Saturday, May 12, 2007
Saturday May 12, 2007 [04:00]
EVEN a child shows what he is by what he does; you can tell if he is honest and good. Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways. It is said that a fool does not care whether he understands a thing or not; all he wants to do is show how smart he is (Proverbs 18:2). Those who are good travel a road that avoids evil; so watch where you are going - it may save your life. Pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall. It is better to be humble and stay poor than to be one of the arrogant and get a share of their loot. Evil people listen to evil ideas, and liars listen to lies.
Respected people do not tell lies, and fools have nothing worthwhile to say. This is the wisdom one can pick by a quick glance at Proverbs in the Holy Bible. We wonder why Frederick Chiluba for all his proclaimed commitment to the Lord's teachings fails to see these simple teachings. He continues to live the life of a liar. There is very little, if anything, that is not a lie about Chiluba.
He lies even about things which other people can easily verify and prove him a liar. At his press conference on Thursday, Chiluba went to great lengths trying to deceive the Zambian people that he made a lot of money from travel allowances as president of the Republic of Zambia. He went on to claim that even humble civil servants have bought and built houses out of travel allowances.
This misleading argument of his was adequately dealt with by a witness from Cabinet Office in this same London High Court case that Chiluba is today saying he doesn't recognise. It was made very clear to the court that as president, Chiluba's travel and other daily living expenses were fully met by the state and as such he was not entitled to any travel allowance. And if, as he claims, he made a fortune from travel allowances then he is admitting theft because he took that which he was not entitled to.
As for civil servants buying and building houses from travel allowances, this is not possible. The US$220 or US$240 they get per day is not enough for them to do what Chiluba says they could do. No matter how thrift they were, this could barely meet their hotel and food bills and whatever remained was negligible. And if they went on fully paid-for trips, they were not entitled to the full daily allowance, they only got a small portion of it. But this too could not be enough to enable them to send their children to schools in England as Chiluba claims to have done or claims they did.
Civil servants who have bought houses or built houses without loans have not done so from travel allowances, unless they too, like Chiluba, stole. And most of them are actually thieves, just like him, who will not be able to account for what they have.
And what is bad is that Chiluba is painting a bad picture of the civil or public service, making it look like it is being run in a very corrupt and reckless way. If this was the case, then Chiluba ran a very reckless government where civil servants and public workers were busy doing nothing but sharing trips to collect allowances. This would also cause a serious distortion in the earnings of civil servants and other public workers.
It would mean that the earnings of those who don't travel would be far much lower than those of their colleagues who are continually on the move. We would like Dr Kenneth Kaunda to explain what travel allowances he received when he was president and what he did with that money.
We also want Levy Mwanawasa to explain how he is dealing with the issue of travel allowances - how much he is making out of travelling and what he is doing with that money. We say this because the affairs of government cannot be run in this way; taxpayers’ money cannot be misused in such a reckless manner.
To make Zambia prosperous needs intense efforts, which will include, among other things, the effort to practise strict economy and combat waste, that is, the policy of building up our country through diligence and frugality. The principle of diligence and frugality should be observed in everything.
This principle of economy should be one of the basic principles of the economics of a poor country like ours. We shouldn't indulge in wastefulness and extravagance where public funds or resources are concerned. Thrift should be the guiding principle in our government expenditure.
It should be made clear to all government workers, including the President and his ministers, that corruption and waste are very serious crimes. We cannot continue to hope for foreign aid while we at the same time pay no attention to the efficient and effective utilisation of the limited resources we have.
It is clear that Chiluba was stealing public funds and today wants to claim they were travel allowances. If Chiluba was being paid travel allowances, what was his daily rate? And who authorised it? Or was it a question of Chiluba himself deciding his allowances?
We know that Chiluba used to misuse or abuse the money that was carried by civil servants accompanying him on his trips. He used to divert money meant for his legitimate presidential travel expenses to personal things that had nothing to do with his duties or functions as president. And today he wants to tell the Zambian people that they were paying him travel allowances. When will Chiluba stop lying? Is he capable of living a life devoid of lying? We don't think so.
Chiluba is a liar and cannot do without lies. But lies have a span - they cannot carry him on forever. His lies have caught up with him. No one can take them anymore - everyone now knows him for what he is: a liar, a crook, a shameless thief.
By Brighton Phiri and George Chellah
Saturday May 12, 2007 [04:00]
DR Kenneth Kaunda yesterday asked former president Frederick Chiluba to be remorseful for stealing from the Zambian people. And information minister Mike Mulongoti has urged Chiluba to dwell on the grounds upon which the London court found him guilty instead of involving the British government.
Commenting on Chiluba's defence against the London High Court judgment, Dr Kaunda asked President Mwanawasa to ensure that all the monies which Chiluba is said to have stolen were recovered in full.
"Reading through president Chiluba's statement, there is no feeling of remorse or sorrow at all...nothing," Dr Kaunda said. "I have every reason to thank President Mwanawasa for exposing the theft of public funds and I hope he will hold his decision strong and see to it that all the recovery has been made."
Dr Kaunda said the London Court judgment had vindicated him when he accused the Chiluba government of stealing from the Zambian people. "My beloved Zambians I told you...I warned you...you didn't listen...now the truth has come out," he said.
Dr Kaunda wondered why Chiluba complained about being tried by a foreign court when he (Chiluba) in 1992 asked the same British government to assist in investigating him over allegations that he stole K6 billion.
"Let us remind Mr. Chiluba, he rushed to Britain for assistance and the British government sent six senior police officers from Scotland Yard between January 2 and June 30, 1992 to find out where I had hidden the K6 billion he and his colleagues alleged I had stolen," said Dr Kaunda. "As an innocent man, I welcomed that. I didn't complain. Why is he complaining now that government has done what he did against me? What he thought should destroy me as an innocent man, helped me to get strong."
And Mulongoti, who is also government spokesperson, said he was concerned with Chiluba's attempts to lure Zambians to his side and to rise against the government. "Government has a duty to protect the interests of the people of Zambia when their funds are alleged to have been put to personal use by the leaders they had entrusted to run their affairs. Further, I wonder what Dr Chiluba meant when he said the judge's comments were so dangerous "that they might cause a breach of peace and security to our beloved country..."," Mulongoti said.
"These remarks, read with his assertion that President Mwanawasa had betrayed national trust and confidence by setting in motion a practice that undermines national sovereignty, security and credulity could only have been designed to incite the people of Zambia against the government.
"For it cannot be termed betrayal of Zambian sovereignty, security and credibility to protect public property by prosecuting a former president on allegations that he defrauded their government."
He said whatever low opinions Chiluba had about the British government and its Prime Minister Tony Blair, he should dwell on the grounds upon which the London court found him guilty.
Mulongoti said Chiluba should not take cover in allegations of racism or colonialism against the British. " In as far as the issues of donations to a president or political parties are concerned, Dr Chiluba misled himself into concluding that the judge disputed his right to such donations. It is true that this right is enjoyed by everyone, including President Mwanawasa who has not hidden receiving donations from well wishers for the MMD party," Mulongoti said.
"There are many other donations that Dr Chiluba received which were not the subjects of the London court hearing because they did not arouse suspicions of wrong doing. This issue, however, is whether a head of state acting transparently could allow or accept the advice, to deposit personal funds into a government account."
He said Chiluba argued that the presence of private and personal monies in the Zamtrop account was at the instigation of former director general of intelligence Xavier Chungu.
"This advice, if indeed it was, could only have been given on account of the fact that the sources were illegal and the public ought not to have known about them. Having failed to explain how much was donated and by who, and considering that what was being withdrawn from the Zamtrop account followed inflows from government, the judge concluded that all the money belonged to the state," Mulongoti said.
"The former president lamented about judge Smith's reference to his clothes and payment of fees for his children. The concern of the court was not that the former president liked expensive clothes or had no right to pay the fees for his children, but that they were paid for from public funds."
Mulongoti said Chiluba made President Mwanawasa's concerns about continued theft by public servants look like a matter the judge should have taken into consideration in determining whether he defrauded the government of Zambia.
"What President Mwanawasa is doing is in keeping with the policy of transparency. He has shown that he has put in place a system that exposes wrong doing, unlike in the Chiluba administration when millions of kwacha were abused and the public could not have known as this was hidden under the secrecy of the intelligence agency," he said.
On Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata's continued attacks on President Mwanawasa's crusade on corruption, Mulongoti said it was only fair and logical for Sata to tell the people of Zambia what exactly happened during the Chiluba regime.
He reminded Sata that he was at the centre as Minister without Portfolio and national secretary of MMD when the election campaign funds for the ruling party were being mobilised.
Mulongoti said it would be unfortunate for Chiluba to reveal how President Mwanawasa benefited from the MMD illegally obtained money only after Judge Peter Smith had found him guilty of defrauding the Zambian government.
"It is interesting that Mr. Sata is hesitating to tell the people of Zambia about the source of the money which he so lavishly distributed at the MMD convention where I happened to be one of the 22 members of parliament expelled from the party," Mulongoti said.
"Zambians have not forgotten that the late Golden Mandandi and Hon. Peter Machungwa were indicted for allegedly misappropriating K2 billion. Mr. Sata was the national secretary at the time and should know better how this money was used. I still hope the people of Zambia will challenge Mr. Sata to ask the government to establish a commission of inquiry into his role in this matter and many others."
And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Reuben Lifuka said Chiluba had failed to defend himself and his attempt to justify his actions came at a late hour.
Lifuka said Chiluba's entire press conference was a vindication that corruption became institutionalized during his regime. Lifuka appealed to the Zambian government and the Attorney General's chambers to register the London judgment locally as provided for in the Foreign Judgments Reciprocal Enforcement Act and that it should be enforced forthwith.
"We have seen the issues raised by him and we feel the press conference for him to justify his actions came at a late hour. Whatever he attempted to do during that press conference was simply to launder his image or reputation. He was just trying to appeal to the emotions of Zambians particularly those who still support him," Lifuka said.
