other side's point of view. It has a single-minded pre-occupation with demonising Zimbabwe and propping up the opposition, especially Morgan Tsvangirai, well above his station.
All this is at variance with the age-old notion of British fair play, if ever it existed. When I was studying journalism in London, my tutor was at pains to emphasise that there were always two sides to a story and the views of both sides ought to be reported.
From what has been written about Zimbabwe over the past four weeks, though, you might be excused to think that Tsvangirai, the "blameless" leader of one faction of the MDC, was the head of state while the President of the Republic has a monopoly of doing wrong.
The disturbances that occurred in Highfield at the beginning of last month caused injuries on both sides, yet the way the story was reported tells a different story. The newspapers here have a selective memory.
The pictures that accompany this week's London Letter depict the violence of the MDC. It is, therefore, not surprising that they never appeared anywhere in the British media. These real people, police officers serving the people of Zimbabwe, do not exist in the psyche of the British media.
British journalists saw only Tsvangirai as the victim of the "violence" of Zimbabwe's State apparatus.
In their newspapers they splashed Tsvangirai in a hospital bed with head injuries but giving long telephone interviews to journalists abroad. They did not see anything else. The violence by the opposition never features in the vocabulary of the media here neither is it given any consideration by those who serve in the government led by Tony Blair.
Presumably they will say I am being unfair to them because British journalists are banned from reporting from Zimbabwe and, therefore, cannot be expected to report what they do not see. The question is; why were they banned in the first place?
Was it something to do with their amnesia and selective memory when it came to reporting Zimbabwe? More to the point, how are they able to report so much about Tsvangirai then?
A few years ago there was media frenzy in the UK when The Guardian featured a front page story asserting that a female MDC supporter had been decapitated by a bunch of Zanu-PF youths in Magunje, Karoi. The story was a complete fabrication but as it fitted neatly into the agenda of the British Press, it received widespread coverage.
A serious political party aspiring to convince the electorate that it is fit to govern should think about its integrity and avoid using people's tragedies to achieve its political ends.
But it is an indictment of British journalism that such falsehoods, initiated by the old Daily News, should be replicated the world over without checking.
What is also interesting is that the papers here never bothered to correct their mistakes. When it became common knowledge that they had wrongly attributed the death of the Zimbabwean woman to Zanu-PF youths, they never retracted the rubbish they had been spreading.
It is done in other circumstances but when the lies are in respect of Zimbabwe no correction is necessary lest it weakens the campaign of discrediting the Government of Zimbabwe. Truth should never get in the way of running a good copy. Running the Government of Zimbabwe down, is the overarching objective.
The papers here also change their tune faster than a chameleon changes colour. In the build up to the flopped two-day stayaway this week, the papers were reporting confidently that this would be the largest demonstration Zimbabwe had ever seen
With "80 percent unemployment", so the story went, "the people of Zimbabwe, angry with the Mugabe regime were going to demonstrate because they have nothing to lose."
Their tune has changed now that the numbers, by the papers' own accounts, turned out to be lower than they had anticipated. They now say the people did not want to lose a day's wage and that many preferred to go to work where they get their only meal of the day!
I did not realise that companies in Zimbabwe are so generous that they now give their employees not just wages but lunch as well!
According to the British Press, everything bad happens in Zimbabwe.
Another feature of the media campaign here is that it is persistent and unrelenting. They have tried very hard to foster discord within the ranks of the ruling Zanu-PF party. It was said Vice President Amai Joice Mujuru had resigned not because she wanted the top job for herself but her husband is calling all the shots.
Yes, we were told he was behind all this. Then the news was that the former army commander had been arrested. Then it was said in the British papers that both the Politburo and Central Committee were divided. From this spin, they concluded that, for the President, the end was nigh.
They were, however, forced to report, albeit grudgingly, that the President had been endorsed as the sole candidate to fight the next presidential election, it was like an anti-climax for them though it never dampened their spirits. The Times, for instance, was this weekend regurgitating the same old story of disunity as if it was reporting it anew.
Clearly, President Mugabe had a good conference in Tanzania and one British journalist was forced to concede that he returned home "with a spring in his step."
The media hype had proved to be no more than the usual British froth and bubble. They had anticipated that the President would be told in no uncertain terms that his time was up. They expected the Sadc heads of state and government to tell him he should not seek re-election.
