Saturday, June 23, 2007
Saturday June 23, 2007 [04:00]
The meeting of leaders of our opposition political parties and the ruling MMD is highly welcome. And this meeting should be used to increase cooperation, unity and understanding among our politicians and their political parties. If cooperation is to be established among our political leaders, the primary requisite is to eradicate the cause of dissention between or among them.
Inter-party dialogue, inter-party talks or inter-party cooperation cannot remain just mere words; it has to be visible in concrete actions where those in government, those in the ruling party have to show the way.
Cooperation among our politicians requires that all parties respect each other and that all of them in turn recognise and respect the government as a legal institution. Dialogue and cooperation among our political leaders should be for us both a gift and a project and something that we all must work to achieve.
But it should not be forgotten that cooperation and understanding are the fruits of honesty, truth and solidarity; they are the tranquility of order.
To guarantee cooperation, dialogue and understanding, all are called to maturity, tolerance and responsibility.
Democracies thrive on openness and accountability. We know that one of the most difficult concepts for some of our politicians to accept is that of ‘loyal opposition’. This idea is a vital one, however. It means, in essence, that all sides in a democracy share a common commitment to its basic values. Political competitors don’t necessarily have to like each other, but they must be tolerant of one another and acknowledge that each has a legitimate and important role to play. Moreover, the ground rules of the society must encourage tolerance and civility in discourse or dialogue.
No matter who is in power, both sides should agree to cooperate in solving the problems of the nation. Those in the opposition should continue to participate in public life, with a knowledge that their role is essential in any multiparty democracy worth the name. They should be loyal not to the specific policies of those in government, but to the fundamental legitimacy of the state, and to the multiparty democratic process itself.
As we have stated before, the competition for power, for public office in a multiparty democracy, after all, is not a fight for survival, but a competition to serve.
In a multiparty political dispensation, we need the commitment of citizens who accept the inevitability of conflicting views as well as the necessity for tolerance. It should be borne in mind that human beings possess a variety of sometimes contradictory desires. And multiparty democracy is no different, and it is important to recognise that many of these tensions that we are experiencing today in our country, even the paradoxes, are present in every multiparty democracy.
A central paradox exists between conflict and consensus. Multiparty democracy is in many ways nothing more than a set of rules for managing conflict. At the same time, this conflict must be managed within certain limits and should result in compromises, consensus or other agreements that all sides accept as legitimate. An over-emphasis on one side of the equation can threaten the entire undertaking. If groups perceive multiparty democracy as nothing more than a forum in which they can press their demands, the nation can shatter from within. If those in government exert excessive pressure to achieve consensus, stifling the voices of the people, the nation can be crushed from above.
The answer is that there is no single or easy answer. Multiparty democracy is not a machine that runs by itself once the proper principles and procedures are inserted; it needs – as we have already stated – the commitment of citizens who accept the inevitability of conflict as well as the necessity for tolerance.
The conflicts that we face today are not easy questions, and the broad precepts of multiparty democracy only provide guidelines for addressing and analysing these issues. It is for this reason that the culture of democracy is so important to develop. Individuals and groups must be willing, at the minimum, to tolerate each other’s differences, recognising that the other side has valid rights and a legitimate point of view. The various sides to a political dispute whatever its nature, magnitude or complexity can meet in a spirit of compromise and seek a specific solution that builds on the general principle of dialogue, cooperation and accommodation. Such a process has the added benefit of building the trust necessary to resolve future problems.
Coalition building is the essence of democratic action. It teaches interest groups to negotiate with others, to compromise and to work within the constitutional system. By working to establish coalition, groups with differences learn how to argue respectfully and peaceably, how to pursue their goals in a democratic manner and ultimately how to live in a world of diversity. Multiparty democracy is not a set of revealed, unchanging truths, but the mechanism by which, through the clash and compromise of ideas, individuals and institutions, the people can, however imperfectly, reach for truth.
Multiparty democracy is pragmatic. In a multiparty democracy, ideas and solutions to problems are not tested against a rigid ideology but tried in the real world where they can be argued over and changed, accepted or discarded.
We shouldn’t forget that this multiparty democracy we are pursuing in itself guarantees us nothing. It offers us instead the opportunity to succeed as well as the risk of failure. There are many multiparty democracies that have failed. Our multiparty political dispensation is then both a promise and a challenge. It is a promise in the sense that if we work together, we can govern ourselves in a manner that will serve our aspirations for personal freedom, economic opportunity and social justice. It is a challenge because the success of the multiparty democratic enterprise rests upon the shoulders of its citizens and no one else. In the end, we get the government we deserve.
It is in this spirit that the leaders of our political parties should approach inter-party dialogue. They should always bear in mind that no one has the monopoly of wisdom. And moreover, those who think they have got the best ideas should not fear to put them on the judgement seat of reason. There should be no preconditions in inter-party dialogue. These talks should not be a platform for personal confrontation or contest; let us use these talks to address the legitimate concerns of our people and not necessarily of our leaders.
By Brighton Phiri and Noel Sichalwe
Saturday June 23, 2007 [04:00]
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata has declared that he will take President Mwanawasa head-on over the constitution-making process when they meet today during the political parties' presidents' meeting. Meanwhile Sata and UNIP president Tilyenji Kaunda have declared that they will dismiss the document of recommendations prepared by political parties' representatives at Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID), which suggest that opposition parties were not in support of the constituent assembly and that the civil society had hijacked the constitution- making process.
In an interview ahead of the ZCID summit of presidents today at Lusaka’s Mulungushi International Conference, Sata said PF was ready for President Mwanawasa over the constitution-making process.
"I hope and pray that Mr. Mwanawasa will come and not chicken out," Sata said.
"We have been told that Mr. Mwanawasa does not want us to discuss the Constitution, but we shall force him to discuss this serious matter."
Sata said he would use the meeting to raise before President Mwanawasa the issue of uncaring Chinese and other foreign investors.
He said PF was disgusted with the manner in which foreign investors, the Chinese in particular, were treating Zambians.
Sata said he tried to invite the Chinese ambassador to discuss the matter but he refused, saying that they were enjoying the protection of President Mwanawasa.
"I wish to warn these Chinese investors to take a leaf from what is happening with Railway Systems of Zambia's concession," Sata said.
"I don't hate the Chinese but how they treat Zambians. We invited the Chinese to discuss the closure of Mulungushi Textiles, ill-treatment of Zambians at Sinazongwe coal mine and Chambishi mines."
On the ZCID document, Sata said the document was contrary to PF position on the constitution-making process.
When reminded that PF was represented at ZCID, Sata said: "ZCID board chairman is Katele Kalumba from the MMD and so we are not surprised to see such a document. We shall throw it out."
Sata said there was no justification for the politicians to fear the Oasis Forum because they were just telling the parties what they had failed to do.
"Why should we fear the Oasis Forum when the historical background of political parties is that they were all born from social movements?" he asked.
Tilyenji said he would stand by his party's position that the new constitution should be adopted through a constituent assembly.
"We have our own position and if the recommendations prepared for our meeting fall short of our expectation, we shall not adopt them," Tilyenji said.
"We gave advice in 2003 when we said that we support the CRC on condition that the new constitution will be adopted through a constituent assembly."
He wondered why government was dishonest and buying time over the constitution-making process.
Tilyenji declared that UNIP was in full support of the Oasis Forum's Red Campaign.
"We have always supported the civil society in the quest to improve the governance systems," Tilyenji said.
"And we shall work hand in hand with the Oasis Forum on the Red Ribbon. We will always be on the right side of the constitution making process."
According to sources among the parties represented at ZCID, the document to be presented before the parties' presidents suggested that political parties were not in support of the constituent assembly and that Parliament should be allowed to enact the new constitution.
The sources further disclosed that in the document, the parties observed that the civil society had hijacked the constitution-making process such that the politicians were marginalised in the composition of the constituent assembly.
"There is a feeling among the parties that the civil society had become more powerful than politicians such that in their submission to the CRC they did not take into account the role of political parties in the constitution making process," said a source who declined to be named.
United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema said the government had failed to prudently utilise resources on the constitution reform process.
Hichilema said there was no need of winding over the constitution review process instead of enacting the necessary legislation to adopt the new constitution through a constituent assembly.
Hichilema said if the government's problem was the composition of the constituent assembly, they should raise the issue for them to find a solution.
"The constituent assembly is necessary and it must be tabled at the next sitting of Parliament," he said.
"We need a new constitution like yesterday and we should not allow frivolous issues to derail our agenda."
Hichilema said there was no need for a referendum on the constituent assembly because the exercise would gobble money that could be properly utilised to buy medicine in hospitals and build schools for children in rural areas.
He said there was need to distinguish leaders who could utilise national resources in an efficient manner from those who were wasteful.
Hichilema said Zambians should take responsibility and usher in a new leadership that could improve their country.