"He failed to clearly defend his position on the allegations that he abused entrusted power for private gains. Even the example he gave on the Zamtrop account, it still amounts to abuse of power. That account should not have contained private money, but public money. "
Lifuka said the press conference was a vindication that there was corruption during Chiluba's rule. "You look at even the examples he was giving, he talked about travel allowances as a mechanism of civil servants earning extra money. Clearly, he is saying that there are civil servants who go on fully paid for trips and they should travel and aim to make money. It shows the character of a man and the way he ran government," he said.
Lifuka said during Chiluba's regime systems broke down.
"Accountability was weak and there was no transparency and everything was hidden in the "black box" of intelligence. Surely should we talk about combat operations of the intelligence in a manner where monies will be abused? We all know that there are intelligence operations but those operations should not be abused," he said.
He said Chiluba should do the honourable thing and accept the judgment. "Otherwise, he will just be politicking if he continues making these statements. He still has an opportunity to defend himself in the Zambian courts. Let him do so, there are criminal proceedings currently going on," Lifuka said.
During a press conference at his Kabulonga residence on Thursday, Chiluba defended himself against the London High Court judgment by accusing President Levy Mwanawasa and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair of corruption and imperialist conspiracy against him.
Dismissing judge Smith's judgment as corrupt and racist, Chiluba accused Blair and the entire British political and judicial system of trying to impose imperialism on Zambia.
Chiluba also accused President Mwanawasa of championing British imperialism in Zambia.
"It is my opinion that both gentlemen Tony Blair and Mwanawasa advanced the popular slogan of corruption to hide their own skeletons in cupboards," charged Chiluba. "They have not provided the necessary leadership they pontificated."
By George Chellah
Saturday May 12, 2007 [04:00]
THE Oasis Forum has stated that President Mwanawasa has abandoned his roadmap on the constitution because it is flawed and publicly challenged. And the forum has stated that President Mwanawasa wants to manipulate the law to suit himself and his party through another costly and unconstitutional indaba. Meanwhile, the forum has warned the MMD to stop using divide and rule tactics, which it seeks to benefit itself at the expense of the people and other political parties.
In a statement yesterday, which was signed by LAZ president Elijah Banda, EFZ executive director Bishop Paul Mususu, NGOCC chairperson Marian Munyinda, ZEC secretary general Father Joe Komakoma and CCZ general secretary Susanne Matale, the forum informed Zambians that the proposed indaba by President Mwanawasa had no legal backing and basis.
"President Mwanawasa only wants to divert the attention of Zambians from the real issue of having a constituent assembly urgently in accordance with the CRC recommendations," they stated. "The President has abandoned his roadmap because it is flawed and publicly challenged. Professor Ndulo, a constitution expert has supported the Oasis Forum roadmap because it is cost effective and can produce results in a short time."
The forum maintained that the indaba would just be another talking shop whose resolutions would be thrown out if they did not meet the desires of those in power.
"Therefore, the constituent assembly is the only way forward. The people have not forgotten the last indaba held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre whose results are not known up to now, many years after it was held," they stated.
They also stated that the constitution review had already spent a lot of tax payer's money.
"The Oasis Forum supports the commission's key recommendations contained in the draft constitution. These must be adhered to. In addition, no one in authority has explained to the public the position of the constitution committee set up by the President whose cost still remains unrevealed.
The committee composed of permanent secretaries went to the same countries that the CRC visited which was a duplication of work and cost. This is another exercise which was meant to buy time for the MMD," they stated. "We want to remind the President that he has always said he will uphold the law, which unfortunately he currently wants to manipulate to suit him and his party through another costly and unconstitutional indaba. This is a clear demonstration of delaying tactics in enacting the new constitution.
"President Mwanawasa in his address when he convened the Mung'omba Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) on 4th May 2003 said that, "the current constitution is deceitful, inadequate and oppressive." Now it appears that the MMD seems to be happy with the current deceitful, inadequate and oppressive constitution."
The forum stated that the 2006 elections should have been held under a new constitution.
"It appears that it is the decision of the MMD to hold the 2011 elections under the current constitution. Indeed, President Mwanawasa is on record as saying the new constitution can even be ready after 2015," they stated.
They maintained that the constitution was a national document.
"We therefore, need a mechanism that will involve all the stakeholders via the constituent assembly so that the new constitution stands the test of time.
The government should not drag its feet but should ensure that the new constitution is produced urgently," they stated. "Zambia is no longer a single party dictatorship. Multiparty democracy requires that the people, not one party, will deal with crucial national issues such as the new constitution. Unfortunately, issues such as the MMD holding on to the vehicles purchased with government money truly demonstrates the one party political system still operates in Zambia."
The forum warned the MMD to stop using divide and rule tactics.
"Which it seeks to benefit itself at the expense of the people and other political parties. All citizens have the right to participate in the national development process. We maintain that we will mount massive constituency rallies to put pressure on the government to heed the wishes of the people," they stated. " We will not relent in our effort to fight for a good and just constitution adopted through the people's determined method. In this regard, we will invite all opposition political parties, civil society, student unions and trade unions to join in the fight for the enactment of a new Zambian constitution."
Friday, May 11, 2007
By Peter Mavunga
IF last week’s report by Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper that said the British Prime Minister now accepts that President Mugabe and his Government have a right to attend the EU-Africa conference in Portugal is to be believed, then common sense has prevailed. Tony Blair’s relationship with Zimbabwe makes him the most un-British prime minister of all time.
British premiers have always believed, almost to a fault, in negotiation as the only viable means of resolving conflict and disputes, and resorted to other measures like sanctions or military force, only as a last resort.
When I was growing up in Rhodesia, I looked to Britain for a solution to the racial problems facing my country. While the Rhodesian racists continued to repress the Africans, I naively but firmly believed the British would come to our rescue.
More specifically, I always thought that the British, faced with Ian Smith’s intransigence, would one day use their military might to force change in Zimbabwe for the benefit of all. After all, they had the capacity to do so and Labour, as opposed to the Tories, was full of good people.
I was invariably disappointed when this did not happen and the Tories turned out to be marginally better people than Labour. Sir Harold Wilson, for instance, in ruling out the use of force when clearly Ian Smith was not going to listen to argument, became a huge disappointment. I was disappointed especially with Wilson’s insistence that the problems of Rhodesia would be resolved through negotiations when it was evident that was not working.
Over the years, I came to accept and respect that negotiations are the British way of resolving conflict. Negotiations were part of the trusty shield of British fair play where they never forget that there are always two sides to a story just as my journalism tutor used to remind me.
To my horror, the two sides to a story principle evaporated under Blair, suddenly it was the British Prime Minister and his government who knew best what was going on and what should happen in Zimbabwe.
Where Zimbabwe’s problems are concerned Blair favoured talking to the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC, and he never stopped reminding us, as if it gave him browning points, that "we work closely with the MDC to effect regime change in Zimbabwe".
In his view, the Government of Zimbabwe and in particular President Mugabe, was so reprehensible that they were not worth talking to. They had to be isolated and consigned to the dustbin of history.
That, in my view, is very unBritish. That is not fair play. That is not the British way of doing things based on understanding the issues through dialogue.
Another of Blair’s unBritish qualities is his government’s repudiation of anything that happened before they came to power in 1997. The British sense of history and tradition is legendary and it is not an exaggeration to say that the world had a lot to learn from them in this respect.
Yet, when in 1997/8 President Mugabe asked for funds from the British government to compensate white farmers for land to help in resettling landless Zimbabweans, Blair reacted as if he was coming from another planet.
"What funds?" he asked in disgusted disbelief.
His secretary of state for international development, Claire Short, made the government’s position abundantly clear.
"I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know, we were colonised not colonisers."
This tells me that somehow when it came to policy formation on Zimbabwe, history became irrelevant under Blair. Or put in another way, all that the world already knew about British involvement in Zimbabwe did not happen.
Under the present Labour Government, Cecil John Rhodes’s British South Africa Company did not dispatch the Pioneer Column to Mashonaland. Whites had not established control there and Rhodes did not appoint Dr Leander Starr Jameson as "Administrator" there.
In 1893, white settlers did not invade Matabeleland neither did they defeat the Ndebele fighters and their monarch Lobengula according to this Labour Government. Under Blair, there was no massive expropriation of Ndebele lands and cattle by the white settlers.
The present Labour government would have us believe that Mashonaland and Matabeleland were not united in 1895 under the name of Rhodesia.
A year later, there was no Ndebele uprising in 1896 according to this British government. Whites in outlying districts were not murdered and this uprising did not spread to Mashonaland. The whites, however, did not crush the Ndebeles and then the Shonas according to Blair and his government.
In 1923, Britain did not terminate BSAC rule neither did it annexe Southern Rhodesia as a its colony, establishing a locally-elected white government. All this did not happen if Blair’s policy on Zimbabwe is to be believed.
What is more, in 1930 the Land Apportionment Act codifying the division of Southern Rhodesia into black and white areas did not happen and in 1953 the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland did not happen.
According to David Caute, a British journalist and historian: "No fewer than 125 000 Europeans arrived in Rhodesia between 1945 and 1951 while 53 000 quit. Less than one third of Rhodesia’s whites had been born there. But they lost no time in calling themselves "Rhodesians" and referring to "everything we have built up here (for which ‘your native’ was notoriously, congenitally, ungrateful." By implication Blair’s government wants us to believe this never happened.
And significantly, according to Blair’s reading of the situation, the period between 1955 and 1960 did not see an increase in nationalist agitation for better conditions and human rights in their country where they were being treated as less than human beings by white settlers.
Well, Blair and his government might delude themselves into believing that all this did not happen. Short’s infamous statement announcing that this British government’s clock on Zimbabwe began ticking from 1997 when they were elected is as ridiculous as it is unBritish. It is contrary to their sense of history and tradition for which they are renowned.