It was said President Mbeki of South Africa was going to use his muscle to bring President Mugabe down. But the meeting came and went, leaving Sadc even more united. Sadc rightly did not think it was its duty to dictate what should happen in Zimbabwe, which they have always said is a matter for Zimbabweans.
That was tangible proof of emerging African unity and the more progressive people I speak to in this country do accept that President Mugabe and his team's principled stance on the land question is to be admired.
The present British government hates that principled stance with a vengeance and that hatred dates back to 1998 just before the CHOGM held in Scotland. The economy of Zimbabwe has been in difficulties since then and the British use all the tricks in the book to put the blame on President Mugabe.
Are they right to blame the President? That is the subject of my next instalment.
Visit: Zimbabwe Watch
Friday April 06, 2007 [04:00]
That Zambian laws allow the existence of several trade unions is not a debatable question. However, looking at the consequences of such laws which permit formation of several trade unions within the labour movement, it is quite clear that workers have been left in an awkward and weaker situation.
Because of the proliferation of trade unions in Zambia, it cannot be denied that the situation for workers in Zambia today is more desperate than it has ever been over the last 42 years.
In order to understand the present situation for workers, especially the clear divisions among them, it is important to put a few things in perspective. First, we are aware that the laws that regulate the conduct of trade union activities are now probably worse than they were during the colonial era. We are saying this because the laws that were formulated under the Third Republic represent more the interests of capital than of the workers.
And we know that these laws had their basis in the neo-liberal policies adopted by the MMD government of Frederick Chiluba in the early 1990s. It is not an exaggeration that these policies were part of the neoliberal package sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. But they fitted in very well also with the political desires of Chiluba at that time.
Having been at the helm of Zambia’s labour movement for 17 years and having seen its role in the removal of Dr Kenneth Kaunda from power, Chiluba did not want a strong labour movement in the country. To that effect, he took advantage of his connections within the labour movement as well as his power as president of the Republic of Zambia to weaken the labour movement and make it politically impotent, for his own political expedience.
It is not a secret that Chiluba engineered the divisions within the labour movement. In fact, he was instrumental in the formation of the Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ). And because of the formation of FFTUZ, the strength and capacity of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) was reduced and this worked well for the benefit of capital.
We also recall that as a result of this neo-liberal approach to trade unionism, we witnessed a scenario where for nearly a decade of Chiluba’s stay in power, the one-time powerful Mineworkers Union of Zambia became one of the weakest and most useless trade unions in our country. Yet it was MUZ which played a very important role in the independence of our country. Because of the state machinations in its pursuit to weaken the labour movement, MUZ was made to pull out of ZCTU.
We saw that for the first time in its history, MUZ was on the side of capital on a number of issues, including on the sale of the copper mines and conditions of service for miners. This obviously led to further splits within MUZ and other weaker unions were formed from its bowels. Today, we see the effects of this in the weakened position of our workers in the mining industry.
Today, even when miners attempt to strike, we have seen that the President has the audacity to order them to go back without being seriously challenged by the leaders of mine unions. If anything, there have been complaints by the miners that their union leaders are always siding with management whenever they have issues to grieve over.
We can see that it is worse now that both the political and labour leadership are much closer to capital than to the workers - they speak for capital and not for the workers.
The situation is not only so for mine workers. Other unions in the country have suffered a similar fate. In the education sector, we have a myriad of unions - Zambia National Union of Teachers, Secondary School Teachers Union of Zambia, Basic Education Teachers Union of Zambia and the Private Schools Teachers Union of Zambia - representing teachers.
In a confused situation like this one, we certainly have very little to expect in terms of the strength of teachers’ unions. Why should there be all these unions, especially when most of the members of these unions, apart from private ones, have one employer - the government?
Now, we do not need to remind the workers of the overused adage that there is strength in numbers for them to realise that the present situation is not helpful to their cause. The present situation of numerous splinter unions works very well for capital, for the employers because all they need to do is to apply the principle of divide and rule.
After all, the workers are already divided. They have made it easy for capital because they have already divided themselves. All the employers need to do is rule over the workers!
As we have said in the past, and as advised by Union Network International regional secretary Fackson Shamenda for ZCTU and FFTUZ to put aside their selfish ambitions and merge, we think it is time that the workers of this country united under single unions for each sector and one labour movement and umbrella body.
We think this will have a positive effect in terms of increasing their capacity, improving their efficiency and effectiveness and in conducting their affairs in an orderly manner. We are convinced that the present setup of divisions among the labour movement will not do much for workers.