"The way government is proceeding on the constitution review process is that of being wasteful. There is no prudence in the utilisation of resources. Why spend maybe about K200 million on a referendum when people have already said they want the constituent assembly?" he asked.
Hichilema said politics was a service and that it should not be used as a retirement vacation.
He further supported the idea of funding political parties from state coffers. Hichilema said the people of Zambia should be involved in the bona fide political parties.
He said if other African countries were funding political parties, the Zambian government could also manage.
"We are not talking about extravagant spending. This is meaningful expenditure to make political parties professional. Let's start where problems start and we will then have a quality government," he said.
Topping the agenda of the presidents' meeting is the constitution and electoral reform processes and political party funding.
Other issues include ethical standards to govern inter-party relations and ensure internal party democracy, participatory decision-making, mutual respect with and among member political parties.
The programme also includes the promotion of good governance, transparency, probity and accountability within and among member political parties in Zambia and abroad.
The ZCID further considered empowerment of political parties to build both institutional and human capacities and to raise funds for their operations, raise funds from legitimate sources to support issues common to all parties as well as common national issues.
Friday, June 22, 2007
By Enacy Mapakame and John Kachembere
THE newly appointed ministerial taskforce on price stabilisation has received mixed reactions from the public with some applauding the move while others say it is a duplication of duties with the National Incomes and Pricing Commission.
The taskforce, chaired by the Minister of Industry and International Trade, Mr Obert Mpofu, was expected to come up with measures to enforce the relevant by-laws, which govern the sale of goods in designated areas and ensure that violators are brought to book.
It would also engage manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, transporters, real estate agencies and local authorities on the need to restrain speculative price hikes in the spirit of the recently signed Incomes and Pricing Stabilisation Protocol.
In a snap survey carried by the Herald Business, people voiced concern over price increases saying they were eroding their disposable income and causing wanton suffering.
In line with the escalating prices, said some analysts, it was essential for Government to come up with stern measures to curb such problems thus the newly appointed taskforce was a welcome move.
An economic analyst with the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group who preferred anonymity described the setting up of the task force as a welcome development saying it showed Government’s concern about the plight of Zimbabweans.
"The objectives and the aspirations of the task force to stabilise prices are quite conscientious.
"Prices cannot keep on escalating, something has to be done to put an end to all this madness and Government has done the right thing," he said.
He, however, called upon the task force to widely consult with all stakeholders and scrutinise a number of factors crucial to the stabilisation of prices.
"The task force should acknowledge the existence of a parallel market exchange rate as this has far greater impact on manufacturers and importers resulting in price increases.
"Unless the exchange rate issue is solved then the concerted efforts of the task force will hit a brick wall," he said.
In executing its duties, the taskforce was expected to ensure a transparent and objective pricing mechanism throughout the supply chain, through the application of scientific pricing models on all controlled and monitored goods and services.
"I think it is a noble idea that Government came up with a taskforce to caution against price increases, the parallel market and illegal foreign currency dealers among others.
"These have fuelled inflation, especially the parallel market, it is causing a lot of artificial shortages of basic goods and commodities in local shops yet you can find the same commodities on the parallel market at very exorbitant prices," said Ms Hope Makuyana.
The black market was seen by many as a critical problem. There was widespread diversion of essential goods into this market.
Some, however, said the appointment of a taskforce was a non-event with fears of duplication of functions with the National Incomes and Pricing Commission.
They argued that the only solution to curb unjustified price increases and inflation was to increase production, export more goods and earn the much-needed foreign currency.
"Prices will stabilise if production increases. Over the past few years the country’s production capacity has declined causing all these problems.
"There is no foreign currency and suppliers cannot reduce prices of their goods if they get the foreign currency from the parallel market at an inflated rate.
"Only production is the critical factor," said one vendor who preferred anonymity.
Government, business and labour recently signed protocols that could, over time, stabilise the prices of goods and services and should ensure that incomes match prices.
The protocol does not demand a wage and price freeze, but does demand that prices should be arrived at with the use of proper formulas, that the minimum wage should be based on the Poverty Datum Line and that wage increases should march in line with price increases.
THERE is need for maximum utilisation of capacity in the productive sector to reduce inflation, generate foreign currency through exports and remove price distortions, Vice President Joice Mujuru has said. Speaking at the sixth anniversary celebrations of diversified company Harambe Holdings in Harare on Wednesday, Vice President Mujuru said in 2006 Government launched the National Economic Development Priority Programme as a tool to drive the implementation of "quick-win" strategies to re-engineer the economy.
"Recently a workshop was held to review and refocus NEDPP. It is worth noting that the review comes at a time when the three social partners have committed themselves to a Social Contract. Furthermore, the signing of three protocols under the auspices of the Social Contract is indeed a positive development that helps to set the tone for the country’s economic reform," she said.
The protocols are Stabilisation of Incomes and Pricing, Restoration of Production Viability and Mobilisation, Pricing and Management of Foreign Currency.
"As can be appreciated, the three protocols are aligned to the objectives of NEDPP. The need for a shared vision cannot be overemphasised if these initiatives are to succeed," she said.
The Vice President said Government had set up the National Incomes and Pricing Commission with responsibility for developing pricing models for goods and services with a view to balancing the viability of producers and incomes and welfare needs of the people.
"However, I would like to believe that with the calibre, experience and expertise of the team constituting the commission, normalcy should be restored."
On NEDPP, Vice President Mujuru said she was happy to note that the response from industry was encouraging and a number of companies had, through the Public/Private Sector Partnership taken up the challenge and were promoting agro-based projects in line with the agrarian reform programme.
She said some of the existing initiatives within the framework included the promotion of small grains and livestock such as chickens, piggery, goats, the restocking of the country’s dairy and beef herd and horticulture.
The initiatives were aimed at empowering families and generating foreign currency through exports.
Vice President Mujuru said at the NEDPP review workshop, the major determinant of the time the economy would take to recover was the level and intensity with which all players worked together with unity of purpose, transparency and commitment to implement agreed plans and strategies.
She said Harambe Holdings was a turnaround company that rescued ailing companies and operated as a venture capital. Established in 2001, it now boasted five groups of companies with 30 operating units, consisting of bakeries, plastics, beverages, tiles and trading.
Vice President Mujuru said the efforts by Harambe Holdings, if replicated, would go a long way in contributing towards the country’s economic turnaround initiatives.
In September last year, the company launched Harambe Bursary Fund to assist the under-privileged primary school children, selected from all 10 provinces, to proceed to secondary education.
"Indeed, this contribution is invaluable to under-privileged families. The intervention is timely as the change-over from primary to secondary school calls for a huge outlay of cash for uniforms, school fees, books and other accessories. The bursary acts as bridging finance without which most of these children in the target group would fail to proceed to secondary school," said Vice President Mujuru.
The company is also sponsoring 20 disadvantaged undergraduate girls from the Women in Management and Development Trust.
"Let me hasten to say programmes that target the girl child help to achieve Millennium Development Goal 3 on gender equality and other factors. This has tended to increase their socio-economic vulnerability thus increasing their chances of exposure to HIV and Aids." She said education was a very powerful empowerment tool that would enable the beneficiaries to participate fully in the development process.
By Bivan Saluseki in Tripoli, Libya
Friday June 22, 2007 [04:00]
AFRICA should not mourn that European markets are closed to its goods, opposition Forum for Democracy and Development president Edith Nawakwi has said. And Nawakwi yesterday said some people should not take out of context or misunderstand her attending the African Union (AU) meeting in Tripoli as President Gaddafi was merely trying to explain the concepts of the African Union in terms of coming up with one government.
Meanwhile, Kawambwa Central Patriotic Front member of parliament Elizabeth Chitika Molobeka said people should not gloss over the challenges the AU faces in terms of looking at one government. In separate interviews, Nawakwi who is also invited by the Libyan leader said Africa could easily exploit its own 800 million inhabitants.
"This is a huge market waiting to be exploited. It (population) holds the key and answer to the poverty and getting this continent out of its current backward state," she said. "It's an exercise in futility to continue to mourn the fact that European markets are closed to our goods. We can amongst ourselves increase demand for goods and services we produce."
Nawakwi said if every child in Africa needed a book and pencil, large volumes of timber would be required to produce the books and pencils and Africa had the timber.
"If every child would have a glass of milk, how many cows would be needed? The issue here is about creating a market for ourselves and stopping looking at the World Trade Organisation. It's a simple issue of trade and resources available."
She said there were many countries that had energy deficiencies and countries with enough energy could help those in need.
"These are critical issues. We have to move from politics of isolation," she said.
Nawakwi said it was feasible for Africa to work together economically.
And Nawakwi said some people might put her attendance in the Tripoli meeting out of context. She said people that had not read the AU agenda might misunderstand the meeting.
Nawakwi said when heads of state meet at summits, none of the people got to know what they had discussed and agreed on and that was why President Gaddafi wanted to explain to the civil society, politicians and several prominent Africans on the AU.