But that is not all, Blair’s conduct has been unBritish in a third policy area. Enter the "respect" agenda. Even in domestic policy I see Blair as a man who has done his best to make Britain better through a variety of initiatives.
One such initiative is the idea that people have to respect each other in what they do. In particular, he expects young people to respect their elders. Yes, the respect agenda is a Blairite initiative full of good intentions, no matter what his political opponents might say.
I find it difficult to square this with regime change in Zimbabwe, though. How can a man with such values fail to see how disrespectful his regime change agenda is in Zimbabwe? Is it right for the British government to pursue a policy of regime change in another country in any case?
This is the question I put to my friend, whom I will call Harris here, when I met him for lunch last week.
"No," he replied emphatically, but he went on to say he did not think regime change was the policy of the British government.
"But what about Peter Hain’s outburst a few weeks ago!" I retorted. I reminded him that Hain had written an article in the Independent newspaper in which he said he wanted President Mugabe "to go and to go now."
"That is one more thing that has gone wrong under New Labour," he replied.
"Traditionally, ministers are not allowed to speak outside their brief and as Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain should not have done that", he explained.
Harris, who is no admirer of President Mugabe, went on to complain however about the loss of what he described as good old quiet diplomacy! In this context, he wondered what advice the British Embassy staff in Harare were giving the Foreign Office in London?
I value Harris’s opinions a great deal. He is a former civil servant who rose to the level of under secretary in the British civil service and he should know a thing or two about how the British government should operate. He appeared to agree with my analysis that Blair and his ministers were being unBritish once again by advocating regime change.
Significantly, regime change is unBlairite given its apparent lack of respect for the right of another country to determine its own destiny. If Blair wanted his policies to reflect his own values, he should be respecting President Mugabe’s legitimate authority in Zimbabwe and using dialogue to resolve their differences in the best British tradition, rather than demonise him as they have done in the most disgraceful way lately.
Blair’s change of heart not to oppose having President Mugabe and his team attend the EU-Africa conference in Portugal is the only sensible thing he has to do and it is a policy that will stand him in good stead. He, but more significantly his successor, needs to start talking to the Government of Zimbabwe — the people who really matter in this issue.
As he leaves office shortly, Blair will know that his otherwise remarkable achievements as Labour leader were marred by the regime change adventure in Iraq where Britain and the US successfully deposed Saddam Hussein. Trouble is they now do not know what to do as the war in Iraq rumbles on. A top military man in Britain Sir Michael Rose said publicly that that war was lost and the authorities should now admit it.
The Herald, News Editor
May 10, 2007
The European Union says it is still willing to have dialogue with Zimbabwe but the Government wants EU sanctions lifted before any talks. Head of the European Commission in Zimbabwe Mr Xavier Marchal — in a speech to mark Europe Day in Harare yesterday — said the grouping remains willing to carry out dialogue with Zimbabwe "aimed at making progress towards a situation where the resumption of full co-operation becomes possible."
But in response, Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Joey Bimha said the EU should lift the sanctions and create the right context for dialogue.
"Zimbabwe has never refused to engage in dialogue.
"However, I should point out that dialogue takes place within a specific context where neither party sets benchmarks for the other, a context where neither party imposes punitive measures against the other and a context where objective criteria are applied as opposed to double standards and the shifting of goal posts.
"In that regard, the EU should help create the right context for dialogue by removing its sanctions against Zimbabwe," Mr Bimha said.
He said both Zimbabwe and the EU had much to gain from a normalisation of relations and Harare welcomed the bloc’s decision to embrace the stance taken by Sadc regarding the Zimbabwean issue.
Sadc leaders recently called for the lifting of the sanctions and urged Britain to pay compensation to farmers whose farms were acquired for resettlement.
They also undertook to assist Zimbabwe overcome the crippling economic sanctions.
"As you are aware, the (Sadc) communique offered a full package for helping Zimbabwe meet its current challenges.
"We therefore hope that by embracing this regional initiative, the EU has embraced the whole package as outlined in the Sadc communique."
Mr Marchal said he was supportive of internal dialogue in Zimbabwe.
"I feel very strongly that internal dialogue between all Zimbabweans can succeed, and further challenges addressed, only in a violence free environment, in which everyone is treated humanely, and which clearly does not exist today. I strongly encourage the urgent way forward towards such an environment," he said.
Ambassador Bimha said Government abhors violence and believed that in a democratic society people should pursue their political objectives by non-violent means.
"Violence should therefore be condemned by all whenever it rears its ugly head irrespective of who perpetrates it.
"However, serious questions are being raised when certain sections of the community remain sacrosanct from criticism when there is overwhelming evidence of violence on their part," he said.
Ambassador Bimha said the same yardstick should be used to ensure consistency and objectivity when judging.
"The absence of the objectivity is the missing link in the Zimbabwean equation."
MDC faction leaders Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara, National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Dr Lovemore Madhuku and several senior opposition leaders and MPs from both camps were in attendance.
By Zumani Katasefa
Friday May 11, 2007 [04:00]
KALULUSHI town clerk Maxwell Kabanda has said squatters at Sabina located at the Kalulushi-Mufulira junction have refused to move from the area where the Chinese investors are constructing a multi-million dollar smelter. In an interview on Wednesday, Kabanda said the squatters' resistance to move was unreasonable because the local authority had already found alternative land for them.
"There are about 200 squatters on that land, we have looked for land where they should settle but they are being uncooperative," he said.
He said it was unfortunate that the squatters were resisting to move even when the Chinese had promised to construct a clinic for them at the new site.
Kabanda said the land the squatters were occupying belonged to NFC plc and title deeds had been given to the same company.
He said when the squatters where asked to move out of the land to pave way for the construction of the smelter, they started asking what would happen to their mango and banana trees.
"Those are squatters and they do not deserve to be there, the land in question legally belongs to NFC plc," he said.
Kabanda said the Chinese had pumped in about US$800 million for the construction of the smelter.
By Charles Mangwato in Choma
Friday May 11, 2007 [04:00]
THE Public Service Commission (PSC) has admitted that the ongoing restructuring in government ministries and departments has brought with it tremendous inefficiency which has negatively affected operations of the civil service. Receiving oral submissions from civil servants in Choma yesterday, PSC chairperson Austin Mweemba admitted that some new officers appointed to positions under the restructured ministries and departments lacked capacity to delivery despite possessing proper qualifications.
Mweemba said the new appointees appeared to lack administrative knowledge on the terms and conditions of service for civil servants resulting in subordinate officers working for many years without being confirmed or appointed to the civil service.
He told the meeting attended by civil servants from Choma, Kalomo, Sinazongwe and Namwala held at Choma Trades Training Institute that newly appointed officers appeared to be more content with possession of qualifications than knowing their jobs.
"If we are going to see a situation where a degree holder will be supervised by a diploma holder, do not resist because you have failed to perform despite your good qualifications," Mweemba said.
He singled out the ministry of agriculture as the major culprit despite the ministry having gone through several restructuring processes since 2004.
Mweemba said several complaints had emerged from officers serving under the ministry during meetings held by the commission in Siavonga, Mazabuka and Monze this week.
The complaints received centred on lack of confirmations, wrong appointments and poor handling of administrative issues resulting in officers being demotivated in their work.
He said the commission was extremely disappointed with the ministry of agriculture but said relevant steps will be taken to correct the situation.
Mweemba said when government embarked on the restructuring exercise, it envisaged having a lean and efficient civil service but it had not been so.
He said there was need to revisit the issue of restructure as the commission was of the view that wrong people were being put into positions.
"We are concerned that restructuring has brought along with it tremendous inefficiency. The people we have put in place only boast of their papers when they have no knowledge of on how to go about their work," noted Mweemba.
And acting Choma district commissioner Mungoni Simulilika told the commission that some officers who had reached the retirement age of 55 had not been served with letters of retirement despite numerous requests by the affected officers.
"They have continued working beyond their retirement age. This is a matter of serious concern," observed Simulilika.
Friday May 11, 2007 [04:00]
WHEN justice is done, good people are happy, but evil people are brought to despair. It is not us saying this. It is Proverbs 21:15. And it goes on to say that the wicked bring on themselves the suffering they try to cause good people (Proverbs 21:18). They say what you get by dishonesty you may enjoy like the finest food, but sooner or later it will be like a mouthful of sand. The riches you get by dishonesty soon disappear, but not before they lead you into the jaws of death. Guilty people walk a crooked path; the innocent do what is right.
Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions and then blame others for it. There is nothing new Frederick Chiluba said at his press conference yesterday. It is stupid for Chiluba to try and blame British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the consequences of his own thefts or abuses. Blair never asked Chiluba to steal or abuse the resources of the Zambian people.
We who have been in the anti-imperialist struggle for the most part of our lives and understand imperialism in all its forms, know very well that Chiluba is not an anti-imperialist. He is simply a thief who wants to run away from being made accountable and trying to capitalise on our people's justifiable and legitimate hatred for imperialism. When Chiluba was using London and other European capitals to steal money from his own people, there was no question or issue of British or any other form of imperialism.
We know who the anti-imperialists are among our politicians and we also know who the lackeys of imperialism are. We wouldn't be surprised today if Mobutu Sese Seko were alive and sued in Brussels for the recovery of the money he stole from Zaire and cried that there was an imperialist plot against him by the Belgians. But would this make sense? Since when was Mobutu anti-imperialist?
Chiluba should not try to deceive the Zambian people that this is a default judgment. Defence was entered in this case and they only bolted when they realised that the case was too tight for them. The truth is Chiluba is not ready to face an independent tribunal anywhere in the world, including here in Zambia. And this may explain why he has enough energy to address press briefings at Lusaka International Airport and elsewhere but he has none for court proceedings against him.