There is need for the workers to escape from the present state of affairs and return to the old times when they worked under single unions for each sector and under one umbrella body.
By George Chellah
Friday April 06, 2007 [04:00]
Vernon Mwaanga should desist from eating with both hands, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata said yesterday. Commenting on information minister Mwaanga's statement that his remarks in the DRC that the Zambian government owes Katanga Province governor Moses Katumbi US$7 million for the maize he supplied a few years ago were distorted, Sata expressed surprise at Mwaanga's statement.
"This government never ceases to amaze us. There is no way The Post and other publications both in French and English could misquote VJ. Let him just tell us that somebody has threatened him that he will go like former lands minister Gladys Nyirongo that’s why he now wants to deny,” Sata said. “Did he think that we won’t know what was happening in the DRC? Let him just come out in the open. You can’t eat with both hands and VJ should desist from eating with both hands. He cannot continue doing that.
“In this era of Internet, surely can somebody afford to misquote or distort anyone’s words from another publication? VJ shouldn’t panic because I am sure that if he is fired, Katumbi can look after him very well.”
Sata said Mwaanga’s days were numbered.
“Probably this is what the Bible talks about that ‘he whom God wants to destroy he first makes them mad...’ So may be that’s why some people could say something today and forget it tomorrow,” Sata said. “If he is not careful he is going, it’s just a matter of time. Levy afforded him a last chance because he ate in Kaunda and Chiluba’s regimes but no government will accommodate him anywhere because we all know his true colours.”
Sata urged Mwaanga not to panic over what he said in the DRC.
“Let him be a man, let him be bold enough because no amount of his diplomacy will clear this matter. I am sure that he must have said it... I know VJ when he is pressed against the wall, that’s how he behaves,” he said.
Sata teasingly said that for the first time, Mwaanga had said the truth.
“VJ is being very honest on Katumbi and should not retreat,” Sata said.
He said Mwaanga knew what he was talking about in the DRC because he knows the transactions between the Chiluba administration and Katumbi.
However, Sata wondered why it had taken the government four years to admit that it owed Katumbi money.
“If they owe Katumbi money, why have they been chasing him all this while? Let them just apologise to the nation that they have been using the fight against corruption for political expedience,” he said.
Mwaanga has denied saying that the Zambian government owes Katumbi US$7 million for the maize he supplied a few years ago, despite two different DRC newspapers quoting him as having said it.
Mwaanga said he suspects that the distortion of the story could have occurred during the translation from French to English.
But the African Press Agency (APA), which reported the same story on the same day in English as the French publication, quoted Mwaanga in part as follows:
“Commenting on the information released by the Zambian media which reported that Moise Katumbi Chapwe, the governor of Katanga, is wanted by the Zambian court, Mwaanga said his country was not informed on the issue.
Instead he explained that the Zambian government rather owed Chapwe, 7 million dollars for the maize he delivered in 2001.”
And the Le Potentiel newspaper of the DRC whose story Mwaanga is disputing reported in part in French that:
“Ensuite, le porte-parole du gouvernement zambien a tenu à fixer l’opinion sur les prétendues poursuites judiciaires qu’aurait engagées son pays à l’encontre du gouverneur du Katanga Moïse Katumbi. Selon Veji Mwanga, c’est plutôt l’Etat zambien qui doit à Moïse Katumbi une bagatelle de sept millions de Usd. Cette somme représente la valeur de la quantité de maïs fourni par ce dernier. Quant au prétendu dossier judiciaire qui serait réactivé à Lusaka, il s’agit d’un montage grossier d’une certaine presse zambienne à la solde des groupes impliqués dans le commerce illicite en RDC des minerais congolais. Et dont les camions ont été bloqués à Kasumbalesa pour exportation frauduleuse de marchandises.”
The literal translation of this quote is: “Mwaanga also sought to clarify, the opinion on his government’s alleged judicial action against Katumbi. According to Mwaanga, it is in fact Zambia that owes Katumbi a trifle US $7 million, the sum being the value of the maize supplied by Katumbi. As far the alleged judicial case which would be reactivated in Lusaka, Mwaanga said it was an ill-conceived fabrication by a Zambian newspaper with a view to destroying groups of people alleged to be involved in illegal trade of Congolese minerals in DRC, and whose trucks were blocked at Kasumbalesa for alleged fraudulent exportation.”