"President Gaddafi has made significant attempts to inform civil society," she said.
Nawakwi said the unity of Africa was enshrined in the constitutional agreement of the AU.
She said the issue at hand was that of integration.
Nawakwi said at first there was a theory that the larger the population, the poorer people would be. But she said that theory had crumbled.
She said countries like China, India and the United States had shown that populations could help marshall development.
"Population alone has played a role as an engine of growth," she said.
And Molobeka said uniting Africa was feasible and President Gaddafi's ideas should not be glossed over.
Molobeka said there were a lot of challenges though and just as the EU took decades before it became a formidable union, the AU might also take time.
She said what was important was to start the process.
"It's important that as Africans we stand together and we start from somewhere," said Molobeka.
And UPND's Edward Kasoka said even former heads of state in southern African such as Dr Kaunda should be recognised when talking about the AU.
He said the Libyan leader's concept was very good but there were a lot of issues that needed to be ironed out.
"The start is good but we should go in phases," said Kasoka.
Friday June 22, 2007 [04:00]
Zambia has become very dirty and something needs to be done urgently to correct the situation. The initiatives that are being undertaken by the government at all levels, and especially by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, deserve the support of all our people.
Filthy surroundings do not only pose a danger to the environment, they are also a health hazard to the residents. We know of many diseases that arise from dirt. Cleaning our environment will go a long way in reducing the occurrence of such diseases as cholera. Cleaning our surroundings can save many lives and even help reduce the pressure on our health services.
We cannot continue to have towns and cities where it has become normal for rats and cockroaches to move freely and be accepted as members, or part of our lives.
But whatever efforts we make in trying to clean public places, if these are not extended to our homes, very little will be achieved. Cleanliness should start at home or else it will just be another case of chipale chapamusebo. And we know that this is unsustainable because it has no roots – the roots of cleanliness should be in the homes, in the family. People who come from clean homes are more likely to keep public places clean.
With the entrenched culture of dirtiness, of filth and of littering, keeping Zambia clean will not be an easy undertaking. It will require a lot of effort to change this attitude which has become our way of life. A lot of work will need to be done to educate every household about the need for cleanliness.
Schools and other institutions of learning will also become vital agents in this campaign to keep our country clean. Keeping Zambia clean should actually become a subject taught in our schools – from nursery, primary through to high schools.
The Church also has an important role to play. Our Christian mission demands that we give ourselves the task of restoring the beauty and harmony of God’s creation. Environment is the living space we share with other humans, animals and plants, trees and rocks, rivers and lakes. We know that the environment is sacred space, because our God is present in every part of it, giving life and beauty and comfort. The integrity of creation must be respected in all human activities or we have no future. We must respect God’s creation by being concerned about ecological problems around us. God’s creation is a precious gift to all, both us alive today and future generations.
Christians should never forget that God placed people in the world to develop it as co-creators with Himself. Therefore, the cleanliness and the protection of the environment must be serious concerns for our wellbeing. Christians should see our country as a gift from God and must develop it for the good and welfare of all our people. Unfortunately, we have not taken the best care of our surroundings, of our environment on which we depend for survival. The environment must be preserved at all costs. We must show respect for the integrity of creation by keeping Zambia clean.
But while we welcome the initiatives that are being undertaken by our political and civic leaders, it is important for us to point out that very little, if not nothing, will be achieved in our endeavours to keep Zambia clean if our people are not consulted and involved in whatever we do. If our initiatives start to appear to be impositions or punitive measures on them, they are bound to face resistance. We don’t think the views of our people were widely sought on the ‘Keep Zambia clean’ campaign. This is a very good campaign but it needs the all-out mobilisation of our people; it needs the full support of all our people.
Even the legislation that we are being told has been revised and tightened was not done with the consultation of our people. However, it is not too late for the government to get moving on these issues; we have no time to lose. Public support is necessary because it will make enforcement of litter disposal and other legislation easier. Education is also easier when people have been prepared to receive it.
Our ‘Keep Zambia clean’ campaign needs to be simplified with clear priorities and targets so that the most important changes are made first or the most important issues are tackled first. There is need for us to set targets for achieving performance in all aspects of keeping Zambia clean.
There is also an urgent need to address the high cost of keeping Zambia clean. We know that cleanliness comes with a cost, but let’s keep this to manageable levels or the whole campaign will soon collapse because of lack of funds. There is need to empower communities to keep their surroundings clean at a very low cost, or at no cost at all. A ‘keep Zambia clean’ campaign that is totally based on huge amounts of money being made available by the government or the councils is bound to fail because this type of money will not be found, it is not there. So, to keep our country clean let us devise a strategy that is based on what we have – people – and not what we don’t have – money
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Friday June 22, 2007 [04:00]
PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa is today expected to launch the Keep Zambia Clean campaign. Local government and housing minister Sylvia Masebo said during a press briefing yesterday that the launch at 19:00 hours would trigger various activities intended to improve the environment.
Masebo highlighted activities that include cleaning of Soweto Market on Saturday which will be spearheaded by first lady Maureen Mwanawasa and marketeers.
Masebo said the Minister of Communication and Transport Sara Sayifwanda would be working with bus drivers and conductors to clean buses.
“The Mayor of Lusaka is expected to clean and unblock drainages in Mandevu compound. The Inspector General of police will be ready to enforce law in the week. The provincial minister for the Copperbelt will launch activities in Kitwe. The Hoteliers chairperson Mr Gaudenzio Rossi will be cleaning a hotel,” she said.
Masebo said health minister Dr Brian Chituwo was expected to clean a ward at the University Teaching Hospital and the education minister would clean a school in Chawama.
Masebo said the Minister of Home Affairs would clean one of the prisons. She said commerce minister Felix Mutati would on June, 28 launch the painting of shops in Kamwala and the town centre and hoped shop owners in the affected areas would begin painting their shops.
Masebo said one of the Catholic parishes had been identified and would clean their surroundings. She said the chairperson of the House of Chiefs was expected in Southern Province to do a clean up campaign in one of the villages and he was also expected to commission a water supply project.
Masebo further said the press needed to play a very important role in the exercise.
“I note that The Post newspapers is organising (for next Thursday) a news forum where the Bank of Zambia governor will feature and talk about the Keep Zambia Clean campaign as a corporate responsibility,” she said.
Masebo said the Minister of Tourism would also be launching a tree-planting exercise in Chilenje South and the community was encouraged in the tree-planting exercise. She said some time next week, she would be launching the new regulatory laws on nuisance and public health Act.
Masebo said she intended to increase penalties so that they became more meaningful.
“The current law in terms of fine is very minimum. People break the law knowing the fine is very little. For noise, honking, playing loud music, the current fee is K1, 000 or K2, 000 and I want to increase the fee to K100, 000 to K1 million. For parking in wrong areas, off loading on the road, we will be fining from K100, 000 to K1 million. For street vending, the fine is K500.00, we want to increase it to K100, 000. Other things like urinating in public, we want to increase the fine from K1, 000 to K50, 000 and K100, 000,” she said.
She said other offences like keeping sheep and goats in the backyard would also be dealt with.
Masebo said all vehicles involved in accidents and had been parked at police stations would be removed because they made the surroundings untidy.
“The police will be very busy. The IG is expected to remove all the vehicles from police stations and deal with illegal car dealers. The public needs to be sensitised on what the law entails. There will also be inspections of schools, restaurants and other food outlets. Regulations need to be followed in full,” she said.
Masebo said K200 million had been allocated in the budget for the exercise and the money had since been released.
“We want Lusaka to go back to the garden city it was known for. We hope the Church will help preach messages of hygiene and people should not throw litter out of the car windows,” she said.
Masebo also directed local authorities to write to owners of unfinished buildings and give them a period within which to complete construction or repossess them.
On the dismissals of council workers at Ndola City Council, Masebo said government would not allow a situation where workers locked their superiors out of their offices.
“We won’t condone such behaviour from council employees and what the mayor has done is in line with the conditions of service and we will support him on the action the council has taken. It is important as a country not to support anarchy as much as they may have good reasons for their strike action, but where they lock offices can’t be allowed. I hear ZCTU wants to come and see me and I hope not to support anarchy,” said Masebo.
By Brighton Phiri
Friday June 22, 2007 [04:00]
DR Kenneth Kaunda has opposed the government's proposed referendum over the constituent assembly. Dr Kaunda has since declared that he would vote for a constituent assembly, should the government decide to waste resources on the referendum instead of reserving the much-needed funds for poverty reduction and HIV/AIDS.
In an interview, Dr Kaunda said there was no justification for government to waste money on a referendum when the Mung'omba Constitution Review Commission (CRC) had recommended a much cheaper process of establishing a constituent assembly.