For over a year this little thief has been running away from court using the excuse of illness but at the same time when it comes to other things he is fit. Last year, Chiluba and his tandem of thieves, including the fugitive ones, were very excited about the prospects of Michael Sata becoming president because he had promised to drop the cases against them.
They pulled the string a little long and ensured that no court proceedings were concluded until Sata became president. In that way they thought they would escape justice. This didn't work and 2011 is still very far away. The truth is Chiluba cannot defend himself successfully over his thefts before any independent tribunal, hence his resorting to all sorts of legal and political gymnastics, including medical tourism in Johannesburg.
The propaganda displayed by Chiluba at his press conference is not only childish but stupid because he doesn't address the principle issues concerning thefts. And moreover, these issues could have been addressed in court and not at press conferences. It will not help him much to hurl all sorts of insults and racist remarks on Blair and judge Peter Smith. It is not Blair or judge Smith who is facing suits or charges of theft. What was taken to the London court for adjudication was not Blair's corruption. It was Chiluba's thefts.
Yes, there is corruption in the UK, in America and other places in the world. But that is not the issue the Zambian people are trying to address. What we are concerned with is what Chiluba stole from us. Yes, there is corruption in Levy Mwanawasa's government and those involved in it will one day be made to account. If Levy himself is involved in it, he will also be made to meet the temerity of his actions. But today it is Chiluba's day, it is Chiluba's hour.
The Zambian people will not wait or suspend proceedings against Chiluba until everyone else who has stolen something from government is made to account. If this was a way to proceed, there would be no criminals in our prisons because we would have to wait until everyone who has committed a crime is arrested and prosecuted simultaneously or at the same time.
Chiluba must accept that he stole money from the Zambian people using what he is today calling imperialist systems or institutions and bought his suits, shirts, neckties and shoes from these same imperialist countries.
Is it not wise or prudent for the Zambian people to use the same systems, to walk the same path in their efforts to recover that which he stole from them? Chiluba's arguments about covert security operations are neither here nor there. It's not possible to hide thefts behind security covert operations. These can easily be discerned from the legitimate work of our security agencies.
The truth is Chiluba and his friend thought if they stole using security agencies no one would ever find what they have done and bring them to justice. They deceived themselves and today their evil scheme has been laid bare for all our people to see their inequities. And there is no posterity that will prove Chiluba right and legitimatise his thefts and abuses. Posterity will only prove Chiluba to have been a shameless thief.
And Chiluba should not cheat himself that there will be confusion, unrest or a disturbance on the peace of this country as a result of his being made to account for his thefts. Actually, the opposite may be true - there will be no peace in this country if he is not made to account for his thefts and return what he has stolen.
Does this thief really understand the meaning of peace or what constitutes peace? Peace is not earned by shielding thieves from prosecution. Peace is the fruit of honesty, truth and solidarity; it is the tranquillity of order. And to guarantee peace, all are called to honesty and responsibility.
Peace is not brought by stealing or abusing public funds and then trying all sorts of crooked schemes, political or otherwise, to get away with it. Yes, his friend Michael Sata, as Chiluba says, sometimes doesn't mean what he says but the Zambian people mean what they say when they say they want their money back; they meant what they said when in 2002 they demonstrated in large numbers calling for the removal of his presidential immunity.
This is not a mock engagement between Chiluba and his friend Levy Mwanawasa. We say this because if this was just a matter between him and Levy, all his cases would have been dropped a long time ago in the same way he tried to do with Kashiwa Bulaya's case. This is not a Levy case against Chiluba; it is a legitimate people's case against Chiluba.
There is no one who is trying to drive a wedge between him and Sata. No one can choose friends for a 70-year-old man. If anything it is him Chiluba who has no faith in, or respect for, his friend Sata. If he did he wouldn't say publicly that Sata doesn't mean what he says. How can a man who wants to be president of a country of 11 million people be saying things he doesn't mean and expect people to take him seriously?
However, there is one good thing that came out of Chiluba's press conference, which Levy should not take lightly - the need to maintain permanent vigilance and an always combative spirit against corruption. It cannot be denied that there are serious weaknesses in this country's fight against corruption. And other than political declarations or rhetoric, very little, if not nothing, has been done in terms of legal and organisational reforms to strengthen our fight against corruption.
This in itself means that the corruption that has embryo in the Chiluba regime is growing, spreading or mutating at an exponentially ever accelerated rate. This is why Chiluba today can boast that there is more corruption under Levy's regime than was in the previous 37 years of our country's independence. Chiluba even forgets that the culture of corruption that is today afflicting our country was planted and nurtured by himself.
As for those pastors who have put themselves at the service of thieves, and not of the people, we wonder what type of God they believe in. We can only ask ourselves if there is any similarity between the God those who are fighting corruption and Chiluba's thefts believe in and the one in whom those pastors who are defending Chiluba seem to believe in.
Anyway we shouldn't forget that in the Old Testament the prophets were worried by idolatry, the gods created in accord with human interests. There is still much idolatry. In the name of God, all sorts of crimes are committed and defended. Anyway, today some pastors have become like some lawyers who one can hire to defend them no matter what crime they have committed against the people.
Moreover, Jesus didn't come to serve only the good people but also for the redemption of the bad ones. But we shouldn't stretch this to dimensions where it starts to look as if Jesus came to defend crime and criminals.
Chiluba is a thief and the only way to help him is to make him account for his thefts and repent, show remorse so that he can be redeemed or forgiven. Encouraging him to continue telling lies and praying for his lies, asking God to bless his falsehoods is certainly not right. If anything, it is blasphemy and immoral.
No lies, no prayers will turn Chiluba's dishonesty, thefts into virtuous or good deeds. What remains now is the enforcement of the London judgment against Chiluba and his friends and it shall be enforced. We have no doubt about this. The only way it cannot be enforced is through a legitimate and successful judicial challenge and not through press conferences and lies of all sorts.
By Noel Sichalwe in Livingstone
Friday May 11, 2007 [04:00]
PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa yesterday said he should be prosecuted if he steals public funds when he leaves office. Commissioning the Livingstone International Airport extended runway and other works, President Mwanawasa said if he had stolen public money, there should be no reason for him not to be punished after retiring from office.
President Mwanawasa said during his administration, a number of thefts of public resources had been disclosed. He said his opponents were now saying that this had shown how criminal the ruling party was. President Mwanawasa said to the contrary, the theft revelations had actually shown that his government was transparent.
"Yes, during my administration, a number of malpractices and theft of public resources have been disclosed but those who compete against us are saying that is bad. They are saying that just goes to show how criminal we are," President Mwanawasa said. "No, it doesn't. It simply shows that we are transparent.
Things were being stolen in the past, of which we didn't know. We did not know, for example, that in just one case, which was tried by the High Court in London, this country lost about US$46 million. We have made it possible for that transgression to be revealed. When we make that possible, it doesn't mean that we are equally guilty of the transgression. We are demonstrating the fact that we abhor mismanagement of meager resources at our disposal. When anyone of us abuses the facilities at our disposal, he will be punished."
President Mwanawasa said there would be no sacred cow in the fight against corruption. "Now, it was being said that President Mwanawasa, you are facilitating this. You will see, naiwe wine nga wafumapo, ukacimona (You will see when you cease to be President of Zambia, we will do the same things to you)," President Mwanawasa said. "You are welcome, if I have stolen, of course, I do not see any reason why I should not be punished."
President Mwanawasa noted that the path he had taken in the fight against corruption was dangerous both to himself and his family. "But somebody must start the fight. If nobody starts the fight, then we are gone. They are attacking MMD to say MMD is full of thieves. I may agree with them but we have never at any time said we in MMD are clean. If therefore we are found wanting we should be punished just like anybody else."
And President Mwanawasa said following the rehabilitation programmes, Livingstone International Airport would in June this year accommodate a bigger plane carrying US first lady Laura Bush. He urged the Zambia National Tourist Board (ZNTB) to take advantage of the upgraded airport to step up their efforts. Meanwhile, National Airports Corporation (NAC) board chairman Patrick Chamunda said it would now be easier for larger planes to land in Livingstone. The project was funded by the EU at a cost of about 14 million Euros.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
By George Chellah
Thursday May 10, 2007 [18:58]
FORMER Zambian president Frederick Chiluba has defended himself against the London High Court judgment by accusing President Levy Mwanawasa and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair of corruption and imperialist conspiracy against him. Dismissing judge Peter Smith's judgment as corrupt and racist, Chiluba accused Blair and the entire British political and judicial system of trying to impose imperialism on Zambia.
Chiluba at a press briefing at his residence also accused President Mwanawasa of championing British imperialism in Zambia. "It is my opinion that both gentlemen Tony Blair and Mwanawasa advanced the popular slogan of corruption to hide their own skeletons in cupboards," Chiluba charged. "They have not provided the necessary leadership they pontificated." Addressing the press at his Lusaka's Kabulonga residence, Chiluba said he was aware that people have made comments about the judgment by judge Peter Smith.
"I may ask them that before they make any other comments to read this judgment. So that the comments may not be out of context. For those who are out there just to say a word or two against me those are welcome. But for others especially fellow Christians before you put a label of criminal on me, of a thief on me please read this judgment objectively and then pray," he said.
Chiluba also said some people were out there to drive a wage between him and PF president Michael Sata. "My brother Michael Sata, Michael Sata is my brother you will not succeed. He may say something wrong or sometimes something bad, but I know that sometimes he doesn't mean what he says. He is my brother... I haven't called him to support me. He is in the struggle and he doing a great job," Chiluba said.
He said ordinarily he would not have appeared for the press briefing but he was compelled to appear because of the gravity of the matter.
Below is the verbatim of Chiluba's press briefing:
The matter is so grave because the passing of this judgment was in a foreign court on foreign soil by a foreign judge on Zambian citizens for crimes allegedly committed, to me this borders on abdication of our independence and desecration of our sovereignity.