By Bivan Saluseki
Friday April 06, 2007 [04:00]
GOVERNMENT has approved budgets for all councils. Presenting a ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday, local government and housing minister Sylvia Masebo said the 2007 council budgets had been approved with amendments in order to bring them in line with the central government’s policy and priorities and the citizen’s aspirations as articulated in the vision 2030 and Fifth National Development Plan.
She directed councils to ensure that their activities, programmes and projects were in line with the approved 2007 council annual budgets. She said in approving the 2007 council budgets, her ministry considered guidelines issued to councils to spend at least 40 per cent of their total budget on municipal services and 60 per cent on personal emoluments and recurrent administrative costs which was an improvement from a minimum of 30 per cent the previous years.
She said for instance, Lusaka City Council had 49 per cent of its total budget going to salaries and wages and the balance of 51 per cent was shared between meeting recurrent and operational costs and service provision which was at 36 per cent.
“The situation Mr Speaker is of great concern to government because councils were established to provide services and not only to employ and pay staff as is the case in some councils,” she said.
Masebo said the Ministry of Finance had been engaged to deal with old council debts in order to find ways of completely clearing off debt especially that owed to statutory bodies like Local Authority Superannuation Fund which was owed K11 billion at 31st December, 2006.
She said it was important that councils dealt with projects that were budgeted for otherwise their budgets would be unrealistic and projects would not start due to lack of funds.
“It must be noted that all fees and charges that have been imposed by the councils in formulating their 2007 budgets which have been approved by government shall remain in force for the whole 2007 period,” she said.
Masebo said it was gratifying that whilst councils had in their 2007 estimates provided for K60 million for CDF, the House had increased the allocation to K200 million and government had sent revised Constituency Development Fund (CDF) guidelines which had given councils more powers to manage funds and ensure accountability.
She said councils had been directed that preference of projects to be financed by CDF should mainly go towards the education, health and agricultural sectors.
Masebo said councils owed various institutions K55 billion.
“In terms of retirees and retrenchees, a total of K127 billion is owed,” she said.
Masebo said her ministry had instructed councils to ensure that sufficient allocations were made towards reducing local debt. She said government had provided K102.7 billion to help councils deal with their recurrent obligations and financing capital projects.
Masebo hoped the public would see some improvements in councils’ service delivery in 2007 with the year being that of action. She said the council was owed huge sums of money especially in the form of rates and in some cases it had become expensive for councils to collect the debts, some which are old.
“In the spirit of encouraging property rate payers to be current, government has directed councils to give a 50 per cent minimum rebate on all outstanding property rates as of 31st December, 2006 and in order to reward those responsible rate payers who have in the past paid their rates in full and on time. These should be rewarded a five per cent discount on their total annual rates bill for this year 2007,” she said.
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Friday April 06, 2007 [04:00]
FIRST lady Maureen Mwanawasa has said sanitation remains the greatest challenge facing Soweto market. During a tour of the Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative (MMCI) Soweto ablution project, Maureen said they had visited the market in the recent past and realised the need for proper sanitation.
"We also realise that the facility we are building (three toilets and two showers respectively for men and women) is too small for the population of the market but we felt we must start something than leave the situation with nothing," she said. Maureen said they were hoping that as the construction of the new market progresses, the local government would be able to increase such facilities. "If we find sponsors, and the council gives us more land, we are ready to move and expand. We have had a lot of pressure to have it opened by members of the market. We have come to see how quickly the constructors can finish because this project has taken quite long, about two years," she said.
Maureen said they were also experiencing vandalism and hoped the market committee could sensitise the people on the need to safeguard their property. She said the facility was likely to be completed in the next three weeks but said they would have to meet the market committee on some other proposals. "There will be a small fee, because the facility has to be maintained, we will be paying for water, we will be buying basic things like tissue and the people who clean will need to be paid. But they won't pay more than what they already pay at other toilets,' she said.
"We want those in stands to have a ticket so that they don't have to pay everyday and we want to maintain high standards of hygiene."
Maureen urged the marketeers to sacrifice and make a difference to ensure that the surroundings they lived in were clean. And Soweto marketeers women representative Agnes Laima Ndhlovu said they were grateful for the toilet especially that they only had one. Ndhlovu said most of the toilets were pit latrines, which were not in good condition.