"Let us reserve that money for AIDS, TB, Malaria, orphans and education for our poor children. We can use that money to improve the schools, clinics in our rural areas," Dr Kaunda said. "I will protest by way of voting for a constituent assembly if government decides to do the wrong thing. I will help to do the right with my vote."
Dr. Kaunda said it was sad that government had decided to spend huge sums of money to de-campaign a constituent assembly at a time when there were no drugs and medical equipment in hospitals, no teachers in schools and its citizens were dying from poverty-related illnesses.
"We should begin to move towards doing the right things for all of us," he said.
Dr Kaunda wondered why government had decided to kick off the referendum debate when Zambians had already spoken through the CRC.
"What are we waiting for? Why are we not implementing what the CRC recommended? Why don't we go by Mung'omba Commission recommendations?" Dr Kaunda asked.
Dr Kaunda said there was something in those who embraced the Church, Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and Non-Government Organisations Co-ordinating Council (NGOCC) position of avoiding a costly referendum, because they truly represented the majority's views.
He said it was important that government recognised the Oasis Forum's voice as that of the people.
"Who can challenge the church's representation?" Dr Kaunda asked.
Dr Kaunda advised Zambians to move away from doing things that could be seen by the governed as tricks.
He urged Zambians to contribute towards the constitution-making process by being clear on their positions.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
By Fridah Zinyama
Thursday June 21, 2007 [04:00]
ZAMBIA Revenue Authority (ZRA) commissioner general Chriticles Mwansa has said the setting up of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at Chirundu will help to curb corruption. In an interview on Monday, Mwansa said the bottlenecks at Chirundu border post had led to an increase in corruption cases.
“There is a lot of collaboration that goes on between personnel and customers and a lot of figures are fidgeted (fictitious) hence denying government its rightful revenue,” Mwansa said. “The OSBP will also help to increase efficiency and will help cut on corruption cases.”
He said congestion at the border post had been a major contributor of corruption and improvement in efficiency would help to curb the vice.
“Because of the improvement that would be created in service provision, we are confident that this investment will be able to attract other investors,” Mwansa said.
On Tuesday, commerce Minister Felix Mutati said that Zambia expected to increase its revenue by 25 per cent when the One Stop Border Project at Chirundu finally became operational this year.
At the official opening of the OSBP steering committee meeting between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Mutati said intra-regional trade has grown consistently by 20 per cent per annum in value terms since the launch of the COMESA free trade area in 2000.
He said this increase had led to the rise in trade issues affecting both large and small enterprises including the movement of people and goods.
Mutati said Zambia was raising about K70 billion per month at Chirundu.
By Nomsa Nkala
AGRICULTURE is patently the backbone of every economy and for each nation to prosper, its food industry must be fully exploited. But that industry alone does not totally sustain a nation. Other supportive sectors also have to be recognised and supported to bring total prosperity. Only through a wholesome and proper utilisation of its God-given resources can a nation’s economy fully grow. And Zimbabwe is no exception.
With agriculture on the fore, Zimbabwe has lucrative sectors that, if fully tapped, would help bring the desired results. Among the potentially rich gems is mining.
The mining industry is basically foreign currency-based with the majority of minerals available in Zimbabwe glutted worldwide.
The industry is not only non-seasonal — with only instances of underground water and other minor weather drawbacks that can be managed — but it is also ongoing throughout the year allowing constant productivity where the requisite resources are available.
Zimbabwe has various minerals, with immense worldwide demand in massive locations countrywide, among them chrome, iron, asbestos, tungsten, gold, copper, nickel, cobalt, platinum, palladium, rhodium, silver and coal.
Distribution of these resources are concentrated on the Great Dyke with sadly some single companies holding vast deposits of as high as 60 percent of the country’s total reserves.
Prices for most of these minerals, especially metals, are generally on an upward trend buoyed by massive Chinese demand and that of other developed and growing nations.
Despite the inherent capacity to help hold up the economy, the current industry retains are meagre. Although the prices are improving worldwide, the country’s output of the commodities is continually taking a sharp decline.
While the fall in output of some precious minerals can be attributed to smuggling and other unscrupulous drills by some miners, which the Government is making frantic efforts to eradicate, the compounding factor for the industry’s minimal growth has mostly been productive constraints.
Commendably, the Government, through the Ministry of Mines, has to date extended a supportive hand, especially to small-scale miners through various progressive measures including policy changes.
But access to equipping resources that can be availed by the country’s financial institutions remains a dark area for the enthusiastic small-scale miner.
There is, therefore, urgent need for the Government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, to tailor-make a downstream support programme for the mining industry covering all its aspects that include civil, structural, mechanical and electrical, especially for the smelters.
Investment in this sector is ideally on a larger scale if any meaningful benefits for the country and the relevant communities are to be realised. That kind of investment can also come in joint-venture facilities with foreign players with the Government guaranteeing the protection of the foreign companies taking up these worthwhile challenges.
To ensure full utilisation of the resources, proper monitoring measures have to be put in place, especially for the exporters and follow-up programmes for those who would have benefited from the availed facilities.
Small-scale miners also need to be educated on environmental conservation and rehabilitation to avoid degradation and laws outlining these practices should be put in place and adhered to.
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Cde Amos Midzi, recently revealed that the Government was crafting a law that will give indigenous Zimbabweans greater control of the country’s mineral resources while maintaining those mines owned by international firms.
This positive stance gives a flicker of hope to the mining sector, the indigenous miner in particular.
By Walter Nyamukondiwa and Stephen Muzanenhamo
FOLLOWING efforts by Government to restore law and order in the country’s gold mining sector through Operation Chikorokoza Chapera/Isitsheketsha Sesiphelile — a blitz geared at ridding Zimbabwe of illegal gold miners — attention has now shifted to the future of prospectors who are willing to resume "legal" small-scale mining.
The activities of illegal gold miners are prejudicing Zimbabwe of potential foreign currency earnings while simultaneously damaging the ecosystem and biodiversity.
However, the challenge now is to rejuvenate small-scale mining that will wholly benefit Zimbabwe and the prospectors under a binding legal framework.
A recent visit by The Herald to Chikuti in Makonde district — one of the areas ravaged by the vagaries of illegal mining activity — to assess the impact of Government initiated restoration programme revealed that most miners were eager to continue prospecting for gold.
However, their desire to earn a livelihood has been superseded by the need to be organised and operate in a sustainable manner that guarantees future generations a habitable environment.
Evidence of the attendant wholesale destruction of the environment caused by the "free-for-all" kind of gold mining all over the country is there for all to see as the landscape had become an eyesore.
Before the clampdown, Chikuti was a concentrated mining society composed of people from as far as Chipinge, Chiredzi and Mutoko and even some people from neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Mozambique.
Most of them were not registered, hence operated illegally.
This left loopholes in the monitoring of their activities, exposing Zimbabwe to greater prejudice as the gold found its way to the illegal parallel market where it was then smuggled out of the country.
Legally, the gold should be sold to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe through Fidelity Printers while marketing of minerals outside the country is a function of the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.
Under those conditions, a society characterised by recklessness and disregard of the moral values that shape Zimbabweans emerged, dealing a blow to current efforts to reduce the prevalence of HIV and Aids.
The society had earned itself the name "Bush town" as any claim would have a high concentration of shops bringing roaring business to proprietors and women who sold anything from clothes and basic commodities while some resorted to selling their bodies or living-in with the big-spending makorokozas.
This led to the breakdown of some marriages and the moral fabric of the society.
Chikuti never bore the semblance of a developing town as infrastructure development was haphazard, most of it was temporary — itself a sign that people wanted to register quick gains and move elsewhere.
It had become normative that after hitting a gold belt, one would momentarily hang his tools and head back home either to squander or to invest the money.
Therein lay the problem as the resources from Chikuti were being continually siphoned illegally to other areas or smuggled out of the country.
There was little to benefit people in the 18 wards of the Chikuti area who were left to grapple with the defaced landscape which had become a silent ghost, maiming their livestock and threatening their lives in the process.
The police clampdown on the illegal miners, however, yielded results, but the damage had already been done.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting with small-scale miners and Government departments recently, Mashonaland West Governor and Resident Minister Cde Nelson Samkange called for a multi-pronged approach to rejuvenate small-scale mining under a regulated regime.
"The Ministry of Mines should have been at the forefront in taming the excesses of illegal mining long before police intervention. It didn’t have to degenerate to this level to take action," said Cde Samkange.
He said mining inspectors should systematically issue mining claims while another arm of Government — the Environmental Management Agency — monitored activity at the claim to ensure compliance with mining and environmental regulations.
He noted that EMA faced manpower shortages.
Provincial administrator, Cde Christopher Shumba, concurred with the governor and called for the strengthening of EMA through boosting of manpower.
"A sufficient human resource base would make it easier for EMA to monitor and sanction any offenders," he said.
The activity of the illegal miners has left a mark on the environment that would be difficult to erase as gullies and gaping holes are common sight.