But this is a case predetermined by Britain in collusion with the Zambian government to crucify me, as will be shown subsequently. The noisy pontification by British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the war on corruption and President Mwanawasa's zero tolerance policy on corruption are only a ploy to use donor money to destroy African leaders selectively and kill the African destiny.
That is why both Prime Minister Blair and President Mwanawasa's alleged zero tolerance policy have collapsed like the walls of Jericho, because of lack of conviction. Mr. Tony Blair himself is deeply embroiled in the cash for Honours scandal for which the police have interrogated him and the arms sale to Saudi Arabia, which he refused his government to probe.
He does not therefore in my opinion stand any longer on higher moral ground. He is not a role model. On the other hand our own President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa who told God and the world about his Godly zeal for zero tolerance to corruption has now buckled and admitted theft of K3 trillion, which he later scaled down to K36 billion by his own government.
Oh... it is my opinion that both gentlemen Tony Blair and Levy Patrick Mwanawasa advanced the popular slogan of corruption to hide their own skeletons in cupboards. They have not provided the necessary leadership they pontificated. The nation today will recall that on 11th July 2002, President Levy Mwanawasa convoked Parliament to remove my immunity on account of financial transgressions I am alleged to have committed.
Indeed as you all know, contrary to Parliamentary etiquette I and some people I worked with were mentioned by name and crimes allegedly committed were equally tabled in the House. Understandably the allegations have generated anger, indignation and at worst, hatred against me. I have been exposed to considerable public ridicule and contempt.
Contrary to the rules of natural justice either my friends nor I were accorded an opportunity in that August House. Therefore, for all practical purposes we were found guilty both by Parliament and more importantly we were found guilty in the minds of the Zambian people even before all court and legal process commenced. As if that is not enough, the grave allegations leveled against us were removed from Zambia to a British jurisdiction. Where is our independence?
England cannot allow even their thief to be tried outside and if he is tried by null means or by any means they would like them to go and serve their sentence in England that's how much they value people regardless of class. But here, they say we must take this case to British jurisdiction even before we can defend ourselves in our courts of law here at home.
Countrymen and women what are the facts in this case, what are the facts before us? That's why I am saying please read the judgment objectively. This judgment may not require you to be a lawyer just read this judgment and then you will know what we are talking about.
It is important to state that the specific claim against me as pleaded by the Attorney General and as stated in the judgment is... what I mean is that England found that I am liable to pay so much money to the government of Zambia, they asked the Attorney General to quantify how much I am alleged to have stolen and the Attorney General taking into account all this, everything came to the figure of US$ 2,995, 369.00. The money I am alleged to have stolen.
This is the money I am alleged to have stolen or abused by spending it on sending my children to school, buying my elegant clothes, paying lawyers and others. The beauty about this judgment, this is the first judgment when the Attorney General says let him pay US$ 2.9, the judge says no I will ask you to top something up he can't steal only US$ 2 million, its in the judgment. The government of Zambia says no US$ 2.9, the judge says no he must pay just as much as other people. This is a wonderful judgment in your opinion, in mine its all trash!
I have repeatedly stated and the audits have actually confirmed that the Zamtrop account where this money was drawn from had monies from private and third party sources, over and above the amount that government is claiming from me. What happened is simple, when I was interrogated first at Central police here in Lusaka, they asked why I was withdrawing money from the Zamtrop account I said no, I didn't withdraw money from there which was not mine.
It's only that the director general advised and quiet correctly so that I should not open a separate, personal account somewhere supposing some drug trafficker sends money there and tomorrow or the day after I am accused of receiving money laundered.
That is why they asked me to put any gift, any donation from friends and well-wishes into a Zamtrop account so that its checked by the intelligence. And I am telling you that Zamtrop account has been audited by three firms, all audits done for purposes of this case which also form part of evidence. One audit was done by PricewaterHouse in 2003, Maulu Hamunjele Bank of Zambia (BoZ) and Grant Thornton UK, they have all shown that the Zamtrop account had monies from private and third party sources.
More than US $9 million came from private sources. To date my position has not been repudiated or challenged by anyone, not one.
Indeed in the Supreme Court ruling on the Presidential petition - Late Anderson Mazoka and two others Vs L.P. Mwanawasa-pages 129-145) the Attorney General submitted that the Zamtrop account had personal monies for Dr Chiluba and private monies from well-wishers and friends as director general Chungu had said.
It is strange, but quite understandable that this critical evidence was totally ignored when these matters were brought to Parliament and indeed in the present judgment, where judge Smith dismisses the possibility that I could have access to private contributions. As far as he is concerned no President especially in Africa should have any access to contribution, to gifts, we are not entitled according to him... white man Smith.
The assertion that these monies were in a government account and should therefore be deemed as government monies is shallow and inconclusive. Its shallow! The presence of private and personal monies in the Zamtrop account is simple. As I have told you, the director general of intelligenece Mr X.F Chungu advised me that to protect the Presidency, gifts and donations could be managed by the director general on our behalf.
This also served to satisfy the principles of disclosure and accountability although there is no law that obliges the President to disclose.
The disparaging remarks by the judge that I as President could not have received gifts and donations from friends and well wishers is to say the least demeaning. Fellow Zambians, don't forget that lately you the press have been discussing millions of dollars from abroad received by President Mwanawasa in his private account, not in Zamtrop in his private, personal account at Finance Bank. You have been writing this, I don't know what Mr Smith must be thinking about. He must be sick to hear this.
President Mwanawasa at the MMD 2006 party convention in Kabwe also publicly stated that he had received a lot of money from well wishers to help host the party convention. According to judge Smith, no, that is stolen money because President Mwanawasa can receive that money because I cannot receive it. Let me ask you a question, how could I then as President not receive support from well wishers and President Mwanawas does? How could I as republican president of Zambia for ten years not have friends for myself and the party?
Justice Smith's obsession with my clothes is obscene. Doesn't a President have an income? Doesn't a President earn allowances for his travels abroad? Is not the living and other expenses of the President borne by the state?
Let me ask you a question, when you the member of the press travel out, do your newspapers ask you to use your salaries for abroad?... do they tell you go and use it at the hotel and they will not pay? Many of the houses bought by people do not come from their salaries, they come from travels when they go out.
When they come back that's when they buy those houses, some even manage to pay their children's school fees from those allowances. If junior civil servants can be paid for by the government to go and buy one or two things, why should it be... Judge Smith's contention that I could not afford education for my children is sick.
In Zambia today, Many Zambians in positions ranking lower than the President can afford to send their children outside for school. Today Zambians are sending their children to school in South Africa, in Australia and Britain, in America...they are not there because their fathers stole money.
Fellow Zambians, this is an insult not only to me but to all of us... all he is saying is that if you have a child who is at school in Zimbabwe, you have stolen money. If you struggle to send your child to Britain then you are charged with corruption.
This is according to white man Smith. In the recent judgement however, I am liable to pay a total sum of US$41 million on account of my fiduciary responsibility as Republican President for the period stated.
This is legally untenable. Public policy cannot be reduced to an individual in the manner this judgment seeks to suggest.
Recent revelations in the public accounts committee of Parliament and assertions by the President himself have disclosed massive abuses and theft of trillions or is it billions of kwacha.
This according to judge Smith...he says if any civil servant stole, you must have stolen, Chiluba, because you are responsible for the government, you should have been controlling them. Even though you were assistant account you should now have become chief account for government. Anything that is stolen by an office orderly you Chiluba must know because that is money stolen during your presidency. My question is, the 3 trillion kwacha President Mwanawasa announced to have been stolen and then he scaled it down to K36 billion is he responsible for that theft? Is he responsible because civil servants stole, therefore President Mwanawasa stole? Is President Mwanawasa liable to pay all those monies reported as stolen on account of the fiduciary duty he has, as Republican President? Is he going to pay?
Are all Presidents liable for acts of corruption under their government on account of fiduciary duty? Is Tony Blair personally liable for the arms deal?
This case is not about Chiluba, Faustin Kabwe, Xavier Chungu and Aaron Chungu, this case affects all of us.
In this judgement, the Attorney General of Zambia took a civil claim to the London High Court seeking to recover sums of monies allegedly misappropriated by myself and others between 1995 and 2001.
This judgment made on May 4th 2007 is the result of this process, which was engineered and orchestrated by the Mwanawasa government in consent with the British government. It should be noted that the judgment handed down by justice Smith is in reality a default judgment as I refused to appear before it. I cited the fact that London is not the appropriate forum or jurisdiction. The issues we are faced with are Zambian and Zambia enjoys a judicial process of its own that can adequately deal with claims of this nature.
Though not a lawyer, I find this judgment totally unacceptable and I therefore reject it. Justice Smith has exhibited extravagant conjecture to arrive at a judgment unsupported by facts and evidence. The language he uses is racist, abusive, demeaning and clearly unbecoming of a High Court judge, it is insulting, derogatory and inflammatory.
It is a dangerous and paternalistic judgment as Justice Smith has gone to great lengths to incite Zambians to rise against each other. In fact his comments are so dangerous that they might cause a serious breach of peace and security to our beloved country because of the manner in which he goes on verbal assault to incite people against me and my administration. In fact his comments border on genocide as he is urging one group of people to rise against another.
The judgment is in fact an abuse of the court process as it is lacking in evidence. At best it is a mere political statement made by a man who represents a vicious and violent system with inherent prejudices and hatred against Africa, its people and its leaders.
The judgment has put tremendous pressure on the corruption trials here in Lusaka such that they stand prejudged and predetermined.
It has prejudiced and undermined the current criminal and court proceedings in our own courts with a predetermined outcome. This is tragic for our judicial system and the blame lie squarely with the Mwanawasa government.