By Speedwell Mupuchi
Friday April 06, 2007 [04:00]
KONKOLA Copper Mines will this month sink 12 boreholes for communities living along Mushishima Stream and Hippo Pool areas as a mitigation measure following its pollution of the Kafue River. KCM spokesperson Samuel Equamo said the mining company was in the process of selecting the winning bids following a successful bidding process. He said it was expected the process of sinking the boreholes would be put in motion within this month.
Equamo was responding to sentiments by Nchanga Patriotic Front member of parliament Charles Chimumbwa’s complaints at the delay by KCM to fulfill its commitment to the project. “KCM is fully committed to this project and we shall keep our honourable member of parliament fully informed,” Equamo said. Chimumbwa complained that KCM had disappointed him over the project, which was supposed to be implemented within two months after polluting the Mushishima and Kafue rivers last November.
He said after KCM polluted the Kafue River, he suggested that boreholes be drilled.
Chimumbwa said KCM agreed to drill boreholes in two months. “Following that, KCM wrote a letter to ECZ (Environmental Council of Zambia) pleading not to be taken to court and assured government of the measures they would put in place. They said if we don’t do the boreholes, you can go ahead to prosecute us,” Chimumbwa said. “They are now fooling the communities and the government, no single borehole has been sunk.”
Chimumbwa said he helped water-down impending action by residents and mine workers who were agitating to rise against KCM. “Miners wanted to strike but we defended them. Now I am very disappointed,” he said. He also said he was not compromised over the KCM pollution saga. Chimumbwa said his company, Mofu Industrial Distributors, had not supplied KCM since 2002 so he could not be compromised. “I was merely looking at the broader picture, vis-à-vis benefits to the community against a one off reward for the pollution,” Chimumbwa said.
He said in 1984 under Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) there was pollution of Mushishima Stream and several cattle from the mine farm died. “That’s how the mine decided to construct a Pollution Control Dam to trap the acid before it gets to Mushishima Stream and consequently to Kafue River,” Chimumbwa explained. “The dam which was originally planned for two years got filled up within six months. That’s where the problem of pollution started and the mines started throwing lime in the dam to neutralise the acid,” he said. Chimumbwa said ZCCM left the problem and that the ECZ too did not care to brief KCM on what to do hence the pollution last November.
By Inonge Noyoo and Laura Mushaukwa
Friday April 06, 2007 [04:00]
A NG'OMBE businessman has sued Zambia Bottlers Limited over a cockroach he found in a bottle of Coca Cola. According to the statement of claim filed in the High Court, John Mvula explained that on November 26, 2006 he bought a bottle of Coca Cola from Mankosapo grocery in Ng'ombe compound. Mvula stated that as he was taking the soft drink, he felt something on his throat.
He explained that he immediately stopped drinking and examined the contents of the Coca Cola bottle and discovered that there was a foreign matter in it.
Mvula stated that he showed the owner of the grocery the contents in the bottle and later reported the matter to the police who advised him to see health authorities at the Civic Centre. He explained that the health authorities then referred the Coca Cola bottle and its contents to the Food and Drug Control laboratory for analysis. Mvula stated that the report from the Food and Drug Control laboratory reviewed that the bottle of Coca Cola contained a dead cockroach and fungus.
He stated that he showed the report to Zambia Bottlers Limited but the company refused to accept liability. Mvula claimed that as a result of drinking adulterated Coca Cola, he fell sick and underwent medical treatment at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH). He is claiming damages as a result of taking the contaminated drink, which made him sick.
Mvula wants interest at short-term deposit rate from November 25, 2006 to the date of judgment at current bank lending rates until full and final settlement. Mvula has also asked the court to award him costs and any other relief that it may deem fit.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Posted: Thursday, April 5, 2007
EDITOR - The MDC factions and their shameless sponsors were shocked by the outcome of the extraordinary summit of Sadc heads of state and government held in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, at the end of last month. While the West thought Sadc leaders were going to pressure President Mugabe to announce his retirement, the President told his colleagues the truth about the situation in the country and they expressed their unreserved solidarity with the Government and people of this great country.
When opposition leaders were arrested, security agents were merely reacting to provocation by MDC hooligans, what Morgan Tsvangirai called his supporters were thugs paid to cause mayhem in the country. The MDC hoodlums, who continue bombing civilian and State infrastructure, are risking their lives for transient stipends not the so-called values Tsvangirai pontificates about. The Sadc's support was, indeed, welcome.
Now the MDC knows our neighbours do not back terrorism or puppet politics. They will never support people who cannot think for themselves, but only wait to be agitated into barbaric acts by Westerners only for filthy lucre.