Of major concern has been the uncontrolled use of harmful chemicals such as cyanide and mercury to separate the gold from the ore — which was later recklessly discharged into Angwa River — the main source of drinking water for livestock and people.
This, coupled with the mounds of sand that were washed into the river, threatened clean water supply and irrigation activity downstream.
Exposure to cyanide and mercury could lead to abnormal births and even deaths.
Some people who were present said a regime similar to that prevailing in societies where wildlife has been incorporated into community tourism and benefiting those affected by the tourism activity through the Campfire programme, is necessary.
Councillor for Makonde ward Cde Betty Bhiri said Government should consider allocating mining concessions to localised co-operatives so that communities benefit from the resources around them.
"I think the allocation of mining concessions to local co-operatives would go a long way in empowering communities while at the same time ensuring adherence to environmental laws as any damage to the landscape would affect them directly," she said.
Parts of the funds realised from the mining activity, she said, would be used to build schools and other social amenities.
Officer commanding Mashonaland West police Senior Assistant Commissioner Moses Chihuri said police would continue monitoring hotspots to ensure compliance with Government’s thrust to establish an organised mining sector.
Over 16 000 people have so far been arrested in Mashonaland West Province since the operation began while 137 of these have been convicted with 14 getting sentences of between two and five years.
At least 29 people are wanted by the police to facilitate investigations into illegal trading in gold.
About 500 grammes of pure gold and 709 tonnes of gold ore have so far been recovered.
Government has shown willingness to restore sanity in small-scale mining by enacting the Financial Act number 2/2007.
The law seeks to dissuade illegal mining operations by imposing stiffer and deterrent penalties ranging between two to five years imprisonment with labour.
Offenders are not given the option of a fine.
Thursday June 21, 2007 [04:00]
In trying to transform a poor Zambia into a prosperous country, we are confronted with arduous tasks and our experience is far from adequate. So we must be good at learning, education and training of our people.
Conditions are changing all the time, and to adapt one’s thinking to the new conditions, one must have access to good education, one must study. Even those who are already educated, those who have attained high levels of education and are comparatively firm in their understanding of issues have to go on studying, have to absorb what is new and study new problems. We can learn what we don’t know.
Knowledge is a matter of science, and no dishonesty or conceit whatsoever is permissible. For this reason we have to continue spending more and more money on education. There should never be complacence in education because complacence is the enemy of study.
A society which values its future affords the highest priority to providing education for all its young people. And we must involve young people themselves in shaping education and training. There are many serious decisions that are being taken at the University of Zambia and other institutions of higher learning in our country without involving these young people.
The University of Zambian is seriously under-funded and highly in debt with many suppliers of goods and services. The University of Zambia owes over K200 billion to various suppliers of goods and services. And there is no way the University of Zambia, even under the most intelligent or the most industrious, creative management, will be able to repay this debt. Continued under-funding of the university will soon prove a serious fetter to the development of our country. The university gets an allocation of less than 40 per cent of its budget. How can anyone expect this university to function in an efficient, effective and orderly manner? It will be better to appoint finance minister Ng’andu Magande as vice chancellor of the University of Zambia and give him the money he has allocated to this university and see how far he will go in running it. We believe, as things stand today, it is impossible to run the University of Zambia in a stable and peaceful manner. Whoever we appoint as vice chancellor of this university will not achieve much if the level of funding does not improve.
The University of Zambia is not a business like Zambia National Commercial Bank or Zambia State Insurance Corporation which can run on its own after the initial investment has been put into it. Education is an investment that the state has to continually make. We shouldn’t be deceived by anyone that the University of Zambia can be commercialised or turned into a profit-making enterprise. Even in the United Kingdom and other European countries, education is still funded by the state, universities are still financed from the national treasury. Why is this so? It is as a result of the realisation that no country can develop and continue to do so without educated people. No matter how much natural resources a country is endowed with, it will not develop in a meaningful or beneficial way without an educated citizenry. For some time now, the quality of education in the country has been dropping from the high levels attained during the Kaunda days. The great majority of our well-educated people, those who were educated in the first and second Republics are now in their forties. There will be a serious gap when this group goes – and it is about to go. We shouldn’t be misled by the decades of stagnation under which the value of education seemed not to be such an important issue.
We shouldn’t be misled by the fact that today we have no jobs for most of our university and college graduates. A little growth in the economy will quickly alter this; it will highly increase the demand for educated labour. Again, we should never forget that there is no country in the world that has managed to develop without an educated population. Actually, it is possible to point at examples of countries that have developed without, or with very limited, natural resources but totally relying on a highly educated workforce. When people say that the most important resource of a country is its people, they don’t generally mean its ignorant people, they mean its educated people.
It doesn’t make sense for the government to ask the University of Zambia management to raise K6.5 billion for salary increments through cost cuttings. It’s immoral to ask an institution that is so under-funded to cut costs. It is clear that the University of Zambia management in its efforts to raise the K6.5 billion for salary increments to meet the demand of the striking lecturers is madness. In desperation, the University of Zambia management is cutting essential services like cleaning and refuse collection. Soon there will be an outbreak of cholera and other diseases associated with dirt. The University of Zambia will soon become a breeding place for rats, cockroaches, lice and other insects and little animals associated with dirt. Then probably more money will be released by the same government to fight cholera at the University of Zambia. This is not making sense.
There is no way the university will manage to function in a stable and peaceful way with 60 per cent cost-cutting measures. This would only be possible if the university was over-funded and there was wastage. In saying all this, we are not in any way encouraging wastefulness or misuse of resources. We will support all measures that are aimed at combating waste and that encourage diligence and frugality, that pay special attention to economy. Every kwacha that the university receives from the state should be used properly and adequately accounted for. But the University of Zambia management should not be expected to run that institution without money. There is no money for education but there is a lot of it for political activities. Well, this is a question of priorities. Let’s set our priorities right. Education is a right that must not be denied to our young people or else we throw away their lives.
We urge our young people to defend their right to good education with all they have. But at the same time, we advise them to do this with discipline and in a civilised and humane manner. They should not do anything that antagonises the public. Things like stoning innocent people and destroying or damaging private and public assets should not be condoned. We also urge them to be sympathetic, understanding and compassionate to the people running their university. The hands of the management of the University of Zambia are tied; there is very little they can do unless and until government pumps in more resources in the institution. So they should target their artillery to State House and ensure that their education receives the priority it deserves or should deserve in the allocation of public funds.
By Brighton Phiri
Thursday June 21, 2007 [04:00]
OPPOSITION Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has invited all aspiring candidates for the party presidency to challenge him during the party’s next general conference. According to PF sources, Sata on May 16 wrote a memo to all members of the central committee asking them to consider approving his proposal that the party begin to receive applications from all would-be candidates for party presidency, central committee, members of parliament in all the 150 parliamentary constituencies and councillors.
"I am in receipt of president Sata's letter and we are studying his proposals," said one of the PF central committee members who declined to give full details of the letter.
In his letter obtained by The Post, Sata stated that it was important for the party to put its house in order as it was preparing for the general conference.
"As the party is preparing for the general conference, it is important we put our house in order. I am proposing that we call the party general elections beginning with sections, branches, wards and constituencies, which should be accomplished within 60 days to be supervised by the elections committee," read Sata's letter in part. "In 2004, the party started a general party elections, the programme did not go well because some of the people we entrusted to create structures went in the field with selfish intentions. Instead of accomplishing the programme, all they managed was to establish themselves, at the end of the programme they personally benefited to be elected to Parliament leaving the party structures divided. I am, therefore, proposing that we invite applications from all who would like to aspire as president of the party at the general conference, members of parliament and all aspiring candidates in 1,358 wards."
Sata stated that his proposed measures would ensure that all would-be leaders at all levels were made accountable to the primary organs of the party.
He observed that PF was not only 'invaded' during the 2001 presidential and general elections but that the infiltration had become more visible at all levels.
By Chansa Kabwela, Kingsley Kaswende and George Chellah in Hara
Thursday June 21, 2007 [04:00]
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has said poor people are not a liability to society. And Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Dr Gideon Gono has said the central bank will spend Z$32 billion (US $128 million; US $1=Z$250) to support microfinance and money lending institutions in the country.
Opening a regional meeting on measuring performance of micro-finance institutions at Harare 's Rainbow Towers Hotel yesterday, President Mugabe said a paradigm shift was needed to recognise that poor people were not a liability but an untapped resource and potential contributors to economic development.
President Mugabe said there was a misconception in most developing countries of regarding all poor clients as risky and less profitable. "Since governments and donors have only limited capacity to meet this supply shortfall, we need to involve micro-finance institutions that can mobilise resources locally. However, we need to be clear that micro-finance is not charity. It is instead a way to extend basic rights, affordable credit and services to low income households," he said.