Judge Smith reduced himself to embarrassing political comments that satisfy the donor gallery. Therefore this judgment degrades the principles of justice and abuses the very law it is meant to serve. Fellow Zambians, perhaps when you are occupied with your personal ideas...other things, you sometimes don't observe matters as they happen from time to time?
Let me ask you a question...of what interest can it be for the monarchy in England to comment on stolen money by anybody...of what interest was it for the Duke of Gloucester... if this case was not predetermined by them, of what interest was it for the Duke of Gloucester Prince Richard who was in Zambia at the same time... I wonder whether this was not a very wonderful arrangement, you must be there just when I deliver or I must be there while you deliver the judgment.
Uncharacteristic of monarchies he made a comment in praise of the British court, which in this case is inciting Zambians to rise against me, the Duke of Gloucester says this is a beautiful thing. When I stated I, I also include my co-accused, I only say I because in that judgment I have been singled out and therefore I am trying to respond to that. The pronoun I is not meant to exclude my co-accused Xavier Chungu, Faustin Kabwe, Stella Chibanda and Aaron Chungu.
The judge states that I have missed the golden opportunity to clear the serious allegations of corruption against me with Zambians by not appearing before him and give evidence. No ladies and gentlemen, the opportunity to clear my name is before Zambians and should not be found in the British Courts. We are not a subservient state as this government wishes to make us believe. We have our own institutions to deal with our faults and flaws.
It should be noted that these allegations were first made by President Mwanawasa in Parliament where I was not afforded an opportunity to be heard. These matters are now before our courts of law where I am legitimately expected to give account. I do not accept that a foreign judge sitting in a foreign country is the final one to give me a legitimate and final opportunity to clear my name. I remain accountable to the people of Zambia and its institutions and systems.
What was the evidence judge Smith relied upon in his judgment? This claim by the Attorney General against me is founded on mostly the witness statement of one-Maulu Hamunjele. Mr. Hamunjele is the forensic auditor for the Task Force on corruption.
He is the principal and star witness for the government in this matter as in the Zambian criminal trials. He is the author of the famous matrix of plunder according to Zambia, he is key financial expert of the Task Force on corruption Mr. Maulu Hamunjele...but read the judgment and hear what judge Smith says of Mr Hamunjele.
Judge Smith has made serious disparaging remarks against Mr Hamunjele and his testimony. Justice Smith found Mr Hamunjele to be a liar...he said he is a liar and he said he has a juvenile predisposition to rush to judgment. Judge Smith says that Hamunjele is not credible in fact, most of his evidence was thrown out.
Judge Smith says he mislead him and he finds that Hamunjele does not posses adequate training. It's in that judgment. Now if you discredit the principal witness, you discredit him totally, you call him a liar, a thief....how is it possible for Judge Smith to make his judgment on the evidence and statement of Hamunjele which he has discredited. How can you embrace all the evidence in court?
Yes you have lied, but you have lied in the morning but this time I will make your lies look like truth. If it is normal and in a normal course of justice following the case as it should be, how could this claim by the Attorney General then have succeeded if the principle witness who has produced evidence is not credible and has told numerous lies during his testimony. This claim should have failed on that account alone. I pity what remains of the two gentlemen-Judge Smith and Maulu Hamunjele.
My great concern ladies and gentlemen is that President Mwanawasa has betrayed national trust and confidence, by setting in motion a process that undermines national sovereignty, security and credibility.
The judgment by Justice Smith is not about me as an individual, but is about Zambia and African leadership in general. Two months ago the British government found it fit to cancel a corruption investigation against a company called BEA the arms manufacturer as Tony Blair said in national interest.
The Zamtrop account in London has existed since 1963. To adapt to security requirements, the account has over the years changed its form and character. Zamtrop is not a new account, its only the name that change, it's the intelligence account, it could have either been called intelligence account or by any other name, the operations are strictly for the intelligence.
This account was there since 1963, many of the liberation wars, around us were assisted from this account. Does this government expect me to disclose our financial and material role in the peace process in Angola? Peace process in Congo?
I am reluctant to do so. I am reluctant and I need not to go any further to protect our country. The account was regulated by the 1970 Financial Charter, which was created by my predecessor, this charter is the privy of the Republican President, the director general of intelligence and the auditor general. It is highly regrettable that this document was shown to foreigners. What is left of our intelligence system after these actions? I know that even judge Smith and his colleagues have not seen the charter regulating the British intelligence, the MI5 and MI6.
This careless handling of national affairs in the quest to destroy a few individuals has exposed the Zambian intelligence to ridicule. It is this careless approach to national affairs that this government has destroyed the lives of many loyal, highly trained civil servants and professionals who have had their lives needlessly ruined. I am sure posterity will prove me right.
In my view, judge Smith cannot determine for Zambia what is security operations or not. He cannot ascertain that expenditures made by the intelligence were not legitimate. To show how this money was spent is to dwell on internal operations of the intelligence. The Zamtrop account has done and been used for a lot of good for this country.
That account has hidden nothing, any money spent by Chiluba from their was money that came from other sources and not government money. And the accounts can prove it at the bank, the auditors, Coopers as I have said and the Bank of Zambia itself, they all agreed that there was a surplus. Now if you have a surplus of 9 million and assuming you have misused other people's money amounting to three million.
Is it not only reasonable, natural and wise that somebody is not running an overdraft account...if he has nine million how does he steal three million? If you are telling me that there was a dificit of three million and then Chiluba took out nine million ooh.. he is liable. I know I can't remember the subject maybe its algebra where you can deduct a bigger figure from a small one and there is a minus answer. But in this case if you have nine million and take away three surely I leave that matter to our lawyers to work on.
But all the three audits that were carried out proved there was money in that account. And to suggest it was that account therefore, ni ng'ombe shakwa musanga it was all government money its not fair, its unattainable. Let me say that combart operations are meant to be secret and are guarded operations. There are many people who the state pays or reward financially or materially but whose details should remain anonymous. It will be irresponsible for me to disclose names and details of intelligence operations during 1995 to 2002.
Judge Smith and the Attorney General cannot tell us that all operations of the Zamtrop account between 1995 to 2002 was for theft and fraud.
Any money that they put there it was misused. No to my colleagues in the civil society the NGOs there are many things that the President or the state does to ensure that we maintain and keep, the peace and security of this country. And I will tell you peace is not cheap...peace is not something you keep or you expect easily. Peace is very expensive. Peace is not cheap to maintain.
What about this animal you call corruption, how do you combat corruption? Its not by word of mouth, its not by declaration. It is by taking action to make sure that this corruption is arrested. I am on record... I Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba as President of the Republic of Zambia 1991 to 2001 am on record for fighting corruption. Am on that record, how will you read that record? Don't let or allow your minds to be crowded by slogans, slogans are for the general public at meetings but the real work of government is in the legislation... is in the action.
Then you will see the commitment of the government. I promised to fight corruption and I came and fought corruption, my government changed the reporting structure of the ACC which was at that time reporting to the President. When I came in we changed the law and ACC now reports to the board. They don't refer everything to the President. I brought that change myself, my government all those who were with me, that's how you fight corruption. You take actions which will enable that institution to work.
After changing that the ACC must report to it's own board, I went further and we said we give them also power to prosecute, its in the law during my time. Allow the ACC to prosecute according to their own conviction, according to what they find out they must not come to State House, I am on record, read the law that I left behind. You may remember one or two cases here...no this minister has been fired. Didn't I fire ministers for corruption I did.
The problems is this amnesia. We tend to forget... no I did but firing them is not even enough what was most important for me is to put in place this law, which will take care of all corrupt practices and corruption in general and I did that. I also strengthened DEC, and I am not fond of saying I..I..I but because I am being addressed in this judgment let me say my government and I. Nobody can do anything on his own.
If you hear a minister saying me I did this, where did he get the money from, its from the government. So my government and I...without the help of government the President will be rendered absolutely incapable. Now I have told you that we changed the reporting structures from the executive to the board on its own
ACC and then we gave them prosecutorial powers we did. If I may ask without malice to anyone what in terms of legislation has my dear brother Levy Patrick Mwanawasa done to put in place the infrustructure to fight corruption? Has there been a single legislation in Parliament? If he was relying on what we had left behind because the law is not permanent, its subject to change... circumstances change.
But what has my brother done? today the ACC and the DEC enjoy more autonomy as a result of a good legal framework that we left behind which only needs to be improved upon. President Mwanawasa himself has created an illegal body called the task force on corruption, which has no legal framework and exists at his discretion and executive. Yet he claims that he is fighting corruption. If he says stop, they stop...move, they move. They only ask at what speed?
Now what right have they ever got to tell the court what to do? Its because they are an illegal body. Aha..if the Chiluba regime was that corrupt, if it lost so much money, let us read comparative politics I have been given a book, where there is my old picture, that doesn't hurt me...laughs. I have been shown a book commissioned by Transparency International and authored by Edem Djokotoe titled 'Show me the money" which shows that in fact more money has been misapplied or stolen in President Mwanawasa's government, which is just over five years old, more than that of the two previous governments of Dr Kaunda and myself combined!
Dr Kaunda's government a long long way from 1964 and 1991 and my tens years put together, we lost less money than Mr Mwanawasa. That's a record achievement by Mr Mwanawasa. This is not my book I have only been given a copy. In that book there are many errors including that Mr. Mabenga was my minister of defence...he never was but I am sure 1964 to 1991 it's a long period. 1991 to 2001 ten years this put to 27... 37 years we lost loss less money than a government which is there for five years. The sadness of this matter is that the task force on corruption is mandated to a very very limited tenure of 10 years you cannot limit the investigation on corruption to the tens years I was in office.
What about this period? What about other periods? If we have to look at this we must go to the genesis and end with the revelations...you can't take the prophet Malaki and the gospel of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. No! ho to the genesis come from the genesis to exodus..to throw to Joshua go through it all. Start 1964 right sown the book of revelation and that is the way corruption will truly be projected properly.