To MDC supporters, I say don't be like fish that is enticed to death by a very tiny worm on a fishing hook. Zimbabwe is your country, do not be tricked into destroying your motherland for the selfish interests of the British and Americans.
The Anglo-Saxons will not allow you to settle in their countries if you destroy your own. Wake up and smell the coffee.
Visit: Zimbabwe Watch
Everyone, read this. Read Zambia's mining development agreements by company, and give your opinion to anyone who will listen. :)
Check out Mine Watch Zambia's blog and leave a comment.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Thursday April 05, 2007 [04:00]
THE Public Accounts Comm-ittee (PAC) yesterday resolved to call in the Secretary to the Cabinet to appear before it to intervene in the misunderstandings that arose between Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Simon Miti and Auditor General Annie Chifungula. This was after Chifungula and Dr Miti differed after the latter disputed most of the observations in the Auditor General’s report and tried to defend the alleged financial misappropriations in his ministry. But Chifungula said accountability in the Ministry of Health left much to be desired.
PAC chairman Charles Milupi said the proceedings could not continue with Dr Miti's submissions and subsequently sent him and his team away, saying that he would only be recalled after PAC had spoken to the Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr Joshua Kanganja.
In his submissions, Dr Miti said most of the financial irregularities highlighted in the Auditor General's report were not true. Dr Miti argued that it was not wasteful for the Ministry of Health to have procured Christmas cards for K21 million. "Contrary to the observation in the audit report that the cards were expensive, these cards were not ordinary. They were designed according to specifications and had detailed information on health matters for dissemination. Besides they were made using Poly Vinyl Chloride material which is much durable than ordinary material," he said.
But Siavonga member of parliament Daglous Syakalima said he was uncomfortable to hear Dr Miti justify the purchase of cards at K21 million when clinics needed drugs. Syakalima said donors, whom the cards were intended for, would start thinking that their money was being wasted on cards. Dr Miti also said the main parties to the contract for management of Medical Stores Limited was between the Sunrise Investments and the Ministry of Finance. "Ministry of Health was not privy to the debt swap agreement (if at all there was one) between the two parties which may have resulted in the alleged overpayment of K1.2 billion," he said.
Dr Miti also said his predecessors Dr Kashiwa Bulaya and Dr Gavin Silwamba had put in place post-paid cell phone billing system for the minister, deputy minister and the permanent secretary. He said when he took over, he wrote to the Secretary to the Cabinet to allow him to regularize the system. "Authority was only granted only for the office of the permanent secretary though with a cap at US $ 350 per month," Dr Miti said. He said thereafter, the post-paid system was discontinued for the minister and the deputy. Dr Miti said about K781 million imprest in 2005 had remained unretired by June 2006. "I wish to report that K602,188,080 has since been retired," said Dr Miti.
Following Dr Miti's disputation of the audit report, a visibly annoyed Chifungula said the Ministry of Health was a very difficult institution to audit because her officers could not easily get the information. She said it was difficult for her officers to work properly when Dr Miti and his staff were not co-operative. "Though this ministry handles billions of tax payers money, the accountability leaves much to be desired," said Chifungula.
However, Dr Miti told the PAC that the relationship between his ministry and the Auditor General's office was bad. "It's not my principle to wash dirty linen in public but what I could say is that the relationship between the Auditor General and my office has not been very conducive," he said adding: "We need to sit down with the Auditor General's office to resolve these issues."
Isoka West member of parliament Paul Sichamba observed that the situation was "volatile and I propose that we give them time." Mbabala and Chipangali members of parliament, Emmanuel Hachipuka and Vincent Mwale respectively, observed that Dr Miti's responses disputed the audit report and required time to resolve the matter themselves instead of bringing their differences to the PAC.
Thursday April 05, 2007 [04:00]
In a country of more than ten million people, there is no denying the fact that plenty of our heroes and heroines go unnoticed. Despite the fact that not all heroes or heroines will grab the attention of the media and achieve instant recognition status, the truth is that heroism is all around us and we only have to take hold of what is right there or here to become a hero ourselves.
And when we talk about heroes, we are also talking about people who do not go out there seeking all sorts of credentials in order to be recognised for their achievements. We are also talking about people who crave for character as opposed to seeking limitless and sometimes meaningless credentials. We also talk about people who value humility over honour.