President Mugabe said there was need to note the intricate relationship between poverty and gender especially with particular reference to women.
He said women and children in most cases bear the brunt of poverty as they were in some societies and cultures disadvantaged both educationally and traditionally, with their economic capabilities despised.
"Micro-finance therefore provides improved and more realistic opportunities to create jobs for women and their families, a situation that is favoured by many since women generally prove to be more honest and focused borrowers. For us to meet the target set under the third Millennium Development Goal, that is of promoting gender and empowering women, more resources should be channeled towards improving the role of micro-finance institutions," President Mugabe said.
"While micro-finance is expanding, key challenges emerge and these include the need for product diversification, capacity building and lesser donor dependency. This makes it necessary to transform and integrate the micro-finance sector into the formal financial system. In Africa, for example, micro-finance institutions are striving to increase outreach and sustainability and have adopted micro-finance approaches such as savings and credit unions, cooperatives and even non-governmental organisations that provide credit. However, given their lack of access to resources and the challenges of macroeconomic conditions, many micro-finance institutions have remained dependent on external assistance."
President Mugabe said there was need for all people to fight poverty in Africa. He explained that in many countries, including Zimbabwe, micro-finance had proved its value as a weapon against poverty and hunger. President Mugabe said ordinary but hardworking people with access to micro-finance could build up assets and protect themselves against unexpected setbacks and losses through savings and small loans.
"They can also move beyond mere day-to-day survival and attain the capacity to better plan for the future and invest in better housing, improved health and better education, hence reducing their vulnerability to the vicious challenge of poverty. It is the duty of governments and that of all stakeholders in the development process to make micro-credit a tool to reach the 900 million people who make up the world's poor," he said.
President Mugabe said the current economic challenges had given rise to the emergence and subsequent growth of many micro-finance institutions which had endeavoured to fill the gap created by deficiencies in the traditional banking system. President Mugabe said Zimbabwe takes the micro-finance sector seriously and had since raised its profile by placing it under the ambit of the central government.
And Dr Gono said the RBZ had earlier released Z$16 billion (US $56 million) which has all been taken up and that it was adding another Z$16 billion.
"So far the RBZ has disbursed Z$7.6 billion or 46 per cent of the Z$16 billion disbursed to date. Many of the beneficiaries were in the agriculture sector such as livestock, poultry and commodity broking. Applications were also received from the mining and manufacturing sectors, which included food processing and brick moulding," he said.
"The Z$16 billion has all been taken up and I would like to announce that we are releasing another Z$16 billion for the same purpose. This is necessitated by your (President Mugabe's) visit to some of them and your comments to them."
Dr Gono said the central bank had so far registered 257 microfinance and money lending institutions since it embarked on regulatory reforms for the industry in 2004."
He said before then, the industry was prone to indiscipline and it became imperative for the RBZ to take control. Dr Gono said SMEs contribute 50 per cent to the Zimbabwe's GDP and support 80 per cent of the population in a country of 13 million people.
He said RBZ would continue with appropriate lending to the microfinance sector in its monetary interventions, as the sector was a bridge to the gap that banks have left in the economy in its current situation.
Harare Metropolitan Province governor David Karimanzira said micro-finance has been changing people's lives since the beginning of trade. Karimanzira said people were able to support their families after accessing small loans from micro-finance institutions thereby helping to reduce poverty and contributing to Zimbabwe's economic development.
By M. Muchende Lusaka
Thursday June 21, 2007 [04:00]
The Auditor General’s report on parastatal companies for 2005 is an interesting attempt to inform the nation about the state of government investments. It is clear from the reports that the parastatal companies are trying their best to stay above waters despite the difficulties they have to contend with against the new companies.
However, the structure of the reports makes me highly uncomfortable as to the intended use of the outcome given that the shareholder is government. I would have no qualms releasing the reports of public or non-market institutions via the website.
However, the real achievement of the Auditor General has been to kill these institutions that are struggling to correct the past wrongs and uncompetitive business climate of the 1990s.
It is even worse for those institutions whose reports have been released without responses from management. The fortunate ones such as Zamtel and the National Airports Corporations had responses from management but others did not have this opportunity. Should we say the reports are basically speculative or in draft form?
It is not enough to release the reports without getting reports from the other side, otherwise wrong conclusions will be made. Worse still, this is not helpful information to decision makers and will only arm the private sector that is aggressively taking away business from the parastatal companies.
Could this approach of releasing draft reports be the reason for the recent conflict between Mrs Anna Chifungula and Dr Simon Miti? It is also true that most of these companies are audited by professional auditing firms and nothing has been published regarding their solvency. What is the problem then?
Could it be that the Auditor General’s office is using the civil service approach to audit business transactions for profit-making entities? Or is it that the Auditor General is untouchable and can go lengths releasing reports without due regard to their impact? I am interested to have answers to my questions.
Educate masses on constitution-making process
By Sepiso Lilami,
Wednesday June 20, 2007 [04:00]
I would like to add a voice to the ongoing debate and fight over the mode of adopting the new draft constitution.
Most important, I would like to observe with sadness that the debate and fight over the method to be used in adopting the draft constitution is literally between Levy, his few arrogant and blind-following ministers against the Oasis Forum and the opposition top leaders who understand the constitution-making process well.
This is supposed to be a national issue in which all the citizens of Zambia need to actively get involved.
Unfortunately, if you go to the grassroots or general citizenry, the level of involvement in the fight for enacting the new constitution is very low.
The reason is very simple; most of the general citizenry of Zambia do not understand the process of adopting the new constitution and the appropriate mode to be used if the nation is to have a people-driven constitution that will stand a test of time as opposed to having a new constitution every decade (this has been the case in Zambia since we got independence).
The reason Levy is adamant and wants the constitution-making process to be done his own way, as and when he wants is he knows that possibly 99 per cent of the population of Zambia is ignorant about the constitution-making process. This is why he is insisting on a mode that will be easy for him to swindle the Zambian people out of a good constitution by taking advantage of their ignorance on matters of constitution-making process.
I therefore want to appeal to the Oasis Forum, the civil society, the opposition leaders and the private media to get to the masses throughout the country and educate the citizens on issues like:
What is a constitution-making process?
What is a constituent assembly and what is its role in the constitution making process? What are the advantages and disadvantages of adopting the constitution through a constituent assembly?
What is a referendum and its role in the constitution-making process? What is the importance of having a new constitution as soon as possible or at least before the next general elections?
If these and many other issues are explained to the citizens of Zambia, then it will be easy for the Zambians to be united and join calls by the Oasis Forum to wear red ribbons and probably honk at 17: 00 hours everyday to show solidarity for a people-driven constitution.
The nation needs to be as united as it was during the third term debate.
Levy needs to feel the pressure coming from the whole nation, not only from a few learned colleagues who are privileged to understand national issues. Otherwise the fight for a people-driven constitution will take long to be realised.
Once more I would like to remind the Zambian people that the President and his government are currently taking advantage of the ignorance of the majority Zambians
over the constitution making process.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Leaders in the West say Robert Mugabe is a demon, that he has destroyed Zimbabwe and he must be gotten rid of - but this demonising is made by people who may not understand what Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his fellow freedom fighters went through, says former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda. In 1960, Harold Macmillan, then British prime minister, made a statement in Cape Town referring to what was taking place in southern Africa as "the wind of change." He had correctly read the feelings of the black masses.
Eventually, the British government abolished the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In 1964, Northern Rhodesia became Zambia and Nyasaland became Malawi. But white people in Rhodesia rejected that wind of change and, in November 1965, Ian Smith, by force, took over in a "Unilateral Declaration of Independence". It was treason against the colonial ruler, the British monarchy. Soon Smith had arrested a number of African leaders, including Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo.
By now Harold Wilson was the British premier, but he showed signs of hopelessness. He called meetings aboard the Tiger and Fearless navy ships. But neither meeting showed tiger claws, and both were fearful of the rebels in Rhodesia.
I spoke with Wilson myself, but there was no progress. And, sadly, Smith's rebel regime went on.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe freedom struggle was continuing, but handicapped because its key leaders were locked up. Even talks with another British prime minister, Edward Heath, did not help. I could see clearly that no matter who became prime minister of Britain, they would do nothing about the Rhodesia situation.
Mugabe: The survivor
It was South Africa that was in charge. I concluded that the settlers were interested in keeping Southern Rhodesia under white rule so that they could have a buffer against advancing African independent states.
In 1974, I decided to meet John Vorster, South Africa's then-prime minister. We met at the bridge between Zambia and then Southern Rhodesia, in Vorster's white train, for three nights.
He had to leave on the third night because he was not feeling well. But as a follow-up to our discussions, he freed our colleagues in Zimbabwe's liberation movements.
There was, of course, not a single dull moment in the struggle for independence in our region. In August 1979, Commonwealth countries from all over the world met in Lusaka to consider many issues - but the most serious one was the Zimbabwe situation.