If in five years my brother's government has made history in losing money than Dr Kaunda's 27 years and my ten years, what remains of the next four years? The Task force on corruption is mandated to a very limited tenure of my ten years. It's this basis that has generated strong views that serious acts of corruption only existed under my government.
Corruption ladies and gentlemen is not corruption narrowly defined by the cable thst fights me. They have defined corruption as only those offences committed by my government during the period of 1991 to 2001. If truly I committed those serious crimes, why select which ones to judge men on and what not to, its from this account that I sent Levy Patrick Mwanawasa to hospital why am I not being charged for that? Its from this account that I sent Ba mayo ba Betty Kaunda when she suffered a paralysis to London, why am I not being charged for this? Is it not the same Zambia.
I am not justifying the money I gave my children because that money came from other sources. In fact, what is corruption in my opinion is the way this judgment was obtained, listen carefully, this judgment was obtained corruptly, listen carefully. What do I mean?
The British commenced these proceedings, the same British who commenced the proceeds, they commenced and paid the lawyer, they hired William Blair brother to Tony Blair, they paid for the witnesses, paid for the judge to come to Zambia, they paid even for the rehabilitation of a single court room where justice Smith sat for consultancy, given by Dr Patrick Matibini and others.
They paid even for the video conference facility, they even offered legal aid to enable me to appear for the entire process to ensure that without fair they achieve this desired judgment. They paid for everything. If I go and pay my lawyer, the judge who sits there, and I go and pay for the sitting and then I say good judgment how can I say that be good judgmenet? This judgment was bought. It was corruptly obtained.
For me all this process comes to one thing, corruption, its not donor aid. This is corruption, it was a well thought out scheme to achieve what this judgment prounces today, remember ladies and gentlemen, the chairman of the task force against corruption then Mr Mark Chona stated in his submission to the tribunal set up to investigate the DPP, Mr Mukelabai Mukelabai, which was chaired by judge Essau Chulu, the tribunal report also known as the Mukelabai tribunal says that the British and other donors urged them to secure convictions on Zamtrop..all cases of Zamtrop they urged them to secure convinctions without which funding to the government will be withdrawn. So this is predetermined.
The President told him at the meeting that some Ambassadors including the British High Commissioner wanted him out of office to pave way for Mr Mutembo Nchito who was a better prosecutor than himself. That the Ambassadors would stop funding the government if he did not leave office. Further, that the donors had been told by Mr Chona and the Nchito brothers that he had been compromised, that he was corrupt and had mishandled the task force cases.
He told the tribunal that similar allegations had been made against him during the meeting with the Vice-President on 8th December 2003.
From the above, I wish to state that I am of the view that this judgment was predicted on the strong desire to convict me at whatever cost. However, this matter is not final or conclusive.
Zambians will know the truth about this matter when I am afforded an appropriate opportunity to explain in a Zambian court where my constitutional protection and obligations lie. The legal and technical details of this case will be handled by the lawyers and courts. I will therefore not refer to them.
Headline points from the judgment of justice Peter Smith
Why were the proceedings brought in London?
The case was brought in the High Court in London because of the money that passed through bank accounts in London. It was then disbursed to England, Switzerland, Belgium, the US and elsewhere, or went on a round trip back to Zambia. London was at the centre of the wrong-doing by 20 defendants based in Zambia, England, Belgium, Switzerland, the US and elsewhere. The result is that to obtain an effective remedy, the Zambian government had to sue here. An example of the effectiveness of the English jurisdiction is the trial in London of the preliminary issue against the Belgian defendants in August 2005, which resulted in a substantial recovery of Belgian assets for Zambia.
The Zambian based defendants originally participated fully and were represented by solicitors and counsel. They unsuccessfully challenged the English court’s jurisdiction over them before the High Court and Court of Appeal. The House of Lords dismissed their petition for leave to appeal. The Zambian defendants then dis-instructed their lawyers and “discontinued participation” in the proceedings despite the fact that Zambia had lifted a Restriction Notice imposed on their Zambian assets to enable them to fund legal representation.
Special arrangement to protect the
Zambian defendants’ right to a fair criminal trial.
The Zambian defendants are the subject of criminal proceedings or investigation in Zambia. A condition of their bail is the surrender of their passports. The English Courts were concerned to ensure that they could have a fair civil trial in England without prejudicing their defence of the criminal proceedings. Special arrangements were put in place to achieve this:
All hearings and the trial were held in private.
All hearings in the four-month trial took place by video-link. A dedicated satellite was installed in a secure courtroom in Zambia and videoconferencing equipment was installed in the High Court in London to enable participation in Zambia.
The defendants’ defences, documents and witness statements were ring fenced from the Task Force and distributed only to the Attorney General and his key staff for the sole purpose of the civil proceedings.
The judge and the claimant’s legal team traveled to Zambia in December 2006 and the judge spent three weeks in Zambia taking evidence as a special examiner by video-link with the court in London. Had the Zambian defendants participated, he would have heard their evidence in person.
Dr Chiluba broke the ring fencing order which was put in place for his benefit on the first day of trial by giving a press conference and publishing ring fenced material. Nevertheless, the trial continued to be held in private.
The trial lasted four months, from 31st October, 2006 to 29th February,2007. Zambia called 47 witnesses of fact, expert evidence on Zambian law and expert accounting evidence, tracing the flow of funds. It disclosed large volumes of documents. The trial bundles exceeded 100 files. At trial the only participating defendants were Iqbal Meer, Naynesh Desai, Bimal Thaker, B.B Thaker and Atan Shansonga. They called no other witnesses to corroborate their defences.
The Judge’s findings in relation to Dr Chiluba
The judge made very detailed findings in relation to Dr Chiluba at paragraphs 441 to 471 of the judgment. He summarized his views as follows:
“ At the end of the day he was the president at the top of the control of government finances. He was uniquely positioned to prevent any corruption. Instead of preventing corruption he actively participated in it and ensured it happened. It is difficult to find an adjective that adequately describes the failure on the part of Dr Chiluba.
He has defrauded the Republic. He has deprived the people over which he was exercising stewardship on their behalf of huge sums of money which was supposed to be spent for their benefit. He has diverted those monies for wide ranging benefits of the core- conspirators but has not (unlike Clive of India) shown restraint himself in the amount of money which he “plundered” from the government coffers. It is a shameful series of actions and he should be ashamed”.
“As the former president, in the light of the serious allegations made against him he ought to have in conscience explained himself to the Zambian people. He was in a position to do so in these proceedings without any fear of compromising any defence in criminal proceedings and without any fear that the evidence he gave could be misused by the Attorney General of Zambia.
He has not taken advantage of that option and in so doing he has in my view further abused the people of Zambia, They are entitled to an explanation from him as to what has happened to the large amounts of monies which were under his control by virtue of the Financial Charter and which came into and out of the ZAMTROP Account. He has had all the documents provided and therefore lacked in nothing to present his case”.
“I have already dealt with his inadequate defence in respect of the conspiracy. I’m quite satisfied that he had an active role in the setting up of the ZAMTROP Account and its operation. I am also satisfied that on occasions he actively participated in payments made to it and he received substantial personal benefits”.
This news report comes from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Prince Wegwu and his family own land in the Niger Delta with 31 oil wells on it. Oil companies pump out thousands of barrels of oil a day and yet Wegwu says neither he nor his family have benefited.
"The oil companies tell us, ‘We are not allowed to give you money directly,'" said Wegwu, who heads a youth association in Aluu, a village in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region where militants have mounted an increasingly violent armed insurrection, attacking oil facilities and kidnapping foreign oil workers. The oil companies say, ‘We pay the government for the use of the land’, and yet they know they are using our land," Wegwu said.
The Niger Delta is the eighth most productive oil region in the world; the people living there are among the poorest in Nigeria, and in fact among the poorest anywhere on earth. Many people in the Delta blame their poverty on two federal laws, the 1969 Petroleum Act, which gave the state sole ownership and control of the country’s oil and gas reserves; and the Land Use Act of 1978 which makes the government the owner of all land in Nigeria.
Many activists in the Niger Delta say oil companies should pay rents and royalties for the use of the land directly to land owners and to local communities instead of to the central government. They are also calling for a return to Nigeria’s 1960s constitution which calls for revenue to be shared equally between federal and local governments.
But they say the land act has undermined efforts by individuals and communities to get compensation when their land is requisitioned for oil activities or when oil companies pollute the land.
The Land Use Act was enacted by Nigeria’s current president Olusegun Obasanjo, when he was military head of state in the 1970s. It states that land was to be “held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians.”
“The rationale at the time,” according to Lagos property lawyer Tayo Odubanjo, “was that the government should act as the primary agent for the country’s development”. The act deliberately overrode customary rights to land, even if people had lived on it for generations, he said, because at the time local communities and land owners were seen as obstructing the government’s efforts to use land more effectively.
"There would be a very strong case for the law [but] the law failed to achieve this assumed role in practice," said Odunbanjo. Its negative consequences are being felt not just in the Niger Delta but throughout Nigeria, according to numerous studies.
"The Act concentrates both economic and political powers in the hands of few individuals who are abusing its spirit," according to the summary of a 2006 paper on the subject by academics Lasun Mykail Olayiwola and Olufemi Adeleye
Urbanist Geoffrey I. Nwaka writing in 2005 in Global Urban Development Magazine said the law made "the procedure for obtaining and developing land become excessively bureaucratized, obstructive, and riddled with corruption. Restrictions on the availability of land, especially for the poor, encouraged the growth of more and more irregular settlements on the fringes of the towns or on vacant public land,” he said.
Delta in mind
The law has also been blamed for the massive decrease in Nigeria's agricultural production in the decades subsequent to its enactment.
Also, in the Islamic north of the country the law exacerbated what has been an almost feudal social system as the government disinvested farmers of their land and put it in the hand of the emirs, thus forcing farmers to work for them.