However, some heroes or heroines, by the nature of their achievements cannot go unnoticed. Some heroes, by the magnitude of their achievements, bring with them a sense of pride to their communities or nations. These heroes deserve the recognition of their own communities.
It is for this very reason that we are satisfied with the decision by the government to recognise the achievements of our indisputable national heroine - Esther Phiri - who has brought a lot of pride to us as a nation through her amazing abilities in the field of boxing. It is important for us as a nation to find ways of celebrating our heroes because it is one way of saying thank you to those people who have changed our lives through their selfless actions in their various enadeavours.
Since we know that heroic feats are in most cases not preformed with the thought of being thanked for helping others, celebrating our heroes and heroines is in a way the ultimate way for expressing our admiration and appreciation for their efforts.
We are encouraged by the trend of this government to find ways to recognise or honour each and every hero or heroine that emerge among us. It is important that the efforts of our good citizens are recognised when they are still alive, instead of waiting to present belated eulogies at their funerals.
And we know that there are many ways in which we can thank the people who change our lives and the lives of others. While some will follow their hero’s amazing stories to the very end, others build shrines, name roads and parks after them and create artwork to commemorate the achievements of someone. Some even award these outstanding humans with gifts and awards to announce their actions to the rest of the world.
And we are impressed that the government found it necessary to get some decent accommodation for Esther Phiri as a way of recognising her as a national heroine. This is as it should be and it should be encouraged. We think that we have an obligation as a nation to ensure that our heroes and heroines are honoured in a befitting manner.
Having said all that, we should also add here that it is quite important for our heroes and heroines to live up the expectations of the people because they are not just there as heroes or heroines unto themselves, but they are also other people’s role models. We are saying this not out of malice but because we have the advantage of learning from experience.
Today we know of some of our former heroes and heroines, who were stars in their own right and admired by many, who have been reduced to nothing but destitutes. We have examples of former football stars, who apart from having been household names in the world of soccer, used to earn thousands of dollars but who now do not even have anywhere to stay. They cannot look after themselves and they are unable to send their children to school.
There is plenty of evidence to show that some of our heroes and heroines have failed to cope with their stardom and they have completely failed to live in a responsible manner and today they have been reduced to beggars, they are nothing but paupers. Yet these are people who used to earn incomes that could have helped them invest for the future.
There is indeed a tincture of truth in the saying that those who refuse to study history are naturally condemned to repeat it. So to our new heroes and heroines like Esther Phiri, it is advisable that in the days of their honour when their heroism is inescapable, they should also learn to think of their future. Let them learn not to repeat the mistakes of the heroes and heroines of the past.
Otherwise, we salute the efforts of the government to recognise and honour our heroes and heroines while they are still alive. After all, it is the acts of our heroes and heroines that bring a sense of heroism to all of us as a nation.
By Kennedy Gondwe
Thursday April 05, 2007 [04:05]
PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa has counseled Women International Boxing Federation (WIBF) world super featherweight champion Esther Phiri against allowing fame get to her head. Speaking when he hosted Esther for lunch at State House yesterday, President Mwanawasa advised Phiri to be wary of men.
“The demand for you will be very high. There will be many people particularly of the opposite sex,” President Mwanawasa said. “Let not fame get to your head. There’s a lot of money in boxing but that money needs to be harnessed properly.”
President Mwanawasa told Esther not to be like other boxers, who after making money at their prime, led a miserable life. President Mwanawasa revealed that after Esther defended her title against Monika Petrova of Bulgaria last month, his chief analyst for press David Kombe approached him to find out what could be done to honour her.
President Mwanawasa said he told Kombe to approach a few business houses to raise money for Esther, from which K300 million was realised.
He said from the amount, K244 million was spent on purchasing a house for the Esther in the Ben Mwiinga (PHI) complex.
The front view of Esther's new three-bedroomed fully furnished house
President Mwanawasa said when Esther stepped into the ring, he was very worried, but he was delighted that she defended the title. ”I speak on behalf of the nation, Esther has done us proud. We are very grateful that you won the title for the second time within six months,”he said.
President Mwanawasa said although he was a bad sportsman, he was committed in the promotion of sport. “I am such a bad sportsman, nothing goes for me. But I like to promote sports and I do all that must be done to promote sports,” he said.
He gave an example of the soon-to-be constructed stadium in Ndola as some of his efforts in the promotion of sport. And an elated Esther said she could not believe what was happening to her.