In the end it was Britain's new prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who agreed Britain would hold a conference on the future of Zimbabwe in London. She asked me to be around at what became known as the Lancaster House talks, in case difficulties arose in the negotiations.
At the talks, the people of Zimbabwe were assured that they were going to be independent the following year, 1980. But that wonderful news was conditional.
The new government of Zimbabwe was not to deal with land issues but was to "leave that in the hands of the British government". Nationalists from Zimbabwe accepted this rather harsh and complicated condition. The Thatcher government had begun to deal with the land issue, as did her successor, John Major.
But when Tony Blair took over in 1997, I understand that some young lady in charge of colonial issues within that government [Claire Short - MrK] simply dropped doing anything about it.
I ask you to consider the implications of the long struggle. The nationalists, who had the regaining of land as a key objective of their struggle, were now being told the British government, which promised to look after that issue themselves, was not going to go ahead with it.
The Zimbabwean government waited patiently for more than 10 years, but the British government defaulted.
We must remember the occupation by Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes removed African people from fertile lands to hilly and unfertile lands in favour of settlers. And remember that, later, while neighbours became independent, Southern Rhodesia was grabbed by white settlers, led by Smith. In the struggle, many people were killed.
There have been allegations of corruption in relation to land allocation. Well, the corruption should have been dealt with by all. Stopping the land programme, and doing nothing, was not the solution.
I do not believe it is right to demonise Robert Gabriel Mugabe. It is notable that he and his colleagues have not expelled from Zimbabwe people who did terrible things to them.
A star is born
Of course, there are some things which President Mugabe and his colleagues have done which I totally disagree with - for example, the police beating of Morgan Tsvangirai.
It is not that I think Tsvangirai can make a good leader - I see him as the [former Zambian leader] Frederick Chiluba of Zimbabwe - but beating him or even sending him to prison will not be the right thing.
On the other hand, given their experience, I can understand the fury that goes through President Mugabe and his colleagues.
Now, let me reveal that when Blair was elected British prime minister, I wrote a poem in his favour, called A Star Is Born To Us. Indeed, his feelings for Africa have been very good.
But then came the two Bs, Blair and George Bush, and their terrifying act of March 2003 - the invasion and occupation of Iraq. I condemned the two Bs publicly, denouncing the criminal invasion.
Now my prayer is that the Zimbabwe issue will be treated differently by Blair's successor, Gordon Brown.
It is also my humble prayer that South African President Thabo Mbeki and his regional colleagues will meet Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who will be ready in his soul, mind, and body to respond to the advice they give him and the people of Zimbabwe.
How should Western leaders treat President Mugabe? Has he been demonised unfairly?
released on 06/14/07 at 12:22:06
Atlanta (emergingminds.org) - Several Western media agencies are pushing an unnamed report from a group of unidentified “private consultants” urging organizations such as the United Nations, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Oxfam to prepare for a “total collapse” of Zimbabwe within 6 months. Western news agencies pushing this report, which many in the Pan-African community are calling propaganda, include the BBC, CNN, and the Associated Press (AP). At least 10 other new agencies have syndicated the AP story on their websites.
The report from the AP states that, “If the worst happens, private consultants in Zimbabwe say, aid groups should brace for shops and businesses to close and for Zimbabwe to declare a state of emergency.”
This report is basing its prediction of a “doomsday scenario” on the fact that Western countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union have pulled out nearly all of their financial resources causing not only a lack of confidence in the Zimbabwean currency on the international market but also causing hyperinflation that has been reported as high as four thousand percent, the highest in the world.
What’s more, the AP is reporting that the so called “private consultants” who are predicting a total collapse of Zimbabwe stated that in the coming months market forces will be "doubling the current inflation for each of the seven remaining months of 2007 gives 512,000 percent, thus the economic collapse is expected before the end of 2007."
Representatives of the Pan-African movement are not calling this report “a prediction, but a promise,” implying that Western countries are insidiously working with operatives both inside and outside of Zimbabwe to accelerate the economic woes and are orchestrating a collapse of Zimbabwe’s anti-Western government. The label of being “anti-Western” is one that Zimbabwe has be dealing with since 2000, when under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe, the government began restoring the land rights of indigenous Africans by evicting off of farmland the beneficiaries of a White Terrorist movement that brutally and inhumanely conquered the country and subjugated the indigenous Africans to subhuman conditions during the colonial era of the 20th century.
“Zimbabwe is the front lines of the war against Black People and indigenous self-rule,” Pan-African representatives insist. “That is why it is up to all Black People across the Diaspora to come to Zimbabwe’s aid in their time of war.” At this time, Pan-Africans are being urged to send donations to the Ujamma Youth Farming Project, a non-profit and pro Pan-African origination based in Zimbabwe.
“The Ujamma Youth Framing Project has already reached out to our representatives in the States, and being that they are working with projects that can feed the people, have the best possible chance to provide programs to sustain the people during an economic crisis.” The Ujamma Youth Framing Project is engaged in preparing self-sustainable projects to empower the masses, particularly the youth, in areas such as public transport, carpentry, masonry, fence making, walling, advertising, marketing and filmmaking. Their near term strategy is to empower the youth through farming programs that provide wholesale farm produce to supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels in Zimbabwe.
To make a donation to this group in a show of support for the people of Zimbabwe, you can visit http://www.ujammafarming.org.
SMALL-scale farmers from all over the country are set to benefit from farm management training programmes which commence in Harare next week. According to the organisers — ASF Enterprises — the programme would be held nationwide in preparation for the 2007/08 agricultural season.
The training will cover both theoretical and practical management. Among the topics will be effective ways of sourcing inputs, the benefits and demerits of contract farming, cost management, product marketing and value addition. ASF Enterprises director Mr Farai Chirimhanzi said the training was aimed at enhancing farmers’ effectiveness while at the same time addressing some basic farming concepts.
He added that this was also the right time to educate the nation on the importance of agriculture as the backbone of the economy. To this end, it was essential to ensure people treated farming as a business which has the potential to turn around the country’s economic fortunes if well managed.
"The programmes have been broken down into two parts, which are the logical management aspects and practical management. Logical management concentrates on aspects prior to the actual planting, and these programmes are aimed at enhancing the farmers’ effectiveness as we address the basic issues that farmers must adhere to and treat it as a business," he said.
On practical management, Mr Chirimhanzi said his organisation was looking at assisting farmers in livestock and crop management techniques in the face of scarce resources such as water.
Both A1 and A2 farmers have been hard hit by erratic power supplies, which disrupt irrigation, thereby affecting yields.
"We also look at issues of dealing with scarce water resources and time management as well as techniques that yield best results in conserving water. These training programmes endeavour to bring our farmers back to the basics of farming and make them professionals of the trade," said Mr Chirimhanzi.
Agriculture is the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy, and Government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, has come up various initiatives to improve production with the aim of improving food security.
Wednesday June 20, 2007 [04:00]
We are aware that politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all. We are also aware that politics can be an area for vices, confusion, selfishness, greed and vanity. Many have died for or in the name of politics; many have killed or maimed for or in the name of politics.
When people think only of themselves and their own particular tribal or social group, then there is the danger of division and frustration.
Good things don’t come easy; people have to work tirelessly to achieve them. The nation that we have today did not just come up like that, our forefathers spent sleepless nights and exerted tireless effort to establish it, to nurture or build it. We wish, above all, to recall the past, so as to foresee and plan the future better.
It takes time and a lot of effort to build a nation but it may be so easy to destroy it. Virtue must be nourished but vice springs up spontaneously like weeds and grows by itself. We must bear that in mind. If we do otherwise, while nourishing virtue, we are simultaneously paving way for vice. We must use uniting formulas and avoid at all costs divisive ones in all our political endeavours. That is a reality and we must not lose sight of it. We cannot on one hand claim to be working for national unity while on the other trying to undermine it.
We must give up the pernicious habit of identifying only with those who come from the same village, the same district, the same province and the same tribe as ourselves, who speak the same language and have the same culture and traditions. Those whom we must identify and see as our sisters and brothers, giving them our friendship and affection, our help, our support and fraternal warmth, should be all those who, like us, are exploited and want to see our country move forward, and who are with us in the great struggle for the development of our country and the betterment of all its people.
Politics should be a sacred undertaking because it is our politicians’ duty and responsibility to try and bring up the next generation of Zambians free from tribalism, regionalism and racism, and even free from the archaic attitude of oppressing and marginalising women or passively accepting marginalisation, free from superstition and imbued with a progressive attitude towards all issues affecting humanity.
In Zambian history, the fight for a progressive political line has been intrinsically bound up with the fight for national unity. The struggle to defend and consolidate unity, the driving force of our country’s independence struggle, demanded permanent vigilance and action to neutralise and eliminate the manoeuvres of tribal opportunists. This same struggle required a constant fight to clarify and develop our political line, especially as regards the nature, methods and objectives of our politics. By defining tribalism, regionalism and racism as enemies to be fought against, our forefathers deprived opportunists of their chief instruments of their anti-people manoeuvres.