Though the law has clauses providing compensation to local farmers who were using requisitioned or polluted land, the prices they have got in lieu of farming have been well below market prices and many locals say they have never received anything anyway.
Fishing communities have rarely been compensated as they have no visible evidence on which to base their claims. The government and oil companies have also generally refused to recognize the value locals place on communal land. Thus claims of loses from communally-owned shrines or sacred forests on which people rely for medicine or wild cane for goods such as raffia furniture have been rejected.
However experts agree that the law was initially created with the Niger Delta in mind, to make it cheaper and easier for the government and oil companies to start up oil ventures. They also agree that that is where the government applied the law most systematically thus leaving more people dispossessed.
"Before 1978, oil companies had troubles negotiating with the occupants of the land to access the oil," said Patterson Ogon the founding director of the Niger Delta-based Ijaw Council for Human Rights. "After the land act was implemented occupants could wake up one morning to find oil companies already drilling on their property and there was nothing they could do about it."
By Reason Wafawarova
SOMETIMES one wonders what people living under a polarised political environment stand to either benefit or lose as many adopt a callous culture of intolerance where they feel they can only read or listen to what they want to hear.
Winston Churchill talked of jaws and not wars when he was confronted with the complexity of international conflict in the early 1940s. The international, or geopolitical, system is one of diversity where ideologically one has to live up to the fact that capitalism, socialism and communism are ideological realities which won’t go away simply because one says they can’t stand them.
Politically, democracies differ in models: from representative democracy, as seen in many parliamentary democracies; mass democracy, as Hugo Chavez is implementing with his 21st century socialism; corporate democracy, as is found in the United States, where corporate power determines who is in government more than the people; all the way to guided democracy, as is the case in some Islamic states like Libya and Iran.
Power politics or real politik dictates that some countries are more powerful than others and that the power within countries can be used in different ways and targeted at different strategic points. It is always crystal-clear that aspects of the geopolitical processes, such as human rights, liberties and international law, are always viewed from various perspectives as motivated by cultural values, political views, religion, age and social interaction.
While ethnocentrism would have some believing that the whole world should see the world from their own ethnic point of view, the real situation is always that cultures differ the way sub-communities, families and individuals will always differ.
This, inevitably, entails that conflict can only be solved by communication; either at individual, cross-cultural or inter-group levels.
This is not a socio-political lecture, but a reality based on the intolerance being exhibited by some of our Zimbabwean citizens, especially those in the so-called Diaspora community. The political process in Zimbabwe is divided, as is the situation in many countries. At the moment that division centres mainly between the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition MDC.
Generally, the MDC is a protest movement with a default support base of disgruntled former Zanu-PF supporters as well as discontented workers and urban families that cannot stand the declining economy since the collapse of the deceptive International Monetary Funded-prescribed Economic Structural Adjust-ment Programme in the second half of the 1990s as well as the ruinous sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the US, the European Union, Australia, Canada and New Zealand after the land reform programme was launched in 2000.
On the other hand, Zanu-PF is a political party with a liberation legacy, the majority rule philosophy and grassroots policies, such as the land reform programme.
Pro-opposition opinion pieces in the media portray Zanu-PF as a party of murderous thugs at the command of a ruthless dictator, that despite the fact that President Mugabe holds massive star rallies across the country at least twice every six years, the last being in the 2005 general election.
This is the analysis that some people cannot stand. They can’t fight it by reason. Rather, they resort to such buffoonish grandstanding as is seen in the foolishness of advocating that those residing or studying in the West must necessarily support all Western policies as well as endorsing the MDC as a bona fide democratic movement before they swear themselves in as avowed critics of President Mugabe and his Government.
One wonders if it ever occurs to some people that much as they are of the conviction that Zanu-PF is a dictator’s party, there are many out there who are more than convinced that the MDC is not only a protest party, but one led by hopeless puppets only good at outlining the country’s problems with no clue on how such problems can be solved outside handing the problems together with the country to their "democratic masters" in the West.
While Zanu-PF has a lot of planning and implementation to do as the ruling party, those in the MDC should know that they have a lot of policy explaining to do; far more than the protesting they are bent on pursuing.
That way it is jaws and not wars.
The MDC has representatives in both chambers of Parliament — the House of Assembly and the Senate — and one of the factions has its headquarters strategically located in the central business district, while the other has its own base just five kilometres from the city centre, in Hillside. However, one gets the impression that the MDC is similar to Ugandan rebel Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army that is headquartered in the middle of the jungles of Uganda without any semblance of legal existence or tolerance.
The MDC has held countless political rallies across the country, some successful some abortive; but they only care to tell the world of those rallies they attempted to turn into mass protests and were accordingly thwarted.
When one speaks like this, our intolerant fellow countrymen residing in the Western Diaspora see red and become combative, physically that is. They want some form of emotional or physical pain inflicted on whoever allows their minds to see the MDC as a party lacking in one aspect or the other.
They want to set the Western authorities on such individuals in the hope that some kind of punishment may be meted out on their perceived nemesis.
Surely one would expect those posturing as champions of free speech and expression would also not want to be seen as the masters of brutality against divergent opinion. This writer thinks what has happened in Zimbabwe in the past seven years is clear testimony that wielding Western threats to achieve some political end is but a futile exercise.
The media in Zimbabwe is full of political opinions from both sides of the political divide and those who want to be part of the political process should aspire to engage themselves at this level of debate instead of pursuing primitive and laughable strategies as is portrayed in the so-called Fair Deal campaign on the rabid website going by the name Zimdaily.com.
There, some of the Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are of the opinion that they can silence opinion by wielding threats of a Western nature or even fooling themselves into believing that they can whip all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora into following the MDC line simply because the MDC has sympathy with the ruling elite of some Western countries.
This writer believes some of the people holding such opinions need to be reminded that there is a lot of company in anti-capitalist politics in the West and that some in the West do not see the MDC as an alternative solution to the challenges in Zimbabwe.
Rational debate on the political processes in Zimbabwe, Africa and the world is not going to be aborted because there are some Zimbabweans who use lies about or hate for President Mugabe as an excuse for living in Western countries do not want it.
That is simply not possible.
l Reason Wafawarova is a post- graduate student reading for a Master’s degree in International Relations at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He can be contacted at wafawarova + yahoo.co.uk
Agriculture mechanisation will help fight inflation: economists
THE ongoing mechanisation of the agricultural industry will go a long way in taming inflation, as it will help boost productivity as well as cut imported inflation, economists say. According to economic commentators, the use of interest rates to bring down inflation had so far failed to bring about the desired results.
It was therefore time to look at other measures in the medium to long term. These included raising agriculture output significantly, increasing export competitiveness and generating more foreign currency.
"Against a multiple and diverse interest rates, the use of accommodation rates as a tool of fighting inflation has not been effective," explained an economist with Kingdom Asset Management.
"The recent (interim monetary) policy reflected significant cash payouts to tobacco and maize farmers that should seriously impact on monetary aggregates.
"As such, food imports will seriously impact on high inflation since the food basket contributes the highest percentage on the CPI figure.
"Based on these factors, inflation is expected to remain upwards and very high" in the absence of a fully functional agriculture sector.
Others said while exchange rate management remained a thorny issue in the short term, long-term economic recovery could only be achieved by boosting industrial output in all major sectors — agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and mining.
This year, Zimbabwe expects to spend US$200 million on food imports. Government, which has admitted inflation will climb higher in 2007 due to drought, has forecast an output of 800 000 tonnes of maize from the 2006/07 season, leaving a shortfall of about 1,2 million tonnes to be met from imports.
This would put more pressure on the local currency and inflation, already sitting at a record high of 2 200 percent as at March 31.
Economists indicated, however, that Government continued to realise the importance of agriculture as the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy, as reflected by the vast amounts of money poured into the sector. This year alone, over 400 tractors have been shipped from China to help ease shortages in the industry.
Central bank governor Dr Gideon Gono has so far released over $410 billion in support of agriculture under the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility. He announced more incentives for the industry again during his interim monetary policy review report in April.
He outlined an aggressive programme of agriculture mechanisation that should see more farming equipment being imported with various orders already in place.
Support in the form of ox-drawn implements would be given to A1 farmers with analysts predicting "a lot of funds will be dedicated towards farming in the coming years".
Zimbabwe is an agro-based economy in which agriculture contributes about 30 percent to GDP.
Latest statistics from the Reserve Bank show that agricultural produce (excluding tobacco and horticulture) worth at least US$48,9 million worth was exported in the first three months of this year.
Last year, exports in this industry hit a low US$30,3 million, reflecting a constant decline since 2004 when exports stood at US$58,3 million.
‘Economic stabilisation fund will boost mining sector’
THE Chamber of Mines says the introduction of the Drought Mitigation Economic Stabilisation Fund by the central bank will encourage the mining sector to boost production of minerals, particularly gold.
"The move by the central bank is very welcome for the industry. This should help boost production, especially among the gold producers," Chamber of Mines acting chief executive Mr Doug Verden told New Ziana.
He said although a lot more needed to be done to significantly boost production, the introduction of the fund was a step towards achieving this aim.
Mr Verden also said the assurance by the central bank that it would soon pay out foreign currency owed to gold producers would revive production of the metal.
"We are pleased with the statement by the governor and as soon as the money is paid, gold producers can be in a position to start production," he said.
The mining sector has been calling for a more competitive price for minerals to enable them to sustain its operations and the fund is also expected to breathe life into other sectors of the economy such as tourism and agriculture.
Presenting the Interim Monetary Policy Statement last month, central bank governor Dr Gideon Gono announced the establishment of the fund which includes a Drought Mitigation Accelerator factor of 60.
This means that any holder of foreign currency who approaches the central bank, authorised dealer, Homelink or money transfer agent, will sell the foreign currency at the official exchange rate of $250 to the United States dollar multiplied by a factor of 60. — New Ziana.