“I can’t believe this…I didn’t expect this,” said Phiri as she thanked President Mwanawasa. Phiri’s mother Evelyn Tembo thanked God for the government’s gesture. “I don’t have much to say except to thank God,” said Evelyn after touring her daughter’s new three-bedroomed fully furnished house.
Among other boxers that received monetary prizes was Joseph Chingangu who dethroned Francis ‘Galagata’ Zulu as national heavy champion. Chingagu received K2.5 million.
Esther in her new house with her mother Evelyn and daughter. On the right is sports permanent secretary Bob Samakai Esther’s trainer and manager Anthony Mwamba also got K7 million. Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa has urged Mwamba to ensure that Phiri’s defence title bouts are spaced for a long period to allow the boxer enjoy her victories.
Esther is scheduled to fight another Bulgarian boxer next month.
Different companies among them Celtel, National Milling, Zambian Airways, Barclays Bank and Indo Zambia Bank contributed towards Phiri’s house.
Celtel contributed K 90 million while National Milling contributed K 20 million. Multichoice-Zambia gave her a DSTV decoder with a one year free subscription.
By Brighton Phiri
Thursday April 05, 2007 [04:01]
DR Kenneth Kaunda has finally decided to trace his parents' roots in Malawi where they originated before trekking to Zambia on a gospel crusade mission. In an interview, Dr Kaunda, who leaves for Malawi tomorrow, said the findings of his trip would be part of his memoirs, which a team of researchers led by Mark Chona was compiling.
Dr Kaunda said he looked forward to meeting some of the surviving relatives of his late father David Kaunda and mother Hellen Kaunda. "Time has come for me to write my memoirs. And I thought it was important for me to go and do three things... to go and find out where my father was born...to find out where my mother was born. And talk to their relatives, who might be there because it is only my mother's side that I had visited and that is my uncle in 1945."
Dr Kaunda said since 1945, he had never visited Malawi to meet either of his parent's relatives. "So this is why I want to go and hear from those that are still alive.... what type of people my parents were, about their life and their concerns," Dr Kaunda said. "I really thank God for my parents. They mean so much in my life."
Dr Kaunda said he intends to use the trip to learn something from his father and mother's surviving relatives about his parents.
He disclosed that he would visit Livingstonia Mission, where he believes that it was a place where both his parents obtained their education.
"I want to go to Livingstonia Mission. I believe that is where my parents obtained their education. I want to go and see what the records say about my parents," Dr Kaunda said.
He recalled that his father might have been in his early twenties when he responded to the Lord's call for him to preach the word of God.
The late David Kaunda died in 1932, when Dr Kaunda was eight years old, while his wife Helen died in 1973. Both were buried at Lubwa Mission in Chinsali district.
Dr Kaunda recalled that when his father died at Lubwa Mission, his relatives travelled from Malawi to mourn him and left with one of his guns after the Mission offered to take care of the surviving widow and children.
By Kabanda Chulu
Thursday April 05, 2007 [04:00]
AFRICAN energy ministers have formed a petroleum revolving fund that will help to mitigate the impact of international oil prices. However, Zambian energy minister Felix Mutati said there was need to look beyond the revolving fund and seek alternative sources such as development of the bio-fuel sector.
During a forum which ended in Mozambique on Tuesday, the ministers stated in a communiquè that non oil-producing African countries were vulnerable to price instability.
The ministers also appealed to international financing institutions to disburse grants as part of funding for hydropower projects so that electricity tariffs could be affordable to ordinary people.
"Instability in international prices of crude oil is making non oil African producing countries to be exposed to various economic risks and also the looming power deficit will reduce the recent economic growth that has been attained," stated the Communiquè.
"So this petroleum revolving fund will try to mitigate the impact of these problems and we request financiers to disburse grants for the power projects so that we maintain lower electricity tariffs that will be affordable to people."
The communiquè stated that African countries should also prepare bankable documents that would easily pursue lending institutions to fund the intended power projects.
It is reported that the southern African region requires US$ 24 billion for the development of hydropower projects that would help to reduce the looming power deficit because the installed power capacity would not meet the increasing demand.
Mutati, who attended the forum in Maputo, said there was need to look at alternatives sources of energy because the revolving fund might get exhausted.
"The funds will not be there in the longer term, hence the need to develop other sources of energy such as bio fuel that will in turn create jobs and reduce the foreign exchange spent on purchasing of crude oil," said Mutati. "Actually, the Zambian government is seriously looking at ways of enhancing large-scale production of the bio fuel sector."