We should always bear in mind that our people are not participating in politics just to usher in office an individual; they are not fighting for ideas or for things in one’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward and to guarantee the future of their children. This is what our people are looking for. And given a free choice they would choose any Zambian, regardless of his tribe or region where he hails from, who would move their lives forward and guarantee their children’s future.
Tribalism and regionalism are instruments used by political opportunists. And the best way to deal with such political opportunists is to deprive them of the use of these instruments.
We don’t think the type of leadership that this country requires to lead it in this complicated century can be constructed along tribal or regional lines. We agree with Dr Kenneth Kaunda that the current leadership search doesn’t require provincial approach; it requires a national approach. The unity of our people and the unity of our various tribes are the basic guarantees of the sure triumph of our efforts to conquer poverty, disease, ignorance or backwardness. It is only through the unity of all our people and of the whole nation that these things can be defeated and progress registered. It is therefore imperative to overcome anything that impairs this unity.
Siyoto Kunyanda is right in asserting his Lozi group’s right to exercise freedom of expression and freedom of association. No one can question or condemn them for exercising these rights. What is being condemned is not their exercise of freedom of speech and freedom of association. What is being condemned is what they are saying or are trying to do. In exercising these rights, one can be condemned for what they say or do without necessarily condemning them for exercising their freedom of expression and freedom of association. Kunyanda is right in saying that there is dishonesty and hypocrisy in those condemning them.
Yes, this is true because there are some people who rush to condemn others for the same things they themselves are doing in order to avoid being made to account for their own deeds. Experience has shown that in circumstances like these, it is necessary to avoid excessive zeal and watch out for those who are too demanding, the demagogic champions and tribal extremists who tend to crop up in situations like these in order to divert attention from their own faults and weaknesses and pretend to be demanding when they are really opportunists trying to avoid being called on to account for themselves.
As Kunyanda has pointed out, it’s true many of our politicians are organising on tribal lines, on regional lines. But there are serious dangers in this approach to politics, this approach is a danger to national unity and development and may trigger divisions that may lead to regional, tribal conflicts. It is not good to react to tribalists, to the political methods and practices of these divisive elements, by adopting equally tribal, regional and divisive methods and practices. What we should instead do is to denounce such methods and practices wherever we find them, whenever they surface. There are no benefits in tribal or regionally based politics.
Let’s learn to mobilise all our people without resorting to manipulating them on tribal lines. It is in this regard that we have denounced all tribal political opportunists in our country, regardless of which region or tribe they hail from. We have denounced Bemba tribalism. We have never hesitated to denounce Tonga tribalism. And we will never be intimidated in our denunciation of Lozi tribalism whatever its basis. Tribalism is tribalism – and there is no good or bad tribalism, all are bad and should be denounced.
By Brighton Phiri
Wednesday June 20, 2007 [04:00]
IT is dangerous for Zambia to approach the search for leadership at provincial and tribal levels, Dr Kenneth Kaunda has warned. And Siyoto Kunyanda, the man who chaired the Lozi loyalists' meeting, said yesterday that the group had no apologies tomake for having met as concerned persons originating from Western Province.
Commenting on the resolution by a group of prominent personalities from Western Province that it was time for a Lozi to become Republican president, Dr Kaunda warned that the action by the Lozi group could trigger divisions and conflict in the nation if they succeeded in the desire to have a Lozi Republican president.
"That is a terrible thing to do for the nation. I don't think that leadership search requires provincial approach," Dr Kaunda said. "It is a bad precedence...it is catastrophe to approach leadership at provincial level."
Dr Kaunda said he felt sad to read about the Lozi meeting at the time when he was trying to unite Zambians to fight against poverty and HIV/AIDS.
"You can imagine how I felt...when I am in process of changing the Tiyende Pamodzi slogan to suit the current struggle against poverty and HIV/AIDS...now it should be...timenye nkhondo ya AIDS ndi m'tima umo...let us fight against AIDS with one spirit. That is what we should aim at as Zambians," Dr Kaunda said. "All these terrible things happening around us call for unity among us."
He reminded Zambians that all human beings were God's children. "Who are we to divide God's children?" he asked.
Dr Kaunda said each time the ugly face of tribalism tried to come up, his UNIP regime crushed it because it was a danger to national unity and development.
"Remember, during our times we had me as a northerner as president, among others Mainza Chona as prime minister from the South, Nalumino Mundia and Daniel Lisulo from the West, Humphrey Mulemba from North-Western and Reuben Kamanga and Grey Zulu from the East...all of us came from different provinces but worked together without difficulties," he said. "Each time such thing like tribalism came up, we crushed it with vigour and purpose."
Dr Kaunda asked Zambians to learn from some of the catastrophes that arose from tribalism.
"We have something to learn from Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone," he said. "We must think national and avoid actions that can trigger divisions and conflicts. We can also learn something from our founding fathers and mothers who stood for unity and love for one another. Remember One Zambia One Nation slogan was not a UNIP slogan but a national slogan."
Dr Kaunda commended The Post's editorial comment, which he said provided guidance for peace loving Zambians. UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has also advised Zambians to avoid tribal and regional politics.
And Mwandi MMD member of parliament Michael Kaingu revealed that chiefs in Western Province were sponsoring them to discuss political leaders. In a statement, Kunyanda said no Zambian should be condemned for exercising freedom of expression and freedom of association.
"We have no apologies for having met as concerned persons originating from Wastern Province or having allowed free expression of diversity of ideas and proposals from among those who attended the meeting," Kunyanda stated. "However, we note that both the meeting and what was said at the meeting had been grossly misrepresented and taken for a farfetched ride by opportunists and hypocrites."
Kunyanda stated that the issue of a presidential candidature was not a main agenda item and that it came up as a side issue.
He explained that calls for a meeting of people originating from Western Province were more importantly in response to concerns over developmental issues. Kunyanda stated that many of the Lozi people were concerned that their province had become poorest in terms of human welfare and job opportunities.
"The main agenda item was to put our heads together in order to come up with ideas and programmes that could be fed into national development work," Kunyanda stated.
He stated that it had been brought to the attention of those assigned to organise and facilitate the meeting that there had been a committee of permanent secretaries from various ministries who had been constituted to co-ordinate an integrated development plan for North-Western Province.
"It was proposed that the meeting should find out the background of this scheme and look into ways of possibly applying the same to Western Province," he stated. "However, it is not surprising that some self-righteous people, ever ready to paint Barotse people with one coat of black paint, are presenting themselves as champion mountain climbers, on an anthill they have deliberately sought to make into mountain."
He charged that some opportunists and hypocrites had jumped on the bandwagon of exaggerations. He dispelled the notion that the meeting was in defiance of President Mwanawasa's call to stop the process that had been unleashed by his earlier statement that party members should start looking for his replacement after the end of his current state presidential term.
He stated that President Mwanawasa's ban on party presidential campaigns was made after Ku-Omboka while their meeting took place before Ku-Omboka. He stated that his group would continue to participate in contributing towards the choice of the next MMD candidate for the state president. "Some of us may have been honest and open enough to allow people to say exactly what they have in mind. Yes, nothing has come out in the press about meetings of persons from other
By Nomusa Michelo
Wednesday June 20, 2007 [04:00]
UNIVERSITY Teaching Hospital (UTH) doctor Emmanuel Makasa has defended his disgust over the manner in which police killed four suspected bandits in Lusaka on Monday. Dr Makasa was on Monday arrested by police for expressing disgust at the manner in which the bandits were killed. In an interview yesterday, Dr Makasa said as a medical professional, his duty is to defend life regardless of whose life it is.
“My job is to save life, any life, whether it is a politician, a criminal, a police officer or any ordinary person. That is what I was trained to do,” he said. “What I saw was not pleasant. I was not happy and yes what I said offended the police especially that I said it when there were a lot of people there. I understand their point but they also know that I have a job to save life and not to kill.”
Meanwhile, police have verbally cautioned Dr Makasa over his utterances. Dr Makasa confirmed that police picked him up after he made some utterances that annoyed them.
“They took me to central police and force headquarters and we just talked. I explained to them why I reacted like that and they also told me why they got annoyed. I understood them and they understood me,” he said.
“We had a chat and we resolved the matter professionally. They just cautioned me about what I said especially that it was in a public place with a lot of people. Just because I was not happy about the way those men were killed doesn’t mean that I support what they do.”
Dr Makasa is an orthopaedic surgeon and has worked with the UTH for seven years.
Meanwhile, six people were taken to UTH after the minibus they were travelling in hit into another vehicle on the Kafue road yesterday morning. The three men and three women, one of whom is expecting, were taken to the UTH by police officers coming from Lilayi who witnessed the accident.